We write about hundreds of products each week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked some of our recent favorites: expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and very good deals we uncovered while trawling through the vast online-shopping universe — including a motivational workout app, Baggu’s colorful coffee-table book, and a Kindle that’s also great for taking notes.
Lou Diamond Phillips’s soothing bath oil
Lou Diamond Phillips can’t live without this Kneipp eucalyptus bath oil, which his wife, Yvonne, introduced him to. He explained that it wasn’t until he started working as a director rather than an actor that he started appreciating self-care products. “Directing is infinitely more stressful than acting, because you’re being asked a dozen questions every hour and having to pay attention to the minutiae. There’s no rest,” Phillips says. “At the end of the day, man, a therapeutic bath prepares me to actually get some sleep.” He’ll sometimes combine the oil with Epsom salts, but it’s also “very relaxing” on its own.
A stylish monograph for Baggu buffs
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of bag-maker Baggu — and in celebration of its 15th anniversary this year, it’s released a new coffee-table book. The “comprehensive visual archive” includes 680 pages’ worth of prints, materials, and products the brand has come out with since its founding in 2007. And you can choose between a few different cover patterns, from color-blocked calico to starry constellations.
Festive, holiday-ready pajama pants
These deeply discounted J.Crew pajama pants would be the perfect attire for gathering around the tree on Christmas morning. As part of the retailer’s sale-on-sale, the pants are just $25 when you enter code BIGSALE at checkout, compared to their original $70 price tag (and they get even cheaper if you buy more than one sale item). Multiple J.Crew pajama styles have appeared in our best-in-class guide, so you can rest assured they’re Strategist-approved.
A great read for foodie dads
Dads are notoriously difficult to shop for, but gifting a good book is always a safe bet. The phrase “dad book” may bring to mind World War II history tomes, but true dad lit is as varied as the many kinds of dads out there. For foodies, we recommend Dan Saladino’s Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them. Saladino, a BBC food journalist, shepherds us from East Africa to the Sea Islands to Sierra Leone, showcasing the best and rarest foods the world has to offer, in the hope that knowledge will spark curiosity and action.
The best Kindle for people who like to scribble in the margins
Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon picked up his first Kindle in college, and since then he’s bought, gifted, or tested nearly every Kindle that’s come out. As a self-described “incredibly forgetful reader,” he enjoys how the Kindle Scribe allows him to “drop a sticky note with handwritten text” right over any paragraph or sentence. “I’ve been using this feature to note why I highlighted a particular bit of text, which helps me remember its significance later,” McMahon writes. “If you’re a student looking for a paperlike solution for taking notes without having to lug around a bag of spiral-bound books, the Scribe is an impressive first shot at being a hub for note-taking.”
Bethenny Frankel’s sculpting tanks for Real Housewives stans …
As part of our mission to help you find the perfect present for every type of person in your life, we recently published a guide to the best gifts for Real Housewives fans — including many actually good items from the Housewives’ own product lines. Former RHONY cast member Bethenny Frankel has launched enough business ventures to fill Blue Stone Manor (snacks, wine, liquor, cookware, and even eyewear, to name a few), but her shapewear falls into the “worth it” category. Strategist contributing editor Jessica Silvester is a fan and loves her perfectly cut camis that “lift my breasts up even without a built-in bra.” These tanks are similar to the ones Silvester owns, and they’re made with the same smooth, seamless material.
… and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes cap for Formula 1 enthusiasts
Formula 1 racing has seen a boom in popularity thanks to Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, which means it’s highly probable that you have a few new Formula 1 fans in your life. Our gift guide is full of ideas for excellent F1-related presents, from merch to collectibles to subscriptions. Multiple F1 fans told us that a baseball cap repping their favorite team or driver makes for a foolproof gift: “If you know who your friend supports, then you can’t really go wrong in terms of just looking for a Daniel Ricciardo cap or something like that,” says Luke Smith, the Formula 1 reporter for Autosport.
A personal-training app that meets you where you’re at
Strategist writer Lauren Ro usually can’t find the motivation to exercise unless “there’s an external force compelling me to work out.” When a publicist offered her a free six-month trial for an app called Future that pairs you with a personal trainer, she was “intrigued by the idea of having someone other than myself whipping me into shape.” After answering a detailed questionnaire, she was matched with a trainer, Micaela, and since then she’s embarked on a program of “squats, lunges, core floor exercises, shoulder presses, bench presses, and other upper-body exercises,” adding that she “felt great, challenged but not pushed beyond my limits.” If you want to give it a try, Future is offering Strategist readers 50 percent off for their first three months if you sign up via the link below.
The underwear Rhiannon Giddens brings on tour
Rhiannon Giddens counts these ExOfficio briefs among her favorite things. Because she’s a touring musician, she’s “always looking for things that will make my load lighter.” Even though they’re ostensibly meant for camping, she’ll take them with her when she’s touring and traveling: “You can literally wash these out in your hotel room and in a few hours they’re dry,” she told us. She bought five pairs a few years ago and hasn’t had to buy new ones since as they’re still going strong. “You can’t overestimate the power of clean underwear on the road,” she says.
A new status pepper grinder
When watching a recipe video featuring her former Bon Appétit colleague Carla Lalli Music, Strategist kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman noticed that Music was using a different pepper mill than her usual beloved Unicorn. So Wartzman sent her an inquiring email, and Music confirmed that it was the Pepper Cannon from Männkitchen, confessing that “I thought I could never love another, but I was mistaken.” Though extraordinarily pricey for a pepper grinder, everyone who’s used it says it’s worth every penny due to its clever design and sturdy construction, and the volume of pepper it dispenses. “The grind size comes in a larger range than that of any other model,” Wartzman reports. “Beyond that, the metal frame is heavy and sturdy, with minimal chance of breakage or warping with exposure to moisture.”
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.