We write about hundreds of products every 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 the vast online-shopping universe — including the waist pack Tina Barney always takes on shoots, the book Julia Haart says reminds her of her own power, and the foot pads one assistant always keep on hand for her heel-loving fitness-influencer boss.
A battery-powered blower that won’t break up your banter
Strategist contributor Steven John loves a good-looking lawn, but he says he wants to minimize his environmental impact while maintaining it. After researching alternatives to gas-powered yard tools, John picked up this Stihl BGA 57 Battery Blower, which “works perfectly well, easily moving leaves around on the lawn and patio, blasting muck out of the gutters, and helping to dry the cars after a wash.” Plus, electric tools are super quiet, so John says he can have a conversation with a neighbor while his blower is running.
The sturdy outdoor pack Tina Barney sports on every shoot …
Photographer Tina Barney uses her Outdoor Products Roadrunner Waist Pack to stay mobile and hydrated on shoots (and calls it an essential she can’t live without). “It’s really ugly, but you know how you get comfortable with the same purse or wallet?” Barney says. “I’ve tried to get other ones, but they don’t fit the water bottle.” Plus, this pack is washer-friendly, so Barney says it’s lasted her a long time.
… and the strong, super-mega rolls Samantha Irby swears by
Speaking of durability, one of comedian Samantha Irby’s absolute essentials is Charmin Ultra Strong Toilet Paper, Super Mega Rolls. Irby has Crohn’s disease, so she says her unpredictable bowels and diarrhea demand reliability of her roll. She says “there’s nothing more disgusting than when you wipe yourself, pull away, and have shredded toilet paper on your hand. No one wants that. It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. It won’t happen with Charmin.” Irby orders it by the case each month. “I cannot not have it,” she says. “It’s so soft, but also so strong.”
The hand soap that transports Hannah Traore to a hot Tuscan summer
When we polled a wide array of stylish folks on the best hand soap, Hannah Traore, the founder and director of an eponymous gallery on the Lower East Side, says she loves this glycerin-and-olive-oil-based Ortigia Sicilia Zagara Liquid Soap so much that she carries a roller-ball perfume of the same scent in her purse at all times. “I’ve tried multiple scents and they are all magnificent, but my loyalties lie with Zagara (Orange Blossom),” she says.
A natural bug repellent for an outdoorsy babymoon
Lauren Friel, a Boston-based sommelier and the owner of Rebel Rebel, Wild Child, and Dear Annie, recently went on her babymoon to North Haven, Maine, where she and her husband spent much of their time outdoors. She says this Nantucket Spider Extra Strength Natural Tick Repellent Spray was a staple in warding off the island’s robust tick population as they went on sunset hikes and had picnic dinners.
Semi-permanent tattoos for short-term life stages
After Cleo Qian got a tattoo she hated, the Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go writer and Strategist contributor started experimenting with semi-permanent InkBox tattoos, a Strategist favorite. With hundreds of realistic designs that last only a few weeks, Inkbox allowed Qian to try on different identities. “I played with the placement of moody frame tattoos and creepy Medusas, testing how things looked on different parts of my body and how they made me feel,” she says. “I know I can try on a new self like a new tattoo, and when the time comes, let it fade and go.”
An always-in-heels fitness influencer’s favorite foot pads
In this month’s Assistant Files, we spoke with “Wendy,” an assistant to a New York City–based fitness and wellness influencer and TV host, about these foot pads that her boss swears by. Wendy says that the influencer wears heels unless she’s working out, so Wendy puts these insoles in every pair of heels her boss owns to make walking easier and more comfortable. She keeps at least one spare in her bag at all times and replaces worn-down pads regularly.
Julia Haart’s literary constant companion
One of the first secular books My Unorthodox Life star Julia Haart read after leaving her ultra-Orthodox community was Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. “It reminds me that it isn’t about seeing the present; it’s about seeing the future and envisioning who you want to be,” she says. “Especially with everything I’ve gone through, it’s been a really helpful and useful reminder.”
Mason Pearson’s coveted hairbrush — for nearly half-off
After posting a tip in last year’s 100 holiday tips, Strategist writer Lauren Ro finally scored Mason Pearson’s cult-favorite, rarely on-sale brush (which we also named our best overall hairbrush) for almost half-off … at Costco. “Is it nuts to spend over 100 bucks on a hairbrush? Maybe,” Ro says. But “a bunch of friends commented that they’ve had their same Mason Pearsons since they were kids. One person has had hers for 15 years, and another for 30. So, yes, they might be worth the money.”
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.