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 waxy beads for making DIY candles in any container, the heel-pain-proof shoes Julia Quinn wears to work out, and the Patagonia Dopp kit one stylish mom prefers to clunky diaper backpacks.
A sculptural orange-peeling gadget for avoiding pith under your fingernails
Strategist contributor Fanny Singer says this teardrop-shaped peeler takes the mess out of oranges by letting you score the rind with remarkable precision. While she initially balked at the design — as she puts it, “it’s a little ‘moderne’ for my tastes” — Singer says “it delivers an almost ASMR-level of satisfaction as its little hooked point draws down into and against the peel.” While a lot of our Instagram followers did knock it before they tried it, Singer says actual users shouldn’t be surprised if they find themselves newly addicted to peeling oranges.
Mosquito-repellent incense sticks (that smell pleasant too)
For those who live in mosquito-ridden regions, Strategist contributor Steven John has a sweeter-smelling solution than built-in diffusers and bug spray: incense sticks made by Murphy’s Naturals. John says they’re easy to use — simply stake them in the grass, and each one burns for nearly two and a half hours. Plus, they have a scent that blends citronella, cedar, lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint. It “isn’t going to make your property 100 percent mosquito-free, but it will make the outdoors livable again even in mosquito season,” he says. “And that’s magic-adjacent.”
The pimple patches Hayley Williams hands out to her bandmates
When we spoke to Hayley Williams about her favorite things, she told us about these pimple patches, which her entire band uses: “Not just Zac and Taylor but even the extended live band, like Joey, our bass player, and some of the other guys,” she says. When she’s not sharing them, Williams applies the hydrocolloid stars to cover the occasional breakout, but says her younger self would have appreciated them even more. “If I had something like this that made acne more fun, it would’ve really resonated with me,” she says.
A lightweight, buildable skin tint for darker skin tones
After experimenting with skin tints for a decade, Strategist contributor Mbiye Kasonga says her obsession with barely there coverage finally led her to this Ami Cole product, which she calls her favorite everyday formula. Kasonga says it perfectly matches her darker skin tone while masking hyperpigmentation, plus it has a “truly skinlike finish that acts as a great base for the rest of my makeup.”
The lighter key chain taking downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn by storm
While attending a press preview, Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng noticed a key chain dangling from another guest’s handbag; it resembled a metallic snake wrapping around a slim BIC lighter. After leaving the event, Peng continued spotting the coil of stainless steel — which was designed by Chen Chen and Kai Williams in a 2018 collaboration with the accessories brand KARA — and dove into why it’s been circulating in fashion, design, and skate circles. Evan Scott, the retail manager at the Noguchi Museum Shop (which sells the key chain), attributes its popularity to its playful, clever design, while Fabiana Faria of Coming Soon says its aesthetic is in line with today’s Y2K revival. Read on for the full investigation.
A chest binder with the “flattest contour possible”
When Strategist contributor Sarah Gannett spoke with 22 experts to compile a list of the best chest binders, “Gc2b binders came up in almost every conversation and were the most recommended,” she says. Both the brand’s tank and half-tank styles are made with a firm internal front panel, while the “elasticity in the back panel provides really great movement for shoulder blades and ribs,” says Frances Reed, a licensed bodyworker and binding expert. Gannett says she sized up to reduce tightness, and it is now her most comfortable binder and also provides the flattest chest profile.
The supportive flip-flops Julia Quinn wears on the elliptical
After experiencing a heel issue, Julia Quinn saw a sports-medicine doctor, who recommended that she find a backless shoe with a supportive, thick sole. Now she can’t live without these slip-on sandals, which she says she practically lives in (even to work out). “I have them in four colors strewn around my house, so I can put them on at any moment,” she says.
Balls of wax that turn any empty jar into homey candles
Strategist writer Kitty Guo says candles were forbidden fruit in her childhood home, so after moving out, she purchased them in droves and eventually saw an ad for Foton’s reusable wax beads that can be poured into containers to make candles. After testing the pearls in various jars and drinking glasses, Guo says “their gentle fragrance, environmentally friendly bent, and relatively inexpensive price tag” makes them her go-to everyday candle.
Lauren Snyder’s Dopp kit for diapers, wipes, and baby clothes
If she could redo her baby registry all over again, Lauren Snyder, owner of the Primary Essentials, told us she would downsize her diaper backpack in favor of her old Patagonia Dopp kit because it holds everything the baby needs, including three changes of clothes. The small size also “just makes life easier as a mom in the city because you’re always schlepping,” she says. Plus, it’s sturdy enough to throw into the stroller or a tote bag.
Rubber footwear for rambling through the Scottish Highlands
In our latest installment of Steal My Vacation, we followed Ramya Giangola, an L.A.-based fashion-retail and brand strategist, on her weeklong trip from Edinburgh to the Scottish Highlands with her 15-year-old daughter. Their adventure consisted of admiring the art-filled Fife Arms in Braemar, eating lots of fish and chips, castle-hoping hikes, and other memorable activities. Although Giangola packed these Celine boots, which she describes as “truly one of the most comfy waterproof pairs of shoes,” Everlane has a similar (and more affordable) pair that features a slip-resistant tread, cushy insoles, and two flexible pull tabs.
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.