If you follow our monthly feature “Your Shopping Cart,” you know we have some eerily good intel on what you all are buying, which led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying for ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Strategist editor; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it. (It’s online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs.) Below, what we bought in April.
Jen Trolio, senior editor
I wear glasses daily, and they are always, always filthy. No matter how often I wash them with dish soap and water, or spray them with lens cleaner and polish the lenses with a microfiber cloth, smudges and fingerprints seem to instantly reappear. So the last time I went to my eyeglass place to have my frames adjusted, I asked for some cleaning advice. When the woman there told me they use an ultrasonic cleaner on their customers’ glasses, I decided to try one for myself. I still need to clean my glasses all the time, but this thing is a tremendous help. A drop of blue Dawn mixed into some lukewarm water leaves them practically sparkling after a three-minute cycle.
Maxine Builder, editor
As soon as I bought the “Mary-Kate Tevas,” as I’ve come to call them, I sent a Slack message to our senior editor, Simone. Her response was, quite simply, “best summer ahead for you.” I’ve worn them once, on an unseasonably warm spring day, but I already know she is fully correct.
I don’t know what health demon has taken over my body, but I am obsessed with this low-fat, high-protein peanut-butter powder. I mix it with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a little bit of water to make the most perfect, drizzly peanut-butter sauce for salmon and roasted veggies. I dump a tablespoon in smoothies for a peanut-y kick that doesn’t mess with the texture. I swirl it into some plain Greek yogurt with strawberries, honey, and granola for a little treat. And if you need a sense of how quickly I’m going through this stuff: I bought an eight-ounce jar on April 6 and reupped on April 22 — though this time, I went for the 15-ounce jar.
Jeremy Rellosa, writer
I never used to chafe while running, but after some particularly long workouts this month, I noticed some hot spots forming around my thigh and groin. I’ve used Chamois Butt’r to soothe tender areas under my bib for long bike rides before, so I bought a ten-pack of the cream in case anything started annoying me on longer runs. The packs are just as big as an energy gel, so it’s easy to stash in my shorts or running tights.
This month, I restocked my daily cleanser and went with Youth to the People face wash, which is made with organic antioxidants like kale, spinach, and green tea. My dermatologist recommended I use a gel-to-foam face wash over a creamy one, and while gel washes are good at sopping up excess oil, this cleanser doesn’t leave my skin dry. Plus, its ingredients smell fresh and not overly chemical, unlike other face washes.
Kelsie Schrader, managing editor
The apartment I used to live in had a Nutribullet, which I used pretty often, especially in the summer. I’d been thinking I might want to get a blender for myself now that I’ve moved, but it didn’t feel urgent until we had those 90-degree days earlier in April. Suddenly, all I wanted was a smoothie, so I bought this blender. The 600-watt version is cheaper at just $60, but lots of reviews say the 900-watt model is the best and longest-lasting for your money. This all-black matte model is a bit pricier than the version that has a stainless-steel base, but if you buy directly from Nutribullet, it will give you 15 percent off your first order, which makes this (in my opinion) sleeker version the same price as the regular colors and no more expensive than buying it on Amazon. (Shipping is free, too.)
Brenley Goertzen, junior writer
All the TikTok girls are gushing about celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic’s beauty brand, so earlier this month, during Sephora’s spring sale, I decided it was as good a time as any to invest in the viral Makeup by Mario foundation. And I’m glad I did, because this stuff is quite nice. While the formula feels thin and airy, it actually has medium-to-full coverage and is very pigmented. When you hold the bottle up to the light, you can see little flecks of bright, shiny particles, which I’m sure are what keep giving my face a deep glow.
I visited a cosmetic surgeon last month because of some dissolvable stitches I received near my eyebrow (see our March Strat Haul for the full story). The specialist carefully examined the affected area on my face and finally pulled back his headlight to say, “You need Aquaphor.” He explained that the best way to prevent scarring was to apply a thin layer of this ointment, which works by tricking the body into thinking there’s a thick scab there and, in turn, speeds up the healing process. I’ve been applying it night and day, and sure enough, over the course of this month, it kept the area clean and moisturized, and the soft, jellylike texture has allowed my skin to regenerate virtually back to normal.
Erin Schwartz, writer
I don’t remember how this came up, but recently I was wondering how Latin translators have such a complete grasp of a dead language’s profanity when most extant text is either religious, was deemed to be of sufficient cultural or historical value to be copied by monks in the Middle Ages, or etched into stone. When I looked it up, I found, in typical classics fashion, that my question had already been answered decades ago in a book called The Latin Sexual Vocabulary by J.N. Adams. (There’s a free PDF of it online here; the answer is erotic poetry and graffiti.) “Like other languages, Latin contained certain words its speakers considered obscene as well as a rich stock of sexual euphemism and metaphor,” Adams writes in the preface. It’s a great book, deeply researched and funny in a scholarly, dry way. Also, the cover design rocks — I trawled eBay specifically for the version with the duck.
I’ve been needing a new planter for a bushy rubber tree and bought this Bergs Potter set using the Strategist Two Day Sale discount at Goodee. The fancy planter clout index is in chaos, so I’ve stopped tracking which planters are innovating and am just focusing on formal qualities I enjoy, like the sheer pinkish white finish over raw terra-cotta and the oyster-colored glaze on the saucer.
Chelsea Peng, senior editor
Earlier this month, I was in Antwerp, where my brother led us down the Meir straight to the Chocolate Line. He then proceeded to buy half a kilo of chef-y pick-and-mix, pacing along the display case as the long-suffering sales associate layered the violet box with chocolates flavored with cachaça, sake, and praline. I’m not really one for sweets (you might think differently based on my previous Strat Haul appearances, but those were all for other people!), but when I tried the Miss Piggy, I was pleasantly surprised by the still-shattering bacon bits and how sophisticated the flavors of pork and chocolate were. The others I tried were just as elegant and playful — I get it now.
[Editor’s note: The Chocolate Line lists its prices in euros, so this is an approximation in U.S. dollars.]
Kitty Guo, writer
I moved into a new apartment at the beginning of the month and have gotten a little obsessive in the process of furnishing my place from scratch. I’m mostly trying to source secondhand pieces from Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, where you can score some really great deals if you know where to look. Case in point: I’ve been a fan of Studio Flot ever since I wrote about the brand’s wiggly side tables for my newsletter all the way back in 2021. During a late-night Craigslist session, I stumbled across a listing for a mint-green version of the table for a mere fraction of the made-to-order price; within 24 hours, it was sitting pretty in my living room, and I was feeling like a cat that got the cream.
I also picked up this retro-looking orange desk organizer from Altes Haus, a vintage odds-and-ends purveyor I follow on Instagram (similar ones abound on Etsy and eBay.) It’s only holding some pens and a pair of scissors, but — just between you and me — I’m planning to filch a few rubber bands, push pins, and paper clips next time I’m in the office to fill the little drawer compartments.
Rachael Griffiths, writer
My parents and I are taking full advantage of the British bank holiday next month by spending a long weekend in France. As well as using Duolingo to kid myself that I remember any high-school French, I’ve been looking for a linen summer dress to pack for my trip. This dress from Amy Lynne is not what I had in mind at all, but when I saw it, I instantly pictured me and the puffy skirt breezing around Versailles or craning past selfie sticks to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. The bodice is made from stretchy jersey and can be ruched, so I can wear the dress either high- or low-waisted. And the skirt … well, quite simply, it makes me feel like a princess.
Open the fridge of almost any Brit and you’ll spot a bottle of Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce. Each bottle has the signature peri-peri taste of Nando’s, a wildly popular chicken chain that’s had a perennial queue since the One Direction boys declared their love for it in 2013. As someone who eats a lot of chicken and rice, a generous glug of Nando’s sauce elevates the meal with really little effort. Nando’s sells the sauce in five spices, ranging from mild lemon and herb to tongue-numbing extra-hot. And while at the restaurant, I’d usually order the hotter flavor to keep up appearances, who’s there to judge me in my own home?
Emma Wartzman, kitchen and dining writer
The sunglasses I bought last summer came in a slim white felt case with branding on the outside. All this time later, I decided I wanted something more stylish and, at this point, less pilled and dirty. So I searched Etsy for one in a similar material and found this two-pack (I’m going to give the second to my boyfriend for his sunglasses). The shipping basically doubled the price, but they’re so cheap that I didn’t mind. They have yet to arrive, but I’m looking forward to the upgrade.
I live a few blocks away from one of the locations of Artists & Craftsman (a very good art-supply store) and walked in last weekend to buy a few frames. I wanted to take a set of drawings I have in different-style frames and make them match for a more streamlined and intentional look. The ones linked here are similar (Artists & Craftsman doesn’t sell theirs online, but you should stop in if you live close by). It was a very quick, easy, and satisfying project.
Ambar Pardilla, writer
Regular readers might remember these from last year’s “Gifts the Strategist Editors Want” guide — the pumps were on my only-in-your-dreams wish list. But the combination of a tax return, coupon code, and looming birthday made me splurge at last. These are preposterously pretty — shoes you’d see in that infamous Marie Antoinette scene. There’s an ostentatiousness about the crystals that is, unfortunately, very much me. I’ll probably be buried in them.
Lauren Ro, writer
I finally bought Hellerware bowls and plates when I saw that the brand was running a 15 percent sale on its site. (MoMA sells them, too, but they were out of stock.) I try not to use plastic in my kitchen, but for feeding kids, you need something that won’t break when chucked on the floor. My unpopular opinion is that silicone dishes, while “safer” and more environmentally friendly, are actually a scam because they retain odor, grease, and dish soap. Try eating off your child’s plate and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Regular plastic is porous, too, but I’ve always liked melamine, which is what these are made of, even though it’s a type of plastic. The smaller plate is perfect for salads and kids’ meals, and the bowls are great for serving sides. I love the rainbow colors and the fact that they stack, but I will say they’re a little slippery and don’t always “click” into place.
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.