sunday circular

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From DVD Players to Daisy-Print Kids’ Pants

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

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 artistic lighting from the most wholesome edition of Assistant Files to date, a no-frills e-ink tablet for writing without distractions, and a $6 device that uses ultrasonic waves to rid your home of pesky critters.

The surprisingly stylish neck fan Lupita Nyong’o wore on SAG’s picket line …

Comlife Neck Fan

As actors continue marching against unfair pay conditions for hours under the hot sun, we spotted Lupita Nyong’o sporting a slim neck fan on the picket line — Strategist writer Rachel Griffiths ID’d this Comlife model as an identical match to the actress’s. According to the brand, the fan delivers cool air to the neck and shoulders via vents running along either side, and it’s tapered at the back for a comfortable fit. Plus, with nine hours of battery life and three fan speeds, it should keep you cool whether you’re protesting the streaming giants or just out sightseeing this summer.

… and a reliable, old-school DVD player for when you’ve given up on streaming


Strategist contributor Victoria Goldiee recently bought this Dell DVD player (similar to the one she had growing up), and she says it allows her to watch her old collection of discs in a way streaming can’t compete with. “Everything on my screen was crisper and even more vivid,” she says, adding that the level of detail makes her feel like she’s in on the action. Goldiee says the machine offers an 8x fast-forward speed (so she can skip over the cringe moments in her K-dramas) and an estimated life span of over 150,000 hours (so she can watch a lot of them). The best feature of all, she says, is the CyberLink Media Suite app that comes exclusively with the drive — the program allows her to make playlists and mini-vlogs in a flash.

Gender-neutral bottoms that cover, hold, and flatter

If you’re in the market for gender-neutral swimwear, stylist and lingerie consultant Monica Harrington says TomboyX’s swim bottoms have a secure fit, wider gussets, and a neutral cut that falls between a bikini designed for cis women and full tucking bottoms. The brand says they’re fit-tested on all body types (sizes XS to 4XL) and fully lined for comfort and modesty. TomboyX previously appeared in our shopping guide for trans youth, in which Strategist writer Erin Schwartz says tons of trans people recommend their high-quality apparel and underwear for all genders and body types.

The $6 device that keeps creepy-crawlers out

After battling rodents, spiders, and lizards in her farmhouse for six months, Strategist contributor Sophie Katzman says she was skeptical but had nothing to lose when she ordered this six-pack of scentless pest-repellent devices. The egg-shaped accessories emit a low-frequency ultrasonic sensation that forces critters out while remaining imperceptible to people, Katzman notes, and she simply plugged them into each room of the house and waited. Within a week, she says she noticed more creepy-crawlers than usual coming out of the woodwork in clusters, which meant they were relocating en masse. After four weeks, Katzman says she barely saw any unwanted guests, and after six months, she says they’ve all stayed away.

The warm white lightbulbs a painter silently approves of

In this month’s (unexpectedly heartwarming) Assistant Files, we spoke with Alex, the assistant to New York City–based oil painter Jimmy Wright, about the LEDs he installed above a hard-to-navigate staircase in the artist’s apartment. Wright wanted warm-toned light, so Alex got these energy-saving and dimmable bulbs on a hardware store employee’s recommendation. “I was afraid Jimmy was going to say they were too bright or not the right wattage, but he hasn’t complained about them yet,” Alex says. And though Alex notes that the painter’s direction in choosing the bulbs was purely for artistic effect, warm tones are better for our sunlight-attracted brains, as we’ve written about before in a much-read (and debated) story.

The flat-packing flip-flops one writer brings in her suitcase …

Strategist contributor Diana Tsui asked cool people about their go-to flip-flops, and her own fashion-forward choice is this surprisingly stylish pair by Chaco. Tsui wears the flat-packing, rubber-soled shoes for travel, and they’ve held up to salt water and sun in the Bahamas while providing ample lower-back support. They work inside as well: “I use them in lieu of slippers in hotel rooms when I’m skeptical of how clean the carpets are,” Tsui says.

… and a bag of Zabar’s light roast to make your carry-on smell amazing

Strategist contributor Oliver Horovitz recently visited La Paz, Bolivia, where he took a walking tour of El Alto, played golf at the highest course in South America, hiked into the Siloli Desert, and more (you can check out his whole itinerary here). One of his favorite gifts to bring while traveling is Zabar’s coffee beans, his go-to New York blend. “It makes people happy, and, as a bonus, makes my carry-on smell amazing when I arrive,” he says.

The daisy-print kids’ pants that led one Strategist writer to do some digital detective work

Having seen the same pair of adorable, balloon-shaped kids’ pants all over Instagram, Strategist writer Lauren Ro did some digging (and reverse-image-searching) to determine what brand they were. She found that the trousers are made by AD Baby, and multiple sites — such as Milk Teeth and AliExpress — carry them at different price points. When Ro asked Milk Teeth co-owners Catherine Newell-Hanson and Rebecca Calavan about the pants, they confirmed they’re from a Korean wholesaler and were chosen for their oversize, unisex silhouettes. While this is standard retail practice, Ro says it’s a lesson for us all to consider taking a closer look next time we see a seemingly “brandless” piece.

The no-distractions tablet our tech writer calls a modern-day digital typewriter

Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon says he’s gotten more after-hours work done in the few weeks he’s tested this e-ink tablet than the rest of 2023. That’s because the black-and-white device lets McMahon read, write, and take notes free of distractions, as you can’t get notifications on it, there’s no app store, and the colorless display is minimalist and utilitarian. “It’s best seen as an elegant digital notebook or a modern typewriter you can drag out to a coffee shop,” he says.

A kindercore-logo pocket tee lifted from the archives of New York

ICYMI: We have an official merch store (!). At the New York Shop, you’ll find all our branded swag, including “New Yawk” tote bags and two-tone hats from our Only NY collab, nepo-baby onesies, and this ivory cotton graphic tee. Magazine loyalists might recognize the logo’s hand-painted, primary-colored design from the cover of our October 4, 1982, special issue about raising kids in the city. It’s a plug, sure, but a good one — the heavyweight crewneck is limited edition, 100 percent combed cotton, and available in sizes S to 2XL.

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.

10 Things We Loved: DVD Players to Daisy-Print Kids’ Pants