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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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 July.

Lauren Ro, writer

You might have read about this in Secret Strategist, our new insider-shopping newsletter (if you haven’t signed up yet, do it now!), but it’s so good it deserves a spot here as well. I was walking past the Muji store on Fifth Avenue when this little white bag stopped me in my tracks — it was petite and plastic, the perfect summer mini-tote. Turns out it’s called a “spa pouch” because it’s made of EVA and mesh and meant to get wet, but it was so cute I couldn’t possibly relegate it to only holding toiletries. It’s small and rigid, which means it doesn’t fit a ton, but there’s enough room for the essentials: phone, lip balm, wallet, sunglasses, and a slim book (if put upright). I’ve taken it to an actual spa, the splash pad, and dinner.

Latifah Miles, writer

gogobunny Dog Blanket

We recently got our couch professionally cleaned, which was painfully overdue. Since our one-year-old Lab is the main reason why our couch was in such dire straits, we went looking for a doggy blanket to protect his favorite lounging spot — we have plenty of throws for him to lay on, but comfier ones trap his hair and dog smell, which drives me crazy. The Gogobunny blanket is smooth and pretty flat (versus soft and plush) so when my dog sheds, the fur lays on top of the blanket (rather than getting embedded in the material), and I can use my ChomChom pet roller to clean it up quickly. And since the material is waterproof, it doesn’t absorb or hold on to my dog’s odor. Even though it isn’t plush, he still really likes laying on it, and it has kept our couch clean (since the professional cleaning) and not smelling like a kennel.

Ambar Pardilla, writer

Eadem’s Cloud Cushion — my moisturizer of choice — has been sold out for enough time that I reluctantly bought Embryolisse’s Lait-Crème Concentré while I wait for a back-in-stock email. Former Cut beauty director Kathleen Hou’s praise persuaded me to get it: “This is often the only moisturizer makeup artists carry backstage.” The concentré — which bills itself as a makeup base, mask, and makeup remover — goes on thicker than I’d like, though it melts right in with some massaging. It has a vaguely sunscreen smell that makes me dream of the beach. It does feel like I’m cheating on Eadem, but my skin looks very good right now.

Because I needed something delightful — a little treat — I bought this faux spoon of Fruit Loops and spilled milk. (I got the martini version for a friend’s birthday this year.) It’s the pick-me-up I need whenever I’m stuck writing emails.

Kayleen Schaefer, senior editor

After a beach day, I hate putting my damp bathing suit back in my beach bag — it just gets everything in there wet. This waterproof clutch, made by a company founded by two native Hawaiian women, is exactly what I’ve been looking for, and it’ll be good for stashing my toiletries on trips, too.

I wanted leather flip-flops but didn’t want to pay triple digits for them. These from Tkees, which are also in our picks for the very best flip-flops, look more elegant than my rubber Havaianas and have a slightly cushioned sole that makes them comfortable to walk in. I got them in “nude beach,” but they come in any color you could imagine, from seashell to snake print.

Kelsie Schrader, managing editor

It took me less than an hour to buy this pint cooler after writer Kat Gillespie pitched it in a meeting. I perpetually ogle Caffè Panna’s artisanal pints, but I don’t want to have to house the whole $15 pint on the curb because it won’t survive my subway journey home (of course I would enjoy that, but it’s a $15 pint — respect it). So yeah, I did not give a second thought to spending $25 (at the time, now it’s $35) on this perfect solution to my ice-cream woes. I’ve used it for a Panna pint already, and it kept the best cold-brew ice cream I’ve ever tasted perfectly frozen during my trip back to Brooklyn on a 90-degree day, which included a pit stop at a very busy Trader Joe’s. 10/10 purchase.

I’d been eyeing this blanket — at first the thinner olive green version, then this chunky cumin one — for over four months. I love how it looks, feels, and matches my décor, but I was never quite ready to spend $100-plus on a blanket. During West Elm’s not-Prime Day sale, the originally $120 blanket was on clearance and marked down an additional 15 percent, so it was just $72. I’d guess 40 percent off is the lowest it will ever go, so I went for it.

Emma Wartzman, kitchen and dining writer

My boyfriend and I took a quick one-night trip upstate last weekend and spent a few hours walking around Catskill, where we stopped at Kaaterskill Market, a lovely home goods store. I bought this woody and floral (but not-too-sweet-smelling) candle and a bundle of pretty dried yellow flowers from the area to fill an empty vase on my dresser.

A rather mundane purchase, but I finally replaced the AirPods I lost when I was visiting L.A. earlier this summer. I’ve been using an old corded version since then (fine for commuting via train or feet, but very not fine for talking on the phone while cooking and doing chores).

Sam Daly, deals editor

When the weather is hot with a capital H, I can’t be bothered to put on socks or lace up sneakers. I finally decided to buy a pair of Tevas (mainly because of the snake print) at REI last month, and can’t believe it took me so long to take the plunge. They’re much more supportive than I thought they’d be, and I haven’t had to break them in at all. (I say this as someone who is incredibly prone to blisters.)

I finally had a chance to check out a ThirdLove brick-and-mortar store while I was visiting my mom in California. This is by far the most comfortable bra I’ve ever owned, and it smooths everything out without pinching my underarms or creating the dreaded quad-boob. And though I’m decidedly not an underwire girlie, I was swayed to buy this lacy number as well, which is so fun to wear under cotton tees.

Ailbhe Malone, senior editor

I think I’m one of the few Strategist editors who wears neither Tevas nor Birkenstocks. Instead, I’m obscenely loyal to Camper sandals. My last pair lasted me three summers of tough wear — from a wedding weekend in Toulouse to endless mind-numbingly long walks with a stroller and two weeks of traveling slowly east from Budapest to Northern Transylvania. Like Birkenstocks, they have a natural cork sole so they don’t smell sweaty, but unlike Tevas, the outsole is a kind of platform made from EVA. The result is a supremely comfortable shoe that lasts a long time and leans heavily on the luxe end of sporty-luxe. I like the Oruga range and picked up this pair in all black for 20 percent off.

One of my most stylish friends got married in June, and as we have a shrimp-cocktail-themed group chat, I thought these coupes were the perfect gift. Also, I’ve been to enough weddings to know that if you go off-registry, you text and ask in advance if they’d prefer cash, so please believe me when I say that these were received rapturously.

Jeremy Rellosa

I’m on a perpetual quest to find a product that can tame my straight, thick hair without feeling too sticky or stiff. After telling my barber my hesitations about using greasy, tacky gels, he recommended this cream from Church. Although the brand calls it a pomade, it has more of a creamy, spongelike feel, and when it’s worked into my hair, it feels clean and smooth while giving it texture. It smells great too — citrusy and a bit herbal — and it washes out super-easily.

I bought this pair of jeans at Adsum’s July sample sale. I’m already a big fan of the brand’s denim (I have the same jeans in a different wash), but I wanted to get a pair in a lighter color. They have the exact fit I’m looking for: not too baggy or boxy, but not too slim either. The medium size I got was a bit long, so I trimmed a few inches off the bottoms for a frayed look.

Kitty Guo, writer

This is the second time I’m including tinned fish in a Strategist Haul, but I’m just going to go with it and embrace my newfound identity as a seafood devotee. When I found out tinned-fish purveyor Siesta was teaming up with yuzu-juice brand Yuzuco, I placed my order expeditiously. The collab consists of tuna-belly fillets marinated in olive oil, yuzu peel, and green pepper, and I already know it’s going to become a permanent staple in my pantry.

I’ve been eyeing Vegetabowls’ fruit-forward dishware for over a year now and finally took the plunge last month. Ceramicist Melanie Mckenney makes molds using real produce, from pumpkins to pineapples, cantaloupes to coconuts, and the Über-realistic results are brimming with texture, color, and character. Now I can’t imagine a time when I ate my morning Cheerios from some boring old Ikea bowl.

Erin Schwartz, writer

I’ve been trying to figure out how to carry more stuff without needing a bag and was inspired by the idea of fashion carabiners. (Kicking around in the back of my head was this Vetements belt ring that’s large enough to hold a jacket — maybe this fall.) I found this squiggly silver Opening Project carabiner at 8Division, but ended up buying from the store Heights for a better shipping price; both are worth checking out. (Shipping to the U.S. was about $25 for both the carabiner and the Ojos shirt below.) This carabiner is so beautiful that I gasped when I opened it. And it is the perfect size for holding keys or clipping to the back strap of a baseball cap.

I started following a bunch of Korean fashion brands and stores last winter when I was looking for a puffer jacket, which eventually led to Ojos. I am obsessed with everything they make; it is the dream of Y2K rendered with more skill and wit than the actual Y2K clothes had. It is the final form of J.Lo’s “If You Had My Love” music video. I got this cyber gray polo shirt with a little drawstring pouch integrated into the front; I’m also a big fan of this blazer/skirt/leg-warmer suit.

Crystal Martin, senior editor

From $120

For the last six months I’ve been prepping for a move, moving, or exhausted from a move. And so I haven’t been cooking much at all — after a while I slipped into a routine that consisted of many cold-cut and chopped-cheese sandwiches from the bodega. Thistle is a new way for me to get healthful, fresh, green food without really trying. Ordering and delivery are seamless. The food is delicious. I’ve gone kind of overboard on the umami mushroom and lemon miso bowl. The snacks and breakfasts have really vibrant flavors and are filling too. Pro tip: Swap those in for lunch — they’re filling enough and cheaper than the dinners and actual lunches. And speaking of cost: Thistle is pricey but not ghastly. I pay about $120 for enough food to get me through a week.

Maxine Builder, editor


I’ve been hemming and hawing about getting a NuFace for months, especially after our colleagues at the Cut published this very convincing piece in which they had seven staffers test it out, and all of them reported noticeable results. (The line that really did me in was “Never have so many people asked me if I’ve had work done.”) The real push I needed was a sale — and on Prime Day, there was a good deal on the Mini+ starter kit, bringing it down to $165 from $250. My NuFace arrived less than 24 hours after I placed the order, and I’ve been surprisingly diligent about slathering the activator goop on my face and running the device up my jawline and cheekbones each night. Hopefully you’ll still be able to recognize me in a month. (Also, if any NuFace experts out there have recommendations for a less-expensive dupe for the activators, let me know.)

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.

The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July