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 popcorn Fat Joe says is his favorite thing on Earth, a new pair of ugly-cool shoes for people who spend all day on their feet , and the affordable mirror two professional home stagers have used for 600 jobs.
A no-frills label-maker that won’t slow you down
For Straighten Out Your Space Week, we found the top organizing tools to help restore order to your life — including this label-maker we named our best affordable option. Katherine Picott, founder and CEO of organizing company Tidy Milso, says she loves the PTM95 model’s simplicity and ease. “I’m a one-person team,” she says, “so for me, it just makes it easier to not utilize those extra capabilities.” Picott uses the PTM95 (and its non-laminated tape) for pantries, filing systems, and to keep her own life sorted — her supply bag “literally says label-maker on it, with a label,” she says.
A large, home-stager-recommended mirror — for $116
Knowing that “affordable mirrors are few and far between,” Strategist kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman tracked down this Umbra mirror when she spotted it in a photo of Joanna Goddard’s Brooklyn home. Her search led her to Hollister and Porter Hovey, two professional home stagers in New York, who say the universal design is versatile enough to incorporate into aesthetics as diverse as industrial lofts and historic townhouses — that’s why they’ve used the Umbra in 600 staging jobs (and counting). Not only does the minimalist circle “provide real geometry on the wall,” Porter says, but the rubber frame is also seemingly indestructible — Hollister says they’ve dropped them before and they don’t break. And at only 16.6 pounds, the mirror only requires one nail to hang up with just some eyeballing, the Hoveys say.
A road-trip-friendly, fast-paced tile game the whole family can play
Strategist contributor Nathalie Jordi recently went road-tripping with her family around northern Michigan, where they went hiking along the lakeshore, watched the sunset at Sand Point, and played lots of games. One of their favorites is Rummikub, a fast-paced rummy tile face-off Jordi says is suitable for young kids and entertaining for adults. Plus, she says she likes that the tiles “click pleasantly in your fingers.” Rummikub is also a favorite of self-identified “competitive person” Reba McEntire, who told us she loves to play on the road, on flights, in between gigs, or waiting around on set.
Fat Joe’s favorite popcorn pack to bring the movie theater home
When we asked Fat Joe what he can’t live without, the hip-hop artist, author, and entrepreneur named some surprisingly relatable essentials — Colgate toothpaste, ice pops, turkey bacon, and bar soap — but perhaps the most delightful item of all is popcorn, which he calls one of his “favorite things on Earth.” “Sometimes I’ll travel and pull up at the movie theater just to go buy popcorn,” he says. To avoid the trip, he also has these microwaveable boxes he says he makes all the time at home. “It just smells different,” he says.
A spill-proof beach bag that’ll keep your phone away from the elements
When we asked stand-up paddleboarders, surfers, and personal stylists about the best beach bags, Aemilia Madden, a brand consultant and former senior fashion editor at the Zoe Report, named this checked Emma Mulholland on Holiday option as her go-to tote. She says it’s machine-washable, plus it can survive spills with no problem, which makes it suitable for carrying damp towels. And given the interior zip pocket, your keys, phone, and camera will be safe from sand and water.
Frances Tiafoe’s fast-absorbing, long-lasting sunscreen
Professional tennis player Frances Tiafoe says it’s been “hot as hell” training in Washington, D.C., and Florida, so while playing or lounging poolside, he likes to protect his skin with this oil-free, matte-finish sunscreen from La Roche-Posay. “I’m just looking for longevity,” he says, adding that “it feels good on my skin and it’s easily absorbed. It doesn’t get in my eyes.”
A natural coconut electrolyte powder for sensitive stomachs
And for refueling after a workout, we named this coconut water mixture the best electrolyte powder for sensitive stomachs. Maria Wong, co-founder of running group Queens Distance Runners, says most commercially available coconut waters “you see at Walgreens or CVS have too much sugar in them for me,” but Laird’s version is gentler on the digestive system. It also contains 312 milligrams of potassium, which is a key electrolyte that can help alleviate muscle cramps.
A beloved biodegradable cleaner that’s still more than half full — after eight years
Strategist contributor Andrea Bartz says her bottle of Shaklee biodegradable concentrate has remained a trusted companion throughout eight years of life changes she never expected. She was initially skeptical of the un-flashy bottle but found that a couple drops in water could make an all-purpose spray that rivals Method’s. The corn- and coconut-derived solvents “cut through grime with the quiet determination of Anne Hathaway inhabiting a role,” Bartz says, adding that the fragrance-free cleaner seems to clear surfaces more easily than other eco-friendly sprays. Plus, Bartz says it feels downright John Muir–esque that the formula is all-natural and prevents the need for plastic refills. “Once you buy this product, you stop having to think about buying spray cleaners at all,” she says.
Aqua-shoe-like kitchen shoes for 15-plus hours of comfort
Because Strategist contributor Lauren Joseph spends 50 to 60 hours a week standing, lifting, lunging, and running “while trying to look casual” as a line cook, she was desperate to find a solution for her cracked toenails and numb toes. After trying four different pairs to no avail, she finally landed on these supportive “aqua-shoe-like” slippers from Mise. She says their firm yet foamy cushion provides all-day support, while the grippy tread withstands “whatever mystery liquid has pooled by the sink.” Joseph admits that the look isn’t for everyone, but they do “fit a certain utilitarian, ugly-cool niche.”
Weleda’s ultrarich body wash for smelling like a lush rose garden
To smell like a “stunning bed of roses” all day long, Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton says she uses a five-step layering routine, in which every product has the same scent profile. After cleansing and exfoliating, she uses this long-lasting Weleda body wash. “This product’s fragrance is extremely powerful and aromatic — after using it you’ll notice that your entire bathroom will smell like a lush rose garden,” she says. If you love Weleda’s ultrarich Skin Food moisturizer (like Sweetbitter author Stephanie Danler and Katie Jane Hughes), consider trying the body wash, which Viera-Newton says is one of the brand’s very best products.
Luxe pink pickleballs for the player who has everything
When Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo asked coaches, devoted players, and several very stylish fans about the best gifts for pickleball enthusiasts, Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This said one way to stand out on the court is with these baby pink pickleballs. “The ball itself is so identifiable, but in a different color there’s a little twist,” she says. She says she likes to put the high-quality balls in these green wire baskets with a pair of socks and a water bottle to make the gift more special, saying the effect is “just so nice.”
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.