sunday circular

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Setting Spray to Electric Bug Swatters

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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 a 4,000-volt racket for backhanding mosquitos, the do-it-all slides Paulina Alexis wears everywhere (even on Reservation Dogs), and the Dan Pelosi–approved (not-in-short-supply) sriracha for high-summer hot-dog soirées.

The serum Mario Lopez’s wife and daughter keep stealing

Mario Lopez can’t live without this plant-based serum that he, his wife, and daughter all use. Lopez applies it after shaving and says it makes his skin feel “very alive and youthful,” plus it’s especially moisturizing when he’s in drier climates like Vegas and Arizona. “Again, when all the people in the house start taking my products, that’s when I know it’s good,” Lopez says.

An exercise dress pickleball players are borrowing from tennis-core

To uncover the sporty gear pickleball players wear — or in other words, the most popular paddles, sneakers, clothing, and sunglasses — Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo posted up at Central Park’s Wollman Rink, home to one of City Pickle’s five always-bustling locations. After observing the scene for several hours, Corsillo says Outdoor Voices was by far the most popular clothing brand. She counted three of the brand’s exercise dresses (a Strategist athleisure staple) in this forest-green shown, plus light-blue, and white. The style features a shorts liner with a phone (or credit card) pocket, making it an on-point option to fit the “overall sartorial vibe [of] workout gear you could also wear to brunch,” Corsillo says.

A handheld bug zapper that “can be swung around Serena Williams–style”

Strategist contributor Alison Freer first wrote about these powerful racket-shaped swatters that fry bugs but won’t cause much pain to humans who accidentally touch their electric strings. Last week, as seen in our guide to the most effective bug zappers, repellers, and traps, we crowned this beefed-up version our best overall pick because it attacks and kills both flying insects (particularly flies) and crawling ones (like roaches and spiders if you can catch them). It has USB charging and an LED light for nighttime zapping, and the large frame makes it easy to target pests, which is useful when you’re going after a specific bug, like blood-thirsty mosquitoes, says Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann of Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.

A professional mermaid’s “secret-weapon” setting spray

For our Insider Goods series, we spoke to professional mermaid Sparkles, a star of Netflix’s docuseries MerPeople, about the seashell tops, professional-grade tails, and this waterproof setting spray, which she says is her trick for no-budge makeup even after hours of swimming. Sparkles says it works best when applied in layers, so she often sprays her face five to ten times throughout her entire makeup routine. “You really have to layer it and kind of cake it on, like cement it to your face,” Sparkles says.

Non-obvious Adidas speakers for 40-year-old-plus men

In a new installment of his advice column, Strategist contributor Chris Black responds to a super-specific style predicament about sneakers for a man in his 40s. Black says that with age, “our footwear choices have to mature,” and his recommendations suitably include brands like New Balance, Salomon, and these Adidas — which he calls the “underappreciated cousin” of the more popular Gazelle and Samba (he has more to say about the oversaturation of the latter). The Spezial has a ’70s feel thanks to its low-cut and classic gum sole, plus the mix of blue shades means this pair will work with practically anything, Black says.

A Montessori–inspired toy for summer travel with fidgety (or teething) toddlers

Gojmzo Busy Board

We’ve written about road-tripping with a baby (or while pregnant) and found a collapsible tote for airplane schlepping, but Strategist contributor Ashlea Halpern has a new parent-friendly travel hack: this “busy book,” which sufficiently distracts her restless kid with sliding beads, spinnable clock hands, draggable zippers, Velcro–tipped felt fingers, and more, Halpern says. For their honeymoon, Halpern and her husband visited the black-sand beaches and sheep farms of the Faroe Islands, which would have been an incredibly romantic trip had the couple not been traveling with their “high-drama, 16.5-month-old son, Julian, a contrarian Aquarius through and through,” she says. This portfolio-style toy helped to occupy Julian on his first transatlantic flight and it “even has a little handle on the top, which makes it easier for a toddler (read: me) to carry,” Halpern says.

A pair of Paulina Alexis’s personal shoes that made it into Reservation Dogs

Actress Paulina Alexis, who co-stars in Reservation Dogs (the third season of which debuted recently), counts these Nike slides among her favorite things because they’re cushy, durable, and highly versatile: She wears the black-and-white shoes to clomp through winter snow, to run errands, and even to fittings for the Hulu series — after which, “the costume department suggested I wear them for some of my scenes,” Alexis says.

The gochujang sriracha Dan Pelosi ranks above the “approximately 3,000 hot sauces” in his fridge

Recipe developer Dan Pelosi knows a thing or two about party-throwing, and in the summer, he prides himself on hosting low-lift get-togethers that center around grilling and gussying up hot dogs. “Hot dogs are the canvas, toppings are our medium, and we are the artists,” Pelosi says of the many sauces and accoutrements he offers his guests. On the day of, friends congregate right outside his Brooklyn brownstone, where Pelosi offers the main course on classic paper trays along with salads and sides he’s prepared ahead. Pelosi also likes to fix up his own additional condiments, like spicy ketchup, or a mix of this gochujang sriracha and his trusty Heinz. “And then I decant them into these classic squeeze bottles, which just screams nostalgia,” Pelosi says.

Carbon-plated Hokas for even faster marathon times (and for training before race day)

Strategist contributor Ashley Mateo says she’s worn super-shoes, or sneakers embedded with rigid carbon-fiber plates, in almost half of the 13 marathons she’s run — and she’s only gotten faster. In reporting on the best pairs, Mateo says Hoka (a brand that also made an appearance in last week’s Don’t DillyDally) nails the right mix of softness and snappiness with its Mach style. Its plate is sandwiched between two layers of foam (one with more cushioning right under your foot, and one with less cushioning closer to the ground), Mateo says, so it’s a solid option for her easy- and long-run footwear rotation. “But I also wouldn’t be afraid to pick up the pace while wearing it,” she says.

A budget-friendly outdoor doghouse built to resist fading, rusting, and rotting

In our guide to the best outdoor doghouses, this Suncast model is our favorite affordable pick, which comes recommended by Leena Chitnis, the founder and CEO of Timberdog. Constructed from heavy-duty (and fade-resistant) resin, this under-$130 option has the advantage of being durable and easy to clean, Chitnis says, plus it snaps together, so it can be assembled without any additional tools. It also has a removable roof, vents for air circulation, and comes with a vinyl door that should fit pets up to 70 pounds.

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: Setting Spray to Electric Bug Swatters