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 hair accessory Elizabeth Banks calls “hard-core,” an actually nice-looking electric wine opener, and Lauren Graham’s reading glasses (with a Jeff Daniels connection).
The hardy kitchen scissors Ruth Reichl approves of
Legendary chef, food writer, and critic (and now Strategist contributor) Ruth Reichl says she’s not an “equipment freak” — she’s been using the same couscoussier, carbon-steel pan, and paring knife for decades, so trust her when she says these Joyce Chen Unlimited scissors are another must-have (we’re fans too). Reichl says the precision pair is delicate enough to shred herbs but also strong enough to cut through chicken bones. “Once you have them,” she says, “you will wonder how you ever lived without them.” The scissors are available in red, blue, and yellow.
Elizabeth Banks’s indestructible hairpin (that won’t destroy your ends)
Elizabeth Banks’s favorite items include personalized stationery, spray sunscreen, and these gold-plated U-shaped hairpins from Reed Clarke. Banks says they’re a “dream product” because once your hair is up, they won’t move. Because the accessories aren’t made of plastic, they also won’t damage your hair or break. “They’re hard-core; they’re gonna last forever,” Banks says. “It takes maybe a few tries to learn to use it, but once you do, you’ll never go back to elastics.”
A foldable rake for tidying up gardens and leaves
When we asked garden and lawn-care professionals about the best rakes, Sunday chief science officer Frank Rossi called out this 17-inch plastic option, which we named our best affordable overall pick. Rossi says hard plastic tends to be better than metal for raking leaves because it won’t rip up grass, and Strategist contributor Steven John says this rake’s narrower profile means it’s also suitable to use in a garden. And for storage, the segmented handle is adjustable, so you can disassemble the item altogether.
A Shiseido moisturizer that made us wonder about the rest of Noah Beck’s skin-care regimen
There’s a treadmill, a chain, Prada shades, and a vintage car on Noah Beck’s list of essentials … and there’s this Shiseido men’s moisturizer that the content creator says is an integral part of his skin-care routine. He says he’s been using the cream, which, according to the brand, is formulated with rice bran for hydration, for a little over two years. “I love this stuff,” he says. “It just instantly rejuvenates your skin, which is amazing.”
One boss’s bag-a-week mushroom coffee (that’s not too earthy)
In this month’s (gift-laden) Assistant Files, we spoke with Jules Peres, the assistant to Nolé founder Alida Boer, about the personal items she gets for her boss (when not finding presents for Boer’s long list of relatives, friends, and business associates). Peres gets an auto-shipment of Ryze Mushroom Coffee for Boer, who wanted to cut down on her caffeine intake. Boer said it was the most palatable option compared to the others she tried, which Peres says were “very, very, earthy.”
A pastry chef’s compact hand mixer for baking in small spaces
When Strategist contributor Janine Annett spoke to experts to find the best in class electric hand mixers, Freya Drake, a Portland, Oregon–based pastry chef, recommended this six-speed Hamilton Beach model — which is available on Amazon for only $22. Because Drake doesn’t have room for a full-size stand mixer in her small apartment, she says this easy-to-clean model, which packs away neatly in its own storage case, suits her space and baking needs. And despite the affordable price tag, it comes with features like a QuickBurst button, a bowl-rest feature, and two beaters and a whisk.
A design-y electric wine opener that’s a worthy rival of T-Pain’s
T-Pain’s electric wine opener caused a stir when it appeared on his list of can’t-live-withouts, but a new challenger has entered the arena: this handsome black-and-gold Witanhurst that chef Shimi Aaron named when we asked experts about the very best models. “This one definitely sparks a conversation,” he says. Not only is the tool nice to look at, but Aaron says it’s easy to use — simply place it on top of the bottleneck and press down to start the uncorking process. Once that’s done, a built-in motion sensor automatically stops the device. The Witanhurst also comes with a matching charging base so you can display it on your countertop.
The square-frame reading glasses that transport Lauren Graham to the ’70s
After Jeff Daniels told actress Lauren Graham that 42 is the age when people lose their ability to read close up, she found out for herself — when she turned 43. Graham’s go-to pair are these square-frame Caddis Hoopers that are so light they don’t leave marks on her face, she says. Plus, she notes they have a ’70s vibe, as someone once told her they look like something Gloria Steinem would wear. “I took it as a huge compliment,” Graham says.
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.