sunday circular

9 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Travel Adapters to Tiny Totes

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 the “clever” picture book one editor bought ahead of her kindergartener’s first day of school, an insulated mini-bag that’s a girly twist on the classic L.L.Bean Boat Tote, and two Labor Day steals to upgrade your bedroom (one exclusive to Strategist readers).

The packing cubes Sloane Stephens swears by for cramming extra outfits

When we spoke to professional tennis player Sloane Stephens about her favorite things, she told us about these packing cubes that keep her “hyperorganized” while traveling over 40 weeks per year. Stephens says the compression is key because it allows her to squeeze an extra ensemble into her suitcase. “I love to plan my outfits out and make sure I have full matching looks, so arranging everything into packing cubes keeps me sane and cute,” Stephens says.

An all-in-one travel adapter for charging six devices from a single outlet

“While there are many options that can fit American plugs into international outlets, the right adapter should also fit your itinerary and the tech you’re bringing along,” says Strategist contributor Tim Nelson, who spoke to world-touring travelers, creators, and influencers to uncover the best travel adapters. Nelson tested this one from Epicka on a two-week excursion around Portugal and praised its ability to power up to six devices from a single outlet. It features three USB-C ports (plus two USB-A ports), all of which make it easy to charge smartphones, tablets, and other tech (without plugging a power block into the adapter itself). Although “it took a little extra finesse to fit it into the occasional oddly angled European outlet,” Nelson gives it high marks for providing a solid combination of value and performance.

An insulated tiny tote to replace schlepping around a Yeti

Strategist contributor Sophie Vershbow was gifted a Uniqlo mini tote bag with her dog’s name printed on the front, and despite feeling gag-gift-esque, it quickly became her go-to bag. “It turns out a mini-tote is exactly what has been missing from my life, and based on the many mini-totes I’ve seen in New York City and beyond, I’m not the only one with mini-tote mania,” Vershbow says. Along with her favorites from Uniqlo, Gap, and Ralph Lauren, Vershbow suggests this insulated mini-tote from tried-and-true L.L.Bean (the brand’s Boat Tote can be seen in the Strategist 100). With classic neutral canvas — available with navy-blue or dark-green straps — it conceals an insulated pouch with a food-grade lining and is “perfect for a solo picnic in the park or bringing your lunch to work,” she says.

A Chris Black–approved wallet for fans of Yellowstone (or vintage Ford)

The latest edition of Chris Black’s column sees him answering a query about acceptable wallets for adult men. While there are many options, Black says “sitting on a fat wallet stuffed with receipts and credit cards is unbecoming and can cause back problems,” so he suggests the slim (and straightforward) cardholder. “If you drive a late-model Ford F-150, prefer brown leather, or watch every episode of Yellowstone, this one from Polo Ralph Lauren is for you,” Black says, adding that the ornate logo embossing makes this look pricier than it is.

The orthopedic-looking slides Baz Luhrmann is known to wear

Over the years, we’ve interviewed hundreds of stylish people who have similar values when it comes to menswear: Each piece should fit well, feel good, and stand the test of time. Using this knowledge, we’ve created a complete catalogue — the Strategist Menswear 100 — that details the perfect men’s wardrobe. It includes an extensive lineup of items, such as Pedro Pascal’s flannel shirt from The Last of Us, the Savant Studios trucker hat spotted on Bed-Stuy creatives, a bicep-enhancing white T-shirt, and this pair of slippers favored by photographer Malcolm McNeil and director Baz Luhrmann. McNeil appreciates that the shoes are “easy to style for casual outfits,” while Luhrmann, who owns “an almost embarrassing array of them,” says they’re perfect for travel because he can quickly kick them off in the TSA line.

The bracelet that saved Grigor Dimitrov’s wrist from stitches

Last season at Roland-Garros, professional tennis player Grigor Dimitrov went for a run around Paris and says this Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet saved him from a severe injury. “We were rushing to cross the street, and I took a sharp left turn on some wet concrete, and I slipped — my whole body was in the air — and crashed on the ground, and one of these charms absorbed the impact on my wrist,” Dimitrov says. With an 18k yellow-gold chain and five Carnelian stones, it’s one of the items he can’t live without; in fact, Dimitrov wears it under his sweat wristbands when he plays. “I still got a scar, but I didn’t need stitches — the doctors said that if I got stitches, I couldn’t play,” he says, adding that after the accident, he won some matches at the tournament.

A children’s book “for validating — and easing — those first-day jitters”

As seen in this month’s installment of Our Shopping Cart, Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio purchased this children’s book for her younger daughter and eldest niece, who both just started kindergarten. Written by Adam Rex with delightful illustrations from Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street), the book is about a brand-new building’s first day of school and the anxiety it feels as it realizes it will soon be full of kids, teachers, and staff. Trolio says the “story puts the school building itself in the shoes of a nervous first-time student — including one little girl who doesn’t want to come inside at all.” As the story goes on, things start looking up, and after the students go home, the school quietly asks the building’s janitor if he can please invite everyone back tomorrow.

A highly rated mattress with an exclusive Labor Day discount for Strategist readers …

Saatva Classic Mattress - Queen

There’s still time to buy a Labor Day sale mattress before the holiday weekend is over. Strategist deals editor Sam Daly has compiled a master list of Strategist-tested brands that have already launched mega sales, like Saatva, the maker of our top-performing mattress. Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens says this bed gave her a “supported feeling” and kept her lower back from collapsing in. Right now, the brand is offering an exclusive deal for Strategist readers — all orders over $1,000 are 18 percent off at checkout when you shop through our link.

… and an also-on-sale metal frame with ample under-bed storage

In our guide to the best bed frames, this platform one from Zinus is our favorite affordable metal option. It has tons of room for storage and comes backed by more than 29,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. It’s a simple metal box that requires no box spring and, instead, uses wooden slats (with a sticky panel) to support and secure the mattress, Strategist writer Erin Schwartz says. The brand also makes some of our favorite affordable and highly rated mattresses and inexpensive beds, including a wooden platform frame that Strategist writer Lauren Ro owns and uses in her guest room.

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.

9 Things We Loved: From Travel Adapters to Tiny Totes