We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favorites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trolling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including some sustainably made gardening clogs, a projector screen for an at-home movie theater, and a popsicle-hued lip tint.
A projector screen for a “big movie experience”
“This spring, my son and I decided to use our time during quarantine to put together an outdoor theater at our home in New Jersey,” writes Vox COO Trei Brundrett. This 120-inch outdoor/indoor projector screen “is the right size to serve a socially distanced backyard of friends and family. Even when we were watching alone, we thought it would be cool to have a big movie experience.” And he calls this Vamvo “perfect.” He says it’s “easy to set up and collapse (which is important for parents trying to either quickly get everything ready or tear it all down as we take the kids to bed),” it’s lightweight, and “it’s priced right.” Just add a projector (Brundrett likes this one), and you’ve got an at-home movie theater.
Note: Trei’s 120-inch screen is currently sold out but the 80-inch is still in stock.
A lip tint that’ll make you look like you just ate a popsicle
“I am so obsessed with the formula of these Ohii lip tints,” says beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton, adding that the color is like your natural lips — but better. “As my friend Joelle put it, ‘These lipsticks make your lips look like you’ve eaten a popsicle that happens to be the perfect color for your mouth.’” Rio continues, convincingly: “This is perhaps the most flattering lip tint I’ve ever tried in my life — they’re matte but not too drying and give your lips that effortless tint of color that I’m constantly striving for.” Though she says she loves every one of the five colors Ohii’s Lip Smudge comes in, “I’m currently wearing Punch, which is a gorgeous bubblegum-pink shade.”
A beautifully designed, “wildly entertaining” history zine
In the latest edition of our monthly Strategist haul, intern Leah Muncy called “The Things They Fancied,” a zine by New York Magazine’s very own literary critic Molly Young, “a wildly entertaining (and much-needed) respite from the grim state of the world.” Written in quarantine, “this collection of short essays on the ‘frivolous habits of the moneyed class spanning several periods of history,’ covering everything from 16th-century pornography to $11,000 pineapples to domesticated squirrels,” Muncy says.
Some durable – and smartly DIY – hiking shorts
When asked for recommendations on “some next-level hiking gear,” columnist Chris Black — whose “lack of enthusiasm for the outdoors is well documented” — turned to an outdoorsy friend for suggestions. The pal, artist Aaron Bobrow, revealed that his “go-to hiking bottoms are a DIY twist on Dickies hard-wearing 874 pants that Chris and other cool dudes have praised on this site before.” He revealed that “when you cut off the legs, they make perfect hiking shorts — the durability and styling is truly unmatched.” Who knew? And, he adds, “they’re probably cheaper than most shorts that are marketed specifically for hiking.”
Some new swimwear for Pride season (and beyond)
“Out of drag, J.J. Malibu is one of my favorite brands of swimwear,” drag queen Shangela Laquifa Wadley, star of HBO’s We’re Here and RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, told writer Jenna Milliner-Waddell. And though you can occasionally catch him in bikini briefs, “I’ve always been a mid-thigh kind of diva,” Wadley says of his preferred length. “These shorts from their Pride collection are my favorite right now — I can’t wait to put them on,” he adds. After all, “it’s Pride season, and you’ve got to find little ways to celebrate whenever you can.”
A pair of waterproof clogs for gardening (or puddle-jumping)
Both Strategist writer Hilary Reid and senior editor Katy Schneider own a pair of these waterproof clogs from France, which are sustainably made from 100-percent-recyclable plastic hemp — and come highly recommended in writer Lauren Ro’s gift guide for gardeners. Schneider says, “They remind me of something my mother would have worn gardening in the ’90s, and they’re just really pretty and unusual and perfect.” (And if these aren’t quite your style, maybe you’d prefer a pair of Italian surgeon clogs that are also waterproof and also a favorite among Strategist staffers?)
Some athlete-approved high-tech swim goggles
In writer (and fitness buff) Karen Iorio Adelson’s deep dive into activity trackers, eight out of ten of the recommendations were watches (or other wrist wearables). One particularly clever exception was these smart — but easy to use — goggles that count your laps for you. Westchester Masters member Andy Feldman told Adelson, “The heads-up display is great for feedback while you’re swimming,” adding that “they track total distance, lap splits, stroke count, and average speed, and they seem to accurately distinguish one stroke type from another.” Plus, Adelson notes, the goggles link up to a smartphone app that syncs to other popular tracking apps like Training Peaks and Strava.
A classic crowd-pleasing yard game
When writer Dominique Pariso asked event planners, camp counselors, and other cool people about their favorite lawn games, six out of seven recommended cornhole. And “while many cornhole sets are simple and straightforward” — like this one here — Pariso also highlighted a slightly fancier (and pricier) take that was previously recommended by Strategist contributors Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur.
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.