best bets

From Macklemore’s Mini Massage Gun to the Latest Tinned Fish

Photo: Jose Gourmet

An all-over-the-place assortment of stood-behind products culled from this very website that appear in the April 10, 2023, issue of New York Magazine.

Best in Class

A Portable Projector That Functions Like It’s Full Size

BenQ GS50

When shopping for a portable projector, one must often make concessions. A projector that both fits in a purse and has a display size that rivals a small theater’s is a tricky thing to find. After talking to Mark Steinberg, a senior technologist at B&H, Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon became entirely convinced that the BenQ GS50 is the best option for those who are interested in, say, hosting an extremely clear screening of The Wizard of Oz on a roof. It is as good as, if not better than, its regular-size counterparts: It has a brightness of 500 lumens, 1080p resolution, and a battery life that’ll last the whole movie—plus actually strong speakers and a built-in woofer (unusual for a portable projector, Steinberg says). With its autofocus feature that can adjust the image if it gets blurry as well as a rare splash-, dust-, and dropproof exterior, the GS50 will survive all manner of poolside and truck-bed showings.

Compulsive Shopping

The Brooks Brothers Shirt Designer Bob Mackie Has Been Buying Since 1957

I was a very fussy teenager, and would wear a brand-new shirt to school every day. When I was in high school, the Ivy League look was very popular with those two buttons in the front of the collar and the button in the back. I was around 17, and I went into a Brooks Brothers and bought a shirt that was too expensive, but I liked it. I realized how much nicer it was than the ones I was buying in the men’s store in the mall. I wear a style called Regent. They fit me so well; the collar sits in the same place. I’ve been buying them all along. The fabrics hold up: I have shirts that are almost 20 years old that look brand new. I used to have a houseman who would bring my laundry to the dry cleaner while I was doing weekly variety shows and Vegas specials, but my Aunt Bea taught me how to press my shirts, and now I just do my own damn laundry every day and the shirts look great. Who thinks about what you wear when you’re 84? I do.

Celebrity Shopping

Macklemore’s Mini Massage Gun

Theragun Mini
From $140
From $140

“I use the Theragun all the time. If you spend like five, ten minutes with a Theragun, your body is going to feel better. The Mini is great for traveling since it fits easily in a carry-on. The only problem is they hate a Theragun at TSA. They’re gonna make you feel weird. They’re gonna make you feel awkward. They’re gonna pretend like it’s a sex toy.

Hilary Duff’s Sunglasses 

“Fashion is in such a weird place right now. I just can’t with the tiny frames. They don’t do anything for your eyes and look terrible. These are a happy medium. They’re a great shape and are only slightly smaller than my other pairs. I have a pair in black and one in tortoiseshell, which is nice, since the black can look a little harsh against my blonde hair.”

Tei Shi’s Humidifier 

“I needed a humidifier because I was getting sick on tour. At first, I was using a facial humidifier from the drugstore. It wasn’t very effective. I heard about this one from the podcast Poog. One of the hosts, Kate Berlant, said she uses it before shows. I bought one for myself and love that it’s cordless, so I can use it on the go. I do a 15-minute session with this, and it’s like being in a steam room.”

Strategist Hunt

My Backpacks, My Boyfriends

Annie Hamilton took us through her most recent relationships and her accompanying backpacks.


For the Guy With a Girlfriend

“When you’re a mistress, it helps to have all of your belongings with you at all times. I needed two changes of underwear (one that I wanted to wear and one of the sexy variety). I needed a portable charger because who knew when he’d kick me out. In other words, I needed a backpack. That backpack was a Montbell. Navy and slinky, it held my laptop, my toiletry bag, and a change of clothes.”

Editor’s note: This backpack is now sold out for the season, according to the retailer, but you can shop the rest of Mont-Bell’s in-stock backpacks here.


For Her Single Season

“We stopped seeing each other after three months. Looking at the Montbell made me sad. I put it in the back of my closet. The JanSport felt right: The padded straps embraced me, and I headed for the library to write the pilot of a TV show. My laptop felt better in the JanSport’s special zip section. I brought my makeup in another zip section, just in case any library boy asked me out. I missed my slinky-backpack days but felt the overstuffed JanSport was, in fact, a truer flex.”


For the Actually Single Guy

“I hit a writing rut. I started searching. I redownloaded Raya. I made a Hinge. And then I met someone. This new guy is single, hot, and nice. Suddenly, I needed a new—tiny—backpack. One to match my mood and also to accompany me on sleepovers. Hedgren’s mini worked. It’s the size of a large chapter book. It looks like something an influencer from Copenhagen might wear. I don’t know what’s going to happen with this new man, but I hope it’s different.”

Please Advise

Adidas Sambas Are Played Out. Any Alternatives?

In his latest column, Chris Black responded to a reader who wanted something other than the “TikTok girlie”–popular sneakers. Below, his recommendations.

“Thanks to the Olsen twins, these have seen a nice resurgence for women.
M-K and Ashley blasting cigs in head- to-toe The Row with a clean pair of gray 574 sneakers is simply a great look. Beats the hell out of the 550, beloved by the matcha-latte-and– AirPods Max–with-stickers crowd.”

“This is the best underrated Adidas style: It’s low profile and comfortable enough, and it comes in great colors.
The Gazelle is next up, but the Tobacco has a slimmer profile, which I prefer. The big-pants-and-small-shirt set hasn’t found these yet.”

“There’s a Maison Margiela version of this classic silhouette, but I just can’t pay for designer sneakers when they so closely resemble the much cheaper original. Obviously, these are not going to be done in premium materials or last as long, but for $100, who cares?”

This Thing’s Incredible

I Chomp (and Swallow) This Gum at My Desk All Day

I genuinely feel more productive while chewing gum, so I keep a ton at my desk. There’s something about the sensory distraction that allows me to focus on the pixels on my screen, but chewing gum is a habit that gets expensive quickly. At a bodega, you can spend $4 on 14 teeny slices of Orbit. I wanted something that was minty but felt more like a sugar-free dental product than candy. I also wanted gum that was not individually wrapped, to prevent my office from being covered in wrappers. After sifting through 340-piece buckets of Dubble Bubble and 200-packs of individually wrapped Orbit, I came upon Xylichew. While it had few reviews, it met my qualifications. I tried a 60-count of Ice Mint at first, and for 16 cents a pop, I was frugally chewing delightful sugar-free gum all day. So far, I have found the long-lasting flavors to be less intense than those of traditional retail gum, but it still keeps my breath fresh and jaw strong. And, controversially, I swallow my gum, making it even more waste free … sort of. –Zach Schiffman

Our Shopping Cart

The Sardines That Made One Writer a Tinned-Fish Enthusiast 

Having recently finished An Yu’s novel Braised Pork, I was feeling especially attuned to imagery of fish-men, so it seemed fortuitous when I stumbled across this tin of Jose Gourmet sardines in Winner’s new butcher shop. Despite the much-touted tinned-fish revival, I’d never participated in the trend myself, as I’m generally not huge on seafood. Still, I figured there’s a first time for everything. Well, it turns out sardines smothered in tomato sauce are delicious, and so is tuna marinated in olive oil, and so is mackerel dressed in lemon and capers. Consider me an official convert. –Kitty Guo


A Bedroom Bench Matrix

Whether you want your bench upholstered or wooden, with storage or without. –By Lauren Ro

Photo: Retailers

Wooden, with storage.

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.

From Macklemore’s Mini Massage Gun to the Latest Tinned Fish