best bets

From Reba McEntire’s Alarm Clock to Fuzzy Bucket Hats

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

An all-over-the-place assortment of stood-behind products culled from this very website that appear in the January 30 issue of New York Magazine.

Best in Class

The bidet scene has become crowded lately, but that shouldn’t concern Toto. When writer Lauren Ro asked a dozen toilet aficionados, including plumbers and one anal surgeon, about their toilet-attachment preference, she found that no Tushy or Bio Bidet could live up to the over-100-year-old Japanese company’s product. While Toto’s models can go for upwards of $20,000 (like the one Drake gifted DJ Khaled for his birthday last year), our experts say the Washlet C2 really has everything one might need, such as front and rear washing with adjustable spray power and water temperature, a heated seat, an air deodorizer, a mist that coats the toilet bowl so nothing sticks, and a warm- air dryer with three settings. The last is its very best feature, according to plumber Gerald Carpenter (it’s neither too weak nor overly powerful, in his professional approximation). As one anonymous user put it simply, “I use less toilet paper, it gets me way cleaner, and it’s changed my life.”

Not a Professional. Just Crazy.

When strategist beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton first got into skin care, there were only a handful of pimple patches on the market. These days, the options are endless. Here, she breaks down which ones are right for every situation.

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For deep cystic pimples

“With an under-the- skin spot, a standard pimple patch isn’t going to penetrate or absorb anything. For these meanies, microdarts will effectively deliver treatment to the blemish and shrink it down.”

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For clusters

“If you’re dealing with multiple pimples in one area—this sometimes happens to me along my chin or jawline—these large hydrocolloid strips are super-handy. They’re flexible, adhere to the skin really well, and save you from having to use tons of standard patches.”

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For run-of-the-mill pimples

“If you wake up with a standard whitehead, apply this 100 percent hydrocolloid pimple patch. It will draw the pus from the blemish so that by the time you remove it, the area will be much flatter and less noticeable.”

Celebrity Shopping

“Back in the days of Barneys (RIP), Frédéric Malle had a counter, and that’s how I found Portrait of a Lady. Most people spray perfume on their neck, but after I shower, I put it right on the center of my naked body. During the day, as I warm up, the smell releases slowly. Everyone says, ‘That’s the Julie smell’ or ‘Julie was here.’ I might have too heavy of a hand with it, but I don’t care.”

“My rider has to have a trash can, Kleenexes, Icelandic water, and this alarm clock. It’s easy to turn on, adjust, and set the time whether you want military time or standard time. My nieces and nephews or my next-door neighbor’s kids have had to come over to set up other clocks for me because they’re just too high tech. I don’t like that. This one is very simple.”

“My husband and I have been sharing this wrinkle preventative for about two years. It was a pandemic splurge. We were like, If the world’s falling apart, at least maybe our skin will look tight. It’s probably the priciest thing that we buy for our faces. We both look good, so we’re not outdoing each other.”

My Week With…

For our “My Week With” column, in which a writer spends seven days seeing if a product actually works, Annie Hamilton tested Ourself Lip Filler while on a trip upstate. Below, an excerpt from day five.

“I apply the Ourself and almost don’t rub it in because I wonder if the shiny, gel-like liquid on my lips will somehow get my lover to focus on what’s important in life. At the last minute, I do rub it in, as it might be better to perform elegance. We go on a hike, and on the way back home, we stop for gas. When I sneak a peek in the gas-station bathroom mirror, I must admit my lips look great. They’re a little swollen. They’re a bit rosier. They just look livelier than usual, but subtle enough that I won’t, like, be called out for having a new body part on Twitter. I had been worried I was applying the lip filler wrong, but gas-station mirrors never lie.”

Ask a Cool Person

It’s cold, and the ubiquitous Carhartt beanie really isn’t that warm. So Strategist writer Arielle Avila asked 13 tasteful people about the headwear they’ve been seeing (and wearing) lately.

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Bucket hat

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Bonnet

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Balaclava

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Beanie

This Thing’s Incredible

The first time I used a sewing machine, in Home Ec, I ended up in the hospital with a paper-bag puppet over a needle-pierced finger. Undeterred, I decided I needed my own sewing machine, though it took nearly 30 years to find the right one. I inherited my first from my aunt, who in the ’80s had a Swiss-made Bernina 1130. I attempted a pencil skirt, but the PVC material got jammed in the feed immediately. After college, I started hand-sewing looks for cash, so my mom surprised me with the Bernina Activa 145. It was too advanced. I wanted something straightforward, so I DM’d Bernina for help. The company suggested the Bernette 05 Academy, a basic model that took me back to square one. It’s just what I needed. I can take it anywhere. I can sew in the middle of the living room (it barely makes a sound). It works for simple fixes like sewing a button—and it has a finger guard, so no trips to the ER. –Maayan Zilberman

Now That I Know Better

A year after Ashlea Halpern had her son, Julian, she told us all the things she would have put at the top of her registry if she had made one— including a tiny spoon, a narrow stroller, and her most-used item: some easy-to-clean teething tubes.

Julian has been teething like a madman since he was 6 months old. Yet here we are, nearing his 1st birthday, with nothing to show for it but a gummy smile. We’ve tried everything to mediate the pain: teething necklaces, teething bibs, teething biscuits. The most effective tool we’ve found to date are these rubber tubes. The BPA-free, food-grade-silicone straws are easy for him to grip and pliable enough to bend with textured ends that encourage rabid gumming. Cleaning is simple: We boil them, stick them in the dishwasher, or wash them by hand and dry them on a bottle rack. If the baby is being extra grumpy, they make convincing drumsticks: Pretending we’re Neil Peart and performing a drum solo on his high chair and head always gets a laugh.

2x2

Duffels and backpacks in every size.

Duffle bag, less than 30-liter capacity.

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 Reba McEntire’s Alarm Clock to Fuzzy Bucket Hats