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Guest Strategist Haul: What Chris Black Bought in April

Photo: Chris Chang

Every month, the Strategist editors do their version of a haul blog, jibber-jabbering about their favorite purchases of the last four weeks. To get that same personality and taste insight (via receipts), we’re inviting interesting friends of the Strat to run down their own buys. For this installment of the Guest Strat Haul, brand consultant (he’s a partner of Public Announcement) and Strat contributor Chris Black on his purchases for the last month.

I was at the Noah offices for a meeting when designer Brendon Babenzien brought out a box of these because he had been feeling under the weather. I had never seen them, so I quickly inquired. He listed off the benefits (helps allergies! Improves sleep!) of manuka honey from memory and handed me one to sample. It was love. These things taste great and soothe the throat. They are also expensive, which makes them even more appealing. I went directly to Whole Foods and bought a box. I upgraded from Ricola, and I am never looking back!

Although I have the energy and vocabulary of a 25-year-old who only listens to SoundCloud rap, I am actually a 35-year-old man. A few weeks ago, my skin was feeling extra dry, and I went into the Kiehl’s store on Mulberry Street to get some much-needed relief. The saleswoman introduced me to the Midnight Recovery Oil. It’s a blend of essential oils — including lavender, primrose, and squalane, and it smells terrific. Literally, overnight it got rid of the dryness and even gave me a little glow. My skin should match my perceived age.

When warmer weather starts creeping in, I switch from candles to incense. This one from Astier de Villatte features chic patchouli (damp wood), smoked wood (guaiac and vetiver), and clove. I feel like patchouli gets a bad rap, but when it is appropriately used, it is a very pleasing scent. They say this evokes “the typical smell of an old, Japanese wooden house from the neighborhood of Aoyama” — I cannot confirm that, but I am inclined to believe them. Visitors to my apartment always comment positively on the smell, seemingly surprised that it is incense. I am happy to introduce them to a world beyond nag champa.

I debated buying these shoes for almost a year. I love the extreme tech look of them, but I knew I would be wearing them in the city and thought it might come off a little silly. [Editor’s note: Writer Steven John called these one of his favorite pairs of trail runners.] But, I noticed they went on sale at Zappos (thanks Google Ads!) and decided to pull the trigger. They feel a little strange when I am walking down Lafayette Street in cleats, but they are surprisingly comfortable. Eventually, I will do some hiking or trail running in them, but for now, I will continue to stroll around the treacherous urban terrain of Soho ready to nimbly dodge wandering tourists and stoned teenagers waiting in line for Supreme.

I write a weekly column about T-shirts. These humble cotton garments are my passion. I have piles and piles in my apartment. Honestly, it’s sort of taking over in a bad way. Whatever. When I saw this bonkers long-sleeve tee from Boone, North Carolina’s coolest designers UDLI Editions, I had to buy it. The kooky black-and-white hand-drawn graphics appealed to me. I wore it once, and the reviews were quite positive, I will now place it in my archives and think of it fondly.

I finished reading The Recovering by Leslie Jamison (highly recommended) and wanted something a little lighter. Something salacious, glamorous, and chock-full of juicy media-industry gossip. Tina Brown’s diaries from her time as the editor of Vanity Fair was the perfect anecdote. Of course, she covers big publishing office politics, and she drops a lot of names, everyone from Donald Trump to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Princess Diana to her boss Si Newhouse, whom she lovingly refers to as “a gerbil or snuffling hamster.” She can be merciless, which makes for great entertainment. It’s a light read full of big names often misbehaving. Perfect for a cross-country flight.

I drink approximately four liters of water per day. I want my body operating at the highest level, and hydration plays a significant factor. So when I was in need of a cool water bottle, I surfed right over Klean Kanteen, Yeti, and S’well, and instead double-clicked on this insane Nalgene water bottle from the cosmic-meets-punk DIY graphics duo Elijah Funk and Alix Ross, better known as Online Ceramics. They are best known for their Grateful Dead–inspired T-shirts and collaborating with guitar hero John Mayer. Their stuff sells out immediately; I was lucky I was able to cop this chic plastic jug. Drinking water has never looked cooler.

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 treatmentsrolling luggagepillows for side sleepersnatural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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Guest Strategist Haul: What Chris Black Bought in April