What the Strategist Editors Bought in May 2023
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What the Strategist Editors Bought in May 2023

Jul 31, 2023

28 items in this article 6 items on sale!

28 items in this article 6 items on sale!

If you follow our monthly feature "Your Shopping Cart," you know we have some eerily good intel on what you all are buying, which led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying for ourselves. As you’ll notice, it's both a blessing and a curse to be a Strategist editor; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it. (It's online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs.) Below, what we bought in May.

I’ve been spending this first month back from maternity leave in New Haven, Connecticut, with my parents, who are helping with child care. Any time I visit them, I try to take advantage of having a car — a true luxury in my opinion — to buy groceries in bulk or go on shopping trips to Ikea. Buying a big pack of seltzer is one of the first things I do, because it's so difficult to do in Brooklyn, especially now that I have a baby. Polar is my favorite seltzer brand because it's cheap and unassuming and the bubble size is perfect. Lemon is my go-to flavor, but this month I went out on a limb and bought grapefruit.

This will be my son's first summer. To mark the occasion, I bought him this adorable beach romper rash guard thing. I don't know when we’ll go to the beach for the first time, but I know it’ll be cute and that I will take an obscene amount of photos.

Puracy recently sent me a starter kit of its new surface cleaner, and it instantly won me over. So this month I purchased my first refill. The setup is simple: a heavy-duty plastic spray bottle with an aluminum-can insert. You keep the bottle long-term, and whenever you need to re-up, you unscrew the top and change out the recyclable can inside. Guess my age when I tell you it is the most satisfying spray bottle to use, as in I just had my family over to celebrate my mom's birthday and made my sister try it when we were cleaning up after dinner. (She has since ordered her own.) Once you get past the briefly unsettling feeling that you’re cracking open a tallboy full of cleaning spray (the can dutifully arrives with a "Do Not Drink" sticker over the pull tab), the "assembly" is easy, the actual cleaning spray works great, the green tea and lime scent is wonderful, and the sustainable packaging is a welcome bonus.

Last year when my colleague Jordan McMahon wrote about the wonders of MagSafe, I was delighted to realize that my iPhone 12 Pro is equipped with the feature and I’d simply been ignorant of it for years. This month, a $15 sale price on this neon pink MagSafe Pop Socket inspired me to finally buy my first MagSafe accessory. It's so convenient, and it has made my phone a lot more comfortable to use.

While I was on a trip to Marbella, Spain, earlier this month, disaster struck when I managed to stain a lovely white lace top with fake tan. As the top is so delicate, I didn't want to throw any tough bleach its way or run it through the washing machine half a dozen times. Just as I’d lost all hope, Strategist senior editor Ailbhe Malone pointed me toward Vanish OxiAction. I added a scoop to some lukewarm water and let my top soak in it for a few hours. By the time I fished it out, it looked as good as new. I’ve since gathered all my white baby tees and bedsheets and repeated the process with those, and the satisfaction of seeing them dazzle again is priceless.

My 11-month-old Labrador retriever was neutered two weeks ago, and I was very nervous about his recovery process and how he’d react to wearing an oversize plastic cone. As I suspected, he was not able to sleep or eat comfortably, and his peripheral vision was blocked, which was irritating for my wannabe guard dog. My husband found this inflatable collar on Amazon and it worked like a charm. My pup didn't try to snatch it off and was able to eat and sleep in his crate without any issues. And since he really appreciates a fluffy, soft place to lay his head, he liked using this collar as a neck pillow so he could snooze comfortably wherever he wanted.

I was on the hunt for a new bar soap this month, and I instantly thought back to this one from Ursa Major. I first tried it a couple years ago after receiving a press sample and was surprised by how energized my skin felt after using it. It is made with peppermint extract and eucalyptus and has tiny bits of pumice that exfoliate the skin. Using this soap is extremely refreshing — the skin equivalent of brushing my teeth with an extra-minty toothpaste.

I bought this orange wine to take to a friend's party in February, and I loved its dry taste so much that I almost drank the entire bottle myself. It was out of stock at my local wine shop for the past couple weeks, but it is now back and I bought two more bottles. I’m not a wine expert, but I’ve found it has a light, pleasant body that doesn't taste too tangy, unlike other orange wines I’ve tried. It also paired well with all the picnic snacks I had this month (cheese, crackers, hummus, fruit) and is very drinkable on its own.

I’ve dropped my (relatively) new iPhone 14 on the asphalt more times than I’m willing to admit, and the very mature-looking cases that I bought straight from Apple were just not doing enough. So I got an Otterbox in this incredibly obnoxious magenta with RealTree print. It both delights me and protects my phone from further damage.

I liked the one-piece swimsuit that I picked up in March so much that I bought a second one in red.

After a long day of walking in new leather fisherman's sandals (and many blisters), I, too, succumbed to the Mary-Kate fashion Tevas. They are comfortable right out of the box and truly go with everything. I’ve only had them for a couple of weeks but feel myself gravitating toward them for every outfit. I’ve worn them casually with shorts and tees and even dressed them up with midi-skirts and dresses.

Speaking of which, I was on the hunt for a cute yet comfortable summer dress and landed on this one. It checks all the boxes: The bodice is stretchy, the skirt is incredibly flattering, and it's made from 100 percent cotton so it won't wrinkle and will keep me cool all summer. I got it toward the end of the month or else it would’ve been a no-brainer addition to our list of favorite summer dresses.

My daughter turned 1 this month, which meant we attended a slew of birthday parties for her age-mates. My go-to gift has been a book from Sandra Boynton's suite of charming rhyming board books (the series is known as "Boynton on Board"). So far I’ve given Woodland Dance, Pajama Time, and Barnyard Dance, but they’re all wonderful. The illustrations are zany, and the rhymes are fun enough to bear endless repetition.

It's margarita season, so I dropped into my favorite liquor store (Amathus in Shoreditch — I’m based in London) to pick up some tequila. The clerk recommended a new-to-me brand called Calle 23, made by a French distiller living in Mexico. It's incredibly smooth, should you want to sip it, but I’ve been enjoying it with agave and probably too much lime in a Tommy's Margarita at home.

I have a disconnect between how much I love sunglasses and how frequently I lose them, so this summer I’m trying these $35 pairs from Goodr. I got the oversize aviator style in both tortoise ("Amelia Earhart Ghosted Me") and black ("Operation: Blackout"). Goodr started as a brand for runners who didn't want their sunglasses slipping around, and, even though I don't run in mine, I appreciate that they feel sturdy but also extremely lightweight — I can actually forget I’m wearing them. The tortoise pair, in particular, looks like it's much more expensive than $35.

Our beauty columnist, Rio Viera-Newton, tested 32 brow gels and eventually selected a favorite: a $6 pot from e.l.f. So when I was searching for a new brow gel for myself, I didn't have to do the same level of experimentation. I only tried her pick but can officially cosign it. As Rio wrote, it "creates a natural, fluffy, feathered-brow effect that holds your brows in place without leaving any crunchy residue or flakiness behind." Basically, it makes my brows look polished without appearing unnatural, which is exactly what I want.

A late-spring malaise hit me like a truck a few weeks ago, and I felt that none of my clothes were right and I had no idea how to look hot anymore. Malaise can't be solved only through shopping, but it is one of God's little jokes that buying new clothes can legitimately make you feel better in the midst of existential doubt. I emerged from the malaise with my pants altered, a few garments dyed, and having purchased industrial-design hubris shoes and hot-person shirts, my favorite of which is designer Alice кесић's Buff Tank, a white tank top with an airbrushed masc torso with abs like Gala apples. I am obsessed with this tank; I love wearing it alone or peeking out under a jacket as a little trompe l’oeil of the hyperbolically hot-guy body I know I will achieve one day. The shirts range from $85 to $110 depending on the style and custom details, like kiss prints or tattoos. You can DM @prince_alice_ or email [email protected].

I have been going through the nine circles of skin-care hell this past year, trying to pin down allergies that lead to angry, red breakouts from pretty much everything I put on my skin. Via this helpful blog, I found Garden of Wisdom's Decadent Oat Emulsion, which has become one of a small set of products my skin can consistently tolerate. It does smell kind of insane, like a lab experiment gone awry in a way my primate brain can't entirely parse. "Due to the high percentage of glutathione in this emulsion, the smell is extremely pungent. There is nothing wrong with the emulsion," the product description politely asserts, and I have found that to be true. (There is a version with essential oils to mask the glutathione smell.)

After our electric kettle finally kicked the bucket, I headed straight to our Best in Class guide to find a suitable replacement. I’m not too fancy — I mainly used our kettle for tea, oatmeal, or heating up water quickly to boil pasta — and wanted to keep it under $40. This kettle has been a workhorse, consistently and quickly (I’m talking two minutes) boiling water every day for the past month. I also appreciate that it automatically shuts off after you pick up the kettle from its stand, even if it's not done boiling.

My TikTok For You page served me a video of someone unboxing their Pusheen Box, which is a quarterly subscription filled with apparel, home décor, and accessories emblazoned with the cartoon cat's likeness. Right as my thumb was poised to scroll away, the video creator mentioned that the company also offers a box for your cat (!). Before I knew it, I was entering my email for the 10 percent discount. Luckily, I happened to sign up just in time to get the spring box, which arrived last week and included, among other things, a boba-shaped treat jar, kicker toy, and neckerchief that has amplified my huge orange tabby's cuteness levels exponentially.

I’ve had my eye on this glass fish bottle since I saw (the now-closed) Freedman's Deli in Los Angeles using it to serve water years ago. My mom bought one for herself right around then, and I was always jealous — but not quite jealous enough to spend $50 on something I really didn't need. Then a couple of weekends ago I was hanging out with my brother and his girlfriend in Pennsylvania in her hometown. We were antiquing and I stumbled upon a very similar one for $10. It's a darker shade of green than the one linked here, and with a skinnier pour spout, but it's a fish-shaped bottle nonetheless. I love it dearly and feel deep satisfaction that I found it for such a low price.

I bought these pants in white as part of Dôen's Mother's Day sale, and now I’m considering paying full price for the tan, too — they’re that good. They’re made of the softest, most lightweight cotton twill that feels kind of like your favorite lived-in sheets, and they’re cut in a high-waisted, pleated silhouette that makes them balloon just so, with tapered legs that make the whole thing feel so breezy. They definitely have that ’80s Princess Di thing going on, and that's not a complaint. I got a size 4 and they fit perfectly (I would say the brand is generally true to size), but I do roll the cuffs up because I prefer a cropped look. I’m not the only one who vouches for these pants: I found out that senior editor Simone Kitchens, a.k.a. the Strategist's Pants Queen, also bought them recently in tan. I only own a couple things from Dôen, including one of my favorite dresses, but everything has been low-key immaculate.

I needed a new face lotion for the spring that wasn't too light or too heavy, so I asked Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla what she uses, because her skin always looks flawless and I think we have similar-ish coloring. She told me about Eadem's Cloud Cushion moisturizer, calling it "the lightest, greatest formula — and it comes with a gold spoon." I had always been interested in Eadem, a WOC-owned company that specifically formulates its products for skin of color, and I used Ambar's glowing recommendation (and a Sephora sale) to motivate me to finally try it. In the cool months, I use CeraVe for my dry-to-combination skin, but as we were approaching spring, I wasn't feeling very excited about my go-to for summer, Neutrogena's Hydro Boost, because that felt a little too thin and watery. The Eadem is the ideal in-between. It feels cloudlike but substantial and melts right into my skin without leaving a sticky residue (which the Neutrogena would do) or feeling heavy, like the CeraVe. I haven't paid close enough attention to whether it helps with dark spots, as it purports to do. All I know is that it's now my favorite moisturizer.

My roommate owns a set of well-seasoned cast-iron cookware, and though she was totally laid-back about my using it, I was too nervous about becoming one of those roommate horror stories who accidentally ruins some beloved pan passed down by Grandma. Also, I have next to no arm strength, and it was near impossible for me to hold the pans with one hand while pouring and scraping. Clearly, I needed my own cookware, and after much deliberation, I settled on this three-piece set from Material Kitchen, which comes with the approval of Strategist kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman. It heats quickly and evenly and feels light enough for my weak wrists; I especially love using the nonstick skillet, which features the most gorgeous shimmery teal shade.

When I walked into Dobbin St. Co-op and saw this little tabby cat snoozing on her orange cushion, I knew I had to bring her home. Not immediately, of course — I took some time getting to know her, sitting next to her and giving her some gentle pats (the pillow's velvet backing is very soft) before taking her up to the register. After some sleuthing, it turns out the pillow is the completed product of a needlepoint cushion kit designed by Elian McCready; it comes with everything you need to create your own napping kitty, including a cotton canvas, wool yarns, and a needle.

The theme of last month's haul continues: This has been on my wish list for months, and since I turned 27, that's my excuse. There's something about those mismatched, misshapen black pearls. The effect reminds me of an Elizabethan painting.

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