These Ceramics! I have been a little bit obsessed with Cécile Daladier’s ceramics for a few years now. They are truly weird and wonderful and designed with flowers in mind. They have been sort of difficult to obtain (you used to have to email the studio and it involved a lot of back and forth) but a couple of stores (here and here) in the states seem to be stocking them more regularly now. Daladier is truly my dream ceramicist. If anyone is looking for a gift for me, send me ALL of these. (Bonus: her studio!)
This watch! I have always worn, more or less, a version of this watch. For years it was a Swatch, until I found this Casio beauty at Tortoise. The watch was inexpensive at Tortoise, but is dirt cheap in other spots making this the Best Watch Ever. It is also a good size for a wide variety of wrists, so really it would be good for almost anyone.
This Boob Rug! This has made the rounds on the internet, but I couldn’t resist including it because it was definitely one of my favorite purchases of 2015. What you maybe can’t tell from photos is that the rug itself has a really beautiful quality—plush.
This Trivet Set! Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful objects I have come across in a long time, and it cost me all of $10. Maybe the most exciting purchase of 2015.
This Aesop Stuff! I can’t really afford these beauty products, so I feel a bit conflicted about including them—I had a gift card. But holy hell, I love this stuff. The Fabulous Face Cleanser is the best smelling thing ever. I look forward to washing my face every morning. The packaging is too good. I get it, Aesop, I get it. So, maybe take this as a reminder that sometimes it is fun to treat yourself to something completely unnecessary (and hope for a gift card!).
This ARE Wallet! My friend Ceci makes beautiful things. She started with bags and small leather goods and has recently expanded to clothing. I especially love this leather wallet. I am using it as a secondary wallet (is that a thing?) to store cards that I don’t use every day (like gift cards!).
These New Cookbooks! A lot of great stuff was published this year, but there are the four that I have especially loved:
Cookie Love by Mindy Segal and Kate Leahy is truly one of the great baking books. I can’t stop making these cookies.
Mamushka by Olia Hercules is focused on Ukrainian food and absolutely beautiful. It is also refreshing to learn about a new (to me) food culture.
Gjelina by Travis Lett is sort of surprisingly wonderful. I find the restaurant a little exhausting, but the book is right on. I especially like the photography by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott.
Zahav by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook is maybe my favorite book of the year. It is like a less fussy version of the Ottolenghi books, and I think the recipes work better. If you care about Middle Eastern food, this is mandatory.
These Not-So-New Cookbooks! These are three of my favorite books that were not published recently:
Trout Caviar by Brett Laidlaw is a really wonderful book covering foods of the upper Midwest. Low production value is made up for with really great recipes and story telling.
An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler is one of the only pieces of “food writing” that I actually enjoy. In general, writing about food tends to be either really precious or really boring. I stick to cookbooks and the internet. Adler talks to you about cooking in a way that manages to be beautiful, instructive, and humorous without being annoying.
This Burning Bazaar! I know I included their candles last year, but this year they released a limited edition candle (some of the proceeds benefiting Unicef) that they describe as:
- A fire broke out at the Fabledorf holiday market in 1261. All the wooden toys, cockleshell horns, black pine, clove cellars, and gynger brede burned. A birch table was found, nearly ashes. It smelled like this.
This Pitcher! Sometimes IKEA gets it so right. This ceramic pitcher feels like old Heath ceramics stuff, but for $12.
This book called The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness by Rebecca Solnit! I really enjoy Sonit’s essay writing (especially Men Explain Things to Me) and have thoroughly enjoyed this latest collection that covers everything from Icelandic government to interior design.
This Fridge Rover! Our nephew has been obsessed with this wind-up magnetic rover (it can climb up vertical metal surfaces) since he was a baby. But his uncles love it almost as much as he does. He broke our first one, so we’re on to rover 2.0.
This Microgarden! You can grow microgreens in this clever little greenhouse. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and it would be a good project to share with kids. You’ll have fancy garnishes all winter long.
This Soom Tahini! Solomonov uses a lot of tahini in the Zahav cookbook (above), and he recommends Soom. I do too. It is easily the best tahini I have ever had and really worth seeking out.
This Peanut Butter Stuff! Homemade gifts are the best, except when they’re the worst. This one is the best. If you like Butterfinger bars, you will love this candy. Make some for yourself, make some for a friend. It is incredibly delicious and so quick to make.
This Podcast! Last year I recommended an episode of Death, Sex & Money as a gift to yourself, and I will do it again this year. It is truly one of my favorite things, and Anna Sale is my hero. Her restraint and elegance as an interviewer is unmatched. Two of my favorite episodes from recent months are her interview with Sonia Manzano (Maria from Sesame Street) and her interview with actress Holland Taylor.
As always (because I am physically incapable in engaging in this sort of consumerism without guilt), after reading gift guides I hope we can all acknowledge/remember/appreciate the privilege we share in being able to engage in stuff like this. And then turn that energy into helping someone who needs it, next door or on the other side of the world. We need to work hard to make this world a better, safer, more just and loving place.