Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 2020

Debbie Carlos has long been one of my favorite Midwestern artists and then she goes and blows my mind with this gorgeous Pond Vase. I wasn’t alone in my adoration of this broody little vessel, and they are often sold out. But follow her for shop updates to snag one from the next batch.

Martha Mae was, for years, the coolest shop in Chicago. While the retail space may have closed during the pandemic, the dream lives on. The most beautifully chosen office and art supplies and other wonders are all curated by the super rad Jean Cate. I am in love with this glass dip pen that writes beautifully and is a sight to behold. If Wonder Woman had a pen…

This coriander is bonkers! I didn’t really understand coriander until trying this stuff. Like everything Diaspora sells, it is really special.

This sweatshirt is clever and the perfect weight—not too heavy, not too thin—for wanting to wear every day. Book/Shop, who made this and other things I love, is a real delight of shop.

Like many people, the number of houseplants we own has increased over this weird year. I have found myself really frustrated by how difficult it is to find pots I like and that aren’t very expensive. They’re all, somehow, wrong—too modern, too rustic, too faux-French. I do love this terracotta weirdo from EQ3 (which is Canada’s answer to CB2—I guess? Ugh.). The huge flat rim is a nice frame for whatever plant you want to showcase.

Carrier Company in Norfolk is my favorite place to buy clothes, and I’ve bought a lot from them over the years. It feels good spending money on clothes that will last, and that are made in a community-minded and sustainable way. This year they made this beautiful Celtic Wool Jacket that is admittedly, a lot of look. But a nice burst of color on a grey autumn day. I love Carrier. 

Perfumer H is where I splurge for myself on things that smell really good. After spending a lot of time in their shop last year when we visited London, I have become a devoted follower and fan of Lyn Harris and her vision. She’s thinking about things like sustainability and scale while producing really evocative scents—as well as some related products that are equally lovely. She works with Michael Ruh on the handblown glass bottles and glasses she uses for perfumes and candles. (For those of you in the UK, the shop offers a refill service on the candles, cutting the subsequent cost of them in half.) This is a real splurge, but also one of the things that makes me really happy. The Frankincense candle is hands-down the all-time best holiday scent. 

At the beginning of all of this, I imagined writing letters to people. Ha! But I am still so happy I bought this stationery from Polk Paper in collaboration with Avery Williamson.



Socket Pen by Fort Standard

I’m a long-time fan of Fort Standard and this pen is one of my favorite objects they have produced. Made of stainless steel with a nice weight to it, the pen can be used to pivot the ball that rests in a little stand—a satisfying plaything and a beautiful writing instrument. A bonus is the perfectly formed cork container the pen arrives in, making this a great gift. It’s also available in brass.

Work Jacket by Ijji

I’ve been making an effort to find clothing that is more ethically produced by people who seem to care about things other than profit. Ijji is a company I have grown to love and these jackets/tops are my favorite thing they make. Sadly, they stopped making the denim version but the canvas and corduroy are equally wonderful. Also, everything they make is deliberately genderless and they’re working on expanding the available sizes with the goal of making a more inclusive clothing line.

Globe Cushion by Klay

I don’t want to become one of those people who cares about fancy pillows, but here we are. One of the most beautifully constructed and special objects in my house, these pillows are individually made in Aukland, New Zealand. The attention to details on these is really something. An absolute treasure.

Perfumer H Fragrances

This is unfair of me and impractical because really I am recommending an experience that can only be had in London—but maybe you’ll find yourself there! If you do, go spend some time smelling the beautiful fragrances crafted by Lyn Harris in her perfectly designed shop and laboratory, Perfumer H. Earlier this year we visited twice, smelled all of the scents, and I came home with a bottle of what has become my favorite fragrance. If you really feel like a splurge, spring for the hand-blown glass bottles that can be customized with your initials. Perfumer H is starting to be sold in limited ways outside of the shop, but trust me when I say that they shopping experience is a part of it. (Thanks, Caroline!)

Tote Bag from Lady of the House, Detroit

Has there ever been a better restaurant tote bag? (also, if you’re in Detroit—eat at Lady of the House)

Ruffage by Abra Berens

Midwest Made by Shauna Sever

Cooking for Good Times by Paul Kahan

Three of my favorite cookbooks this year were from the Midwest. Proving once again that Midwest is best. In Ruffage, my buddy Abra Berens wrote one of the year’s best books which highlights the glory of vegetables through the lens of the Midwest. Midwest Made is Shauna Sever’s homage to the baking of the region and is full of recipes that you will be anxious to make including iced oatmeal cookies, kringles, and poke cakes. One of Chicago’s favorite chefs and restaurateurs created one of the best entertaining books of the year with Cooking for Good Times. It is unorthodox in a fun and inspiring way.


The Rich Brothers

In the opening of Garden Rescue, a British garden makeover show, Harry Rich, speaking for himself and his brother David, says, “We want to be the brothers who change people’s perception of gardeners.” I’ve seen him say this dozens of times in the past few weeks because watching Garden Rescue has become my singular focus. To clarify, my interest is in the Rich Brothers, the program is simply a means of distribution. If you don’t know, Harry and David Rich are brothers who garden—which would be largely unremarkable if it were not for the fact that they are also hot. read more+++

Poached Radishes

One of my best friends, Abra Berens, wrote one of the most beautiful cookbooks ever but how will you believe me? The book, Ruffage, is a comprehensive guide to cooking with vegetables but more importantly it gives you real insight into how Abra cooks and thinks about food. She’s my favorite cook and if you’ve ever been to Granor Farm or her house for dinner, you know. You know.


Sweet Potatoes

My relationship to cooking changed a lot over the last year. I am decidedly less interested in projects and more interested in quick routes to dinner. Basically, I am a mom blogger now.*

Samin Nosrat wrote about the sweet potatoes pictured above in the Times, but the recipe is from Carla Lalli Music’s beautiful cookbook, Where Cooking Begins. For most of my adult life I avoided sweet potatoes because they were, well, sweet. And too often people would play that up with brown sugar, or most horrifyingly, marshmallows. At some point along the way I just decided I didn’t like them. But recently I have learned that really I love them, I just need to fight against their natural tendencies (this is a bad lesson for life maybe?!). So I have been cooking them a lot, and am excited about this newly blossoming relationship. Mostly they have been diced and tossed with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, and lots of salt, thrown on a roasting tin and baked hot. A batch made on Sunday will find its way into quesadillas, and rice bowls throughout the week. read more+++


Last month we escaped to England. We ate well and walked and saw friends and visited old houses and gardens. It couldn’t have been better.


Raspberry Coffee Cake

In the 80’s, when I was a kid, my mom was worried that I would be abducted. Who can blame her, I was very cute. Just kidding, that probably isn’t what motivates abductors. Missing children were big news back then and the media helped fuel a general paranoia among parents. Local police stations ran programs where you could bring your kids in to be photographed and finger-printed so that if someone took us we’d be easier to find (I still have the mugshot-like photos, and the residual anxiety this process caused). Parents were also advised to come up with passwords that could be used in cases of emergency. They were imagining a situation where your parents were hospitalized (and presumably unconscious because otherwise why wouldn’t they just talk to you on the phone?) and someone else needed to pick you up at school. That person would be instructed to say the password so you knew it was safe to go with them. Even as a child this didn’t make sense to me. If my mom was unconscious, how would she give the password to someone? Why wouldn’t a family member just come get me or someone at school? But we came up with a password together and I was instructed to never tell it to anyone. It was: Raspberry Coffee Cake.


Sassy Flower

This little number was a hit at Thanksgiving but would be great any time of year. A punchy hibiscus and rosemary syrup is combined with mezcal for a cocktail that is really more than the sum of its parts. The original recipes suggests serving this on the rocks, which would make for a more diluted and easier drinking cocktail. But we liked it shaken and served straight up in a coupe for more of a sipper. That color! read more+++

Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 2018

Alessi Colo-alto Salad Serving Set

I’m super into this serving set and kept giving it as a gift so I eventually bought myself a set. They’re such beautiful shapes and a good weight and vaguely art deco in a Poirot sort of way.

Strudel, Noodles & Dumplings by Anja Dunk

My vote for the best-looking cookbook of 2018, it is also super charming and I’ve liked what I’ve made from it—it is a cool little world.

The Nordic Baking Book by Magnus Nilsson

Really epic Nordic baking book covering basically everything. It feels like part cookbook and part travel journal. Bryan and I made a vow that we would visit all of the Nordic nations and this is inspiring us to plan our next trip. Also, I am into the photography.

Diaspora Co. Turmeric

A really great product from a really great company. Support businesses like Sana’s! You can make some Turmeric Millet-Nola with it and give that as gifts.

Aesop Brass Oil Burner

I was feeling a little spendy when I bought this, and like all of Aesop’s products it is an extravagance, but it is a beautiful object and a handsome way to diffuse fragrance.


Cranberry Linzer Tart

Maybe you already know what you’re making for Thanksgiving dessert. But for all of the procrastinators in the audience, how about this cranberry linzer tart? It is a dream of a recipe that turned out pretty flawless on my first attempt.  I like the use of walnuts in the tart dough and the tartness of the cranberry filling. Spices are great and they get the palate ready for Christmas flavors. The dough is fairly easy to work with though, as the recipe warns, you need to handle the lattice strips gently. You can make the filling  and dough in advance, which is always a bonus at this time of year. And even better, this thing keeps well. It was just as good (better?) on day two and I ate some on day 3 and 4 and still enjoyed it. Anyway, this recipe is a keeper. read more+++