THE GIFT GUIDES

Inboxes are overflowing with gift guides this time of year, reaching maximum capacity on the omnipresent what to buy emails. We hear you. BUT, if you have it in you, we highly recommend taking a peek at ours. We asked 12 of our nearest and dearest, and beyond, what they want to give this year, and we have to admit, we've made quite a few purchases from their lists ourselves. And since we believe that gifts are a year round occasion, we're leaving this here for you to peruse when in need. In gifts we trust.

1. I have a small collection of knives, no surprise, but this is one of my favorites. Handmade in Sardinia, this is a gift that just might be too beautiful to use. That’s not stopping me, though. 

2. If you know me, you know that if I didn’t have a career in food, I would somehow work in skincare and beauty. While my routine has mostly stayed the same over the years (I never go a day without sunscreen!), I still am always trying new products. This oil came into my life almost a year ago and was a game changer from the get-go. It’s full of lipids aka fats that literally plump up your skin and revive it. It also gives you that dewy, how-much-water-are-they-drinking glow without leaving your skin feeling oily.

3. ​I can’t suggest just one thing from SOS chefs. What I do suggest is that you go to this magical spice shop in the East Village and prepare to fall in love with the owner, Atef Boulabi. She will completely change the way you think about spices, and probably life. Buy some goodies (I have a soft spot for all the different peppercorns), then buy a gift card so a friend can have the true experience.

4. ​Coffee has been one of the few things that have brought a little bit of joy each day in the year 2020 because it’s always there for me. I’m holding onto this and it will be by my side for the new year. 

5. Is giving caviar dated? I hope not. There is still something elegant about giving these tiny briny beads to someone. Plus, those royal blue tins are a New York icon. 

6. ​I was introduced to this honey by my colleague, Brad Leone, and I was converted immediately. Manuka honey comes from the Manuka Bush in New Zealand and is graded by their MGO, which measures milligrams of methylglyoxal per kilograms...but enough science. This one has a mellow flavor that is good for everyday use. I have developed a habit of drizzling it over vanilla ice cream topped with plenty of flaky salt.

7. ​For those who will always prefer bubbles. There was a time where about ¼ of my fridge (that’s a lot of real estate) was stocked with emerald green seltzer bottles (Italian, not French). That time is gone and now I take out a lot less garbage and a have a gorgeously designed not-sodastream on my counter.

8. ​My friend Nikole Herriot and her father, Lance, are the duo behind Herriott Grace. They have so many beautiful items but the hand-carved and hand-turned wooden spoons are what always catch my eye. He makes the wooden spoons, and she happens to be one half of my favorite photography duo, Graydon Herrriot, so she styles and shoots all the products. 

9. I look for incense that’s potent and slightly wild in shape to help remove cooking smells from my tiny studio apartment (with no kitchen ventilation). These do the trick and fill the house with the scent of the world. Once you give it a try, you’ll start buying bundles of them. 

  

1. These little papers burn like incense and smell sublime. You can also place them in drawers or closets for a subtle lasting scent. Always a welcome gift!

2. Practical home gifts like olive oil or salt are the chicest. This olive oil comes in a gorgeous package and even works for someone who doesn't cook; they can use it as a hair and body moisturizer.

3. I'm obsessed with this non-toxic toilet paper. I never even thought about the toxins in toilet paper (which I use multiple times daily) until someone gifted me PlantPaper. A very 2020 appropriate gift that won't pollute your boom-boom or the planet.

4. Give the gift of PERFECTLY ripe avocados to a friend in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens. I love this small business.

5. The Manolo Blahnik of juicers! It's an expensive gift but a solid investment for someone who's committed to juicing since homemade is ultimately more economical and always tastier than store bought.

6. I recently polled my instagram for a solution to my winter breastfeeding super dry skin and Attar was recommended by several friends & followers. I tried it and WOW. Works as a luxurious hand balm too.

7. I love reading about daily routines and rituals. This book is a pleasure to pick up and read from any page. A go-to gift for me.

 

 

1. My friend Fanny gave me this from her store, Permanent Collection, and I truthfully use it nearly every day. The suribachi-style pestle is great for mushing spices, and making dressings and sauces. 

2. I'm always picking up funny-shaped spoons, I think they're so playful. And, of course, useful in the case of this tiny, flat spoon, hand carved in cherrywood. It's called a tea spoon but I know that whoever I give it to will probably use it for salt or something.

3. I do like to give gifts that have a practical element; I have a number of friends who are chefs, ceramicists, woodworkers, gardeners; people who put their hands and their skin through a lot. This gift will straddle the fine line between practical and luxurious.

4. I collect drinking vessels of all sizes; from tiny sake and mezcal cups, to bowls that barely fit in the hand. This interest means that I stock a disproportionate amount of drinking cups in my shop, including these oversized tea bowls made by a brilliant young ceramicist in Minneapolis, Ryan Smith. I love how the bulbous surface warms the whole palm when you hold it.

5.  I like to give people gifts that have a nod to the place I'm living, and this oil smells like a deep inhale of the California desert. Palo Santo and Clary Sage are smells that I really associate with living over here.

6. I'm likely not making it over to the UK to see my family this year, so will be sending a package filled with little gifts. These Japanese napkins are really light and mail-able, and are also really beautiful. I like giving sets of napkins to people, you can never have too many in your kitchen. A lot of the Tenugui patterns feature food motifs, I especially like this kabocha design.

7. In the days before Christmas, we usually take a family jaunt to Daunt Books in Marylebone, London. The Victorian interior and the rows and rows of books feel so festive. The pocket-sized Penguin classics make really great 'spare' gifts in case an unexpected guest drops by (which usually happens).

8. Preserved, a pickling shop in Oakland, is one of the small businesses I will be ordering gifts from to support this holiday season. This Pacific Kombu seaweed is so good! You can pop it into soups, or I usually use it when cooking beans because it adds flavor, and makes the beans more digestible. 

9. I love coffee, and I love coffee packaging; a bag of beautifully-roasted beans feels like a specially-wrapped gift. I like that when you give someone coffee, they usually open it straight away so you get to enjoy it, too.

10. These ones smell like a painter's studio: turpentine, smoke, tobacco and cedarwood. It's really transportive. I think the packaging is beautiful too. Every year, someone in my family will get one of these from me; soon all our houses will smell the same.

1. This is an incredible knife, and WOO HOO it’s less than $100! It’s the perfect weight, and truly such a joy to use.

2. This is the most versatile ingredient ever! Just one tablespoon in your coffee or tea is enough to replace any boxed plant-based milk, plus WAY creamier! I also love using this in soups, sauces, and curries.

3. The only concealer you need, truly. It is INCREDIBLE! I use the shade NAIAD, and it blends in effortlessly. It also lasts me at least six months, and never has once broken my skin out.

4.The MOST DELICIOUS Gamay ever. It’s so rich, juicy and easy to drink. This is A MUST for anyone who is a red wine drinker. I always have a bottle chilled.

5. A mushroom growing kit would be on every single sort of gift giving list I could write. Fungi is arguably the most important of all the Kingdoms, and seeing how easy it is to grow fungi yourself is pretty powerful.

6. I struggled with the worst periodical dermatitis for months, and this worked wonders. I started to notice my rash coming back after a few months of wearing a face mask continuously. This solution keeps my dermatitis under control, and a little goes a long way.

7. This bouillon has SO much flavor, and lasts forever. Just one teaspoon added to a soup or even into the water you cook your beans and grains in can make such a difference flavor wise!

1. This cult fave face mask makes your skin so glowy.

2. Anima Mundi is incredible and irresistible. I love this brand.

3. I love this company's ethos and their organic, plant-based skincare line with beautifuland carefully sourced ingredients. Tis the season for all the face brightening we can get!

4. Genius friends started this company and they're on a mission to reinvent the wasteful and problematic toilet paper industry. Toilet paper as a gift? It will surely make for some interesting family conversations over the holidays!

5. Simply the best, if you've had all the coconut butters out there you know that nothing compares.

6. Shameless self promotion! But honestly, my morning ritual and tonic isn't complete without our medicinal mushrooms. They're powerful allies for us all.

7. This inhaler has improved my life significantly! I gift them every year to someone new; it's one of my favorite stress relief tools to keep bedside, at desk and to travel with. 

8. They're usually sold out but I'm hoping to snag one this holiday season. My sister and I have a tradition of gifting handmade ceramics to one another.

9. I have been blessed with so many babies in my life this year! This children's book is on my list to give; it's from an independent bookstore that is Black-owned and believes in social entrepreneurship.

1. Always in my pantry, Canyon Coffee is an absolute go-to each morning, and sometimes even in the afternoon. The perfect combination of bright and robust flavors to begin one's day.

2. A favorite in my kitchen and when cooking over a fire outdoors, the Alice Egg Spoon is the ideal gift for the cook in your life. Used often in my home for small bites and all delicacies, this handcrafted spoon will bring joy to any lucky recipient on your gift list.

3. A precious heirloom piece perfect for all occasions, our Madera Purse represents the seamless duality between work and pleasure. The ideal gift for yourself, a friend, or lover who remains in movement to and from engagements.

4. Having a tortilla press on hand in the kitchen simply changes the way your tortilla based meal will go. Elevate your next taco night with an expertly crafted tortilla press, or gift it to the masa lover in your life.

5. A boldly flavorful oil to accompany any and every dish it may, Wonder Valley Olive Oilis a favorite of mine, and will be to whomever receives a bottle as a gift this holiday season.

6. Through this year of cataclysmic events, sprinkled with bouts of optimism and hopefulness, this extraordinary flower essence has been within arm's reach for me throughout it all. Highly recommended for our empathic friends and lovers.

7. To keep the skin smooth and beaming throughout the day, a perfect gift for the self-care enthusiast.

8. A supremely beautiful and decorative holiday essential native to Oaxaca, allow these candles to be the centerpiece of your table, or the gift to the host in your life.

9. A bag for the traveler, the mover, and the most chic of your gift recipients this year, the integrity and timelessness of Agnes’ eponymous sacs go emphatically unmatched.

1. Buy gift certificates to your favorite restaurants for your friends! Amongst others, we're supporting Black Seed BagelsBunna Cafe and Taste of Persia.

2. The Brooklyn-based half of our team is contending with winter’s arrival, and with it, the withering effects of hot, dry air pumping through our homes. A few spritzes of this mistevery couple of hours helps fend off the withering, and is a very refreshing pick-me-up.

3. We’re big believers in the healing power of this Vitamin C supplement. Because of the liposomal encapsulation, a lot more of the vitamin gets into your system than you’d get in a typical Vitamin C pill. A close friend of ours who was recovering from a liver transplant swore that taking this stuff daily helped regain her strength. And when we had COVID back in early March, we went hard on these, and continue to use them at the first sign of a bug.

4. We’ve tried a lot of eyemasks that are meant to help you get a better night's sleep but this one really is the best. By far. Plus it’s satin, which is supposed to decrease wrinkles?

5. Obviously, we’re always on the lookout for good bathroom reading material. Someone recently got this magazine for us, and we subscribed for ourselves right away. Its mission is "bridging the gap between humans and nature.” It’s published out of Montreal, and Montrealers tend to have an interesting way of looking at things. Provocative articles and photo essays on the ways in which we can become more attuned to our place in nature, including a really cool one by Jenny Odell, in the last issue, on the concept of "bioregionalism.”

6. For our friends in Canada. Herbert is a sparkling drink that uses healing herbs to promote different states. We helped create this product. Our goal was to make it easier and more fun for people to use some of the functional herbs that we’ve found most helpful in our daily lives. We think it’s the tastiest drink around.

7. I love Moringa Oil and the Moringa tree in general. Moringa is the most nutrient dense plant on the planet, and the oil extracted from its seeds is very rich in oleic acid and a number of antioxidant compounds. My skin routine, such as it is, is extremely simple: I put Moringa Oil on my face first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. It has a toasty, nutty smell that I’ve come to love. Moringa also has great antiseptic properties, so it’s excellent for healing little cuts and dry areas. Full disclosure: Deeva and I helped to develop this product and brand!

8. There’s a huge difference between good tahini and mediocre tahini, and this one is as good as it gets. Silky and buttery, never chalky. We like to mix it with miso and sesame oil to dress soba noodles or salads, or spoon it over toast with some honey or jam.

9. Our favorite facial cleanser for day and night. The lavender scent is subtle and light and makes you look forward to washing your face. Leaves your skin feeling more moisturized, not less.

10. In COVID times, selling toilet paper involves a lot more sitting and staring at a computer screen than it used to. We look forward to hitting the streets again when all of this is over. But in the meantime, using the dry brush is a nice way to move the blood around and keep the body from stagnating. A great nighttime ritual.

1. Another present that won't arrive in time for Christmas (tbh I'm realizing that all the best things in the middle of pandemic are worth the wait and the investment!), but there is nothing more special than gifting someone handmade cookware that will last their lifetime and feed them well! 

2. Is there a better tahini? Honestly I don't think that's possible. Once you've had this, it's truly impossible to go back. 

3. A beautiful hand spun masala dabba featuring seven of our single origin spices that is designed to be a family heirloom, passed down for generations. This is what everyone is getting for Christmas, and all anyone is asking me for this year anyway. But if you're looking for something smaller and that will arrive in time to put it under the tree, our build your own trio is a great intro to our 2020 harvests. Same-year single origin spices are a whole new world of flavor and aroma. Trust me. 

4. I use this stuff in everything, as the base of truly everything.

5. Their chicken mole tamales are out of this world.

6. I'm always asked why my skin glows so much, and as someone who has struggled through years of skin issues, the answer is vitamin C, in this form, and serum form! 

7. I know I love receiving new bath goodies to play with and make time for! 

8. Song Tea is to tea what my company Diaspora Co. is to spices. Each tea is such a labor of love, sourcing and exemplary farming. I look forward to my daily cup, and for the world of flavors it introduces me to.

9. I've loved Hanahana Beauty's business model and shea sourcing from day one, but it wasn't until they released their exfoliating body bar that I knew I'd be a lifelong customer. I buy four of these every winter and they are the most luxurious way to make sure I'm never ashy! 

 

1. I love literally anything that Monk Estate jewelry sells; her jewelry collection is so amazing.

2. Christina is an old friend and the genius behind these vinegars. I add them to everything and also love the bottles and labels!

3. I miss Julie so much! I used to have an office next door and we would always have the best conversations and I could always smell her amazing creations. She is a true alchemist.

4. These are all really great formulations for everyone. I use them a lot with clients with great results. Last year I put BALANCE in everyone's stocking and this year will give everyone a bottle of DEFEND

5. Honey is essentially a perfect product and I use it all the time with my work. I recently met the founder Gabrielle and she was great; really sweet and thorough (and patient with all my questions!). I love being able to send clients to support them.

6. We just got a projector and have been watching more movies with the time change, I love their curated collection, we can always find something really fun to watch. 

7. I haven't actually tried these products yet but I have heard really good things. Hair products are overlooked and I think it's actually hard to find clean, effective products.

8. I was just gifted one of these from Leigh and I think it's such a creative workbook. The design is really beautiful and it's a nice COVID project. 

 

1. I have not loved anything like I love what makes up a magazine, all the words and texture and internal architecture, and for the last six years, it’s been my immense luck to be a small part of this one, n+1. For a way in, read this essay by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, or play this by Jeremy O. Harris

2. Someone once told me that I have a porous aura, but thanks to this serum which I use twice daily (is that too much Kristina Holey?), at least my corporal boundaries are less exposed.

3. I feel about serums with essential oils like how I feel about sunlight, like maybe you could skin-detox and use only actives and do no harm, but then would your senses be full and would you get to squint into the day, and would trying for brighter, healthier, softer skin become only an obligation and not also a joy?

4. All day every day, walk all over town, the price of a pair of Vans/Crocs/Birks/whatevers, dance down to your knees, by a theater shoe maker in Taiwan, updated in the best colors by my beloved friend, Juliana Hung. 

5. You know how you feel bad about being bad at business and then you meet people who are, like, really really bad at business because they are too busy being too weird and too true to brand themselves for this hungry world, and then you are like, oh, yes, it is great to be bad at business? I mean this as a very big compliment. This classic tote bagis also a pillowcase is also a question: What are you mentally rehearsing. Are you happy with what you see.

6.  The first monograph for the sculptor of a generation, Alma Allen, and what a pleasure it is to believe in this so strongly, to really really know it deep down, even as I wonder about everything else. 

7. Actually, it was Alexis Smart who imparted the porous aura wisdom, way back when I first started dating my partner, Alma, and the insight is as true as ever and probably just as loosely reconciled with how I actually live. Will supplement her custom blend with an extra dose of worry helper.

8. Every time I wear this oil rubbed into my hair I get a compliment on how I smell, even in the time of faraway blown kisses, and then I get to brag about Gloria Noto and loving her and what she’s built.

9. Long live Creatures of Comfort, forever and ever, but in the meantime, for those of us who miss Jade Lai’s vision, she’s low-key making unfussy children’s shirts and bandanna pants.

10. A perfect piece for a nursery, filled with Alexa’s general wide-open, careful and conscientious way of seeing the world. Bonus: Upstairs, in Alexa’s Mexico City shop, Carmen has a sandwich shop until the end of the year, from the infamous and hopefully again soon sandwich potluck party. 

1. Even though we have been quarantined at home most of the year and we work from our Activist studio, I’ve been loving a little color and shine on my cheeks and eyes with Noto’s multi-use sticks.

2. I love Fran and everything she makes feel and smells divine. I’ve been using her cleansing oil and my skin has never felt more fresh and hydrated.

3. Will be wearing these day and night on the beach in New Zealand.

4. This serum made in collaboration with the lovely Kristina Holey is a favorite when my skin is feeling irritated and tired and needs some calming.

5. My dear friend Emily’s new incense is a labor of love and one I have been burning each morning before I start work. A heart-soothing blend of rose, geranium and shiso leaf, coupled with a smokeless burn for tender lungs.

6. Unique and fun handmade jewelry by Finnish LA-based make-up artist Karo Kangas. What began as arts and crafts with her son evolved into a beautiful diversion while staying safe at home this year during the pandemic.

7. The perfect travel snacks for me and my boy Cisco. 

8. My favorite salt that I use everyday to add to salad dressings and vegetables. I even sprinkle a bit over my granola before I bake it.

9. My beautiful friend Victoria, who is a prop and set stylist in London has just launched this incredible new website which I want everything from; especially this antique ebonized stool from Ethiopia. They ship worldwide too!

1. Definitely an investment piece that will last years. Beautiful materials, thoughtfully and sustainably made.

2. It’s such a cliche but I truly believe that skincare starts from within. My grandmother always said that good digestion equals good skin. I love this coconut butter that I can use as an ingredient for cooking, baking and eating, as well as on my skin.

3. Another favorite of mine is this olive oil from the California desert that includes my two fruity favorites Arbequina and Manzanilla olives.

4. I swear by Rosehip Oil, which I have been using on my face for years. It helps heal scarring and keeps skin moist and dewy.

5. Baths are essential during cold and damp Pacific Northwest winters. I love this salt soak that contains skin softening rosehip oil. And I love feeling super relaxed and invigorated afterwards.

6. This is my favorite gluten-free and vegan ice cream in Seattle. It's made in small batches with incredibly nourishing ingredients and is unbelievably delicious.

7. I hope it’s ok I include my cookbook in this list. I worked on it for years and I am so proud of it. Kerrilynn has been baking and cooking from it and it has really brought us closer. Also, when possible, please support your local indie bookstore especially during this terrible crisis when so small businesses are suffering.

8. It’s nearly impossible to only recommend one ceramicist since I love so many. I wanted to highlight a local one, Ryan Lee, who is a baker and a potter and whose rustic mugs and bowls I use all winter long. 

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