You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on Grub Street. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.
If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. And in celebration of New York Taste, we’re going to be asking some of the 40-plus chefs and mixologists whose food and drinks will be served on October 21 about the things they can’t live without. (You can learn more about New York Taste and buy tickets here.) Today, we talked with Emily Hyland, co-founder of the Pizza Loves Emily restaurants and Emmy Squared, about her favorite notebook, water bottle, and beauty balm.
My very first job when I moved to New York 15, 16 years ago was as a gift-wrapper during the holiday season at Williams-Sonoma — I’m excellent at wrapping gifts to this day. You got an employee discount, and so on the last day I bought my first Lodge pan. It’s just such an easy cooking tool. And it’s so nice to season and have that history of all the dishes that are cooked in there and that perpetual seasoning going on. I don’t have a ton of cookware, but that’s one of my go-to items, most particularly for chicken taco meat every week, among other things. I made some blackened fish last night that was really great. And I love to just do some simple vegetables in there, like pan-charred veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, fry some eggs in there. It’s so easy and accessible for such a wide range of things.
I’ve been using Nalgenes for the last 20, 30 years. Trying to be ecoconscious, I think it’s a really durable bottle and it’s not very heavy like glass, which, even with the rubber on it, I feel like it’s going to break when I’m traveling around the city. On the Nalgene, I like the handle, I like the wide mouth, I like that it holds a lot of water — it’s been a durable standby in my life.
I’m a really particular notebook user. I like the size of this one and the texture of it: It’s firm, but it’s also bendy, it’s not a hardcover but it’s not a softcover. For me what’s really important is it’s unlined. I do a lot of writing — I’m a poet and writer — and I like the freedom of not being relegated to lines or grids. I think I’m on number ten of all of their different ones. It’s the most loyal I’ve ever been to a notebook.
A life-changing book. It’s by Pema Chodron, who is one of the foremost contemporary Buddhist thinkers in the world. She writes really accessible little vignettes to help the modern Western person find perspective and think about what’s so beautiful about being alive. It’s in my bag at least three days a week. I teach yoga, and so I read from it very frequently — I actually have a tattoo inspired by one of the passages, which is about strawberries. My yoga students always know that no matter how perilous life is you can always pick a strawberry and enjoy it.
I went from having the really clunky wallet of a 50-year-old woman with the checkbook thing to this. It’s so easy to be minimalist and really carry what I need and just slip it in my pocket. I have my license, my health-care card, my Metro card, and three credit cards, and maybe some money in the middle on a good day. No money today — just my boyfriend’s business card smushed in there. It’s heavy duty; I’ve had it for about two or three years and its holding up really well, I’ve gotta say.
I love our day and age of the bralette — instead of underwires — as a trend. I like that it has a really thick band below it, which I think is really flattering for defined waistlines. It’s just the most comfortable bra — I live in it and I love it. I wear it under everything. I have a nude and a white, but it’s Free People and they have great colors of everything.
I feel like there’s all this wellness stuff on my list, so I might as well have a real, honest vice. Yeah, I can’t live without these. I love making cheese boards and I make them really beautiful and then I trash it up by putting some cheese crunchies on when my friends come over. I have these super-fond memories of going grocery shopping with my mom at the Grand Union in New Jersey. She’d indulge in a bag of Cheetos that we’d open it in the car on the way home and we’d like, lick our fingers together. As a grown-up, I feel like this is my real indulgence cheat in a quote-unquote more healthy way. They go great with a cold beer, watching some Netflix. I’ll eat those things with anything, they’re delicious.
I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life, but in particular flying, and the Altitude Oil is very calming. It’s a lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, citrusy sort of blend, and the aromatics of it really wrap you in this state of comfort — it’s grounding. Typically I’ll put it on my wrists and then that pressure point behind your ears where you’re supposed to put perfume. Sometimes I’ll put a drop at the top of my yoga mat, so that I can smell it when I come down to the ground. I put it on my pillow when I have an anxious night of sleep. And when I’m flying, I cloak myself with it.
That is a huge lifesaver. I have fibrocystic breasts, like so many women, and this is a warming natural oil that helps just break up that lumpiness. You know, we get massages, we get facials, but that’s such an overlooked body part in terms of actually massaging the tissue. I discovered this at Spirit Shop in Brooklyn — they carry all female herbal health and healing tools, and that’s where I learned about it. It smells so good, it has cedarwood and frankincense in it. It’s great, especially for my period when my breasts are achy, or whatever. I’ll put some on and give myself a self-massage or demand a platonic massage from my boyfriend just to get the lumpiness and lymph fluid there moving. I highly recommend it.
This is my favorite skin product — I use it every day, all over, but mostly on my face. I learned about it from the acupuncturist and skin-care practitioner that I see at Studio Britta, which is a gua sha studio in Soho and has all natural beauty products. I’ve always struggled with acne and clogged pores, and this really just helped change my complexion and keeps my skin nourished, especially in the summer. It’s the last step for me: I oil cleanse, use a warm washcloth to remove the oil, put on toner and face oil, and do a little gua sha. Once I’ve done that I put a little pea-sized bit of the Beauty Balm on my hands, rub it together, and then rub it all over my face. It’s expensive, but it lasts a long time.
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