“What I Can’t Live Without”

Julius Bramanto, Market Maiden

I have a confession: I’m a little bit obsessed with celebrity shopping, and the things famous people purportedly “can’t live without”. Amongst other outlets which probably report on such crucial issues, NY Mag has a recurring column about this very thing, and from this I can find out what kind of stuff that notable individuals such as Salman Rushdie or Tituss Burgess or Rupaul love– from the luggage they travel with (and they all seem to have an opinion on luggage) to the superior $50 toothpaste they use, or even learn that they buy bulk Shirataki noodles (ew!) and Crystal Light (really??) and Glade plug-ins. Wow. I mean, what’s the point of even being rich if you are still buying Glade Plug-ins?

I remember thinking, when I was younger, that I wish someone would ask ME what I couldn’t live without. At the time it was this horrifyingly green, kiwi-flavored gloop from The Body Shop called “Born Lippy”, which apparently they still sort of sell, but at a deep discount; probably because it’s really gross and no one ever buys it anymore. It turns out that in the span of time since that initial musing, no one, ever, not even once, as asked me what I can’t live without. Can you believe it? Super rude, right? To be passed up for such a thing?

I decided I’m not waiting any longer, and I’ll share with you right now the ten things I love and can’t live without (in no particular order). Take that, NY Mag! One day you’ll be sorry that you overlooked this lady and her goldmine of interesting stuff!

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1. My feet are always cold, so I’m perpetually on the hunt for super cute socks. Featured here are my current faves, some Totoro socks, found on Amazon.

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2. Dermalogica Ultra Calming products. I know I’ve mentioned this several times before, but it’s taken a while to find something that (mostly) works for my skin, and works mostly consistently. Somewhere in my mid-30’s, my skin went from being slightly oily but mostly well-behaved to very sensitive, easily irritated, and red/inflamed and kind of a pain in the ass. I’ve found a few things over the years that seemed to work well…until they didn’t. The Dermalogica line is one I have been using for two years now and seems to do the best job that it can.

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3. Vanity Fair high cut briefs. I have the occasional fancy bra & panty set, but for the most part, my unmentionables are not something I need to be bothered with. I want black, I want bulk quantities, and I want to reach into my underwear drawer in the dark and know that every time I am going to get exactly what I want. I also sometimes want to go twenty days without going laundry, so I buy A LOT of these things at once.

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4. Punjammies from Sudara. I have a weird relationship with pajamas. I love the bottom portion, but the top portion feels like it’s trying too hard. Or maybe I feel like I’m trying too hard when I wear a full pajama set. I’m just not that person. I feel like pajama people probably use their planners religiously and are super serious about scrubbing their toliets. Nope, not me! I usually end up wearing pajama bottoms and a favorite, worn-in oversized tee to bed at night, and in a weird instance of actually being interested in a Facebook advertisement a few years ago, I learned of the sari pajama pants from Sudara, a company who has a really good story, and whose products I ended up loving so much that by now I have four or five pairs.

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5. While I would not say I am candle-obsessed, I am certainly fragrance obsessed, and ever since moving away from my childhood home (which smelled like an unfortunate combination of cat-pee and cigarette smoke) I vowed I would always have living space that smelled nice. And the Baies candle from Diptyque is the nicest smelling candle I have ever had. “The scent of a bouquet of roses sweetened with black currant leaves” is how it is described, and it’s kinda weird, because I don’t typically like rose-scented items, but this is a fresh, ghostly rose, and if I could only have one candle for the rest of my life, this would be it.

 

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6. Dracula by Bram Stoker and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. There are few few books that I can read over and over and over again, but these two are definitely at the top of the list. The cover art shown here graces the copies I have on my shelf, though I am ashamed to say that the Dracula book I have also contains Frankenstein– and I have never read Frankenstein all the way through. I am especially sorry to admit this to those whom Frankenstein might be on your “I can read this book over and over” list.

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7. Interesting jewelry. Ever since I was a small child, dressing up in my grandmother’s costume jewelry, shiny adornments were very important to me. I figured no matter how plain and boring you might feel in the faded Sanibel Island tourist tee shirt that your mother made you wear to school that day, the opal pendant you swiped from your Mawga’s jewel box and which secretly hung beneath the cheap cotton material made you feel glamorous and special, and very, very, pretty. I put it back, FYI. I felt awfully guilty about that. I have a roving eye when it comes to gems and treasures, but some of my favorite artisans are Flannery Grace Good, Chase & Scout, bloodmilk, and Arcana Obscura, and I am rarely without a trinket or talisman from at least one of these jewelers on my person.

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8. Perfumes. I realize these itemizations are going slowly going from very specific product recommendations to more open-ended concepts, but as a further to no. 5 on this list, I well and truly could not live without perfumes and fragrances for reasons I have written about here and which I further discuss here. I am always trying new things and finding new scents to love, and here is a grouping of both recent favorites and long-time beloveds: The Holy Mountain by Apoteker Tepe (discontinued), Comme des Garçons ‘Series 3 Incense: Kyoto, Morocco from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and Laveau from Seance perfumes (I know this is a photo of Dearly Departed, but it’s what I had to work with!)

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9. A black tee shirt. Or, well, several dozen, if you peek into my drawers. (I write more on this, here.) A black tee and jeans/skirt is my basic uniform, and if I am not wearing that I’m probably wearing a black tunic/dress and leggings. I especially love when my favorite artists produce wearable versions of their creations and I’m always quick to grab one. This tee from Bill Crisafi, however, was a gift that someone else grabbed for me. Thank you, BGF, you know me so well!

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10. Honey Crisp apples. Wow, what a boring thing to talk about, right? But I was wracking my brains to think if there was anything I ate everyday, and food is a super important part of any list that I might be a part of, or putting together. And it’s true, I do eat an apple every day. I generally don’t care for fruit because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Apples, for whatever reason, are the only fruits I can tolerate, and the honey crisp ones are my favorites. I eat them because I figure even if I’m making horrible nutritional choices the rest of the day, well, at least I ate an apple? Also, I read that apples are helpful for those who experience acid reflux, something about them being a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and it is thought that the alkalizing minerals may help relieve symptoms of acid reflux. Are you also a boring old broad who suffers from this affliction? Aside from medications (which is really a last resort for me in any situation), how do you remedy this?

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Bonus material! I asked my partner what he thought were some of the things I couldn’t live without, and his responses were so perfect. I guess he knows me pretty well.

  • Art . Aw, man, how could I forget that? Pictured above are some strange florals I just purchased from Becky Munich
  • Rainy, gloomy days.
  • Spooky stories. I told him I already listed Dracula and Rebecca, and he was like, “who’s Rebecca?” O_O
  • Popcorn. YES! This is my anti-apple treat. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Polyvore (RIP). Or sites that let me play with fashion that I can’t afford. Right now it’s URSTYLE
  • Music. Right now it’s the Atomic Blonde soundtrack, and I’m sure he’s heard me singing aloud I Ran by A Flock Of Seagulls for weeks now

I’m thinking of making this a regular column and perhaps harassing some of my favorite people to tell me about their favorite things! What do you all think?

9 Comments on “What I Can’t Live Without”

  1. Pamela
    August 7, 2018 at 9:26 am (1 week ago)

    Love this ❤️🖤💜 Thank you for being a constant source of interesting tid bits, music, readings material and other things I never heard of and now can’t live without.

    Reply
  2. Theodora
    August 7, 2018 at 11:49 am (1 week ago)

    Ooh fascinating! We share Dracula/Rebecca as books that are read repeatedly btw. I’d be really interested to read others like this too.

    It got me thinking about things I can’t live without. First two things that instantly popped into my head were my ipod and dark red lipstick XDD

    Reply
  3. Daisy
    August 7, 2018 at 6:56 pm (1 week ago)

    I love this post and would love it be a regular column!

    This is a little off topic but I was wondering what your thoughts, if any, were on Shalimar? I got a bottle for Christmas and while I enjoy it, I find myself wanting it to be “heavier” or “deeper” but can’t put my finger on how exactly.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      August 7, 2018 at 9:07 pm (1 week ago)

      Thanks for the feedback, and I think I’m definitely going to try to make that happen!
      While I love the idea of Shalimar, I found it a little lacking, as well. Have you tried L’Heure Bleue? I found it to be more in line with what I was hoping for…

      Reply
  4. Amy Earless
    August 7, 2018 at 10:12 pm (1 week ago)

    Frankenstein is so good.

    Reply
  5. Calluna Jean
    August 7, 2018 at 11:53 pm (1 week ago)

    Oh shit. Sudara has joggers now! I live in joggers. Now I have a great reason to buy some pants from Sudara!

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      August 8, 2018 at 7:47 am (1 week ago)

      Whoa! I didn’t see that! I might need some, too…

      Reply
  6. Erika (Sudara)
    August 8, 2018 at 6:53 am (1 week ago)

    Oh, wow. What an honor to be included in the things you can’t live without! Thank you!!! We love reading these types of list because it gives us ideas about products to try or companies to support. I’m going to check out the Dermalogica ultracalming line. I use Radha Rosehip Oil as a moisturizer for redness/sensitive skin and love it, but haven’t found a facewash I really like.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      August 8, 2018 at 8:19 am (1 week ago)

      I really do love my punjammies! I still have my first pair, which I’ve worn so often that there’s holes in the thighs (which I know has nothing to do with the quality of the material, I have chubby thighs). I’m wearing them right now, as a matter of fact! And that’s definitely one reason I did this, to support the various companies and businesses who make the things I love. If you are looking for a small business who makes incredible facial care, I absolutely must point you to Ghoulish Delights https://ghoulishdelightsshop.com/collections/facial-care (they have limited stock, but have frequent updates)

      Reply

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