Vivace 2 Note Spray ($90)
K and I aren’t celebrating any holidays this year because we’re shortly heading out for a proper post-wedding getaway in Costa Rica, and we’ve agreed that this vacation will be present enough. I cannot wait for the beach and the jungle and the bike rides and the many hours devouring time-traveling romances and historical biographies (which I won’t read, because those romances are long). But if we were celebrating, here are just a few of the things I might gift to my paleo, bike-commuting, butch, masculine of center, eminently practical traveling companion.
ONE Not too fancy or frilly; this bag would just look good while being functional and putting up with K’s extreme travel schedule. AWOL Bag ($249)
TWO If I had a nickel for every time I walked into the kitchen and saw K performing a series of complicated maneuvers on this door frame pull-up bar, well, I could have bought one more time-traveling romance for Costa Rica. Add rings and rubber bands and you’re pretty much that chiseled guy from the 90s Bowflex commercial. Doorway Pull-Up Bar ($19.98)
THREE This girl makes meatballs. “They’re the perfect snack!” She says. Turkey with orange zest and cranberry; lamb with parsley, green onions, and garlic; beef and pork in tomato sauce. Any given night, she’s painstakingly forming tiny lumps of meat. This scoop is meant for cookies, but even better for balls. (Yup, I said balls.) OXO Grips Medium Cookie Scoop ($13.99)
FOUR This shampoo bar lathers up so pleasingly, plus it’s from a small business, plus you can just pop it in your bag and it won’t explode everywhere, plus there is really a Mr. Liggett, and I like to imagine that he’s a cordial, friendly chap who’s really into hair care. J.R. Liggett’s Tea Tree & Hemp Formula Bar Shampoo ($6.99)
FIVE For urban bikers, or just picnic bikers, this double pannier is waterproof, durable, secure, and then magically uses magnets to turn into one shoulder bag that is both functional and attractive if you need to head home sans bike. Win. Tandem Bike Pannier Bag ($129)
SIX Dan Savage’s Magnum podcasts are ninety minutes, good for at least two morning commutes or one puddlejumper flight. No commercials, just funny, interesting questions. Dan Savage Lovecast Season Subscription ($19.99)
SEVEN This little piggy would make K’s paleo lifestyle a lot cuter. Wooden Pig Cutting Board in Cherry ($48)
EIGHT These headphones would be a nice way to stay zen while sitting next to that chatty lady in the middle seat, or the ubiquitous “what time is it” subway dancers who twirl a little too close to your glasses. QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones ($242.19)
NINE Last year, we headed to a merry divorced double-header with my families for the holidays, and I made her open one of her stocking stuffers before we even got to my mom’s house: tea from the herbal apothecary down the street. I walked in and said, “I need a tea for an introvert who is going to be expected to answer a lot of questions from people who are enthusiastic, yet bad listeners,” and the herbalist threw together this awesome witches’ brew of skullcap and holy basil and other magic stuff. I don’t know if that’s what got K through, but at least it gave her something warm to hold. Replicate it at your own local tea shop, or I hear that Tulsi is good for stress relief! Tulsi Boxed Tea ($4.99)
TEN Two things K hates: inefficiently-run meetings and the sad, short dark days of winter. Maybe these Paperwhites would cheer her up on the cold lonely February days when I come home to her mournfully binge-watching Parenthood. White Flower Farm Paperwhites ($39)
ELEVEN This is a neat way to support local businesses. Buy a Kobo eReader, and set it up so that your local independent bookstore gets a share of the proceeds every time you buy a book. This would be a great way to stay connected to K’s beloved hometown bookstore, Prairie Lights. Learn More. Kobo Aura ($149)
Title Image: Our friends run an incredible botanical perfumery up in Maine, and last summer K tested one of their perfumes, Vivace. 2 Note says Vivace smells like “lime, blood orange, and black pepper,” and K says it’s not too girly and not too cologne-y, and I say it smells damn good on those hunky shoulders.