A Round of Favorites.

By: Jen Shoop

I love the icebreaker series we have going among Magpies (read the hilarious and illuminating answers to a recent round of This or That here) and today I thought I’d do something a bit different by prompting you to share your favorite items across really random, niche categories. This might be a fun virtual “white elephant” type experience with lots of great stocking stuffers / small ways to spark joy in the comments.

Share your favorite…














I’ll go first!

WRITING IMPLEMENT. Tru-Red 0.5mm retractible gel pens.

COOKING IMPLEMENT. This is hard. Three things I use daily: Shun paring knife, Epicurean mini cutting board, and the Wustof fish spatula (useful for anything — not just fish — because the edge has a slight groove/angle that helps get under just about anything, including chicken nuggets stuck to a baking sheet, grilled cheese, pancakes, etc).

COFFEE MUG. Intelligentsia. I read somewhere that bone china is the best material to drink coffee from as it does not hang onto lingering flavors/tastes. I love the retro, minimalist vibe.

LIP BALM. Billie super salve. Super-buttery, relatively cheap, and imparts a tiny hit of color. I keep in every purse.

SOCKS. Darn Toughs with micro-cushion. Absurdly warm and comfortable.

UNDERWEAR. Basic, but Hanky Panky. So comfortable, no lines. Been wearing daily for decades. I never pay full price and usually get good deals on them here.

UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Eataly sold little individually-wrapped hunks of really high-quality parmesan cheese that I used to LOVE at happy hour. So delicious with a glass of red wine. Otherwise, I love taralli — a cookie-like Italian cracker that you can usually find with flecks of fennel, red pepper, and other interesting flavors. Not under-the-radar, but secret indulgence: Cheez-Its.

CONDIMENT. Maille Rich Country Dijon mustard and Heinz malt vinegar. I often dip fries into malt vinegar instead of ketchup. (Spoken like a true Marylander. We love malt on blue crabs.)

DRINKING GLASS. CB2 Watson Cooler glasses. Love the design and it has a really nice hand-feel (heavy weight) but a super fine lip.

EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. Our house red is this French blend, which has been a best-seller at our wine shop forever (we still have our wine shipped down from NYC — we implicitly trust the curation of labels). Under $12 and absolutely delicious. Highly drinkable. Pairs well with a range of foods but easy to drink on its own.

MUSIC TO WORK TO. If I’m really writing, I must have complete silence. If I’m doing something mildly challenging, classical: I like Chopin’s etudes or the soundtrack to the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. If I’m doing something mindless, I put on “channels” or “essentials” from Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Haim, Brandy Carlile, or Kacey Musgraves. I also get a hankering for Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You” album with embarrassing frequency — brings me back to my early teens! I loved that CD.

HAIR TIES. Actually prefer clips – can’t live without these. They’re strewn in every bag and drawer I touch. But when washing my face, I’m obsessed with these ones from Slip.

Your turn!


+Admittedly boring things made better by great design.

+Are you a good negotiator?

+“Do you still hang your words in the air?”

Shopping Break.

+This leather-effect laptop case is absurdly chic for the price. Love the sophisticated colors.

+Into these wide-leg utility trousers. Great colors!

+Been seeing these fabulous mini dresses from new-to-me label Arianne Elmy all over the place. So chic!

+Drooling over this coat.

+We love a stripe.

+Such a fun dress for a little lady — perfect for a birthday party, or order now for NYE! Perfect with these glitter mary janes I bought for mini.

+ICYMI: these $16 eye sticks are amazing (so many Magpies wrote in to endorse, and I’m loving, too!)

+Cheerful bubble gum pink sweater at a great price.

+Trendy bag shape alert: long and boxy.

+Intrigued by this award-winning scalp and body scrub.

+Adorable personalized cards for your little man.

+These personalizable tea cups would be such a sweet party favor, or a great gift for a little love.

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50 thoughts on “A Round of Favorites.

  1. WRITING IMPLEMENT: A fine or Ultra fine tip ballpoint. I don’t prefer felt tip or gel.

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. Number one is a Spyderco knife sharpening kit. I like a knife sharp enough to split a hair and this gets about any knife there. Number two is an ancient rubberized cutting board that protects said knives and never slips on the counter. No idea who makes it but I’ve been looking for another for over a decade without success.

    COFFEE MUG. I take my coffee to work in a Contigo for its ultimate no spill superiority. At home always in an ancient china cup. I drink coffee black and I’m particular about beans and grind and steep- so I want a cup that doesn’t interfere with the flavor. China and steel seem to keep the flavor true.

    LIP BALM. Eau Thermale Avene Cicalfate Restorative Lip Cream.

    SOCKS: Always a wool blend and I think I’ve tried them all. Currently loving Balega but only the Blister Resist line since it’s wool blend and not all synthetic.

    UNDERWEAR. I’m not overly devoted to any one particular but currently using Hanky Panky and Cosabella.

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Young’s Plantation Jalapeño pecans. Not too much heat and perfect on salads as well. Bought some on a whim during a road trip and now I order from them directly. So good.

    CONDIMENT. Overwhelmingly Ketchup- but they all have their place on my plate.

    DRINKING GLASS. La Rochère Bee Stemmed glass. I find water marks and a sweating glass ultra annoying, so a stemmed water glass is always my preference.

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. I don’t drink anything daily- but I always have a bottle of Lillet in my cabinet since I like it by the glass or in a cocktail.

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. Nothing if it’s high concentration work. Otherwise I love a Pandora style that lets me set it and forget it based on my mood. Yesterday was movie theme songs, today Broadway musicals, sometimes classical, sometimes pop/country/oldies. It just runs the whole gamut. Mainly I need a station to do the work for me.

    HAIR TIES. Thick Goody bands. No preference on color but the thin ones don’t hold well enough for exercise so I never buy them.

    Love reading these and excited to try some new recommendations!!

    1. LOVE these! You are so winningly exacting in every detail — love a woman who knows herself. BRB ordering the jalapeno pecans.


  2. I’m weeks late, but — how fun! Can’t pass up the chance to learn more about everyone’s faves. Here are mine:

    WRITING IMPLEMENT: Muji 0.5 gel pens (slightly prefer the classic capped model, though I have a few of the clicky ones, too). I use black for most applications and also have a rainbow of others for specific items in my planner (light blue for exercise, red for work meetings, etc.)

    COOKING IMPLEMENT: I recently bought myself a Matchabar USB-rechargeable double whisk and it’s SO great. The USB-rechargeable aspect is key!

    COFFEE MUG: Funny that you mentioned Intelligentsia, Jen — I have a couple of classic coffee mugs from Intelligentsia that are among my favorites! When I want a larger drink, I also have an oversized (tall) mug that a friend gave me from SFMOMA that is among my favorites.

    LIP BALM: so many good ones in this category! For an untinted lip balm, I love Follain’s chubby little stick with a faintly herbal scent/flavor. For tinted lip balm, I love Dior Lip Glow in pink.

    SOCKS: Seriously have so many favorites in this category, it’s nuts! I am a sock aficionado. For serious winter temps: Darn Tough merino wool (they have a tighter weave than Smartwool!). For all-seasons elevated patterns: Hansel from Basel. For sleeping: Escuyer off-white crew socks. For work: thin, sparkly dark socks — I always find good options from Falke, Beck Söndergaard, or generally at Smallable.

    UNDERWEAR: I have a bunch of different silhouettes, but there are two favorites that I always reach for: Everlane’s High-Rise Hipsters and Hanky Panky lace thongs (neutrals only!)

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK: I don’t know how under-the-radar it is, but I love wasabi peas — but strictly only the kind that are made without food coloring! I find them at a market/cheesemonger nearby. I also love arare/kakimochi (which often incorporates wasabi peas!) Also good are Ellenos mini Greek yogurts with lemon curd. And I’m with you on taralli — the fennel and onion are my two favorites.

    CONDIMENT: Ooh, so many. Bushwick Kitchen’s gochujang sriracha comes to mind — as does Cabi’s Zesty Sansho Peppercorn Miso.

    DRINKING GLASS: my mom gave me beautiful etched vintage glasses with a star pattern — I love using them for fancier drinks! For water, juice, or more casual drinks, we also have some stoneware tumblers from Mociun in Brooklyn that bring me joy whenever I use them.

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE: n/a — I haven’t drank alcohol since 2019 (!)

    MUSIC TO WORK TO: I can honestly work to any music, so often I just play my most recent quarterly playlist (I make four per year, corresponding with each season, and then make a yearly playlist of favorites at the end of the year for posterity). If I find that lyrics are distracting, I turn to either my catch-all playlist of instrumental music (all genres), or one specifically for ambient music (think Japanese BGM or Brian Eno).

    HAIR TIES: I pretty much solely use Invisibobble children’s hair ties (clear with sparkle). If I need something less chunky (say, for tying braids or whatever), I tend to go for clear silicone bands — Goody, for example. I also love having silk scrunchies on hand for washing my face, etc.

  3. Ooooo I just love these. Looking forward to reading everyone else’s responses and adding lots of fun new things to my radar. Here are mine:

    WRITING IMPLEMENT. Muji 0.5 pens, I like black and navy in particular.

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. Use my microplane for grating parmesan and citrus squeezer almost daily.

    COFFEE MUG. I love my circle mugs from Earl Home. I asked for them for Christmas for so many years and last year my husband purchased me a set and they are everything I dreamed of and more. I just love the shape, size, feeling in my hand. They make my morning latte so much more enjoyable!

    LIP BALM. Tatcha lip mask.

    SOCKS. Bombas, they are so durable.

    UNDERWEAR. Still on the hunt for the perfect pair!

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. I love a nice piece of baguette with Meredith Dairy’s sheep/goat cheese blend spread on top and drizzled with the olive oil from the container.

    CONDIMENT. Mayo, always and especially with fries.

    DRINKING GLASS. I like the stackable Bormioli Rocco glasses. They work well for everything from water, to a beer, to an arnold palmer on a hot summer day.

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. Anything La Boutanche, always purchased from Domestique in DC.

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. I find it really hard to listen to music and focus or work, but if I’m truly doing something that requires little focus and is more administrative I love classical music,

    HAIR TIES. Still on the hunt. I have a lot of very thick hair so finding something that really holds it while not giving me headaches is a challenge. Going to check out the recommendations in this thread!

  4. I love reviewing everyone’s responses to the prompts – it’s so exciting when I find something in common with another reader!

    WRITING IMPLEMENT. My company used to stock Pilot G2s in purple(!) which are so fun, but I love the fancier Uniball Vision Elite pens which write beautifully like gel pens without bleeding. I also love a freshly sharpened Ticonderoga pencil (more for aesthetics these days than actual use)

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. Beautifully aged wooden spoons, but I’m excited to try the wooden spurtles that I purchased for everyone for Christmas this year!

    COFFEE MUG. Classic white Le Creuset or Bodum bistro double walled glass mugs

    LIP BALM. Anything is fine during the day, but Carmex only during my bedtime routine

    SOCKS. Under Armour low-cut socks by the dozen in grey, black, and white so I don’t have to worry about matching them and Feetures exclusively for running

    UNDERWEAR. I’m transitioning to environmentally friendly brands with 100% cotton options…currently trying oddobody

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Large sheets of roasted salted seaweed and frozen jackfruit and periodic scoops of Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz from the carton!

    CONDIMENT. Mayonnaise, always and forever

    DRINKING GLASS. Duralex French Bistro glasses – we always had them growing up, and they are indestructible!

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. I don’t drink alcohol 🙂

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. Soft rock albums that I’ve listened to a hundred thousand times and can fade into the background…Mark Knopfler is my #1, especially Sailing to Philadelphia

    HAIR TIES. Classic goody in dark brown (I find black to be too harsh)

    1. These are SO good, Taryn — love! I agree that it’s been fun finding commonalities with other readers. You reminded me that I absolutely, 100% LOVE my Feetures and they are the only socks I run in, too. Don’t know how it slipped my mind to mention!

      I’m also a brown Goody girl for running.


  5. WRITING IMPLEMENT. Pilot G2 0.5. i find the other ones to be too thick or too thin or too slow to dry

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. Fish spatula. Perfect thing for flipping pancakes, eggs, anything that could stick.

    COFFEE MUG. Bed Bath & Beyond used to have Villeroy & Boch city themed mugs with a curvy handle that were a lot of fun

    LIP BALM. I rotate through these, but currently loving the one from Bite Beauty. Really moisturizing.

    SOCKS. Balega for running. Dabbling in their crew socks but usually no show

    UNDERWEAR. Pact and Aerie. Soft, well made, enough coverage

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Dot’s Honey Mustard pretzels. Everyone seems to love them

    CONDIMENT. Any and all hot sauces. Current favorite is the Trader Joes jalapeno sauce

    DRINKING GLASS. Crate and Barrel Bodega glasses – on your recommendation!

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. Sparkling wine from Schramsberg.

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. Anything by Vitamin String Quartet. I find that the violin just blends into the background and doesn’t occupy my brain space – just removes distractions

    HAIR TIES. Slip scrunchies.

    Bic round stick medium in blue (cheap and ubiquitous and my dedication to them is out of all proportion). A TWSBI Eco fountain pen for writing letters.

    I have one perfect silicone flipping spatula that never makes it to the drawer – perfect for eggs and just about everything else too.

    Wedgwood Intaglio is our wedding china and I love the mugs for coffee, but I’m also partial to a good basic thrift store or sentimental diner mug too.

    Carmex! And vaseline for intensive overnight repair.

    Darn Tough. I also got some wooly ones from Target recently that are just perfect.

    Meh…haven’t discovered anything that commands my loyalty yet.

    Olives! straight from the jar.

    Pickled red onions.

    I have a couple of cut-glass old-fashioned glasses that I got second-hand that belonged to a grandma somewhere and I just love them.

    I WISH I had one of these but…we don’t drink a lot of alcohol (also currently pregnant) in our house and so I don’t have a go-to.

    Generally silence. If I need a kick-start, some lo-fi beats playlist off Spotify or YouTube.

    Whatever emerges out of the ether, ha.

    1. OMG thank you for mentioning pickled red onions. Onions in general are just…the best. Like sliced green onions on ramen or chili? Or really thin white onions in a salad? Or pickled red onions on a taco?! They just MAKE the dish come to life!


  7. I’m late to the game on this post, but wanted to add my two cents, anyway! Love the little intricacies of what people favor in their daily tools, thanks so much for this post, Jen!

    WRITING IMPLEMENT. Pilot V2, BUT has to be the.38 size. Love a fine gel pen for my planner, but for notes and more careful writing, will use a Le Pen or Papermate Flair

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. I’m a culinary school grad, so this is truly a Sophie’s Choice moment for me. I love tiny tongs/mini whisks, a good knife (of course!), and my Le Creuset dutch ovens. If I really had to choose a favorite, I would say the All Clad Stainless Essential Pan. I think I could get rid of all of my other pans and get by with just this one. It is huge, with sloped sides. Perfect for one-pot cooking, you can boil water in it, throw it in the oven, etc. I use it every night.

    COFFEE MUG. My husband and I have purchased a mug on every trip we’ve taken since we first started dating almost ten years ago. I love using our Starbucks Paris mug to bring me back to our honeymoon, but my favorite everyday mug is a massive, beaded porcelain mug that is actually Threshold for Target. I bought it to keep at my desk in my early 20’s first job excitement, and now drink my evening tea out of it.

    LIP BALM. Aquaphor. I live in NJ where the necessity for blasting my car heater before preschool drop off means my face and lips are perpetually tight and dry. I keep a tube of Aquaphor in every bag, multiple places in my car, in my daughter’s backpack, etc. It saves me if I forget to apply hand cream, find a dry patch on my daughter’s face before school, or find myself with peeling cuticles, It is definitely a desert island product in our house!

    SOCKS. I love the no-show basic socks from Amazon (I think The Buy Guide turned us all on to them?) to wear under sneakers, I’m not quite cool enough to rock slouchy, oversized socks at this stage of my life. I’m due for a warm sock upgrade (these comments are so helpful!), but I still have a collection of J.Crew cotton and wool socks that I pull over leggings on chilly days and the subtle fair isle or neutral prints I chose years ago still make me happy.

    UNDERWEAR. Gap Breathe High Rise Bikini. Really any Gap Breathe product, I started wearing these when I was pregnant for a little “support”, but find I love them under cotton dresses in the summer for a little smoothing and the Breathe thongs are comfy and easy under jeans and lounge wear. Affordable, decent quality, but hard to find in stock.

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Trader Joe’s makes a dark russet potato chip that is absolute heaven. Deeper in flavor than a typical potato chip, very salty, they are incredible with dip and at their very best with a smattering of sour cream/creme fraiche and caviar or salmon roe. We save this special snack for New Year’s Eve, but would be impressive for any winter dinner party.

    CONDIMENT. Anything acidic, Most dishes benefit from a little bit of acid to finish. Our house favorite is the green jalapeno Tabasco sauce, but I love to add a little lemon juice or vinegar whenever I can. French fries are at their best when sprinkled with malt vinegar, the ultimate salt/vin chip!

    DRINKING GLASS. Working Glasses, preferably the large 21 oz version. Inexpensive, heavy, they have a satisfying feel in hand. Crate and Barrel and Amazon sell them. I have my morning iced coffee in them, but use them for giant glasses of sparkling water, cocktails, etc. They have usurped all other glassware in our house and I love the classic, French farmhouse look of them.

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. Something shifted in me after the birth of my daughter nearly three years ago, and I can’t tolerate wine anymore, which is a real heartbreak. I miss drinking an ice cold glass of Chenin Blanc while making Sunday dinner. Our go-to was always Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc, versatile, affordable (sold at Trader Joe’s) and appeals to most white wine palettes. I rarely drink alcohol at all now, but have the occasional Ranch Water (blanco tequila, sparkling water, as much lime juice as possible).

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. I’m a stay at home mom, so my work looks very different than it once did. My work now is generally very active, as I fly around the house tidying, putting laundry away, during the few preschool hours a week I have to be productive. I used to listen to audiobooks/podcasts, but find that more cerebral listening slows me down. I’ve taken to listening to my old workout playlists or playlists that I made before big nights out 10+ years ago. The upbeat music is so energizing, I am much more productive with the soundtrack of my younger self in my ears. Random note: I used to work in the NYC food world and a successful chef told me he played the music he listened to in HS (think late 90’s hip hop) in his restaurants to set the vibe. He found people recognized the music, felt relaxed and it gave them a way to feel included in the atmosphere. There’s something to it!

    HAIR TIES. Claw clips! I have a massive amount of hair, claw clips have always been my go-to for getting my hair up without feeling heavy, So happy they are back in style, but I’ll wear them forever. Love a massive silk scrunchie to pull my hair up in a bun to sleep in,

    1. Hi Carolyn! These were so great — so detailed and thoughtful! I had to read your comments about cooking implements aloud to Mr. Magpie because we both LOVE mini-versions of most things in our kitchen — whisks, tongs, cutting boards, paring knives, etc. Just easier to wield and wash if you are using things heavily.

      Thank you for sharing all of these! Added the TJ chips to my shopping list!


  8. WRITING IMPLEMENT: Pilot Precise v5 in blue – been using for a decade!

    COOKING IMPLEMENT: Ceramic knives 4 ever

    COFFEE MUG: Navy blue “I’m a Marnie. It’s a bummer.” mug from a fundraiser Alison Williams did years ago.

    LIP BALM: Goop balms

    SOCKS: Smartwool

    UNDERWEAR: Cosabella

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK: Torres truffle chips

    CONDIMENT: Zab’s hot honey mustard

    DRINKING GLASS: Large mason jar

    MUSIC TO WORK TO: succession theme song – my number one Spotify song two years running!

    HAIR TIES: Slip silk – only ones that don’t yank my hair out.

    1. Ooo these are SO good! Succession theme song?!?! You are a boss lady!! I love so many of these items, too. I need to check out the Goop balm!


    1. Hi Michele! Sorry about that — it is Les Hérétiques VdP de l’Hérault, Iché – 2021.

      Hope you can track down a bottle! If you’re in NYC, Astor Wines also carries it.


      1. PS – Funnily enough, this is also my sister and brother-in-law’s “house wine.” (They live in Brooklyn.). I had no idea until one of our mutual friends came down to visit and I poured her glass and she made the connection! Great minds think alike / great palates drink alike….haha 🙂


    Uni-ball black gel pens for everyday work/notes and Faber-Castell PITT artist pens for cards/correspondence.

    Tongs with the vinyl ends, NOT the silicone – the silicone doesn’t scrape up any of the good fondy bits. But also, I think I need this Shun paring knife!

    ABC Home Ripple mug – a little piece of NYC in the PNW.

    Kosasport Lip Fuel; I’m constantly buying back-ups so I never run out.

    Lululemon for no-show, even though I guess we’re supposed to be over bare ankles? Not me, bare ankles forever!!

    Everlane cotton bikinis, and still mourning TEN by Daphne Javitch.

    Possibly not that under-the-radar but I love a tin of Matiz sardines in olive oil, I put a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of Maldon on every bite, sometimes I even skip the cracker or toast vessel.

    Does lemon juice count as a condiment? I want it on everything.

    Duralex Gigogne or Picardie (but also secretly coveting the Fferrone Dearborn).

    A low ABV piquette or whatever natural wine my wine expert pals are recommending or producing.

    Max Richter’s Recomposed Four Seasons, specifically Spring!

    I use the mini Slip scrunchies but I don’t actually like the way they look, either in my hair or on my wrist? But I like that they don’t cause kinks of breakage so I’m accepting suggestions!


    1. This is SO good. I want to be you when I grow up? I need the ripple mug, and I totally agree with you on the tongs without silicone. In general, I’m sort of “off” silicone. I know they’re praised for versatility / can be put in microwave / etc, but I find the material imparts a weird smell/flavor on everything it touches. Or maybe it absorbs smells, too? We used to love silicone bowls and silicone measuring cups but now I much prefer glass or metal, which don’t impart anything.

      I’m also totally with you on bare ankles – I like no-shows with my sneaks, pls and thank you!

      Finally, I agree that the slip scrunchies aren’t aesthetically pleasing but are functionally incredible. I only use at home / when washing face / etc.


    Pilot G2 gel pens in black, never blue.

    Oh dear, this is tough one. I am going to have to say I have a three way tie between my LeCreuset dutch oven, my Wusthof Classic Chef knife (its the perfect weight for me) and my Starpack silicone spatula from Amazon.

    I drink my coffee pretty exclusively out of a Yeti coffee mug. I love piping hot coffee and so every sip is nice and hot.

    Dr. Bronners Peppermint Lip Balm.

    Darn Tough, all day, every day. They are the best!

    Pact organic cotton bikinis

    Hardboiled eggs with garlic salt on top.

    Primal Kitchen’s mayo.

    Wide mouth pint jar. It hold the absolute perfect amount of water.

    I wish I had one of these. More of a beer aficionado myself.

    Movie scores or anything by Hans Zimmer

    I really want to try the Slip ones, but I haven’t pulled the trigger. I have no currently loyalty.

    1. Oo, a few pilot stalwarts here — l ove it! Darn Tough really are the best. I have super small feet and can barely ever find socks that properly fit, but these hug/contour the foot SO well. And, of course, are so warm.

      Hadn’t heard of Pact before but now I have a set in my cart? Want to try…


  11. I would love to know your house red wine, but the link isn’t working for me. Will you please share the name? Thanks!


    Mark’s Tous Les Jour ballpoint pen in hot pink


    Okay it’s very hard to choose but probably my cat iron skillet and my silicone spatula from William Sonoma.


    I love some handmade ones that potters made. Some favs are the owing: my cream one from Fathom in Berlin,MD; my ombré yellow to white one from Orange Blossom Bakery in OBX Buxton to be exact, and a very classy Vertui (definitely spelled that one wrong) one my Mom gifted me…also a cute little had made blue and white mug…best of all and one for the season my newest Home Goods purchase my “Don’t Hog the Nog” mug for my egg nog and Jefferson’s Reserve.


    Augustine Bader


    Love the JCrew thick hiking socks they did a while back in fun colors…loving my new Isabella Marant old school socks


    Anything cheap at the Nordy Rack that looks expensive and comfortable and cool brands like Hearts Only from Nashville Darling


    Cool Ranch Doritos


    Chili Sauce from Trader Joe’s in the glass jar


    My great little Cheers etched glass from Red Barn Mercantile’s holiday party or my VA is for effing wine lovers glass from Effingham Winery or my great etched scotch glasses from Manse in Old Town Alexandria- fyi they carry the best bar ware for the bar cart


    I’ve found this good French brand at Trader Joe’s Maison Barboulot Cabernet Syrah but they had a Boudreaux blend once and now I don’t see it anymore same brand


    Classic Rock think Def Leppard, Rolling Stones, etc 70’s & 80’s

    Sometimes good like dua lipa, lady Gaga, Ariana grande pop ( when you need to celebrate a win)


    Luxe France sold at The Show Hive in Old Town Alexandria- metallic gold please

    1. Amen to the egg nog mug. We got REALLY into nog this season and it is SO delicious. Tell us more about the Bader lip balm! I’ve always been scared off by the price tag of that brand but am SO curious.

      SO into the fact that you work to classic rock!!! Amazing. I love Aerosmith and you’ve just made me want to put it on in my office!


  13. WRITING IMPLEMENT. Sharpie S Gel pens.
    COOKING IMPLEMENT. My mini whisk and rubber spatula. So very handy.
    COFFEE MUG. I collect the Starbucks city mugs from the places I’ve lived, but in general, I just like a LARGE mug. Some are so small!
    LIP BALM. Tinted Burt’s Bees in Red Dahlia.
    SOCKS. Cuddl Duds.
    UNDERWEAR. Not too picky about these.
    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. I love the cashew, almond, dark chocolate trail mix from Trader Joe’s! Otherwise, extra toasty Cheez It’s, please and thank you.
    CONDIMENT. Ketchup. I always joke that the most classically American thing about me might be my love of ketchup!
    DRINKING GLASS. Duralex Picardie. We have these in a few different sizes, and I love them SO much. Sturdy, yet also attractive (and they stack!).
    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. Panilonco Carmenere or Moon X Pinot Noir from Trader Joe’s. Both less than $10, very drinkable, and total crowd pleasers.
    MUSIC TO WORK TO. folklore by Taylor Swift, always and forever.
    HAIR TIES. I’ve actually gotten back into scrunchies recently!

    1. Mmm toasty cheez-its – so good. I have a soft spot for those.

      Also, I can’t believe you listed carmenere! That’s my favorite lesser-known grape!


  14. Writing implement – Muji ink pens. I don’t live in NYC anymore but make a point to stop and get some whenever I’m there which I can’t say I do for anything else. Jen, I think you would like this store! They have a lot of great stuff and you can try the pens in store as well.

    1. I’ve always been curious about that shop – I used to walk by the one on 5th when I’d go to my dentist, who was strangely in Bryant Square (no idea why I did this to myself when there are literally hundreds of great dentists on the UWS). Wish I’d popped in some time. Going to make a point of it next time I’m up there!


      1. I’ve gone through at least 5 of the notebooks and multiple pens. The notebooks are so simple but in a good way – kind of like moleskine ones, a perfect blank canvas for your thoughts.

  15. WRITING IMPLEMENT. For sending snail mail: U Brands Catalina felt tip pen that I found at Staples. For everyday notes, listmaking, calendar planning, a regular ol’ Pilot pen.

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. Are you really making me choose? GIR spatulas & a Microplane.

    COFFEE MUG. This season: Juliska’s holiday themed mug. For everyday, West Elm’s “organic shaped dinnerware” mug. For my afternoon tea that I nurse for a longer time: Yeti mug.

    LIP BALM. L’Occitane shea butter.

    SOCKS. Smartwool or Darn Tough. Bombas for sleep/home.

    UNDERWEAR. Uniqlo seamless — the best!!

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Yes to snack-size Parmesan! Belgioioso (sp?) makes these individually wrapped 1 oz portions of Parmesan that is so great for lunchboxes (now that my daughter has outgrown string cheese and Babybel). It’s not Reggiano, but domestic from Wisconsin I think? I use Reggiano for almost everything else, but we always take the snack size ones when we go for road trips, trail walks, etc, paired with a bunch of grapes. They also make individually wrapped fresh mozzarella, fontina, etc. I know it’s a lot of packaging, but it definitely comes in handy for packed lunches. Not so under the radar: Pirate’s Booty, but it has to be the “cheddar blast” one. The regular one is a bit too bland. Also not under the radar, but deserve a mention since they’re so good: Cape Cod salt and vinegar chips or jalapeno chips.

    CONDIMENT. Trader Joe’s chili crisp. Furikake & togarashi. Thinly sliced and quick-pickled red onion in vinegar. Brightland chili olive oil.

    DRINKING GLASS. Crate and Barrel’s stemless wine glasses (which we use also for water)

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. I can’t seem to tolerate alcohol, but I love a mocktail with this locally produced ginger ale from Ginger Lab (they ship!). Not very sweet, and the ginger is potent!

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. If I’m doing any academic writing, it has to be instrumental only. I love movie scores as well — Pride and Prejudice, Perfect Sense, The Piano, The Last of the Mohicans, or any cello pieces.

    HAIR TIES. Haven’t used them in a couple years since I chopped my hair off into a long pixie!

    1. Intrigued by your enthusiasm around the Uniqlo unders!! Might need to try! Completely agree with the salt and vinegar chip comment — my longtime favorite — and also like the thread going on here around salt and vinegar seasoning in general. Just the best.


  16. WRITING IMPLEMENT: Pen over pencil-not picky about type!

    COOKING IMPLEMENT: either one of my many weather-beaten wooden spoons or a GIR spatula.

    COFFEE MUG: not a hot drink person, but I do have one that lives on my desk that says I HEART PROJECT MANAGEMENT that my dad gave me that always makes me laugh.

    LIP BALM: Burt’s Bees original.

    SOCKS: Feetures for running, Smartwool or Darn Tough for wool socks.

    UNDERWEAR: Basic cotton ones from the Gap, black or nude

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK: In the fall, candy corn and peanuts together.

    CONDIMENT: Too hard to choose! I love anything spicy, though. Chili crunch is really doing it for me these days.

    DRINKING GLASS: Duralex Picardie. It must be at least 16 oz because I drink an insane volume of water every day.

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE: Don’t have one of these, but I do have a house whiskey: Rittenhouse. It’s affordable enough for any cocktail yet good enough to stand up on its own. And it’s bottled in bond, meaning it’s higher proof.

    MUSIC TO WORK TO: None, unless it’s December and I cue up one of those 5 hour Youtube tracks called like, “Soft Christmas Jazz Cafe Ambience with Crackling Fireplace”

    HAIR TIES: Goody blonde, the thin kind.

    1. Oo several upvotes for the GIR spatula here! Going to check out…one thing that already appeals to me is that it doesn’t have the traditional wood handle that you have to remove from the silicone head — I find that so tedious to wash, as we never put anything wood in the dishwasher, and you have to separate off the silicone tip. V intrigued indeed. Actually going to order now.

      Also, several upvotes for that Picardie glasses!!! Love!


  17. Love these. So fun and interesting to read and learn! Only wish the best purchase of 2022 was on the list, but how does one narrow down one item, ha!

    WRITING IMPLEMENT. Gold ballpoint pens from Amazon. I write very little, but these bring back nostalgia of the fancy gold monogrammed pen my grandmother always used.
    COOKING IMPLEMENT. Lemon press used for everything from lemon water to seafood/chicken dishes. Why it took me so long to add this wonder gadget to the mix! (would make a great stocking stuffer, too)
    COFFEE MUG. A lobster pottery mug from the Copper Candle in my favorite place in the world, Kennebunkport, Maine.
    LIP BALM. Treat, preferably in the strawberry flavor. Love the jumbo stick, the great ingredients and that they’re made in the US. Smells soo good too.
    SOCKS. Alpaca lined socks for sleeping
    UNDERWEAR. Whatever is on sale at Target
    CONDIMENT. Franks hot sauce, malt vinegar a close second
    DRINKING GLASS. Just love tortoise glassware
    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. Beer drinker here. Originally from Boston which may explain it!
    MUSIC TO WORK TO. Usually silence, but on the days my husband goes golfing love to blast Christmas music.
    HAIR TIES. Lele Sadoughi headbands to get the hair off my face.

    1. OO lemon press is a good one – we use all the time in our house, too. I swear it lives on the drying rack and scarcely gets put away!

      “Malt vinegar a close second” — amen!!!


  18. WRITING IMPLEMENT: I recently switched to a ‘Remarkable’ Tablet for notes at work and love it. The hardest part was reducing my need for writing implements. My recent pens were Pentel Energel in 0.7mm, though I’m always on the hunt for the perfect gel pen with black ink and a 0.7mm thickness so I look forward to reading what other Magpies use and love.

    COOKING IMPLEMENT: My Wusthof tomato knife. I can do 98% of my knifework with this one knife and have 3 at home and 1 at my office (in case I bring fruit/veg that needs to be cut on-site). https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/wusthof-classic-5-inch-tomato-knife/?pkey=s~tomato%20knifre~2&sbkey=default

    COFFEE MUG: I don’t drink coffee/hot beverages, so none for me!

    LIP BALM: For the driest of chapped lips, Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm (https://smile.amazon.com/Dr-Dans-CortiBalm-Lip-Balm/dp/B000S2LT9Q/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1AYD7GZQ4JPY3&keywords=dr+dan+cortibalm+lip+balm&qid=1671726465&sprefix=dr+dan+c%2Caps%2C218&sr=8-4.). The taste/smell isn’t the best, but it is the most effective product I’ve ever tried.
    If I am going for moisture and tint, I love Buxom’s Dolly Balm. (https://smile.amazon.com/Buxom-Power-full-Plump-Dolly-Fever/dp/B07ZZV27PJ/ref=sr_1_7?crid=1VN4NCXJQK0LU&keywords=buxom%2Bdolly&qid=1671726489&sprefix=buxom%2Bdolly%2Caps%2C140&sr=8-7&th=1)

    SOCKS: Bombas- the cushioned no-show (https://bombas.com/products/womens-cushioned-no-shows?variant=white&size=m) and the quarter socks for boots/booties (https://bombas.com/products/womens-quarters?variant=white&size=m)

    UNDERWEAR: Tommy John Air Mesh Briefs all day everyday (https://www.tommyjohn.com/collections/womens-underwear/products/womens-air-mesh-brief?color=baritone-blue) and Cotton briefs from Costco for sleep time- (https://www.costco.com/felina-ladies'-cotton-stretch-hipster%2c-5-pack.product.100571754.html)

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK: I’m a big fan of a fresh loaf of french bread/baguette with ice cold salted butter.

    CONDIMENT: Don’t make me choose! I love using is Trader Joe’s creamy jalapeno sauce (https://www.traderjoesgroceryreviews.com/trader-joes-jalapeno-sauce-with-fresh-jalapenos/) and their avocado green goddess dressing (https://www.aisleofshame.com/trader-joes-green-goddess-dressing/#:~:text=Trader%20Joe%E2%80%99s%20Green%20Goddess%20Dressing%20is%20a%20pared,are%3A%20Water%20Avocado%20Apple%20Cider%20Vinegar%20Green%20Onions). This is by no means an exhaustive/exclusive list though.

    DRINKING GLASS: If it isn’t my Stanley filled with water, I love my La Rochere glasses for drinks at home. We have a set of these and use them for wine, cocktails, etc. They are dishwasher safe and sturdy. (https://larochere-na.com/collections/wine-glass/products/city-wine-glass-set-6)

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE: Red: Pontificis, a lovely, crowd-pleasing GSM blend I get at Trader Joe’s for $6.99/bottle. It’s a perfect ‘Tuesday Wine’ (https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=ZHIe0pSO&id=EB832A0D57042012F2599C265E792AE47400D268&thid=OIP.ZHIe0pSOy-Es2AGQ-LIUtQHaHa&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fcdn.styleblueprint.com%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2020%2f05%2fSB-Trader-joes-WinePontificis-900×900.jpg&cdnurl=https%3a%2f%2fth.bing.com%2fth%2fid%2fR.64721ed2948ecbe12cd80190f8b214b5%3frik%3daNIAdOQqeV4mnA%26pid%3dImgRaw%26r%3d0&exph=900&expw=900&q=pontificis+wine+trader+joe%27s&simid=608046900119211401&FORM=IRPRST&ck=F6762363431626F7C6F19A8BF1105CF7&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0&ajaxserp=0)
    Sparkling: Cecilia B. Prosecco, the ‘fancier’ one from Trader Joe’s at $11.99/bottle. I’ve served it to members of my Wine Vault Club with sophisticated palates who thoroughly enjoy it. (https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=8uFsBS6N&id=F599023899149A97B09C83CB58D0B7812EACCA6F&thid=OIP.8uFsBS6NQ3_MaSwgETFocQAAAA&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fwww.vinello.de%2fmedia%2fimage%2f40%2fec%2ffa%2fvaldobbiadene-prosecco-cecilia-beretta-1_600x600.png&cdnurl=https%3a%2f%2fth.bing.com%2fth%2fid%2fR.f2e16c052e8d437fcc692c2011316871%3frik%3db8qsLoG30FjLgw%26pid%3dImgRaw%26r%3d0&exph=600&expw=212&q=cecilia+b+prosecoo&simid=608036076798608359&FORM=IRPRST&ck=7ED9C6DBBE0062284CF8E123E2ACC3AF&selectedIndex=8&ajaxhist=0&ajaxserp=0)

    MUSIC TO WORK TO: I might be in the minority, but I don’t work with music. Maybe this is because I am on-site in an office and sit between our CEO and CFO?

    HAIR TIES: I very rarely use hair ties. I have accumulated a small collection of these clips over the years and have found nothing that compares. I think my oldest is over 10 years old and still works/looks perfectly! (https://www.nordstrom.com/s/ficcare-ficcarissimo-hair-clip/4046196?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FAll%20Results&color=710)

    1. Actually, there have been a few people that work in silence here! I also cannot have any music on when I’m actively writing. I need silence. But I do enjoy bopping while “shopping online” and putting together collages and all that fun stuff :). Different part of my brain!

      love those Rochere glasses!! So cute!


  19. WRITING IMPLEMENT. Black Pentel RSVP Fine Point Pens. I detest blue ink.

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. I just got a wooden spoon and have no idea how I lived for so long without one, especially after seeing my mom cook with one almost every night growing up!

    COFFEE MUG. Right now my life is too transient to have a matching set of mugs, but the larger the better. I like my odd set of hand-me-downs right now!

    LIP BALM. Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit lip balm.

    SOCKS. I stole a pair of Target wool socks from my mom that are actually great. I also like Fruit of the Loom super low-cut socks.

    UNDERWEAR. A G-string, I’m not picky about the brand. Some of my girlfriends think this is BEYOND weird, which shocked me. I’m curious if other people find this weird, LOL. I prefer them because I feel them the least and I find they almost never show a line.

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Weirdly, I don’t snack a lot and am pretty religious about eating 3 meals a day! I love salty pistachios or a pub/bar mix.

    CONDIMENT. Ketchup, and so much of it that it’s almost embarrassing. If not ketchup, vinegar!

    DRINKING GLASS. I drink water throughout the day out of a Simple Modern cup with a screw-on lid and straw, but I need to stop using straws because they’re so bad for wrinkles, like Stephanie pointed out. If that’s in the dishwasher I’ll use a random collection of Tervis Tumblers I’ve acquired over the years. And, shhh, I love buying an ice cold Smartwater or Fiji at a bodega/gas station sometimes.

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. It might not be everyday for everyone because it’s very bold and smoky, but I love this cab for ~$13. It’s the Bodega Volcanes de Chile Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon.

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. I rarely listen to music when working because it’s too distracting, but if I am, it’s The Best of Billie Eilish or The Best of the Goo Goo Dolls playlists.

    HAIR TIES. I like the clear invisibobbles, looped three times for normal wear and four for running. Other than that, I like J. Crew’s tortoise clips.

    1. LOL – “I detest blue ink.” I love love all the eccentricities that come out in these Magpie reader tell-alls :). I have no thoughts around the color of ink and just love that you do.

      Also love the comment about looping your hair tie 3x vs 4x for different occasions. A woman who attends to details!!!

      And amen to wooden spoons! Really good for scraping up that fond at the bottom of the pan!


  20. These are always fun to read! And fun to write 🙂

    WRITING IMPLEMENT. Any pen that’s handy. Unless I’m doing sudoku and then I borrow my kindergartener’s pencil!

    COOKING IMPLEMENT. Kitchenaid mixer, especially this time of year! Hands free mixing is a game changer!

    COFFEE MUG. I prefer a 16oz size mug and my favorite is a random St Patrick’s Day themed hand me down from my mom that I use year round.

    LIP BALM. Weirdly – lanolin! Lansinoh brand. I was searching for a natural replacement for Bite Beauty (RIP) and found Lanolips. Since it’s a bit pricey, I thought, why not dig out the tube of lanolin from my short lived breastfeeding career? I like the mini tubes.

    SOCKS. Smartwool for winter, saucony no show tab socks for working out.

    UNDERWEAR. Pact organic

    UNDER-THE-RADAR SNACK. Trader Joe’s plantain chips. Are these under the radar? Probably not!

    CONDIMENT. Any old Dijon will do (P. S. – just bought salt and vinegar seasoning from BW3 for my husband’s stocking!)

    DRINKING GLASS. Yeti with a straw. I bought a special lip shaped straw to help prevent lip wrinkles(!) but haven’t been remembering to use it

    EVERYDAY BOTTLE OF WINE. Matua Sav blanc (only about $10 at Trader Joe’s!) Haven’t narrowed down a favorite everyday red yet.

    MUSIC TO WORK TO. I hardly listen to music outside of the car! And right now my work is childcare and housework, so I usually listen to audiobooks or podcasts since I don’t have to concentrate while washing dishes or cooking dinner.

    HAIR TIES. Jumbo pack of black elastics, probably from target.

      1. Yes, it was his one Christmas request, haha! He likes their salt and vinegar wings but also makes wings at home a lot and white vinegar wasn’t doing the trick apparently.

    1. You also had me at salt and vinegar seasoning. What do we put this on? I love salt and vin chips but now I’m thinking…popcorn!?!??

      Agree on Kitchenaid mixer — I love baking and I live by this. My parents bought me one when I was 18 I think and I just love it.


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