Because of the amount of time I spend cooking in and around my stovetop and oven, I need to use cookware that is durable, well-made, and reliable. But because I do so much food photography, I need that cookware to look good, too. For me, Falk is the best of both worlds. Copper conducts heat very quickly and evenly, and Falk was the first cookware company to figure out how to fuse copper directly to stainless steel, resulting in incredibly durable pots and pans with a beautiful copper exterior and sturdy stainless steel interior. They're manufactured in Belgium where Falk has been owned and operated by the same family for several generations, getting the pans' construction and design just right. They have a more modern-looking line called the Signature line, but I just love the rustic hand-hewn look of the cast iron handles on their Classical line, especially with the prominent FALK stamped into the iron. Every time I use them, I know that whatever I prepare is always going to cook evenly and look beautiful. But honestly, how can any kind of food paired with brushed copper not look amazing?
I have an affinity for perfumes and own quite a few of them, but Tokyo Milk is by far my favorite brand. Each of their scents stay true to the pureness of the botanical-based essences their perfumes are composed of. My favorite is #13 Song in D Minor, an alluring blend of White Orchid, Orange Blossoms, Gardenia, and Amber that comes together in a harmonious scent that is both attractive and subtle. My favorite part of this particular blend is that it manages to be very floral without coming across as cloyingly sweet, a problem I've encountered with many floral-based perfumes. They have lines of lotions and candles that match the scents of their perfumes, too, so you can enjoy your favorite scent in whichever way you choose.
If you cook as often as I do, having a high-quality set of sharp knives will save you a ridiculous amount of time and effort when it comes to food prep. Chopping food with dull knives forces you to use more physical pressure in order to make the knife actually cut through the food, which not only exhausts your muscles more rapidly, but it increases the risks of cutting yourself because the greater the amount of force you're using, the more likely the dull knife is to slip off the food and onto your finger (ouch). When I got my first set of Wusthof knives, I was completely blown away by how much easier and faster they made my cooking experience. Crafted with German stainless steel, these knives will last you throughout your lifetime as long as you get them sharpened every few months.
I love their dishes because of their vibrant patterns and durability. They are light, near-impossible to chip, but look and feel very similar to their ceramic counterparts. A great choice if you have children and/or don't want to feel like you're lifting weights every time you clean up after a dinner party. They also have a line of metal-based plates, platters, and bowls that give dishes a wonderfully hand-thrown look. If you're looking for design + durability in your dinnerware, look no further.
If you enjoy trying new make-up, creams, fragrances, and all other things beauty-related, then I highly recommend checking out Birchbox. For a nominal $10 monthly fee, Birchbox sends you a small box every month filled with new make-up-y, face cream-y, & nice-smelling goodies to try. While some of them are sample sizes, often times you'll get full-sized items that are regularly much more than the $10 monthly fee (for example, I've gotten a full sized lip stain and a couple full sized mascaras that would have set me back over $50 all together). I've also gotten random products that I never would have thought to try but loved, like a dry powder shampoo for days where you don't have the time to wash your hair (three out of four days, in my case. I just don't get greasy very fast because my skin is so dry. TMI?) (Also I'm conserving water!!)), or argan oil to rub into the tips of your hair to prevent split ends, which worked miracles for my formerly permed (I know! I'm terrible.) fried hair ends.
I've been wearing pretty much only Born shoes for the past 5 years. I love them because above all, they are comfortable and provide my feet and legs with great support. But unlike most comfortable-shoe brands, these don't look like your grandma's slippers. They're stylish and have an artisanal touch to them that I love. Everything is handcrafted, 100% leather and will last a lifetime provided you care for them and get the soles repaired when you wear through them (yep, I've worn them so often that I've actually worn through the rubber base of the heels on these guys). I like the vintage feel the designs have to them, too. Makes me feel like I'm wearing something that an Italian shoe cobbler made back in the 18th century. Just kind of puts a little extra spring in my step.
I love getting my seeds from this company because, while they do sell an amazing variety of rare and heirloom seeds, their end goal is not sales, it is seed preservation. Victory Seeds Co. also is one of the few seed companies out there that actually farms their seeds themselves to make sure the seeds measure up to their own high standard for quality. They ship the seeds very quickly after you order them, (mine got to me within a week), and the pricing is incredibly reasonable (I purchased Moon & Stars Watermelon seeds here for $1.55 and at Park Seed they're $1.85). But my favorite part of victory seeds is reading about the stories that accompany many of the plants. For example: "My grandfather came over to America when he was just seven years old (in around 1910). He came from a small town just outside of Palermo (Sicily) called Borgetto. When he and his seven brothers came over, they brought various things from the homeland and one of them were these tomato seeds. This was a special type of tomato that they used for sauces and they wanted to grow it in America.' Robert's grandfather passed away in 2003 and Robert, as well as his late father, took over growing the seed. We are thankful for people like Robert who have the foresight to protect old seed varieties, like this one, by submitting them to our stewardship and allowing us to make them available to you." How amazing is that?
My cat is slightly chubby and likes to lay around and sleep all day. He was pretty disengaged with all of his toys and I was having a hard time getting him to exercise. I scoured amazon looking at reviews of cat toys that might get him to move around a bit, and I found this little wonder. As soon as I took it out of the box, he immediately began scratching the pad in the middle contentedly, and once I flicked the little ball around the track, he was obsessed. It's nice because he plays with this all by himself, and it gets him to move around swatting at stuff. I'm kind of surprised he's entertained by this, but he is a cat, so...
Monticello was Thomas Jefferson's home and plantation. He was an avid gardener, and collected seeds and plant specimens from all over the world and our country (he's the President who sent Lewis and Clark out to the west). His garden was huge and he was very particular about the quality of the plants he grew. Today, Monticello is a national historic site, and the seeds from Thomas Jefferson's plants have been harvested and replanted, year after year, to retain the hardiness and quality of his garden. Now the seeds are available to purchase commercially, and the money spent on the seeds and plants goes towards maintaining and preserving the Monticello grounds.
I love this camera for two reasons. One, because it has different frame settings, and two, because there are only two "aperture" settings, cloudy and sunny, so whatever I get from the 35mm roll is essentially a surprise. The frame settings are especially awesome because I can either A) Expose the entire negative, including film sprockets, B) Expose a normal rectangle photograph, or C) Expose a perfect square like the old TLRs used to. It's also really light and small, so I always take it with me when I travel.
Mars Water is a laid-back, surf rock band headed by my brother, Ponny. Some people may assume that this is sibling bias, but me and my brother have the kind of relationship where if I didn't actually like his band's music I would just tell him and it'd be no big deal. But the fact is, I love their music. When I'm stressed out from work and life here in L.A. I just put some of their tracks on and it makes me feel like I'm laying out on Cannon Beach back home on a sunny day. My favorite tracks are The Great Northwest, Anemone, Chills, I Dream of the Ocean, and Something About Home. If you're ever having a gloomy day, put some of their music in the background and feel the surfy tunes take you away to a happier, brighter place.
Want to see more of my favorite things? Peek at my Pinterest