All I Want for Christmas…
I have an Amazon Wishlist that I keep fairly up to date, but you know, where’s the fun in that? As I got to thinking about this holiday season, I decided to take a cue from the various bloggers and doers who I follow and craft a wishlist of my one. It may be a bit aspirational, but if we can’t dream big on a wishlist, what are we even doing here?
Houseplants & Planters
Last summer, I finally got around to adopting a couple of houseplants. Convinced I had a brown thumb for the longest time, I hesitated to bring anything requiring watering into my apartment. But I’ve had decent success with a spider plant and a calathea (which it would take effort to mess up, let’s be honest), and I’m interested in expanding my indoor greenery—as long as they’re safe to have around cats.
High on my list is a fiddle leaf fig tree, and while there are plenty of realistic-looking fake options, the real ones are fairly easy to manage and, with care, become gorgeous centerpieces in any room. I also have some spaces for a few fun air plants and despite earlier failed attempts, I even promise to take care of them this time! I’d love to mix things up a bit with a Boston Fern or a Parlor Palm, too.
And of course, I’ll need something to keep all these new plants in; right now, I’m using simple terra cotta planters I snagged on the cheap from Ikea. Turns out, they have a more interesting options, including a fancy gold one, a slick white ceramic one, and even this quaint little number with a scalloped top.
I buy myself plenty of books throughout the year, typically at a used book store I stop by on my walk back from the train. But every now and then, there are a few I’m anticipating so much that I make sure they’re at the top of any holiday wishlist. This year is no exception, as there are at least two books high on my list, both written by people I admire. Former First Lady Michelle Obama has a new memoir out, Becoming, and the early buzz is that it’s candid, rich with detail and a worthy read. I’d also love a copy of Gnight, Gmorning, a little bedside read that compiles Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fun, encouraging daily tweets. I retweet them practically everyday anyways; why not have them at my fingertips in printed form, too?
Also on my list? There’s a new book out about the Howard Hughes era from Karina Longworth, host of my all-time favorite podcast, You Must Remember This. Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood combines her uncanny ability to research and fact check with her knack for telling a great story, and I’d love to read it. And a new book by the wonderful Anne Lamott recently came across my radar, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope. Lamott has a way with words that I’ve always appreciated, and this latest is a much-needed salvo in a crazy, mixed-up world.
A Good Night’s Sleep
I don’t typically have trouble sleeping, but the older I get, the more I can appreciate the value of a good night’s sleep. I’ve recently invested in some decent sheets (you know, the $30 ones at Target instead of the $15 ones…), I have a simple eye mask I don when I know I want to be able to sleep past sunrise, and I’ve got a bottle of lavender essence I spritz on my pillows before I lay down my head each night.
But even I know there are ways to up my game a little further. Like these pillows, for example; rather than memory foam or down that disappear underneath me, these are stuffed with a shredded foam gel that makes them both flexible and firm. I got to sleep on a few on a recent trip out of town and it was dreamy! (See what I did there?) As for what I’m wearing to bed, that could use an upgrade, too. I’m thinking a classic pajama set like this one from J.Crew or these from Uniqlo. And of course, there’s nothing like padding around your place on a weekend morning in a great pair of slippers. Just add a piping hot cup of coffee with these beauties, and you’ve got yourself a cozy little set up.
I’ve been doing more and more in the kitchen lately, from my summer experiment in bread-making to my annual holiday baking binges. I even tried canning jam once (it didn’t go great), and as the weather gets colder this season, I’ve started making my own soups, too. I find my adventures stifled, however, by the limitations of my own kitchen shelves. I have only the basics in utensils, gadgets, pots and pans, and it shows. Would it be great to have a fancy, candy-apple red KitchenAid standing mixer on my counter? Imagine the goodies I could get into the works with that beauty?
Too much? I’d settle for a simple emulsion blender to make it easier to make soups right in the pan. Or how about an accessories kit to help when I give making sourdough bread a try again? (Truth be told, I didn’t know you needed so many accessories for making sourdough bread.)
Tech & Accessories
Earlier this year, I finally caved and bought myself a printer. At just $70, it seemed like a no-brainer for my growing business; I was surprised to receive a hulking box of an appliance, and even more shocked to realize just how many extraneous bells and whistles it came with (faxing capabilities? Who faxes anymore?). But I digress…
It got me thinking that there are probably a few more tech accessories I could use in my life, ones that I’m just fine without on any give day but would be pretty OK to have if someone happened to gift them. For one, I need a new Mac keyboard; the one I have seems to have a wiring shortage on certain keys, meaning that I can’t use the right shift key, the up arrow, the number five…on and on. Needless to say, it’s annoying.
If I’m headed out on a commute or to run errands, chances are I have headphones on. Though I’m probably listening to one of the million podcasts I follow (or, this time of year, holiday music), I wear them more to keep the world out. I don’t want to hear that loud conversation on the train, and I don’t want to be approached about whatever that guy on the corner is selling, thankyouverymuch. I currently use the wired version of Apple’s earbuds, but I’m more and more intrigued by their Airpods. Wouldn’t be mad about having a pair of my own.
Slightly unrelated, but nevertheless a tech gadget, is this simple indoor security camera I recently added to my wishlist. I recently traveled to Toronto for just under a week, and though I have amazing friends who are kind enough to check in on Audrey while I’m away, I still found myself concerned that I’d left her on her own. Putting a simple closed-circuit camera up in my kitchen could keep me informed on her food and water levels, and get the chance to see her now and then while I’m away, too.
A Two-Bedroom Apartment in a Great Neighborhood
While I don’t imagine this one is going to fit on Santa’s sleigh, it’s nonetheless something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I do love my apartment, and I feel like I’ve settled into it nicely over the years. But it has been several years now, and I never intended this spot to be a long-term one. I still don’t have curtains in my windows (and now the blinds are showing their age), and my kitchen, cobbled together with a table instead of counters and crumbling, cheap Ikea cabinets, is always cluttered no matter how much I clean up. I’m just generally sick of living in the same dust anymore.
What’s more, as my business grows, I’m well over the long days sitting at my dining room table to work. I’d considered investing in a desk at a nearby co-working space, but those can easily run $300-$400/month. Why spend that money externally when I could put it towards my monthly rent and move up to a bigger place? With a second bedroom, I could create a combined guest room and office space that would mean my dining room can get back to having just the one job.
And if a new apartment isn’t in the cards, maybe I could at least get a decent cleaning service in every once in a while.
What’s on your Christmas list this year?