What Gail Simmons Can’t Live Without

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If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked Top Chef judge and author of the new cookbook Bringing It Home, about the kimono, Star Wars popcorn maker, and honey lozenges she can’t live without.

This is an on-the-go lip-and-cheek balm made with olive oil from the Sofia Coppola winery. [Editors’ note: Casey Wilson is also a fan.] It looks like mini-deodorant and is very small, so I keep it in my purse at all times. I use it every day when I’m on the go just to brighten my cheeks and lips. My daughter goes into my purse to use it, too.

I am a Star Wars and science-fiction and fantasy fan, and also a big popcorn fan — we make it in my house a lot. I don’t like microwave popcorn, though. I prefer air-popped kernels. At Christmas, we were playing this game called the Minnesota Dice Game, although I think everyone just claims it’s their state’s dice game. Everyone brings a bunch of gifts and you throw them in the middle, and if you roll doubles, you get to choose a gift, but then in subsequent rounds you can steal — it’s a bit like a white elephant. Anyway, last year, I snatched this popcorn maker after fierce competition, and I love it because it’s the shape of a Death Star and makes air-popped popcorn.

So everyone’s heard about Parachute from the subway ads, but they’re actually really good sheets. [Editors’ note: We have written about the mattress topper from Parachute before.] I love linen sheets. I actually bought some linen sheets from a fancy Italian linen brand when we moved into our home a few years ago, and we loved them because linen is just the most comfortable fabric. It gets softer the more you wash, and more worn in, in this great way. Well, we wore them in so much that we got holes in them. Then we thought, Parachute is so approachable, we might as well try them. Now, we’ve had them for three months, and we love them. They’re great linen sheets that won’t cost you a crazy amount.

Loeffler Randall is such a great shoe brand at such an affordable price. I buy so many shoes from them, it’s embarrassing. I have their boots and summer sandals and espadrilles. These are beautifully designed booties because they’re put-together and help you look like an adult in meetings.

Yeti makes that famous cooler, and I have these two coffee mugs from them that I just love. Everyone gives me a million thermoses and water bottles, and I don’t use them at all except for my Yeti. I like making my coffee at home when I can, and since I don’t always have time to drink it at home, I like carrying it. The thermos is so good at keeping my coffee warm, and it’s just a badass-looking, simple mug. Very functional.

Everyone knows about Manuka honey now because of its medicinal properties, but a friend of a friend sent me some of these Manuka-honey drops that I became addicted to. I love these lozenges because even if you’re not sick, they’re deliciously tasty. Heading into flu season, I’m going to be on the road a lot for the book tour, and I’m constantly talking, so I’m going to be packing this one with me to keep my throat in good shape.

It’s a hotel in Austin I discovered a few years ago that’s incredibly luxurious, by far my favorite city hotel in America. It has the most beautiful vibe and every design detail is thoughtful — you want to move in, but you can’t. So every room has a bunch of stuff in the bathroom that you can buy, and of course one of them is this indigo kimono robe. The first one or two times I was there, I adored the robe and didn’t take it off the whole time. It’s nice because it’s thin, so you’re not sweating like when you wear terry robes. This thin cotton gets softer as it’s washed. Two years ago, I took three girlfriends there for a weekend, and as a gift they bought me the robe — now I wear it every day.

This is a beauty company with a store in Soho and Boston that was one of the first all-natural beauty stores of its kind — everything’s ecofriendly and sustainable and fair trade, and they make this beautiful hand soap that I use for everything in this beautiful lemongrass scent. I wouldn’t brush your teeth with it, but for everything else, it’s great.

Valerie is an amazingly accomplished chocolate-maker and pastry chef — I discovered her Good Mix a few years ago, which is a crunchy mix of all sorts of delicious things that she then covers in chocolate: almonds and sesame seeds and raisins. It’s like trail mix, but covered in chocolate. And then she came out with Hot Good Mix, which has just this light dash of cayenne pepper or spicy paprika, and I can’t even explain, but it’s super addictive. I got it for all my friends for Christmas last year.

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What Gail Simmons Can’t Live Without