what i can't live without

What Writer Lisa Taddeo Can’t Live Without

Photo: Lisa Taddeo

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 writer Lisa Taddeo — whose book Three Women came out this month — about the hip pack, iced tea, and highlighter she can’t live without.

I like the fine point, and there’s an ultrafine point, too. I use the fine point to write the heading of whatever I need to do, and the ultrafine point to write the A., B., C., D., of it. Talking about it makes me so embarrassed. Everything is in a different color, and it just helps me see what’s going on. My Capricorn OCD brain likes to have it very organized — I mean, organized to me. Anybody else looking at it thinks I’m completely insane.

I like thick paper because I use Sharpies and they’re going to bleed through — these don’t bleed through, and I can try to save paper by using the back side of it. I just like the feel of the paper, it’s giant and it’s thick. And I carry it around with me. When I was in London recently, I brought this smaller little notebook, like a Moleskine, and I thought I would put everything down in there and then transfer it — that was really such a mess. It made me nervous. So I bring the sketchbook with me. I can’t even imagine when the last time I didn’t have one. It’s a hundred sheets, so that’s a hundred days.

I’ve been into hip packs for a while, I have a large selection of them. This is the one that I feel really comfortable wearing — it’s smallish, it’s soft, and it hangs in a way that doesn’t make me feel constricted. The reason I use hip packs at all is because of my kid; I need all hands on deck. I’ve used it reporting, but I use it more lately when I’m doing events. I just wear it during the event so that I have a pen in there, or a Sharpie, because I can only sign books with Sharpies.

It’s just so powerful and its empathy is so startling. It cuts into the very core of what human nature is — specifically the experience of being a woman and mothering. I have a 4-year-old daughter, and the book reminds me of what is most important in terms of motherhood.

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I love sweet drinks, but I don’t drink soda, so this is like a treat. It’s like a snack — it just makes me really happy, the sweetness of it and the flavor of the peach. I’ve always loved peach ice tea, but now when I go back to Snapple it’s crazy how it’s so different from the Joe iced tea. This is so sweet and so peachy and it’s so intense, and it’s intense in a way that makes me feel safe.

Photo: Reid, Hilary

I have no idea how to do makeup. I will walk around with mascara under my eyes. The High Beam, which is something I’ve been using for a while, just kind of highlights your face. It’s the only makeup I know how to do. I like the name and I like the color, it’s like a rainbow white. There are lots of other highlighters out there and none of them feel as good, or achieve the desired effect, in the way that this does.

It’s something I use on my lips and cheeks. It’s very low-key — it’s something I could put on whether I’m wearing makeup or not, just to not feel drab. I actually got it for the first time recently during this event at Goop — I was on a panel at In Goop Health in Los Angeles — and it was in my gift bag, and I just fell in love with it. It’s like a dark red apple color, it looks really lush in the jar. But it goes on very light, you just feel like you’ve been blushing. And it’s small and it fits in my hip pack.

When I first met my husband, he was wearing it, and I just really, really loved it. I like male cologne. Especially when I’m wearing something like a dress, I prefer to be in a male cologne to offset the dress aspect. It’s just a really deep and powerful scent. You know how sometimes perfumes smell a little too pungent and floral, or whatever the notes of it are, and it just turns deeper over the day and feels like it goes “bad”? This one remains in a quiet and steady manner that never offends me later in the day. I guess it reminds me of meeting my husband — it reminds me of being carefree and childless. I’ve completely appropriated it [from him], he doesn’t like to smell like me, he thinks that’s annoying. So there are two bottles and they’re both in my medicine cabinet.

I like to send physical thank-you notes, and these are just really beautiful. They’re small, and I like the messy edges, and I just feel like it’s a really pretty thing to send to someone. I want to show how grateful I am in the conduit through which I am thanking them. They’re super small, so I use ultrafine Sharpies or a really nice blue or black pen.

I love all of Joni Mitchell, but Blue is the one that speaks to me the most. All of the songs on that album, but specifically “Carey.” I looked up the history of the song recently, and it’s about a waiter that she met when she was traveling through this weird place in, I believe, Greece, where there were a bunch of young people playing guitars in this town, and no tourists. She was there writing, and she was just becoming famous, so I think she was trying to get away, and she met this waiter, who was kind of surly and angry, and he would smash bottles when they were drinking at night. The song is about her having to leave and go back to California, and there’s a line about her “fancy clean white linens” because she’s living outside in this little cave with him. It’s just so amazing the story behind it. I use it while I’m writing, I’ll kind of listen to it on repeat.

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What Three Women Writer Lisa Taddeo Can’t Live Without