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.