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 chef Carla Hall, whose new cookbook Carla Hall’s Soul Food is out today, about the weighted blanket, shampoo, and whisk accessory she can’t live without.
It’s all about hydration when you’re traveling, and as a black woman, I basically travel with a bag full of products. I don’t even have room for clothes. The Phytojoba is just a really great, intensely moisturizing shampoo. I found it from my hairstylist at the Chew, who actually cared about getting and keeping my hair healthy, not just giving it style.
These are little pincers with two little pads on each end that can wipe your glasses on the inside and out at the same time. I didn’t know about these, and my husband, who’s all about the stocking stuffers, gave them to me and my stepson, Noah. They are just so awesome and life-changing! I travel with at least five pairs because I hate having dirty and smudged glasses.
I was getting a gift for my mother for Christmas last year, and I literally went on Amazon and searched last-minute gifts. I was looking at the melatonin mist, and the Gravity weighted blanket came up as the thing other people looking at this item bought. I ended up getting it for myself and forgetting about my mother. I tell you, you are going to love it. It’s like you’re being swaddled. There is nothing like it. I spritz the melatonin mist on either side of my neck, and then it’s lights out. I have a big Velcro sleep mask I use called the Sleep Master. When I travel, I bring duct tape so that anything with a light — a blinking alarm clock or what have you — gets covered. I put a towel under the crack of the door. I’m all about the sleep, but the Gravity Blanket is the thing. My husband said it felt like sleeping with a toddler on his back, and I was like, “You’re welcome.”
These I learned about from the co-author of my book, Genevieve Ko. [Editor’s note: We’ve written about these before.] I’m working and standing a lot, and when I’m doing cooking for these food and wine shows, it can get really exhausting. My mother has been wearing compression hosiery, but they are old lady, and I said, “I am never wearing that!” But Vim has fun colors and patterns that are taking the old lady out of compression socks. My legs don’t get as tired as they used to. The first time I wore them, I sat down at the end of the day and thought, “Oh, wow, my legs aren’t tired.” It made a huge difference.
It’s this little plastic thing you stick your whisk through before you start making anything, and then when you’re done, it gets all the stuff you needed off the whisk. It’s so great for desserts, especially things like thick cake and brownie batter. Don’t waste any of that! It makes cleaning up so much easier, too.
Ajiri is a female-owned company that’s gone to Kenya and empowered women there — it’s actually Kenyan women making the art and beads on the packaging of this tea, so not only are you getting delicious tea, but you’re helping a woman in Kenya with her business. All the profits go to orphan education in Kenya, too. I love the chamomile for nighttime.
Every curly-haired girl knows. I have to do all this stuff for my hair because when you lie down on a cotton pillowcase, your hair doesn’t slide and gets caught. The cotton also absorbs all the moisture you put into your hair, which then goes onto your face. It’s bad. So the satin-lined cap makes sure your hair doesn’t get snagged and when you’re sleeping, it all stays nice and free to move about. And it has to be satin! Wool or cotton will pull your hair, but these are the best.
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