what i can't live without

What Dianne Morales Can’t Live Without

Photo: courtesy dianne morales

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 hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Dianne Morales — a Democratic candidate running to be New York City’s next mayor — about the coffee, mascara, and cheese snacks she can’t live without.

Photo: retailer

I was raised on Bustelo coffee. I have to have it to start my day. It’s non-negotiable. Anyone who really knows me knows this. Even if I am meeting someone for coffee, I have Bustelo before. I drink it with milk that I boil on my stovetop. The milk has to boil — it can’t just be hot. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot out, my morning coffee routine is the same 365 days a year.

Combining these is my guilty pleasure, the ultimate treat. It’s a salty-sweet thing. I started doing it 20 years ago at movie theaters. Sometimes I’d sneak in the Goobers because some theaters don’t sell them. At home, when I am feeling indulgent or, you know, emotionally eating, I will make Orville Redenbacher popcorn, put it in a big bowl, and pour the Goobers over it. Each bite has the right balance of salty and sweet.

People always ask me, “Are those your natural eyelashes?” I’ve got long, curly lashes and this mascara brings out all the length and volume. It doesn’t clump. I am not trying to be an advertisement for Giorgio Armani, but I really do love it. I discovered it, I don’t know, five years ago? When I find something that works for me, I stick with it.

Back in the day, I literally lugged our stereo system into the backyard. But now I have a really cool Bose bluetooth speaker that I can take outside. I live in a Brownstone with a postage-stamp-size backyard. It is the first private open space my family ever had in New York City, so we like to invite everyone over for family dinners on Sundays. In the summer, we gather in the backyard, and we use this speaker. I have a salsa playlist I’ve made over the years. We’re huge fans of El Gran Combo, a salsa band from Puerto Rico. And Marc Anthony — he’s probably the person I’ve seen in concert the most. My daughter, who is 20, jokes about how nobody her age has been to as many Marc Anthony concerts as she has.

Photo: retailer

I love the way these write. I love the way they feel in my hand. I like blue ink: Everybody who has worked for me over the past decade knows this. In my last job, if people borrowed my pen, they knew they had to give it back. If I knew someone wouldn’t give it back, I wouldn’t let them borrow it. I like blue ink because when you’re writing on a form or something, everything else is black so the blue stands out. Everyone else uses black, so I think using blue is also a little bit about wanting to be different and sticking out.