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What Lisa Brennan-Jobs Can’t Live Without

Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

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 author Lisa Brennan-Jobs, whose book Small Fry comes out in paperback on Tuesday, about the lamp, fountain pen, and lash extender she can’t live without.

A poet friend and I were trying to figure out how we could protect ourselves from our phones while we were trying to work. If you’re working and your phone is available and you hit a snag in your work, you’ll go to see if someone’s texted you. It’s the equivalent serotonin rush you’d get from five days of productivity. Then my friend figured out they have these food-addiction lock boxes that you can set for a few minutes or a few days — they have a countdown timer on them so you can see your phone but you can’t interact with it. (They even sell replacement bottoms for the boxes because sometimes people break into them to get their cookies.) I haven’t had to resort to that yet, but I do have to say when I lock my phone I get an immense sense of freedom and relief. When you’re working, everything feels like an emergency even when it’s not. Now I’ll leave it locked for as long as I can. For a few hours it can feel like the ’90s. And even if it’s just for 20 minutes it feels good.

These pens elevate the to-do list. I like the plastic colored versions more than the other ones — I like the minty one and the red one and the hunger green — just because they’re lighter weight. I also just like writing with a fountain pen because they give you that good feeling, even though I don’t like the formality associated with a fountain pen. These make it light and easy and fun.

When the sun comes in in the morning, it hits the solar panel and it turns so that there are rainbows all over the kitchen. You have to use it in direct sunlight, but it’s wonderful. In the winter, you might get 30 minutes a day, but it’s worth it. It’s worth looking like a hippie for a half hour of sun. I remember when our son was super tiny and how he reacted to it. I’ve loved them for years.

I went through a period when I got allergic to eye makeup! I’d been wearing the same brand of contacts since I was thirteen and two years ago my eyes swelled up, and the eye makeup was making it worse so I tried to find something as natural as possible. I actually don’t know if this is natural at all, but when I was on book tour, the makeup woman told me that usually mascaras with primer are horrible, but this one was good. It gave my lashes some length, and it didn’t cause any reaction.

I give these lamps out as gifts to people who have babies. We used it in the hospital right after our son was born so I could be able to see enough to nurse. The hospital has this horrible on/off brash lighting, so instead we used this cozy sweet light. The thing you can’t tell from the pictures is that you can adjust the opening. If you open it just a little you get a little bit of light, but if open it a lot, you get a lot. It’s basically just a dimmable cozy portable light source. And it’s really enchanting. I got them for my stepdaughters and they were over the moon because they charge their phones with them.

I’m actually an anxious person, and this stuff helps me sleep. I take it before bed, and it fizzes in the water — it’s actually not terrible tasting in the original flavor. Sometimes I think part of the reason you can’t sleep is because you think you can’t sleep, so this will help with that. I’ve also heard that after you have a child you have a harder time sleeping, which makes no sense because you’re so sleep-deprived. I don’t know any moms who are able to sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s the best advice that no one could ever follow.

I use only this brand of products for skin care because it’s natural and oil-based and the most glorious stuff. This makeup remover is just brilliant. I found out about it because Sally Singer was asked what she’d bring in her suitcase by some publication, and she mentioned this stuff, and I thought, What’s that? They also have this Vitamin C that you mix yourself into an emulsion because if you’re using something that’s not pre-made you don’t need the preservatives. It was nice when I was pregnant not to use problematic skin-care.

Red Blossom sources its teas from China, and this is a famous black tea that’s like a Builder’s Tea but is a very good-quality single-source tea. I love all Red Blossom teas actually because they’re just beautifully subtle.

So the problem with tea — I love tea, especially when I’m working — is that it gets oversteeped or cold. So this is an amazing solution to both those things. You brew your tea in your pot, and when it’s at the perfect level of hot and strong, but not too strong, you pour it into the Stelton, and you can pour your cup out of it, and it’s hot and perfect. And it has this clever brilliant top that allows you to pour your tea without having to unscrew the lid. Plus it’s chic.

I don’t like the Bluetooth keyboards. Your battery is always running low. And maybe that’s a problem that’s been fixed, but it just feels like the world is deciding it likes things I don’t like. (But then when I decide to modernize, it’s usually not so bad.) I just like the standard Mac USB keyboard. I know.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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What Lisa Brennan-Jobs Can’t Live Without