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What R.O. Kwon Can’t Live Without

Photo: Smeeta Mahanti

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 The Incendiaries author R.O. Kwon about the hand sanitizer, climbing accessory, and sunscreen she can’t live without.

$18 for 12

Often, I write by hand, and this simple ballpoint pen has been a reliable instrument since I was in high school. I buy them by the dozen in the fine-point black; I pray Pilot never stops making them.

Face masks are moisturizing, skin-nourishing magic, and this particular mask is even more magic than most. [Editor’s note: Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton says this mask saved her on a trip to Japan.] It calms down my skin when nothing else will help.

Right now, I’m in the middle of my favorite kind of reading, which is rereading: I’m revisiting Nicole Chung’s radiant All You Can Ever Know, her account of her adoption. I’m so glad it’ll soon be in the world for everyone else to be able to read.

Every bit of science I’ve read about hand sanitizer says there’s no reason for me not to sanitize my hands several times a day. I love the EO sanitizer in peppermint-thyme because, on top of doing its microorganism-killing job, the spray smells delicious.

I tend to wear a lot of black eye shadow. If and when my eye shadow starts falling apart because of humidity, time, or tears, this soft eyeliner lets me touch up my eyes while I’m out and about.

Rock-climbing is the only kind of exercise I’ve ever come across that feels pretty much entirely like play. As a result, I’m terribly addicted. Blisters happen; this tape lets me ignore any such mishaps and keep climbing.

This literary magazine, released annually, is like a temple to me, a place where I go to find fellow acolytes of language. Each year, it publishes some of the most exciting fiction I get to read.

I have a monochrome, minimalist wardrobe — most of the time, I only wear black dresses. I’m just trying to cut down on the number of writing-unrelated decisions I have to make in a given day, but this can start feeling a little too repetitive. Enter tights! I have an array of fun tights, but these black fishnets are a standby: I love how they feel, the texture of the net on my legs.

This is a wonderful, exuberant Scotch, complex and inviting. It’s pricey, as single malts usually are, so I try to reserve it for special occasions. Since it’s a cask-strength Scotch — which means it’s much stronger than the usual whisky — it can last awhile.

I burn easily, and over the course of a day, all sunscreen wears off. I need to reapply sunscreen; you, too, might need to reapply; it can be hard to reapply if, like me, you wear any makeup. This Japanese Bioré spray isn’t protective enough to be enough on its own, but it can be applied as a touch-up sunscreen over makeup. I won’t leave my apartment without a canister of it in my bag. [To read more about her skin care routine, click here.]

I’ve realized, over time, that I only possess so much self-control; lacking sufficient discipline, I have to simulate it through external measures. The internet, for me, is often a peace-destroying drug, and I control access to it by relying on a flip phone and staying the hell away from smartphones. Plus, the batteries on this thing go on and on.

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What R.O. Kwon Can’t Live Without