It’s that time of the year again, time to buy me things for the holiday season. I celebrate all major gift giving holidays from all denominations of all religions, so there’s no excuse to get me nothing. For your convenience, here is a small sampling of gifts I will appreciate. Cheers. Thanks a lot!
Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten [LINK]
I have been asking for Ina Garten cookbooks since I started making online Christmas lists, and for whatever reason, nobody ever buys them for me. I have to had to buy every cookbook she has ever released all by myself and I never have had one signed in person, and reader, that’s a tragedy. Ina Garten and I are destined to be best friends. Like Martha Stewart and Joanna Lumley and Joan Rivers (rest her blessed soul), we are the same person. Like Ina, I love Paris and will eventually have a home there. I love oversized denim tops. I love a good bob. I love money. I love cooking simple foods. I love being casually elegant. I like being superior but in a cool way. I like sipping tiny bottles of champagne with a straw and giggling my way through the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Ina and I are BFF material. Anyway, this latest cookbook is all about the food she cooks for her RICH and ADORABLE husband, Jeffrey. They have the greatest life. I don’t want there to ever be a Garten scandal as I simply won’t recover from my illusions being shattered. This book looks flawless like everything she does. And I mean this, reader, there is nothing more trustworthy in all the world than a Barefoot Contessa recipe.
Medical Neurobiology by Peggy Mason [LINK]
You might not know this, but I credit Dr. Peggy Mason with saving my life. A year or so ago, I really can’t remember. Yes I can, I was in Paris when I was taking this free online class about neurobiology, so it must have been 2014. Anyway, I have literally no idea why I was taking a free online class about neurobiology, but I fell absolutely in love with the brain and all of its fascinating connections and processes. My brain was studying itself, so I suppose that’s where the intrigue lies, but don’t think too much about that or else you’ll get into one of these weird mental loops with questions you can’t answer. After the class, which I did absolutely fabulously in by the way, I was very enamored of the brain. So, a year or so later when I first had some weird symptoms, I was quite ready to deal with what was going on. I knew that there was an issue that was brain based. It wasn’t a virus or a pinched nerve or a burned retina. It was that damned Multiple Sclerosis! In the time I spent searching for answers, I thought about nerve pathways and synapses that I had learned about, and I determined what it was long before my first appointment and months before my diagnosis. Time proved me right, which I’m annoyed about, but if it weren’t for Professor Mason, I might not be able to walk right now. She really helped me understand how my brain works, which saved me a lot of stress and confusion when things started to go wonky. This book, which is really a textbook for one of her classes, looks brilliant. My brain wants to know even more about itself!
ALDI Gift Card
Y’all know that I’m a ho for ALDIs. We go over this at least once a month, if not more, don’t we? I just can’t get over the suspiciously low prices on food there. By all accounts, it doesn’t make any sense to sell pomegranates for three quarters. And I think what shocks me more than the price is the quality of the goods for sale. I don’t understand why their boxed mushroom risotto is so good. It tastes better than some I’ve ordered in nice restaurants for ten times the price. Their boxed lemon squares are also ridiculous. They’re so easy to make, and they taste just as good as homemade. I’ve been a snob for so long, reader, and I just find this all impossible to understand and even harder to believe. So, dear reader, I need gift cards this holiday season so that I can support my delicious shopping habit. I need to buy several heads of broccoli every week. I’m obsessed with their broccoli. I don’t know if there’s anything different about it, but that shit is fabulous. I need their wine, which I have found to be cheaper than some bottled waters. There is this brand called Winking Owl that makes a rosé that is honestly better than many I’ve had. I mean, I’ve had rosé in the South of France straight out of a Provençal winery that isn’t as good as this dumb wine I bought in Ames. Try to explain that to me? Explain their fabulous cheddar cheese, the rich ricotta, the insanely delicious sunflower loaves of bread. It’s madness, reader. MADNESS. Buy me a gift card. Buy one for yourself. Treat yourself! LIVE.
All my long life, I have wanted a fireplace. There are few things in this world that appeal to me more than sitting beside a roaring fire, reading about the early days of Egyptology, and sipping on ALDI wine. I did that this weekend at my mother’s house, and it was just then loveliest experience. Every time I’m somewhere with a fireplace, I’m not anywhere but in front of the fireplace. It’s just the most luxurious, loveliest thing in the world. I don’t have the gas hookups in my house for a fireplace, but I know exactly where I want one. I have a room in my upstairs to update to match the rest of the level, and I can’t really start until I have the right fireplace to design the room around. It’s going to be fabulous, but I need somebody to buy me the fireplace. I mean, I’ll eventually do it myself if I have to, but Christmas is the time for thoughtful gift giving. There could be no more thoughtful gift to give to poor, cold, multiple sclerosis-ridden me. Think of me and my incurable neurological disorder as you wander the intoxicating aisles of Lowe’s and the Home Depot. I only have a couple stipulations. I want a real flame. And if it’s not real, it needs to be incredibly realistic like the one I’ve linked you to. I want to worry that the fake flames can incinerate me if I get too close. Thank you most kindly.
I was devastated earlier this year when my treadmill died. It had served me well for years and years and for thousands of miles. When it passed on into that big gym in the sky, it was summer and I was on my way to Europe and Africa, so I didn’t care one bit about replacing it. I could walk outside whenever I wanted into wonderfully hot, sunny daylight. Annoyingly, winter has arrived, and there is no force of nature that is going to get me out of my house and walking through snow-covered roads in the pursuit of exercise. No way. No how. This is difficult for me since I like to walk about fifteen thousand steps every day. Now that it’s cold and dark and I don’t do it, I notice that I am feeling a bit more sluggish. I need to get moving again. Either walk more outside, move to California, or get a treadmill. The most realistic is the treadmill. I really need it, not only for my mental health, but to help manage my multiple sclerosis. I have found that the more I move each day, the better I feel. It’s almost as if doctors and dietitians and everybody is right and exercise is good for you. I don’t hold with such nonsense, of course, but I have noticed the benefit. So, please get me one for my health. Thank you, kindly reader.
The Legend of Tutankhamun by Zahi Hawass [LINK]
Zahi Hawass and I have long been frenemies. This isn’t exactly true, since I’ve never met the man, but our shared passion for Egyptology incites passionate differences. I dislike his dictatorial attitude over the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt and also the way he presents himself as if he were Indiana Jones. Many of the archaeologists, Egyptologists, and guides I’ve met in Egypt and elsewhere share similar feelings. I don’t take umbrage with his work, reader, just with his personality. Since he’s been replaced in his esteemed position after the election of President El-Sisi, Zahi has mellowed. This is lovely for him and for all of those enamored of the ancient dead. A year or so ago he released an eBook about the Cairo museum which is a masterpiece. He has released another book, this one is monstrously large and filled with gorgeous photographs of the relics from the tomb of Tutankhamen. I hurried to Amazon to procure a copy for myself, but then I discovered that it was a limited release publication and cost two thousand euros. So, I’d love it for Christmas to add to my Egyptological library if you’re feeling generous! If you’re not quite so generous, then I would love a bound copy of his book, Inside the Egyptian Museum and Discovering Tutankhamun. Cheers, thanks a lot.
Dr. G’s Brightening Peeling Gel [LINK]
Since I’ve grown ever more crazy about skincare products, I have become obsessive about South Korean beauty rituals. They have an entire culture of masks and creams and expensive serums. So, I’m in love, reader. I recently read about this peel that you can use on your face that sticks to you like super glue and painfully comes off removing every possible blemish, blackhead, and dead skin cell. Sign me right up! I already exfoliate, moisturize with a dozen products, and regularly consider that facial Kim Kardashian had that used her own blood. I want to stay young and beautiful forever since I’m not a vampire and don’t have the comfort of immortality and constant youth. This peel is cheap, too, reader, so it makes the perfect stocking stuffer or Hanukkah gift! I’ll gladly celebrate Hanukkah. You get to eat latkes and light candles and sing about dreidels. How fabulous!
Since I started staying exclusively at nice hotels, I have discovered the joy and bliss of housecoats. It’s fabulous to swaddle yourself in terry cloth instead of having to get dressed. I think I love them so much because I feel like an elegant Hollywood actress of yesteryear and because it really plays into my lazy habits. I love nothing more than doing as little as humanly possible. When it comes to things I actually enjoy doing, I’m not lazy at all, but when it something else like housework or homework or exercise, well, this Marlene Dietrich video should explain everything about me
So I want a new housecoat, but this time I want it silky and floral and lovely. My white terrycloth one is gorgeous and fun, but it’s not elegant! I want it to look like a blending of a kimono and that gaudy nonsense that Hugh Hefner wears. Not velvet, though. I can’t find one anywhere, so it’s up to you, dear reader and beloved gift giver. Thanks!
Restaurant Quality Pots & Pans
I really want nothing more than for my home to be a vacation destination. The middle of nowhere in the middle of the state in the middle of the country might not be the most logical place for a vacation home, but I don’t think anybody should have to live like they are in some hellhole. (Even if they are.) You all know that wondrous feeling of freedom when you’re in a vacation rental and everything is perfect and there isn’t too much of it? Well, I do, since I travel so frequently. For years, I have been trying to make my ancient, warped farmhouse feel like a relaxing holiday destination, and though that mission is ages from completion, I think I’m doing a lovely job. My bedroom is sumptuous, my lounge is gracious, my office is orderly, and my kitchen would almost meet Martha Stewart’s approval. I really need to cut back on many of the things in there, though. I have a surplus of pans I never use, and many of the ones that I use are past their prime. I believe in conscious consumption of goods, but sometimes you just have to get rid of ugly things. I frequently use my Le Creuset dutch ovens to cook, and then this magnificent ceramic skillet I bought at Walmart for like a nickel, but I need more than just these few pieces. I want cookware from a restaurant supply store. Nothing extravagant. I love simple and basic, even if I am as pretentious as I am. I want skillets and stock pots and other pots and I definitely need bunches of sheet pans for all the baking I do. Then I can throw everything else away or give it to somebody who wants beat up old Pampered Chef products and I can live the fantasy of being Ina Garten, which is really all I want.
Tuition for Intensive Advanced Middle Egyptian Grammer at the Oriental Institute
I plan on being an Egyptologist at some point. It takes so long to figure out what you really want out of life. Isn’t that tragic? I think it’s one of the great travesties of the world that we expect teenagers to have their entire lives charted when they leave high school. It’s irresponsible and illogical. I always knew that I had a passion for ancient Egypt, but I never knew my interest was as intense or joyous as it is. I find nothing more delightful than broken pottery shards and bits of papyrus popping out of the desert sands. This course, at Chicago’s Oriental Institute is a hybrid course for students all over the world to attend. If you can’t get to the campus, then you can take it online. I would love nothing more than to scream in frustration taking this very complicated class while learning more and more about the hieroglyphic inscriptions on temples and tombs. On my most recent visit to Egypt, my ability to pick out a number of words in the temple of Seti I in Luxor made me nearly weep. Having this skill would be such a gift…so gift it to me. Cheers.
I do not like to iron my clothing. I do not like having to pull out an ironing board. I do not like anything at all about it, but I like wrinkles in my clothing even less. I have taken to spritzing everything with that chemical stuff that smells like a dry cleaner’s from Downy. The product works wonders, but it’s probably not the best to be spritzing my clothes with chemicals and whatever else is in there. And it’s probably not the best to be spending so much money on something that is so superfluous. I’m never going to take to ironing at this stage of my life. I’m just too old to be bothered by much anymore, so I’d like a garment steamer, please. I have a huge one that came from a furniture shop and it does remarkably well when I want to remove textured ceilings or wrinkles from my bed skirt, but it’s a bit unwieldy to get out to steam a shirt. One of those little handheld ones would be a treat. Treat me, reader!
Redken Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine [LINK]
I am always looking for the next best thing to make my hair luscious and radiant and gorgeous, and I think I finally found something exciting and new. I have about a million samples of various products in my cupboards that I pick up from Birchbox, random mailers, shops, and I think half of them just spontaneously appear in my bathroom. The other day, I came across something called Diamond Oil and I wanted my hair to look as if was coated in diamonds, so I applied the serum, or whatever it is, let it dry, and then I was delighted by what I saw. My hair was shiny, but not in a gaudy fashion. It was really quite lovely and I flipped my hair a whole bunch in satisfaction. Buy me this and I’ll flip my hair at you, too.
LUSH Gift Card
As I have so often said, I am on an endless quest to be beautiful. I think that’s my secondary mission in life. Egyptology is of course first, but then eternal youth is a close second. I want all the surgeries and all the creams and if I don’t die looking like Joan Rivers, then I haven’t lived my best life. Before I get into plastic surgery and injections, though, I want to luxuriate with all the LUSH products. When I was in England earlier this year, the LUSH shop in Brighton saved my life. I bought this exfoliating scrub that made me green, and I don’t have a clue what it was called, but after I washed it off, I felt radiant.
I might have looked the same. I don’t know, but I feel that I looked a million percent better. Anyway, I rely on their shampoo bars to give my locks lightness, shine, and bounce, and I’m almost out, so a gift card would be the perfect gift for me! I can get shampoo bars, and face masks, and one of those bath bomb things so I can soak in pretty water, and then maybe even a bar of henna to tint my hair impermanently. You’ll be the one getting the credit for my beauty; is there anything nicer?
Great blog post! If you haven’t already checked out mine already do you think you could? Thanks so much!! Xx