Gifts That Guide from Guides That Gift

Yesterday when I shared my 2018 gift guide, a curation of some of the things that represent something special in this maddening year,  I also  promised to follow it up by some recommendations from some of the most interesting people I know.  I know it is late, but the flue had other ideas. But rather than give up on the idea of sharing what these beautiful people are doing and giving, I heeded the words of Rilke that I would tatoo on my mind if such a thing were possible: “The principal thing [is] not to remain with the dream, with the intention, with the being-in-the-mood, but always forcibly to convert it into things”.

So, here we go, despite the delay:  I’d like to share what gifts these creative, trail-blazing people I am lucky enough to know are giving, in their own words.


Alysia Reiner… is drawing straws

@alysiareiner is a  SAG AWARD winning actress best known as Natalie “Fig” Figueroa on NETFLIX’s hit ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.  Reiner recently joined the cast of HBO’s THE DEUCE for season 2 and  returned for season 3 of FX’s critically acclaimed Peabody Award winning BETTER THINGS. Her motherhood dark-comedic feature EGG, which she produced and stars in with Christina Hendricks and Anna Camp, premiered at Tribeca Film festival 2018. Alysia loves working as a change maker for women and is passionately committed to protecting the environment (see!).
“Ok what do you get for the friend who has everything without getting a candle, booze, chocolate, or something unhealthy, wasteful or outrageously expensive?
My company LIVARI did a collaboration with SIMPLY STRAWS for the holidays as a way to encourage people to use less plastic, and have something beautiful and elegant and comes with lifetime warrantee. Its an affordable gift and 10% goes back to LONELY WHALE which helps get the plastics out of the ocean. At this price you can buy 10 or 20 to have in the house as gifts all season! But hurry – its a limited edition.”

Patrick Bradbury…is giving in threes

@patrickbradbury founder of @bradburylewis a NYC based communications agency and creative consultancy. 

“The holiday season is a time where we can slow down, give back and be our better selves. I’ve been on a quest this year to reunite with my origin story and to connect more deeply with my core values. I have felt the impact of the incredible untruths and unjust acts going unchecked in our country and around the globe. I have also seen incredible courage and honesty from people who have been activated to protect and fight for a greater good. It is my honor at Bradbury Lewis, the PR company I founded seventeen years ago, to launch and support brands who are mission driven and who impact in local and global ways. And who, simply by being and doing, spread a message that we can all do better every day. These are some of my favorite things, from some of my favorite people, and I’m excited to share what they do.”

1. Jill Platner – Pride Bracelet $285 
“Jill Platner is a sculptor and jeweler who has been on Crosby Street as long as I can remember. Which for me dates back to 1995 when I moved to New York. Jill created a beautiful bracelet out of rainbow crocheted thread and her iconic sterling silver closure. 100% of proceeds go to The Ali Forney Center who protects and honors our LGBTQ+ youth. This gift gives back so much. “
2. Lidia May – Diana Attaché $585
“Lidia May is a luxury brand with a purpose. They are leading a maker’s movement in Dhaka, Bangladesh and proving that production can be top quality and provide opportunity to those making the products. Each bag features beautiful hand embroidery which is not only beautiful but is helping to preserve a generations old craft. Lidia May is doing better and we should shop that way.”
3. Warby Parker – Baby Pigeons $15
“Warby Parker is something special. For as long as I’ve known them they have impacted my life in remarkable ways. This brand is community. To be a part of #teamwarby is to feel included, celebrated and part of the parade. One of my favorite things about Warby Parker is how they make the eye travel. They have color and art and words everywhere. And their social impact is indeed impactful.
Go see for yourself.
Warby Parker’s world is blue.
Find the chalk haiku!”

Arielle Patrick…gives gifts that trigger

@akpatrick1, 29, is one of the youngest Senior Vice Presidents in the corporate PR industry. She is in the Financial Communications & Capital Markets group at Edelman, the world’s largest communications consulting firm. In her spare time, she sits on the Board of Trustees of The Harbor Sciences & Arts Charter School; the National Advisory Board of the foundation for Yellowstone National Park; the Leadership Council for the Special Olympics of New York; and is Fundraising Chair of the Alumni Board for the Princeton Tigerlilies acapella group.
“A custom slogan cashmere sweater from Lingua Franca so you can trigger your conservative relatives at Christmas dinner (I’m wearing one in this photo)!”

Amelia Diamond…is staying focused with her gifts

amelia diamond man repeller

@amilli0naire is the (recent) former Head of Creative for the website Man Repeller. She is now a full-time writer of fiction.
Unibrow Sunglasses - Tortoise
“If there is ONE THING this year has taught me it’s that (and this is very, very cheesy, so get ready) no matter how much you plan and look for it, you can’t predict the future. You can use the best information at hand to make the best choices and decisions you can, of course — I’m not saying throw it all to the wind — but trying to predict the future to the point that you remain inert, or agonizing over it, stressing about it, worrying about it — will cause headaches an all sorts of problems. Knowing this doesn’t mean I’ve stopped doing it, of course, but part of me hopes that 2019 can be about working on this. Feel free to check in with me then. Until this time next year, I’m wearing my tortoiseshell MR Holiday Buffet “Unibrow” sunglasses as an amber lens (rather than a rose colored lens, although the positive-mood-lifting effect is similar) to remind me to keep my focus in the moment, on the present, and near (but not directly at!) the sunshine.”

Carly Brown…is keeping it meditative

Carly Brown of UNE PIECE

Carly Brown is the founder of Australian swimwear start-up Une Piece
“Having a start-up business means my days are packed to the brim and can be very fast-paced. Every day holds something different – whether it be meetings, speaking engagements, or the day-to-day running of the business – so it’s important to have a routine that helps me ground myself. Every morning I allocate time to meditate and form a plan of attack for the day ahead – usually with a cup of tea in hand!”

Nana Mensah…believes in self-care

Photo Credit: Christine Chambers
@itsNanaMensah is a Ghanaian-American actor, writer and director. She most recently played the role of Tamyra in the New York premiere of Tracy Letts’ Man from Nebraska at Second Stage Theatre (2017 Lucille Lortel Award nomination, 2017 Outer Critics’ Circle Nomination). She wrote, directed and stars in the forthcoming film Queen of Glory and also plays the role of Sade in the popular series, An African City (2015 Golden Movie Award Winner, 2016 AMVCA Nominee.

Image result for getting a facial

“This year has been very difficult for me personally but also very good for me professionally, which means that when Instagram influencers spout #selfcare, I can– for one of the first times in my adult life– afford to listen. Coming from two workhorse Ghanaian parents, I have to constantly remind myself what self-care actually means and how to manifest it in a way that doesn’t make me feel guilty afterward (hot take: the immigrant work ethic is real and coded in one’s DNA). My gift recommendation is a facial with a skin therapist (my fave is Dina H.) at Heyday. You can tailor-make your self-care experience with 30, 50 or 75 minute sessions– 30 if I’m feeling frugal but need a little love, 75 when I’m trying to get my Marie-Antoinette on, and 50 when I’m feeling in between.”

Brigitte Bidet…says “Nothing Beats The Face” quite like coconut oil

IMG_4614 (1)

@BrigitteBidet is a drag queen entertainer, emcee and dance artist in Atlanta, GA. She spends her days performing and creating as a company member of Core Dance. At night she works the club and bar cabaret scene, dancing for dollars and bringing overall joy into people’s lives. Catch her cameo in the new Netflix film, Dumplin’

“I’m in heavy stage makeup quite often, so my face deserves all the TLC. The marketing behind skincare gets me every time, and I spent way too much money trying to make my skin look good (usually resulting in breakouts) Save yourself the hassle & switch to coconut oil. Organic is best-  it’ll breakdown that caked mug and leave your skin perfectly moisturized. Put some in your hair, too! I’ve also heard it makes a great lube. ”

Henrik Simonsen… is thinking about the gift of our home planet

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@henrik.simonsen is a Danish painter living in Berlin. “When asked what I do I will tell people that I paint but I think that I should say that I draw. The main element in my work is drawing. The attraction to drawing stems from the directness of the mark making process and the simple, yet magical way lines on a surface create shapes and forms.”

WInd Shaped

“Wind Shaped” Oil on Canvas by Henrik Simonsen

“My suggestion for this year would be to focus on the state of the planet and so many of the creatures we share this world with. I would say don’t buy more things that you or a friend/family member don’t really need. Plant some trees, donate money to a charity or a project that tries to heal the scar we with our lifestyle inflict on our home. Treat our world as a dear friend or family member and be kind to it.
Very few of us really need the majority of the things we buy. Lets look after our home.”

About Natasha

Word- and dough-smith. Girl in search of "the illumination, that ecstatic flash, from which truth emerges".

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