1. Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System: this was an early Hanukkah gift from my mom. I’d been thinking about getting one of these coffee bar thingies and had looked a little bit at Nespresso machines. Then over Thanksgiving I saw an ad (starring Sofia Vergara…seriously, what won’t she do ads for?) for this gadget and it looked pretty awesome. On Cyber Monday, Target’s website had it on sale, so I alerted my mom and my gift arrived a few days later. And I LOVE IT. I now make my own Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Flat Whites, and Cappuccinos, as well as tasty regular coffee, right in my own kitchen. It’s fairly compact and easy to use, and I really appreciate that it uses a regular basket filter instead of pods.
2. Best Nine: every year I end up doing that #bestnine thing on Instagram. All you need to do is go to 2016bestnine.com and enter your Insta handle, and the site will compile a collage of your nine posts that got the most likes this year. I was amused to see that this year, four of my best nine pics were from Comic-Con.
3. Zoya: this salon quality nontoxic nail polish brand held a 70% off sale on Black Friday, and I figured that was a great opportunity to start cleaning up my nail polish stash. I’ve ordered from them in the past and they have a HUGE array of colors to choose from! Zoya’s polishes are “5-free,” meaning they don’t contain the five toxic ingredients found in most nail polish: toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and DBP (dibutyl phthalate). I ordered five colors and one clear top coat, which only cost me a total of $24.95 (so about $4 apiece rather than $10). Seriously, what a steal!
4. Philz Coffee: my husband and I went to DC last weekend and he introduced me to this “one cup at a time” coffee shop, which has a location in the Navy Yard near the hotel we stayed at. You might recognize the logo from the brand’s many appearances on Silicon Valley (especially this scene in which Gilfoyle wears The Jacket to embarrass the shit out of Dinesh while getting coffee). Philz Coffee is a different kind of coffee shop: you pick a blend (good luck deciding which type you want…they have so many!) and then the barista brews a custom pour-over cup, to your taste, right in front of you. When your coffee is ready you taste it, and the barista will make any adjustments for you before you pay for it. I went to Philz twice and liked it enough to buy a 1lb bag of Tesora beans, only $12 during the holidays instead of $18. MORE COFFEE TO USE IN MY NINJA!
5. Il Parco: on our last night in DC this weekend we decided to stay close to our hotel for dinner and went to this Neapolitan-style pizza joint that we could see from our room. I forgot the name of the pizza I ordered, but it was delicious! It was basically a margherita topped with arugula, grana padano, and shaved parmesan, then drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Yum!