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Staff Picks: Megan Billings, Deputy Editor, Gear Patrol Studios

An Italian coffee maker, a bamboo whisk, a gym membership and more.


Editor’s Note: As a collective, the Gear Patrol staff is a wealth of knowledge about products. This series is our way of showcasing and sharing our insights and endorsements. Our hope is that you enjoy it all — and perhaps discover something new you’ll love too.

I want to appreciate all of the things in my life, but I don’t want to be too precious about anything, so I definitely put a lot of thought into all of my purchases. I have a fondness for classics and for great design, but ultimately, my choices reflect a desire to have a good quality of life.

Bialetti Venus Espresso Coffee Maker

This is my preferred way to have coffee at home. It’s such a simple, classic, no-frills machine. It’s also super durable and the design is iconic (though I’ve opted for a slightly sleeker model than the original). I’ve had the same moka for nearly 10 years and I love the way it’s worn after everyday use. Note: Bialetti is the only way to go. No knock-offs.

Buy Now: $38

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

This salt is, to me, a luxury item. It is absolutely unnecessary, but it’s a small touch that can elevate any dish — even if the only person I’m trying to impress is myself. I particularly like sprinkling it on top of eggs.

Buy Now: $5

‘How to Eat’ by Thich Nhat Hanh

This book changed my life. It’s less about food than it is about appreciating that the universe has come together just right for everything to be as it is. It’s written in plain, digestible English and is just over 100 pages. I recommend the entire series and often give them as gifts.

Buy Now: $10

Bamboo Matcha Whisk

If you are going to have matcha, you have to do it right. Say no to clumps and enjoy the process.

Buy Now: $14

Artemide Tizio Classic with Floor Support

This lamp was designed for Artemide in 1972. The arms have two counterweights so you can push and pull to arrange it however you like. It also has two light settings so it can feel like a reading lamp or light the entire room. Frankly, I love that it is a highly functional piece of Italian art. It’s a design icon for a reason and I’m lucky to have one (thanks to my very favorite uncle who is an interior designer).

Buy Now: $740

Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask

There is not a single face mask that I can get behind aside from this one. Whenever my skin is looking questionable, I’ll slap this on, and five to seven minutes later it looks completely refreshed. It is magic. I do not understand it, but I do recommend it.

Buy Now: $44

Muji 35L and 62L Hard Carry Suitcases, Beige

I invested in these when I started traveling very consistently for work. They hold a lot, they can take a beating and the price point is in the sweet spot for me. I dig the semi-gold color, and as with all things Muji, I love that there is no branding on them.

Buy Now: $160Buy Now: $220

Asics Gel-Nimbus Running Shoe

I exercise first thing every morning and religiously replace my shoes every six months. I never stray from Asics. These can stand up to abuse and offer the right amount of cushion. They’re not the sexiest choice on the market, but I trust them, and injury prevention is more important than looks. It’s a true case of brand loyalty.

Buy Now: $99

NYSC Passport Membership

Look, it’s no Equinox, but it gets the job done, and without the sticker shock. I like to keep my workouts varied and I genuinely enjoy taking classes with other people so it’s great to be able to drop in anywhere in the city, whether it’s for boot camp, kickboxing or yoga. There’s also turf for times when I want to do my own thing, and when I have an injury, having access to a pool and sauna feels vital.

Buy Now: $80

The Grail

Swiss Passport

This is the only thing I truly want. You might argue that a passport is not a product and I would understand. Is a very pure democracy a product? Certainly a pristine, idyllic landscape is hard to classify as one, per se. But, Swiss precision has resulted in a lot of exemplary products, not least excellent chocolate and a superb national rail system. So if top-notch quality of life can qualify, then I’m willing to put in the time and effort for this one.

Learn More: Here

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