day designer

11 Things I Couldn’t Live Without.

A few of my absolute favorite items I use daily…

+My planner (seen above — not sponsored, just love this thing). I have used a planner since high school, but am so impressed with my recent upgrade to one of these heavy-duty and enormous Day Designers. I wrote about it last week, but at first I thought it’d be overkill (and a brick to carry around with me), but I really love all the space to detail out my goals, activities, etc., and find the little boxes for “Today’s Top 3” and “Daily Gratitude” lovely additions to my day. Even before I had this particular brand, though, I have leaned on planners to help me not only stay organized and feel productive about my day, but to help ease my mental load. It is such a relief to have a thought like “oh, I need to schedule a routine checkup appointment for Hill but they aren’t taking appointments now — I’ll just add an item to my agenda three months out.” One less thing floating around in my mind. (I have also loved Sugar Paper’s planners in years past.)

+Bonavita Electric Tea Kettle. I drink herbal tea after lunch and this electric kettle heats up lightening fast, ensures the perfect brew (water temperature is super important, and you can set the temperature to the exact degree you’d like it), and is strangely delightful to pour from. I believe these gooseneck kettles are specifically designed for pour over coffee, but I love it for tea, too. Mr. Magpie has been eyeing this upgrade pick, which comes in such cool matte colors (!), but we have no reason to swap out our workhorse.

+Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. I use this at least twice a day on my lips (the best ointment for dry lips!), but it also comes in handy for any number of abrasions/irritations as well as cuticles and even seriously dry patches of skin. My mom has used this for as long as I can remember, and I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

+Crate + Barrel Appetizer Plates. The perfect size for a snack, a tea bag rest, a side salad, a bread plate, a makeshift spoon rest, a post-dinner cookie, even a dish for beneath a planter. Unfussy, goes with any tabletop, and shows food beautifully if you’re in it for style points.

+Caran D’Ache Pen. A gift from Mr. Magpie, this pen just brings me joy. It’s always at my side and it writes like a dream.

+Miele C1 Vacuum. I’ve written extensively about this vacuum (most recently on this list of home gear I love), but barely a day goes by when I do not pull this out. Two small children and a big dog make for a lot of messes!

+1Password. A digital password manager that keeps track of all my passwords and generates new ones that are secure and difficult to crack. I used to use the same password over and over and over again for ease of remembering and I’ve been hacked one too many times to go down that path again. Once you get over the fear of losing your master password (literally a nightmare), this handy app/site keeps track of every single log-on you can possibly think of. The tools themselves take a minute to get used to and require installation on multiple devices but once you’ve got the system up and running, it is SO amazing to never have to look up or reset a password manually again.

+Pouches on pouches on pouches. I am not a bag lady — I’m a pouch lady. I use them in every bag and all over my children’s bedrooms, too. A few of my favorites:







+My Kindle. Truly has changed the rate at which I read. (Being more intentional about my reading habits is one of my goals for 2021. So far this year, I’ve read three books, and one of them is easily one of the best books I’ve read in the last decade!)

+My AirPods. Love these specifically because it can enable me to chat with my parents and siblings, hands-free, while walking Tilly in the cold at night, ironing/folding laundry, and even tidying up the kitchen. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks in between running errands or on my way back from dropping mini off at school. Unnecessary, but kind of loving one of these personalized airpods cases!

What items do you use and love daily?

P.S. A few random finds I am loving today: these Louis XVI-style dining chairs which are super similar to the Restoration Hardware ones in our dining room but at a fraction of the price, this quilted knit jacket (such good colors and perfect for transition to spring!), anything from Juliet Dunn for warmer weather, and Gucci ped socks.

P.P.S. Any of the items above would make such great, practical, sure-to-be-used gifts for a loved one. (More gift ideas here.)

P.P.P.S. I’ll admit it: I’ve fallen into a denim rut again. HALP. And, ICYMI, a roundup of pretty pastel fitness finds!


  1. I feel like my daily items are so boring that they don’t even deserve a mention! 🙂 But thank you for this and your consistently great posts- always a highlight in my day (even though I don’t comment as much as I should!) Xo

  2. I too am a bit of a pouch addict (maybe more than a bit, actually). I have the Pangda PVC pouch set (large) and I love them for travel. Just big enough to fit full sized beauty products.
    Now that I think of it, I believe I ordered them after seeing them on your blog in the past. : )

    1. Yay!! Yes – those are great. I really love the clear pouches so you know exactly what’s in each!


  3. Interesting! We have an instant hot water tap in our kitchen sink (easily added to any sink by using one of the available holes) and I will NOT have a kitchen without it! It’s even easier than the electric kettle because there is no turning on/off. I do take an electric kettle with us when we do vacation rentals (again bc I will not and can NOT work without it)! An amazing invention.

    Another item is my heated mattress pad. Oh my love is VERY deep for this little wonder. It is heavenly bliss! If you do not have one you are missing out! HONESTLY!

    My Ninja blender is another thing I love. I use it every morning to make my frozen coffee drink and take it with me on vacations too. I make a frozen coffee drink that is like the old drink called an ICEE, but coffee flavor. I can’t start my day without one! Lower caffeine and less calories than coffee shop varieties.
    Hope one or of your Magpies will try one or all.

    1. One more (and definitely the one I have used the longest):
      My day planner:
      Each year I pick a different color (my husband always gets black or navy) and we get the gold initials. It’s the BEST! When I was working, my staff always would look to see if my planner was on my desk to see if I was in the building of not! Ha! It goes with me EVERYWHERE!
      As a side note, I print out labels with important information to stick on the blank pages, like drs info/hours, meds and specific allergies, etc. Each year I just print them out and apply them to the pages. Saves me lots of long hand writing time!
      I’ve had one of these for over 20 years

    2. I love the idea of this tradition! So great! Also love the idea of printing out labels with relevant information — brilliant! Going to steal this.


    3. Hi Cynthia! Ohhh YES, my mother has one of those hot water taps and it’s such a dream any time I visit. Lovely lovely!

      Thanks for all of these tips – would you mind sharing your recipe for the frozen coffee drink??? Want to try!


    4. My version of Frozen coffee:
      Use any variations you like, but mine are
      Starbucks Blonde Roast Iced Coffee
      Trader Joe’s Vanilla Creamer
      Looks like this :
      NOTE: I am not a milk lover, so use whatever creamer you like
      First make a tray of old fashioned ice cubes using the coffee. Freeze overnight and store in zip lock for easy grab
      1/2 cup coffee
      Creamer to your desire
      Place 4 iced coffee cubes and regular ice (not much or it will taste watery) in blender container
      Add liquid coffee/creamer mix
      Add a squeeze or two (however sweet you want it) of Smuckers carmel sauce. I just use two because I just want to cut any bitterness.
      Put it in the Ninja for 2 minutes and you’re ready to enjoy! Super easy and a great drink!

  4. My iPhone stand has been a lifeline for mindful phone use during these months of working from home. When I’m taking calls or have a moment of downtime, it’s easy to space out and scroll mindlessly. I’ve also fallen into a bad habit of double screening while watching TV. Not only does this kind of “black hole” phone surfing make me both distracted, I find it speeds up “screen burnout” and makes me feel more anxious. Leaving my iPhone in its stand has been a game changer—my days feel much more purposeful when scrolling doesn’t creep into every waking moment!

    Right now I have a cheap one from Amazon, but am seriously considering this investment from Simon Pearce—would make such a sleek desk accessory.

    1. Hi Hayden – This is such a clever idea in the sense that maybe keeping my phone cradled/in a holder rather than in my pocket or at my side would deter me from use. Almost a visual cue to NOT SCROLL.

      Love that glass one! If not ready for that, maybe this acrylic style will scratch the itch…chic and $13!


    2. Hayden, this is such a good idea!! I’ve been trying to cut down on my mindless scrolling too. Ordering a stand and saluting you for the idea- thank you!

  5. I don’t know how everyone doesn’t have an electric kettle!!! I thought it was one of the normal household appliances that everyone has (like a blender) until I got to college and my roommates were like “what is that” 🙂

    +1 on the pouches. I’m actually looking for some new ones and very tempted by the Truffle one you linked.

    I also cannot live without my kindle. I’ll always be partial to true books but with the library open and then shut and the open and then shut it’s easy to have the kindle option – and it makes reading in bed a breeze.

    1. Yes to all of these observations/upvotes! I actually didn’t have an electric kettle until about five years ago and I now don’t know how I lived without it. We use it constantly! Mr. Magpie also likes to use it when making stock — sometimes he needs to replenish the amount of water (? not sure on logistics) so he’ll boil using the kettle to keep the stock at the same temp.


  6. My item of choice: the Triggerpoint Grid foam roller, which I use every single morning and have for the last 3-4 years. I am such a foam rolling evangelist! Anyone can benefit from the practice, not just runners and athletes. I do it first thing in the morning after getting out of bed for about 10 mins and I swear it makes me feel 10 years younger- gets the blood flowing, the muscles warmed up, the joints loosened. I am such a devotee that I literally travel with it in my carry-on during trips. I have foam rolled around the world!

    1. Oo! So intrigued, especially by the comment that it makes you feel 10 years younger (!) Have you tried to do a somersault or cartwheel as an adult? It’s horrifying and painful. I don’t know when all my joints and bones shifted but somewhere in the last five years doing things like that have become virtually impossible. Will foam rolling solve these issues??? Haha 🙂 But seriously – very tempted, especially after getting back into a running groove!

      BTW, when I read this comment earlier this morning, for some reason I kept thinking “they see me [foam] rolling! They hating / Patrolling and trying to catch me riding dirty.” Haha


    2. I can’t promise it’ll have you cartwheeling again but it WILL improve your overall mobility! Pretty sure I’d break my neck if I attempted a somersault… and my foam rolling song of choice is actually “Rollout” by Ludacris 🙂

  7. My daughter gave me an electric kettle for Christmas and I am LOVING it — for my French press coffee in the morning and my herbal tea after work. Here’s to the little things that bring joy! xo H

  8. A reading tangent. I recall a recent post in which you fondly describe your father’s love of fishing, and I wonder if you’ve read any of independent publisher Nick Lyons’ many books about fly fishing. His newest, Fire in the Straw, is getting some acclaim. Two of his children are also in publishing; daughter Jennifer Lyons, and son Tony Lyons, who runs Skyhorse Publishing. More great reading. Now we just need more time for great reading.

    1. Hi Carmen! You are so thoughtful – thank you for sharing this author with me. I haven’t read him before but “Fire in the Straw” sounds JUST up my alley (and my father’s too). Added to my reading list!


    2. By the way, not a day goes by when I don’t hear your voice telling me “nose up, eyes down” while walking around NYC. Thanks for that tidbit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *