Our Founder's Favorite Things: The 2021 Edition

Our Founder's Favorite Things: The 2021 Edition
SteamLine founder Sara Banks in Greece this October, wearing her Ancient Greek sandals and carrying her Cream Architect adorned with Annie Atkins stickers.

I write this from Mauritius, a place I could never have imagined myself a year ago, when in the middle of our year-plus lockdown in Dublin. The pandemic eerily surges again and yet we are here, on a sandy island in the middle of the Indian Ocean instead of a green one chilled by the Atlantic. 

My family is here because we had to leave our home of twelve years in Dublin and decide to trade a year of tight quarters and high rents for Airbnbs abroad—we work remotely anyway, we told ourselves, and we were starved for travel, warm weather, and planned, intentional family time.

The past year was a reawakening filled with discoveries. My favorite gift recommendations are a reflection of my packing and partnerships, products I'm proud to be associated with in one way or another.

Enjoying perusing and purchasing while there's still time!



SteamLine Founder, Sara Banks


Image of gift recommendations


1. These silk travel masks by Reuben Avenue keep selling out for a reason. Naturally antimicrobial and easy on skin, they are so flattering, they make mask-wearing as elegant as it is ethical.

2. The Nikon Z camera: The classic look, the high tech, the lighting capabilities...this camera made me love taking pictures again (and separated the act from my phone)!

3. Aesop does it again with another meaningful holiday gift-set campaign, this one inspired by virtuous human roles. In this case "The Listener" reminds us to calm down and pipe down with a trio of their Geranium Leaf body-care products.

4. Nordstrom's own cashmere "jumper" that saved me in Greece, where it was cooler than expected! We're so proud to be in the midst of our first holiday season at Nordstrom.com!

5. I am so moved by this gorgeous map print by our friend Lauren Taylor (and upcoming collaborator—stay tuned this spring!). It celebrates diversity, promotes wanderlove, and conjures the worldview of Maya Angelou, making it a beautiful focal point—and spiritual anchor—for any room.

6. A godsend for everything—ambiance, workshops, movies—we have put our JBL portable speaker to great use.

7. My Beaton Hat. The Nantucket-based brand makes you feel fabulous and sun protected. (Hint: another 2022 collaboration is in the offing...)

8. Our own new Black Soprano Hatbox!

9. Hand-bound SteamLine Journal: I am so proud of our first travel journal. Customized for us by Duffy Bookbinders, Ireland’s oldest bindery, it is wrapped with linen-finish cloth and holds 160gm ivory paper, inspiring you to, as my motto goes, "slow down and look up."

Image of Sara Banks' children journaling using SteamLine Journals
 My two middles with their SteamLine journals!

10. Nanopresso is the perfect espresso partner to my morning AeroPress for afternoon pick-me-ups!

11. These Hotchkiss Fluevog pumps are visual evidence of why I fell in love with this brand before we decided to collaborate this year. And their maker is as fabulous as they look—read my interview with him here!

12. Risen Division Quimby Jumpsuit: We might have found the world's most flattering, comfortable, and sustainably well-made jumpsuit by multifarious theatre and fashion designer Andrea Lauer. Inspired by pioneering female aviator Harriet Quimby who, in 1911, was the first woman in America to receive a pilot's license and to fly an aircraft across the English Channel the following year. Without exaggerating, it makes you feel just as powerful as it looks.

13. Mauritian Earrings by V de Guardia Créations. It may take you even longer to get to Mauritius than it takes to make each pair, but they are the most beautiful earrings I've found on this adventure yet!

14. Ancient Greek Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals kicked off our chapter in Greece in comfortable high style than had me feeling right at roam!

15. Fathom's How to Travel North America book. More than a travel book, this is an ode to North America that celebrates the continent's natural beauties and American culture at its worldly best. Read our book review here.

16. Portable Piano: In conjunction with the amazing Simply Piano app, the foldable 49-key piano is Carryon friendly and has kept the kids exploring and improving musically since leaving our upright at home.

Image of children playing keyboard on SteamLine luggage case
My biggest and littlest test out their new portable piano at the Dublin airport.

17. LAFCO Travel Candle Collection: I love travel candles for "playing house" and setting a lovely mood wherever we land. New York-based LAFCO sustainably crafts the purest addictive scents. 

18. Annie Atkins stickers: Our luggage sticker collaboration with Irish film designer Annie Atkins, designer on Wes Anderson films like The Grand Budapest Hotel and this year's French Dispatch. Our luggage stickers are mini masterpieces of graphic design inspired by these heroic women travel trailblazers. Read our rich interview with Annie here.

19. Piecework Puzzles: "A curated line of jigsaw puzzles designed to make your heart sing." This photo by photographer Noah Fecks looks good enough to eat, and there is just something about puzzles.

20. Memory Mayhem, a brain melter for kids and adults!

Building a SteamLine Care Package

From the Mini for small treasures or a Vanity full of self-care items, to an imaginative Hatbox or Briefcase trousseau, a SteamLine filled with your favorites is the ultimate care package. Here are some of our suggested care package cases:

The Alchemist Small Hatbox | The Botanist Mini (currently available in three colorways) | The Correspondent Vanity

Hatboxes are a great option to start with, for they come in many sizes, as well as colors. The Alchemist's Small Hatbox makes for gorgeous carrying and is the perfect size for a variety of charming items (as well as hats), including our new Travel Journal.

For smaller treasures, the Mini is ideal. Currently available in 20 designs, there is really a Mini for everyone. Fill it with some favorite beauty minis, something shiny, or a sweet treat and you will make a special someone beam.

Last of our traditional handhelds is the Vanity. Pictured here in the Correspondent Collection's gorgeous soft pink, the Vanity is big enough for more substantial pieces while maintaining the day-bag ease of the Mini. 

Explore all of the SteamLine Handheld Cases here.

From the Mini for small treasures or a Vanity full of self-care items, to an imaginative Hatbox or Briefcase trousseau, a SteamLine filled with your favorites is the ultimate care package.


Further Reading

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