Holiday Stars

By Kerry Lachmann & Leslie Weeden / November/December 2015
November 13th, 2015

Call it the year of the pragmatic gift. Brown alums may be creative, but they can also be practical. In our ninth annual holiday gift guide, you’ll find beefy winter hats and scarves from Tink Knit, a student-run social venture, items that will keep you warm while helping the single mothers who knit them. Check out the stylish and affordable unisex watches (yes, people still do need watches!) from Leonard & Church, the tailored little black dresses from OnePointSix that you can wear just about anyplace, and the tasteful ties from Navio, which can be monogrammed using nautical symbol flags for your initials. This year’s guide also includes lovely handwoven placemats, table runners, and tea towels from Loomination, as well as a book on how to make your own cheese at home. And, for the inevitable holiday-induced weight gain, two highly efficient fitness devices, the WaterRowerGX and the Abstar AIR, can help you burn off those excess calories. This year, why not give people on your list things they will actually use? They’ll be happy, and you’ll be happy. Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about? 



Uber-athlete Josh Crosby ’97 helped lead the rowing team to two National Championships. Working with WaterRower, he and fitness guru Jay Blahnik designed the WaterRowerGX Studio Rowing Machine for their rowing fitness program Indo-Row, now adopted by gyms nationwide. Made from sustainably harvested ash hardwood, the machine features a unique WaterFlyWheel. “Using water as its resistance, it’s an unreal workout experience,” says Crosby on his website. A set of DVDs provides workouts for any age or ability level. WaterRowerGX with DVD package, $1,255. Use code BRUNO25 for 25% off.

(800) 852-2210



A former multisport varsity athlete at Brown, Dean Erickson ’82 invented the Abstar AIR, an inflatable home fitness device that will provide all the chest pumps, crunches, and squeezes you can muster. Comes with an exercise guide. Regularly $49.95; may be on sale.

(310) 601-8337 



Leanne Tremblay ‘07 designs and handweaves all her 100% cotton Loomination products. Table runners, $125-$205; tea towels, $34; set of four placemats, $96; set of 6, $144. Use code Brown for a 10% discount.

(978) 697-3453



Hand-stamped brass jewelry by Thea Grant ‘00 is created with vintage, antique, and found objects. Money clip, $95; horseshoe bracelet, $285; key ring, $80; bangle, $125. Use code BROWNIE for a 15% discount. 

(917) 330-9258



In this two-volume boxed set, The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate 1764-1776 (The Library of America), Gordon S. Wood, Alva O. Way Professor of History Emeritus at Brown, has gathered thirty-nine of the most influential pamphlets that led to the Declaration of Independence. List price, $75.




Shortbread Election ‘16 cookies are made by Modern Bite, co-owned by Gregory Roth ‘90. Select your assortment by party or favorite candidate. Standard gift box (eight cookies), $30. Use code brown15 for 10% off.

(888) 600-5760 


Hey There Dumpling: 100 Recipes for Dumplings, Buns, Noodles, and Other Asian Treats by Kenny Lao ’98 and Genevieve Ko (Stewart, Tabori and Chang). $29.95.


Kitchen Creamery: Making Yogurt, Butter & Cheese at Home by Louella Hill ’04 (Chronicle Books). $29.95.


From OnePointSix, a New York-based womenswear brand recently started by KarenTai ’07, comes the Parker Dress made of 100% neoprene from Italy that feels cool to the touch but will keep you warm. The A-line skirt bottom features hidden functional side pockets. $285. Use code Bear20 for a 20% discount.

(917) 397-0479


When Christopher Chon ’08 went shopping for a watch, he found an industry full of middlemen, with markups as high as 1,000%. He and his partners decided to launch Leonard & Church to offer quality watches sold directly to consumers at an affordable price. “We just wanted to create styles that we thought were cool, and that our friends thought were cool,” Chon said in Fast Company. Their campaign on Kickstarter yielded nearly $500,000. The Manhattan-born business now partners with some of the top watch and leather makers worldwide and offers more than 20 unisex styles online. Each watch is fitted with sapphire crystal and comes with a ten-year warranty. $95–$145


Inspired by scientific illustrations, Sylvia Tomayko-Peters ‘14 handprints the front and back covers of this handmade 5” by 7” blank notebook, $22. Use code BrownLove for 15% off.

(508) 237-8160



Why should little kids have all the fun? Brett Hemenway ’04 wanted a T-shirt with a truck on it so while getting his PhD in mathematics from UCLA he drew the designs himself and started a T-shirt business. $18.

(218) 234-2877



In collaboration with RISD graduate Jaclyn Mayer, Orly Genger ’01 has created this elegant bracelet in plated brass and 8mm rope, part of the Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer collection. Stella Bracelet, $150. Use code Brown15 for a 30% discount.

(917) 566-0817



Little Moony’s comfy kids’ clothes in eco-friendly fabrics are designed by Thuy Diep ‘97 in New York City. Ikat print dress in 100% cotton, $74. Use code LMBROWN for 30% off and free shipping.

(917) 816-1872



The Alphabet of Bugs by Valerie Gates ’88, with photographs by Ann Cutting (Sky Pony Press). $14.99.

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History...and Our Future by Kate Schatz ‘05 MFA (City Lights Publishers). $14.95.



Camela Logan ’07, a Cordon-Bleu–trained French pastry chef, says she was five when she tasted her first macaron in Paris, France. Now, with her one-woman business, The Love Confection, she offers handmade, artisanal French macarons by the dozen. Wintry Sampler Box in four holiday-themed flavors, $40. Or join the Macaron-of-the-Month Club (two flavors, six of each; three-month membership, $116). Use code evertrue for a 10% discount.

(203) 590-1622



Far from the islands, Brad Simon ‘93 handcrafts his ukuleles in the Berkshires. Each Undermountain Ukulele is a one-of-a-kind instrument that takes several weeks to make and is hand-finished with traditional luthier techniques. “After I started playing the ukulele,” he wrote, “I realized I could combine my interest in woodworking with the ukulele by learning to make them!” Simon first studied his craft at the Whetstone School of Lutherie in Vermont. The top, back, and sides of this tenor model is solid zebra wood. It also has a mahogany neck, an ebony fret board, and a French polish finish. Simon is a member of the Guild of American Luthiers and the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii. Ukulele, $900. $100 discount for Brown alums.

(415) 215-8170



According to Deborah Pulikowski Clapp ‘92 MAT, the oldest fermented beverage is mead, or honey wine. Her 1634 Meadery makes five varieties, ranging from sweet to dry, by fermenting locally harvested honey with fruits and spices, including blueberries, strawberries, and apples. $18.95–$22.95 per bottle.

(978) 325-6215



Karen Tai ’07 founded OnePointSix, a new women’s clothing line based in New York City that seeks to merge the craftsmanship of custom tailoring with high-quality fabrics and a modern sense of style. The sleeveless Auden dress is 98% Italian wool and  2% Lycra, with stretch lining, $475. Use code Bear20 for a 20% discount.

(917) 397-0479



Waxing nostalgic for college days, Thea Grant ‘00 crafted these rectangular bar pendant necklaces with recycled brass and hand-stamped lettering. Personalize the cube pendant with your class year. Necklaces, $115 each. Use code BROWNIE for 15% off.

(917) 330-9258



Give someone the gift of an armchair winter escape with Beach House Happy: The Joy of Living by the Water by Antonia van der Meer ‘79, a former editor of Coastal Living magazine. It’s filled with page after page of gorgeous retreats in places like Nantucket, the British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. In his foreword, Jonathan Adler ’88 calls the book his “new happy place.” (Oxmoor House). $40.



Peter Russotti ’05 developed Navio with local weavers in England, who handmake these 100-percent silk ties that can be hand-embroidered with your initials in nautical flags representing the letters of the alphabet. Ties, $190. Use code BRUNO for a 20% discount.



With 20 years of experience as an industrial designer in glass and crystal, Sharon Oleksiak ‘87 cofounded Kastal Glass. This seven-inch-tall solid crystal lion’s head was hand-cast and hand-finished in Kastal’s Warren, Rhode Island, studio. $975, with a 5% discount for Brown alums.

(401) 289-0422



These versatile bags from Canopy Verde by Linda Wong ’96 are made with certified organic cotton, eco-friendly dyes, and vegan leather. Inspired by a doctor’s bag, the Cassia Weekender has a bright orange interior. The foldover Carroll Clutch doubles as an iPad or Kindle case. Weekender, $229; Clutch, $75. Use code brown for 10% off.

(917) 750-7453



Lacrosse is big for the family of Julie Liddicoet Meister ’75 (her husband and his three brothers played for Brown). LaxChic showcases delicate sterling silver designs with a pearl “ball” that her sister-in-law created for her lacrosse-playing daughters. Necklaces, $50-$65. Use code Bruno for a 15% discount.

(203) 561-8046



Self-proclaimed map addict Rajiv Ramaiah ‘99 creates personalized subway maps called “Mapuccinos,” with each stop representing an important life moment. $75–$95 unframed.

(617) 684-5432 




When you buy a scarf, hat, laptop case, or cup cozy from Tink Knit, you are helping single mothers in Rhode Island raise themselves from poverty by allowing them to generate income from home while caring for their children. Tink Knit is a student-run social venture started by Brown’s Enactus Team last winter. The group teaches the women how to knit the items and provides materials; for every product sold online or at the Brown Bookstore, the mothers receive 50 percent, while the remainder is reinvested in the program, which also provides workshops on personal finance and career building. Since the program’s launch, the income of the single mothers has increased an average of 30%. “This is the most meaningful experience for me at Brown,” wrote Julia Xu ’17, Tink Knit’s founder and president. Scarf, $39.99; hat, $29.99.

(401) 952-8466



To make the colorful tiles on these seven-inch-tall bookends, Jodi Longobardo ’92 fused small pieces of dichroic glass and hand-engraved them with designs. Bookends, $80. Use code BAM for 10% off.

(609) 870-5677



In The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages, edited by Andrew Blauner ’86, thirty-two writers—including Lois Lowry ’58, Rick Moody ’83, A.J. Jacobs ’90, and Brown professor emeritus of Literary Arts Robert Coover—pinpoint specific Bible passages that inspire them. (Simon & Schuster). $27.

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November/December 2015