PGAV’s Favorite Things of 2018

Santa and Gifts

PGAV’s Favorite Things of 2018


Hark, the herald retailers sing! It’s time for holiday gifting and wish listing! While Gen.-Z will never know the joy of circling their faves in holiday catalogs, the curated list of gifts is still alive and well in the form of Instagram influencers and Oprah’s Amazon list. I love a good list of good products and this time of year is ripe for discovery of great stuff.

There’s an argument out there that we should be more materialistic. As in, we should truly care more about our stuff and stop devaluing things, which just leads us to buy more, buy faster, and buy with little thought to our long terms needs. What if you truly love the mug on your desk so much that you don’t buy another again? When I wrote this post last year, I was surprised to see the responses and how excited people were to share them. While it’s always easy to get caught up in the mass-produced consumer frenzy, I’ve learned that my coworkers are thoughtful and passionate when it comes to some of their stuff.

On my coworkers’ lists this year are items that run the gamut: It’s travel or a tool for exploring the world, a sleeping baby, a self-care routine, or food made with expert hands. Some are cheap, and some are not, some save precious time, and some do nothing but waste it, but all made an impact in the lives of our PGAV Destinations and Planners staff.

Happy Wishlisting!


NY Times Crossword App. You can compete with friends for the fastest time in the Daily Mini. It’s a nice little break, a chance to learn some new vocabulary, and you can feel fancy telling people you do the NYT Crossword every day.

  • Sarah Cooper, Architectural Designer


Without a doubt, my Osprey Atmos backpack. It was packed full of gear and sat comfortably on my shoulders as I backpacked through Zion National Park over the summer, and a few smaller hikes around St. Louis. Best of all, I got it at the REI garage sale for half off!!

  • Brian Roash, Visualization Designer

Brian Roasch in Mt. Zion

I recommend Rothys!  They’re absurdly expensive for a shoe but they are AMAZING. Comfortable, cute, AND made from recyclable materials. Plus, you can wash them! I’m quickly spreading the Rothy’s message around the PGAV office (**cough** **cough** Jess and Amanda). 

  • Catherine Gilbert, Project Manager


The caffeine the HAPPY FRIDGE supplies. I stopped drinking caffeine for almost nine months, but the demands of a certain project forced me to cave to the constant availability of the happy fridge and it’s caffeine offerings; giving me a much needed pick up in the morning for this non-coffee drinker. Shout out to Lauren and Whitney, our lovely hospitality crew, for all their efforts in keeping it well-stocked for the caffeinated souls of the office.

  • Amanda Texas, Architect


Hot spring ryokans! From the moment we walked through the door and were greeted with fresh orange juice and a warm smile to the heartfelt goodbye from the gracious staff, this place has mastered the art of service and luxury. Our Japanese-style suite was a quiet oasis for rest and reflection, the hot springs invigorated our spirits, and the multi-course gourmet meals were out of this world. If you ever find yourself in Japan, please go here… and take me with you!

  • Ellen Mosley, Architect

 Ellen Mosley Japan

Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel.  It’s an immersive theatrical play adapted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Basically, you wonder around a large warehouse that has been highly themed to represent the 1920s, following characters through different story lines that are all intertwined. It’s an intriguing/interactive way to tell a story and it is like nothing I’ve experienced before. My curiosity was spiked the entire time, but I honestly had no idea what was going on – but THAT’S the genius of this play: nobody understands! It’s up to you, after the play, to talk to others about their experiences to try and piece the story together. It’s definitely a dark story with an ominous feeling throughout. I loved it, but I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone. Pretty sure Jayvn is still having nightmares.

  • Dexter Hansen, Architectural Designer

Dexter Hanson

The biscuits and gravy (or anything else) from Kounter Kulture.

  • Jenny Ryan, Project Manager


The 65cm exercise ball that’s only been used to bounce my baby to sleep.

  • Brian Bage, Landscape Architect


My favorite thing this year is Young Living Essential Oils. I have been diffusing them at the front desk and it’s really improved my mood. Currently we have Christmas Spirit diffusing and it just makes me extra cheery. At home I’ve been diffusing Bergamot to help me sleep and it’s been wonderful! We have also been diffusing Lemon and Thieves at the front desk to help keep everyone healthier. So far Lauren and I haven’t gotten the cold that all sorts of people in the office have!

  • Whitney Jones, Receptionist and Hospitality Specialist

Whitney Jones

Best hand cream EVER!

  • Annette Cytron, Executive Assistant


Casper Pillows. Their mattress didn’t work out for us, but their pillows – these things are wicked awesome. It’s as if the Sandman spun the yarns himself. Then the DeWalt Impact Driver. I’ve had this thing for almost five years now, and it has proven itself time-and-again through many home projects.

It’s a modern-day DIY-er’s Colt Peacemaker.

  • Brian Pelcak, Designer


My Sawyer squeezable water filter has been an amazing addition to my backpacking kit. It purifies any water anywhere, it’s easy to use and it’s light! It kept my family hydrated on our epic Wyoming backpacking trip. But a fixed gear, single speed bicycle is as simple as it gets. I am a “fixie” enthusiast, at least in part because of my Goose Island branded Sole fixie, bought at a high school fundraising auction. I’ve been using it to commute for a while now… it’s stripped down, as simple as a bike can be, and brings me joy every time I hop on.

  • Doug Nickrent, Senior Exhibit Designer


My favorite thing is my 25+ year-old food processor. I have a brand new appreciation for it because I’m trying to cook healthier and the food processor makes it SOOO much easier. Now all I have to do is eat healthier! 😉

  • Lauren Anderson, Administrative Assistant



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