Life Essentials


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is essential.

It’s hard to think of essential… because very few things are actually, very completely, essential.

Let me give you a little peek into what I find essential these days.  Some of these essentials are a edible, some are a luxury, some are sparkly… it’s just a little bit of real life.

Essentials start in the kitchen with big bins of King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, sea salt in my Dad’s old Tupperware salt shaker, and these perfectly simple metal measuring spoons.


Here’s a peek at my purse essentials.  I LOVE a look inside stranger’s purses.  Here’s mine:

Eye glasses.  Booth&Bruce, London.

Alba Tinted Lip Balm in Bloom.

Over-sized Timex.  I love this watch so much.

Green snakey wallet from Banana Republic.

My favorite orange hair clip.  My favorite flavor of Tootsie pop:  orange.

Grid Paper Post-it Notes from Tracy.

Note pad for daily lists and skinny Sharpie marker… they don’t bleed… they’re the best!! (not pictured).

aand… the iPad.  A total luxury.

Not pictured from the purse:

a cucumber, countless receipts, empty chapstick tube, chop sticks, garlic skins, socks.  I dunno…


I LOVE button down shirts.  Totally classic.  Plus!  If you’re feeling spunky, these shirts look great unbuttoned real low with a pretty bra.  I’m just sayin.  I rock that look when  I’m just Joy… not Joy the Baker.  Joy the Baker buttons up proper.

These are JCrew.  Swoon.


Nail polish is an essential luxury.

Sally Hanson, Smooth and Perfect Satin.  Essie, A Cut Above.  Essie, As Gold as it Gets.

Simple.  Girly.  Sparkle pretty.


I celebrated my Mom’s birthday this week.

On your birthday, ice cream sundaes are essential, as are birthday candles.  Mamas are also essential.  Love you, Mom!


I need to tell you a weird thing.

This is a little vintage glass that sits on my desk.

Late at night when I’m tired of working on the computer, but still trudging though… I decorate my computer with little gems, and I put a fox pin broach on my sweater.

Its… just a thing I do.


Sunday morning at Church in Hollywood is essential.

What a blessing this place is to me.


Warm, brown sugar sweet grapefruit.

Broiled grapefruit reminds me of  sleepovers, Florida, and riding a bike with no hands… one of those weird childhood brain things.


Friday night, glow-in-the-dark bowling is essential.  Friday night, doing-anything-besides-sitting-on-the-computer is actually what’s essential.

Ps…  I’m a truly awful bowler.  I stop caring after exactly three rolls.


This cat animal has become essential to my life.



Potatoes are ESSENTIAL!!!

… especially when they’re in Hasselback stylings with crazy homemade pesto.

salt and pepper

Salt and Pepper are totally essential.

I made these salted Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Cookies ages ago.  They still have a soft spot in my heart.


Lentils are essential.  Cheap, mutable, delicious.

Also, I’m hiding there in the spoon in my favorite pink and red wrap skirt.

Wrap skirts are also essential.  No biggie.


I took a company field trip (which means it was just me driving a car…) to visit the photo studio of White on Rice Couple.

Two words:  prop studio.

Aaaand… I swoon.


Flour+Sugar+Yeast+Lemon Zest=

Lemon Raspberry Breakfast Rolls.

You’ll thank me.  I know you will.


Pie is essential.  So tremendously essential.  It’s the first thing my dad taught me how to make, and it’s my absolute favorite thing to bring together in the kitchen.

Make an Apple Pie from start to finish.  It’s just one of those things that you should do at some point.  It’ll teach you about care, patience, love, and apples.  That, indeed, is essential.

Very little is actually essential.  I know.

But these are the things, both frivolous and delicious, that I’m currently surrounded with.

There… don’t we feel like better friends now?

115 thoughts on “Life Essentials

  1. I think I recognize all the books on the left stack under the kitty – I think they are stacked on my table too. Weird. Is the top one East of Eden?
    Yes the post did make me feel better, we all have very rich and full lives.

  2. Pie is definitely an essential! No doubt! I am in love with pocket pies right now it is pretty legit! I also carry my fave essie lavender nail polish in my purse…which right now is a bottomless pit of my fave anthropologie hair clip, bobby pins, countless receipts, too many business cards, my Pure Barre socks (ya know just in case i need to go take a class while I am on the go), and pb m & m’s !

  3. I love this! Lists are my thing. Thanks for sharing – and that Tupperware salt shaker? Totally brings back memories of a set my parents had/have. I’m going to dig around for it next time I’m home!

  4. I absolutely adored this post! Your writing (and photos) always have me coming back for more.

    Also, I think we’re alike in the button up shirt addiction department (also the fact that nearly all yours are plaid or checkered.. mine too, mine too.)

    Andd I’m a terrible bowler too, thank goodness there’s others out there. :)

  5. That salt shaker took me back!!! My grandmother had the same one. I love it all, especially the JCrew shirts and freaky fox pin. It didn’t look like you were so bad at bowling in the other picture I saw the other night. Didn’t you win?! Thanks for sharing your bonkers life with us.

  6. What a great exercise. You have me thinking now, about what is essential to me. Sometimes I find myself getting VERY carried away with all the things I WANT, then I have to catch myself, dial back and evaluate what I really NEED. Love to see someone else’s point of view too!

  7. I love your essentials list. I love that you included God in your essentials. But, let me tell you what really choked me up….it’s that picture of the old school tupperware salt shaker. I remember sitting at my Grandparents kitchen table, sharing food, and watching my Grandpa salt his food with that exact same salt shaker. I thought it was the coolest looking salt shaker around. They also had a pepper mill which at the time I though was the most inventive thing in the whole wide world. Thanks for taking me back to my childhood with my grandparents around their table.

  8. All essentials in life should be edible, luxurious or sparkly :-) I love this round up, and I also love that you’re bad at bowling…I’m appalling – I have to have the buffers on to help guide my ball or I throw a teenage tantrum :-)

  9. I love how you keep a tootsie pop in your purse – and orange no less. Thats my favourite flavour!

    Lemon is totally essential, as are raspberries. I have never tried to make your lemon and raspberry breakfast rolls… Shame on me.

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