Beyond the Kitchen tips

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?