As I pack up for Thanksgiving this week I’m including a few favorite kitchen tools in my overnight bag — totally normal, right? You see, I’m really quite particular about the tools that I use – which makes my family really laugh when I pull my own tongs out of my purse — but the right pieces can make all of the difference when making a meal. And after years of living in apartments with teeny-tiny kitchens, combined with a real love of cooking, I feel like I’ve honed a pretty well-curated collection of just-the-essentials kitchen tools.Best Basic Kitchen Tools 1 It hit me that maybe this list of  kitchen items (that I so passionately feel the need to pack in my suitcase) is something worth sharing with my readers as you prepare for the holiday cooking season. Check out the list below for my top 10 basic kitchen tools: Best Basic Kitchen Tools 2

  • I have tons of knives, but I always keep going back to this simple 8″ Calphalon chef knife; it works for most tasks, has a good grip, and bonus: this knife isn’t going to break the bank.
  • The Ikea Tekla dish towels are maybe the greatest deal on earth — at less than a dollar a piece I don’t ever worry about them getting stained or ruined. They’re also a staple ‘prop’ and tend to end up in a lot of my blog posts! I’m also a big fan of Williams-Sonoma classic dish towels for bigger clean-ups, they’re super absorbent and come in a really nice range of colors — shown here in the background.
  • We registered for our wedding at Pottery Barn and were gifted tons of their Great White dishes — the dipping bowls are probably my favorite item from the collection because in addition to being great serveware, they also make the perfect prep bowls to mix up spices, portion out ingredients, and bring things like butter up to room temperature; I grab these all the time when I’m prepping a recipe.
  • The Oxo y-shaped peeler is one of those items that makes you realize how terrible your old cheap kitchen tool was before you replaced it. I tossed several broken peelers before finding this great version; the shape of the handle and the grips on each side make it so much easier and faster to peel veggies.
  • My Kuhn Rikon garlic press is probably the biggest splurge on this list, but I can not stress enough how amazing this thing is — it just works so well. You’ll get much more garlic out of a single clove with this tool, and the way that the press pieces separate make for a really easy clean up (something that was so annoying with my previous garlic press!). I can’t recommend this model enough, as someone who cooks with a lot of garlic, this has changed my life in the kitchen!

Best Basic Kitchen Tools 3

  • If I could choose just one item in my kitchen to work with everyday, it would probably be my Oxo 9″ tongs; I use them pretty much every time I cook. They snap open and closed really easily and they’re the perfect length — not too big!
  • I don’t love using too many silicon kitchen tools when I’m cooking with heat, but I did need a solution for avoiding scratched pans. So a few years back I purchased Pampered Chef bamboo spatulas that I use all the time for moving things around the pan. Bamboo doesn’t transfer much heat so I always find that these are a good tool for forgetful folks like me that leave them sitting on the edge of the hot pan.
  • The Kuhn Rikon fish spatula is designed for flipping fish but I actually use it for a ton of other cooking purposes. The spatula is just flexible enough that gives you some great leverage and maneuverability for flipping delicate foods like pancakes, but is sturdy enough to handle something as substantial as burgers. I’ve had this one for years, it might be one of the oldest items in my kitchen from this list!
  • Similar to my notes above about using bamboo spatulas in lieu of silicon, I always grab my Williams-Sonoma Olive wood spoons – they’re perfect for stirring up a pot of sauce and sneaking a little taste test. Olive wood is really dense so it doesn’t absorb flavors or smells from the food, and they’re pretty darn good-looking.
  • On the rare occasion that I’m putting on my baking hat versus cooking something, I grab my Williams-Sonoma spoonula – it’s got all of the functionality of a great spatula for scraping the sides of the bowl, but the slight curve gives it utility as a spoon too (and I’m all about multi-purpose tools in a small kitchen like mine).

This listen isn’t completely comprehensive, but these are my go-to items that I use every week when cooking. A few other favorites include a good cast iron skillet, an all-clad stainless steel fry pan, a quality whisk, an olive oil drizzle bottle, my marble pastry board, and glass tupperware. Okay now spill, what are you essential kitchen tools?

A few weeks back I was getting ready to host a baby shower at my apartment and I felt my living room could use a little ‘zhush’ — but I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money making updates. The fastest way to get a new look for your living room? Mixing up the textiles! I added some new pillows from Wayfair (I’m pretty obsessed with the Paris street map pillow, doesn’t it have a little bit of a Kate Spade vibe?), a cozy Mexican blanket that I got this summer from my trip to Creative Overnight, and pulled in my floor pouf  in for some extra seating. Just layering some new colors and textures on top of my existing pieces made a huge difference.
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Want to get in on this fun? I’ve rounded up a few of the items used in my living room below, and bonus: Wayfair is sharing a 15% off ANYPillowPouf or Throw through November 24th! Just use the promo code: WFPTP15


Mexican Blanket | Paris Map Pillow | Knit Pouf Ottoman

Please note: This post was sponsored by, all opinions are my own. 

I tackled my Mother’s Day shopping this weekend and am feeling pretty proud of my gift ideas this year! In my search for the perfect gift, I found a bunch of fun ideas from UncommonGoods, and rounded up a few to help you find the perfect gift for Mom!  A few of my favorites are the succulent wall planter — which would look so great on the porch, and the mobile foodie kit filled with spices (plus I’ve been eyeing those starburst sculptures for myself too!). Any good gift ideas for Mom you’d add to the list?

Mothers Day Gifts 2

Gift for the Gardener: Cupcake Planter | Garden Boot Soap | Succulent Wall Planter

Mothers Day Gifts 3

Gifts for the Foodie: Apron | Cheese Plate | Mobile Foodie Kit

Mothers Day Gifts 1

Gifts for the Decorator: Embroidered Pillow | Starburst Sculptures | Monogrammed Throw

This post was sponsored by UncommonGoods, all opinions (and awesome gift ideas!) are my own.

When I was hosting my DIY event at West Elm last weekend, I couldn’t leave without a quick spin through the new market section of the store. I had to control myself because I wanted to buy everything — from cute little anchor towels to brushed gold cheese knives. But the pieces that really caught my eye were a line of enamelware tableware and kitchen tools. I brought home a sweet little prep bowl and some of the utensils from the collection, I love the simple the lines and sturdy quality of the pieces.


Plates | Utensils | Measuring Cups & Spoons

I am looking anywhere and everywhere for a little peek of warmth and spring these days, it seems like winter is never ending this year! I ran into this image and it was just the dose of freshness I needed. Don’t you love the bright and airy lavender wall color and the little pop of cheery gingham?

katie-armour-apartment-matchbook-magazine-1Image via The NeoTraditionalist

The new CB2 catalog landed in my mailbox last week and I can’t stop thinking about the pops of pink in their new products. I’m making a mental note, when I someday have more space for it, I will be purchasing a pink settee. And I love the bold stripes on the tablecloth and punchy neon pillows — they’re just so cheery!


Big update here people, it’s my birthday tomorrow! The nice thing about having your birthday right after Christmas, is you don’t feel guilty lusting over cute new products after the holiday rush — it’s totally allowed. So I’m sharing an updated ‘caught my eye’ list today with a few things I have on my radar. On the top of the list? Some new bedding — I have been scoping out Biscuit bedding for a possible bedroom refresh! And a cute water bottle to help me keep those new years resolutions… and the Mast Brothers chocolate cookbook for when I inevitably break them, right?

Wishlist Birthday

Tufted bench, Biscuit bedding sham, Anchor doormat, Chocolate cookbook, Heart water bottle, Gold dipped spoons, Belvoir cordials

I’m participating in my blogger-buddy Jaime’s annual stocking series this week, and am sharing some of my stocking-stuffer wishlist. Click over to La Vie J’aime to find out what’s on my list!


I am totally behind and haven’t brought out a single holiday decoration at my house yet this year. That has to change this weekend, I’m in the market for a cute little apartment sized tree that I plan to wrap up with vintage tinsel and big twinkly bulb lights. But in the meantime, I’m adding a little festive flair to the blog today and rounding up a few of the Christmas decorations I have my eye on! Have you started decorating yet?
CHristmas Decoratoins

Mistletoe print | Pom-Pom Garland | Cheers Tumblers | Holiday Cards | Glitter Ornament | Deer Wine Stopper | Christmas Napkins | Macaron Ornament | Donut Ornament

Can we say ‘styling-crush’? I got the new-to-me Schoolhouse Electric catalog in the mail last week and it’s one of those things that I think will end up in my magazine box for years to come — the styling and photography are amazing. Not to mention the actual products are beyond lust-worthy, it made me want to start from scratch and redecorate my entire apartment.  I love that slightly messy, collected-Americana look to the pages.  And gosh does it make me want to invest in new light fixtures!


Images via Schoolhouse Electric Catalog