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Steph’s Favorite Kitchen Essentials

When we had to create a registry for our wedding last year, it was honestly really tricky (but I mean, listen… I MANAGED)… at that point in time at the ripe age of 38, I’d already amassed loads of great kitchen swag… so we just didn’t really *need* a whole lot.  I had (in previous years) written guest posts for other publications about “the Perfect Registry” – which was really more a matter of making pretty eye candy on a mood board than actual functionality.  And after we got engaged, I read oodles of blog posts on the stuff people *actually* ended up using that they registered for (versus what looked pretty but took up space & got dusty after the wedding – e.g. a KitchenAid mixer… but it all depends on your lifestyle).  Anyhow – the extra swag I wanted to register for were things that would be timeless, so we did add a few rad things to our arsenal.  I also once heard a married friend say that the best part about wedding gifts was that (you’ll think of the person who gave it to you) every time you use it – and that I have found to be true.  So, I thought I’d round up my favorite things like this shun classic knife set, in case it might be useful for any soon-to-be brides, or just anybody who wants to give their pantry a refresh!

1. Charcuterie Board, $140.  Not sure if these are supposed to be used for cutting (or just for cheese & meat spreads) but I have literally butchered ours and I love it more for the wear.  Karrie & Melissa got this for me for my birthday back in 2016 and it still looks great.

2. Gingham Napkins (20″ x 20″), $20 eachComing mid-February to the shop! (message me for pre-order)  We have the tea towel version of these now and it is one of my favorite things.  Neutral enough to look good with everything (but not beige), the perfect weight and rumply-ness, washes up nicely…  all that jazz.  I know, I know – $20 seems a little steep to spend on a single napkin, but I bought (similar linen striped ones) in the Hamptons probably 8 years ago that are the same texture / quality / weight, and they are still my favorite thing, and something we use daily.  How’s the old saying go that I tell my clients all the time?  “Buy the right thing the first time around and you’ll only cry once.”

3. Oval Nesting Measuring Cups, no longer available.  This is a jerk thing to put on a list of favorite things because they’re so scarcely available, but I freaking love these suckers.  My homegirl Lindsay Aherne turned me onto them – they’re from Williams-Sonoma, they’re oval so they tuck a little easier into space in a drawer, they’re stainless steel so they’re bulletproof, and they come in all the odd increments (e.g. 1-1/4 cups, 2/3, 3/4 etc etc).  Here’s the link – some are still available for pickup in select stores.

4. SMEG Electric Kettle in Cream, $160.  We make French press coffee every morning, and (for the longest time) I would boil a big saucepan of water, then wobble & painstakingly pour it into the French press and try not to also pour boiling water (all over myself).  We had a friend staying with us from out of town last year and she watched me doing it and was like: “Honey, it’s time for a tea kettle.”  This is SO MUCH BETTER.  Works great and looks cute as a button on the countertop, too.

5. Lodge 10.25″ Cast Iron Skillet, $22.  I think we use this at least 3x/day.  I find that eggs (over-easy or over-medium) do much better in this than a non-stick, and it’s the best for grilled cheese, searing any sort of meat… anything.

6. Joule Sous Vide, $250.  This thing might be the #1 thing on this list I’d recommend you buy if you want to make restaurant quality meat at home.  The first time we made filets with it, we took a bite and looked at each other and were like: “EHMYGYAH are we at Elk Prime Steakhouse or are we in our living room?”  IT. ROCKS.  Thanks Cousin Liz!

7. Italian Wine Glasses, $26 eachThese beauties from Nickey Kehoe are the closest I can find to the vintage ones I got at a little shop in Paso Robles during our mini-moon.  They are uber timeless, feel nice to hold and are just a little more special than a standard wine glass.  I always reach for one of these first when I hear the pop of a wine cork.

8.  Staub 7-quart Dutch Oven in Truffle, $375.  I use this thing all the time.  A few times a week, at least.  I wondered when I registered for it if it would be that thing that I used once a year, or if it would be too big (they also make a 5 quart and a lots-of-other-smaller-sized-quarts), or if it was too pretentious to register for something with that price tag (luckily, my amazing mother-in-law who’s a great cook and loves nice things got it for us and was like: “IT IS MY FAVORITE THING AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE YOURS!”)  And it is!  It’s perfect for a pot of chili for me & Chris (plus a few rounds of leftovers), or a big pot of soup, or last year on New Years, I made a short rib dinner for 6 (also Joyce’s recipe).  The Truffle color was super hard to find (still is) but it is SO PERFECT.  It’s somewhere between an off-white and grey but with these little speckles in it.

9. Modena Tumblers in Lilac, $54 per set of 2.  I would never say purple is my favorite color-color, but it may be my favorite accent color.  So these – in the palest lilac – look great with EVERYTHING.  If you won’t take my word for it, Julia Berolzheimer also has them, so you know they’re kewl.  You’re welcome.

10. Mauviel Copper & Brass Roasting Pan, $270Another thing that felt frivolous putting on a registry, but another thing I use all the time and will have forever.  It’s surprisingly non-stick, roasts super evenly, and is really easy to clean.  Looked gorgeous on Thanksgiving with a turkey in it, and looks gorgeous with veggies roasting in it on a Tuesday night.  Thanks Mulligan!

11. Hamilton Beach 8-cup Food Processor, $40.  I generally believe that you get what you pay for – so I’ve seen $300 lookalike food processors, but this thing, I swear, has about 1 zillion horsepower.  Works & cleans up like a boss, and we’ve had it for years.  I do everything with it – make homemade pesto, salsa and hummus, chop nuts, and chop onions & garlic when I don’t want to (touch them) because we know that makes your hands stank for days.

12. The Ove Glove, $17Not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, but who cares because it’s heat resistant up to 540 degrees, and that’s the key.  Also, the glove (versus a mitt) gives you more control when handling hot potatoes.  Perfect for anything, but especially for touching the cast iron pan handle or pulling something out of the broiler.

13. Microplane Cut-Resistant Gloves, $15.  Chris said once that (for having been a D1 college athlete back in the day with good hand-eye coordination), I might be the clumsiest person he knows.  He is not wrong.  I grated my knuckles one too many times on cheese graters & zesters, and then I found these.  I wear them when I’m using anything sharp… including a mandoline.

14. Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus Cetrifugal Juicer, $150.  If you’ve ever wondered why fresh squeezed juice from a Juice Joint is so dang expensive, try using any juicer and it makes you realize just how many fruits & veggies you have to use to make 1 measly glass of juice.  That said… this sucker is totally worth it.  I use it daily.  You can throw in whatever you’ve got, but here are a few favorite combos:

for every day – a few stalks of celery, a few carrots, a HUGE hunk of ginger, 1/2 an apple, 1/2 an orange and a handful of fresh spinach.  Beets are always great if you have them.  Makes about 1.5 glasses.

if you are feeling sick – a raw lemon (or 2), an even bigger hunk of ginger, an apple and a few stalks of celery.  I woke up last Saturday sneezing and with my nose running like a faucet, so I made myself a glass of (this) and it knocked it right out.  Makes 1 glass.

One other thing I love that I couldn’t fit on this mock-up: this mandoline (thanks Aunt Diane & Uncle Pete!)  It’s so scary I call it the guillotine – ha!  You HAVE to be extremely careful, then use the cut-resistant gloves, plus use the safety tool that comes with it.  And maybe a hazmat suit & some armor.  But it’s a boss.

Happy Shopping!!


Good Things { November 2020 }

Welp, here’s at least one thing we can all agree on: QUESO IS DELICIOUS.  This recipe is from Pinch of Yum – lemme know how it is if you try it before I do, but I’ve had really good luck with her stuff before.

While we’re getting fatter just sitting here looking at stuff, I am taking this Blackberry Thyme Brie en Croute for a spin at our next suppa party.  Cheese is never a bad idea.

This Penny Morrison fabric appears to be discontinued, but I’m still lusting after it.  Big luscious drapery panels (???) – yes please.

New Favorite Podcast = Wine for Normal People.  We binged it recently a few weeks ago with the same fervor as we would a new season of Stranger Things.

Is there anything sweeter than an old golden??  ANYTHING IN THIS WHOLE WORLD??  …OH, GUSSIE!  (ps these photos are by Dai Chan – beautiful pics of his pup here).

I just found this pic on my phone when I was on a plane yesterday, bored to tears and deleting old photos, which made me cry when I saw it.  It’s my sweet Daddy and Gus.  My Dad LOVED Gus…  LOVED.  You know if you follow me on social media that we are obsessed with and adore little Goose, but man.  They are all such little individuals and such people.  There will never be another O.G.

Our officiant at our wedding (who is a close friend of Chris’) a few weeks ago spoke about Gus, and the life & marriage lessons we could all take from him for a large part of the ceremony.  I think people assumed we fed him the lines, but it was a surprise to both myself and Chris – and there was not ONE DRY EYE IN THE DAMN HOUSE.

photo by Anni Graham

Also had these as our cocktail napkins.  I had a lady named Alicia on Etsy make them (she was wonderful) – I sent her a picture of Big Gus and she sketched it out and it was printed on them in copper.  My baby boy was there, everywhere – on the napkins, in the sermon, in my heart… everywhere.

Favorite kind of mani – besides the vanilla kind I usually get (Bubble Bath!) is a half-moon mani like this.  Makes the grow out easy breezy.

The perfect green!  Belongs in my future house somewhere – butler’s pantry, a vanity or a laundry room.  Ladurée in Paris.

Really pretty exterior brick & paint combo.

This hexagon mosaic pattern is pretty specific, but man it’s rad.  Via Rebecca Atwood’s Insta.

Love this for Fall.  Source unknown.

I’m all about staple shoes, and here they are.  I can hardly find these anywhere, except maybe on Poshmark or eBay, in a size 4.

I do other peoples’ kitchens for a living, and it may be my most fun room to do, because it’s like a portrait of the homeowner you paint via the combination of finishes, materials, and the way it functions.  This one is by Jessica Helgerson (credit:  for AD), and I audibly gasped when I saw it.

Favorite parts include:

  • the hand painted floor, which is a big commitment in a space like a kitchen – where doodles can’t easily be un-did – but in this case, I feel like it is what makes the space, but it definitely has a more timeless quality than so many of the patterned floors I’ve seen.  The terra cotta color is rich and warm, and becomes a neutral in the space and another layer of texture.
  • the Rocky Mountain Hardware brass apron-front sink, which I’ve been trying to get into someone’s house since the beginning of time (it was in this doodle back in 2014), and
  • the Lacanche range.


If I were doing it, I would probably have swapped out the freestanding island for an antique shop counter, like this one from Field & Fort in Santa Barbara:

And I would make room for (I can do this, because this is fantasy land and I’m the mayor) my two favorite Italian 1950’s vintage pendants that I picked up at Hollywood at Home a few years ago – almost identical to these: 

Anyhoo.  Since now we have the wedding under our belts, it’s about that time to try to settle into a house.  We love our (operative word: little) cozy place in Crested Butte, but we’re tinkering with the idea of either building (which is not a speedy process here) or buying a resale that we may have to do some work to (and knowing me / us, nothing will be the way we want it so I’ll have to turn it inside out).  Building costs are also bananas in this town… and I would almost equate trying to nail down subcontractors to herding sheep, but that hardly cuts it; it’s probably a little more like trying to nail molasses to the wall.  IT’S OK I’LL FIGURE IT OUT.  Anyhow, I’ll have to write a separate post soon to share all the fun stuff we wanna do, and then imma hafta figure out how to stretch our budget from stale beer to bubbly champagne so I can include all the highfalutin things we want.  But while I’m at it, here’s a wallcovering I die over slash MUST HAVE – via Nicky Kehoe.  Looks like William Morris but can’t 100% place it.

Also die over William Morris’ Pimpernel in Fig / Sisal.  It’s elegant, it reads old world and timeless but can also read modern, depending on what you put it with.  And it feels in motion, which I love.  The combinations in each colorway are also stunning.

Waiting with baited breath for Carolina Irving’s new release of “Delos.”  Spring 2021.  Have my hand on the buzzer à la Family Feud to use it on one of my fave clients’ dining chairs or counterstools.

I saw this Royal Cauldon Dinnerware pattern at an antique store on our mini-moon and I stalking it hard trying to collect it.

I could keep hunting that, or just blow my future kids’ college funds on the Oriente Italiano collection, which is so beautiful it’s stupid.  I’ll gladly eat trash scraps under a bridge on those plates.  jfdlsjfkdsjhakjfhdajkhakjha

How cute is this dress?  It almost looks like the maternity version and the inverse of Julia’s dress from the polo match in Pretty Woman.

Also, these pearl studs.  OMG I have to post something about Def Leppard or a t-shirt from Goodwill stat before I go straight snooty sorority house meets Golden Girls right in front of your eyes.

Here’s one of my fave new (old) songs:


I pride myself on lots of things, but one of them is sniffing out (get it?) the best candles for every season.  I’ve ordered a few brands into the shop (and returned almost all of them) – because sometimes they have a good nose (e.g. when you lift off the lid and sniff them in the store) BUT so many times, then they don’t smell the same (or smell at all) when they burn, which has to the ratio of the actual oil to wax that the candlemaker uses.  Anyhoo – one line I kept is NEST, which I carry exclusively in Crested Butte, and also 1 flava-flave from 1 other line.  Here are my 4 favorites for this time of year:

1 – Ethics Supply Co, Black Elk Peak, $38.  Has a woodsy, cozy, almost spicy scent to it that I think works great during the Fall but also into the holidays.

2 – NEST Holiday, $42 for the regular size, or $68 for the 3-wick.  A holiday classic!  So good, and the box is gorgeous for gift-giving.  I have both sizes in the shop.

3 – Thymes Frasier Fir, price varies per size.  Smells like a Christmas tree, but super potent and super delicious.  Only one I don’t carry, but the nice lady across the street (Elena / Casa Bella) does.

4 – NEST Moroccan Amber, $42 for the regular size.  Kind of a warm, vanilla & amber, fireside, more gender-neutral candle you can burn year-round, but great for the holidays, too.  I have been surprised how much I love this one.

Comment on this post or email me at to order!  Or just pop in the shop sometime!

Speaking of the shop – I have made a lot of custom ottomans for it in the past few years, but I’ve never seen an ottoman I’m more obsessed with than THIS one from House of Windsor by Windsor Smith.  Even Chris Driscoll lost his mind when he saw it.

How pretty is this for a stacking band?

Maybe I’ll add it one of these days?

Saw and screen shot this ages ago on Sally King Benedict’s Insta Story – cuz that is a BOMB STACK.

How dope is this Bolivian Frasada I picked up at Porch in Summerland (Santa Barbara) during our honeymoon?

Speaking of… I referenced it before, but our 10.22.20 wedding was insane.  I-N-S-A-N-E.  So magical I don’t have the words to describe it.  Will also have to post about that someday soon (lots of pics on Insta and in this highlight), and tell you about everything from mind-bending drama like the time my one-time DJ called Gavin Newsom (as in the Governor of California, on the phone) about my wedding, to mind-blowing wedding cake aka the time we flew in the orange shebert cake from Cru Cafe in Charleston.

We mini-mooned in Santa Barbara & Paso Robles – also must write out recs for those.  Also must book trip back ASAP.  My, I’m making myself a fat to-do list for a lazy Sunday.  Santa Barbara in particular may be tied with San Diego for the places my soul was meant to live.

{ via }

Here’s one rec for your Thanksgiving Day table: we had a few favorites from Paso, but Adelaida was our fave vineyard, and this is my fave wine for the price point from them.  My favorite wine altogether is the 2016 Syrah, but this one is a fraction of the cost, still delicious, but a really good table-drinking wine.

Also, the 2017 Lazy Creek Pinot Noir slays.

I also totally want to blog (soon) a Registry List with our favorite things we got (plus favorite kitchen stuff we already had), and a few tabletop mock-ups, so remind me to do that.  All of this (except the silverware, which is vintage – and which we used at the wedding) can be ordered thru yours truly.  What I love about this set-up is how versatile it is.  I have a few vintage and/or colorful tablecloths that all of this plays so nicely with.  You could also totally change up the napkins and the glassware depending on the season / what else you have happening chez vous.

PS these were our tabletops at the wedding.  CAN YOU EVEN HANDLE IT.  Photo by Anni Graham.

The patina on this antique piece in an entryway by Amber Lewis is perfection.

Well friends (!) thanks for letting me brain dump all over you and all over the interwebs on a Sunday afternoon. Gotsta scoot to do precisely this:

I for sure blabbed about what to blog about next, but what do YOU guys want to hear about?