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I remember hearing a podcast earlier this year that talked about how the kitchens were quickly becoming a staple of the home. We used to spend most of our time in the living room, we hosted in the living room, we decorated the living room. And for one reason or another, we’ve made this transition from the living room into the kitchen.

It makes sense though! When you think about it, food brings people together. Food fuels our day. Meals are often a source of inspiration. Kitchens are becoming a decorated space that we want to show off. It’s where we often start and finish our day, with breakfast and dinner.

Whether I’m cooking, planning, hosting, or working, my kitchen has become this special zone for me, and without a doubt, there’s always going to be a few things you’ll find in there no matter what day of the week.

1. Kitchen Containers

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The organization is my thing. My favorite is when you find pieces that are functional in that they help keep a space clean and organized, but when they’re also perfect to keep out rather than hidden from sight. Pasta, nuts, cereals, sweet treats, snacks are all placed in these perfectly sized acrylic jars which come in a variety of sizes. I get a mix of sizes to help bring about a little change and variety and even use my own hand-written chalkboard labels from the craft store. They’re cute, simple, stylish, but completely functional to leave out.

2. Charcuterie Board

I love hosting. My friends and family know me for it. They also know (and appreciate) how quickly I can throw together a delicious charcuterie plate, piled with savory cheeses, crisp crackers, and delicious nuts and fruits. I have a pretty open-door hosting policy, meaning I might only have 5 or so minutes to get ready for someone to pop in. Even when they aren’t resplendent with my favorite gouda, brie, and swiss, the simplicity of the board means I can leave it out and it’s always ready to be put on display.

The real secret is to make sure you buy one which is just enough for the people you usually entertain. Aka, not too big – so you don’t have a good place to store it – or too small – so you’re forced to replenish the board too often.

3. Cravings Cookbook

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I’m not the best with ideas, but at least I’ll usually know what kind of dish I feel like cooking or eating. More importantly, I’m definitely a visual person. Seeing is believing, and this cookbook has stunning pictures to go with its easy to follow yet highly delicious recipes. I’ve yet to find a recipe that hasn’t been a total hit with family or friends from it.

It’s also an oddly entertaining cookbook, and sometimes I’ll just catch myself sitting around reading from it while I munch on some snacks. I keep it right on the counter because it’s become a go-to recipe book as well as a conversational piece.

4. Coffee Mugs

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I’m always on the go, so I’m constantly drinking coffee and tea. Just as I’m very particular about what coffee or what tea I drink, I’m also particular about what mugs I have. I love when mugs can be left out- they’re inviting to guests, they add to your décor, and it gives a feeling of warmth and color. It would almost be tragic to keep these vibrant water-color style mugs with their gilded handles hidden behind cabinet doors.

5. Reusable Water Bottle

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I’ve given up on pretending I’m always five minutes early to wherever I need to be. Whether I’m heading to the gym for a workout or running to the store or headed to work, this has become something of a routine before I leave the house. I keep my Kool8 water bottle out on the counter by the sink, so I can quickly grab it, fill it, and go (learn more about Kool8 on waterbottle.io). It holds plenty of water, is a bright and lovely shade of purple, so it goes with my décor, and it reminds me I need to be drinking!

Since I always swing through the kitchen before I leave the house, it catches my eye and I never forget to fill it and bring it with. I also love it because I can use it as a shaker for my protein coffee which requires lots of shaking because it can be enjoyed. Trust me, if there’s one thing you should get discipline around – it’s how you keep yourself hydrated at all times.

Most people don’t realize it, but being in the kitchen, standing, for a long period of time put your body under a significant amount of undue pressure. The more hydrated you stay, the more likely you are to perform well – and enjoy the cooking activities on your plate (pun intended).

6. Kitchen knives

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I don’t know what I would do without my kitchen knives. I have a stainless steel 12-knife set in my kitchen. They are very durable, versatile, and downright handy. Mine are also dishwasher safe which makes them very convenient. Since I have two children and a messy husband, let’s say that being able to maneuver the knives quickly and effectively is a must-have priority for me.

According to the Consumer Report, a great cook must first know and understand their own cooking style before choosing the right kitchen knives. In addition, if you cook as often as I do, you should make sure that whatever knives you pick up, they will not be prone to corrosion. That’s always been my preferred way to think of knives as well: buy the most low maintenance ones and never think or worry about how they will turn out.

My kitchen is my space, it’s my family’s space, and it’s the space where I bring my friends. The energy and vibe it puts out into my home matters to me, and I want to make sure I control and tailor that environment to what I want it to represent- bringing life together.

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