The 20 Items You Need To Own

Forget deals, these items have real value.
By Emily,

Where G is a spontaneous shopper and will be on Amazon faster than I can say, "Do we need more dish soap?," I tend to build my purchases into events. I carefully curate online carts over weeks and revisit shoes in the store until the moment when I'm ready to swipe my card, usually as a reward for something like a challenging week or work-related success. So when it comes to purchasing things I need over things I want, it feels far less fun—I put off buying new luggage for our honeymoon up to just a week before we left, and will happily brave a busy mall to purchase shoes, but do just about anything to avoid the grocery store. But I've realized that some of the least-exciting purchases are also those that make the largest impact in improving day-to-day life. Here are 20 things worth buying that make the biggest impact:

1. Good nude bra: Before coming across my current favorite bra brand, Natori (which I've written about here and here), I rotated through cheap bras that didn't fit correctly or provide enough support. The "sexier" bras I favored were uncomfortable, and lasted a fraction of the time. A few years ago, I finally got properly fitted at a department store and have been wearing the Natori Feathers Underwire Bra ever since, which looks great under sheer pieces, and has a hint of lace that keeps it subtly sexy. 

2. A solid makeup bag: To cut back on bathroom counter clutter, I keep the majority of my makeup in a bag that I pull from a drawer under my sink. Yes, it would work just as well in a paper bag, but I use a leather red option from Cuyana, which offers a fun pop of color and the monogram adds a sophisticated touch. When I travel, it makes me feel more pulled-together, and is one less thing to think about since all my makeup is already in one place. 

3. Good blow dryer: Since I give myself a blow out every week, I've invested in a nicer dryer that is more powerful and lighter than most options (though I still can't quite convince myself that this one is worthwhile!). 

4. A powerful blender: Depending on your space, cooking needs, and budget, it may be worthwhile to invest in a powerful blender. We use ours every single morning to make Sloan her smoothie, but also pull it out all the time for cooking, to make soups, sauces, and blended cocktails. After using an "antique" blender for years, it's still a relief every time our Vitamix crushes ice as if it's nothing. 

5. High-quality speakers: It wasn't until we moved into our house, which has built-in speakers, that I realized what a difference a good sound system can make. We're constantly playing music—whether its Moana or Lion King (or, for the past few months, Christmas carols) for Sloan, or laid-back tunes while G and I cook dinner. 

6. Tupperware: When Geoffrey and I first moved in together, I added my Tupperware collection to his, which was a nightmare. For years, we weren't able to successfully find a matching lid and bottom without uprooting the entire cabinet. When we moved into our first home, we started from scratch and recycled our old (slightly smelly and stained) plastic collection, and replaced it with glass options—which are available for $35 on Amazon! To this day, we still use that set.

7. Good quality towels: Nice towels don't cost that much more than a cheap set of towels, they last for years, and make such a difference. Parachute Home sells great options for $29. 

8. Soft sheets: Similar to a great set of towels, soft sheets make a world of difference. After sleeping on IKEA sheets for years, I couldn't believe what a difference our upgrade to a higher thread count made, and there's no need to spend an exorbitant amount—you can get an incredibly soft set for a reasonable price from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. 

9. A sturdy set of luggage: G and I purchased a set of luggage for our honeymoon almost six years ago. It's nothing special, but it's built to last—and it has! I can't see us needing another set for another ten years, at least.

10. Poncho for the airplane: Whenever I travel, I wear the same outfit: my reversible Rag & Bone poncho (similar here) and aviators—its comfortable and looks cool, even if whatever I'm wearing underneath is far from it. As much as I love the poncho, I keep it packed in my luggage to save it for trips, and it's always such a nice treat whenever I pull it out. 

11. Car Charger: This may seem obvious to a lot of people, but I just purchased my first one last week and it's made a world of difference. I bought a cord that charges 4x faster and has two USB sockets, so passengers can use it as well. 

12. Wireless headphones: Several of my friends now use Airpods, but I know I'd lose mine immediately. Instead, I use wireless headphones from Beats (see here and here) that wrap around my neck. I use them most often for walking and for listening to music in bed before falling asleep—if I used individual headphones, I'd never be able to track them down in the sheets the next morning.

13. Ample socks and underwear: There are few things more frustrating than getting to the bottom of your sock or underwear drawer and realizing you can't find any socks that match, or that the only pair of underwear left has an obvious panty line. The thing is: It's avoidable! I recently purchased multiple pairs of my favorite socks, and invested in more of my favorite underwear for sleeping and for daily wear so that I don't have to run into that issue any time soon. 

14. Body wash: For some reason, body wash is one of those things I'm incredibly cheap about. Last time I ran out, I used Geoffrey's for months before finally caving and buying my own, but when I did, I purchased several bottles so that it'll last a while. I'm partial towards washes with classic scents and love Kai and Clinique Happy, which both feel so nostalgic in the best way. 

15. The largest size of any device available: This is something that G swears by, and I've finally come around to. When it comes to purchasing a new computer or phone, which is already an expensive purchase, we always splurge and buy the largest size available. Otherwise, you'll be cursing yourself a year down the road when the "Not enough storage" warning comes up every time you want to add a photo. 

16. Citrus juicer: If you don't live in California, where citrus is available year-round, this purchase may be a little indulgent, but we use our Breville Citrus Juicer every single morning to make fresh orange juice for Sloan. Even if you don't have a toddler, it makes juicing citrus like limes for margaritas a whole lot less arduous. 

17. An insulated travel mug: Since G and I make our coffee at home most mornings, we wanted something that could keep it warm until we got to the office. This mug does a great job, and has a locking mechanism so that it's never spilled in my bag. 

18. Black-out blinds: There are countless studies that suggests sleeping in a darker room can lead to better sleep. Purchase black-out blinds that can go behind your regular curtains for nighttime so sun and street lights don't disturb your sleep. We have them in Sloan's room, but didn't feel it was necessary to add them in ours since the opportunity to sleep in these days isn't exactly a common occurrence. 

19. Electric toothbrush: There isn't much to say here, except that electric toothbrushes just work better than conventional brushes. I've had this one for years and swear by its whitening setting and love that the light pink color is cute enough to leave out on my counter. 

20. Good serveware: Like a great evening dress, serveware isn't something you pull out every day, but when you do, it makes such a difference to have a set you love. I love the serveware available at Heath Ceramics in L.A.

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