Jessica Alba’s 5 Favorite Accessories—in the Kitchen!

08/30/2013 at 09:02 AM ET

Jessica Alba
Justin Coit for The Honest Life

If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of Jessica Alba‘s kitchen—and we’re not just referring to her enviable looks.

“I cook as often as I can,” the actress and co-founder of The Honest Company tells PEOPLE. “I really enjoy making food for my family and friends, so it’s really the way I relax—even if it means putting together a last-minute dinner on a Thursday night.” So what’s on her menu?

“My trick is to keep it simple and healthy,” she says. Alba turns to dishes like lemon grilled chicken and kale salad, grilled hot wings in the warmer months and roasted Cornish game hens when the weather cools down. As summer turns into fall, “I’ll prepare roasted butternut squash or other veggies that I toss with olive oil and herbs, like rosemary and thyme,” she says.

That’s what the mom-of-two (daughters Honor, 5, and Haven, 2) is serving—but here are the essentials you’ll find in her kitchen:

Jessica Alba Kitchen Essentials

1. Measurement Equivalents Magnet

“When adapting recipes, I never can remember how to convert measurements,” she says. “So this quick-reference magnet is awesome because it does the calculations for me.” ($7, surlatable.com)

2. Fruit & Veggie Wash
“I use this on everything!” Alba says. “Even when you buy organic, you need more than water to rinse away the pathogens, waxes, dirt, handling germs and bacteria often found on the surface of the produce. Plus, it makes your farmers’ market goodies last longer.” ($7, honest.com)

3. Magnetic Refrigerator Calendar
“The kitchen is our family hub,” Alba says, “so we stay organized and keep track of the girls’ activities with a whiteboard calendar that we attach to the side of our fridge.” ($17, containerstore.com)

4. Retro Magnetic Kitchen Timer
“I love the simplicity and function of this timer’s vintage design,” she says. “Plus it’s great for using over the stove.” ($15, surlatable.com)

5. Colorful Dishtowels
“I love to mix and match one-of-a-kind dish towels in the same color palette,” Alba says. ($11, etsy.com)

—Alison Schwartz

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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a cool way to improve on

Well I would give her an F. In life.