So you want to get organized...

How often does the calendar re-set and we immediately feel the need to sweep, purge, wipe down, and organize? Or maybe it's just me? Well, on the off chance that it ISN'T just me, here are some resources and reviews for organizing your space!

I live in a moderately sized house. Three bedrooms, two baths, 1800ish square feet. I use almost every room in my house on a daily basis with the exception of the guest bedroom and guest bathroom. Therefore there is STUFF in every room. 

Last year, I Kon Mari'd with some success and did a MAJOR clean out. That was really good for me! The most significant impact came in my master closet, hall closets, books, and paper! I shredded and recycled SO MUCH PAPER. I wasn't thorough enough cause time and toddler, but the cleanse aspect made me feel fresh and made my house feel a bit more livable. The one thing that was hard for me was what to do with so much of the sentimental or non daily use items... that's where Emily Ley comes in!

A much less overwhelming process and book that I'm currently reading is Emily Ley's "A Simplified Life." This book is super approachable and the goal is to define and claim the art of homemaking. The entire concept of the book is this, if you simplify your home and schedule and brain of "clutter" you can live a more simplified life. This comes in the form of a clean out (which was a lot easier to tackle having already Kon Mari'd), creating a plan for weekly meals, figuring out what your family/home needs on a daily basis, and using ALL that information to help simplify life and routine. I haven't finished the book or fully implemented all of the suggestions YET, but I'm excited to tackle my life (house included) and simplify! And, currently on the Simplified Planner instagram account there is a daily simplify challenge for January! It comes with one task a day to help work towards a clutter free house and schedule!

One of the biggest differences between the two books and programs is that Emily doesn't preach extreme minimalism and doesn't advocate for tossing heirloom/sentimental items quite the same way as Mari does. Emily DOES, however, give you a plan for what to do with those items that might not have a place on the shelf but are worthy of being kept and cherished and passed down.

One last resource, along the same lines as the instagram challenge above, is the Apartment Therapy January Cure. This is a daily email with tasks to set you up for a year of success in your home! It started yesterday with cleaning out ONE drawer. Just one. Thankfully, that overlapped with Emily Ley's challenge to declutter your kitchen utensil drawer. 

So, if you are with me on January feeling like a fresh start for your home, take a peek at the resources above! I hope to do a full recap at the end of January on the daily tasks as well as how to continue these practices throughout the year!

Oh Hey! Remember Me?!

Y'all, it's been a minute. And by minute, I mean a really long time... ya know, the way the kids use "minute" these days. 

I'll tell you about some things that have happened since I've last opened up this here blog:

We have been to Disney World THREE times.

I have renovated my kitchen.

We have potty trained AND regressed.

I've earned A-List status on Southwest again (technically I earn it upon completion of my work trip this week).

I have attended some weddings and some funerals.

I've been to Boston, Houston, DC, San Francisco, Orlando, LA

There has been a massive flood... again.

I low-key started a side business selling cookies and teaching cooking classes.

AND I've use my instant pot successfully a whole bunch of times. 

So, how have Y'ALL been? I'm really excited about getting back on this blogging train. Specifically, I'm excited to merge what I'm doing here with the business I'm starting... look out for the "merger" soon. I'm also excited to do some mini gift guides for the super last minute shoppers. Basically, it's gonna be me telling you about all my favorite things AND my favorite cookbooks.

Oh, and speaking of the merger, you have probably noticed (all two of you), that I don't use my @ontheimaginaryblog insta handle any longer... if you've been missing food pics and photos of my crazy life, check out @counterspaceBR. That's gonna be the new home for all things food, hosting, and imaginary!

Just in case you want a taste of my favorite things right now, here are the 5 cookbooks you should gift this holiday season (in no particular order)

1. Over Easy by Joy Wilson

2. One Pot by Martha Stewart

3.  Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

4. Cherry Bomb: The Cookbook by a whole bunch of awesome ladies

5. Sweet (and actually buy this for me cause I don't have it and I want it really bad...) by Yotam Ottolinghi

6. BONUS CAUSE I LIED: Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

I'll tell ya this, I have cooked out of Deb Perelman's new book countless times already including a really awesome delicata squash and brussel sprouts salad that I brought to Thanksgiving dinner. It was a delight!

I can't begin to stress how awesome cookbooks are for gifts. ESPECIALLY for someone who loves food. You really don't have to love to cook to enjoy most of these books... The photography alone makes them stand out additions to a coffee table or bookshelf!

Ok, I'll end here for now. But I'm telling myself I will be writing a lot this December and into the new year. Get. Excited. 

Coffee, Y'all!

I HAD AN ENTIRE POST WRITTEN AND DID SOMETHING STUPID AND IT WENT AWAY! So, here is me trying to be clever late at night and re-create it.

Basically, I was telling y'all that the month of March is always FULL. I hate using the word busy, cause let's be real... everyone is busy. My month actually involves travel and going places and Saturday's with stuff going on. FULL. I have a big ol' conference for work next week followed by a a wedding in California + a VERY mini vacay. Before that I have another Maker's Market!!!

So, I started this month with a coffee making class... cause that's the only way I would be able to get through. My friend Wallis Watkins came over and taught me and some friends how to brew the perfect pour over! I'm gonna walk y'all through some of the equipment you need for the best cup of pour over at home! The best part, many of these items serve many uses in the kitchen!

First, a scale! I love my digital kitchen scale. You will want it to have a tare feature... and this is a fixture for baking as well!

Grinder!! A burr grinder is really the only way to go. I love bodum products, but you can always shop your local Home Goods or kitchen shop for a great option!

Once you have measured the beans and they are the correct size, you will want to heat the water. This is the kettle I have and it's GREAT! And again, it's a super functional kitchen item. Do yourself a favor and burn through $23 for a good kettle.

Now as far as the actual pour over cone, you can go fancy or not! And I put mine right over the coffee mug... no crazy extra equipment needed. 

Finally, a goose neck kettle. This is KEY because you want thin, even water distribution for the best brew. 

Some of these things you might already have, some might be new to you. Either way, you can spend as much or as little as you would like AND in most cases a full set up will cost less than a quality coffee pot!

Google to find the right proportions and note timing and water temperature do make a difference... but the perfect pour over can happen at home. And it should. Now, I'm gonna go brew another myself and tackle my growing March to do list.

I Won a New Kitchen {internet contests are sometimes real}

Last Friday afternoon my son came home with an ear infection. We spent the weekend kinda chilling and low key... he wasn't his best. Then when Monday rolled around he still wasn't well enough to go to his play school, so I had a "let's attempt to work with toddler in tow" day. It wasn't the worst, but it wasn't easy. And just when I was feeling a little low, he FINALLY fell asleep for a nap.

Rather than using that time to sit and reply to emails, I needed to clear my head a little so I decided to bake a loaf of Avocado Pound Cake (technically two loaves, cause it's a double recipe). While whipping up mashed avocados into butter + sugar, I got an instagram notification... that Joy the Baker tagged ME in a post. Why, on earth would she do THAT? I swiped with excitement only to realize she was announcing that I WON HER KITCHENAID CONTEST. And I wasn't one of the "small appliance" winners... I won the WHOLE shebang. I won a stove, hood/vent, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Literally thousands and thousands of dollars worth kitchen appliances. All because I posted three pictures using two hashtags each time and tagged both Joy and KitchenAid. (the cocktail picture featured in this blog was one of them), I was eligible to win. AND I DID.

This was not just amazing, but the timing was IMPECCABLE. Just when I'm starting to try to use my kitchen more and think about ways to invest in my kitchen and start offering cooking classes out of my kitchen (more on that later) and realizing that my dishwasher is more of a dish steamer and all sorts of other little things... this was HUGELY exciting and encouraging and affirming.

So tonight, after a 48 hour trip to DC for work that involved a 14 hour work day, I'm sitting at my computer and picking out brand. new. appliances. Meanwhile, almost in tears of humility and gratitude out of this seemingly random kindness and all of the dear friends who are sharing in their excitement with me!! I think when I consider what it is to share life with people it is almost easier to "mourn with those who mourn" and show sympathy and empathy in times of hurt and pain... but how often do we avoid "rejoicing with those who rejoice" out of selfishness? So, to those friends rejoicing with me, thank you! 

I will have all of you over for cookies once everything is installed! Now go out and start entering all of the instagram contests you find... cause you JUST.MIGHT.WIN!

PS The avocado pound cake didn't turn out....