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....

Konmari + Donuts {The first timer's guide to tidying}

I’m late to the game on the "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" but I don’t care. I bought the book. I DEVOURED it. I have begun the process. AND I FEEL AMAZING ABOUT IT.

The only SLIGHT thing was the time I almost threw away the title to my car, but as Marie Kondo would say… just get another!

Y’all. If you have purged or cleaned or organized your house ever with little to no lasting result, get this book. Read this book. Embrace this book.

If you have watched any morning TV shows at ALL in the past three years you have surely seen a segment on this book. If not, we probably wouldn’t get along cause you probably don’t think Kathie Lee and Hoda are hilarious. But whatevs, we can figure out our friendship later… The snippet from most of these segments that sticks with people is asking yourself if your belongings “spark joy.” This probably sounds crazy to you/completely weird UNTIL you read the book and start following the konmari method then subsequently find yourself thanking random belongings in your house out loud, or not?! Whatever, I’m not weird.

Anyway, here are my big takeaways from the process so far:

1.     You have to focus on YOUR things. Not your husbands or your kids or your roommates. DO YOU FIRST. You don’t know how other people relate to their stuff, and you can’t be tossing someone else’s clothes and books willy nilly.

2.     My bigger question ISN’T about something sparking joy, but rather the concept of has it served its purpose. Marie Kondo talks about the clothes that you hold on to because it was something you loved but never wear or worse yet something you HATE but you spent too much money on. Did that aforementioned garment teach you about your current style? Then thank it, remove it, and move along! It has served its purpose. And to the shirt that you hate… did it teach you what styles you DON’T like? It has served its purpose!

3.     PAPER: This is where having served purpose is a much better question. Did that baby shower invitation for someone you haven’t seen in three years serve its purpose? Yes. Yes, it did. You are FREE to toss it. I tossed SO MUCH PAPER AND I FEEL SO ALIVE!!!

4.     Finally, you cannot being this process or expect it to be easy/good/refreshing UNTIL you have finished the book AND are emotionally ready to do it.

5.     Donuts make the process WAY better. If you don’t believe me… follow this recipe then try to convince me otherwise. Marie might be upset that I added a mini donut pan to my kitchen BEFORE konmari'ing it, but she probably has also never tasted a brown buttered champagne strawberry donut. So there.

Where I've Been...

The last two months have been KINDA nuts around these parts... and I'm breaking every beginner blog rule like EVER. Specifically, starting with SOME amount of regularity then kaboom dropping off the face of the planet. Here is the part where I attempt to explain and hop back on the blogging wagon.

Thursday night, August 11th, it started to rain... then Friday schools were closed and it kept raining... then Saturday my friend Melinda was worried about her apartment flooding so she loaded up and came over... and it KEPT raining. 

Sunday morning, after a handful of extra people stayed at my house, we found out that my good friend Adam's house was under water. Reality struck. This wasn't just a rain event with closed roads and inconveniences, it was a massive un-named storm that would effect over 110,000 households in the Greater Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas. And, this storm, unlike a hurricane or tornado or other "act of God" managed to attract very little national attention; and with that, a lack of resources. 

Just one of the deliveries we made. This was for a single mom with a newborn who lost everything in the flood. 

Just one of the deliveries we made. This was for a single mom with a newborn who lost everything in the flood. 

So, I went into high gear. I began a GoFundMe account to raise money and worked with close friends to organize and manage a Universal Amazon Wishlist. In the end, over $30,000 was raised and additional $30,000+ worth of goods were donated and delivered to my house for distribution. It was NUTS. I ended up working roughly half time for the first week after the flood, and my house was Baton Rouge's first un-official Amazon distribution site. 

This was about one delivery's worth of goods. I averaged 4 trucks of delivers per day for over 2 weeks!

This was about one delivery's worth of goods. I averaged 4 trucks of delivers per day for over 2 weeks!

In the end, I worked with some friends to start a foundation to use the yet to be used money from GoFundMe to help support families as they move back into their homes as well as help provide meals and supplies for volunteers who have come to help!  What's crazy is that isn't the only natural disaster I've weathered since we last chatted... However, that's all I've got in me tonight. 

If you are interested in reading more you can check out the website and facebook page for the Foot Above Foundation. SO, that's what has kept me away from this here corner of the internet. Look forward to more regular posts on all of the OTHER happenings from the past two months... as well as how I make vacation re-entry pimento cheese!!