road trip playlists

A few weeks ago on the Joy the Baker Podcast: One Smart Fellow, Tracy and I discussed our favorite road trip memories.  It’s summer and many of us are on the open road headed out of town, up the street, down the way, and just… gettin’ gone!  It’s a great feeling!

Tracy and I have compiled some rather awesome, rather random, rather ridiculous ROAD TRIP PLAYLISTS!  We’ve set the playlists up on Spotify because that’s how we’re listening to music these days.

Hope you hit the road to soak up the last of summer! Crank the volume on the radio and roll the windows all the way down!  It’s all very very good!

•  A Good Cry  We get just a little weepy with Mumford and Sons, Lykke Li, and Leona Lewis.

•  Guilty As Charged  Because we all just really want to listen to Boyz II Men and SWV, right?

•  Get Down With Your Bad Self   AKA Car Dancing with Prince On Blast.

•  Top Down, Hair OUT!  A little Beyonce.  A little Pharrel.  A lot of unexpected jams for when the wind blows through your hair.  


A few weeks ago I was poorly navigating my way through one of those days that included unruly hair, back sweat, lost lip gloss, and chipped nail polish.  I was feeling entirely un-polished and unkempt.  I felt like any semblance of put-togetherness had completely flown the coop.  Basically… I was being a major bummer to myself.

At the height of my defeating self-talk a stranger stopped me on the street and said, “That dress looks great on you.  You have really nice arms!”.  I wanted to crumble onto the sidewalk in gratitude.  This stranger had, unknowingly, interrupted my in-brain-Negative-Nancy words and with just a few kind words, totally changed my attitude.  I was soooo thankful for that brief moment of kindness and just like that, she was of her merry way.

I’ve been thinking a lot about compliments.  How just a few encouraging words can change a day, a mood, a moment, a week.  The words we say can really make a difference and when we choose to share the kind one… I mean, it’s great for everyone!

With compliments on the brain, this week on Joy the Baker I asked people to share the best compliment they have ever received.  The entries were both revealing and super heart-warming.  There are soooo many great compliments, but here are a few of my very favorites.

Jessi:  A woman in the elevator at work told me I was the most adorable pregnant woman ever. This made my day, as I feel like a whale!

Stacy:  I was grocery shopping at a busy time of day on a payday weekend (wall to wall carts and grumpy people) with my six year old and three year old daughters. A very old rancher approached us and said my daughters were the best behaved people in the entire store; that hearing our laughs reminded him of his ‘dearly departed wife’ and that we made him happy that day.

Elizabeth:  Definitely in high school, when I was having a small cry to my mum about hating PE and not being any good at sports, and she told me that in the wild, there are all sorts of animals…fierce animals, gentle animals, athletic animals….and that I am just more of an ‘essay animal’. I can completely get behind being an essay animal, even if I AM destined to be uncoordinated and slow.

Mary:  My granddaughter wrote a paper for school and titled it “Eating at my grandma’s house is better than eating at a restaurant”. Best compliment I ever received.

Kim:  I got told by my 12 year old daughter the other day that I was “really cool” and she didn’t even want anything!

Kristine:  I am a self taught baker and I just started doing it full time. I participated in an event called the Taste of Hawaii and from baking from a box with a toaster oven to hearing “Best cupcake I’ve ever had!” from people feels amazing!

Annie:  The best compliment I’ve ever had came from my brother in law who is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. I’ve been testing out different paths since I gave up my pursuit of being an Opera singer 8 years ago. I’ve been a personal trainer, a sales rep, a firefighter and now I’m in school for nursing. This accomplished, respected man said that I was his hero because he thinks that I am fearless. He looked at my life, and instead of seeing chaos he saw success!

Sharon:  The best compliment I ever received was many years ago. When I was feeling fat, frump and old, I was at the grocery store and this young lady, someone I had never met, came over and told me I’m beautiful. I will never forget that and how it changed my day and made me feel beautiful. It’s just amazing how a few kind words can change a bad day into an awesome day.

Lauren:  Your smile shows how beautiful you are on the inside. I’m big on complimenting strangers.

Leisa:  I had begun volunteering with a kitty rescue and, due to my medical background, I was the one nursing them through some pretty serious illnesses. One of the directors told me ”YOU have been the difference here–many of them are alive because of you!”… the best compliment I’ve ever received.

Kristin:  My husband told me the other night that I was the nicest and most good person he’s ever met. My eyes welled up with happy tears. Our days get so busy and lives so hectic, sometimes it’s just nice to hear things that don’t always get said.

On compliments from around the Internet:

How To Give A Great Compliment

•  Compliments That Will Make Anyone Feel Good

 This dude is kind of a compliment lurker… and he has a nervous laugh and clap, but his intentions are good!

Let’s be the kind of people who share encouraging words.  Everyday!  Just imagine the difference we can make!

I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m working in the kitchen.  I think I need to feel like I’m having conversations with people besides my camera and my cat.  Yes… I suppose I just admitted to talking to both my cat and my camera.

I love stories.  I love diving into different perspectives.  I love learning weird facts that I can awkwardly throw into conversation at dinner parties.

Here are a few podcasts episodes that have entertained me this week.  A little spooky, a few facts about skyjacking (what!?), some business talk with people I admire, and a raw story about Anne Frank that totally made me cry.

I hope you have a great week!

Snap Judgement:  Campfire Tales – I’m such a sucker for ghost stories.  I’m really the perfect audience, because they scare the heck out of me.  Listen to these stories and re-tell them around the campfire.  For real.  I got the chills.

99%:  Invisible Skyjacking – The history of hijacking airplanes.  Super fascinating.

The Lively Show:  Kendi Everyday is a super honest conversation about business and blogging.

I also really love Grace Bonney’s perspective on work and not work in The Lively Show:  Design Sponge.  

The Moth: I Need To Talk About Anne Frank – A lot of really necessary humanity.

Uhh Yeah Dude:  Episode 423 Live from Portland, Oregon – America through the eyes of two American Americans.  Always and forever.

 We talk a lot about Instagram on the Joy the Baker Podcast so I thought I’d share the latest of my Instagram favorites.  Everything from food to design, to absolute absurdity.  I’m only a little bit sorry.

Pictured from left to right and left to right.

Emily Henderson: stylist, designer, cute mama, hilarious lady!  I love her design inspiration and her baby’s super chubby cheeks.

Paul Octavious: Chicago photographer and storyteller!  His eye is always finds the unexpected!

Laura Miller:  Raw Vegan Not Gross and totally cool.

Rebecca Rebouche:  New Orleans artist with feminine vision and a traveling heart

AdamsCarpenters: Absurd videos from an absurd comedian.

Humans of NY:  NYC one story at a time.  “I found him in the trash.  I named him shadow because he followed me everywhere.”  Such great snippets.

Wit and Vinegar:  Food, design, dogs, and nonsense from Billy Green.  Catburger for real?

Nate Diesel:  Welcome to the world of the super-buff selfie.  I’ll follow this wormhole all the way down.

Nicole Franzen:  Brooklyn Photographer with heart and soul.

Cats of Instagram:  obviously!  Right?

In our last house we had a different fridge. We unfortunately couldn’t take it with us because it wouldn’t have fit in our new house. It was a pretty good fridge & I really miss it. Wahhh. I think this fridge that we have now is from my childhood. The one before that was avocado green! I secretly wish we still had it.

Our fridge now works for the most part and we’ve been living with it (it leaks and makes really loud noises!) but I feel like it should be called the GREAT FOOD HIDER. I swear, I never really know what I have in there because I have to stand back 5 feet to see way in the back of it.

I was having a really good Sunday in the kitchen last week and decided to go through my fridge again and weed it out & set the tone for the week. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get my head back in the game.

Here’s the kitchen. This is the kitchen I learned how to cook in! It’s changed a lot over the years.

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Are you ready to see inside? It’s kinda packed. Go ahead…snoop!

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There’s really no rhyme or reason for anything. I’ve been living in the SHOVE stuff in here mode.

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It’s not really that fun. I have no idea what’s in there half the time.

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So I started sorting everything.

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And cleaning…a soapy rag makes a huge difference.

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Especially with the yucky parts. Dang jam!

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We also have a part of the fridge that leaks…water collects down here and I have to use a turkey baster to get it out every other day. YIKES!

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This is the current sate of our fridge. Things are way more organized. I also weeded out a bunch of old stuff.

I probably could have done a better job “styling” the drawers but THIS IS REAL LIFE.

All it takes is meal time and the chi can get disrupted.

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Have mercy! There’s actually some empty spots to put food now.

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I bought a few pull out bins from the Container Store. They’re fantastic.

This bin is for tubs of things–like cream cheese, sour cream, dips, etc.

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This narrow pullout bin is for almond butters & such.

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I sorted all of my jars/condiments and created sections for myself.

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I’m sticking to it!

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I really hope that I can keep this up!  The freezer is next!


In our old house I had my jewelry pretty organized. Remember when I went through my bathroom & cleaned it all out?   In our house now we have a cabinet under the sink where I keep the tupperware drawers of my jewelry (bracelets, earrings & hair doo-dads) hidden. I like that it’s concealed but I realized that I am not wearing a fraction of my accessories because I don’t see it all the time.

But…my mom put up all of these hooks in her bathroom….and I couldn’t resist hanging my necklaces on them. I really liked the access, but I found it super cluttered and really couldn’t see what necklaces I have in my arsenal. Everything is just lumped together. I have lived with this for the past year and then one day I found myself in the clearance section at The Container Store…

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I walked down those aisles staring at each item…trying to come up with organizing schemes in our house. And low and behold in the SALE section, I found a few organizers. What attracted me was:

  • the price (nothing more attractive than a RED sticker at The Container Store)
  • that I could see all of my accessories at once
  • I could have it out of sight in my closet, yet still have easy access to it.

This is the first one that I bought. You can find it online here.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I decided to get this other one too because I thought it would work well with all of the small studded earrings I have.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

So here I am going through all of my loose jewelry….

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I put my earrings in this one. On the other side I have pendants & rings. It’s only 1/4 full on the other side.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

And I hung up my necklaces on this one.

They are grouped by kind/like. Now I can access a necklace based on kind!

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

Here they are in action! I have them at the end of my closet so I can see them when I immediately open the door.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I’m hoping these organizers help remind me that I have a nice collection of stuff to jazz up my outfits. Or maybe it will inspire me to get rid of some…

Hello Friends!!

So a few weeks ago I set out to merge all of my emails to Gmail. How’s it going? Hmm….I’m still trying to figure it all out. When I imported my email addresses, thousands of emails merged and made this task SUPER daunting. You might remember that I am merging 5 email addresses into my Gmail account so I can have Gmail be the hub for my addresses.  It took me a few days to get on top of it and move things out of my inbox and archive. To be honest, I’m still not done with it all because I feel like it’s super disorganized within all of my folders. It’s also taken some time getting used to searching for things within my inboxes.

What have I learned? That you MUST commit to blasting your email ASAP.

I had to change my thought process for when an email comes in to:

  • Does this email require action?
  • Do I need to keep this for later/archive it?
  • What folder does this need to go in?
  • Is this personal or Shutterbean related?


I also spent the first week blasting all of the subscribed emails. If I got an email from a list I didn’t want to be on, I unsubscribed IMMEDIATELY. It was super gratifying and I feel a tremendous sense of relief not to have all of those nagging/unnecessary emails.

What’s the biggest takeaway from this?  You HAVE to make a big effort to keep on top of your Inbox. Everything in life requires maintenance.  In life you have to keep on top of EVERYTHING and create rules and systems or else you drown. I have also realized that I have a huge problem with starting something and jumping right in and figuring things out as I go. This can get me into trouble because I don’t always understand how I am going to use something….and then months/years later the task of reorganizing is just so dang overwhelming. I can’t tell you how much work I had to do on my website re-design because I didn’t tag & categorize my posts properly. So with this Inbox thing, I’m taking things a little slower so I make sure I’m doing things correctly. It’s a learning process!

What’s next? Continue tackling my inbox and hopefully get around to deleting unnecessary items from both my phone & computer in the next few weeks.


You  might remember the last time I cleaned out my pantry…it was in a different house!

Now that we’ve lived in our new old house for almost a year (holy crap!) it’s time for me to evaluate my space.  I’ve contracted the Spring Cleaning Bug and I’m really into organizing lately (thank God!) so I decided to go through my pantry yesterday and purge/organize. On a side note, I think it’s important to live with your space for awhile when you first move in and see how you use it. Then regroup!

Let’s look at the before.

This is a high traffic closet. We’re opening it up CONSTANTLY in my house. And since it’s been quite untidy for the past few months, it really freaks me out when someone else leaves it open (COUGH COUGH COOPER).

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I started sorting the shelves. This time I decided to do one shelf at a time. I thought I’d be too overwhelmed with pulling it out at once. It made it waaaaaay more manageable.

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More sorting…and emptying jars…

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I ended up going through all of the food and tossing what expired. It’s good to go through your pantry every few months to see what you need to get rid of/need to add. I like to do a BIG sort twice a year and then every few months straighten things up.

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Let’s talk about some sections, shall we?

Top row contains all my specialty flours & things I don’t need as often. Because the top shelf is high up and has a lot of head room, I decided to put big bottles (like oil & white vinegar up there)

Shelf below contains all of my potions!

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I decided to break things up into sections.

Vinegars & Oils to the left… and Asian & Mexican ingredients in the middle.

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Condiments like Mustard, Cookie Butter & Peanut Butter…

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And to the right we have sweeteners! Honey…Molasses…etc.

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The section below this one contains all my sugar/flour and baking needs.

I have my vanilla & chocolate section.

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I labeled some of my glass jars. This is my grain/rice/bean section.

I did tidying up on the row below…sorting like with like.

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To the right I have rice/grains/beans in glass jars.

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Nuts/Dried Fruits/Crackers & Snacks below….

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Another look…

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Let’s hope I keep it this tidy for months to come! Wish me luck.