Now Trending: Instagram Hashtags


As a social media consultant, I try to stay current with what’s trending in the world of hashtags. And for some time now I’ve been wanting to start a series to share with you the hashtags that are currently trending. Hopefully with this helpful handy guide, you can increase traffic and followers. But we all know it takes way more than just hashtags to increase your followers. A good and bright photo definitely helps.

8 Kitchen Essentials I Can’t Live Without


Sometimes I forget that there are some of you just starting to learn how to cook; or just starting to think about what kitchen/pantry/cooking essentials to have on hand; or just moving in to your first apartment. And unless you grew up with Martha Stewart as your mom, this wouldn’t be second nature to you. It’s definitely taken me some years to perfect my kitchen essentials and find my favorites.

I’ve narrowed down my top 8 kitchen essentials that I can’t live without.

A pepper grinder. There’s nothing like fresh ingredients when you are cooking. And grinding my own pepper can sometimes feel therapeutic. The flavor is much more intense too.

Olive oil. I tend to cook most everything with it. I drizzle it on veggies before roasting them in the oven and to make salad dressings.

A utensil jar. Keep your most used tools in a jar for easy access. See some of my favorite cook tools below.

Butter. When cooking, I always reach for the unsalted butter. This way I can control my salt when seasoning a dish. But for brunches and bread, I always have European-style salted butter on hand. Try it on a fresh French baguette or toast. So good.

Teas. Mariage Frères and Ladurée are my absolute favorite and the containers are too pretty to be kept hidden in my pantry. I keep them handy for easy access when I need that afternoon pick-me-up or for when unexpected guests arrive.

Truffle oil. It’s way cheaper than truffles and it’s a good way to add a layer of flavor to food. Drizzle it over fried eggs during your weekend brunch, on mushroom risotto, pastas, on homemade fries, or mashed potatoes.

Finishing salt. The most common to me are sea salt or fleur de sel. Finishing salts tend to enhance the flavor of the dish. Once the food is plated, I’ll sprinkle some finishing salt to the dish, or have my guests do it themselves. My favorite place to find salts is from March. Their pretty glass jars are a definite bonus.

Kosher salt. If you don’t cook with coarse Kosher salt, then you aren’t a real cook. Ok, that may not be the case, but I definitely prefer the flavor of coarse Kosher salt over regular table salt. For a salt 101 lesson, refer to this guide from Martha Stewart.


Favorite Cook tools. Wooden spoons, silicone spatulas, a whisk, a ladle, a deep spoon, a skimmer, microplane grater, candy thermometer, food processor, and a wood board.

When It Rains Look for Rainbows

The first week of school just ended and I found myself on Friday exhausted from it. It was just another first week of school from many more to come. The week was pretty uneventful in the big scheme of things – some small tantrums to deal with and some pretty big tantrums that seemed to go on forever, bedtimes being tested, and homework lazily completed. That pretty much did it for me. But one thing I realized at the end of the week was just how much I try to suppress any sadness or feelings of discomfort. Instead, I try to cheer myself up and remind myself that everything is just swell. The glass is half full. Always, right?

While I prefer that type of optimism, I know from past experience that suppressing any feelings of discomfort does pretty much nothing other than delay the act of feeling sad or angry. So as the week was ending, I was sad, angry, overwhelmed, and add exhausted to that list too. I found myself missing my friendships from North Carolina, sad to have left our previous home, overwhelmed about a new school year, and just pretty much burnt out from all the changes we have dealt over the summer.

If you read this post, every summer has a story, I shared the good. The parts of my life that feel like the glass is half full. But one thing I didn’t share was how this summer tested me as a parent and tested our marriage. Every big and life-changing event does that to me. And normally, all the effects of the changes affect me way later. When I’m in the midst of the changes, I go into survival mode – I check off my to-do lists and just do what I need to do to get through it.

I really solve nothing by sharing these words. Other than it being my way of venting and just letting you know I’m human.

This new week brings hope that things will go smoother and better. Happy Monday my friends!