You Need To Be Watching Great British Baking Show.

Listen, people, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite thing: 

English people, in a beautiful tent on an estate, baking. But not like, "American competition baking." No, no - good, clean, honest, kind, excellent baking. 

"But I hate competition shows!" 

No you don't. Walk with me. 

No one is mean. 

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Ever. Never ever. It's not like mean American television in which producers pit contestants against each other and create characters - the antagonist, the bitch, the underdog, etc. These are just a bunch of really nice folks who want to do a good job. They encourage each other, they help each other, they mourn for each other's disastrous bakes, they celebrate each other's wins. They cry when people. IT'S SO NICE AND PLEASANT. 

It features the jauntiest score of all time. 

You'll become invested in the storyline while watching this clip, but go back and watch it again just to appreciate the music. Whoever is writing the score for this show is a damn genius. It's so twinkly and British while also being suspenseful and hilarious and just the general best. 

Mel and Sue; Mary and Paul.

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Mel and Sue are the hosts, Paul and Mary are the judges. Mel and Sue are basically the best friends you never had but always wanted. They were part of an English comedy troupe and, for four delicious seasons (RIP Mel and Sue and boo to the new hosts who I refuse to watch), hosted GBBS. They're pun-ny, they're witty, they're goofy, they're smart, they're multi-lingual, they're the best. 

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are bakers extraordinaire, using their fame across the pond to help the contestants along throughout the show. Mary is about 1,000 years old and a real stickler for the classics, while Paul is more of the Tom Colicchio (Top Chef, anyone?) of the show and uses his piercing blue eyes to distract and intimidate bakers into excellence. 

(I don't normally have a thing for the big, burly type, but Alec Baldwin and Paul Hollywood are exceptions to that rule. Get off me, I can't help it. They're totally hot.) 

The G-rated sexual innuendos.

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I mean, it's just like...you could watch these things with your grandmother. It's not that salacious. It's hilarious. And weird. And so British. 

It's basically eye porn. 

It's just incredible thing after incredible thing. And they're ALL FOR EATING. Quick story - we were watching this show and Jordan decided he could bake. Went into the kitchen and whipped up the best shortbread cookies I've ever had. Ever. Just like, who are you and what have you done with my husband?? He was a man possessed. And he crushed it. 

This show inspires you to greatness, people. You can do it! And you can drool over it in the meantime. 

Four seasons of this show are streaming on Netflix right now. Watch it with your families over Thanksgiving. I'm telling you, it will not disappoint. 

Trivial Things That Annoy Me at 35 Weeks

Listen, there are real problems in the world. Like, A LOT of them. This is not a post about things that actually matter. 

Here at Deep Hunger, Deep Gladness, we strive to bring you content that will put a smile on your face. Maybe even bring a little giggle to your morning. And at 35 weeks pregnant, I am a wealth of commentary about the world around me. Would you like to know my opinion on something? Just ask! I'll be happy to tell you absolutely EVERYTHING I'm thinking.

Because at this stage of the game, all my patience is being used waiting on this sweet little one to arrive. Anything else that I might ordinarily be able to look past or ignore? Well, let's just say Sweet Brown and I share this sentiment: 

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So as I've been walking around for the last week or so, I've had a note in my iPhone dedicated to this subject: things that annoy me more than usual right now. And anytime something happens, rather than have a meltdown in, let's say, the grocery store, I just tap-tap-tap away on my phone, knowing that one day, I'd just dump it on ALL OF YOU. And that day is today.

Ready? 

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White people doing acoustic covers of R&B/rap songs. 

Listen, folks. This has got to stop. It's an epidemic and it's f-cking awful. If you get the impulse to sit down with one of your sorority sisters and do a cover of "No Scrubs," go back to bed and start your day over. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. STOP THE MADNESS.

Motorcyclists on the interstate.

WHY?! Why?? Why??? Why are you on the road hurtling through space with little to no protection on? Why are you weaving, zipping through cars at 90 mph? Where are you going that's more important than where I'm going? Do you think you look cooler than everyone else? You don't. I'm calling your mom to have her come pick you up. Why is your engine so loud that is scares the pants off me? I AM TOO OLD AND TOO FEEBLE MINDED TO BE DEALING WITH YOU RIGHT NOW PLEASE STAY OFF THE ROAD. 

Smokers.

Every time I see a smoker in public, my first thought is, "Oh wow, so people are still doing that, huh?" And sure, I get that my processed food/sugar intake could be likened to a similar sort of "ignorance-is-bliss-and-I'm-gonna-do-what-I-want" attitude on my part, but it's not as obvious and it doesn't smell as bad or look as stupid. Smoking on a weekend outside a bar is one thing, smoking in your car with your kids in the backseat is another. Ya gotta stop it. 

People who still defend 50 Shades of Grey as feminist literature.

I just don't even feel the need to go into this, but it isn't. It's TERRIBLE WRITING. Just admit that you're getting your jollies from this book and we'll all respect you a lot more. I think this garbage is coming back out as a movie I think and we're about to have to deal with a whole new onslaught of trailers where Dakota Johnson tries not to be actively repulsed by whoever that guy is. Spare me. 

Having to screen 14 calls a day made by nervous Birmingham-Southern freshmen asking me for money.

I don't know what has changed at my alma mater since I graduated, but back in my day, if you called someone and they didn't answer, you wrote "DIDN'T ANSWER, LEFT A VOICEMAIL" by their name and moved down the list. Darth Vader has apparently stepped up to the plate and has forced these poor 18-year-olds to be unrelenting in their solicitations for fundraising capital, and I have received no fewer than 5 calls a day since last Friday. I finally answered and spoke to my boy Matt, told him I would donate and to send me an e-mail with a link. He called me at 8 PM. That's a little late, Matthew. BSC, I love you, I want to donate to you, and will as I do every year, but stop blowing me up. 

Pyramid schemers on Facebook who force me to tell them, "No, thank you," more than once. 

Look, I am ALL ABOUT some girl hustle. Seriously. If what you want to do making money for your family is sell cosmetics or supplements on the Internet, by all means - it's a free country. Hell, I know some people who are making incredible amounts of money doing that (although this whole "Sell Plexus products and you can make more per year than a physician!" thing seems a little hyperbolic, but I digress). But lately, I've had four or five different folks message me on Facebook asking, for the second or third time, if I'd be interested in trying one of their products. 

It is SO HARD FOR ME TO SAY NO IN THE FIRST PLACE. I feel SO MEAN. I feel REALLY BAD. It causes me to sweat and type like forty drafts of saying no to make sure that I have been as inoffensive and supportive of your hustle as possible. So if you continue to ask me, I am officially mad at you for forcing me back into the anxiety sweats more than once. It's just mean. Quit it. 

Being called a pet name, ever, for any reason.

Self-explanatory, lady at Zaxby's.

People who rattle candy at the movies.

Why do they even PUT Peanut M&M's in an extra plastic bag WITHIN the box?! Wasteful. This so easy, though. Here's what you do: ya get your box. Open the box. Open the plastic bag, Remove the bag from the box. Dump the candy into the box. Discard the plastic bag. Enjoy candy. What not to do? Struggle with opening the plastic bag a millimeter's worth of a tear at a time through the most intense parts of Arrival. I'M TRYING TO WATCH AMY ADAMS COMMUNICATE WITH ALIENS, PLEASE, PLEASE, YOU HAVE TO STOP, I know there's one M&M left at the bottom of the box but just TURN THE BOX UPSIDE DOWN AND OPEN YOUR MOUTH REALLY WIDE that's what I do, works every time. You're killing me. 

 

Look, there's more where this came from, but I'm going to use some self-control and stop here. I REALLY want to know your pet peeves/irrational annoyances, etc. It will please me greatly. And if one of them is "Millennial bloggers who complain about stupid stuff," I mean...I pretty much tee'd you up, so take the shot. I get it. 

Love you guys. Peace and blessings. 

The Sweetest Asheville Shower.

Man oh man have I been absent from this blog. I won't sugar-coat it: last week was a hard week of pregnancy. But more about that later, because this is a post about the happiest and sweetest of things! 

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I never, ever expected to get to be lucky enough to have TWO baby showers, but sometimes the universe just rains fortune down on your head. My precious friends, Jenna and Caroline, were kind enough to throw me a shower at Nest Boutique in Biltmore Village yesterday. This place is a miliennial's dream - exposed, floating wood shelves; metallic fixtures; crystal chandeliers - everything about it was modern and gorgeous. The best part? The event space is in the back of an honest-to-goodness boutique (fabulosity level 10), and the shop owners gave everyone in the story 10% of merchandise as an added perk of serving as our host site! The genius shop owners have created both a clothing and accessories haven AND a studio that hosts showers, parties, DIY classes, etc. - it was just about the cutest thing in the world. 

On top of the incredible location, Caroline and Jenna went all out with luxurious food, drink, games, door prizes, and favors for the guests. I mean, come ON, right??

Particular highlights included: 

  • Sliced waffles skewered with Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets and served with maple syrup. ...BRILLIANT. 
  • Maybe the best iced coffee I've ever had in my life. 
  • Homemade kettle corn that went home with guests as a favor. 
  • The "guess the baby animal" game we played in which I realized that I have basically forgotten the name of every baby animal I ever learned in grade school. Whale? PUP! Duh!! I literally wrote "chick" as the baby animal for "duck." ...are you stupid, Mary Catherine? 
  • Talking about how my biggest anxiety at this point was that we still hadn't bought a car seat, then opening my first gift to find that the incredible women in my neighborhood book club bought one for us! 
  • The incredibly thoughtful meal train sign-up Caroline and Jenna created so that the shower guests could volunteer their culinary skills for Jordan and me as we settle in at home before and after this baby is born. INSANELY kind. 

I was sitting at the table, watching worlds collide (Pure Barre friends + J Crew friends + book club friends), eating chicken and waffles and homemade pastry, and my heart was completely full. I never in a million years thought that when we moved to Asheville, we would make such dear friends who would wrap us in their love and support in such a special time in our lives. These folks continuously blow me away with their generosity, and I feel so humbled and undeserving of their kindness. I say this often, but it's such a tender thing to realize that you're in the middle of "the good old days." I am not taking a bit of this for granted. 

THANK YOU. 

The Final Countdown: Pregnancy Brain

Welcome to a SPOOOOOOOKY edition of The Final Countdown!! We're smack in the middle of week 33 and things. 

are. 

getting. 

REAL. 

My face is huge, my back is aching, everything about pregnancy is starting to hit in full force. I've finally started expanding sideways in addition to front-ways. It's...not as cute as it was. 

But stare at me for 10 minutes anyway! 

5 Things: Hosting Out-of-Town Guests

One of the things I love to do more than anything on this earth is host visitors in our house. I was always so concerned in the months before we made this move that we'd be largely alone in Asheville, but it turns out we get to see our friends and families more here than we did in Alabama, in some cases! 

Particularly in the fall, Asheville is covered up top-to-bottom with tourists who we call "leafers," in town to watch the Blue Ridge Mountains change from this 

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to this: 

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(I know, right? Pretty spectacular). 

So I thought it'd be the perfect time of year to talk about little things I learned from my mom that I like to do when hosting guests, besides putting out fresh towels. 

1. Flowers! 

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Buying flowers can get expensive, so lots of times I source the blooms from my yard, or even just use the greenery. A little bit of "living thing" in a room totally changes the feel. I try to put two large arrangements in the den, kitchen, and guest bedroom, and small arrangements (usually in Mason jars) in each bathroom. 

As you can see in the background of this photo, the first weekend we moved up here, we had a big arrangement of wildflowers in our den. Also very funny to look back on this decorating from three years ago. We've come a long way, baby. 

2. Candy and snacks! 

This is another direct result of growing up in my mother's house, but we usually have bowls of treats (my signature is seasonal M&M's) all over the place. One in the kitchen, one in the guest room, and one on the table in front of the TV. 

I know. It's an issue. 

Really, it's less about candy specifically, and more about having something for people to easily reach for. I've found that if you ask your guests, "Are you guys feeling hungry?" the answer is always, "Not really!" because no one wants to put you out or make you work. 

But if you just MAKE the food and put it out ANYWAY, it always mysteriously gets eaten...funny how that works. ;) 

So just put it out! I always have a cheese board ready when people are coming in from out of town, just so folks can immediately have something to nibble on and don't feel like they're inconveniencing me. I also like to play a fun game with myself to see if I can remember people's favorites and buy them in advance - favorite beer, favorite kinds of cheese, favorite chips, etc. I may or may not have a running list in a drawer. Don't tell. 

Normally I cook a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, yogurt, granola, berries, OJ, etc.), but this is a perfect quick option: Sister Schubert cinnamon rolls served with fruit and carried out onto the front porch to enjoy the fall temps. 

Normally I cook a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, yogurt, granola, berries, OJ, etc.), but this is a perfect quick option: Sister Schubert cinnamon rolls served with fruit and carried out onto the front porch to enjoy the fall temps. 

3. Bedside water and coffee. 

Another "my mom" touch. We bought these glass bottles for about $5 each Michael's a few years ago and they have paid for themselves about 1,000 times over with how many times we've put them to use. 

When we have company, each guest has a glass bottle filled with water and fresh, clean glasses on their nightstand. If I'm REALLY doing a good job, I make sure to go up and re-fill the water bottles at some point during each day. 

We also happened to have an extra Keurig, because Jordan's sweet parents got us a Ninja coffeemaker for Christmas two years ago. So we moved our old Keurig to the guest room, stocked a glass canister with pods of coffee and tea, and I always stick an extra mug or two up there in case our guests are super-early risers (as in, before 6 AM) and want to have a cup of coffee without waking the whole house up. 

4. Have a plan.

No photo to go along with this one, and this may be showing my cards too much, but when guests are coming for a weekend, I like to sit down with a legal pad and map out the trip. It's helpful for my type-A brain to go ahead and plan what we're going to do, because there is SO MUCH in Asheville and often we only get one full day with our guests, as Friday and Sunday are travel days. 

One of the most important things I've found is to also include rest time in the "plan." The perfect weekend tends to balance activities and downtime. As much of an extrovert as I am, I also really need time to be quiet and re-charge - so if I'M feeling tired or overexerted socially, I know my friends are. Laying around on the couch and drinking makes for some of the best memories anyway, don'tcha think? 

Like so. 

Like so. 

Okay, so I only made it to four things. Sue me. Hopefully that inspires some ideas and makes you want to call your friend to invite them over! These little touches really are so fun to do and are all about thanking people for driving to see us. So - how comfortable can you make your guests? 

Happy hosting!