What Are Y’all Doin’??

CATEGORIES: Friday Faves

Oh, hey, there. To quote my new best Instagram friend Leslie Jordan, “What are y’all doin’?”

It’s been a crazy couple of months. I feel like we need a check-in. I shared an updated version of one of my favorite dinners–our Beef & Green Bean Stir-Fry–but I also wanted a little discussion about how we’re all doing.

Does anyone feel like the last few months kind of haven’t happened and also will never end? It’s been weird. March feels like a lifetime ago, but I can’t really tell you what we’ve done in the meantime.

the disappointments

  • Y’all know I’m going to be real with you and there have been parts of this very strange time that have been really hard. My son and I were supposed to see Hamilton in Atlanta in May. And then it got postponed to September. And then it got postponed to September 2021. Right now, it kind of feels like it’s never going to happen.
  • We were supposed to go to Utah to visit my family. But because Louisiana is a perpetual hotspot and because my dad turned 80 this year and has some other health concerns, we decided to pass. At first, it was okay because it seemed like everyone else was missing out (is it bad that that made me feel better? 😂), but when more and more fun family vacations started creeping into my Instagram feed, I got more and more sad. If I had to pinpoint a month where I seem to struggle emotionally, I think July would be it (which is strange because October has perpetually been when the worst things in my life have happened, but I still love October), so to be stuck kind of isolated at home, in the dead of Louisiana summer, so far from my family, watching everyone else have fun has been hard. We’ve tried a couple of day trips, but honestly, the weather is so miserable and the shopping/eating in restaurants vibe is so weird that it’s ended up being not as fun as I hoped it would be.
  • Right now, a lot of our social support system is self-quarantining because they’ve been exposed.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s been good stuff, too. Most of those good things center around my kids because apparently I live vicariously through them now.

kid brags

    • My son found out he made his high school’s elite acapella ensemble (he took the one open tenor spot) and I’m so proud of him! If you’re REALLY interested, this is a video they did last year…he’s not in this video, but they’re pretty awesome. This choir was one of the reasons he chose this school (we have open enrollment). We don’t know what the performing arts will look like in the fall, but it’s a small group (18 kids), so I’m hoping one way or another, they can find a way to safely rehearse.
    • Before the world shut down for the second time, that same kid was able to do a theatre camp. It was good for him to see his friends and for them all to remember that they love each other because, as we all know, interacting only through social media can be a little bit toxic. Here’s a little clip of him and one of his BFFs singing “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors.

  • My daughter has turned in to quite the digital artist. This is a little piece she worked on for a creativity loop that my friend KaRyn organized.
  • She continues to play the electric and acoustic guitars, ukulele, has expressed some interest in the banjo and mandolin, and has even dabbled in song-writing.
  • My youngest is just along for the ride and keeps us all laughing. He’s good at stuff, too, but he’s 8 and mostly I’m just happy if he brushes his teeth.

what’s kept me happy

kate's favorites

I’ll try and keep this brief because I’ve already said a lot. As you can tell from this graphic, it’s been a mishmash of my basest instincts, but you know, sometimes there’s a pandemic and you just need some reality TV.

  1. Since we missed Hamilton in real life, being able to watch it on Disney Plus was a bright spot. I still haven’t seen it in person and honestly don’t know when that will be an option again, so being able to finally see it was amazing (much more amazing than I thought it would be…I had low expectations for seeing it on the small screen.) Daveed Diggs is a god and has supernatural talent and his table bouncing as Thomas Jefferson in the second act is the best thing I’ve ever witnessed.
  2. I’ve talked a little about my skincare journey over the last 9 months, and I’m still working out the kinks (guess what helped more than anything? Going to a dermatologist. 😂) That said, I’ve completely fallen in love with Stratia skincare. I haven’t tried the new retinol night cream because I have a prescription retinol I use at nigh. Also, the Vitamin C serum wasn’t a good fit for my (very very very) sensitive skin, but everything else I’ve tried has been amazing. If I had to recommend *one* of their products, however, it would be their Liquid Gold moisturizer. It is amazing and, like all of their products, very affordable compared to other similar products on the market.
  3. Lake Street Dive Radio on Spotify. I’ve listened to Lake Street Dive for a couple of years now and love their brand of blue-eyed soul, but their Spotify station is the perfect combination (for me) of blues, folk, soul, acoustic rock, etc. If I just want to have something on in the background that isn’t too overwhelming but also not sleepy, this is it.
  4. Mask-making. I’m not crafty and I kinda hate sewing, but I’ve taken some satisfaction in making masks. It’s mindless and keeps my hands busy and the masks are cute, and apparently that’s the base standard for happiness in July 2020.
  5. Grillo’s Pickles. These are THE BEST. They taste like my grandma’s homemade pickles. They’re in the refrigerated section and the closest place I can find them is 90 minutes away at our closest Whole Foods, so I buy a whole bunch at a time and then ration them out like a squirrel in winter.
  6. Blueland cleaning products. I know Sara has tried these, too, and I think we’ve come to similar conclusions. I ordered the cleaning kit as well as the dish soap. They all smell really good and the concept is very cook. I didn’t love the glass cleaner…it was a little streaky and I don’t know if anything will ever beat my favorite Sprayway Glass Cleaner. I’m neutral on the bathroom cleaner. But the things I really loved were the multi-surface cleaner, the hand soap (they all smell ah-maaa-zing, I love the bottle, and they’re cheaper and easier to store than my vast hand soap collection) and the dish soap. I was NOT expecting to love the dish soap–it doesn’t smell like anything and it’s actually a powder that you sprinkle onto a wet dish cloth or sponge. The whole concept sounded weird to me, but I’m not kidding, it is the BEST dish soap EVER. Whether I’m hand-washing things like my blender jar, enamel cookware, or reusable straws or wiping down my sink and countertops, nothing cleans like it. It cuts through grease and grime and leaves everything unbelievably shiny and clean. I like the texture of the powder–it adds a little scrubbing power–and there are some suds, but not so many that it’s hard to rinse them away. Who knew that in 2020, the quality of my year would be defined by dish soap?
  7. 90 Day Fiancé. I’m a trash person. But guys…it’s the best. My older kids and I get quite a kick out of it. I cover my eyes a lot out of second-hand embarrassment. I also rewatched Mad Men, which I maintain is the greatest television series ever created, but what can I say, I’m well-rounded.
  8. Animal Crossing. This has been a great way for my kids and I to do something together. We’ve also had Animal Crossing parties with people that we can’t see in real life–put people on speakerphone and go visit each other’s islands. Again, I never thought I’d be in a place where a video game with anthropomorphic talking animals was part of what was keeping me sane (and also insane, like when Flo the purple penguin was rude to me, so I went and dug up all her roses and blockaded her inside her house with furniture). But honestly, it’s a great, wholesome way for my kids and I to have fun together that doesn’t involve the kinds of murdery feelings we all get when we play  board games.

That’s all folks

That’s all from me!! I want to hear how y’all are doing! What are your summers looking like? What’s school in the fall shaping up to be? What are your disappointments? What’s the good stuff?




  1. I just wanted to say co Nd tats to your son on making the choir! That’s a huge deal and his stranger is so happy for him!

    1. What on earth happened to my comment? Haha! I meant to say CONGRATS to your son on making the choir and that *this* stranger is so happy for him! 🤪

  2. Oh, my dear, I get horrid seasonal depression in summer. The glaring sun and heat are satan. It will be over soon, but it’s so hard.

    Also, I can’t get over the weird perception of time. My husb and I were commenting the other day that all the huge events in March feel like they happened last year. So MUCH has happened, yet we’re still kind of at the beginning of this mess.

    But the Asian pears are starting to look really good on our tree, it’s starting to be a little bit dark in the mornings and I adore my trip to the gym (with a mask) every morning. If I try to concentrate on little things like that I’ll make it through.

    1. I bought some on Etsy, a lot from an Etsy store called Fabric Fetish (I can’t link it for some reason). It was more expensive, but I can get 4 masks from a fat quarter if I use a cheaper fabric on the inside of the mask (usually plain cotton from Walmart).

  3. Sometimes I read your posts and it’s like I’m reading my own thoughts.. The July struggle is real. And yes it is hard seeing so many others traveling. We are making a few changes around here for the sake of mental health. I have been following you guys for years and have made many of your recipes. Thank you for your time and effort and candid blog posts. It’s good to know that others are experiencing some of the same feelings these days.

  4. Is it sad that hearing that you are sad through July makes me feel more normal?? It has definitely been our hardest month. Plus, my oldest has been doing home MTC for the last three weeks and leaves for his mission next Tuesday. I’m super excited for him… just a lot of big changes and emotions right now. We cancelled everything over the summer but my husband still has a job and we are healthy. So THANK YOU for helping me feel normal and that there are other people like me out there! 👍🏻👍🏻😃😃

  5. Oh my goodness, I love you guys! I so relate to most everything you say. I, too, have become more and more sad at how it seems “everyone” is taking trips. We had to cancel a much-needed trip home to CT for me and miss out on 2 Broadway shows. But, safety first, right? We may still try to sneak in some kind of beach trip but not sure the long drive and having to do all the cooking when we arrive is worth it (oh, AND the risk of a deadly virus!). Have you watched Married at First Sight? I have recently discovered it and found it actually quite fascinating. I have a teen daughter particularly obsessed with theater who is also mourning all the losses there–performances to be in, help with and watch. Sigh. Please stay safe and well and we will be singing Hamilton right along with you!

  6. I am so! Right there with you!! Sad over not being able to go visit my grandson, who bought his first house this week.. we live in Florida,a covid hotspot,and my kids live in Kentucky. Kentucky requires us to do a 2 week quarantine. Hopefully later on in year we can visit family that I miss so much. We go to the beach ( SO MANY out of state license plates!) but sit WAY away from all the tourists and can’t understand people bringing their kids to a covid hotspot. But I guess when you are on vacation, you are immune? I can’t believe 90 day finance is one of my favorite trash tv programs also!! Never was in to that kind of TV! Ha! Please stay safe! And please EVERYONE wear your mask!!

  7. I hear you on the whole vacation thing. We had to cancel our family vacation with the grandparents, too, and it’s really hard to see all these other people go on vacation like there isn’t a pandemic going on. On the other hand, I do feel like summer has been okay, my kids are surviving fairly well via their respective outlets, both my husband and I are still employed, and we are healthy. We have been outside as the weather permits, which i think it best for everyone. I cannot wait to watch Hamilton on Disney+. It’s on our list of movies for this weekend!

  8. I totally agree about the weird passage of time. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather didn’t even feel summery until about a week ago. And there hasn’t been a whole lot of difference between “doing school at home” and “summer vacation.” I think we should get a do-over, shouldn’t we? But my husband and oldest son are still employed, my second son gets to stay in Europe for his mission, the library is doing curbside checkouts, and we have a quick camping trip to look forward to!

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