Hello from your friendly neighborhood Iowa food blogger – it feels like it’s been ages and I’ve missed you so! 👋🏻👋🏻

The reason for my brief break was, we moved! Ben and I’d been casually browsing Zillow for a variety of reasons over the past couple of years and the perfect little place fell into our lap in early May. These past two months have been a whirlwind of getting our house ready to list, showings, negotiations, packing, cleaning, organizing, a sale falling through, more showings, plus a partridge in a pear tree. The good news is we are here and settling in, and could not be more thrilled with our new home and neighborhood. We will miss our old neighbors terribly (that’s the hardest part about leaving and I cried about it more than once!) but we are minutes away and can cruise over anytime. That definitely feels good! It also feels good that we’ve found our forever home. I will literally croak in this place when the time comes because a) it checks all our boxes and, b) moving is the pits. We’re HOME SWEET HOME! ❤️ 🏡

Anyway, I hope you had a great holiday weekend! We had family in town and while many area fireworks shows were canceled, a nearby park had a fantastic private “show” that we watched from our driveway. In fact, it seems the entire city decided to take matters into their own hands as our air quality was the worst in the nation on July 5th – the kids are still sneezing! It was a fantastic night though and we wrapped up the holiday weekend with a family BBQ. Viva summer!

On a serious note, I want to spend some time addressing what’s going on in our country surrounding race and racism. I apologize for taking so long to share my thoughts here on the blog, as my efforts to learn and share information and resources about anti-racism have been focused on Instagram up until now (you can click the 🖤 highlight in my profile to learn from the resources I’ve found valuable over the past five weeks.)

I believe that Black Lives Matter and am deeply committed to educating myself and others not only about overt racism, but racial microaggression, the inequality Black people experience in their work places and school systems, their struggles to purchase and rent homes, the trauma that Black people carry because this country was literally built on the backs of their ancestors with no reparations, that equality isn’t enough, and that you can literally get killed in your sleep in this country if you have Black skin. I have learned more about racism over the past 5 weeks than I have in 37 years.

This is a discussion and movement that Black women and men need to lead us in and I encourage you to find Black voices that resonate with you. That said, here are some of the Black women and men I’m grateful to have learned from over the past couple of months, plus some articles and videos that have had a big impact too:

  • Nicole Cardoza: Nicole sends a free daily anti-racism email with action items for white people to dismantle white supremacy. Please donate to Nicole if you can because this email is an enormous undertaking, and again, FREE.
  • Emmanuel Acho: Emmanuel started a video series called “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.” HIGHLY encourage you to watch if you’ve ever had questions about race and racism that you’ve been afraid to ask.
  • Danielle Coke: Just an all around must follow. This woman has a glowing aura around her that I can feel through a computer/phone screen.
  • Reflections from a Token Black Friend: A must, must, must read article by Ramesh Nagarajah.
  • Ivirlei Brookes: So inspired by this woman.
  • Kimberly Latrice Jones: Gave the most powerful speech I’ve ever heard here. So important to watch until the very end – I think about it every single day.
  • 13th documentary: MIND BLOWING.
  • Where Do We Go From Here: A 2 part special hosted by Oprah featuring incredible Black leaders in faith, politics, journalism and more.
  • Layla Saad: Sharing major, moving truth bombs.
  • Celisia Stanton: Have learned so, so much from this woman!
  • Bria Nicole: One way to show support to Black men and women is by buying from Black-owned businesses. Bria’s art work is INCREDIBLE. I purchased this and this print for my new office. Have this one in my cart to make it a trio!
  • Brittany Packnett Cunningham: Another woman whose words I am soaking up like a sponge.
  • Ibram X. Kendi: I was introduced to Ibram via Oprah’s special – he is an incredible wealth of knowledge about racism and I’m slowly making my way through two of his books.
  • Charles M. Blow: So insightful.
  • Amiyrah Martin: Amiyrah’s coffee dance stories bring joy to my soul.
  • Jenné Claiborne: Fellow food blogger with KILLER content (and an adorable baby.)
  • Monique Melton: Monique serves it straight which I appreciate because it’s exactly what privileged white women like myself need to hear.
  • The Conscious Kid: One my of favorite new accounts I’ve recently followed.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the past two months is that protesting isn’t the only way you can support Black people during this critical time. You can also read, sign petitions, donate, speak up, talk to your kids, and LISTEN. Just do something. Oh, and VOTE! Mask up and get your buns to the polls, people! Or get an absentee ballot – just. VOTE.

Again, I apologize for taking so long to address my thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement here on IGE but I’d been experiencing some depression and rage, frankly, due to what I was learning, plus embarrassment that it took seeing a Black man murdered on camera by a police officer in Minneapolis to begin to educate myself on racism – which is 100% my white privilege showing. In short, I didn’t know where or how to start. The move (which I realize sounds tone deaf) forced me to step back for a bit and collect my thoughts, and I’m eager to get back to work.

SO! Heavy but crucial conversation topics in this edition of Currently. On a much lighter note, there ARE a few other things I’ve wanted to share with you lately, so let’s continue our chat!

Making: Homemade Iced Coffee. Our friends own a coffee shop here in town and so we always try to support local when we can, but Ben’s obsession with iced coffee runs deep so for Father’s Day I bought him this Iced Coffee Maker for when a trip to the shop isn’t in the cards. SO cool! I fill it up at night and it’s ready to go in the morning. Previously I’d been brewing a pot of coffee then refrigerating it overnight, which works well too, but I like that this isn’t glass.

Wearing: House Shorts. It’s been sweltering hot so I’ve officially moved from yoga pants to shorts when inside the house and these are the best! Stretchy and the perfect length – they’re shorts I wouldn’t feel 1,000% embarrassed to walk to the mailbox in, yet are super comfortable for dinking around the house. Highly recommend.

Loving: Maybelline Tattoo Studio Brow Pomade. After trying way too many brow products over the past couple of years, I finally found my go to brow product! Pencils took too long and were too harsh looking – this pomade fills in like a dream, and you control the amount of product you apply so if you like darker brows you can add more and vis versa. Feels weird to be obsessed with a brow product but this is my makeup bag’s MVP. Here’s the applicator brush I love.

Using: Facebook Marketplace. Our new house doesn’t have a formal living and dining room like our old place, so I decided to use Facebook Marketplace to try and sell some furniture a few weeks ago. Slickest thing ever! What a world – you post a couch for sale online and two hours later its walking out the front door. Have you sold on Marketplace before?

Drinking: Low Rider Margarita. Iowa has become the first state to permanently legalize selling to-go cocktails (not sure what that says about us…) but I’m personally here for it because of this killer cocktail. Locals: you have GOT to get yourself a Low Rider Margarita from El Guapo’s! SO smooth and balanced, and able to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home!

Enjoying: Summer. I know it’s cliche to say, but I can’t believe how quickly summer is slipping by. It’s strange that it’s not dotted with the events we look forward to all year long – the art festival, state fair, baseball games, etc – but honestly we have been enjoying the slow pace and reason to kind of do nothing! How about you?

Edited to add: not our backyard – this is a friend’s place! Isn’t it dreamy?

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