If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed a fun celebrity selfie last week. I got to meet Paula Deen, the Queen of Southen Cuisine! Let me back up and tell you about my experience.

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A few weeks ago, I got an email from Paula Deen’s Social Media Coordinator inviting me to attend Paula Deen LIVE! to help promote the launch of Paula Deen’s new digital network. If you haven’t heard about her new network, here’s an overview:

The Paula Deen Network is an on-demand, interactive online cooking network filled with all the things you’ve always loved about Paula, plus great new surprises — new cooking and lifestyle shows; recipes that range from traditional Southern fare to quick, budget-friendly and healthy dinners perfect for any night of the week; and opportunities to have fun with Paula, her sons, her celebrity guests and a community of fans just like you. You can access the Network — and its powerful meal-planning, shopping list and step-by-step cooking tools — anytime, anywhere, on your computer, smartphone or tablet.

As a big fan of any and all cooking shows, and an even bigger fan of butter, I jumped at the opportunity!

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Paula’s marketing team generously offered me two tickets to the live show and the VIP afterparty. Unable to convince JB that this was actually going to be fun, I invited my roommate Maddie to be my date. Before the show, we met up with my friend and old roomie Haley and her husband Steve, who were also attending the event. After picking up our tickets from Will Call, we made our way into the auditorium.

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On our seats we found tote bags filled with goodies including Paula Deen’s cookbook and a baking pan! We listened to a band play while we waited for the show to begin. The music wasn’t exactly my taste but I can see how it could appeal to some older southern ladies. ;)

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Soon enough, Paula Deen came out on stage with her husband, Michael. Fans were calling out from the audience, “Welcome back, Paula!” and “We love you, Paula!” She was visibly emotional as this was her first appearance in front of fans since all of last year’s drama. Next, her two sons Bobby and Jamie joined her!

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I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the show. Was she going to cook for us? Was it going to be a talk show? It turned out to be sort of a mix! As I understand it, the Paula Deen Live experience was a sampling of the things that will be available on her new digital network.

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DSC_0064(Here she’s saying the spoon on the right is a girl spoon “because it has holes.” Haha!)

Throughout the evening she cooked  three dishes (along with the help of her husband and two sons ), showed behind-the-scenes videos of her every day life, talked a bunch, and even held a little game show.

DSC_0060(She’s saying, “I need another piece of pound cake! I’ve got a pregnant woman here!” Do you see the little piece of pound cake flying out into the audience?)

During the cooking segments, Paula cooked three recipes that will be available on the Paula Deen Network. Fans were calling out from the balcony asking all kinds of questions like, “Where’s the butter?” and “Where can I get that bundt pan?” Paula always responded like they were old friends saying, “I don’t know, baby!” (Calling back her producers) “Hey guys, where did we get this bundt pan?” She was a hoot!

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The game show was called, “What Did Paula Deen Just Put In My Mouth?” Four audience members were blindfolded and Paula spoon-fed them a combination of two ingredients.

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The contestants had to correctly guess the ingredients to win a prize. All of the combinations seemed pretty terrible, but the worst combo had to be tuna fish and chocolate syrup. Poor girl, it was her birthday. At least she got it right!

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Afterward, country music star Lee Greenwood came onstage and sang, “I’m Proud To Be An American.” Not sure how that fits in with cooking or Paula’s new network, but it was cool!

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At the end of the evening, Paula and her family pulled down a chicken leg lever to officially launch the online network. Everyone cheered and lots of confetti rained down from the ceiling.

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Maddie, Haley, Steve and I then made our way up stairs to the after hours social. We sipped on complimentary champagne and snacked on mini cheesecakes and chocolate covered strawberries while we chatted. We weren’t really sure what to expect next. Were we going to get to meet Paula?!

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Eventually we saw the camera crew mingling with the crowd, along with members of the band, and even Lee Greenwood. We waited patiently, hoping Paula was going to make an appearance! Soon, the elevator doors opened and out stepped Paula Deen and her husband Michael! They were so sweet and made their way around the room chatting with fans. Her son Jamie proposed a toast and we all said, “CHEERS!” with glasses of champagne.

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Paula Deen’s body guard was following her every move and announced that they needed to catch a flight to New York, so unfortunately they would have to cut the meet and greet time short. He posed Paula and Michael and counted to three, telling guests to snap their photos at that time. I hadn’t had a chance to say hi yet, and I guess I was feeling brave, because right after he counted to three I called out, “Hey Paula! Do you have time for one more photo?”

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She was just the sweetest thing and came right over, grabbed my arm, and gave a great big smile. So much fun! So that’s the story of how I took a selfie with Paula Deen! Going to a live taping of the Oprah show was on my bucket list, but since she’s off the air now, meeting Paula Deen can certainly fill that space. If you have the chance to see Paula Deen live, I highly recommend it!

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“Day In The Life” posts are some of my favorite blog posts to read! Maybe I’m nosy, but I think it’s so interesting to see how people spend their days. I also wanted to remember this phase of life as it’s only temporary. I’ll be nannying for a great family I found through care.com for the next year, and then I’m planning on going back to school! More on this later. For now, here’s what a typical day in my life looks like right now. 

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6:30 am-I hit snooze on my alarm and think, “Why???” Eventually I drag myself out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom for a shower. After I get out of the shower, I make my bed and pack a gym bag.

7:30 am- Time to do my hair, get dressed, and put on makeup. I’m normally running late so I rush around downstairs to fill up a water bottle and grab something to eat in the car on the way to work. This morning it’s a strawberry muffin and a green smoothie.

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8:30 am- Arrive at the house where I nanny. Make coffee, get Baby dressed, make sure Toddler has eaten and is ready for school.

9:30 am- Baby and I drop Toddler off at school. Usually we run errands for about 30 minutes afterward – maybe a trip to the post office, the gas station, or the bank.

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10:30 am – 12:00 pm- Bottle and nap time for Baby. I do a couple loads of laundry, tidy up around the house, and put dishes in the dishwasher. Once everything is clean, I normally spend an hour  or so on the computer- reading blogs, responding to emails, or writing blog posts. If I have any Ginny Lou orders waiting, I work on those instead of computer time.

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12:30 pm- Baby is awake and we’re eating lunch. Bottle for her, turkey and cheese pita with carrots and hummus for me. Time to pick Toddler up from school.

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1:30 pm – 3:00 pm- Rest time for Toddler (not really sleeping, just rolling and around and singing in bed) and nap time for Baby. I “rest” as well by reading a book on my Kindle or watching The Doctors. Before the kids wake up I make sure to fold and put away the laundry and unload the dishwasher.

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3:30 pm- Everyone is awake. Toddler eats a snack and Baby takes a bottle. I normally have a snack as well. I’ve been loving kombucha and Kind bars lately. After our snack we go outside. The neighbors are home from school so we might play with them or go for a walk around the neighborhood.

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4:30 pm- Bath time. Baby and Toddler take a bath together and have fun splashing and playing with toys. We follow up bath time with lotion, pajamas, and drying hair.

5:30 pm- The work day is over! I change clothes and head to the gym. I’m training for another half-marathon, so I’m either running or trying to make it to Body Pump on time. I call my mom every day on my way home.

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6:30 pm- I’m back at my house. I check the mail, put away my things, and straighten up my room. I take a walk with my roommates or a friend most week days. Loving the cooler weather!

7:30 pm – 8:30 pm- Dinner time. My roommates and I eat on the couches in the living room watching whatever we’re currently binge-watching on Netflix. Dinner tonight is a big salad.

9:00 pm- I go upstairs and hang out in my room for the rest of the evening. Light a candle, waste some time surfing social media, and give JB a call to chat about the day.

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10:30 pm- Wash my face, brush my teeth, and read on my Kindle until my eyes get heavy. Good night!

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This week I gave my closet a serious clean out and took a big box of things to Goodwill and sent a huge bag to ThredUp (more on this soon). I really wanted to go through my things and only hold on to items that I really liked and wore often. Sometimes I feel like I just have so much stuff  and have really been wanting to simplify. Maybe all of the talk about capsule wardrobes has me wanting to downsize, I don’t know. Plus, it never hurts to make a few extra dollars from consignment! That said, the great closet clean out pointed me to a few staple items that I’d like to add to my closet this season:

1. Nude flats. Last year I got a pair of nude Steven Madden flats from TJ Maxx and they were terrible! The inner lining started flaking off and was constantly getting stuck between my toes. I guess you get what you pay for! I love this pair from Jack Rodgers.

2. Black flats. I was tempted to have a memorial service when I put my trusty black flats in the Goodwill box this week. I bought a pair of black Jack Rogers flats in college and wore them until they literally had holes in them. The soles were so worn down that my feet got wet every time it rained. I’ve liked the classic Revas from Tory Burch for a long time but find the big gold T to be a little bit gaudy. Also, I cannot fathom why they are so expensive. Do you have a pair of black flats that you love? I want to invest in a pair that will last me for at least a couple of years, not a Target special.

3. Neutral casual shoes. Let’s be honest, my job is super informal. I wear jeans most days and need shoes that are comfortable to wear when chasing two little kids around. I have a teal pair of Vans but really like this grey pair to match more outfits. Thoughts?

4. Black full-length Wunder Unders. Go on and judge how much these pants cost. I think they are worth every single penny. I have the Wunder Under crops and wear them multiple times a week. I’d like the full-length WU’s so I can wear them with real clothes, not just to work out.

5. Neutral infinity scarf. I can rock an infinity scarf like it’s my job. I’d love something neutral and casual that I can wear all fall and winter long. This striped chambray scarf from Forage is sold out, but they still have it on Amazon, so I might scoop it up!

6. Oversized bag. Let it be known that I have never purchased a “real” handbag. I always spring for whatever is $29.99 at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I’ve been carrying a small cross-body bag but I’d like a bigger bag for fall. I carry a lot of junk around and would like room for my Kindle and my Simplified Planner.

7. Everyday jacket. I really don’t have a casual, every day jacket. I looked last year but couldn’t find anything I liked. Depending on the weather, I may not need one this year. I’ll probably hold out for a couple more months before making this purchase.

8. Riding boots. A few years ago I bought the Steve Madden knock-offs from Rack Room that everyone has. I scuffed a big chunk of fake leather out of them at a football game right after I got them, but still wore them for two years. I have been lusting over the Michelle Button boots from Frye but just thinking about spending that much money on a pair of shoes gives me heart palpitations. Last year Sole Society had a good selection, so maybe I will have luck there this year!

Do you have advice or recommendations for any of these items?

What are you hoping to add to your wardrobe this season?

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Note: None of this is sponsored and there are no affiliate links hiding in here. Just stuff I like and wish I had the dollars for.


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