As I usher in the new year, make plans and resolve, I wonder how quickly I'll wander from my lofty promises to myself. I also wonder how long it will take me to remember to write a 9 rather than an 8.
2018 was such a great year. I have so many things to be thankful for and just for fun, I’ve laid them out for you. Here are my 8 – scratch that – 9 things that 2018 gave me to be grateful for:
1. Creative Alliances + Learning to Let Go
When I first opened the store, I did everything myself. Every. Single. Thing. From cleaning the floor to posting on social media, I made myself 100% responsible for every image, every word. Every single thing. As my business has grown, I've met some amazingly creative folks and learned that creative alliances are good for business and good for me! Chelsey Blankenship and Taylor Hunter are the masterminds behind our gorgeous Lookbooks. Digital FX and the Pixel Collective lend a hand with our fun recipe videos and product shoots. And as we grow our online business and join the big, wide world of eCommerce, I would be lost without Gatorworks. All the support I need, right here at home. Baton Rouge is chock full of creativity. Lucky us.
2. You like me. You really like me.
I continually get positive feedback from customers. Sometimes, the feedback is jaw dropping. When I read this piece of feedback, it made me realize that what I teach and sharing what I believe can really make an impact. How completely cool is that?
3. Welcome to OUR Neighborhood.
I moved the store to Mid-City more than two years ago, and I am still smitten with the vibe and the unique sense of community that surrounds us. It's fun to call this our neighborhood, and I love welcoming new businesses-which seems to be happening on the regular! White Star Market is bustling and Mid City Wine and Craft have become fast friends. And our newest neighbor, Jed's Local, makes us smile every day.
4. Packed Rooms--for Good
Philanthropic decisions for my business took a personal turn when my son Clay was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. I decided to put all of my effort into building and strengthening the efforts of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation LA/MS. I began putting small, niche fundraisers and awareness events in place, and quickly found that my efforts are filling a void. Our Guts & Glory Popup Dinner and Speakers Series packs the room and provides much-needed awareness to this invisible disease. My gratitude cup runneth over.
5. Local Discoveries
Our Farm Tours have taught me that I have a whole lot to learn. And it's right here in Baton Rouge. I now look at farming with new perspective thanks to Grant & Allison at Fullness Farm. Galen Iverstine's information on small, local ranches should be a required class for every Baton Rougean. Plus local cheeses, artisan bread, gelato and hand-crafted pasta...all in one tour. I can't wait for the next one!
6. It's Written in the Leaves
Tea is the new coffee, and if you don't believe me, stop by the shop and let me steep you a cup. From wellness benefits to simple and pure enjoyment, there are so many possibilities. We launched tea by the cup service in the store this year with an eye on expanding and growing our SoGo brand of hand-blended teas. We can't wait to share more!
7. I Made Gumbo (on National Television)
Here's one for the highlight reel: me and Headline News' Coy Wire making my grandma's gumbo on national television. It was possibly the most fun I had in 2018 (and I have fun every day) with a stellar group of folks. Big time fun!
8. I Hosted More Than 75 (packed) Cooking Classes
Home cooks are my jam and our cooking classes this year have been packed with them. I am constantly in awe of every person who walks into our classroom and have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my kitchen with so many of you. And guess what…2019 looks to have even more classes than 2018 and for that, I am grateful.
9. My Staff is Better than Yours
For a small business owner, a staff of 20 is a whole lot of folks to keep track of. I love that they each bring their own unique style to the store. I am so smitten with each of them. There are days when I laugh so hard it hurts. I love that part. We work hard, too. With so many products, there's tons to do. The lady who holds is all together? Store Manager Jennifer. Lots of pressure, but you'd never know it. Cool as a cucumber and 100% in control. I am beyond grateful for this group of people. I couldn't ask for a better group-how fun that I get to spend each day with them.
Even casual fans of the Food Network personality Ina Garten know she’s devoted to quality. In her TV show “Barefoot Contessa,” she often emphasizes using “good olive oil” and “good vanilla.” Madagascar vanilla beans often come up in her baking. They’re also one of the most-searched-for products. Are you curious about what to do with vanilla beans yourself?
It's about this time of year when creative gift-giving ideas fly out the window and the "just get something...anything" mentality enters. Don't abandon your creativity quite yet. Consider Red Stick Spice your tour guide. Embark on an exploration of completely delicious, totally giftable and impeccably creative gifts. From the Netflix-watching, popcorn munching snack master in your life to the "this needs more heat, pass the hot sauce" heat maestro, we've got you covered
The holiday season is nearly synonymous with baking and cooking. Over these few months, you probably spend more time in the kitchen than the rest of the year combined! And for us at Red Stick Spice in Baton Rouge, food is our favorite holiday custom.
Did you know we blend our own teas here at Red Stick Spice? SoGo Tea is our very own brand and every single brew recipe is made in-house.
It’s November. Let’s talk about Thanksgiving! Here’s a roundup of some tried-and-true recipes—starting with the turkey of course—and the teas to sip before and after feasting.