February Foodie Penpals!

I started following Lindsey at The Lean Green Bean a year or so ago. Initially I found her site when I was looking for more information about the benefits of walking 10k steps per day (which I’m now a huge proponent of).

In addition to learning about Lindsey’s Fitbit journey, I found her blog to have a wealth of information about health eating and exercise. She also runs this really sweet program called “Foodie Penpals.”

Which brings me to this post. In the beginning of the month I signed up for the program and a few days later got paired with another blogger. We each sent each other a box of goodies.

Natalie from Free Range Human was my pal this month, and she sent me a pretty awesome box. (And if you’re reading this Natalie, thank you so much!)

The box:

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  • Bear Naked Granola: Granola was actually on my grocery list for this week because I haven’t had it in a while. Also, look at the protein count!
  • Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter: I have stared at this so many times at the store and then not bought it. One spoonful and I realized how silly I’ve been
  • Thrifty Bee Honey: mm so good, it has been going in my oatmeal all week!
  • Reese’s Hearts: I have been savoring these (holiday Reese’s > everyday Reese’s, every time)
  • Nature’s Harvest poppin’ sweet nut popcorn: unfortunately this exploded in the box (and Rascal subsequently gnawed through the corner of the box- I think his popcorn problem is my fault). The rest of it was gone in days!

I really enjoyed everything in the box and I cannot wait to do this again next month.

Oh, and Godiva was really excited about it too.

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Possibly too excited…

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ps. No need to have a blog to participate. Just visit this page to sign up!


These are a few of my favorite things… New Shoes

Not my favorite things: boredom, spring weather teases, bills, dairy.

Thankfully, there are many other wonderful things going on for me to smile about…

New shoes (especially when they’re on clearance AND shipping is free – 6pm.com, go now!).
Less snow on the ground than there has been in 1 month +
Waking up to cupcakes (thanks, Ben!)
Cam leaving his pod poi for me to play with! LED poi rock my world, lights on or off. Check out this video of some amazing daytime LED poi spinning.

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Pumpkin Black Bean Soup & WW Olive Oil Basil Pepper Biscuits
Marathoning Once Upon a Time – Alice in Wonderland with my friend Annie (ok, so we’re not doing this until later today- but I’m really excited!)
Getting to walk the strip everyday!
Paris 66 & their ratatouille quiche (to die for, also a great perfect hangover crue). Waiters who cater to my constant desire for more coffee.

Books that suck me in! Do I sound like a broken record yet? Almost finished the second book in The Lunar Chronicles and I’m already excited to dig into the third
(I just misread something & thought the third book hadn’t been published for a moment- I might have had heart palpitations).
Not having to think about moving for the first time in 6 years!
Also, good coffee & soy creamer (it may be better than the real stuff, just saying).

What’s making you smile this week?!

Zoo Diaries: Rascal & the hoop

Rascal thinks everything is a play toy. In his world, me trying to put on my socks and shoes = me trying to play with him.

I haven’t been hooping in the house all that much lately, so when I brought out my lil polypro to play the other night he went a little nuts over it…

Crazy pup.

Quote Sunday: Creativity

Creating for the sake of creating is beautiful & centering.

We had a little arts and crafts party this weekend to do just that. I ended up covered in paint so it was definitely a success.

In the spirit of arts & crafts, I thought creativity would be a good quote theme for the week.


The world is but a canvas for your imagination”

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“The creative act is the act of creating meaning” – Justine Musk

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Talk to us!

Have you come across a good quote recently?!


This week we’re taking a break from the normal programming because I… Didn’t take very many pictures this week. It was a pretty quiet week, which we haven’t had In a while. I enjoyed taking the time to read and watch tv for once instead of going going going. And I’ve always liked these surveys anyway 🙂

side note: I wrote and posted this yesterday, but it was riddled with typos because I did on my phone (and the wordpress app and I were not getting along) so I’m just sharing it with you all today.

Thinking… About wandering down to Klavon’s for coffee and chocolate. I mean it is Friday.

Hoping… That the rest of today will go fast! We’re going to t the Carnegie Science Center tonight which we’ve meaning to do for probably a year. Tonight’s theme is weather. (edit- it was too crowded, but still awesome)

Feeling… Excited for the weekend!

Watching…Mad Men reruns. Can’t stop won’t stop.


Reading… The Lunar Chronicles. I tore through the first book, Cinder, this week and cannot wait to start the second. I have a feeling I’ll be giving even more money to Amazon now that I have this Kindle.

Listening… To a whole lot of NPR in the car. It’s my favorite part of driving to work- I really enjoy being aware of what’s happening in the world via radio. I’ve also been listening to a whole lot of WYEP.


Thankful for… Pet cuddles (when am I not?), delicious Cabernet’s on sale, getting paid to volunteer, dystopian ya fiction novels that I CANNOT put down, my smartphone b/c it makes so many things in my life easier

Excited for… my dysfunctional family (best friends from where I grew up- all the greatest groups of friends have names…. Right?) to visit in a month!!!!

Missing… The Bread and Bagel House, Horsham in the spring, Philly soft pretzels, hippie skirts and dresses, yoga (ie. I need to visit my hometown asap and summer needs to f*king get here)

Wondering… If I’m strong enough to go to a yoga class? I have no benchmark for where my strength was before the injury. I probably should just suck it up and go at this point. (Pittsburgh friends- anyone want to come with me for moral support??)

Wanting… A new, clear, dome, umbrella. And summertime (see a theme here..?)

Eating… Curry! Oranges because citrus feels summery. Scrambled tofu with turmeric & Sriracha (I’m trying so hard to recreate the now defunct quiet storm scrambled tofu- almost there!).

Drinking… So much water. Peppermint tea. And red wine b/c it makes any day better 🙂

Loving…getting my arts and crafts on! We’re having a little crafting party this weekend & I spend most of my volunteering hours (I volunteered at Gwen’s Girls through my work) making construction paper decorations for a group home.

Proud of… Sticking to oil pulling for almost a week! More on that to come.


What are you currently up to??

Throw It Out Thursday #6: Hyperbole

You may have noticed that there was no Throw It Out Thursday post last week. This is because, well, I threw it out. I had a few sketches, but nothing resembling a decent blog post, and rather than publish something I felt was substandard, I took the week off.

In this week’s Good Reads post, I shared a review of the new season (the first four episodes, at least) of Netflix’s House of Cards. If you didn’t happen to read it, the writer makes the rather salient point that the show is akin to Doritos – addictive and easy to consume en masse, but totally insubstantial. It’s junk food, basically. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I may not have watched the new episodes if Dana hadn’t been so excited to see them  – we’ve long since established that she’s much less critical of media than I am, though she usually doesn’t disagree with my assessments – but I binged on them all the same. Not only was it me having to twist her arm a little to knock out a couple of episodes the other night, I ended up watching the last episode without her. So clearly I derive some pleasure from the experience, despite the numerous faults I find with it.

Like this character.

Like this character.

Still, I can’t help but roll my eyes when people gush about how “amazing” the show is when it’s anything but. A show with this many issues in terms of pacing, plot, and writing that by turns is trite, lazy, or overwrought doesn’t really seem worthy of that kind of superlative. I enjoy hearing other peoples’ thoughts on film, TV, and music, so I gravitate toward reading reviews of shows that I watch regularly. It exposes me to other interpretations; even if those reactions don’t change my opinion or jibe with how I viewed the episode, they tend to make me think a little more about why I had the reactions I did.

Specifically, I read a few recaps of the opening episode, which featured a scene that the people writing those recaps considered “shocking” and an “incredible twist”. Without spoiling anything, I can tell you that the scene is question was so predictable and obviously telegraphed that I A) called out what was going to happen before it happened and B) laughed when it finally did. Now, I can’t predict the future – I think my track record in decision making of the course of my life has made that abundantly clear – but this “twist” should have been obvious to anyone who’s ever seen a movie or TV show from the musical and visual cues. Not to mention it followed logically from the narrative and stylistic choices that the show made in its first season – namely, going for big, loud moments of showmanship at the expense of a cogent plot. It’s not usually a good sign if, when I’m guessing what will come next, my default assumption is “Whatever would be the most ridiculous,” and then you do that exact thing.

I’ve heard some suggest that the breathless reactions many have had to House of Cards are due to the fact that it so clearly wants to be a so-called “prestige drama” and is exceedingly well-marketed. But if you treat it as such, though, you’re either willfully ignoring its numerous shortcomings or setting yourself up for disappointment.

I liked the new season more than the first, and I think that’s partly due to tempered expectations. I was hoping for a great show at the outset, so it was tough to overlook the areas in which I found it to be lacking. Once I accepted that House of Cards was content to be eminently watchable, melodramatic fluff, it was a lot easier to appreciate.

This about sums it up.

This about sums it up.

And make no mistake, for all its flaws, House of Cards is quite entertaining. The performances are mostly strong, the cinematography is often impressive, and every once in a while, when the writers swing for the fences, they actually do connect.

The reviewer who made the Doritos analogy didn’t mean it as an insult, and neither do I. While I rarely eat them these days, I can remember more than a few times when I sat down and ate an entire fucking bag. And you know what? I enjoyed every second, as unsatisfying as the result invariably was.

You don’t need to use hyperbole to justify liking something, especially if it’s not art with a capital A. Not everything can be, or even should be, some sort of grand artistic achievement. Sometimes you just want to go the movies to sit in air conditioning, eat overpriced popcorn, and watch a 90-minute shootout/car chase with an occasional scene of exposition on a 3,500 square-foot screen. But that’s not the greatest thing you’ve ever seen. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

These are a few of my favorite things… Kindle & Coffeeshops

This “warm weather” has put me in the greatest mood! Go figure, I’m still to pinpoint when 28 degrees became my threshold for warm, but I’ll take it.

Since spring is approaching (finally), I’ve been trying to make the most out of the winter activities I do enjoy. Namely, snuggling under the covers, fancy warm drinks, and justified Netflix binging. Oh, and comfort foods! Can’t forget them.

Homemade black eyed pea/ potato/ collard green curry with Sriracha (side note: I killed most of that bottle in about 3 months, I might have a problem)
Pittsburgh Massage Works! Massage & sensory deprivation tank. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so relaxed.
Godiva being a purrmonster.
 (photo not by me)
Local coffee shops and London Fog soy lattes (earl grey tea plus steamed soy milk = pure comfort).
My kindle fire! I finally caved and ordered one last week. Completely in love.
Bank holidays.

Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups.
Cuddling with my boys and watching hours of Netflix.
Snow walks with Rascal (he’s still so excited about the fluffy white stuff).

So tell us,

What are you favorite wintertime comforts?