Tag Archives: Foodie Pen Pals

September Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

1 Oct

Happy Monday and HAPPY OCTOBER!


October is one of my favorites, because it ushers in the series of special occasions in my life: Stef’s mom’s birthday and my birthday are both in October; followed by Thanksgiving in November; then it’s my brother’s birthday, Stef’s brother’s birthday, and Christmas in December; and finally finishing up with New Year’s, Stef and my anniversary, and my mom’s birthday in January. Phew! I could keep going in that vein and tack on Valentine’s Day in February and Stef’s birthday in March – but there is enough time between those that I don’t feel bombarded. Let the celebrations begin!

Today is Foodie Pen Pal reveal day! Some of you might remember this from last month, but if you’re new, here’s how it works: created by Lindsay at Lean Green Bean,  after signing up, you get a pen pal assignment to whom you send a package with yummy local foods, gourmet treats, or homemade yummies (there’s a $15 limit). You also receive a similar package (not from the same person, however) and it is just a great way to try new things, get recipe ideas from new people, and just connect with other foodies around the country. If you are interested in participating, you may click the ‘join’ button on the right side of my page!

This month, I was on the receiving end of a package from the lovely Rachael, who doesn’t have a blog but is the sweetest, just the same.

Let’s take a look at the spread I received…

Sorry for the weird view…Wordpress is not letting me rotate the picture for some odd reason. In the picture:

  • Spicy Sesame Linguine that Rachael picked up from her local farmer’s market and came highly recommended.
  • Freeze-dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s (I told her I loved strawberries and she delivered!)

  • Bourbon maple syrup – yes, that’s a real thing. It says it can be used on sweet things, like pancakes and French toast, but also makes an excellent marinade for meat. Stay tuned to see what I do with it.
  • Green tea mints from Trader Joe’s – one of Rachael’s favorites. They are so yummy and are now stashed away in my purse for whenever I need a little hit of sweet.

Thanks for a wonderful FPP package, Rachael! If you’d like to see the package I sent, you can head over to Kathleen’s blog! This is such a fun program, everybody – I highly recommend that you try it at least once! Click on the button on the right-hand side of my page to join.

On an unrelated note – the giveaway for my mystery fall box is closed and we have a winner! Head over to my giveaway post to see if you’ve won.

Hope everybody is having a great morning, catch up with you later!

Switching Things Up

11 Sep

Good morning, all! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me just tell you that it was FREEZING when I walked outside my house this morning. And by freezing, I mean 55 degrees – which is basically freezing. How did it go from being 85 degrees to 55 degrees in one week?

I made the startling realization as I was getting ready this morning that I didn’t have any black pants to wear to work. Whoops. I’m going to try to run down to TJ Maxx during my lunch break and pick some up, because these dresses and skirts are no longer cutting it.

I am also going to mail off my Foodie Pen Pals package today! I can’t tell you what I put inside, but you will find out at the end of the month on reveal day. I am so excited to get mine in the mail – I just love receiving mail!

You might notice that my wrap got a little crispy at breakfast this morning. I got a little distracted talking to my roommate this morning and left the bread in the toaster oven for a little too long. What started out as a wrap with peanut butter, sliced apples, and chia seeds, quickly turned into peanut butter and apple-topped crackers. The crunchiness ended up being all right by me!

On the bus today, I started brainstorming some ideas about switching up the layout of the blog and its content. As much as I love being able to ramble about my day and food consumption without any direction, the control-freak inside desperately wants a little more organization on focus. With this in mind, I present to you what I hope will be a weekly breakdown of my blog posts during the week. Brace yourself for the onslaught of alliterations.

Blogging Breakdown 

Motivational Monday: Since Monday always seems to be the fresh start for the week, I wanted to use this day as a time to post quotes, stories, or pictures that I have found over the course of the week that inspire and motivate me. For example:

*how far they have GONE (sorry, couldn’t help myself)

Tuesday Tidbits: Tuesday will be the day for news article or other media that cover topics of interest. For example, this evening I will be talking about the new hot topic in the fitness world – the recently published Stanford study about their findings in organic food.

Workout Wednesday: This one is still kind of shaky, but my goal is to use Wednesdays to highlight a different activity, workout, or sport on the blog, for those who are looking to try something new or want some more information. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I might also use this to post my own workouts, so people can have something to follow at the gym. Again, ambitious.

Anything Goes Thursday: Ah Thursday, more than mid-week, but not quite the weekend. I will use this neglected day as a time to fit in things that don’t quite fit under any of the topics I have pre-determined. This includes home improvement (yay, Pinterest!), travel, literature, and all sorts of musings that cross my mind. This is also an opportunity for readers to suggest something they would like highlighted or discussed on the blog, as well.

Follow Friday: In preparation for weekend relaxation and contemplation, I will use Friday as a day to talk about things I’ve picked up from other blogs throughout the week, whether it be a recipe that was inspired by a fellow blogger or a topic of interest that was first suggested by somebody else. I read a ton of great blogs and this is a great way to introduce you all to some of the great writing that is out in the blogosphere!

Well, what do you think? Does it sound too structured or does it sound like something you would look forward to reading? Also, I am now changing my ‘Quick Questions’ to ‘Food For Thought’ – so clever 😛

Food For Thought: Which blog topics are you most looking forward to reading? Is there a topic you want to suggest for Anything Goes?

First Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!

31 Aug

Friday in the houuuuuse! Why is today a particularly awesome Friday? 1) I am getting ready to go down to Virginia Beach with Stef to do the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (Mini Marathon for me!), 2) It’s payday!!, and 3) It’s the end of the month, which means Foodie Pen Pals Reveal day! As I told you in a previous post, Foodie Pen Pals is much like a pen pal program except it involves food, which makes it soooo much better. After you sign up, you get a pen pal assignment to whom you send a package with yummy local foods, gourmet treats, or homemade yummies (there’s a $15 limit). You also receive a similar package (not from the same person, however) and it is just a great way to try new things, get recipe ideas from new people, and just connect with other foodies around the country. If you are interested in participating, you may click the ‘join’ button on the right side of my page!

Before I reveal what goodies I received from Rebecca S. of Los Altos, California, I want to break down my really great breakfast this morning. After packing my lunch, I was running a little short on time and wasn’t really inspired to do any specific kind of breakfast, so I headed for the raw oats and Kashi Go Lean. Plain old cereal and milk was just not doing it for me, but I was out of fresh fruit. Howwwwever, I did have frozen fruit and so it was smoothie time!

In went:

  • 2 handfuls of frozen fruit (mixed berries from Costco)
  • a couple heaping spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
  • a drizzle of agave nectar
  • enough vanilla soy milk to get everything nice and blended

Andddd, voila!

Easy way to spice up the morning.

Now it’s time tell you about my very first Foodie Pen Pals box! I received the box a couple of weeks ago, but couldn’t tell you guys about it, per the FPP rules. But now it’s reveal day!

So excited for my first FPP box!

Like I mentioned earlier, my box was from a girl in California named Rebecca. This was her first time doing Foodie Pen Pals as well, so she sent me an email and made to sure to ask me about anything I liked and didn’t like so she could put together a box I would love! Here’s a peek at all the goodies:

A quick inventory:

  • pack of her favorite flavor of Trident gum
  • to-go, pre-packaged peanut butter (that didn’t last too long!)
  • Gogo Applesauce (something I had never seen before!)
  • package of TJ’s microwave popcorn
  • Kashi TLC trail mix bar (you guys know how much I love those!)
  • Two boxes of dried seaweed for snacking
  • a few bags of tea
  • 3 Starbucks Via packets
  • chocolate milk box (like a juice box, but chocolate milk!)
  • can of Trader Joe’s Cafe Mocha coffee
  • a really yummy fair-trade, organic chocolate bar
  • amazing, lavender-scented bar of soap
  • an adorable Mickey Mouse notebook, with a little love from California and a sweet note inside!

What a haul, eh? It was so cute that everything was small and designed for a super busy lifestyle, perfectly suited to me! I even snuck some of her treats in my lunches during the month without telling you guys. I have been saving the Gogo Applesauce for this weekend’s 5k as a post-workout snack and I will be sure to tell you what I think about it.

Thanks for a wonderful first experience with Foodie Pen Pals, Rebecca! And thanks to Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean for organizing this each month. Please click on the button on my right sidebar to check it out!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! If you don’t hear from me over the weekend, it’s because I’m having way too much fun at the beach with my boyfriend. I’ll fill you all in as soon as I get back, promise! Happy weekend 🙂

A to Z

13 Aug

Happy Monday! Hope everybody is having a great start to another week.

I spent last night watching the closing ceremony of the London Olympic games and rocking out to Spice Girls. It was so much fun to see the girls back together and was a serious childhood flashback. On a related note, if you want a fabulous 90s pop station on Pandora, try Spice Girls radio. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m serious – do it.

I also prepped some food for breakfasts and lunches this week, including baking some eggs for McMuffins and cooking up a big batch of quinoa to throw into salads and add to veggies.

This morning, I had an egg sandwich for breakfast, with a slice of fresh mozzarella and some tomato basil pasta sauce for a pizza-style sandwich. The English muffin had some casualties as a result of poor slicing on my part (I blame a dull knife!).

The rest of this morning’s blog post is inspired by a post that has been floating around the blogosphere, which I caught up to on a post of Julie’s over at Peanut Butter Fingers (she’s got a great blog, go check it out!). It’s called A to Z and the basic premise is to use each letter of the alphabet to describe something in your life that makes you happy or that you really enjoy. Capite? <– That’s the grammatically correct way to say “do you understand?” in Italian (in second person plural). Yes, I know it’s too early in the morning for such nerdisms, but I can’t help myself. I like this A-Z idea because I feel like it really reiterates one of the goals of my blog, which is to relish the day-to-day things that make life special. Anyway, without further ado, I present to you my alphabet of joy.

Alphabet of Joy

A: Arabic. I love this language because it is my dad’s native language and part of my heritage. I studied it in college and love the grammatical rules that multiply your vocabulary exponentially, once you unlock them (major linguistic nerd reference). Plus, the script is super beautiful!

B: Blogging! Even though I’m a newbie at it, having a blog has been such a nice outlet for me to talk about my day, plus show my family and friends what I’ve been up to. It’s also a great way to connect with people all over the world and find out how much I have in common with so many people. The world is small, my friends.

C: Cupcakes – I think that cupcakes are one of the world’s greatest ideas. I would love to have cupcakes at my future wedding because then you can get a ton of different kinds and have people choose their favorite! I really hope to get baking soon so I can perfect my cupcake technique and make a dent in all of the Pinterest recipes out there!

D: Dill pickles. I cannot stand the sweet pickles, but I could eat dill pickles for days! You can put them in sandwiches, chop them up in salads, or just eat them whole, like I do. My favorites are the spears that have a nice crunch to them.

E: Exercise. I was going to say eating, but I figure that would be a given. I’m going to go with exercise because it is something that is so important for everybody. It is amazing how effective daily exercise is for alleviating so many bodily issues and it can come in all different forms. Zumba, Body Pump, belly dance, and volleyball are just some of my favorite ways to get moving!

F: Foodie Pen Pals. As I explained yesterday, Foodie Pen Pals is a brilliant creation of Lindsay’s over at The Lean Green Bean. This is my first month participating, but I was just so, so excited to get my first package from my first foodie pen pal!

G: Goat cheese. Goat cheese, like most kinds of cheese, can be eaten with just about anything. One of my favorite things about it, though, is that it can be part of a dessert to tone down the sweetness. For one of my birthdays, Stef took me to a restaurant in Seattle called Lola, and we had honey goat cheese turnovers for dessert – easily on the top 5 for best dessert I’ve ever had.

H: Hot weather. I am pretty sure I was a lizard or something in another life, because I love the heat. Summer in DC has been the best because it’s in the 90s every day and I wear shorts and dresses without worrying about getting cold!

I: Ice cream. I can’t keep it in the house because I fail with portion control whenever ice cream is around. My favorite flavor is vanilla, which some call plain. I prefer classic – what doesn’t go well with vanilla???

J: Jet-setting. I am a travel nut and I love getting on planes to faraway places. Luckily, I had a chance to do plenty of jet-setting during my year in Italy, but it’s only a matter of time before the travel bug hits and I will need to go somewhere new again!

K: Kittens. I always grew up having cats around the house and when one of my cats was still a kitten, she would snuggle up under my hair at night to stay warm. Adorbz.

L: Lion King. Favorite movie of all time!

M: Movie nights. My roommates and I love to pick one night where we make yummy snacks and watch a movie. It’s a great way to spend some quality time together and watch something we have all been wanting to see!

N: New purchases. I love that excitement of buying something new and not being able to wait to use it! This can be anything from a new book to a new grocery item that called to you at the store.

O: Olympics! I am so sad that they’re over, because I didn’t get to watch very much of them, but I love watching so many amazing athletes from around the world compete on the global stage. The stories are always so inspiring and it’s wonderful to see what the human body is capable of doing.

P: Pizza. I am of the belief that pizza is just a hot, open-faced sandwich, which means you can put anything on them and it will taste good. One of my roomies is a baker and makes a mean pizza dough, so we like to have pizza parties (on movie nights) and put our own toppings on pizzas to make delicious creations.

Q: Quiet nights in. Some nights I love to go out with friends and dance the night away, but there are other nights when all I want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a movie or a good book, some snacks, and my favorite boy.

R: Reading. I am a huge bookworm and can spend whole weekends reading the day away. I recently gave in and bought a Kindle (which I have mixed feelings about – more on that later), so it has been easier than ever to tear through books back to back.

S: Stefano! My best friend and my boyfriend of almost six years. We can have fun doing just about anything together and I can always count on him for a pick-me-up hug or a laugh.

T: Tea. On cold, winter days, I can count on tea to warm me up and feel cozy, even when it’s snowing outside and all I want to do is stay in bed. My favorites are spicy, Chai-like teas, but I also love fruit teas. A big mug of tea and a good book is my favorite way to spend a cold, winter morning.

U: UpcyclingAs somebody who is on a tight budget and cares about our environment, I love it when people have great ideas to turn everyday things that would normally get thrown away into something useful. My biggest upcycling project right now is to find all sorts of uses for yogurt containers, because they don’t recycle them in Washington D.C.!

V: Volleyball. As many of you can probably guess, I am a huge fan of volleyball. I played competitively in high school and college and am still finding ways to get in as much court time as I can. I love that the USA did so well in indoor and beach volleyball this Olympics and that the sport is gaining prominence all over the country.

W: Weddings. I have been to a few weddings for close friends this year and the invitations are still coming in. I love watching two people who love each other commit to spending the rest of their lives taking care of one another. I also love the reception when everybody gets to eat yummy food and dance the night away!

I caught the bouquet at my friend Jenica’s wedding!

X: XOXO – I love kisses and hugs from my friends and family! I know I sort of cheated on this one, but x is a hard letter!

Y: Yoga. I really love how yoga relaxes me and calms me down at the end of a busy day. I don’t do it as much as I’d like, but every time I get done with a session, I feel so calm, yet energized! I prefer vinyasa yoga, but I think all types are beneficial – find one you like!

Z: Zumba! Zumba makes me so happy – I am not a very good dancer, but even I can follow along with these moves and it is just such a fun workout. For those of you that want exercise that will get your heart rate up but don’t want to feel like you’re exercising, this is a great choice! The atmosphere is energetic and the instructors are always so friendly and supportive.

WHEW! That was a long one. It’s definitely time for me to get to work. I hope everyone has a great start to your week!

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