Friday Favs – Spring Is Here!

 

Happy Friday, friends! And happy Spring! Today was in the 60s, which makes me super happy. I’ve mostly been cleaning the house today, which was MUCH needed!

Here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

 

1. Sometimes you have to admit when you are wrong. I’ve been mocking Oreo Thins for at least a year because c’mon, who wants LESS Oreo? But Target was out of my beloved dark chocolate Oreos this week, so I gave in and got the pistachio Oreo Thins, and they are delicious. I’m sure my love of pistachio-flavored things plays a big role in that, but man, I was not expecting them to be so good. Plus, they’re really aesthetically pleasing in the package:

 

 

 

2. I’ve followed Nicole Antoinette on the internets since like 2008? Her podcast is the only one I’ve ever paid for the Patreon for. She’s just started a 700-mile section hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and is posting daily updates. (Daily when she has phone service, that is. Sometimes you get several days of updates at once when she’s been without service. Her captions are fantastic, highly recommend following along.

 

 

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Day 2: Thump thump goes the feral heart 鉅鉅 Tucked in my warm sleeping bag I watch dawn break across the sky, illuminating the drops of dew that have collected along the outside of my tent. I stretch, feeling twinges of soreness in my shins, happy to have slept on and off for about two hours. Sleeping in the backcountry has been a challenge for me since I started hiking, and the fact that I was able to sleep at all on the first night out of town seems like a good omen. Maybe I’ll finally sleep on this hike? I’m feeling positive as I start packing up, and by 8am we’re on trail, traversing the ridges toward Hauser Creek. The sun is warm and my friends and I string out along the trail, hiking alone and then together, alone and together, moving like an accordion through the peaceful morning breeze. We stop at Hauser Creek for lunch, delighted by how much water we’ve found in this notoriously dry section, and I drink as much as I can before starting the steep climb out of the valley. The climb is completely exposed, the heat of the day has settled in all around me, and within a mile my lack of fitness has me with my back against a cool rock, gasping for breath, sweat dripping down my neck and chest in tiny rivers. This is the least fit I have been in almost 8 years. I knew hiking in this state would be hard, so at least I don’t feel surprised, but that doesn’t make the next four miles to Lake Morena any easier. I collapse on the ground when we get there, pinky toes swollen and blistered, lower back raw with chafe, legs aching, and as I sip a can of pineapple juice I remind myself of what I know to be true: that shedding the comfort and softness of the past five months will take time. There’s a feral little creature inside me somewhere – I know her well after the 2,800 miles I have hiked the past three years – and I can feel her now, coming to life in every beat of my heart. There’s an unfurling ahead of me, of this I’m sure, and as I get back on trail, unsteady on my sore feet, I envision the gap I’m working to close between who I am and who I want to be. It can seem impossible, that gap, but you close that gap the way you do anything: one tiny step at a time.

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3. I am super sad to learn that Chewy is ending their influencer program! They’ve been sending my cats tasty treats and food to review for years – we’ll really miss that blue and brown box showing up at the doorstep every month!

The last item we received to review for them was a 32-pack of Wellness Gravies Healthy Indulgence pouches. They actually arrived as four 8-packs, each of which had two different flavors.

 

 

I don’t usually buy pouches because it’s so hard to get all of the food out of them, but on the plus side the pouch does mean way less recycling than usual. My cats LOVED both flavors! Lots of gravy, but also plenty of big chunks of food. It looks like my cats aren’t alone – 80% of the reviews for them on Chewy.com are 5 stars, and the other 20% are 4 stars.

 

4. I really like this acoustic cover:

5. I had fun scrolling through Travel Channel’s list of the Creepiest Places in All 50 States. I’ve blogged about the ghost tour of the Crescent Hotel, which was their pick for Arkansas, and visited the St. Augustine Lighthouse without knowing it was supposed to be haunted! Have you been to your state’s creepiest place?

 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! A couple of quick questions before the end of this post – I mentioned my raise last week, which means I can FINALLY replace my literally falling apart laptop (There’s duct tape involved). I’m leaning towards a 17″ HP that’s on sale for around $350, which is probably the max I want to spend, but I wanted to check with you guys for recommendations. I hate tiny screens, so definitely a 15.6 or 17″, the whole touch screen and 2-in-1 thing isn’t important, I just want something that’s not crappy but can deal with pretty heavy use. Suggestions?

And finally, the most fun question – I have a beauty product giveaway coming up next week (ooooh, suspense!) so I’m curious – would you rather win eyeshadow or lip color? I have a couple of different options for the giveaway, so I’d love your input. Decisions, decisions!聽馃

 

Linking up with Della Devoted and A Little Bit of Everything

Friday Favs – Middle of March

 

 

Happy Friday, friends!

 

1. I got a raise.聽馃帀

Out of nowhere, my main writing client sent an email that they’re doubling what they pay me. Whaaaaat? I’d been planning to ask them for a raise because after starting to work on my taxes for this year, I was reminded just how insane tax on self employment income is and that I really needed to raise my rates a bit to make up for how much I have to pay. I was planning to ask for around 20-30% more, but I will totally take 100% more if that’s what they’re offering! This winter has been really tough, especially after learning my trail ride job isn’t re-opening as planed, so suddenly making twice what I’m used to from freelancing is a major cause for celebration!

 

Given that my car, laptop, and phone are all falling apart, I can’t make up my mind which to replace first, but just knowing that I actually CAN replace those in the near future makes me so happy!

 

2. I missed seeing Fantastic Beasts – Crimes of Grindlewald when it was in the theatre, so you better believe it got rented as soon as it hit Redbox on Tuesday! Y’all… I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS!

–possible spoilers below this point–

I’m such a Harry Potter nerd that it was SO WEIRD to watch a movie set in that universe and not already know everything that was going to happen. I watched it with my neighbor and was like “Is this what it’s like to watch HP movies when you haven’t read the books??” Especially when he asked if certain characters could be Voldemort’s parents and I realized that the HP movies totally leave out the whole Merope/Tom Riddle Sr. love potion thing. Most of my ??? moments were minor (Why is Dumbledore teaching DADA? He was a transfiguration professor!) but the major one was around Credence’s parents. HOW?? Kendra died and Percival was in Azkaban… I just can’t fathom it. And the reveal about Nagini means that Neville killed a human. UGH.

I’m listing this as a favorite not because it was great (I think I prefer the first one? ) but because it was fun to actually have something to try to figure out when it comes to the wizarding world. I can’t believe I have to wait until at least November 2020 for a new one.

 

 

3. When I’m picking out cat food, my general rule is that whichever flavor sounds the least appetizing to me is exactly what my cats are going to love the most. I had the opportunity to choose between the聽different flavors of Canidae Adore cat food that Chewy offers to review for the Chewy Influencer Program this month, and when I saw there was a Sardine &Mackerel flavor, I knew that was the one my cats would go crazy for.

Not surprisingly since I’m a gold star cat lady – I was totally right.

I’ll spare you a photo, but this cat food actually has chunks of fish that look like chunks of fish, rather than super-processed mush. It’s nice and moist without being watery. In short, my cats basically lost their minds over it. Tennyson LOVES sardines, so I was surprised that he was the one to throw up after eating it for the first time, but was fine with it after that – I think he may have just wolfed that first meal down a little too enthusiastically?

We got the 2.46 oz cans, but they do also offer it in 5.5 oz cans (the sort of standard cat food can size). It is definitely on the pricier side (About $36 for the 24 small cans), so I used it more as a treat or an addition to their dry food than an actual meal.

 

4. Even though it was cold today, the sun was out and I got to spend some time in the yard with the cats while they “helped” me take product photos for an upcoming review:

I wish it had come out non-blurry, but my Bear is just perfect.

 

Cutting this short at 4 items this week because it’s already 7 p.m.! Have an awesome weekend!

Friday Favs – Marching Along

 

I think I need to re-do this month’s Friday Favs image. I took photos in the St Patrick’s Day section of a store to use as backgrounds,but that one looks more Christmas-y now that I look at it again. But it’s Friday and I need to post this, so it will work for this week!

 

Anyway, Happy Friday! I’m posting pretty late in the day because my neighbor called this morning and asked if I wanted to hit a local hiking trail, and my obvious answer was yes. I didn’t realize until I was on the way there that there was crazy fog and it was only 39 degrees. Oops. The fog was so thick that I almost got hit several times on the way there (My car is red! And I had my lights on!) and at one point a truck turned RIGHT in front of me and I had to brake so fast I’m relieved I didn’t slip on the wet road! Still, we had a really nice walk in the woods. I’m up to 13 miles towards my 100 mile hiking goal for this year! That’s barely 10% so I’m technically behind, but the first few months of the year are always so cold I didn’t really expect to get more than 10 before Spring.

 

Here’s what I’ve been loving lately!

 

 

1.聽I have no idea if these chips are new or if I just noticed them since I don’t buy chips often, but they are so good. Salt & Pepper potato chips are such a simple idea – why aren’t they more of a thing? Anytime I get french fries I dip them in salt and pepper, and these taste pretty much exactly like that. Love!聽

 

2. Fabletics is now making leggings with pockets for a phone!

 

I can not wait to get some for hiking! I have a similar pair with a tiny pocket that can fit a key or credit card or something, but none that will fit my phone. This is a game changer! The pair pictured here is usually $54, but if you use my link you can get two pairs of leggings for $24, *and* I get an affiliate credit that puts me closer to getting my own! Win-win!

 

 

3. I found this in the kids party section of Walmart today and it might best 87 cents I’ve spent in ages. I am annoyed that the bar code is printed right on my house (and for the record, the symbol of Ravenclaw is supposed to be an eagle, not a raven) but still. YAY.

 

4. I’ve been loving this slow, dark, broody playlist that Alex Franzen put together. (subscribe to her newsletter if you don’t already -she’s rad!) I was listening to it the day Luke Perry died (omg sad) so was hit extra hard by the mournful cover of Wicked Game. (Does everyone remember that 90210 episode that used that song? Just me?)

 

 

 

5. Ricola makes gummies for immunity now, and they’re awesome. I got a sample pack in the mail and didn’t think I’d like them but they actually taste good. They’re only like $7 at Target, which even I can afford! (Way cheaper than getting sick.)

Don’t forget to set your clocks forward this weekend! (Assuming you have an actual clock in your house and don’t just use your phone and computer like a normal person.) I feel like the Monday after we spring forward should be a half work day for everyone so we can adjust.

 

Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything and Bright on a Budget.

Friday Favs –

Happy Friday, friends! Today is misty and foggy and generally dreary, but at least it isn’t ice and snow! I’m about to go curl up on my neighbor’s couch and watch The Two Towers because that’s how I roll.

 

 

1. First things first, I NEED THESE.

Yes, $20 is kind of a lot for four glasses, but I love them so much!

 

2. I’m working my thrift store job tomorrow! I’ve been laid off since mid-December, so I’m excited to go back. I know it will be like when I went back to writing full time where it’s great for a few weeks and then I’m over it, but for now I’m excited to be doing something other than writing!

 

3. This month Chewy sent us one of the most fun products we’ve ever gotten to review for their Chewy Influencer Program!

We’ve tried some Muse cat food before and I remember my cats loving it, so I was really curious to check this kit out!

 

 

I love the idea of it. You get packages of crunchy bits, containers of meat chunks, and packets of creamy sauce. You can add any of them to your cats usual food to spice up their regular routine, or serve all three together to make a meal.

 

A bit of each item – I stirred this all together before serving and my cats devoured it! I also tried serving the crunchy bits and the meat as snacks, and using the sauce to top their usual dry food. The crunchy pieces got eaten but not with as much enthusiasm as the other two parts. I did need a fork to get the meat out of its little cup because it’s just meat packed in there – very little moisture.

Those notes aside, I had fun being able to mix and match the elements. There are three flavors included (Salmon, ,聽 and ) and you get two packages of each form in each flavor, so 16 items all together.聽 The variety pack I got is available from Chewy here for just over $22. You can also check out Chewy’s full inventory of Muse cat food聽which includes multi-packs of each of the variety pack components, so if your cat just loves one of the three things you can just stock up on that. The variety pack is not just a lot of fun to experiment with, but also a great way to let your cats try out the different flavors and forms of treats to see what their favorites are.

 

4.聽I took this through a window last night while I was getting some writing work done at the library. The photo itself is terrible, but sunset at 6:10 pm is SUCH a nice change from 5 pm! I obviously prefer summer when the sun is still hanging around well after 8 p.m., but the later sunset is such a nice reminder that spring is coming! (The less nice reminder was the first tornado warning of the year last week. Why are they always in the middle of the night?)

 

5.聽 Meme of the week:

 

Kind of a short post this week, but I really need movie night. (Even though we just watched 2 movies last night.) I just need to post this, feed the cats, throw on some comfy yoga pants and walk over. YAY, movie night!

 

Linking up with Bright on a Budget and A Little Bit of Everything.

Friday Favs – Post Valentines Edition

Happy Friday, friends! The forecast here is calling for freezing rain all day – brr! This has been such a weird winter! It was 60 degrees yesterday! Which means…

 

 

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My Valentine is tall and handsome and was very excited about the candy I brought him. 馃挄

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1. I got to spend Valentines Day with my main man!

I haven’t ridden Folklore in months! The weather has been icky and cold tends to make him a little stiff (he’s basically retired now), so I’d rather wait for a nice day when we can both enjoy it. He was excited to see me, and especially excited about the peppermint sticks I picked up on clearance after Christmas. The boy loves his peppermints! He’s the only horse I’ve ever known who will pick up his back feet and basically put them in my hands to be cleaned because he knows he gets treats when his hooves are done. It’s so cute!

 

He even put on eye shadow for the occasion. TBH I think he pulls this stuff just because he likes getting his face brushed.

If you’re wondering- yes, I’m very sore today. English riding uses pretty much every leg muscle you never knew you had, and I’m feeling alllll of mine today!

 

 

2. I don’t usually like white chocolate, but for some reason I LOVE white chocolate Lindt truffles. They have these limited edition ones out for Valentine’s Day that are milk chocolate on the outside and soft white chocolate on the inside and… I may have eaten three bags of them.

I regret nothing.

 

3. Y’all know I’m addicted to the Hogwarts Mystery phone game. This week we got a side quest that was just so cute and fun it made my week! Remember the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire? We had a dance that was basically like that – you got to pick your outfit and your date and the whole thing was just such a fun break from the regular storyline:

 

 

 

And yes, I brought the smartest boy in all of Hogwarts as my date:

I’m still mad I couldn’t pick Bill Weasley as my date, but Barnaby is growing on me.

 

Seriously, if you’re a Harry Potter nerd and not already playing this, get on it! It’s free!

 

4. My meowers are currently obsessed with the Tiny Tiger cat food variety pack we received to review for the Chewy Influencer Program this month.

 

Salmon, seafood, and tuna varieties. All three were a hit! My only complaint is wishing that the flavor names were easier to spot on the label.

 

Bear LOVES to help when I’m taking product photos for reviews.

I was a little hesitant to order a brand I’d never heard of, but this has been a hit! My cats devour all three flavors. It’s little chunks of meat with a good amount of gravy, which is always a crowd pleaser.

Chewy currently has an awesome deal on the Tiny Tiger variety pack聽where you get an extra 50% off your first order, which makes it like $6.50 for 24 cans! Score!

 

5. Best of the internet recently:

 

 

Sad news – I found out this week that my trail ride job won’t be re-opening in March. I’ve been looking forward to going back all winter, so obviously I’m bummed. I’m considering applying at a different place near me that offers horseback riding once they re-open, but it won’t be the same!

That’s it for this week! I’m curled up in bed with the cats, getting ready to get some writing work done. (I may have skipped working last night in favor of going out for dinner and a movie. Sometimes you have to take advantage of that whole “freelance”thing, even when it hurts your wallet.) It’s been a busy week, so I’m totally content to not go anywhere today!

 

May your weekend be lovely and filled with heavily discounted V-day candy!

 

Linking up with Bright on a Budget and A Little Bit of Everything