Friday Favorites – What A Weird Mix of Favs This Week!


1. Thanks to the suggestion by Alexi Wasser on her podcast Love Alexi, I watched the documentary Miss Representation on Netflix earlier this week. It’s about how women are portrayed in the media, especially about the idea that their entire value is based upon appearance and sex appeal. It leads to things like a huge lack of women in powerful positions (only 17% of Congress is currently female. Feel free to work on changing that on Nov 8!) to half of girls ages 6-8 already thinking they should be thinner.

I teared up a couple of times during the movie, but I definitely lost it when my beloved Rachel Maddow spoke about how often she hears that shes just too hideous to be on TV. Amazing Rachel, the Rhodes scholar, the BA from Stanford and doctorate in politics from Oxford, the person who has RT’d pics of my cat and called me awesome on a really rough day. Warm, funny, blindingly brilliant Rachel, told on a regular basis that she shouldn’t be doing the news because she’s not attractive enough. Because male news hosts are all so attractive. (Ok, so I know a couple who are.)

I posted a clip on my Instagram that really stood out to me, both in terms of absurdity and just how true it is. (Hopefully posting it was legal since it’s less than 30 seconds? If not… oops?)


2. These two little bottles were my Debate Night Supplies for Wednesday:

godiva-liquerSerpents Bite Apple Cider Flavored Whisky

I grabbed the Godiva without noticing that it was the white chocolate kind, but it ended up being super tasty, especially mixed with pretty much any kind of coffee beverage. A+ way to make PSLs more fun.

I neeeeever drink whisky, but I was curious about this apple cider flavored one and was surprised it was actually pretty tasty. Was also surprised that it hit me pretty hard, despite only having a couple of sips. I guess my body totally knows what to do with vodka, but this confused it. (These were procured at my fav local liquor store for like $2.50 and $1 respectively. Yay for tiny booze!)

3. Last month, sent us a big box of Natural Balance Chicken & Green Pea cat food, because they are awesome and like to spoil my cats with yummy things and new boxes to curl up in.

Natural Balance Chicken Green Pea Cat Food

Mom’s cat Pepper volunteered to be the model for this one. Is America’s Next Top Cat Model a thing? I think she’d win.


I don’t often buy food that comes in little cans like this since I have a whole herd of cats to feed, but it’s awesome for spoiling them with now and then! (And ooh, I just saw that it’s also available in the more standard size 5.5 oz cans. Yay!) Tennyson wasn’t a fan, but he’s by far the pickiest and not that into pate style foods in general. Everyone else loved it! It’s a little…stickier? in texture than the average pate, so it sticks to a spoon really well if you just want to let your kitty have a spoonful as a treat. (Am I the only one who does that?) That lickable texture could come in really handy if you have an older cat with chewing issues or kittens just learning to do the solid food thing, though!

This particular food is part of Natural Balance’s LID (Limited Ingredient Diet) line, which is designed to be super easy to digest, grain free, and full of protein from a single source, so it’s perfect if your pets have food sensitivities. After recently realizing that if all goes well (and we’re not hit with another unpredictable tragedy like a few weeks ago), most of my cats could easily still be around into my 50s, it’s made me even more committed to seeking out the healthiest food as often as I can to help keep them around as long as possible! (Bear is almost 5 and I’m almost 35, so he has been informed that living into his 20s is now expected of him.)

4. Amazon gets a HUGE thumbs up from me this week. I ordered one of their Amazon Basics iPhone chargers because it was $5.99 with free Prime shipping (compared to at least $10 for a charger almost anywhere else) and my old one is literally falling apart. The charger I got is ok, but if I don’t wiggle it into the USB drive juuuuuuust right, it won’t connect and charge. Not a huge frustration, but pretty annoying when you plug in your phone, come back an hour later, and discover it was never charging. I’ve never returned anything to Amazon before, so I was freaking giddy when I learned that I have 30 whole days to send the defective one back, but they’d ship out a new one ASAP. Without me even needing to ASK if I could hang on to the current one a couple of days so I could keep my phone charged in the mean time. LOVE THAT. Then I got an e-mail informing me that it had shipped, and that because it’s one of their store brand products it automatically has a one year warranty. My actual Apple charger only lasted about 10 months before it started falling apart, so a 1 year warranty included on a $6 charger is pretty awesome! Of course, if the 2nd one is troublesome, too, I’ll probably be a little less excied about the actual product, but at least I know I can return it with zero hassle. I’m still just blown away that I bought what must be one of the cheapest iPhone chargers in existence, and it came with badass customer service AND a warranty. Amazon, will you marry me??

Compare that to my ex-bank, Regions Bank, who I’ve been going back and forth with for almost a MONTH because they charged me a $36 overdraft fee on a 9 cent charge, which I am pretty sure is illegal (they claim the policy changed last year) but is DEFINITELY immoral. I messaged them a few times through their website, starting with just asking what the charge was for, then the “Uhh, isn’t an overdraft fee on something under $5 against the law?” and then letting them know I needed to close my account because there’s no way I’d continue to work with a bank that would treat customers that way… and now *magically* their online messaging system gives me an error every time I try to reply to them, and just keeps telling me to call instead. I tried their customer support email, they replied asking for a number to call me at. It’s a whole long stupid story, but man does Amazon’s quick, awesome problem resolution make them look amazing in comparison.


5. We all know that the refugee crisis is awful, and I’d guess that most of us have thought at least briefly about what it would be like to have to flee home with only what we can carry and give up everything we know in order to save our lives and our families. That’s the big picture, but there are so many little details of everyday life that we take for granted that displaced people really miss.

A lot of Syrian refugee women and girls currently in Lebanon are working on farms and making a few dollars a day, so you can imagine what a drain on household resources buying period supplies is. Many who can’t afford them just fold up some cloth, wear a dark colored dress that won’t show stains, and hope for the best as they toil in the fields for long hours. (Even the “real” pads available for purchase in the area are mostly super low quality with no barrier to prevent leaks.)

Days For Girls creates reusable cloth underwear/pad combos that are hygienic and can last for three years. What I really love about this charity, though, is that they don’t just send women the reusable pads. They bring in sewing machines and supplies, and teach them how to make them themselves. So not only do they have their own set to use, but they can make them for friends and family, earn some extra money, learn new skills, and generally feel more empowered in such a helpless situation. They’re even teaching the girls and women marketing skills so that they can sell the kits to NGOs (non-government organizations) so the supplies can get to even more refuge women, and the ones making them have less stress around affording basic needs. Win-win!


So far, they’ve set up two sewing teams in Akkar, Lebanon, a city which is currently home to over 100,000 refugees, but they need funds for more supplies, equipment and training. They also provide education when they hand out the kits – everything from menstrual hygiene to how their cycle related to reproduction. (Many of the refugee women and girls they’ve worked with had never received any form of education on how the whole process works before.)

So… reliable period products that require minimal maintenance and are designed not to irritate skin, the feeling of freedom that comes from no longer needing to ask a male family member for money to buy products every month, new skills that they can continue to use even when they’re finally able to return to their home country, important education, and the empowerment that comes from learning something useful? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY, CHARITY! You can donate securely here – anything helps!


Special bonus item shout-out to Zofran and my fancy combo headache pills, which reduced yesterday’s Headache of Doom to just a couple hours of “OMG how can anything hurt this much?”, compared to the usual 24+ of absolute misery that often result in an ER trip because it just becomes unbearable. YAY DRUGS.  (It’s funny, I usually don’t even take Tylenol when I hurt or don’t feel good, but as soon as the first signs of one of these headaches pops up, I will happily take ALL THE PILLS because I know what the alternative is like!)

My goal for this weekend is to focus on health and relaxing. I realized while feeling awful yesterday that I’ve had a LOT of stress on my shoulders lately, so I need to take a couple of days off from trying to accomplish all the things and just like… rest and eat good things and go for a walk. Wish me luck in actually *doing* that! Ha!

Unrelated to favs: I need your suggestions for a good Instagram widget for WordPress! Looking for something that will show a couple of recent pics in the sidebar. Nothing I’ve tried yet has worked out, but I know most of my readers are bloggers, so hopefully I can draw on your wisdom!


ICYMI – I posted my review of the Graze subscription box yesterday, including how you can get a box filled with delicious healthy snacks for freeeee! You’re gonna want to try the peach cobbler snack mix, trust me.


fri-favs Friday blog linkup

Graze Box Review & How To Get A Free One!

(Just a note – This is NOT a sponsored post. I found a special where you can get your first Graze box for free and just pay $1 shipping, so I decided to give it a try! They do have a great rewards program where you can earn a free box and credit towards future orders if people order via your link, though, so you’ll find my link for that throughout this post!)
Graze subscription box healthy snacks
Graze is a subscription service that sends you healthy snacks once a week, month, or whatever other length of time makes you happy. I got the sampler box that contains 4 snacks, but the regular subscription box contains 8 snacks. Here’s what was in mine!


Veggie Caesar

Contains: Ranch Half Popped Corn Kernels, Cheddar Cheese Bruschetta, Edamame beans

I was hit with a yummy savory scent as soon as I opened this package! Despite the strong scent, the actual flavor is mild.  Plus, this little package has 4g of protein, which made me happy! The half popped corn kernels weren’t my thing, but the rest made up for it.

Peach Cobbler

Contains: Peach fruit drops, almond slivers, amareti drops (the little cookie things) and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

Ohhh, this stuff is good. The peach fruit drops are super sweet and fruity on their own (and contain ACTUAL PEACHES. What a concept!), but mixed with everything else it’s a perfect balance of fruity and nutty and creamy. Definitely my favorite snack of the box.

Banana Caramel Dippers

Contains: Caramel sauce with wholemeal banana shortbread dippers

I have a serious sweet tooth, so I would have liked about twice s much caramel dipping sauce, but I guess these are supposed to be healthy snacks… 😉 I liked these, but they weren’t a favorite. Would happily eat again, but probably wouldn’t go out of my way to request them.

Graze currently has a dozen different dipper options (say that 3x fast!), and I’m so excited to try most of them! There’s everything from sweet to spicy. Two that I’m hoping to try soon:

Graze snack box Thai sweet chilli dippers graze-white-chocolate-dippers

Shut up and take my money, Graze.

Graze subscription acai blueberry bite tea

Acai Blueberry Bite and Tea

Last but not least, some acai action! The bar was similar in texture to a Lara bar – moist (sorry to everyone who hates that word) and chewy and super fruity. It was tasty but small – about half the size of a Lara Bar, to stick with that comparison. The tea is the only item from this box that I haven’t had yet. I’m usually only a hot tea drinker when it’s really warm or when I go out to tea and thus someone else is making it for me. (Making hot water is like, hard, you guys!)

Overall, I was a big fan of my Graze box! As fun and delicious as this box was though, weekly (or even monthly) boxes are just not in my budget right now, so I logged in to cancel my order for the next one with hopes of ordering again sometime in the future. However, when I hit cancel it gave me the option of getting my next box for half price ($5.99 for an 8 snack box), so I accepted and set it for 6 weeks away. YAY!


This is a really big block of text with no pictures, so I will now spice it up (pun intended) with the holiest of fall flavors.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, they also have a great referral program, so you can sign up for your own free 4 snack box via my link and I will think you are awesome because you will have put me on my way to free snacks. (Their usual referral program is a free box for signing up 4 friends, and then $1 off your next order for each person after that, but right now they have a promotion where you get a free box for signing up ONE friend! So you can sign up for your free box and immediately earn a 2nd free one by getting just one of your bazillion online buddies to try it free, too! FREE SNACKS FOR EVERYONE!)

These snacks would be awesome if you pack a lunch for work and want to change it up with a healthy treat now and then! When I worked for Disney, I always liked to bring a variety of options breaks, since there were days I’d reach that time of day and be craving something salty, while other days I’d do anything for chocolate. These are small and lightweight enough that you could easily toss 3 or 4 in your bag so you’re prepared to indulge whichever craving pops up. They do have short expiration dates (some were just a month after the day I received the package) but I feel like the challenge lies in not eating everything the day it arrives, not in finishing by the expiration dates!

If you find a snack you love, most of them are available to order in multi-packs separately from your subscription! Perfect if you want to keep experimenting with new snacks in your subscription box, but know that you want to take your favorite to work every day, too.


The box comes with an insert that gives you all the nutrition info for what you received.
Here’s mine:
One of the things I really like about this Graze’s subscription service is that you can browse through the snacks they offer and mark how interested you are in them, with everything from “trash” (never send me this) to “love” (send this often).


This is one of the best setups I’ve seen – It keeps the surprise element in place (especially since they have like 120 options available), but it ensures you won’t get something that you know you’ll hate. There’s also a page where you can set food preferences that will automatically filter out snacks that don’t meet your dietary restrictions (only send vegan friendly, no snacks with dairy or soy, etc.), and it also lets you filter out ingredients like nuts, chocolate, or raisins that you either don’t eat or just don’t like. They actually DON’T suggest their service if you have an allergy to an ingredient like nuts, though, because everything is packaged in one place, so there’s a risk of cross contamination. In what I consider an “above and beyond” step, they ALSO have a search bar where you can search snacks by ingredient, so you can quickly mark everything containing a certain ingredient as no or yes. (No to raisins, yes to everything chocolate. That’s just my life philosophy.)

Are you hungry yet? Feel free to ask any questions that I missed covering down in the comments, and head over to get your free Graze snack box(And then blog about it, because I’m nosy and want to see what you get!)

Friday Favs – October s Cold, But At Least There’s Pumpkin Stuff


Happy Friday, friends! This week’s Friday Favs post is brought to you by the giant Hershey’s Special Dark bar that’s currently giving me life, and the tiny kitten asleep next to me. (She’s like 6 months old now, but still smaller than the aforementioned candy bar. I should probably name her at some point, I know.)


1.  Last weekend I went to Bath & Body Works to use the freebie coupons I got in the mail before they expired. I mentioned to the girl helping me that I had one for hand sanitizer that started in a few days, and that I was totally excited to use it on this pumpkin scented one. (I get excited about stuff.) She taught me something new! There’s a 3 day grace period on these coupons, so you can use them 3 days before the official start date or 3 days after they expire! HOW did I never know this?? (And yes, I picked up some lotions to use for another giveaway next month! YAY!)

2. My cats love when they get to review kitty food. They like it even more when I just assume a bag of cat food is kitty-proof, leave it out on the kitchen counter overnight, and get to find one of them nose-deep into the big hole they managed to tear into it, nom-nom-nomng away. Lesson learned!



I submit Exhibit A to the court.

We got the chicken and salmon flavor, but Chewy carries quite a few different varieties of Stella & Chewy’s raw freeze dried foods for both dogs and cats.

Stella Chewys Freeze Dried Cat food

You’re technically supposed to add water to re-hydrate it, but I my cats preferred it straight from the bag. (The info sys that’s fine, as long as they have plenty of water available to drink.) I kept thinking about how perfect it would be for travel since it’s super lightweight and not messy. My kitty Tennyson is convinced that he’s moments away from starvation about 80% of the time, so I took to giving him two or tree pieces of this to tide him over between meals. Easy peasy!

3. I started watching Bojack Horseman on Netflix and I’ve flown through like 3 seasons in a week.

msnbsea bojack

As a MSNBC nerd, I obviously love the MSNBSea stuff, especially since Keith Olbermann voices the whale host.

4. I didn’t realize until I sat down and tried to write this post that it’s been a ROUGH week. Nothing catastrophic,  nut it’s been cold and rainy (can not deal with – I’m a solar powered person), I’ve felt icky and tired, and it’s been impossible for me NOT to comment on news stories that keep emerging, which has led to some of the worst humans on Twitter saying lovely things to me. (I feel like we all need a month off for self care after the election.) I guess the “fav” here is that at least 2016 is almost over, and there’s no way 2017 can be quite so nuts, right? …RIGHT?

5. I love the Bad Lip Reading videos SO MUCH, so I was super excited when the newest one came out! (Can’t wait to see what they do with the 2nd debate, since it had some, uh, interesting visuals.)

And a bonus that’s not exactly a favorite but I wnted to share anyway… I kinda got sucked into the rabbit hole of looking at bookends on I don’t even *need* bookends. I mean, who has extra space on a bookshelf?? But I kinda want them all.

Which is cuter – llama bookends or cat bookends? Both? I do have a lot of books.

My weekend plans involve hiking if the weather can ever get its act together (there’s a waterfall trail I’ve been wanting to do that should be great after all the rain we’ve had), and hitting a yard sale at the local senior center tomorrow in hopes of scoring cheap old lady dresses that I can alter into something awesome. Yay.

Friday link-up time!

Friday blog linkupfri-favs

Show Us Your Books – October

One of these days, I will become the kind of person who finishes my monthly Show Us Your Books link-up post sooner than the night before it’s supposed to be published. (Today is not that day.) Also in line with what usually happens, I’ve somehow only finished a couple of books this month, despite being in the middle of approximately 897 of them. I really have to start focusing in on one or three at a time so I can actually review them!


Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant

Amazon * Goodreads

I’m a sucker for a good “person moves to a new place and tells you all about their experience” memoir. In Dispatches from Pluto, the author and his girlfriend move from NYC to the Mississippi Delta – a place about as diametrically opposite from their previous home as possible while still being in the US. It’s an in-depth look at the culture, race relations, poverty, and social norms of one of the most unique areas of the South from an outsider’s perspective. As great of a job as Grant does getting to know a wide variety of people and showing all different facets of life in the Delta, I think that the important thing to keep in mind when you’re reading this kind of book is that no matter how much the author tries to capture a place, you’re reading one person’s experience there. Another person could move next door, hang out in different local places, befriend different people, and have a completely different experience, and they’d both be valid.

I got an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review, so I’m not sure if the final book was the same, but the one I read ended fairly abruptly, as if it really needed an epilogue to tie everything up. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the author’s writing style, humor, detailed research, and overall sense of storytelling.

And now, a brief note from my kitten, Captain Kitten:

VC B cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc      ————————————————————————————————————–000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

I have no idea what that means, TBH, but it was his first time blogging so I think we should applaud his efforts and maybe give him a book deal?

Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body

Amazon * Goodreads

I’m always fascinated by the potential our minds and bodies may have that hasn’t yet entirely figured out. Everyone has heard of the Placebo Effect, but this book dives into other ways that the mind can have huge effects on your overall health, immunity, response to pain, and more. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book was way more scientific and less “woo woo” than I originally expected. It examines various practices that draw upon the mind/body connection to treat medical problems. It reminds me a little of Mary Roach’s books in that it makes complicated scientific subjects easy to understand without dumbing them down. An easy read with substance.

A couple of snippets that I found especially cool:

*If you have an active social life, your body is likely to boost your immune system to keep you from catching anything from the people you’re around. Alternately, if you tend to be alone more often, your body focuses instead on protecting you from physical attacks.

*Fatigue is the brain’s way of keeping you from causing your body damage. In many instances when you feel fatigued, you actually have plenty of energy and resources left, but your brain is sending you the signal that you don’t because it’s worried you’ll overdo it, so it convinces you you’re totally worn out well before you actually are so that you have a nice safe margin of error.

* A study found that a 7 week program teaching parenting skills in a disadvantaged community led to measurable physical differences in kids who were a part of the program, even when they were tested almost a decade later.

There are a lot of fascinating cases detailed in Cure, which reminded me a bit of Oliver Sacks’s books. The mind-body connection is definitely an area of medicine I’d love to see a lot more research and development in, but of course treatments that are likely to result in less medication aren’t exactly getting bazillions of dollars in research funding from the big drug companies.  Most of the theories of treatment covered in this book are still being tested and fine-tuned, but it was definitely enough to get me back into a daily meditation practice. Can’t hurt, right?

(I received my copy of Cure from Blogging for Books in exchange for sharing my thoughts on it.)

Life According to Steph

Head over to Life According to Steph and Jana Says to see what everyone else in the link-up has been reading this month!

Friday Favorites – Wake up! September is ending!

Last day of September! Someone wake the guy from Green Day up?

Before I get into this week’s Friday Favs, I have sad news. My kitty Butt Butt (started as a kitten nickname and it stuck) got sick last week, and since 4 of my cats have been to the vet with a virus in the past year, I figured it was the same thing again. I made sure he was drinking, picked up some extra yummy kitty food that I could also syringe feed him when he didn’t want to eat, turned the bathroom into a steamroom to help clear congestion, and generally snuggled him 24/7. Over the weekend, however, things got worse so we were at the vet right after they opened Monday morning. They hospitalized him and did their best, but he didn’t make it. The vet found evidence of Bobcat Fever in his bloodwork (basically the most evil parasite ever), so while we can’t be 100% sure that’s what caused it (there’s a small chance he was carrying it without getting sick), tit has a 70% fatality rate, so there’s a pretty solid chance. I’ll still always wonder if going to the vet last week when he first started feeling icky would have made a difference (if it was the Bobcat Fever, probably not. Even with extensive stuff like blood transfusions, home is dim), and I’ve just basically been trying to get through the rest of this week. He was only 1 and a half, so I’m trying to remind myself that the life he DID have was very full of love and playtime and a big family of kitties to play with.

And now a weird request after all of that – As much as I appreciated all of the love and condolences I got from friends about it, every time I got a new Facebook notification that someone else had commented on it, I knew I was about to cry again. So while I wanted to share what happened, I’d rather avoid comments about it if possible, since I know they’ll just bring the pain back up to the surface again.

So, with that terrible life news out of the way, here are the things that have made this week suck less:

1. I really need to do a whole post about the podcasts I love, but there’s a new one I had to share called Buffering the Vampire Slayer. It’s about Buffy (obviously) and they’re only 3 episodes in so far, but I’m loving it.

2. OMG you guys, Graze Box.


I’m working on a review of my first one, but in the meantime I have this link that you can use to get your first box of snacks for free. I’m super cheap when it comes to spending $ on subscription boxes (or anything, basically), but I’m totally ordering another one of these! (Request that Peach Cobbler thing I got. It’s awesome.)

3. One of the eight billion e-mail newsletters I receive (thanks to entering giveaways and being too lazy to unsubscribe to most) alerted me to this $9 nude eyeshadow palette that has almost 2400 positive reviews on Amazon.

I’ve been trying to save my Amazon GCs for new house stuff when I move, but I think I’m gonna have to give in and order this one! (And yep, it’s eligible for free Prime shipping!)

4. odwalla

I guess Odwalla changed up their protein shakes (I haven’t seen them in the store for ages, and now they look and taste totally different.) I grabbed one on a whim and I’m hooked. They taste kind of melted vanilla milkshake-y, and contain all kinds of vitamins and stuff that my poor vegetable adverse self needs.

5. My riding instructor from when I was like 18-20 sent me a whole envelope of photos she came across. They’re so cringe-worthy it’s awesome.


I have so many questions about this. Why am I wearing mom jeans? I know it was like 2000, but…

And why am I riding English? And that’s not even my horse. (I totally remember this guy – he was a 2 year old Fox Trotter and totally adorable.) I’m also annoyed that I was a better rider at like 19 than I am now.


It’s supposed to be super fall-ish weather here this weekend (like 73 for a high), so I’m hoping to get some fun outdoorsy time. Anyone have awesome plans for the weekend?
Linking up for Friday awesomeness with…

Friday blog linkupfri-favs