Happy Friday, friends! (And happy March!) I’ve missed posting the last two Fridays (more on that in a second), so this week’s list is double the size of my usual Friday Five! I had a couple of items ready to go last week but ran out of time to finish up, so I’ve started off with those and just kept adding on.
To start off, though, some super sad news: I missed posting two weeks ago because I lost my kitty Jasper on Valentine’s Day. He’s been with me since I lived in Orlando – I went to PetSmart thinking I might get a fish for company and saw him and his sister Cricket and just fell in love. That was right before Thanksgiving 2008 – I left the store empty-handed but after the holiday weekend I couldn’t stop thinking about them so I went back and adopted both. Jasper was always nervous about everything- not sure what happened to him as a baby – but over the years he went from “NO HUGS NOT EVER” to “I guess some hugs are ok sometimes”. I spent his final 12 hours cuddling him on the bathroom floor with him because he’d freak out anytime I tried to even move to stretch out a leg that had fallen asleep. (He’s always been TERRIFIED of other people so I felt better about letting him go quietly at home vs. scared out at a vet.)
A couple of fun Jasper facts:
*When I adopted him, his name was Freddy, but that didn’t suit him AT ALL. After trying on names to see what fit and consulting my friend Katie for input, his full name ended up being Freddy Jasper Jacob Dante Alberto Bandito Von Monkeypants. I usually just stuck with “Jasper” when we went to the vet or anything, though.
*His photo was once retweeted by Rachel Maddow.
*A few months after moving back to Missouri, I finally gave in and let him go out in the back yard with my other kitties. He was allowed short outings for a little over a year, but then he hit what I like to refer to as his Goth Phase and brought me two snakes and a bat within about a 10 day time span. I decided it was better for all of us if he went back to being an indoor kitty only after that.
*He also went through a weird phase where he liked to lie across the gap between my bookshelves:
This a) overlapped with the phase where wearing a coat made him feel safer, and b) was a bad match for his tendency to fall off of things while he slept.
It’s so weird not to have him around. I obviously wasn’t feeling very social media-y or like blogging for about a week after that, and then last week ended up being so busy that I just never found time to post.
All of THAT said, let’s catch up on what I have been digging lately!
1. Behold my post-Valentine’s Target clearance finds! I was so excited that they had one of the felt cat envelopes left – I loved them when I first saw them but didn’t pick one up. 30 cents instead of $3 is fine by me!
I got two pairs of the pink bird socks. They were by the sock section under a sign that said 50% off, which should have made them $1.25, but when I scanned them on the price checking thing they came up as 40 cents, so I ran back and grabbed the second pair!
The wine glasses were originally $10, got ’em for a buck!
And you can never go wrong with Ghiradelhi squares! 30 cents instead of a dollar. Probably should have grabbed a few more!
2. Speaking of Target (and when are we not, TBH?), I picked up the Seventh Generation All Natural Cleaner while looking for something else in the cleaning aisle, and I AM IN LOVE. I’m super sensitive to fragrance and chemical-y cleaning smells, but this is the first thing I’ve found that has ZERO SMELL. Nothing, nada. Borderline life-changing if your house is constantly messed up by tiny fluffy battle kittens and you have allergies. I know it’s available at Target (link) – haven’t spotted it anywhere else yet!
3. I usually only go up to Springfield to grocery shop about once a month, but I’ve been TWICE this week because they got a new health food store that I am super excited about. It feels just like a Whole Foods without the pretentiousness (or a little like a Fresh Market), but the prices are pretty on par with a regular grocery store. I discovered a bunch of new things that I’m excited about, but the store itself deserved its own number!
4. Before I move on, let’s all giggle at the term “nut milk”.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way…
I picked this up on my first trip to the new store and tried it while still in the parking lot, then almost ran back in to almost buy the chocolate one, too. (Didn’t want to deal with long lines and blah blah blah so I waited.)
These are SO GOOD. They feel like you’re having something indulgent but they’re not super sweet. The vanilla one is just cashew milk, almond milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. (I ended up liking he vanilla more than the chocolate btw. There’s also a banana date flavor I want to try.) I was just listening to something on a podcast the other day about how much better it is to treat yourself to something with good fats (like this) vs. something sugary. These are just so freakin’ satisfying and way more filling than snacking on cookies or something, and you’re even picking up some nutrients. The only bad side is that they’re like $4.50 each which is a lot if you’re on a limited grocery budget like I am. (I mean, I still went back and bought 3 more yesterday…) But if you look at it as replacing one $6 Frappuccino or something, you’re coming out way better both financially and health-wise.
5. Also discovered Ambition Bars! They have about half as much caffeine as a can of Starbucks DoubleShot espresso, and they’re yummy. In addition to these two they have flavors like caramel latte, matcha, and chai. Keeping a few on hand for days when I really need an extra boost!
6. Okay, another Target thing, but this is so worth it! I found these earrings in the jewelry clearance yesterday:
Although the tag says 31 cents, they actually rang up as ELEVEN CENTS, and literally took about two minutes to fix. I just twisted them a little to open the rings that held the pieces together, removed both middle sections, and then attached the bottom turquoise drop to the top one instead. Voila!
Sure, two isn’t quite as cute as three, but… ELEVEN CENTS.
7. JUMPS. I got to the barn yesterday (it was a busy day!) for my first lesson in an entire month and immediately spotted these:
We’ve been trotting over ground poles, so these tiny cross rails are a big step up, even though there’s only like a 4″ height difference. However, before tackling that yellow combo, my trainer pulled the higher rails off a pair of jumps and was about to take the flowers away from the bottom, but I was all “Noooo, I want the flowers!” so I got to keep them. (The flowers made it about a foot high instead of 7-ish inches. Still next to nothing for a horse whose back is as tall as my head, but let me tell y’all, every couple inches makes a surprising difference when you’re riding it!) (That sounds really dirty but I didn’t intend it to. Oops.)
If you remember my last post, I was super charmed by how cute Folklore was being charging at the trot poles and even giving little hops over some. That definitely amped up today! I could barely get him to trot at the beginning of our lesson – he was stuck at a plodding walk. Once he understood that we were doing something fun, though, he went into supercharged mode!
We trotted at the first jump and as soon as he hopped over, I thought “Oh wow, I haven’t jumped in like 15 years at least” followed by “Oh crap, he is totally going to pick up a canter after that second one.” CALLED IT. After hopping the second jump, he immediately picked up speed (most horses prefer to run at jumps instead of trotting – just like if you were about to jump over something). Since I was prepared for it I got him slowed down after just a few steps, then cracked up and went at it again.
Second time around, HE WAS SO READY. He picked up his SUPER FAST trot going towards the first jump. My trainer says I literally yelled “HALF HALT” which is a kind of slow down/collecting moment you do before a jump to be sure you’re in control and set up correctly. Thankfully I also gave him the cues to do so in addition to just yelling it, so he slowed his roll a tiny bit before hopping the first fence, landing at a canter again, and thus taking us towards the second one pretty darn quickly. Popped over that one, but he was so into it that we made it halfway across the arena before I got him slowed down again.
The funny thing is that 1 foot jumps and cantering would be nothing to 20 year old me, but… I HAVE NEVER CANTERED ON THIS GINORMOUS HORSE BEFORE. I am still SO NEW to English riding that we’ve only walked and trotted, so we basically skipped ahead at least a month’s worth of lessons with no preparation. (To help this make sense for non-horsey people I googled trot vs. canter speeds – This is going to be off because my massive guy’s trot is faster than a normal horse’s canter, but for the sake of making it easy to understand, think around 10 mph for a trot and 15 mph for the fairly chill canter he was doing.)
I REALLY wish I’d gotten pics or video, but I was kinda busy trying not to die. I did find a gif that’s decently close – this is maybe 4″ taller than ours and we had two strides in between jumps instead of one, but close enough:
BTW I have no idea if my lesson tales are interesting at all to people who don’t ride, but I want to chronicle them anyway so I can look back and be like “LOLZ, we do 3 foot jumps without blinking now, can you believe 12 inches made me nervous?”
We also jumped THE LOG, which I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned here, but has been a running theme in messages to my horsey friends. This big log appeared in the arena one day and ever since I have been like “I WANT TO JUMP IT.” We did a combo today where there was a ground pole, the log, and then another pole, and other than a tight turn approaching it, it’s the combo I was most comfortable with because Folk just treated it as a big pole instead of an actual exciting jump.
8. This is what happens when we get our review products for the Chewy Influencer program each month:
Here’s what we got for February:
I’ll talk about the wet food next week, but this week I wanted to share how much my cats are loving the Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care dry food. When I first opened the bag I thought they accidentally sent me dog food because the pieces are so much bigger than regular cat food. Then I realize that crunching those big bites is what helps clean their teeth.
I’ve occasionally found that my cats aren’t excited about “good for you” types of foods (aka ones with specific health benefits), but they LOVE this. (Except Tennyson, who turns his nose up at all dry food and dry treats.) I filled up a big ziplock bag to give them in about two weeks so I can spread the oral care benefits out a little bit. Although the info on the site doesn’t specify, I feel like this is something you could feed every other week or maybe even one week out of the month and still have great results with. It’s also made in the USA and includes antioxidants and vitamins for extra healthy meowers.
I don’t usually do non-favs, but I wanted to share a few things I am NOT digging this week to close off this extra long post!
1) My kitten Lin-Meow Purranda knocked my mascara into the toilet, so I was in desperate need of a new one. (No idea if water can get in with the cap closed, but SO not up for taking that chance!) I’ve had mixed luck with e.l.f. products, but I grabbed the Length & Volume mascara because hi, it’s like $3. This turned out to be a definite MISS. The brush is this thick, stubby thing that comes out with a big glob on the end and just makes a mess of my lashes. I tried using it with the brush from an old tube (not the toilety one) and that helped but wasn’t worth the hassle. I replaced it this week with the e.l.f. Lash Extending mascara, which is way better – gives me long, defined lashes, but doesn’t do much for thickness. I’d actually suggest their Mineral Infused mascara as the best one overall.
2) While in the Easter aisle at Target (I need to get out more), I spotted them:
Cadbury egg? COOKIE? OKAY!
Cue sad trombone music here; They kinda suck. There’s a bit of the creamy stuff inside, and the chocolate is fine, but there’s also a hard cookie piece that dominates the whole thing and kinda ruins it. And at like $3.50 for just eight cookies… huge disappointment. I could’ve got a 4-pack of the eggs for that!
3. Fast food really wants to kill us all. I don’t eat much meat, but every now and then my body is like “GIVE ME A CHEESEBURGER.” That happened yesterday, so I stopped by Steak n Shake and ordered a single cheeseburger. It was $3.29. I glanced up and saw that I can get a double cheeseburger WITH fries for $3.99. WHY are you encouraging me to get like 4x as much food for almost no extra money? Why is a single steakburger not like… two bucks? EXPLAIN YOURSELVES.
And finally, an “I want to try this…”
The new blonde espresso at Starbucks. Have you tried it? Do I need it in my life? I espresso, but I am also very old and set in my ways. Hit me with your opinions, please!
Hope you guys all have a fantastic weekend!