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Friday Favs – Spring Is Here!

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 ⠀⠀ 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 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! 🤔


Linking up with Della Devoted and A Little Bit of Everything

Friday Favs – Marching Along

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. 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! 


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 –

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, ,  and ) and you get two packages of each form in each flavor, so 16 items all together.  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 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. 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.  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 – January is Cold

Friday Favs – January is Cold


Happy Friday, friends! I missed posting last Friday because to be perfectly honest, winter weather sends my anxiety and depression into a tailspin. We got our first snow of the season on Saturday, which is nuts because it was like 55 degrees on Friday! I’m so thankful that it waited until Saturday morning, though, since I worked until 11 p.m. on Friday and it’s a half hour drive home. A quick story before we start this week’s favorites…

I actually thought the snow was going to miss us for a brief, beautiful moment. I woke up around 4 a.m. on Saturday (anxiety = I don’t sleep in the winter.) and glanced at the weather on my phone, and all of the little snow icons had turned to clouds. Yassssssss! But then I looked again around 5 and the snow forecast was back. We only got about 2 inches, but I live in the Ozarks and ice does not mix well with our hilly, twisty roads.

I was supposed to work on Sunday, but my road still didn’t look very good, I’d heard all kinds of reports of accidents nearby, and my driveway was still ice, so I had to call in. Ever since I totaled my Mustang convertible on ice a few years ago, I don’t chance it when the roads are iffy.

Thankfully, I was able to get out on Monday for coffee and cat food- two non-negotiables in this house. My driveway was still somewhat icy and I have front wheel drive, so I had to do my best to watch the road and then back out quickly because if I stopped half way I wasn’t going to be able to get traction to keep going. But I made it! WOOT!

Fast forward to Tuesday when a coworker texts me to ask if I quit. I was supposed to work Thursday, but I was crossed off the schedule. I let her know that I’d been unable to get to work on Sunday (and that I had given the manager a heads up on Saturday that the roads were pretty bad here and there was a chance I wouldn’t make it Sunday so they could have a back-up plan), but that I had no idea why I’d be crossed off of Thursday.

I got a call on Wednesday that I was being laid off until the busier season due to absences. I’ve been wanting to quit for a whole lot of reasons (I’m not going to publicly say anything bad, so let’s leave it as “multiple factors make that job 10x more stressful than it needs to be.” I’ve had anxiety symptoms pop up since I started working there that I haven’t had to deal with in ages.), but I know how much trouble they have finding good help and I really needed to at least hang on to the job until my trail ride job comes back in March, so I kept showing up and doing my best to help guests have a great vacation. That said, getting laid off felt like such a huge relief. I should be able to pick up enough freelance writing work to get by until March – it will be tight financially, but do-able. It also gives me the opportunity to apply for a part time job with a company I’ve been wanting to work with for a long time, so we’ll see how that goes!

Still – how crazy is it that two months ago I had four jobs, and right now I’m down to ONE?

I went to the library to get some writing done yesterday. I used to go almost everyday when I was writing full-ish time, but it’s probably been almost 6 months since I last worked from there! I was instantly reminded of a) how many odd looks I get for having a “Warren 2020” sticker on my laptop in this particularly red corner of a red state and b) how freaking loud the library gets. The librarians are usually the loudest ones there, ironically, but yesterday someone had also brought in a couple of toddlers (which would usually be a great thing!) and then apparently ignored them while they banged toys on things and yelled to each other. Thank goodness for earbuds and Spotify.

Man, that whole tangent went on way longer than planned – probably should have been its own post! But oh well, maybe you just scrolled past that big block of text in hopes there were cat pictures below it, because this is the internet and there should always be cat pictures.

That said, here are this week’s favorites!


1. First things first, my boys are perfect:


2. I can’t remember if I have posted this before or not, but I just stumbled across it in my files while searching for something else and it feels worth sharing again:





3. I discovered that these exist about two weeks ago and I think I’m on my 3rd package.  I regret nothing.

(Seriously, Oreo, please keep these around. The current limited edition flavors are Sweet Tarts and Apple Pie. How are either of those dunkable?? YOU HAVE ONE JOB, OREO.)


4. You can’t tell all that much from this photo, but I realized a few weeks ago that Captain Kitten is getting pretty… “rotund”, to put it politely:



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He’s only 2, only gets fed twice a day, and is super active, so I’m not really sure where his big ol’ belly came from! I was so happy that one of the products that Chewy offered to send me to review for the Chewy Influencer Program this month was Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management cat food.



Bear, Remy, and Captain Kitten all eat together and they could all stand to lose a little weight, so they got most of this food, but I ran out of my regular cat food on a snowy day so I ended up letting the other cats try some, too, and everyone liked it! The 24-pack wasn’t really enough to make a noticeable difference in anyone’s appearance (I usually split 2 of the 3-oz cans between the three cats, so it only lasted about a week) so I can’t comment on how effective it is for weight loss. I can say that I didn’t expect my cats to be so enthusiastic about a low calorie food, though!


5. Target has actually created a Valentine’s Day decor item that I want to buy:



I’m on a tight budget right now (see above note about going from 4 jobs to 1) but I also really want these socks:


I hope they’re still around in a month or s when I g back to having disposable income!


That’s it for this Friday! I’m finishing this post up at the library, which closes at 4 today because I live in the middle of nowhere. Still, I’ve learned from experience that when I’m just freelancing, even getting out of the house for an hour or two goes a long way towards keeping me sane!

It’s supposed to be almost 50 this weekend, so I’m hoping to get a little time outside and a lot done around the house! (My central heat & air don’t work, so I just have a couple of space heaters keeping me from freezing in the huge house. It got down to 13 last night, and when I checked my kitchen at about 5 a.m. it was 39 in there! I can’t wait to be able to afford to move!)

We’ve almost survived January, fellow haters of winter. We’re almost there.

Have a great weekend!


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Friday Favs – New Year, Who Dis?

Friday Favs – New Year, Who Dis?

Happy first Friday Favs of 2019!



A couple of website update notes! First, I installed a little widget in my sidebar where I can track how many miles I hike this year. (If you missed it, I posted my 2019 goals last week, and hiking 100 miles is one of them.) I’m weirdly motivated by getting to update that kind of tracker! The WordPress plugin I found to track goals only lets you do one, which crushed my vision for having a progress bar for each of my 3 trackable goals. I did finally find the reading goal widget on Goodreads (It’s in the “edit profile” section -there’s a whole tab of widgets), so I added that, too.

Next, I changed the archives section of the sidebar to a drop down menu. Now that I’ve been at this URL for over 3 years, having it in list form was getting stupidly long. My sidebar still doesn’t look very good (I’m still not used to WordPress after using Blogger for like 15 years), but it’s a small improvement!


lakeside walking trail at dewey short visitor center


1. Last Saturday was 60 degrees with a clear blue sky, so I headed over to the trail that runs between the Dewey Short Visitor’s Center and State Park Marina. If you read my goals post, you know that I had a toe issue going on, so I wanted a fairly easy trail to put as little stress on my foot as possible.


No idea who built these rock piles, but they’re cool!

This is the first time I’ve been here since the Duck boat accident, so walking past the Branson Belle dock was sad.



2. My mom fell and fractured her hip on Sunday, and had to have surgery to repair it on Monday. That happening obviously doesn’t make my list of favorite things, but the awesome nurses she had at the hospital, her great surgeon, and the fact that it was an easy break to fix do. She hit her head pretty hard when she fell, so I’m especially thankful that wasn’t worse! She got a pretty icky bump and bruise on her head, but no concussion or anything.

One of the scariest parts was the hallucinations she had as an after effect of the anesthesia or pain meds. She’s had them before when she had a really bad UTI – it’s really more like she has dreams that she thinks are real. (She called everyone while I was in FL a couple of years ago to tell them I won the lottery and got engaged. This time she thought my neighbor fixed my dryer for me. Kind of a downgrade.) Thankfully, those seem to have faded away!



Quoth mom, “I got screwed.”


3. This month for the Chewy Influencer Program, we were sent some Friskies Lil Soups Lickable Treats to review.



I first saw these in stores about 3 months ago and I’ve been wanting to try them! The price on Chewy ($7.99 for 8 cups, and actually sale for $7.50 when I ordered) is really good, since they average $1 each at mass merchandisers.

I took a picture of what the actual treat looks like when I opened it, but it basically looks like cream of chicken soup, which isn’t super photogenic, so I’m going to skip posting that.

There are four varieties available (You can check out all four here) – Tuna, Salmon, Chicken, and Shrimp. They’re all in chicken broth except, funny enough, the chicken flavor, which is in butternut squash broth. I went with the tuna – I honestly don’t know why because I almost always pick salmon, but I think it might have to do with ordering right after I woke up one morning and the fact that the blue container was prettier than the pink. Don’t let me make decisions before I’m properly caffeinated.

There is a variety pack available with 8 salmon and 10 tuna. My first thought was being sad that Chewy didn’t offer that as an option for influencers, but my second thought was, “Wait, WHY did Friskies set up the variety pack that way?” Are those the two most popular flavors? Why not do a variety pack with four or five of each of the four flavors? Why are there uneven numbers of tuna and salmon? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, FRISKIES.


cat eating Friskies Lil Soups


I let Tennyson and Hercules Mulligan split one of these, then tossed the little plastic container it came in into the trash and went in the other room for a minute. You know what’s coming. Hercules dug the container out of the trash and took it into my bed (cringe) to lick completely clean.



I really appreciate that this comes in a little plastic cup that cats can happily lick clean. Pouches are so hard to get all of the food out of, so no matter how hard you try you wind up with funky-smelling trash, but the cups let you (or Hercules Mulligan) be sure nothing goes to waste.

They all love these- I wish they had a larger size available for multi-cat households! There’s enough for two cats to get a satisfying amount (Although I’m pretty sure my cats would tell you that the proper serving size is one full 8-pack per cat) but splitting it between more than two cats feels like they just get a few bites each. To be fair, since I’m such a cat lady, I wish that pretty much everything was available in a larger size so that I can feed everyone without accumulating a bunch of empty containers, but c’est la vie.


4. I don’t usually buy Valentine’s Days stuff, but I found a few cute things at Target this week!



I had to get the black cat socks! And I joked that “The snuggle is real” was going to be the title of my atobiograpy like two years before they started putting that phrase on everything. The universe owes me like a million dollars.



My cats broke one of my wine glasses and I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement, so I was super excited to find this heart one in the Dollar Spot!

I didn’t buy this little guy but now I really wish I had!


5. I subscribe to Netflix for a month about once or twice a year – I don’t spend a lot of time watching TV and movies so I found that if I just maintain a constant subscription, I never watch it, but if I do it this way I just binge watch everything I want to catch up on and then I’m good for awhile. Since January is usually one of the worst weather months where I live, it seemed like a perfect time to watch a bunch of TV in bed since I’m down to two jobs until March and I can’t spend much time outside.

This time around, I’m really enjoying:

*The Marie Kondo tidying up show. It’s a known fact that everyone likes watching other people clean. (WAIT, is Hoarders on Netflix?? Hoarders is the best cleaning motivation ever.) I was kinda surprised that Marie mostly speaks Japanese in this show, but there are subtitles and she has an interpreter with her. My Japanese is terrible, but it’s fun to pick out the occasional word or two that I understand.

*Nailed It – I’ve been listening to Nicole Byer’s “Why Won’t You Date Me” podcast and she mentions the show fairly often (she’s the host), so that made me curious. This show is kind of like the Great British Baking Show’s trainwreck of a little sister. It’s so much fun!

*Seasons 4 & 5 of BoJack Horseman –   I knew there was a new season out that I hadn’t seen yet, but I didn’t realize there were TWO!

You know how Futurama was generally lighthearted, but every now and then they threw an episode at you like that one with Fry’s dog that just punched your right in the gut? BoJack is a lot like that. There was one episode that was entirely a eulogy at a funeral… just one character delivering a monologue, but it’s SO GOOD that you don’t even realize it’s just that for the entire 20-something minutes until it ends. There’s another episode that (spoiler alert) shows what’s going on in the mind of BoJack’s elderly mom, who has dementia. I SOBBED, Y’ALL. I sobbed at the cartoon horsies.

No matter what, always pay attention to the little details in the background. They’re usually equal parts hilarious and totally messed up.



I also found this Vulture post of 75 hidden jokes in season 4.


A last bonus item – because I miss Florida so much ad live for FL headlines like “Spider Monkey Attacks Home Depot Employee After Escaping From Owner’s Car”, here are the Best Florida Headlines of 2018.

This weekend is supposed to be cold AF, so I’m probably spending it reading, working, Netflixing, and cuddling cats! Hope your weekend is awesome!


Friday blog linkup