Tasting everything

If you’ve read this blog at all you already know several things.

  1. I love to try new grocery items.
  2. I love to save money while shopping.
  3. I love The Grocery Outlet.
  4. I make a lot of ridiculous videos that combine all of these things.

So today, I hope to enjoy some “brain off” time by tasting things and making silly videos. Here is the first one: Birds Eye Cauliflower Buffalo wings vs. Morningstar Popcorn Chicken

Later in the day I did a taste test of doughnuts — Giant Bakery vs. Maple Doughnots at Grocery Outlet. Fog crashed this video so you can get the cat’s opinion, too.

The Doughnut Debate on YouTube

And of course the teenager wanted to try something so she tried the ranch flavored Pirate Booty.

Review of ranch Pirate Booty: YouTube

And now as I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I am mixing the Positive Beverage Cucumber into a gin cocktail and chatting with one of my Sarahs.

Mixing a cocktail: recipe here

Gratitude Photo Shoot

For the last couple of days I’ve wanted to spend as much time as possible taking photographs of all the things in my life that I encounter on that day and compile them into a gallery for a blog entry.

If I did it today, these are the things that made me happy and they would have appeared in my photos:

  • Kittens, kittens and more kittens
  • Coffee
  • My house is so full of food!
  • My teenagers
  • That Dunkin had a $1 coffee because of the Eagles playing
  • Streaming services, today I started a documentary on Netflix
  • Cozy blankets
  • My cat Fog
  • My make up
  • Cantaloupe
  • I tried a chocolate chip cookie dough Chobani Flip
  • Socks. I do love compelling socks
  • My budget book
  • My journal
  • My pink lamp

What day is it?

I believe I was talking to my traveling companion M about life with my teenagers and we were discussing how it’s impossible for anyone to develop a routine when basic public school looks like this:

MONDAY, TUESDAY: asynchronous learning online, students must fill out an attendance form by 10:30 a.m.

WEDNESDAY: students have Zoom classes from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, FRIDAY: In-person school, 7:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., though the teenager #1 leaves school somewhere around 11:20 a.m. on Thursday because her last class of the day is a study hall.

And MARCHING BAND is Tuesday 6 to 8:30 p.m, and Wednesday, Thursday 6 to 7:30 p.m. and often Saturdays 2 to 4 p.m.

Not one single day is even similar to another. Mondays and Tuesdays are totally self-directed and then Wednesdays are super-regimented.

And then by Thursday we actually have to get up and go to school.

I spent yesterday primarily in a meeting with someone who may end up being our new editor-in-chief for the revived, repositioned and redesigned Lady Boss Magazine, a publication of the Lady Boss Women’s Entrepreneurial Club/Network.

The most recent edition in the old format came out last month. Visit it here: Lady Boss on Issuu.

We have started planning some exciting content (and I hope my new client Merri of Lucha Bella Skin Care and Body Waxing and my step mom can get involved). And something about an Italian master chef who ended up with her own shoe line???

Speaking of Merri, she’s gotten her first original content off the ground, appearing on Instagram and Facebook today:

Winter Skin Tips

So please follow Lucha Bella, and of course, me!

Positive Energy (drink)

I bought this drink at Grocery Outlet and decided to try it today since I wanted something different, something refreshing but something without caffeine.

At first I thought Positive Beverage sparkling zero calorie crisp cucumber healthy electrolyte beverage tasted like a syrup, similar to those syrups used to flavor Italian sodas. But the more I drank it, the more it tasted like a fancy cucumber cocktail.

And it was fortified with calcium and B vitamins.

I would definitely love to buy some more.

Cats and a rainy Tuesday

I woke up grumpy and frustrated and irritated.

I had my first dental cleaning in close to nine months— and it had me on edge but luckily I got my favorite hygienist. It was a relaxing visit after all with no issues.

I went to the bank to deposit the $127 I had collected over time. It was 9, but they didn’t have the door unlocked so I used the ATM. I get unrealistically nervous that the machine will eat my money.

It did not.

The tellers unlocked the doors at 9:10 a.m. a I pulled away.

After the dentist, the teens and I went to Chaar to see our fosters, Zeus and Apollo, on display there. It was delivery day so we couldn’t get too personal.

Also a note about yesterday, Nan, the teens and I went to Lidl where they had pet carriers for $15 and the teenager bought a new cat toy for $10.

Checking on Zeus and Apollo

The Greek Pride was my first litter of foster kittens and they came to me two weeks after I lost my job under circumstances that still surprise me.

These kittens gave me so much joy— even little Hades who bit me on her first day here and sent me to the hospital for the first time in my life.

Artemus found his FURRever home as soon as he went live on the web site. Zeus and Apollo haven’t been so lucky. And poor Zeus and Apollo were so sickly and nervous when we got them and now Zeus is a love.

I asked for them to be placed at Chaar, a specialty pet store with three local locations, and they went on Friday. (Chaar’s web site: Chaar) The kittens are at the Forks Township location.

They have a teepee made of cardboard and were both asleep when I arrived at noon. But they both got up and came to me and of course, Zeus cried.

The employee there said this was her first day meeting them so I explained their difference and mentioned how Zeus loved her cuddles. And with the employee’s permission, I took her out of the cage and held her for a nice ten minutes. Apollo didn’t want to be held, but I did give him pets.

My fosters at Chaar (YouTube)

Zeus saying hi

Apollo saying hi

Random Sunday update

I have so many potential posts running around in my head, I am opting to combine them all in a long post.

Coffee review: Bread and Basket French Roast

So I made a new brand of coffee this morning, Bread and Basket French Roast from ShopRite. It was the same price as the Folger’s Black Silk I bought at Target. Wonderful aroma and while it looked like it brewed extra strong and my cream didn’t really lighten it, it tasted just right.

Weight and stress relief

I have started counting calories again, using Fooducate this time and not My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal has more information such nutritional tracking and macros and connects more seamlessly with iHealth. Fooducate focuses on the quality of calories you eat, and since my stress foods are processed and refined carbohydrates I find that the best step in my process right now.

I had lost a solid two pounds this week but last night’s binge of Doritos and horseradish dip, sour patch kids and two alcoholic beverages reacquainted me with half a pound AND gave me nightmares.

Kittens

I haven’t even had a change to truly introduce the Norse Pride Kittens I am pet sitting for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. They don’t have a permanent foster placement yet so we may keep them as they are friendly, jolly and fluffy two-pound kittens. See them on YouTube here: Norse Pride.

Hermes of the Greek Pride is doing well but scratched his nose. Stopping to see Zeus and Apollo today. They are at Chaar in Forks Township. Chaar’s web site

And finally my look of the day:

**Since I wrote this post, it has been brought to my attention I called the Shoprite brand Bread and Basket instead of Bowl and Basket. Oops! Can’t blame me for that— I managed to get my waist into the leg hole of my panties today.

Good luck Zeus and Apollo

Today, an older cat originally designated for TNR found a FURRever home. The cat, once trapped, turned out to be a sweetheart more deserving of a lap than a life on the streets.

This 5-year-old orange love was named Sunny Side Up and was adopted by a couple who lives 2 hours away.

Zeus and Apollo will take over his crate at Chaar. It was hard to leave these kittens behind, but the teenager and I both hope they find families. And by going into the cage together, they shouldn’t be as frightened or abandoned.

I used all my word magic to write magical bios. I am so grateful to the good people at Chaar.

Please consider giving these kittens a home.

They started life so sick and wild, and now they are ready for a family.

FURR’s website

Apollo’s Adoption Page

Zeus’ Adoption Page

Kitten ruminations

I have to admit— I’m exhausted. I’ve been cleaning up after and playing with kittens for probably 3 hours this morning while spending another hour on laundry and 30 minutes on the kitchen and 15 minutes on the birds. (Though they cockatoo spent at least an hour on my shoulder.)

It’s cold and rainy and I just ate breakfast at 11:30. The teens are due home from school around 1 pm, at which point we are taking Zeus and Apollo, two of the three remaining foster kittens from the Greek Pride, to Chaar pet supply in Forks Township to live in one of their habitats for a while. And hopefully find a home.

Hermes and Apollo are both still skittish, but Apollo is definitely braver than Hermes. Apollo will sit with you— just don’t touch him! He won’t lash out on you but he will leave. And look at you like you are a presumptuous monster.

Hermes and Apollo

According to our foster godmother, Hades is doing well but still retains her feral instincts so transitioning her out of domestic life was the right call. We may get to see her in our cat-themed travels today.

The Greek Pride taught me a lot about the classic “nature vs nurture” debate. The Greek Pride has five members— Artemus, Hades, Zeus, Apollo and Hermes.

Artemus (then Artemis) came to us fully socialized. He found a wonderful family and became Artemus Gordon sidekick for a real life Jim West.

Zeus was the runt, but learned to play and frolick very quickly. Apollo and Hermes want to trust people but both became very sick and needed medicine to heal. They have bad associations with human hands and won’t let you touch them.

And then Hades… she’s the one that bit me and would walk right up as if interested in me and then run. Her behavior got increasingly aggressive instead of calmer.

Five very different cats, from the same litter, that were wired very differently. They had the same life circumstances but different outcomes.

Reminds me of some human families, including my own.

Rejuvenation Dimension

I just had my first facial.

Merri at Lucha Bella taught me what healthy skin feels like, took 10 or more years off my face and had more more relaxed than I’ve been since my last intimate adult encounter which was quite some time ago.

And my skin feels energized and as fresh as soft as a baby’s.

I felt so good I stopped at Wawa and treated myself to a Fiji water. Because I had no idea my facial would come with so much massage and I could feel my body asking for the water. So I gave it fancy water.

Shall I back up? I’m just so overwhelmed by the whole experience that I want to write everything before I forget. Because oh my goodness gravy— we all need this.

I expected her to clean my face, apply some product and maybe address some stray hairs.

I was very, very wrong in such a good way.

She asked me to take off my clothes, put on the fancy Velcro towel and crawl under the covers. Well, while that seemed a little strange, because I didn’t expect to be going to bed during my facial, but I never miss the chance to curl up in some clean sheets.

What happened over the next hour transpired like you always see at spas as they are represented in the movies.

I didn’t ask questions because I wanted to feel the experience rather than dissect it. As I will be working with Merri on her marketing, I’m sure I will learn more about the process.

And the sensations were lovely. I don’t accurately remember the correct order, but she gently wiped away the grime of the day and applied some lovely feeling product I suppose to clean my skin. She waxed my upper lips and my chin.

I normally wax my own upper lip. And I have had my eyebrows and my bikini waxed professionally. Nothing beats a professional wax. And the hot wax they use is just feels good against the skin. And the way they prep and follow up with the skin minimizes irritation.

Merri came over with a super bright light so she could tweeze whatever she couldn’t lift with the wax. And she cleaned up the shape of my eyebrows.

There were lots of hot towels wrapped around my face. And the back and forth between hot towels and cool lotions felt so good.

She even had these little loofa like brushes. And I imagine they helped take off the dead skin.

And as if that wasn’t enough — she gave me the Bella facial which included massage on my face, neck, shoulders and arms. I keep all my tension in my neck and shoulders. Her attentions felt heavenly.

The facial massage is also good for sinus pressure.

I’m literally glowing.

What makes all of this even more amazing is that I ended up running from event to event all day, and giving myself to Merri’s treatment really did relax and revive me. She tried to talk business after, but I struggled to think!

And during much of the service, I felt my mind go blank. I envisioned sunflowers and daffodils and magenta petunias.

Why haven’t I done this before?

My day was hectic from the get go; I never even finished putting on my makeup!

Regardless of how my day went, when I left Lucha Bella, I felt soft, empowered and refreshed.