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Monday, August 11, 2014

A Review - Nutrish

Ready for the "Why I am doing a review" disclaimer?

It's pretty simple.  I received a sample in the mail.  Ages ago, I heard about Nutrish. It's a Rachael Ray product and it's a pretty darn awesome sounding pet food.  Buzzwords like "natural" and "grain-free" are associated with it and I was impressed.  Except for the fact that it was a dog food and I have no dog.  *sigh*
So I was THRILLED when just recently I saw a Facebook advertisement inviting me to sign up for my free sample of Rachael Ray's Nutrish for Cat!

So I did. It arrived today.  Now I'll tell you what I think of it.

Why?  Because that's how I roll.

It's a lovely, big package! No skimping here.

Food and coupons?  Don't mind if I DO.

One of the coupons is for a wet food version of the Nutrish for cats.  I used the website to locate where I can locally find these pet foods and was quite disappointed.  The dry food is only available at Walmart.  This is a problem since I haven't visited either location in town for nearly five years do to the absolutely infuriating parking situation at both and the random nutjob customers at both.  Not that all customers are nutjobs but man, that store does seem to attract them.  The wet food?  Not available at all in my city.
So if I want it, I'm going to have to order on Amazon.
Not the worst thing ever. Just inconvenient.
I'm going to talk to my local grocery market about stocking the products.

The sample was enough to fill an entire food bowl!
Now, I didn't want to risk bellyaches in the kittens, as that can happen when a sudden change to diet occurs, so I just offered it to them as a snack.
I set the food bowl down on the floor and then waited and watched.

 Curiosity was instantly piqued.  Everyone came over to investigate the strange offering in the bowl.

Lucy liked it!
Lucy is approaching six years old and is notorious in the house for disliking all cat foods (despite loving simple people foods).  After much research and sampling, that darn cat will only eat Purina Weight Loss Formula for dry food and Greenies for treats.  That's it.
Until now apparently.
She waited her turn patiently and then dug right in.  Definitely a winner with her!

The official result can be seen above.
I spread a bit out on the floor and it's official:

Three out of four cats tested, adored Nutrish for Cats.

My only concern was whether the food would sit well in the bellies of the beasts.

As you can see, the cats were in full-body bliss after eating.  It was like a post-Thanksgiving binge induced community nap.


We like Nutrish for Cats.  

If it was easier to find in South Dakota, I'd switch my cats to it exclusively and immediately.

The ingredients are great.  It's only fair that my cats eat as well as I do.

The food itself looked moist and flavorful as opposed to the dry bits most foods resemble

END DISCLAIMER:  Send me stuff, I'll review it.  I can't guarantee it'll be a favorable review, but it'll be honest.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Review - Pink Zebra

Ready for the "Why I am doing a review" disclaimer?

So this lady on Facebook was offering free samples of something candle related and I'm all "I love free & I love smelly, girly crap!" So I shot her my address and she swung by with what you see in the pictures below.  All she asked was that I'd send her a sentence or two on Facebook detailing what I think of the products and that if it's favorable, she can use my words on her website as a testimonial.  So instead, I decided to do a full blog post.  Heck, I can be bought.  I won't lie but I'll gladly honestly review products in exchange for... well, products.  And cash.  I like cash.  OOH!  And cake.  Y'all know I love cake.


Pink Zebra.
This was all tucked into a large envelope and left between my storm and wooden door.
It's one of those "have a party and make money" businesses but also offers individual sales.

Little wax beads that pack a powerful punch!  Powerful!
I feel like I need to saw it again.  Powerful punch!

This business has multiple products available but really seems to be competing in the same market as other companies that sell those ceramic warmer things that melt a wax product that then smell-ifies your home in a positive way.


I can attest that "Sprinkles maximize fragrance."

Although I really don't know what other companies use, I do like that the product is made from soy and paraffin.  Traditional wax candles are so sooty.  I actually haven't burned one in years.  Plus, I have some resident cats that have me convinced that at least one of them WOULD figure out some way to burn the house down if an open flame was ever unattended for even a second.

These are the scent I received to sample: Warm Apple Pie, Orange Dreamsicle, & Ooey Gooey Caramel.  Here are the cool things I discovered about these products:

*Just setting them in a dish will fill a room with scent

*Putting Sprinkles on a warmer guarantees that your house will fill with deliciously wonderful smells.

*You can design your own scents!  I mixed the Warm Apple Pie and the Ooey Gooey Caramel Sprinkles together in a warmer and created the most wonderful Caramel Apple Pie scent.

*Bored with your old traditional candles?  I had a random old candle that was allegedly "citrus" scented.  A small sprinkle of the Orange Dreamsicle Sprinkles on top and it's like I have a completely new candle!

*There are wick kits available to turn your Sprinkles into your very own customized candle.  I'd love to try making one with layered sprinkles of multiple scents.

 Above is the business card from the Pink Zebra consultant who provided me with the samples. If you're interesting in checking it, I'm sure she'd love an email from you.

The Wrap-Up:  I liked these products.  Actually, more than similar products.  Now, I've only had the samples for a week so it's a short-term judgment but I really think these Sprinkles are very nice and I'll definitely use them again in the future.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hiking Gear ... Hiking Fear

We're becoming real hikers.

Not to say that people who stroll up Pikes Peak aren't real hikers.
Heck, WE went on that stroll ourselves and can attest to exactly how intense it can be. (Especially via the Crags)

No, not bashing others at all.  We're just starting to plan for some new hiking adventures that more closely resemble what I thought "hiker" meant as a small child.

Being raised mostly in Germany, I've been familiar with Volksmarch for pretty much my whole life.  So when my husband and I decided to start hiking here in America, I just saw it as the same thing I'd always done.

You grab your trusty hiking stick.
Load up a pack with water, snacks, and emergency items.
Head out on a five, ten, or twenty kilometer hike over varying terrain.
When you're done, you reward yourself with a nice meal and maybe a medallion for your stick.

But REAL hikers...  those are the stuff of my imagination and the reality of National Geographic Magazine.  I now know that the "real" hikers of my childhood have many names.  Thru-hikers, backpackers, trekkers, multi-day hikers, bushwhacking, and other terms are all what I'm thinking.

In my childhood, I dreamed about putting my whole life into a pack upon my back, heading out into the hills/prairies/mountains/valleys/jungles/deserts/whatever and not coming back until I found God.  Not in the literal sense of course.  Living off the land while being but a ghost through the terrain as I leave no trace of my passing.

I am to become my dream.

Baby steps of course, but a wonderful start.

My husband and I have begun amassing gear for our new adventure.

Most importantly, yes.  Yes, that is a tent in my living room.

A girl's gotta test things out before she uses them.  Gee guys!

We've got a lightweight backpacking tent that while not ideal (a tad heavy) it'll do until we can afford something a bit more portable.  It's not heavy at about seven and a half pounds but heavier than I'd like.  But who am I to argue with a deal?  Scored it for only $25.  I'll make it work.

Other than that, we've gotten a pack, eating utensils, and sleeping bag for the husband, some cooking gear, new carabiners (I'm addicted to anything that clips), some dehydrated prepackaged meals to try, a SteriPen (bought on an amazing Costco deal), a Buff headband, and mosquito nets.

I'm trying my darndest to not spend a billion dollars (since heaven knows we don't have even close) but I'd hate to go out with less than we need to comfortably survive.

Do you ever over-prepare or is it just me?

Sunday, July 6, 2014



by Ralph Waldo Emerson
I do not count the hours I spend
In wandering by the sea;
The forest is my loyal friend,
Like God it useth me.

In plains that room for shadows make
Of skirting hills to lie,
Bound in by streams which give and take
Their colors from the sky;

Or on the mountain-crest sublime,
Or down the oaken glade,
O what have I to do with time?
For this the day was made.

Cities of mortals woe-begone
Fantastic care derides,
But in the serious landscape lone
Stern benefit abides.

Sheen will tarnish, honey cloy,
And merry is only a mask of sad,
But, sober on a fund of joy,
The woods at heart are glad.

There the great Planter plants
Of fruitful worlds the grain,
And with a million spells enchants
The souls that walk in pain.

Still on the seeds of all he made
The rose of beauty burns;
Through times that wear and forms that fade,
Immortal youth returns.

The black ducks mounting from the lake,
The pigeon in the pines,
The bittern's boom, a desert make
Which no false art refines.

Down in yon watery nook,
Where bearded mists divide,
The gray old gods whom Chaos knew,
The sires of Nature, hide.

Aloft, in secret veins of air,
Blows the sweet breath of song,
O, few to scale those uplands dare,
Though they to all belong!

See thou bring not to field or stone
The fancies found in books;
Leave authors' eyes, and fetch your own,
To brave the landscape's looks.

Oblivion here thy wisdom is,
Thy thrift, the sleep of cares;
For a proud idleness like this
Crowns all thy mean affairs.

Friday, July 4, 2014

I... I Have Discovered My Name!

What am I?

Who am I?

You know how at job interviews, self reflection type events, and even those random online quizzes ask you who you are?

Those Buzzfeed type quizzes are the best though!

Which "Mean Girl  are you?  What color represents your true self?  What food represents you? Which Muppet are you? Which city are you meant to live in?  Which Hogswart house would you be sorted into?

All terribly thrilling and I'm sure... scientifically accurate.

The big thing is that they almost all ask a question where you have to pick a word that "represents you"/  That's TOUGH!  If I say "pretty" does that make me vain?  If I say "smart" is it because I think I'm better than everyone else?  Why do I have to just be one?  Isn't it possible that while I don't exceed the norm in any one are that I am indeed a bit smart, loyal, and sassy all at the same time?

Of course it's possible.  Anything's possible oh ye of little faith.  ;)

ANYWAY...  the label for myself.  I found it today.  The perfect word for me.

Fond?  I'm a tad more than fond of the forest.  Haunter of the woods?  Yep.  That's me.  I would haunt the heck out of almost any woods.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I'm Going on an Adventure!

Nothing fancy at all.

My husband is off to Minneapolis on a business trip and I've been invited to tag along on this one.

We're renting a car thanks to his lovely company and going to make a mini vacation of it.  The drive up is about four hours and we're going to make a few stops along the way.

One stop at Cabella's to check some prices on backpacking gear.

One stop at REI to check out THEIR gear. 
 I'm uber-excited about this since they have SO many awesome things online that I want to see and touch in person.  Tents, packs, sleeping bags, and a whole bunch of other specialty stuff that I'll finally get to use next year.  Why?  I'll tell you about it in another post.  It's late now.  I still haven't packed.  Oops.

One stop at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park for a few hours of hiking.

Because I'm going on an adventure!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Let Me Introduce You to My Latest Obsession


Specifically, sun salutation.

I love how you can make it as relaxing or an intense as you please depending upon how much you put into it.

It's pretty funny actually.

I feel like I surprise the teacher every time.  Like, she expects me to be a fat chick who is incapable of balancing my body for more than a few second, stretching beyond a basic bend, or even considering doing a semi-decent plank.

I showed her!

I can bend over and put my hands flat on the floor without bending my knees.
I can do full on push-ups like it's nobody's business.
I don't huff and puff as I change between poses.
and I can do this:

Half moon pose!

I can hold it for minutes at a time.

My next goal is Crow Pose.  Think I can do it?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Hate My Scale

The title of this is not some philosophical rant.

I don't hate my scale because those little numbers are simply the digital process of the machine telling me I'm fat.

I don't hate my scale because it makes me feel badly if I don't run that extra mile after a very tiring day.

I don't hate my scale because it's obviously judging me when I eat a less than highly nutritious meal.

I don't hate my scale because it makes me feel sorry every time I force it to withstand the force of all my body weight.


Oh no!  I'm not talking about any of those things today when I reference hating my scale.  I hate the sucker because it broke.  That's right.  It stopped working all together.

Do you have any idea what stepping on a scale and BREAKING IT does to self-esteem?

It destroys it.  I know it's silly.  Really.

The fat girl inside me though...


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Yesterday Was Plain Awful...

Thank goodness it's already tomorrow.

Yesterday was plain awful again.  Tornadoes, hail, and tons of flooding here in South Dakota.

Scary, scary stuff.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I've got some goals.

Are they achievable? Definitely. For me?  Ehhhhh... not so sure.  So I'll keep those close for now.  Regardless, the goal is to be in the best shape of my life by September 7th.

I need increased endurance.

I'd like to be lighter.

I need to not injure myself doing something stupid like overdoing it.

Pretty easy?  I hope so.

New goals = new foods for me.  I love food.  Really.  I just don't understand those people that just eat to live.  Food can be delicious so why would anyone only intake what they needed?  I can't do it.

Lunch for the week!

Inspired by those "Suddenly Salad" pastas, I made my own.

One box of cooked Barilla gluten-free rotini mixed with half a bottle of Bolthouse Farms brand cilantro avocado dressing (SO GOOD!), a large grilled chicken breast all diced up, chopped fire roasted red pepper, and a sprinkle of Romano cheese for some zing.

It's a major win!

I had to stop sampling it before I ate too much and didn't have enough for lunch.

Vacation Recap

Just got back from summer vacation in the lovely Black Hills of South Dakota.
Days filled with fresh air, sunshine, and constant hiking.

Or first hike was a little jaunt on the Presidential Trail that let us walk right along the rock field directly beneath those famous faces.

Then we walked the Deerfield Trail from Silver City until sunset finally forced us to turn back.

Day 2 was taken up with the two hour drive into Wyoming to visit Devils Tower.  We did the Tower Loop Trail.  It was pretty amazing to see all the different views as we circled the monument and went up to the boulder field.  Plus, there were miles of prairie dog villages.  I'm always amused by the little guys.

Day 3 started with a hike in Custer State Park.  We took Trail #4 to Little Devils Tower because why not?  We hit up the big guy the day before, might as well do the junior.  Lots of switchbacks, some minor rock scrambles, and the best was sitting at the top in the sunshine while watching and hearing a thunderstorm rage on the next mountain over.

Day 4 was a trip up to Spearfish Canyon.  I've been meaning to make this hike for years and it was worth the wait.  We hiked up to Roughlock Falls along the lower canyon ridge and everything about it was gorgeous.  Well, almost everything.  I got to be a bit of a jerk when I informed a woman about the error of her ways when she attempted to leave with a chipmunk she had lured into her purse with crackers.  Idiots.

Still in Spearfish Canyon, we did a quick stop to view the Bridal Veil Falls.

And a trip to the Hills wouldn't be complete without seeing a few buffalo.  We saw tons of wildlife.  Chipmunks, prairie dogs, woodchucks, beaver, a coyote, buffalo, wild turkey, wild burros, and a whole bunch of fish and birds.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

One of Those Days...

DISCLAIMER:  I started this post last night and simply chose to ponder the implications of my post prior to completing it.

You know those days?

The ones where you wake up and already know the day is going to suck?  Like you thought for a moment that the day was gonna be great and then you looked into the mirror in the bathroom and realize that you have a monster pimple right on the edge of your nose or lip and it's so huge it's practically waving at you?  Then you drive to work and in the process you spill coffee, get stuck behind the slowest person on Earth, and hit every single red light?  Then you pull out your packed lunch only to discover that a bad food choice was made and nothing ends up reheating well?  And then you make the supremely stupid decision to challenge the Fates, God, Mother Nature, WHOMEVER... to bring it on because you're too strong to be taken down by silly first-world problems...


Fate called my bluff.

A good friend lost his father today.

Yeah, that kind of day.  I've just had one.

The worst part?  I feel like a complete and total jerk.  Like, logically I know I have my life to live but how can I continue debating between whether or not chicken tortilla soup is the right choice for dinner when there are REAL problems, pain, decisions, and situations in the world?

I think I now know how we continue on.  Well, I know how I continue on at least.  You can make your own choices.  We all own a little bit of freedom.

We are all free to live in our own heads.  Spending our quiet time daydreaming of some amazing and magical separate reality.  To worry about yourself does not exclusively mean that you don't worry about others.  It just means that you were listening to the in flight instructions regarding emergencies and know that you are supposed to see to your own well-being before assisting others with theirs.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday, SUNDAY, Sunday!!!

Totally a football day today.

So diet or not.. it's football day.  And football demands football food.
What is football food you ask?
It's delicious.  It's at least slightly greasy.  It's American comfort food.

Now, football food is bad for you.  Ninety-nine percent of it is swimming in grease or heavily processed goodness.  Like the beloved Velveeta plus Rotel combo.  Classic.


I have no idea what goes into that alleged food product, but I suspect it is either made by the gods or some underground crime syndicate looking to create a new, edible drug.

Anyway..  PIZZA for dinner!

Now, pizza is usually pretty much crap when you look at it nutritionally.  Especially for those of us with a gluten issue of any kind.

Pro-tip: Hell's Kitchen Pizza in Manitou Springs, CO has excellent G.F. pizza.  Only them. Everyone else can only pull off a "meh" pizza or a "guess I'll eat it because they upcharged me $5 to make it GF".

Tonight's dinner and the pizza bell without actually being pizza.  It's got a bit of greasy deliciousness but still manages to add some healthy parts from the ol' food pyramid in.  I'm going to need to research the food pyramid after posting this.  I just realized that I have NO idea what the current one looks like or if it's even a pyramid anymore.  I could get behind a "Food Sphere".  Just sounds fun.

Pizza Bake

  • Shredded meat of 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb browned Italian sausage
  • 1 C pizza sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • Italian seasoning/salt/pepper to taste
  • Turkey pepperoni (as much or little as you like)
  • Shredded mozzarella (as much or little as you like)
  • Mix eggs, squash, pizza sauce, and seasoning in a medium bowl until combined.
  • Add most of peppers, onions, and sausage to mix (reserving some of each as topping)
  • Pour into a greased 9x13 pan, bake at 400F for 35 minutes.
  • When done baking, top with remaining peppers, onions, & sausage.
  • Sprinkle cheese on top and then layer as much pepperoni as you like on top.
  • Broil until cheese is melted and pepperoni begins crisping (about 5 minutes)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday Brunch

We're bracing for some frigid weather.  No, not frigid.  Deadly cold.
Like, freeze and die if you decide to hang out outside.

So of course, we'll be leaving the house to fight through the grocery store chaos.  I discovered a severe grocery list deficiency that simply must be rectified.  I'm out of cauliflower.  In my #FirstWorldProblems mindset... it's desperate.  I have three recipes on the week's meal plan that call for the ingredient.

But before we venture out on a Saturday, it's brunch time!

I love brunch.  Today's was simple but delish.  Not the prettiest meal ever but absolutely tasty and healthy(ish).

Fresh squeezed juice: 
  • 1 Cara cara orange
  • 1/2 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 Navel orange

  • Johnsonville breakfast sausage

Paleo pumpkin pancakes
  • 2 ripe bananas, 6 large eggs, 1/2 C pumpkin puree, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Mix all ingredients well in a food processor until smooth
  • Cook on 350F griddle/pan being careful when flipping as pancakes are thin and delicate.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I Saw the Sign

If you believe in superstition, fate, or a whole bunch of magical stuff...

Today I received a sign.

And yes, I nearly broke out in song when I realized that I saw the sign.
It opened up my eyes...  I saw the sign!

Great!  Now that's stuck in my head again.

Confession time:  I love fortune cookies.
Any fortune cookies.  Novelty, inedible, chocolate, filled, crocheted, giant.. doesn't matter.
I adore the cute little things and the mysteries they tend to hold.

Life is kinda like those little cookies.  Forrest Gump would like you to think otherwise but I disagree with him.

I feel like fortune cookies are always exactly what you need.  Sure, sometimes they're too dry or too sweet or not sweet enough or stale or too crisp or already broken.  And that sucks.  But sometimes they are the perfect palate cleanser after a meal or a much needed sweet that you just remembered you didn't eat after the last Chinese food dinner (BONUS!).

Some desserts or treats are made with a special ingredient: LOVE.

Fortune cookies generally are not.  A lot of them are made in factories in N. Jersey and Brooklyn.  Very few little, old, rosy cheeked grandmothers are involved in the baking process.  But you know what special ingredient they manage to include that can often be in terribly short supply?


I received a little hope today.

Whether that little slip of paper contains some sage truth from the beyond or merely a randomized message meant to fill the four million fortune cookies mass produced each day doesn't matter.

What matters is that I read that little slip and my first thought wasn't regarding the generic nature of the fortune. My first thought was "Darn straight I do!"

I have the ability to accomplish great things.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1st - It doesn't get more "Day 1" than this...

You ready to do this?

No really!  Are you ready?  Because I'm only barely ready.  I seriously need you.  I don't care if you think you'll just bring me down.  You won't.  I've been quite successful the last few years at bringing myself down all by my lonesome.

I'm not gonna let that happen anymore.
So don't worry.  If I can't hurt me, you can't hurt me.
We can just support each other.
Maybe virtually cuddle when times get rough.
Do a long-distance happy dance when things totally rock!
Just be totally weird with you!

I'm also a fan of using my belly like a drum set.
I'm pretty darn talented.

Um.. yeah...  That's a little true too.



I like you.

and...  um...

Oh yeah!


I'm going to try to start this year off right.  By right I mean that I'm going to keep doing what I've been successfully doing, add in a few things that might be a great health boost, and try to stay on track with my exercise and food plans.

No more of this just because I have a long day on my feet and rack up 8 miles at work:

It's so tempting sometimes!

Only this is allowed:

I don't think I'll have too much of a problem since I DO know I need to be in shape for some of the trips planned during this season's hiking season. It's not gonna be an easy one.  I foresee many switchbacks and sore feet.




That's not the amazing part, the amazing part is that I did it early.

The recipes are all tested previously by myself or trusted others, don't have a smidge of gluten anywhere (as I've resolved to not torture myself this year), and are hearty but not as meat-heavy (in general) as a lot of gluten-free diets seem to be.

Until tomorrow....