I’m taking a break from finishing my lab report to blog because I seriously feel like I’m going to punch a squirrel right now.  Microsoft Word is being totally uncooperative and just… just… stupid.

Shapes can go die.  Online graphs without Excel can go die.  Oh, and parts of a .pdf pasted in Word that make it run ridiculously slow will die. now.

*deep breath*  Okay, I feel slightly better now.  Urgh, doesn’t technology just piss you off sometimes?  :(

As to why I’m doing this at almost 12 PM on a Sunday night preceding a holiday… You see, it was part of the ultimate plan.  I failed to get it done during the day, so I had to work to meet my “deadline,” and that incidentally meant staying up until this hour.  I have a whole ‘nother list of things I need to get done tomorrow and I really don’t want too much of “today’s” task mixing with “tomorrow’s” (aka the “something will explode if this doesn’t get done” stuff).

Today’s tasks also included photo uploading. For me, this is by far the most time-consuming aspect of blogging.  Copying the photos to the computer, resizing and reformatting as a PNG to preserve quality, deleting the old huge files… * 100.  How many photos do you take in a day, on average? I gravitate towards perfectionism, so I’m always trying to shoot the “perfect” angle for a food… and somehow, I end up with like, thirty different photos of the same thing.  Go figure.

Breakfast yesterday was something I’ve been missing due to the cold weather: a yogurt mess!

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With the best canned pumpkin ever. This has so much more flavor than Libby’s and actually tastes like real pumpkin!

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It’s topped with Trader Joe’s country pumpkin spice granola, which I first set my eyes on on Allie’s blog.  It’s awesome.  :)  I can’t resist picking out the pieces of popcorn!

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Of course, studying wasn’t the only thing I did today!  Lunch out was a blessing, honestly.  My mom had company over and, well, having a valid excuse to be out of the house saved me from being bombarded with those adult-to-child questions: “What school do you go to?” “Have you grown taller?” “How old are you?” “Do you speak Chinese?” etc… it becomes quite tiring after you’ve answered the same question five times to five “curious” adults.  Needless to say, I was more than eager to get out…

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This was so much better than Wegman’s party food.

We went to an amazingly cute restaurant called Magnolias at the Mill today.  It is, as the name implies, a mill-turned-restaurant.  There’s a big plaque about the history of the mill (built in 1905!) just outside the entrance.  It was quite an interesting read—even my insouciant dad was impressed.  :)

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Lots of rustic charm, as you can see.  :)  I believe the upstairs was reserved for dinner, but I wish we could’ve gone up there…

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I ordered the Thai-inspired steamed mussels with lime & sesame scented jasmine rice, snow peas, and green curry coconut sauce. This was my first time ordering mussels—er, well, any kind of mollusk, at a restaurant!  It did not disappoint, even though there were less snow peas than I would have preferred.  The curry-coconut sauce was a bit salty, but it was perfect for sopping up with with the sticky, fragrant jasmine rice.  I ended up giving about four of the mussels to my dad since he liked them so much, and given how rarely he says he likes something, I just had to.  :)  I got a bit of his dish in exchange, the mahi-mahi with lemon-parsley orzo and sautéed watercress. With some blackberry-based sauce, I believe?

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Besides being absolutely gorgeously presented, it was super delish.  I normally dislike mahi-mahi because it tends to be served tough and dry, but this was an exception!  Very succulent and well-seasoned.  :)

I had an “eating race” with my dad.  Okay, the thing is, my dad eats very, very slooooowly. His style of chewing is comparable to a camel’s (minus the spitting) and apparently, mine is more like a rabbit’s or a squirrel’s.  … Okay, that’s fine with me, but not when I’m eating with him!  I literally finish twenty minutes before he does, and it’s not that fun just sitting around, trying to converse (and conversing just draws it out longer…).  So I’ve decided to learn how to chew slowly like a camel so I can pace myself and not end up waiting for him to finish.  I’ll let you know how that goes… xD

My sister ate an entire (kid’s) cheese pizza, but she was still hungry… so she ordered some dessert that she kindly shared with us.  :)  I love how innate children’s senses are, especially with food—they eat when they’re hungry, stop when they aren’t, and they aren’t afraid to treat themselves to delicious, fancy-sounding desserts!

This is the rustic apple-blackberry pie with cinnamon crème anglais, blackberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream~

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Wholesome and delicious.  The crème anglais was amazing, and I loved the huge chunks of apple and berry in the puff pastry, which, by the way, was fluffy and just light enough to balance out the rich ice cream and crème anglais.

I was lazy about dinner, so I just looked around for some fridge leftovers, mixed ‘em up, and voilà. Asian again, Tat. ;)  There’s white rice, broccoli, and mushrooms down there underneath the huge mound of tofu and furikake

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PLUS a very muddy-looking after-dinner treat.  For once, I was craving chocolate?!  This was the last of my plain yogurt with canned pumpkin, Hershey’s dark cocoa powder, cinnamon, Trader Joe’s kettle corn, and maple syrup.

Pre-mix:

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Post-mix and with trail mix and honey-roasted peanuts (both were party food leftovers).  I was a little scared that it would look like poop, but it doesn’t look THAT bad, does it?

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And a divine Medjool date with crunchy PB:

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Oh, I’ve missed crunchy PB.  <3

Last, but not least, I have a gift for Chocolate-Covered Katie and her awesome giveaway.  ;)  Here’s a real, whole banana hammock—no deconstruction involved!

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On the left, we have a slice with a sprinkling of grain-sweetened chocolate chips.  The contender on the right is topped with cinnamon, kettle corn, pumpkin spice granola, and dried guava slices.  ‘Twas de-li-cious.  ;)

Q1: When does technology make you angry?
Q2: Your favorite dessert?  x)

Have a lovely evening… errr, morning, m’ladies!

EDIT: Did anyone notice the “12 PM on a Sunday night”?!  That’s what I get for staying up late… xD

The morning my aunt’s family left, my mom had to wake me up to say good-bye to them (oops), and apparently, my cousin cried again.  :/  He’s an only child, so I guess he’s lonely?  My mom said that he was tying his shoelaces and tried to cover it up with the age-old, clichéd, only-in-the-movies excuse: There’s sand in my eyes. :(  Poor thing… He’s such a boy.  Wouldn’t even let me hug him, so I went with the shoulder-pat.  :/

I was an only child for the first eight years of my life, and I practically begged my parents for a sibling (specifically, a sister).  Now that I have one, I feel like I don’t appreciate her half as much as I should.  I need to improve on that.  Later on in life, I want to be as close to my sister as my mom is to my aunt.  They have the ultimate sibling relationship—growing up in a poor household (and only being a few years apart…) really squishes a family together, I guess?  I suppose it was the same with everyone in China at the time…

2010 Goal #1: Be a better sister.

Apparently, our house is funhouse, because we have MORE company now.  Wahoo.  They brought us a nice gift basket from Florida and homemade treats!  :)

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Organic citrus and jams and locally-made candies!  I think they’re mind-readers, because I LOVE this kind of stuff.  I’ve already eaten two of the chocolate-covered coconut patties, and they’re deeelicious!  The citrus, although ugly, is super sweet, too.  :)

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I think there were chocolate-covered cookie bars, peanut butter bars, and hello dollies.  I had my first hello dollie last night, and it was good, although a little too sweet.  I love anything with coconut.  :)

And now’s the time for random.eats!

Noodles in chicken broth with sesame seeds and a single carrot slice was consumed for lunch.  I had some nice slurping action going on here.  That’s the best part of noodles, am I right?!  Vermicelli is no fun at all unless it’s in a salad.

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With a baby apple, the iconic fall fruit.  I’m just a tad late for the season, I know.  I saw Stef stuff her apple with nut butter the other day and thought it was brilliant, but I really just needed something fresh and juicy today.  (Gotta find me some blood oranges!)

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And a fab snack: half-banana + Maranatha crunchy peanut butter + sea salt.  Get this: I do not like Maranatha PB anymore.  o__o  I used to be obsessed with the stuff!… but now I really crave sugarless, super-peanutty peanut butter.  Weird.  Thus, I needed extra salt to counter the sweetness here.  Warning: food porn barrage coming your way.  Normally, I choose a few pictures to post from a selection, but this time, they all looked equally good!

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And a date stuffed with Crazy Richard’s creamy peanut butter, my next love.  Well, that is, until I use the jar up.  Then I’ll be making my own peanut butter… and THAT will be true love.  ;)  Topped with course sea salt once again, since Crazy Richard’s is just plain ol’ peanuts:

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Love!  <3 And speaking of making nut butter, that was precisely my very first adventure with my new toy!

How to Make Nirvana: A Step-by-Step Guide

You will need:
*
~2 1/2 cups pecans
* ~1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

(Errr… like I said, I don’t exactly measure.  ^_^;)

Step 1: Microwave pecans until perfectly roasted and just slightly burnt.  I would’ve used an oven to roast a whole batch at once (I had to microwave twice), but last time, I completely burnt the pecans beyond recognition, so I won’t be trying that again.  :|  I microwaved for 4 minutes total (mixed them up after 2 minutes to even out the roasting), but I have no idea whether the setting was on high or medium or what.  Sorry!

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Step 2: After the pecans have cooled (important!), pour them into the blender and start whizzing.  I had mine on the “nuts” setting.  Here they are half-pulverized:

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Step 3: Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the edges down if necessary.  The butter comes pretty quickly with pecans, since they’re oily, though not so much with certain other nuts/seeds.  *coughpumpkinseedscough*

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Step 4: Add coarse sea salt into the blender with the luscious pecan butter it’s created for you.  Pulse for a few seconds to fold in the salt crystals.  They’ll add a delightful crunch in the final product.  :]

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Step 5: Pour into a jar and devour (not necessarily with something).  I promptly had an unpictured dried calimyrna fig dunked in nirvana.  I’ll be sure to catch that sneaky hand of mine so I can snap a pic next time… ;)

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Sorry for the dark/crappy action shot + final pic—I’m still working on shooting motion (holding a heavy blender while trying to focus is not very easy), and I was anxious to try the pecan butter at the end.  Forgive this amateur.  :|

Q1: Are you an only child?  If so, do you ever wish you had a sibling?
Q2: What is one goal you have for 2010?
Q3: What’s your favorite type of nut/seed butter? Me?  I like allll of them except for bitter tahini.  ;)
Q4: Thin or thick noodles?

Off to an Asian party today.  Have a great post-holiday day!  :)

I’m getting addicted to the shutter-clicky noise of the camera.  It’s just so satisfying for some reason… Every click leads to a pretty pic.  :]

Santa was super nice to me this year.  ;)  Besides the camera, I also received iPod speakers (!):


miscellaneous chocolates and candy canes

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the blender from auntie and uncle :]

Godiva goodie bag (err, mug)


and best of all…


A GIFT CARD TO TRADER JOE’S!  :D  My parents know me so scarily well, I love it.

Breakfast this morning was light—another deconstructed banana hammock.  This one was topped with peanut butter, cinnamon, the last of the raisin container, pepitas, and a dollop of whipped cream.  Is it weird that for whipped cream, I only like fat-free Reddi-Whip?  I find the “regular” and “heavy” versions too cloying and “buttery”-tasting, but the fat-free kind is light and sweet.  Mmmmm.  I eat that stuff straight from the can, no shame.  ;)



This one isn’t backlit… HUGE difference.

Many of the blogs I’ve been reading up on lately have discussed topics pertaining to the lack of freedom around the holidays that one has (or should I say, does not have) when dealing with EDs or disordered eating.  A couple of years ago, I was in this trap as well.  Hell, my goal wasn’t even to enjoy the holiday, the break from school, and the wonderful company—it was to not get fat. Holiday feasting?  Nada. DE thoughts were rampant:

Eat as little as possible, so in case everyone eats a big dessert, you’ll have “spare calories” (whatever the hell that means) for it.

Do jumping jacks every night to burn off all the calories from the “feast.” What?  WHAT FEAST?!?!

I look back and I wonder how the hell I could have ever been so ridiculous.  1000 jumping jacks?  Every night?!  What kind of sane person does that?!  I think about all of the times when I could have been socializing with family I hadn’t seen in months, or enjoying some delicious holiday cooking, when instead, I was worrying about my weight, my figure, and the damn calories in the food.

Last night, I was eating some TJ’s popcorn macadamia nut clusters (something like that), which are basically clumps of caramelized popcorn and macadamia nuts.  It’s sweet, but it’s damn good.  My cousin and I ate it while watching Spiderman.  As I munched and crunched on the rich, buttery goodness, I thought about how just a couple of years ago, I would never have let myself even have a bite of the popcorn that late at night (it was around 11 PM).  Not only would I have been scared that I was going to overeat, but I would have also thought that I was going to get fat overnight from eating it.  Fat from a few measly pieces of (delicious) popcorn.  How ridiculous!  I would have pulled out the fat-free caramel popcorn that my mom also bought at TJ’s and maybe ate a few pieces of that, but last night, I was able to look at the fat-free crap, scoff at it (it tastes fake and gross), and stick my hand into the jar with the full-fat, yummy stuff.

In no way am I trying to make myself seem above all of those who are struggling with this.  Rather, I offer my full support and sympathy, because I have been through this.  I know what it’s like to have ED/DE shouting, and I know the sick feeling of being pleased by refusing food.  I know the constant worrying about weight and calories, especially around the holidays, and I remember too clearly the fear foods.  I am proud of all of the ladies who pushed through this and conquered their ED for the holidays this year, and said “screw you” by picking up a fear food and trying it.  It honestly gets less scary the more you do it.  Trust me!

Q1: What fear food(s) did you conquer this holiday?
Q2: Favorite type of popcorn? I think my answer is pretty clear, haha.
Q3: Anyone braving the hoards at the mall today for some sales? I know I’m not…
4: Don’t forget to enter Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Wild Bar giveaway!

Alright, I’m off for today.  Thank you for all of the sweet comments about the photos—I’m still practicing, and it really encouraged me! Have a wonderful day!!!

Get ready for a photo-heavy, sparsely-worded post…

With Christmas presents just two days away, I try to remind myself about of the less fancy schmancy joys in life.  As Katie pointed out, the simple, thoughtful gifts are the most precious ones.  I appreciate a jar of homemade cookie mix tied with a pretty ribbon much more than a carelessly purchased box of fancy chocolates.  Sunlight glittering on snow is entrancing, as are the wonderful blue-green hues of early morning.  The view from a rooftop in the midst of winter darkness—


Pre-snowstorm.

Indescribable.  Now, why can’t I be so easily pleased when it comes to myself?  -_-

Well anyway, today, I immersed myself in simple pleasures.  :D



I love me some dried fruit, especially when I’ve dried my own (the banana and bartlett pear slices).  Just stick ‘em in the oven for more than a couple hours @ 175*F, and voila, the notion never to buy dried fruit again comes up.  :]  Why buy flattened bananas when I can make my own?

Though I’m absolutely in love with TJ’s dried calimyrna figs.  So chewy and meaty and crunchy from the seeds… love fleshy dried fruits.  This one has a nice coating of creamy almond butter.

Q1: What are your simple pleasures?
Q2: What’s your favorite dried fruit? Persimmons and figs are mine, definitely.  <3
Q3: Less words and more eye candy?  Or vice-versa?

G: What are the implications of the word “X-Naut”? I’m thinking tissues, personally.  (Get it?  You get it??)

Oh, and punny things are another one of my simple pleasures.  :o)  Have a wonderful holiday, my dear blogpeeps, if you celebrate it.  If not, have a wonderful December 24th + 25th!  :]

Hello, hello!  First off, I’m sorry for being so MIA (on blogging AND commenting).  As I said at the beginning of the week, this is the week.of.horror. so I should have expected this.  :/

Second, I just lost one-half of my English grade in one sitting.  o_o

Okay, I guess I should cut my teacher some slack because this was apparently her first time giving a multiple-choice test.  I was going to wonder why she hadn’t given one out before in her ~30 years of teaching, but then I realized that the horror of her test-writing skills may have something to do with it.  Sorry, but I don’t go through a book and take notes on every name that Satan is referred to as.  I don’t remember the bazillion (Italian!) names of sinners and which level of Hell they’re in and what they did and how Dante reacted to each one of them.  As for the meaning of the story… why would something so entirely subjective be on a test?  Why couldn’t we have just written a paper on a topic like that?

If that alone weren’t bad enough, get this: it was a multiple-answer test.  As in, subjective material with possibly more than one answer to each question.  As in, precisely the correct combinations of bubbles must be filled in to get the points.  You got some right?  Oh well.  That’s a zero for you.

D:  Multiple answers are good for two things: life and food.  For tests?  I say graargh.

:]  Ahoy~ on to happier topics!

Number one: excited for cameracameracamera!

Number two: TWO MORE TESTS UNTIL WINTER BREAK.  I took six this week, so two next week is not bad at all.  Plus, I’m going to try to get all the work that’s due after winter break done this weekend.  Please hold me accountable for that.  I tend to slack off unnecessarily, naturally.  Tips on preventing procrastination?

Number three: I found this in my inbox today :]

Number four: I ate oatmeal for the first time in a (too) long time, and it was deliiiish.

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Yup, yup—cheers to more banana love!  I call these MatéVana-banana oats in honor of the delicious MatéVana tea from Teavana that they’re seeped in.  Anyone ever been to a Teavana?  I love that store—it’s a peaceful little chill-out spot for me.  I always snag some free samples whenever I’m at the mall!  ;)

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+ candied walnuts, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and dried cranberries. :]

Number five: I hope to be doing some baking this weekend with the chocolate chips and whole wheat pastry flour from my last grocery haul.  My sister needs to *ahem* honor Santa’s request for chocolate-chip cookies and carrots for the reindeer.  ;)  I’m more than happy to help, of course!  I’m thinking a little twist with some spiced-up chocolate-chip cookies…

Number six: I went to the mall and bought gifts for my family and my Secret Santa pal.  Teehee~ I love Secret Santas!

Number seven: I got Windows Live Writer, so hopefully, it’ll make blogging more easy-peasy fun~

And finally… I FINALLY GET TO BLOG + COMMENT AGAIN.  ;_;  Ahhhh… wallowing in work is no fun at all.  Hopefully, the big snowstorm (how many feet?!) will snow us out of the half week and give me an nice long winter vacation.  (Pleasepleasepleaseplease!!!)  Again, sorry for the MIA-ness.  I’m pleading for mountains of snow and forgiveness!

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Q1: What’s your most-disliked type of test?
Q2: Your favorite oatmeal combination?
Q3: Favorite holiday baked good? Anything pumpkin is pretty much good for me.  :]

Alright, I’m off to not procrastinate and finish my debate chart and possibly experiment with cookie-baking!  Toodaloo!

I wish, I wish, with all my heart…

I wish I could have top-tier grades.  I wish my school was refulgent… or at the very least, not smelly and old?  I wish I was charismatic and had amazing public speaking skills.  I wish I had super-socializing skills and could break the ice without looking like an idiot. I wish I could have this camera for Christmas.  I wish I were bolder and more sympathetic.  Wishy wishy wishy.  ‘Tis the season for wish lists, no?

But I’ve realized that being wishful is being wasteful—of all the things, all the potential that I already possess.  I can wish for an innumerable amount of things… but will I ever get them?  No.  Not unless I get off my lazy ass and make my dreams fo realz!  I can’t make all of them come true, of course, because I ain’t no Santa Claus.  C’est la vie. But what does that matter, anyway?  Sure, I’m not the best public speaker in the world.  My team sports skills and hand and foot-eye coordination are basically zero.  I quit piano a year ago, I’m not an officer of any clubs, etc.  I could go on and on about my flaws.  In all honesty, I’m deathly afraid that these flaws will prevent me from going further in life.  But the one thing I can do is to stride forward and learn from those around me who don’t have the same flaws I do.

I definitely wish that I was a better person.  Who doesn’t?  I want to improve myself—and stupid me, that’s what going through life is all about!  The daily lessons learned, the losses, the hardships—everything moves me one step closer to the “other” me—the person I can be with my full potential. I know I’ll never be able to reach my full potential, because there’s always room for improvement… but I want to get as close as possible.  Which, obviously, cannot be done simply by idling around, wishing the gap between me and my full potential-self away.  I’m going to actively work to close that gap.  Thank you for teaching me that logic, Dante.  :]

Ahh… but the most exciting part of my day was that one of my wishes DID come true.  I will be getting that camera for Christmas.  ^__^

Another toast-with-toppings snack—yes, those are butternut squash seeds and crushed PB puffins on there.  ;)

Onto my running-on-3-hours-of-sleep day… excuse the delusional-ness, and the fact that I couldn’t rack my brain for a real word to substitute for that

Hehehe, we got animal-shaped gingerbread cookies in bio today :]  I was going to eat my squirrel and crocodile cookies… until I saw that they had HAIRS in them!  O__O  Eeeeeeek. No hairy cookies for me, thank you very much…

Gurgh.  My teacher is so nice, but she’s utterly clueless—clueless as in, some of my classmates can explain things better than she can.  Oh well—it’s not like we actually learn in class anyway.  We just take quizzes and tests and “discuss” articles, maybe throw in a lab every two weeks or so.  Outside of school though, it’s purely reading.  Reading and reading and reading.  And writing lab reports, oh fun oh joy!~ -_-

*ahem* There’s no cookie pic, of course… my classmates already think I’m a freak genius (which is completely untrue, at least the latter part) and an overachiever.  Why push myself further into freakville?  P:

Oh, and I basically froze my ass off today.  Freaking 18*F!  Yes, that is cold by my standards, oh people of Canada… Subzero temperatures without precipitation are just bothersome.  :c

Dinner was at Whole Foods today.  I missed that place!  I might show my haul later, but one thing I must mention is that I finally found the Spooky S’mores Zbar!!!!  Holy freaking moly I was EXCITED.  I literally squealed when I saw the box, bahaha!  It’s FAR from Halloween (can you believe it?!), but I’m just happy I get to try this much-raved about flavor!  :]  Made me a happppy child, fo sho.

No pics of dinner, unfortunately—I forgot my camera :c  I had a delicious curried pumpkin soup with a big hunk of cornbread though :D  I LOVE me some cornbread, and I haven’t had it in forever!  The soup was a tad bland though—I had to add two of those teeny salt packets.  Shhhh…

Oh, and I’ll send cyberbabies to anyone who can guess what the first line of this post references.  ;)

I’ll end this post with another semi-tribute to the wonderful Katie: a deconstructed banana hammock!

Yeah, so instead of eating two banana slices sandwiched together with various goodies in between, I prefer to slice mine up and top them with the goods.  This particular hammock-wannabe was topped with dried cherries, black sesame seeds, sea salt, and Back to Nature cherry vanilla granola.  It gave me a mouthgasm, and that was no wannabe.  ;)

Heyyy babe.

Alright, I’ll be off now.  I hope you guys have an amazing weekend—sorry for slacking off on blogging/posting again!  School has been ku-razy.  And it’ll only get crazier until winter break begins… :/  So please forgive me!!

What do you wish, but don’t actively strive for?