I think I finally understand the meaning of “cabin fever.”  And “perspective.”  It did not occur to me exactly how much snow I was suffocating in before I went out and tried to shovel it yesterday.  It also didn’t occur to me how much pain I was going to be in the next morning…

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There’s only so much I can do to entertain myself indoors.  But you know, I relish the feeling of being bored nowadays.  Nothing feels better than wondering what the heck I want to do.  Besides, if this is cutting into my summer break, then hell yes I’m going to enjoy myself!  Watch TV?  Blog?  Play video games?  Bake?—that became my favorite way to waste time.  I’ve baked twice this week already, which is more than I have in my entire, albeit short, life.  There’s something magical about squatting down in front of a bright oven with hot air gushing out of the vent, watching piles of goop miraculously puff into glorious, richly-spiced muffins, or stiff balls of chocolate-studded dough expand into half-spheres of heaven.  (Feel free to be liberal with your interpretation of that :P)

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Okay, well, that last part made the kitchen smell like smokin’ hot oil.  Hot.  I didn’t happen to have proper cookie baking sheets on hand, and I wasn’t about to ask for a trip to the grocery store, so I had to be resourceful.  Friends, aluminum foil + PAM can answer all of your oven woes.  Even if you’re using the grill spray for cookies.

My first batch of cookies (EVER) came out a wee bit burnt.  Just a smidgen, see?

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If only those were raisins at the bottom.

Luckily, I still had a few balls of dough left over and ready to be baked!  And this time, I actually followed the recipe and baked for 15 instead of 24 minutes, so they came out the way I assume they were supposed to.  Cookies are supposed to be soft when they come out of the oven, Candice.  Lesson learned: cooling = firm cookies, extra baking = burnt cookie butts. 

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I can’t follow a recipe without adding my personal touches along the way.  This was no exception, even though it was my first batch of cookies ever.  I tried to follow the recipe for chocolate cherry granola cookies from bella eats, but a combination of my hate-to-waste mentality and weird imagination made it physically impossible to follow the it to the letter.  Though, I think I’ll just stick to twisting the ingredients around next time.  :P

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I was surprised by how much my family loved these cookies.  If it helps, I baked them yesterday, and they are all gone now.  o__o

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Just as the title of this post implies, these are on the crunchy side, with gooey chocolate chunks, nuttiness from whole wheat flour and oat bran, and a distinct grittiness from the instant grits I threw in there.  They’re the little white specks—you can see them if you look closely.  Not only did they add grit, but they also contributed a nice cornbread-y flavor.  It’s unconventional, but it’s pretty good, if I must say.  :] 

I’m not gonna lie—I was seriously doubtful about how these would turn out when I took the cookie dough out of the fridge after a nearly-24-hour winter vacation.  It was hard, smelled sort of like Play-Doh, and seemed like it would become burnt little cookie dough balls in the oven.  And whaddya know—the burning was MY mistake, and the cookies were gone within a day.  More culinary trash –> worthy of critics’ cash action?  Mmhmm…

Recipe is here if you’re interested.  I was going to sprinkle a little coarse sea salt over these to make them extra delicious, but lo and behold, I ran out.  Bought a huge bag for $1.99 at the Korean supermarket today… nice.

Q1: What was the first thing you ever baked?
Q2: How many days does it take for you to get “cabin fever”?

Off to bed now.  Sweet dreams!

ox ~ c a n d i c e

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Hello everyone!  I’m still alive here after my Week-from-Hell #2.  Done with three midterms, two tests, and three quizzes—score. I only have 1 midterm next week and another the week after, and then it’s back to the regular testing routines.  … Hurray?!  :) (:

My brain has been fried for about two weeks now, and my short-term memory has basically shut down entirely (past cramming biology into my head).  I actually had to think for awhile before I could remember what I wanted to recap for this post.  -_-;

Breakfast on a date that has been shoved out of my brain was this lovely bowl of cereal with my first pouring of original Pacific almond milk.

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It was eh. I forgot to buy the unsweetened kind (if there is such thing), so this tasted really watery and well, unpleasantly sweet.  :/  I think I’ll just stick with Almond Breeze from here on out.

This is a lunch prepped on another random day was a random mixture of leftovers that I was trying to use up.  This had leftover spicy tofu, shredded Mexican cheese from TJ’s, and leftover salad. Obligatory toasted sesame seeds and wakame-rice ball furikake are obligatory.

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Annnd another date stuffed with grainy peanut butter and sea salt.

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Dee-lee-cious.  :)

As for this, there is only one lonely square of this milk chocolate bacon bar left now…

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It wasn’t as good as I expected.  The bacon bit-chocolate flavors don’t really meld together—when I eat it, I just taste bacon, salt, and then chocolate.  Muuuch prefer the goji bar. You can never go wrong with a pink bar of chocolate.  :)

On Friday afternoon after school, I went to a Great Harvest Bread Co. bakery for the first time.  I had actually wanted to go last week, but it closes pretty early (around 5-ish), so we were too late.  :(  This week, we arrived ten minutes from closing time, in which I tried three different types of bread and bought two of ‘em.  I call it my “reward” for getting out of this week alive.  :)  I’ll save that for another post, though, since this one’s picture-heavy enough as it is!  It was really exciting though, since I’ve never bought “real” bread from a bakery before.

The weekly Friday night dinner out was at Bazin’s on Church, which had (mostly) rave reviews on Yelp!.  Though it was a little noisy—it’s a small place, and the bar was just a few feet away from us—the food was très delicieux. :)  I think this was one of the only three-course meals I’ve ever had?!

I loved the decor.  I felt so warm inside!  :)

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The location was pretty awesome, too, with lots of big windows and pretty holiday lights.  Even if the candles were fake.  ;)

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The feast began with a bit of warm bread and butter and the butternut squash agnolotti, which was basically butternut squash ravioli with sage sauce and crumbled amaretti cookies.  It reminded me of the first meal out I photographed (and wrote about), pumpkin ravioli.  Creamy, buttery outside with a surprisingly sweet, fluffy filling.  “Special,” said my father.  :)  But, um, where are the cookie crumbs?

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Maybe they drowned in the sauce.

For my main course, I made a historic decision in the course of eating out [in my life]—I ordered red meat for the first time!!!  I usually go for seafood, salads, or carbalicious dishes, but I’ve never ordered red meat at a restaurant before (not a DE thing—I was like this before all that jazz, too).  I’m not much of a steak person, and I find BBQ ribs annoyingly messy—you could say I’m picky with red meat.  But this… this was amazing.

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The toughness of red meat is the one thing that puts me off about it, so I was surprised and excited by the super, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of this.  I guess there’s a reason it’s called tender pecan pork?  The pecans added a whole other dimension to the meat with their prevailing, deeply toasted and nutty flavor, and the vanilla sweet potatoes had a real, pronounced vanilla flavor, and they weren’t cloyingly sweet, thank goodness.  :)  Perfectly balanced out the umami of the meat.  The roasted baby spinach was a bit too salty, but I loved the roastyness that roasted foods have (oh yeah, I’m specific), and the fact that it wasn’t a complete pile of mush.  And, as much as I was excited for it, the bourbon-bacon sauce was just average.  Is bourbon sour?  The sauce certainly was…

For a little sweetness to end the meal, my sis picked a key lime pie with coconut-macaroon crust and chantilly cream for the three of us to share:

The coconut-macaroon crust was amazing, even though I’ve never had a macaroon in my life.  Totally stuffed with coconut, and huge shreds of it at that.  The pie itself, on the other hand, was not nearly as sour as the ones I ate by the busload in Florida.  In fact, it was a bit too sweet.  I needed periodic dips into the fluffy and perfectly sweet chantilly cream to cleanse my palate.  ;)

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I was originally planning to post all of this on Friday night, but spontaneously made the decision to see Avatar.  It was a 9:40 PM showing, and being the wonderful three hours that it is, ended at 12:30-ish… thus, I got home around 1:15 the next morning.  o_o  Being the goody-goody that I am, I’ve never stayed out that late before.  I beat my record by more than an hour… whew.

But OMG… it was completely worth it. To see this?

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original image from
here

Heck yes.  I loved, loved, loved this movie.  The fantasy world totally drew me in with the lush CGI and brilliantly imagined flora and fauna.  The whole thing was just explosive with its color and life—immersive and completely believable once you’re drawn in.  I mean, bioluminescent organisms?!  All of them?!  Synapses and exposed nerve endings?!  <3  This was a feast for the eyes (and the mind!) and a thousand times better than Twilight. I think I’m going to become an Avatar geek or something.  Gosh, I’d kill to see this in IMAX 3D!

Q1: What do you look for in a restaurant setting? I like quiet restaurants… can’t stand bars :/  (But I’d go back to Bazin’s on Church for the food!!!)
Q2: What do you usually order at restaurants?
Q3: What’s the latest you’ve stayed out?
Q4: Have you watched Avatar?  Do you love it?!  If not, what’s your favorite movie genre? I normally dislike sci-fi, but this was a whole different story, obviously.  ;)

Alright, I’m out.  :D  Have a happy week, everybody!  Yay food!  And, for Avatar, yay nature and phosphorescent organisms.  :)

Hi, all.  I’ve missed posting and commenting on your blogs—school, as usual, is the culprit.  :(  Let’s just say this is my fourth day running on three hours of sleep, and I have been a-failin’ on tests and quizzes.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I dropped any entire letter grade in three of my classes just from this week… and not surprisingly, this is only the beginning.  This weekend is going to be hell with the amount of studying and preparation I have to do for next week, lest I die again like I did this week.  Right now, I have an ultimate plan saved on my computer for tomorrow, aka every freaking thing I must accomplish.  My heart probably hates me right now with all the worrying and frantic bouts of “must get this done NOW” that I’ve been experiencing.  Not looking forward to those blood pressure increases, nuh-uh.  -_- 

Aughhh, and I promised myself I would try not to worry about grades too much?!?!  :(  … Pffft, as if.  I’m going to worry about my grades until the day that they leave my life.  Oh, what a happy day that will be!…

Oh, and I’ve been writing this post in chunks at like, 5 AM when I wake up (the only free time I have), so please excuse any sleep deprivation-induced grammar mistakes or just stupid rambling in general… though tonight, a Friday night, I’ve decided to relax for once.  Actually, it’s because I tried to finish some of my homework and it didn’t work.  Like, at all.  I guess sleep deprivation does that to you?  Well, my friends keep telling me that I need to relax, relax, relax, so I’ve decided to be a good girl and take their advice for once.  I’m planning to go to bed early tonight, too, so I can be refreshed and pumped-UP for tomorrow!  Yah!  Jiayou! 

Again, I’m really sorry about the lack of blog-reading-and-commenting.  It’s just too distracting at this point, but once this bout of hell is over, I’ll be back to normal until finals, hopefully!  :)

Anyway, here’s something other than work that I’ve been drowning in lately:

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CHINESE FOOD!  This is soup and mixed white rice with roasted eggplant, lettuce, and pork.  Topped with black sesame seeds, per usual.  :)

I’ve been drinking my weight in soup for the past few days because it has been so. damn. cold. for my standards, at least (and that means below freezing).  I made myself a delicious, umami-rich rice soup with leftovers on Sunday.  (Eeeek, I’m behind…)

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Mmmm.  This was black chicken broth with white rice, mushrooms, roasted eggplant, seaweed, and pork, topped with black sesame seeds and wakame-rice ball furikake in place of salt.  ;)  The seaweed (kombu, I believe) came from this grocery haul over the weekend.  I’m not sure what type of mushrooms these were exactly, but they are freaking juicy and absolutely delicious.  They taste pretty killer with steamed chicken.  :)  Oh, and the more I think about it, the more I wish I cracked an egg into the sizzling hot soup.  It would’ve been so cool to see the egg just cookin’ away in there, mixed with the delicious broth!  :)

Oh, and I finally finished the last of my Vosges Haut Chocolate Goji Bar from way back when, although this picture was taken about a week ago when the majority of it still existed.  It’s long gone now…

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See the little fleck of goji in there?  The addition of the salt was pretty awesome, even though I couldn’t see it.  I think I’m going to start collecting the boxes.  :)

Dinner was at Ruby Tuesday tonight, chosen by my sister.  Alright, so here’s to the good, old-fashioned, American chain restaurant food of my childhood!  Not.

I was surprisingly nervous while I ate my meal of the veggie burger mini + garden salad bar combo.  I found myself questioning my fullness more often than usual, and more unnecessarily than usual.  The thought of calories even entered my mind.  And the longer I sat there, consumed by these thoughts, I began to question why exactly I was being this way.  Why was I suddenly, once again, worried about such frivolous things?  Why couldn’t I enjoy my meal here as I did in other restaurants (not to say the meal was particularly amazing, hence the lack of photography)? 

Psychologically, I associate restaurants like Ruby Tuesday and T.G.I. Friday’s with fat fat fat.  I used to gorge myself on cheese fries, deep fried macaroni & cheese, hot dogs, fish, etc. in these restaurants.  After I acquired DE thoughts, I feared these restaurants the most, because I believed that the greasy, disgusting foods there were the root of my woes and “fatness.”  I avoided these places like the plague.  And once I returned for the first time in a long while, that fear crept back.  I was nervous about stuffing myself until I couldn’t move anymore again.  I was afraid that I would gain ten pounds overnight and become “fat” again. 

In reality, when I look back on it, I was a chubby kid, but I definitely wasn’t overweight or obese.  The chub factor was probably due mostly to baby fat, anyway!  Of course, the way I used to eat (overstuffing myself on fried, nutrient-less foods) wasn’t healthy in the least, but I don’t do that anymore.  I have learned how to listen to my body, maybe eat a little more if the food’s really that good, or eat a little less if I feel sick.  Overstuffing myself on a regular basis just will not happen.  That’s what I need to remember.

Q: Your thoughts/experiences on this or a similar situation?  What is something you have a negative psychological association with?

Phew, another few paragraphs of rambling.  :|  I really missed the venting aspect of blogging, I guess?  My eyelids are starting to droop, so I think I’ll call it a night.

Good night all!  I may or may not return with pictures of a grocery haul tomorrow… either way, I love you guys :) 

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!!!

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Glory to the WINTER BREAK that has finally come!!!!!!  Thank you, weather gods!  Thank you, thick blanket of snow that shook them to their senses and made the cancel school for the week!  THANK YOU FOR TWO WEEKS OF (mostly) BLISS.

(Unfortunately, this also pushes my two tests back to after the vacay… but whatever—let’s focus on the good stuff, hm?!)

Anyway, I ended up not jamming to music while shoveling the insane amount of snow that was clogging up our driveway yesterday.  I was afraid that I was going to jam aimlessly and drop my iPod into the foot-deep snow, because I’m just prone to doing stupid things like that.  -_-;  Oh, and after shoveling in solemnity for about two hours, my right arm was as limp as lettuce.  Not. Cool. Thus the solemnity.  Today, the true soreness has kicked in and I am hurtin’. My neck aches.  My arms ache.  My shoulders ache… see?  See how weak I am?  That was the best strength workout I’ve had in my life!  (BTW, push-ups are my mortal enemy.  I do 10 and collapse—maybe not even 10 anymore?!)

My little cousin with his (wealthy) parents will be arriving this afternoon.  I’m not that eager to hang out with him, but apparently, he cried when we left his house two Christmases ago?!  O_o  I’m not quite sure why, but it definitely tugs at my heartstrings a bit…

Oh, and apparently, his voice is starting to change… bahahaha.  Isn’t that phase in little boys hilarious?  ;)

I’m going to try to get all my homework done ASAP, or else it’ll be hanging over my head like a storm cloud the entire holiday.  :/  That would not be fun.

Highlight of today was definitely breakfast—a very festive oatmeal! :]

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I call this “festive” because of the medley of colorful toppings that remind me of holiday decor.  :]  ‘Course, the brown background represents the Christmas tree, because I just don’t do green oats.  ;)  Dark chocolate-cinnamon oats with dried cranberries, dried ginger, dried blueberries, and sunflower seeds.  My other seed love is definitely sunflower seeds.  So rich-tasting!

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Q1: Do you have any… “interesting” family members?
Q2: What’s your least favorite strength workout?
SEMI-GAG: Are you a klutz?

Alright.  I’m off to tackle my other mortal enemy, homework.  >:(  But before I go, I have to mention that I got 9 whole hours of sleep last night.  Ka-ching!~ :D  I don’t think that’s happened in months! Maybe even a year?!  Anyway, I’m brimming with energy even though it’s the late afternoon, when I’m usually half asleep.  Yay!

I’m getting so lost in the daily drone of life that I’m forgetting the reality.

I have a well-to-do family.  I have the opportunity to a fabulous education, which I truly don’t appreciate as much as I should.  I have the freedom to make my own choices.  Where I go in life and who I associate with are my personal choices—my life is not in the hands of other people.  (Except the college acceptance committees, but that’s another story.)  For the most part, as long as I rely on myself and push myself to succeed, I can. I’m lucky that, for the most part, every failure, fault, and burden is my own. There are people with the whole world on their shoulders.  There are people who have to claw and fight their way to a better life.  They are the ones who appreciate every bit of fortune that befalls them, and they are the people that I admire and need to learn from.

If they can succeed, then I have no excuse not to.

Now, if I could just think about that every time I take a look at my agenda or lumber into school.  Hoo boy.

Shifting moods…

I was zonked out today because I got more sleep than usual last night (i.e. 5 hours, woot!).  Hate it when my body does that to me!  If I sleep less than usual, which is practically impossible, I feel tired.  When I sleep more than usual, which is also practically impossible (but for different reasons), I still feel tired.  I was a wandering zombie today.  By an auspicious stroke of luck, I didn’t have to face any major tests today.  o__o

Lunch was a (pic-less) turkey + TJ’s cilantro-jalapeno hummus + cranberry apple butter sandwich with leftover Thanksgiving bird.  Super yummy~ and sometimes, I marvel at how I used to favor white bread > whole wheat.  The soft whole wheat bread from Trader Joe’s is sooo nommy :]

Dinner was at Wegmans yesterday!  Even though I’m not lucky enough to have a Whole Foods in the vicinity, by another stroke of luck, a gorgeous Wegmans opened in November about five minutes away, quite shortly after we moved into the area.  Auspicious indeed, yes?  So, even though I was a total sleep-deprived child today, I’m still thinking optimistically… so uncharacteristic!  ;)

‘Twas an eclectic plate of food from the “Asian Wokery” (urge to shoot the second word there) and the “fresh foods” bar.  From the Wokery came some Panang chicken, steamed veggies, and a samosa, which I doubt was very authentic.  I got a bunch of grain + pasta salads from the salad bar, along with a pile of spinach + feta cheese.  Yummy!  With a HOT drink that made my tummy very happy: Japanese sencha.  (Maybe caffeine gave me a little boost too?)

Oh, and afterward, I bought some pumpkin gelato from the coffee station, but it was rather bland.    Punishment = no pic.  :\

And then I bought chocolate :D  I’ve heard wonderful things about this brand of chocolate, Vosges Haut Chocolat, and was basically drooling over the stuff on their website two nights ago.  Yes, I drool over chocolate in the middle of the night.  :]  Hey, seeing that kind of stuff could transfix any person with even the tiniest appreciation for chocolate!  But I was a little sad seeing all the amazing, exotic chocolate flavors, because I thought that I would only be able to get them if I ordered online, paid shipping, tamed my impatient inner beast, blah blah blah… not my cup of tea.

But all is not what it seems, and the mirage of products of food heaven on my computer screen came to life… in Wegmans.

*sparkle*

YESYESYES!!! By another magical auspicious stroke of luck, I found that very brand of haut chocolat sitting on the candy shelves of Wegmans!  Granted, not all of the flavors were there, but still!  Holy moly I was one happy kid, which is both a good thing and a terribly bad thing, considering what made me happy was a food product.  Choosing which flavor of chocolate to buy was pretty tough though, I must say.  In the end, I eenie-meenie-minie-moe’d between Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar and the Goji Bar.  As you can see, the latter won… at least for today.  :]

Tibetan goji berries
pink Himalayan salt
deep milk chocolate
45% cacao

Music to my ears.

I also bought a special brownie, appropriately called The Brownie:

Cutest company name ever.

I’ve always been curious about how these “____-free” baked goods taste, so it was a totally essential purchase…

Kidding, of course.  But it’s extraneous purchases like these that remind me of how lucky I truly am.  I am able to luxuriate in what I want without sacrificing the things I need.  In no way am I boasting about this… but sometimes, I just need a kick in the head to remind me of how freaking blessed I am.  Thank you.

… and now I realize how much this post sounds like a Thanksgiving post.  Oh well.  Happy belated Thanksgiving (again)?

Do you feel sort of guilty when you make extraneous purchases?