Spring has sprung suddenly, and I’ve been busy but having such a good time!

Last weekend, GG and I attended the Philly Farm and Food Fest – we had gone once before, a couple years ago, but every year it gets a little bigger. We took the train in to the Philly Convention Center, and got in right when they opened, so we could sign up for the speakers we wanted to see. Between presentations, we spent the entire day wandering around the aisles of vendors. This year’s show also featured a “curd convention,” where they put the cheese producers all together in one area. Unfortunately, GG and I are not the only cheese lovers in Philadelphia, and the area was quite crowded. (Meanwhile, the “Local Libations Lounge” required an additional ticket, was sold out, and remained mostly empty the whole time – we would have paid extra for the cheese section if that’s how it was going to be!) We did get to see two Curd Convention speakers, though (which came with samples!): David Katz of Honeygrow; and Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills (makers of one of one of the most approachable blue cheeses, Birchrun Blue, which I’ve been a fan of since I discovered it at the Phoenixville Farmer’s Market a million years ago) with Aimee Olexy of Talula’s Garden/Daily/Table (who I was kind of prejudiced against because of our bad experience when we tried Talula’s Garden). Despite all the amazing samples, we still managed to keep LCHF for the day! (Mostly – we may have cheated on a bite here or there…)

The next day, we met up with our friend C at Seven Stones Cafe in Media to catch up. That place is so cute! We got there at a little bit of a busy time, but then it cleared out and we got to sit and have a nice talk. Since it was so nice out, we walked up and down State St. for a little while before heading home.

Yesterday we went to one of our favorite spots, Tria, to use my Christmas gift, a very generous gift card from GG (and we only used half of it, so we’ll have to back again)! It was perfect we got a meter parking spot right across the street, we got there at just the right time to have the restaurant to ourselves, and we were able to keep LCHF (I did have beets on my salad – don’t tell anyone!). The highlight, of course, was the amazing cheese board! My favorite was the Brillat Savarin, an amazing, runny, creamy cheese… I mostly linked it here so I know where to buy more ;)

For Easter yesterday, GG was invited to play guitar with his cousin’s church band, while I went to brunch with my family, and then we spent some time together back at my grandmom’s place. (Meanwhile, GG had been invited to his Greek friend’s house, where they were roasting a lamb on a spit!) Finally, we got back together at his parents’ house for Easter dinner – and some impromptu magic tricks from my brother-in-law!

In other news… I ordered a camera … but it was the wrong one … so I returned it, and then got the one I wanted used on eBay for half the price (but it’s in excellent shape). And now I’m trying my hand at vlogging :O

Evereve Trendsend 2

As a little reward to myself for recently dropping a few pounds, I decided to try another Evereve Trendsend box. I’d only done it once before, but was very pleased with their thoughtfulness and service. The pieces are a little pricey, but it’s nice to treat yourself (and I wear those 7 For All Mankind pants all the time!). For this box, I mentioned a couple work events and a trip coming up, and also said I was ready to wear a little bit more fitted pieces instead of the loose tunic type things I’ve been wearing lately. In response, Heidi R sent me three outfits, which may or may not have met my requests…

Outfit One: This combination was very strange; individually I liked both pieces, but I don’t think I would have ever paired this kind of preppy looking, light shift dress with this brown, slightly western-ish, heavy-ish moto jacket…

Allison Joy Tie Neck Shift Dress – $29.99
I liked this dress, but it had a few strikes against it: 1) as a shift dress with no stretch and no waist definition, it had the “tent” effect (i.e. it comes out as far as the farthest point of my chest, and then falls straight down, making me look larger than I am); 2) I’m not really into tie necks, I never know how to tie them and generally think they look goofy (at least on me); 3) not fully sold on the orange and pink parts of the design. Maybe if I had some kind of summertime dress wearing event on the horizon I would have kept it, but with those strikes against it, I took it off the maybe pile and onto the return pile. (To be fair, I thought it was $55 according to the tag, which may have influenced my opinion as well. According to the web site, it was marked down from $68.) [Edit: 4/2] After rethinking this one and considering the price, I’ve decided to keep! [/Edit]

BB Dakota Allerton Suede Jacket – $89.99
When I peeked at my box before receiving it, I saw this very cool brown suede jacket. However, I have cut all brown and tan out of my life, and only wear black and gray. It just makes things so much easier. So had this jacket been black or gray I would have absolutely kept it because it fits nicely, it’s so comfy and soft, and I love the asymmetrical zipper. Return. (Marked down from $108.)

Outfit Two: If I thought the previous outfit was strange, this one knocked it out of the park. The leggings and jacket were very heavy and structured to wear with the light and gauzy dress.

Lysse Mara Legging – $39.99
I was excited to see these were coming, because I think they are an Evereve fan favorite! They’re a really thick ponte knit, with decorative seams down the front and back of each leg. I already have a pair of ponte leggings I like, but I think these are a little nicer (and cheaper!). Keeping! (Marked down from $78.)

Beloved Classic Cami – $28
Heidi sent me this plain black cami to layer under the dress, which has an open back. However, as if I didn’t already have enough plain black camis, I wear Ruby Ribbon camis pretty much exclusively now. Although the fabric is nice and it’s seamless, it’s a really expensive plain black cami… Return.

BB Dakota Nicholson Faux Suede Jacket – $79.99
I had mixed feelings when I saw this was coming – I liked that it was black, and I was excited for another suede jacket option (since I knew I wouldn’t be keeping the brown one), but I wasn’t sure about the kind of unstructured, flyaway design. When I put it on, I was even more confused, because the inside sides of the sleeves are not suede but a knit. However, it grew on me. After revisiting a couple times, I decided to keep. (Marked down from $98.)

Free People Beaux Slip – $39.99
No no no. I pretty much hate everything about this. The neck comes up so high on my throat. The back is wide open (hence the need for the cami underneath). I do not like the flowy, hippie-ish style. And it just did not work with the heavy jacket and structured pants. Just for fun, I tried the outfit with my own shirt, and I liked it much better! (It’s what convinced me to keep the other two pieces.) But this was a return. (Marked down from $88.)

Outfit Three: Heidi recommended pairing the two pieces in this outfit with the black suede jacket above, as well as wearing the top with white denim, which I’m sure would look beautiful in the summer but which I would surely destroy!

Allison Joy Maribel Lace Up Tank – $48
I was worried when I saw this coming because I’m not really into this new strappy/tie neck thing I’m seeing more and more on tops. But, as Heidi said in her message, it does include all my favorite blue and turquoise colors! And GG got more of a ren faire vibe from the lace up neck. It fits really nicely, the fabric has a nice stretch to it, and I need more patterned pieces in my life, so I decided to keep it, despite the high price.

Sanctuary Essential City Peg Ankle Pant – $89.99
Jeez, how many pairs of black pants do I need?! ;) Well, I asked for a straight leg pant, I can always use these for work. They’re skinny, but don’t look like skintight leggings. They have a little black leather trim on the front pockets, which is a nice touch. The price was high, but comparable to what they seem to sell for on other sites, and they have great reviews around the internet. Keeping! (Marked down from $99.)

So there we have it: four five hits, four three misses. To complete your order, you check out online and indicate which pieces you’re keeping, and you’ll be charged at that time. Anything you’re not keeping goes into a pre-paid bag to be shipped back to Evereve. There isn’t a styling fee or any other charge, you just pay for the pieces you keep. There’s no incentive or discount for keeping everything they send, so you don’t feel obligated to keep something you don’t like just for a discount on the rest. I did notice they seem to be scaling back just a little bit on the materials they send – last time the letter from my stylist came on letterhead printed with a color logo, and this time it was just a black and white photocopy. Also, the prepaid shipping bag came with a second copy of the packing slip in it, as is requested for returns; this time, there was only one packing slip so I’ll have to send my copy back with my returns. Just little things, but I noticed. All the clothing was still wrapped with tissue paper and a sticker around each outfit, and overall the experience was quick, personal, and fun!


Highlights of the month:

  • Officially started shutting down my side business! Nothing negative happened, but it takes a lot of time that I just don’t have to dedicate to doing it right. Maybe someday I’ll write some more about my experience, since this seems to be in the news a lot lately…
  • I finished doing our taxes… Officially the very latest I’ve ever gotten them done ever.
  • Was really busy at work with a number of projects, including finishing building a tool and then training users on it… I’m really excited that my new boss is trying to put me in positions where I can get more experience and facetime with management.
  • Tried a few new keto recipes and, after a week of not really having time to cook, decided to try prepping meals on the weekends when I have time so there is always something around for GG (or me) to eat. After 3 full months on LCHF, we’re both almost to our goal weights! I don’t know about GG’s plans, but I have a second goal after this if all goes well. I’ll have to write more later about some of the tips things we’ve learned.
  • My JA program is close to wrapping up for the year and once again the kids can be infuriating but in the end make me proud. We had an event in the office that a couple of them came to and they did really well. Next month we have a couple big events for them and then their regional competition, and I think they’re really going to pull it together at the end!

LCHF Costco Picks

Doing the LCHF lifestyle, you’ll probably end up cooking from scratch more and eating out less, which is great – but it also means you’ll be shopping more for fresh groceries! We have a Costco membership but used to only go a couple times a year. Now I’m going every week or two, because with the quantities we’re using certain ingredients, it just makes sense to be able to buy them in bulk there. The prices are great, and they have lots of organic options too! Here’s some of the items I always pick up there:

  • Eggs: I used to buy the 6-packs of eggs because we would rarely go through a dozen before they expired. Now we can easily go through a couple dozen a week, so I love the Costco 24 packs. I usually just get the regular ones, but they also have cage-free, brown eggs, etc.
  • Ground Beef: People swear by their grass-fed ground beef, which is about $5/lb at our store.
  • Chicken: I am very weird about chicken. I always worry it’s not cooked enough, and so I usually end up cutting it into small pieces to cook. I hate cooking chicken breasts, which is why I love the large packs of chicken tenders. There are 6 individual packs all connected together, so I usually keep 1-2 in the fridge and freeze the rest.
  • Cheeses: You know I love cheese. If you’re going to go through a lot of it, why not stock up? The big double-packs of feta last a long time, and it’s a great salad topping or good to bake with chicken. I can blow through one of the 3-packs of Boursin cheese in a week (also great inside stuffed mushrooms). And the deli sliced provalone is great to bake into cheese crisps.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: HWC, as the kids call it, is great for a million things LCHF, but we mostly add it to our tea for a satisfying drink that can really fill you up!
  • Produce: I don’t know why I used to always be wary of Costco produce. I guess because I didn’t think we’d go through the larger package quick enough. Everything I’ve gotten there has been great quality!
    • Avocados – Usually a great bargain here. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think every one I’ve gotten has been perfect. If you keep them in the fridge they last longer, so I usually store them there and just keep 1-2 sitting out to use.
    • Mushrooms – The packs are slightly larger than how they sell them at the supermarket, so not an overwhelming amount.
    • Romaine Lettuce – They have 3-packs of romaine hearts like you can find in the supermarket, but they also have 5-packs of smaller, denser romaine hearts that actually work out to be a better deal.
  • Chia Seeds: These are a great source of fiber, and you can use them for a million things – we love chia seed pudding for breakfast, and I also make chia seed crackers to eat with my cheese (just make a paste of seeds and water, spread into a thin layer on a pan, and bake until crispy).
  • Almond Flour: A great buy at Costco! If you like experimenting keto baked goods, you can go through this pretty quickly.
  • Snacks: Whisps are one of my favorite LCHF-friendly snacks, and you can stock up on a big bag at Costco. The Kirkland brand beef jerky is also decently low in carbs and actually has a really good taste and texture (though weirdly it says to refrigerate after opening, which kind of seems like the opposite of how jerky should work..?). All sorts of nuts are plentiful at Costco (the macadamias are an especially good deal). There’s lots of keto snacks, if you know where to look ;)


Highlights of this busy, busy month:

  • Went with my friend C for a Sephora makeover/makeup lesson. We had so much fun and I really learned a lot!
  • GG and I went to see Artie Lange do stand-up. The opening act was really good. Artie, not so impressive. Also, we saw him do literally all the same jokes later on a TV interview.
  • Watched the Superbowl with GG’s family at my BIL’s house – lots of food was had, and we stuck to our way of eating (I made buffalo chicken dip and there was also veggies and guacamole and some other things we could enjoy). So far no problems sticking to the plan!
  • We went to The Farmer’s Daughter for our Valentine’s dinner (and used a gift card GG had gotten for his birthday). We just had to make a couple substitutions to accommodate our new WOE :)
  • GG and I saw Split – we’re big M. Night Shyamalan fans so of course we loved it, but the end was awesomeeeeeee!! (No spoilers!) Also, we love trying to guess where in Philadelphia things are taking place. And the funniest part was that we were watching it in a town that was mentioned in the film! When they said it, everyone in the theater was like, “That’s where we are!”
  • On our day off for Presidents’ Day, my friends L, J, J’s sons, and I went to New York for the day. We visited the 9/11 memorial and museum (and I didn’t cry! Almost, but kept it together), then went to Brooklyn to eat at a Harry Potter themed pasta restaurant, then tried going to that restaurant that serves cookie dough in ice cream cones but they were closed, then went to the Nintendo store (child’s request), and then took the train back home. Oh also, L had come out the night before and spent the night, which is fun :)
  • GG and I went to see a live taping of Ask Me Another, which was fun and really interesting! I’d never been to a live taping of an NPR (or any other) show before. GG had been to a Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me taping a couple years ago, so he had already seen them do things like record pick-ups after the show.
  • We also went to see a high school production of Rent that one of my JA kids was in. Besides some technical issues with microphones and a couple tone-deaf singers, it was surprisingly good!
  • We went to a friend’s birthday party and stuck to our WOE! The friend who hosted it is a baker and made a beautiful peanut butter chocolate cake, which I knew would be amazing. So GG and I each tried exactly one bite and… meh. I mean, I’m sure it was an amazing cake. But we didn’t feel tempted to eat a whole slice! We stuck to veggies, the buffalo chicken dip I’d brought (that’s been my go-to party food), and hot dogs (without buns).


Highlights this month:

  • GG and I started eating a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) or Ketogenic diet. Basically, very low carbs, moderate protein, and high fat. I’ll write more about this later, but so far, so good!
  • We made our annual visit to the PA Farm Show with our friend L. It was a little different this year because of the aforementioned diet (no milkshakes or donuts!), but there was actually plenty for us to eat and we did great.
  • We saw Hidden Figures, I loved it!
  • I met up with my friend M who lives in NC but was in PA for his kid’s ice skating competition! I got to see some of the skating, and then we hung out and chatted for a while before I headed home (it was a couple hours away – but closer than the 7 hour drive to his place, I’ve done that before too!)
  • We went to our friends’ housewarming party – they used to live somewhere really sketchy and now they are a little closer, in a much nicer place, so yay!
  • Got to go wedding dress shopping with a friend! I’ve never been wedding dress shopping before, and it was so sweet of her to invite me! It wasn’t like it is on Say Yes to the Dress, mostly because she pretty much already had something picked out, and everything else she tried on just served to convince her to go with the one she already liked!


Highlights of the last month of the year:

  • Had a very successful holiday party and this year’s entertainment was a ventriloquist! It was really funny when I called to hire him and got to explain that no, there would be no children, he can tell all the dirty jokes he wants ;)
  • Had a bunch of events for my side business.
  • Played a bunch of holiday concerts.
  • Got to celebrate Christmas on two separate days, instead of rushing to cram two Christmasses into one day, which was much more pleasant.
  • Interviewed house cleaners as my Christmas gift to my grandmom (she picked one to start in January!)
  • GG and I took our usual day off to do Christmassy stuff in Philly – this year included the Comcast Holiday Spectacular, followed by the Temple of Awesomeness and Delight at DiBruno Bottle Shop.
  • Celebrated A’s birthday with dinner in NJ followed by a very bad escape room :( When we were done, we didn’t even stay to take funny pictures with their signs or anything (and actually, nobody from the place encouraged us to), we just left.

I was trying to get a few people over for a small New Year’s Eve dinner, but nobody was really available and then I got a really bad cold and decided I probably shouldn’t be handling people’s food, so now our plans include sitting on the couch in our PJs, and making s’mores with my new s’mores machine :)


How can I describe November? Disappointing? I fell asleep for a couple hours on election night and woke up to a crazy dystopia. We took 2 kitties to the vet and guess what, there is nothing physically wrong with the crazy one, he’s just crazy – so now he gets drugs :/ I did a big vendor event for my side business that had the most horrible load-in – luckily GG was able to meet me afterward and help me take things back out! Thanksgiving was nice and we had lots of family together, but meanwhile in GG’s family there was a medical emergency (everyone’s ok) and his dad and brother were in charge of making dinner, which actually turned out surprisingly well (we said they’re in charge of stuffing from now on). We went to MB & A’s annual Friendsgiving the week after, which is a little different now that everyone going has tons of kids running around. And I did my Christmas decorating early, since we’re having our holiday party earlier this year.


Highlights of this month!

  • I had a booth at our community Fall Fest which was great for meeting local customers, and I got to spend the day with my newest teammate!
  • GG and I joined the new Community Center and committed to working out regularly at the gym.
  • We made our annual trip to the Ren Faire! Got to spend the day with some of my favorite ladies (and GG). I made a flowered headband for my favorite little lady!

  • Did some other events for my side biz, including training in NYC! GG came with me and we went up the night before and spent the night. Then he entertained himself at a photo convention and explored some restaurants in the pouring rain while I was at my training. Afterward, we had a fabulous dinner at Parker and Quinn before driving home.
  • The day after this overnight NYC trip was MU Homecoming! We had another official PSP reunion this year, but it didn’t have the magic of the last one … My friends and I were pretty much the only alumni there. We did get ourselves invited to the Housing reunion so we could go on a tour of one of the new dorms – we’d toured it a couple years ago when it was brand new, and I wanted to see how things were holding up now that kids had been living there for a while (and were responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms, etc.). One story they kept telling us involved a guy who was storing jars of pee in his room…
  • Our Fall Concert for band took place a week early, in October instead of November, so we ended up doing a semi Halloween theme and everyone wore all black (with orange accessories) instead of our traditional black pants and white tops. I accented my outfit with a black cat ear headband.
  • We once again offered full size candy bars to kids on Halloween, and cups of hot apple cider to parents. Our porch was really hopping last year, but this year it felt like there were a lot fewer trick-or-treaters.


I always love September – it’s my favorite time of year, and my birthday month! Some highlights this year:

  • I did my very first escape room with my Chicklet when she suggested it as kind of a spur of the moment activity to kick off Labor Day weekend. I was a little nervous because I’m not always great at puzzles and trivia and that kind of stuff, but we rocked it!

  • We got to see Thank You Scientist again (this time I was prepared because I know the band now!), but the singer was super sick, which really just made me sad for him because you could tell he was miserable :( But then we got to meet the trumpet player outside afterward, which was awesome!

  • I had to do this two-day training at work for a system that we inherited from a company that we acquired and is so convoluted, it will make me never complain about any of our other systems again. We had to fly a trainer out to teach three of us, and by the end of day two, between four total people, we had successfully completed the process one time. Not encouraging :/
  • Went to Sunfest in OCMD with my friend L! She has been going for years, but I’d never been, so we both took a few days off work and went for a nice long weekend. Sunfest was so fun, and we also went on the Sand Castle Home Tour, plus played mini golf, hit the boardwalk every night, and ate a lot.