Category Archives: Blogging

My Four-Leaf Clover: hard to find, lucky to have.

I stumbled across a hashtag on Instagram this past weekend which read: #onlinefriendsareREALfriends

I found it humorous because obviously a hashtag like that wouldn’t have been created unless someone felt the need to validate an online friendship to a ‘non-believer’.   Back in the mid-nineties I was a firm non-believer, myself.

Remember when AOL was the only provider in town and chat rooms were all the rage?  Back then one could request an online penpal simply by posting a message on a ‘board’ which I did.  Within a week I received a response from a young woman who lived only a few hours away from me and we began an instant exchange of emails several times a week.   After a couple of months we began talking on the phone (which as you know, not the easiest thing for me to do) and that led to an invitation to meet in person.

To make a long story short, our friendship ultimately turned into a unfortunate termination of communication, initiated by me.  ME – the one who hates confrontation.  Me:  the one who’s most likely to stay in a job she dislikes only because she’s more fearful of the unknown.  It was a total train-wreck because, well….while I was truthful about things happening in my life, she was not.  I held on though, giving  her the benefit of the doubt.  I even made a second trip out to see her but the entire experience was based on a foundation of lies which continued to unravel faster than I could keep up.

I am terrible at confrontations and avoid them like the plague, but I knew that continuing this relationship was out of the question.  I broke it to her as nicely as I could but like most break-ups, it did not go well.  In fact, the emails that followed which ultimately led to the deletion of my account were downright threatening.  That mess affected me so deeply I remained pretty quiet on the Internet for years, always the lurker but never really wanting to interact for fear that true friends simply couldn’t be found online.

Then I decided to start a blog.

September will mark my third year at Fat Girl Wearing Thin, and for the first time this year I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few women that I that I’ve been in contact with since my blog’s inception – all women are fellow bloggers and each of them whether they knew it at the time or not, gave me the gift of gladly being proven wrong:   Online friends ARE real friends.

First there was Roxie; then, Vickie.  Then, this past weekend I had a tremendous gift bestowed upon me: Lynn from Learning Curves who, along with her husband, happen to be a full-time travelers were driving right through my hometown on Thursday, and staying in the area until Monday.

Lynn first connected with me shortly after I published a post back in November 2010 about my mother nearly dying from a hit and run car accident.   Lynn reached out to me to let me know that she too, was experiencing heartbreak from a recent accident that involved her parents.  From that email blossomed a very special online friendship.  For nearly three years we’d never spoken on the phone, never texted one another, and only occasionally emailed – but there was always something there; something I couldn’t quite put my finger on; something wonderful  that kept us in touch, whether it was a supportive comment from me via her Instagram feed as I viewed photos of her daily yoga challenges, or her leaving an uplifting comment on my Facebook art page regarding a painting I was working on.  When I learned that she was coming into town I could barely contain myself.  In usual fashion I was a bundle of nerves, anxious and excited all at once.

We decided to meet on Friday morning at my local Panera restaurant.  I waited impatiently outside and posted to Instagram this photo:


Underneath it read: Impatiently waiting to meet one of my dearest online friends whose travels have taken her to my neck of the woods!  Hurry, @lynnbonelli!! 

Not more than 30 seconds after posting this, I heard her voice. We immediately hugged like long-lost twins, separated at birth.  We’ve always known there were similarities in our lives and we are so alike in so many ways its uncanny, yet the differences between us leave me in awe of her so much of the time.  This is a woman who’s finished marathons, completed the Tough Mudder Challenge in Tahoe and has mastered yoga poses that I cannot imagine doing (by the way, Lynn was gracious enough to do a few of her daily challenge poses in my yard yesterday:

Scorpion Pose


What lifts me up is the fact that like me, Lynn also has a back problem.  Yet with diligent yoga practice,

she’s been able to not only diminish her chronic pain but she’s grown strong enough to master poses like the one above, called Scorpion.




Here Lynn is doing Camel Pose while my water fairy, the ever diligent one, watches the water below.

If you’d like to see the other few poses Lynn completed in my yard, you can view them here via her Instagram feed: @lynnbonelli


Between Friday and Sunday I was fortunate enough to visit with Lynn three times, and each time we saw each other we talked nearly non-stop.  Sunday we brought our guys along for a nice lunch:

This morning they left for their next RV adventure and I already miss her.


The other day I saw one of those articles that reminds we ‘old-folk’ of just how old we are.  This one, from the Huffington Post was titled 23 Things your Kids Will Never Understand.

…things like floppy discs and record stores, dial up Internet and having to get off the phone in order to even USE the Internet.

Yes, things have certainly come a long way.  Technology evolves, and fortunately for most of us, so does our way of thinking.  Thank goodness I didn’t allow one bad experience stop me from connecting with some of the kindest, supportive, kindhearted people I have ever known in my life.  Whether I’m 2 hours or 2000 miles away from my friends, it is the best feeling in the world to know that no matter what kind of day I’m having, there are people out there who truly care.  To me, that’s just magical.

Progress with Pictures

Chronic pain is generally defined as being in pain longer than 6 months;  some doctors say as little as 3 months.  I’m well into month number four with my bad back, so I’m just going to call it like I see it.  I currently have chronic pain. 

For the Hate Loss Challenge in January if you remember, we decided to keep a gratitude jar for the month. Though I did very well in writing down what I was grateful for every day that month, I admit my enthusiasm began to dwindle around mid-February.  After my birthday I pretty much stopped adding to my jar altogether. I still thought it was a great idea, but I began neglecting it for the same reason why I deleted my Twitter account:  I am a visual person.  To me, pictures capture what tweets cannot.  That’s when I realized I needed something visually appealing to keep my grateful attitude going.

I honestly feel better when I can physically account the good things that are happening in my life.  It makes my back pain seem less ‘in my face’ if that makes any sense. Now, with my Twitter account a thing of the past and my gratitude jar sitting in Idle Mode, I’ve decided to capture gratitude with my camera and acknowledge it once or twice a week, here on my blog. 

You’re in luck, because today is Day One.  I’ll be tagging these photos Progress with Pictures until I can come up with a catchier phrase.  lol



Yesterday was Easter so I realize I’m a day late but I really wanted to begin my exercise with this particular photo.  This was the table setting I’d created;  laying out dishes for the first holiday I’ve ever hosted at my house knowing from that day forward I’d no longer feel an obligation to involve myself in a situation that would cause distress because of a disruptive family member. 

Because I made certain boundaries clear and because I’d made up my mind that I was entitled to make my holidays what I envisioned them to be, my guests enjoyed a lovely lunch with great food, conversation, and we all ate together at the same table – something our family has rarely accomplished because of the usual chaos, angst and disruption.  I’m actually looking forward to hosting Christmas – something I have never, ever said in my entire life.

I am forty-three years old.  It’s taken my entire life to realize that I have a right to say what happens in it.  I guess we all fill our buckets at different speeds.   As they begin to overflow, that’s when we must decide to get a bigger bucket or stop holding the damned thing altogether.   I got tired of holding my heavy, burdensome bucket and because I let go I feel lighter than ever. 

I hope those of you who celebrated Easter had a great time with your family and that you enjoyed your weekend.  I also hope you enjoy this new series of gratitude photos. 




A Maintenance Revelation

Late last week I finished writing my guest post for Katie over at Runs For Cookies.  It had been a very long time since I’d written something lengthy about my thoughts on maintenance for a new audience.   I debated on whether I should just concentrate on a specific topic for her readers, or touch on several things so they would get to know me a bit better.  I finally chose the latter, and I’m happy with the way it turned out, though I think some might find it a tad long for a blog post.  What can I say, I’ve got a lot to say on the subject!  Smile

There was something I noticed while writing that I had to stop and study for a moment before choosing to leave it in the post, and I have to tell you – what I wrote not only surprised the hell out of me, but the fact that I felt confident enough to leave it in has absolutely changed me. 

This is the final paragraph of my post.  It reads,

One final thought: you may have heard maintainers say that it’s harder to keep the weight off than it is to lose it. I completely agree with that statement. I used to be terrified that I was always one cookie away from gaining all 100+ pounds back. These days however it’s all about teaching myself to SIT. Stay In Today. The past doesn’t matter; it’s the present that counts. Today is all I have, and I do what I can – here in the moment – to continue improving my life. That’s all any of us can do, really.


…a little less emotional baggage these days, perhaps? 


Did you all catch the part that I ‘used to be terrified that I was always one cookie away from gaining all 100+ pounds back?’ As I finished writing those thoughts I sat with that sentence for a long while.  I kept wondering if I should find another phrase.  ‘Used to be…’ referred to a feeling I wasn’t currently experiencing.  Was it really possible that I was no longer as fearful of becoming ‘the old me’?  If this were true, I’d just stumbled across something I should have already recognized as a major shift in confidence.  Instead, it took Katie’s request and my willingness to revisit that part of my life to see that the fear I’d been carrying for the last 8 years has truly diminished – considerably so. 

I am still processing this whole thing, but I intend to explore it further and find out what brought about this change within me.  I have a couple of ideas that I’ll share when I completely understand them myself, but for now I just wanted to share these thoughts with you because they are new and exciting, and it feels as though a nearly decade long burden has been lifted from my shoulders.  For the first time since the inception of this blog, I do believe I’ve had a Maintenance break-through. 

…many thanks to Katie for helping me sift these thoughts to the surface, and to Roxie for introducing me to SIT – Staying in Today.  That tool has been invaluable to me.  Keeping myself in the moment, not worrying about the future or wallowing in the past is some good medicine if you’re up for it. 

Have a great Monday, everyone.  Please feel free to check out my post on Katie’s blog.  Ellen’s Guest Post on Runs For Cookies.

My trip to Indy and my first blogger meet-up

I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow last night to the sounds of rain.  This morning I awoke to 16 degree temperatures and snow swirling in the air.  A little disappointing since I captured a photo of this sight while walking the dogs at the park the other day:


Apparently, my visions of Spring will have to wait a bit longer. 


As you may recall, this weekend Craig and I were making a trip down to Lilly’s Soap Kitchen and Artisan Market so I could drop off some new paintings.  I was also in town for my first blogger meet-up with Roxie.

The weekend couldn’t have been nicer. 

Craig took a day off from work in order to drive me down to Indy which I was extremely grateful for.  While he manned the wheel I leaned back the passenger seat as far as it would go and rested on my side; in the back were 12 pieces of framed art and one of my older pieces of painted furniture, all on their way to be dropped off at the shop. 

We met with Sara, the owner of Lilly’s Soap Kitchen first.  Not only is she quickly becoming a friend as well as an associate, but she is also my eyes and ears at the shop.  Translation:  she’s my spy.   She showers me with important feedback as to which pieces of my work are receiving attention as well as which ones aren’t – all things that will be extremely helpful as the art fair in August draws closer.  Sara is in the process of freshening up the shop for Spring and will soon be posting photos to her Facebook business page which you can find here if you’re interested.


Upon leaving the shop, Craig and I headed downtown where Roxie was staying at a hotel. Before meeting, I admitted to Roxie that I was a bit nervous.  Not dread nervous, but excited! nervous, and since she would be the first blogger I’ve ever met I wanted to make a good first impression.  Normally this wouldn’t be a concern of mine since I’m a ‘what you read is what you get’ kind of person.  However, because of my ongoing back troubles and the length of immobility I’d be experiencing on the trip down, I knew that I was going to have to use my last resort pain medication (ie. the heavy duty stuff) so that I could sit and enjoy our visit without too much distraction.  As I walked into the hotel lobby I immediately noticed that along with my slightly fuzzy mind, my nose was becoming very itchy (a most unpleasant and relentless side effect of the pain meds) and I wondered how I was going to discreetly scratch it all evening without looking like a cocaine addict.  Those concerns melted away as soon I heard her voice and we hugged like long-lost friends. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Roxie and/or her blog, here are some things that I learned about her this weekend: aside from being a knockout and highly fashionable beauty, she’s one of the most down to earth, interesting people I’ve ever met.  She’s very worldly, intelligent, gracious and kind, and I think we could have easily kept each other up half the night, just chatting away – an obvious sign that we were meant to be friends.

Later in the evening, Craig met up with us and we three had dinner together.  He took this photo in the restaurant:



Many thank, Roxie.  I can’t wait until next time Smile

What a Week

It’s been quite the busy week around here.  The time change, fortunately, doesn’t affect me in the least when we Spring Forward.  I actually get up earlier and accomplish so much more during the day.  During the Fall Back though….ugh.  Let’s just say, I don’t handle it well. 

I cannot wait for Spring.  I’ve been walking on the treadmill and avoiding the park because I can’t tolerate the cold these days no matter how many layers I wear.  My dogs are feeling downright punished because we haven’t been walking outside.  Instead, they watch me on the treadmill.  I try not to make too much eye contact with them as I do this because I already feel like their glaring eyes are burning a hole through to the back of my head.

Whenever I’m finished I go upstairs and lay down on the floor to stretch my back and hamstrings, which always makes my back feel better; and this is generally what I have staring back at me:

He is not one to be ignored, but c’mon – How could I?!


Even though my back is still giving me the ole’ middle finger (ie., not improving much) I am busy concentrating on other things.  Good things, such as:

1.  Preparing for the gallery this weekend.

It’s time to make my bi-monthly journey down to Indianapolis to drop off artwork to the gallery.  Craig has graciously offered to take a day off work so he can drive me down there since I cannot drive that far without needing to get out of the car every few minutes to stretch.   I guess this makes him my Manager now, huh? 

All week I’ve been busy matting and framing work.  I dislike that job really, but enjoy the look of my pieces as they’re all polished up and ready to make their debut into the world.  Here are my yoga series of prints all matted and ready to go: 


2.  I’ve been asked to guest post at Runs For CookiesKatie, who is a lot like me in many ways (she’s maintaining a loss of over 100 pounds and has a sweet tooth equal to mine) asked if I would write about life as a maintainer for her blog.  I’ve been slowly making progress on that post and hope to have it done and ready for her soon (it’s coming, Katie – I swear!)

3.  I met someone. 

No, Craig and I are not having marital problems so you can breathe easy (or, if you’re new here and into reading about drama, try and contain your disappointment) lol    What I mean to say is that I have made a new friend who is such a kind person and so easy to talk to – and she’s a fellow artist!  We met because we both have work on display at the gallery.  We started messaging each other and as it turns out, she lives less than 10 minutes from me Smile  She’s a mosaic artist and does incredible work.  Here is one of her pieces that I received as an incredibly thoughtful birthday present last month:



Okay, truth:  I bought it for myself.  I am the thoughtful one!

I had to take the photo at an angle because of the glare from the ceiling lights, but you can still see how amazingly talented she is. Her name is Melissa you can see more of her work at her Etsy store right here.

Another reason why I’m mentioning Melissa is that because of her…..

4.  I signed up for my first art fair this week. 

This was a HUGE step for me.  I haven’t done an art fair in almost 15 years and I didn’t really enjoy the atmosphere the last time, but this is a different venue and will be for one day only.  Plus, I’m selling paintings this time around, not painted furniture which will make set-up and break-down much easier.  The art fair isn’t until August so I still have plenty of time to prepare. 

Perhaps the most exciting thing that is happening this week (this weekend to be exact) is….

5.  I am going to meet one of my favorite bloggers! 

I have missed several opportunities to meet some of the amazing people I’ve met online due to back issues and poor timing, but the planets must be aligned correctly because during my visit to Indianapolis, guess who will be arriving at the same time all the way from Texas for a conference?  None other than Roxie from Gravel and Rust!  Roxie is also maintaining a 100+ pound loss and we’ve been reading each other’s blog since the inception of mine almost 2 1/2 years ago.  I’m terribly excited!

That about wraps it up.  I’ll be back next week with answers to all of your burning questions, like:

‘Just how long did it take to make that three hour trip to Indy?  How many times did Ellen’s back force her out of the car, and did anyone see her doing yoga stretches alongside the road?’

‘…and what about the gallery?  Did Ellen sell anything this month?’

‘Will Ellen be able to stay away from the Cheesecake Factory while in Indianapolis?’

‘What will happen when Ellen meets Roxie?  Will Roxie find out that Fat Girl Wearing Thin has secretly been written by some weird guy named Allen all of these years?’ 

Tune in next week for these answers and more – and have a great weekend Smile



Pain as a Gift?

Dare I think – even breathe in the quietest of voices that my back may be improving just the slightest bit?  I ask this as a question because the only thing I noticed that was different about this past week is that I was able to sit long enough to finish a painting:

It’s been over two months since I’ve been able to sit at length for anything, including meals, without being on medication every four hours. 

My last post was very raw, emotional and honest.  I wasn’t sure what kind of feedback I’d get.  When comments started coming in from you who mean the most to me here – my online family, I was touched by your words of encouragement and understanding.  Your comments allowed me to see that I sometimes tend to put way too much pressure on myself. Thank you for pressing the reset button on my thought process.  I think I’m slowly climbing out of my hole. 

I spoke with a good friend of mine on the phone this weekend who gave me a lot of food for thought.  She questioned whether or not I’d ever considered that my pain was a gift and that perhaps it was here for a reason.  Pain as a gift?  Hmm….

I’d mentioned in a previous post that my style of painting began to change markedly for the better when working on my recently finished crane.  I thought about it and indeed found it odd that my style of painting completely changed during my time with him which was incidentally the same week I was suffering from crippling back pain.  Comparing my earlier paintings to the ones I’ve finished since this bout of pain began looks as though two different artists were at work.  Maybe my lesson in all of this was to learn how to be the painter I’ve always wanted to be. 

Accepting pain as a gift is by no means easy.  Especially when it is chronic; never-ending.  But I have made the decision to look at it this way even if I don’t feel it, for three reasons:

1. It changes my sour attitude about it

2. It’s way better than feeling sorry for myself, and

3. It would be comforting to walk away feeling as though I’ve gained something from this experience.

Now, if I could just be given the chance to utilize what I’ve learned without distraction I’d be a much less grumpy individual.  Hopefully that’s something I can soon say with complete confidence.



Where do I fit in?

Last week I received an email from a woman who’d seen the featured article about my weight loss in Woman’s Day Magazine.  She was writing to let me know that she enjoyed reading the piece about me but was a little confused about my blog.  The mention of my blog in WD along with title, she suggested, led her to assume my blog’s writings were heavily based on weight loss and maintenance but the majority of my posts proved otherwise. 

She wasn’t being mean-spirited, just confused.  I can’t say that I blame her and when writing her back, found myself reworking my email over and over again because I kept apologizing for not meeting her expectations.   I didn’t have anything to apologize for really, but something inside left me feeling a bit fraudulent. 

It’s true that my blog has changed course over the past several months.  I have written over 420 posts since establishing it in late 2010 and in the beginning I had no problem at all writing about weight loss, maintenance, nutrition and exercise.  I had a lot to say, and I was grateful to have a platform for which to write about such topics.  Honestly speaking, I’m very proud of many of the posts I’ve written here.  Some of the best writing I’ve ever done has been here on this blog.  But once you’ve written about something from every possible angle, what’s left? 

A lot, apparently.  Some of my favorite weight loss/maintenance bloggers find a way to bring useful and interesting information to their blogs day after day and I very much admire that ability.  Writing a blog is not easy.  Writing a well thought out, topic-driven blog is extremely hard work and takes a lot of dedication and persistence.  When a blogger is in the ‘flowing’ part of the ebb and flow of life – the coveted sweet spot if you will, there’s nothing better.  But when one is stuck in the ‘ebb’ (the depleted slump which defines me right now) it’s a definite struggle to bring something of interest to the table.  I sometimes feel as though I’m doing a disservice to my readers. 

My enthusiasm has waned since my life came to a complete standstill last June.  My plan of being completely recovered and living a full life after my hysterectomy came to an abrupt halt when my relatively quiet back decided to surprise me with this major flare-up.  For the past several weeks as new treatments prove unsuccessful I am left feeling physically broken; I am emotionally tired and I am extremely frustrated – none of which I care to write about on this blog.

In these next few months before my blog comes up for its third annual renewal, this writer will need to decide where she fits in. 

Am I a weight loss maintainer? A painter and small business owner?  Will I be a chronic pain sufferer?

Perhaps many or all of those things – just not so much a fat girl wearing thin, anymore.

Under the Garden

Good Monday, everyone.  Hope your weekend was a nice one.  Mine was spent working in the yard.  The idea is to get most of it into maintenance-mode so that I won’t be out there post-surgery, watching an army of weeds plan their hostile takeover of my few perennials.

Readers often ask about my yard.  In fact, it’s one of the questions I get most.  With summer right around the corner I thought I’d take you on a little tour and hopefully answer some questions along the way.   


When we first moved into our house the backyard was completely overgrown.  The property extended beyond the dried up creek bed but it was completely hidden by giant bushes.  Here’s a snapshot taken from the deck right after we acquired the keys to the house.  It had a wild kind of charm to it, but getting to the shed (yes, there is a shed behind them there bushes) was kind of like trekking your way through the Amazon. 




A ton of hard work, a bulldozer, several loads of dirt and many years later, this is what the backyard looks like today:


You can’t see from this angle but the creek started flowing with water again about two years after we moved in.  It hasn’t been dry since. We don’t have massive amounts of property – our house sits on just a bit more than two-thirds of an acre. You’ve heard the old saying, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?’   Well, we don’t like that saying very much around here.  Our former owner used to bury his trash in the backyard.   OH! the things we’ve uncovered:


Broken wine bottles.

Part of a tombstone.



An old, rusty coffeepot.

Christmas lights.


Door knobs.

Hinges and coils. 

….oh, I could go on – believe me.  But you get the point.  When we look out over our backyard now, the first thing we say is, ‘We’re so very lucky.’ But the second thing we say is, ‘Do you remember what a nightmare that was?!’

Of course we don’t regret the work we’ve put into our yard for a single second.  But we do have second thoughts whenever we want to tackle any project that involves digging.  And in case you’re wondering – no, we’ve never found a bag of gold or a coffee can stuffed with cash.  Just license plates.  And broken coffee mugs.  And a winter scarf.  Oh, yeah; I was going to get off that topic.  Sorry. 

Our yard will always be a work in progress, for as long as we decide to live here.  Maintaining it truly is a labor of love.  But as you already know, hard work with any task always pays off.  The obstacles you encountered along the way make the finished product that much more satisfying, the frustration a bit less important. 

Have you ever started a major project only to uncover some major roadblocks? 

Shop and Swap

I often think of our blogging community as an infinite network of imaginative, informative and creative people.  Sometimes by reading the right blog on the right day, I can leave with an answer to a problem I’ve been having, gain kind words from someone who’s been in my shoes, or borrow a great idea and share it on my own blog.  That’s what happened while reading one of Laura’s many wonderful posts from Laura Lives Life

That particular day Laura was writing about a package that she’d received from another blogger.  Officially, this idea is the brainchild of Lindsay from over at the Lean Green Bean (which you can read about here), who started a foodie swap back in 2011.  The idea was to find a blogger buddy and send each other a foodie package.  Laura had just received her package in the mail that day and was sharing what goodies she’d scored.  I left a comment telling her that I’d never heard of that idea before and LOVED it.  Before long, Laura and I decided to do our own little shop and swap!

Before I went on my shopping spree at the grocery store (we’d decided on a set limit of $15) I asked her if there were any brands in particular, allergies that she had or foods that she didn’t care for.   The next day, I headed to my local grocery store.  On one hand, Laura was easy to shop for because she needs to eat a Gluten-free diet.  That eliminated half the store.  On the other hand, it was difficult finding things to send because I regularly eat eat GF foods and didn’t want to send her things that I hadn’t tried (what if everything tasted horrible?)  In the end, I picked up a lot of items that were being advertised as ‘NEW’.  That way, she could try things that she’d never tried before and hopefully find something that she’d really enjoy (I was so happy when I read her post on Sunday that she fell in love with these. )

Laura emailed me the same questions, trying to get a feel of what kinds of things I liked.  I thought it would be more fun to receive items that Laura considered her favorite things to eat.  I just wanted her to shop like she was shopping for herself, so I gave her zero restrictions. 

Here is what she sent: 

My husband came home before I did and saw that there was a package waiting for me.  He kept peeking over my shoulder as I opened my box and when I had everything out and on the countertop he asked, ‘Did you tell her what to buy?’  I told him that no, it was a complete surprise.  Then he said, ‘Does Laura know you – like, really know you in real life?  This looks like thing’s you’d buy; it’s all of your favorite stuff!’  True.  Laura went with a chocolate theme and as an added bonus, sent me her favorite sauce:  Annie Chun’s Korean Sweet and Spicy. 

I loved everything in my foodie box.  The chocolate granola is perfect sprinkled on my Fage yogurt in the morning, and HELLO Chocolate Oatmeal!  Where have you been all my life?  The variety of Justin’s Nut Butters arrived just in time for our trip and were a lifesaver while at the airport.  Laura also sent a yummy chocolate bar which I’ve been extremely good at rationing into small sections (I have 1/2 a bar left, thank you) and the sweet and sour sauce adds the perfect amount of flavor to stir fry. 

This was so much fun to participate in, and gives the receiver a chance to try foods that she may not have access to where she lives. 

What great ideas have you come across while reading other blogs?  Have you ever participated in a shop and swap or been a foodie penpal?

Countdown to the End of Google Friend Connect


To my wonderful, supportive Google Friend Connect Followers: 

Were you aware that Google Friend Connect is eliminating their services for all non-Blogger blogs? As of March 1st, the box to the right that displays those who follow my blog will disappear, and so will my connection with all of those followers. 

So, what does this mean? 

Well, there are other sites out there that allow a similar service, like Linky Followers and BlogLovin’ and of course there is still the option to keep up with my posts through email subscription and RSS feed.  But before I decided what to do, I thought I’d ask all of my readers:  how do you read this blog?

  • Do you visit at random, checking to see if there’s been an update when you think about it?
  • Do you follow in a reader (like Google Reader?)
  • Do you subscribe via email or RSS feed? 
  • Do you link over from another blogger’s website? 
  • Do you receive notices of new posts through Twitter?


Of course, Google would like to see those of us losing their service move over to Google+, which has a similar feel to Facebook.   I’m upset at the thought of losing my followers, but do not want to make a decision for an alternative solution without your input.  To my blogger friends who are not blogging through Blogger – what are you doing to prepare for Google Friend Connect’s demise? 

Thank you for your thoughts on this!