Reviews, Activia Desserts, & Eating To Feel Good

The other week Ashley over at CSN Stores (they sell things like dining room tables) contacted me about doing a review. It will be coming shortly. I’m very excited because I really need this kitchen item that I’m going to get to review for you. So stay tuned. Unfortunately I can’t review dining room tables because our apartment is too small to have one.

In case you want free things too, here is your chance: I have an unlimited supply of $1 coupons for Activia Desserts (courtesy of Foodbuzz). Click the image below for the coupon. (You can only use one at a time, I think, but you can print out as many as you like… hence they are unlimited.)

I looked at the ingredients and nutrition facts and they look fine by me – there are 140 calories in one serving, which includes some healthy fats (4 grams) and some protein (6 grams). Yes there is sugar, but at least it’s real sugar (no HFCS). Dessert isn’t dessert unless it’s sweet anyway.  Some other ingredients besides sugar are: milk and strawberries. It also has the star ingredient of this fabulous dessert. (You get a gold star if you figure out which ingredient I’m talking about.)

Just FYI, by posting this I get an entry into a contest hosted by Foodbuzz and Activia. And YOU get $1 off dessert. It’s win-win, no?

Speaking of win-wins (or maybe just regular wins) I am loving these comment plugins. Some other people left plugin ideas in the comments so if you want more suggestions definitely check those out. **Note: I updated the post as Ozh’ Absolute Comments is not working. You only have to install the other one.**

And since this post is already turning into a massive collection of coupons and free things that have been sitting in my inbox, I’m just going to continue…

Another company contacted me recently too – Stonyfield (who is sponsoring the US Open) is hosting a contest where you pick your favorite flavor (out of two) each day. Each vote gets you an entry to win a year of free Stonyfield yogurt. So if you are a yogurt person make sure to vote every day to get lots of entries. I voted yesterday (Strawberry Oikos v. Cherry Vanilla – I chose strawberry).

Onto more thoughtful things.

The other week I talked about how French women (Europeans in general really) don’t eat emotionally and they’re not emotional about eating. But this comment made me realize that I might be wrong about that. French women are actually very emotional about food – but in a good way!

Eating to Feel Good

Here are some things I eat to feel good – to feel happy – that make me emotional about food in a healthy, positive way:

  1. Ice cream cake on my birthday.
  2. Dessert with my husband even when I’m already full.
  3. Street meat (don’t knock it til you try it) at a street fair.
  4. My dad’s French toast. (Any of my dad’s breakfasts, really.) (And my own French toast, because it reminds me of my dad’s.)
  5. Anything my husband makes. (This might be because I didn’t have to cook.)
  6. Tasti D Lite. Anytime, anywhere.
  7. Ice cream sandwiches shared with my hubby. (Our first summer together we shared ice cream sandwiches in Disneyworld, so I’m always reminded of that day.)
  8. Sharing food in general. I like eating with people. I like feeding people and being fed, and sharing. (When I was eating lots of salad, I hated it.)
  9. Eating ice cream in the kitchen standing up, at midnight. (Only if I’m really hungry. It’s a perfectly satisfying late night snack.)
  10. Foods that remind me of people in general. (For example, mashed potatoes with creamed corn reminds me of my late Grandma.)
  11. Soft serve ice cream with sprinkles on a summer day after a softball game.

(Hm. I’m a dessert person I guess. You already knew that.)

So yes, I attach emotion to these things, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. Sometimes you should enjoy food not just because it tastes good, but because it makes you happy. Sometimes to eat intuitively you have to eat when you’re not hungry just because it’s appropriate. If you’re eating with other people you compromise. If you are about to work out and you’re not hungry (or if you finish a workout and you’re not hungry), you still have to fuel. Sometimes you have to wait an extra hour and you get hungrier than normal. It’s not the end of the world! The key word here is sometimes. You can’t plan everything before it happens, so just let it happen and worry later.

My point is… sometimes eat to feel happy, sometimes eat to be healthy, and sometimes forget it all and stop thinking about eating so darn much. Now:

What foods make you happy?

Later (this week I hope) I think I’m going to do a post about skincare. Does anyone have any skincare questions for me? Anything you want me to research or summarize? I learned a lot from my facialist last week and I want to share it.

Best WordPress Commenting Plugins & Goal Updates

Note: This is replicating similar functionality that is built in with WordPress.COM blogs (but not .ORG). If you are self-hosting your blog using WordPress then you are .ORG (that is what I am). If you host your blog using WordPress.COM you don’t have to worry about all this because it’s built in. If you are not even using WordPress you can just skip down a few paragraphs to the updates below.

I don’t know about you, but when I comment on a blog with a question I very rarely go back to check for an answer. I like it when the blogger emails me back from the comment notification email they get in their inbox from WordPress. I also reply to nearly all my comments this way. I should really add the responses to my blog since sometimes people ask good questions that other people might want to see the answer to. So…

Best Blog Commenting Reply Plugins for WordPress

Reply to a comment on a post –> sends an email to the commenter.

First, if you don’t already have nested comments enabled, do so. It’s under Settings –> Discussion –> Enable threaded (nested) comments. This makes it so your comment replies are indented, like so:


Second, install Comment Reply Notification (search for it under Plugins –> Add New). This one sends an email to the commenter after you write a reply. You will need to go to Settings –> Comment Reply Notification and select the option that you want (I did “Anyone replies”). You can also change the format of the email that gets sent out with the reply.

Voila! Now you can have comment replies on your blog that also go to the original commenter’s email.

I will be replying a whole lot more now that I have this up and running. I’m very excited!


August Goal Setting Update

Last week I listed out some goals that I wanted to make progress on by my birthday in mid-September.

Sleep goal. I am happy to say that I went to bed early-ish every night this last week! The latest I stayed up was on Saturday night (til about 1am) but all the other nights I was in bed around 11:30pm. I am so happy.

Fitness goals. No yoga yet, unfortunately, but lots of walking. I don’t know why I haven’t been into yoga lately. This was me doing down-dog on the lanai (balcony) on the honeymoon. I did actually do a yoga class in Hawaii; it was yoga on the beach in the early morning. (We were both morning people on the honeymoon because we didn’t really do the time change. So 6am in Hawaii was like noon in NYC. It worked.)

Music fun. Here is a lovely song by a band called Mumford & Sons. We are seeing them later this year. They are fantastic. Just wait for the chorus!


I will be back tomorrow with a standard healthy post. I just wanted to offer up that comment info for anyone who might find it useful, and do the goal update.

Do you have any great plugins you want to share?

What’s Up Saturday – 8.28.10

Lots of goodies for you this week.

Salad Roundup

Around the Web

  • The New York Times has a great article on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis – Does Your Language Shape the Way You Think?
  • My old nutrition professor contributed to this new site: The Simple Skillet. It’s a free meal-planning website with grocery lists, recipes, nutrition info, and lots of other resources. I will send her any feedback you have!
  • Huffington Post article by a guy who traveled the world for 3 years. He learned a lot.


Food & Beauty

  • Have you heard of 7-Up Cake? I might try it.
  • Eden’s lessons from culinary school. Useful! And funny. (This is from a blog, but it goes here because it’s food.)
  • If you live in NYC, please use this awesome waxing place. I just found her this week. Cash/check only, tax & tip included.
  • Albina’s Spa has the best facial ever. It is a little bit pricey, but Albina is knowledgeable, explains everything she’s doing, and helps you figure out what you need to do to make your skin glow.

That’s about it! Do you have any Saturday finds for me?

How To Eat Like A Child (aka Intuitively)

Today’s post is a guest post from my mom. She did not know her email to me (in response to this story) was going to be a guest post until after she wrote it though. I hope she writes more. Or starts her own blog. She has lots of good stuff to say.

Kids always amaze me. They are sometimes shockingly wise, like when it comes to food. Kids eat intuitively – they just eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. At some point I did lose my food intuition, but I found it again after some time. Without further ado… My very wise mom.


So…what was your eating like when you were young? I will start at day one and go forward.

Maggie, Mom, Dad

You were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. Then I tried to get you to start on solid foods but you had no interest whatsoever. I cooked organic oat bran and sweetened it with ground raisins (no refined sugar for my perfect child!). You had little bits but just really weren’t too interested. In fact, you pretty much lived on just breastmilk for about your whole first year of life (and I think it was because you may have had underlying issues with non-human dairy products).

I always tried new things with you but you mostly just wanted to nurse (I mean, it is the perfect food after all!).  At the time I think I would tell people you ate more than you did just because people were so… um… annoyingly judgmental about how I was ruining your health! (There! I said it!) The thing about breastfeeding is that it is supply and demand… babies eat until they are done and learn how to self-regulate. With a bottle, there is always that temptation to make the baby finish the whole thing… or drink a specified number of ounces.

Once you became a toddler you really liked just about anything I would give to you. A favorite was tofu that you would snitch as you sat on the counter “helping” me cook. You liked fruit and veggies. The only flesh you really ever had was probably tuna fish — tuna and peas in a white sauce over toast was a favorite. I did ants on a log (celery) and ants on a bench (apple) a lot. I let you eat as much or as little as you wanted – there was no clean plate club. When we had play dates there were usually PB and J sandwiches or bagels with cheese melted on them. I made a lot of meals from the La Leche League (Maggie’s comment: this is an organization for breastfeeding motherscookbook — these tended to have whole grains. I made chicken fingers or tofu sticks and oven fries a lot.

Dad, Maggie

When we went to dad’s softball games a few times a week, you usually snacked on raw green beans, apples, raisins or trail mix. I was a firm believer in water for drinking and never even suggested that you drink milk with your dinner. Probably in middle school is when I started making a lot of things from Cooking Light.

Maggie @ the zoo (Washington DC?)

You were not a picky eater. I don’t remember if you ate sweets…I sort of doubt it since I don’t like to bake… although I do remember these really yummy cookies I used to make from the LLL cookbook — they were oat, whole wheat and raisin, sweetened with ground up dates, had willow ridge soy margarine and sunflower seeds and just enough chocolate chips to make them yummy. You loved them and I never felt guilty about letting you eat them — sometimes even instead of a regular meal (they just had so many good things in them).

Well I think that might be all I can think of for now.


That was perfect, Mom. You got anything for me Dad? Hint hint.

How did you eat as a kid?

Apparently I was this awesome intuitive eater. Maybe I will start making tuna and peas in a white sauce again. I remember absolutely loving that dish.

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for more of this. And if you missed it, honesty was a hot topic earlier this week.

A Wedding Post

Wedding Planning

I just got married and I have barely talked about wedding stuff! I compiled this list of tips a little while ago, and I hope this is helpful for someone.

Wedding checklist (in no particular order)

  • Photographer
  • Photobooth (optional – I did get one)
  • Videographer (optional – I did not get one)
  • Caterer (buffet versus sit down? I chose buffet – usually less expensive, and now I don’t have to worry about who is eating what!)
  • Rings (mine is an antique and Bobby chose to go modern at Tiffany)
  • Venue (I went the simple route and chose my parents’ backyard)
  • Tables/chairs/linens/dishes (usually will have to coordinate with either the caterer or the venue or both)
  • Tent for outdoor weddings
  • DJ (get a recommendation from someone – the best way to pick)
  • Candles
  • Flowers
  • Invitations

Best Wedding People Ever

  • DJSound Choice DJ’s Inc (New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, including the Philadelphia and New York areas)
  • Tent/tables/chairs/linens/dishes: Adam’s Party & Equipment Rental (Trenton, NJ)
  • Caterer: Emily’s Cafe (Pennington, NJ)
  • Photographer: Tarantino Photo (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) (go to Featured Events –> Maggie & Robert)
  • Invites: Parekh Cards (beautiful cards from India – they have so many gorgeous options, and they are fairly inexpensive for the quality – shipping was pricey though)
  • Candles: I got these votives. We made luminaria with paper bags, kitty litter, and decorative punches.

Budget Wedding Tips…

  • Refuse to buy into the idea that it’s okay for something to cost more just because it’s a wedding (!)
  • Go with a buffet instead of a sit down meal (I think people prefer this anyway)
  • Don’t get your dress at a bridal store – check out “used” dresses (Craigslist, etc… – if you Google you will find more wedding gown swaps) OR don’t buy a traditional dress (mine is a ball gown that happens to look like a wedding dress – it’s designer but wasn’t thousands of dollars)
  • Bridesmaid dresses – JCrew has a gorgeous wedding line
  • Know what you want (but don’t be afraid to change your mind)

And to plug my photographer one more time – Tarantino Photo –> Featured Events –> Maggie & Robert.

What are your wedding and/or big event tips?