Cast Off + Sunshine Award

Today is a good day in my world, because today I get my cast off!

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Today is also a good day because I’m finally sharing that I was nominated (several times…aww you guys) for the Sunshine Award! I decided to do the questions that one of my best blends Becky over at Olives n’ Wine picked out for me. Thank you for nominating me, Becky, and more importantly thank you for being a great friend!

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The Rules:

  1. Include award logo in a post or on your blog.
  2. Link to the person who nominated you.
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award.

Onward!

1. What is your first memory in life?

The first thing I can remember is living in Washington. We moved there when my mom was pregnant with my brother and stayed until we moved to Sacramento and I started Kindergarten at age 5. I don’t remember much of anything before Andrew was born, since I wasn’t even 2 when he showed up :-P. Some vivid memories that stick out are Christmas morning in our living room when I got my first bike, playing toy guitars in the basement, and barfing on the floor in my parent’s room. Haha. Sorry, parents!

i totally remember this favorite activity ;)

i totally remember this favorite activity 😉

2. What has been the best vacation you have ever been on and what vacation are you looking forward to in the future?

I don’t know if it counts since I technically lived there, but studying abroad in France was the best decision I ever made and probably made me feel more “me” than anything else I’ve ever done. My favorite cities I visited that year were Barcelona, Prague, and Marseille. I don’t have any vacations planned, but I’m hoping to visit Becky sometime this year in Chicago, her new home!!

me at Chateau d’If in Marseille

3. What is your preferred type/brand of coffee?

No coffee for me! Even though I actually do love the taste, my stomach can’t handle the acidity of coffee, so I usually drink green tea. If I’m out at a coffee shop, I’ll sometimes get flavored iced coffee or a chai latte. I also really like Starbucks tea+lemonade drinks, and their Refreshers!

4. Flowers or chocolate?

Chocolate, hands down. Can I eat flowers? NO! That being said, I do like to buy myself flowers because they really help brighten up my apartment 🙂

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5. What is your normal bedtime and wake up time?

Generally, I try to be in bed before 11:30 and I set my alarm for 7:30. On the weekend, I will sleep for 9-10 hours if I have nothing scheduled to wake up for 😀 I love sleep!!!

6. When going out, do you wear your hair up in a pony tail or down?

Don’t have much of a choice, since my hair is pretty short- down! Even when I had long hair, though, it was always down…I think I was brainwashed by my mom, who has total blonde hair envy, and has always ordered me to “Wear your hair down! I don’t know why you’d hide it, it’s so pretty!”

7. Favorite form of exercise?

Gawd I never thought I’d say this, but running! You can do it anywhere, and it makes you feel awesome afterward. I also find it really encouraging to regularly engage in an activity that forces me to say “You can do this. You’re strong. You got this!” over and over in my head.

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8. Favorite place to shop?

I love H&M, but there are none close by.. So probably Macy’s? I also get a lot of work clothes from Express.

9. Do you have a favorite cuisine to eat when dining out? What is it?

Anything that is considered foodie-approved, I would probably like haha. I also love all kinds of ethnic food. So the short answer is: no. I don’t have a favorite!

10. Broccoli. Yay or nay?

Generally yay. Though soggy frozen broccoli is not the business 😦

My 10 questions:

  1. What 3 items are must-haves in your grocery cart every week?
  2. If you could live in any city, no questions asked, which one would you choose?
  3. Do you spend more money on food or clothes?
  4. Have you ever broken any bones?
  5. Fad diets: yay or nay?
  6. Knowing what you know now, what is one piece of advice you’d give to 18-year old you?
  7. What is your dream career? (Props if you currently have it :-P)
  8. If you could choose one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  9. What is your favorite part of your body?
  10. What is the “signature dish” that you cook best?

My nominees: (I’m pretty sure a bunch of you were already nominated- oops! Just know I think you’re fabulous!)

  1. Emily at Have Your Cake And…
  2. Sara at Fitcupcaker
  3. Alisha at Alisha’s Appetite
  4. Courtney at Courtney Em
  5. Deb at It’s All About Me Fitness
  6. Kate at Quarter Century Southern Living
  7. Julianne at Life Off Leash
  8. Kelli at Made in Sonoma
  9. Carly at Snack Therapy
  10. Arlene at Adventures in Cooking, Weight Loss & Life

Wish me luck at the Orthopedics department today! I don’t exactly have the best track record there… 😛

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Google Reader Alternatives

Hey friends!

Do you read my blog (or any blogs, for that matter) in Google Reader? If so, you’ve probably heard that the feature is being eliminated in July….it’s goin out of style, much like all shoe fashion trends of the 90’s.

If you love reading blogs and don’t use Google Reader or a similar program, you should totally consider it. I used to use a list of bookmarks on my browser to check my favorite blogs every day…but the list got long, and it was time consuming. Using an RSS reader is a good way to just read new posts, without having to waste time checking blogs that haven’t been updated.

You may surmise in a few minutes that I’m having a slow day at work…the last slow day I’m sure to have for a while.

Because I have not been crazy busy today, I finally whittled down my Unread list in Google Reader, after it had been at 75 on Friday. I got it down to 50 by Monday, and am finally below 10 today! Woot! I have been pinning recipes like crazy in the process.

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I decided today is just as good a day as any to test out some alternative RSS Readers.

I subscribe to a lot of WordPress blogs, since that is the platform I use, but for the rest of the blogs I read, I use Google Reader.

The first alternative, for which I already have an account, is Bloglovin’:

bloglovin

One downside of Bloglovin’ is that they don’t have an easy way to import the feeds you already follow (that I could find). Though it took me just 7 minutes or so to search for the 20+ blogs on my list, I ran into problems on some of them…like, which Smitten Kitchen feed should I follow?

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However, I love that I can see my full bloglist on the left hand side and click to whichever blog I want. I also love that they shorten the blog post for you, highlighting one picture and featuring a clip from the post. Unfortunately, they just use the first photo and not the one that you designate as ‘featured’ (if you’re a WordPress user)…so instead of my delicious Turkey Meatballs, followers of mine on Bloglovin’ saw a gnarly picture of my dodgeball-bruised legs.

To follow my blog using Bloglovin’, click the link on my sidebar over there –> or just click here.

The next, and perhaps more popular alternative that is popping up around the web, is Feedly.

feedly

The best part about Feedly is that you can automatically import all of your Google Reader subscriptions. You can also import your Twitter and Facebook feeds, if you so choose. If you’re looking for a way to integrate everything, I could see Feedly being your new best friend! This is Feedly on the “LATEST” page, which I think would be the one I’d use most. You can control the look of the list to include thumbnails or not…I prefer to see pictures!

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This is Feedly on the “TODAY” page, which I’m not as big of a fan of. I see myself using something like this only at times when I haven’t checked up in a few days, but want to make a dent in the most recent blogs posted.

{p.s. have any of you noticed yet that I’m totes working on my March Madness bracket in the background? shhh…}

My big beef with Feedly is that there’s no list of all your subscribed blogs on the left, like there is on Bloglovin’ and Google Reader. Perhaps there’s a way to figure out how to do that…I still have a lot of tinkering to do with it before I decide what I’m going to use come July!

To add my blog on Feedly, your best bet is to add my blog to Google Reader now…then you can easily import it if you decide to switch!

howtoaddRSS

Just click that little RSS feed button. While we’re at it, don’t forget that you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Happy RSS Reading!

Do you keep up with blogs on an RSS Reader?

How many blogs (healthy living, food, news, comedy, etc.) do you read regularly?

Friday Things + Beautiful Blogger Award

Happy Friday! Before I get down to business about this Blogger Award, I’ve got some Friday things to share. Usually when I run out of things to blog about during the week, I link up a bunch of cool stuff and call it “Friday Faves”, but today’s list is a pretty mixed bag – it’s got both the good and the bad. So without further ado…

1) I have one more tale to end the blanket-of-leaves saga! After I posted about us getting slighted by whoever does the sidewalk cleaning ’round here on Wednesday, we got a bit more rainy and windy weather. But to my surprise, I awoke to this on Thursday morning:

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The sidewalk is cleared! Whether it was the City of Sacramento that did it, or the guy who lives downstairs, I guess we’ll never know. But entering and exiting my apartment is slightly less hazardous now! Hooray!

2) As I mentioned on Wednesday I’ve got some tests comin’ up on Monday. Well, in order to make my prep easier, I’m on a insoluble-fiber-free diet. This is pretty much the opposite of what I usually try to include in my diet! I am all about whole grains and veggies. UGH!

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Obviously cheese isn’t a source of fiber, but for some reason the instructions my doctor gave me said not to eat it 😦 So I’ve been sticking to bland foods –> Yogurt, pureed butternut squash soup, white bread, etc. Last night I made chicken with cream of mushroom soup over rice, which is a meal we begged my mom to make for us all the time as kids…serious comfort food right there!

3) Cloudy/rainy days —> Seriously cool sunsets!

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4) I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award! Actually, I was nominated for two awards. Carly nominated me for the BB Award and Emily sent me a nod for the Liebster Award. Because the Beautiful Blogger award requires a little less work, I am choosing to pass it along to 7 other bloggers…but I am still going to answer 7 of the questions Emily chose as part of her Liebster Award questionnaire!

First things first, a huge thank you to Carly for thinking of me. The day that she nominated me was the day I drafted my kinda bummy blog post…getting this nomination was a huge mood booster! Carly was one of the first bloggers I started following when I was trying to find fellow bloggers close to my age with similar interests. Carly’s blog Snack Therapy has continued to be one of my favorites – she’s got a great blog voice and adds so much humor to everything she writes! So thank you again Carly, and on we go:

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Beautiful Blogger Award Rules:

The idea behind the Beautiful Blogger Award is to recognize some of the bloggers we follow for their hard work and inspiration.

1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.

7 things about myself

1. I was born in San Francisco, and until earlier this year, I had a brick with my name and birthday on the SF side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Apparently it’s gone now 😦 Womp womp. Must find new way to keep my name immortal!

2. I have never dyed my hair (except with red food coloring in middle school for Crazy Hair Day) and I have donated two ponytails to Locks of Love. Kinda funny to think that two kids are walking around with my naturally blonde hair on their heads!

3. I have visited 16 countries: US, Mexico, France, Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Monaco (technically a principality) and Italy. The question is: where should I go next?!

4. In middle school, I developed acid reflux because my self-chosen lunches consisted of pepperoni pizza, Hot Cheetos, and Pepsi. I would say that I’m angry at my former self for starting me down a path of gastrointestinal issues, but hey man. Former self only weighed like 110 pounds, she could do whatever she wanted! I would’ve done the same thing! (Wait……. I did.)

5. I’m named after my two grandfathers’ mothers: Katherine for my mom’s Italian grandmother, and Rose for my dad’s grandmother Rose, who was known for her beautiful singing voice.

6. I love trivia. Jeopardy, crossword puzzles, pub trivia, you name it.

7. My drinks of choice are red wine, whiskey gin and/or ginger-based cocktails, and IPAs! But if you’d asked me 2 years ago, the answer would have been white wine, vodka, and lagers, so who knows how long this will last 🙂

7 Questions from Emily at “Have Your Cake And…”!  {from the Liebster Award – Thanks Emily!}

1) Would you rather spend your money on food or clothes? I would totally rather spend it on clothes, but it never turns out that way! Most of my money goes to groceries, drinks, & the occasional restaurant meal!

2) What’s your favorite holiday cookie? I pretty much love ANYTHING with peppermint and chocolate together. And I love making and decorating sugar cookies!

3) When you’re angry or upset, how do you calm yourself down? Taking a shower, if possible. Haha. The steam is relaxing, it’s good quality alone time, and is a perfect place to think. I ALWAYS feel better after a shower!

4) How many alarms do you set to wake up? Just one. I always snooze at least once, and sometimes twice.

5) Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate all the way, no question.

6) Do you prefer flying or driving? Usually flying, actually. I don’t like the actual act of flying, but for some reason I love airports!

7) How many cups of coffee/tea do you drink in a day? I drink 1 cup of tea, but I refill it

Now it is my turn to nominate some fellow bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award.

1. Emily at Have Your Cake And…  I was totally already going to nominate her for this before she had nominated me for the Liebster! I love Emily’s food philosophy and Food Bucket List… I need to make one of my own!
2. Olivia at oliviaobryon.com Beautiful photos, beautiful writing, AND a beautiful girl! Olivia has it all.
3. Alisha at Alisha’s Appetite I’ve only been following her blog for a short time but it’s quickly becoming a fave! Everything Alisha makes looks delicious, and we share a love of hot sauce/sriracha!
4. Theresa at A Spoonful of Sunshine Carly also nominated Theresa and it is totally fitting. Theresa finds the coolest products and recipes, but if we’re being honest here I mostly stalk her blog for glimpses of life at my alma mater, UCSB, where she goes to school! 🙂
5. Megan at Braise the Roof Megan is one of my favorite bloggers. She’s a fellow francophile, has a healthy appetite, and was Honey Bee Bee for Halloween. I mean COME ON.
6. Adrienne at Cultured Chaos I’ve thrown Adrienne a shout out before, and I’ll do it again. We studied together in France and, as a result, share a love of French cuisine. She also contributes to MyFrenchLife.com!
7. Kaitlin at California Endless Summer Kaitlin is another college student I stalk when I want to remember the glory days 🙂 She is truly adventurous in the kitchen AND otherwise – she recently ran a half marathon!

Have a great weekend! Wish me luck!

My Favorite Food Bloggers

Did you ever have imaginary friends as a kid? I didn’t. I might have created personalities for my Barbies, but I never understood how someone could pretend they had a friend who wasn’t actually by their side.

Until now.

My name is Katie, and I have imaginary blog friends. Jessica. Lauren. Tina. Adrianna. Katie. All women who I’ve never met, but yet feel like I know everything about. I have nearly 15 food blogs bookmarked that I check every day not only to find new recipes, but also to hear stories from my “friends”. Jessica loves cheese…I love cheese! Lauren rationalizes her baking and cooking with jogging…I do that too!

Not only can these girls cook, they also often share smart and motivating philosophies about food and healthy dieting. Many of you know I used to be Food Network obsessed. Now, I prefer to read the blogs of fellow 20-somethings that I can actually relate to! Here’s a list of just a couple of my favorite blogs and a blurb about each one! Continue reading