Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Christian Mingle… The True Life Story!

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So I said I would never blog about this. Yet, here I am. I guess as the old adage goes, never say never. Actually that saying also applies to dating sites in general. Yes, I was one of those people that always said I would never join a dating site, never! To me that was something you did if you were like 50 and totally desperate. Rather judgey, I know. But it’s okay, because in the end, I had to eat crow.

I joined a dating site for the first time back in 2009, before I ever found out about Christian Mingle. It all started with that flyer… that darn flyer.

In April of 2009 my parents, my sister Cecily, my cousin Pam, and I took a trip to Dallas to attend a concert called The Rock & Worship Roadshow. It was a huge concert with a bunch of different bands held at the American Airlines Center. As we were waiting in line before the show someone came around passing out flyers for a new Christian dating site called, JC Match. Yes, as in Jesus Christ Match, hence the “JC”. (Which gives me a total 90’s Christian kid flashback, by the way… ya know, “who’s in the house?, JC!”. Anyone?? Okay, obscure reference to Carmen thrown in there for no extra charge. Anyway, moving on.)

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(Yep, I saved this! I just had to! It doesn’t say it on the flyer but their tagline was “Let His heart lead yours”. Yep, that’s exactly what we were doing. ;))

They handed one to each of us three girls and as soon as they walked away, we laughed about it, threw it in our purses, and didn’t give it another thought. Until later that night, that is.

Back at the hotel after the show, me and my cousin are the only ones still awake, so she grabs my lap top computer… and the flyer! I was in disbelief that she would even consider signing up for a dating site let alone a dating site called “JC Match”. But alas, it didn’t take long before we were both totally engrossed in going from profile to profile. It was like a man menu! And some of these profiles must have been pretty funny because all I remember is us both laughing so hard as we scrolled through for like an hour. If nothing else it was sure entertaining!

She signed up that same night, I believe. And after some prodding from her, I soon followed suit. Then I took the liberty of signing my very reluctant sister up against her will soon after that. While nothing ever came of it for me and my cousin (who by the way, is now married to a really good guy that she did not meet on a dating site), it sure did for my sister. Believe it or not she met a guy who was actually at that very same concert and got the very same flyer!

Soon we had a complete stranger coming to our house to meet her face to face. Which honestly was a strange mix of weird and exciting all at the same time. I mean he ended up being a nice person and thankfully was not a psycho, but I seriously do not think my dad slept that whole night lol. He was on guard just in case this dude tried anything! While things between them didn’t work out… little did we know this was only beginning of her dating site journey.

So fast forward to 2011, when she signs herself up for Christian Mingle. Then in a stroke of evil genius, she turned the tables on me and signed me up against my will. Which of course I think brought her a sick sense of satisfaction. And while nothing came of it for me… once again, it sure did for her lol. And this time in a big way.

Soon we had yet another guy coming to our house to meet her face to face lol. And as it turns out the second time was a charm for her! The two met face to face at the end of May 2011 and before we knew it… about 6 months later, she was married.  So yes, my sister has a Christian Mingle success story. Proof that these stories do exist and that these things can happen. And that they aren’t totally lying to us in those super cheesy commercials with their rather questionable advice, such as the cringe worthy tagline - "Sometimes we wait for God to make the next move, when God is saying, ‘It’s your time to act'. The next move is yours. Find God’s match for you at ChristianMingle.com.”

So even though thus far, nothing has even remotely come of it for me, I am still on Christian Mingle. While I’m not a paying subscriber at the moment, I’m on there! Though in all honesty, sometimes I have no idea why lol.  Boredom? Maybe. The small hope that something could eventually come of it? Maybe… probably. However, my time on there has led me to some very, shall we say, interesting observations that I thought I would share with you guys!

I should preface by saying that these are not meant to offend anyone. But c’mon, you have to admit, if you are on one of these dating sites for any amount of time there are certain things you just can’t help but notice. Things that just make you scratch your head in bewilderment. Things that simply frighten you.

My Top 5 Christian Mingle Observations - 

1. Let’s start this off with what I’m going to call the “Hunter & Gatherer Phenomenon”. This one’s for the guys that obviously love to fish and hunt. I’m totally not the fishing & hunting kinda girl but if that’s what you’re into, cool. But maybe, just maybe the picture of you holding up the bloody dead fish is not the best Christian Mingle profile picture. Just putting that out there. It’s kinda like when your cat puts a dead mouse on your door step. No really, go with me here. Your cat brings you the mouse to show that they are big strong hunters and they want you to be proud… but really you’re just disgusted. I recently came across a guy holding up two dead ducks by the neck… didn’t know whether to cry or puke.

2. Okay, now to address the guys who take shirtless photos of themselves lying in bed. There is seriously no point in doing this unless you look like friggin’ Ryan Gossling. And even then a picture like that just makes you look conceited. And no girl wants to date a guy who thinks he’s prettier than she is.

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(Yes, if you’re paying attention this is the second blog in a row with a Ryan Gossling “Hey Girl”meme. Don’t judge me.)

Plus, there’s the whole we’re on Christian Mingle and you’re like trying to seduce me thing (ahem, especially if you’re not even doing a good job at it) that just seems kinda wrong.

3. The grandpa’s and the men old enough to be my father… le sigh. I’m sorry but I ain’t no gold digger, gramps and I do not have daddy issues. Just no.

4. The guys who are in their late 20’s or early 30’s and are looking for girls that are 18 and 19. Simple, I don’t trust you. I just don’t. Sorry… not sorry. I see this so often and it just really baffles me as the thought of dating a guy who is 18 or 19 weirds me out! C’mon, do you want to date or babysit? Just sayin’. Someone please explain this phenomenon to me because I really don’t get it.

5. Lastly, the guys who make goofy or slightly scary faces on their profile picture. I admit it, I’ve clicked on you, just because I was like “What the what??” So if the idea was to get attention then… mission accomplished? lol Actually, oddly enough, a couple of you even turned out to be cute… in your normal pictures that is. But I just wonder if maybe there’s a slightly less disturbing way to get us girls to click onto your profile.

Edit: So I had a hunch there would be more to add to the list. Ahem, #6. Trying to pass off pictures of celebrities as yourself. Um, hello, I know that's Paul Walker!  You're not fooling anyone!!

So those are my top 5 observations! I’m sure as time goes on, there will be lots more to add to the list. If you are or have ever been a Christian Mingler or an E-Hamonizer, or any of the other many dating sites out there, I want to hear from you! Your funny observations, stories, the good, the bad, the ugly! If ya got ‘em, share ‘em!

All of this is not to say or sound like I have it figured out and that I don’t sound like a total dork on my profile. Because I’m pretty sure that I do lol. It’s weird talking about yourself, posting pictures… basically putting yourself on display like cattle at the county fair. Ack! It’s awkward.

I confess that I act like I don’t care but yet I’ve written and rewritten my profile… and I still cringe when I read it. And I confess that sometimes, in admitted shallowness, I click on a guys photos first. I have a weird habit of sizing someone up based on their music taste (It says a lot about someone, okay?)… I know it’s silly but I can’t help it! I have the hardest time forcing myself, even if I’m really interested in a guy, to send one of those super cheesy “smiles” or greetings. And I confess that I’ve thought hundreds of times about just deleting my account.

Ah, the world of online dating is a weird one, for sure. But obviously, for some people, it does work. So whether you’re letting His heart lead yours or you’ve stopped waiting on God and made the first move… I wish you luck. God speed, my friend.

Yep, in case you haven’t heard, there’s a movie. Now, I haven’t watched it but I believe my sister and her hubs watched it on their anniversary last year. Because you know, how could they not, right? Seeing as how Christian Mingle brought them together I guess they owed them that much.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Currently…

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(Scripture verse that’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been getting back into health & fitness.)

Haven’t done one of these “Currently” posts in ages! Always had fun with these! Danielle over at the lovely blog, Sometimes Sweet, just posted one the other day and I felt inspired to jump back in and post one of my own!

Doing: Testing out a new cookie recipe to take to the bookstore! Actually if they turn out right we’re also going to pass them out to all of the moms at church on Mothers Day! They are sugar cookies with frosting rosettes piped on top. Since I learned how to do the frosting rosettes (which are so easy, btw) I’ve been a little obsessed! I want to put them on everything!

Watching: I know I’m a little tardy to the party but I just started watching Once Upon A Time on Netflix! My sister has been telling me to watch it for a while now but for some reason I just never did. There’s 66 episodes on Netflix and I’m on episode 4 lol, so a lot to catch up on. Really liking it so far! Also have been watching Dancing with the Stars! I know it’s lame but I love it! Don’t judge me lol. My favorites are Rumer Willis (she’s amazing!!) and Riker Lynch.

Planning: To sell my baked goods at market days soon! I’ve been wanting to try a market days for a while now so I’m hoping to finally do it in June or July! A little nervous… as an introvert these kinds of things tend to freak me out a little lol. But I’m excited and having fun planning it all out!

Thinking About: Health and fitness a lot lately. I’ve been really trying to eat healthy and workout. Learning how to better take care of my body. Realizing that if my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit that I need to honor God by taking care of it. I’m blessed to have a body that can move, walk, run, jump and dance. I want to take joy in that. That maybe my workouts can be a form of worship to the Lord. I guess trying to connect fitness to something deeper than just vanity. I want to be healthy - mind, body, soul, and spirit. I want to have the health and energy that I need to live the life God wants me to live. Okay, rambling, sorry about that lol. Just a lot of random thoughts on the subject!

Looking Forward To: My sister visiting in July! Really missing that girl and can’t wait to get to spend some time with her! We’re planning a day trip to Austin to hang out, eat too much delicious food, do too much shopping on SoCo, and maybe get coffee and a French Macaron or two.

Loving: Eating healthy & working out again! My cousin Pam, who I’m really close to, is on a health and fitness journey of her own. She actually started getting me to go to Zumba class with her when I visit her in Corpus. Now, I really can’t dance worth two cents lol but I think I do an okay job of keeping up! It’s just so much fun and you get such an awesome workout!  I love it!

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(Had to post this picture because, at least for me, this feels so true lol! Can’t quite shake it like some of the other gals… yet. But as long as I’m not in front of the mirror and I force myself to forget about all the other people dancing next to me, I’m fine!)

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(And because yes, I’m a fan of the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” memes, I had to post this one!)

Also cooking and eating healthy, whole foods is something I’m really loving! I love to cook so learning to cook healthy has been fun! Oh and if you’re looking for some fun Zumba videos on YouTube these girls rock it: RefitRev.

What are you currently into or up to lately? Feel free to post in the comment section or let me know if you do one on your blog, would love to read it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Introducing Sugar Town Sweets & Eats!

Hey friends! So if you know me or have followed my blog then you know all about my love and passion for baking. As evidenced of course by the plethora of recipes I’ve shared here over the years lol. Well I’ve been selling my baked goods at a local bookstore/coffee shop in my town for over a year now. And from that, I have been getting really amazing feedback and also lots of orders! This has been so much fun for me and such a huge blessing in my life! My biggest order so far being 100 brownies & 100 cookies for an event called Hope Spoken in Dallas. Okay, so I may have gotten myself in a little over my head with that one lol, but it all turned out great, thankfully! And I’m so grateful for every opportunity that comes my way.

All this to say that I finally decided to create a Facebook to sell my baked goods and to help get my name out there! And after going over countless name ideas and with the help of my family, I finally settled on Sugar Town Sweets & Eats! Naming it after a song by Nancy Sinatra that my sister and I have loved for years called, “Sugar Town”! The song is so happy and cute, it just made sense. Plus, music being my second love affair after baking, I’m always happy when the two can intersect in some way.

On the Sugar Town Sweets & Eats Facebook you can take a gander at the yummy treats I sell and message me if you would like to order! Right now I’m selling a variety of cupcakes/cakes, cookies, brownies, muffins and other pastries. I can also ship certain treats such as cookies, brownies, and muffins, if you’re interested! For a complete run down and price list, click on the “About” page on the Facebook!

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(My first ever business cards! I ordered these from an Etsy shop called Seed To Sprout Design. Lovely designs and great service! I definitely recommend them!)

I believe in things that are homemade, handmade, and from scratch. And I believe that the best quality ingredients make for the best quality product. There's nothing that I love more than being in my kitchen, listening to good music, and baking my heart out. It's what truly makes me the happiest!

So please check out and “like” my page… and if you feel so inclined, place an order! I would be happy to bake for you!

www.facebook.com/sugartownsweetsandeats

Some photos of the baked goods I offer:

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PicMonkey Collagenutella

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Follow Your Arrow – DIY Arrow Ornaments

 

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Follow Your Arrow by 2014 Golden Cove on Grooveshark

I’m a firm believer in handmade gifts. There’s something so special about receiving something that was made just for you by the hands of someone you love. Likewise, it feels really rewarding to make something for someone that they will not only love but that will also have a special meaning to them.

That was the idea behind the gift I made for my sister Cecily this past Christmas. In all honesty, I had been planning this gift for months…. but being the world class procrastinator that I am (le sigh) I didn’t finish it till after Christmas. I know, major Christmas gift fail. But I swear Christmas comes faster every year and we all know just how very slyly it sneaks up on us. But I did finally finish it (yay me!) … and thanks to me, my sister got to open one more Christmas gift in January lol.

These cute little arrow ornaments were actually a last minute addition to her gift. I came across this tutorial by the lovely Jess Gatlyn of Boho Baby Bump and knew I had to make one for my sister. One of her favorite songs lately is “Follow Your Arrow” by country singer, Kacey Musgraves. I hadn’t heard the song until she put it on a mix cd for me some months ago. I’m not a huge fan (and that might an understatement lol) of country music but this one isn’t too bad, I guess (in other words, it’s listenable). Because of the message of the song she had mentioned that an arrow had kind of become a special symbol to her. So naturally I thought of her when I saw this craft.

I was going to use it as an accent on top of the wrapped gift in place of a bow but that didn’t end up working out. So instead I just tucked it into the case of the mix cd I made for her (we recently started sending each other mix cds in the mail).

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They were so easy and fun to make that I made about 5 of them for myself. I posted the video of Jess making them below and I’ll also link to her blog. But basically all you do is paint wooden skewers, cut the arrowheads out of scrapbook paper & hot glue them on, glue on feathers and a string to hang it and cover that with a strip of washi tape, and voilà! There was something really relaxing about painting the skewers in different colors and patterns. Just a really fun & cute craft!

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Now this baby, this butterfly dream catcher/wall hang was the real gift… the one that took me a while to start and to finish lol. 

She and I had found this cute & hippy looking butterfly doily when we took a day trip to Austin last summer. We went shopping on South Congress for the first time ever and saw it lying on a shelf in what became one of our favorite shops, New Bohemia. I believe she said “If I buy this will you make it into a dream catcher for me?”. That was in July… so needless to say, she wasn’t expecting it lol. I had been making myself dream catchers out of doilies for a while just as a fun and decorative diy to hang in my bedroom.  This one was a lot of fun to make and I was really happy that she loved it!

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This was how I used my arrow ornaments, to decorate a Valentines tree! I’ve been seeing cute little Valentines trees all over Pinterest and wanted to try it! Loved the way it looked with the arrows! It made for some cute and quirky Valentines décor, I think!

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Some more Valentines décor in the kitchen, just because I believe in being festive! :)

Hope you guys spend an afternoon making a few of these lovelies for yourself or someone you love!

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For Jess’s written tutorial , click here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Phrase for 2015… His Plan is Better

I know, I know, we’re already a couple months into 2015 but I’m somewhat behind on blogging here, so bear with me as I race to catch up.

It’s a pretty common practice among us bloggers to choose a word for the New Year. A word that will set the tone so to speak and inspire the direction we hope our year takes. If you’ve been a part of the blogosphere as a writer or even just as a reader then I’m sure you know this. I’ve done this for the past few years now and I love the idea of it. It always made me feel hopeful for the new year, for a new start when maybe I was having a hard time doing that. But I have to be honest, this year… I could not even go there. I just couldn’t. I was totally and completely over it. Every pretty, inspiring, fluffy word felt fake and phony to me.

You see, the thing is, I was really dreading the clock striking 12 and the year changing into 2015. All that it meant to me was a list, a long list of all the things I didn’t accomplish in 2014. All the things I hoped and dreamed for it to be that it just wasn’t. It meant so much of what I planned that just didn’t happen. It meant that I had to face all the ways I didn’t change and didn’t grow. It was swallowing some hard truths… and it hurt. And I was a mere minute from falling apart at the thought of midnight on New Years Eve. And I hate that because I love celebrating that holiday with my family. But that’s where my heart was.

Somehow I made it through New Years Eve without any tears… this I believe is due in part to the yummy cheese fondue that we ate that night lol. But a few nights later, I was thinking about my plans that didn’t happen last year as I was scrolling through pictures of people who were doing that very thing. Needless to say, that sort of broke me. In tears at that point I started praying and asking God why weren’t these things happening for me? Why does it seem impossible for me to get to where I’ve been trying to go for what feels like forever?

Now, trust me, I’m not one to over spiritualize things and I try to be very very careful about saying the words “God told me” or “God spoke to me”… but at that moment I really did feel Him place these words into my heart: My plan is better.

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(Source)

That was it. No bells or whistles. Just four words… a reminder that His plan is better.  Was it God? I hope so. I think so. All I know is that it was a huge comfort to me and it’s something I’ve been repeating to myself since then. His plan is better. Everytime I start to worry, stress, or get antsy… His plan is better. Everytime I start to look back in regret and frustration or look forward in fear and confusion…. His plan is better. Everytime I get tempted to ignore His voice and go my own way… His plan is better.

So this year, I don’t have a word… I have a whole phrase. His plan is better.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dear Blog….

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(Photo of the lovely and dreamy Junk Gypsy store in Round Top, TX! Seriously one of my favorite places! Plan to blog about my recent trips there soon!)

Oh hello little blog of mine. Long time no talk, eh? I know it may not seem like it, but I've missed you.

You dear blog, hold 6 years of me. Six years! Crazy, huh? My how time flies. Six years of my thoughts, feelings, random ramblings, and of course two of my favorite things – lots of music & lots of recipes!

When we began this journey into the blogosphere in the summer of 2009, it was simply just a way for me to share lyrics and poems that I was writing at that time. Just a virtual home for words never put to music but had instead lived on paper, written in pen (remember that lost art?). So I tacked a name on you that my sister actually came up with (in reference to my love of writing & baking) and used lyrics from my favorite Tristan Prettyman song as a url. A url, which in hindsight, doesn't really make much sense considering the title is completely different... but that's beside the point. The point is, that was my only plan and intention for you. I didn't realize at that time what you would come to mean to me. I didn't realize that you would become a place for me to share so much of myself.

I loved sharing in this space. I loved watching it change and transform... watching myself change and transform on these pages. We may not have ever had hundreds of followers or comments... but again, that wasn't really the point anyway, was it? There was a time that you became such a huge part of my life that I couldn't imagine not sharing my life with you.

But alas, things change, dear blog. I have changed... and blogging has definitely changed. Sharing in these spaces is not what it used to be (thanks instagram ;)).

It's now been 7 months since I've written. That's the longest I've ever been away from you. When I stopped writing last summer it wasn't intentional by any means and it wasn't for a lack of things to say. For some reason I just couldn't bring myself to come here. I think I needed some space.

But lately the need to share has been tugging at my heart again. We all have so much to share with the world. And to share our words, thoughts, feelings, experiences, talents, hopes, dreams, joys, and pains is so important. We need each others stories. And to share them not only helps others but also speaks to the truth that we matter. To share is to believe that you matter, that your story matters. That you have something of value and worth to offer the world... and trust me, we all do.

So all this to say that I do have things to share, that I want to share. But I can't make you any promises, dear blog... I know myself too well. I don't know what this space will become or what direction it will take, if it takes any direction at all. But I just think my words need to find a home here again.


"I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to let your God given creativity surface. The world needs you. The church needs you. We need your ideas, your insights, your colors, Your contribution. What you are passionate about was created in you to make a splash in this life that no one else can make. Make it now." - Nicole Johnson


P.S
Okay blog, so maybe it's a little overly sentimental (if not slightly self indulgent) but I wanted to share some of our favorite moments from this space over the years. The ones that still make me smile, the ones I feel most proud of.... so here's to you! ;)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Foodie Penpals Reveal!

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Hey my fellow foodies! It’s been so quiet over here on my little corner of the internet lately as I have become the worst blogger ever! Ugh! Seriously, can you hear the crickets? Because I can. But I thought I would break my silence to tell you (if you’re still here, that is) about this awesomely delish Foodie Penpals box I got for June!

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Above is a picture of just a few of the yummy treats in my box, taken immediately after I excitedly rummaged through it. And yes, that bag does say Ketchup chips lol. So I was totally spoiled this month by Raina over at The Home Plate! Raina shares her delish recipes as well as other FPP boxes she’s received, so definitely check out her blog!

Raina and I both have a love of coffee, chocolate, and all things salty and sweet… so I knew I was paired with the perfect person lol. In my opinion, the most fun Foodie Penpals boxes are always the ones that are filled to the brim with some of your favorite things as well as a few things that are new to you. Which is exactly what this box was. Here is what it was chock full of:

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I seriously did not know where to start lol.

One of the first things I was curious to try were the Ketchup Chips. Raina said that they are her favorites and that even though they sound so wrong, they are oh so right. I’ll admit, I was skeptical lol. But I have to say that she is right! They really are so good! They have a tangy tomato-y flavor that I actually really liked!

The Dill Pickle Popcorn has a light tangy pickle taste and is so good! The Cheerwine Cherry Soda was one of my favorite things! I love cherry soda so this was right up my ally! It was enjoyed along with some of the chips & popcorn during the season premiere of one of my favorite shows, Switched at Birth! Made the perfect snack!

Okay, the coffee with Chicory… oh man, so delish!! How am I just barely discovering this?? Drinking this up fast!

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A closer look at all the assorted chocolate treats!!! Think I’ve tried just about everything now. I have a few things left in my chocolate stash but it is quickly dwindling lol.

Some of my favorites were the Goo Goo Cluster, I think it was the first one I ever tried. The nuts, caramel, marshmallow, and chocolate… addicting! Also, the chocolate covered graham crackers & s’mores graham cracker, chocolate bar with maple, the chocolate covered espresso beans, and the chocolate digestives! Yes, this box was all about the chocolate, ha!

I thought the Chocolate Digestives (such an odd name for a cookie, right?) were especially interesting. They’re basically round cookies, that to me taste somewhat like graham crackers, with one side covered in chocolate. They’re simple but good! And from what I hear very popular in the UK.

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Here’s a picture of the Cheerwine cherry soda! So refreshing! Wish I could get this in my area!

I want thank Raina for this crazy awesome box! It was such a fun one! If you want to know what I sent her click here! And also thank you to Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for organizing all this foodie fun! :)

P.S Just realized this is my 11th time participating in Foodie Penpals! lol So that should give you some idea of how much fun this program is and how much I love it! So if you want to join in, get some yummy treats sent straight to your door, and make some new friends in the process, the info is below!

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Here’s some details about FPP in case you want to join in for July:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written.
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.
-Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!