Monday Munchies: Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

I was skeptical when I came across this recipe on womenshealthmag.com. However, one bite was all it took to hook me. This is actually delicious! I’ve done the math so that you can just use a typically yogurt container, instead of measuring out the 1/2 cup called for in the original recipe. I list exactly what I purchased, but I don’t think brands are all that important, quantity is more important.

What You Need

5.3oz container of Chobani Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 tbsp + 2.25tsp Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix

7oz container, or larger, with lid

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Indie Pen Makers Update

About 2.5 years ago, I wrote about Indie Pen makers (can you believe I only owned 20 pens? Incredible!). Since then, I’ve learned about many more pen makers, both that have started recently and that I simply didn’t know about at the time.

For the purposes of this list, I’m putting the following limitations on the term “Indie Maker”:

  • Only or regularly works with customers to make unique/custom pens
  • Fully handmade, uses CNC lathes with hand finishing, or 3D prints custom pen designs
  • Creates kitless pens
  • Not sold in stores (or only sold in local brick & mortar store)
  • Makes one-off or short runs
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Monday Munchies: Matcha Latte

I’m starting a new series: Monday Munchies. I’ll be sharing recipes that I prepare often. These may be slightly modified recipes I’ve found online or in cookbooks — I’ll give credit where credit is due — or things I’ve “invented” or even recipes passed down in my family. Regardless, they’ll be recipes I find delicious.

My matcha latte
Morning Deliciousness

I’ve dubbed this week’s recipe a Matcha Latte — although Matcha Milk Tea would work, too. This recipe didn’t come from any one place. I just really like matcha tea, and wanted to try making it at home during the lockdown last year. I drink one of these every morning; it makes a good breakfast substitute for those of us who don’t like to actually eat breakfast. I hope you like it, too.

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Ritz: Shy Guy to World Class Thief

As Dante, Bumbledore, and Sandy have all had dedicated posts, it’s only fair that Ritz get one as well. However, you should read Dante’s post before this one, as I won’t be repeating much information.

Early Life

I didn’t interact much with Ritz before we abduct — erm… adopted him from “the streets.” Technically, it was an under-porch den, but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Jim describes him as “very cautious and standoffish.”

On the day we’d planned to catch the siblings, we managed to nab Angus without too much trouble, and wrangle him into the carrier. We foolishly thought that, because they were small, we could fit them into a single carrier without much trouble. Oh, the naivete.

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Dante: Feral Kitten to “Evil Genius”

A few posts back, I wrote about silver linings, mentioning our kittens. Those two are such sweethearts. Dante and Ritz have such distinct personalities, there’s never a dull moment around the house.

In the Beginning

Dante, especially, is a unique little fruitloop. He started life as an unnamed feral kitten with 3 brothers fed by half the neighborhood. Jim, however, was one of their two primary benefactors, and decided to name them Angus, an all-black kitty; Boo, a grey tabby; Ritz, our posh tuxedo boy; and Sparky, the fancy, multicolor tabby (later Dante).

From foreground to background: Boo, Ritz, Sparky/Dante (left), Angus, and Mama Moon.
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Kudos to Etsy

With April right around the corner, the time approaches that many dread: Mother’s Day. With a deceased mother, I especially dislike the multitude of emails “reminding” me how important it is that I find the right present.

But this year, there’s a shining light of hope that I won’t have to go through this every year until I die.

I want to take a moment to applaud Etsy for being the first — that I’ve seen — to make a move that, admittedly is long overdue.

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Día de Muertos, Making of the Pen

I’m back with the second entry in the chronicle of my Día de Muertos pen. If you read my first entry then you know that this means I received permission to share the mock-up images for my custom pen.

Be forewarned, it will likely be a while before my next update. I’ll explain why I think so a bit later. For now, let’s pick up where I left off.

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Teleworking, 1 Year Later

As the COVID vaccine rolls out and we really start thinking about “life after COVID,” I find myself wondering what work will be like. Today marks one year since I started teleworking 100% of the time.

At first, I was concerned about it. I didn’t like working from home, mainly because I didn’t (still don’t) have a good office setup — I sit at my dining room table. Also, I was sure that the distractions and easy access to food/snacks would prove problematic for me. The lack of dual monitors struck me as an additional hurdle to leap.

It’s Not Bad, Though

As time marched on, I began to see the benefits of teleworking. My commute is seconds long. Pajama pants are perfectly acceptable. Furry coworkers are abundant.

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Unpopular Fountain Pen Opinions

Alright, I’ve got a potentially (probably) divisive post for you today. I’m sharing opinions I have that seem to be unpopular based on what I’ve seen and heard in fountain pen groups and gatherings. Let’s jump in, shall we? I’ll start slow, leaving the doozies until the end.

“Rainbow”/”Iridescent” Finish

It’s been on a lot of pens in the past couple of years, and I think it’s ugly and overpriced. From Visconti’s Rainbow Watermark to TWSBI’s Vac 700r Iris and Conklin’s Duragraph Rainbow, pens at all price points are using the colorful finish.

I don’t know what to call it. It’s not a proper rainbow — the colors aren’t in order and there isn’t a good red or purple. It’s not iridescent — the colors don’t change, or even appear to change, at different angles. Regardless, I bought a seven piece cutlery set with the same finish about 3 years ago for $11 thinking it would be super cool and ended up woefully disappointed. I definitely won’t be investing in a pen with it.

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Keeping to My Goal

As I’ve stated previously, my current pen rule is to be more thoughtful with my pen purchases. I’m doing my best to purchase pens that will make me happy to own, not just happy to buy.

It can be difficult sometimes. Pens may have misleading marketing photos — I’m looking at you, Sailor Pro Gear Slim Red Supernova — or zero size reference, for example. So, pens you think will be be fabulous may turn out to be not so great, or even totally wrong for you.

The question then, is what do you do? My plan was always to immediately return any pen that didn’t make me 100% happy upon unboxing. I put that plan in place after the Red Supernova debacle. In theory, it was a great plan. In practice, it hit a major snag the next time a pen didn’t meet that standard.

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