Category Archives: Photography

Le Reve Patisserie and Cafe in Wauwatosa

If there is one restaurant in my hometown that I have been talking about getting to for ages, it’s Le Reve. I finally accomplished that goal on Saturday. My friend Danielle and I get together at least once a month and we planned ahead on a shopping and Le Reve date. Both of our husbands don’t like French food (or so they think) and so I had the perfect dinner companion to go with.

Oh and please excuse my iPhone photos. I wish I could have brought my DSLR, but that just wasn’t possible because we went shopping at Mayfair before and after dinner!

We got there around 5:15 and found the restaurant busy, but nowhere near as packed as when we left. I would definitely recommend going early!

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Isn’t the interior adorable?

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We were seated upstairs and it was cozy, yet not cramped at all.

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Danielle was shocked by how small her diet coke was, but I told her it must have been the kind they sell outside the US that isn’t sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

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We started with Crostini de Brie and literally said oooh and aaah as we ate it. Total comfort food!

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I ordered a crepe with vegetables (legumes printaniers) for my entree. It was tres bien!

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We both still had room to share a dessert, so we ran downstairs to check out them out and decide on what to get. They were all so beautiful!

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We finally settled on a Gateau de Noisettes–a Hazelnut Cake. The sweet older couple next to us teased about which of us would get the sole raspberry. Danielle got it. I preferred to have the toasted hazelnuts. I am a huge hazelnut fan. Have been ever since I lived in Europe.

I only wish I could have snapped a better photo. This was an amazing cake!

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I also ordered some macarons to bring home with me. Can you believe that I had never had macarons before? I have always admired how pretty and petite they are, but never had the opportunity to try one. Not even in Paris.

I had to dig out my DSLR on Sunday and shoot some photos of these gorgeous and delicious cookies.

Le Reve macarons

pink macaron

green macaron

While I thought the pink was pretty, I actually preferred the green and cream colored cookies.

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I hope to get back to Le Reve very soon! I’d love to try breakfast or lunch there next. Or maybe just go for dessert and coffee sometime.

Le Rêve Patisserie & Café
7610 Harwood Avenue
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
(414) 778-3333

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Fall colors and falling

I felt a little cursed this weekend. All around me, people were falling and nothing seemed to be going my way.

I won’t get into too much detail, but my dad took a really bad spill while we were out hiking yesterday. He’s in a lot of pain, but will be ok with lots of rest and ice over the next couple of days/weeks. I witnessed it and that was no fun, especially because I couldn’t do anything to stop him from falling.

Despite what happened, we had a gorgeous day to experience the fall colors at Lapham Peak.

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After I left my parents’s house, I went to the mall to use a coupon that offered $50 off a purchase of $100 or more. The store that offered it was a mess. It felt like Black Friday or Christmas Eve in there. I couldn’t find a thing I liked or that worked with all of the coupon restrictions.

I headed upstairs in the store to check out their coats and an older woman who was about 7 steps below me fell on the escalator and hit her head. It was my first time seeing someone fall on an escalator like that. I work in a place where kids always fool around on escalators and they are not the place to be doing so.

She was fine in the end and I was shaken up because I had already witnessed a bad fall. It was not fun to witness two older people hurting themselves in one day.

Onto happier things, like comfort food!

I made pancakes this morning and topped them with fresh raspberries and the raspberry enlightenment from Penzey’s, which was a great combination! Craig didn’t have the fresh raspberries and wasn’t as impressed with the raspberry sauce.

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Craig and I went to Target (my happy place) this afternoon and I found these, so into the cart they went. They are really good and super sweet, so I couldn’t eat too many without feeling sugared out. I compensated by buying spinach and eating a big salad for dinner and packing one for lunch tomorrow.

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My work is having a bake sale fundraiser for a co-worker who got hurt in a bad accident a couple of months ago. So, I put on my apron today and baked Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Yes, our kitchen floor is totally 60’s and not my fav and I have a hole in my slipper. I wear these LL Bean slippers out until they are completely unwearable.

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Here I am baking–thanks to my sweet hubby for taking photos.

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mixing up the muffin batter

I just realized it’s my first time making anything for a bake sale! I am glad the muffins turned out really well and I hope there are a lot of pumpkin fans among my co-workers.

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I got to the gym twice this weekend. I managed to work hard enough yesterday that I feel some muscle fatigue today. I attribute it to the squats I did with weights and on the bosu with just my body weight. My knee has been aching lately, so I am trying to be careful and yet build up the muscles around it to make sure I don’t injure it.

I ended the weekend by shopping online. My black boots are falling apart on the bottom (seems to be a theme with my shoes lately) and so I bought these beauties in black. I have been looking everywhere for new tall black boots, but they have to be flat, comfortable and look sort of European to me (this is how I define it instead of “cowboy boots”/American), etc. I just hope I love these when I get them in the mail and that they fit great. I have better luck with shopping online lately, so I took the risk and figure I can always return them.

Time to get ready for bed! I can’t believe the weekend is over already. I hope next weekend is a bit more calm (and this week is too).

Passion tea lime cocktail

I made a tasty and refreshing summer cocktail over the weekend.

passion lime cocktail

I love to get Tazo Passion teas from Starbucks. So, I decided to save some money and purchase my own iced tea bags.

Tazo Iced Passion

When I found out I was selected to try out Sweet ‘N Low sweetener in a cocktail, I knew that I wanted to use my newly purchased tea bags to create one.

The lovely folks at Foodbuzz sent me this cocktail shaker, Sweet ‘N Low packets and cocktail recipes.

Sweet N' Low and cocktail shaker

sweet n' low and cocktail recipes

Tazo Iced Passion tea and cocktail shaker

I brewed the tea per the instructions, added some Sweet ‘N Low packets to the pitcher and had yummy tea!

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I added some vodka, fresh lime and more Sweet ‘N Low to make my Passion Tea Lime cocktail.

pouring the sweet n' low

It was tasty and refreshing. The Sweet ‘N Low definitely helped to sweeten up the tea a bit, as it can be a bit blah on it’s own (in my opinion).

Disclosure: I received a cocktail shaker, 10 Sweet ‘N Low samples and recipes through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Sweet’N Low and I received compensation for this post.

Things that made me happy this week

The littlest things made me happy at the end of this week…

One of my work programs is near the end and this makes me so happy. September and October are quiet months at my job and I look forward to a whole week of vacation in September. I’m already planning out my days–Costco with mom to get my passport photos and other things, a haircut, a visit with my friend Danielle, cleaning, reading lots of magazines and biking.

The Wisconsin Avenue bridge opened on Thursday. That means a shorter commute for me! Hooray! Seriously, you know you are getting old when things like this make you smile. 🙂

Milwaukee bus

Picking kale and a red pepper from my garden. I was slacking on picking the kale. I think I’ll make a salad and some kale chips out of this tomorrow.

Kale and red pepper

Call me a crazy cat lady, but our pets entertain us on a daily basis, keep us company and give us love. Karma is always happy to work the camera.

Karma working the camera

Tanzi was enjoying the 4 x 100 women’s relay with me last night. Go USA!! That race was the bomb. I haven’t admitted it on the blog, but I am a total Olympics junkie. I don’t watch a lot of sports throughout the year, but I can’t get enough of the Olympics.

Tanzi watching Track and Field

Germany is pretty much my favorite country. My friend Laurie just moved to Munich this week, coincidentally, on the day that the OPI Germany colors came out. I was so excited to see the names they came up with for the collection. Now I need to get to the store and buy a few or maybe a box of the Ger-minis.

My fav name–probably “Don’t Pretzel My Buttons.” I like the color too! I kind of love German pretzels.

Germany-Collection-Color-Chart

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I enjoyed this sample at work and it was really good. The texture and flavor were both nice.

Perfectly Simple Zone Peanut Crunch bar

The sales ladies at Sephora were super nice today. Two helped me–one returned the Clinque BB cream I didn’t care for and the other gave me some samples of two other BB creams to try–Boscia and Dr. Brandt’s. I am excited to try both! Thanks for making me walk out of your store on a positive note, Sephora.

I also received great customer service at Aveda today. I went in for my free b-day perfume and also got this free sample of a new product.

free samples

Dinner tonight was exactly what I wanted. I made pasta with zucchini and eggplant cooked in olive oil and garlic. I had a cocktail that was delicious and honestly made Craig and I pretty tipsy. I don’t drink vodka that often, in fact, I doubt I had had it since college! Anyway, more on that cocktail in a future post.

Pasta with zucchini and eggplant, cocktail

Shh..don’t tell my husband, but Ryan Lochte makes this girl smile. I totally have a crush on him. Don’t most women in America right now?

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Oh and finally beating my husband in tennis this morning made my competitive side happy. I think it was the Fitmixer aminos that helped!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Wisconsin Cheese Tour: Hook’s Cheese Company

The second stop on the Wisconsin Cheese Tour on June 1st included heading out to the historic “Shake Rag” district of beautiful Mineral Point to check out Hook’s Cheese company. They make over 30 different types of award-winning cheeses and have been doing so for 40 years.

Hook's Cheese Company, Mineral Point

I wished I had more time to check out Mineral Point because it looked so cute.

Mineral Point, WI

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Hook's cheese

Tony Hook gave us a tour while his wife Julie spiced and bagged cheese curds in the background!

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bagging up cheese curds

Mmmm cheese curds from Hook's (they're delicious)

spicing up the curds

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We went in the “cave,” which was naturally really cold and made it hard to snap photos!

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cheese storage at Hooks

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blue cheese being aged

You could walk in and purchase cheese in the store on-site.

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Fresh curd today, Hooks Cheese Mineral Point

Like all of the cheese companies we toured, Hooks had won many awards over the years. Julie Hook is the only woman to have won the World championship, which was in 1982 for a Colby variety.

Hook's cheese awards

Finally it was a food blogger’s favorite part of a cheese company tour–time to taste the delicious cheese! I especially loved the cheddar varieties. Hook’s uses a special aging process to make sure that the 5, 7 and 10 year old cheddar cheeses are always moist and creamy.

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While most bloggers seemed to stay away from it, I had some of the blue and found it to be very tasty and unique. I like it best on salads. Hook’s Blue cheese is prized by chefs.

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Even though Tony explained it during our tour, I found a good explanation summarizing how blue cheese is made:

Blue cheese starts out like any other cheese: Cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk is curdled. Then moldy bread is ground into fine dust and mixed into the curds as a starter for the mold. Whey is removed from the curds, and the product is pressed and drained. Some recipes induce the mold after formation by making holes in the cheese and injecting the penicillium roqueforti bacteria. Then the cheese is aged; many are still aged in caves enriched with the moldy bacteria. The ripening of the cheese allows the bacteria and microbes to act on the curds of the cheese changing its structure. Mold forms and breaks complex molecules into simple ones, which smooths out the fibrous structure of the cheese and provides its pungent odor and sharp, salty flavor.

This machine drills holes into the cheese for the blue cheese making process.

machine that puts holes in cheese for the blue aging process

Tony clearly loves his job. He was so smiley and happy the entire time we toured. Thanks to Tony and Julie for letting us bloggers invade your creamery and check out the production!

Tony Hook, Hook's cheese

On Saturday morning, a few of us stopped by the Hook’s booth at the Madison Farmers market to say hi and purchase some cheese. I got some curds to bring back. 🙂 They were really fresh and squeaky (in my opinion, the sign of a good curd). Tony and Julie are there every Saturday, so if you’re in the area, be sure to support a really wonderful local cheese!

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Thanks to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for sponsoring my trip to this cheese company. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wisconsin Cheese Tour: Chalet Cheese

Our first stop on the Wisconsin cheese tour was in Monroe. We checked out Chalet cheese co-op, which is the only creamery in the United States that is making Limburger cheese. Their limburger represents 20 percent of the company’s production. They are also known for their Baby Swiss, German Brick, Swiss, Natural Smoked Swiss and rBST-free cheese.

Bloggers and bus

Chalet cheese is a farmer-owned co-op which was founded in 1885. Their products are distributed under brands such as Deppeler and Country Castle.

Chalet Cheese co-op, Monroe

Chalet cheese

Cheesemaker Myron Olson introduced us to the history of Chalet and how he got into the cheese making business. He clearly loves his job! I would too and doubt I’d ever really get sick of being around cheese!

Chalet cheese

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Karis and I sported lovely hair nets and all in order to tour the facility.

Karis and I

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Cheese making tools.

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Holly’s face is priceless here!

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I tried a piece of the curd and it didn’t really taste like anything at that point.

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It was cool to see the guys working while we toured.

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The Limburger cheese room. It was stinky in there, but I got used to it after a while.

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The wooden boards the cheese sits on have been inoculated with the correct bacteria.

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I believe this was Swiss cheese before it was put into the warm room.

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Clearly they have won many awards over the years!

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Packaging the cheese up!

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Myron showed us how they take a part of the Swiss cheese out to test the flavor.

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After the tour, we were able to try the varieties. I loved the baby swiss!

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Baby swiss cheese, Chalet

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I honestly didn’t love the limburger. It’s definitely an acquired taste. Although, I must admit that it was yummy with the strawberry jam.

Limburger and strawberry jam

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While the public can’t tour the facility, you can walk in and buy some cheese!

Chalet cheese prices

I loved this sign!

Love this sign!

Thank you to Myron Olson and Chalet for giving us a wonderful and in-depth tour of your facility! Next time I am in Green County, I’d love to go back there and buy some cheese from the co-op, especially their baby Swiss. I did see that the West Allis cheese and sausage shoppe sells the Deppeler Swiss.

Chalet Cheese Co-op

I was able to tour Chalet cheese co-op as part of a trip paid for by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing board. My opinions are my own.

Good news and a visit to the Octagon House

My Friday started out with iced coffee and a blueberry lemon scone at work.

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As my husband called my cell mid-morning to ask me something, I saw an e-mail come through that caught my eye. It was from the company that rejected my application earlier in the week! A recruiter e-mailed me saying she would love to talk further! I couldn’t believe my luck and ran outside to do a little happy dance. Now I am just playing the waiting game–I wrote her back but I suspect she left early for the weekend because she hasn’t contacted me back yet. Eek! I have lots of studying to do tomorrow! The only problem is that I don’t know if it’s for that original position I applied for or another one that I qualified for.

This was my happy face after I found out the news.

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Last night, we went to get some more plants from our garden from Home Depot. I had a $10 gift card I earned from Daily Feats, so an early girl tomato plant, cilantro and a sweet red pepper plant cost us only 50 cents!

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We are checking in my in-laws’ house this weekend and I snapped this picture in their backyard.

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I tried the whole wheat tortilla that Qdoba just started offering (finally) and it was pretty good. The burrito definitely tasted healthier.

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After the rain cleared out this morning, we headed out to Watertown for a little road trip. Our destination was the Octagon House.

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I had been to it before, but it was Craig’s first time.

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Such a pretty and unique house!

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Loved the awesome staircase.

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We liked our tour–it lasted for over an hour and it was only us with another couple. We paid $7 each for the tour, which was a fair price.

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The first kindergarten building is right behind the Octagon House. It was moved there from another site in town.

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This was my favorite piece from inside the Octagon House.

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Such a fun little road trip to a really neat destination! Our guide did a great job portraying Harvey, the naughty son in the Richards family.

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Afterwards, we drove by some historic houses in Watertown which were really pretty as well.

This one is a bed and breakfast.

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And we ended our trip to the area with a stop at the Johnson Creek outlets, where I found the Nike free TR fit shoes I really wanted for only $36.91 with tax! What a great deal. All of their shoes were an extra 30% off this weekend. I lucked out with a good color combo too. I can’t wait to try these out at the gym.

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How is your holiday weekend going so far?

Wordless Friday

I’m at work tonight and on a 15 minute break right now. I didn’t have time to write anything with these photos, but this is what my Friday looked like. The day also included getting high speed internet installed at our house, a doctor visit this afternoon and a walk around the neighborhood. Finally got my Vitamin D tested, so that number will be interesting to see when the labs come back.

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Have a lovely Friday night!

Photography fun

I’ve been having a pretty good week and it’s hard to believe it’s nearly over. How has yours been?

I was happy to receive all four flavors of the newest Larabar, ūber, this week. I had purchased the bananas foster flavor a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed that bar.

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Tried the roasted nut roll today as a snack and I liked this flavor more than the bananas foster one!

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I finally learned how to take a screen shot of my iPhone and took a photo of my favorite podcast, Dishing up Nutrition, which I was listening to on a lunch break.

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I went over to my brother’s house on Tuesday to give him some info on interviewing for a job and get a copy of his resume. In return, we got three different types of tomato plants from my green thumbed brother! Can’t wait to have a garden again!

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Last night, I had to make a quick meal for dinner so I poached two eggs up in the poached egg pan I love so much. I can’t imagine poaching eggs without it and it’s my favorite way to eat them.

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My sandwich included lettuce from my bro’s garden, tomato, Frank’s Red Hot and some cheese.

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Then I dashed off to an Advanced Digital Photography class through the Milwaukee rec department. I learned so much in two hours!

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I was happy to finally know more about taking pictures with our Canon DSLR. I wish I could share everything I learned, but it’s all so very technical. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to get into manual mode with your camera, take a class and you’ll be happy you did! It helped that our teacher was excellent and he is a newspaper photographer, so it’s something he does every single day.

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We “went on assignment” and he taught us how we would adjust the camera for action, a beach scene, portrait, etc. It was a good approach for helping us learn directly about why we would adjust the camera that way and how pictures can turn out poorly if you don’t.

"on assignment"

Have you ever taken a photography class? I hadn’t taken one since getting an A in my college photography class. That was when film still existed and digital was just coming out on the market! I loved developing film and experimenting with the camera.

Über happy when walking outside

How’s your week going? Mine has flown by so far! Here’s what I have been up to, eating and doing for exercise.

I really enjoy walking outside, so I’m trying to get out as much as possible, especially when it’s cool and dry. Last week was so rainy and now I am craving the outdoors.

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Tonight, I walked around the neighborhood after I got back from the gym. I wore my favorite Nike shoes. They’re like the frees, but they are super old (from 2006). I really want a pair of frees for the gym. I no longer need to wear running shoes because I don’t run that much. Anyone have Nike frees or something similar and love them?

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I had a salad at work the other day and splurged on a mandarin sugary drink. The taste was sort of weird. I like Sprecher orange soda much more.

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When presented with a very tempting open cat food bag, our little piggies cannot resist going into it physically.

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I had this for lunch today. It was pretty good. Definitely grew on me as I ate more bites. It didn’t really fill me up enough though.

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The tofu in it was delicious!

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Dessert was one of my favorite flavors of yogurt-Brown Cow’s maple.

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My snack today was this bar. I’ll admit that the name of the bar made me buy it (I’m a bit obsessed with anything German) and made me title this post with the word über. Well the flavor sounded good too. I didn’t love it and I am not sure I would buy it again.

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Gotta go make a phone call and read some blogs after that!