(Belated) March Foodie Penpals

After two months of solid shipping success, there was bound to be a hiccup at some point. After a minor holdup at the post office, I finally got my hands on my box from Sarah, from Walking on my Own 2 Feet. Let me just say — that old saying, “good things come to those who wait”? So true!

Sarah let me know that she typically tries to put her Penpals packages together with a theme in mind — and mine was no different. So, just as if she had peeked into the notes from one of my friends (and a fabulous health coach/fitness instructor), she decided the theme of my box should be “Stay Hydrated!”. On most normal days, I really do try to make sure I’m fulfilling my water intake goal but there are some days I have a little more coffee than I should and let my water slip a bit.

The first two treats I pulled out were a bottle of Zico (chocolate flavor — something new to try!) and a carton of Trader Joe’s vanilla soymilk. What luck! That crosses one thing off my shopping list for the week — yay!

Next up were some other treats — a new box of green tea (absolutely essential in my never-ending effort to cut back on my coffee consumption, and another thing crossed off my shopping list), 3 fruit bars (great to throw in my bag when I’m on the run to prevent unhealthy snack grabs), and a packet of protein shake mix in birthday cake flavor (another new treat to try!).

And last, but definitely not least, was a brand new mini Bobble bottle and spare filter! Now — I’m not lacking at all in terms of water bottles. In fact I now have 10. That all have their own specific purpose — I swear! But there are a few really cool things about this bottle — 1) it’s small enough to fit into my regular purse, so I have no excuse not to have a bottle of water on me at all times, 2) since it filters as I drink, I can pretty much fill it up anywhere while I’m out and about, and 3) it adds a bit of “pop” to my current collection, which is consists of almost all blue bottles.

What? Don't you all have 10 water bottles stashed in your cabinet?

See? Told you good things come to those who wait.

And, despite our differences in football loyalties (*cough* Go Bears!*cough*), I managed to have way too much fun putting together a box to send to Mackenzie from Wealth is Health. Head over her blog to see what treats I sent her way!

Want to see some of my other loot

Want to join in the fun?
Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean organizes Foodie Penpals, so in her word’s here’s what it’s all about!

  • 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. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe … use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

The deadline for the April group has past, but it’s not too early to start thinking about May!

If you’re interested in participating for May, please send an email to Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:

Your full name
Your email address
Your blog name/address
Your twitter handle (if applicable)
WHETHER YOU ARE A US RESIDENT OR CANADIAN RESIDENT. – this is SUPER important so she can get you on the right list!

** You need to email Lindsay by May 4th, as pairings will be emailed on May 5th! **

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February Foodie Penpals

After having so much fun with my first Foodie Penpals experience last month, I was beyond stoked for this month’s exchange. This month my package was coming from Emily over at The Last Corral and I couldn’t wait. As soon as Emily let me know what date my package was supposed to arrive, it took all I had not to stalk my postwoman — or my friend that I had house- and puppy-sitting for me while I was off eating my way through Gulfport and Louisiana…

As soon as I was home with my delivery pick-up ticket in hand, I headed over to the post office to pick up my stash. Where it took every ounce of self-control to not rip it open in the middle of the post office floor. Or maybe I was just motivated by my lack of desire not to share any of the treasures that Emily had picked out for me.

First things first, was Emily’s note — wishing me a happy trip South and and some quick explanation of the items she had included in my box.

In my initial message to Emily, I had mentioned that I am a little bit obsessed with the sweet and salty snack combination. And she did not disappoint. The next thing I pulled out of the box was a batch of Chocolate Caramel Pretzels, followed by a small package of Virginia peanuts. Yum, yum, and YUM!

Chocolate Caramel Pretzels and Virginia Diner Peanuts!

Next up were two cookies, which Emily had described as “delicious vegan delights”. I was slightly skeptical — especially considering how picky I am when it comes to Snickerdoodles — but there is not one crumb of either cookie left in my kitchen.

Vegan Snickerdoodle and Peanut Butter Cookies!

The next thing I picked up was a box of Green Tea with Pomegranate by Yogi Tea. I will always be a coffee person first, but I am really starting to come to terms with a nightly tea ritual. Much better than a midnight cup of coffee, right? And of all the teas out there, Yogi Tea tends to be my favorite pick — not only do I love the great, restorative flavor blends but the fun little thoughts on every single tea bag always help me recenter myself. And who knew there was a Yogi Tea out there that I haven’t tried yet? Yay!

A New Mug and Tea

The very last thing I pulled out of the box was quite possibly my favorite thing yet. A brand new mug. I am 99.9% sure that Emily didn’t know about the tragedy that struck my all-time favorite mug, so pulling this new owl mug out of the box made me laugh and feel like just maybe I could move on after all. It may not hold 24 ounces of coffee, and it may not be covered in fun Bahstun-inspired sayings, but it has quickly become my new favorite mug. I’ve found myself washing it by hand more than once a day, just so it can be ready for my next cup of coffee or tea. And in my kitchen, that’s true affection.

Thank you so much, Emily!

And in normal Lena fashion, I had to stop myself from going overboard in my shopping and preparing the package I sent out for Anne of Running Los Annegeles. I really hope she enjoyed her package, even half as much as I enjoyed my package from Emily!

Wanna join in the fun next month?
Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean organizes Foodie Penpals, so in her word’s here’s what it’s all about!

  • 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. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe … use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

If you’re interested in participating for March, please send an email to Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:

Your full name
Your email address
Your blog name/address
Your twitter handle (if applicable)
WHETHER YOU ARE A US RESIDENT OR CANADIAN RESIDENT. – this is SUPER important so she can get you on the right list!

** Lindsay will need to hear from you by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th! **

January Foodie Penpals

When Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean started the #FoodiePenpals exchange back in the fall, I immediately knew I wanted to get involved. But all too soon the September deadline passed. Lindsey assured me it was okay — I could still get involved for the October swap. Then that deadline passed. And then before I knew it, November and December had disappeared. But as we were coming up on the new year, there was no way I was letting another month pass me by, and I jumped on the chance to send my commitment email in — on time. By this point the exchange list included over 100 participants. WOW! I couldn’t wait to get started.

One of my favorite parts of the way the #FoodiePenpals exchange is set up is that while I ship a box to one person, a different person will be shipping a box to me. It’s like one big, never-ending circle of connections. I will be honest, the most stressful part of the whole process though was figuring out what I was going to pack up to send away — trying to make sure I’m not duplicating something that person has received in an earlier month (there are a LOT of my Boston friends involved in this, naturally), staying on budget (it’s a $15 spending limit), and then the packaging itself. I obviously didn’t want anything that would break or spoil while in transit. So much to think about!

Laura Jayne from Laura Lives Life emailed me right away to find out if I had any food preferences or allergies. I assured her that aside from lima beans and peas, I was an anything-goes kind of girl. Since she would be shipping my box from Utah — a state I’ve never been to — I knew there would be treats I have never had before, and I couldn’t wait. Not surprisingly, Laura followed up right on time to let me know when my box had been shipped out and when I should be able to expect it to arrive at my door. I definitely circled the date on my calendar. There’s nothing like spending a Monday waiting for the doorbell to just make the day drag on more than normal.


First thing I pulled out of the box were two chocolate bars — one filled with peanut butter and one filled with caramel sea salt. I’m not sure exactly how she knew, but caramel, sea salt, and chocolate? I might have squealed out loud when I read the wrapper.


The next thing I pulled out was a piece of taffy, and then another, and then another, and then… You get the picture. True story — I have been on the hunt for saltwater taffy for years. Not just any kind though. The kind my dad and I used to get every fall at our county fair. And one I haven’t had in over 10 years. The guilt of which I used to talk him into buying a box for me and shipping it 1000 miles. However, now the taffy beast has been unleashed. So while Laura painstakingly picked out 30+ different flavors of taffy for me to try, I reverted to my 5-year old self and practically inhaled each and every piece. I cannot, or rather will not, confirm or deny if the taffy lasted longer than 24 hours. Maybe I can blame that on the dog?


Next up was a loaf of Raisin Cinnamon Whole Wheat bread — a favorite for Laura before she had to give up gluten. And at less than 60 calories a slice, I went ahead and threw a piece, maybe two, in my toaster mere minutes after my discovery. It was so delicious, I immediately portioned out some of the loaf for the freezer — in part to avoid it spoiling before I could enjoy it all and then also to limit the chance of the dog making a play for it while I’m downstairs doing laundry. I have no doubt in my mind that this is one loaf he’d be sure to sniff out and swipe if given the opportunity. What can I say, he’s got great taste.

And last, but definitely not least, Laura included a box of Tulsi tea (holy basil) and creamed raspberry-flavored honey. While I tend to be more of a coffee drinker — okay, I’m a coffee fiend — I do enjoy the occasional cup of tea, particularly after a very tiring, and trying, day. In her note, Laura explained that the tea is supposed to have healing properties and always helps her when she has a headache. Considering the day I had, I immediately put the water on and grabbed a mug. The smell of the tea was so refreshing and calming, I couldn’t wait for it to steep. And since I was on a roll with everything else, I decided to treat myself to a swipe of the honey for just a touch of sweetness in the tea. An absolutely perfect ending to the evening.

One of the only rules from Lindsay is that each box must include something written — this could be a note explaining something in the box, a recipe, or just a note to say “hi”. Laura Jayne included a very nice notecard that gave me some insight as to what she included in my box, simple but so personal at the same time. This card may have been my favorite part of the whole box. There’s something so refreshing and encouraging about receiving something hand-written and addressed to you alone.

While I was working my way through the treats I received from Laura, the box of Boston-based food goods I had packed up was on its way to Washington to Michelle of Tacoma Aroma Eats. Check out her site to what she thought of everything!

Want to see what I got in my last box?

Interested in getting involved in future #FoodiePenpals exchanges? Read up here and follow the instructions to get in touch with Lindsay! The more the merrier — and hungrier!

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