Texas Toasty

Looking for adventure around every corner.


Learning Japanese Progress Update #1

Back in November, I wrote a little blog post about my plans for learning Japanese. Here’s a little update.

So where am I in Rosetta Stone?

Since the last time I wrote, I moved on from Level 1, Unit 1…to Level 1, Unit 2. Yep, that’s it. I’m not very proud of this. I haven’t spent nearly as much time with the program as I should.

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However, I did start taking a Japanese class. Continue reading



The Soylent Pioneer

After about six months of waiting, our Soylent finally arrived.

Okay, I’ll let you get it out of your system. Yes, Soylent Green is people, yes people, I’m eating people, etc etc etc, you don’t have to make that joke because yes it’s been made about a billion times now.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, let’s get to the actual product called Soylent. What is it? It’s a meal replacement designed to have all the vitamins, minerals, nutritional bits, fiber, fairy dust, calories, and whatever you need to eat for an entire day. 100% of everything. It’s designed to keep you full and designed to be easy and convenient so you don’t have to think about your meals or plan anything. You just drink it and go. One pouch of powder and a bottle of oil with some water creates two liters of your next day’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s designed so you can live off of it indefinitely. Oh, and it’s completely vegan.


Now that I’ve had a fair amount of Soylent and I’m still alive, I will answer some questions that it’s possible you may have. Things I wondered before it finally arrived.

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Pen Pals and Lifelong Friends

It was a day in March, a day like any ordinary day. I got up just like I do every day, put my bra on like everyone else (one boob at a time), and went off to work. Little did I know that on that day, a day that began so unimportantly, that my life would be forever changed.

The year was 2013, and it was the day the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club was founded. And just exactly what was this club? What did they stand for? What did they do?

The club was founded on the principal that some of us just really really need candy. Good candy.

British candy.

When I found out about this club, I immediately knew that these were my kind of people. “I’m a geek girl!” I exclaimed as I signed up immediately, angsting over exactly which of the multitude of geek loves I possess I would make it into my Top Five. “I need candy!” I told my first pen pal. Historically, I don’t really need candy, but when your pen pal is from the UK, the letter is really just a formality, right?**

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Recipe: Quick Corn and Potato Chowder

It’s that time of year in Texas, the month of cold weather that blows in, sticks around long enough to make us Southerners miserable, then leaves, cackling as we once more bake in the heat and humidity. And since it’s that time of year, I really start to crave soups. Soups with hearty root vegetables and thick broths that warm you from the inside. Soups that we can’t enjoy the rest of the year without fear of melting.

It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve been to the grocery store and we didn’t feel like going anywhere tonight, so I had to be a bit resourceful if I didn’t want cup noodles. Luckily, I did brave the cold on Saturday morning and went to the co-op to pick up a Bountiful Basket, so I had some fresh veggies ready to make into a soup. Combined with a well-stocked pantry and freezer, I had ingredients to make a delicious chowder. Mind you, this is a non-paleo, definitely non-vegan, carb and starch laden recipe, so those of you that are on diets, look away.


Ingredients all prepped and ready to go, I popped a tablespoon of butter into the pot and tossed in a half a package of frozen bacon once the butter melted. I always keep emergency bacon in the freezer, and it’s actually a lot easier to cut when it’s frozen and ever so slightly defrosted.

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Learning Japanese: Beginning, Failure, and Restarting

Back around April, I picked up Rosetta Stone Levels 1-3 for Japanese. If you pay close attention to the price on Amazon, you can sometimes find it for pretty cheap (the price fluctuates pretty heavily and as of right this moment, it’s $200, which is actually cheaper than what I paid.)

I was pretty excited to begin, and I blew through the first few lessons pretty quickly. The program is divided up into 3 levels, each with 4 units and each unit has four lessons. I felt pretty good about Unit 1, but when I got to Unit 2, the difficulty seemed to ramp up quite a bit and I got discouraged. So I quit. My three month trial of the online subscription ran up, and I’d just kind of stopped.


But I still want to learn Japanese, and I paid for this software, so now, six months later, what do I do? Here’s my plan:

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Review: Taste Japan Subscription Box

Note: I originally posted this review on the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club blog on August 15th, 2014. This is a repost, since I worked really hard on it and I enjoyed the service, so I wanted to share it on my own blog.

Hello, everyone! I’m so happy with the overwhelming response we got from the Okashi Connection subscription box review. I think some other people were happy with that response too! After that resounding “YES!” we got when I asked if y’all wanted more subscription box reviews, another Japanese candy company named Taste Japan asked if they could send me a box to review. And, well, I couldn’t say no!


Let’s start with the details: Taste Japan is a monthly Japanese candy and snack subscription box that comes straight from Japan. It costs £15 (includes shipping), which is about $25USD. They ship internationally to anywhere the Japanese Post Office will deliver. I forgot to weigh my sample box, but the boxes should have about 400-650g of candy and snacks per month, according to their site. From the weight of my box, I think this was pretty spot on. They take payment on the 20th of the month and your box ships on the last day of the month each month. From there, since it’s coming from Japan, expect it to take about 1-3 weeks. They include an information guide with the boxes so you know what you’re eating. My example box didn’t have a guide included due to time constraints, but they said the next ones will have the guides.

So, what’s inside the box? Taste Japan’s goal is to provide seasonal and unique items in your boxes, things you can’t find anywhere but Japan and things you probably haven’t heard of. I think they succeeded. Mostly. More on that later. On to the snacks! All Photos can be made larger if you click them!

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Review: My Geeky Goodies Subscription Box + Code

Note: I originally posted this review on the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club blog on Semptember 2nd, 2014. This is a repost, since I worked really hard on it and I enjoyed the service, so I wanted to share it on my own blog.

Hello, Iggles! Today I’m reviewing a subscription box sent to me by the company, My Geeky Goodies! They’re a fairly new geeky swag type of subscription box, coming into a market that’s already got some pretty serious contenders, so let’s see how they did!

The box was nice and big, though it wasn’t stuffed. I’m assuming they’re leaving room for possibly larger items in the future. It was one of the largest packages for subscription boxes I’ve gotten, so just letting you know it might not fit in your mailbox if they continue to use the same box! Each box is guaranteed to contain either a t-shirt OR a Funko POP! vinyl figure. As a special gift to My Geeky Goodies founders, this box included both of those items as well as a Game of Thrones Mystery Mini.

Box Contents:

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