I approve: Puffins

No, sillies. Not the birds, the cereal.

These delicious puffs of peanut butter delight are truly addictive. And, at $4.50 a box they BETTER be.

Barbara's Bakery is an organic company that has produced cereals, cookies, granola bars, etc. for the past 36 years. Barbara's does not use refined white sugar, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives...aka it is delicious and goooood for you.

Which is good news for me, because I literally eat this stuff all day long. It's the perfect cereal to put in a baggie and take around campus with you because it tastes just as good dry as it does with milk. Think peanut butter Captain Crunch, but a little puffier and more peanut buttery.

I have yet to try the cinnamon, original or honey rice flavors because I'm afraid they will be a disappointment, but take my word for it...the PB ones are phenom. If I do eat them with milk, I definitely recommend using regular milk and not soy. The puffs are sweet and substantial enough that the soymilk makes them almost too rich.

Available at Hy-vee's natural organic section, Clover's natural market (try the Forum one, the Broadway one is usually sold-out of peanut butter flavor.)


I approve: People who comment on posts

does anyone read this?

(Danielle, you don't count.)

If so, please comment. You can even comment using your aim name (supa supa easy). I accept only good comments and positive feedback...just kidding. Shoot me down. Argue with me. DO YOU HATE FREAKIN' RIDING BOOTS? tell me how much you think they suck! DID YOU GO OUT AND TRY KOMBUCHA AND HAVE A LIFE-ALTERING EXPERIENCE (not yet? you will.) tell me about it!

This is an exercise in a little something we journalism majors call "citizen journalism." This means the public aka bloggers get to tell their story sans reporter – read: no editing! This, however, only works if there is a dichotomy between the blogger (me) and the readers (yes...that is you.)

It seems you are having a little trouble getting into the mood- so here we go. I'm dimming the lights, lighting some candles, and putting on my sexiest fingerless gloves just for you guys (I tried). Let's get this relationship started, ow ow.

I approve: Starbuck's new Honey Latte

Starbucks Short Cup

Starbucks has just released a new flavor of latte – the honey latte. A fan of honey, coffee, and Starbucks in general (okay, I'm a walking cliche) I decided to try the latte today during my graphic design class.

I ordered a double (two shots of espresso) tall nonfat honey latte. I really enjoy the strong coffee taste and extra BUZZZ that the extra espresso shot adds, but for the faint of heart I recommend ordering a regular.

I really like the honey latte. Obviously, it's a matter of personal taste, but the sweet and slightly burnt flavor of the honey contrasts nicely with the rich espresso. Step-off nonfat mocha, you have met your match.

I approve: Kanye West's "Glow in the Dark Tour 2008"

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I am paying any amount to see this.

If you are interested in seeing what will potentially be the best live hip-hop performance of the year, then listen up.

Kanye, Lupe Fiasco, N.E.R.D. (read: Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley) and Rihanna are scheduled to perform in Chicago this May 23rd.

Both Kanye and Lupe are from Chicago (mayne) and have never performed together on their hometown stage. Also, since Pharrell will be present, the trio can perform songs from their new hip-hop supergroup CRS (Kanye, Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell) The group raps over Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser” on “Us Placers.” It's sick.

oh, and Rihanna can sing "Umbrella." If only Hov would join the tour...

I approve: Tolani scarves

Those who know me well know that I have a soft spot for anything Italian...particularly designers. One of my favorite Italian designers is Missoni, but being a college student living in the middle of Missouri (yay) somewhat hampers my ability to attain lots of my favorite designer items. The Tolani scarf, however, is the poor man's Missoni; you get pashmina-like fringed edges combined with the Missoni zig-zag print. I love this thing.

I received an e-mail while in class today from Swank Boutique, one of my favorite places to shop here in Columbia. It's hard to find good stuff in mid-MO, and Swank is one of the few stores here that carries great brands like Juicy Couture, French Connection, Hanky Panky, True Religion, etc. They JUST got these Tolani scarves in, and once I saw the photograph of Jessica Alba wearing the zig-zag pattern, I had to get one. Ah consumer whore-ism.

The Tolani scarves are expensive. Don't get me wrong, you're paying for quality and design, but at $75 a pop, these babies are a small investment. Their mission statement reads:

Welcome to Tolani Collection. Our designers have combined elements of traditional cultures and blended with the modern design elements to create elegant and fun to wear products. We are committed to producing cutting edge design and the highest quality handcrafted clothing.

Beware: if you decide to purchase one in Columbia there are waiting lists. I just happened to stumble upon Swank the day they received the new shipment so I was lucky enough to have the chance to choose my colors and design (similar to the one shown to the left.) The scarf is so versatile; it can be worn with literally anything. This scarf can pull any outfit together; always a plus for college students who live in hoodies and jeans.

For those outside of the CoMO area (lucky you) the scarves are available at a number of online stores.

Blue Heaven Boutique
Boutique to You

And, if you cannot drop that much cash moneydolladollabills on a scarf, there are some more inexpensive options. Urbanoutfitters Shredded Square Scarf Lurex Two Toned Oblong Scarf features a number of scarves for around $30, while H&M is always featuring scarves year-round in stores. Throw on some riding boots, a long cardigan, and a Tolani and you're pretty much good to go.


I approve: my trusty Riding Boots

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My current Mon-Fri schedule requires that I essentially live in black spandex pilates pants, white v-neck Hanes t-shirts, and underarmour. Therefore, I cherish the weekends when I can finally dry my hair, put on some real clothes, and LOOK HOT to go out. For days like this (slushy snow, 28 degrees) there's nothing more comforting than capping a killer outfit with the perfect leather boots.

I have approved riding boots ever since I bought my first pair almost 2 years ago. Secretly, I hope they never go out of style, and for practicality reasons, I doubt they will. The reason I am re-approving these now is because they are both stylish, comfortable AND, most importantly, WARM. (To up the warmth factor even more, I sometimes wear wool socks inside my boots when I go out...those stumbles from the bars downtown to my west campus home in the early morn are pretty chilly.) Boots are also a wonderful alternative to heels. I already don't trust myself to teeter on 4" stilleto heels, let alone trust my inebriated self. Boots, flat or heeled, are a lot easier on those precious ankles, plus they keep your calves a lot warmer if you opt for tights. (don't get me started, I could blog all-night long about tights, I love them so much.)

My particular pair of riding boots are Franco Sarto, purchased for half their obnoxous $400 asking price from the magical Nordstrom Rack (which has a HUGE selection of Joe's Jeans, if you're in the market) in Schaumburg, Illinois. THE name, however, in leather riding boots has to be Frye. They are available at almost all large department stores, specialty boutiques -think activeendeavors.com, shopbop.com, urbanoutfitters.com- and of course, fryeboots.com. (their engineer style is featured to the right)

"The Frye Company is the oldest continuously operated shoe company in the United States. The Company was founded in 1863 by John A. Frye, a well to do shoemaker from England. John A. Frye ran the business for nearly 50 years. After his death in 1911, his family continued to run the company until 1945.

Frye products have a long and illustrious history; Frye boots were worn by soldiers for both sides of America's Civil War, soldiers in the Spanish- American war, and for Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. When home-steading drew adventurous New England families to the West during the mid and late 1800's many of the pioneers wore Frye Boots for the long journey.

Frye's current Harness Boots are rooted in tradition and continue to draw influence from the Cavalry. In 1938, on a trip to Washington, D.C., John A. Frye's grandson and namesake met a U.S. Navy Admiral who confided that he had trouble finding the Wellington style he liked so much. As a favor, John agreed to make him a pair. Frye continued to fill requests for these boots through the second World War. During World War II, Frye supplied thousands of servicemen with Frye's Wellingtons, known as Jet Boots, by mail order . Jet Boots traveled the world on feet of U.S. servicemen during the war. Even General Patton wore a pair.

In the 1960's, Frye reintroduced the Campus Boot, from its 1860
original, featuring a bulky toe and chunky heel that came to epitomize the attitude and the style of the 60's and 70's. There was nothing like the "new" Frye Boot on the market, and consumers began to demand "Original Frye's." When searching for items to represent the America of the 60's, the Smithsonian Institute chose a pair of Frye Boots, which remain on display today.

Today Frye's classic Harness Boot holds a place in American culture.
The Harness Boot has been pictured in fashion spreads internationally and enjoys strong sales in the United States, Europe and Japan." (fryeboots.com)

These Frye Sunny Tall Cuff Boots, from Urban Outfitters, rock. Butter yellow is my favorite color, and combining it with soft leather is like having the perfect purse on your feet- ie: Ambika's Kooba butter yellow bag...mmmm

Sweet. For a more updated version of the riding boot, however, you could opt for different material, like suede, or a more slouchy look. Micheal Kors combined both of these in his MICHAEL Michael Kors Harness Slouch Boot, currently sold out here. Keep checking though, maybe they'll get more in soon.

Chinese Laundry makes a fabulous tall suede boot in a variety of colors as well...it's quickly becoming a classic. I, personally, adore the grey (DON'T COPY ME) but the red and plum are equally fierce. These boots are a bit more attainable as far as prices go, $99 compared to Frye, Kors, and Jeffrey Campbell's prices that are usually upwards of $200.

Okay, I need to stop with all the riding boot talk, my trusty Chestnut Sundance II Uggs (boots with da furrrrr) are getting jealous.


I approve: Sock Monkeys

Okay, so I had to get away from the whole food and drink thing. This blog features those odd yet lovable stuffed monkeys made from socks. Sock monkeys...imaginative name, eh?

I. Love. Sock. Monkeys. I blame my mother for introducing me to them at an early age. Ever since that first one at the age of 3 I've had a soft spot for those brown, cream and red speckled things.Sock Monkey Portrait #1

Sock Monkey Portrait #3

Turns out there's a lot of history behind these babies. "
The iconic sock monkeys made from Red-Heel socks emerged at the earliest in 1932, the year the Nelson Knitting Company of Rockford, Ill. added the trademarked red heel to its product." The Nelson Co was the first sock company to make socks without seams on the heels. They made the heels red to differentiate their socks from other inferior imitations. Once they found out the public was using this red heel as the mouth for monkey dolls, they attained a patent and included a pattern on how to make the monkey with every pair of socks.

Though not as popular as your classic teddy bear, the monkeys are an American icon, and were inexpensive and easy entertainment for both the creator and the eventual owner. If you care.

Also, THIS JUST IN. I recently purchased a pair of sock monkey slippers from Target. They are adorable, comfortable, and great conversation starters. Thank you Nelson Co. for the inspiration.

I approve: Kombucha

I often go through phases where I obsessively eat, drink, watch, listen, wear, etc. the same thing over and over again. It has happened with S'mores pop tarts, orange juice, Grey's Anatomy DVDs, Wilco albums, and my poor threadbare black zip-hoody from H&M. What recently began as a simple phase however, has snowballed itself into a full-on infatuation. Me and kombucha, sitting in a tree...

Kombucha, pronounce KUM-BOO-CHA, is a health beverage essentially made of fermented mushrooms. Yummy. In reality, however, most of the mass-produced Kombucha drinks (particularly GT's "Synergy" brand pictured to above) have been naturally flavored so they taste much better than the raw kombucha itself.

My roommate works at Clover's Natural Market here in Columbia, so I am no stranger to odd health foods and homeopathic remedies; in fact, the better that something is for me, and the worse something tastes, the more I like it. One day while grocery shopping at Clover's I grabbed one of GT's Synergy Kombuchas. Laura, my roomie, yelled from across the store "NO, NOT THAT. YOU'LL HATE THAT!" I was so confused, why would the employees of this store be convincing someone NOT to buy something? Naturally, I had to get it.

One of the general managers explained that because it is made of fermented shrooms (unfortunately not the psychedelic kind) Kombucha tastes acidic, almost like vinegar or a wine-cooler. Upon first swig, I realized that although it was not easy to drink, it wasn't nearly as bad as everyone made it out to be.

I then learned that Kombucha has gained such recent popularity because of the plethora of health benefits that go along with consumption. Drinking Kombucha aids with digestion, metabolism, immune system, appetite control, weight control, liver function, body alkalinity, anti-aging, cell integrity, and healthy skin and nails. The creator of one of the most popular bottled brands, GT, "began bottling Kombucha in 1995 after his mother's success from drinking it during her battle with breast cancer." I figure, I am idiot not to drink this stuff.

One of the best parts about the drink, however, is not the numerous health benefits it may support, but just the way it makes you feel. KOMBUCHA GIVES YOU A NATURAL HIGH. The first time I drank it, I was driving on Highway WW. I have driven this road probably at least 100 times. Half a bottle and a multi-vitamin later, I felt like I was seeing the road for the first time. and the trees. and, oh my god, there's a lake and a deer! Everything looked brighter and sharper, I had more energy, and I was jolly. JOLLY. Granted, Kombucha has TRACE amounts of alcohol, but I know that this .05% did not contribute to my altered consciousness that day, Kombucha has the power to simply make you feel amazing.

Kombucha isn't available everywhere. The only places in CoMO I have found Kombucha thus far are both Clover's Natural Markets, the Peace Nook downtown, and the natural area of the Broadway Hy-Vee store. Make sure to drink it cold, and GENTLY shake (there are chunks of the fermentation on the bottom of the bottle, these are called "strands" and they are coveted.)

Some people bottle their own Kombucha. These people are crazy and I admire their passion. However, I think I will continue to pay $3.50 per bottle. I whole heartedly believe it is worth every penny.

ps: I have tried every flavor of GT's Kombucha (thanks, Jack, for getting me a cooler full of different bottles!) and I recommend the "Strawberry Serenity" or "Divine Grape" for newbies.


I approve: Sunshine Sushi eel rolls

I'm sure most MU students, let alone the general public of Columbia, haven't heard of Sunshine Sushi. However, I like to think of it as a Mizzou campus treasure. The obsession began last year when I began taking my 3-hour art courses. It was seemingly impossible to make it all the way through my 11am-2pm 2D design class without my stomach emitting embarrassingly loud noises. My friend Laura and I decided to take a short "break" in the middle of our classes, aka take a trip over to Brady Commons for some much needed nourishment.

Neon signs flickered promises of warm Chick-fil-a chicken, Hardee's burgers, Pizza Hut breadsticks (mmm), and Sunshine Sushi rolls. Which one to choose? Being such a huge fan of sushi, we opted for the Sunshine. It took a few trial runs before I decided that the eel rolls made with avocado were far superior to all the others.

At Sunshine Sushi you can put in an order with the sushi chefs and they will make the sushi right in front of you, or if you're in a hurry you can opt to grab a pre-made roll in the cooler across food court. I, personally, stay away from the cooler. Far, far away. If you want to get the most out of your experience, I highly recommend ordering a roll and having them make it fresh. Usually when I order the eel roll the chefs actually need to go to their back cooler to get a fresh cut of eel...ensuring that the fish hasn't been sitting out at room temperature. They also have employees make special runs to get fresh vegetables if they are running low. The friendly staff is more than happy to make you the roll of your choice, and they can even make special orders (eel rolls usually come with cucumbers, but I order mine with avocado.)

I have always chosen Sunshine Sushi as my favorite Brady Commons food choice, however after recently becoming "vegetarian" (I still eat fish, so kill me) it has become my only feasible choice available in Brady, besides a Pizza Hut personal pan cheese. For true vegetarians, they offer vegetable rolls, such as cucumber, avocado, and carrot rolls which are just as tasty as the meaty ones.

Beware. I HAVE had bad experiences. After all, it is cafeteria-style sushi, so there are always risks involving food safety. Order a fresh roll from the friendly sushi chefs, and enjoy.


I approve: Guinness


Guinness, ah the classic Irish stout. I remember the first time I put the dark liquid to my lips, while on a cruise in 2004. Back in those days I was a self-proclaimed "beer hater," yet I couldn't help but appreciate Guinness' unique flavor. I think the real reason I liked it so much was because it isn't as bubbly as other beers, which makes it go down a lot smoother...and it kind of tastes like chocolate and coffee (my only two weaknesses.) Add some alcohol, and you have what I'd call pretty much the best beverage...like a mocha on roids.

My recent infatuation with the brew began when I read an article in the latest Bon Appetit magazine. I'm subscribed to the mag so the article isn't even published online yet, but once it is I will post a link here. The article explains the intricate detailing surrounding the serving and consuming of a pint of Guinness. The whole thing seems ridiculous and superfluous, but for a beer that has been around for so long, perhaps there is some method in this madness.

"'People get emotional about Guinness. Everyone has a story of where their best pint was,' said Master Brewer Fergal Murray. 'That's why we've been around for 250 years. It's not just about the liquid, it's an experience.'"

An experience I had last night. After reading page after page of praise about a beer I hadn't had in three years, I really wanted to try it again. I headed on over to Southside liquors, an adorable and supershady liquor store only about a block from my west campus home. After searching high and low, I realized that Guinness is a pretty exclusive beer and can sometimes be difficult to find. After asking one of the Russian mobsters, who owns the store, whether they had the brew, I was directed to a hidden refrigerator containing only Guinness. "Why a whole fridge for Guinness?" I thought aloud, "They need to be kept extra cold," Vladimir responded. (I'm just guessing at his name, but I think that could be it.) Apparently even the Russians appreciate and respect Guinness' finicky nature.

At only 125 calories for a giant can of Guinness Draught, this seemingly "heavy beer" contains less calories than most light beers. AWESOME.

I got home, and after realizing that I had no pint glasses ("GUINNESS MUST BE SERVED IN A CLEAN, DRY PINT GLASS") I came to the conclusion that there's no way I would be getting the full Guinness experience tonight. I thought for a second and decided that that is okay. I closed my magazine, and took a swig straight from the can.


I approve: Glitter Glue

glitter glue is amazing. the sheer versatility of this half liquid/half gelatinous goo is



there are many reasons gg is my approved product for today. As a member of a sorority, I have been unwillingly converted into a crafter. Bid day, initiation, pledge mom revealing, promotion banners, and other sorority things that I'm sure no one cares about, all require copious amounts of hot glue, foam paper, sharpies and, of course, the infamous glitter glue. Take a plain piece of paper or sailor hat (sorry, I had to) and simply add glitter- it will be transformed from blah to BOMB.

gsquared has also just saved my ass. I have been requested to make a shotbook page for my friend (Danielle...in my online journalism class too. check out her blog, addictedtotv.blogger.com) I decorated the page with patterned paper, stickers, quotes, etc. but something was missing. That little bit of glitter around the edges made all the difference. I owe my life to this stuff.

I will soon add various things one can do with gg. but for now, I need to go blow-dry my shot book page so the goo won't smear (drying time is clearly its' ONLY downfall.)