Friday Faves Edition 53


How many of you are happy that it’s Friday?!

I debated not posting today because I’ve had a rough week and I feel like I just said that last week.

However, truth is truth.

And here I am.

Friday Faves.

With all my ups and downs for the week, there are still things to share as Friday Faves.


I managed to make it to Pilates each day that it is offered at my gym (MWF). My body feels stronger every day and I feel like Pilates is really making a difference. I don’t have any photos to share, but I’m considering having someone in the family snap some over the weekend so I can share how far I’ve come in my strength journey. I feel like it’s quite far considering most of the Pilates I do is body weight only and on occasion with a 3 pound weight maximum.

Aruba is in six weeks and I plan to feel confident in my swimsuit!


Remember how I told you two weeks ago that my microwave died and how appliances hate me? Well my stove has decided that it’s not sure it wants to do its job either. Sometimes when you push the bake button, the timer comes on instead. Both appliances are exactly 10 years old. Coincidence? I think not. Older appliances ran and ran and ran. Today…not so much.

Since I want them to match and am not a fan of feeling pressured into buying a big ticket item that isn’t exactly what I want, I went to a big box store and picked up a cheap countertop microwave. I know what you’re thinking. Well that seems wasteful. Ahhh….but I thought this through. Big Mr. heads off to college in the fall and Mr. D is a year behind. The little microwave will still have usage in our family.

Natural Wellness.

I mentioned that one of the teens has been sick. It wasn’t the flu. Yay. But it still means that I’m trying to keep anyone else in the house from catching it. I went to the health store because my friends rave about Sambucas, which is an elderberry syrup. Do you know that most of the shelf was empty?! I actually made an elderberry “syrup” a while back. However, I’ve never made something that needs reduced. I estimated the reduction improperly so it’s more liquid than syrup.

I think I’m going to start adding it to my smoothies (if I can remember).

Protein Powder.

Another thing I needed to pick up was some protein powder. I am still doing the mostly vegetarian thing. I find that a protein smoothie satisfies me more than eggs. I’m deliberately not sharing the protein powder I’m using because I’m still trying to decide if I like it. My old protein powder was Organic Rice Protein Powder. I’ve mentioned before how I cannot have canned whipped cream. It causes a tickle in my throat and a cough. Some restaurant/fast food milkshakes cause that as well. I noticed that the rice protein powder was possibly doing that as well. I say “possibly” because I can’t rule out that is it isn’t a random ingredient in the Almond Milk. However, Miss Sunshine has the same issue and says it’s the protein powder (she uses almond milk in her cereal with no issue…I only use it in smoothies). I wanted to try Pea Protein, but what they had is a blend.


Not only is it a blend of many proteins, but it has stevia. Almost every powder I looked at has stevia (my old powder didn’t). I know people in the wellness world seem to love stevia. I do not. It overpowers every single drink in which it’s found. Occasionally, I want something other than water or unsweet iced tea and I’ll try a flavored drink. I don’t know why I do it, because any time stevia is on the label it makes my tastebuds and stomach cringe as I drink it.

The positive side to the powder is that I think I’m not having a reaction to it, but I’m not fully sure. I’ve started incorporating spinach into the smoothie for health reasons, but also to try to cut through the taste of stevia. If you know of any protein powder that doesn’t use stevia, let me know! FYI: I use vanilla. I might be willing to go plain, but while I like chocolate, I dislike it as a drink.

Valentine’s Day.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that this week was Valentine’s Day. This is one holiday where I refuse to buy in to the heavy commercialization of it. Maybe I’m jaded. I did update my cover photo on Facebook to the photo above that I took one summer in Carolina Beach and changed my profile picture to the hubby and me. That was about it. We watched a movie at home. I talked about it in yesterday’s post.


We’ve also been watching some of the Olympics. We watched Shaun White win the Gold. I also like watching figure skating. I don’t understand curling and don’t know if I want to understand it. The skiing is usually quite amazing too, although I haven’t seen as much of that.

What is your favorite sport to watch in the Winter Olympics?


Besides my normal daily stuff and some not so normal daily stuff, I worked on editing some of my photography. One of my favorite recent photography outings was capturing the fog. I shared a fog series in my Wordless Wednesday post.

I loved the way the colors looked in those photos. The juxtaposition of the grass and the fog. The elements (trees and fences) that I chose as the subject. I just felt like it worked together. Something I don’t always feel in a photo session.

These two photos are some more from that session. They are ones that I was still debating whether or not I captured them exactly as I had envisioned.

The tree trunk in the first photo has these white lines into the bark. These are massive trees so the differentiation was striking. In the second photo, I really wanted to capture looking through the fencepost without losing the fact that it was a fencepost you were looking along. I had some trouble getting the depth of field and focus area exactly how I wanted, but there is still something I find intriguing about the photo.

What is you opinion? Do you prefer one over the other?


As you know, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I struggle with separating the fact that my self worth or creative skills are not directly tied to how many people “like” a photo. I am rarely on Facebook or Twitter, even if I have things that automatically post there (Blog and Instagram posts).

Instagram was my first love because I love photography. The people were (and are) welcoming. Then with the algorithm change, my numbers dropped substantially and I began to question whether I wanted to spend time there. However, I do love the people that I’ve built relationships with on that platform.

And so I stay.

My Instagram feed will never feel fully curated no matter how hard I try. But recently I’ve decided to try to make it feel somewhat more cohesive by posting 3 photos (to keep with the grid) from the same area and those three photos will probably be edited in a similar way. I started with a set of fog shots and today will be day #3 of Amsterdam shots. The love locks photo above I decided on as my tribute to Valentine’s Day.

Do you like the Instagram platform? Any other social media platforms?


My blind date with a book turned out to be great. If you missed that in Edition 51 of Friday Faves, the book was Random Harvest. I couldn’t put it down and have already finished it. Now I am halfway through The Great Gatsby, which puts me at a distinct advantage for my February Challenge. I’ve checked out The Color Purple and The Picture of Dorian Gray. We’ll see how far I make it!

Are you reading anything good right now?


I didn’t have as much time this week to look for “new to me” music to share, but this song came up on my recommended through YouTube and I really liked it. The band is named Banners and the singer is Michael Joseph Nelson, who is a musician out of Liverpool.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and beautiful week.

Offer up a smile to a stranger. You never know who might need it.

Be the type of person who leaves a mark, not a scar. -Unknown

Let your light shine!



29 thoughts on “Friday Faves Edition 53

  1. How I love your Friday faves, Amy! Great photos! It is not only appliances that have an internally programmed expiration day. We had two MacBook Pros die of the same blown graphics card after exactly four years, only we bought them one year apart. No one can tell me that this is a coincidence. My wife steichen back to windows, I got a new MacBook. When this happens one more time I will quit the world of the apple for sure.

    Not sure if I should feel consoled because you also had a rough week. I didn’t even look at my blog for the last 6 days. But I also decided to do a post today 😉 I’m sure glad you did!

    Watching the Olympics must be hard for you because of the time difference, it is difficult to watch them here as they start in the middle of the night and finish around noon. I love to watch hockey and the Skeleton sleigh races, this sport is totally insane…all in all I’m happy with Team Germany 🙂

    Have a great weekend!


    • Thanks so much Marcus!!
      I have no doubt these things are programmed to die. I don’t even think I get quite four years out of my laptops. This is my first Mac, so we shall see.

      Sorry to hear that you had a rough week! Those are never fun. But I must admit, it’s nice to not feel alone. 😉

      We saw a little hockey. I do prefer it live. I hadn’t heard of Skeleton sleigh races. I looked them up. It looks like a fun one to watch. I might have to keep an eye out for it and DVR it if it’s overnight.

      You have a great weekend as well!! -Amy

  2. I definitely not looking forward Friday as my working week starts on Friday, unfortunately. Last week I read Fractured by Danni Atkins. And definitely recommend it! Finished it in one day. Enjoy your weekend!

    • I’m sorry that Friday isn’t a relief for you. I hope you have a lovely weekend, even though it’s part of your work week. I’ll have to look into that book. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  3. Everyone says the same thing about curling until they try it for themselves. Once you understand what’s going on out there you get an appreciation for the combination of incredible skill, fitness, ongoing analysis (ice reading) and strategy required. The top players are just so darn good that they make it seem easy.
    If you ever make it up this way between October and April we’ll take you out on the ice to try it for yourself. You’ll have a blast, I promise. And Pilates or not: you’ll have sore abs, triceps, and shoulders for days 🙂

    • I should take the time to figure out what the sport is all about. Somehow, each time the Olympics come around we end up watching some curling, strangely mesmerized by it (because I have no clue as to how it’s done).
      I’ll bet I would be a sight to see out on the ice. A funny one! 😉

  4. I use the Whole Foods store brand of vanilla pea protein powder and love it. You’re right about those sugar subs…too strong and tend to overpower everything they touch. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with my smoothies and some favorite add ins are: frozen grapes instead of ice, coconut water or milk, and the juice of 1/4 lime seems to make everything taste like dessert for some reason so I roll with that! Happy weekend!

    • Thanks so much for the recommendation! I didn’t have a chance to read all of the labels, but we have Earth Fare here and there was quite a large selection. I do pop in to Whole Foods when I travel to the towns with them.

      I have a mixed berry frozen blend that I use often to replace ice, but grapes seem like a great idea as well. I’m not a fan of coconut water, but I love its benefits. I should try that in a smoothie.

      In my month of recipe experiments back in November, I tried one that was supposed to be a Key Lime Smoothie. It called for way too much lime. Yours sounds a lot closer to tasting like dessert!! 🙂

      Have a great weekend!!

  5. I used to post a LOT to Instagram, but then fate intervened – my other half dropped her phone, we couldn’t afford to replace it, and I had been thinking about ditching the smart-phone anyway. After surviving for the last six weeks without Instagram in my pocket, I’ve started to look at the photos I used to take in a different light – wondering what worth they really have. Granted, my photos were almost stock photos – generic, filtered, and impersonal – but it is still causing me to think about it.

    • That’s interesting about how you tend to think of your photos. I do think they had a similar quality from their filters, but I enjoyed your choices.
      I suppose some of mine could be considered impersonal since they are typically landscapes or city scenes. I’ve never given thought to it from that direction. I considered your shots from train stations more from the standpoint of a glimpse into what a different locale was like.
      Now I have things to think about…

    • Thanks! I don’t know how well I’ll achieve it, but it gives me a reason to stay over there and not judge myself based on “likes” or growth.
      I spend quite a bit less time on there and am learning to post for my own enjoyment and I definitely love perusing some of the phenomenal work done by some others on the platform.

  6. I looked at the ingredients in the the Protein Powder He-Man is currently using. Vega Protein & Greens – vanilla flavor, and there next to the last item is listed Stevia Leaf Extract. So that is no help. Sorry!

    I don’t like Stevia either. I switched to Truvia. It doesn’t leave a funny aftertaste in my mouth or make things too weirdly sweet.

    I like the Trunk with the branches image the best. I love contrast between the texture of the bark, and the softness of the branches. The light is lovely in it as well.

    • I almost picked up that same protein powder. I opted for one on sale because I knew that there was a chance that I wouldn’t like the stevia component.

      I’m not sure I’ve tried anything with Truvia. The aftertaste of Stevia feels very much like eating a packet of Sweet N Low or Equal (I don’t even know if those still exist since I don’t use artificial sweetener) so it reminds me of feeling chemical (maybe it’s just the weirdly sweet) even though it isn’t.

      I’m glad you liked that photo. I loved the texture and color of the bark, but hadn’t decided if I’d done justice to its details.

  7. You sum up a week perfectly. Thank you for posting, there is a lot that I can associate with and it’s good to know I’m not alone. Have a great week!

  8. I do prefer the one where you can tell it’s a fence post, I think I mentioned that before.
    Canned whip is just weird, but it’s practical. I’d love to have one of those cylinders like I used at Starbucks.
    I really hope you win against the sick.

    • Thanks for commenting which photo you liked! This angle was a little different than Wednesday’s post and I couldn’t get it to quite do what I wanted, but I still like it.
      I had a really bad experience with Starbuck’s Frapuccino and it finalized my decisions to always ask for my drinks with no whip. It was so sad to have to give it up.
      The teen seems to be on the mend and nobody else is sick…knock on wood…cross my fingers… 🙂

  9. I think I have mostly given up on Instagram. It’s weird – no matter how many follows you get, at the end of the day, there is no increase in the number of followers I have. People follow only to be noticed and then unfollow afterwards. Weird. Maybe, it is a good thing. I have a hard time keeping up with social media duties afterall.

    • That follow/unfollow thing is so disappointing. I guess they use it as their marketing tool, but I’m not a fan of it. I can’t keep up with too many social media platforms either.

  10. Wooohoo! Friday Faves!!! But I am SO sorry you had such a bad week <3 I have heard awesome things about Pilates… I do insanity which incorporates Pilates, but I’d love to try an actual class. You have motivated me to look into it! I love your photography.. I’ll be hunting you down on Instagram right now! Have a much better week! XO

    • Thanks Mackenzie! <3
      When I started at the gym, I was doing Les Mills Bodyflow. While it is mostly yoga-based, there is a Pilates core workout. I've been loving Pilates. I haven't been to a studio with an apparatus, but I may look into that at some point.
      The week is starting out much better, thanks!! xo

      • Oooooo I need to look into that!!!! Sounds tremendous!! I hope they have something like that around here. After I graduate from my program I am going to try to look into more workout programs like that! I looove pilates!

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