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Posts Tagged ‘smoothies’

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It’s no secret that I love a good coffee shop – even though I am not, and have never been, a coffee drinker. I’ve also been hankering for new places to (safely) explore during this pandemic, and missing my regular “third places.” (Though I have been dropping by Darwin’s once in a while, to get iced tea and wave at my people.)

A couple of months ago, I heard that Eagle Hill Cafe had moved from its previous location (in Eagle Hill, the next neighborhood over) to one of the main streets in my part of Eastie. I hopped on my bike one afternoon and rode over to check it out. And I’ve fallen completely in love: with the kind, friendly atmosphere, the delicious bagel sandwiches, and their smoothies.

We’ve had a hot summer here in Boston, so I’ve been on the lookout for new cooling treats (and meals that don’t require cooking). The smoothies at Eagle Hill are fresh and delicious, and I’ve decided to work my way through the dozen or so options on their list. The Sunset (pictured above) is my favorite so far: strawberry, mango and apple juice. But I’ve tried several others: tropical concoctions involving mango and pineapple; super-healthy green ones with spinach and cucumber; the “Purple Rain” and “Berry Fairy,” which both involve (surprise) lots of berries.

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It’s nice to have something to look forward to, and something to cross off a list, even if it’s just the next smoothie flavor. I like dropping in and saying hello to Ellis and Monica behind the counter, and soaking in the a/c for a few minutes. Once in a while I treat myself to a bagel sandwich, and last month, I took my guy there for a lunch date. Especially in these times, we take our joys where we can find them, and I’m so glad this one is just a few blocks down the street.

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On any given day, I get a lot of email. I bet you do too.

I appreciate the tabs in my Gmail inbox that (mostly) separate the pertinent, interesting stuff from the marketing emails and social media notifications. But some of the best, most surprising messages end up in the “Updates” category.

These aren’t the notes from friends (though I love those) or the emails from my editors about freelance assignments. (Though those are important and sometimes moderately lucrative.) These are the email newsletters to which I subscribe, and they are some of the best things in my inbox.

Here’s a roundup of my faves:

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Shelf Awareness
Full disclosure: I am biased, because (in case you didn’t know) I write book reviews for this smart, funny, big-hearted, bookish newsletter. But I still read it every single day. It comes out in two versions. (I get both.)

The longer-running daily newsletter is stuffed with book-trade news and bookstore updates, plus one book review each day. The Readers edition comes out on Tuesdays and Fridays and is chock full of book reviews and “book candy” – all those fun bookish articles/quizzes/photo galleries you see floating around the Internet.

The Shelf crew is proudly pro-indie bookstore and anti-literary snobbery. We love great books and we want to help people find them, and we love bookish fun in all its forms. Our mascot, Vik (a happily book-obsessed Buddha), likes to dress up for special occasions. I have met some wonderful people, and interviewed a few fabulous authors, through my work with the Shelf.

One caveat: your to-be-read list (or library holds list) will grow after reading the Shelf. But if you’re a bookworm, that’s not really a bad thing.

 

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Modern Mrs. Darcy‘s newsletter
Anne Bogel writes a smart, thoughtful, charming blog at Modern Mrs. Darcy. I also love her monthly-ish newsletters, which inevitably contain thought-provoking musings, lovely photos and links to blog posts you might have missed. I sometimes save the newsletters to read again.

Anne’s voice is warm and inviting, and she’s always finding and sharing good stuff. It’s a pleasure when her newsletter pops up in my inbox – it’s like getting a letter from a friend. (I count her among my Internet friends.)

 

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Innocent Drinks newsletter
When I lived in the UK, I developed an addiction to Innocent smoothies, which are tart, fruity, delicious, and (sadly) not sold in the U.S. Innocent sponsors the annual Big Knit, in which they ask folks to knit tiny hats for their smoothie bottles, then donate part of the proceeds from each behatted bottle to charity. They publish a weekly e-newsletter full of updates from Fruit Towers (their office), tidbits about smoothies, and humorous absurdities. (I’ve always thought it would be a hilarious place to work.) The newsletter makes me laugh, and crave smoothies.

I also subscribe to a few bookstore newsletters (from Brookline Booksmith, the Harvard Book Store and the Bookstore in Lenox); Hollywood Housewife’s newsletter; and the New York Times daily headline email. And, of course, I always like to see an email telling me I’ve got a library hold to pick up.

What are the best things in your inbox?

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craftivism

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Some of you may remember that last fall I knitted 75 smoothie-sized hats, using tiny needles and any stash yarn I could lay my hands on. Innocent Drinks, my favourite smoothie company, called for the hats as a fundraiser for Age Concern, a UK charity that helps keep older people warm in the winter. They sell the hat-wearing smoothies in stores, and for each hatted smoothie bought, Innocent donates 50 pence to Age Concern. They’ve been doing this since 2003, and last year knitters sent in 506,768 hats, which raised £253,384. I bought Innocent smoothies all the time when I lived in the UK, and I love knitting, so I pulled out my needles and went to work. (As the photo shows, I went crazy. There were stripes, colour blocks, berry-shaped hats, and even some simple intarsia patterns. I even got a letter from Innocent saying they liked the variety of my patterns!)

I’m planning to knit little hats again this year – I’ve got my size-2 needles and scrap yarn ready – but I’m putting that off for a couple of weeks in favour of some more craftivism. Nest Maine began last year in response to skyrocketing heating oil prices in Maine – knitters from all over the place banded together and sent in hats, scarves, cowls, blankets and mittens. I read about it on SouleMama’s blog recently, and have cast on a little merino-blend hat for someone in Maine.

I love projects like this. I love using my hands to do some good for other people, when so often my hands and my brain work just for me. I love employing a skill and a hobby to help someone else. And I love seeing what beautiful, fun things I can create out of stash yarn and a little spare time.

I’ll post some project photos when I’m a bit farther along. Meanwhile, if you knit or crochet, check out the Web pages above and see how you can do a little “craftivism” of your own.

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Friday links

Yet another list of books you must read before you die. This one’s quite hefty. For the moment, I think I’ll stick to the half-dozen on my desk that are begging for my attention.

Buy a smoothie, plant a tree: Innocent’s latest do-good project. (And their smoothies are scrumptious to boot.)

Did I mention this chocolate has been on my addiction list this year? Dark, delicious, and Fairtrade. (Comes in milk and white, too.)

Happy Friday.

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