Author Archives: conchshell


KERF Recaps: A Perfect Flow of Hiatus

Hey there, Shadowy Clique!

You might have noticed the disappearance of ads in the last few days.

The reports from GetOffMyInternets HQ are that the traffic (or as Bath Matt might say, PAGEVIEW$) coming into Smugnom isn’t worth advertisers paying much per click anymore, apparently, and while I love writing Smugnom — and, even more, being a part of the exchanges, criticism, anecdotes, and gifs in the comment section — I’m doing it both because it’s fun and because it’s paid writing work. So, for now, the KERF recaps will be on hiatus, and perhaps we can see some of the other talented GOMI-ers step up with some recaps of the rest of the pantheon of kale-eating nutters whose Healthy Living Blogs have always been the focus of Smugnom.

There’s an amazing audience here on Smugnom, and I’m not only honored to have been able to provoke a laugh or two, I’m immensely grateful that this place has given me and others a spot where we can roll our eyes at someone who whines about the quality of her vacations and the drudgery of her easy life. Smugnom and GetOffMyInternets distracted me and made me laugh until I needed my inhaler during the hardest, most hellish years of my life.

I don’t like the thought of suspending this thing we’re all part of, but hopefully, we can figure out how to make the ad-money again flow like a freshly punched box of Franzia soon — without having to resort to sponsored posts about radish matchsticks, diet cranberry cocktails, and charity headbands.

In the meantime, I hope to see you all over on the forums — don’t forget to bring the Idris Elba gifs!

Love and Franzia,


foodsmug lifesmug recaps

KERF Recaps: Kathy Owns Bowls, Eats Restaurant Leftovers, Uses Meal-Planning, and Invents Mustard

It’s time for another installment of Conchshell Had Too Much Regular Work Shit To Do And Couldn’t Do Smugnom For Forever On A Regular Basis Because Then Her Cats Would Be Eating Her Fingertips Batman Returns-Style.

Which is to say, for everyone on a mobile device, I’m sorry for the gifs.

So, Kathy’s Jan. 23 post is called “I Love Things In Bowls,” and it’s about how Kathy’s discovered a new way to get her 10.26 hours of sleep a night — buttah-filled, chocolatey, buttercreamery marijuana edibles.

Just kidding. If that were the case, it wouldn’t be taking me two weeks to drag myself around to recapping the latest entries on Kathy Consumes Things That Aren’t Imaginary. Instead, the entry is actually about how she ate granola one morning, and then she ate soup for lunch. Get this — both of them? She ate them out of bowls.

We learn a lot of amazing information from this post.

1. Kathy gave away some of her possessions because she is constantly evolving into a better person:

Did you know I actually gave away a lot of my bowl collection?

No. Why would we know that?

At one point I probably had 100 different bowls in every color and size, and now I am down to just my very favorites – including all of our wedding Pottery Barn Great White bowls.

Or rather, the Great White bowls from Pottery Barn she received as wedding gifts. Which, yes, the average intelligent reader could deduce — if that were the way intelligent writing worked. But this isn’t James fucking Joyce, and Kathy doesn’t have nearly enough thoughts to coffin her in mummycases, embalmed in smoked paprika and unmanageable herbs.

Kathy’s talking about owning pieces of white, made-in-China-in-2006 crockery, and how concentrating on those makes her a better person as she grows ancient and wise:

The older I get the more I feel the need to simplify the things my life!

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Nah. You want things to be easy. That’s not the same.

2. Kathy has superhuman willpower, and can only allow herself “crumbs” of her favorite things, as she does for her breakfast:

Cville Cluster is the best granola ever, but it’s so good that I can’t keep it around. Every now and then Matt brings me the crumbs and small clusters from the bottom of the giant mixing bowl when they make a fresh batch at the bakery, so today’s topping was a nice treat! …. FYI, no nut butter today because the ‘Cluster is quite high in fat! It’s about as dense as peanut butter.

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3. Her toddler is still irritating the shit out of her to the point that she needs to call him out on a regular basis:

This was the first time Mazen got the concept of “cereal with milk” and he was quite a happy camper!

In her defense, that boy who got Most Likely To Succeed at Kathy’s school who works in the White House now probably “got the concept of ‘cereal with milk’” when he was five months younger than Carbz.

4. Kathy is super skilled at using her power with words to describe what makes food appealing. Her lunch of soup, for instance, was topped with

cheese because it’s freakin’ delicious.  

and leftover sweet potatoes because they were

a nice touch!

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5. Almost as skilled as she is at describing joyful interactions among the members of her family, saying that, since her parents are headed to town for the weekend, Carbz is

flipping out with excitement and has been counting down the days….as only a two year old would know how to do ; )

What does that mean? Are there other ways to flip out? How would a toddler possibly count down days? Why the winky face? Either take 10 extra seconds to explain yourself or just go with saying the kid smiles every time you mention their visit. On a scale of bowl-simplifying to herb-managing, that has to be closer to the former, right?

The comments are filled with chicks with their own blogs to promote saying, basically, OMG I eat things out of bowls too! And, there’s this one weird one:

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 10.50.59 PMNo, it’s not lame. It’s lame that you think you need a scolding or affirmation from Katy for it. Eat two tacos out of a bowl with a handle, for fuck’s sake. Go crazy.

Last Monday’s post — yes, we’re all the way back to January 26, ugh — is another half-assed attempt to talk about what an exciting, relaxing, replete-with-exclamation-points weekend she had after a hard week of providing food for herself and her child.

• She had a “great time” with her parents, who were visiting from Hillsborough: 2 exclamation points.

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• Kasual Kathy free-wheeled it without her fancy camera and shot all her weekend photos on the phone she can’t even name-drop the brand of even through she got it through a sponsorship deal: 1 exclamation point.

• She ordered pizza for her parents and made a salad and called it a “pizza party”: 2 exclamation points.

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• She and her parental babysitters visited a toy store, the free children’s museum downtown — and the fakery, which all adds up to “pack[ing] in a full day” for her child: 0 exclamation points.

• They all ate lunch at Bodo’s Bagels (which she just calls “Bodos,” as though we should know) for a bagel.

She describes the bagel as “big honkin’,” making sure to note that she only eats such a thing “a few times a year” and that hers was whole wheat, but that she should have added “a leaf of lettuce for a bit more nutrition”: 2 exclamation points and one smiley-face emoticon.

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This looks delicious until you remember that there’s no thin slices of red onion, and probably no capers on it either.

• Her child “was totally melting down” because he’d skipped his nap, so her “grand plans to go to World of Beer,” not that she bothers telling us what that is, had to be canceled. Kathy and her mom stayed home and “opened a bottle of Thomas George Estates wine from Sonoma while we chilled” and waited for Bath Matt and Kathy’s dad to finish their “glorious time”: 0 exclamation points because she missed out on this:

• Bath Matt and Grandpa Pee Paw finally dragged their asses home, bringing take-out salmon, pork, potatoes, and succotash so Kathy could eat dinner.

It was “worth the wait”: 2 exclamation points.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 11.13.58 PM• Sunday breakfast was a bagel from the shop and fresh mango eaten “‘off the rind,’” which she says is a “trick” from her recent trip to the Disappointment Republic: 1 exclamation point.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 11.14.15 PM• She did her chores in her “jammies” and then ate more leftover stuff “the guys” brought from the night before, salad, cheese, and “buttery” Marcona almonds: 1 exclamation point for the almonds.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 11.15.09 PM• A few words about how she, but especially her kid, hope her parents return: 2 exclamation points and one smiley-face emoticon.

• Queen Kathy wishes her minions a “Happy 26th” to celebrate being 8 months away from her actual birthday: 1 exclamation point.

In the comments, there’s a boring discussion where someone asks Kathy about smoothies without milk, and Kathy says she tries not to eat protein powder, but gives a few recommendations for protein powders she sometimes buys (not that her readers ever hear about them) and then recommends “plant protein” and has to clarify in another exchange that she means those protein powders. She also gives an even-more useless, dismissive answer, though, when one of her regular commenters — a girl in high school whose own blog’s “about” section describes a pretty shitty early life of physical abuse and eating disorders — asks her what kind of camera Kathy uses:

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Thanks, Kathy. Glad to know the Olympus E-M5 and the Canon Powershot, C100, 5D, and 7D, all of which have “Mark II” models, are all equal in your mind. Linda, while admittedly imperfect, is at least more consistent with her readership than Kathy is with her support of the companies who pay her for her phony enthusiasm — throw a teenage aspiring healthy-living blogger a fucking bone once in a while, will you, Kathy?

Last Tuesday’s post, on Jan. 27, is about how it was snowing in Charlottesville:

We are getting a few flurries here, but nothing to write home the internet about. 

and how Kathy ate breakfast:

….a quarter of a crumbled Whole Wheat Blueberry Buttermilk muffin from the bakery. Matt brought it home after a test bake and we gave it four thumbs up! Served over Snowville Creamery yogurt with a slice banana and coffee.

To which a commenter asked:

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The post also covers how she ate a salad with trendy almonds, ranch dressing that her mother-in-law (thankfully fucked off to San Diego to live in happiness instead of lady-in-waiting status for unnecessary chores) “left in our fridge,”

leftover cornbread, pimento cheese from Whole Foods — which, according to her photo is “smoked gouda and pimento cheese”. She describes the dip as “amazing” and fauxyouthtastically exclaims, “Smoked everything all the time.” Ugh. She also had a $1.36/ounce, onion-containing No Bull Burger and some other stuff on top of some additionally other stuff.

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LONG TIME NO SEE! I actually forgot about No Bulls for a while (I know)

We know…. what?


We don’t know. Does anyone? Kathy spent all last year eating meatless lentil pucks. I had to look that up to make sure, because no one keeps that kind of supposed information in their heads, and how are you supposed to tell if there’s been a break? Kathy feels like this should be notable, though, because

….the nutrition info has dropped the calories from 170 to 130. I’m not sure if they are smaller (they look the same to me) or if they were re-evaluated, but I’m pleased with the update.

Yes, Kathy. I’m sure No Bull did that just because they heard about your diet and wanted to speed things up. 40 calories is going to make all the difference, Kathy. All the difference. Where’s that thinspiration Pinterest, Kathy?

In the comments, there’s a weird exchange where she’s asked about her child’s transition from crib to toddler bed, and says that she wishes she could still keep him “contained.”

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Last Wednesday’s post, on Jan. 28, titled “Snips + Jumps,” is about how Kathy and Toddler Carbz had

SUCH a fun morning together!!

Why’s that, Kathy?

• Kathy “started the day with a special breakfast” of oatmeal and shit that she made the night before, so she was super happy to not have to spend any time on the day when she ate it. She admittedly fucked it up a little bit, but she and her kid “gobbled it down!”

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• Then, she got to go to Target “to empty my wallet of all its dollar bills.”

• She then had someone cut Toddler Carbz’s hair,

(which went sooo smoothly this time!)

Kathy also referred to the hairstylist using “styling product,” which required the use of a smiley-face emoticon.

After the haircut, she gave her son “a special treat” by going to an indoor jumping area —

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— where she let her kid have fun while she made veiled comments about her calorie-burning and her breasts —

talk about a workout! Wear your sports bras ladies : )

— and then to the fakery, where she shamed her child for dipping his peanut butter and jelly sandwich in her dressing:


Oh, shut up, Salad-Fritter ’12.

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Last Thursday’s entry, on Jan. 29, titled “Last Night’s Dinner,” is another post about how awesome the meal-planning service that has occasionally sponsored Our Kathy is, even though whenever she mentions it, it’s always in the context of how she’s stopped using it and has subsequently become overwhelmed.

Why has she stopped using it? No one knows. What is she doing that’s made her too busy to use a thing that says Buy This, Prepare This, and Make This On This Day and This Day and This Day and This Day and This Day? She’ll never tell. Which is why you start out reading a post that opens like this —

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed about all of the things I must do everyday to get healthy food on the table, I turn to Cook Smarts. Cook Smarts doesn’t pay me to say that – I truly love the service! When I’m running late for the grocery store on Sunday morning I have someone else do the thinking for me.

— and are liable to react WHY THE FUCK. It’s not that we don’t entirely believe Kathy’s busy, it’s just that, sometimes, it’s hard to understand why she’s “overwhelmed” and “running late” and needing someone else to “do the thinking” when she doesn’t tell her readership.

“What’s for dinner?” is a surprise each night. We have had several great dinners lately – including this one made with cauliflower rice! 

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It was my first time trying it (this falls into the “I would have never tried this on my own” category.

Why? Why, with a service that purports to tell you what you’re going to be eating for the entire week ahead, are you’re going to be mystified by your nightly dinner? Does CookSmarts send you envelopes sealed with wax that you’re not allowed to open until the evening of said dinner? Do you need to complete some kind of Midnight Madness scavenger hunt before you can learn what you’re going to eat at 7 p.m.?

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This isn’t the case, apparently, but the system still seems to be throwing Kathy for a lumpy, made-at-home-Cheerios-loop. For instance, the “cauliflower rice” exhausts and terrifies her:

It was very much like real rice in size and shape, but I think I prefer the real deal for its texture.

So…. eat a bowl of rice?

As a second example, Kathy made pork-stuffed cabbage rolls….

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except that she used beef, because she had beef.

…..and they turned out delicious. Another lightened up meal for the win! (Unlightened by red wine two nights in a row <3 )

Kathy, why are your dinners unenlightened? Or “unlightened”? Or…. is that even a word?

I’m so confused.

Kathy moves swiftly on, though, talking again about meals as though one is equivalent to a battle-like “front” —

On the dessert front, Carpe Donut is trying out a new smaller version of their Frodo, a donut ice cream sandwich (yes!!) I love anything that comes petite sized, so this was perfect split and shared in two. They are hoping to sell these in grocery stores!

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— because her fight against ingesting calories is a life or death struggle:

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Kathy ends her post with a weirdly blurry photograph over the shoulder of her husband and her child where they’re talking to her mother-in-law and said mother-in-law

says HI via Google Hangouts!!

Er, thanks.

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Her readers are as fuzzy as her photos, with the first one saying she’s “confused” —

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— another commenter saying blogging daily about “similar” meals is quite “tiresome,” and yet another saying that Kathy should really let people know how much the meal-planning program gave her in terms of payment and free services:

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And yet another links to a This American Life episode about Internet trolls, in which Lindy West is harassed by someone who takes on her late father’s name, a variety of females on NPR are criticized for their voices, and the guy who maintains a camera focused on an osprey nest receives critical emails when the osprey mom starts attacking her babies.

Last Friday’s entry, on Jan. 30, is about a “cozy” “lunch date” with Bath Matt that Kathy had at a place called Court Square Tavern. The lunch is, in Kathy’s words,

now a week old, but I wanted to share it before it is forgotten!

Why would it be forgotten? I mean, in Kathy’s words, the restaurant is a place she’s been walking by “for years” at lunchtime on her way home from the gym. She says “the best cooking smells imaginable” waft out the door:

Garlic, sizzling seafood, bacon, bread. You name it. (Onions too I’m sure!)

So, what happened?


warmed up with a cup of decaf tea before perusing the menu and specials board. Cream + sugar too.

Oh. That was well phrased.

Next, she and Bath Matt looked at the menu, and Kathy described what she found there in language she usually reserves for posts where she’s invited to someone’s wedding and is allowed to both eat cake there and take cake home:

The menu was so tempting and full of comfort foods – from smoked salmon to soups to lots of kinds of bratwurst. It felt very much like the pubs I went to in England. (Matt says they have a good beer selection in the evenings.)

Oh! Tell us more about how that summer in college when you studied in England has stuck with you, Kathy:

Klassic 2007 Kathy.

Klassic 2007 Kathy.

Vintage 2008 Kathy, geographical genius.

Vintage 2008 Kathy, geographical genius.

Anyway, back here in 2015, Kathy kontinues:

Matt and I couldn’t decide what to order and were both tempted by the smoked salmon, so we shared the smoked salmon plate to start. Loved the assemble-it-yourself style.

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In the end, Kathy orders some pea soup “with chewy bites of ham” and toast, and Bath Matt ordered sausage and mustard because he orders meat whenever he’s allowed out to a restaurant, since there’s none to be found in the frozen-lentil steppe of the home freezer. Kathy claimed that his dish was served with “the best mustard ever!” and that it was a “Must buy!”

Which, almost surely, means we’ll never see it on her blog, given the history of the Vosges peanut butter bonbons (“One of THE BEST chocolates ever!!!”) which she raved about needing to purchase more of in all caps in 2010, the roasted tomatoes Kathy insisted she had to make herself after having them at that Forage dinner club in 2013, and the Recipage-honored “Nutty Vanilla Sweet Potato + Kale Soup” Kathy made for a contest at in 2009 (improbably winning $100 with it)

that she called the “best soup we’ve ever made,” promising that she and Bath Matt would “be making this one again!” (she seems to have done so once, in 2011).

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And the fact that, well, “Black Forest mustard” by Dietz and Watson doesn’t seem to exist.