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,


fitsmug foodsmug lifesmug recaps smugnom

KERF Recaps: Kathy Wears A Terrible Vest and Changes Her “Work Flow”

Kathy starts out the week by greeting her readers, whom she calls “weekend warriors!!” She’s talking to people on a Monday, and not implying that any of them participate in an activity mostly done on the weekends — reservist training, or riding a motorcycle — but, hey, she had a phrase rattling around in her head that contained the word “weekend,” and catching it and typing it makes her clever.

After making an allusion to her mother-in-law, who’s now joyously fucked off to San Diego away from her paparazzi daughter-in-law,

basking in warm weather on a sailboat!? Wink wink Karen.

Kathy describes her own weekend as “pretty low key,” aside from it being “a little wild!” on Friday.

Her definition of wild?

The boys when on a father-son date to Citizen Burger, and I joined some friends at Mono Loco for girls’ night.

She went to Mono Loco, a restaurant that describes itself as “nouveau-Latin,” where she usually gets something called a Spice-a-Rita. These are pictures of actual Spice-a-Ritas from the Internet:

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Here is the “tasty!” drink she had:

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She also ate a seafood “burrito bowl,”

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and then “went out partying.” What does that mean?

Kathy says only that she

stayed out way too late!! Fun times.

On Saturday, Bath Matt went to the fakery, and Kathy started opening boxes to a $213 Martha Stewart hutch (in “picket fence,” a.k.a. white) that was made in China, contains 32 different kinds of panels, screws, and other bits — 241 pieces to keep track of, in all — and specifically says in the 14 pages of instructions that if you don’t assemble it with two people, you’ll damage it.

Saturday morning Matt went to work and Mazen and I enjoyed eggs, orange and toast before embarking on a massive furniture assembly project …. An organizer’s dream!!! …. I’m hoping to put this in the basement and use it for arts + crafts and things plus files, obviously.

The hutch’s companion piece, a $453 base, hasn’t been delivered yet, but takes 22 pages of instructions. So that should be fun. Bath Matt eventually came home, at which time it appears the hutch was finally assembled. Kathy says she is “pumped for all those little cubbies!” and experienced unimaginable “excitement when I realized my vintage cheese box fit perfectly inside : )”

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I’d say that cheese box looks about 4″ too short to fit “perfectly,” but whatever geckos your hutch, Kathy.

Kathy went on a run in weather

so cold that my muscles froze and I was so stiff and sore when I got home

posted these photos of herself —

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 7.52.38 PMand says,

See – it really was a low key weekend: sweat pants and wet hair all day long!

The vest is from Land’s End, by the way, and it might mark the only time she wears the same thing as Jordan “Ramshackle Glam” Reid, who got hers for free.

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The inspiration for “Babby Forming Despite Life Threatening Heels,” for which I love her. Tenuous connection to “Always Sunny”? Not so much.

She ate a sardine “salad” and “crackers and chips” for a “late lunch,” before allowing her child to play outside “in 15 minute increments” because it was cold. That evening, she posted a photo of beer in a wine glass — or, as she says,

we cracked this guy open

— and cooked Thai Shrimp Curry she’s going to write about “in a few weeks” because it’s part of a deal where that food delivery service Blue Apron pays her for it, I think. Kathy says,

It was delish and packed with flavor. Everyone agreed!

This is supposed to be curry.

This is supposed to be curry.

On Sunday, she ate oats with pumpkin, peanut butter, and a muffin on top for breakfast, “mac and cheese” sent to her by General Mills-owned Annie’s Homegrown for lunch,

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and took time for

chores, an indoor soccer game (we lost this time :( ) and relaxing

In comments, she responds to a question about how the “grass-fed” macaroni and cheese tasted with her typically charming lack of spell-check and punctuation:

Though [sic] it was good! Same as regular. ThiS was leftovers so the sauce was all soaked

In Tuesday’s post, Kathy announces a change to her blog since she said she was going to reboot it to “slow” her work two years ago to focus on “adventures and meals.”

Nay! Not a change! A RENAISSANCE.

2013′s “Adaptation” post:

Five years ago I started an online food diary to share with friends and family how eating healthy could be enjoyable and delicious. Never in a million years could I have imagined what KERF would become. If you told me someone would document every meal she ate for over five years, I would tell you she was crazy. Yet here I am — the crazy person!!

And, on Tuesday, she wrote:

It’s been nearly 2 years since KERF went from a thrice daily food and lifestyle journal to a 5x a week blog with lifestyle posts thrown in. I’ve done a lot of thinking about my work flow, my interests, your feedback and where I see KERF years from now.


You guys have followed me from a desk job to Chemistry 101, from California to Africa, from cafeterias to hospitals, from Charlotte to Charlottesville, from books to bread, and from morning sickness to a new member of the family. Plus every meal along the way. I thank the thousands of you who check in daily from the bottom of my heart for your support and friendship.

She returned to this at the end of her post, signing off with,

Thank you all again – you are the best!

Just a note: She got about 300 comments in the first week after she posted about her “Adaptation.”

2015: Not a damned word about her readers.

It’s been almost a week, and there are 71 comments. One of them praises her for being a survivor :

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Why is she cutting down on her posts again?

This is how she blamed her baby, er, what she said in 2013:

I find myself at a crossroads now. Mazen not only needs a lot of my attention; he deserves it. I have loved sharing the “day in the life” of a newborn these past four months, but I know as he becomes more mobile, social and interactive, I’m going to want to spend even more time with him as well as my friends and the friends Mazen will make. I also would like to pursue some other interests and projects and need a bit more time in my day to do so.

Thus, I need flexibility. And the time has come to change gears.

And this is how she blamed her toddler, er, what she said on Tuesday:

….life became so unpredictable with an infant. There were days when I literally had zero minutes in my day to even look at the computer, and I didn’t want the stress of not having a post up and you guys wondering where I was if I couldn’t fit one in.

I’m a very consistent person!

One of the key ways she’s consistent has been in refusing to take any reader feedback, especially when it has to do with her admitting that she’s not the tiniest-meal-eating, perfect-sponsor-having food blogger of her dreams:

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So, she “can think about doing a post” about her “very small,” “tiny bite”-sized snacks — which are really just “bites.” Which doesn’t even mean that she will put in the effort to think about them. But she could. If she wanted to.

What would she rather focus on? Getting money to write about free boxes of cereal and macaroni from General Mills:

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So, what should we expect from her blog in the days ahead? In 2013, she said it would be

A less frequent posting schedule, some day-in-the-life posts and topical posts….

Look. I understand that some people’s parents might pay a little extra to know that their kid is going to a college where the kid doesn’t have to do their own laundry, like Davidson, because maybe they want their kid to be taken care of in the way they’ve been accustomed to at home. Paying more for a laundry service is sort of like paying extra for your kid to get a meal plan, right? The kid could take care of it on their own, but maybe it would be an easier transition if they didn’t have to live off ramen microwaved in a closet-sized “kitchen” down the hall and they could eat a salad and have a glass of orange juice every now and then, no?

But I think you’d want to make sure that the place at least taught said kid that etymology isn’t about words just meaning what they sound like in the context of 21st-century English. To wit — topical doesn’t mean ABOUT TOPICS.

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Kathy thinks that’s what it means, though, so let’s plow ahead.

Topics, she said at the time, would include things that, yes, she’s followed through on — recipes, “selected” meal recaps, “day in the life” posts, “Products I love,” “updates” on her exercise, beer reviews, and restaurant recaps. She did, a month after her “Adaptation,” post something about “Top 10 favorite nut butters,” (which she did the month after her reboot). Her promised “series on Real Foods” ended up being posts from guest RDs who had blogs or shakily credentialed merchandise to shill. Her “Adventure recaps” with photos of her child ended up just being braggy shit about her weekend when Bath Matt was probably too hungover to pose for photos — or he forgot his fedora.

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And I don’t think she’s said shit about gardening, which she promised, other than the summer after her Adaptation, when she complained about how she “LOVE[S] fresh herbs but don’t cook with them much because they are hard to manage in the kitchen.”


At the time, she said this would be easy:

I don’t have a plan, but I have hundreds of ideas of posts I can write that don’t require me to document my daily life. Posts that were I not writing about daily meals and going through so many life changes these past five years, I might have written a long time ago.

It seems that the reality of turning those “hundreds of ideas of posts” into a reality got on top of her, according to Tuesday’s post:

…. to be honest, they aren’t as fun and take twice as long to prepare as writing about my daily life and meals! People used to ask me how I blogged three times a day, and I would reply that my content was auto-generated by my meals so it didn’t feel like work. I didn’t have to come up with anything to write about….

Oh, the thing you do to earn money isn’t “fun”?

Anyway, Kathy says she’s been

….craving a more casual tone of posting for a while, but you can’t really write about topics and get that same vibe. In one of my surveys, 80% of you guys asked for more informal posts, so that’s the direction I’m headed.

I want (and need) to continue to do topical posts as ideas come to me because I don’t want to put the pressure of having the whole week wide open with nothing planned [sic]. Plus some posts work better as formal topics anyways. I also want (and need) to continue to do sponsored posts, as they are what keeps this blog running.

Thus, moving forward I am hoping KERF will be a hybrid. (But don’t hold me to anything – I might change my mind!)

She finally gets around to saying she’s not going to do those awful “Lately” posts where she writes about every damned thing she’s eaten in a week, and that

Maybe I’ll even come back with 2 posts in one day at times! I know it’s taken me a while to put your requests into action, but I haven’t been ready until now.

In conclusion, Kathy says that since she wasn’t ready to be more informal until now, we should now “Expect the unexpected,” and that she might “disappear” or post late, except don’t hold her to any of that, because she’s so consistent — except when she’s not.

Wednesday’s post is about how she wants to write about some dinners she ate in the week before her post, and also how she wants to write about how she bought a new dining room table:

We’re getting a new one from Restoration Hardware – their 1900s Boulangerie Table – aka a French bakery table!!! {How appropriate!}

She took food photos for Wednesday on their kitchen-turned-porch table, saying,

….I’m not sure how I feel about food photography on it! The color is just so different. But since our new table is lighter wood as well (to fit the beach house theme) I’m excited for the new look. Things will be better when the sun is out at 6pm!

The dinners she mentioned earlier are described in a section called “Mystery Meat.” She says that she cooked 

a random…. sausage


tasso …. another mystery meat!

because Bath Matt

brings home meats that he trades for bread at the farmer’s market

They ate the first one with whole wheat linguine, garbanzos, kale, and frozen tomato paste and frozen chipotle peppers:

Since you usually only need a little bit of each, we always freeze the rest and just break off a chunk to add to a dish. Served with some vino, this dinner was great!

The second “mystery meat” dinner, Kathy said,

….sure took a simple vegetable soup to the next level! To our big pot we added a box of chicken broth, 2 cups of frozen peas and green beans, a few dried herbs and then the sliced tasso and let it simmer for 30 minutes or so. 

For the last dinner she felt like recapping, she mentions that she bought some more of that fresh Mona Lisa pasta they get locally. She bought a lasagne for “a new mom” and bought herself one as well, she writes:

The cheese lasagna was ready in an hour. Mazen loved it and called it “Anya” like our neighbor! We made a salad with avocado, red pepper and a homemade dressing on the side. Kombucha to drink!

She ends by wishing her husband a happy birthday in all caps. We’ll see how Kathy celebrates her husband — and, presumably, it’ll be in a way that completely complements her 26,000 Kinds of Pumpkin Beer 32nd Who Gives A Fuck About That One birthday.

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KERF Recaps: To Go With Your Broken Down Boxes and Dried Out Tree

The rest of the December recaps are coming as surely as another year of banal typing from America’s least-ambitious diet-blogger, but in the meantime, here is my latest attempt to cobble something together using Photoshop instead of rubber cement and old copies of Sassy: the 2014 Sadvent Calendar.


Probably best consumed in nibbles and sips, with Greek yogurt on top for spice-neutralizing calm. Contains no perfection, no flows, and no nutrients.

foodsmug lifesmug recaps shillsmug smugnom

KERF Recaps: Reboot Edition, Posts 146-148

Kathy’s Wednesday post covers what she did last weekend, but in a weird, braggy, accusatory tone:

How was your weekend? Cold? Hot? Rainy? Full of ice cream and sprinkles and hamburgers and craft brew?

She starts out talking about how the amazing cheese dude at the local Whole Foods won some contest dubbing him the best at knowing about cheeses. He’s starting his own cheese counter (not “shop,” Kathy) inside of a coffee shop for the burgeoning Charlottesville, uh, scene that wants to drink espresso with the smell of feta filling its nostrils.

Kathy has a lot of feels about the cheeses. One of them has “texture” and “sweet and sour flavors” and she ate it with sour cherries. She liked the second’s “feta-like texture” and had it with cider — the kind with alcohol. The third, with more beer, was

A French stinky cheese that was my favorite of the day! Kind of brie-ish in texture with a really smooth buttery mouthfeel.

The fourth was a “slightly bacony with notes of caramel” cheddar with pepper jelly. The fifth was a “nutty and slightly sweet” soft cheese that they ate with more jelly on a $10 ridiculousness called Cranberry Hazelnut Raincoast Crisp, which gets a resounding one star on Dean & DeLuca. The last one was a blue cheese “atop a chocolate cover [sic] fig and a sip of Bell’s Porter” that was described as having a “vanilla butterscotch flavor with a butter texture.”

That evening, they went home and drank something the local Mexican place calls “Spice-a-Ritas.” Kathy can’t even gather her wits to tell us it’s made with white tequila, roasted and soaked jalapenos, and lime, only promising that she’ll be able to describe the whirlwind of making such a creation next week.

It actually looks pretty delicious, if only because on it gathers together more spicy ingredients than we’ve seen for the entire run of her silly blog. And it would need to be, for this is what followed it:

That’s more chicken and beans “bake,” those canned green beans they’ve been working their way through since last year, salad, and un-sellable rolls from the fakery.

On Saturday morning, she had another one of those things where she puts an egg on a hamburger bun from the fakery and puts nut butter and jelly on it and says it tastes like a jelly donut.

Can’t eat enough peach!

This fake jelly doughnut is regretting those last three “Irish car bombs.” Also, he’s pretty sure he lost his debit card.

Morning-person mom dragged her reluctant child to the farmer’s market to buy flowers and “a variety of things.”

And returned just in time for nap.

It rained, and Bath Matt worked from 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. so she

took advantage by working hard myself so hopefully we could both take Sunday off.

She doesn’t say what she did, so we’ll just assume throwing things into the rice cooker and running away with her hands over her head before it gets up to “porridge” setting and trying to get reruns of “A Cervix-Thinning Story” on her iPad or something.

That night, they went to Champion Brewing Company with friends because they are desperate to show the world that they drink a heavy variety of fun-causing trendy-ritas known only to the elite foodies of the world.

we were ready for a little excitement …. and too many beers had come and gone in our absence!

While Bath Matt looks hairy and intoxicated here

Kathy looks about as good as she ever has,

and please, let’s not turn this into Alien Hunting Pawn Stars: Lightroom Edition. Let’s pretend she’s at her “goal weight” — she still has nothing interesting to say. She could be 126 minus ten pounds and still not know how to properly write, observe, or engage in observation of oneself or the world. Anyway, they came home and made their own pizza with their own onionless, garlic-less tomato sauce and OMGLOCALYOUGUYS mushrooms and they ate it standing up because they were just so entranced by their child.

On Sunday, Kathy fortified herself with

yogurt, berries, peach, chia seeds and torn pieces of Apple Scrapple bread

Not what “Apple Scrapple” contains.

so she could go shopping for a new pair of silver cork platform shoes like the Modabella ones from Marshalls she wore

to the GROUND …. Can’t find them online! Please help …. I’m looking for cork-sole, silver, sparkly, super comfy sandals with a tinnnny bit of wedge in the heel.

This might just be such a sad plea for help that I have nothing disparaging to say about it. I mean, I guess they could, technically, be worse.

For lunch on Sunday, she made a tomato sandwich and a salad with a tin of smoked herring on top of it. Then, she went to a “power yoga” class and came home to a dinner prepared by a dude who already had to work every day that week, including the previously mentioned 14-hour day the day before.

Roasted tofu and vegetables with cheese both sound rather grim, but I guess I’d just be worried about if my dinner was going to shatter onto the floor in half a second at this angle:

Kathy’s Thursday entry is another fascinating guest post from husband Bath Matt on what’s going on in their unsealed, unfenced, raised-bed gardens where onions are not welcomed but the neighbor’s cat is.

It starts out with Bath Matt whining about how he should have done said post a while ago

because the transition photos are impossible to compare!

Why, Bath Matt? Why is it so difficult to describe the process of plants that are small transitioning into larger ones? He shows some photos from a few months back, then shows ones from recently. Amazingly, the plants are bigger. Wow, Bath Matt. You’re the fuckin’ squash-whisperer.

Early morning shade makes it hard to distinguish anything

Shut up, bro.  Learn to write or to photograph.

but it’s clearly booming!  In the front you can see that the two types of kale I planted last fall (that’s right, in about September of 2012) are still going strong.  They have a lot of woody growth, but the leaves still taste good so I can’t bear to get rid of them.

I can’t keep mint that someone else waters alive, but isn’t Bath Matt — “owner” of an establishment that sells food — basically saying that the garden is growing a bunch of stuff that’s unsuitable to be served but that he doesn’t want to get rid of it because… I’m not sure, because any kind of head of kale has been less than a dollar any time I’ve been in supermarkets across the country.

But it’s not like Bath Matt is the most comfortable with anything he’s growing, as he says about that squash that’s showing up in every dish these days:

It’s a little weird that 95% of the plant is outside of the bed itself

Yeah, dude, because you’re planting it in a raised bed. Go to an actual farmer’s house. They have shit in rows. And they’re not standing there looking at them declaring things “a little weird” unless the tomatoes come out plaid. Or the farmer’s wife is putting a cruller on her salad.

These are some of the wan, haggard vegetables from the Younger-Smugsons’ garden. I don’t garden, but maybe they need some moisturizer.

He also calls his okra

Such a strange plant.

And then does one of those strange flip-flops that Kathy does, where he says one thing and then exactly the opposite. For instance, he says that things take a really long time to ripen on their property because of the sun and the trees, but then talks about how gnarly the Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomato plants were:

Each plant yielded about 10 big tomatoes, which seems kind of pitiful but that’s the way it is with heirloom varieties ….  My goal is to hit that sweet spot with the heirlooms where they have amazing and unique flavor, but are still decently productive.

Heirloom tomatoes are delicious and everything, but I’m tired of feeling obligated to pretend like people who grow them or appreciate them humorlessly are war heroes or something. Perhaps more importantly, I can’t help but stick my tongue out like a child imagining him shouting out this line about his stupid heirloom tomatoes at some microbrewery.


Finally, on Friday, Kathy promises “New Products for Beauty” and produces five paragraphs about

1. Earrings Bath Matt got her for Mother’s Day from a lady who has a booth at the Charlottesville farmer’s market:

….Amy out [sic] our local farmer’s market has an amazing eye for creating vintage-y pieces with a modern flair. Or is it modern pieces with a vintage flair!?

I don’t know what it is. It’s either old-looking things that look new or new-looking things that look old. Neither one of those options make any sense. That’s like asking for an onion-free onion soup, or a dietician’s certification for someone who wants to not work and get her nutritional information from the cover of a Real Simple magazine.

I guess that’s okay, though, since her Etsy shop advertises three pairs with “surgical steal” posts for $25.

Kathy likes them

Especially since I can no longer wear dangles or they get pulled out by grabby hands!

See how much they suffer at the hands of that cruel baby? Almost a year old and he still wants to grab at things that catch his eye? His parents pay $250 for a high chair and 80 strollers and he still needs stimulation? WTF.

2. necklace her sister got for all her bridesmaids with an initial stamped in a circle sold at a North Carolina chain with a location near Davidson because, have you heard? Kathy and Bath Matt went there and they love it so much Kathy bought the visor. Even though it’s not Duke. But we don’t discuss that. Anyway the necklace looks like some kind of crude product from a kit someone gets for Christmas.

I love the simplicity of it. It goes with everything!

I guess being simple and requiring no dishwashing are Kathy’s two requirements for everything. Just like someone who eats only take-out and lives in a pay-by-the-week motel.

3. A $49 purse from Etsy — another bridesmaid gift — made by some chick in Mankato who uses the word “convo.” Kathy says the bag

has become my new date night purse. A refreshing change from the giant diaper bag I usually carry around.

Hold on a minute. Kathy means to say that she has to take a large bag around when she takes her 1-year-old out into public, so that she can attend to his basic needs of feeding and not spending the day covered in bodily fluids? Jesus. That’s awful. How does she do it? Girlfriend, please, take like 26 more date nights.

4. A $22 hair conditioning spray from Birchbox that, as far as I can tell, she purchased because it fulfills a deep need for her to spray perfume on her hair:

I have always longed for the curly type of hair that loves to be spritzed with yummy smelling hair products. Sadly my very straight, fine hair looks greasy with almost everything in it…. it’s the SMELL that has me using this daily. Love it.

5. More hair stuff: A $19 Wella shampoo for “fine” hair and an $11 “self-warming mask” she calls “magical!”

This post is sponsored by my sister! … Again, it’s the smell that draws me in.

It’s funny how Kathy falls all over her exclamation point key to point out whenever she buys a local cheese, but scatterbrainedly just happens to forget to mention whenever she loves a product, say, made by Procter & Gamble, which Wella has been for 10 years.

Remember how she said, uh, less than a month ago, that one should pick snack bars only with “ingredients you can pronounce”?

The same, I guess, isn’t true for beauty products, as Wella’s stuff — promoted heavily for having things like “hydrolized silk” also has such crunchy and locally sourced ingredients as “fragrance,” methylparaben and tetrasodium EDTA, all three blasted by at least one site as among the top five chemicals to avoid in cosmetics. Other awesome ingredients include the antistatic ingredient Polyquaternium-10, viscosity-increaser Trihydroxystearin, foam-producer Cocamide MEA, and Sodium Xylenesulfonate, which helps water dissolve other stuff. If using that kind of stuff is okay, Kathy, and I’m not arguing that it’s not — isn’t it funny that you promote it when you also “own” a franchise scuffin-monger whose own corporate ad copy promises, on store sites across the country: “And we only use pure and simple ingredients in our products. You won’t find additives, preservatives or any ingredients you can’t pronounce.”

That kind of stuff is either important to you or it’s not, Kathy. Or it is — some of the time, only when you want to brag.


Programming Note

Hey smuggers, partypants here. You may have noticed smugnom going down a lot lately. That’s because we are already at over 500K pageviews a month, more than the server can handle.

I have already upgraded the server once, but it’s really just growing too quickly for what I can afford. Please know that when I get some more contract work money I will upgrade the server again and stop all this overloaded nonsense. Also, please feel free to blame Conch since her excellent work here just keeps you smuggers coming back and killing it. I’ll be watching the server and restarting when needed until I can do the upgrade. In the meantime thanks for your patience.

Smug on,

PS: This is not a call for donations, btw. Just a note to let you know I’m aware of this stuff and am trying to keep on top of it.