An Excitable Box

Oh this post.

If you are related to me–DO NOT READ THIS POST!!

If you do, please, don’t ever talk to me about it, and certainly never look me in the eyes ever again, because I’LL KNOW.

So, a little bit before my vacation in Ohio, my friend Thien-Kim Lam of I’m Not The Nanny, From Left to Write Book Club and, most recently, The Bawdy Bookworms, asked me to review her latest venture, The Bawdy Book Box.

The description from the site:

“Each Bawdy Book Box will contain one smokin’ hot romance or erotica book, a sexy adult toy, and an additional 2-3 surprises to feed your mind and body. (Don’t worry, if you’ll need batteries, we’ve that covered too.)

As a bonus, all Bawdy Bookworms (that’s you!) will have access to our discussion forums aka our virtual book club. No more worrying that your grandma or colleague will see your status update about Mr. Sexy’s escapades. Come over and join other smart, sexy women talk about our books and vibrators.”

I mean, how could I say no?

Basically, the only thing to say was “yes, yes, YES.”

Here’s my box. (TWSS) I immediately instagrammed it. Because, of course I did.

It came in a very nondescript package. It contained the book: Biscuits: Tea: English Breakfast, because, theme.   And then…something I can only assume was designed as a tea stirrer. A battery-powdered tea stirrer. A very powerful and very small tea stirrer. A “bedazzled” tea frother. Because gems like you deserve to have their tea stirred by only the fanciest and smoothest tea frothers. And trust me, it will really stir your tea. Like, bubbling over. Best for hot, creamy tea.   Alongside some cherry flavored lubricant. (because when you’re greasing your wheels, it’s best to know what the engine tastes like.)   What did I think about this box?   I loved it. Truly. But one tiny thing.   The book was the fourth in a series. YES!! Each CAN be read as a standalone, but I have book neuroses, and can only read series in order. It’s a thing.   Turns out it’s #4 in a SPIN-OFF series, so I have many books to read, now. I loved the Beautiful Bastard series, and now there’s MORE.   The book was good, and it, um, really warmed my tea. In fact, I’ve loved the series so far. A series I was sure I would HATE.   I was wrong.   Would I buy the box? Yes. If my family asks: no. But that’s the joy of the nondescript box.   NO ONE KNOWS WHAT’S INSIDE!! (twhs)   Now, a hot recipe for a hot box. (that wording is weird, but go with it.)   It’s seasonal–like the box.   Indian Pumpkin Soup with Cilantro Pesto   Indian Pumpkin Soup with cilantro pesto    

Indian Pumpkin Soup and Cilantro Pesto by Cat Bowen Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour Keywords: appetizer entree side soup/stew dairy-free gluten-free kosher paleo soy-free vegan vegetarian


for the soup

  • 2, 15 oz cans pumpkin puree
  • 1, 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (plus more if it needs thinning)
  • 1 large sweet potato, roasted
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted (cut off the top, wrap in foil. bake at 350 for about 45 minutes)
  • 2 cloves raw garlic
  • 2 tbsp EVOO or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp hot curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

for the pesto

  • 8 oz toasted pecans
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of one lemon


in a large stockpot on medium, heat oil

thinly slice garlic clove

toss garlic in oil and fry until golden brown

remove from oil

add spices and toast until mix becomes extremely fragrant

stir in remaining ingredients, leaving the salt for last.

mash the potato in the soup until mostly smooth

simmer one hour

serve with pesto


combine all ingredients in food processor and process until nearly smooth.

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the box was free, but how it was used, and my opinions are my own.



Holy hell, guys. This Monday, the high temperature will be FIFTY NINE DEGREES. I can break out my flannels. I can buy more flannels. I can wear booties and skinny jeans. Wedge boots and flare jeans. Chucks and boyfriend jeans.

Do you see a theme?

I will also eat every apple that comes within a foot or two of my face hole. I’m making pumpkin dessert 3x/week. Hot cider. Cocoa. Tea cocktails. Gin–because it’s good in any season.

I will curl up with a plaid blanket, (because fall=plaid, duh.) cozy digs, and a fall beverage with my books and my Netflix every evening that I can.

So I’m going to do something CRAZY today. I’m going to pair a book, a Netflix rec, a recipe, and AN OUTFIT for each day of the week. Because I can’t get over my love of Autumn, and you can’t make me. I’m a super simple girl who gets really excited, ok?

THIS is the perfect blanket, btw. (It’s LL Bean)

Outfits, food, and book choices based on what you watch on Netflix!!

netflix streamteam

First up!!





Sherlock by cassandra-cat-tan featuring grey boots

Madewell coat

H by Hudson grey boots
$245 –

Bowling bag

RECIPE!!! These oatmeal cream pie scones. They’re not fussy, but warm and inviting all the same. Also, they’re scones. So they’re extra Britty.
Forrest Gump


Marni real leather purse
$1,015 –

Long jewelry

pic is link.
The Nightmare Before Christmas


Oasis lace top
$53 –

J Brand black pants
$400 –

Ashley Stewart suede boots

Rachel Entwistle gold jewelry
$210 –
In Your Eyes


Before I Disappear


Tall top
$380 –

Topshop skinny jeans
$61 –

Chan Luu wrap bracelet

That was WAY FUN. And a lot more time consuming than I would’ve thought!

What do you think of my picks?


Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Trick or Treat Yourself.

Get Series(ous) #13 Lucky #13. If only it was Friday the 13th! But we can pretend, no? Because it so totally fits for the quirky series I’m featuring today.

The series I’m featuring today is as sweet as the chocolate tootsie roll pops I steal from my unsuspecting children’s Halloween buckets. And it holds much less guilt. (Who am I kidding, I don’t feel a bit guilty for pinching those! I WALKED WITH YOU FOR HOURS, KIDS. I also did your makeup, and opted NOT to bring a flask. YOU’RE WELCOME, children!)

Also, tootsie rolls and their pops are the sketchiest of Halloween candies. So easily re-wrapped. I’m really like a royal taster on this one.

This series features all the things I love about a saccharine-sweet easy read: insta-love, high likelihood of untimely death, and interfering old women.

It’s a series that just sparkles with happy feelings and mirth. If you were looking to find a way to fly to Neverland, this series could be your “happy thoughts.”

(Hint: it’s a PNR, so happy thoughts could also lead to embarrassing situations in public, if you know what I mean.)

So, for whom is this series a good fit?

Let’s say, you’ve recently decided to read a metric ton of Gothic and Victorian novels for an article you’ve been writing, and you CAN’T TAKE ONE MORE FUCKING ALLUSION TO THE BREVITY OF YOUTH OR THE LOSS OF CHILDHOOD IN POVERTY. (It gets old.) You are someone who needs an escape, and really wants to laugh.

You loved Buffy the movie version. You’re a huge fan of Once Upon a Time, and are really sad that you can’t live in a themed paradise. Your dream job is that of a tour guide on a good ways to die while eating donuts and drinking margaritas, tour.

Your favorite colors are orange and black.

Followed closely by purple.

Your favorite time of year is RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE, DUH, HALLOWEEN.

Pumpkin Spice Girls is the name of your all kitty girl group tribute band.

You’re a ton of fun in a 100 pound package.

You excel at drinking wine in your pajamas after you’ve removed the devil contraption known as a bra.

fuck this bra o’clock starts now.

What’s the series?

What’s the story?

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town where Halloween is celebrated 365 days a year. The tourists think it’s all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better. Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs and all.

 Why did I love it?

This series is pure, riotous fun. The romance is heartfelt, but admittedly ohsofast. (Not unlike my high school boyfriend.) The storyline is such that it keeps the reader engaged from page 1 to “The End.” That’s difficult to do. I never felt myself beginning to skim the paragraphs, hoping to speed up a slow part or two.

I love that even though the plot is absolute fantasy, I feel like I knew the characters after reading the books. I feel as though I’d recognize them on the street, and be able to have a fun night with any of them. (Most likely the werewolves, as they have children, and totally understand the “need to be home before bed” thing. A quality that’s so overlooked in werewolves these days, no?)

And the world. Oh man, the world. I want to live in Nocturne Falls. I want to be able to trick or treat every weekend, and buy enchanted jewelry, and decadent chocolates from a cheerful vampire. I want to hang out with a cranky she-wolf receptionist, and get shakes with gargoyles.

I want to be able to carve a new jack-o-lantern every week according to my whim.

Kristen Painter crafts these novels with more than just a natural aptitude for story development and world building. Kristen Painter’s Nocturne Falls is positively double-bubbling over with humor, heart, and howlingly hot storylines.

4.5 big pumpkins.

The recipe inspired by the series.

It had to be chocolate. The heroine in the first book is a chocolate shop owner, and these characters have some serious sweet tooths? fangs? Either way.


Kristen Painter was nice enough to tweet me her favorite combination of sweet flavors, and she chose a classic.

Peanut butter and chocolate. You simply can’t go wrong. Therefore, I give you,

Trick or Treat Yourself Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Cake

Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Cake


Trick or Treat Yourself Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Cake

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: bake vegan vegetarian cake


    for the cake

    • 6 oz 72% dark chocolate, chopped
    • 4 oz vegan butter stick or butter
    • 1 cup superfine sugar
    • 2 flax eggs or 2 chicken eggs
    • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk heated to 95F (or more, depending on flour’s dryness and if the flax pulls more liquid)
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp instant espresso
    • 1.5 tsp baking powder
    • 2 cups cake flour
    • .5 tsp salt

    for the fudgy ganache

    • 4 oz 72% dark chocolate, chopped
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
    • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (as in Jif, not whole foods)
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup

    additional needs/options

    • non-stick spray
    • chopped nuts


    preheat oven to 350F and spray a 10″ cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

    in a microwave safe bowl, melt together the butter and the chocolate on high for 45 seconds, stir, repeat in 10 second increments until glossy and melted

    stir in sugar and espresso powder until combined

    add remaining wet ingredients and stir well

    sift in flour a little bit at a time until just combined

    batter should be as thick as a very thick milkshake, if it reminds you of brownie batter or loose dough, add more milk.

    add in salt and baking powder


    pour in prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean

    let cool completely

    for the ganache

    melt the chocolate either in the microwave or on a bain marie

    remove from heat when glossy and melted

    add in peanut butter and stir until glossy and thick

    add in milk, stir

    (it will look weird here, have faith.)

    add in maple syrup and the gloss MAGICALLY REAPPEARS! You’re like freaking Hermione Granger. You’re welcome.

    spread the ganache on top of the cake either in the pan, or overturned onto a plate.

    spread ganache out from the center

    top with crunchy nuts

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    Goddess of Badass.

    Hey guys!!

    To be 100% honest, I am wiped. I have been working feverishly on my own novel and my scholarship that my reading schedule hasn’t been as rigorous as I’d like. It’s making me a wee bit starkers, but I’m still managing about 4 books/week.

    Though my trips to the gym have been spread out a bit more than I’d like, and that’s making me even crazier. I am not simply one who can abide a lack of physical activity. It just doesn’t mesh. I realize that I’m not taking care of myself as well as I should be, and that doesn’t typically end well for anyone.

    But today is the first day of fall. It’s the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar, and it’s Mabon.

    Oh, Mabon! How I tried to understand what the fuck you were when I was a teenage make-believe Wiccan. How I loved the movie The Craft. It celebrated all the things I loved best as a tween/teen. Black clothing, dark lipstick, revenge against bitchy girls, the ability to fly, unattractive jewelry, emo journaling. (Wait, I guess this blog is kind of my new emo journal, is it not? OH WELL. You can take the girl out of her walk-in closet filled with black candles and eighth grade best friend, but you can’t take the black candles and nag champa out of the girl–because that smell lingers.

    This always ended in personal injury.

    (no, seriously. I just ordered some black candles for my Samhain display. Also, white ones. No red, though. That would be tacky. {And they burn pink, not red.}) Also ordered: black gauze, a few candleabrum, skulls, pumpkins, Victorian-style potion bottles, and one stuffed wolf. I’m considering some nifty black light Christmas lights, but haven’t decided. If you’re wondering the look I’m going for…

    Pretty much. Yeah.


    I really love Halloween. It’s one holiday that really brings out the best in people. And by that, I mean, they pretend to be an entirely different person for a few hours. In many cases, a zombie is entirely preferable to that asshole in the History department who talks about the “good ol’ days” pre women’s suffrage. Please, please, eat some brains. 

    As for my costume? I’m not sure, yet, and I’m a bit worried. I’m vacillating between the goddess Scáthach, and Bridget Bishop. I can get away with a lot warmer clothing as Bridget, and for those of you who may not know, Scáthach is the Celtic/Scottish goddess of slaughter, and Bridget Bishop was the first woman executed in Salem, Massachusetts for witchcraft. I love the idea of a badass bitch who trains warriors for battle even as she’s dropping a few kidlets of her own. Her name actually translates to “she who strikes fear.” Which is pretty damned incredible. And Bridget Bishop? Everyone knows her tale, and it’s tragic. However, it serves to remind us all that in the not-too-distant past, our country failed its most vulnerable. The Salem Witch Trials are often referred to in terms of why feminism was able to gain a foothold in the United States, and it remains a crucial point today.

    She Who Strikes Fear vs She Who Was Victim of Fear.

    Both badass.

    If all else fails, I could go as Cersei Lannister or the Red Queen.



    What I’m reading.

    On kindle:
         Pucked by Helena Hunting I may DNF. I have an image that perfectly sums up this entire          book thus far. I actually IG’d it.

    The Old Curiosity Shop Charles Dickens.

    On Scribd.

    Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer

    Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

    On Audible.

    Georgia on my Mind by Marie Force

    Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (for the Captain…and me)

    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

    Now? FOOOOOOOD. I’m on an umami kick. I’m obsessed with the “fifth flavor.” It’s a lot like The Fifth Element only decidedly fewer leather straps. Love, soy sauce, what’s the difference?! I don’t see one! I give you…. Umami Hummus. (cue angels singing.) It’s how I imagine hummus would taste if my favorite sushi bar started in on the dip train. BTW, they SHOULD. Now that I’m a vegan and all. They should read my mind. Umami Hummus


    Umami Hummus by Cat Bowen Prep Time: 5 minutes Keywords: raw appetizer side snack vegan

    Ingredients (1 large jar)

    • 1, 12 oz bag of frozen edamame, shelled, frozen–thawed.
    • 3 tbsp tahini
    • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp prepared wasabi
    • juice of one lime
    • 1 tsp mirin
    • 1 tbsp white miso paste
    • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro


    add all ingredients into a food processor and blend the hell out of it.

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    It’s Not a Sin, It’s Criminal-ly Bad.

    Ok. I almost never write bad reviews. I hate doing it. It doesn’t feel nice. Authors spend months on a project–sometimes years–just to have someone like me tell them it’s crap? I don’t like it. I’m friends with authors. I AM an author. I know what it’s like to be written about negatively. Therefore, what … Read more…