Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Day 363 - European Cookie Collection and ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW PROJECT!


I hate them!!

Sure, I know most people dislike “goodbyes” and don’t like it when they eat the last bite of their ice cream sundae.  But I seriously have an aversion to endings.  Examples:

·         It is December 28th.  David and I have not opened a single Christmas gift from one another yet.  Long into the New Year some of these gifts will remain in their pristine wrapping and eventually join the big pile of other “unopened gifts” at the Big Yellow House.

This photo is NOT taken before Christmas...  This is 3 days AFTER Christmas.

  •  Remember when everyone was raving about the ending of “Breaking Bad”?  Yeah – we have    not watched the conclusion yet.  In fact, just this month we started in on the last season.  We have a couple left.  We will stretch them out…  (Same held true for another show we loved, “House”.  Everyone else knew what happened to Gregory House at the end about two years before we did.  Quite literally.)

·         I get sad at the beginning of every autumn.  I really like autumn, mind you, but I am sad because of the ending of summer…

This is the view out our kitchen window every fall - our neighbor's tree is gorgeous, yet still the season makes me sad.  Summer ENDS...
I am sure there are many more examples in my life of things that I put off ENDING.

To be clear, ending things is not the same as FINISHING things.  Finishing allows you to check the item off your “to do” list.  Finishing can be satisfying.  ENDING is different – ending is somehow much more final than a simple finish.  Ending means that thing/event/season is over.  Ending brings with it a sense of finality and often a tinge of sadness.

And so this project is nearly ending.

It is day 363 of 365.  To be honest, when I had this crazy idea and began it, I didn’t really know if I could do it.  You may not realize it, but committing to do something every single day is huge, at least for me it is!  Sure, you do things like brush your teeth every day, and most of us cook every day.   But to me those are not commitments, those are just LIFE.  This blog, these reviews, these were a commitment.  And for a commitment phobic such as myself, a huge commitment!

Have I told you that we lived together for 12 years before getting married?  Yeah, we BOTH dislike commitments...
As you may have noticed if you looked back to the start of this project, at the beginning my entries were more perfunctory – shop, photograph the product, eat it, and review it.  But as the year went on and I got more and more “into” the blog, I started to sort of share my life with you all.  That was a new experience for me, and sometimes it was a bit scary to be vulnerable, but most of the time I really loved sharing photos of details with you of “real life” stuff, not just Trader Joe’s things. 

So today is not the very last day of the project.  But I feel like I have to sort of brace myself, get myself ready, for the end, which is why I am taking time to write this today. 

Here’s the deal:  I feel like I enjoyed this project because for the first time in my life really, I had a clear beginning, middle, and end to something.  I knew exactly how many days were going to be committed to this.  Trust me, there were times when I thought I was in way over my head, but knowing the finish date kept a light at the end of the tunnel. 

And now as the days have wound down I have been getting sad, but at the same time a little piece of me is happy.  And thrilled.  Thrilled that in just a couple of days I will be able to say “I DID IT!!”.  When I started this I had no idea that “365” things were a trend.  Did you know that it is sort of “hip” now to do something every day??  I didn’t, until my sister-in-law told me about an article in the Washington Post last month where they interviewed other “every day of 2015” people.  One guy is eating a taco every day (I am glad I am not him).  One woman is making a different tiny chair every day!!  The article was interesting for me – I could relate to a lot of what the other people were saying.  (You can read it here )  

Thank you to everyone who has been commenting, “DON’T STOP BLOGGING!” and “You know you are not gonna stop, you are in too deep now…”.  Your comments have made me smile and also made me proud. 

I must stop.  I can’t write everyday anymore.  Each entry takes me on average 45 – 50 minutes to compose and upload, and that is after already spending time shopping, cooking, tasting, and photographing stuff.  I have LOVED this project, it has been such a motivation for me this year, but it has also taken a lot of my time and more importantly, my creative energy.  I promise that I will write PERIODIC reviews and post them here – like, when we run into something at Trader Joe’s that we adore (or makes us gag J ).  But I can’t commit to doing it every day.

BUT (as PeeWee Herman says, “Everyone I know has a big butt…”) – BUT – I am starting a new journey. 

In thinking about this whole Trader Joe’s adventure, one thing became clear to me – if I am putting something out there into the world – I want it to have a PURPOSE.  Sure, this blog has the purpose of informing people about stuff at TJ’s, and perhaps a “sub-purpose” (is that a word?) to entertain and make people laugh.  And maybe this is the stuff that is supposed to get talked over with a therapist J but I think I am looking for a higher purpose at this point.

So I have decided to be a KINDNESS ACTIVIST

Do you want to be a kindness activist, too?
“A HUH???” you might be thinking.  A KINDNESS ACTIVIST.  I am going to write about kindness.  Not “random acts of kindness”, but intentional, purposeful kindness.  And not hoity toity kindness on the religious scale, but everyday kindness that we all give and witness.

I just think I would like to spread a little kindness.  I recently realized that kindness is a heck of a lot like peanut butter, it needs to be SPREAD.  So I hope to encourage people to SPREAD the hell out of it!!

Oh it’s still gonna be irreverent.  It’s still gonna be silly.  And it’s still gonna involve the adventures of Susan and David.  But I hope it will involve the adventures of others, too. 

Wanna join?  I hope you will.  I have loved “getting to know” you through your comments this year.  I am in the process of setting up the Kindness Activist stuff (guys – there are going to be BUTTONS – I mean that is some serious stuff, eh – real-life-pin-to-your-shirt-or-backpack BUTTONS!!).  I am not committing to writing every day, but I am committing to being an activist.  And committing to encouraging others to be activists alongside me.

Let’s do it!!!!  Here are the details:

(I am trying to get tech savvy here – wish me luck!)

Please comment here or send me an email at the address above to nominate someone you know as a kindness activist.  And I hope it is YOU – you can totally share with me things YOU did out of kindness!  I would love to write about them!!  (And you know you want a kindness activist button...)

Enough kindness for now, let’s get to today’s REVIEW!  

European Cookie Collection – this is a special red tin of 12 varieties of cookies from Belgium.  It is a holiday/seasonal item, meaning TJ’s only carries it for a short time, and when they are gone, they are gone (until next year during the holiday season, when hopefully they will have them again!). 

This was a flyer item AND a seasonal item - double special :)
The packaging says a serving size is 3 cookies, but if you like them do not fret – there are “around 34” servings in the big a** tin!! 

We decided to buy these cookies when a Trader Joe’s employee at the Bailey’s Crossroads, VA store pointed them out to us.  He told us that he remember another customer who bought a DOZEN TINS of them at once!  I asked if they were for gifts, but nope, he loved them so much that he was going to just store them and eat them over the year!!  (Note:  I see that our tin says it is best eaten before August 2016 so that would give us 8.5 months to eat these!  Trust me, they won’t last that long.)

Aren't they PRETTY?  One variety up in the corner spot was broken, but the rest are in perfect shape
There are 12 different cookies included here.  I have eaten TWO and I really liked them!  One was the small round one with coconut on top and it was deeelicious!  They taste like “European cookies”, but in the good sense of the word.  I say that because we have eaten some European desserts that are “all about the pretty” at the expense of the TASTE.  These cookies are just as tasty as they are lovely!

A downside for us tonight is that we are eating them in FLORIDA where it has been around 80 degrees.  We have the air conditioner set to 79 degrees, so it is not, how shall I say, cool in here.  That means the chocolate is a bit melty.  But we cannot blame the cookies for that at all!  That’s all on us. I give them a 4.75.

 A cookie display on one of my favorite plates!
David says, “I agree, these are good.  The ones that are covered with chocolate, the chocolate is kind of more overpowering than the cookie that is inside.  Not that that is BAD, but for the Philistine that I am I sometimes wonder, “What is this cookie??  Is it a sugar cookie?  Is it a shortbread cookie that I am eating on the inside??”.  But some of them have hints of something or other in them and each of them is distinct I guess.  So that’s good!

And the cookies without chocolate on them are also nice.  They are all really cruuunchy.  Not in a hard way, but in a crackly, kind of CRUNCHY way which is good.  They all feel like they’ve got a lot of BUTTER in them, which is also good.  And not underdone at all – they are perfectly done.  It’s a nice collection.  I give it a 4.5.”

We were psyched to get these
Editor’s note:  I asked David if he would buy these again next year if Trader Joe’s has them, and he said he would get them again if he was certain that he would have people to share them with.   He says, “Cuz if no one else is eatin’ ‘em, I’m EATIN’ this whole collection!!”.  Well we are going to share these, because tonight we are bringing some to a luau at the neighbor’s house!  Yes siree, nothing says “LUAU” more than European cookies covered in melting chocolate!

Price – $9.99
Rating – 4.75


  1. I see it is rated at 4.75. You rated it 4.5. So david must've rated it higher? Will you keep the tin too? I'm excited about your new project! I shall start working on my kindness right now! Love you, sissy! Good job on your 2015 project!

    1. Oh my goodness I forgot to write down my score in my section of the review! Thank you for noticing, just fixed it while standing in the checkout line at IKEA :-). I gave the cookies a 4.75. They are well worth it. Yummy!! Glad you liked the Trader Joe's project. Can't wait to hear about your Kindness!!!

  2. I love the concept for the new project and thank you for your first act of kindness in promising to still post random Trader Joe's reviews. My world is happy and about to become better. Here's to making someone smile : )

    1. Yes - I WILL keep posting some random reviews. And YOU send me some kindnesses so I can write about them - kindnesses you receive, give, or witness! Send me details at kindnessactivist@gmail.com . I will be waiting... :) (P.S. - I GOT TO GO TO THE ORLANDO TRADER JOE'S TONIGHT! I thought I wouldn't get to shop at any more TJ's this year, but snuck that one more in!)

  3. PS it would be very KIND to share those yummy looking cookes....just saying.

    1. It would be kind to share them. And we got to the luau too late - all the hoola dancing and eating was DONE by the time we arrived at the neighbor's, so we now have the whole tin of cookies to eat. Oh my....

  4. You made my day that you will still being reviewing products on occasion. We will miss your daily reviews!

  5. Ooookkkk.... I guess. I mean, not really but as long as you promise to occasionally do drive by reviews here...! There are lots of kind people at trader joe's! ;)
    That looks like an awesome cookie assortment there- i only saw it in store once, and couldn't come up with a good reason to buy it for just myself.
    Happy new year to the two of you!!

    1. Oh dude, you missed it. You certainly deserved this tin of cookies. We have almost finished the top layer, there is another sealed layer under it! :)

  6. I to loved this cookie collection in 2015'. Unfortunately it is not nearly as tasty this season,as it unfortunately appears that the manufacturers have decided that costs have risen and instead of charging a higher price to Trader Joes,they would skimp on the quality(while still sorta maintaining the appearance)which has resulted in a very noticeable decline in quality(flavor).I like them still,but would have definitely been willing to pay more to maintain the original quality.2015' 5 stars. 2016' 3 stars :(

  7. Just would like to reiterate, the Trader Joe European cookie collection for 2016' fails to compare in quality to that of the 2015' one. I hope enough people show the same disappointment that I have and that Trader Joes either discontinue carrying this seasonal product or require that the manufacturer return to the producing this product to the same standard as in 2015'(charge $12.99 instead of $9.99, I for one would gladly pay the difference).