I’ve been participating in Foodie Penpals for almost a year now.Every month I get super excited–waiting for the package, opening the package, eating what the package contains. It’s always something great to look forward to! Well, except for this month. I got a dud. My sender emailed right away, what seemed like minutes after Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean sent out the pairings. He was enthusiastic and excited. I told him about myself, what kind of food I liked, my address and waited. And waited. Nothing. Zilch. Radio silence. That was the last I heard of him. I tried emailing a few times, without response. Hopefully everything’s okay on his end. No Foodie Penpal box for me this month. BUT! At the very same time I was waiting for my nonexistent package, I was preparing to send a package to my penpal, Jessica. And even before I learned I wasn’t getting a package this month, Jessica agreed to write my first ever guest post because she didn’t have an active blog. No package for me, but still a great post to read!
You know, I think things almost worked out better this month. Sure, I’m sad not to get my monthly supply of chocolate (because, really any Foodie Penpal knows that’s what this is really all about). And while I know you love hearing about my experience with the program and living vicariously through my goodies (how do I know this? Well, you tell me so.), it’s about time we get a new perspective. This month I was paired with Jessica, a Boston native, now living in Las Vegas. Jessica has been training for the Boston Marathon for 4 years now (god bless her–I still struggle to run a single mile without walking). She is an extreme couponer and strives to eat healthy but also struggles with a sweet tooth. I can totally relate. She never skips dessert–good woman! Jessica technically does have a blog, but has struggled to maintain it. The Organic Mrs. K is a really cute blog. I encouraged Jessica to keep it up; hopefully she takes my advice! But in the meantime, Jessica has agreed to write my first ever Foodie Penpal Guest Post! Take it away Jessica!
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My name is Jessica. I am a nurse and I live in Las Vegas with my husband, 3 dogs, and 2 cats. I extreme coupon. Over the last 2 years I have lost 120 pounds, and 2 months ago I started training to run a marathon.
I have been participating in Foodie Pen Pals since last August. I really enjoy it, for a few reasons. 1) I enjoy meeting people from all over the country. 2) I find lots of products that I would normally never buy (ones I receive and ones to buy for my pen pals). And, 3) If you are a foodie…it is just fun!!
Since you can only spend $15 on your pen pal’s gift, you have to be a little creative. I usually like to have a little bit of a theme. For example, last September I did an apple themed box because September is my birthday month and it always makes me think of apple picking in the fall when I was growing up in New England. That was my inspiration. I always like to include a recipe for my pen pal, and that month I included my grandmother’s apple pie recipe. Lastly, you must include something handwritten for your pen pal. This is one of my favorite aspects of FPP. I save all of the ones I receive, and usually write the ones I send on a Las Vegas postcard.
I have a huge sweet tooth, but this month I asked Melissa for some healthier snacks treats. She sent me some lemon cookies, some DE-LI-CIOUS granola, pizza seasoning (because I adore pizza), some homemade peach salsa & pickled jalapenos, and some dehydrated pineapple (a huge favorite of mine). I was most excited about the pizza seasoning just because I am so obsessed with pizza and it smelled SO good, but then I tried the granola, and it was SO yummy that it became my favorite. I’m, also, really excited to try out the peach salsa since I have never had it before. It sounds so fresh and summer-y…maybe with some grilled pork?? I hope Melissa’s package was as good as mine!!
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UPDATE: A few weeks late, I did receive my Foodie Penpal Package. It was delayed because my penpal was traveling and there was confusion with the instructions he left to ship it. Diggie and his wife Deb sent me a great package from Tennessee, complete with mini pies, moon cakes (chocolate covered cakes with marshmallow filling–yum!), cheese straws and coffee. A bit late but worth the wait!
And now, everything you need to know about joining Foodie Penpals:
- On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
- You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
- The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
- You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
- Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in joining, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!
- April Foodie Penpals! (bklynlocavore.com)
- March Foodie Penpal Reveal! (bklynlocavore.com)
- February Foodie Penpals! (bklynlocavore.com)
So sorry you didn’t receive a box this month 😦 I’ve only had one “serious” scare and it was the post office screwing up and delivering it almost three weeks late. Bumps do happen unfortunately. Hopefully next month will be better! So great to read the guest post. It’s nice to see the other side of the story.
Thanks. Last month I had trouble getting in contact with my sendee and got a new penpal last minute. Just a stretch of bad luck–though I’ve had some pretty amazing pairings in the past!
…you did contact Lindsay about this, correct?
I did but at so late a date, she wasn’t really able to do anything. Oh well.
She can make sure he doesn’t join the program again 🙂
😦 That’s a bummer!!! You’re right – hopefully nothing is wrong on his end!!!
I had something similar happen last month so I contacted the person that she was supposed to get a package from and that girl hadn’t heard anything either… so I contacted Lindsay and we switched!
Last month I ended up pairing with a new person last minute. Her sender never contacted her and I never heard from my sendee. I’ve had delayed packages, and sent one or two delayed ones (hey, we’re all human, and busy!) but never connected to not receive anything. I hope everything is okay, I can’t imagine someone flaking out after going half way through just because.
That’s too bad! I can’t believe that it’s happened to you twice! Last month was my only real problem I’ve had – which sucks because I look forward to it so much!!!
I hope I get paired with you sometime, looks like you pack great boxes!
Haha, thanks! I always think about that. I seem to know so many bloggers now, more and more each month, yet still have never been paired with someone I know.
Melissa, I had issues this month too. I sent my email immediately (because I knew I would forget otherwise) and never heard back….then I never received an email from whomever was originally going to be sending me my package. Crazy. I ended up with delays on both ends so I was rushing around last minute to buy/send. This is not the norm though!
Jessica, I encourage you to blog more too! I have hopped on an off the extreme couponer train but since I started running/training the couponing hasn’t been happening. I think there would be a huge “market” of readers interested in reading about eating healthy while couponing. So much of what I’m eating to fuel my training doesn’t have coupons and while I know I could be still saving on paper products and hygiene, I just am not. My blog “is turning 5” in June and there have been plenty of months of not blogging. I decided to start again to help follow my training and life in general and am so happy to be back.
Thanks Jill. Yeah usually things go smoothly. And I’ve had some really awesome packages in the past. Just a few hiccups here and there. And great motivation on the blogging side! If nothing else, doing it for yourself is a great reason. I started blogging 3 years ago, at a horribly hectic time in my life. Stopped for 2 years and restarted last summer. So glad I did and hope I can continue, even if life does cause a few breaks.
Sorry you got a dud, but it’s a nice treat that you had a reader who wanted to write a guest post for you. I hope you have much better luck next time and in the future. Maybe one day we’ll have each other! My pen pal was awesome this month and I was saddened to hear that she also got a dud as well – her pen pal had to back out too. I guess it happens occasionally but hopefully it’s get made up for when you have the really special boxes come your way.
It happens sometimes. I think that’s part of the reason Lindsay makes you re-signup every month (started in the fall). The actual list used to be much longer and people were just carried over and didn’t have the courtesy to opt out. So I think there used to be more dud incidents. I do really hope everything’s okay with the person. I wish if he realized he wasn’t able to participate because of whatever conflict, he would have emailed me, just for piece of mind.
Oh I have to resign up? I was confused about that. Okay, gonna do that now so that I don’t forget. Thanks letting me know!
No prob. I think the sign up period is after the 25th of the month or something? I usually do it when Lindsay sends the final reminder about posting (a day or so before the end of the month). Its a built in reminder!
What a nice guest post and great idea foodie pen pals. Sorry you didn’t get your package!
It is a fun program (normally). You should join! Its just another way to meet food bloggers across the country plus get exciting things in the mail (read: not bills or 3 discovery card applications a week).
I think it sounds like fun, I’ll check out joining, some of the cooks I know do an exchange around the holidays but this is great, don’t have to wait for a holiday to give and receive!
Melissa!!! I feel terrible that you didn’t receive a package this month…especially when you did such a great job with mine. I stockpile so much chocolate thanks to my couponing…I’d love to share it with you. Email me your address and I will make it right!! Also, thanks to your readers for the encouragement about my blog. I quit back when I started nursing school and just never got back to it.
You are too sweet! Thank you, but you don’t have to. It’s probably best I go a month without chocolate anyway. Can totally sympathize with nursing school. I started my blog right after getting married, taking on a new job and starting grad school. A bit too much. Though I do wish I had kept up at least once a month, just for me. It was hard starting a blog, but being in a groove now, I think I could just scale down, not stop. Maybe you can find some time 🙂
What a bummer! At least you’ve had a relatively good experience. I would love to do this…but with a baby coming so soon, I probably should wait! Thank you for sharing this guest post. I loved seeing all the goodies she received! And I’m happy I found your blog. Look forward to reading more!
It normally is a great program, but I can see your hesitation with a baby on the way. You have to think of what to include, and then remember to shop. The biggest hassle for me is mailing it because our post office is about a mile away (walking) and I feel like I really have to psych myself up to drag a box down there and wait in line. Maybe in a few months, after the baby when (if?) things calm down 🙂
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