My Top Ten Guilty Pleasures

I’m on a campaign to strip the guilt out of all my guilty pleasures. Needless to say, it’s not easy going (have you noticed, we humans seem to be hardwired for guilt?). But in the meantime, I thought I’d share my top ten guilty pleasures with you. You probably won’t be surprised that my list contains quite a few bookish things …

1. The Snacking Reader


Anyone else do this? I LOVE to eat while I’m reading. The habit started when I was a kid; put a book in my hands and I’d automagically reach for an apple. I remember the first time I read a Hercule Poirot mystery that featured Ariadne Oliver, I was so happy: here was a fictional mystery writer who loved to eat apples all the time (presumably, then, while she was reading, too).

If I didn’t have kids, you’d probably find me sitting at the dinner table every night with a book propped on the salt and pepper shakers, long-suffering spouse by my side. However, once you have kids, you find you have to do that role-modelling stuff. So usually I just eat much slower than everyone else, then when everyone’s all done and hopping mad to leave the table, I graciously give them my leave and then surreptitiously whip out the latest read.

2. Red Wine and um, Salami

[I was going to upload a picture of a salami

but then thought better of it. You’re very welcome.]

The secret’s out! I like to have a glass of red wine every night (purely for medicinal purposes, of course). Since it’s for medicinal purposes, the wine itself doesn’t qualify as a guilty pleasure (don’t you just love how that works?!)

My problem? I like my wine with food, but since I usually relax with a glass of wine late at night, I’m not about to haul out the grill and cook up a rib steak (much as I’d like to). I’ve found that salami (the dry cured kind) works just as well with red wine. It’s not particularly healthy for you, true – but the way I look at it, it surely must be healthier than an 8 oz rib steak, right? When, that is, I can stay disciplined and only have a few slices (and that, my friends, is a battle to be saved for another post).

3. Plants vs. Zombies


Lest you start thinking all my guilt comes from food (although, now that I think about it, there’s a very clear association there …), let me introduce you to my current addiction: Plants vs. Zombies. I love my iPad version, which I bought for a whopping $2.99, and which has given me much gaming pleasure. I’ve defeated the adventure mode level three times now, and am trying to accumulate enough to purchase the final bonus game pack.

My eight-year-old has it on his PC and loves the game, too, so lately a lot of our dinner conversation has centered on PvZ strategies (accompanied by a lot of eye-rolling from Ward, who refuses to go near the game. But that’s just because he’s an Angry Birds aficionado).



I don’t really know why I feel somewhat guilty about having the feed in my Google Reader, but I do – just a little bit of guilt. But I grew up reading MAD and Cracked magazines, you know. Not that it’s nostalgia that has me reading these days. I just find a lot of the posts quite fun – and I especially like the posts they do on conspiracy theories and hoaxes. I love the snarky humor, and of course, there are quite a lot of bookish and film topics. But I always have this funny feeling while I’m reading a post that surely, I’m a little bit old for this kind of thing now …?

5. Britain’s Got Talent on Youtube at 2 a.m.


It’s not that I feel guilty about watching Britain’s Got Talent on Youtube. I don’t – everyone knows how much I LOVE this kind of TV talent show, and Britain’s Got Talent is one of my favorites. No, it’s the fact that I always seem to get a hankering to watch it at 2 in the morning, right around when I really should be falling asleep. One thing always leads to another (aka searching out old favorite clips) and before I know it, it’s 3 a.m.. Which, at my age, is most certainly Not a Good Thing.

6. Magazines


I admit it. I’m a magazine junkie. Just ask Ward – he’ll give you all the confirmation you might need. When we made the big move to the city (trading down about 2000 sq. ft. in the process), I had to face the big question: what to do with all the magazines I’d accumulated over the years? Sadly, there was only one answer. I just hope they all found good homes with good people who will, at the very least, create cool artsy collages with them.

Where’s the guilt in being a magazine junkie, you might ask? Here’s the thing: most of the magazines in my stash were still unread. Yup. Of course, things are a little bit better now, because I’ve gone digital with almost all of my magazine subscriptions, so at least they’re not physically piling up taunting me with all of their naked unreadness.

7. Blank Notebooks and Journals


I simply cannot resist a blank notebook. I’ve amassed boxes and boxes of these over the years, many of which sport a line or two I jotted down in some fit of motivation (I’m rather prone to these short spurts of motivation which quickly peter out to nothingness, I’m afraid). My absolute favorites are Moleskines, which, as it turns out, is actually a good thing, because it’s rare to find a Moleskine on sale, and my accumulation habit usually has a lot to do with bargain bins.

This is what happens when I pick up a brand new blank journal at a store (usually nicely marked down): I hold it in my hot little hands and dream about all the creative nuggets that I’ll write into the beautiful blank pages … Alas, you all know the end of this particular story, no?

8. Browsing the Kindle Bestselling Freebie Lists


I know. You’re asking yourself, “why on earth does this count as a guilty pleasure?” But it does. You see, my TBR pile is ginormous. It really and truly is. And every day I’m online, I come across yet another great title to add to the title, courtesy of all the wonderful book bloggers I know who post such fabulous reviews. I have holds galore at the library, and honestly, am never at a loss when it comes to reading material these days.

But does that stop me from browsing the free lists? Nah. Not at all. So I stuff my Kindle full of free books, and feel such guilt because I’m actively growing this TBR pile when I should really be trying to reduce its size. To make matters worse, I’ve found quite a few treasures in the bestselling freebie lists on Amazon (probably because my “secret weapon” is scanning the sample chapters first before I’ll even consider downloading a a book, free or otherwise), which, of course, means more authors to put on my “to watch out for” list. It’s a vicious cycle, folks.

9. Gel Pens


I actually DO use all the gel pens I buy, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling guilty about it. Probably because I buy them every chance I get. There are gel pens in every corner of our place, and I know Ward’s eyebrows always go up a fraction of an inch (or centimetre, as we say here in Canada. No, actually, we don’t. We still say inch. Which is kind of funny, when you think about it) whenever I get another fresh new batch of pens. Not that he ever says anything. But still, I feel the guilt.

In other words, gel pens are another thing I can’t resist, and I love nothing better than shopping for them at the art supply store, where you can buy them INDIVIDUALLY! (Seriously, I can spend days standing in front of those little pads they mount to the shelves so you can test out the gel-ness of the pens.) These Sarasa gel pens by Zebra are my go-to pens; I use them for writing in my notebooks (you know, the ones in point no. 7 above, whenever I feel that short spurt of motivation). But I also love the more colorful pens, too. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Yes.

10. Deep Fried Anything [Well, Almost Anything]

image Onion Rings

Here we go, back to food again. I do draw the line somewhere when it comes to deep fried foods, though. The 75 deep fried foods here, for example – probably not my kind of thing. But I do tend to gravitate toward deep-fried deliciousness. I discovered this when I first started on Pinterest and realized I pinned an awful lot of pictures of yummy deep fried foods. And not only was I pinning them, I was also sending the links to Ward, with the endearing line “Make this, pretty please?”

So, needless to say, our deep fryer has been getting quite a workout lately. Which ultimately means I am now in need of a workout (or ten) myself. Ahhh, guilt, you are such an easy thing to spawn …

So there you have it – my top ten list of guilty pleasures. What about you? Any of my guilty pleasures fit the bill for you? What guilty pleasures do you indulge in every now and then?

20 thoughts on “My Top Ten Guilty Pleasures

  1. rhapsodyinbooks

    I’m with you on eating and reading. My husband and I are terrible. For meals, we each sit there with our magazines (yes to mags too!) and don’t talk to each other except to share interesting tidbits from what we are reading! :–) I totally love magazines. And I grew up reading MAD as well. Not Cracked though; I was a MAD loyalist! :–) But I should check out because ever since the original MAD guys died, it was never the same anyway!

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      I definitely read more MAD than Cracked, too. Those were the days! It’s so nice that you can both sit and read and eat. The whole concept is less than thrilling for Ward – I think he was brought up to think it was bad manners. Can you imagine?! So no eating and reading togetherness for us, unfortunately.

  2. Mrsqbookaddict01

    I loved this post! I love snacking as well. I’m guilty of buying books, knowing that it’ll be months before I read it. Somehow owning the book makes me feel that much closer to read it. Nevermind the fact that I mostly buy ebooks and can download them instantly.

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      That’s it exactly – when I own the book, I feel more secure. I know it’s there, waiting for me. Even though I have so much reading material, I think I still have fears that I’ll have one of those moments where I’ll look around and think, “I have nothing to read!”

  3. Heather

    Oh wow, we have a lot in common. A LOT. Are we related? Some sort of twins? Because I love to eat while I’m reading, I’m hopelessly addicted to magazines AND blank notebooks, gel pens are the best. things. ever. and I am, sadly, insanely in love with fried foods. I’m afraid to try Plants vs. Zombies and Britian’s Got Talent! I have enough addictions! LOL

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      Yes! We’re bookish writerly twins, surely! I would encourage you to try Plants vs. Zombies but I’m afraid if you do, you won’t have as much time for blogging (I can say this with confidence, having been there, done that). But oh, if you love talent shows and Cinderella stories, Britain’s Got Talent is SO good for that!

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      It’s so good to find a kindred spirit when it comes to the red wine and salami. I have to say, people often look at me strangely when I mention this little habit of mine!

  4. Michelle

    I love the idea of red wine and salami as a late night snack. I prefer red wine with a few slices of good cheese. I might have to add in some salami. I happen to adore blank notebooks also. I don’t fill them up much but I do have quite a few floating around.

    1. Belle Wong Post author

      Oh, I love wine with cheese, too! But my problem is, I only like creamy soft cheeses like Brie, and they have such a high fat content compared to the hard cheeses. So salami actually is a “healthier” choice for me, strange as that sounds! But now you’ve got me thinking of wine and cheese – I might add some Brie to the grocery cart this week …

  5. heidenkind

    My grandpa would yell at me for reading at the dinner table, so I don’t read while I eat (usually, haha ;). I think most of my guilty pleasures are the really cheesy movies I like and listening to soundtracks like Moulin Rouge.

  6. JoV

    I can understand why you are watching Britain’s Got Talent at 2am! Makes me guilty just to watch it over at the telly at prime time in the UK!
    p/s: I like your blog theme a lot. It’s very pretty. and I love Brie, although it’s causes me more allergy problem!

  7. Barbara

    I share your obsession with magazines, or I should say I did share it. Finally broke the habit of buying them and keeping huge stacks of them all over the house. Threw them all out and let my subscriptions expire. I don’t even look at the covers anymore except the gossip rags at the grocery store checkout counter. I look at the hilarious headlines on those and wonder what the writers were smoking when they thought them up.

  8. Beth F

    Gee, we have some of the same addictions. I go for cheese and crackers with my red wince because I’m getting much-needed calcium (I’m the queen of justification). You would not believe the number of notebooks and journals I have. I’m always sure I”m going to fill them in faithfully. HA!!!! Pens? COlored gel pens? I *must* have them for work. Really. Well, kinda really.

  9. J. D. Montague

    Hehe, so glad to know I’m not the only notebook and pen (or stationery in general) addict around.

    By the way, if you enjoy using the thinner gel pens, you might want to check out the Pilot Hi-Tec-C. (Or, the G-Tec-C which is the Western version, but with limitations in colour and nib size.) Oh the colours from which you can choose. 😀

  10. Vasilly

    Magazines are one of my guilty pleasures too. I started buying digital subscriptions so it helps that there aren’t as many lying around. I do buy a print magazine if I want to cut things out for my journal.

  11. Jules

    LOVE this post! The blank journals – check. Wine and food – check. Reading while eating – sometimes, it can get messy. Magazines – check. Gel pens – check. :-)

  12. Trish

    I literally squealed with delight and ran down the aisle when I saw a pack of 20 colored gel pens at Sam’s (big warehouse grocery store) the other day. Poor Scott.

    And magazines. I’ve had to give up buying them because I LOVE them but never read them. I do subscribe to Real Simple but I JUST finished my February issue today (May’s came in the mail yesterday). But…I just can’t part with it.


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