Thanksgiving: A Time For Gratitude

This year, instead of traditional Thanksgiving, celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November here in the States, I’m hosting and preparing Friendsgiving, held on the final Thursday of November.

It’s just how it fell, okay? Don’t judge me! haha. A couple years ago, we got a turkey from our neighbor, who got an extra, and as he’s only one man, asked us if we wanted it. Of course we took free food, especially a whole dang turkey! So I took to asking a coworker to see if he wanted to help my boyfriend and I tackle eating the thing.

This year, I bought the turkey, and invited a few more people over, plus the one that came over that year. I’ll make all the fixings, and hopefully we’ll have enough food, plus some leftovers (but not too much, like last year).

Since I’m in the limbo between actual Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving, I figured I would share some of the things that I’m grateful for, with ya’ll!

I’m grateful for the summer vacation I got to take this year. Sure it didn’t go fully as planned, but it worked out how it was going to work out.

 

I’m also grateful for the time I got to spend with my father during Lent/Easter. That was an interesting exploration, going to 4 different churches, in 3 different cities.

I’m grateful to have read 17 books so far this year, either through audio books or through my kindle app on my phone.

I am grateful for the basics, like a roof over my head, heat in the winter and coolant in the summer, food to make, and a job (as much as I may not like the job itself). I’m grateful for where I live even, and for the people that do actually care about me, even when I can be frustrating.

I’m also SUPER grateful for those of you who read my blog, no matter how I try and fail, and keep interested in what I have to share! I’m slowly finding what works and what doesn’t, and even with the small following I do have, I’m glad that I have you, and it does help me see why I wanted to pick this up in the first place. So thank you!

What are you thankful for this season?

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Retail Talk: Survive Inventory

Inventory depends on the store, and the company you’re working for. I can only speak from my experiences, at the store (let alone company) I work for. I hope my sharing will help those of you who are new to the retail world, regardless of how you get introduced into the retail world (after HS, during HS, as a higher up in the industry somehow…).

I work for the (or one of the…depending on how you calculate things, but it’s one of the top Fortune 10 companies, if I’m being polite) top retailers in the USA, let alone the world.

I’ve also made it 5 years there. I know that was half of a plug…but retail…I guess I’m alive and not on welfare, while doing alright overall, means something. Retail may make you feel dead or apathetic inside, over the years. I’ve been trying over the last two years to not let retail get to me like that.

For my company at least, with talking with others from various stores, Inventory is not all at the same time, company wide. It makes sense, in a way. If you have a regional, or even state/area specific company you’re dealing with on inventory, it makes sense to break things up, for transparency on their end.

Personally, inventory is more annoying and tedious than the regular holiday season. It’s a lot of “prim and proper” where as holiday season is more of “get it on the shelf so it can be sold”.

I have a lot of my own ideas of when inventory should happen, and how everyone should handle it, from management staff, to stocking staff, to maintenance staff.

My store has always done inventory during fall, which IMO, is the worst time to do it. It’s varied on date, but it’s during this whole “BTS to Halloween” time of year. Read my last Retail Talk to get some deets on that (It’ll open in a new tab so you can easily come back here).

It generally doesn’t matter when your store does inventory, it’s usually a headache. Yet the holiday stress doesn’t help any, is what makes it worse. Bless your heart if you’re in a store like mine, where it’s anywhere from right after Back to School, to Halloween or into even Thanksgiving themed stuff.

My store also does Lay-a-way pretty early on, somewhere starting late August to early September, through early to mid December. I believe we count the lay-a-ways as inventory, as they’re not exactly paid for. Don’t quote me on that for the company, let alone your store/company.

I’m not sure about other companies, but my store (and assuming for other stores corporate wide), makes us make it easier for the outside company that comes in, to count. That’s where it’s a patience-testing thing. Trust me, even with a butt load of patience, you may get irritated or bored from the night or two prior, let alone the week or month prior to inventory.

This is my first “I’m off for night shift’s prep” of inventory in all the years I’ve been there. This is/what would be my 6th inventory.

I hope your store allows you to team up with one other person, and allow you to execute the area you’re designated to, so you’re not bored out of your mind. Working with at least one other person makes it more manageable let alone less agonizing.

If you can’t do that, I advise a music playlist, YouTube playlist, audio book, or something to educate yourself, that you can sidetrack yourself in the dull hours of prepping for inventory. I know it’ll be difficult on your shift, management team, and where you work. Attempt to reason with them if you can.

Try to make a fun little game out of the zoning/facing when you’re stuck doing that for your shift. If it’s called something else, let me know, but zoning or facing is what I’ve heard it called. It’s where you make the merchandise look decent, straighten it up, and it may be different for your store’s every day look, compared to inventory.

My store used to do it two ways, but sometime last year (2017), my store went to always zoning how we zone for inventory (or a little not so nice, because ya know, time…). I recall last year I was teamed up with 2 other girls for about half the night.

Once the department was about half way done, I was pulled away for another smaller department that was lighter to deal with, but needed to be done. I think…haha. Night brain and working brain is going good right now…it’s all blurring together.

Learn what you can and can’t get away with it, and work with it as much as you can. It’ll make it more bearable and fun, if you can.

Have you worked retail? Do you work retail now? What’s your experience with inventory where you were/are at? I’d love to know some other experiences, from other stores and chains, big or small stores and chains (ma and pa to national/regional/global).

Birthday 2018: Life Update

There’s so many things I want to share in this post, so be prepared. Also, this is a start to finish in a day post, quite literally on my birthday, so also be prepared!

This post contains affilliate links. You get some, I get some! Treat Yo’ Self!

As you read this, or think of me today (when you’re reading this, even if it’s not when this goes live), listen to: this, this, and this. Yes, I will always reference my band, and yes, this blog will take me so much longer to write, because I had to stop and appreciate the videos. Watch the behind the scene’s of High Hopes here, because it’ll show you how obnoxious Brendon really is!

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Yes, I’m being so “basic” and making a mood board for 24. I’m all about setting goals and making sure I’m happy and setting myself up to be happy in the future, by pushing myself now. Of course in a healthy manner!

I have lyrics from one of the songs I suggested to listen to (Hey Look Ma, I Made It!), a planner, to keep planning for the future, and make amazing memories, as well as build myself in all aspects I can, and the film picture for Farmlands, which is from Lauren Southern. This film really inspired me back into my journey of investigative journalism.

A little known fact about me, is that I wanted to go to college for journalism, and investigative journalism was (and is) something I wanted to more focus on. I never went because I know my talents are decent, but the field is so overpopulated, and I didn’t want to waste my time, money (or really credit to pull out student loans) for a degree that would hinder me more than help me.

With things like Skillshare (2 free months if you sign up!), and freelance work, I want to make it happen. I have some ideas in the works, that I am going to start on this year, since the fire has been kindled underneath me. I’ll see where it takes me!

To continue onto some of my vision board for 24, I have cooking, savings, and photography goals and aspirations. All are overlapping as well as different.

Now let’s get into a tarot reading, because why not?! Here’s the spread I chose for today:
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Now, here’s my drawing, which by the way, was spot on, and I am glad I drew it!
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Yes, this is a hot mess, but it spoke to me! I won’t go into great detail here, but this spread called out that I should forgive and allow my past to be my past, be and create my confidence and leader self, and go after the goals that I wish to set up for myself, in aspects of betterment and what my soul longs for. This is going to be a good year for me (until I turn 25, and I can assess how 25 will treat me!).

For reference, my cards were:
1- Ace of Swords
2- Ten of Swords
3- Five of Swords
4- Seven of Cups (Reversed)
5- The Emperor IV
6- Judgement XX (Reversed)
7- Queen of Coins

So, with all of that in mind, that is the general gist of me turning another year older. I have some basic things planned in honor of my birthday, with those that are close and love.

What do you like to do for your birthday? Do you have any specific rituals you do each year, or do you try to do something different? Do you do anything at all? I’d love to know! Share in the comments what you do, or have done!

Plan With Me: September 2018

So this is my BIRTH MONTH!!! I’m playing it super chill this year, since summer was so packed full of events, and I did a lot last year for my birthday. I was planning on some events, but they’ve fallen through, sadly. Next year though. There’s next year, and next year will be a better year (hint: I’ll be worth a US quarter! I know I’m worth so much more than that, but it’s a cute joke!).

For this month, I have more content planned for you guys, and this will be more of a month for relaxing, taking long weekends, and enjoying alone time, and time with those I care about the most. Let’s get to planning, shall we?

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I usually start with my whiteboard, even though I should start with my Artist of Life Workbook review of the previous month. Wiping it clean allows me to have a clean slate of what will be in front of me, so I can just keep the past, well, the past. I set the month up numerically, then go into the review of the previous month, for what I didn’t finish.

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On the whiteboard, I note any plans, and for this month, it’s just my birthday and a live chat that I have in my Artist of Life Mastermind group, as you can see. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, and other times, it’s more complicated like June was.From there, I can easily see what is happening, and what days are where.

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Since it’s an easy glance, I go from there, into either my notebook, like this month, or into a digital note, usually on my phone, to plan out what blog posts I want to do that month. Then from the ideas, I set the date I want them to be posted on.

For this month, since I had things written out on paper, and I wrote down some notes, I took the themes of the blog posts, and put them on a sticky to-do note pad, and on the far side I write the tentative days I wanted to post them on.

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Past this, I don’t have much plans for the month, other than tentative plans of relaxing, and birthday dinner(s), depending if I feel like doing a solo date, and one with my dad, and if my guy and I go out.

I also planned out my meals for the month, since I’m doing a cleaning out of our cupboards this month. It’ll help me with some of the food days, plus clean out the stock we have, and I don’t feel bad for wasting it, or donating it.

I know there’s people who could use the help, and I’ve been there before (ironically, there’s a few canned goods that are left over from my dad’s raid of his pantry, since he’s doing a Keto meets low sodium diet).

I used to take a big monthly wall calendar to meal plan, but I noticed that I would forget what I was meal planning for the week, when I’d be shopping, and wonder why I would need one random ingredient, or something of the like, and dumb me would just not get it.

Now that I’ve gone digital, I can look at the meal plans on the go, and if I can’t recall why I need something, or if I need to tweak something, I can see what needs it, more on the fly. I love being frugal and prepared, and it’s so much easier. Plus, with trying to be more conscious of what I use, and why (really, the Konmari mentality, of if it truly brings me joy, and adds value to my life), I feel better by using what I already have.

What do you do to plan your month? Do you meal plan for the month, or by the week, if at all? I’d love to know your answers, truly!

Talk Tuesday: Budgeting & Planning

I want to start off by doing a little gloat/self plugging. I now have a Facebook page for this blog! There, I’ll be asking what type of topics I should talk about, sharing my latest posts and of those I like of other bloggers, and brief updates that don’t need their whole post about. I would totally appreciate it if you went over there and hit that like button. Go here.

Now, grab yourself a glass of champagne or cup of coffee, open up your budget (or just a sheets document if you’re new).

This post contains affiliate links.
For transparency reasons, I’m disclosing this to you.
I get a small portion of commission, regardless of what you purchase

To be completely transparent, I’ve played around with how I budget, and I’m great at planning but can be lazy on the execution. I seriously need to work on my self discipline in those moments, and as I’m learning what I like to work with (and not like working with other things), I want to become better overall with budgeting.

Obviously, this isn’t just to share my perfect solution to budgeting, but it’s sharing what I’ve done and liked or not liked, and sharing my growth with ya’ll, and hopefully you can get something out of it for yourself!

So I’m going to be sharing my set up for September, since August is near over, and I’m kind of fond of September (it’s my birthday month).

My best advice to get motivated to budget towards the end of the month for the next (it’s okay if it’s the first week of the month you’re budgeting for too! I’ve done that a handful of times), is to watch budgeting videos on YouTube, or finding podcasts as well. Learning how to budget, and learning about all the ways you can budget is a great motivator for me. Since I’m still in the learning phase, I enjoy this, and taking what I like into the future, and discarding what doesn’t vibe with me.

I know a lot of people like Dave Ramsay’s method (book, workbook extended book), and if that works for you, awesome! I’ve never got into his method, but I know some of the basics, and it seems like a good, although broad, model. The basics of save a base $1,000, then get out of debt (and keeping that $1,000 in savings), then work on the emergency funds for 3-6-12 months of living, is good.

Living off of just cash though? You could do it, and get prepaid cards for internet transactions, but I don’t think that’s practical. Maybe during that time period, while you’re trying to fix your debts and save, while learning how to budget hard core. But long term, in my eyes, at least post the habit forming years, I don’t see it as a great option for the way society is heading.

To get you into the *lazy way* of learning how to budget, and what you should focus on, and what you may be doing wrong, I turn to The Financial Diet channel on YouTube. I’m not sponsored here (but….I wouldn’t mind future collabs…putting that good vibes out there).

They have shorter videos on the basics, and some kind of longer videos going more in depth on some stuff. If you have the attention span to watch people like Phillip DeFranco, you can do TFD. (For Youtube, I’m not sponsored, at least for now. I’ll let you know when I am! How could I not?!). Anyway, TFD even has a book! I should add it to my reading list.

If you want more of my favorites for budgeting, when it comes to channels, books, and digital or physical planners, let me know! I have so many things to offer and you’d be here all day trying to sort through what I’d offer. I’ll do a mini series even on it, so it’s more palatable!

So for September, this is what I have on my plate for bills:

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This month, I’m challanging myself to $75 a week on groceries. I did this earlier this year, in May, right before my trip to CA. Well, the like. It’s a take on Jordan Page’s Shelftember. Check out her Q&A on her YouTube channel. I’m going to tweak it a bit, as we don’t have the greatest stockpile in our cupboards and what room we have in our freezer and 2 small fridges.

This will help on dwindling on our stock, so that nothing expires, and I can stock up on the (hopeful) big haul in late November/early December that my store offers each year. Hopefully it’ll stay. Once that stops, I’ll have to change my strategy. I’ll easily share that process when it comes, for sure!

This will also help me in my planning for the winter months anyway, so I can plan what foods I want/what’s on sale/coupon for winter foods, for warmer hearty meals, and if the power goes out or if we’re stuck in from a winter storm.

I always leave the due date list open, until I know when things are due by. Sometimes I’ll approximate the date. Our electric water, and internet bills are due around the same time each month, so I put those approximate dates in until I get the bill due date. Things like groceries and laundry are a “at pay basis”.

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From budgeting, I make a template in a Docs page (use a Word Document too…I use Google for everything, so that first screenshot was a Google Sheets page, and this one is a Google Doc, with a table added, in a 7 across by 7 down, to cover all days of the month, plus a row to put Sunday through Saturday as a “header”).

I added in what days I was doing laundry (we don’t have laundry services on site, so I go and do laundry every other week, so sometimes I’m doing laundry three times a month. Those days I treat as a “fast food” day. We don’t eat out more than 3-4 times a month, 2-3 for laundry days, and once when we get gas in our car.

From there, I usually try to work in what we have on hand (which is usually very loosely, to be quite honest, hence this shelftember is a great challange), and see what I can come up with for meals. This month, I’m going to be diving deeper into using more of the canned goods we have, and using them up. and truly saving money as well as making what we have (since having canned goods and never using some doesn’t help any at all).

Meal planning is what I’ve played around with the most, from just making a list in my phone, to using a monthly wall calendar, to doing this style. Next year, I want to take a whiteboard and write the weekly down on it, and post it on the fridge where we have our current wall calendar.

I want to see if that’ll help any, so I don’t always have to weasel my way through my Google Drive to get to the monthly food outlook. For the record, yes I’m organized on that (folders within folders within folders type).

For “real” meal planning, I camp out in our kitchen/dining room and see what we have, and think of meals. Sometimes I turn to Pinterest and my Trello list of different foods (I have a whole board, sorted into quick meals, longer meals, crock pot meals, winter meals, among other lists). For this month, I’m getting back into seeing what cupons I can print off or have sent to my email, that will help drive down my costs. Here’s what I came up with for this month:

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This is most of my planning. From making the monthly budget, adding due dates, and making a meal plan, I just insert into a template of what needs paid each pay period, and write a grocery list for the upcoming week, so that come Monday morning, I can shop.

This is what I’ve found to work the best for me, at least so far. Some people mark down in their calendar when things are due, but I just see when the payday is, and see what’s due, then make payments set for that day.

How do you budget? If you’re new, and haven’t found a perfect/good planning outlook, what have you tried and liked so far?

Life Experience: Removing Your Wisdom Teeth Out at 23

So 2 weeks ago, I finally got my wisdom teeth out. A week ago, I got the stitches out. And 2 weeks from now, I go back in for my last check up, to make sure that my gums are healed correctly. If you haven’t gone to get those suckers out, there’s 4-5 appointments total for them, depending on if you get dissovable stitches or not.

I had 5 total, from the x-ray at my dentist office, to see which wisdom teeth I had (you can not have all 4), to the surgery, to the check ups. For the record, in my experience, it’s not as bad as you want to hype yourself up for. Trust me, I went there before my surgery. Now you don’t have to!

The first thing you have to do, when you think/feel/see that you need to get your wisdom teeth removed, is get to your regular dentist (or find one, and make friends with them).

If you’re still a minor, and living with your parents, talk to them to get you that appointment (if you want to be on good terms with your parents, and want to build some “adult skills”: get your dentist’s number from them, look at your schedule [if you work, your school schedule, extra-curriculars, and other life events], ask your parents’ schedule over the next month, and what would be a good day or days to make an appointment).

In my case, I was having off and on “teething” pain for years, I figured that since my teeth weren’t moving, I wasn’t in blinding agony from the pain, and I didn’t see them coming in, when being that person while in my bathroom at home. Earlier this year, while being that person, I did see that my right bottom wisdom tooth was making herself known: I saw her *side* (haha).

I made an appointment with my dentist (okay, so this was the first time in forever I’ve been to the dentist, and my first time as an adult, so I had to do all of it on my own). They cleaned my teeth, looked at if I needed any other work done (which, thank god, I still have perfectly healthy teeth…still no work done to my “regular” teeth!), and they did the x-ray to see which wisdom teeth I had, and which ones they were. I had only the bottom 2.

After that, they gave me options of local surgeons that they (and other people) liked. I asked the receptionist which one she found was most popular/she liked. She mentioned the closest one, and I made my second good call. The first was going with my dentist. I rather like him, and my man even likes him (compared to the place he used to go to…that’s a half a story, not meant for here).

I made the call to the surgeon’s office, and went to the appointment. Before that, I dove into too much research, that I could. At the initial appointment, you go over what they’re looking at doing, and what might happen, and all those things that have a small percentage of happening. After that, it’s setting up the appointment for the surgery.

At this point, they should ask how far under you want to go. I personally went half under. Yes, you get an IV drip for it, but I didn’t get laughing gas.

Post that, it’s the waiting game until the surgery. I had to wait pretty much 2 months for my surgery. I’m assuming it’s not too much different wherever you’re at (at least here in the States). But when you get there, you might be somewhat anxious (which is OK!), but the drugs do work, and the risk of anesthesia awareness is small (1 in almost 20,000 people, or .01% of people).

For me, it was a matter of maybe 20-30 seconds from insertion of the IV, to them opening the drip, to where you’re “passed out”. Then a half hour or so later (depending on how many teeth you have coming out…even if they have to drill, like they did with one of mine), you wake up, and they’ll give you something to drink and ask how you feel.

After that, you (and your ride) will go to the pharmacy, and put in the script for your antibiotics (so you don’t get sick…your mouth is dirtier than you think), pain meds, and an oral rinse that you’re supposed to use for a week after surgery.

All I have to say is REST after surgery. When you feel the need to sleep, for the love that is is good and holy, SLEEP GIRL SLEEP.  Take it easier than you want to (or think, prior to surgery) for 24-36 hours post surgery, depending on how you feel. You’ll want all that rest, as it’s not so much the near 24 hours post surgery that suck, it’s the almost week after.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m no doctor or pharmacist, this is just from my personal experience, and being surrounded by people who had many oral surgeries.

When you get home from surgery, take some Motrin or an anti-inflammitory over the counter, when you’re able to drink something. Try to milk out those pain meds you were given, by taking Motrin a little before when your “next round” of pain meds are due, and offsetting the time that is on the bottle. Try to keep away from the pain meds for as long as possible right after surgery, and use that Motrin instead. Take 2 or 3 of them, and your future self will thank your post-surgery past self. It’ll come in handy when the real pain sets in, about 2-3 days after surgery.

The pain is more achey pain, and not a harsh pain. An odd tip: massage your jaw. It’ll help with getting that pain away, and getting that mobility back, so you can eat “real food” again.

For food, you don’t need as much applesauce and pudding as you think. Another FOR THE LOVE OF ALL GOOD AND HOLY tip: DON’T USE STRAWS for a at least 48-72 hours post surgery. Not from personal experience, but talking with friends, one in particular got a dry socket and was one of the worst experiences for her.

When you feel like you’re ready to start chewing stuff again, be mindful of what you eat. Try to stay away from chewing with your molars. They’re going to be sensitive, let alone you don’t want to bug the stitches too much. Try things like quesdillas or bean and cheese burritos, in bites small enough to give to a toddler trying new foods.

Make sure to do everything at your own pace. Don’t let anyone try to force you to do anything you don’t want to, food or even exercise. You know your body the best, and you know what you need and don’t need to do.

If you’ve had your wisdom teeth taken out, what was your experience? What tips did I miss?

Happy Hiatus

So I unintentionally took a month hiatus/vacation from posting. Not from writing though, let me tell you! I told you guys about my 2 week California trip in so many posts, and I meant to do various posts from it. But here we are, and I suck as a human being.

Since I’ve been back, I just haven’t been able to GYST (getting your sh*t together) back into things either. I flew back on a Monday, and Mondays are my GYST days. I did NOT GYST, even though I had so much down time on the flights. I just watched a half of a season of Game of Thrones and then slept and indulged myself in the presence of the LOML (love of my life) and an old friend.

I then had to somehow get back into reality of having to work, and it’s even harder being a night worker, since I got so used to sleeping at night. Grant it, it was a broken 6-7 hours at most, but trust me, when you’re not used to night sleep, you don’t need much.

Getting back into the work life, I would come home and literally somehow make food, and eat it, and legit pass out. My boyfriend would literally look over and see me in the oddest of positions, passed out. Two weeks later, I’m still fatigued, but I can make it longer before passing out. So I’d say I’m doing better haha.

None of this is me trying to make excuses. I’m just aware of my weaknesses, and wanted to share some backstory of my hiatus. I now know my limits, and will learn from this experience. I’m older, and working a light labor job, and I did a lot during my vacation to keep myself busy and active. I hardly had any “go to bed early and sleep in” nights during my vacation. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been sleeping a lot more because of that.

I wouldn’t have done it any other way though, if you’re wondering. I gained so much, and not just memories and time with my family from this. I became more in tune with myself, and learned a lot about myself, especially while in Anaheim (alone, mind you).

I found more things that I want to implement into my life during this vacation I had. I also learned my limits, like I said earlier. I learned how connected my best friend and I are, and how strong I am, and the power of no. I was reminded of how stress free my home is, and the fact that I’m in such a great place, and those that matter see it, and are so grateful and happy for me.

Now more than ever, even over the last few years, do I feel more aligned with where I’m going. I still feel the tug of needing to improve myself, and there’s so much I need to work on, but I’m right where I need to be.

There’s a point where you yourself may feel the weight of your shadow self and being in your conscious self, that you feel like you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, but it’s taking forever. Engulf yourself in it. That’s exactly where I’m at. I’m 23 almost 24. It may come sooner or later for you, but lean into it. Its hard, I know, I’m there. This is half a pep talk for me right now too.

On a better note, I have my first “actual” cookbook. Those recipes you’ve been seeing? Pinterest or from learning on my own (family recipes, family in general). Within the next couple months, I’ll start sharing some foodie days from there, and when I tweak the recipe, I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m looking forward to that.

Thursday, I’ll do a recap on my vacation, as a throwback post, so be ready!