48 Hours Unplugged

I’ve never experienced the feeling of time slowing down until last week.

I had the privilege of spending a few days in (relatively) upstate New York with two of my best friends, Fiona and Rachel. Fiona was so generous as to let us stay at her 106-year-old (!!) summer house, located in a secluded yet beautiful town.

Monday

On Monday, Fiona and Rachel drove down from Boston to my house. I cooked us a little rather large din din of caprese chicken + spicy pork chops + roasted broccoli (which was epic, not gonna lie) + avocado toast. Lots of leftovers for the ‘rents!

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plus avocado toast!

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beautiful food, even more beautiful people

I also made them one of my favorite recipes of all time— Amanda’s banana bread mug cake. Alongside some of Emily’s delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies + glasses o’ milk!

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Tuesday

After spending a night at Fiona’s house, we ate breakfast and then drove up to her summer house on Tuesday afternoon.

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made some banana oatmeal for the ladies

Rachel DJ’d in the car, and it was a classic grooves-mobile fest with backseat dancing and off-pitch sing-alongs.

And in no time, we arrived at the summer house!

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Fiona calls it her “heaven on earth”, and I can 100% see why she does. There may not have been any cell service or wifi, but there were crystal clear waters, breathtaking views, and foliage for dayzzzz.

We were only at her summer house for 2.5 days, but it felt like we were there for a week. Fiona did warn us that time slows down at this place, but I didn’t believe her until I experienced it.

Look at how cute it is!

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When we arrived, Fiona gave us a tour of the grounds, and then we went into town to buy groceries for the next few days.

The ONE stressor I had during the trip was when I got a call from my job (which I start today) about a form that I never received via email but that I needed to fill out, sign, and send by the next morning. It was actually a miracle that we were in town getting groceries when I got that call, because if we were back at the summer house, I never would have known because there’s no service there. Thank God for smart phones, because I was able to access my email, fill out the form, sign it digitally, and send it back in time.

Anyway.

Chips, salsa, PB&J’s and salads for lunch!

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Followed by a lovely little hike to the waterfall.

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self-timing it on a waterfall

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UGH so cool.

The rest of the night involved reading, playing Clue, eating chili (that Fiona’s mom made and sent up with us!) and s’mores!

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Chili and fires in the summer? Ya. ‘Twas pretty chilly up there actually (plus no heat). Rachel saved our cold butts with her fire-making skills. So Midwestern.

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*ding*

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I made “fluffernutter” s’mores with peanut butter instead of chocolate — 10/10 recommend

We snuggled into our beds by 10:30 pm (!!!). After some girl chat, we fell asleep to the sound of a legit babbling brook that flows by her house. People pay good money for that sound!

Rachel and I could not stop saying, “This is a dream. This is out of a novel.”

Wednesday

In an effort to gain feeling in my frozen feet in the morning, I went outside for some moves by the babbling brook. I did Jess’ lean legs workout (with some modifications).

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I still couldn’t feel my feet after I finished the workout. They were ice cubes.

Nothing a good breakfast can’t fix though! Pancakes for breakfast!

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We made buttermilk pancakes from a mix (added chocolate chips and/or banana) and ate them with a slew of toppings (peanut butter with the richest full fat vanilla Greek yogurt for me) and glasses o’ milk in cute mason jars. Eaten out on the porch. DREAMZ I TELL YOU.

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After breakfast, we spotted beavers, played Sequence, did each others’ hair, tanned on the deck, and plunged ourselves into the freezing cold river as per Fiona’s tradition.

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so cold, so exhilarating

We had a late lunch of tacos with all the works.

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Followed by more reading, relaxing, and probably some napping. We decided on movie night with s’mores for dinner.

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“You look like a frog.” – Rachel

We did a double feature of The Notebook and Hairspray. It was my first time watching both! (I know, I know. I’m only an eon behind on watching The Notebook.)

Thursday

Our last day at the summer house started with leftover pancakes…

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…cleaning, packing, reading (I finished The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis— also 10/10 recommend!), hiking…

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photos cannot do this view justice

…and a farewell to the summer house (for now!).

Back at Fiona’s house (and back to 432872 notifications on our phones), we ate a light dinner. Then Fiona took us to Bellvale Farms Creamery, aka the most incredible ice cream place of all time.

First of all, the drive to this place was beautiful. Secondly, we passed by the actual Bellvale Farm (like, we basically said hi to the cows that made the milk in our ice cream).

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Thirdly, their ice cream flavors were excellent. I had “Calf Trax” (vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirl and mini peanut butter cups) + cookies ‘n’ cream in a waffle cone. No words. Fourthly, this is the view right outside their doors:

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I won’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the summer.

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Rachel and I are gonna make sure Fiona gets engaged at this spot.

Our night ended with watching The Intern (such a sweet movie!) and deep chats.

Friday

I think I’m allergic to Fiona’s cat (whose meows sound like a whining human) because I scratched my eye so hard in my sleep that I woke up with my eye half shut and swollen. Whoops.

I made us some more oatmeal and then we headed out for some tennis! Fiona is actually good at tennis, Rachel can hold a good volley, and I spent most of my time fetching the tennis balls that I hit out of the court.

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For our last meal together, we went to Fiona’s favorite local Mexican restaurant. We shared guac to start, and I ordered a chicken and a vegetable taco.

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fabulous

I am beyond grateful to have spent such a rejuvenating and beautiful week with two of my best friends. Thank you so much again, Fiona. ♥︎ I miss you both already!

Something valuable I learned from those 48 hours unplugged is that, truly, you have so much time when you’re not always on your phone/playing music/checking emails. I was able to focus on one task at a time, reflect, and do a lot without the distraction of technology. I’ll keep all this in mind as I start work today (I’ll talk more about that later!) and continue on with my life.

So tell me:

Have you ever spent an extended amount of time in a place with no service?

What was the best thing you did last week?

Do you have a special place where you like can retreat? 

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Dad and Daughter Weekend

God bless America and God bless three day weekends. I don’t know why I said the latter; I just came back from vacation.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a lovely Memorial Day to my fellow Americans. As always, it’s nice to have a day off, but it is essential to remember why we do. Thank you to all the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we could live ours freely and joyfully.

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Let’s catch up!

Friday

Up and at ’em early for my physical therapy internship! Brought to you by overnight oats in a jar.

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I’ve been adding chia seeds to the mix, and they increase the doughiness factor by at least 50%. I totally made that up, but chia seeds = thicker overnight oats = even better texture.

Lunch was eaten in the parking lot after my internship. It was tuna salad I had made that morning (with Greek yogurt, mustard, honey, olive topping, paprika, and black pepper) on mixed greens, alongside 34 Degrees cracked pepper crackers from Blend.

Cracked pepper crackers that are like crack.

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I saw my partner in crime (Daliza) on Friday night! I greeted her with egg yolk dripping down my face/hands/arms as I ate this for dinner:

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Once you break the yolk, there’s no turning back. You just have to inhale the rest of the toast so you don’t lose the dippy goodness.

P.S. I’m going to convince Daliza to do another vlog with me!

Saturday

I slept in and made a rather patriotic breakfast for Dad and myself— Greek yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, chia seeds, a leftover whole wheat banana pancake, and Nuttzo power fuel.

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I don’t remember everything I did on Saturday, but I do know that I finally decided to unpack my luggage, did some moves with a leg strength circuit, and attended Mass. I also ate some delicious things in the afternoon!

Lunch was a salad with homemade tahini dressing, leftover pork chop (buried under there), and a sweet potato with melted garlic herb cheddar. Weird but YUM.

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I was feeling lunch dessert that day (…like every other day), so I broke into my stash of mint chocolate chunk Quest bars from Blend. I followed Aimee’s suggestion in my last post’s comments and microwaved it for exactly 23 seconds before topping it with peanut hazelnut butter.

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Yep, I’ll be doing that again! 🙂

Oh! I got new sneakers in the mail too! I won these in a huge raffle at the end of Blend retreat. Lucky for me, because I left my other sneakers in Boulder since they were so muddy from hiking all week.

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Thanks, Wellcoin and Puma!

After Mass, Pop and I went to my favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner! I went with the classic sushi combo that comes with yellowtail, tuna, and eel avocado rolls. All gone into my tummy.

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The waiter also surprised us with a complimentary dessert! Chocolate souffle cake with raspberry ice cream. Ohmahgoodness. I know I say I don’t like chocolate that much, but this was dreamy.

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Pop and I hunkered down for the night and watched not one, but two movies— The Giver and Macfarland USA. I totally loved both!

Sunday

Another sleep-in day, another breakfast for Pop and myself. I hadn’t eaten cookie dough cereal in a long time, so it wasn’t difficult to choose what I wanted that morning.

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I cleaned the floors on Sunday, and look at this horror.

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This is a picture of cleaning done in the highest shoe-traffic area of our house, but still, yuck! (Two-year-old word, I know.) You don’t really notice the dirt until you get down and scrub.

Moves involved yoga and a quick walk around the neighborhood. The weather was perfection!

I babysat at night and actually enjoyed my snack-time-esque dinner.

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I brought all the snacks myself, except for the cheese 🙂 (I was given permission.)

Monday

Pop and I started our Memorial Day with Mass and the local Memorial Day parade.

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Then we headed back home to cook and eat for the rest of the afternoon! Pop and I have never grilled without mom being around, since she is Mrs. Chefmaster Hospitality. But we had a successful cookout, I’d say! I shopped for the food, prepped it, and then left the grilling for Pop. He nailed it.

We had simple beef burgers with garlic herb cheddar and caramelized onions + tons of grilled vegetables. We also ate outstanding grilled shrimp using this marinade recipe.

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glass o’ vino in hand, what a natural
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Having a BBQ for two people also means lots of leftovers for the week!

Moves included grooving to music in the kitchen and a two mile neighborhood walk. I see a tan emerging!

After eating more of grilled goodies for dinner, we ended the night on a sweet note, as every night should end in my book. I macerated some fresh strawberries in lemon juice and honey for a few hours, and then we ate those on top of vanilla bean ice cream with a slice of the blueberry poppyseed mini loaf from Flagstaff House in Colorado!

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Me: I macerated some strawberries.

Dad: That sounds like it hurts.

[5 minutes later]

Dad: What did you say you did with these? Masqueraded?

Me: No, macerated. But masquerading them sounds fun.

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Hope you all have a great day! Clean your floors perhaps, eat string cheese, and say thank you to more people. *Also, stay tuned for an awesome giveaway later today!*

So tell me:

One productive thing you did this weekend.

One fun thing you did this weekend!

Do your floors ever get this dirty? We clean them often, I swear.

Americans, what did you eat for Memorial Day? 

Things I Learned Last Week

HI!

I know I checked in with Weekly Moves and Grooves yesterday, but I missed sharing life happenings with you all and hearing about your lives too. Last week was jam-packed with studying and activities, so blogging just couldn’t happen.

But now I’m here and ready to share some of the crazy-fun-weird things I learned last week!

Studying with a friend really does do wonders.

I usually like studying by myself, but the night before our anatomy exam, my friend Cassandra and I reviewed all the material by testing each other and using a white board to draw bones, tissues, and muscles. It definitely made me feel more confident during the test!

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Breakfast for dinner in the dining halls should be a weekly occurrence.

Carbs and dairy and carbs. The essentials.

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Two snow days in a row doesn’t mean a thing anymore.

We had another blizzard last Monday, which resulted in cancelled classes on Tuesday as well. That would be a total of five snow days this semester! What is school?

Some professors are holding classes on a couple Saturdays to make up lectures and labs, which is good from the academic standpoint as well as the *ahem* tuition standpoint.

Oh we had a blizzard yesterday too. It’s time to migrate, like, last month.

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Officially taller than me.

Boston wears snow beautifully though.

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A snow day does not mean more free time.

Holy smokes, last week was BUSY. The snow days were used to catch up on work, and then the work/appointments/meetings kept coming, which is why I didn’t get to blog.

Busy, but good busy (for the most part). 🙂

Grilled cheese + tomato soup is one of the greatest food combinations.

I already knew this, but I learned that I should have it more often, especially during the winter.

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This grilled cheese was swiss, tomato, and caramelized onions on wheat. Mmmm.

My friends talk about my blog when I’m not around.

Rachel told me, “I was telling Cassandra that if I were Alison, I would be making my dessert look pretty and taking a picture of it.” I am both flattered and embarrassed.

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I will go the distance for brussels sprouts.

I don’t usually like tempeh, but the dining hall was serving orange maple tempeh with brussels sprouts and zucchini, so I got it just for the brussels sprouts.

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The tempeh was bland, but the brussels were worth it.

I am a certified Boston University tour guide!

Come to Boston University so that “I can show you the worldddd…shining, shimmering, splendid!” (<— Aladdin, anyone?)

A little bit o’ love can mean so much to someone.

Some people at the Catholic Center got together to put together Valentines for people who are homeless in Boston. The joy of the recipients is always a reminder of what love is all about— giving. #cheeeeeese

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How to dissect a cat.

For anatomy. My lab partner and I named our cat Larry (is it terrible that we named him?).

I have a new favorite way to eat cottage cheese!

Remember my usual concoction of cottage cheese with strawberry yogurt, banana and peanut butter last semester? I guess I wanted a new combo along with this new semester. Now I’m loving it with frozen blueberries, peaches, and granola!

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Cheetah Girls 2 is still fabulous.

Rachel and I had a little “Galentine’s” night in with popcorn and classic Cheetah Girls 2. We knew all the words to the songs and loved every minute.

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I have a banana problem.

I feel the need to stock up on bananas whenever I leave the dining hall, so now I have enough bananas in my dorm room to make a pyramid out of them.

Chill pill. I’m on it.

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Luckily, there are no fruit flies in the winter!

I’m evil for liking raisins.

A loving Valentine’s snapchat from Rachel (who does not approve of raisins at all):

raisin lover

Hope you all have a rockin’ Monday! Happy President’s Day to my fellow Americans! My parents are coming to visit Ben and me for our day off 🙂

So tell me:

One thing you learned last week!

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

What is your favorite childhood movie?

Please tell me you like raisins.

Snowed In + Alvin Ailey Night {MIMM #16}

This weekend was everything I needed and more— family time, rest, exercise, and good food. God is so good.

MiMM

Linking up with Katie on this Marvelous Monday!

‘Twas a snowy and icy weekend here in New York. Everything was getting cancelled left and right— no dance, no Sunday school, no babysitting. Part of me was thinking “darn,” but the other part of me was doing a jiggy dance because that meant I had more time to unwind and spend time with my family. The latter part of me was dominant. 😉

Luckily, company’s evening at Alvin Ailey on Friday was not affected by the weather. My friends and I took a train down to the city for our 4:30 Horton technique master class with Milton Myers, a prestigious modern dance teacher who is currently on faculty at Juilliard and Alvin Ailey/Fordham! Our dance school has been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to take a class with him every year for a while now, and it’s always amazing! The class is open to company members and anyone in the senior master class program.

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Passing through Columbus Circle en route from the subway to the studio.

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Selfie before class. Don’t let my wide eyes fool you— I was trying to nap.

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Milton is in the middle of the standing row. His super talented demonstrator, Aiya (<— not quite sure how to spell her name), is to my right in the bottom row. (Photo compliments of the executive director of my dance school.)

We quickly changed into normal-people clothes and walked over to Bocca di Bacco for a delicious Italian dinner. Some of our family members (seated at a different table) also joined us for dinner and the show.

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Most of the company girls!

I was on the verge of being ravenous by the time we got there, so I was in the mood for a nice big bowl of pasta. I decided on the squid ink pasta (!) with crab meat, arugula, and tomatoes:

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It looks scary, but it was very tasty and I left the restaurant FULL.

The final portion of our evening was the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance! Like I said in my last post, these dancers are my absolute favorites. I seriously believe that they are some of THE most talented dancers in the world.

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Intermission selfies.

It was a fabulous show, and I cannot recommend this dance company enough!

Saturday was a full day of snow, so everything was cancelled and I just chilled out at home until we went to church in the evening. I think we were going at the rate of a slug when we were driving there. The snow was that super fluffy, slippery kind that would be awesome for sledding. The good thing is that shoveling was a breeze since the snow was so light!

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He thinks we’re on the beach or something.

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I, on the other hand, was an Eskimo.

This kind of weather called for some hot chili and cornbread! I used Jenn’s recipe for fluffy cornbread muffins, and they were de.lish.

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I had a wimpy bowl of chili because I was too full from cornbread muffins. Being the baker and getting to eat them fresh from the oven is a blessing and a curse.

Despite snacking on cornbread muffins all evening, I guess I wanted more muffin action because I decided to whip up some banana nut muffins. While I baked those, we popped in Baby’s Day Out for a family movie night.

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These were so gooooood. A little crispy on the outside, crunchy from the walnuts, hearty from the whole wheat, and just sweet enough.

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Creepin’ as we watched the movie. They looked at me after I took this picture and I tried to pretend nothing happened.

Sunday was also a laid-back day because it was icy outside and Sunday school was cancelled. I finished up some homework, did a couple workouts from PurelyTwins (I LOVE their workouts— short and sweet and perfect for when you’re staying at home!), and went to H-Mart and Trader Joe’s with dad to pick up some goodies for dinner and dessert. There were way too many ‘and’s in that previous sentence. Sorry to all my elementary school teachers.

Pinterest did its job yesterday because I spotted a picture of monkey bread, showed it to my mom, and then she and I got the urge to eat it. So I made some. It was healthy monkey bread though! We also had fajitas, which I think were my dad’s idea.

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Trader Giotto and Trader José. I just love how Trader Joe has different names.

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Pork fajitas hit the spot.

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Monkey bread was oh so good even though I failed at taking it out of the pan in one piece.

I’m also revisiting the Slow Down Challenge because I think the root of my insomnia/anxiety is that I worry way too much about what I need to do and what I expect of myself (like, “I need to be ready and energetic for school, dance, etc.). I can sleep well on the weekends, but as soon as I start thinking about the week and what is upcoming, I put unnecessary pressure on myself to be in total control, which makes me nervous and tense, especially when trying to fall asleep. Knowing this will hopefully be helpful for me to patiently and prayerfully address the problem. Thank you all a million times over for your prayers and suggestions 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me: Did it snow where you live? Have you ever seen/heard of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? What was the last thing you baked? Do you like monkey bread?