A Plant Based Day

I decided to try a day of plant based eating. I have gained some weight in my tummy and hips and have been eating like a maniac. (Cake for breakfast AND dessert?!)   It’s high time to whip out the running shoes, weights, and yoga mat and change up this diet!

For breakfast, 8:30, I had Kashi blueberry vegan waffles and So Delicious yogurt. This wasn’t very filling but I decided to cope with water and the understanding that I needed to be a little bit hungry after eating like a pig. Yes you read that, I spent some time hungry today as punishment and I lived to tell about it.

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At 11:00 I was famished so I scarfed down an amazing wrap from TaDah! This wrap has so many tasty good-for-you things about it and at 430 calories was good to keep me going for a while. At about 1:00 I ate a mocha Larabar.

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By 4:30 I was hungry again, and I had been fighting work duties and things to get to some food… you know how it goes. I brought leftovers of my Buddha Bowl dinner: Quinoa, garlic black beans, lettuce greens, light fries, tomato, cucumber, and an AMAZING avocado sauce!!!

Avocado Dressing:

1 avocado, juice of 1 lemon, and these next items to taste: clove of garlic, black pepper, salt, rice milk.

Blend until smooth and creamy.

SOOOOOOO good! even on the fries!

Since I ended up not finishing that meal until 5:15, work you know… I was definitely good until work was over, but as soon as I got home I dug into a mango! Michael hasn’t been eating dinner because of work. I don’t ask too many questions, but it’s usually because they feed him a big lunch and/or he’s so worn out and over heated hes just not hungry. So I look at it as a way to get experiment-y! But the mango was an awesome treat and gave me some sugar to get me pumped up for a little workout. Afterward I drank a plant based protein shake with almond milk and fresh berries. Garden of Life: Fit. It was actually tasty despite the awful reviews. Will be getting lots more this evening!

Before I went home to do my workout, I stopped at GNC and the grocery store. At GNC, to my surprise, I found goji berries and the brand of protein powder I was looking for and an overwhelming amount of other vegan options! At the grocery store I grabbed more quinoa, fresh fruit and avo, peanut butter, tortillas, humus, La Croix sparkling water, some vegan Daiya Alfredo Mac O.M.G!!!! I was so sad when I was thinking about chicken Alfredo and bam! There it was! I hope it’s yummy.

And at the very end of the day, after workout/proteinshake/helping move furniture I cut off a slice of oat bread that was given to us by Michael’s mom… And yes I’m sure there was butter and sugar in the recipe, but let’s not focus too much on it.

This was a heavy day for me. It was full of work nonsense… making the battle for meat and dairy seem even more cruel. If I do this, how am I going to do it?! How am I going to get enough protein and make my macro profiles good for building muscles and burning fat without eating a ton of soy? That’s my biggest question here. So I will continue to experiment with vegan meals and protein powders and snacking on fruits and veggies over cake and candy and in the meantime I will research and not loose my mind if I need to eat a traditional meal… Vegan is a lifestyle, but I see it as grey. To be the perfect vegan you would need to live on a different vegan-only planet. The people-to-people connection on this planet is too great to be absolutely perfect, so I won’t give myself a lot of heat over a lapse. It’s a learning and habit process! But , really, thank heavens for fruit and so many delicious vegan breakfasts and desserts. We can have that at least!

I will also note that I’m not promising myself to this lifestyle yet, I’m only trying things out at this point.

But be happy to know that I have already started Day 2 with a round of yoga, chia pudding with raspberries, kashi waffles, and silk yogurt!

LOFT Love=True Love

I have FINALLY found a store that speaks to my needs. LOFT. While they have appeared to me in the past to be the “Christopher & Banks” of a younger age group…I find myself addicted. (There are some rather amusing articles about the epiphany that is Ann Inc. and Loft) I’m growing up folks! They have great blouses for teachers: higher necklines and forgiving fabrics. They have fun colors and patterns. LOFT creates a boutique look with many of their items and, because we don’t have one in my hometown, I will be one of few that is rocking these amazing pieces. What REALLY sealed the deal, however, are the petite sizes. Folks… I don’t have to worry about my small chest and narrow shoulders anymore!!! Do you have ANY idea how amazing it feels trying on pieces of clothing, one after another, that actually fit?! I mean they really, truly fit me! Yes, I’m small, but I am not a junior anymore!!! I have been forced to shop the Junior section for too long now. Junior styles are way to young. Too many crop tops, low necklines, sheer, just no… it’s too youthful now. As a “young” professional (I’m 27 now, so I’m actually a woman…right?) I need to be able to command respect and LOFT will help me accomplish that!

So here are the pieces I have purchased so far!

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There are a few more that I have my eye on! And a few that have already disappeared… sad face.

I’m not in love with their online return system; they charge $8.00 for shipping. And I’m not sure that their sizing is SUPER reliable so I have to be careful with long sleeves. I personally think the quality is adequate to good, even great in some cases. The fabrics and details are nice. Some prices do not match the quality, as in the case of the green dress above. This dress is fully lined, but made out of t-shirt-type knit. It was originally almost $80.00, going for $74.88 currently. I think it could have went for a little less. Now they DO have amazing sales if you can catch the item you want at the right time, perhaps they have a system that i can figure out, but in the case of this dress I really should have waited to see if I could pay 60 or even 50. I see it pilling in the future and possibly even getting faded. Thankfully I’m the type that doesn’t dry most of my clothes (socks and lounge stuff makes the exception) and I don’t wear dresses too often. The construction won me over, though!

If you are a young professional that has never given LOFT a try, do so. It is worth your time, even if you think you might not like them or if you still end up not liking them. Loft can be a whole lifestyle going from work to casual to play to relax time. I love how easy this store makes things!

 

I Finished a Book!

For fun, even!

It’s kind of a big deal when this happens, because I normally fall asleep when reading and just generally don’t have the time.

While driving to Las Vegas, I had PLENTY of time!

I read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, and I have to say it made me uncomfortable. Something about it made it hard for me to let myself into her heart. This story was an open wound, gushing every part of her past. A past that maybe I saw as a reflection of my own, and the reason I couldn’t let myself connect with her for so long.

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I started reading this story over a year ago when I had heard about the movie and was really getting interested in mountains and hiking and climbing. I downloaded it to my iPad and got through about half of it, until I let other things distract me from it.

I hated her. I hated that she couldn’t get herself together. I hated the heroin addiction. I hated her for so many things. Somethings that I myself am guilty of… (Not the heroin, thank God.)

But, here I was, bored to death on a ten hour drive and having used too much data already it was time to distract my anxiety other ways. And I am so glad that I did. Cheryl chewed through the thoughts and feelings that had been weighing on her; Her mother’s death, her father’s absence, her siblings antics, all of the hardships were pounded into the trail, howled into the crisp air, or tossed over the mountainside.

If you feel like you have been in a rut for a time, perhaps this is the story for you. I won’t promise you will LOVE it, I couldn’t say that I do, but it was a story I needed to hear.

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Here are my favorite quotes:

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.I decided I was safe. I was Strong. I was brave…Fear beget fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.”

“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”

“Here it could be the fourth of July or the tenth of December. These mountains didn’t count the days.”

“And you’re wounded in the same place. That’s what fathers do if they don’t heal their wounds. They wound their children in the same place.”

“Foot speed was a profoundly different way of moving through the world than my normal modes of travel. Miles weren’t things that blazed dully past. they were long, intimate straggles of weeds and clumps of dirt, blades of grass and flowers that bent in the wind, trees that lumbered and screeched. They were the sound of my breath hitting the trail one step at a time and the click of my ski pole. The PCT had taught me what a mile was. i was humble before each and every one. And humbler still that day on Hat Creek Rim as the temperature moved from hot to hotter, the wind doing little more than whip the dust into swirls at my feet.”

“There wasn’t a day on the trail that monotony didn’t ultimately win out, when the only thing to think about was whatever was the physically hardest. It was a sort of scorching sure.”

“The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”

“But you seemed so happy was all they could say. And it was true: we had seemed that way. Just as I’d seemed to be doing okay after my mom died. Grief doesn’t have a face.”

“That was my father: the man who hadn’t fathered me. It amazed me every time. Again and again and again. Of all the wild things, his failure to love me the way he should have had always been the wildest things of all. But on that night as I gazed out over the darkening land fifty-some nights out on the PCT, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to be amazed by him anymore. There were so many other amazing things in this world.”

“I didn’t feel like a big fat idiot anymore. And I didn’t feel like a hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen. I felt fierce and humble and gathered up inside, like I was safe in this world too.”

 

“This was once Mazama, I kept reminding myself. This was once a mountain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had it’s heart removed. This was once a wasteland of lava and pumice and ash. This was once an empty bowl that took hundreds of years to fill. But hard as I tried, I couldn’t see them in my mind’s eye. Not the mountain or the wasteland or the empty bowl. hey simply were not there anymore. There was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began.”

“I stopped and made camp and efficiently did all the tasks that making camp required, all in an effort to get as quickly ass possible to the blessed moment when I could collapse, utterly demolished, in my tent.”

“But the thing was, I didn’t want it. Maybe I never really had. I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in. I was there now. Or close.”

“I slept on my tarp, not wanting to shelter myself on that last night, and woke before the dawn to watch the sun rise over Mount Hood. It was really over I thought. There was no way to go back, to make it stay. There was never that. I sat for a long while, letting the light fill the sky, letting it expand and reach down into the trees. I closed my eyes and listened hard to Eagle Creek. It was running to the Columbia River, like me.”

“I was thrilled by the prospect of reaching Cascade Locks and also saddened by it. I didn’t know how living outdoors and sleeping on the ground in a tent each night and walking alone through the wilderness all day almost every day had come to feel like my normal life, but it had. It was the idea of not doing it that scared me.”

That was A LOT, I know, but it was really just so good…As much as I hated it.

Any book recommendations?!

 

Lilacs & Honeysuckle

And just like that it was time to brighten things up around the farmhouse and celebrate spring and the resurrection. A little here, a little there.

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Don’t tell anyone, but Im starting to get fond of this ugly old headboard. It’s become quite the work-horse! Alas, I must wait to find the right furniture for this room because after a few months or so it will be serving as our dining room! No sense rushing out to find something for a space you can’t predict.

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Again, I just love using printables and whatever scrapbook paper is around to give them a personal touch. The dandelion print was a gift, the fauna were thrifted many moons ago and the white deer is definitely in my top ten of favorite things to decorate with.

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The mossy friends have been EVERYWHERE in the farmhouse circle. Grabbed the last two at my local Hobby Lobby. Score. Wood candle holders and hobnail candle are from The Faithful Farmhouse, a local shop that sells handmade items like my GIANT gather sign in the kitchen as well as many items from Creative Co-op.

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This tray in the kitchen is always the most fun and easy to fix up! I love the ease of using my everyday pieces and mixing in a few small seasonal things.

I created this embroidered image myself. Back when Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros had just come out with this song and I was swooning. Times were so different then! I was Tumblr-in’…#hipster much? Things never change… I still love my pretentious records!

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I decided to give the classic blue color a try for the mason jar. I saw some of the “eggs in a jar” at Hobby Lobby and thought eh, I can make up my own! Burlap plant is The Faithful Farmhouse.

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In the spring, lilac is an absolute must for me. Nothing brings back such tender wonder-filled memories as the scent of lilacs. We had a row of them in our backyard in the part of the yard I call ed my secret garden. Next would have to be the honeysuckle in grandpa’s backyard.

Again with the printable, and behold: deer shed! I knew eventually I would get my hands on some. This piece was given to me as a hat for my dog… My boss is hilarious.

The small moss bunnies and nests are from Hobby Lobby and they are just the perfect size to tuck into the nooks and crannies. Again I wasn’t trying to go too overboard with the Easter/Spring stuff… Michael is probably like “What is with all the froofroo stuff?!” These little guys were actually plant fronds…? If thats what they are called… They are made to be stuck into floral arrangements. So, I took the long wires off or curled them around under and voila!

I feel like the most blessed person right now. Even amidst my trivial trials I see so many good little things that happen in my life and find myself quietly saying “Thank goodness for…”

This last weekend I was the first prize winner of a gift certificate to my FAVORITE store in Dodge, Boot Hill Antiques! (Where The Faithful Farmhouse is). So I thought it was a sign to go ahead and buy the one purchase I NEVER thought I would be able to, and probably still shouldn’t have, but eh… Go with it when it’s good!

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So I feel like I am a giant leap closer to something. The look I want to achieve? SOMETHING. An man… There’s some major curving in these photos. I guess I will start looking into wide angle lenses… Sheesh…

Have a blessed week everyone and HAPPY SPRING!

Running Record Resolution

I’m back with another resolution update. I hate to leave everyone hanging, it has been som e times since my last post, but I also try not to constantly post OOTD/Update type stuff… I like stuff with real substance, but then what would a blog be with out a real person behind it?!

So here’s another update of a different kind!

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I mentioned that fitness is always a part of renewing myself or personal growth, especially in the new year. Normally I keep plans and goals that are risky to myself. I’m afraid of be scoffed or failing, or worse… scoffed into failing! But I have learned that there is a great freedom in being open with your goals, and it is humbling to fail and try again.

Last year I did a fair amount of working out. I decided to try to embrace the gym. Oh, man do I really love lifting weights! I really do! But I did not like it enough to continue after my membership expired. There was something about spending an hour or more with all kinds of grunting sweaty strangers that were using all of the things you wanted to. There was something difficult about thinking of what were the right exercises to be performing and reps and sets. There was something exhausting about planning my day around all of it and not seeing results as fast as you wished. I can truly appreciate the sport because I have given it an Ashley try. I commend weight lifters and body builders. You have strength, focus, drive, and patience.

So here I am. Avoiding a yoga class that I am afraid will cost me our the ying-yang and that I will end up not liking… And I put on my running shoes instead.

I looked at the amazing past progress I had made on Nike+, then the coach feature of the app. A beginner 10K program that took 8 weeks. I looked up a race that was a little over 8 weeks out and set up my program and did it. I’m just doing it. I am only in the 3rd week, so I might be getting my hopes up. But Ashley really is a runner. She just never felt confident enough to call herself one until now.

Funny things always happen when you make a choice like this in your life. Here I was worried about paying so much for memberships… My Lunar Flyknits have 13 miles on them according to Nike+ and they are clapped. They probably have more than 13, but not 250!

So yes, of course I got some new shoes! My ankles were bleeding and me feet were so sore. So… here I am still spending money, but there is something different about doing it for something that you love. Whether the love is in the moment or not. I’m about as impulsive as a Taurus gets! Good news is I am feeling NO pain in the side of my knee now!

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How’d my very first run go?

I felt terrible. I felt worse starting out than I can ever remember starting out before. I am officially getting older and it’s time that I take charge of my health and not take such a long break between. I hadn’t been to the gym since AUGUST! What was my excuse all winter? I was working full time, going to school…But I was giving up. I felt I had done all that I could do. Here I am, full time with two internships and trying to kill it. I guess some desperate times make you finally reach for a little salvation.

So running has always been there for me. I’ve been running since the 7th grade. But for the first time in my life, I feel like I am there for running too. Looking back at these photos I am so impressed with what I have accomplished in the last 3 weeks!

So yes, while I wish I had the money and time to blog about nothing other than home decor and crafts, I am a real person, trying really hard to better themselves in more areas than one! This Taurus is a jack of all trades! I can’t wait to share more with you. A progress update before I get to sure of myself about this race! Yes, I’m still nervous!

Are any of you runners? What are your favorite ways to stay healthy?

 

Catching Up

Hey everyone! It’s been a minute, but I’m still here! I’m having a series of days that are just eye-rollable. For example I spent most of the day yesterday catching up on laundry while I cleaned the bathroom and washed dishes. I did SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY.

BUT I’ve gotten some awesome things done around here, not that it’s ready to be photographed for Better Homes and Gardens #crylaughemoji

I thought I’d share a few pictures from my regular life because I have been too busy to pause to write and photograph thoughtfully.

I really have just been busy doing chores, unpacking and cleaning, and most importantly beginning my new internships for teaching! (I’m not a student teacher yet, these are what you do before then.) Staying on top of my homework while working 40 hrs is important especially with internships.

I got myself a few new tops. The main reason for this was because I wanted shirts with higher necklines so I wouldn’t have to worry about bending over. I have also purged my wardrobe of the things I found were not fitting my lifestyle/job/comfort anymore because it’s good for me and because of sharing a closet with Michael and decided to be a free spirited hippie type this spring. (Again, none of these will be very good pictures…)

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The students were allowed to celebrate the Super Bowl with team colored cupcakes… So I had the choice of dark blue or black… I got black and looked like Tia Dalma for the rest of the day.

The house has been quite the mess, but yesterday my honey checked off the list! His family helped us hang up three major pieces of wall art! Now I get to obsess over things as I can start putting them into place better.

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Gotta love Snoopy, passed out on the couch. I know, it’s overwhelming!

Here it is currently.

Chalkboard and GATHER is UP! I want to get some metal chairs, console table, white curtains (the tie-up kind) and MAYBE a rug… It’s so easy to clean the way it is so I’m not sure.

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A cute decorative spot on the kitchen counter. I’d like to find a picture for behind it, then to the right will be a metal basket for coffee, the Keurig, and mug tree.

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“My Office” ha… It’s a mess in here, but it’s happy! And I’m thankful I have a space to study. At least that area is being managed.

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I spruce it up best I can.

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Got one window covered! The bedroom window, weeee! It was yellow before! Made the room a strange green color hehe.

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The living room in not quite this clean right now, but lets revel in this moment! I can’t wait to find a substitution for that footstool. I’ll be putting up curtains and I haven’t decided on shelves or wall art. We need a place for the play station and shelves could make that possible, PLUS they would be fun to decorate for the holidays.

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My MAGNIFICENT mirror!

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The last picture shows the old headboard under the mirror. I want to put a console table so oddly enough this gives me an idea! I cant let it be too deep, this is 8 inches. I was planning on ten, but I think 8 will be better. There is enough space to put candles and pictures and a skinny tray and figures.

The blue rooms will be painted someday, if I haven’t mentioned so before… It will be the hardest thing to get Michael to change.. Well the lighting in the kitchen and bathroom too…SOMEday!

I still have such a long ways to go to get the things I have settled and finish cleaning out my apartment before I can get too excited about big furniture purchases. So I dream out loud A LOT!

Here are some pieces I want to get from the antique store.

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Bucket for blankets in the living room!

And some living room inspiration. I have NO idea what to put above the couch!

 

And some inspiration. Color splash! I’m seeing aqua pop up in the bathroom and kitchen.

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Things I’m loving:

  1. This darling bench… I’m needing something for the mud room to sit on and put shoes/boots under.

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2. This sweet little girlie 🙂 This is my dog Pippi and she looked so cute sitting in the middle of the back seat of Michael’s truck.

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3. And Moscow Mules! How did I NOT know about these!!! Ginger beer has always been may favorite. I’m going to have to find some copper mugs now! Decorative AND functional!

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I’m REALLY hoping to get a Valentine’s Day craft done in the next couple of days, so I will definitely share that with you all!

 

January Round-Up

Well friends, it has been a crazy month in my little corner of the universe. There have been a lot of things that inspire me to do what I do, share what I share, and learn more about it all.

I just wanted to share with you my favorite posts I’ve read this week from other blogs. Some of these are just fun, some of them educational.

Two articles come from A Beautiful Mess and they helped me to understand photography  a little bit better!

1. All about Prime Lenses & Focal Lengths – The first article is a little bit older, but very informative! When I first bought a camera I knew that there would be a lot to be learned and that I would probably be let down by the capabilities of my lens. While the objective of the article is to explain the difference between prime and zoom lenses and what focal lengths are great for certain things. With that this article explains focal lengths well and helped me know what to search for online to learn more about photographing a living room/landscape and up close!

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2.Casual Friday Vol. 23 – The next article shows how Emma uses tile boards to photograph here delicious creations. I had no idea how useful they would be when I first read this until I tried photography food in my own kitchen. WOW. I can definitely see myself finding or creating a couple of options that are versatile like light wood, white wood, and white tile.

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These articles really helped me to know where to begin practicing with my camera and what to look for on the internet for more information. It’s the beginning of a fun journey for sure!

3. Homemade Toaster Strudels – This recipe comes from cooking classy and I am definitely going to try it some weekend! Toaster strudels were my favorite growing up, but the name brand ones were always cold in spots and burnt in others. Who didn’t love the taste of them, though?!  These look like they would be warm and fluffy and fruity an amazing!

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4. DIY: Faux Druzy Necklace – How pretty are these! #hearteyes I’m trying to think of ways you could get a gilded look around the edge like I have seen. I will have to go down the jewelry aisle next time I’m at Hobby Lobby. In the past I have taken jewelry and metalsmithing classes so this speaks to me in the quick and easy way. I would LOVE to get back into making jewelry again that is more involved.

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5. This Outfit on Polyvore – Definitely helps inspire my work wardrobe. Working at a Harley Shop has forced me to change my style to fit in and this outfit shows me that I can still put forth my personality while wearing black leather riding boots. I love the relaxed silky top and dangling necklace. I actually have a similar necklace so I’m halfway there!

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So there are a few things that have inspired me this month!

Hello, February! You are bringing us just a little bit closer to Spring!