So You Want to Be a Yogi?

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I’m kinda sorta obsessed with yoga. Its true. As a person who lacks any and all athletic ability and one who absolutely HATES exercise of any kind, it seemed as if I’d never find a workout that I could stick to and – gasp – look forward to doing. But, yoga. It’s the bees knees, my friends. And my mission in life is to convert you. Journey with me, young yogi.

Let me start by telling you that I am terrible at yoga. Horrible, fall down, fall on my face, terrible. But I love it. Don’t be discouraged by the photos you see on Pinterest of tiny ladies balanced upside down with only one pinky holding them up. You don’t have to be this person; I know for damn sure I’ll never be. I almost can’t stand straight up when I’m doing Tree pose.

About a year ago I bought a groupon for yoga classes at a local place. My friend Katie and I went to two or three classes, and then it sort of petered out for us. I just could NOT get into it at the studio. The studio was packed with people who knew what they were doing while I, clearly, did not. It was hot in the room. I felt like we were on top of each other. I felt stupid and silly and self-conscious at the same time. The guy next to me repeatedly tried to get himself into a handstand and every time he was unsuccessful (about 998 times) his feet would thud to the ground, thereby scaring the crap out of me. It was NOT zen. It was NOT how I wanted yoga to be. The only good part was the Savasana and I’m not sure if it was because it was relaxing or because I knew the class was almost over. Yoga isn’t supposed to be this way! You should always be focused inwardly, but I just couldn’t detach myself from the chaos of my surroundings.

Sidenote: this is one of my new favorite yoga tops… $12 on Etsy.

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And I gave up on yoga. For 3 months.

But I really WANTED to love yoga. I wanted to be that long, lean, mentally well-adjusted, calm, super zen contemplative hippie person. I wanted my workout to simultaneously make me healthy AND less likely to assault other drivers on the road when they changed lanes without using a signal.

So, I gave it another go. AT HOME. Alone. In my house. Just me and my cats and Denise Austin.

Yup, some of you probably hate her. She is a little perky, but something about her just seems so down to earth to me. She makes mistakes, she flubs her words. She just seems NICE. I took a $5.92 chance on eBay and ordered a DVD.

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Yoga Body Burn. I wanted a yoga body. I wanted to burn something or another. Perfect. And if it wasn’t, well, it was a less-than-six-dollar mistake. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I’m sure if you’re a hardcore yogi you think that this video is sub-par or “not real yoga” in some way, but I think its sensational. Its broken up into 4 segments – you can do them all together, or mix and match. I usually do the yoga body burn (20 min) plus the relaxation (10 min.)

Many people don’t think of yoga as a real “workout” – but I can tell you that if you’re doing some quickly paced vinyasa, you’ll sweat and you’ll burn. You’ll burn calories AND you’ll tone up your muscles. The best part is, you won’t even really realize you’re doing it. You’ll sort of just feel renewed. I lost 4 pounds the first week I started this video. I gained it back the next day after a large meal, but still.

While on vacation a few weeks ago I ventured back into the studio for an advanced 90 minute vinyasa class. I was pretty nervous – after all, I hadn’t yet mastered the basics without holding onto my countertop for support – how would I complete this class? But, I busted my ass and I did it. The teacher made me fold my body into positions that a Romanian gymnast would have been proud of. She even spotted me for an against-the-wall handstand. I was hurting, but I felt better after this yoga class than any 30 min jaunt on the elliptical machine. I was tired, but also energized. The weird yoga paradox.

You should give it a go, friends. Try out the video I mentioned – or scour Youtube or netflix for some free videos. There are tons of them out there. I think you’ll be impressed with what your body can handle, and you’ll just feel more balanced in the process.

Also you’ll get to buy some cool yoga stuff, like the cat yoga pants you see above and my most favorite yoga tank, below, and my awesome panther mat:

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Namaste, friends!

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Closet Purging and the Elusive (i.e Impossible) Capsule Wardrobe

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Well, hello there. Its been about 17 years since I posted last, but seeing as how I just paid $18 to renew my domain name for another two years I figured I should make good use of this site! I apologize in advance – this isn’t a pretty picture fashion bloggy post. This is mostly just myself babbling a bit. But maybe some of you feel this way, too.

If you know me at all, and my guess is that anyone reading this probably does, two of my biggest obsessions are 1) shopping (for clothes)  2) getting rid of stuff (mostly clothes)

It is the weird paradox that is Heather. I am concurrently obsessed with obtaining more stuff while at the same time purging the items that I do have. So, I’ve sort of fallen into this notion of the much talked about and always feared “capsule” wardrobe.

Sidenote – are you as intrigued by the Tiny House movement as I am? I’m just fascinated by the idea of living more simply. I’ve always been weirdly interested by the the notion of “purging” stuff and living with only with the most basic necessities. I’ll get back to how this sidenote about Tiny Houses fits in with my quest for the capsule wardrobe.

I’m going to tell you a story despite the fact that I know that you’ll think I’m a lunatic afterwards. When I was little, I had two equally weird role playing games that I’d play in my own disturbed little head. Sometimes I would pretend that I had to give away ALL of my toys; for some reason, I’d pretend that I was forced to choose ONE toy, and with this one toy I would have to be happy forever. Just one. I think I usually settled on a Pound Puppy or a My Little Pony (Probably Applejacks or Moondancer. I loved those two) Weird, I know. But the next little mental game I played as a child makes this seem normal. I’d also pretend that I had to choose one ROOM in the house in which I could live, and it would be the only room I’d be allowed in. Ever. Like a prison cell deal. I’d always choose the bathroom, b/c to me the tub seemed like a good bed substitute and I’d have unlimited access to water. I always had a bit of a penchant for bathrooms.

So, there is some background info on me. Clearly, psychologically I’ve always wanted to unload the extraneous and live with the most basic items possible. I’ve never ACTUALLY done this, and if you’ve seen my underwear drawer or my jewelry box you know this to be true. But I’m trying. And now back to Tiny Houses.

Let me say that I would never actually have the guts, balls, gumption, or whatever it takes to downsize into 250 sq feet, but wow, the idea seems so freeing. Less stuff. Less space. Less space to store the aforementioned stuff. It just makes sense to me. I am a person who believes in making use of every single square inch of my living space – I’ve never quite understood why some people (and if this is you, I don’t mean to offend) require a 4 bedroom house for, say, 3 people. Or, 3.5 bathrooms. Is there really a need for all of these bedrooms? Are there ever 4 people in your home who must piss at the exact same moment? Maybe you wholly disagree with me. Maybe you NEED a workout room, an office and a guest room in your house. To each, his own. For me, I favor a small, cozy, well organized space that contains only items that I love (or need) and makes smart use of every possible nook and cranny.

I took a glance at Marie Kondo’s Super magical tidying up book. It seems to have almost a cult following and it appeared that it might be right up my alley. Alas, it was damn kooky. While I can kinda sorta understand where she is coming from – “only keep items which bring you joy” – I have to ask myself, does my can opener really bring me joy? And how about my bathroom scale? And dental floss? Nope, but I still need them. Also, the weird part about storing socks flat b/c they’ve “worked hard on your feet and need a rest” – yeah. Crazy. But, again – whatever floats your boat, friends. If it gets you purging, then who am I to judge?

What is my very long winded point, here, you ask? How does a real life real shopper real person declutter and purge ones closet? I think I have the answer. I’ve been poring over blogs and articles on this very subject and, friends, I have the REAL answer here. I’ve already started this process, and hope to be finished up by the end of the summer. THREE STEPS FRIENDS. None of that “turn your hangers around” or “put it in a bag in another closet for three months” crap. THREE steps for you to do today. Or, you know, sometime soon.

1) Having a true capsule wardrobe is UNREALISTIC. Stop forcing it on yourself. The idea of discarding all of your pants and keeping three pairs is silly. Likewise, the notion that you’d love to fit all of your clothing into one suitcase is also silly. Don’t compare yourself to these internet people who claim to have tossed out 80% of their clothes. I think many of them are fakey fakers. Cut yourself some slack. This is trial and error.

2) The most important step – STOP THE BLEEDING. Yup. You must stop (or at least DRASTICALLY cut back on) your shopping. Why get rid of stuff if you’re just replacing it with new stuff the next day? Admittedly this is the hardest part for me. I mean, the fitting room lady at Marshalls knows me. I challenged myself last month to quit shopping cold turkey. Yes, I failed, but not miserably. I purchased 2 pairs of vegan sandals (so hard to find cute vegan shoes!) a classic denim jacket, a basic striped tee, and a pair of black skinnies. I considered these all to be classic pieces and replacements for items that I was planning on getting rid of – leather shoes, my old denim jacket, which is out of style and will graduate to our upstate house as a layer to wear by the fire, and my old black skinnies which were too big from the day I purchased them. Give yourself a little bit of leeway. I know myself, and I know that I won’t quit shopping in one fell swoop, but I can certainly limit myself to no more than 3 new items per month with the stipulation that if I bring in new items, I have to purge the same amount of old items. EVERY addition should be justified.

3) I know this is cliché – and I’m pretty sure I’ve had SOME people mock me for this phrase before – but you should only keep/buy things that make you feel like a 10. Five year old jeans that are out of style now a little bit? Purge. A sweater that you like, but the fabric is itchy? Purge. Shirt that you never wear because it emphasizes your bra fat? Purge. Aside from pj’s and workout/lounge clothes, you should love (or at least feel good in) everything you own. Life is too short to worry about muffin top and panty lines. Get rid. Sell. Donate. Toss if stained/ripped. For God’s sake, use eBay. I started selling my stuff on eBay about 3 1/2 years ago and to date I’ve made $31,426. Yes, you read that correctly. This might mean that you have to replace some items – but you’ll be replacing them with items that fit well, work with your age/lifestyle, and make you feel good when you put them on. That’s got to be worth more than a drawer full of jeans that fit you a few years ago but now they just stare at you, mocking you, saying, “hey Heather remember when you were a size 4 for about 10 minutes at age 26? Well, nanapoopoo we don’t fit you anymore!” Get rid of those bastards. They’re just not good for your Zen, friends.

I used to think that the notion of having a massive, well stocked, walk in closet with 50 pairs of shoes would be the ultimate cats meow. Maybe its my old age 🙂 but nowadays I just want a (large) handful of well fitting pieces that I love. Baby steps, friends. I’m no expert. I still have a size 4 dress in there that I look at, wistfully, and remember the days when my belly wasn’t jelly, but I’m getting there.

And in unrelated news, here’s my cat:

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Friday Five – The Heather Report

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Yes, its Friday again. Thank GOD. Long ass week. And, again, I have had NO time to think about writing a real post, but I’m going to attempt to keep up my commitment to this Friday thing. So, without further ado, here are some things that either happened to me this week or are swimming through my warped little brain at the moment.

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1) My obsession with Trailer Park Boys continues, and I don’t know if this is something to share with people, but wow, it has made me miss drinking liquor! I don’t care what you say, drinking liquor is excellent fun. I hearken back to ye days of my 20’s when my drink of choice was Captain & diet. Although I don’t drink nearly as much as my good friends at the Sunnyvale Trailer park (because, you know, I have a job and all) I will certainly be working the captain back into the rotation. I’ve been a wine girl for awhile, because that’s what you’re supposed to drink in your 30’s, but nothing beats a good mixed drink.
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2) I’ve been working on the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe. This involves paring your clothing down to classics, items that flatter, and items that you love. If you’re anything like me, you have about 5000 items that you never look twice at (and you keep purchasing for some unknown reason) and you always seem to reach for the same few pieces. I’m going to be doing some hardcore down and dirty closet purging this weekend, along with some eBay listing. When I’m done, I’ll assess what classic items I’ll need to add to my collection, etc. I’m sure I’ll do a full blog post on this in the near future.

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3) THE WALKING DEAD IS COMING BACK THIS WEEKEND PEOPLE!!! Tom and I prepared for this by re-watching the entire series over the summer. How would I face off with those cannibal Terminus bastards? Well, I’d wear these black skinny jeans from Loft and carry around my trusty fireplace poker. I’ve often thought about what I would wear AND what I would wield if I were thrust into the Zombie Apocalypse. Here is my decision. Stretchy skinnies, good boots, a fire place poker and a pistol with a high cap mag. Here is would I would not want any part of during the apocalypse: thongs, bras, daggers, baseball bats and revolvers. HOW does Rick still use a revolver? It blows my mind. PS – here’s hoping Beth and Carl are eaten in episode 1.

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4) Stitch Fix. Well, I received my fourteenth Stitch Fix yesterday. I wrote them a massive complaint letter last month because the whole purpose of this service is that it’s supposed to be a “personal stylist” and I just think they’re getting way too big for their britches. I no longer think they spend much time looking at what a person really wants, and I don’t even think they glance at a Pinterest board anymore. But, they refunded me my styling fee and credited me an add’l $20 styling fee for another fix, so it was no harm no foul to try it one more time. Pretty disappointing. I specifically told them that I basically only wear SLEEVELESS tops, because I’m always hot, but they ignored this; they also ignored my request for “cardigans with buttons only” and sent this drapey item. Its ok, but not SIXTY EIGHT DOLLARS OK!!! Ugh. The black jeans are nice – they make my bubble butt look especially bubbly, but I’m yet to decide if they’re keepers. Regardless, I’m taking a long break from Stitch Fix. Possibly forever. IF you want to see what I received this time, and some other items I’ve gotten from Stitch Fix over the last year or so, check out my Pinterest board dedicated to SF items:

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5) This coming Saturday, October 11th, Tom and I will be celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary! We’re simple folken, and I’m sure we’ll be celebrating by eating, drinking, and, you guessed it, watching Trailer Park Boys. Here’s to 50 more years, Poosker!

Have a good weekend…

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Friday Five

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I am finding it wildly difficult to conjure up witty and interesting blog posts AND work AND teach AND do other stuff in my life. I do want to keep the blog alive and afloat, so I’ve decided that at the very least I can copycat the “Five on Friday” weekly recap that I’ve seen other bloggers partake in.

To be honest, I’m not sure what one does in a Five on Friday post. What I am going to do, henceforth, is recap five things, events, items, bagels, whatever, that were important or momentous to me during the last week. Trust me, they will, in general, be trivial and stupid. You know how I do.

1) Well, first up, I gave up shopping for a month. Its officially No Shopping October. Its day three, and I’m already pretty sad, but I’m confident that I will pass this test. I read an article about a gal who gave up shopping for a year. I can’t really even wrap my head around this concept, but her end game was that she would not only save money, but actually enjoy and wear the clothes she already owned. Who among us doesn’t have a stockpile of items that we never really look at? So, I’ve decided to make the most of No-Shopping October and not duplicate an outfit for the whole month. I kicked it off with some mirror selfies on Monday. Love my Loft sweater, Mod Cloth Necklace, and vegan boots from Marshalls. FullSizeRender IMG_3310

 

2) In light of my boots, above, I’ve decided to eschew all leather products from now on. I drive past a pasture raised meat farm whenever I go to the IGA upstate, and I always look at the cows and feel sad. Now, while I haven’t eaten a cow in 24 years (gave it up when I was in 5th grade!) I decided it was pretty hypocritical to wear them. So, I’ve sold my 4-year-old Uggs and I’ve donated (half of) the proceeds to Blind Cat Sanctuary. Here’s a sensational pair of vegan boots that I purchased (not this month!) to kick off my leather-free existence.

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3) I’m now a month or so into the Fall semester, and I’m stupidly excited about how (most of) my students are enjoying The Gunslinger, which in case you’re not aware, is book 1 of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’ve even had more than five of my students ask me the name of the next book in the series. I promise you that there are no words that an English professor loves to hear more than, “I’m actually enjoying this book!” You should all read it, too.

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4) Call me jaded or call me a cynic, but there is a shortage of funny stuff on regular TV nowadays. I can’t stomach most of the mainstream shows that we’re “supposed” to laugh at. So, imagine my delight when Tom and I stumbled upon (via Sonny via Mike) what might be, in my opinion, the funniest show since Seinfeld. Oh my God. Tom and I have binge watched this on Netflix all week, and we’re already up to season five. You MUST MUST MUST check out Trailer Park Boys. Who knew Canadians could be funny?

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5) Last but not least, Tom and I are headed upstate tonight. I’ve been pretty hardcore on the weight watchers all week, so I shall be treating myself to some wine by the fire pit tonight. Cheap as it may be, sorry friends, but nothing beats a bottle of Barefoot Pinot OR Sav. Blanc. You can keep your Santa Margarita (well, no, give me that too, please) – because I can buy THREE bottles of Barefoot for the price of one SM! Please stay tuned for some misspelled and unintelligible Facebook status messages.

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Have a great weekend!

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Why I Wear Skinny Jeans Even Though I’m Not Skinny

Nope, this isn’t a woe-is-me post about my body. No, I won’t be going on a tirade about how what’s on the “outside” doesn’t matter and its all about the person on the inside and pretty rainbows and trees and hippies and roses.  And I’m certainly NOT fishing for compliments (oh, Heather, you ARE so skinny!)

It’s not about any of that.

It’s about my journey to skinny jeans and how I’ve made peace with my body at age 36. It has been a long and bumpy road. Journey with me.

I grew up a chunky little kid. I was never a problem eater. I LOVED food. Look at my chunky little ham hocks here:

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Yes, I was adorable, I know. But I was always the biggest (tallest AND fattest) kid in the class, up through and including sixth grade. And kids, as you may have heard, are mean. And that kinda stayed with me through all of these years. I may have lost a few and gained a few through the years, but even when I got down to a size 4 in my 20’s, I was still the fattest girl in Mrs. McGrath’s 2nd grade class, weighing in at an impressive 94 pounds – 9 pounds more than the next “fattest” kid in the class, who had the last name “House” mind you. That’s right. I was fatter than a house. How do I know these details? Because despite 8-year-old Heather asking nicely to keep her weight quiet, Mrs. Briscoe, the nurse, still insisted on announcing everyone’s weight aloud as she wrote them down. A little sick that this is a memory that is imprinted on my mind for all of these years.

Another fond elementary school memory: 5th grade. Riding the bus home from school. “Steve” decides to tell me, unprompted, that “If I were a mermaid, I’d be a manatee.” Yup, that one sorta stayed with me too.

So, I’ve had some fat baggage that I’ve been lugging around since, oh, age 5 probably. And my recent experience with a certain pair of skinny jeans has caused me to do a little introspection.

Do you like Pinterest? Of course  you do. Well, I do too. I’m practically a professional. (follow me!)

Anyhow, I got it stuck in my head that I must own a pair of cream-colored skinny jeans for the fall. I MUST. Life will not be complete, Heather, unless you seek out and find these pants.

I’m more of a wide leg, dark-colored pants gal normally. But, all of these pretty photos of ladies on Pinterest wearing cream-colored pants and boots frolicking through autumn fields… picking apples… just hanging around without cellulite. I wanted to be in that club in the worst way.

I took a trip to (where else?) my faithful local Marshall’s. Now, if you’re a Marshall’s regular, like myself, you know very well that you can’t say to yourself, “hey, I’d like to go and purchase a pair of black peep toe heels” and expect to find them at Marshall’s. Its more of a “go with an open mind – you never know what you might uncover” sort of store. But, the skinny pants gods smiled upon me that day, and lo and behold, there they were – cream-colored skinnies. In my size.

I tried them on, and although they fit like a glove, I was skeptical. I am bottom heavy. I am so pear that I’m almost eggplant. I’m what my husband might refer to as “assy” – but in a good way. And I was besot with thoughts like “these make my thighs look massive” and “oh can you see my cellulite??” But, I bought them, because at Marshall’s you gotta get it when you see it, because it will be gone the next time you come back.

I took them home. I tried them on with about 78 things that I already owned. Boots. Flats. Tunics. Sweaters. I was unsure. I thought they looked decent, but I was unsure. I polled the masses. My  mom loved them. My friends were split.

And I caved. I returned them. I felt so defeated. By my own insecurities, by society, by the elementary school nurse, by stupid “Steve.”

I had trouble sleeping that night – no exaggeration – because I was so pissed off that I didn’t trust myself and how I felt in these pants enough to flout whatever nay-sayers might think when they saw a non-size 2 girl in light-colored skinnies.

Well, reader, I re-bought them.

I wasted my entire lunch break driving all the way back to West Babylon, but, by the grace of God, the pants were still there waiting for me. (Remind me never to return items in BABYLON again when I could easily have taken them right to the East Islip Marshall’s.)

And so, this is what I think. You don’t have to be skinny to wear skinny pants. Or a sleeveless shirt. Or a strapless dress. Or whatever that one item is that you consider to be off-limits. Despite what that little person inside might be telling you (in my case, elementary school chunky Heather) YOU look good. Do you feel good? Then you’re fine.

Just make sure the item fits and flatters. If these jeans gave me a muffin top it wouldn’t indicate confidence – it would just tell people that I was in denial about gaining a few pounds or suggest that I don’t own a full length mirror. Dress for the size you are today.

I never wear my swimsuit in front of people EVER unless I’m in a foreign country. Its true. Recently, I had an hour to kill while my husband was at the gym at a resort (in New Jersey – not a foreign land) at which we were staying, and so I sat by the pool for an hour. In my bathing suit. And you know what? The world didn’t end. My guess is that no one even gave me a second glance. But in a good way.

I don’t expect this to “inspire” people and I don’t expect applause. I just hope that, ladies, you extend your body the same courtesy that it extends unto you. I’ve had an almost abusive relationship with my body for years, treating my “flaws”  like an abusive husband might treat his battered wife. And I don’t think I’m alone on this. You’re ugly, you’re fat, you don’t deserve to wear this. And you know what? Our bodies don’t fight back. They just faithfully keep us healthy, carry us where we want to go, bear our children. Hell, mine climbed a mountain for me, dammit! Granted I did fall down and vomit when I was done, but still. I asked my body to climb 4 miles uphill and it didn’t answer me back. It just climbed.

Its time we start showing our bodies some respect.

Here are the pants. I’ll wear them proudly this fall and pick some apples or something.  Maybe carve a pumpkin.

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A New Home for Kitty (and a new name!)

Hello, friends! Welcome to my new space! As you can see, I’ve migrated to a new server here on WordPress. Blogger was a great place to get started, but there are just so many more options and opportunities to grow on WordPress, so I made the leap!

I’ve also changed the name a bit, as you can see. Although I will still be talking about fashion (of course) I’d also like to branch out and talk about another passion of mine – literature.

Hence, the LIT kitty. Get it?

I also hope to talk about some other topics (cooking? decorating? hamsters?) and possibly even launch a serial fiction branch of the blog in the near future.

I’ve imported all of my old blogs from blogger, but as you can see the spacing is a little less than perfect. My apologies. There were just too many entries for me to go back and edit them all. My OCD brain wants to, but I just don’t have time.

Thanks for reading, and please check back soon 🙂

* Heather *

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