That’s a wrap {January}.


Links to Love:

  1. I have been loving the Daily Connoisseur’s YouTube videos.  I don’t watch YouTube often, but hers are some that I seek out.  I find her very soothing and I agree with so many of her philosophies.
  2. I came across her video about three ways to do overnight oats and recommend the blog post with the recipes.  We have tried the blueberries and cream version and the chocolate almond version and they are both delicious.  What overnight oats recipes do you recommend?
  3. This song.  (Million Reasons by Lady Gaga)  It has been on replay in my brain for the past week.
  4. Amanda linked to this article recently.  Definitely check it out and consider searching for yourself and opting out of having your personal info displayed on the site.
  5. This first look video was so funny!

Making Memories:

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  1. We had our guest bathroom renovated this month!  It looks so great.  Kevin and I marvel over all the things we’ve done to our home since moving in.  It really is like a different house!  The previous owners wouldn’t recognize the inside.
  2. We also had some touch up painting done around the house.  It felt good to get a few things patched and cleaned up!
  3. I was on the Nominating Committee this year for Junior League and got to help interview candidates for the slate next year.  I was slated as Nominating Chair for the upcoming year, which is exciting.  I go back and forth on leaving Junior League because I sometimes feel resentful when I’m at events, wishing I could be at home with Kevin and Ava.  But ultimately I know that it’s good for me to be involved in the organization and get out of the house for meetings and events.  I am very grateful to have such a supportive, amazing husband – he doesn’t bat an eye when I have meetings or events that take me away from home for hours at time in the evening or weekend.
  4. I went to an Escape Room with some girlfriends one Friday evening and it was such a blast.  I can’t wait to go back and am already planning a triple date with Kevin and some friends.
  5. Kevin and I made an early bird reservation at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse as a joint birthday celebration dinner.  It was so nice to get dressed up and have a date night.  We ate so much food and it was amazing.

Bookish:

  1. Read Truly Madly Guilty.  It’s Liane Moriarty’s newest and I gave it four stars.  I can understand why some people didn’t care for it.  The story did seem to move a little slowly at times, and the characters are very strong personalities.  You’ll likely either love them or hate them.  I loved them.  Each of them!  I thought they were well developed and quirky and real.
  2. Read At Home with Madame Chic:  Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott.  I’ve read the other two books by her about lessons learned from Madame Chic (the author’s hostess when she lived in France in her early twenties) and polishing poise.  I think At Home is my least favorite of the three (I gave it three stars).  I have gotten into Jennifer’s vlogs recently.  (See above in the links section.)  I agree with much of what she says and think that she’s a great role model for teenagers and young adults.
  3. Currently reading The Danish Way of Parenting:  A Guide to Raising the Happiest Kids in the World by Jessica Joelle Alexander & Iben Sandhal; The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (on my phone/iPad); Duplicity by Newt Gringrich (listening to this one on Audible with Kevin); and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Oh and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, because it’s time to re-read that series.
  4. Kevin has been reading The Looming Tower: Al-Quaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright and Duplicity, as mentioned above.  He also started taking a class (Leadership and Organizational Behavior) this month, because he didn’t feel like he had enough on his plate with only a baby and a wife and a full time job.  :)  He’s toying with the idea of getting an MBA through UMass Amherst and this class allows him to metaphorically dip his toe into the graduate school waters.
  5. Ava hit the 1000 book mark in her 1000 books before kindergarten challenge.  We’ll try it again in a few years, when kindergarten is on the horizon.

Challenges:

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  1. Ava has been a bit of an inconsistent sleeper for the past couple of months.  I feel silly saying that has been a challenge because in general she is such a good sleeper.  But there were a few nights where she woke up out of sorts and on one night we threw up the white flag after an hour and a half of crying it out.  Kevin slept on the floor of her room and that seemed to satisfy her.  She also does not like to be left alone to fall asleep, whereas she used to sooth herself to sleep just fine and dandy.  Now we need to stay in the room with her until she drifts off.  It’s just different and we don’t know what caused it.  Our trip to Denver last month?  A developmental leap (she’s in the ninth Wonder Weeks phase now and she is always hyper-aware during those leaps)?  We finally seemed to be getting back on track and then…dun dun dun…she got a cold.  However, the latest and greatest is that as of last night, January 31, Ava has been left in her crib awake and has not cried a bit for four consecutive nights.  She chats to herself and then falls asleep alone and on her own.  It’s been very exciting and I hope it continues.  January – I guess you could say it came in like a lion and out like a lamb on the sleeping front for the sweet girl.
  2. There was a bit of a challenge to our schedule when the reno work was being done to the bathroom.  The cats had to be locked up in our master suite (woe is them) during the day and it was loud and disruptive.  Ava couldn’t nap or even peacefully play at home so we spent a lot of time at Craig and Sue’s house.  Fortunately they live close so it’s easy to go back and forth.  We’re glad to have this project done!  We’ll tackle our master bathroom in the spring when we can play outside more.  That’s going to be a longer project.  Yikes.
  3. After almost 15 months of perfect health, a cold virus struck my poor baby.  She was sniffly, stuffy, and sneezy, and it was so hard to watch her struggle with not feeling 100%.  She is such a trooper though, and we were really lucky – overall she continued to feel well and be her cheerful self during the day.  She struggled to get comfortable at night and had a hard time breathing while lying down.  Fortunately it was pretty mild and passed relatively quickly.  We did a few steams and ran the humidifier and diffused peppermint oil.
  4. I don’t want to get into politics, but regardless of where any American stands on issues, January was a challenging month.  As a nation, we are very divided.  That division scares me.  I am scared for this country and the world, and I am disappointed in how leadership has handled many things.

Sustenance:

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  1. This month we ate a few of our regular rotation meals – chicken fajitas (strips of chicken breast, bell pepper, onion, seasoned with salt/pepper/garlic powder, sautéed in olive oil, and served over a tortilla with cheese), beef stroganoff (we usually use ground beef rather than stew meat and we always add mushrooms), roast, a smoked salmon that we regularly get at Whole Foods, these Cuban sliders
  2. We made lentil soup for the second time and really enjoyed it again.  It’ll become part of the regular rotation in the winter.  It’s not an Ava friendly meal though.  Soup is hard to eat for a little lady mastering utensils, and she did try it…but didn’t love the flavor.  We made her a ham sandwich and she was content.  :)
  3. I feel like we tried more than two new recipes this month, but I’m only remembering these – braised coconut spinach chickpeas with lemon and the Pioneer Woman’s Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce.
  4. Perhaps the meal highlight of the month was our joint birthday celebration dinner date out at Ruth’s Chris.  Oh it was so delicious.
  5. Effective January 5 (we had to wait until after my birthday :)), Kevin and I are back on our righteous eating plan and allowing ourselves three cheats a week.  Cheats include fast food, fried food, sweets, pizza, and pasta.  We followed this plan for the majority of last year and feel like it is a good way to stay on track with conscious food decisions while also not depriving ourselves altogether.  Kevin also has started seeing a personal trainer once or twice a week.  He’s hoping to expand his repertoire of workouts that he can do on his own.  I’ve signed up for a month of unlimited hot yoga at a place very near our house and I’m excited about getting into that.

How was your January?  Tell me something good!

Stitch Fix bliss part VII & part VIII.

Two Stitch Fix boxes to report on here!  I’m still on a quarterly Fix rotation, and that’s working pretty well.  To be perfectly honest – I’ve been a little disappointed with the past two boxes, but that’s kind of silly because I found a couple of things I liked in each box.  I guess I was just on a roll, keeping everything they sent for the first few boxes, so it seems like they only scored a 40% when I keep 2 items instead of 5.  But my wallet is better off, so… :)  I’ve been making a conscious effort to not buy a ton of clothes.  I have so many clothes and I don’t wear a lot of them as much as I should.  It is yet again the time of year when I think to myself, “I should do a capsule wardrobe.”

But enough about my wishy-washy capsule wardrobe ways….  On to the Fix reports.

October 2016 Fix:

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I didn’t keep these shoes.  I think they were Lucky brand?  I’m sorry – I did not do a good job of recording the brand on the things I sent back.  Anyway…the shoes.  They were a little tight.  I liked them fine and would definitely wear something like this.  But they didn’t fit perfectly so I said sole long.  ;-)

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#iwokeuplikethis

No, seriously.  I rolled out of bed and had Kevin take this picture early one morning because I needed to send the items back that day.  Diva, always and forever.  Anywho….  Two items here – the burgundy puffer vest (sorry – forgot to note the brand) and Liverpool leggings.  I sent both back. The leggings weren’t worth it for the price and I just wasn’t too into the vest.  I have a similar black one.

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And here we have a blue shirt by 41 Hawthorn.  I really love this shirt (kept it) and get so many compliments when I wear it.  It looks pretty dressy but is comfortable and nursing friendly (buttons on top 3/4).  Win!

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Lastly from the October box, this striped tunic by Market & Spruce.  I really like this one too!  It’s comfy and has fun elbow patches.  Great weight for spring, fall, and winter, with the right layering.  Pants are Zara (not from Stitch Fix) and the Duchess of Cambridge owns an identical pair.  Twinning with Kate – nbd.

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January 2017 Fix:

One of the items in my January Fix was the same pair of pants (the Liverpool leggings) that they’d sent in the October Fix.  I sent them back again and didn’t bother to take another picture.

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This jacket – sorry, I’m horrible and didn’t record the brand – I sent back BUT I will say I liked it more than I thought I would.  When I first pulled it out of the box, I was not impressed because my style profile specifically says to avoid fake fur.  I tried it on and it was cozy and comfy and a good weight.  I also really liked the color.  But I’m just not a fake fur (or real fur for that matter) kind of person and I have plenty of jackets.  I didn’t need one more.

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Allow me to awkwardly turn my butt toward you and model this split back sweater.  It was cute, I liked the grey color, and it was a good weight, but it was too pricey for my taste.  I sent it back.

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img_0320I really liked this shirt a lot and Kevin said he thought it looked like my style, but ultimately, I decided to send it back.  I had just gotten a very similar baseball style shirt through LaLuRoe (or is it LuLaRoe?  I always forget.) – the Randy, and thought this one was a little too similar.  As I look at this picture, I may have a tiny bit of returner’s remorse, but I’ll push through and be stronger for it.  ;-)

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I kept this button up – brand is Skies Are Blue.  It’s nursing friendly, I like plaid, and it’s a really sturdy material.  I like the colors too (shades of red/maroon and blue and grey). I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this one.

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As a little Stitch Fix bonus…  Last fall my friend Torri asked if I’d be interested in this purple shirt:

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She’d received it in her Fix and didn’t love it, but thought of me because we are similar in size.  The brand is Skies Are Blue. I love the color and that it is nursing friendly so I said I’d take it.  I’m really happy she thought of me because I love it and have gotten a lot of wear out of it already.  It makes Ava downright giddy too, obviously.

What styles have you been loving?  Any items here that fit your style?

An amazing concert.

My mom is a huge Keith Urban fan.  Well, I mean, she’s actually quite petite, but she really loves Keith Urban.  ;-)  When she found out he was coming to the city I live in, she asked my sister and I to go with her to the concert and of course, we said yes.

My aunt knows people – actually, she IS people.  She asked around and, eager to impress her, someone hooked her up with the. best. tickets. with which she in turn hooked us up.  They were in a box, super close to the stage, and they came with VIP parking which basically meant we got to park a 30 second walk from the venue.  Yeah.  It was amazing.

Lisa, Mom, and I drove to the concert, flashed our VIP parking pass a few times and poof – we were there.

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Like, right there.  That parking!  I feel like you can’t truly appreciate how glorious this is unless you’ve trekked for 10 minutes across the boiling hot asphalt that leads from the back of the general parking lot to the amphitheater.  I have, so my heart runneth over with glory.

And yes, that is a red carpet which we walked across to get into the VIP club.

We found our seats and this was the view of the stage – no zoom on this photo.

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Maren Morris opened the show.  I had never heard of her, but she has a really good voice. This was my favorite of the songs she sang – it’s called My Church.  Then Brett Eldredge (whom I had heard of) played and he was really great.  He seems fun too!  My favorite of his songs is Beat of the Music.

Then it was the main event!  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always liked Keith Urban.  But now I really, really like him!  He puts on such an amazing show.  So much energy and my goodness, can that guy play a guitar.  (And I think many other instruments as well.)  He seems like a genuinely good person too.  And that Australian accent….he could sit on stage and read the phone book and I think he’d pack concert venues.

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At one point, around halfway into the show, he said it was time to go see the people on the grass.  The amphitheater has this huge lawn section in the far back.  It was full of people and the place went wild when he said he was headed back there.  He and his band hopped off stage and walked along the route – right behind where we were sitting – to get to the little stage that was set up on the lawn.  He played several songs up there – gave away a signed guitar – and then started to walk back toward the big stage.  The guy who was hosting us in the box pulled my mom up to the entrance of the box and Keith walked right by her and gave her a high five.  As you can imagine, she was ecstatic!

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It was truly a great night.  A wonderful concert – one of my top three for sure (maybe the best ever concert experience as a whole.  But will anything ever top the Backstreet Boys?) – where we were fortunate enough to have a top notch view and even the opportunity to be very near Keith at one point!  I found a new favorite song!  Keith’s The Fighter – so catchy.  I’ve had it playing nonstop since the concert.  And, most importantly, I got to hang out with my sister and mom, whom I adore.

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So much fun.

Tell me about your favorite concert experience.  What concert would you want front row tickets to see?

Stitch Fix bliss part VI.

Happy Stitch Fix Day to me.  They hit it out of the park with this one.  I love all the items and know I’ll get so much use out of them.  Here are the deets….

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Top:  41Hawthorn – Dawney Scallop Trim Blouse
Love it.  It’s a fun floral pattern and I don’t own much floral, so this was a winner for me.  Definitely different than anything else in my closet.  My favorite part is the style of the sleeves.

Jeans: Lila Ryan – Dorianna Skinny Jean
The colored denim is a nice addition to my jean collection without being too in-your-face colorful.  A neutral color that I’ll be able to pair with a lot of tops (they worked with the other two tops I got in this Fix, as well).  Will work well with boots in the winter too.

Shoes: DV8 – Dillan Strappy Sandal
The sandals were the one thing in the box that I would consider sending back.  Ultimately I kept them to get the 25% off discount because it was more economical.  And I know I will wear the shoes a lot.

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Top:  Papermoon – Alyschia Button Back Knit Top
In general I don’t love the button-up-the-back style, but I did love the fit and how soft and comfy this shirt is.  I’ll wear it a lot and probably forget that there are buttons on the back.

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Top:  Papermoon – Benette Multi Strap Blouse
This may be my favorite item in the Fix.  So summery and light!  The straps are fun too.

And that concludes this episode of “Amy Loves to Receive Mail Order Clothes.”  Tune in next quarter when she will probably keep everything.  Again.

{Want to order a Stitch Fix box and help me support my clothes-by-mail addiction?  Here’s a referral code from moi.}

  What clothes have you been living in this summer?

My opinion: Stitch Fix vs. Trunk Club.

As you know from Stitch Fix posts one through five (one, two, three, four, five), I’m a fan.  Kevin has done Trunk Club for nearly a year and they recently started a department that does Trunk Club for women.  I wanted to try it and he got a $50 referral credit (cha-ching – of course, I’ve spent over $50, so let me assure you, we are not in the black on this deal), so I gave it a whirl.  Here are a few distinguishing characteristics between the two services.

Stitch Fix vs Trunk ClubOverall, I think I prefer Trunk Club!  I like that there is no fee to get a Trunk – then if I don’t want to keep anything, I’m not out any dough.  That being said, the items are usually more expensive as a whole, so my dollar probably gets me more items on Stitch Fix.  Stitch Fix also has this awesome (and dangerous) ploy to entice you to keep everything by giving you a 25% discount if you don’t send anything back.  I’ve fallen right into that sweet trap a time or two.  Or three.

Back to Trunk Club benefits, I also like that I work with the same stylist each time (breaking news: I got a Stitch Fix box last week and after reviewing it, I had the option to keep my most recent stylist so that’s apparently an option with Stitch Fix now.) She receives all my feedback (both Stitch Fix and Trunk Club have good systems in place to get feedback on the items, so, theoretically, they improve their understanding of what works and what doesn’t for YOU) and seems to be zeroing in on what I really like.  She also still sends me stuff that is outside my comfort zone because there’s no harm in trying it on for fun in the comfort of my own home!

Really, it’s fun to use both services a few times a year, and I’ll probably continue to do so.

If you are interested in trying either Stitch Fix or Trunk Club and want to use my referral codes (no pressure – you don’t NEED a referral code for either), here they are – Stitch Fix and Trunk Club.  {In the interest of full disclosure, I get a little $$ to put toward my next hit of mail order clothes.}

And now I will bore you with pho-toooos of my Trunk Club purchases (total of 7 items from 3 trunks received).

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Sweater brand is Caslon. This sweater is so soft and feels like pure luxury to the skin.
Jeans are Treasure & Bond. I love these jeans. They fit great and I’d buy Treasure & Bond jeans again most definitely.

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Shirt brand is Pleione. I love the pattern and the colors. The fit is so nice too. I got this shirt shortly after having Ava so it was perfect for gracefully hiding the post partum belly bulge.
Jeans are same as first picture – Treasure & Bond.

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Shirt brand is Caslon. It’s a long drapey shirt – my favorite way to wear it is tied up as pictured.  Would be cute untied with leggings as well. I think I did that a few times through the winter.
Black denim jeans are Hudson. These are by far the most expensive jeans I’ve ever purchased but they are worth every penny. The fit is great, they can easily be dressed up or dressed down, and they may be my most favorite item in my closet now.

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Tank is Halogen. I love the colors and the pattern. It looks great as a tank blouse alone, under a denim jacket or cardigan, and tucked in or left out.
Black denim jeans picture (same as above) are Hudson.

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Dress brand is Felicity & Coco. I really love this maxi dress. Nursing friendly, fun color and patten, and perfect for so many occasions. I do need to get the hem brought up if I want the option to wear flats with it because it is long – I’m on my tippy-toes in this pic. :)

Have you tried Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, or any similar services?  Which sounds more appealing to you?

Current obsessions.

I’ve been distracted from blogging recently.  Lots going on at work, etc.  But I need to sneak in a Mother’s Day recap – one week tardy – and there are a few things that I’ve been obsessing over.  Including but not limited to….

We’ve been loving big, hearty salads as dinner entrees recently and I bet that will continue to be the case as the weather gets warmer and warmer.  They’re refreshing and light, but as long as meat is included, my appetite remains sated til breakfast.

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I’m obsessed with my new car!  We went with a 2016 Honda CRV and it’s fantastic.  Her name is Pearl and she’s just that – a gem.  I also love that Lisa has been enjoying Blue.  Blue is in a good home and that makes me happy. Weirdly obsessed with my cars? …Fact.

This documentary about four guys who take 12 mustangs from Mexico to Canada.  Recommended to me by my childhood friend, Tana, it’s called Unbranded and we watched it on Netflix.  The scenery they cover is gorgeous and makes me want to visit all the national parks between here and Canada.  And I fell in love with all the horses.

Watching “Unbranded” opened our eyes to all the documentary options on Netflix.  We’ll be diving into those more often.  We recently watched “Three Stars” which is about Michilen restaurants.  Interesting, but it basically just confirmed that we’ll choose Dion’s (a local pizza/sandwich/salad place) over those fancy restaurants any day of the week.

I’ve also been into a few shows on Netflix.  I watched the two seasons of “Lipstick Jungle”, which was easy and fun.  “New Girl” has been a new favorite.  My sister recommended “The Ranch” and “Blue Bloods” and “Baby Daddy”.  Kevin may be into the former two so we may try those together, but I’ll probably tackle the latter on my own when I’m done with “New Girl”.

I’ve been dabbing Supergood CC Cream on the ol’ face these days and am really liking the coverage, lightness of it, and that it’s is paraben, oxybenzone, and fragrance free.

My first Mother’s Day with little Ava on the outside was really special.  We went to breakfast at Weck’s to start the day.

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Ava and Kevin (probably definitely mostly Kevin) conspired to make me the perfect gift on Shutterfly and now it’s on my desk at work and makes me smile every time I see it.

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Kevin paired it with a lovely, heartfelt note in a card and I just feel so lucky to have him and Ava (and Kiki and Rue) in my life.  We made dinner for his parents that night – he grilled some cedar plank salmon (this recipe) and asparagus with prosciutto and it was soooo amazingly delicious. The weather was perfect, the roses were blooming, and the sweet little baby who made me a mother was right there for it all.

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What do you recommend on Netflix – documentaries or shows?  What are you obsessing over recently?

Three strange things I found while cleaning out my car.

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I have a new car and am selling Blue to my sister.  Allow me to wax briefly about Blue.  She’s such a good car.  I’ve had her since 2009 and she’s never given me a bit of trouble.  I feel a bit like the girl on the Liberty Mutual commercial (“You two have been through everything together – two boyfriends, three jobs, you’re like, ‘Nothing can replace Brad.'”), except, thank goodness, Blue is safe and just moving to a different home.  And I do love my new car.  But I can’t really fuss over her (my name for her is Pearl; Kevin’s is the White Dragon…boys), until Blue is out of the driveway.

I mean, I have to consider Blue’s feelings.

Lisa is coming to town tomorrow to take her, so I’m gonna take Blue out for a spa day (car wash) and get her all cleaned up and lookin’ fancy.  While cleaning her out I found some really interesting things.  Here are the top three:

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A presentation board.  No idea where this came from, but it was in the trunk.  All I need is an experiment and I’m ready for the science fair.

 

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Speaking of experiments….  Whole dehydrated apple, anyone?

 

imageAnd last but not least, a little erotica.  If I’d realized this was in the trunk I would have been sure to instruct Kevin that if anything happens to me, he has to promise to destroy the sleazy novel.

Have you ever found anything unexpected when cleaning out a car/closet/etc.?