personal

The Year of Surrender

If you have been around my blog for a little while, you might know that each January I seek a faith-based word to focus on for the year. In the past four years, I’ve gotten trust, give, patience, and then for 2018, I got surrender.

51k1v-ci0sl._sx357_bo1,204,203,200_To kick off the year, I bought this book on Amazon. It has one devotional to read for each day of the year, and I figured surrendering 5-10 minutes a day to read them was a good place to start.

I had tried this a couple years ago, not with a devotional, but with prayer each night before I went to bed. After hearing so often at church how important it was to set aside time with God, I decided I’d get down on my knees every night before bed and pray.

Initially I was very nervous. Praying out loud, to me, has always felt a little bit like public speaking—which I hate. I always get self-conscious that I’m not saying the right thing or that I’m not saying enough. Sometimes when we pray in groups at church I spend so much time worrying about what I’m going to say that I miss everything everyone else says.

After a while though, I got the hang of it. Each night I’d kneel down on a blanket and just talk candidly. Most of the time I legitimately started off just by saying, “hey,” like I would if I were talking to a friend, and then I’d just tell Him what was on my mind. When I would close out prayer—I’m not sure why or when I started saying it—I would always ask that He hold my hand.

Just hold my hand, please. Hold my hand and lead me.

I so desperately wanted—and still want—direction of where I should take my life, and I think I just liked the image of being led that way. It made me feel safe, the way a child might feel when their parent takes their hand to cross the street or when a friend takes your hand to guide you through a crowded room. It lets you know that even amongst the chaos, you have someone with you, guiding you forward, and I sought that kind of direction from God.

So as I started this year of “surrender”, I again approached it with that mindset.

I am here, I thought. Show me the magic of this word. Lead me.

As the year went on, I had my share of encouragements and reminders. When my mind would start to slip, surrender would make its way into my sights.

One particularly stressful afternoon, this song popped up on my Spotify:

And there was never a shortage of blog posts, podcasts, Bible verses, etc. that kept finding ways to remind me to let it go. Let it all go.

But perhaps the biggest encouragement, the biggest reminder that not only was letting go okay, but that it was necessary, refreshing, unburdening, and most of all safe, was found in my daily devotional. For amongst the passages—most of which I marked up, circling and underlining and making notes in the margins—I found one phrase over and over:

“I am holding your hand.”

I didn’t just find it once. I found it 32 times.

My own words. My own request. My own prayer handed right back to me over and over again.

I am holding your hand, it said.

And it was in reading those words over and over that I realized what it would truly mean to surrender.

I pictured myself walking up to the front door of my house with my arms riddled in grocery bags (because #onetrip). With the keys in my purse and the doorknob unable to unlock and open itself, I would most definitely have to set a bag or two down. I would have to empty my hand to get what I needed.

All these years, though I asked, pleaded for God to take my hand and lead me, and grew frustrated when I didn’t feel that presence, that hand, it wasn’t because he wasn’t by my side reaching out, it was because my hands were full. Full of everything else I was worried about or focused on. Even though I wanted to take his hand, I wasn’t willing to first let go of the things I was holding onto.

And so, 2018 saw me finally start to loosen my grip. No longer am I trying to win any awards for carrying the most weight all at once. No longer am I trying to balance one grocery bag on my knee and the other on my elbow as I try to reach in my purse to grab the keys. I’m setting the bags down, one by one, and I’m freeing that hand, because I know that His hand is right there, waiting for me to take it.

Dear Baby,

I know we just met, but I thought I’d go ahead and tell you that I love you.

It’s funny, love isn’t always an easy thing. Sometimes it’s messy and hard and confusing, but when it comes to you it’s as simple as can be. I thought it would only be this easy when I became a mother. I thought it would take me all those years and then nine more months to finally have that moment when I can love something, someone so instantly, and yet there I was yesterday, holding someone else’s baby, holding you, and I felt it.

I can probably blame your mom for that. I’ve known her a long time. We all have. And by the time you can read this, I hope you’ll know good and well who we are.

We’re a group that’s been through a lot together. Some good times, some bad, but mostly good. We love each other, and now we love you.

I tell you this to let you know now, and to remind you every day here after, that you’re not alone. You have so many people behind you, rooting for you, and admiring you.

We’re a unique tribe. We laugh hard, mostly at our own jokes, and then at the jokes we make off of each other’s jokes and so on and so on. We come in all shapes and sizes, with our own trail of fails and successes behind us. We all try our hardest and we have all been the one needing a shoulder to lean on. But that’s what makes us great. We care. We listen. We love. And just by being here, baby, you’re one of us.

We’re here for you. We are here for you and your mom and your aunt, and everyone else that makes up this big circle of ours that we call a family.

So dive in, baby. Dive into this thing we call life.

We’re so happy to have you in our world, and we can’t wait to see you build yours.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, about the jokes…

At least give us a courtesy laugh.

It would mean a lot.

 

2018 Goals Final Wrap Up

Last week I released my list of goals for 2019, but before I can truly dive into those new ones, let’s see how I did on my goals for 2018.

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1) Do a handstand

COMPLETED

While I can’t say I can walk to work in full handstand while carrying my purse with my feet, I have come SO FAR from the beginning of the year.

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2) Take a kickboxing class

COMPLETED

Guys. Seriously, take a kickboxing class. I mean, I figured I’d like it. Love it, even. But I didn’t realize it would be therapeutic. I genuinely worked through some things while I was punching and kicking that damn bag. So it’s safe to say that I will definitely make my way back to some classes in 2019.

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3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

WILL CONTINUE IN 2019

I only ended up making it to museums this year, which is a bummer, but not that surprising when I look back at how busy my 2018 was. Instead of just letting it go however, I decided to make finishing this goal one of my goals for 2019. Hopefully this year I’ll find some more spare weekends to get out and see some ‘seums.

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4) Get CPR certified

COMPLETED

That’s right, folks! According to the certificate that was emailed to me by the Red Cross, I am officially CPR and First Aid certified! I can officially save your life (if you’re having a minor crisis that was covered by the training)!!

If you’re interested in getting certified, you can find more information here. 

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5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

(ESSENTIALLY) COMPLETED

I fell off a little at the end, but I shot 13 total rolls of film this year so I’m calling it good. I absolutely love that I set this goal and the pictures turned out SO COOL. Here are a few of my favorites:

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

NOT QUITE

Yeahhhhhh. I just didn’t get around to this one, to be honest. I thought it would tie in really well with my film goal, but I just didn’t put in the effort to take pictures that corresponded to the prompts in the book. As of now, I could probably fill half of it, and while I will continue to fill it, I just couldn’t do it in one year.

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7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

FULLY PLANNED 

I have worked out all the details needed to take this trip, and my roommates and I have thrown out potential dates. So while we didn’t take this trip in 2018, I think we will definitely make time for it in 2019.

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8) Go to the dentist

COMPLETED

Yes, I went to the dentist. No, it was not fun.

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9) Watch 20 documentaries

COMPLETED

This was another goal that I loved more than I thought I would. There are SO MANY documentaries out there that cover SO MANY different topics. And since I’m already someone that loves dropping fun facts, watching these documentaries this year gave me more material than I knew what to do with!

If you’re interested, these are the ones that I watched. I put my favorites in bold!

  1. Happy (Netflix)
  2. The Mortified Guide (Netflix)
  3. The Mortified Sessions (Netflix)
  4. Minimalism (Netflix)
  5. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Amazon)
  6. Three Identical Strangers (Amazon)
  7. Amanda Knox (Netflix)
  8. Icarus (Netflix)
  9. Evil Genius (Netflix)
  10. The White Helmets (Netflix)
  11. Tiny Shoulders (Hulu)
  12. Conor McGregor: Notorious (Netflix)
  13. The Mind of Jake Paul (YouTube)
  14. Zion (Netflix)
  15. Seeing Allred (Netflix)
  16. Ballet Now (Hulu)
  17. Becoming Bond (Hulu)
  18. The Barkley Marathons (Amazon)
  19. Blue Planet 2 (Netflix)
  20. Batman & Bill (Hulu)

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10) Perfect an omelet

DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO ANYMORE?

Yeah, I don’t really know what to say about this one. I mean, I had every intention of learning to make an omelette and I constantly mentioned buying a new pan that would help me do so, but then I just kind of…didn’t want an omelet? I don’t know. I guess I was really craving them in 2017, craving them enough to make perfecting them a goal for 2018, but here in 2019, I just want hard boiled eggs in my lunch box and fried eggs on my burgers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

ONLY MISSED DECEMBER

Similar to the film goal, I did fall short at the end on this one, but I think I more than made up for it the rest of the year.

Here are all the movies I saw in theaters this year. And again, my favorites are in bold! 🙂

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. A Quiet Place
  8. Book Club
  9. Incredibles 2
  10. Won’t You Be My Neighbor
  11. Three Identical Strangers
  12. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
  13. Eighth Grade
  14. Skate Kitchen
  15. Crazy Rich Asians
  16. A Star is Born
  17. Bohemian Rhapsody

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12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

COMPLETED

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it one thousand times: AUDIOBOOKS. They are the only reason I made it through this goal, and since finishing Time’s list is on my 30 Before 30 list, I’m sure they’ll be the driving force behind completing that as well. #teamaudiobooks

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  2. Dear God, it’s Me Margaret
  3. On the Road
  4. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  5. Lord of the Flies
  6. To the Lighthouse
  7. The Day of the Locust
  8. The Great Gatsby
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird
  10. Never Let Me Go
  11. Revolutionary Road
  12. The Painted Bird
  13. Red Harvest
  14. The Big Sleep
  15. Mrs. Dalloway
  16. The Moviegoer
  17. Housekeeping
  18. A Clockwork Orange
  19. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
  20. 1984

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13) Pay off credit card

MAKING PROGRESS

About halfway through the year I had to pull the plug on this one because I just didn’t have the resources to continue, but I’ve since got back on track and am making progress slowly but surely!

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14) See 3 WRLA’s

COMPLETED

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada in March, I was able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

COMPLETED

After what seemed like a promising start, I once again found myself scrambling a little bit at the end. I did get my five slots in, but it wasn’t without a little sweat and frantic planning. The main charities I volunteered for this year were Food Forward and Children’s Hunger Fund. Check them out!

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16) Donate Blood

COMPLETED

Yes, I did it! Was it my favorite thing ever? No. But will I do it again because it’s an easy way to help out? Definitely!

Find out more about donating blood here. 

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17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

COMPLETED!

This was probably the most stressful goal for me because I was constantly having to remember to film a second for each day, but I genuinely love how it turned out. Shout out to everyone in the video! You are all reasons why this video/year turned out great because you were part of some of my favorite moments of 2018 🙂

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Overall, I’d say this was a very successful year! It was a little crazy, a little blurry, and a little bit overwhelming, but I’m very thankful for all that it had to offer.

Now we’re off into the mysterious world of 2019!

I hope it treats you well and that you feel inspired to go for it! Whatever it may be for you. ❤

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You can read more about the goals I set for 2019 here.

And if you’re looking for inspiration on goals you should set this year, check out this post!

 

17 Goals for 2019 (List-cember #8)

For the past two years I’ve made concrete lists of 17 goals that I hope to accomplish in the following year. The first year was cute, it was 17 Goals in 2017, but then I stuck to 17 (because it’s my favorite number) in 2018 and I’m going to continue sticking to it…

I’m sorry.

I’m know it’s not as catchy.

I also know I apologized for this last year, so I apologize for apologizing…again.

ANYWAYS.

Here were are, a mere six days away from the new year and I’m putting another 17 goals out into the universe. I’m sure they’ll frustrate me and stress me out and make me wonder what in the hell I was ever thinking, but then at the same time they’ll inspire me and excite me and encourage me to continue to make crazy lists of goals because I really can achieve anything I put my mind to.

Let’s see what we have in store for 2019.

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1) Journal daily

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This past year, in the month leading up to my birthday I gave myself a list of challenges in an attempt to give 28 a solid start. One of my favorite parts was the daily writing challenge. I liked having to write about something each day, even if it was just describing my favorite season or listing things that make me laugh. It got me writing, which always seems to sort my brain out, no matter how jumbled it might be at the end of a long day. So, in 2019, I’m going to journal every day. I’m going to buy myself a new moleskin notebook and write 2019 on the front and I’m going to write at least a few words it in every day. Not only will it keep me writing, but it will also be a way to preserve everything that happens in the next year, which I have a funny feeling is going to be a good one.

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2) Take a cooking class

This one is on my 30 Before 30 list and after what I would consider a successful year of trying new recipes (lots of which I’ve shared in my Strain then Stir series) I’m feeling inspired to go out and take a class. I don’t really have a preference for the genre of food or the type of class, I just want to learn something new and expand my cooking skills.

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3) Cook my way through a cookbook

Piggy-backing off of that last one, I think it would be a fun challenge to actually cook my way through one of the (too many) cookbooks I own. I’m such a flip and pick kind of cookbook reader and I think I miss some recipes that I’d really like if I gave them a chance.

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4) Try the best drink from every state

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A while back I watched this YouTube video that showcased the best drinks from each of the 50 states. While I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t tried a lot of them, I was surprised that I’d never even heard of most of them. When my friends and I go out, I am a big sipper. I like to try what everyone’s drinking before I eventually order my favorite drink: a Dirty Shirley. I think this challenge will both feed my curiosity and force me to branch out a little. Who knows, I might even find my new favorite drink in there somewhere.

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5) Watch a sunset and a sunrise at the beach

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This one is almost embarrassing to include on the list because as someone who lives 30 minutes from the beach (when there’s minimal traffic) in a city that has incredible weather year round, there’s really no excuse for me not to go more often than I do. If I’m being 100% honest, I think I might have gone three times this year? And that’s a hard might. So, in 2019 I’m going to do better. I’m going to see (at least!) one sunset and one sunrise at the beach, both of which will involve me taking lots of pictures and pretending that I’m not cold. Can’t wait!

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

This one has become a staple and I love it! I still haven’t found a way not to procrastinate until the last minute to finish it…but it love it!

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7) See 3 WRLA’s

This one is another staple, but this year might be a little more challenging than others. Since I’ve seen most of the ones close to me, I’ll have to do some driving/flying to see those farther away. Luckily, I’ve managed to hook a few people with the wonderful weirdness of WRLA’s and I think they might be up for accompanying me 🙂

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8) Pay off 1 of my 2 remaining student loans

I am currently on track to pay off one of my last two student loans in June of 2019 and MAN, AM I EXCITED. Unless something drastic happens, this should be an easy goal to complete, but I’m putting it on the list because it will feel so. damn. good. to cross it off.

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9) Amazon Wish List splurge

Another piggy back goal. I’ve said for a while now that when I pay off all of my loans I am going to go through my Amazon Wish List and just go ape sh*t on it to celebrate. But while I’m on track to pay off one loan next year, my final one will probably take another year and a half to pay off. So, I’m going to do a mini splurge. Say 5-10 things that have been on my list and in and out of my cart forever. I think it will be just the push I need to get through my final year of loan payments.

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10) Stomp grapes and make wine

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This is another goal on my 30 Before 30 list, and I’m very anxious (and kind of grossed out?) to try it. My cousin and I were recently talking about planning a trip to Northern California to visit wine country and I think this would be something fun to do in between all the wine drinking. I mean, we gotta get some exercise in, might as well make it useful.

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11) Make my family tree

I’ve wanted to do this FOREVER. I come from a great, big, wonderful and loud family and I’d love to learn about all the great, wonderful and loud ancestors before me. I’m then hoping to turn the information I find into a book of some sort. Stay tuned!

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12) Hike the Narrows

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I found this Zion National Park hike a few years back and immediately put it on my family’s to-do list. Since then, I’ve seen a bunch of my friends do it, all of them coming back with rave reviews, so this year, I’m thinking it’s our turn.

Family! Let’s do it!

 

(If you’re interested, you can find information about this hike here.)

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13) Do (at least one) unassisted pull-up

I go to the gym a few times a week and one of my go-to exercises is the assisted pull-up. Essentially I use a machine that puts some of my body weight against me but not all of it, as I bend and straighten my arms in a pull-up motion. Slowly but surely over the last year I’ve made progress, but I’ve still got a little ways to go until I could do one completely unassisted. All I’m looking for is one at this point, then I can go from there.

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14) Get 100 rejections

In the middle of 2018, I read an article that encouraged writers to garner as many rejections as they can, explaining that if they are constantly putting their work out there to get rejected, they are also bound to find their work accepted at least a few times as well. This past year, aside from my blog, I put my writing on the back burner a little bit because I was so busy, so I’m hoping this goal will help fuel my fire to fail and thus (hopefully) succeed in 2019.

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15) Learn a song on my ukulele

A while back I got a ukulele as a birthday gift. I was so excited and immediately looked up videos on YouTube to teach myself how to play. I think I may have learned “Happy Birthday” but I was not very good and have since forgotten every single note. So this year I think I might take an online class or two and see if I can’t learn a song. Sure, it might be “Happy Birthday” again, but it’s the effort that counts, right?

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16) Finish my museum goal

One of my goals in 2018 was to go to 20 museums in Los Angeles. While I started off strong, the year quickly turned into one giant, busy, blurry tornado. Almost every single weekend was booked solid and it seemed like each time I would blink, a few weeks had passed by. On the rare occasion I did have an open weekend, I just wanted to stay home, so my museum goal kind of got pushed aside, which I was bummed about because I genuinely loved every museum I went to and was always researching which one to go to next. So, in 2019 I’m going to continue on the eight that I went to in 2018 and hopefully hit the 20 mark.

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17) Run a Marathon

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YIKES. It looks so scary typing it out like that. But yep, I am officially going to try and run the LA Marathon in March of next year. I’ve been training for about three months now and am so far on track to not totally and completely die come marathon day, so things are looking up. Please pray for my legs entire body as I continue to pursue this goal, and if you happen to think of me on March 24, send good vibes!

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Alright, there they are!

17 new goals.

Do I regret them yet? No.

Am I slightly terrified? Yes. But that’s kind of just my natural state of being.

Do you have any specific goals for the upcoming year? If you want to but don’t know where to start, check out this post and this post that will give you some ideas.

We’re all in this together!

Happy New Year, everyone! 🙂

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Check out my 2018 goals here.

Check out my 2017 goals here. 

10 Christmas Gifts My Siblings and I Loved/Hated (As Told by Photos) (List-cember #7)

On Christmas Eve, the day before those who celebrate Christmas sit around and eat and laugh and open presents and then crumple wrapping paper into balls and shoot them into trash bags being held by family members across the room, I sit looking at the gifts under my tree. I’m excited to give them to everyone and excited to see their face when they open it, I might even take a picture or two.

My family is full of picture takers, especially on Christmas, so I’ve made it a tradition during List-cember to share some of my favorite photos taken while we were opening presents. I like guess what was going through our heads in that moment.

And I think I’m probably right.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Remember Troy, no matter what’s wrapped in that paper, I’m one of the best gifts you’ll ever get.

 

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What my sister, Natalee, is (probably) thinking here: Every badass, superhero, fashion icon, and historical figure needs a soundtrack. And since I’m clearly all four, it’s high time I’ve finally found mine.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Okay, okay, okay, guys, PICTURE THIS: Pantsless Pez-days. Who’s in?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Yeah, the gift is great. It’s a Barbie and I’m super excited but uhh…does anyone else see the look she’s giving me? Does anyone else think she might be planning a homicide?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: I always hoped my future daughter would look like me and I mean, would you look at this?! It’s practically uncanny!

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: I GOT MONOPOLY! AND NOW I’M TOTALLY SLAUGHTERING DAD! HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT’S COMING NEXT TURN! THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER.

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What my brother, Troy, is (probably) thinking here: Block!

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: First step Fashion Factory, second step runway model. Is this smile pretty?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Do these bracelets make the fur of my Santa hat look a little more subtle?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: Yes, that’s right Santa. Check that list twice. 

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

You can check out the previous editions of this series here and here. 

My 2018 Rec Roundup (List-cember #6)

One of my favorite end of the year posts to come across is roundups of recommendations.

Rec Roundups, if you will.

I just like to know what everyone loved throughout the year.

It’s the same reason I do my favorites posts every two months, just with the added excitement and pressure of it being the last month of the year, making them essentially the Academy Awards of favorites. And since I’m a huge fan of awards season, I’ll take any relation to it I can get.

SO, consider these my nominees for my favorite things I saw, read, listened to, wore on my face, etc, throughout 2018. I didn’t pick any winners because, well, I didn’t want to/didn’t have time to make formal envelopes, but I did give my top 10 favorites in every category, with a few bonuses thrown in at the end.

I just wanted to give you my Rec Roundup, in case you’re looking for recs to round up, you know?

Here we go.

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Books

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Nonfiction/Biography)
  • In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham (Nonfiction)
  • You’re Not That Great by Elon Gale (Humor/Self-help)
  • Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (Fiction/Medical)
  • Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach (Young Adult/Science Fiction)
  • Wildflower by Drew Barrymore (Memoir/Nonfiction)
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (Young Adult/Mystery)
  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Nonfiction/Self Help)
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (Memoir/Nonfiction)
  • The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhymes (Memoir/Nonfiction)

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Podcasts

  • Heavyweight
  • VIEWS with David Dobrik
  • Modern Love
  • The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
  • The Mortified Podcast
  • School of Greatness
  • Ear Hustle
  • Dirty John
  • The Rise Podcast
  • Sandra

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Movies/Documentaries

  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Amazon)
  • Three Identical Strangers (Amazon)
  • Becoming Bond (Hulu)
  • Red Sparrow
  • A Quiet Place
  • Eighth Grade
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix)
  • To All the Boys I Loved Before (Netflix)
  • A Star is Born

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TV Shows

  • The Office (Netflix)
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
  • American Vandal (Netflix)
  • Atypical (Netflix)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
  • The Sinner (Netflix)
  • Queer Eye (Netflix)
  • Love (Netflix)
  • The End of the F***ing World (Netflix)
  • A Million Little Things (Hulu or ABC)

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Music

  • Sweetner by Ariana Grande
  • Dan + Shay by Dan + Shay
  • Own it by Francesca Battistelli
  • Swimming by Mac Miller
  • Don’t Smile at Me by Billie Eilish
  • Reputation by Taylor Swift
  • Bloom by Troye Sivan
  • Golden Hour by Kasey Musgraves
  • Electric Light by James Bay
  • Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes

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Misc

These are the only ones that I figured needed a little commentary just so you know what the heck I’m talking about.

glassesComputer glasses: I talked about these in my most recent favorites post. They block the blue light from your computer, so if you are someone like me who spends most of their work day looking at a screen, they help A LOT with headaches and make my eyes feel less like they’re being sucked out of my head.

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Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder: I tend to have oily skin and so far this is one of the only powders that has truly helped me combat it! Plus, it’s cheap! (find it here)

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Wear Me Pro Sunglasses: These were an impulse buy on Amazon that I figured couldn’t hurt because it was only putting me out about $10. But I ended up truly LOVING these glasses and wore them almost every single day. (find them here)

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Uline Blanket: I got this as a free gift from a purchase we made at work and OH. MY. GOSH. It is the greatest blanket I have ever owned and am willing to fight to the (near) death with anyone who tries to take it from me. (find it here)

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Google Wifi: My parents bought this for their house and loved it so much that they gifted a set to my roommates and I. Now, I’m not the techie that can explain exactly how they work, but let’s just say if you are having trouble getting your Wifi to reach certain rooms of the house, these bad boys extend that reach. They have worked great for us! (find it here)

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Check out more List-cember posts here

Raise Your Hand if You…

It’s Monday.

I’m just looking for some solidarity here.

Please raise your hand if you…

  1. Color in the bubble part of letters when you’re bored or antsy
  2. Set more than one alarm for work in the morning
  3. Just don’t get the “dilly dilly” commercials
  4. Guess how many previews are going to play before a movie
  5. Can’t keep a houseplant alive
  6. Audibly gasp when you find groceries unexpectedly on sale
  7. Try every flavor of Oreo
  8. Always return the shopping cart
  9. Treat/talk to your car like it’s a person
  10. Wait until after Thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music
  11. Feel calmer when things are clean
  12. Prefer chocolate milk over coffee
  13. Can’t resist a movie on sale for less than $5
  14. Have waited so long to do laundry that you had to wear a bathing suit under your clothes
  15. Have playlists that coincide with your current mood
  16. Sing in your car like you’re in a musical
  17. Hate salad
  18. Talk about athletes on your favorite sports teams like they’re your actual friends
  19. Are constantly Googling things just because you’re curious
  20. Always read the directions of a board game in full
  21. Also have a tendency to make up your own rules that might make the game more fun
  22. Add random vegetables to your pasta to try and make it healthy
  23. Sniff your hands after you wash them to see if the soap smells good
  24. Will take any opportunity to craft
  25. Suck at painting your nails
  26. Avoid going to Target because you have no self control
  27. Have a compulsive need to touch everything that looks soft
  28. Have had an argument with Siri
  29. Are worried Siri is constantly listening to you
  30. Would like Siri to know you love and appreciate her and to please not turn against you when the robots win
  31. Have your own unique vocabulary to describe things
  32. Take coloring seriously
  33. Take coloring so seriously that some coloring books in your house are off limits to guests
  34. Can turn almost anything into a quesadilla
  35. Still make paper-chains
  36. Hate sneezing in an empty house because you’re scared someone might say bless you
  37. Cut the crusts off your sandwiches
  38. Like seeing movies alone
  39. Lay on top of your laundry when it comes out of the dryer
  40. Think all DVD’s should come with a blooper reel

 

Anyone?

My Google Search History (Part 3)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of why does Kim never close any Internet windows?

In this post a little while back I talked about my tendency to max out the number of search windows that are allowed open on my phone. And now, since this habit shows no signs of slowing down, this has become somewhat of a series that dives into the mind of past Kim.

What has she been Googling lately?

Let’s find out:

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1) French Poodle

I honestly have no idea why, when, or how this came into conversation, or if I was just sitting around wondering what a French Poodle looks like, but in case you’re curious, they look like this:

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2) What icing goes good with spice cake?

I hate spice cake but my mom and cousin love it. This past June, while preparing for my (at the time soon to be) cousin’s Bachelorette party, I made a couple of spice cakes to bring to Vegas with us and had no idea what to put on top. According to Google, my best bet was: cream cheese frosting, maple frosting, or cinnamon buttercream frosting. I went with cream cheese frosting because I could buy it in the store, but you better believe I’ll find an excuse to make cinnamon buttercream one of these days.

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3) Kanye poop song

This pretty much speaks for itself. I was trying to show my family that song where Kanye West starts saying “poop” and words that rhyme with it over and over again. They didn’t believe it was real, even after I pressed play. But I just kept saying, “wait for it” and eventually they heard the cold hard poop truth.

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4) How to cut a mango?

I got a mango in my Imperfect Produce box and while I was excited, I had no idea how to go about eating it. I ended up finding this article, which helped me cut the mango perfectly—too bad I didn’t realize it wasn’t ripe yet.

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5) World’s Largest Peanut

Again, I don’t remember when or why I wanted to know this. But to be honest, this one isn’t that weird for me as I have an actual list of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions that I hope to see one day. Also, it’s in Ashburn, Georgia by the way.

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6) Thorncrown Chapel

My mom, my sister and I were in Arkansas to visit some family and we decided to make the drive to check out this church in the northern part of the state. The roads were a little windy but the drive was worth it. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

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7) Error Code 771 DirecTV

My roommates and I spent a good amount of time watching our cable box skip in and out—namely during Jeopardy, which is pretty much all we have time to watch together—and were frustrated when we couldn’t identify the cause. But, after a few calls to the DirecTV service department where we were told it was probably a (clearly invisible) tree blocking our satellite dish or a tornado in our area (because you know how common tornadoes are in Southern California), we were finally able to get a technician out to our house who discovered the cord connected to our satellite dish had almost completely eroded, which in turn was causing all of our Jeopardy interruptions.

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8) What do the emojis mean on Snapchat?

A while back, Snapchat added a feature that places emojis next to your friends’ names, which describes your snap-lationship with them. Now, I rarely send Snapchats, so whenever I do, my friends list lights up with emojis and I’m always curious as to what they mean. Here’s a legend.

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9) Einstein’s Riddle

My brother came home one day with this puzzle for all of us to solve, which we quickly jumped on board with, each of us timing ourselves to see who could solve it the fastest. So far my dad and my roommate Rachel are the quickest with a time around 30 minutes.

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10) Baked stuffed peppers recipe

Try. This. Recipe.

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11) Loser by Beck Lyrics

My roommates and I spontaneously bought tickets to see Beck at the Hollywood Bowl one Friday night, and as the band started to sing their most famous song, I started wondering, you know, what the hell they’re saying.

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Soy un perdedor = “I’m a loser” in Spanish, so it makes sense…but yeah I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that.

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12) Last 90 Days Challenge

As mentioned in my latest favorites post, I absolutely loved the book Girl, Wash Your Face. After reading it, I looked up everything there was to know about its author, Rachel Hollis, which led me to the Last 90 Days Challenge that she runs every year on her website. The whole idea behind it is that if we put as much gung ho energy into the last 90 days of the year as we do the first 30 days of a year, we could be unstoppable come the New Year. I LOVE this idea, and while I have been a little bit too busy to stick to every part of the challenge, it’s given me a much more positive mindset. I’ve really made an effort to stop looking at these last few months as something to get through and to instead think of them as equal opportunities for inspiration and success 🙂

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13) What are scallions?

My mom and I were in the grocery store looking for scallions for a recipe we were cooking that night. When I googled a picture, the Internet returned what appeared to be a photo of green onions. At the grocery store, we found the food that matched the picture, and it was also labeled as green onions, which led me to wonder, then what the hell is a scallion? Turns out, green onions and scallions are actually the same thing. It’s up to the grocery store selling them to choose how they are labeled. So….yeah, that’s dumb.

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14) Why is the flag at half-mast today?

Have you ever driven past a fire station or police station and seen the flag flying at half-mast and immediately feel like a bad American because you have no idea why? This website is here to help you figure that out.

Also, in Googling this, I learned that “half-mast” is actually only appropriate when referring a flag on a ship. Flags on land are flown at half-staff. 

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15) 2019 Honda HRV

A couple weeks ago I wrote this blog about my attempt to better appreciate the (figurative and literal) rental car I was driving while my car was in the shop. Unfortunately, a few days after posting it, I got a call from the insurance company informing me that my car had officially been totaled. This broke my heart, as I’d been driving that car for 11 years and was not ready to let it go yet. Plus, with the coverage on the rental car coming to an end, I was going to be without any car very soon. So, I quickly started doing some research on what options I had out there, and with the help of my family and my job—because I do a lot of driving for work—I was able to find a new four wheeled friend. She is yet to be named, but she is pretty and I’m very thankful and lucky and GUYS, I HAVE AUTOMATIC WINDOWS NOW.

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Well, that’s all for now. I’m again going to close all the windows and see how long it takes me to max out again. Which to be honest, shouldn’t be too long…


 

Check out Part 2 of this series here. 

Embrace the Change, Even if it’s a Rental

For the past week or so I’ve been driving a rental car. I was in a minor accident at the end of October and so my car—who some of you might know I call Jeffrey—is currently in the shop getting himself a new passenger’s side door and an overall spiff up.

In the meantime, I’m driving a white Kia which, when it’s parked in the garage next to my roommate’s white Acura, has officially been dubbed half of the “white car crew”—because we try to make everything a little exciting.

The Kia, which I’ve named “Ren” (for rental) is vastly different than Jeff, and in the last week of driving him around, I’ve really been able to pinpoint the distinctions.

For starters, Ren is a 2017 Kia Optima while Jeff is a 2007 Saturn Ion, so obviously I’ve taken a huge jump forward in terms of technology. There’s Bluetooth, a backup camera, automatic headlights, shortcut buttons on the steering wheel, and automatic windows. (Swoon)

But even with all of these positives, I spend most of my time picking out things I don’t like about the car. Things I’ve grown comfortable with in my own car, that I miss and would rather not lose, even if it’s only for a few weeks.

The other day, as I was sitting at a stoplight, I was turning my steering wheel back and forth, a habit I’d picked up while driving Jeff because the steering wheel squeaks. Ren’s steering wheel however, does not. It’s silent and smooth and doesn’t have the cracked exterior I pick at when I’m nervous.

This got me thinking.

We’re always looking for the bigger and the better, right? We dream and we look forward, craving the possibilities of the future, rarely looking back at the comforts of the past. I likely wouldn’t have noticed many of the oddities I’ve found that I like about Jeff until I was put in a situation like this where I’m in a completely new car with completely new oddities. The same goes for a new job, a new house, a new relationship, etc.

No matter how much we might be looking for a change in a particular situation, we are always going to have parts of our old situation that we will miss if/when we finally do make that change.

One day I’ll get a new car and all the things I love about Jeff will be gone. I’ll have to break in the driver’s seat and get the mirrors right. I’ll have to find the perfect air temperature and restock the backseat and the trunk with the odds and ends I always like to keep with me.

When that day comes, I will undoubtedly be sad. Sure, I’ll be excited to have a new car, but I’m sure I’ll spend many an afternoon drive thinking about things I liked about my old car. But just as I’ve tried to tell myself now, in the wake of this rental: I can’t dwell on it.

When we make these big changes, either by our choice or by the choices of those around us, we are forced to deal with the ripples. Maybe that new job won’t have your favorite restaurant next door or that tradition you have with your coworkers. Maybe your new relationship won’t have the same dynamic or will take longer to find a new normal. Maybe your new car won’t have a squeaky (yet weirdly comforting) steering wheel.

We are always going to find things to miss about what we had, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, there is a reason you wanted to make this change or why this change found you. And even if the change is only temporary, like this rental car, it would be a waste to spend our days comparing and complaining.

Embrace where you are, what you have and who you’re with right now. Find out what you like and don’t like about what’s right in front of you, not in comparison to what’s behind you.

For me, I can’t wait to get my car back, but I’m thankful I’ve been provided a car to drive in the meantime. And as long as I have it, I solemnly swear to cherish these automatic windows.

September/October 2018 Favorites

So it’s a little sad actually, because I finished this post over a week ago and was set to post it the Monday before what would have been Game 6 of the World Series. I was feeling optimistic and clever and I even wrote a cute intro that talked about how relieved I was to take a break from screaming at the television to tell you about some of my favorite things. But then the Dodgers lost and I was heartbroken and I wrote this blog instead.

Now it’s been a week since baseball ended and I’m still bummed and slightly disoriented and already counting down the days until it’s back. In the meantime here is a list of some of my favorite things from the last couple months:

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Dirty John Podcast

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I’m about a year behind listening to this podcast, but I can finally say that I have listened, I have gasped, I have had heated discussions with my sister in our living room, and I completely understand why everyone made such a big deal about this podcast last year. For those of you who haven’t heard it: LISTEN! It is such a crazy, frustrating and mind blowing true story that you simply have to hear it to believe it. (find it here)

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Computer Glasses

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On the nerdier side of things: these glasses! As someone who spends eight hours—at work, plus a few more each night while writing/blogging at home—a day behind a computer, I was starting to get constant headaches from looking at the screen. So, I did some research and came across these glasses that are supposed to cut out the blue light from the computer screen and prevent those headaches. I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now and I’m happy to report they are helping! I have far fewer headaches and wholeheartedly believe they were worth the (totally inexpensive) investment. (find them here)

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Movies

 

Since the Dodgers were in the playoffs for most of October, most of my evenings were spent on the couch screaming at the television. Thus, I didn’t have a lot of time to put aside to go to the movies. That being said however, these two managed to both steal me away and put a smile (and/or tears) on my face. A Star is Born is one of the biggest showcases of Lady Gaga’s talent you will ever see and I highly recommend it for that exact reason. The story, music and acting by other players—including Bradley Cooper who gives an amazing performance—is as good as everyone says it is, but Lady Gaga is just beyond. On the completely other end of the scale, Crazy Rich Asians delivers one of the most heartwarming romcoms I’ve seen in a long time. I laughed, I cried, I AWW-ed, and I was ecstatic to learn there is an upcoming sequel because it means I get to spend more time in that wonderful world with that wonderful cast.

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A Million Little Things

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This fall TV season made me mad because it presented a bunch of promising shows that I was interested in watching, even though I definitely don’t have time to watch them. I usually like to pick one or two to try out and then eventually drop one (or both), but my DVR is currently taping about six new shows, almost all of which I am behind on. The exception being A Million Little Things. At first I was skeptical about this show because I thought it was trying to be the new This is Us and I didn’t feel like I had the emotional capacity to watch both. But, I have been pleasantly surprised by its unique storyline and characters. It is without a doubt my favorite new show on TV right now.

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Books

 

I have been practically overdosing on books lately, so choosing only a few favorites was incredibly hard, but these are the ones that really got me.

I listened to Wildflower on audiobook and essentially fell in love with Drew Barrymore in the process. Not only did I love her stories, but listening to her tell them and actually hear how much they meant to her made the book all the more enjoyable. (find it here)

After listening to Wildflower, I immediately started looking up memoirs by other people I admire that I could also listen to on audiobook, which led me to Bryan Cranston’s book, Life in Parts. It was a book I always thought sounded like it would be good but never knew if I’d get around to it, but I’m so glad I did. Cranston has lived such an interesting life and worked so many unique jobs and I loved hearing stories about all of them. One story in particular even inspired this blog post I wrote a few weeks ago. Thanks for that one, Bryan! (find it here)

And last but certainly not least: Girl, Wash Your Face. I practically inhaled this book, reading it every chance I could get just so I could absorb more of the inspirational advice it’s dripping with. It felt like one of those books I was meant to read, you know? The kind I might bring up some time down the road, noting it as an important book that I read and reread and then pursued my dreams like crazy. (find it here)

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Music

Similar to books, I’ve been making a point to listen to all kinds of music lately and I’ve been so excited with what I’ve found. These are a few of my favorite, with iTunes’ adjectives as always.

Swimming by Mac Miller: “He’s riding ultra funky baselines…and an altogether jazzy and danceable set.”

Desperate Man by Eric Church: “Church’s life-affirming relief over successful emergency surgery to remove a deadly blood clot can be heart in the joyous survivor’s boogie of “Hangin’ Around,” the opposites-attract waltz “Heart Like a Wheel,” and the Sympathy for the Devil”-nudging title track.

Expectations by Magic: So there’s no review on iTunes for this one, but if I were to award it descriptive adjectives I would say funky and smooth and close your eyes and bob your head kind of groovy.

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.