Friday Night Fun

So, I’m back! Late, but I made it! I’ll be honest, I missed my Sunday appointment with you because I am lazy. Period. I didn’t want to, so I didn’t.

I’m here now and I am going to tell you about my experience at the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Scottsdale, AZ.

First I must say, I struggle with the word Medieval. Is it pronounced Meddy evil or Mid Evil? Tell me in the comments please, I’d like to stop stressing over the proper pronunciation.

Moving on… my sister and brother in law (If they are mentioned again, they will from here out called by there proper names, Shannon and Brian) scooped us up at 17:15 to make the trek to Scottsdale ~ about a 30 minute ride. We met our friends, Danny and Amy and Christopher and Cali and Andrew in the front so we could all be seated together. Apologies for the crappy photos but I havent figured out how to get my cell pictures from icloud to look normal, no I’m not that old I just do not have the attention span to figure it out yet. That’s another plan for another day. 🙂

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*Tip number one – If you are with a group of people you have to purchase your tickets (50.00 per person for dinner and the show) at the same time to be sure you will be in the same group. Even if you’re in the same group, you’re not guaranteed to sit next to each other unless you all check in together.

We grabbed drinks (one glass of wine and a less than a pint of beer cost 20.00 ~ in the same range of what you’ll pay at a Football game or a concert) at the 80 foot long bar (of which only 30 feet were used and open so it too a bit of time).

Group photo time! I think this was an additional 21.00, they take it and if you like it you can buy it for a mere 21.00 if you don’t like it…you don’t have to buy it!

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We all took a walk through the “Museum of Torture” ~ this is an additional fee, only 2.00 but just as a heads up.  The lack of air flow in this walkway was the most torturous for me. Seriously, it is Arizona and this museum was so hot and stuffy, they really should splurge some and crank the A/C up in there. I also learned that I would have definitely NOT survived the 11th century. These crazy ass torture devices were insane. It seemed to me alot of the devices were geared more toward outspoken, “ill-behaved” women.

Next up, Dinner and a show. They call it a four course meal when really they just bring everything to you separately. First up, a piece of garlic bread and a bowl of soup. Yum 🙂

m3.pngSeriously, I will figure out this whole icloud, cell phone photo business…just not today.

Don’t, worry I did not take a photo of each and every morsel they brought to me, just this really.  Next up was a chicken leg (oh by the way! no utensils you sop the soup with your bread and drink the rest from the bowl itself) then they brought what appeared to be a potato wedge, then a half a corn cob, then ice cream. I only ate the bread, soup and chicken leg. I had a glass of wine and water and got full. I heard the potato wedge was super salty and the corn cob was just like a corn cob 😉

The show is about two hours long and consisted of jousting, fancy pretty pony tricks, there was a falcon and some mano y mano choreographed sword fighting with the occasional spark spouting from their swords. In the end it was a fun night with friends and family.

To be honest, I did have to force myself to make myself believe this was OK for the horses. I do hope these horses are treated like the princes and princesses they truly are. There are so many horror stories of creatures in captivity and I want to believe these gorgeous beings are having the times of their lives.

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One year and seven months

This is how long I’ve been “away”. I want to get back, but I’m not quite sure how to get there. Maybe this is step one, maybe this is just another pop in to leave you all hanging for another year and seven months.

I will say this, I’ve never used a calendar and I am notorious for having commitment issues regarding making plans. With that said, I’m doing it! I am going to put you on my calendar for this coming Sunday. Nothing major planned but my friends and fam are headed to Scottsdale this weekend to check out the new Medieval Times Dinner Theater, I’ll let you know how it is!

Until then, I hope each and everyone one of you has an amazing rest of the week!

Ta ta!

K~

Happy New Year!

It’s good to be back! Well, I think? I guess it depends on how well this post goes. I am extremely out of blogging/writing practice. I didn’t bother to check my page to see how long it has been since I’ve posted ANYTHING. I would venture to guess it’s been at least since the last NY.

In 2017, I denied you access to my stories and photos of travel, monotony, ups and downs. Quick summary ~ (based on memory so I’m sure more things happened but I can’t remember everything). My memories are all documented on my phone and I don’t know how to extract them to my laptop so here goes..2017 highlights! Mother/daughter trip to San Diego to visit friends, photo shoot road trips with the husbands band, lunch dates with the bestie, annual Backwoods Beerfest (camping with booze on the Mogollon Rim), trip to visit friends in North Carolina (love it there), Roger Waters concert,  Mother/Daughter trip to Amsterdam and Spain, Great Christmas with family and friends.

Cut to:

The last day of 2017 was spent with the husband and our friend visiting from Switzerland.  Where do you take a guy from the cold mountains of Switzerland when he visits Arizona?

Flagstaff, AZ. of course 😉 We jumped in my car and headed north.

First stop was lunch at SnowBowl. The lunch was subpar but the views and the company were supreme.

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Sadly, Arizona has had zero snow..look at how dry the trees and their surroundings are :/

All the snow behind us, for the skiers, was man-made. After lunch we decided to venture off to a place neither Jason nor I had ever been. The Lava River Cave. It is located about 18 miles west of Snow Bowl so it took us no time to get there. It is off a dirt road, so I did worry we were headed in the wrong direction, but it turned out to be an OK drive even with my little Volkswagen.

The cave entrance is only a short jaunt, through the pines, from the parking lot.

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I am claustrophobic and we only had cell phones to light our path so I didn’t think we were going to get out of there alive. As per usual, my worries were unwarranted, walking over the rocks down into the cave was cake and super open, not like a spelunking cave at all. 🙂 P.S. don’t ever ask me to go spelunking…not doin’ it!

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VICTORIUS!

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We made it about half way through and my cell phone died leaving me with no light source, I had to walk up all in Jasons business to follow his light. A few times,  I couldn’t  keep up and had to stop dead in my tracks and cry, “Help me, I’m stuck”.

We made it out alive! 🙂

If you’re ever in the area, you should check it out. It’s pretty amazing this tube, just under a mile long, was formed around 700,000 years ago from melted rocks..

You can read more about it here:  Lava River Cave

Daylight was fading fast so we decided to head south, made a pit stop in Sedona so our Swiss friend could absorb the spiritual vortex mojo of this great locale. We did arrive just in time for him to see the great red rocks of the area but the sun quickly disappeared. Grabbed a cappuccino to go and head for home.

All in all it was a great way to end 2017.

With that, I will end this post with a visual of how my day one 2018 was spent. Perfectly.

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Rangiroa 2016 Part I

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Two flights later and a gazillion hours, or so it seemed, we landed in Papeete! I was surprised at how hot and humid it was..and  even more surprised was I that I didn’t mind it…at all.

Completely dark at 0430, the airport was small and sleepy yet we were still greeted to the customs entry with live musical and dance entertainment ..Sidetrack moment as I remember back to the flight..the flight attendant brought round customs forms and asked that we complete these before we land. I asked, “Do you have a pen or little pencil”? She replied, “No” and kept walking. Now I know I should be a responsible adult and carry a pen with me at all times but…I am not and apparently nor is the husband because he didn’t have a writing utensil either. Am I wrong to think Air Tahiti Nui should supply us with tiny little lottery pencils to complete our customs documents?

Ok, my opinion over on that topic. 🙂

When I was on the phone booking our travel arrangements with Costco Travel, the agent and I both thought it would be a great idea to book our flights so that we would have a great amount of time to explore the island of Papeete before flying off to our final destination, Rangiroa.

I regret that decision, well ok maybe not so much regret the decision but lesson learned.

As I mentioned, we arrived at 0430..our flight out of Papeete was to leave a 1030. We had SIX hours to wait.  The Costco travel greeter met us, gave us pretty flower necklaces and walked us around the tiny little airport to show us where to go for our next departure. Not necessary but a little comforting. Three hours left before we can even check into our next flight, we sat down and people watched.

Many locals just hanging out at the airport, barefoot. Outside there were roosters cock -a – doodle dooing, I spotted a random homeless dog trotting through airport traffic, pretty sure we witnessed a drug deal as well (not judging..just observing and reporting). Pretty fascinating,  the airport of Papeete.

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The currency exchange booth opened not so promptly at 0815, we had some coffee and finally it was time to board the plane to paradise!
Papeete to Rangiroa, the flight was only about an hour. When the captain announced our plan to descend, I looked out the window and saw our destination from above…So gorgeous.

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Arrived to the Rangiroa Airport, we were greeted with more flower necklaces and smiles from the staff of the Hotel Kia Ora. They grabbed our bags, loaded them up and we were on our way. The island is only six kilometers long so it was a matter of a five-minute drive to the hotel. We were greeted with fresh juice and more smiles at the hotel entrance, more forms to complete and then we loaded up on the golf cart as they took us to our room…bags already at the front door. It’s a little thing but it sure was nice not having to tote our luggage around. 🙂

Home sweet home for 5 nights!

Here we enjoyed a celebratory whiskey drink 🙂 We brought two 750mL bottles from home…smart tip from some friends who had been to the French Polynesian Islands, to them I say… thank you! Too bad for Jason, the ice machine was broken..Me? I don’t care for ice so I was content! We splashed in the water for a bit and was glad to find the temperature was PERFECT.

We didn’t know what time it was and we didn’t care but we were hungry..sadly, the staff keeps time and the kitchen was closed for lunch so we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of Jambon Buerre’s (just a ham and cheese sandwich really) and beer, we chatted with the staff about their stories of life on the island.  Soon thereafter, it was nap time!  By the time nap was over it was time for dinner..swim, sleep, eat, drink..repeat? I just knew this was going to be a great week.

I had it in mind to make sure to only eat fish for dinner the entire stay. First night, I had seared tuna with a mixed vegetable salad. I only wish I had made not of what was in the salad because it was truly delicious..I remember there were red peppers and cucumber, absolutely no fluff (by fluff I mean lettuce..not lettuce of any type..strictly vegetables). To wash it down I had to try a glass of the local wine (Rose Nacarat from Vin De Tahiti), this quickly became my favorite.

The ambience of the restaurant in the evening for dinner was so cozy. Calm and quiet but you could hear the water lapping onto the shore from your table which only intensified the pure chillness. No pictures, I didn’t want to be rude or take away from being in the moment. I hope I will always be able to remember.

Needless to say day one was a day of much-needed relaxation. Forewarning, you will see this word…relaxation..quite a bit in this post. 🙂

Day two: The sun woke us up at 0530, the only reason I looked at the clock was because we had plans for an excursion on this day. We woke up with three and a half hours to spare. On the patio, we could hear the waves from the Pacific Ocean side of the island so of course we had to check that scene out!

This early in the morning the tide was quite low. We were the only two on the beach at this time, most likely the only two awake on the island. There was a random dog sitting on the beach watching the waves. He spotted me and started barking so as to say, “get off my beach” and then he ran away.

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We spent the next hour here, enjoying the sounds and views until it was time to eat! Breakfast buffet is served from 0700-0900 ~ quite a spread actually. Every hotel I have ever stayed in that states “buffet” I think of cold cereal, boiled eggs, nasty pastries from a cellophane wrapper and sub par coffee. Not here, There was bacon, sausage, has browns, all sorts of meats and cheese and croissants and fruits, fresh milk, juices and fresh breads.

The buffet is served in the same space as dinner so you have a gorgeous view of the lagoon area and the negative edge pool. Sadly, I never did make the time to take a dip. I wanted to, just for the novelty but really….salt water ocean and lagoon swimming or a swimming pool..natural water is my preference!

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We met our guides and two other couples at he dock at 0900 to board and head out to the Blue Lagoon for the day! We only took video and a few pictures on this day. Apologies but WordPress won’t let me upload video without upgrading ..pshht.

First thing that made me giggle was this fish! This was to be part of our lunch..just out there in the open trying thaw out before it was cooked.

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The boat ride was an hour-long but it didn’t feel so because the ride was so much fun and we soaked up, in amazement at how very far we were from anything else in the world. Surrounded only by mass amounts of water. When we arrived to the spot to drop anchor I realized we were going to have to walk about a 3/4 of a mile to the island through shark infested waters. Ok, Ok..they are docile black tip reef sharks but still..wild sharks none the less..you never know when a shark is going to back shit crazy and bite your legs off…right?

Luckily…the sharks were very well-behaved and only followed us to our little island.

The island had a covered picnic area complete with picnic tables and a make-shift barbecue grill. Side note..I just recalled, walking to the island, Jason insisted on helping the tour guide with the coolers filled with food and water and the guy actually seemed a little put off but allowed Jason to help anyway.

Once settled, we were told to go have fun and meet back in an hour and a half for lunch.

Off we went to snorkel and swim, the hotel had provided us (at no additional cost) with snorkel gear we could keep for the duration of our stay! They came in handy and I was glad we opted not to bring our own which would have taken up a bunch of space in our already booze packed luggage!

In our island walk about, I came across this angry little crab..he wanted to pinch my face off but he was too little so I just laughed at him. 🙂

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I learned, I suck at swimming and I can’t keep water out of my mask. I learned, Jason is a water bug and is amazing at swimming and snorkeling. He pushed me past my limit and made me less afraid of getting eaten by the unknown.

We built up a great appetite and ventured back to the hut. The delicious smell  that is all things barbecue  hit us immediately. Our guides used dried coconut, prawn leaves and pineapple skin to fuel the fire. More sharks were lurking around the shore close to the picnic area..I am certain the sharks are trained pretty well, like any animal, they know..when the humans come and start the fire…they’re getting some treats!  Sure enough, we caught the guides tossing fish and chicken bits to the sharks, they were happy little fishes! We all sat down to a table of surgeon fish, chicken, couscous and fresh pineapple. There were two other super friendly couples there, young newly weds on their honeymoon from LA, a couple from France celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary and  us, celebrating life together for twenty-eight years. I am glad we were able to show the newly weds..adventures could and should continue throughout the years.

Another hour went by for exploring and then we were called to start heading back to the boat. Time to swim with the sharks! All of the sharks that were parked near the shoreline followed us back into the deeper waters to meet their many many many friends. I was surprised at myself at how calm I was, I was totally OK with swimming with these guys.

Nearer the boat, in deeper waters, just snorkeling around in amazement..Jason pointed in a direction alerting me to LOOK! There was a lemon shark, this guy was huge! Those black tip reef sharks had nothing on this guy..this guy was probably ten feet long and THAT..made me a little nervous. He was all by himself in a sea of us and the black tips. I (kind of frantically) swam backwards to get to the boat..I was out 😉 Not long after so was everyone else. Safe inside the boat the guide took the remaining fish bits and started slapping the sharks with it trying to rile them up, he was also trying to get the big lemon shark up and out of the water for the big prize. Then he says, “ready to go back and swim with them, hahahahaha” obviously he was kidding and obviously..we all said, “NO”.

The ride back was faster than the ride in and we thought we were done but the driver brought us to an area known as the aquarium. screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-6-20-24-pm

THOUSANDS of fish. I did NOT want to jump in, I am completely OK with swimming with the sharks but not schools of fish. They nibble, I don’t like their scales and there was just so..many..of.. them.

The French couple dove right in, the new groom and Jason dove right in. The new bride and me? Sat there for a few saying, “I’m not going in there”. I was happy she was going to stay on the boat with me. Until she didn’t. :/

It’s worth mentioning…. the guides thought it to be hilarious to throw chunks of bread into the water near a person so the ALL of the gazillion fish would charge at the person. Bride and I were not thrilled about that. The French folks didn’t seem to even notice. Jason and the groom…LOVED it, thought it was so cool.

I jumped in. It was beautiful and I’m glad I did. No foul..no harm. Not saying I wasn’t freaked out but I floated and snorkeled and I loved it.

Our guides were having so much fun with us they decided to give us yet another treat. We boated off to the Tiputa Pass. This is a passageway where the ocean meets and mingles with the open ocean. The waves were fantastic in the late afternoon watched dolphins have such a blast playing in the rough waters!

Screen shots from video. ^^

We said our goodbyes and thanked our hosts for such a great day and headed back to our room.

This is what we came back to 🙂 From the good people of Hotel Kia Ora.

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Such an unexpected kind gesture! The next couple hours or so were spent enjoying this bottle and recapping our amazing adventures from the day.

League Day!

Football season is here and with that brings our annual Fantasy Football league day draft. It’s great fun to get together, have snacks and steal each others draft picks for this years Football games.

I am barely a football fan but I have to admit these draft parties are a great way to spend a Saturday. 🙂

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That picture was stolen from my friends Facebook page because the only picture I took yesterday was this one of the board and one of our league members cautiously choosing his next player.

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There are sixteen rounds of picks and to be honest..I was done thinking by round five but I trooped along until… round 15..I, admittedly, allowed our friends three year old daughter to pick her favorite color (player position) and any ole sticker (player name). Those were to be my final picks 🙂

The guys said she did a good job though so I’m not complaining! win win! I’ve played FF for three years now and have yet to win the SHIVA..(yes, we stole this name from the show The League..it is a trophy given to the inner of the FF league..Maybe this is year we will get to bring it home!

You have to understand, people…this process takes like FOUR hours! Yes, HOURS…we have drinks and snacks and breaks and ten different conversations going on throughout so it is easy to understand the length of time and commitment needed.

Did I tell you there were snacks? I’ve heard people talking of cheat days, yesterday was definitely an indulgent cheat day..

I ate mounds of buffalo chicken dip laced with blue cheese, pizza bread, three beers (a delicious Camelback IPA from our local brewery)  and a chilled glass of Cab to round out the day.

Now, I guess I should find out when the real football season starts and maybe log into my ESPN account to move some players about!

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope it goes slow for you if you are so lucky to have this day to rest and fast for you if you’re so lucky to be working!

Cultural Celebration

A few weeks ago Jason told me we had been invited to a milestone celebration for our neighbors seven month old daughter. Obviously, the fact that I  grew up in a completely culture free environment, I had never heard of Annaprashan. I had much to investigate! What is this celebration? What am I supposed to wear? What type gift do I bring?

In a nutshell, Annaprashan is a Hindu rite of passage (Anna means “grain” and Prashan means “to feed” ~ so the celebration is the beginning step to the weaning process from milk to solid foods. OK..I’ll buy that..plus..who can pass up a legit reason to bring family and friends to together to admire the baby (insert annoying lady from Seinfeld “Ya gotta see the babayyyy”) have great food and enjoy company??

Gift ideas can be anywhere from gold/silver bowls (most likely left to the family members to present) spoons and plates to outfits an baby memorabilia.. I decided to leave the fancy gift ideas to their family..I wouldn’t want to one up the grandparents :D…and settled on a simple cute outfit, a couple of bibs and a stainless steel sippy cup.

As much as I wanted to dress up in Salwar Kameez,  I supposed that would be inappropriate soooo… I opted for simple black dress pants, a gray 3/4 sleeve top and simple Steve Madden pointy toe pumps. 🙂

Received with great smiles from the hosts and family – we said our congratulations and ogled the beautifully dress guest of honor, set our gift bag down and were both happy to see that our old neighbors were there with their three little ones. We sat at a table with them and caught up while we gorged on appetizers.

Side note:  I really wanted to bring my camera but Jason said, “NO” ~ I didn’t even feel comfortable taking cell phone pictures so I hate to say this but…I snagged these pictures from google images 😦

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I don’t remember the name of these but they were so good dipped in this beautiful green sauce:

images-1 I tasted cucumber and cilantro and now I must find a recipe to copy!

I’ll leave that for another day..for now I have learned this dipping sauce is green chutney and does not have any cucumber in it whatsoever. They had Tamarind Chutney also but the dates tasted too much like prunes and I did not like the sweetness – on the other hand…Jason loved it..

The chicken tikka masala was AH..MAY..ZINGG..

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There were a lot of children there – maybe twelve? Our hosts had prepared for this so they brilliantly hired a magician to entertain the hyperactive little people and it worked like a charm! He had me on the edge of my seat laughing the entire time.  I told Jason on the way home this magician made me want to adopt a five year old so I could have a party that included a magician…He laughs now but we’ll see.. muahh ah ah ah..

Close to the end of the performance, the main course was set out for us to fill our plates.

Jason pointed out ..all of the men were handling this task as the women all sat at their own tables. I told him this was because the women do all the work in labor and after the baby is out! 🙂 I don’t know if this is true or not but seems perfectly logical to me.

There were so many dishes to try! I did try small samples of each of them and my favorites were:

The rice pilaf with peas:

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and…the goat mutton

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I have never eaten goat before..It reminded a bit of as if a lamb and just the part of a cow that makes roast were to have a baby. So good.

After dinner there was CAKE! I was so full from dinner that I only managed two bites but the whip cream frosting was the best. All in all I’d say their Annaprashan was a great success and I was so flattered to have been invited to take part! I love learning about the rituals of other cultures.

And It’s Back to the Grind…

It’s official..the holiday season is over.  I started my last day of freedom (ya know..back to full work weeks..) with a few large cups of coffee and a tasty little breakfast.

Jason tells me I am the best breakfast maker, he loves my eggs, bacon and toast breakfasts. I secretly know he tells me this because he doesn’t want to make breakfast and he wants me in the kitchen cooking his breakfast and serving it to him and I am OK with that. Sorry, feminists 😉

Today, there would be no fried eggs. For some off the wall reason, the previous day, I decided to boil all of our eggs.

I jumped online and found an easy quick recipe for boiled eggs spread.

Instead of frying the pound of bacon, I baked it for 15 minutes at 400 F, chopped up a bunch of scallions, and slathered it in mayonnaise. Toasted some bread and voila…a tasty, easy..open faced breakfast sandwich.

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It’s not the prettiest but it was good..I promise!

Breakfast was followed by our new favorite past time..finding new TV shows to watch on Netflix. We powered through the first two seasons of Orange is the New Black over the holidays..great show and I read it is based on a true story! I may have to put the book on my “to read” this year.

We’re now hooked on House of Cards..good show. It takes some effort to keep up because it’s a political drama with all of the shady business but good scandals for sure… 🙂

So far..it was turning into a super lazy day. I had great intentions of jumping on my bike for a nice ride at some point in the day but there were so many things to distract me!

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House projects I will certainly never complete.

The internet is the devil (or is it my own mind?). Somehow, my thoughts turned to home projects. It started out with an online search for a new area rug, then on to book shelves, on to reading chairs, on to ceiling beams, on to whiskey barrel coffee tables ( I stayed on this one for a while..plotting to make my own starting with phone calls to Arizona Wineries to see how much they would charge me for an empty one)  on to Candy Crush. 🙂 The good thing about Candy Crush is you eventually run out of lives..what better way to pass the time while new lives generate than to pack away Christmas?

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See? I NEED a new bookcase! Christmas packed away, tree taken to the recycle center. Which by the way if you are not sure where to bring your “live” tree go to Earth911 and they will provide you the closest recycling center to your location. It’s not only for Christmas Trees either! It’s a handy website with plenty of information to distract you from your workouts! 🙂

For a lot of us..our last day of freedom is over and it’s back to the grind tomorrow so I wish everyone a beautiful week!!