Murphy’s Law

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Figures. I finally pay off my car and I mess it up. In my defense, it wasn’t my fault. It was because of the poorly finished parking lot at the Hill.

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The parking stalls right next to the restaurant have these cement parking blocks. Most of them have been properly constructed/finished except for a couple that still have rebar sticking up out of them.

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There’s one in a handicapped parking stall. The other is in the very first parking stall, which is the one that snagged my car.

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I was paying attention to Brian’s car that was already parked and I was just relieved to find a parking spot right by the entrance so I didn’t notice the rebar. Plus, it wasn’t really noticeable. I mean, who leaves rebar sticking out of a parking block like that?

I didn’t want people who were pulling into the tight parking lot to hit the back bumper of my car so I pulled in all the way. Normally I have no problem clearing those concrete parking blocks so I typically pull in all the way until I feel the block against my front tires. Anyway, the front fender has some give so I didn’t feel the rebar going in. I didn’t realize what had happened until I was pulling out of the parking spot after lunch and I heard a crunching sound.

I called Brian who was taking grandma home first. I told him to please check my car when he got home because I thought I messed up my front bumper. I was hoping for the best but prepared for the worst, which is sadly the case. Brian confirmed it as soon he got home and was able to inspect the car. I messed up the clips so the front bumper needs to be replaced in order to get Alex back to normal.

Half a dozen quotes later from various body shops around town, we found out that it’s going to cost at least $1,000 to effectively fix the damage. Cheapest quote was Auto Paint Repair at $855. The most expensive quote was $1140 from Carstar. I initially wanted to go with the lowest price because I didn’t want to file an insurance claim and risk losing my good driver discount; however, Brian really had his heart set on Carstar. They fixed Bebot after our rear-end collision last year and they did a really good job.





Twelve hundred dollars is a lot of money so I decided to sleep on it. A friend at work (Derek) told me that the front end doesn’t look too bad so I could probably wait to get it fixed. It’s just that I’m afraid to wash the car or nudge the front bumper in some way because I don’t want the bumper to fall off or worsen the damage. Lately we’ve been trying to drive around in Bebot more and not use Alex as much so we don’t make things worse, except on days when we’re both working because then I don’t have a choice but to drive Alex.

I’ll eventually need to get Alex fixed but hopefully I can postpone it long enough to where I have enough money saved up so I won’t have to settle for the least expensive quote and I can get it done by Carstar (Brian’s first choice). Getting Alex fixed may just have to be my birthday present this year. Sigh.

If you have some spare change and would like to donate to the Alex repair fund, clickity click the donate button on the right. Thanks in advance for your generous donation. I really appreciate it.

Breakfast at Keller Feed & Wine Co.

The morning after our moonlight horseback riding adventure, Brian and I decided to drive to Cottonwood Falls for breakfast.

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This restaurant is in the former Emma Chase Café location. I’m not sure what it looked like before but, right now, it looks pretty cool with the kitschy touches.

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The maple bacon donuts looked enticing but we managed to resist them.

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Partially due to the fact that we were already full from the big meat breakfast and banana-Nutella French toast sandwich.

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Brian said the breakfast plate with ham, sausage, bacon, fried egg (it wasn’t fried hard enough for him), and country potatoes was just okay. We both thoroughly enjoyed the French toast, though. It was delicious!

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We walked around a bit after breakfast.

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We found several neat stores selling neat stuff like this awesome fountain.

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We also walked by Grand Central. I had the opportunity to try their food several years ago when we met some coworkers there for lunch.

Cottonwood Falls is a neat little town. It’s definitely worth checking out. While you’re there, I recommend eating at Keller Feed & Wine. Get the French toast. It is amazing!

Fun Times with Nickira

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My little sister Nickira and I got to hang out on Sunday. We had dinner at Freddy’s again because when we went there last Sunday, she didn’t get to have funnel cake. This time she had her funnel cake first. I really should have objected because, as expected, she had no room for her bacon cheeseburger after that. Anyway, this just validates my decision not to have children. I think I’m a decent friend/big sister, but I would make a terrible mom.

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Nickira and I went to see Big Fish at Century II. It was awesome. I think I enjoyed it more than she did, though. She kind of fell asleep during the mostly talking parts. We got popcorn and skittles during intermission and she was fine after that.

I just love Music Theatre Wichita. Last year Nickira and I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Brian and I got to see West Side Story. They were both very good. Big Fish was great, too. I’m looking forward to seeing Hello Dolly with Brian. Each year and each show just gets better and better. We are so lucky to have fantastic shows here in Wichita.

The previous week we went swimming at the Andover YMCA water park. That’s another thing we are blessed with — we have the best YMCA facilities in the nation here in Wichita. The water parks at the YMCA are super cool. Kira and I had a great time going down the slides (both of them) and floating along the lazy river.

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Before that we attended the Sundaes on Sunday event at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office. This is Kira’s sundae creation.

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I kept mine pretty basic.

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Anyway, it was really cool because we got to play games with other matches. We played Apples to Apples (one of my favorite games) first and then we played Uno and Skip Bo. I’d never played those two card games before.

I had so much fun I ended up ordering both that day from Amazon. They were less than $10 each and relatively inexpensive as games go. It worked out great because we got to play Uno with grandma on Saturday when Brian fixed us lunch at the house. We also played Uno with Kira before going to Big Fish on Sunday.

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The time before that we got to do some watercolor painting. We had some extra time and extra resources so we got to paint several works of art.

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Pink is Nickira’s favorite color so she had to make an all pink one.

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We are really lucky that our local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization comes up with some neat match activities. It’s fun for just the two of us to hang out but sometimes it’s even more fun when we get to do stuff with others. For instance, we’ve been to Roller City a few times now. While it’s fun every time, I think the time that we went with Faith and her kids and Eleanor and Peter and Ella was way more fun even though it was in the middle of what seemed like a blizzard.

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One of my most favorites times we’ve hung out that I haven’t shared with you guys is when we were learning Zumba routines. The video above is of Eleanor practicing one of her songs and Nickira was learning it with her.

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Nickira and I have now been matched over a year and, more than just being a rewarding experience, it’s been really fun. For those of you who have the time to spare, I highly recommend volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. There are several kids waiting for matches. Or, if this isn’t your cup of tea, there’s many other volunteer opportunities in the area.

Downtown Wichita Living Tour

Brian and I had a blast touring the living options in downtown Wichita this afternoon. I’m glad we were able to squeeze it in between my 1 PM Zumba class and my group exercise staff meeting. It was a beautiful day for walking around downtown.

We were able to see all of the properties but one, Innes Station, before the tour ended. We didn’t really mind missing it because we had seen those units before through friends who had once lived there.

Our first stop was WaterWalk Hotel Apartments. True to its name, the units are very hotel-like. The two units on exhibit were both furnished nicely with contemporary furnishings that are streamlined with sleek lines. Bulky oversized furniture would not be a good fit as the living and kitchen area aren’t very spacious. Brian and I agreed it would be great for someone who travels a lot or won’t be staying for an extended period. The units would quickly feel cramped after living there a year. I did find the two bedroom floor plan ideal for a roommate situation because both bedrooms had attached bathrooms so you wouldn’t have to share the same bathroom with your roommate. The rooms are identical in size so there would be no arguing over who got the better space.

Next up, the Finn Lofts. Located behind the Intrust Bank Arena, the location is perfect. The units are small but the minimal design makes excellent use of the space. One of the units we looked at was very European in style with the toilet area separate from the shower area. Some of the units also have this weird atrium in the floor plan. At first I thought it was the apartment’s designated smoking area but Brian was quick to point out that smoking isn’t allowed in the property. I guess it would work as a good spot for an indoor potty area for your pets.

Commerce Street Lofts had one of the better units on display. The unit we looked at had a nice, open floor plan with awesome skylights that bathed the space in natural light. The living area had access to a huge deck, twice the size of the decks of most houses. Located just down the street from Finn Lofts, living at Commerce would also afford you access to many of the great amenities that downtown Wichita has to offer.

Out of all the places we looked at, Eaton Place was the most dated. The unit we looked at had a nice view of Douglas Avenue, but the hallway leading to the unit was very dark. The unit itself was small with a loft bedroom that offered very little in the way of privacy. Brian and I found the floor of the unit creeky and not level, probably a sign of the building’s age. Eaton Pace did have a nice common area with a pool table and nice comfy furnishings. The common area also seemed brighter than the hallways leading up to the units. The skylights make a huge difference.

The Piano Player Lofts are similar to Finn Lofts in style, minimalistic and seemingly European. The kitchen was modern and very IKEA.

The unit at Rock Island Lofts was pretty nice. I liked the two level unit because the entertaining space is separate from your private space. The kitchen was large with granite counters and open to the living area, which made it a great entertaining space. Brian and I liked the layout of the upstairs because there was potential for an office and lounging space up there, opposite the bedroom. I did not like the fiberglass corner shower in the large bathroom. The bathroom was large enough for a nice giant shower. It felt like they cut corners on the bathroom, which had so much potential. The location is also a little iffy because it’s right above the old Suede and Finns bars. I imagine it might be kind of noisy on the weekends unless they spent money on good soundproofing. Hopefully, they didn’t cut corners on that too — quite possible considering what they did to the master bathroom. The apartment would have been really awesome had the bathroom not been such a let down.

I really looked forward to seeing how the Lux had been renovated into residential living because I worked there for several years (from 2002 to 2008), before we moved our office to the Bank of America Building. There were two units on display: 5X and 5J. The bedrooms in both were small but not really that different from the other apartments we had toured. Space downtown is at a premium. The interior style reminded me of the European style we saw at Finn Lofts. The layout of 5X was similar to the unit we looked at at Eaton Place but the loft bedroom had taller walls and offered better privacy. It’s also more modern. The living space itself felt small though, with barely any room for a dining table. They did such a great job on the renovation. The entire place, including the hallways, looks so bright and modern. I also loved all of the outdoor spaces. The rooftop terrace is awesome and had a phenomenal view of downtown Wichita. You can even see my office building from there. The only thing missing was a rooftop pool. Access to a pool would have made up for the smaller living space.

We saved Flats 324 because we had seen it before, back in 2010 when we were looking for a place to rent after selling our old house. The building was an old high school (the original Wichita High School) that’s been converted into several apartments with unique floor plans. The boiler room (basement apartment) was the highlight of the tour and it was the exact unit that we considered renting before settling on Quarters at Cambridge. Despite the high price tag, we really thought about it because it was the coolest space we’d ever seen. Ultimately, pragmatism won. The two bedroom (with attached garage) townhouse we ended up getting at Quarters at Cambridge proved to be a far better value. Anyway, as cool as it would have been to live in “the dungeon” (as we had called it at the time), I don’t think Brian and I could have done the place justice because we don’t really have a great eye for interior decorating. The current owner did a fantastic job of defining the spaces and decorating the place. It looks amazing! The boiler room apartment at Flats 324 was a favorite of mine five years ago and, seeing it furnished, it’s even more impressive today.

We probably would have had time to look at Innes, but I didn’t want to be late for my group exercise staff meeting at Andover YMCA. We ended up getting there a half hour early because the meeting got pushed back to 5:30 PM. I’m glad that we planned ahead and pre-bowled for this Sunday otherwise I would have had to miss bowling completely because of the later meeting time.

Overall today worked out great! I hope everyone had just as fantastic a day as we did.

Dinner with Friends

First we had dinner with our favorite neighbors on Wednesday night. We wanted to do something nice for them since they’ll be watching Molly while we’re in DC next month. But then Jim just had his surgery earlier in the week so instead of having him hobble over, we decided to just bring dinner to them. It took a few trips but worked out great in the end. Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed that evening.

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Brian made pork roast. He had it in the slow cooker all day and it was nice, tender, and flavorful by dinner time.

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Mom made lumpia earlier that day and shared some with us. She gave Brian uncooked ones. Brian fried them up right before dinner so they were fresh.

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These were frozen rather than fresh (corn is not in season) but they were delicious just the same. Brian intended to make potatoes too, but said he got the wrong kind of potatoes so he nixed the idea and made rice instead. He got no argument from me because I prefer rice over potatoes any day. LOL.

We also had some rolls. Seems like Americans have rolls with most of their meals. It’s the strangest thing ever. I could take or leave rolls. At least Brian got Hawaiian sweet rolls, which is the kind that I like (when I do eat rolls).

Incidentally, Wednesday night was the same night that we had a work dinner at The Hill for the AllConnect launch. I heard it was a great time. I wanted to go but I was already committed to dinner with our neighbors which we had planned ahead of time.

I’ve never been at The Hill either. Tammie says it’s pretty good. I guess Brian and I will just have to check it out. Maybe we will go with our lovely neighbors.

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On Saturday night we met the Dills (Jay, Becca, and Mama Dill), the Larnengs (Rune and Kristen), and the Phelpi (Cory and April) at Sumo (the Phelpi’s favorite restaurant for celebrating birthdays) to celebrate Cory’s birthday.

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Just a few months before we met the exact same group at Sumo to celebrate April’s birthday. The funniest part is that we got the exact same hibachi table. I’m thinking we all sat in the exact same spots too.

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One of my favorite things at Sumo is their garlic fried rice. You can’t go there and not get it. It’s super good. But, man! It’s really garlicky. Even after brushing my teeth, I still had garlic breath. I bet my sweat will smell like garlic for days, too.

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We didn’t finish dinner until almost 10 PM. Brian and I were invited to go dancing with another group of friends to celebrate Holly’s birthday and I really wanted to go but we were both exhausted. Not sure why. probably because we watched a movie with grandma earlier in the day and didn’t get our afternoon nap. LOL.

Jokes aside, we are a couple of old farts and we go to bed around 10 o’clock most nights. Even on weekends. I think Cory’s birthday celebration continued at Club Rodeo after dinner. We missed out on that too.

I was out like a light within minutes of getting home. I may have even slept with my makeup on. I was that tired!

Even though we didn’t go to the after party at Club Rodeo, I’m glad that we were able to celebrate with everyone at dinner. It’s not everyday that one of our dearest friends turns another year older. Belated happy birthday, Cory! Until next year!

The Avett Brothers

I missed the Avett Brothers the last time they were in town. I was determined not to miss them again. Brian and I braved the cold Thursday night to watch them perform at Intrust Bank Arena. They’re not normally Brian’s cup of tea but he went with me anyway. I have the best husband ever!

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I posted some video clips from the concert on our Facebook page. The videos don’t do the show justice, though. You really should have been there.

I found a video of the Avett Brothers at Austin City Limits on YouTube but it has been since taken down. This NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert is the next best thing. Enjoy!

Change is Hard

I’ve worn the same bowling shoes for a almost twenty years. I love these Dexter bowling shoes because they’re specifically made for right-handed bowlers. The left shoe has a leather/microfiber bottom for sliding. The right shoe has a rubber sole for traction.

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Here’s a picture of the soles of my old bowling shoes.

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They look pretty rough because I haven’t exactly taken the care of them. Plus, what do you expect after two decades? I’m surprised that they don’t look much worse.

Anyway, when we were at the YMCA bowl-a-thon at Northrock Lanes a few weeks ago they quit sliding on me. It’s super uncomfortable when you end up coming to an abrupt stop rather than sliding to the foul line. I’ve been pretty careless with my shoes and I figured that I probably stepped on food or a puddle of something. I tried everything but couldn’t fix the soles so I would start sliding again. Finally, I put some baby power on the soles of my sliding shoe. That was the only way I could get it to slide. However, after looking at the worn out soles, I figured it was probably time to buy a new pair of bowling shoes. I would have ordered the exact same shoes but they quit making them years ago. I had to settle for a generic pair that has leather/microfiber on both feet so it can be used by both right and left-handed bowlers.

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I ended getting another pair of Dexters (Dexter Women’s Groove II Bowling Shoes) because the old ones worked out pretty well. The new shoes look cool but they’re not nearly as good as the old pair. I remember the first night I wore them. They felt so weird. I didn’t think I would ever get used to them. I had originally given the old pair to my sister but then ended up asking for them back so I could just get them resoled instead. I didn’t think I could ever get used to the new pair.

The first time I wore the new pair, I complained the entire time. Brian was like, “You just have to break them in. I’m sure you had to do the same to the old pair when you first got them.” I told him that the old pair felt great the very first time I wore them. They didn’t require breaking in. Maybe that’s true. But maybe Brian is right, and I just don’t remember breaking the old pair in. After all, that happened almost twenty years ago.

Change is hard. I never would have bought a new pair of bowling shoes if I didn’t have to, and I wanted to immediately go back to the old pair even though they were clearly worn out and should be retired. I’m really glad I gave the new shoes a chance though. It took a few weeks and several games to break them in. They’re just now getting to the point that they feel comfortable. Right now I don’t think they’ll ever feel as comfortable as the old pair but only time will tell.

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Last week I bowled a 199 — just shy of a 200 game — with my new bowling shoes on. While they may not feel the same as my old bowling shoes, I have a feeling they’ll be even better. Sometimes you just have to give things a chance.

What Happened Last Week

Wouldn’t you know it? I’m still behind on posting blogs. My life needs to slow down a little. LOL. Here’s what happened last week…

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We got to check out Satish’s fancy new limo. If the logo looks familiar, it’s because Satish owns Quick Stitch — the best alterations places in town. You can find out more about their services by checking their web site. Now they have a limo!

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It makes sense because they work with a lot of brides.

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This thing is awesome, though. It comfortably seats eight people and it’s got multiple video screens. It even has one in the back along with a killer sound system. It’s the perfect vehicle to take to your next tailgating event.

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It was so cool I almost wished I was a true sports fan. Unfortunately, I’m more of a casual spectator. I have teams I like but I’m mostly just a fan because I graduated there (Wichita State) or the team colors coordinate with other teams that I like (KU, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots). LOL.

The other night I showed up to Jay’s Super Bowl XLIX party in my Pats shirt. I just have the one and it comes in handy every now and then. Rune was like, “Do you really like the Pats or are you only wearing that to be nice to Jay?”

It’s a little of both. I mostly like the Pats because their colors go well with my Red Sox gear, which I have more of, and my KU shirts. I’m already invested in red, white, and blue so I can’t like any teams whose colors do not coordinate.

Although, no matter how hard I try, I will never be as stylish as my little sister.

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She looked adorable in her lace dress, jean jacket, scarf, and boots when we went to the movies last week. She looked absolutely darling! I could learn a thing or two from this little fashionista.

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On Thursday night we met a bunch of friends at Taste and See for dinner. I was really disappointed that they’re no longer doing $12 sangria pitchers. Regular price is only $18, though, so it’s still a really good deal.

Here are some pictures of our delicious food…

The cornucopia is my new favorite starter at Taste and See. Brian and I used to be on a queso fondue kick there for a while but, since I’ve discovered the cornucopia, it’s what I always order as an appetizer any more.

The dates are another delicious starter. I’m really glad Chef Jason sent it over because it’s mot something that I would normally think of ordering.

It should come as no surprise that Brian got the Cuban. That’s what he always orders.

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Taste & See on Urbanspoon

Instead of getting the same old thing, I decided to try something new this time. If you can guess which meal I had from the pictures above, I will take you out to dinner at Taste and See and throw in a pitcher of sangria. LOL.

Honestly, I will use any excuse to go back. The food is fantastic. And, the sangria is delicious and reasonably priced. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. When you go, tell Chef Jason I sent you!

Feeling Lucky

I would have made it to work by 9 AM this morning after my annual exam. I ended up just a few minutes late because of sudden car trouble. Minor trouble, but it freaked me out nonetheless. And, today was the worst day for it because it was freezing outside. I forgot my earmuffs and didn’t have a hat or scarf on. I felt like my ears were going to fall off.

When I left the doctor’s office, I headed North on Webb Road to catch K96. I could tell there was something wrong with my car immediately. The steering wheel felt shaky and there was this exclamation point alert that I hadn’t seen before displayed on the dash. I called Brian to ask him, but he wasn’t sure either. I ended up finding a first parking lot I could find, which was on the corner of 29th and Webb. I took a picture of my dash and sent it to Brian. He said it was just the tire pressure. Brian said that taking the car on the highway might warm up the tires and help normalize the pressure but the steering wheel felt really shaky and I wasn’t comfortable driving on the highway. I remembered that the car dealership is just one block over so I had the brilliant idea to drive there and ask them to help me. It was the best idea ever.

The car dealership figured out which tires needed more air and they took care of it for me. It took a few minutes so I took advantage of a chocolate croissant while I waited inside. I was on my way back to work in no time.

I’m so glad that I thought to take the car to the dealership. First of all, I didn’t have a tire pressure gauge on me so I would have had to borrow one from someone. Secondly, I would have had to find a gas station and then would have had to air up the tires myself in the freezing cold. It would have taken me at least twice as long.

Munching on a chocolate croissant while my tires were checked and filled was a far more pleasant option. Thank you to the wonderful people at the Wichita Luxury Collection for saving my behind today.

2014 End of Year Recap

Time to catch you guys up before our annual end of year recap…

Here are the highlights of 2014…

I’m grateful for all of the wonderful experiences of 2014 and for lessons learned. Looking forward to a happy, healthy 2015!

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