Self Promotion, Yo

Good morning!

This might not be the official home of All Out of Bubblegum, however, it is my blog and I’ll self-promote if I want to.

I’m so stoked to share the first ever episode – the smancy sounding “Pilot” – below.

Sure, we have a ways to go in terms of some of the technical side of things. We have to rein ourselves in and stop going out quite so far on the tangents. I must at least write down the name of directors, who are not ‘That Guy that did That Thing”. And the fidgeting! The tapping of the mugs and the pens must cease.

But beyond that, I couldn’t be prouder. I’m certain James feels the same way.

We’re currently working on our branding, on our website and some of the small things we’d like to change so expect to see some changes coming up shortly! Until then – enjoy ❤

And a very happy weekend to you all! ❤

Guest Post: Depression Is Fun and Other Lessons from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

13062132_3526507848147_794513142260302658_nAh Jillian. My beloved work wife and bad movie partner in crime, let me count the ways. We’ve been collaborating on our film reviews for nearly two years now, talk regularly about our mutual anxieties in all aspects of life and were lucky enough to meet in the flesh this May, which was epic.

I can’t remember my life without Jill in it and honestly, this has been the best thing about blogging for me, making real friends within the blogging community. You can keep your endorsements, your free swag, your one million comments, likes and shares – none of that is as important as genuine connection. And my wife is as genuine as they come.

So enjoy Jill’s post. You can find her on her brilliant blog The Pink Panther Snipes Again where she blogs regularly about B-movies, books, life and Bertha Mason, Warrior Queen of all the Cats.

Christa asked me to participate in her blog series focusing on inspiration and empowerment amidst all of the shit that has been this year.  I was both honored and terrified to contribute because (a) I don’t radiate positivity on my best day and (b) I’d been feeling the lowest I have in a long time (which realistically is probably a month) for nearly a solid week and I had trouble even getting through the weekend.

It’s well established that I can’t talk about anything topical without losing my shit.  (The first draft I put together reached a level of angst I haven’t achieved since my teenage journaling days.)  Other years have been a challenge too, but this year feels especially like a sucker punch to the gut.  I’m really tired of hearing about how the world is heading to hell in a handbasket when you know, the same thing was said about women riding a fucking bicycle.  (Thanks, Kate Beaton.)

That being said, I’ve still been staying up late to follow the Republican National Convention, which only succeeds in aggravating me right before bedtime.  I KNOW it’s bad for me, and I follow politics way more than I intend to because I care about social justice.  I honestly don’t know how you can be a librarian if you don’t since it’s essentially about helping people find information and learn things for themselves with no financial incentive whatsoever.

But so I don’t lose my goddamn mind (further), let’s talk about a familiar topic that is a mere stone’s throw away from the bad movie blog:  TV.  My latest binge-watch is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is a relatively short binge as it’s only 18 episodes so far.  Despite what you might conclude from the show’s title and truly terrible promos, it’s an incredibly funny, subversive, musical dark comedy.

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The show follows Rebecca Bunch, a career-driven New York lawyer about to get everything she’s always wanted and become partner at her law firm.  Or so she believes.  She receives a wake-up call in the form of a butter commercial and a chance meeting with Josh, her ex-boyfriend from summer camp 10 years prior.  Realizing she’s miserably unhappy, Rebecca impulsively moves to Josh’s hometown, West Covina (an LA suburb).

Stay with me because I KNOW the premise sounds cringe worthy, cliché, and anti-feminist.  But like so many current TV shows, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes a familiar premise and twists it into a self-aware, satirical social commentary.  And refreshingly, Rebecca carries a great deal of emotional baggage without being dismissed as crazy (except, you know, in the show’s name).

I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that I love so much about this show, but the characterizations of its main and supporting characters are certainly a huge part of it.  Honestly, Rebecca is the character I’ve related to most since Liz Lemon (well, also sarcastic supporting character Heather).  Don’t get me wrong—I’m not sure either of these characters are great to emulate, but they feel real to me in a way that so many female characters don’t.

Rebecca is one of the few characters I can think of who has anxiety and depression that isn’t used solely for comedic effect.  We see her processing her problems logically but ultimately choosing the most self-destructive path possible.  She worries about not really having any friends, being a bad feminist, and not being able to convince everyone that she’s doing fine.  Among other things, there are songs about Rebecca’s depression, self-loathing, and being a good person (or not)–all of which get stuck in my head for days.  Whenever I’m watching, I constantly swing between laughter and the terrible suspicion that someone has stolen my memories and made them into a TV show.

It’s nice to see a character trying and often failing to stop lying to herself and allow herself to feel what she feels.  Sometimes the only thing you’ll be able to do is sit on the couch all day and fail to motivate yourself to go outside.  Not that I speak from experience…

Which is, of course, a blatant lie.  My experiences with depression are a major part of this show’s appeal to me.  Reading was my escape for a really long time, and I fell apart a little when it stopped working for me.  There are still days when I pick up a book that I’m desperate to finish only to put it down a few paragraphs later when all I can think about is how badly I fucked up that one conversation from weeks ago or why I haven’t done more with my life.

I  wish reading were still my escape because it was for years and years, but I’m working on giving myself a break for my needs and interests changing and simply giving myself time and space to be nice to myself.  True, reading is a more intellectual pursuit than watching TV or terrible shark movies, but sometimes my brain just needs a fucking break.

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This is also a reason I fail to understand the drive for constant self-improvement.  I appreciate that goals help push people to achieve their dreams and look back in satisfaction on their accomplishments, but sometimes a goal feels like the opportunity to break another promise to myself and to fail (again).  There are days when I just need to survive.  As TV is currently proving, it can be something really stupid that gets you through it.  And when I say “through it,” I mean temporarily because there’s nothing that will ever drive the bad thoughts away entirely.  And I’d be an intolerably peppy person if I never had any dark thoughts whatsoever.

I don’t like to give advice because it’s a really bad idea to follow in my footsteps, but these are the things I try to remind myself.  It’s ok to not feel strong, but you are, especially when you know you need help and support.  It’s ok to reach out to people and tell them you’re feeling shitty.  It’s also ok to have your own personal feeling space where no one is allowed to enter.  It’s ok to be fucking sad.  It’s so ok to do nothing except breathe and remind yourself to keep on breathing.  And journal, you guys.  I can’t say enough for journaling.

Of course I want to feel happy and I want you to be happy, but I think it’s more important to find the strength to accept what you feel.  Even when you’d prefer to gloss over it or repress the shit out of it (I’ve been there so hard).

This self-care reminder is something I look at A LOT and probably one of the best things to come out of Tumblr:

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Finally, NEVER get rid of your old iTunes playlists because Eva Cassidy, Missy Higgins, and Brandi Carlile got me through last week.

On that note, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sad songs, “Penny to My Name” by Eva Cassidy. ❤

All images via Unsplash

Guest Post: Ghosting Amongst Friends

kenziejenningsI was recently lucky enough to find Kenzie via her GREAT blog This, On Purpose (or she found me, it doesn’t matter). What matters is that I love what she writes and we share a love of horror films and pop culture in particular.

Based on this, and the fact she’s a very cool girl, it was a no-brainer to ask Kenzie to be involved in the She’s All That series. Go check her out on her blog forthwith!

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Image via Unsplash

Christa, the lovely creative behind A Voluptuous Mind, has graciously invited me to guest blog here. I’ll readily admit I’ve had one premise in mind for it as it’s kicked me hard over the past couple of months, so I thank Christa for giving me an alternate outlet for it.

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There are no greater friendships than the ones that press on.

At 43, I ought to know this by now. At 43, I still sometimes have trouble.

“Ghosting” is a strangely appropriate slang term often reserved for when one is dating. One is left in the lurch, completely disconnected of all communication from the other. It’s an invisible-man sort of phasing out of existence, a shitty passive-aggressive “good bye” consisting of no return calls, no return emails, no return texts. Nothing.

Frankly, I think the term is too limiting in its definition because “ghosting”, such as it is, occurs amongst friends as well.

I was eleven when I first experienced ghosting from a friend. There was this girl gang, a clowder of cats with feathered hair and pastel-neon colored clothes. Eleven, and I was too earnest. I didn’t understand “mean” coming from girls my age whatsoever. “Mean” belonged at home with angry family members. “Mean” came from schoolboys confused about the changes happening, the wolves coming out to hunt. Susan led the girl gang, the clowder. Susan with her glinty eyes edged with bright blue ice queen liner.

Susan didn’t like me much. Maybe it was my naturally curly hair that hadn’t been frizz-permed into a sticky Aqua Net mold. Maybe it was my pale skin that couldn’t turn golden in the sun. Instead, it went all strawberry and wetly peeled. Maybe it was my temperament, the fact I cried about anything because I didn’t understand.

Or maybe it was because I had something Susan wanted: my best friend, Holly.

Holly and I had shared much and had been through even more together. We were also survivors, sisters-in-arms, having been stalked and tormented by a nasty trio of teenaged boys with their jagged leers and switchblades. We were inseparable; we were true.

Then one day, Holly shut it off, she shut it all off. We’d no cell phones in the ’80s, but we didn’t need them. In middle school, back then, we were all about passing notes and recording, whispering secrets and communing. One day, Holly simply disconnected me by ignoring everything I said, everything I did, anything I could do to get her attention. All I saw of her in those weeks after was the view of her rigid back coupled with the occasional sidelong glare and eye roll.

It was Susan, of course, the one responsible for Holly’s ghosting of me. Susan would say something that scratched and left marks, often something scathing (and utterly unoriginal) about my appearance, and Holly, standing there, finally in the midst of the clowder, would laugh as it was expected of her, glancing every so often at Susan for approval. Even still, Holly didn’t look at me when she joined in the taunts and jeers.

In middle school, cats like Susan would inevitably get tossed in the water, left to fend for themselves. It took both time and a horribly embarrassing situation for Holly to reappear in my world. I was several weeks into my Susan-concocted invisibility when my first period (yes, that) hit me while I was on the school bus on the way back home. I was sitting in the back, well away from Holly and her siblings. They all sat in the front of the bus, her siblings acting as a barricade in case I tried to come up to talk to her.

It was always a long ride after an arduous day at school. We had a bus driver who made it clear to everyone on board, every day, that he hated kids. He also had a habit of pulling over to the side of the highway to take a piss right there, out in the open, in front of the world and its children. Anyway, the bus driver regularly screamed all sorts of colorful obscenities if any of us attempted to shift into another seat, so I quietly stayed put in my misery, thanking the gods of frumpy clothing for the long, baggy windbreaker I had on that day. I don’t know if it was an act of blatant stupidity on my part, but I was so desperate for a friend who would sympathize about the torment I was going through. So I did what any other eleven year-old girl would do in such a predicament: I sent Holly a note from my place at the back of the bus, one of those meticulously folded things that would’ve taken a Rubik’s Cube expert to unravel.

I’d taken a risk, of course. The bus was dotted with kids who’d be more than likely to attempt to unfold my note and read it aloud to anyone even half-listening. Luckily, everybody on the bus then was much more engrossed in the thrash metal music one of the 8th graders insisted the bus driver play on the way home (he didn’t like the 8th graders either, but if it got everyone to shut the hell up, so much the better). I watched her from the back as Holly carefully unfolded the note and read it, her lips moving as she took in every word I’d written. When she’d finished, she carefully folded the note and stowed it deep in a backpack pocket. Her gaze was steady towards the front. She seemed deep in contemplation rather than apathetic, which was a good sign. After a minute, she shifted in her seat, facing the aisle and rear of the bus, her eyes locking with mine. She nodded at me and held up a finger for me to wait. Then she glanced over at the bus driver, who was focused on both the road and the cassette that was suddenly being eaten whole by the cassette player.

Holly quickly slung her backpack over her shoulder and, head down, scurried to the back of the bus. When she finally reached me, she plopped herself down right beside me, and I knew right then the ghosting barricade had been lifted, especially when she leaned against me and whispered, “Does it hurt?”

“Not anymore,” I said. We grimaced at each other, at the very thought of womanhood, so gross. Just as the bus driver caught on to what had happened and yelled at Holly for having moved, we started giggling like mad.

Our bond reinstated, we dealt with all the Susans, all the unlucky circumstances, all the mishaps and dangers that come with the cusp of teenaged life. We remained friends until our families relocated due to military obligations.

It was like that then, far easier to forgive at eleven years old.

I’d not really been affected by “ghosting” from adult friends until the past several years or so. One good friend in particular quite recently decided it best to cut me off for some inexplicable reason, to “ghost” me, if you will—this, even after we’d talked a lot about just how shitty the act of “ghosting” was. (Yeah, I like my betrayal served with a hefty side of hypocrisy. Who doesn’t?)

Adult friends recognize that ghosting is not polite, it’s not civil. Adults are meant to talk to each other. If there was a problem, drinks and conversation ought to do the trick. It’s the kind of talk that lasts well into the evening when the sky is a bruised, brushed curtain and time has grown meaningless. There’d be some tears shed, some egos deflated, if only for a moment. Nevertheless, it’s a time when hats are off, but no one goes home without answers because that would simply defeat the purpose.

There are some adults around though who’d prefer not to face their problems with another, head on, and I don’t understand it at all. It’s almost as if they believe that by cutting off someone else, they’re doing that particular so-called friend a favor. After all, what kind of person in her/his right mind enjoys confrontation?

Hell, I call cowardice on the matter.

So I end this with a(n unsolicited) warning for those friends, good friends, better friends, and best friends out there, particularly those grownups who are on the cusp of ending it outright without informing the other about it:

If so inclined to keep things mum, be well aware that friendship’s done. An attempt to rekindle that friendship true will undoubtedly be greeted with a fitting ‘Fuck you.’

Guest Post: I Want to be Just Like Her

13256249_10153557579543456_2036357381745081756_nWhenever I have a shitty day at work, I only have to look to the left of me to be reminded that things aren’t all bad. That’s because my angel, Tatty is there and that makes me luckier that anyone on this planet. (This post is one big mutual love-fest so if you’re looking for something other than that, normal service will resume on Monday).

Tatty, of lovely blog Camelia Ophelia, is one of the most driven women I’ve ever met. This girl is ridiculously gorgeous, as you can see, but she’s more beautiful on the inside. She’s razor sharp, super creative and has an eye for detail like nobody I know, in fashion, at work, everywhere. I’m a braver, cooler person for having Tatty in my life and I’ll always be grateful for that.

I think there’s a Twitter rule about re-tweeting compliments, well I’m breaking that for this post, which is the loveliest thing I’ve ever read and I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have a friend like this. Check out Tatty’s blog for yourself straight afterward, and thank me later. (Love you girl) ❤

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I feel honoured to have been asked to feature as a guest post for my most favourite blogger out there. You may, or may not, know that Christa and I get to spend 5 days a week together at work so she’s one of the closest people to me. She’s seen me go through my ups and downs over the last few years and is there supporting me all day long.

When I first started to have a think about what I could write I had a bit of writer’s block. I totally love the theme based around positivity, body image and empowerment but I didn’t find much standing out to me.

As a woman, I have a lot of feelings and emotions flowing through me every day, so I thought I would talk about how I handle myself when I was feeling down or in a certain uncomfortable state of mind. But if I’m truly honest, I have no idea and I can find myself quite lost a lot of the time. I don’t think I handle my emotions in a way good enough to give advice on. I tend to bottle things and then explode, I get really moody or I lash out on the people closest to me. So overall, I’m in real need of working on that.

Anyway… I of course am inspired by people including my Mum, my friends and people I follow on social media. But again, not enough to tell you all about and not enough to write about in detail that I feel you would be interest in.

And then it came to me…

Mrs Bass. The most inspiring women I know. Christa inspires me alone by just asking fellow bloggers to write about something that could be so meaningful. It’s not rare that Christa will write a post about how she’s feeling that I couldn’t have related to more.

Due to my writers block I am concerned that I won’t tell you everything I love and appreciate about Christa in a few paragraphs so I have put together a list. This, I hope, doesn’t take away any sentiment of what I’m trying to say.

  1. Work. Christa is like my right arm. No joke. I have told her this a couple of times recently as it’s become more obvious over the last few months than ever. Work can be tuff sometimes, as it is for everyone, but we all need someone we can rely on. There’s no one I rely on more than her and no one I would trust to rely on more. I dread a day when she’s not by my side. Her work ethic is an ideal match to mine. She gets things done without a fuss and will always support anything I need.
  2. Friendship. In everything that Christa does she puts her care and love into it, but from what I see she does this best with her friendships. I feel a lot of love and care from people around me but as a friend, I have never felt as loved than I do by Christa. From surprising me with a work day treat like, Grazia or a crème egg, to having my back when I’m not happy with something or someone (to put it plainly – when I’m ‘bitching’). Each and every day she surprises me with her support for me and everything I do. I’ve spent a couple of Birthday’s now with her and the level of detail she goes to when gift buying is second to none. Because she listens to me when I blabber on, she knows everything that I like and dislike to a T and that is more touching than you can appreciate until the time. When you gaze upon a pile of things that you may as well have ordered yourself is a true sign of love from a friend (I think). Always getting a high volume of likes on her pictures and comments on her status’ shows there are people all over the world that love and cherish her as much as I do (I know we’re not meant to measure things by social media but in this case it’s acceptable). You couldn’t ask for a better friend and couldn’t find one either.
  3. Feminism. Now, I have my own views as we all do but before meeting Christa I didn’t quite understand how I felt about the world we live in as a woman. I hadn’t really thought about it. Christa upholds the most positive and strong (but not pushy) views on feminism. Christa doesn’t ask you to think like her or bombard you with her opinions. I don’t even think she knows how much she’s taught me as it’s just her way of being that I have learnt from. She has taught me how to respect myself more as a women and the women around me. It’s been one of my biggest changes over the last few years as women in regards to how I now react and respond to situations, so therefore extremely valuable to me. As I said, I really don’t think she realises what she has taught me and will I’m sure to continue to teach me about myself.
  4. Love. Christa’s approach to her relationship. It may sound silly but we all have an idea of how we wish to best interact with our partners. How we’d like them to respond to us and our thoughts, how we’d like to feel with our other half. From early small conversations about Christa and Glynn I knew I was on to something to learn from. Christa will recall how Glynn may appreciate another lady’s ‘behind’ and she couldn’t care less because she knows she’s the most beautiful to him. As a young woman this is so enviable. It takes every bone in my body to not feel a twang of jealousy over my boyfriend looking at another girl. The confidence Christa has within her relationship is admirable, especially in my generation. People now are always looking for the next best thing but they know there’s nothing better out there for either of them than each other (that’s a presumption but I’m pretty sure that’s the case!). Saying that, that could just be true love which we all search for and hopefully, one day find.

I could go on but I think I can summarise it pretty well now. When you think of the kind of women you want to be like when you grow up, I think of Christa. I want to be just like her. She is beautiful, caring, conscious of other people, extremely loving and the most supportive friend I have. I probably don’t appreciate her enough but I know I will always cherish our friendship.

Writing this has almost felt empowering in itself. Woaw. I feel so grateful at these times that I am able to surround myself with people that I may not have come across in my usual friendship groups. I’m so glad that I don’t shut down the idea of being close to people because they don’t have the exact same interest as me or they don’t do the same things that I do. That would be the most boring life. A life I wouldn’t learn from and wouldn’t help me grow.

I’m sorry if I went a bit deep or a bit of course but when I think of positivity and empowerment, I think of my favourite lady, Christa Bass. ❤

Riot Grrrrrls

 

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“When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.” ~ Ann Friedman

God knows right now, in the wake of Brexit, the American election race, the sharp rise in hate crimes in the UK, Michael Gove‘s fleshy bottom lip and all the horror going on in the world (from Iraq to the USA), that we need a little reminder that life is not fucked up or all bad.

Things they are a changing but the fundamental elements of what makes life beautiful still remain, we just need to take a moment and believe it. With this in mind, I’ve decided to enlist the help of my very favourite gal pals and writers to ramp up the positivity around here. You see how generous I am with the sharing? Although technically, my collaborators will be doing all the work, so really they’re the generous ones.

My plan is, over the next couple of months to share a weekly post by one of these remarkable women. Many of these writers are actually you, dear readers, and some of you know of one other already which warms my cockles.

My brief on this project was laid back:

It should be empowering, perhaps about how you stay positive, your views on feminism/body positivity/*insert topical buzz word here* – that sort of thing or anything really than inspires you.

Could I be any more vague?

Failing that, you can honestly contribute anything, a favourite recipe, a post about a crush you have, I’m easy. I just want to hear your voice and share it with my minimal readership – in other words, pretend you’re writing a post only likely to be read by yourself and my mum, my biggest fan!

(Hello Mum!)

I’m really excited about this because I know you’re in for a treat. I’ve already read a few ideas from my first guest and she is the flaps (not nuts, flaps). So I hope you will join me in showing her love when she makes her A Voluptuous Mind debut.

Let’s get the PMA flowing, remind ourselves that hate will never win and be fucking fabulous at the same time!

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Do you want to be involved? If so, I want you! ❤

If I haven’t already emailed you and you like the idea, why not sling me an email (on the contact form on the About page). I’d love to hear from you!

International Women’s Day 2016

Happy #IWD2016!

I’ve thought long and hard about how to mark this day and did think about doing a big old post about inspirational female authors, actors and literary characters. Which would be fine but honestly, when I think about true inspiration and influence I realise it’s all around me, all the time. In my everyday, at work, online. Anywhere and everywhere.

I couldn’t include everybody obvs but here are just a few of the women I interact with on the regs who make me want to fight, to be as strong and talented as they are – and to be all round better so I can make them proud too.

Here’s to the women we love, the women who inspire us, the women who raised us and all those who identify as female. I love you.

Woman Power!

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Who run the world?

From Top to Bottom, Left to Right:

Daisy (The Lucky Apple)
Lydia (Belle of the Bluegrass)
Hayley Margaret (A Stitch to Scratch)
My Mum
Madeleine (Madeleine Martin)
Meghan (The Lightle Side of Life/That’s Lightletainment)
Tatty (Camelia Ophelia)
Jillian AKA Wifey (The Pink Panther Snipes Again)
Hannah (Ponderous Pieces)

To you all I can only say thank you for being in my life. You make it a million times more fun and satisfying!

Coincidentally, WordPress has just reminded me it’s my 2 year blog anniversary today (my first post was on the 9th March 2014 and you can read it here if you want to). We’ve come a long way, baby.

I might elaborate on this a bit more tomorrow but until then:

Happy birthday to me – and a wonderfully womanly day to you all! ❤

Happy Birthday Camelia Ophelia!

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Happy birthday to my main girl, Tatty whose wonderful blog, Camelia Ophelia turned 1 today!

I’ve raved about the blog several times throughout this year and I will continue to do so probably until the end of time, or until one of us stops blogging (which I can’t see happening). So you already know I think the world of this girl and love the way she can pull together an outfit.

I love fashion, even though I’m just finding my feet at the age of 38 on what I think looks good on me and what I love, but Tatty is a natural who always looks put together and chic AF. I see this is as an art form, a true extension of a creative mind and get annoyed when people poo-poo fashion lovers and women who love make-up, etc (not that anyone’s doing that here, or I’ll have ’em).

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But to me Camelia Ophelia is much more than that. I can hear Tatty’s voice in all her posts and it’s getting stronger, along with the writing. It’s so lovely to see and it’s even nicer to witness other people enjoying it. And of course, she’s one of my most lovely friends and my partner-in-work-and-crime, so obviously she’s an incredible human being!

Anyway, happy birthday my love! Can’t wait to read more.

I’ve also been nominated by Tatty for The Sunshine Blogger Award so I’ll do a post on that over the weekend.

And then I’m going to tag some of you babies in it, so get ready! ❤