Well, OF COURSE I Said Yes!

Yesterday brought some pretty big news around these parts…

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I’M ENGAGED!

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Three years, two months, and one day after I first laid eyes on Sean, he popped the question and I, of course, without a second thought, tearfully accepted.

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Needless to say, I am totally, completely, and utterly blissed out. It brings me endless joy to know that I’m going to get to spend the rest of my life with my main squeeze, and even though our engagement is barely 24-hours old, I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy being engaged to this studmuffin.

Opposites Do Attract:

I’m sure it comes as no shock to the majority of you that I’m not exactly a, er, subtle person. In fact, I would often describe myself as having a rather ostentatious personality. I enjoy being the center of attention, I like making a splash, and I make no apologies (hardly any, at any rate) for living my life, well, loudly.

Sean, on the other hand, is the opposite. He’s much more introspective, much more reserved. Where I am loud and oftentimes obnoxious, he is quiet and respectful. Where I am all emotion, he is logic and reason. And where I am over-the-top, he is subtle and deliberate.

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That’s not to say that we are total and complete opposites. We do, in fact, align on a lot of things — we have common interests, we both acknowledge the importance of family, we communicate affection similarly, we have the natural bond that exists between Whasians (jk, jk), and we’ve both got a touch of weirdness (okay, maybe more than a touch in my case.) But, that being said, we do have fairly different natures that tend to balance each other out.

Sean’s proposal to me was the embodiment of everything he is: quiet, intimate, romantic, and subtle.

As a self-professed insane consumer of wedding-related media (damn you, Pinterest!), I’ve always tended to stray more towards the big, the loud, and the ostentatious. I imagine that if I were the one planning a proposal, it would include things like scavenger hunts, flashmobs, and solid gold piñatas. And while sometimes that sort of thing is totally fitting and appropriate, I do know myself. And I know that if I were on the receiving end of all the hubbub and pomp and is-this-Pinterest-worthy-ness of a proposal like that, it would totally eclipse the actual point of proposing at all.

Thankfully, Sean’s personality leads him more towards things like quiet moments, small surprises, and heartfelt words — all of which his proposal had in spades.

The Proposal:

Okay, so we’ve covered that I’m totally crazypants, right? Good. Because I feel like that is going to be an important point to remember as we move forward.

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See, I pretty much knew I wanted to marry Sean like, oh, I don’t know, six months into our relationship? That’s probably being quite generous, actually, but I’d like to try to keep myself in the category of “humorously crazy” rather than “batsh*t insane.” I mean, in my defense, they do say that when you know, you know, and what can I say? I knew.

That being said, I do believe that relationships require time to mature, people need time to grow together (and prove that they aren’t going to grow apart anytime soon), and so our decision to get married was one that grew out of our love and companionship, over time.

Once we reached a certain point, we started talking more seriously about getting married, ultimately culminating in Sean purchasing a beautiful loose tanzanite stone while we were on vacation last November. I’ve always known I wanted a tanzanite engagement ring (it’s my favorite gemstone), so I was thrilled when Sean suggested we take a look at some rings when we stopped in Nassau during our cruise. We didn’t end up purchasing a ring, of course, but Sean did set his eye on one particular stone and I certainly wasn’t going to argue with that!

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So we flash forward a couple of weeks. I knew he had a stone, and I knew he had intentions of designing a ring to go along with it, but that was pretty much where my knowledge ended. I had no idea what his timeline looked like, or what to expect. (He did tell me that he wouldn’t be proposing on a “traditional” day, like our anniversary, my birthday, Christmas, etc.) But, of course, I did have a general idea that we were going to be taking this next step at some point in the not-too-distant future.

As you can imagine, that didn’t actually sit super easily with me. Crazypants McGee over here basically spent from mid-November until, well, um, yesterday, wondering, fretting, endlessly questioning when Sean was going to propose. Sean loves surprising me, so I knew it would probably happen when I least expected it, but that didn’t really stop me from expecting it… all the time.

I mean, okay, I wasn’t really expecting it ALL the time. It was just kind of there, hovering in the background of my brain. There was really only one time that I genuinely thought he might be getting ready to pop the question: Remember that amazing early Valentine’s surprise dinner he took me to at Sushi Taro?

Yeah… I may or may not have left the post-dinner breakdown I had in the car out of my original blog post, hahahahahaha.

Aaaaaanyway, given that I was still just generally aware of the fact that the whole engagement thing was sitting somewhere on the horizon, I really wondered how surprised I could possibly be when the time came. But, lo and behold, Sean did achieve that surprise factor. Somehow, he still managed to pull a fast one on me.

By proposing at 7 o’clock in the morning.

Yep. If you’re asking yourself, “Who in tarnation proposes to someone at 7 AM on a Friday morning?” Well, Sean does. And I love him for it.

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Sneaky punk.

I woke up to an absolutely breathtaking ring hovering in front of my face (attached to Sean’s hand, of course.) My eyes were half-filled with shock, half with sleep, as he launched into an amazing (and tearjerking) speech about love, the two of us, and our future together.

Most of what was said is an emotional blur at this point, but I do remember him saying he chose the morning not only to surprise me (mission accomplished, fyi), but because he wanted me to know he loves me just as I am — bedhead, smudged makeup that I definitely did not fully take off the night before, and all.

And then, of course, I remember the part where he said, “Will you marry me?”

I’m pretty sure you guys can guess what my answer was.

The Ring: 

As mentioned above, I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted a tanzanite engagement ring. The reasons follow as thus:

A) I enjoy being slightly unconventional (I mean, you have seen my various hair colors, no?)
B) I’m not a big fan of the whole De Beers diamond monopoly engagement ring scam thing. (This hilarious College Humor video explains it all.)
C) Diamonds are actually my birthstone (April baby), so if I do ever change my mind and want a diamond, I figure I have a lifetime of potential gift opportunities to get one.
D) Helloooo, have you seen that color?? Is it blue, is it purple… who knows? Who cares?! It’s a different color every time you look at it, and it’s so beautiful. I love it, I love it, I loooove itttttt.

And Sean, the lovely, wonderful, attentive listener that he is, knew that tanzanite had me by the heartstrings. So, after procuring one seriously gorgeous round tanzanite stone, he set out to design a special setting to go around it, just for me.

And. Dude. Special it most certainly is. I honestly cannot picture a more perfect ring for me! He done good. He done reeeeeeal good, y’all.

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My ring is comprised of a round bezel-set tanzanite stone in a cushion halo, set in a platinum split shank twist band, and some very special, custom, made-just-for-me details included. On one side of the ring there’s a surprise diamond, and on the other…

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… there’s a teeny weeny little lightning bolt!

It might be a little hard to see in these pictures, but I promise it’s there. I mean, does Sean know me, or what? Some of you might think it’s silly to have anything to do with The Boy Who Lived on her engagement ring, but true love is as true love does, my friends. And if I love it enough to have it tattooed on my body…

Anyway, it is a super thoughtful touch that makes the ring extra special to me (and unique in general!) There’s also an inscription on the inside of the ring: “Until the very end.” ::sob:: ::sniff::

Tanzanite is much more fragile than diamonds are, so I’ll need to take extra care with it (hence why the bezel setting and the halo are so great — they help protect the stone!) but I could not be happier. As most people who have seen the ring seem to say, it just feels very “me.”

Sooooo, there you have it! I’m engaged! I’M ENGAGED! Man, that sounds weird to say. I mean, I’m somebody’s fiancee! Which means I’ll eventually be someone’s wife. WEIRD.


Here’s to a life filled with unintentional outfit matching!

As if the proposal itself wasn’t enough, Sean finished off what was already the best day ever with another amazing experience: dinner at uber-romantic Alexandria restaurant, Restaurant Eve. Sean treated me to the tasting menu there, another thing that has been on my restaurant bucket list for a while, and it was absolutely perfect. I just can’t believe that I get to marry this Fox! ;)

Admittedly, I am pretty stoked to get started with wedding planning and whatnot, being that I definitely come from that whole “has been planning her wedding since she was eight” camp of thought, but I also hope to spend some QT with my love, just enjoying this phase of our relationship — and our life! After all, if what I hear is true, it’ll be over before we know it.

Let the whirlwind begin!

Hello Fresh!

Howdy folks! Long time no chat. I’ve been keeping crazy busy planning Northern Virginia’s next YELPER PARTY!

I’m throwing Yelp’s Fire & Ice Ball at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner on April 19th, and Y-O-U are invited! This event is one giant extravaganza celebrating all things Northern VA. Pick out your best red or white evening wear, because I promise you, this is one night not to be missed. And best of all, it’s totally FREE!

This is my one event that literally anyone can attend, and I’d love for you to be there! Just head over to Yelp.com/Events now to RSVP, it’s easy as that! And feel free to share with family, friends, whomever!

Aside from planning the Fire & Ice Ball, I’ve been trying to lay relatively low. I had my second trip to Savannah for work a couple weeks ago, during which I got to see my favorite sister and niece again.

 
And I also have been trying out one of those meal prep delivery service things — Hello Fresh!

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Everything comes pre-portioned and ready to cook with, which is super convenient, and all the recipes I’ve tried so far have been great!

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Even though I already cook quite a bit (and enjoy doing so), I still find I’m learning quite a bit from the Hello Fresh meals I’ve been sent. Namely, the fact that they’re not always things I’d necessarily prepare myself is really helping me break out of my regular rotation of meals.

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The ingredients are also REALLY quality. They are delicious and VERY fresh (I mean, I guess they’d have to be, with a name like Hello Fresh, ahaha.) I actually find that they last longer than the week in which they’re delivered, so even if you get busy with other plans, you’ve got a while to make each dish. Plus, worst comes to worst, you can always freeze the protein and re-purchase the other ingredients if you really needed to.

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The price is $60 per box for two people, and each box comes with 3 meals. So, it’s not the cheapest option ever, but you can put your account on hold as frequently as you like, and it has been a lot of fun at least! Plus, if you’re interested in trying it out, I have a code you can use for $40 off your first box. So it’s only $20 to try (and I get an extra $20 to put towards my next box, too.)

So if you’re interested in trying out Hello Fresh, just use code SL7Z3J for $40 off your first box!

Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into the groove of regular posting soon, since the beginning rush prepping for my Yelper Party is starting to wane a smidge (now it’s just juggling LOTS of logistics, heh.) And with my birthday around the corner (the BEST DAY OF THE YEAR) as well, I hope to have more fun stuff to update you on as well! Alas, in the meantime… see you on the flipside!

Have you tried any meal prep delivery services (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, etc) before?

Yelp’s Fit Club Wrapup

It’s March! Which not only means that we can (hopefully) look forward to some of this ice and snow melting, but it means that Yelp’s Fit Club is officially finito! For those of you who don’t know, all last month I was working on a fitness promotion for Yelp that included a ton of different fitness and nutrition events.

It ended up being a lot of work to fit in 8 different events myself, plus squeeze in a trip to Savannah, AND have my annual Regional Summit for work all within the same (very, very short) month, but I gotta say, coming out on the other side of things makes me feel like 2015 has already been a pretty rockin’ year. After all, it’s only Day 2 of Month 3, and I already feel like I’ve accomplished A LOT.

Plus, I’m not gonna lie, it was kinda nice shifting my focus from the foodie side of Yelp to the fitness side of Yelp, at least for a little while. Of course, as soon as I got together with my Yelp coworkers from my regional team, things reverted back to normal, hehe. But more on that in a second. First, let me tell you a little bit about two of the super interesting workouts that I got to try through Fitclub!

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[solidcore] isn’t lying on their website when they say that this is the hardest workout you’ll ever do in your life. I did this workout LAST Saturday and I’m pretty sure my abs are STILL sore from it. It is 50 straight minutes of core work on megareformer pilates machines, and duuuuuuuude. It was SO intense. But CLEARLY a great workout — it’s all about working your muscles to failure and letting the calories keep burning long after the class is over.

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Luckily, all the ridiculous hard work paid off in the form of an exclusive breakfast at sweetgreen right afterwards! They prepped us special parfaits made with their yogurt, rolled oats, quinoa, nuts, honey, blackberries, and mint, as well as avocado and cashew butter toasts.

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So even though this was definitely one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done, it was also one of the most rewarding. Figuratively and realistically, heh.

Orangetheory Fitness

So after I finally recovered from [solidcore], I had the opportunity to work out at Orangetheory Fitness, which is a studio that utilizes heart rate monitoring to pump up our workout efficiency.

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Everyone gets a Polar heart rate monitor attached, and then your statistics are put up on a screen throughout the class so you can keep yourself in check. It’s also kind of fun, because it has you working like a team with your fellow workoutters — you get “badges” and stuff for everyone being in the right zone and whatnot.

The workout outself is a lot like a personal training session or CrossFit WOD — we would spend a certain amount of time/distance on the treadmill, then move over to the rowing machines, and did that cycle three times. Then we did weight training sets for the rest of the hour.

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In the end, they summarize your heartrate info on the monitors AND email you a summary from Polar afterwards! Pretty cool! I actually did a lot better than I thought I would — I was sure that my heartrate would be in the red zone like, 70% of the time, but I guess all that P90 has been a little bit useful after all! If anything, I could have been pushing myself harder, I guess? I dunno, I sure felt like I was working it!

There was also a couple of yoga classes, a dance workout, and a nutrition workshop tossed into the mix too, but these two were definitely the workouts that I found most interesting from a learning standpoint — I’d definitely go back to Orangetheory, although I’m not sure if I’m really cut out for [solidcore] juuust yet. But hey, it did make me feel just a little bit less guilty about all that insanely delicious food I ate during my Regional Summit.

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Errrrr, then again… there’s probably not enough [solidcore] in the world to offset the insanely delicious meals we had at Zaytinya, Tico, and Acadiana last week. I’m drooling just thinking about them! Plus, the company wasn’t too bad either, hehe. My coworkers are the best!

As part of our Regional Summit, we also had a team off-site at Escape Room DC, which is this CRAZY fun Clue-like mystery game. You get locked in a room that is rife with clues, and you have 45 minutes to escape. It was an insanely fun teambuilding activity (spoiler alert: we did NOT escape, but we sure had fun trying!) and I’m already thinking about going back for my birthday!

I heard they’re actually building an even bigger location in Alexandria set to open in the Spring, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that!

And that just about brings us up to speed! I’m off to Savannah AGAIN tomorrow (crazy!) which means I’ll get to spend a little more QT with my sister and niece on the way over. Hooray! So I’ll be back here in a few to update you guys on that, hopefully with some extra cute Mia pics in tow, hehe.

See you on the flipside!

Year of the Ram

Happy Chinese New Year, friends!

Yesterday marked the first day of the Year of the Ram (or Sheep or Goat, depending on who you ask!), so allow me to wish you all a year of prosperity, good health, and great times! As most of you know, I am half-Chinese, so Chinese New Year is usually a big deal in my household, but this year my parents are out of the country so I had to make due with my own mini-celebration.

 
And by mini-celebration, I mean that ate some hand-pulled noodles at Lotus Garden with friends. Heeeeee.

Speaking of celebrations, I have another exciting thing to celebrate this week:

I got my BRACES OFF!!!!!!!

 
I’ve had lingual braces for the past year-and-change, which means I had braces behind my top set of teeth. So while you couldn’t actually see them, I DEFINITELY knew they were there. And now they’re gone! Well, replaced with a permanent retainer, so there is still a little something behind my chompers, but nothing nearly as intrusive as those big metal brackets. So here’s to a new year of not getting food stuck in my braces anymore!

In other news, Yelp’s Fit Club is still chugging along, and this week has so far given me the chance to try out an Ayengar yoga class. And tomorrow I toy with fate by attending my very first [solidcore] class, which I hear is supposed to be the most difficult workout of your life. No big deal. And then, as if that weren’t enough, I have another fitness event on Sunday — a bootcamp-style workout at The Worx by Maia. WHEW.

Good thing I’ve been doing P90 for the past six weeks, otherwise I wouldn’t even be in good enough shape to make it through my own fitness classes, hahahaha.

So I guess you can look forward to hearing about all those various different workouts next week… if I survive, that is! And have a great weekend in the meantime, folks!

Baby, It’s COLD Outside

At the time of my writing this post, it is 12 degrees outside.

Oh, but don’t worry, if that doesn’t seem cold enough, with wind chill it actually feels like 4 degrees. That ish be COLD.

Sometimes I think about the fact that I went to high school in Canada, and wonder how I did it. I mean, it gets WAY colder than 4 degrees in Ottawa, and I still managed to make it to school every day without complaining too loudly (and in my school uniform, no less!)

A-hem. Anyway.

Other than complaining incessantly about the bitter cold, I spent my weekend doing what most of you did this weekend as well: celebrating Valentine’s Day!

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The highly accurate Valentine’s Day card I got for Sean.
Sean and I actually celebrated a day early by going out to dinner on the 13th. He surprised me with reservations to one of the restaurants on my personal DC Bucket List: Sushi Taro!

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Sushi lover that I am, Sushi Taro has been at the very tippy top of my to-try list for many moons, so obviously I was thrilled that Sean booked us a table at this hyper-authentic, amazing Japanese restaurant.

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They were offering a special Valentine’s Day kaiseki menu this weekend, which included a heckuva lot of deliciousness, and some adventurousness, too! So, without further adieu, I present to you, my dinner:

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The kaiseki menu kicked off with a champagne cocktail made with plum wine and a yamamomo fruit, and I also ordered an additional cocktail… called the Hello Kitty cocktail. Heh. I mean, c’mon I couldn’t NOT order it!

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The Hello Kitty was made with those little sweet Japanese cultured milk/yogurt drinks you can find in the Asian supermarket, which brought me straight back to my childhood — except in a, y’know, more drunk-y way, It was the most fun color, and was served with a Pocky stick, so obviously I loved it.

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Then came out first appetizer, Sushi Taro’s signature cold sesame tofu, topped with Maryland blue crab. I loved it — the texture was so smooth and creamy, and the blue crab was crazy delicious. I’m not sure Sean was as big a fan of this first dish, but I definitely would order this again, no question.

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Course #2 was a tempura’d lobster cake with bamboo shoots. Light and crispy and tasty and delicious, this went down way too fast.

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Then came what we were really waiting for: the sashimi platter. Holy smokes, was this thing BEAUTIFUL. Their plating and presentation is really unparallelled. It was almost too pretty to eat!

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Almost. Heh.

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The sashimi platter included salmon, mackerel, red snapper, oysters, smoked bonito, and a gorgeous lightly cooked lobster tail, and it was all incredible. The fish melted in my mouth like buttahhhhhh, mmm.

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You’d think that the sushi platter would be the be-all and end-all of reasons to come out to Sushi Taro, but believe it or not, what followed was even more incredible. We were treated to real Japanese Wagyu beef in the form of sukiyaki — Japanese hot pot.

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The presentation on this was tremendous fun as well. You get a large stone holster with burning embers inside, and a pot of sweet and savory (umami!) broth simmering on top. Then you get thin slices of raw Wagyu beef on the side, along with a cold poached egg.

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As for the eating, you put the slices of Wagyu beef into the broth to cook them (they cook SUPER fast) and then break your poached egg and dip the beef into the egg before eating.

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You know, I’ve eaten a lot of cows in my life, but I can honestly say I have never had beef like this before. The incredible marbling that comes with Wagyu makes each bite — even with slices as thin as these! — so amazingly tender and flavorful. It just melted onto my tongue. My mouth is literally filling with saliva just thinking about this course. Guff.

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Anyway, not to be outdone by its meatier counterpart, the next course was just as satisfying for a sushi lover like me. Bring on the nigiri!

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We were each served a piece of king yellowtail, zuke tuna, and aji mackerel, and each was sushi perfection. This course came with a plum salt on the side which I thought was particularly interesting — it was like a ground up version of the salted plums my mom makes me suck on when I have a sore throat.

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Then came a quick palette cleanser of lobster miso soup, which, if I’m being totally honest, didn’t taste that much different from regular miso soup. And it could have been hotter, as well. But this is really the only thing out of the entire meal that didn’t absolutely blow my mindhole.

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And the soup was VERY quickly forgotten anyway, because we had more nigiri coming! Our final sushi course included a piece of fatty tuna, our choice of ikura (salmon roe) or uni (sea urchin), and unagi (freshwater eel). This came with a green tea salt on the side of the dish. Sean and I both opted for uni, but then he pansied out and didn’t want to try try his, so I got TWO pieces of uni! Bwahaha.

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Uni was everything I thought it would be. Honestly, I can’t believe I’d gone so long without every having it! It is all smooth creaminess from start to finish, and was such a memorable way to end the savory portion of our meal.

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Of course, you can’t end an epic meal like this without something sweet, so for our final course we each got a slice of Belgian chocolate mousse cake and some hot tea. It was light and fluffy and the perfect slice of sweetness to cap things off!

So there you go, one seriously epic Valentine’s meal on the books! Sean’s gonna have a hard time topping this next year, that’s for sure! On actual Valentine’s Day we played it low-key with lunch and a movie — we saw Kingsman: The Secret Service and it was great! Not exactly a Valentine’s movie in the traditional sense, hehe, but still a ton of fun. Two thumbs up!

I hope all of you had a great weekend as well, whether you decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, Single Awareness Day, or just, well, Saturday!