My Quest For The Perfect Nude Lipstick

My Quest For The Perfect Nude Lipstick

If you have followed my blog from the beginning, first of all, thank you, and secondly, you are well aware of my quest for the perfect wedding lipstick. I really should document my journey for makeup more thoroughly, but sometimes I get caught up in the quest and forget the picture taking part (which is also totally okay – not everything has to be a blog post).

One of my most sought after beauty products is the nude lipstick, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. Partly, the struggle to find the perfect nude shade, is that we all have a different natural shade, so what is nude for me is not nude for you, which means while we can all gather information or inspiration from our online beauty communities, in the end we all must conduct some beauty experimenting. This, of course, is complicated by the fact that often our our skin tones deepen and lighten along with the changing seasons. I feel like it can be especially tough for me at times, because of my freckles, as well. And while all of this adds to our trials, if you love makeup, then you also realize that sometimes the difficulties are the best part because you always get to keep trying new products, even if you find one you like, because you can never be sure when the brand might stop producing it.

Besides dealing with the complexity of our skin tones, when looking for lipstick you must also decide what kind of “nude” you want. Do you want a nude red, pink, tan, or maybe one with a hint of gray-purple? Plus, you have to consider what kind of finish you want. Do you want a matte, gloss, semi-gloss, or something in-between? There are no easy answers when it comes to lipstick, which is probably why I own so many tubes of nude-ish shades that all are just slight variations from each other.

My go-to shades are still the same as my wedding trials: BareMinerals Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick in Heaven, Urban Decay Vice Sheer Lipstick in Liar, and MAC Lipstick Plum in Soar. These are all creamy or sheer lipsticks, so even the plum is more of a deep nude (it’s the one I ended up wearing in my wedding and I’m so glad I did because it looked perfect in the pictures). My favorite matte shade is Tarte’s Birthday Suit in their Creamy Matte Lip Paint (I’ve also covered this lip shade before in a previous post). I’ll be honest, I love the look of matte lipsticks, but I wear them rarely because of the drying effect on my lips. I probably own another three shades of true matte nudes, but I wouldn’t ever call them my favorites because of how drying they can be. However, Tarte’s line of Creamy Matte Lip Paint isn’t drying at all. I’m dependent on this line for my matte looks.

As you can see, my quest for the perfect “nude” lip is well documented, and I have found plenty of great products that I still wear today, but true to my word, I also continually look for new products. And over the weekend, I think I found another nude favorite to add to my shelf – the Josie Maran Argan Lip Sting Plumping Butter in Honey. I ordered it as a sample, it came over the weekend, where I tested it out, and I was pleasantly surprised.

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Let’s first talk about the whole “Lip Sting Plumping” thing. It worked for me. It definitely stung and it even plumped. Of course, with any lipstick, this is an effect that wears off. If you want the plumped look continually – you’ll need to reapply this often (or get fillers). While plumper lips were a nice bonus, that’s not why I was interested in this product. It was actually for the color, and I was happily surprised. It looked soo good on that even my husband complimented me, and he had no idea I was trying a new lipstick shade.

Also, I should mention that I already love a lot of products from Josie Maran’s line, and the fact that the line falls under “clean beauty” is a huge plus for me. Honestly, I usually stay away from lip plumping products because I’m afraid I’ll have another allergic reaction and have to be rushed to the emergency room – one lipstick related allergic reaction is enough to last a lifetime if you ask me. I was willing to try this line knowing that Josie Maran products fall into the clean beauty category.

Sephora’s website says the active ingredients are “100 Percent Pure Argan Oil, Volulip™ (a natural peptide and plant extract), Manuka Honey, Moringa Butter, and Konjac Root Ultra-filling spheres. These ingredients do a variety of things, and cover everything from soothing and smoothing to plumping and improving elasticity. While I personally did not find this lip butter especially hydrating, I also didn’t find it especially drying. The product is something I can use regularly, it’s a pretty “nude” color, and it does what it says it does. Overall, I think it’s a win. Plus if you like the way things look (like I do), even the casing looks super pretty.

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Chrissy Teigen Changed The Way I Think About Cooking

Chrissy Teigen Changed The Way I Think About Cooking

I grew up in a big family, and it definitely influenced the way I view food and cooking. If you grew up in a big family too, you probably know what I’m talking about. Cooking often felt like a chore. After a busy day at work, and then out on the farm, my family would come crashing into the house hungry, and my mom made a homemade meal almost every night. Even writing that sentence exhausts me.

There were definitely times where I was asked to help out and make supper for my mom. And honestly, it wasn’t something I enjoyed. It was tiring and just another thing on a long list of things to do. I can’t even imagine how my mom felt.

Now as an adult living on my own, I always have to cook for myself. For awhile, I found myself dreading cooking constantly. Then, I realized that this was an unhealthy way to look at something I would have to do for the rest of my life and so I sought out ways to make the experience of cooking more enjoyable for myself.

One of the first ways I did that was buying Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, Cravings. I love Chrissy so I knew buying her cookbook was a no-brainer. And actually it surprised me by make me fall more deeply in love with cooking than I even knew possible. Part of it was reading how Chrissy felt about cooking. She talked about it being an enjoyable activity. At first I laughed and brushed it off, thinking, “Of course, we can’t relate – she’s a model.” But I knew that models were real people too with busy lives full of important obligations. So I dug deeper.

As I made my way through Chrissy’s cookbook, I tried emulating her – not rushing the process or getting frustrated by passing time. Instead, I enjoyed what I was doing and I committed myself to the meal I was preparing. And guys, it worked. I actually started cooking more. It goes without saying, that all the meals in the cookbook were stunning as well. So much so, that I bought Chrissy’s second cookbook when it came out, and I’m equally obsessed with that one.

Maybe what I appreciate the most about Chrissy’s cookbooks and words on cooking is this: she gave me a love for the cooking experiences I had growing up. Honestly, my mom is one of my favorite people on earth. She has done so much for me and she is a crazy hard worker. Many of our experiences together have involved cooking, and now I’m so glad I get to treasure all of those even more deeply since I have a new fondness of cooking. Now, I don’t just get to look back on cooking as times spent with my mom, which is still meaningful, but I get to take it a step further and appreciate the cooking that my mom taught me so much through. It gives me a deeper appreciation and understanding of our relationship.

So in celebration of Chrissy Teigen, her cooking, and my new appreciation for all that cooking brings, I’m going to show you my go-to Cravings recipe:

Chrissy Teigen’s Mexican Street Corn

3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ears of corn, husked and halved

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cayenne pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 lime, cut into 8 wedge

Directions:

  1. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. On a plate, combine the Parm, cotija and black pepper.
  2. Use a brush to coat the pieces of corn with oil, or get them greasy with your hands. Season with the salt and lay as many pieces as will fit comfortably in the skillet. Cook, turning every 2 minutes, until some bits are blackened and the corn is cooked, about 8 minutes total.
  3. Working quickly, brush each piece with a thin layer of mayonnaise, then roll the corn in the cheese mixture and sprinkle with cayenne to taste. Put all the cheesy corn on a platter, garnish with the cilantro, and serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

 

That’s it! It’s so simple and so good. I’m honestly obsessed with it, and everyone I’ve ever made it for immediately wants the recipe. Then they make it all the time too. This includes my parents who love sweet corn in its simplest form. But they like this even better! It’s the best. Honestly. And so is basically every other recipe in the cookbook. It’s by far the best cookbook purchase I’ve ever made.

Ok, so I think you get it now. I love Chrissy Teigen. I love her cookbook. I love my mom. And because of all these things, I’ve learned to love cooking.

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We’re Jumping Into March Around Here

We’re Jumping Into March Around Here

Wow, sorry I ducked out for a few months there. I was really embracing the whole “new year, new me” thing. But it’s not so much about being new – it’s more about being the truest version of myself. And wow, that’s difficult, because guess what? I’m kind of a people pleaser. I really didn’t realize that about myself until recently, because I’m not someone who spends a lot of time worrying about what others think of me.

It wasn’t until I took the Enneagram quiz and found out I was a type 3 with a 2 wing. When I read up about my “type” nothing was shocking (In fact, I felt very grounded in everything I read like, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely me,” but what really stuck with me was the part that said in type 3s’ eyes, sometimes achieving (type 3s are often competitive and value being successful and achieving things) means succeeding at whatever their loved ones’ deem valuable, not what we deem valuable. And honestly, I think that’s been me for most of my life.

The great thing though, is that I do know a lot of things that I love, and now I’m just being sure to more actively pursue those things. I’m lucky that I have a lot of love and support in my life so it’s actually pretty exciting going forward. For instance, I love writing, and I’m going to keep doing just that right here. The crazy thing is that for the last few months I’ve been taking tons of pictures of everything around me for all these blog posts I was mentally planning. They just never made it out of my phone and head and onto an an electronic piece of paper (aka this post). I’m finally getting there so hang in there with me while I get myself caught up, and then let’s hope I can commit to some regularity going forward in 2019!

Another thing I’ve been exploring more? My love of flowers. About a year and a half ago, I started an instagram account for my love of flowers @rosemaryandribbon. I attended a few floral workshops and over the summer I used flowers from my own garden to practice even more. In January, I had the opportunity to have my floral designs in a couple of styled shoots.

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I made that bouquet. Ugh, it’s so pretty, it still gets to me. I’m willing to make flowers for you too! Just reach out to me via dm (on Instagram) or email (via my website). I’m really proud of my progress and I’m extra excited for my garden this summer (also, can’t wait for the spring weather to get here).

Also, I’m still working on my hydration. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably heard me reference how I’m noticeably bad at staying hydrated while at work – to the point where a student commented on it. Well, for Christmas, Eric got me the water bottle of my dreams.

This is my bkr water bottle and I love it (it comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures!). It’s what my dream water bottle looks like. It’s glass, which means no weird plastic or metal taste in the water, and I can attach my lip balm on top, which if you know me, you know I have a penchant for skin care. In fact, I actually fell in love with bkr’s lip balm before I even knew they made water bottles.

See, Eric is perfect and in being perfect knows how to give me perfect gifts. For my birthday last year he got me a subscription to Allure’s beauty box (I’ve tried other similar boxes in the past and so far this has been my favorite). One month, bkr lip balm was included as a sample and it got me hooked. So when I used my sample gone, I went online to look for more, and that’s when I discovered that bkr makes water bottles and they can hold the lip balm bkr makes. When I showed Eric in excitement, he downplayed it and sneakily purchased it as a Christmas gift. And the best part is that it has helped me be better about keeping hydrated (both my body and my skin!).

Now students don’t comment on how little water I drink! Instead they comment on how cool my water bottle is!

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December’s Beauty Round Up

December’s Beauty Round Up

December is a busy month for pretty much everyone. In between shopping for presents and staying on top of work, you have to squeeze in the holiday parties, cookie making, card sending (My family card picture is below), and more.

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It’s easy to let our self-care fall aside during this time, and while this can manifest itself in many ways, for me, it usually looks like letting the little things fall to the side. I suddenly forget to take my vitamins, and it’s harder to wash my face at night, when I’m already tired because it’s dark at 6pm. What drives me crazy is that I know better. I know taking care of myself is even more important in the winter months, even when it comes to your skin. So this December, while I concentrated on drinking water and remembering to take my vitamins, I also focused my efforts on pampering my skin, keeping it healthy and hydrated.

If there’s one thing I need to learn more about (there are a lot of things) it’s oils. But this December I got the chance to try one when I received an order full of family Christmas gifts from Sephora. With the order, I received a Youth to the People Maqui and Açaí Prickly Pear Gigi Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil sample. Youth to the People’s website claims that the oil’s ingredients help fight free radicals, revive dull skin, hydrate, and soften lines.

I tried it and I did end up loving it. It did make my skin feel more hydrated than usual, and every time I use it I definitely notice my skin looking a little brighter immediately after application. Will I buy it once my sample runs out? Maybe, but I’ll probably want to try some other brightening oils first to see which one I like best (this one will be some pretty tough competition).

My brightening run didn’t end with oil. I also used a brightening face mask in December.

I got the Lapcos Pearl mask from my Allure Beauty Box during its partnership with Anthropologie. Lapcos, a Korean beauty brand, has many different sheet masks in its metallic collection. The Pearl mask is said to brighten skin and revitalize dark spots. Once again, I did see immediately changes after using the mask, and I love when my face glows so I was pretty happy with this mask. Also, Korean beauty is really big right now so it was fun to get to try the brand.

Finally, my last product to round out this roundup is the Patchology FlashPatch Eye Gels.

My eyes are the bane of my skincare routine. For some reason, I didn’t start using masks specifically for my eyes until about a year ago. Now I’m eager to experiment with any eye mask I can get my hands on. This one did not disappoint. I’m obsessed. This is a product I’m planning on purchasing in the near future. It felt so nice on my eyes, calming and cooling. Also, I love how the little mask gels are a bit sparkly (not the gel that gets on you, just the mask). These eye gels are supposed to revitalize eyes hours after they are removed. They have caffeine to get rid of puffiness and the rest of the ingredients help moisturize the eye area, encourage collagen production, and brighten the eye area. All-in-all, I love them. You might even be able to call them my current obsession.

Ok, well that’s my current beauty round up for December, the products that are keeping me refreshed and moisturized. Do you have any winter go-to’s? If so, let me know! I’m always looking for new products to try.

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Let’s talk about skin safety (because yes it matters in winter too)

Let’s talk about skin safety (because yes it matters in winter too)

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit my sister this Thanksgiving. I’m lucky that I got the chance while she is living in the Caribbean. Yes, I escaped the cold of the Midwest for a whole week, and don’t worry, I have plenty of cute vacation photos to show you. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen enough already, but thank you for persisting.

 

While I was visiting my sister, I had a lot more exposure to the sun than I did back at home in the Midwest. In fact it was more sun than what I had been getting in months, and while I was very happy about it, I really had to be careful with my skin. My husband and I doused ourselves in drugstore sunscreen daily, using brands that I had grown up using and trusted. I don’t know if it was my skin’s inability to adapt to the quick increase in SPF, some failure on my part to apply correctly, or something different altogether, but this sunscreen wasn’t cutting it, and I was frustrated.

My sister pointed me toward the pharmacy, where her friend had found European brands. Years of obsessively protecting my skin had taught me that European brands contain ingredients that haven’t been approved in the US but are great at protecting us from UV rays. I was elated at this news from my sister and I ended up basically running down to the pharmacy to get my hands on those better ingredients.

Sure enough, the brand I purchased, Vichy (you can also get it in the US, but it won’t have those good ingredients), worked perfectly, absorbing quickly into my skin, smelling pleasantly, and most importantly, keeping my safe from the sun. After my new sunscreen purchase, the rest of our trip went smoothly, and honestly, I was excited to get to spend time with my sister.

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But why does this matter now? Because you should wear sunscreen year round, and not enough people realize this (yes, people who live in the Midwest with me, you need sunscreen year round). I am now a passionate believer in the importance of sunscreen, but I didn’t always feel this way.

If I’m being honest (and I am!), I hated sunscreen growing up. I disliked the smell, I disliked the oily feel, and I disliked the inconvenience of constantly needing to reapply. Obviously this is a toxic combination for this blonde-haired, freckled lady (especially since I basically spent my entire childhood outdoors playing softball).

Eventually, as I got older, I mostly got over my dislike of the smell and the oiliness. I think at some point my vanity (goodbye unnecessary wrinkles) outweighed my dislike of those things, and I sucked it up and started wearing sunscreen regularly. I’ll tell my mom it’s because I matured, but really it’s because I didn’t want to badly sun damage my body because I care too much about how I look. But who’s to say? Maybe that is it’s own kind of maturity.

Around the same time that I got over my repulsion toward sunscreen, I found out that really I should be wearing it every day. Young adult Anna couldn’t understand how to regularly wear sunscreen and reapply it with her makeup, and even though I probably only wore makeup about once a week, I used that as my excuse as to why I couldn’t wear it all the time. Then, I started buying the foundation that had SPF in it and I acted like that was sufficient, even though I knew that SPF needed reapplied regularly and I had read many articles explaining that the SPF found in makeup usually doesn’t cover what you need anyway.

Sometime during my college years, I finally held myself accountable and thought about why I was refusing to wear sunscreen like I knew I should be, and I realized it was because my skin usually reacted terribly with the normal drugstore brands that I used every summer on the softball diamonds. I knew there was no way that was what all the beauty experts were using on their faces, and I knew my reasoning for not wearing sunscreen was logical, but there was also a logical solution. At this point, I began my research. It didn’t take long for me to discover that sunscreens existed that didn’t smell terrible or leave your skin oily and gross feeling. In fact, there were sunscreens that were formulated just for your face and even meant to be reapplied over your makeup.

Let me tell you, this was a game changer for me. I used a gift card to a beauty store and I purchased my first for-face sunscreen. It was pricey, but I soon found out it was worth it. I now own multiple bottles of beauty expert approved sunscreen and I love them and I wear them year round just like all those beauty articles I read so long ago told me too.

Don’t worry, though, I still have work to do. I’m still working on my reapplying game, and if that’s something you’ve mastered, please tell me your secrets!

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Fall Things

Fall Things

I love summer and I’m always sad to see it go, but when fall arrives, I’m reminded just how much of a fall person I am. It’s like I finally come alive again. Whenever October rolls around, I’m reminded of the Anne of Green Gables quote: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” And it’s true. It’s a month where you can truly feel the earth change, and we’re caught in this limbo between the growing season and the season of rest. We get pumpkins and apples and sweaters and jackets and booties. And we get moody lighting.

Things that are less fun about the coming season: coldness, allergies, colds and other illnesses, loss of sunlight, and dry skin. But we’re not going to focus on those things – unless we’re focusing on them to solely combat them.

So what am I looking forward to this coming season? Well, cooking out of Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook Cravings 2. My husband got it for me as a sweet surprise gift, and I haven’t had time to cook out of it yet, but I have already poured over every page. Simply put, I’m dying to delve in.

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Also, her new Target collection of cookware? I can’t wait to acquire some it. Chrissy’s color scheme already fits the colors of my kitchen and my aesthetic taste in general.

On another note, if you remember my ChloSoup blueberry pie earrings from earlier this year, you’ll want to know that I got a fall update. That’s right, I got myself a pair of pumpkin pie earrings from ChloSoup and they don’t disappoint. I’ve already worn them so much and I’ve received a ton of compliments.

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But, I mean, how could you not compliment them? They’re adorable. The creator of the brand has tons of adorable products and just released a Halloween line, along with some general fall and Thanksgiving products.

What am I on the lookout for? Eye products. Guys, my eyes are killing me they’re so puffy and wrinkly, and I’m glad I have big eyes, but I need to be able to smile without losing my eyes in pools of skin, which is what I feel like is happening now. I’m sure my allergies don’t help, and I’m sure hydrating will also help. But if you have any tips, tricks, or products that you love and recommend please let me know. I will be indebted to you forever if I can smile big again.

Finally, I want to leave you with something that I am extremely thankful for right now: dahlias. It’s getting cold and blustery, but guess what, my husband picked these pretty things out of my garden just the other day. I’m thankful for God creating things that grow in periods of cold and darkness, a reminder that we too can grow in difficult periods.

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Oh, and one final, final thing – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting a baby?! I’m so extremely excited and happy for them, and I just want Meghan to have a safe and joyful pregnancy. Congrats to those two love birds.

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The Time I Caught My Hair On Fire (Making Cards)

The Time I Caught My Hair On Fire (Making Cards)

Wow, it’s already September. No, it’s already the end of September. I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone. Back in August, a Windows update crashed my computer. Eric and I took it to a professional to restore, but the guy couldn’t save any of my word files. I’m devastated to say the least. And no, I didn’t have them backed up. And yes, I’ve learned my lesson and will back things up from now on.

Regardless of what I’ve learned, this experience hurts. Years of writing have disappeared and this is a hard experience. What I’ve realized, though, is that life is full of hard experiences, and usually not not only does God allow me to learn through these experiences, but also He allows to find humor in them. I know it’ll be awhile until I can find something to laugh about through this experience, but until then, I’m going to share another experience that I learned to laugh about.

This story takes place in February of this year, just a handful of months ago. I decided that I really wanted to take the time to hand make and mail Galentine’s Day cards to all the ladies closest to me. Maintaining strong friendships in adulthood requires intentionality, and this is one thing I wanted to be thoughtful and intentional about.

February was also a rough month for me in general. I was fighting off a sinus infection that I had acquired in January, which had sent me to an urgent care one night and just wouldn’t seem to go away. I was also trying to find a balance between my personal life and my professional life (there are always more papers to grade). I felt like I never could get the things done that I most wanted to accomplish. This led to me staying up late one night, desperately trying to finish the cards in time to get them in the mail so they would arrive on Galentine’s Day.

My husband had fallen asleep on the couch. All of the cards were finished and dried. The envelopes were addressed and stamped. All I had left to do was to put the cards in the envelopes and seal them with a red wax stamp.

I practiced with the wax stamps before, but I was excited because this was the first time I had a real reason to use it. After finishing stuffing the cards into their rightful envelopes, I lit the wick in the wax. One at a time, I balanced the stick of wax over each envelope until a spattering of wax drops formed a nice circle. Then, I would press the stamp firmly into the hot wax, waiting a few moments for the wax to cool and take its shape as a seal.

The cards looked beautiful. I was proud of my effort and staying up late paid off. After I finished the last seal on the last card, I sat up and looked at my short wax stick. It was in my hand the whole time, but I only noticed now that the flame had overtaken the wick and had now started the actual wax on fire too.

Calmly, I attempted to gently blow out the flaming wax stick. But my gentle blow didn’t work and now a small panic was setting in. So I tried to keep it together and reasoned that I just needed to blow harder (I felt very much like the big bad wolf hunting down the three little pigs). This time, my attempt did in fact put out the fire on the wax stick, but it also sent little piles of flaming wax straight into my hair. I’m lucky that it was just the front band area of my hair. I’m lucky that the wax didn’t fly into our carpet or our curtains.

At this point,with my hair on fire, I needed to make a decision and make it quickly. First, I tried calling for my husband, but my panicked screams didn’t wake him. It’s probably good that he didn’t wake up. Can you imagine waking up to your significant other’s hair on fire?

Next, I thought about making a run for the kitchen or bathroom, where I could use a towel to pat out the fire or stick my head under the sink. However, I decided not to, afraid that moving would give the fire access to more oxygen, allowing it to grow bigger.

Now, as the smell of burnt hair filled the air, I only had one option left. I pulled sleeves of my sweatshirt down over my hands and started patting my head vigorously. Before long, I could no longer feel any heat. I got up and checked the damage in the mirror. I couldn’t tell where it had happened. My hair didn’t look any differently, but it did smell terribly. I washed my hair in the sink, managing to get most of the smell out.

Finally, I woke my husband. I told him what happened. His groggy eyes filled with shock. “Are you ok?” he asked. I was fine and I told him I was, but it was scary for a little while. The whole thing probably took seconds but it felt like half an hour. I apologized for the smell. Eric apologized for not waking up to my yells. No one was mad. We were both just glad that everyone was safe, it was over and we could both go to sleep.

That night it was scary, but even by the next morning I was starting to see the humor in the situation. Now, months later, I see it as pure comedy. I mean, I can literally picture Mindy Kaling doing the same thing in a movie scene. I’m thankful that I’ve been given the ability to find the humor in almost every situation, and now I’m just waiting to find it in the crashing of my computer.

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