Bullet Journal Check In: May 2019 - New Book Needed

My current Bullet Journal has lasted quite a few months - November 2018 to May 2019. But now our time together is coming to an end. This current journal will only last until the end of the month. I loved this last journal bc it was thrifted, reused and pretty darn cute. For my next book, I have no idea what I’ll get. Ideally, I’d love to find a used book again, but I’m in a little bit of a time crunch.

Here are a few books I might like to try:

The last few books I’ve gotten were grid books and I really like to bullet journal with grids. But I’m ready to try a dot notebook again. All three of the above are interesting choices.

Do you have a go to notebook?

Last Seen Wearing

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I’m happily working my way thru all the Inspector Morse series. Last Seen Wearing, An Inspector Morse Novel by Colin Dexter is book two. This was also read by Kevin Whately, who played the character Sargent Lewis in the BBC version.

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Cantancerous Morse would rather not deal with the living. Only the dead and the reason for their deaths make sense to him. So when he land the cold case of a missing girl, he’s less than pleased. But maybe she’s not missing, maybe it’s murder after all?

Morse might be one of the best cops on the beat, but he also needs his sargent to bounce ideas off of. Once he meets Sargent Lewis, he finds his foil. Lewis has seen a lot of Morse’s crazy ideas. Lewis is straight forward, diligent, and pretty unimaginative. He doesn’t understand Morse’s methods, but Morse gets results. In this case, Lewis and Morse couldn’t be more at odds, holding opposing ideas the entire time.
All great detectives are flawed and Morse may be more so than most. He drinks too much, he lusts too much, he jumps to conclusions. He thinks very highly of himself and very little of everyone else. But he sees balance in Lewis. If only Lewis would loosen up!
I’ve really been enjoying these novels! I would recommend this book and this book series for those who like British novels, complex lead characters, or small town murder mysteries.

Do you have a favorite detective series?

Mad Cat Capsule | Spring 2019 (April, May, June)

Spring of 2019 sees the two year mark of my capsule wardrobes. Two full years of culling my clothes, dividing them into more manageable capsules, grouped by season. Two years of trying not to buy fast fashion and close to that of buying barely any new clothes at all. two years of being aware of the impact fast fashion has on our environment and economy. Two years of choosing to still buy certain things knowing they are fast fashion (the shoes that are most comfortable to me for instance) but also seeking out alternatives. Two years of getting back into thrifting, and enjoying the challenge of finding what I need that way, two years of researching sustainable fashion.

I feel like I have used the same method for picking my capsules more or less the entire time I’ve made them. I take all my clothes out, go thru them, put anything and everything I might want into a pile. I then cull that pile down to around 40 to 50 items.

Over the last few seasons I tracked how often I wore each item over the 3 month. It wasn’t many time for each piece. This got me thinking about how I can better utilize my capsule. I’ve forgone going thru all my clothes this time and used my last capsule and a few key pieces I picked up to start a more fluid Spring Capsule.

I waited to create this post to see if this spring would eventually be a complete capsule. So far that hasn’t happened. I’m only sharing what I’ve worn until now. I’m planning on making this capsule more like a long trial for my Summer Capsule.

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I didn’t choose a color scheme, an inspiration item, or have any clear plan for the clothing I pulled for this capsule. But I like how the colors do come together and combine to make it a coherent capsule.

Looks like now, I’m at around 35 pieces. At least 30 of those are slow fashion. This doesn’t count shoes. I’m still picking pieces and adding them, and I’ve been taking items I don’t use away as well. I don’t have an exact goal with this capsule experiment, except the larger goal of always moving towards a more sustainable, more useful wardrobe.

What methods and experiments have you tried with your capsule wardrobe?

2019 Goals | April Recap and May Goals

Goals are funny things. Sometimes they make you feel great, sometimes they make you frustrated and sad. Goals and what the results are when we meet them have the power that we give them. The goals I set here are for myself, to improve my life and my state of mind. Sometimes they are about work, life, or more creative endeavors. But not achieving them in the time frame I’ve put out for myself shouldn’t mean I feel bad or like I’m failing. How do we meet our goals, or not meet them, and feel good about the progress we’ve made, no matter what?

Here are some goals I set for April:

Make and post 1 youtube video
I’ve made several in the past, but tis is really something I want to get into and incorporate into my creative life.
I can’t quite seem to make this goal a reality. I wonder what is holding me back or if it’s just that the right focus hasn’t been placed on it.

Plan our next 2 trips
I want to make sure to get away a little in April and May before the Summer season really sets in.
We have talked a lot about this but not actually done it yet. Let’s roll it over.

Get out into the yard 3-4 times
There’s a lot of yard work and garden work to do and we are running up against the planting clock.
I was able to get out in the yard and, as a bonus, in the community garden in April. We haven’t done much planting yet. I want to modify this goal to keep me getting outside and in the yard.

Get back to blogging 4-5 times per week
Gotta get back in the habit!
This was a big N O for April, let’s try it again for May.

Better health 15 days of the month
I want have some breadless days, some vegan days, some exercise and stretching days, etc…. Overall be more mindful of my body and health. (I’ve eaten totally vegan 1 day of the month so far!)
Yeep, shall we try again?

Move my 50+ plants
Rolling this goal over, too.
This was the one goal that I totally finished this month. I like to do this every few months so that my plants continue to be healthy and happy. Next move will prob see many of them go outside!

Inbox to 500 and maintain
Another goal from last month. I’m ready to get back on track with this in April.
Why is this last 500 emails so hard? Anyone have any tips for this?

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OK, here are some goals for May:

Make and post 1 youtube video
Let’s try this one again. What are some videos you would like to see?

Plan our next 2 trips
I want to get this done this month so we can take the time off we will need to.

Plant 6 or more garden beds.
Now that the weather is nicer, getting out in the yard and garden shouldn’t be too hard. I want to make sure we have our beds planted, so that’s the new goal.

Better health 15 days of the month
Ok, getting out into nature will help, eating better will help, morning walks will help, stretching and exercising will help. Now I’ve got to actually do those things.

Inbox to 1000 and and decrease
My inbox has crept back up to well over 1000. I even had to buy more storage, so this task should be easier.

Blog as many times as I can for the month.
I want to eventually have a steady 5 days per week blog schedule, but posting as many as I can will help me settle in.

I feel like I could add a bunch more goals, like getting a new car, trying to find a therapist, or loosing 10 lbs, but I’m going to cap them there.

What are your goals for May?

6 Months of Zero Waste: March Switch Review

If you’re looking to reduce your waste or your plastic consumption, you might already know that giving up plastic bags is an easy first step.

Whether a this is a first step or a fiftieth, giving up plastic bags just make sense. Every time we go to the grocery, big box store, etc… we are given a plastic bag out of hand. When we pick up some rolls at the grocery, some lemons, or a head of lettuce, etc… we put them in or they come in a plastic bag. The best solution for this is to simply bring your own reusable bags, made from mesh, clothe, recycled materials, and old tee shirt, whatever!

If remembering to bring a reusable bag is still a hard step for you, consider switching to paper.

Granted, this is a lateral move, bc it’s still creating waste, but asking for paper is a good way to be mindful of your plastic intake. In stead of taking a plastic bag for your self serve rolls, cookies, or produce look around the grocery for a paper bag, or ask at the check out for a small paper bag. A lot of times these live by the bakery section.

Many groceries now have a bulk section which usually have a plastic bag to store your items in. You can use a paper bag! Ideally, you’ll graduate to bringing a cloth bag or reusable jar for this, but for now using paper is a great first step!

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By choosing paper over plastic at every opportunity in the grocery, your reducing your plastic waste but you can also reuse the paper bags in many ways! We get our groceries in paper and then use those bags for all our trash and recycling. In our area, we can’t put our recycling out in plastic bags, by putting it in paper, it allows us to store it and toss it, with out unnecessary plastic. You can reuse your paper bags by returning them to the store and using them again, you can pack your lunch on them, use them to donate clothes to the thrift, use them for book covers or wrapping paper, shelf liners, or litter box liners. When your bags are too crinkled to reuse, toss them in your compost pile and they will turn into soil for your garden.

A few tips for switching to paper:
Go for brown bags - they aren’t bleached and therefore better to eventually compost or dispose of.
Don’t use bags if you don’t have to - If you can go with out a bag, that’s ever better than switching to paper! Potatoes, apples, and other veggies or larger items that come in their own containers don’t need to be in a bag at all.
Make sure to reuse your paper bags - An issue with switching to paper is that your house can be overwhelmed with paper bags. Using them to hold trash, or in any number of ways, make sure that they aren’t cluttering up your home.
Try to bring them back to the store when you can - Remembering to put your used paper bags in the car or in your purse/backpack to bring back to the grocery is a good way to get the hang of bringing your own bag.

At Mad Cat Quilts, we’re still catching up with our 6 month of Zero Waste Challenge. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
We went thru what we have to declutter and reduce.
March - Switch to Paper
April - Compost
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

How are you doing with your 6 month of zero waste? Are you following along or are you challenging your self in other ways?

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6 Months of Zero Waste: February Declutter Review

In January I posted about 6 ways to reduce you waste, or become closer to the Zero Waste lifestyle. Here is a little refresher of something to do each month leading up to Plastic Free July:

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
March - Switch to Paper
April - Compost
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

How have you you been doing so far? I’ve gotten behind in reviewing and documenting each month, so hopefully you’ve been following along on your own. If not, no worries, it’s never too late to jump on and start! If you need the push to get started here is the February Review:

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In February we declutter.
That could be a motto for America this year, right? With Marie Kondo’s method for clean living being on the top of everyones to watch list, this was an easy month to get your self and your stuff sorted. Whether you use her life changing magic, or you just had some good old fashion cleaning sessions, decluttering and minimizing is a great step towards Zero Waste. Like the trash audit, it allows us to see what we are using and what we are wasting. Once we have established that, it’s easier to see where we can reduce in out day to day.

Personally, I didn’t get a lot decluttered in Feb, but I have been trying to declutter as I go, day to day. I know that I still need to take a full day for each area that needs to be reassessed.

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What’s great about this challange, is it’s ok to go at your own speed. Starting to think about waht your wasting, cstarting to be aware of waste that’s created day to day is the biggest piece of the puzzle. Changing your midset to think like a zero waster is the hardest part of being sero waste, but it’s also the biggest step, so once you’ve made that mindset shift, you’ve already come a long way!

How did your declutter go?

Made From Scratch + Giveaway

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasure of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich after I found her blog, Cold Antler Farm.

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Last year, I went thru a rash of buying books I was interested in on Amazon. I am very torn over this practice. On the whole, I think amazon is a bad thing, but it does make it easy to find many things easily and quickly. I really appreciate that it’s easy to find used books from smaller sellers. This was a book I bought used off of amazon, it’s taken me forever to finish it.

The first of several books from urban farmer, Jenna Woginrich, Made from Scratch follows Jenna while starting her own homestead. With high hopes, and great expectations, she sets out on a unique journey that often is less exciting and more difficult than she imagined. Ultimately she finds a fulfilling life, handmade.

Although this book was informative and interesting, it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t love Woginrich’s voice in this book, part know it all, brash and unapologetic, part entitled, part humbled by experience (but to a much lesser degree). I understand that there will be trials and errors in farming of any kind, but she kills an entire hive of bees, a rabbit and creates other waste with very few pauses to reflect on this aspect of homesteading. It does make sense with the gung-ho attitude in which she dove into this new lifestyle, that her memoir of it is gung-ho as well. Unfortunately, this just did not resinate with me. That being said, there were aspects of this book that I did enjoy! I love and connect with her idea of seeking out used equipment, and household items, that she places great importance on music, handmade food and clothing, solitude and being unafraid and unashamed to try new things, even if you might fail. I recommend it to those who are interested in homesteading, thrifting, and simple living.

Now for something a little different: A giveaway! I didn’t love this book, but one of my readers might!
Since I’m not interested in keeping it in my collection I want to pass it on to one of my readers, coffee rings and all. Head over to my instagram, to the post with Made From Scratch, follow me there, and leave a comment telling me what you’d name your farm/homestead to be entered to win this book.

The giveaway will be open only to those living in the United States and runs Thursday 4/11 to Thursday 4/18 and a winner will be chosen on Friday 4/19. I chose these dates to align with the full moon for this month! Good luck!

2019 Goals | March Recap and April Goals

I had a lot of high hopes for March but not a lot of success. This month was kind of a wash for me. Work was extremely busy and my energy for everything was pretty bottomed out. Not a lot got done in life or work other than the bare minimum. Let’s take a look at my March goals:

Schedule 1 life admin day
I have to schedule this in, and not let anything bump it off the schedule. I have to write a list of everything needs to get done for this day.
I was able to schedule and stick to getting one life admin day done. I really enjoyed it and it felt good to get some annoying tasks done that I have been putting off forever. I definitely want to make a monlthy life admin day part of my monthly routine.

Plan my next 2 trips
Getting away a lot in February was great! I have a feeling March won’t see a lot of travel, but planing some trips that I want to take will be a good compromise.

We certainly didn’t get to take any trips in march, but we also didn’t get to plan out any new trips, either.

Morning walk 3 days a week
I’m gonna keep trying with this goal.

I didn’t quite make this goal, but I did well enough and had it in my head enogh that I think it’s time to move it over to be a daily/weekly/monthly routine.

Get out into the yard 3-4 times
Every year I want to improve our yard, porch, flower beds, etc… and every year I start too late. This year, on nice days, I want to get a head start.

Writing this on the 30th, I doubt this goal will get done but you never know.

Blog 4 times per week
I want to get back in the swing of this after slacking in Feb.

OMG, I fell down on this goal so hard. This is why I haven’t been able to make this a routine. My blogging is still so up and down.

Move my 50+ plants
Every few months, I like to give my plants a little extra care. I like to repot, dust, top up soil, aerate, and move around all my plants. There are a lot of them so this takes some time.

I had no motivation for this so I’m pushing it to April.

Inbox to 500 and maintain
I did good to get rid of the bulk of emails, now it’s about maintaining organization and not letting it get too out of control.

OOooff, after making so much progress on this in past months, I wasn’t able to maintain this at all this month. My inbox is creeping up again!

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Make and post 1 youtube video
I’ve made several in the past, but tis is really something I want to get into and incorporate into my creative life.

Plan our next 2 trips
I want to make sure to get away a little in April and May before the Summer season really sets in.

Get out into the yard 3-4 times
There’s a lot of yard work and garden work to do and we are running up against the planting clock.

Get back to blogging 4-5 times per week
Gotta get back in the habit!

Better health 15 days of the month
I want have some breadless days, some vegan days, some exercise and stretching days, etc…. Overall be more mindful of my body and health. (I’ve eaten totally vegan 1 day of the month so far!)

Move my 50+ plants
Rolling this goal over, too.

Inbox to 500 and maintain
Another goal from last month. I’m ready to get back on track with this in April.

I have set the same number of goals this month as last, but it feels like less to me somehow.

What goals have you set for April?

March Plant Update

I had high hopes that I would be out and about for most of March, but the weather was still cold and I was still in hibernation mode. I did get out some and we were able to check out some local plants in March.

Still brown, but this day spring was in the air.

Still brown, but this day spring was in the air.

There was a theme this month.

There was a theme this month.

totally happy to see these babes sprouting out.

totally happy to see these babes sprouting out.

And fully popped!

And fully popped!

Another.

Another.

What are these? I wish my whole yard was covered in them!

What are these? I wish my whole yard was covered in them!

These strawbs are ready for spring.

These strawbs are ready for spring.

So is our grandma rose.

So is our grandma rose.

And these magnolias. They’ve been trying since January.

And these magnolias. They’ve been trying since January.

Current state of our front bed.

Current state of our front bed.

What do the plants look like where you live?
Was March a good month for your plant observations?
What were you most excited to take note of this month?

March Life Admin Day and GYST List

I’ve mentioned it before but I first found out about Life Admin Days friom MuchelleB on YouTube. This is a day that you schedule where you sit down and get stuff done. It’s a day or part of a day to get those nagging tasks that you keep putting off out of your way. Things that have been on your “to do” list but keep getting put off for another time. Action items that require you to do something you really dislike, like for me, talk on the phone. Your life admin day is a time to knock off as many as these tasks as you can in a set amount of time.

A Lot of people and productivity gurus are now also calling this a GYST Day (get your sh*t together). One of the keys to these methods is to schedule in this time and treat it as work, or any other event you have bc it’s easy to constantly push annoying life tasks aside.

I tried to have a Life Admin Day in February but I kept pushing it back and back! Defeats the whole point, right? This month, I decided to do it early in the month to make sure I got it done. I scheduled the time I wanted to take and put it in my bullet journal as an appointment or task just like I would if I were going to work or writing a blog post.

Here was my list for things to get done:
call for car appointment
pay bills
sort out eye doc bill
sort out urgent care bill
sign up for ez pass
start seed/garden list
clean cat boxes
water plants
lunch with mom

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I also wrote myself a physical list outside my BuJo to be able to check everything off, carry around, or move as needed. I love crossing things off any to do list!! I blocked off several hours to get things done and proceeded to do as much as I could! Not all my tasks were admin tasks, some were just weekly or daily things that needed to get done.

As you can see, I didn’t get everything done. Some items got pushed to later in the day, some to the following day, some to the next admin day (or the next one). Although I didn’t get everything done, It felt really good to complete some tasks that had been nagging me to weeks. I definitely plan to have another Life Admin Day, perhaps making it a monthly event.

Have you planned a day like this? If so, was it helpful to keep your life more organized? Do you have any other tricks for this sort of productivity?

What I Ate 2/20/19

This was a pretty typical of eating for me. And it was a pretty typical day for documenting in that it started off strong, but kinda petered off.

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Everyday, always, forever starts off with coffee.

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But I’ve also been smitten with ginger tea. So simple, so good! Usually this is just ginger slices in hot water. Sometimes I add honey.

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For breakfast/lunch/first meal of the day I had a salad with romaine, homemade crunchy croutons, Quorn chicken nuggets, and store bought caesar dressing. And lots of fresh ground black pepper!
Fake chicken doesn’t always agree with me, but a chicken caesar salad is one of my all time favorite meals and I was craving it! I love getting this brand and type bc it comes only in cardboard (no plastic!) and I can heat just a few nuggs up at a time, so there is less waste. Store bought dressing is one things I want to give up and start making myself, but I haven’t motivated to do it quite yet.

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On this day I went grocery shopping and couldn’t resist snacking on some pistachios in the car. We go on various nut kicks and pistachios have been a hot for a while now. I usually by them in a plastic bag, unfortunately. But we take that bag to be recycled at some of our local shops.

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Grocery shopping usually leads to unhealthy snacking for me! I have been digging these self-serve mochi lately. No plastic!

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My husband prefers the self-serve donuts. If they are around, I’ll take a bite.

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As usual, my dinner pics are a little lacking! We had one of our favorite vegan meals this night: tofu, rice, broccoli, peanuts, sesame seeds, and chili garlic sauce. I wish this meal were a little more zero waste, but the tofu and chili garlic sauce only come in plastic near us.

On many nights, I would also eat something sweet at the end of my meals, but since I snacked on so many sweets today I didn’t feel like eating anything else sweet.

I was happy to eat a lot of my favorite foods today but this could have easily been a vegan day of eating, as well. I find myself trying to assess my meals and see where they can become more vegan and more sustainable.

What did you eat today?

Bullet Journal Check In: February Clothing Tracker

Starting this year, I was curious to see how often I was wearing each item in my capsule wardrobe. The size of my current bullet journal is perfect to be able to write down each item!

I used a very simple layout, in January, writing down all the items first and filling in when I wore them.

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For February, I am writing them down as I wear them. And marking where I repeat items.

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As for the wardrobe side of this experiment, so far, I’m very intrigued by the results. Since I have so many pieces in my winter capsule, they only each get worn a few times each month. It has really given me pause about including so many pieces in each capsule. I was also surprised that I really do try to wear just about everything I have included. I was not surprised at what pieces were my go to items that I returned to again and again. I’ll be interested to track the last 1.5 months of this capsule and see what changes in my next capsule wardrobe as a result of this tracker!

As for the bullet journal aspect of this experiment, I haven’t found a tracker layout that I really like. This feels like something I would like to continue for a few more months, at least, but this tracker is pretty boring to fill out. It’s also a little hard to read. I’m sure if I had less items to list, it would look less cluttered, but I’m not convinced that will happen! My BuJo style is very minimal, so I’m not sure what other type of layout I could use. Does anyone have any ideas for me?

Do you tack your wardrobe?

6 Month of Zero Waste: Trash Audit Review

In January, I wrote about some things to do each month leading up to Plastic Free July. Are you following along?

Last month, we separated and audited our trash. What did you learn? Here are some questions to ask your self:
How much was trash?
How much was food waste?
How much of your trash was recyclable?
What part of each contained plastic?

Now that you know what your trash really looks like, where can you reduce it?
Go ahead and answer these in the comments below so we can share in your observations!!

You may want to keep separating and auditing your trash for another month, or for several month to see how your waste changes now that you are more mindful of what you throw away.

Now that we are making our way to mid February it’s time to start decluttering things, if you haven’t already. All the things. The decluttering craze is upon us so you can find a lot of resources and ideas out there. I suggest paying special attention to duplicates, paper clutter, clothing, as well as little or never used items and appliances. The goal here is to get rid of lots, but also to organize what’s left.

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Do as much as you can do until we talk again!

Back to Cape May for 6th Anniversary

We are not big occasion people. We don’t buy xmas gifts, we don’t go on dates, we don’t dress up. But one thing that we have celebrated for the last six years is our wedding anniversary. We always try to take a little trip around this time and this year, we headed back to an old favorite: Cape May, New Jersey.

We took a leisurely time to drive down to Cape May and stopped at a few thrift shops we enjoy along the way. We arrived just in time for the sunset. They are usually quite spectacular in this town.

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The night was easy and we took advantage of a warm room and a strong shower. In the morning we ate at the hotel restaurant before heading out into the snowy landscape.

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The Victorian homes and square are particularly striking in the snow.

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We always like to take a look at the sunken concrete ship at the end of the state.

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Our trip was very brief but relaxing and lovely. Here’s to another year to decide where to go next.

Past trips:
Philly
Princeton
Cape May
Washington DC