Tag Archives: christmas gifts

Bath Bomb Blitz: Lush’s Bat Art Edition

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Bath Bomb Blitz: Lush’s Bat Art Edition

Hello!! After a fantastic time celebrating Christmas last weekend, it was a struggle to return to work on Tuesday the 27th even if it was a short shift. Once I got home in the afternoon, all I wanted was a cup of tea and to sink into a nice, warm bath. So, I did! I used the Bat Art bath bomb that I received from my bestie for Christmas and it was an absolute delight. Way better than the Bigfoot bomb from Lush that I used last time! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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^^^ Featuring my new fuzzy socks from my gift haul. So comfy!

My blogging bestie sent me a box filled with Halloween themed Lush products and I was really looking forward to the Bat Art one. I knew that it was going to look cool once it was in the water and the show it put on was even better than I imagined. As soon as this bomb went into the tub, it began zipping around the water leaving streaks of deep purple and magenta in its wake. While the bomb continued to fizz, the water went from crystal clear to a gorgeous dark purple in a matter of minutes. And, prior to Bat Art completely dissolving, it fizzed silver glitter making the water look like a night sky filled with stars. It was so pretty!

The Bat Art was a bigger bath bomb and took about six minutes to fizz out entirely. According to Lush’s website, the featured scents were rosemary and sage but I didn’t smell that at all, I thought it was rather citrusy. The scent dissipated pretty quickly but I don’t mind that since the bath water looked as freaking awesome as it did! This can be a deal breaker to some but you have been warned that the Bat Art bath bomb left stains on my tub so it will require some additional cleanup after using it. As always, the Lush bath bombs are the best and they leave my skin feeling so hydrated. This is great whenever, but my skin especially needed some extra TLC after the negative temperatures Ohio was experiencing all Christmas weekend.

Overall, I am going to rate the Bat Art bath bomb from Lush with an eight out of ten stars. This was a really fun one to use and it spoke to my spooky soul. I would definitely recommend it for yourself or as a gift. In fact, go ahead and buy one for you too!

How do you care for your skin in the winter? How do you warm up on a cold day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Happy Haulidays: Husband’s Family Edition

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Happy Haulidays: Husband’s Family Edition

Hello! On Christmas Eve, Johnny and I celebrated with his wonderful parents and Aunt Elaine and it was a hoot! We had a delicious dinner, opened gifts, and continued on with the thirty year strong Miller family tradition of watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We spent a fantastic day together and it felt so warm and fuzzy – both from the family love and the fact that it was way warmer at Chez Miller than it was in mine and Johnny’s apartment! As always, Johnny’s family spoiled us rotten and we are so appreciative for their way too generous gifts. Check it out:

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This is my third Miller Christmas and just when I thought that my second family couldn’t outdo themselves any more in their holiday game, they proved me wrong. Johnny and I were blown away by our gifts under the tree and in our stockings and our gifters truly know us too well. Three or so days before we celebrated, Johnny was so close to buying the Willie Nelson Chia Pet at Walgreen’s! I was really surprised that Johnny didn’t make the purchase and part of me thought he was holding off to make it a post Christmas treat. That’s one future errand to cross off the list. πŸ˜€

My favorite gift from this haul has to be the hilarious mug my father-in-law gifted to me. I haven’t been tempted yet to send Johnny off to the circus but this mug has certainly given me some ideas to think about. πŸ˜‰ Johnny’s dad also gifted us with the spray fire extinguishers. He is the king of funny and practical gifts! And, can we talk about how adorable the Son’s Survival Kit is that Johnny’s mom got him as a stocking stuffer? I thought that it was so sweet and had to include it in this post even though it’s not mine. ❀

Aunt Elaine gifts me and Johnny with our absolute favorite chocolates from Boston every year. They are simply the best and we have been making very quick work of our Christmas candy selection! Candy is synonymous with Christmas at the Miller home. My mother-in-law makes amazing homemade chocolates that are seriously to die for. I actually have one of her huge homemade candy trays at my parents’ house that I can’t wait to dig into later today!

I am lucky enough to celebrate every holiday with two families that I love so much and this Christmas was a GREAT SUCCESS. I’m already excited for next year’s celebration! πŸ˜€

What kinds of gifts did you give this holiday season? What is your favorite gift that you received? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Subscription Boxes: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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Subscription Boxes: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Hello!! I take my holiday shopping very seriously because I love being able to spoil my family and friends. We have been discussing lots of holiday gift options here on lifewithlilred and today we are going to continue on by chatting about the gift that keeps on giving – subscription boxes. Subscription gifts are awesome because it’s not just a present for Christmas but every month! This is a gift that will always go over well so let’s talk about some popular choices to treat your giftee to this holiday season:

Entertainment:

One of the most obvious subscription gifts has to be streaming services and there are plenty to choose from. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are all excellent for your standard viewing options and cover every genre imaginable. However, there are specialty streaming services like CrunchyRoll for anime fans or Shudder for horror buffs so bear this in mind if your giftee has one specific genre that they love. Remember, you don’t have to gift an entire year’s worth of a streaming service, either. Most of these services offer a three month, six month, or full year package.

Food, Glorious Food:

Is your giftee handy in the kitchen? If so, a meal kit subscription like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh could be a great choice. These kits offer meals for all kinds of different diets and are mindful to any allergies or restrictions. Not only will it be fun for your giftee to whip up something brand new but it is also a huge time savor too. A meal kit means that no grocery shopping is required – score! πŸ˜€

If your giftee isn’t too keen to cook, you can also do a subscription for DashPass to eliminate delivery fees on DoorDash. This is something that my Johnny would love because his favorite Sunday activity is DoorDashing Popeye’s or Steak N’ Shake lol.

Beauty:

It’s always nice to try out new makeup, bath and body care, and skin care and subscriptions to Ipsy, Sephora Play, or BirchBox allow you to do just that every month. This is a subscription that will be sure to please the beauty guru in your life and it gives them the opportunity to try products out without committing to a full price and full size item. As someone who deeply enjoys testing out new products, I would be thrilled to receive a beauty box subscription!

Ride Sharing:

Although ride sharing programs like Uber and Lyft don’t have a subscription, per se, they do offer gift cards. If your giftee lives for a night on the town, this could be a wonderful way to go. It’s always a blast to have a night out at a restaurant, bar, or theater but it’s never as good when you have to worry about transportation. A ride sharing gift card will fully eliminate this issue and can allow your giftee to let loose safely.

Oh You Crafty, Huh?

If you have some kiddos on your shopping list, fear not – there are lots of cool subscriptions for them too! Options like Little Passports and Cratejoy can provide your littles with a fun and educational craft every month. You can sweeten the pot of this gift by offering babysitting services to their parents so that they can have a night out and you and your lil giftee can complete the craft together. This is a total two for one gift deal and one that parents and children will both love!

Pet Parents:

Is your giftee the parent to a spoiled rotten pet? If so, you can’t go wrong with BarkBox! Pet subscription boxes will send you toys, treats, and chews for the beloved pet and will help deepen the bond with their owner. This is a really good option for pet parents because they are going to be receiving things that they would more than likely end up buying anyways. The money that they save can go to even more pet products! πŸ˜€

There is, truly, a subscription for every hobby and interest and it is a gift that everyone on your list will enjoy. The best part? No gift wrapping required!

Do you use any monthly subscription boxes? What is a subscription that you would like to receive? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Crunch Time Holiday Shopping Tips

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Crunch Time Holiday Shopping Tips

Hello!! I have a huge amount of people on my holiday gift list and I began doing my shopping around the end of August. Because I always allow myself an early start for Christmas present purchasing, I consider now to be my “crunch time” moment – even if we’re not even halfway through November! I consider it a GREAT SUCCESS when all of my shopping is done by early December and I am well on my way to achieving it. To help me out in the fourth quarter, I have been utilizing these tips:

Stop, Look, and Listen:

The information you can get from your giftees simply by listening to them is amazing. For example, my dad volunteered to me the other day that one of his bird baths broke when we were watching his bird feeders from the window. BOOM, that’s one gift down. If gift info isn’t being given freely, you can ask prompting questions or tell stories to get more intel without being super obvious. For example: “Do you ever feel like everything in your house isn’t working?” This could give you a whole litany of things needed from a busted coffee pot to hiring a maid service for the day. Sometimes, it takes some good old fashioned detective work to figure out the perfect present!

Gift Cards Galore:

I have never understood why people call gift cards a “thoughtless” gift because nine out of ten people (Including myself!) freaking love them. Gift cards are great because you can buy exactly what you want and still think of the person who gave you the card. Not to mention that gift card purchases can be beneficial to you too. At my grocery store, Giant Eagle, they have every gift card under the sun available and it gives me rewards points towards my next grocery order. This is all the better if you buy your gift cards during a double or triple point day.

Survey Sites:

I have been a faithful user of the survey site InboxDollars for years. The work is slow going but every couple of months, I get a ten dollar Amazon gift card for my trouble. While this isn’t a huge win, every little bit helps and I always put those earnings towards gift shopping. If you are running low on holiday shopping cash, a couple of days doing surveys or whatever the website is offering like playing games or watching videos can give you a helping hand.

Homemade Gifts:

My favorite gifts of all are homemade ones and there are so many options that are probably cheaper than what you planned on purchasing. I, personally, love receiving Mason jars that are filled with the ingredients to make cookies or soup. Or, if you’re skilled in the kitchen, you could make a tray of holiday treats for your giftees. Paintings, crocheted or knitted accessories, or services like shoveling snow from the driveway won’t cost you anything but your time and will be very well received.

Shop Wisely:

While it can be tempting to wait until Black Friday deals to shop, it can also be a double edged sword. Yes, you might be paying less but what you really want for someone might not be available anymore. This is all up to your discretion but do so wisely. You want to give yourself ample time for presents to be shipped to you as well as time to make an exchange if the item is damaged or not what you wanted. If you have deals on your mind, it might be helpful to use the Honey or Capital One shopping apps so you know that you are always getting the best price for your purchase.

In my world, the Christmas countdown is on and I am SO ready to be done shopping lol. These are the tips that I have been using and it works for me so, hopefully, they will work for all of you too. Happy shopping!

Are you a last minute or early holiday shopper? What homemade gifts do you like to give? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Early Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

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Early Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

Hello! While Halloween is always at the forefront of my mind, it is never too early to think about Christmas! In fact, I have already began crossing a few people off of my shopping list and it is a necessary feat – I have a lot of giftees. Beginning the process of holiday shopping early prevents you from having a huge bill come December. These money saving tips and other clever hints will also help the cause:

Make the most of seasonal sales:

If you are looking for seasonal deals, then right now is the perfect time to do some shopping – especially if your giftee is a fan of summer. To ring in the changing season, summer clothing, outdoor activities, pool floats, and gardening/grilling gear will all be discounted. Why pay more later when you can just pay less right now? Similarly, if you have a lover of fall in the family, November is a great time to shop for them as fall items will be discounted to welcome the winter.

Stockpile points:

I buy everything exclusively with my Amazon credit card and each purchase gives me money to spend online. Rather than use my points for every random Amazon order, I have began stockpiling points and I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner. I got a gift for my husband and best friend completely free of charge. There is nothing better than checking an item off of your list and getting it for free to boot!

Sales are your friend:

This should go without saying but it needs repeating. If you see something on sale that a giftee would love, then go for it. If you hold off, then chances are that the item will be sold out or you will have to buy it at full price later. I saved over one hundred dollars by shopping a sale at Old Navy to get some Halloween themed pajamas for Johnny. If you are concerned that the sale price will drop lower, talk to a store employee. Many stores offer a grace period after your purchase to do an adjustment if the price drops again.

Shop local:

If you have grown bored of shopping at local chain stores, then try your hand at shopping locally or through Etsy. You will walk away with a one of a kind piece and you will be sure that your giftee doesn’t have it already. For example, my best friend and I have been celebrating fourteen years of birthdays and Christmases. We have gone through every common gift option possible and I decided to break that cycle by buying her some art from Falcon Grove Studios for her birthday. The paintings were beautiful, supported a local artist, and she absolutely loved them.

Become a rewards member:

While the constant emails from stores that you have a rewards membership through are annoying, they can be very helpful. Lots of stores offer perks for their rewards customers including additional discounts, free shipping, double point days, and free product. As already stated, sales are your friend and if you can get even more of a discount, then why not? I have a stockpile of free Bath & Body Works products that I use as add on gifts simply because I’m a rewards member!

Store your gifts safely:

Getting a head start on holiday shopping means that you are going to have to hang on to your purchases for a while. To avoid clutter, clear out a designated space at home to store your gifts. The place you choose should be safe from prying eyes, pets, and areas that could be prone to water damage or pests. It would be a shame for your gift to get ruined before you even have a chance to give it!

It might be September, but I have already been bit by the Christmas bug and that is fine by me. Come December, I will be sipping hot chocolate and watching Elf with zero pressure of last minute gifts!

Are you an early or last minute gift buyer? When do you usually start your holiday shopping? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Better Early Than Never!

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Better Early Than Never!

Hello!!! Question: How early is too early to be thinking about Christmas?! If the answer is the first week of September, then WHOOPS because I have already started my Christmas shopping lol. With over fifteen people that I need to buy prezzies for, I always like to get a jump on my shopping so I am not stuck with one huge bill come December. It is also so nice to be done with holiday shopping early because then I can just sit back and enjoy the season. πŸ™‚

Are you looking to get a head start on your holiday shopping too? Then follow these tips:

Make A List:

I always suggest this but it is so true! I would be nowhere without my “to buy” list and have a Word document that I consult while I online shop. On my list, I name off everyone to shop for with multiple gift ideas per person. Once I have bought the presents for someone on my list, I simply delete their space and there is nothing more satisfying than that! Not only does my list keep me organized but it also assists me with budgeting to help me stay in my comfort zone.

Better Early Than Never:

This is probably the earliest I have ever began my shopping and I’m glad for it. Due to the pandemic, there is no telling how long certain items will take to ship and I like knowing that I will have everything ready to go come Christmas day. There is nothing worse than the anxiety of if something will show up before the holiday and early shopping helps nip that fear in the bud.

If you are planning a customized or commissioned present for someone, I can’t recommend consulting with the business now enough. Local artists and Etsy shops are going to be slammed during the holiday season and they might not have the time to create your gift if you wait too long.

Get Inspired:

When I lack inspiration for gift ideas, I like to think back to what hobbies the person has and what they might need to enjoy it even more. For example, one of my giftees is a grill master so I purchased a wood smoking kit for him to experiment with. Do you know someone with a green thumb? A raised planter box is a great idea so they have even more space to garden with. Is there a coffee enthusiast in your life? How about a customized mug?

I love giving hobby specific gifts because I know that my giftee is going to be able to use it. Once you start thinking in terms of what they like to do in their free time, the present possibilities are endless!

Plan Accordingly:

Getting your holiday shopping done early is great. However, it is smart to look into the return and exchange policies of where you are buying from. If your giftee happens to not like their present, you might not be able to do anything about it once the holiday is over. If the website you’re purchasing from has a return policy that won’t work a couple of months away, try finding the item in store instead. Create a back up plan too in case you can’t find it in store and it gets sold out online.

Also, don’t forget to keep your receipts and gift receipts in a safe space and especially don’t forget where you put them! πŸ˜€

It’s not even close to Halloween yet but that doesn’t mean that you can’t think a couple of holidays ahead! Follow the tips above to get an awesome head start on your holiday shopping. πŸ™‚

Are you an early or last minute holiday shopper? What is your favorite holiday? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

Hello and welcome to the final Holiday Haul post from this past Christmas! I am so in love with everything that I received and I am already putting all of my gifts to great use. I have had such fun finding special homes for my presents, testing out products, and basically living in my new robe and slippers when I am at my apartment! This Christmas was a bright light at the end of the tunnel of an awful year and I look back on it fondly. I also can’t help but smile every time I see these sweet gifts from those who I consider my “second family”. Check it out:

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In case you can’t tell, Johnny and I are HUGE fans of the Harry Potter books and movies so we just feel spoiled rotten with these gifts. Like Johnny’s parents, my second family had the thoughtful idea to gift us with ornaments for our tree next year and I am so happy with how our collection is already shaping up. Johnny and I are both particularly fond of the one with Harry on his broom. His lil face and scar are just so cute!

During this pandemic, I have enjoyed working on puzzles at my parent’s house and with all of my clients. Unfortunately, Johnny and I just have no space in our apartment to work on a puzzle so I can’t wait until we move somewhere bigger. One of my first orders of business will be placing a small table in the game room we would like to set up so I can get my puzzle on. I think I will start with the one I was gifted with this Christmas first. πŸ™‚

The piece de resistance of this haul was definitely the Hagrid’s Hut LEGO set. Johnny and I made quick work of it the day after I brought these presents home and it turned out SO cool. We haven’t gotten a new Harry Potter LEGO set in forever and Hagrid’s Hut has been on my list for quite some time as I would like to expand the Hogwarts grounds. Johnny and I are planning on getting the Quidditch Pitch, the Whomping Willow, and the Divination Tower sets throughout this year to keep growing our LEGO world. For pics of the completed Hagrid’s Hut set, be sure to tune in tomorrow!

My second family knows me like the back of their hands and Johnny and I could not be more thankful for these amazing Harry Potter themed gifts! I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas more traditionally with them next year and feel so grateful to have such wonderful friends looking out for me. ❀

Have you built a LEGO set recently? Which one? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Boyfriend’s Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Boyfriend’s Family Edition

Hello! The day after Christmas, Johnny and I visited his parents and it was so nice. Due to COVID, I have not seen them in forever and I was really happy to safely spend time with them. We opened gifts, caught up, and watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as per their family tradition. I feel lucky that this was my second viewing with them and I can’t wait for many more. Johnny and I were gifted with such beautiful presents and I am so tickled that they even got me a stocking for their mantel! Check it out:

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^^^ The adorable “Our First Pandemic” ornament is from Johnny! πŸ™‚

I love all of the gifts from Johnny’s parents so much and I love that many of them are from local businesses in our area even more. The unique earrings came from a local boutique as well as the bar soap and delicious smelling Gingerbread Caramel lotion, which was from Hope Soap. They have a store in downtown Cuyahoga Falls and I have always wanted to check it out so I’m really eager to try their products. And, don’t even get me started on the popcorn from Amaize because it is the BEST. Johnny and I were gifted with a huge sampler of their different flavors last year on our birthdays and we made very quick work of it!

Johnny’s parents also gave us several different ornaments, which was so thoughtful because despite not having a Christmas tree in our apartment this year, we will definitely want one for next Christmas when we are in a bigger place. It will be so much fun to collect ornaments for our own tree and we already have a nice start! I particularly love the middle ornament in the picture above – it is so pretty. πŸ™‚

Being able to spend time with Johnny’s family was the best gift of all. I miss them so and I can’t wait until things are significantly less crazy so we can see them more often. ❀

Do you have an ornament collection? What is your favorite ornament or holiday decoration? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Boyfriend Edition

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Holiday Haul: Boyfriend Edition

Hello! I am so happy that I got to celebrate another Christmas with my boyfriend, Johnny. He means the absolute world to me and I love him so much. After months of asking him if I could tell him what I got him for Christmas, we finally made a deal to open our presents to each other on the afternoon of the 24th. So, you could imagine my surprise when he came home from work on the 22nd and said we should open our gifts now!

Not only is he getting me a new game for the Nintendo Switch as well as a year’s subscription to Duolingo Plus, he also treated me to the following:

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As soon as I opened my guillotine earrings, I gasped because I have had my eye on them for forever. In fact, I have at least five screenshots saved to remind myself to purchase them whenever they show up on my Facebook newsfeed. The first thing that came out of my mouth was “how did you know?!” because I can’t remember ever telling Johnny how much I liked them. He told me when he saw it on his Facebook he knew that I would love them and that made this gift as well as the matching necklace even more special. He knows me like the back of his hand. ❀

I am so excited to pick out a new game to play on the Switch because I have already beaten the Paper Mario game that Johnny got me for our one year anniversary. I will have to do some browsing before I make my choice but I am definitely thinking more Mario! And, finally, the subscription to Duolingo Plus really takes the cake because for one full year I won’t have to worry about running out of hearts while I practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Czech. It will be so handy and SO freaking appreciated and I plan on starting a new language to learn since I’ll have the extra cushion of unlimited hearts. I am currently debating between Swedish, Latin, or Greek!

My Johnny knows how to spoil me and I feel like the luckiest girl ever. Duolingo Plus is exactly what I wanted and a new game and jewelry are exactly what I needed even though I didn’t know it yet! Is he the best boyfriend ever or what? ❀

How do you and your SO celebrate the holidays? What is your favorite game for the Switch? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Surprise Gift Edition

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Holiday Haul: Surprise Gift Edition

Hello!! For those of you who don’t know, my “big girl” job is as an Independent Provider for people with special needs. I am proud to say that I have worked throughout the entirety of this pandemic and I am even prouder of my county’s board of Developmental Disabilities for taking such good care of all of their employees. From care packages filled with PPE as well as wonderful donations of games and crafting supplies to help keep our clients entertained, we have not been without during the pandemic and it is SO, so, so appreciated.

As if all of the supplies and encouraging emails weren’t enough, my county’s DD board provided us providers with a special gift for the holidays. I was so surprised by this generosity and I am in love with my prezzies picked out just for us. Check it out:

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For my surprise gift, I received a beautiful travel mug filled with caramel and chocolate covered popcorn. I also got the most comfortable pair of socks I have ever owned with “Making A Difference” on one foot and “It’s What I Do!” on the other. How awesome is that?! This gift absolutely touched me and not only did I feel appreciated for the work that I do but it put me in the best mood all day. I was so eager for Johnny to come home from work to show off my spoils and the discovery that my new socks are perfect for sliding around on our hard wood floors!

I love my job so much and would never expect anything in return and I think that’s why these presents mean so much to me. I can’t wait to fill up my travel mug with hot coffee in the morning because I already know it will put a smile on my face. How can the sweet messages printed on the front and back not?!

What makes you feel appreciated? How has your job changed throughout the pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah