WIAW: Sweet Potato Nachos & Five a Day

Tomorrow is THANKSGIVING (to those of you who are unaware) and I am just a tad excited!!!!! Tomorrow I will be walking and possibly jogging in the best ever 5K and then I will be going to mom and dad’s for family time and crazy good food!

I am bringing two pies: one homemade pumpkin and one homemade caramel apple. I’m also bringing green bean casserole. I happen to be a huge green bean casserole fan. I know it can be pretty hit or miss for most. I’m trying a new recipe too.

Enough about tomorrow, let’s talk about yesterday. I actually took off my lazy pants and made myself some pretty awesome meals. I’m going to join in on the What I Ate Wednesday fun!

To start the day, a cup of decaf vanilla bean creme brulee coffee with coconut creamer and stevia in my adorable owl cup that makes me very happy. coffee mug

For breakfast, a fruit and yogurt bowl: FAGE Greek yogurt, agave, raspberries, blueberries, banana, raisins, cacao nibs, and pecan pieces.

yogurt bowl

A walk/jog on the treadmill happened mid-morning while watching Gossip Girl! I am getting back into running and I’m hoping to write about this soon. 🙂 Lunch: one of my favorite ol’ salads. In the mix is romaine lettuce (we ran out of dark greens), peas, avocado, red bell pepper, olives, broccoli, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, and honey mustard dressing.

salad

Dessert: dates with peanut butter!

peanut butter and dates

Afternoon snack: crunchy juicy grapes, a handful of Crunchmaster’s Multi-Seed gluten-free crackers and a cup of tea.

Dinner: sweet potato nachos. Crispy sweet potato “chips” with cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, tomato, avocado, and salsa. So satisfying!

sweet potato nachos

I rounded out the day with some Fiber One 80 calorie chocolate squares. Those babies are dangerous! They taste like candy but they are loaded with fiber so you need to be careful with your intake or you could face some major bloating and other issues.

The remainder of the night was spent on the couch hanging with my boys in my warm home and of course, in my sweatpants.

moose

I’d say it was a pretty healthy day! I’m working towards redeeming my 5-9 daily servings of fruits and veggies. I used to be so good about it but lately have been sliding. I feel so much better when I reach the 5-9 mark and it’s something I am continuing to be mindful of and you should too!

As always, thank you Jenn for hosting the WIAW!

WIAWbutton

Are you celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow? Are you cooking up anything tasty? How do you make sure to get your five servings of fruits and veggies daily?

Puppy Photos: Because It’s Been Too Long

To those non-dog lovers out there, this post might be a snoozer for ya, but I have a build-up of Moose photos hanging around that are just too cute not to share. So today, Moose, my 5 1/2 year old German Shepherd takes the front and center.

Oh the simple life he lives: eating, sleeping, bathroom breaks, playing, constant petting, snuggles…  moose

The gift he gives: making you smile even after the worst day possible.

moose

His weakness: bad breath.

Moose

A big 90 lb baby.

moose

Kind to animals.

Mooose IMG_4453

Our big teddy bear who makes us laugh, loves us unconditionally, and is loyal and true.

dog quote 2

Are you a dog person?! 

Wicked and What I’ve Been Eating Lately

Well, hello there! How are you doing my friends? I am just fine over here. I had an incredibly relaxing weekend full of family and friends.

Oh, I suppose I haven’t filled you in on my Thursday evening yet either.

On Thursday, I went to the Orpheum in Minneapolis to see Wicked!! It was Dana and me, mom and dad, and Kevin. Please excuse the blurry photo–it was raining and people were pouring out behind me so I had to take a walking photo.

wcked

 

wicked with family

dana melanie wicked orpheum

 

This was my first time going to see Wicked and holy cow….I get what all of the hype is about! It was funny, the story was great, the music was phenomenal, and the acting was wonderful. It was amazing! So now I can say to you, if you haven’t seen Wicked yet you MUST go see it at some point! You won’t regret it!

Moving on to some food photos. I have a whole slew of random photos of food I have been eating over the last week or so. When I say random, I mean random.

PB and J on regular whole wheat bread (I just had to have it although I’m still trying to mostly stay clear of gluten), carrots, and a pickle.

pb and jelly

Homemade veggie soup. I decided not to share this recipe with you all because the soup is just ok to me. I’m really hoping I get creative in the kitchen this week so I have something nummy to share with you all. I have been slacking!

veggie soup

I’ve really been into the cottage cheese lately. I found that I really like Organic Valley’s 4% cottage cheese. I love it on salads, with veggies, by itself, and with crackers.

cottage cheese

IMG_4251

 

One weeknight I made a big batch of stir-fry veggies over quinoa.

stir fry with quinoa

The next day I used the leftover veggies in a southwestern stye dish with veggies, black beans, avocado, cheddar cheese, and salsa. I really enjoyed this one!

black beans veggies salsa

On Friday night after work, Dana built us a fire in our fireplace. It was a chilly night and it felt so nice and cozy to sit in front of the fire and take care of bills, Halloween costumes, etc. FYI Moose is not a fan of the fires, especially when the logs fall and make crashing noises. He is so ready to bolt in this photo below.

fireplace dana moose

Neither of us really felt like cooking on Friday night, so we cheated and picked up a ready-made meatloaf from Costco. All we had to do was reheat it in the oven. It was good, but not as good as homemade. It was nice to not cook though!

mashed potatoes and meatloaf

 

I’m missing a bunch of food photos. On Sunday our friends had us over for French onion soup (my fav) and chopped salads and they were both SO good. We finished lunch off with homemade apple bars. I felt so spoiled!

Throughout the weekend I think I watched at least 10 episodes of New Girl Season One on Netflix. I can’t believe it took me so long to get into this show. Thanks Luke! 🙂 I also slept a lot and got some walks in on the treadmill (it was a pretty rainy weekend here).

It was perfectly relaxing. I actually feel well-rested after this weekend which feels nice.

How was your weekend? What was your favorite thing you did?

 

Currently I’m…

I’m procrastinating in my effort to recap my vacation so instead, I put together this fun little post about what I’m currently thinking/doing/wanting, etc. I hope you enjoy!

Currently I’m…finally unpacked from vacation. The laundry is all done too! I don’t know what’s worse, packing or unpacking? Your thoughts?

Currently I’m…obsessssssed with my dog. I missed him so incredibly much while we were away.

moose

Currently I’m…enjoying the elliptical machine at the gym. I’m still playing it cool with the intensity of my workouts so I have been gently been “ellipticalling”. I especially like the ones that have the arms that move back and forth. Oh, and I’m excited to be back at the gym after a three month freeze that we put on our membership this summer.

Currently I’m…really into cheese. String cheese, cheddar cheese, muenster…just no stinky cheeses. I am just loving it lately. Maybe my body is asking for the extra calcium?

cheese and olive tray

Currently I’m…really excited for fall weather. I really am not complaining about the 70 degree weather we’ve been having, but at the same time I’m kind of ready for the cooler air and the sweater and soup weather.

betsy and melanie

white bean broccoli soup

Currently I’m…super excited to try out my new Ninja Ultima I got this week thanks to our wonderful HLS sponsor, Ninja Kitchen!

Currently I’m…trying to put together the first part of my vacation recap post. I promise it’s coming soon!

vancouver island

Currently I’m…craving my favorite salmon. This is going to need to make an appearance soon!

salmon

Currently I’m…missing my family.

Family Photo

Currently I’m…counting my blessings. Today and everyday.

Now it’s your turn!

Photo Leftovers

The 2013 Healthy Living Summit is just one day away. Wanna know more about HLS? You can read up on my recaps from last year in Boston.

Destination Boston HLS12
Shake Out the Nerves HLS Day 1
Cheers to New Friends HLS Day 2
Decisions, Decisions HLS Day 3

I am so excited to be reunited with my girls and to meet so many new blends!

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So you’ve seen it before from me, and yet again I have some super delicious food photos and some other random other photos that are piling up and needing to be shared with you all.

It’s an easy one for all of us with virtually no thinking involved—leftover day. Sit back and enjoy.

Strawberry Chicken Poppyseed Salad from Panera. I finally got it even though summer is coming to an end. I was actually nervous when I went there because I was afraid I had missed my opportunity. I LOVE this salad.

panera salad

Dinner made my mamacita: tilapia, roasted veggies, and smoky quinoa. Means always taste better when someone else makes them for you.

tilapia and vegetables

Some new pb spread called Tru-Nut that was sent to me to try on gluten-free brown rice toast.  I’m still deciding how I feel about it.

gluten free toast with tru-nut butter

A delightfully veggie-packed salad: mixed greens, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, turkey, cheese, sunflower seeds, and honey mustard.

salad

My favorite salmon with almond, capers, and sesame oil with grilled veggies.

salmon with veggies

A care package from Wild Harvest—thank you and see you guys soon!

wild harvest package

My new friends I met in New York on the cover of the Variety section this week!

mn girls bethenny in newspaper

IMG_3833

And Moose.

moose

Happy Thursday!

Do you have any leftover goodies hanging out on your phones or camera?!

What are your thoughts on leftover food? Yay or nay?

Zucchini “Pasta”, Breakfast & A Furniture Makeover

Hello hello! Happy hump day. We’re going to be a little bit all over the place today, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

First, if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen a delicious photo that looked something like this a couple of days ago:

zucchini pasta with turkey meatballs

If you didn’t see it, you should probably double-check to make sure you are following me on Instagram and Twitter. 🙂

Besides putting a little TLC into creating the zucchini “pasta”, this dish came together pretty quickly with the help of some leftover Thai turkey meatballs from the freezer.

For the zucchini: I was too lazy to pull out the mandolin to thinly slice the zucchini and I figured it would be just as easy for me to cut it all by hand anyway, so I thinly cut two fresh farmer’s market zucchini, put them into a strainer over the sink, sprinkled them with a little bit of salt, and let them sit for about 20 minutes to help remove some excess water. I then placed them into a pan on the stove top which I had coated with sesame oil. I let these cook on low for about 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Towards the end of the cooking process I added a couple of splashes of coconut aminos, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and at the very end I added chopped fresh basil and cilantro.

Turkey meatballs: You can check out the recipe by looking back at this post if you are interested. I took the meatballs out of the freezer, let them defrost, then placed them on a baking sheet under the broiler. I broiled them for approximately 8-10 minutes until cooked through and slightly browned, turning them halfway.

Onto the plate: Once the zucchini and meatballs were done, I first plated the zucchini pasta, next the turkey meatballs, and finally a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Voila!

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Moose is still loving doing his night time yoga stretching. He took over the yoga mat completely the other night. In his offense, I wan’t yoga’ing too intensely so naturally he thought he should probably take over.

Moose yoga

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Breakfasts

I’ve been changing up my breakfasts from the usual smoothies. I’ve been rotating between my old favorite of banana and nut (almond) butter, over-easy eggs, fruit and nut “cereal” bowls, and smoothies.

Lately the cereal bowl is my jam. In it is blueberries, strawberries, chopped almonds, chopped cashew, almond milk, and a touch of honey. So refreshing and so fun to me because I feel like I’m eating cereal.

fruit and nut cereal

 

Love it.

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Dresser Turned TV Stand

For the longest time, Dana and I have been on the lookout for a new TV stand. The one we had been using was from Dana’s college years and was just that—a TV stand appropriate for a college apartment. It just didn’t look right in our living room now. Neither of us were willing to fork over hundreds of dollars for a new one though, so I decided to get crafty . With the inspiration from my beautiful friend Haley as well as Pinterest, I was going to make my own TV stand and I was going to make it from an old dresser. Project renovation.

It wasn’t an urgent project, so gradually I began looking at second hand stores and garage sales for decent priced dressers.  The one I found was at a garage sale right in my neighborhood. I spotted it while I was driving home, it looked like the perfect size, was in great shape, and was only $20. Sold. You’ve got to love the butterfly drawer knobs too. I mean come on.

dresser turned tv stand

To renovate:

  1. We gave it a good scrub down.
  2. Slathered three coats of paint on it (letting each coat dry in between of course).
  3. Placed a painted piece of plywood on the top shelf to serve as a resting place for the cable box and DVD player.
  4. Cut a hole in the back of the top shelf for the cable wires.
  5. Put new knobs on (I kept the butterfly ones just in case—they’re so adorable).
  6. Moved it into the living room, reconnected the cables, and that was that!

It was a two day project which totaled out to be about $50. Not bad if you ask me! I may have found my calling. 😉

dresser turned tv stand

The color we picked out is a little more purpley than I had thought it would be, but it actually looks just perfect in our living room. It makes the space look more homey and inviting. I love it!

I could continue on this randomness but I think I will stop at that.

I have some super fun plans tonight and I am very excited to share them with you all in the next few days. Be on the lookout!

Are you enjoying the abundant zucchini as much as I am right now?
What’s your favorite breakfast right now?
Have you gotten crafty lately?

In On the Yoga Action

Last night I couldn’t get enough of this guy.

Moose

Lately I’ve really been into doing some relaxing yoga moves before bed to calm me down and relax my mind and body. Last night Moose wanted in on the action.

He plunked himself down right beside the left side of my yoga mat for about half of the stretching, and then moved himself to the right side of the mat for the rest of it.

Moose yoga

Okay, I’ll be honest, I did more photo taking than I did yoga last night because he was so darn adorable!

melanie and moose yoga

melanie and moose yoga

moose

moose

 

He’s super good at downward dog.

moose

And does a great job with controlling his breaths…

moose     melanie and moose yoga

This guy steals my heart! My little yogi puppy!

Weekend Scenes: St. Anthony Falls, Maca, and Fresh Greens

Happy July! It’s going to take a little while for me to actually believe it’s July but I’ll get there eventually. Once again, the month of June went by in a flash.

Anyway, how was everyone’s weekend? Mine was downright fabulous. It involved a lot  of rest and relaxation. This post jumps around a bit so get ready…

Over the weekend I decided that I will not be following out Option 1 of the Clean Program, but I will be following Option 2 and throwing Option 1 in sometimes. So what the heck does that mean anyway? It means that instead of breakfast and dinner being a smoothie/shake/soup, and lunch being a solid meal, I will now have the option of having solid meals at all three meals just as long as they fit into the foods allowed on the Elimination Diet.

However, for a while I plan on continuing having a smoothie in the morning (that’s easy in the summer), but for the rest of the day, I don’t want to be tied down to the idea of having to have a pureed dinner. This doesn’t mean that I won’t throw one in there time and again to give my digestion an extra little rest, because I will, just not every day.

This fits better with my lifestyle and given that we will be going camping soon, I feel much more comfortable following the elimination diet and Option 2 while we are away versus the two blended meals; that would be extremely difficult. So, I’m still giving my body the detox, just in a more realistic way for me. That’s my plan.

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This weekend I threw together my favorite salmon recipe minus the butter that usually goes with the almonds and capers. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really miss the butter!

grilled salmon

This lunch held me over for a loooong time which was a good thing because Dana and I headed to Minneapolis to go for a little walk around the St. Anthony Main area. If ya’ll come to Minnesota you should really put this area on your must-see list. It is incredibly beautiful, and so full of life and fitness. I imagined what it would be like to live over there and have these great paths at my leisure to run/walk/bike and I got a little jealous of some of my friends who lived over there (ONW) :wink:. It would be so motivating to look out the window and see handfuls of people out being active. It would make me want to go lace up the sneaks and get out there too!

I do truly love where I live too. It’s just different! More suburban-y.

I joked that Moose wasn’t a “city” dog because he was sniffing every other inch of the ground while the other dogs walked along very nicely like they’d been there, sniffed that, a dozen times already.

I enjoyed every second of St. Anthony Falls…

dana melanie

Afterwards we drove over to Lake Nokomis to have a picnic. I made a simple lentil dish with onions, garlic, mushrooms, kale, carrots, cumin, turmeric, oregano, salt and pepper. K, it doesn’t sound that simple after typing all of that out, but really, it was simple to make! I crunched up some cashews on top. Delish!

lentil picnic

 

Moose was really enjoying himself while we picnicked–there were lots of young pup chicks to scope out. He was extremely exhausted at this point too.

moose

 

We learned that he doesn’t enjoy celery…

moose

He really doesn’t like many vegetables we offer (not that we give him people food too often because we really don’t), and that’s probably because of the funny texture. He’s used to his dog food. Mmmm :wink:.

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My newest breakfast smoothie includes a new-to-me ingredient called Maca powder. “Maca is an herbaceous plant native to the high Andean Mountains of Bolivia and Peru.” source

Navitas Naturals Maca Powder

“The maca root was prized throughout the Incan empire for its adaptogenic-like qualities that enable it to nourish and balance the body’s delicate endocrine system, and to help cope with stress. It also energizes naturally, and can aid in helping to balance hormones.” Source

“In the mountainous regions where maca comes from, it is a regular staple in the diet and is often eaten boiled and sliced, similar to potato chips. Other preparations include use as a gruel with milk, and cooked with potatoes, apples, oats, quinoa or fava beans. The roots are also toasted and ground to prepare a maca coffee-like beverage, and fermented cooked and mashed to make a mild homemade beer. Some Peruvians prefer the boiled roots with water, milk, honey and cinnamon. Today, it is possible to find a wide range of products infused with maca, including whiskey, wine, ice cream and cosmetics.

Maca Powder has a pungent and sweet nutty taste with hints of butterscotch flavor. It can be mixed easily into smoothies, shakes and juices for a flavorful and healthy boost, and it can also be added to desserts and baked goods.” Source

I am all about any natural ways I can try to regulate the hormonal system and I’m really enjoying this Maca!

Unfortunately with the Elimination Diet I cannot have bananas because this would be a great addition to a banana smoothie, but since I can’t, I’ve had to come up with other ways to include it in smoothies. Here is my latest concoction:

Superfood Smoothie

  • kale
  • frozen blueberries
  • almond milk
  • maca powder
  • 100% raw cacao powder
  • cinnamon
  •  a touch of stevia to taste

smoothie

I am having so much fun learning about these different superfoods and natural remedies! Come on body, let’s start to normalize!

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On Sunday we headed to a local Farmer’s Market to stock up on fresh herbs that I will be using this week to prepare our camping meals! We are going to be eating like royalty while we camp. I am going to try to include some recipes for you all when I am away. They are all “clean” but anyone can enjoy them!

We bought dill, parsley, cilantro, zucchini, green onion, and asparagus; all Minnesota grown. MMm mmm. So fresh!

farmers market farmers market

I used the asparagus to make an asparagus leek soup for Dana and myself last night (yes, we ate hot soup on an 80 degree day which is why I’m changing my Clean Plan like I told you earlier).

I don’t have the recipe for ya because it isn’t my most favorite soup ever, but the ingredients were: asparagus, leeks, kale, cashews, water, thyme, bay leaves salt, pepper, and coconut milk.

asparagus leek soup

 

The flavor was actually really good but I just made it too thin.

We took Moose to the dog park and did some yard work and then relaxed for the evening. It was a wonderful weekend. The weather was perfect which made me oh so happy!

I have exciting and fun news to share with you all this week (hopefully tomorrow) about a fitness opportunity to all you local gals! Keep your eyes peeled for it. 😉

How was YOUR weekend?!

Five Fun Things Friday

I’m keeping it simple today with a little Five Things Friday! Here are five random things that have either been on my mind lately, made me laugh or made me smile.

1. Today is the official first day of summer!

Happy Summer everyone! I have been loving the warm weather lately. We waited way too long for it this year so we have to soak it up while we have it.

summer

2. Pet Sweep

Animal-powered debris removal system. So funny, yet practical? Let’s give it a test run.

doggy sweep

Intended use:

doggie-floor-dusting-slippers

What really happens:

IMG_3058

I don’t really have the Pet Sweep Dust Boots, but I do have dust slippers for humans. Moose really didn’t appreciate the slippers and kicked them of as soon as I snapped this photo, but hey, It was worth a shot. Afterall, he’s the reason we have to vacuum so often around here!

3. Peonies

The peonies are in bloom and it makes me so happy to look out in our backyard and see these pink beauties.

peonies

4. Healthy Living Summit 2013

This last week, I officially registered for the Healthy Living Summit where I will be surrounded by friends, great food, fun activities, and lots of healthy living talk. Last year the summit was held in Boston/Cambridge and this year it is in Minneapolis! It’s not until September but I am already extremely excited!

hls 2012

Here are my recaps from HLS 2012 in case you’re interested:

5. Grandma’s Marathon and Half Marathon

This weekend is Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund half-marathon in Duluth, MN. Good luck to ALL of the runners out there and have fun!

funny pinterest shoes

Happy Friday my friends!!

Sweet Potato with Honey Cinnamon Almond Butter & Beautiful Blooms

To all you dog-lovers out there. A friend of mine is needing to find a home for Shelby, an intact female 7 1/2-year old AKC German Shepherd Dog.

She has her AKC papers, most recent vet records from early 2013, and microchip information available. She was trained as a puppy by a specialist in military and police dogs 6 years ago. She would NOT be good in a family with kids younger than teens or with cats. Any person with her will need to be comfortable being firm with her – anyone who has had Shepherds understands that that is a breed trait and not necessarily a personality trait. She has been socialized and is generally good with all other dogs – although large dogs are better – as long as introduced properly.

Shelby needs to find a home before June 27th or she will be placed into the humane society. Please email me at beautifullynutty@gmail.com if you are interested!!

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It’s Wednesday, you know it, it’s Wednesday and I’ll show it! I’m feeling a little cooky this Wednesday. I blame it on the sunshine. 😉 I LOVE it!

I’ve been taking the doctor’s advice and sticking to lower intensity workouts for now, mostly in the form of walks outside with Moose. It has been so beautiful outside lately and I enjoy the fact that when I go outside for a walk with Moose I am benefited in three ways:

  1. I get to move my body and feel great
  2. Moose gets to move his body and feel great
  3. I get to soak in some much-needed Vitamin D.

Triple whammy!

Lunch

Part of my lunch yesterday was baked sweet potato slices with honey cinnamon almond butter.

I baked the sweet potato slices in coconut oil the night before, covered them when they were done baking, and put them in the fridge for later. When I was ready to eat the slices, I stuck them in the microwave for a short time and they were good to go.

For the almond butter, I mixed together almond butter, honey, and cinnamon and then tried adding water to thin it out but it actually made the mixture thicken. My original plan was to make a pretty drizzle over the top of the sweet potatoes, but instead I had to plop it into the center. It was really probably thin enough, I should have just left it. Oh well, next time.

sweet potato with almond butter

What failed in presentation made up for in taste. This combo was spectacular. I have tried sweet potato and peanut butter but I don’t think I have ever had sweet potato with almond butter. I seriously think I prefer the almond butter on it! Who would have thought.

Changing gears…our yard is in full bloom. We have these beautiful pink peonies that I swear only last for a couple of days, so when they bloom, I make it a must to snap a couple of photos because they are absolutely beautiful.

peony

I called in Moose to model in the yard and add an extra point of interest. He put up with me happily obliged and did an excellent job posing for the photos. 😉

moose

Please excuse my poor photography skills. I couldn’t seem to exclude my shadow from most of the photos.

moose

Moose enjoying the fragrant lilacs…

moose

Moose

And the blinding sun…

Moose

If dogs could talk I don’t think I would want to know what Moose was saying to me in that last photo.

I am truly enjoying nature’s beauty in our backyard (and so is Moose)!

Random side note: I cannot for the life of me remember how to spell German Shepherd. I don’t know how many times I have probably spelled it wrong on the blog, on twitter, etc. Forgive me Moose if your mom embarrassed you.

Dinner

After one failed attempt at an over-easy egg, my second attempt was a partial fail as well. I could not seem to keep the yolk from breaking last night. I settled with my second attempt and served my “over-easy” egg on top of sautéed red bell peppers, onions, and quinoa. sauteed onions with egg

Then topped it with salsa and cilantro!

sauteed onions with egg

It was absolutely delicious and very satisfying.

Happy hump day my friends. Do something that makes you happy today.