Let the Madness Begin

We are just moments away from the tip-off of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, perhaps better known as “March Madness.”  This is what the entire season has been building to over the past few months, as someone will be crowned Champion in just a few short weeks. It is also one of the most exciting blocks of time in all of sport, as there is an incredible amount of action condensed in a very short time. Couple this action with the fact that upsets do occur – and quite frequently at that – and you’ve got a recipe for must see tv.

The games run solidly for the first weekend of the tournament from just before noon until just around midnight. So you’re looking at about 12 solid hours of entertaining college hoops for four days straight. Today the tournament starts with 64 teams, and by Sunday night, the field will be narrowed to the Sweet Sixteen.  Who will wind up in that field of sixteen is anyone’s guess.

And guess people do. Aside from the sheer entertainment of watching college basketball in large quantities with plenty of upsets, the amount of betting and office pools that accompany the tournament is incredible!  People, regardless of whether they know anything or care about college basketball at all, fill out brackets and hand over their $5 (or more – hey, watch out there high roller!) just hoping that they have picked the right balance of upsets and strong teams to make deep runs into the tournament and eventually win. And sometimes it seems that the less you know or have paid attention, the better off your bracket is…

This year, I didn’t enter any big office pools, but I still did fill out a bracket. And truth be told, this year I have probably paid less attention and seen fewer college basketball games than I have in a long time. (So maybe that means this will be one of my better brackets!)  Em also filled out a bracket, and she watched and paid even less attention than I did (which is very normal).  So that probably means her bracket will be mine….

In any case, I’m hoping to catch a decent amount of the tournament this year to catch up on and quench my college basketball appetite – which was severely lacking this year. Check out our picks below (both filled out completely separate from one another), and feel free to add your own picks or comment:


 march madness tournament


march madness bracket


Of course, the last time we compared and competed against one another, Em ended up beating me.  But maybe this year is my year… Side Note: I do have a horse in the race….I did enter in a “survivor league” via ESPN radio, and I have Michigan State, which is really not a terrible pick. If they win, then I win. So I’m rooting for the Spartans and Tom Izzo to win it all (even though I selected Kentucky in my bracket).  In any event, I’m hoping to catch as many games as possible, and hoping for as many good games as possible!


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Happy St. Patty’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all those celebrating….including the many who are probably going a little overboard.  A few thoughts on this day that so many Americans like to use as an excuse to over-indulge and claim Irish heritage.

First, it does seem that there are many who do over-indulge. Chicago is a prime example, as it seems like St. Patty’s might be the most important day of the year. I am from the Midwest and have many friends and acquaintances in Chicago, and my social media was full of shenanigans going on there. Then I saw this article on just some of the crime and arrests – a funny read, but rather unfortunate really – and I kind of paused.

In light of many recent events that have taken place across the country, why are we okay with fist fighting, domestic disturbances, public drunkenness, and small scale rioting in one of America’s largest cities. And I guess I would have to say that it is because it’s largely white, largely middle class people who have co-opted a holiday and used that as an excuse to get belligerently drunk for a day. I can’t help but think that other groups would be characterized differently – as violent, or dangerous, or menaces if they engaged in the same behavior.

Another interesting read came from Nate Silver’s blog,, where they tackle the question of just how Irish are people who claim to be Irish. Walt Hickey, the author of this piece, relies on some assumptions and a relatively small sample size, but his end conclusion seems to have some legitimate face value. He ends up sayin that the general rule of thumb that he finds is that 25% seems to be the tipping point for those who claim an Irish American identity.  Fifty-five percent of those with a quarter or more Irish heritage claimed that as a part of their identity, and 78% of those who were half Irish claimed an Irish American identity.

What’s important to note (and he does briefly mention this) is that when it comes to who is out celebrating, it’s not just those who are claiming to have a link to Irish heritage…it’s anyone looking for an excuse to get blitzed.

The only heritage claimed more is German. And I guess we have Oktoberfest for that. And we have Cinco de Mayo. Maybe we in America have just gotten really good at co-opting other countries’ occasions and turning them into binge drinking events.


I myself am half Irish, although that’s not an identity I normally claim – certainly not an important one for myself – and I probably only think about it this time each year. (No, I did not go out and celebrate my heritage this evening, although we did make a spin off of shephard’s pie, a traditional Irish meal.) In any event, I hope everyone had a lovely day, whether you celebrated (responsibly I hope!) or not, and Irish heritage or not.


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What are your presets??

I drive to and from work everyday….about a 40 minute drive each way, depending on how treacherous I95 happens to be on any given day (without traffic it would be a 15 minute drive). This amount of commuting, while certainly not terrible, does give me a bit of time in the car each day.  Rather than sit in silence or spend it cursing all of the terrible drivers (there are plenty!), I spend most of that time listening to the radio.

On my way to and from work, I tend to listen to talk radio. My talk radio is basically split 3 ways (or 2 depending on how you want to look at it). Sports talk, and news.  I get two different ESPN stations that have different programming that I bounce back and forth on, and I also listen to NPR.  If I had to guess, I would say that about 75% of my time is spent listening to one of the two sports stations while the other 25% is spent listening to NPR.

When Em and I happen to be bopping around either in the evening or on the weekends, then it is less likely that we will listen to those stations. It’s more likely that we will try to find some jams. (I’m just not sure she’d appreciate or be interested in sports talk, although I have told her that there is probably a good chunk of interesting interviews that aren’t necessarily all sports that she would enjoy and be interested in…we’re still working on that!) So what are my preset stations for my car radio??


ESPN west palm beach

ESPN West Palm Beach


1: Latin musica – great variety of salsa, bachata, reggaeton, and pop latino (this used to be a second NPR station until I found this current one that I really like)

2: Rap / island music

3: Rap / hip hop music (between 2 and 3 is a pop/top 40s station that we sometimes flip to)

4: NPR

5: ESPN West Palm

6: ESPN Miami

So basically my top row is for my music, and my bottom row is for my commute to and from work every day.  So do my presets say anything about me? I don’t know, although I guess it says a little about the type of music that I listen to, even though the vast majority of my time in the car is actually spent listening to talk radio rather than tunes. I guess maybe it also shows a bit of weirdness in me and my organization style in that I have them arranged a specific way…

What are your presets, and does they say anything about you??


Note: Yes, I have presets for am radio as well, but come on… I also do have a second set of 6 presets that I could use for fm radio, however, here I’m just talking about my normal fm presets that I actually use.

Note: This is the first place that I have lived where I have had an ESPN station, or any sports talk station, available to me (at least that I’ve been aware of). When we lived up in Orlando, I listened to NPR for 90%+ of my daily commute (about 45-60minutes each way). I sometimes feel a little guilty and feel like I should be listening to more NPR down here, although the sports radio is where I tend to get most of my sports news and updates as I rarely watch any sports stuff on tv. So I justify it to myself!


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Soules Mates

Well dear friends, it’s been a wild ride, but our journey has finally come to an end. Our Prince Farming, Chris Soules, has found his mate. The three hour finale took us down the home stretch as Chris struggled to choose between Becca and Whitney.  And the final winner was……drum rolllll………Whitney!

Chris and Whitney the bachelor

Whitney got to meet Chris’s family first, and not surprisingly, wowed them all. She really is quite the outgoing girl and has a lot for anyone to be impressed by, including her personality, career, and ability to get along and be at ease with everyone. The sisters clearly loved her along with his parents. Whitney also let them all know exactly where she was, saying many times how much she loved Chris and also how much she wanted to be a part of the family.  She also gives great speeches, though she did tear up a bit at the end of her toast. It was a predictably perfect date.

However, Chris spent a lot of the time during Whitney’s date talking about Becca. He tried to convince his sisters and brother-in-law that the relationship with Becca was also good and was not just about the chase…even though he did admit that he wasn’t sure where she stood and that the relationship was not as far along because of that uncertainty on Becca’s part.

Which brings us to Becca’s date…which went reasonably well, although did not help to bring any clarity. Becca admitted to the sisters and the mother that she was not yet in love and was not ready to move out to Iowa. Chris’s mom tried to convince her that the feelings she was feeling were love. Red Flag: Your mom is trying to convince your girlfriend that she really does love you.


So Chris and Becca spent half of the episode in her hotel room discussing where she was in the process. Chris was really trying to push her to get her true feelings, which basically ended up being: Yeah, I like you, but I just don’t know if I LIKE you, and I definitely know I’m not ready to move anywhere for you in the near future, and actually, I don’t even know what love is.  Ummm, ok. That just doesn’t sound promising if you’re trying to meet your mate. And Chris eventually came to that conclusion.  When he broke up with her in his pimped out barn, she didn’t seem too upset by it all… Ice Queen. I honestly think she was probably a little relieved.

Although Whitney has been my bet since near the beginning, I do believe that if Becca would have given him anything more to go on than she did, she may have been the one to win the final rose (even a vague 5 year plan might have worked). I don’t think Chris would have proposed to her,  but he might have picked her for them to move forward slowly in a real relationship. There was a certain ease between the two of them and also some simpleness(?) to their relationship which I do think could have worked well.

But he chose Whitney, and I’ve got to believe that she will do everything necessary to make sure it works. Though again, I think Whitney could probably do much better if she wanted.  Whitney also answered one of my questions that I had for her – she decided NOT to watch the season. She said that she re-watched the rest of her dates, but was confident enough in what she and Chris had together that she did not want to watch anything else. Interesting choice, and a tough one. Both to resist watching, and also to avoid watching with social media and everything else.


Quite the barn!

Quite the barn!


The final hour was actually the “after the rose ceremony” where we got live interviews with Chris and the ladies and also found out who will be the next bachelorette.  Like always, Chris Harrison ate this up. He brought out Chris and interviewed him, almost trying to get him to slip up and somehow admit that he regretted his final decision or that he was still in love with Becca.

Then, instead of introducing us to his fiancée first, they brought out Becca to recap and do more interviewing. Again, Harrison tries relentlessly to try and get them to somehow admit that they were or are in love. Then Harrison peppers Becca about her lack of love history, almost as if she’s some sort of foreign being.  Is it true that you’ve never been in love? Do you think you’ll be normal after this experience?

To be fair to Harrison, Chris did seem to be into Becca (during the show and even still during the interview). And when they met again on stage, they shared a very warm hug, and Chris still seemed to be watching intently for any sign that Becca had changed her mind or come to the realization that she did, in fact, love him. I think that if she had told him that she realized that she did love him, he would have called everything off with Whitney right then and run off with Becca. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, we said goodbye again to Becca (who still seemed totally fine – Ice Queen), and we’re introduced to Whitney to see them together for the first time. Harrison then peppered her with questions about whether she had watched and if she knew just how tough of a decision it was for Chris and how much he was conflicted. Happy engagement. Dick move, Harrison.

Jimmy Kimmel came out as well and really poured it on thick, finally presenting a cow, Juan Pablo, as a gift before he headed out. He also made some really kind of awkward, but comical jabs right to Chris and Whitney. What do you expect, it’s Jimmy Kimmel…


Fianlly we got the really awkward announcement of who the next bachelorette(s) will be: Kaitlyn and Britt. Whooooaaa! Two bachelorettes with the same group of guys…..wild. Harrison tried to convince us that bachelor nation as well as the production team was completely torn and so they decided to not make a decision and have them both. I still contend that Kaitlyn was easily the favorite, but the producers are thinking of creative ways to spike ratings.

It’s still unclear exactly how the show will work with two bachelorettes…. Will they both be on for the full season? Will they each get their own roses to hand out? Their own dates? It’s all speculation at this point. I guess we’ll have to tune in to find out.


Clearly excited to be sharing bachelorette privileges...

Clearly excited to be sharing bachelorette privileges…


So cheers to another bachelor love journey. It was unique, that’s for sure. But it does appear that love was found, as our hero got down on one knee and proposed to an impressive young lady who really does seem to love him. It remains to be seen if this will last and become of the (very few) success stories coming from the show. Enjoy Arlington and each other, lovebirds!


Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Advice, Media/Movies/TV, Uncategorized


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The Bachelor: The Women Tell All

Near the end of each Bachelor(ette) season, ABC brings back the contestants …errr… previous boy/girlfriends who have already been eliminated.  They get a chance to reconnect with each other, which mostly ends up in unpleasant confrontations and accusations about who was real or fake and who was the villain and who had it coming.  They also get the pleasure of watching their breakup and other awkward moments all over again….nothing like reliving painful experiences that you suffered for all of America to see…with all of America watching, again on tv. And then they get to see bachelor Chris again for closure, which of course is him just trying to save face and come off as mildly empathetic for having to let such a great girl go (remember at this point, our Romeo has made his decision and is already with one of the remaining two ladies). And it’s all moderated by Chris Harrison who just eats up the entire ordeal and continues to pry and dig in and extract those little sound nuggets of reality tv gold…Would you say that if not for Carly, you’d be with him right now?? Keep on stirring that pot, Harrison.


This season did not disappoint in putting on some very unique personalities that in turn created lots of drama for ABC to work with. It also created plenty of fodder for last night’s episode. There were several women who were chomping at the bit to confront one another.

First things first, we can now confirm that Carly really was pretty evil. I mentioned in a previous post that she seemed to know she was on her way out and did whatever she could to drag Britt along with her. Near the beginning of the season, we kind of saw a Carly who seemed to be insecure about her own self worth and whether she deserved love, which created some sympathy and some votes for her to do well because she seemed nice and innocent. Then we find out that she’s actually a bit of a bully herself, with Britt, Jillian (how big is your dick!?) and likely others. We saw some of this in the final episodes in which she appeared, and definitely last night. Not cool, Carly.

Jillian really impressed me. Largely because she seemed to be level headed and stuck up for some of the girls when the others were really piling it on. Nice work.

Britt. Oh, poor Britt. She was not the right person for Chris, even if she did desperately try to convince us (and herself) last night that she really did love him, and that she really would have been okay in Arlington. Many of the ladies did seem to question her sincerity in these claims, but they really seemed to pile it on a bit too much. Especially Carly. And how about Em’s observation about Britt and Kelly Kapowski…















Speaking of piling it on, Kelsey basically got crushed last night by everyone. I guess her eloquence didn’t get her out of this one. Not to be terribly mean myself, but I can certainly see why so many of the girls had huge problems with her. She clearly is a manipulative person, and she did think that she was better than the other girls. It’s been a running joke between Em and I that Sanderson Poe is actually a character in an olde novel which she only imagines she was married too before his tragic death…because really, whose name is Sanderson Poe? More suspiciously, who only refers to their significance other by full name!?! But the other girls legitimately calling that into question and not believing her on a sensitive issue to her face on national television is a bit over the line in my book.

Jade is again forced to bring up her Playboy history. And this time gets to confront Chris and ask him if that’s why he dumped her.  Again, he says no. She then gets upset and says that he upset her when he said he was disturbed at the difference in the way her family described her versus how he knew her, and that he thought it was awkward to look at her photos with him. She didn’t like the words disturbed or awkward…I can kind of see where she’s coming from, especially in a situation where she put herself out there (see what I did there), but come on, Jade, it’s Chris. He’s no wordsmith. On top of that, who knows how much control he even has over the blog that he has to put out throughout the season.

Kaitlyn also had a chance to gain some closure from Chris. He said that it was a gut decision and sometimes it’s like throwing darts at a dartboard in the dark. Oh, ok. I guess that’s a good method to use when trying to find love. But I get what he was saying….he had to make a choice and there really wasn’t anything wrong with Kaitlyn that made him not pick her. But she was also the only one that we heard Chris say he was falling in love with. And we know that they made some sweet love in the fantasy suite. That’s the first time I think I’ve ever heard the actual Bachelor or Bachelorette say to one of the contestants that they were falling in love to a specific person before the end of the show. Wow. And then he let her go. I still think she’s better off without Iowa, and I still think she’d be incredibly entertaining as the bachelorette…I just hope that the show wouldn’t ruin her.

The Ashleys. S really is pretty out there. She is still claiming that she is not a hired actor brought in to fawn over pomegranates or make everyone visibly nervous when handed a sharp object or paintball gun. And  I still seems to be a pretty terrible person and definitely immature. And what’s with that dress….cleave much??

Ashley I women tell all

Trina, no one had any idea who you were on the show, or that you were even on the show, until you tried to get your two cents in at every opportunity on The Women Tell All. Not interested then, still not interested now.

And of course, the maestro of it all, Chris Harrison. He is the (largely unnecessary) host of the entire bachelor enterprise, but I’m pretty sure that he lives for this episode each season.  He really loves to play the role of the counselor / therapist. Only he’s more interested in getting some juicy information out the the contestants and continuously pushing them to go deeper and give more and extract tears through the entire interview. He’s like the friend in high school who you spill your guts to and the next day the entire school knows, yet you continue confiding in that person over and over. He loves the power of the information and getting all the juicy stuff, all while stirring the pot and keeping the drama going. To Kelsey: Do you see why they might have found you to be condescending? To Kaitlyn: When was the exact moment you felt your heart break? To Britt: Would you still be with him if it weren’t for Carly? To Ashley S: Who are you….And will you please come on Bachelor in Paradise?! To Chris: They don’t call it the hot seat for nothing!

And wait…..Harrison wrote a romance novel?!?!? Oh. Em. Gee.


So there you have it. Reality tv at its finest. It puts “real people” in a very unnatural environment with certain parameters that it can control. They then edit it for our mass consumption and entertainment. And then they bring those people back together again in an unnatural environment to confront one another and rehash all that went wrong the first time around. It’s reality tv about reality tv….they’re getting returns on their returns, and we’re all here to enjoy round two.

PS. I think my money is still on Whitney to win it all.


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final two: the bachelor winds down

Oh goodness…we are now down to the final two ladies on the bachelor. How the time flies…it seems like only yesterday we met the first set of 15 women coming out of the limos, which was then followed by a second set of limos full of 15 more women just a short time later.  [Side note: I believe both of the finalists came from the second set of limos.]


Before my usual recap, I will offer a brief apology to those few loyal readers who rely on or enjoy (or enjoy makin fun of) my weekly analysis. Last week I was unable to crank out a blog, even though it was a huge week (hometown visits!) that led to this week’s fantasy suite adventures in Bali.

Super quick: It turns out that Jade was a model for Playboy for a bit which kind of threw off Chris’s idea of her sharing his small town values that he loved so much. This was not a one time hey I took a naked picture in college and submitted to Playboy; this was an extensive catalogue of full nudity shots (google jade Elizabeth). Jade’s brother called her a wild mustang. She was sent packing.

Becca’s family was a little bizarre and was overly freaked out that she and Chris were touching. Like even just him touching her knee. Weird, but she survived.

We saw just how small Chris’s town really is. Yes, Arlington Iowa is tiny and remote. An hour or more to get to a single place that will serve food or show a movie.

Britt and Carly were sent packing before the hometown dates. We all knew Carly was on her way out…and Carly herself knew it. I’m pretty sure her mindset was something like, fuck it, if I’m on my way out im making sure Britt doesn’t get any further. And it worked.

So that left us with three lovely, and extremely different, ladies for the fantasy suite episode:


imageKaitlyn the cool, free spirit from Canada. I’ve said before that I think that Kaitlyn is cool and a very engaging and good on camera, basically way too fun and cool for Chris. I still thought that…one of my favorites, but not a good match for Chris. And probably not likely to enjoy small town Iowa farm life. But on this particular date she seemed a little more lovey than usual and the two even talked about her putting herself out there and being vulnerable in order to prove her love for Chris. Which she did.  I think we also realized that Kaitlyn is Catherine from Sean’s season. Kind of goofy and fun, and not someone you would’ve picked to go far. [Spoiler: she doesn’t go any farther.]. Kaitlyn and Chris really do seem to enjoy each other and decide to spend a night in the fantasy suite.







imageWhitney is the very put together and driven fertility nurse from Chicago. She is 29 and told Chris that she is prepared to settle down and give up her career to make babies with him and live in small town Iowa. And I believe her…I think she’d be perfectly comfortable going that route.  As I said before, Whitney could speak to a wall for hours, which is a talent that’s good to have if you’re going to be around only a few hundred people, one of them being Chris. She has never felt so sure or so ready for anything than to spend her life with Chris. Which she may want to reevaluate. Whitney is very attractive, well spoken, has a great career, and lives in Chicago…I’m certain that she could easily date up from Chris if she wanted.  She is really nervous that her sister may have ruined her chances of winning by not giving Chris a full blessing to marry her. Chris assures her that’s not the case. [Side note: was that the only hometown date where they showed him asking for permission to marry the girl??]  Whitney survives and remains the favorite moving forward.




imageBecca is perhaps the most difficult to figure out, and that may be because we know the least about her, yet here she is in the final three. [Spoiler: She’s moving on as a finalist.]  We do know that she has never been in love and that she is a virgin…something Chris learns after he invites her into the fantasy suite. Chris, I’m a virgin. Uhhh.. *long audible sigh* that’s surprising. Her reaction to that exchange: I couldn’t have hoped for a better response.  Really?!  We also learn that she is confused about what love might be and is trying to figure out what exactly it is.  What’s love, Ron? from Anchorman immediately popped in mind when she asked Chris if this is what falling in love is. Becca’s entire family gave off terrible vibes during the hometown date talking about her lack of ever having a relationship; Becca continues to give mixed signals and comes off very wispy washy about how she feels about Chris, whether she’s ready for a relationship, and whether she’d be willing to move to Iowa. All huge red flags, but after a bizarre rose ceremony where Chris asks her to walk with him and talk (both Whitney and Kaitlyn think he’s send her home at this point) she is able to convince him that she is interested and he gives her a rose over Kaitlyn. Wow.



To be honest, before the episode started, I thought that Whitney and Becca would end up with roses (which they did). However, as the episode unfolded, I really didn’t see Becca getting one because of her hesitation and seeming lack of interest.

Thoughts going into the final:

Chris Harrison showed up…he has been largely absent throughout much of the journey and has not acted as the counselor that we have seen in seasons past (excluding JP of course). Which actually brings up a side rant about Chris being viewed and painted as so genuine and such a good guy, even though he has been arguably much more disrespectful to the girls in terms of making out with all of them, all of the time, and in front of them. Yet somehow JP remains the bigger villain. I guess you can get away with anything if you’re a wholesome farmer from the Midwest.

Kaitlyn, yes I feel bad for you because I believe you that it hurt and it was no fun to be put through that. However, you’re way too cool and would have felt trapped in Iowa. Also, you are great on camera, and you are my choice for the next bachelorette.

Whitney is the more mature and ready candidate for Chris. She has also made her enthusiasm very clear from day one. But I just don’t get her attraction to him.

Becca is a wild card. Not ready, and perhaps not interested. But it’s being teased like this is an extremely tough choice for Chris…so maybe there’s something about him having to win her over that he likes. They also do seem like they have had the most normal dates, which may be a testament to the, being able to survive the mundanity of daily life on the farm together.

At this point, I still think Whitney wins.

The final episode promises to be full of drama and heartbreak. But before we get there, we have the women tell all next week….should be some interesting stories there.


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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


breakfast time

I’ve never been a huge breakfast person. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to grab a simple granola bar for breakfast, or to forego a breakfasty food item for more of a lunch or dinner type meal item if we’re having brunch.

But most people will tell you that breakfast is an important meal to kick start your day. Not too long ago, we decided to do a few weeks of “clean eating” where we largely followed the whole30 guidelines. Essentially we could eat meats, fruits, and vegetables; but we have up grains, sweets, alcohol, and dairy. You are allowed to eat regular sized portions at meal times, but are discouraged from snacking throughout the day.

One of the byproducts from this program was that we started paying more attention to breakfast than we had previously. [Truth and transparency: Em already paid plenty of attention to breakfast as she loves breakfast food!]  This has continued, even since we finished our little program.

One of our favorite new breakfasts that we started during that time and continue to enjoy is super simple and quite healthy. An over easy fried egg (or 2 if you’re hungry), half an avocado (we split one between the two of us), and a couple slices of tomato. We top everything with a pinch of salt and pepper, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and some chopped cilantro. It’s a beautifully colored breakfast plate with lots of fresh flavors, and it’s pretty darn healthy as well. Depending on how much avocados are in your area, it is also very reasonably priced!  Give it a shot!


with a little spinach

with a little spinach

As always:  Eat. Be Happy.

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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Budget/$$, Food, Uncategorized


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