Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Traveling with Pets Part II

About a month ago, I planned a trip home. This trip was two weeks long. Due to the length of the trip, I knew I would be bringing my dog, Eliza, with me. I was stressed about this idea from the beginning, because air travel can be tricky with pets in general and my pet can be tricky in general.

She is the sweetest dog and a great companion, but she can be a diva sometimes.  She is a shih-tzu and her breed has a tendency to whine (it can be quite annoying).  The trip to Memphis wasn't terrible. When we landed, I thought, "Okay, that wasn't terrible. I can do it again, but I don't really want to do it unless it is absolutely necessary."  

The trip back to DC was AWFUL. I thought I might strangle Eliza.  She cried for the entire two hour duration and cried very loudly at one point, causing everyone in a 3-row radius to turn and stare at me. She did not lay down for longer than a 20-second period and the only thing that made her "hush" was me petting her- meaning for the entire trip I had to contort my body so that I could lean over and pet her (which was made more difficult by the kid in front of me who had his seat reclined).  

I think a few things led to her discomfort, so I thought I would share some tips here that might help other people have an easier time of it with their pets and flying. 

1. Bring LOTS of bite-sized treats/ food.
Treats were one of the only ways I could keep Eliza quiet. I had some with me for both trips, but  I did not realize how vital they would be to my sanity for that second trip. I ended up having to ration the treats and break them into the smallest bites humanly possible to placate Eliza. I wish I had brought bread or crackers or some other thing that I could've broken up and handed down to her to make her quiet. And I wish I'd had more treats.

2. Bring an empty vessel & a bottle of water.
I think a lot of Eliza's problem on the way back to DC was that she was thirsty.  But, of course, I didn't anticipate this because on the way to Memphis, she refused any water I tried to give her (she usually does when we are traveling) so I thought it would be fine without a way to give her water. WRONG. My second issue was that I was literally in the last row on the plane to be offered a beverage. It was pretty frustrating, but mostly I was frustrated with myself.

3. Medicate. With caution. 
On the way to Memphis, I gave Eliza half a benadryl. This usually makes her very sleepy. It kind of worked, but it didn't work that well. So, on the way home, I gave her an entire benadryl. And it had no effect at all. Next time (if there is one) I am going to the vet and getting her a sedative.  And I might go to the doctor and get some kind of anti-anxiety medication for myself. 
That said, I don't know if I would've done things any differently than I did because dogs can have very strange reactions to medication, especially in a strange environment and especially at a high altitude.  I would not want to risk Eliza's health just so that I would have an easier day, but considering the benadryl had no adverse effects, I'm not really worried about this for the future. 

4. Carriers are important.
I think the main issue Eliza was having all day is that her carrier is not really big enough for her- meaning she cannot comfortably turn around in it. I wish it were bigger, but I don't think a bigger one would have fit under the seat, so we kind of had to deal with it.  I would advise anyone to make sure their pet has PLENTY of room, though. 

Good luck to anyone flying with a pet! Please feel free to ask any questions.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sound Off

I try to be a level-headed person, I really do.  But some things just get me angry.  I'm feeling particularly ornery today, so I thought I would sound off here to get it out of my system.  Here goes.

  1. Pantyhose are torture. Apparently (according to wikipedia) pantyhose became more popular in the 1960s when a new production method made them much cheaper.  COME ON, women of the 60s- I'm looking at YOU. When you burned bras you couldn't have burned pantyhose along with them?! At least it would've made a statement that they are AWFUL. 
  2. If you are a cab driver, you are supposed to know where you are going. That is your job. In fact, I'm probably getting in a cab because I need to get somewhere quickly and I don't know where I'm going, so when you ask me for directions, it is endlessly frustrating.
  3. Seat recliners on planes are the worst. Ever.  Unless you are on a redeye, you have some physiological reason for needing to recline your seat, or you are on an overnight (thus likely international) flight, there is no reason in the world to recline your seat.  Especially if you aren't even going to sleep.  It is the rudest thing ever.  And you know what? It is even more rude to help your 7-year old to recline his seat. (You see, he needs help because his body is not strong enough to recline the seat himself!)  There should be a rule: if your feet don't touch the floor of the plane when you are seated, you don't get to recline your seat. 
  4. Tourists in DC- take note. The left side of the escalator on the metro is for walking. The right side is for standing.
  5. Bikers: in a city, you bike on the street. NOT THE SIDEWALK. And if you are going to be on the sidewalk, you shouldn't HIT people as you pass them. And you shouldn't look at my dog with a vengeance- she has a reason to be on the sidewalk. You do not.  This is why they made a bike lane.
What gets you riled up? Sound off in the comments! You will feel better, I promise. I already feel better. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Would You Do?

So, I recently decided to renew my lease in this apartment for another 8 months, which makes me very happy! (I really like this place and I really hate moving!) But of course, now that I know I will be in this place longer, it has me itching to redecorate.  Not for any rational, reason, of course.  Just 'cause.

One thing I know for sure I want to improve is the lighting in the "main room" i.e. the only  real room.  Here's what I'm thinking about- please offer up your advice! 

One thing that I really don't love about this place is that there is only one window in the main room.  While it is big, the current window dressings don't leave much flexibility to let in more light during the day.  (They also sometimes let in a little too much light on Saturday mornings.)
Here they are:
See how they are on a rod? Well there isn't much "wall" behind that where I could nail in anything and being that the window is so big, I'm hesitant to explore true blinds because of the potential expense.  Does anyone out there have good advice about another solution? Maybe something that would replace the sheers in the middle but be able to be moved up during the day and down at night? 

The other thing I'm thinking about is adding a mirror.  I would add one I think on the farrrr right-hand wall in this picture.  In this picture, the window is behind the photographer to the left. See the bed? Can you picture the lay out? I'm thinking if I put a mirror over my desk, it will reflect some light from the window. Thoughts?

I would move the poster in this picture and replace it with a vertical mirror.

If you have any other thoughts for making a small space feel a little larger, I would LOVE to hear them.  My number one concern is how it will look, but a close second concern is budget. 

Thanks in advance for your input.

And a BIG THANK YOU to those who left me comments about my comments situation last week. I think I've got it all straightened out now (disqus is gone and not coming back).   To those who leave comments, please leave me an email address when you comment so I can email you back! I love your comments and want to respond to all of them! 

Monday, May 23, 2011


Shortly after I moved to DC, I happened upon a piece of Cassie's furniture on craig's list. Her craig's list ad led me to the Primitive & Proper website and Cassie's blog. Well, at some point, I realized that she and Emily  go to this spring market every year to sell their awesome furniture- the market is held at a place called Luckett's.  And, ever since I found out about this event, I've been looking forward to it.  It's been marked on my 2011 calendar since I got the calendar- no lie!

Now, I've blogged about antiquing on this blog before, but I just want to clarify one thing: I am a HUGE antiquing fan- but I prefer the "junkin'" style antiquing, not the kind you do in downtown New Orleans on Royal Street where one copper pot (albeit a very chic pot) will set you back about $1,200.  (True story.) I prefer the kind of antiquing that I can actually afford. In fact, the summer after my senior year in high school, two of my friends and I took an antiquing trip in Missouri.  Not your typical high school grads. 
Lots of people, lots of things to buy.
Anyway, I was so excited about this antiques fair because it is MY KIND OF fair! There was tons of furniture, accessories, and handmade goods.  And everything was super affordable! The furniture was largely redone furniture a lot like what Cassie and Emily do- although I would say Cassie and Emily are a little broader in their appeal than some of the other vendors who had a very specific style of furniture.  Anyway, I absolutely LOVED IT ALL. 
Wouldn't these be awesome for a beach house?
 By the way- apparently this was a lot of other people's kind of fair, too, because it was WAY more crowded and intense than I was expecting.  At one point I heard someone saying they had to close the road to the fair because all the parking was full! How crazy is that? 
I really loved this cabinet. It's kind of hard to see here, though.
And I've determined that I have a furniture ADDICTION. Someday I think I'm gonna have to move out to the 'burbs just so I will have enough space for all my furniture.  I didn't buy a single thing at Luckett's (besides Kettle Korn) because I already have too much furniture in my tiny studio! I did really try to talk myself into a sideboard, though.  But ultimately, I'm not ready to part with some furniture I already have in order to make room for something else. It was probably better on my wallet this way- but it did make me a little sad.  

I didn't take pictures of a lot of my favorite things because I'm still a little shy about taking pictures of other's people's work- some people think that you are going to take ideas from them, I think.  But I did take a few.
Check out these "bird cages" that were at Luckett's:
As soon as I saw these, I decided that I would have definitely bought one if I had a porch to set it on.  Well, later while I was galavanting in Virginia enjoying my rental car, I found this at Home Goods:
Isn't that crazy? Home Goods really knows what's up.  Interestingly, the prices of both pieces were really similarly. 

Even though I didn't buy anything at Luckett's, I did make a Home Goods purchase.  The main room in my apartment has one- JUST ONE- single light fixture.  A lot of times I find myself wishing I had more lighting, so I jumped at the chance to buy a mercury glass lamp at Home Goods (only $30- I LOVE HOME GOODS). 
My little update.
I had such a fun time this weekend exploring in the "country" and the suburbs.  What did you do this weekend? 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekly Gratitude

Thank you to Harper Lee for writing one of the best {if not the best} novel of the twentieth century.  Reading it again has brought me so much happiness and provoked a lot of thought.

Thank you to my readers who keep me motivated to keep on keepin' on with this blog.

Thank you to the city of DC.  The past {almost} year has been a whirlwind of emotions. I am starting to get along better with you.  If you are a DC-er, please read this article on living here.  So true, isn't it?

Thank you to Kate Spade for your sample sale.  I waited and waited and waited some more to be able to purchase the goodie to the left to replace my key holder, and you finally gave me a price I couldn't pass up.

Thank you to my building for handing out pool passes this week. Summer fun, anyone?

Thank you to twitter for providing a network of supportive people to vent to.

Thank you to my dog Eliza for perpetually sleeping late this week. It's been fun.  But we have to get back on a normal schedule very, very soon.

Thank you to my friends, old and new.  I love each of my friends very much.  Ya'll truly get me. 


To all my readers who are fellow bloggers- can you help a girl out?

I want to be able to reply to people who leave me comments via email.  I've had several other bloggers follow-up my comments with an email generated by the blogging system.  I really like this because it's a way that you can let a reader/ commenter know how much you appreciate their feedback.

BUT- in my {non}infinite wisdom, I cannot figure out how to make this happen.

Yesterday, I installed disqus on the blog to try to rectify this situation.  And, when I did that all the comments on the individual posts disappeared.  Fabulous. Not.

So, anyway, this post is a shout for help! If you are a blogger, what comment system do you prefer? Do you use one that allows you to email commenters back? How does it work?

If you have any input, please leave a comment [oh, the irony].  I will not be messing with disqus anytime soon, so hopefully your comments will be sticking around at least for a little while. 

Thanks in advance for your help! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good Reads

I've posted many a post on this blog about books that I'm currently reading, but I cannot recall ever having done a post on my all-time favorite books.  I happen to be re-reading one of my personal favorites, so I thought this would be a good time to share about some of my other favorites. 

Instead of posting about my favorites which are also classics, I thought I would post about my favorites within a genre.  These are not necessarily classic genres- they are ones made up by yours truly.

1. All-Time Favorite
My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
If you've never read this one, then I reckon you need to get yourself to the nearest library or bookstore asap.  This is actually the book I'm currently re-reading.  I haven't finished it just yet, but I've been forcing myself to put it down so I don't stay up all night reading it.  I just think it is a beautiful story about human character, friendship, and life-long learning. 

2. Favorite Play
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams 
I absolutely love all Tennessee Williams' works, but The Glass Menagerie is my favorite.  A Streetcar Named Desire is also a close second.  My parents actually met when they were working on a college production of Streetcar.  Kind of romantic minus the whole fictional-abusive-marriage thing.  

3. Favorite Children's Book
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Just a warning to the wise: I cannot read this book without straight-up bawling... and it is a children's book so you can probably imagine that it isn't very long.  This story is just such a precious tale of a mother's unending love for her child.  I think it might even top To Kill a Mockingbird as my all-time favorite book, but it's easier to categorize it this way (and people will judge me less).

4. Favorite Children's Series
The "Frances" Series by Russell Hoban
This series was my absolute favorite when I was a little girl, so it still remains a personal favorite.  Frances is just such a normal little girl (even if she is a badger) and she deals with many of the same problems that other little girls deal with, including moral issues. 
Funny story about Frances: When I was a kid, my parents absolutely refused to help me with any school projects beyond answering my questions or making sure I had the right supplies.  They thought that it was my responsibility to do my projects.  (Truth be told, I think it was also a bonus for them that they didn't have to do anything.)  So, in second grade there was an assignment where we had to paint a pumpkin like our favorite book character.  Well, Frances was my favorite.  So I used watercolor paint (hey- I didn't know any better) to paint a pumpkin like Frances, who is a badger.  Basically you got a pumpkin that looked like it was rolled around in mud because watercolors don't really adhere to pumpkins.  Yeah, good times. 

5. Favorite Chick Lit
The "Shopaholic" Series by Sophie Kinsella
This is definitely not in the category of best all-time "literature."  Not even close.  But, the shopaholic series is some of my favorite "chick lit." These books are light and funny.  For the record, Kinsella's other stand-alone books are also great- especially Twenties Girl.

6. Favorite Memoir
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I just want to say for the record that I read this book before it was so mainstream and before it was a movie- long before.  I wasn't jumping on a bandwagon with this one, I was just reading something I thought would be interesting.  Through this book, I realized that it is okay to not know what you are looking for.  In fact, sometimes it is better to live your life looking for something you aren't sure of than it is to live your whole life looking for one thing that really isn't the right thing.

7. Favorite Novel of the 21st Century
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I've reviewed this book on the blog before, but I really think this has been my favorite book of the twenty-first century so far. It is really wonderful if you haven't read it yet. 

8. Book that Really Made Me Think
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
If you've lost someone close to you, I really highly recommend The Lovely Bones.  But, read the book and avoid the movie.  This book just gives really vivid insight into what heaven might be like.  I really loved reading it. 

By the way, the title of this post was semi-inspired by the goodreads site. If you are a reader, I recommend goodreads to keep track of what you've read.  The site is well-operated and well organized.

P.S.  A reader asked me to keep you guys posted on Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way. It was definitely very good and insightful, but very heavy on the leadership theory.  I think it is a good, straight-forward read on Mrs. Roosevelt, but I would still like to read the Doris Kearns Goodwin book on the Roosevelts, No Ordinary Time, at some point. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Two Healthy Recipes For You

Looking for a couple of good healthy recipes?  You've come to the right place.
These are ones that I just sort of made up, so there isn't a direct source for them.

Roasted Asparagus

Fresh Asparagus
Olive oil
Sea salt

1. First wash, pat dry and chop the end off the asparagus. 
 2. If you want to, peel the last little bit of the asparagus. This is completely optional and time consuming, but I prefer the way it tastes. 
 3. Place in sheet pan. Coat the asparagus LIGHTLY in olive oil.  You need very little because when it gets in the hot oven, the oil will disperse. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to your taste.

4. Place in preheated 450 degree oven. Cook until lightly browned. Enjoy! 

This asparagus is delicious on its own. It is also fantastic in this salad.

Katelyn's Favorite Salad

Ingredients for the Dressing:
Rice Wine Vinegar
Worcheshire Sauce
Grapeseed Oil
Lemon Juice
Minced Garlic

To make the dressing, I combine these ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up.  Use the Rice Wine Vinegar and Grapeseed oil as your bases and add the other ingredients until it tastes right to you. 

Ingredients for the Salad:
Roasted Asparagus (see recipe above)
Sunflower seeds/ Pumpkin seeds
Shredded carrots
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1. Begin by chopping up the spinach into strips. 
I love the spinach this way because when I eat it, it doesn't hang out of my mouth when I get a really big spinach leaf. Maybe this makes me crazy, but it tastes better like this! 

2. Finely shred carrots for salad. I also add shredded apples sometimes. 

3. Add all ingredients together, included sunflower seeds and cheese.

4. Dress the salad and mix everything together. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Little Boy Fun

Last week, I got the chance to watch my friend's little boy, Micah.
When I was in high school and college, I babysat very consistently. My senior year in college, I babysat for a family with twin boy toddlers.  They were so fun and also exhausting at times, but I really loved keeping them!

So, after all of my experience, I did not think that a little six month old would wear me out, but HE DID. Did I mention he's already crawling? He's like superbaby.

Eliza meets Micah.  She sniffed him all day long.

With his momma. 

Even though Mr. Micah wore me out, he was so much fun. He is so smiley and happy- which is remarkable considering he barely naps! Yeah, I think our visit confirmed that being a single young woman sure is nice for the time being! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Monday Makeover

While I was at home last week, I finally got a chance to clean up the room I lived in growing up. 

Before I show you the "before" picture, keep a few things in mind.
1. When you go to college and come back over a four year period, things just tend to pile up in your room because you don't need/ want them anymore, but you don't have time to deal with it.
2. I just had a garage sale, that when I prepped for, I just went through my room grabbing things I knew I wanted to sell. I let everything else just kind of fall wherever until I could deal with it.
3. I didn't leave it THIS bad when I left home around Christmastime, but it got this bad after two weeks at home.
4. I'm SUPER a little embarrassed to show you this.
Deep breath. Okay, here it was BEFORE.

Blegh, I know! 

So, when I was cleaning it up I had one main goal:
Make it look like a normal human lives or uses this room, without spending any money.

Okay, so here are the much better AFTER shots:

Organized closet- even though it doesn't look that organized. 

It feels so nice to know that my room "at home" looks normal again. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tips for Hosting a Garage Sale

I mentioned that this past weekend, I hosted a garage sale.  It is quite a long story about why I was having the garage sale, but we had a LOT of stuff to sell- mostly clothing (lots & lots of clothing), small home accessories, some electronics, lamps, a couple small pieces of furniture, home organizers, shoes, etc., etc. 

I wanted to recap a few of the tips I have for hosting a garage sale here, mostly so that I can refer back to this post and remind myself of these tips when I inevitably have to host another one.

1. Go to the bank and get change, but only get $50 or $70, the $100 I got was way more than I needed.

2. Do not allow early birds to look early! 
I opened the garage sale both days at 6 am to accommodate early birds, and low and behold, someone showed up at 5:45 as we were half-awake and still dragging stuff out.  She asked if she could take a look at what we had.  Did she buy anything? Of course not! Because it was all still in a disheveled mess! Next time, I will politely ask her to come back at the opening time or later in the day.  It added unnecessary stress to my morning.

3.  Start early setting up. And ask for help.

4. Think of everyone you know who might have a table you can borrow.
You can never have too many tables to set things on. You are way more likely to sell items that are displayed at a level people can see. 

5. Shoes are very popular.
Our shoes sold out like "that!"  Maybe I priced them too low? 

6.  Mardi Gras beads are very valuable outside Louisiana.
I had two FULL bags of beads that I sold first thing for a dollar each.  (To be honest, I thought they would end up in the donation pile at the end of the sale.)  Well, right after I sold them, a man said he wanted to buy them. I told him they were already sold. He bought a bag from the lady who had just bought them for $5. She made a $4 profit! Oh well- lesson learned.  P.S. In Louisiana, you literally end up giving these things away!

7.  Go gather necessary supplies 2 days before the sale- not one.
Plan to buy poster board, foam board, stakes and sharpies for the signs early so you have time to find the kind of stake you want.  I had to settle for wooden garden stakes when I would've preferred the kind you use for political signs because I ran out of time to look.

8. Check with our town about sign regulations.
I checked with our town about permits and found out I did not need one.  What I did not ask was if there were regulations regarding signage.  I bought balloons and whirlygigs and marked the path to the garage sale with those.  And let me tell you, they worked like a charm.  We made about $650 before someone from the town came and said that we could only have stationary objects- i.e. signs.  He'd cut down our balloons and whirlygigs.  After that, we only sold about $100 more merchandise. I wish I had known that I couldn't have those items before I spend $8 at the Dollar Tree on them.  But If I could go back and do it again, I might use them anyway... because they REALLY WORKED.

9.  In a pinch, turn over same-size empty boxes and use them for tables. 
Cover with a sheet and you are ready to go.  Props to my friend Sloane for this fab idea.

10. Be firm on prices! 
Price everything at what you truly want to sell it for and stay firm.  I priced low and went even lower during the first hour because we had so much traffic and I was so flustered.  I later regretted it, because I'm sure the people would've paid my original (very low) price.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Beach Time Skin Care Regimen

My entire life, I have been "that girl" that always gets a sunburn that never turns tan. In Bobbi Brown makeup, I wear the second lightest shade they make.  I have fair skin, and I have learned to love it.  It may not be tan or "in vogue," but my fair skin is beautiful skin, and I have learned how to protect it and make it a priority to protect it. 

After reading this informative and courageous post today about melanoma, I was inspired to write this post about how I protect my skin when I go on beach vacations.  This might sound radical to you, and in fact, my friends make fun of me relentlessly for my complicated regimen.  But, you know what? I don't care.  In my short 22-year life span, I've already had a couple of questionable (but thankfully, benign) moles removed from my skin.  Although nobody in my immediate family has seriously battled skin cancer, my dad has had some pre-cancerous lesions removed from his face and neck. And regardless of the cancer risk, sunburns hurt! I've had enough in my lifetime to tell you that.  Here are my tips for doing the best I can to protect my skin, protect myself against cancer risks, and avoid the painful and unattractive sunburn.

1.  Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.  
My preferred brand is Neutrogena Age Shield Face.  The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer is also really good.  I prefer the Age Shield Face because I can easily find it in SPF 110.  It is marketed for the face, but I use it for my body, too.  A little goes a long way, and you need it to go a long way because this stuff is not cheap. It is about $12 or $13 a bottle, but it works so well.  I've always been able to find these at Target, Walmart, Walgreens and even in the sunscreen section of the local beach grocery store. 

The key thing is to look for a sunscreen with "helioplex."  It protects against a larger spectrum of UV rays.  If you are one of those people who thinks sunscreen doesn't make a difference over a certain SPF, please don't tell me.  I hear that all the time, and maybe for certain people, it's true, but for me- I notice a difference.  I really do.  Since I started using SPF 100 & 110 a couple of years ago when I go to the beach, I have been sunburn-free.  They just work better for me.

Also, just like your mom told you as a kid, reapply often. 

2.  Go in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  
I know this is limiting, but think of it as lunch/ nap/ reading time.  You could even just go in between 11 and 1 or 12 and 2.  Just try to get out of the sun when the rays are strongest!

3.  Invest in an umbrella or umbrella service.
The condos we usually rent for the week have these nifty little things or something similar.  There is usually a teenage boy who sets them up and you can get him to move the umbrella for you with the sun.  The ones we've had in the past usually cost $100 per week, but it is worth it to me.  Alternately, you can invest in a large umbrella and put it up over your own beach chair.  I sit under the umbrella whenever I go out and it really helps me.

4. Cover up!
Invest in a couple of good swimsuit coverups- WITH SLEEVES!  I would do this anyway since I don't exactly have a beach-ready body, but this doubles as being helpful in protecting your skin.  Here are a couple I would recommend:
This one, from Old Navy, is great because it is a light-colored fabric, so you won't get as hot in it. Its also cheap enough that you won't have to get upset when you need to throw it out after it gets worn from a few beach trips.  Since this is so sheer, though, you'd still be better off wearing sunscreen under it. But it will still help you out. 

This shirt from Columbia is another great option.  It is made for men and women and comes in all sizes. Lots of women also wear the men's shirts so they are bigger/ longer.  The great thing about this shirt is that they are super durable AND have SPF 30 in the fabric.  Hooray! The long or short sleeve option is also great.

5. Wear a hat!
This is a great option from Banana Republic. 
Any kind of hat with a brim is great, but sunhats that protect your face and neck are best. My favorite hat has SPF in the fabric.  I found it at Dillards a couple of years ago for $8 and it has been very durable!  It also packs well since it's fabric.

Those are my tips for sun time skin care.  I know they might seem extreme, but they really do help me!