Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sundaze on Sundays- Little Havana & Communicating with Google Translate

We continued our sightseeing the next morning. 

While Kelly opted to go straight to the beach, I hit up a cute little restaurant called Moreno's for a Cuban inspired breakfast of guava stuffed French toast. Delicious! Great way to start the day.

We hopped back on the bus after a little strolling on Ocean Drive and some gelato along the way. 


One of the highlights of our Miami stop had to be Little Havana. We were warned ahead of time that since the area was so concentrated with Cubans, there were still a lot of people who did not speak English. This turned out to not be so much of a problem as a hilarious anecdote. Since I knew what I wanted to order, I managed just fine (for the most part) with minimal help from the lovely lady who happened to be sitting next to me (she explained that I wanted to buy an extra side of the rice). Nodding along, our server took my order and when Kelly pointed to the menu what she wanted, our server said "club sandwich". The only English she spoke the entire time. After our table mate left, I pulled up Google Translate to ask for my bill and a bag. The server and I had a good laugh over it. But I did get my bill and bag. :-)


After all of our touring, we headed back to the room for a bit. I went and sat on the beach to read until it got dark and then we changed for the Cruise Pre-Party at the Hard Rock Cafe. We had been talking with so many other cruisers for months and it was awesome to finally meet several of them and meet even more. We shared a table with some awesome ladies that I ended up spending most of the trip with and we just had a blast. Lots of sugar and alcohol were consumed. 



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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Life Update

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!!! 

I'm now all burnt out on Black Friday shopping and have purchased all my Christmas gifts. Yay! All of my me shopping consisted of either plaid, flannel, or Urban Decay.

December is almost here which makes me SUPER happy for several reasons- Christmas (duh), my birthday, and NFR. The concert schedule for the rodeo this year is pretty awesome and insanely cheap or free for the most part so expect lots and lots of country concert photos for the rest of 2014. 

On another note, my skin is extraordinarily dry and that's driving me insane. My fingers are scaly. It's really gross. My plan is to cover it (probably with plaid flannel) and not look at it again until March.

I'm going back to Atlanta next month and (hopefully) getting the new tattoo I've been planning for several months. So so excited. Also going to check out some more Walking Dead locations and explore the area. 

And last but not least, one of my best friends in the world just got here today for a visit. 
Beyond excited to see her.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

London Part 02

We spent our first morning in London wandering Kate Middleton's old haunts. We grabbed breakfast at Tom's Kitchen which was adorable and the food was delicious. After this we wandered over to Duke of York Square for my hair appointment at the Richard Ward Salon. I wanted to get a blowout and damn, was that a great decision. I had a student stylist but she was still by far one of the best stylists I've ever had. The salon was adorable and posh with the coolest hair washing station ever (the seats recline for you, none of that adjusting the towel and praying you don't get soaked).

We walked up and down King's Road and explored a little bit before our tea reservation at the Goring. Given this was the hotel where the Duchess of Cambridge stayed the night before her wedding, I expected it to be quite stuffy and was so pleased I was wrong. We have never had such amazing service. During tea, we had two servers who checked on us every few minutes and probably would have happily stirred my tea if I had asked (I'm not that weird LOL). Everyone was extremely helpful and polite and friendly. Unfortunately, our amazing experience at the Goring kind of made everywhere else a little less special because nowhere could possibly top the service or quality. 


It may be Monday, but this post is getting shared on What You Wish Wednesdays hosted by StaciaLeslieMelissaNikki, and Amanda.

ourlifeonabudget
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sundaze on Sundays- Lario's on the Beach & Large Pythons

Our first night in South Beach was a blast. 

After cleaning up and settling into the hotel, we strolled down to Ocean Drive to see the pretty neon lights (they totally reminded me of Grand Theft Auto- Vice City). The place was packed for a Thursday evening.

I was amazed at how many restaurants there were lining the streets. It was a beautiful night and perfect shorts weather. I had this evening planned ever since I found out we were docking in Miami. We wandered all the way down to Lario's on the Beach. One of my fave restaurants ever is Bongos in Orlando (the Estefan's restaurant) and since the Bongos in Miami was closed, we hit up Lario's; their sister restaurant. This was seriously one of the best dinners I've ever had. 

After our meal, we met up with a couple of the other cruisers for drinks before we headed back. As we left the restaurant, we came across two "snake men" (you know, the guys with the giant snakes who take pics for cash) arguing outside. After one of them wandered off, the other one decided to drop the python on my shoulders. Good thing I'm not afraid of snakes! 
Interesting way to end our first day in Miami.


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Friday, November 21, 2014

Fridays on the Blog

 It's time for the Friday blog hops!


Oh Hey Friday with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm
Friday Favorites with Meet Me at the Barre

OH HEY FRIDAY

1. I am still reeling from my vacation. Definitely in the top three of my life. I made so many amazing friends and had so many awesome experiences. I had originally thought I would do this just the one time but if there's a second cruise, me and about 1,000 other people are dying to go and have a reunion. So let's hope there's an encore trip in 2015!!! Oddly enough, this isn't my fave moment from the trip but it is pretty damn awesome anyway.



2. I've been stuck on Eastern time for over a week now which has resulted in me waking up at about 6:30AM every morning for no apparent reason. At first I thought, "Great, I will be so productive" and like work out. No. That happened once. Since I'm going back east again next month, I'm attempting to stay on Eastern time until then buuuuut... Yeah.



3. I have been binge watching The Originals. Oddly enough, I am schoolgirl crushing on a character that is now dead. WTF man. Can you tell I have a thing for guys with long blond hair?

THE ORIGINALS Scoop: Chase Coleman Talks The Fun Of Playing A Werewolf Willing to Go to War With the Vampires http://sulia.com/channel/vampire-diaries/f/44dd5106-56c2-4497-94e6-f296f780f05a/?source=pin&action=share&btn=small&form_factor=desktop&sharer_id=54575851&is_sharer_author=true&pinner=54575851

4. I am super excited about Thanksgiving dinner next week. Since I'm apparently not the worst cook alive, I decided to be ambitious and attempt several recipes from the Paula Deen Ladies & Sons cookbook. Blogging will be postponed if I accidentally burn down my house.

5. Apparently I have New Year's Eve plans in advance for once. I know, crazy, right??? One of my super close friends from Canada is coming in and she's a planner just like me. Initially I was totally against the idea of being on the Strip for NYE but I thought, why not? I've only sort of done it once and it was pretty lame (the party was in a basement, what can you see in a basement?). I do love a good excuse to buy a glittery dress; however, I think this year, I may do the DIY thing.



5 ON FRIDAY

So this Christmas I am attempting all homemade gifts. Key word being ATTEMPTING. I thought maybe I'd try my hand at canning. We will see how that goes! If nothing else, I am really loving Mason jars. Here are 5 of the most awesome jar gifts I found.

Cinnamon Spice Muffin Mix in a Jar with Free Printable Label #swellnoel
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Unique Mason Jar Gift Ideas - Uncommon Designs...
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Snowman Mason Jar Gift Idea- Cute!  It would be fun filled with homemade marshmallows.
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Beefy Bean Soup Mix in a Jar: A Fabulous (Healthy) Gift for Teachers
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96 Homemade Mixes in a Jar
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FRIDAY FAVORITES

1. Favorite Meme




2. Favorite Song
   

3. Favorite Recipe to Try

Fried Grit Cakes | Eatin' on the Cheap
Pinterest

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday

The time I made a bunch of really cool friends while being totally snubbed by someone I respected.

Not all of my encounters have been good. Once upon a time I was a huge 100 Monkeys fan. While I still like the music and most of the band, I don't really listen to them anymore because doing so brings back a lot of memories of frustration. And I'm about happy things.

I used to be a big fan of Jackson Rathbone. I'd met him for the first time before the Twilight fame seemed to go to his head and he was a pretty nice guy. After that, not so much. I've come across plenty of actors and musicians who are really truly nice individuals and some who are a bit pompous, but never one who just downright disrespectful. I've been blatantly ignored, lied to, and even at one point yelled at (more on that another time). No joke. Not cool. 

On that note, I'm really glad that I went to so many 100 Monkeys shows because I met a couple really great friends at them and would not have if I hadn't gone. Anyhow, 100 Monkeys was a really cool band (the rest of them at least) and the friends I made more than make up for the bad experiences. :-)

These pics are from their small show at Tommy Bahamas. I met a couple of really awesome girls who had traveled from other states for the show including their former photographer, Jodie and Julie (RIP). Since we had to wait a few hours for the show, it was bonding time. :-)



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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sundaze on Sundays- Miami & Ceviche

Okay ya'll, so I tried (and failed) to come up with something super clever here for my most recent trip. Rather than bombard the page with constant trip posts, I decided to make it a weekly thing. I toyed with awful awful puns and then decided to just let Florida Georgia Line do all the work for me. So, welcome everyone to Sundaze on Sundays. Yeah, I just did that.

This trip was about a full year in the making. When I first got the Big Machine e-mail about a Florida Georgia Line Cruise (cuz seriously, with that kind of song title, you had to know it would happen), I was interested but since I had no friends who could go, I was going to pass. After a couple weeks, I kept thinking about it and finally decided, why not? I joined a facebook forum for single cruisers (traveling alone single) and found a roommate who fit my criteria. We kept in touch for a couple months until our booking date in January and booked with the presale.

The company who was hosting the charter put together a really well informed Facebook group with frequent updates so we made lots of friends prior to the actual departure. Kelly and I arranged to spend a couple nights in Miami before embarkation as well so we could explore. 

I arranged our flights to get in earlyish (around 10:30) so after grabbing our luggage (I had to check mine since I was dragging a large quantity of alcohol), we hopped on the Airport Flyer to South Beach (perfect timing). After dropping our luggage at the Townhouse Hotel, we got Kelly a bus pass for the Hop On Hop Off tour, grabbed some more rum for me, and then went sightseeing. 

The bus tour had two separate routes- South Beach and Downtown so we really did get to see all the sights. We drove past all the famous hotels, the Art Deco buildings, the Biltmore, the church where Gloria and Emilio Estefan got married, and Miracle Mile. We even got to see some beautiful homes along the water and enjoy the skyline from the bridges.

We hopped off in Coconut Grove since we were getting pretty hungry. Kelly wanted to go to the Cheesecake Factory and I had passed a really quaint little restaurant with a cute patio close to the bus stop. Perfect choice. This place (Jaguar's) had the most awesome little ceviche sampler and it was one of the best lunches I've ever had. After meeting up with Kelly again, we headed back to the hotel.



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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday

The time we went to that ice cream social with all the alcohol in the ice cream.

And I literally got drunk on ice cream. 

Cosmopolitan has the most awesome ice cream parlor ever. It's all cute and pink and by the pool and there is alcohol in the ice cream. For one of the Yelp parties, we got to check out the parlor, sample all kinds of goodies, and Ashley and I splurged and got some serious milkshakes. I'm really not a drinker at all but put the liquor in my ice cream and I'll drink it. Or um, eat it. 

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm home!!!

Sort of.

Actually I am at the Miami International Airport with my carry-ons and a bag filled with guava pastries. 

It has been an insane and amazing week. I spent two full days in Miami touring the city and eating as much Cuban food as I could stuff in my mouth.

The cruise was truly a once in a lifetime experience; I heard some great music, made new friends, and fell in love with some amazing bands.

Highlights from the trip:

The sail away concert. Most cruises get Enua; we had a party on the pool deck with Florida Georgia Line and free shots of tequila.

Bingo on our sea day was hosted by Cole Swindell and Thomas Rhett who not only played (and lost); but jokes about their first "sold out bingo event", spilled their drinks, and moped about being CMA losers. So much fun.

Bar crawling with The Cadillac Three. These guys aren't just super talented, they're super nice. When their drummer found out I wasn't drinking beer, he offered to get me whatever I wanted instead. Karen helped me into the barstool that was too tall for me, and Kelby hid behind me for selfies. Totally worth the temporary deafness when Jaren yelled into the megaphone by my ear (he felt so bad about that).

Pajama night in my Stitch onesie with Maggie Rose who is also a big Lilo and Stitch fan. 

Nelly concert on our private island. No joke.

No cheesy cabaret nights; just my face country artists everywhere from the showroom to the atrium.

Meeting the beautiful and amazing Sarah Buxton and by proxy the adorable Cole Swindell who teased me mercilessly when my phone froze up as Sarah and I were trying to selfie.

Free Fireball and Monster to keep us hydrated and tipsy. In fact, drinks all around all the time.

The super cool gifts in my room almost every night. Welcome mason drinking jar and farewell bottle opener; all limited edition commemorative pieces.

Getting to say hi to Brian and Tyler again. 

And last but not least, running into The Cadillac Three at the airport. One of them is sitting behind me as I type this. Like plugged into the other side of the charger.

Photos soon guys!!! I missed the blog!!! Pics are on the Instagram now if you wanna see! MellyBellyLV!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Foodie Tuesday

If I manage to continue this past week two, it may be a permanent thing but... 
We all know how that goes, right?

After the success of Octoberfest night, we decided to try our hand at Indian food and get kind of fancy with it. Coincidentally, our Indian night was during Diwali, a Hindu celebration. I found this out from Mindy Kaling's Instagram and Mike and I congratulated ourselves on being very accidentally cultured. 

Our menu-
Chicken Korma
Paneer Tikka Masala
Garlic Naan
Puppodoms
Feerni

I'm not gonna lie, the feerni tasted funny and we weren't sure we did it right so it's still sitting in Mike's fridge (HAHAHA). The naan I got at Cost Plus barely got eaten because it tasted like a greasy garlic covered pita. Gross. The chicken was amazing. I have to admit, this was the first time I've ever cooked fresh chicken. Weird, right? And the first time I cooked chicken PERFECTLY. Not pink and we didn't get sick. W00t!!! 

We cheated with the sauces, they were store bought. Oops. The basmati rice was good but not dry enough; I think we overcooked it.

The puppodoms and the paneer were a pleasant victory. The puppodoms were perfectly fried and crispy and I wish I hadn't screwed up the first four cuz they were delicious. 

I decided to be brave and attempt the paneer on my own instead of buying a brick of it at the Indian market. And guess what... I made cheese guys! I made my own cheese. With cheesecloth and everything. I remember I looked at Mike at one point and was like "Hey, look, we're using cheesecloth for its intended purpose!!!" Yeah. 

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Monday, November 10, 2014

London Part 01

I realize this post is a LONG time coming and I feel awfully remiss that I never posted it. Unfortunately, the trip was so long ago, I can't remember it in great detail. I wish Tom Hiddleston could narrate this for me, it would be so much more interesting. So here goes.

We took the Heathrow Express for this trip. I think this is the first time we've flown into Heathrow. The train ride was convenient and really just so much easier. The ride was actually quite pleasant since it took us past a lot of really pretty residential areas right around sunset. So gorgeous!!! 

Upon arrival, we were handed pudding through the window of our taxi. Okay, it wasn't as shady as that. Someone was giving out free samples of pudding and handed some to our driver who handed us chocolate pudding. Welcome to London!!!

We loaded up on snacks at Tesco. We had dinner at Bella Pasta since I have been dreaming of it for oh, ten years. Lemon shrimp, that's where it's at. Took a photo of the famous Odeon in Leicester Square (the theatre at the end of Notting Hill; they do a lot of premieres here). The M&M store was busy.


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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hawaii... Part 11??? Oops...

I was looking through photos from my trip to Hawaii in 2012 and realized I totally overlooked and never posted about one of the afternoons. NOT that it's important but I am super OCD so if I don't post this, I'll feel funny. LOL

So since Lisa and I had our 5 day Go Oahu cards, we got a free activity which we used for swimming with the dolphins at Sea Life Park. I booked our shuttle for that morning and they picked us up at our hotel. We spent the morning wandering before the swim.

We had such a blast. The park is in the most gorgeous setting and it was a beautiful day. After the swim we had plenty of time to explore, grab lunch, and enjoy some Dole Whip too.



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Friday, November 7, 2014

Fridays on the Blog

 It's time for the Friday blog hops!


Oh Hey Friday with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm
Friday Favorites with Meet Me at the Barre

Okay, so here goes!!!

You guys are going to hate me because today is a vacation blog. Everything is vacation themed. It's disgusting and I'm sorry. *hangs head in shame*

OH HEY FRIDAY

Here are five things I have planned for this weekend.
Let's see if my poor inebriated self can get them all done!!!!!

1. Concerts, concerts, and more concerts. I have a full itinerary of shows to see this weekend and a bunch of my faves are on the list- FGL, Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett, etc.
2. A new tattoo. I have a wonderful design picked out to commemorate this trip. Hopefully I can get an appointment!!!
3. Luau night. I couldn't think of a single outfit I wanted to wear for this and one day, my friend drags me into Hottie and I wander to the clearance rack and BAM. There's one outfit, just marked down, in my size, and PERFECT. It even matched my color scheme!!!!
4. Lots and lots of funky art deco and lifeguard stand pictures. I'm going to be an Instagram psycho until I board that ship!!!
5. Avoiding sunburns. I think I literally packed every kind of sunblock I could think of- wipes, spray, stick, hair, eye cream, etc. Everything has SPF. This is NOT the trip that gives me skin cancer.

5 ON FRIDAY

So vacation is clearly on my mind. That said, I queued this.
So here are five things probably on my mind today:

1. I am likely tipsy. I don't drink much but it's vacation time. I packed about eight mini bottles for consumption BEFORE the cruise.
2. It is beach time for me! I am either on a tour bus or at South Beach soaking up some sun.
3. I am making new friends with my super awesome cruise mates.
4. I am so excited about the first Florida Georgia Line concert tomorrow afternoon!!!!!
5. I'm not going to be getting any sleep this weekend.

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Fave Song- Sundaze by Florida Georgia Line. I don't smoke but this song is going to be ALL OVER the ship this weekend so I just know it's going to be my trip theme.



Fave outfit- We have pajama night. This is my "sexy outfit".

oh please someone buy me this.

Fave meme- Please, nobody be secretly thinking this.



If anyone needs me, you can find me here...

Florida Georgia Line This Is How We Cruise For Details Contact http://taylormadetravel.agentarc.com  taylormadetravel142@gmail.com  call 828-475-6227
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday

The time Mandy Moore released a clothing line and did a private show and we got invited somehow.

So when you're on nightclub mailing lists, you get odd invites for random things. In this instance, it was the launch for Mblem, Mandy's new clothing line. The event was a private fashion show and concert at Ghostbar, one of the clubs at the Palms. 

Back when I was like twelve, I looooooved Mandy Moore. I wanted my life to look like her Candy video. The closest I got was my VW Beetle. 

Melissa and I decided to go since it wasn't a super late event and it looked interesting. It was not crazy packed. The clothes were cute and wearable. The concert was actually pretty fun. Mandy's sound has changed so much over the years (thank God) and the folksy acoustic sound was really nice. 

And yes. She sang Candy.


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blog Wednesdays

The Hump Day Blog HopOur Three Peas
ourlifeonabudget

Morning blog world!!!
 I'm linking up with the Fitness Blondie for the Hump day Blog Hop; StaciaLeslie, Melissa, Nikki, and Amanda for What You Wish Wednesday, and Michelle, Chastity, Kristin, and Cathy for Wine'd Down Wednesday.

It's Wednesday! Usually I'd be at home having a day off but I'm not today. I swear, it is for a very good reason.

I'm finally taking a vacation. Like NOW (well, after work). I travel a LOT but none of the trips have really felt like a vacation since I went to Hawaii in 2012. I'm taking a full week off and I'm going to chilllllll. I think.

Let's see how that works out, shall we?
On that note, I had a whole post prepared but after my frustrations from the last couple days, I decided to vent here. I hope you don't mind. I usually try to avoid venting on the blog because I feel like it should be my happy shiny place. Today, I just want to put it up here and clear the air before I head across the country.
Yeah, my parents weren't poor when I was growing up and I have never gone without a day in my life. But they both came from families that had to scrape by to make ends meet and they worked hard to see that I wouldn't have to grow up that way. That doesn't make my job or my life less valuable. It doesn't make the money that I donate or the time that I give less special just because I came across it easier. Nobody handed me any of my jobs; I started at the bottom washing dishes just like anyone else. My parents may have taken care of my education but I didn't go to a fancy school and I worked my ass off for a high GPA and a degree. Having money doesn't make you a bad person; being cruel and hurtful makes you a bad person. Never guilt trip someone for "growing up with money". I have been fortunate yes, but that means that my father worked very hard to provide for me. And frankly, I think a spoiled girl who chooses to work hard, give back, and be kind to others is worth way more than the poor guy who does nothing but say hurtful things, bitch, and complain about the hand life dealt him. Put some good energy out into the world and do nice things for people and maybe you'll be a better person. And if you have a problem with the life I had, take it up with my father. He's a better man than you could ever hope to be.

On a happier note, I have officially become the biggest Instagram whore I know. Like, it's awful.
If you wanna whore around with me...

Instagram
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Announcing- Foodie Tuesdays!

Okay, okay. Admittedly, Foodie FRIDAYS sounds way better but Fridays are busy and. Yeah. So...

Welcome to Foodie Tuesday!

I've recently started cooking (now that I have a friend's kitchen I can borrow and a designated dishwasher... Sorry, Mike) and I decided to dedicate a day to my somewhat accomplished cooking outings. A few years ago, a bunch of my friends and I would go to a different ethnic restaurant once every couple weeks and we called it Ethnic Cuisine Nights. Well, I'm trying to save money for travel so... I started cooking instead!

Anyway... A few weeks ago, Mike and I decided it would be fun to do German food for Octoberfest. World Market had a huge display of German foods so I stocked up on some spaetzle, mushroom soup, schnitzel mix, and some random apple soda that seemed to fit the bill. With Mike's limited kitchen supplies (we reused the same pot multiple times in about 30 minutes), we made the soup, and boiled the spaetzle. 

Unfortunately in the midst of figuring out which strange pot to use for frying the schnitzel, the mushroom soup became mushroom sauce. So... instead of wienerschnitzel we ended up with jagerschnitzel. Tada!!! 

Meanwhile, I threw some phyllo pastry into a cupcake pan along with some apple pie filling, raisins, and cinnamon. Oops, as an afterthought, I poured some melted butter on top. And then kind of set the nonexistent cooking timer in my head. If the strudel didn't work out, it would be fine, I had already made German chocolate cupcakes. 

While the spaetzle looked way too watery and we had to scoop it out of the pot with a slotted spoon, the schnitzel was really nicely cooked. The potato salad I bought went really well with everthing. The apple soda was really good. 

Oddly enough, the strudel came out perfect. Like PERFECT. Like we were sad we didn't make more. The whole random meal came out really really well and high fives were had all around. Well, around the two of us. 


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