Things I’m Loving

It has been a while since I posted about things I’m loving. In an effort to take a break from the holiday hustle, I’ve rounded up some small but mighty moments and things I’m just loving.

First of allthis hilarious collection of gifts might almost completely reflect my choice of language. I’m basically Sharon Osborne’s long lost daughter.

Copper. Have you heard? Apparently its the next big home decor trend. And I don’t hate it. Give me copper! Here is a peek at Crate & Barrel’s metal trend inspirations.

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Paying it forward. The other day I went to the coffee shop for a coffee. Totally normal, right? But then when the cashier ran my card it didn’t work. She apologized and ran it again. And again. No dice. Mortifying… I promise I had enough money for a latte (which my now had already been made and was sitting just beside her). She explained that their credit card system had been wonky lately and asked if I had cash or another card. My only other card in my coat was for work and I had zero cash. By now I’m so embarrassed. Then she shrugs it off and tells me she has a Pay-It-Forward for a latte already. You guys, people prepay for coffee, muffins and sandwiches for others and the store tracks them on the cardboard sleeves. When you need one, you just grab the appropriate sleeve and hand it to the cashier. I accepted and promised to pay it forward. The next day I returned (while an IT guy was there setting up a new card reader by the way) and bought 10 coffees and got to write on the sleeves. Above is my handiwork.

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O’s artwork. O loves anything crafty. She’s been all about watercolors lately. She painted this the other day.. Of course I tell her it looks fantastic and that I can tell she worked very hard on it. She tells me “Its Blueberry (our Beta fish)!” Can you see it?

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Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday ShowCincinnati people: you don’t want to miss this! Not only is the botanical exhibit incredible, the gift shop irresistible and the trains impressive… they have the most insanely beautiful replicas of Cincinnati landmarks made out of bark, acorns, pine cones and branches. I found a replica of my childhood home, a painted lady Victorian of Tusculum (above).

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Coozies. In my former life coozies were strictly for adult beverages. But O found this at Walgreens right before Halloween and has been using it for her Almond milk. Just slide your hand in and it makes you look like you have a monster hand. Never gets old. Its almost Christmas and this bad boy is in the daily rotation.

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Balsamic anything.  I brunched with a dear friend the other day at Taste of Belgium. You all KNOW how much I love that place. This time I paired my Mimosa (below) with a spinach, red pepper, goat cheese crepe topped with balsamic reduction (above). I need another trip to ToB already!

And as if you need more reasons to drink Champagne- I’ve heard it may prevent Dementia and Alzheimers. Article here.

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This killer wall stencil. My cousin Megan just did this stencil on one wall in her dining room. I believe the wall is one color and the stencil is done in the next lightest color on the swatch and in the next highest sheen.

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I died when I saw it. I must find a place for this technique! Also, Megan chalk painted and gel stained the table and chairs herself! Go girl! Looks sharp!Can a wall be sexy? Because this one just might be. 

Union Terminal. Another Cincinnati treasure and architectural dream.
IMG_8358The dome shaped ceiling screams art deco and has some amazing acoustics.

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I actually took these in selfie mode on my iphone. Not bad, eh?IMG_8372

Redeeming myself. Yup, totally loving that. I once really over baked some brownies for my boss’s dinner party. Like, so bad. That night she sent me a video of everyone trying to cut the brownies and soaking them with ice cream to attempt to soften them. All in good fun and we’ve been laughing about it for a year. The other day they asked if I would want to bake for a dinner party again. We joked about not making brownies and that hopefully nobody would choke or anything. I told them I had a family recipe for a carrot cake that promised to impress. It took me about 3 hours to make and it was perfect. Isn’t she purdy?

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That night I received videos of guests eating the cake and raving about it’s decadence. Totally made up for the brownie incident of 2014.

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Oreo truffles. Three ingredients, 20 minutes of your time and people think you’ve saved the world. Recipe here.

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O’s selfies. She’s been filling my phone with photos and videos of herself, sometimes the dog and even myself. She’s snapped a few great ones and I’m obsessed wit h this one. She can fill my phone with her precious face absolutely any day.

Stitch Fix! I tried Stitch Fix over the summer and I’m hooked. I have posted some of my scores on Instagram. If you want to try it out be sure to use my referral link (this is not an affiliate link but I would get a credit via Stitch Fix for sending you).

 

So what are you loving lately? A song? Your new haircut? The weather? Spill it… I wanna know.

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Things I’m Loving

Every month I post about things I’m loving… sometimes it is real life stuff, style, decor, fellow blogs and so on. So here is a grab-bag of things I’m loving lately.

In Life:

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My amazing “Aunt Kathy” of York’s Corks (actually my dad’s cousin but we are close so she earns the “Aunt” title) was going through a box of family stuff and sent me this incredibly detailed frame embroidery by my Great Grandmother “Gram Corc.” I love it for its obvious sentimental value and history. Not to mention the craftsmanship and time this must have taken! I’m not yet sure where to hang it… It could be a cool piece to add to the gallery wall in our foyer espcially with that black background! Or perhaps it could add an interesting pop elsewhere (half bath? or guest room?). Decisions, decisions!

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Speaking of the foyer gallery wall… it happens to be the background against my next “love”… fresh hydrangeas! I promise I didn’t do that on purpose. Anyway, when we go grocery shopping everyone gets a “spurge”… sometimes it is something unhealthy (poptarts!) or indulgent (wine for me) or just a total perk like flowers. In the midst of our gloomy, frigid winter I have been so excited to “splurge” on flowers. Then I break them into several small vases and scatter them throughout the house, literally bringing life into each room!

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Oh yes, dessert. Hubby and I went on our Valentine’s date during a blizzard. That’s how good our favorite place is. Everything on the menu is fantastic so saving room for dessert is difficult. But we look forward to dessert as much as we do the rest of the meal so on our way in, we pass the dessert bar and choose two pieces to be held for us… you know, in case everyone else knows how amazing the homemade confections are. Here we have an Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake and a Classic Red Velvet cake. Both were divine… I may or may not have reenacted the famous cafe scene from When Harry Met Sally.

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On a separate outing, we went bowling for a friend’s surprise 30th birthday party. I feel like just yesterday we were still celebrating 21st birthdays. So, we’re not so young anymore I guess. What a fun time! Hubby and I realized 4 things: 1- We had never been bowling together before. 2- Hubby is a really good bowler. 3- I am an embarrassingly bad bowler. 4- The style of bowling shoes haven’t changed in 50+ years.

With O:

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O got new play shoes. Not just any play shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers. I grabbed them at Target for less that $20!

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The good news: she loves them. The bad news: she loves them too much.

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When I first turned the corner into the shoe section she gasped “SHOOOOOOES!” And I gleamed with pride that my girl loves shoes. And then I realized this might be a really bad (expensive) habit if we don’t keep it in check. Haha! Anyway, she wouldn’t let me take off her other shoes. I had to pry her other shoes off while she screamed “No! My Toms! Mommy! MY. TOMS.” I had to explain that she would get to keep her shoes and buy new ones. She’s been wearing her Chucks since. Like every minute. She even wants to sleep in them (um, no.) and calls them her “Chuckies.” Oy, I’ve created a monster.

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We had a freak spurt of nice Spring weather. O and her friend H graffiti-ed our entire porch and sidewalk with their chalk art. We had tons of fun and lots of laughs. Too bad their masterpieces are now covered in snow and ice. What a tease… We are all looking forward to more sun and warmth.

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O asked me to tuck her bear in and give her some books. Then I sat in the hall and listened to her read to him and sing “Happy Birthday.” Just too much cuteness.

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And I can’t forget O’s new favorite hiding spot: behind the couch and the curtain. 

On Pinterest:

Winter seems eternal this year. But I’ve been eyeing tons of pink fashion, home decor and jewelry to brighten my days and pull me through these gray winter days. Pink pinterest boards gives me hope.

PINK

Source

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Source: Pinterest

Visit my Pinterest board inspired completely by my love for my daily grind.

On other blogs:

Brunch with KT of Nerdy Girl Writes. I’ve had the pleasure of an actual real life brunch date with this nerdy girl, but for those of you who aren’t so lucky her “Sunday Brunch” posts will have to suffice. Poke around! She has tons of post on decor, fashion and suggestions for good reads.

Nutella Brownies on Cup Of Jo. This woman speaks my language in so many ways. Nutella is my favorite!

PSSSsssssttt: Get 20% off any purchase over $10 at my etsy shop by entering SPRING20 at check out. Good thru 4/1/14

Taste Of Belgium Bistro OTR

I think I’ve made my love of coffee, champagne and all things breakfast well known but I’ll be professing my love for all things deliciously glamorous and brunchy again in this post. [Pause for a moment to enjoy this classic breakfast video if you aren’t in the mood for my ramblings just yet]. Weeks ago, (more like 2 months ago because we’re all so busy) I made a “just because” date with my friends Molly and Jess. As the date approached we realized we had only scheduled the time but nobody had made a decision on where we’d be having our long overdue reunion. Then Jess had a minor mouth surgery and requested we go somewhere she could get either soft food, soup or “liquid lunch.” She mentioned Taste of Belgium and Molly and I were all about trying it. I’ve heard so much about this place, they even follow me on twitter… I don’t know why but it does make me happy. I was eager to finally experience Taste of Belgium.

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Here we are in the OTR Bistro. It was a chilly day and we came at prime lunch time so we grabbed a seat at the bar. As you can see, we started out with mimosas which is never a bad idea. There were tons of people waiting for tables so squeezing into the bar was a good option for our little group. I figured if all these people are packed in here and some are standing outside shivering for 45 minutes they must think these famous waffles are worth all of that trouble so we didn’t mind a little wait for bar seats. Other seats opened up at the bar and we decided to eat there too. After all, the bartender was kind enough to take that great Instagram pic above. And then I guess he thought he’d be clever and take a selfie somewhere between the 3 he took of us. I didn’t realize it until I was flipping through my phone later that day. I sent it to the girls and we all had a good laugh… so big thanks to Kyle the Bartender for his cleverness. I bet you didn’t think your selfie would end up here. *Worthy side note*: Kyle makes killer “breakfast shots” (they taste like maple syrup and waffles) and now you know exactly who to look for when you visit… he also provides just the right amount of commentary and conversation as a bartender. His partner in crime Katie was witty and fun too. We exchanged bargain shopping secrets after I practically attacked her to find out where she got her adorable tuxedo style blouse with sheer sleeves. For those concerned, its from the outlet mall in Monroe. Good employees, service and atmosphere are just as important as the food if you ask me. I don’t care how good your food is, if your service sucks I won’t be returning. So this Bistro hasn’t seen the last of me!

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Okay, okay. I know you’re just dying to hear about the food….

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Jess ordered the fruit and cream waffle with a side of eggs and planned to nibble slowly with that mimosa. And then she got her wish of “liquid lunch” with the breakfast shot chased by OJ. Hopefully that dulled her mouth pain. She ate as much as her weak jaw could and promised that every bite was delicious.

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Molly and I followed our usual tradition of sharing two entrees. We travel together often and were even roomies for a while if you recall. Not to mention that we are both vegetarian so we often gravitate to similar menu items. So we awkwardly ordered 2 banana Nutella waffles (Because we knew those were not sharable. I just don’t share Nutella.) As you can see from above, those waffles pretty and tasty. They were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside …Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin… And I haven’t even gotten to the part where we chose the vegetarian crepe. It was served warm and was stuffed with red peppers, fresh spinach and goat cheese. I was timid about having such a rich and savory crepe but the first bite convinced me to dive on in. Oh, and did I ever. I probably looked like a cavewoman as I devoured my half. Next time I won’t be sharing that either.

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I made sure to try one of the espresso drinks as well. It is not breakfast without coffee! All espresso drinks come as doubles (as the should) and are topped with whipped cream. You guessed it, this bad boy was amazing as well.

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So now I know what all the Taste of Belgium hubbub is about. And I know I’m late to the party but I like to think of myself as fashionably late. I promise to be returning as early as next week because this stuff is addicting and I’m certain that Hubby will be swept off his feet as well.

*I was not asked to write this review or given any compensation for what I have written. All opinions, photos and words are my own. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.

Whomp, Whomp. My Wall Art FAIL

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It’s no secret I like love coffee. And Hubby does too. In fact, we spend a couple hours every weekend at our favorite local coffee house. For us, the coffee is great but it’s also about the people. We’ve been going to the same coffee shop for nearly 10 years. Until a couple of years ago, we lived around the corner and went each morning before work. This place and the people there are a big part of our lives. Many of them have attended our baby shower, mentored us on business and family, and even exchange Christmas cards and gifts with us.

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Now that you understand how important all things coffee actually are… Hopefully it will make sense how much I love these burlap coffee sacks. I saw them at coffee shop and asked if they had any empty ones I could have. I was given two sacks right on the spot. Now I need to find a way to incorporate this quirky tidbit into our decor. Until I found the coffee bags I had considered painting a still life if a mug or a coffee bean for the gallery wall but those were just too literal.

So I attempted to hang one directly on the half bath wall. Like- I NAILED IT TO THE WALL.

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Something’s not right. I hung it sideways so it would be more graphic and abstract. I was disappointed at how it looked so I sent out a pic to a few friends. The responses were hilarious! Hubby said it was too homeless beach hobo style for him. Molly said it dominated the small bathroom. Another friend asked if I had purposely hung it horizontally. And my sister was disgusted that I hung what would otherwise be “trash” on a wall. Tell me how ya really feel! The point is that it’s not working. I still want to use this in a fun way somewhere in the house. This half bath just isn’t where it belongs. Back to the drawing board. I need to find a use for the sack and wall art for the bathroom.

Tell me I’m not the only one! What have you tried in your projects or decor that failed miserably? What did you learn and how did you fix it?

Things I’m Loving

Ah, April. I’m so happy to see you. And thanks for bringing our old pal Sun. I’ve missed you both. March was a “lion” in so many ways. We bounced between snow storms and 60 degree days and back again. And my migraines followed. Oy. O started talking even more… I’d say she has about 20 clear words. No walking yet but she constantly babbles to her toys and in her carseat. Pretty much everywhere. Even in her sleep. Yes, my 16 month old talks about cookies, the dog and her friend Z in her sleep. Cute, except for that if she’s talking then I’m not sleeping. In addition, I had an entire week off of work. While the kids frolicked in the sand I was busy at home with projects for Hilda. I did a bunch of little things and a few larger projects and they will all be posted as I write them. For now I have a handful of things that I’m just loving. They made my day, sometimes even my week. Here are a few of my little treasures.

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Shoes. What girl doesn’t love shoes? Even O is into them. She finds shoes all over the house or in the mudroom and brings them to me saying “Schlooes!”… She’s totally my kid. These are a recent Target find (Surprise, surprise). I am always looking for work shoes that aren’t flip flops, Nikes or Uggs. Most of spring and fall I live in flats. They just slip on when my hands are busy with baby, bags, dog, keys and door. I also love that I can toss them on with just about anything: jeans (skinny or otherwise), crops, skirts etc. So easy. I need easy in my life anywhere I can put it. These babies are a pewter tone with a black toe covered in rose gold studs and some bad-ass spikes. I’ve been asked by the 7 year old not to wear these when we play kickball.

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This is the gorgeous St. Xavier Catholic Church in Cincinnati. Although I’ve attended many masses here as well as weddings, I’ve now also watched the St. Patrick’s day Parade from it’s front steps. I couldn’t help but admire all of this architecture from my seat on the steps. Incredible.

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I’m not embarrassed to admit that this was rescued from the curb only a couple blocks from my house. In a heavy downpour of snow. Molly and I saw it, stopped in the middle of the road and reversed to grab it. Even through the snow we saw that it was a solid piece (dovetail joints!) and had beautiful shape and character. We carefully tossed it on top of my beloved stroller (cringe!) and brought it to the garage. This was one of my vacation week projects. And just you wait… the facelift is pretty awesome.

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One of my favorite things is to catch O totally off guard. Her face is always hilarious. The other day at work, I watched from the other side of the kitchen as she examined the open dishwasher. She played with the racks and looked under the door and after much exploration I watched as she climbed on in. I whipped (I think that’s where the blur effect is from… the whipping action) out my iPhone and snapped a pic. Then I took her off and told her she can’t do that anymore. I don’t want to buy a dishwasher… especially for someone else’s house.

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I shouldn’t have to remind you that I’m a big kid. Last week I was playing with Z and he was meticulously lining up all the lego action heroes. He very particular and takes it pretty seriously. These guys are like 2 inches tall. Batman and Robin are always side by side. And they both look so serious. And look at that Gotham City behind them!

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Oh Em Gee. This is a spectacular creation I made as a snack (you know, to go with a glass of wine of course). I used Blue Oven Bakery’s Potato Rosemary Squares to make a grilled apple and goat cheese sandwich. It was beyond delish. Too bad it was my last square, but I plan on buying them again and creating a few more culinary delights. If you haven’t made it to any of their market locations (Findley, Clark Montessori and such) then you are missing out. I order you to go get a loaf of Bad Girl or Sourdough. Like, now.

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A sure sign of spring is always in fashion. I found some great peach, deep mint and berry jeans on a run to Target and TJMaxx. They are often my first stops when trying a new trend I’m not sure about. Then I only spend half to see if I can swing the colored jean look. And by the way, I’m in love and I now believe that anyone can swing it. And if you’re scared just try a colored jean with a black top and a statement necklace. You’ll believe in yourself in no time.

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On a quick run for coffee at Caribou I decided to stay and enjoy my cup near their fireplace. These little guys were on the mantle. How adorable! I want some for myself! No worries, I didn’t smuggle them home with me. I will, however, keep an eye out for something similar to use as winter decor next year. Maybe even add a red nose to one? He he.

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In an alleyway between Hyde Park Square and the pay lot I noticed these colored bricks. They are clearly remnants of an old painted building billboard from when the building next to it (that makes the other wall of the alley) didn’t yet exist. I’m thinking more than 80 years ago? I’ve walked through this alley countless times over the last 10 years and I’m shocked I’ve never noticed them before. How awesome is that old typography! Pretty cool.

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Well I am Hilda Gotrocks. While I was working on a project bracelet I fumbled through some tumbled crystals. I forgot how much I love these. They are cool, dense and heavy in my hand. I just love the light they reflect and how much they resemble ice. An old favorite for me.

Things I’m Loving

Every now and then I post about a few “Things I’m Loving”. I’ve not been consistent with these posts but I enjoy them so much. I like being able to share a few moments of my life where I see beauty, creativity and an opportunity to just enjoy the world. I hope to be able to post about all of these moments more often- I’m aiming for monthly. Here are a few things I am LOVING right now.

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The other day my fantastic barista made a little latte art atop my coffee.

Shout out to Lori at Awakenings Coffee in Hyde Park. Way to make my day!

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This is a natural tumbled Turquiose and red coral beaded bracelet I made.My sister bought it as a birthday gift to her friend and apparently it was quite a hit. Yes, I’m tooting my own horn here. It just happens to be one of those pieces I wish I could have kept for myself :/

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I actually had to wear rain boots last week instead of snow boots. Spring is in the air! These are my favorite and most comfortable rain boots. They are even a bit fashionable! {Chooka boots can be found here}

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Ok, how adorable is this ceramic cream and sugar set {Pier1}? I could just die over it! simple and cheeky…just my style. I kind of wanted to get them to display on my new kitchen shelves!

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My Aunt Kathy (Side note: Not actually my aunt. She’s my Dad’s cousin but that gets complicated and I’m close to her like an aunt) makes these darling refrigerator magnets out of upcycled wine corks! She also makes keychains with them as well. I have a few magnets on my fridge and a keychain too. They can be personalized with charms and decorative paining. The Corcoran one is my fave- It’s my grandmother’s maiden name and O’s middle name.  These would make adorable hostess gifts… so much more creative than a plain old bottle of wine. You can find York’s Corks here. Be sure to check them out!

Coffee, Yoda and Church

A few things making me smile lately:

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{Baby O wearing a shirt my Dad picked up at my favorite coffee shop in the Keys}

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{My finished painting hanging in a modern office}

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{Gorgeous stained glass windows at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Cincinnati}

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{This Yoda sticker was on my husbands phone in his office when I visited for lunch the other day}

It really is the little things in life.