Monday Inspiration: Sia

Dearest Lar,

I rarely talk about my job on the blog. For whatever reason, I’ve always kept AsianCajuns relatively separate from my work in local government. I suppose it makes sense. Economic development doesn’t really have a place in a lifestyle blog. That being said, I’m making an exception today.

As you know (but our readers don’t), I’ve been working with my organization’s innovation team – a group of 12 of us that is charged with creating an innovative project. We gave a presentation on that project in Phoenix at a local government conference last week (where I found this gem). In addition to our presentation, we also got to show our group video – which has nothing to do with our project and everything to do with our definition of innovation:

I debated about whether or not to share the video – mostly for egotistical reasons. I hate my outfit. Seriously. I need to get my shirt tailored and buy new pants. But I’m so proud of my team and their amazing willingness to take part in my crazy idea that I had to share it. I don’t know of any other government organization where you’d find such open-minded and creative folks willing to learn some crazy choreography, put on a blond wig, pink blush, and come in on a Saturday without pay to do a video for work.

Also, Greg shot the whole thing on his fancy camera after I told him I was going to attempt to use my old iPhone. What an awesome friend! And Troy was there the whole time helping Greg with the camera work and he spliced down the song to two minutes so I didn’t have to choreograph a four minute song. Best bf ever!

So basically, I’m riding on a high that I have such amazing friends/co-workers who were willing to do this with me and I wanted to share.

Happy Monday!

xoxo, Cath


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2015 Q1 Favorites

Dearest Lar,

I’ve totally gotten hooked on watching favorites make up videos on YouTube. I just love hearing about real products from real women. So I figured I’d do my own favorites (not just makeup), but instead of doing a monthly favorites (I don’t buy enough things to have favorites every month), I’ll just post my favorites every quarter :) So without further ado, here we go!

1. Tarte Cosmetics LipSurgence and Butter Lipstick
Tarte lip gloss 1
The lipstick is the Tartelette limited edition Amazonian butter lipstick in Ethereal Pink. I picked it up last time I was at Sephora because I’ve been looking for the perfect light-ish pink that goes with my skin tone. I like it on its own, but I like it even better with the gloss layered over it. I got the LipSurgence gloss (in Flush) as a gift with purchase and didn’t really think I’d like it. I’m not really a bright pink person, but it goes on really nicely and it is the ONLY thing that keeps my lips from drying up.

Even though Tarte cosmetics aren’t all natural, they’re a step in the right direction. Tarte products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phtalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, synthetic fragrances and gluten.

Here’s what it looks like on my lips:

tarte pink lipstick

 

2. Muji Multi Cape

Muji Multi cape

You were so so so sweet to buy me this amazing piece from Muji last summer. I love how versatile it is and the fabric is so delicate. It’s the perfect spring time cover up/scarf.

Also, do you have any idea how I can prevent so many wrinkles from gathering on my skirt?! It looks terrible!

3. J.Crew Factory D’orsay Flats

JCrew flats

I’ve been wearing more flats since I’m trying to get 10,000 steps in each day. Wearing heels = me finding every excuse not to walk and roll around on my office chair instead. The only problem is that office appropriate flats usually don’t work with my feet. I have wide feet and pretty ballet flats usually hurt like crazy. So I picked up these D’orsay flats a few weekends ago and have been wearing them ever since. My left heel got a small blister the first day I wore them, but other than that they’ve been really comfortable.

JCrew factory flats

4. Topshop Ring

Topshop ring

I picked this ring up at the Atlanta Topshop opening last month and wear it almost every day. It was only $18 and the best money I’ve spent all month. I can’t find it online, but it might still be available in stores. I’ve received so many compliments on it because it’s such a statement piece, but not your typical giant cocktail ring. Wouldn’t it be cool if the glass was really a rough-cut diamond?! Actually, scratch that. If it was a real diamond, I wouldn’t be able to afford it so never mind!

5. Kickstarter: #TruthBeauty

Beauty lies Truth

Alexis Krauss and Jessic Assaf are on a mission to make the safest skincare and makeup affordable to everyone. I love the concept because, as I mentioned in this post, I’m slowly trying to get rid of all harmful beauty products. But sometimes it gets so overwhelming trying to keep up with what’s natural and what’s really bad for you. Also the natural stuff that beauty magazines suggest are usually crazy expensive. I now read the Beauty Lies Truth blog religiously.

6. TV Shows: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Peaky Blinders

favorite tv shows

Both are streaming on Netflix and they couldn’t be more different. I’m so glad I got you hooked on Unbreakable. Since I’ve already seen the whole season, I’ll replay episodes as I blog and check emails. It’s happy-making but also not completely superficial and Titus Andromeda is the best! Also, hashbrown no filter.

Peaky Blinders is dark in every way possible – storyline, sets, costumes, makeup – but I love it. The acting is great, the set design is more stylized that a typical period piece, and somehow the contemporary music totally works. I know you said you’ve seen a few episodes, so keep watching and let me know what you think!

Ta da! My next favorites post will be in June. You should do one too!

Skype this Saturday? I can’t wait to hear about your Berlin trip!

xoxo, Cath


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Fig and Flower – Natural Beauty

Dearest Lar,

While you’re exploring Amsterdam (finding canals, drinking green juice, buying Van Gogh postcards, etc.), I did a little exploring in my own backyard today. Fig and Flower opened up a little less than a year ago in the Poncey Highland neighborhood and I’ve been meaning to check it out ever since.

fig_and_flower

Fig and Flower sells all natural makeup, skincare, and household cleaning products. So it’s basically a store made for you!

For the past few years, you’ve been inspiring me to switch to more natural products. Sometimes I slip up – like when I’m suppose to make a quick trip to pick up a prescription at CVS and end up with three new chemical-filled lipsticks (I blame the weekly coupons!) – but overall I’ve been trying to clean up my makeup and skincare routine.

fig_and_flower_Atlanta

I seriously wanted to buy everything at Fig and Flower times two (one for me and one for you).

Fig_and_flower_eyeshadow

They even carry Vapour, an all natural makeup brand I’ve been wanting to try forever. Look at all of the pretty lip colors! That’s Troy in the background checking out the selection of beard oil.

fig_and_flower_vapour

I felt like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to take you there next time you’re in Atlanta!

fig_and_flower_shopping

Just a few more of the brands they carry: Holly Beth Organics, Indie Lee, Acure, and 100% Pure.

fig_and_flower_products

Also, look at these amazing services they offer:

Fig_and_flower_services

I really want to come back for a makeup application and beauty bag clean out – that’s where they show you how you can replace your favorite items with all natural versions.

Becca, a makeup artist that works at Fig and Flower, was super helpful. I told her that I’m attempting to grow out my eyebrows and she explained the best technique for doing it. I’m listening to her in the photos below, which is why I look so serious – because eyebrows are serious business.

fig_and_flower_seriousface

This is me laughing at the thinness of my brows:

fig_and_flower_eyebrows

If my eyebrow grow-out is successful, I might do a future blog post on it. If not, I will never speak of them again!

I ended up purchasing the 100% Pure Eye Brow Powder Gel in Brunette. I initially thought it was too light, but Becca showed me how it just subtly enhances my brows without making them look drawn on.  I also got the 100% Pure Naked Palette since the only other all natural eye shadow I have is the Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes quad, which is all shimmery shades. I’ve been wanting to jump on the Urban Decay Naked palette bandwagon, but have been hesitant since it’s not an all natural brand. So the 100% Pure palette is exactly what I’ve been looking for – all natural, neutral, matte shades. I’m going to spend a few weeks playing around with it and then I might do a mini 100% Pure Naked Palette makeup tutorial.

I can’t wait to see all of your photos from your long weekend getaway to Amsterdam. I’m so jealous that you got to go to an Other Stories store – and experience a different culture and what not. :) Is it bad that I get more excited about stores you’re visiting than museums. I think I’ve become shallower with age.

Let’s go crazy and Skype during the workweek once you get back to Edinburgh, ok?

xoxo, Cath


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New Things

I’ve been trying to be really good about budgeting lately since I still have a stack of hospital bills to pay off. Some days I’m more disciplined than others. I know it’s never good to buy things to make yourself feel better and feed into consumer culture, blah, blah, blah. But sometimes when you’re down, a new item of clothing or a cheap sparkly ring, is exactly what you need want.

redplaid_closeup

Two weeks ago I was desperate for something new and shiny to get my mind off stressful health stuff and I remembered that I had a few giftcards from Shopbop – woohoo! So I ended up getting a BB Dakota Lillian Drapey Front Jacket and a MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Cross Body Bag.

shopbop_accessories

Yes, I’m bringing the late 90s back with my loose fitting bootleg jeans. Don’t judge. They’re comfortable and perfect for the weekend.

redplaid_outfit

H&M scarf | Hat from Amazon.com | American Eagle jeans and boots | V rings from Squash Blossom Boutique | Old Navy spiral ring | French tip and polka dot Jamberries

plaidoutfit_accessories

For those of you who don’t have a Shopbop giftcard, not to worry! From now until Sunday, Shopbop is having a big sales event:

If you spend $250 or more, you’ll save 15%.
If you spend $500 or more, you’ll save 20%.
If you spend over $1000, you’ll save 25%.

Click here to get the coupon code. If you can’t hit the $250 mark, get some friends in on your order.

Disclaimer: AsianCajuns participates in Shopbop’s affiliate program, but this isn’t sponsored post, so all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

And last but not least, thank you to everyone for such wonderful and sweet comments on my last post! It’s not easy for me to open up about my health on the blog and all of your support and kind words mean so much. Now that I’m almost back to 100%, I’ll be blogging a lot more regularly!

xoxo, Cath


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Beating the Post-Christmas Blues With Jamberry

Dearest Lar,

I think almost everyone gets the post-Christmas blues. I’m jealous the Brits celebrate Boxing Day because it puts off the inevitable depression for a day.

However, this year I didn’t feel as bluesy and I think that’s because my expectations for Christmas weren’t as high as they normally are. That sounds terrible, but it really wasn’t bad! You and Matt didn’t come home for Christmas and we didn’t do presents this year so everything was very low key, but in a really nice, relaxing, decompressing kind of way.

Anywho, I’m rambling. What also helped stave off my post-Christmas blues was an evening hanging out with Brie and Ali. The day after Christmas (a.k.a your Boxing Day), Brie, Ali and I got together to have a girls night in and try out some Jamberry nail decals.

jamberry mug

(Recognize the ring you got me in London! It’s one of my all time favorites. And Thom got me the beautiful J. Crew bracelet)

I’ve always liked nail decals – like the ones that you just had on your nails for the holidays. And I always figured Jamberries were like all the other nail decals out there. So it took me a while to jump on the Jamberry bandwagon, but I’m so glad I did. Why? 1.) Because they’re affordable. One $15 sheet of decals will give you at least 4 manis or 2 manis and 2 pedis or 3 manis and 1 pedi, you get the idea. 2.) They last as long as other decals, but you can remove them with a good soak in olive oil – no acetone needed. 3.) Jamberries are made in the states, and 4.) It’s a company started by women. Woohoo!

jamberry tools

Brie and Ali are both Jamberry consultants so they have all the fancy Jamberry tools (above), but as long as you have a file, buffer, an orange stick, nail scissors and a heating tool of some sort (heater, hair dryer etc.) you don’t need to buy anything other than your Jamberry sheet, which looks like this:

jamberry sheet

This color is called Cherry Ice. It’s actually more raspberry than cherry and I love it. Perfect for the holiday season. You apply them by snipping them to size, heating them up, and placing them on your nails. Here are the official application guidelines and here’s a video I found that was super helpful when I was first trying them out.

jamberry application

It definitely takes a bit longer than just painting your nails – especially if you’re a newbie like me – but the results are worth it. I’ve had these on since last Friday and they still look brand new.

jamberry before and after

There are a million, bah-jillion different designs that you can check out here (that’s the link to Brie’s Jamberry site). I love all the fun patterned ones, but they’re just not me. I’m more of a solid or subtle pattern girl. The next ones I want to try are these nude beauties or these geometric ones.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become less interested in having trendy, fashionable clothes and more interested in cultivating a wardrobe. My closet is slowly becoming more pared down with blacks and grays, which sounds drab (and probably is), but it makes me happy. Because of all that simplifying, I like having a little bit of sparkle or something of interest either on my nails (hello, Jamberries!) or fingers (delicate, gold rings are my thing at the moment – tempted to get these when I magically have more money).

Next time we’re together, whether it’s in Atlanta or Edinburgh, let’s have a Jamberry session with a cuppa – and maybe some cake. Unlike going to get a mani or doing one at home, you can actually EAT while applying Jamberries because there’s no drying required. I probably should have mentioned that first because that’s the biggest selling point for me – eat while you apply nail decals! ;) Best. Thing. Ever.

So tell me, what are you doing to beat the post-Christmas blues? I hope you’re not just spending your days off doing work.

Can’t wait to hear about your lovely New Years Eve dinner you have planned!

xoxo, Cath

PS: Brie has tons of info and fun posts about Jamberry on her Facebook page.


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Fall Things

Dearest Lar,

Hello!!! It’s only been 2.5 months since I’ve last written here – and oh, how I’ve missed it!

Cath_plaidscarf

I’ve missed sharing photos with you and telling you about random stuff that’s happening in my life. Skype, Instagram, and FB are great and all, but blogging is better. That being said, I haven’t had much to blog about. I don’t think photos of my school work and regular work are AsianCajun worthy. That’s why it took me 2.5 months to get you a quasi-outfit photo and a picture of my fall mantel. Tah-dah!

fall mantel

Not great styling and vignette-ing, but autumnal! I made the wreath and garland last year and miraculously found them packed up together in the garage (a.k.a. the storage/catch-all room).  Some day I’ll have a Restoration Hardware/Pottery Barn worthy mantel, but not this year. Speaking of home catalogue/stores have you seen the Ikea holiday decor? I want it all!

fall garland

It’s been a typical fall here in Atlanta – 70 degrees one day, 45 degrees the next. The polar vortex is supposed to hit us on Friday so that’ll be the first time I’ll legitimately have to wear a winter coat – maybe even gloves!

cath_backyard

DKNY wool coat (remember when we bought these over 15 years ago?!?!?!) • Hat & scarf from H&M a few years ago • Gap jeans • H by Hudson boots

I so wish I could fly to Scotland next week and we could celebrate Thanksgiving in a giant house together for the second year in a row. I’ll be working for most of Thanksgiving break drowning my I-miss-my-twin sorrows in a bucket of wine. . . I kid. . . kinda ;)

Drink lots of tea and eat some Tunnocks teacakes for me!

Love, cath


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Touring Ponce City Market

Dearest Lar,

You know I’ve been wanting to take a tour of Ponce City Market, but the public tours always sell out faster than you can say, “Ponce City Market.” This is the closest I’ve been to a tour. So I was super excited when, two weeks ago, Lena and I got the opportunity to take a tour with the Georgia Brownfield Association. 
Exploring Ponce City Market

Jealous of my hat? Everyone on the tour had to wear a hardhat.

PCM Tour Guide

The space actually feels bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside – if that’s even possible. Jamestown Properties is renovating 1 million square feet of the property to turn it into a giant mixed-use project. The photos below probably don’t look like much, but work has come a long way since it began a few years ago. The food court should open up at the end of this year and a handful of the apartments will be ready by this fall.

PCM columns

PCM floors

PCM storefronts

PCM foodcourt

PCM elevator

The food court will house a mix of restaurants and food stalls. The freight elevator will take visitors up to the rooftop where there will be more restaurants and a mini golf course! I don’t know why, but I’m so excited to have a mini golf course nearby.

PCM flats

There’s a gallery space near the leasing office. The current exhibit is Farm to Frame, which features photos of Georgia farms and farmers.

PCM gallery

I can’t wait to see Ponce City Market when it’s finished. I think it’ll be a great addition to Atlanta’s shopping and dining scene. It’s a bummer that there isn’t a MARTA station nearby, but it does run up against the eastside trail of the Beltline.

The urban development nerd in me makes me want to take a tour every couple of months to see the progress. And then I’ll get a chance to wear the hardhat again ;)

PCM hardhat

I can’t wait until you come into town in less than two weeks. You’ll be amazed by how much has changed in this city just in the past few months.

See you in 11 days!!

xoxo, Cath

P.S.: You can also read my Groupon article on Ponce City Market here.

 


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Housekeeping – Kind of

Dearest Lar,

I feel like this blog could be subtitled “One twin has a much more interesting life than the other.” Seriously, while you’re taking trips to London (not to mention Greece, Istanbul, Germany, etc.), I’m trying to figure out how to be a homeowner.

So far being a homeowner has meant not spending money on anything except for the home. . . while on a tight budget. The American dream!

Apart from workwear, this is pretty much what I wear all the time now: t-shirt and jeans (actually probably more yoga pants than jeans, I’m not gonna lie).

weekend paint wear

bucket feet shoes

Luckily the former homeowners of my house had the whole place repainted a light dove gray with off-white trim before putting the house on the market, so Troy and I don’t really have to repaint anything. Of course that doesn’t mean we’re not going to! The first room we’re working on is the study. We’re painting the walls Decorator White since pretty much everything I pin on my For the Home Pinterest board is white rooms. I promise I’ll show progress photos soon.

My yard is HUGE! I would be completely overwhelmed by it except I know I can trust mom to help me figure out how to landscape it. I haven’t spent too much time outside because the mosquitos are insane. They’re so bad I have bites all over my legs. So this has been my only feeble attempt at “gardening”:

Faux gardening

I brought back a succulent from the Detroit Eastern Market and it somehow managed to survive the move last month. I decided it was time to actually pot it in something other than the plastic pot it came in. So I cleaned out an old candle container (using these directions), got some extra soil from the backyard with a spoon because I don’t own a spade, and potted it! And then it died. Actually I think it died before I repotted it because it started falling apart as I was manhandling it. So then I bought a replacement at Walmart. So sad. My Walmart succulent now lives on my mantel:

succulent

I hope my succulent experience isn’t telling of my future gardening attempts.

I can’t wait until you come to visit in August. I feel like my house won’t really feel like my home until my twinie has been in it!

Love you so!

xoxo, Cath


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Exploring Ponce City Market

Dancing Goats Coffee bar

Dearest Lar,

Troy and I took a 1.5 hour break from working on the house yesterday and headed over to Ponce City Market so I could get some photos for a Groupon article I’m writing. The area hasn’t changed too much since you saw it this past winter, but give it another six months and you won’t even recognize it.

Dancing Goats is still the only shop/restaurant open (although a number of restaurants have signed leases to move in this coming year). Troy and I were starving, so we stuffed our faces with ordered a homemade blackberry pop tart (which reminded me of your wedding!) and two mini Duck’s donuts with our coffee.

homemade poptarts

Then we headed over to the Historic Fourth Ward Park, which I think I drove you to in January. It’s a gorgeous city park with lots of winding paths, water features and plenty of seating areas. The Old Fourth Ward Arts festival was just wrapping up as we were walking around. Atlanta might not have one giant amalgam of festivals like Edinburgh, but it does have a festival every weekend.

Birkenstocks at the park

Zara t-shirt • H&M jeans • (really old) Birks • necklace from Sq/Ft boutique • Longchamp Le Pliage
I’ve been dying to dress up since this summer has mostly consisted of me sweating in a tank top and yoga pants with all the packing, moving, unpacking I’ve been doing. Well, dressing up didn’t happen yesterday either – ha! But this outfit is the most pulled together I’ve looked for the past four weekends.

stacked rings

Cross ring from Boutique Karma • black and silver ring from a second hang shop in Athens, GA • silver ring purchased at the Decatur Arts Festival

exploring old fourth ward park

At this very moment you are spending your last day in London on your mini weekend trip. I love seeing all of your Instagram pics of your trip (here, here, here, here, and here) and think it’s hilarious that you drank your first fresh coconut in the rain in London. Did you end up running into Wills & Kate?

I promise to include more photos of the house once I get some more artwork up on the walls.

Can’t wait to see more pics from your trip!

xoxo, Cath

yonks

 

 


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Catching Up

Dearest Lar,

It’s been waaaay too long since I’ve posted. You’ve kept me up to date with everything going on in your life with your wonderful posts – cheese! a perfect Sunday, trams, and Calton Hill – but I haven’t done the same.

However, in between starting classes for the summer, closing on a house, packing and moving, I still managed to take some pics over the past few weeks. I owe you lots of posts, so I figured I start with one with lots of photos!

It’s been so hot here that all I want to wear is summer dresses. I’m tempted to buy a handful of cheap dresses for this season, but I can’t spend any money this summer on clothes (all my money and then some will be spent on house stuff). So a few weeks ago I wore this oldie but goodie:

HM summer dress
 H&M zebra dress • Marc by Marc Jacobs sunniesAsh wedges • Sole Society clutch

Neon clutch copy

A week before the move, Troy and I took a break from packing and spent the afternoon in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood (future home of the Atlanta streetcar coming soon!):

Old Fourth Ward

street art

We had lunch at Illegal Food located in Joystick Gamebar and look what was on the wall (nerd alert):

Illegal Food

I haven’t had much downtime, but I’ve been trying to squeeze some time in to read The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby. It’s a fictionalization of the seamstress that made Jackie Kennedy’s famous suit and it’s been the perfect summer read. Kelby goes into detail about the different fabrics and types of seams the main character uses – which I love to read about even though I hate sewing.

The Pink Suit

Right before we moved, Troy made a batch of the most delicious watermelon mojitos: fresh watermelon juice, simple syrup, mint, Four Roses bourbon, and gin. Yum!

watermelon kentucky mojito

Ali has her wedding photos up online by Once Like a Spark that you can check out since you couldn’t spend a couple thousand and fly back home for it ;) Here’s one of me and Troy (and Greg off to the left) dancing. I wish you had been there!

wedding

Now on to photos of my house! The move probably took us around 4 days with mom and dad, and all of our amazing friends helping. Seriously, if it was just up to me and Troy, the 2 mile move would have taken us weeks! In addition to moving all of our furniture (including a ridiculously heavy music studio console), in the past few days we (Troy and I, family and friends – and some hired help) have unpacked more than half of our stuff, cleared out the overgrown backyard, scrubbed the house from top to bottom, installed my new Ikea chandelier, caulked both showers, reinforced the crawl space door, sold the ridiculously heavy music studio console, and replaced a toilet seat.

I’m desperate to decorate, but there’s still so much unpacking that has to be done! Here’s what the house looks like so far:

The living room – it’s so much bigger than my last living room. I don’t know what to do with so much space! I think it might be the size of your whole flat.

moving_living room

The second bedroom doesn’t have a closet (it was converted into the master bathroom) so for the time being, this bedroom is going to be my closet! Ideally I’d like to streamline my clothes enough where I won’t need a whole room to house all of my clothes. Plus, eventually I want to use this room as our guest bedroom, but I don’t have an extra bed at the moment, so until that changes, it’ll be my walk -in closet.

moving_closet

I threw a bunch of things on this table – so it’s not properly styled – in my closet and then realized that it looks kind of cool. I’ll fix it up a bit, but I love the wire of the hat stand (which I think is yours) and the vintage fan.

moving_vintage fan

Our bedroom – this is probably the neatest it’ll ever look. Pretty soon my side table/lamp thingy will be piled high with mags and books – and dog fur. I’d love to put a great piece of artwork over the bed, but I don’t have one that will work. Maybe I can convince my amazingly talented twinie to paint me something (hint, hint).

moving_bedroom

Mom brought over her label maker the other day and I went a little crazy with it:

moving_labels

I can’t wait for you to see the house in person in a few months. I hope it’ll look much better by then and the third bedroom won’t be piled high with boxes. Who knows, maybe I’ll even have a guest bed :)

I promise my next post will be in a few days and not so hodge-podge as this one.

I miss you so much and wish you could be with me in person during this crazy house-buying/moving process, but getting to see you in August is almost as good!

xoxo, Cath


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