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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

9 Nov…

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2016 at 1:21 pm

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WHAT just happened?

All throughout the 2016 Presidential race, I was with her.  Never wavered… I was #imwither.  And, truth be told… being with her, meant I was 100% not with him.

Enter 9 Nov…

Heavily tuned in to watching the results be revealed, I had that feeling and I knew the imminent outcome.

That “ugly feeling” in my gut surfaced incredibly early and while I struggled to ignore… IT remained constant.

Throughout the primaries, throughout the state/city tours of the candidates, throughout the debates, throughout the media coverage and the venom written via social media platforms, throughout it all, that feeling was present… and, I knew.

So, while I had a sleepless night to begin processing the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, my 16 year old daughter did not.

Sound sleeping for her.  But… waking up on 9 Nov, her perception of the world shifted and now, healing beings.

This morning… as she stood in her bedroom door and I stood in the door of my bedroom, my daughter Zoe asked me did “he” really win…

I told her, “unfortunately yes”…

She quickly turned into her room, walked towards her closet and then I heard a thud.
As I entered her room, she was slumped in her closet door, head down, crying…
I kneeled down and started telling her that I understand her frustration and that we will get through this and be alright… she lifted her head, face drenched with tears, looked at me and said… “what is going to happen to Zack?!”
THAT statement…. it put a jolt into my heart.
My daughter, one who is of a liberal, encompassing spirit… one who strives to see the beauty and potential in situations, she automatically associated his win with a racist revolution and now worries about Zack… her black brother.
Her black brother who is away from home, for he is a Freshman in college.  Her kind, humble, intelligent and magnetic black brother, whose brown skin  — beautiful brown skin — could now make him more of a target… simply because HE won.
WHAT just happened?
And before you think otherwise, know that this is real talk. Real concerns.  Real discomfort.  Perhaps they are not your concerns… but they are real. Real. REAL.
Unprecedented.  Unsettling.  Device.  Malicious.  Uncomfortable.
All words that can be used to describe this most recent Presidential race.
And most unfortunate are the many, many, MANY conversations that families whose skin is brown are forced to have with their loved ones… especially their children. Conversations (repeated conversations) in which the message of being resilient, maintaining an optimistic spirit, and still displaying love for one another is paramount.
But,…the results are the results.
With any election, someone must rise as the victor. The voice of the people (or those who opted to show up and VOTE) has been confirmed.
Recorded… and delivered.  Many are elated with the results.
And… many are like me… thinking, who would have thought, eh?
More than ever it is obvious… #imwithher was trumped… literally!
And, as any day does, 9 Nov continues.
As I periodically shake my head, as if I were attempting to knock away a bad thought or wake from an awful dream…
as I wipe away the sporadic tears that my mind chatter seem to make appear out of nowhere…
as the reality of America’s new First Family becomes REALITY…
the, WHAT just happened?
Well… that must be replaced with…
WHAT now?
My reality is this…
Yes.. I have a black son.  A black son whose energy is so powerful, that his texts and comments have assured me (without him even realizing) that he will be alright.
I have a caring daughter.  And her father and I have reassured her that with God, faith, family and love, WE will be alright.
I have a supportive circle of family, siblings, and friends.  Their messages to me today and the love that has been displayed… I know that we will be alright.
For all of the above, the results will be accepted… and I will move forward in a manner to be supportive of  this new leadership.
FOUR years, eh?
Four years from now, I know that I will look back and read this cleansing blog.
But next election…
Well, lemme’ just keep my mouth shut…
cuz’ we are going to be alright!
Cheers!
-k
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Directions not included…

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

16

18 October 1997.

5:00 in the evening.

I willingly…  happily… and eagerly became his wife.

That day is forever branded into memory.  To call it bliss, doesn’t even give the day its proper description.  It was simply what it should have been… absolutely perfect.

Fast forward.

16 years later.

18 October 2013.

Looks as if a celebration is in order, eh?  As Tony, Toni, Tone would croon, “It’s our Anniversary”!

In the context of this blog post, and the typed words on a computer screen, those dates sit so close together… making a span of 16 years appear extremely compressed.

Yes…  truly, time does fly!

However, with certainty, I can assure you that a 16 year span of marriage is far from compact.  Also… with ABSOLUTE confidence I know that such unions are a steady and beautiful work in progress.  Haha… and once you enter into such relationship, directions on how to make it work, are not included!

Keeping it real…

Since I have been his wife, there have been moments in which I have failed miserably.  Serious talk here… try as I might, there have been times where the connection is off.  Something (whatever that something may be) gets in the way… work, school, kids, bills, friends, family, outside interests, comparing “your marriage” to another’s… it just gets in the way.

These are the moments that you don’t talk about, eh?  Well, speaking strictly from my experience, these are the moments that definitely need and deserve breath — especially if you want your union to continue.

On another note, since I have been his wife  — and certainly more often than failing miserably — there are those moments in which I surpass the expectation.

Moments where I… WE… excel as husband and wife.   Moments where the energy and the rhythm is effortless.  Moments where I couldn’t imagine life without that connection.

Fulfilling and radiant moments that I know are our sustaining moments… and the conduit that has afforded a 16th year.

Life is good… and I am feeling the love.

I have been blessed with a man who complements my complex and outspoken being.  Haha — those close in my circle would probably insert a plethora of descriptive adjectives!  They would also say that he too has been blessed with a woman who provides the same to him.   We are a good fit… and somehow, despite the occasional challenge(s) within our union, we just keep going, and going and going…

And for that, I am incredibly thankful and fortunate.

Surely, my story isn’t unique.  Marriage is work.  And sometimes, it may take a second… or third marriage to get it right.  Right?

Who knows what the true directions are…

Perhaps the ideal directions are just a quick list of complied learnings.

Such as:

Marriage is an evolution.

Everything changes — and change is good.

EMBRACE the change.

Go with the flow.

Speak your mind.

Listen to the truth… even when the truth hurts.

Respect each other.

Love each other.

Protect each other.

Laugh together OFTEN!

Don’t take everything so seriously.

Be patient.

And, because it deserves reiteration…

LOVE EACH OTHER!

Yes sir!  The Mr. and I are in in to win it… and we are taking this thang one day at at time!

Raise your glass with me…

Cheers to my 16th year!

-k

When is it appropriate to say…

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm

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Anything…

and everything.

When is it appropriate to stop biting your lip and say… speak… release what is truly and authentically on your mind?

For clarification… I am speaking of those times in which, no matter how confident, self-assertive and vocal you are, there is a moment in the conversation in which you hold back and decide to swallow your words.  You decide to avoid that “something” and retain possession of your words/thoughts, and allow the person on the other end to be none the wiser.

Truth be told, I often struggle with this notion.  Surely, I am not alone.

A recent conversation with a friend forced me to seriously think about what I do and do not say.  It offered an unexpected enlightenment.  An “ah-ha” moment of sorts in which I caught myself holding back and doing that thing I sometimes do… biting my lip and refraining from speaking what was truly on my mind.  Why did I stop myself?  Hmmmm… perhaps the same reason we all do it.

The culprits could possibly be an effort to remain politically correct…. or, it could simply be we refrain out of respect for the other person… or, might it even be because of plain ol’ fear.

Fear of the consequences.  Fear of hurting someone’s feelings, assuming that the truth would be too much for the recipient.  Or… maybe even a fear of the truth that we may be trying to withhold from ourself (…pausing a minute to think about that one right there).  Inevitably, the reasons why will continue to remain numerous.  But what I know for sure is this;  in various forms and fashions, we all do it (Haha — and even if you think you don’t — YES, YOU do it too).

We hold back with our spouse, our girlfriends, boyfriends, our intimate partners, with family members, co-workers, friends and acquaintances — you name it — it happens.  The statement is on the tip of our tongue and consciously, we determine that this is the “time” that a filter is needed — and we use it.

Speaking of filters, this is possibly a learned behavior, eh?

As children, we were filterless and we spoke our minds.  That is, until that moment when an adult (who was stunned by the comments) redirected your thought and provided that lesson of what was and what wasn’t appropriate to say.  Haha — if your lessons were similar to mine, then you received a mild, yet forceful nudge to stop the words from flowing freely and then a VERY close and reprimanding, muffled lip to ear whisper.  In my case, goal accomplished, for it always made me stop in my tracks and take heed to what I was told.

But now as an adult… being a lover of words and having an insatiable appetite for conversation, I’m aware that when communicating to one another, “holding back and refraining” is generally not the norm… nor fulfilling.  The initial intentions tend to be sincere.  We open up with one another, we engage, we are genuine and we speak our minds.

But then there are those times.  Those times in which we simply hold back.  I take note of  when it happens to me and carefully monitor that action.  What is so difficult about always being true in the moment and just letting the words flow?  Easier said than done, especially with loved ones, eh?

As of late, this topic has piqued my curiosity and makes me want to solicit others to find out why.

Why, why…. why?!

When you hold back, what does that look like in your world?  But hey… perhaps you are the exception — the one who is exempt from this “hold back” club and you ALWAYS speak your mind.  Well, hell yeah — I most certainly want to hear from you!

Not trying to belabor my point or be rhetorical for that matter… for I’m truly interested in feedback.  Or at the least (no pun intended) a conversation free from refrain.

Cheers!

-k

…things are never what they seem.

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm

blogLooking out of my kitchen window while peeping at facebook, tunes from Pandora floating in the background (Beyonce today — don’t judge) and sippin’ on my favorite coffee with organic half and half, I saw my friend’s status… and it was like she read my mind.

Six simple words… “things are never what they seem.”

My shoulders twitch from an immediate chuckle and I’m now wearing a huge grin.  From over 8,000 miles and a different time zone away she always appears at the most appropriate moment.  Haha… I’m chalking it up to energy —  how in the world did she know that I was JUST about to write a blog on the very same subject?!

Don’t let me lose you… and please don’t wander off so quickly, for I am not about to blog about anything negative.

Her words, “things are never what they seem” are incredibly refreshing to me and embody one of the most important life lessons.  Simply put, we all have unique stories.  In turn… completely embracing this truth and refraining from applying your own perceptions to the life of another (I know… much easier said than done) is the key to finding that ethereal happiness we all desire.  Right?

Countless people seem to have contemplated this and figured it out.

How easily can one find quotations by Confucius stating “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” or Theodore Roosevelt saying that “Comparison is the thief of joy” … what about our very own “Live your best Life” Oprah Winfrey and her many mantras… “With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.”

Haha… calling Dr. Richards.  Dr. Richards?

Naaaaaaah.  I’m not a psychologist.

I’m creative.

I’m an artist, an interior designer… a stella & dot stylist.  Actually, “completely right-brained” might offer a more precise description.

Emotion, intuition and nonverbal communication steer my actions and furnish me with insight.  Couple that with over four decades of wisdom (in the form of life lessons) a splash of analytical tendencies and a wholesome love of self… I’m thinking that in itself could afford a figurative “Dr.” status!  Haha… just kidding!

Seriously though… I’m just like you.  Working hard, trying to be a productive member of society/my community, wanting each day to feel good and basically, be happy.  And of course…sometimes, lose sight, start glancing at that “greener grass” and make assumptions about what may or may not be in another’s world…  shit, I’m human, eh?!

But… I always come back to the notion and much-needed filter, “things are never what they seem”.  These words act as a refreshing reminder and enable me to completely appreciate what I have in my world.  Because the bottom line is, we ALL have unique stories… and discounting yours while elevating someone else’s will only generate for you, a long (actually, it should read: looooooooooooooooooog) road of internal discontentment.  Yep… I said it!

The past 54 days have been some of the most enlightening days in my lifetime and have fortified this belief.

Since shaving my head, the amount of feedback that has been forwarded my way has been incredibly humbling and at times surprising.

Without going into great detail… the feedback stems from being showered with complements, told that I was an inspiration/brave, asked if I was undergoing chemotherapy and even received an embarrassingly unwanted head-rubbing.  Some have revealed to me that they could never see themselves doing this and why they couldn’t… others told me that when my hair grows back I should think about wearing “this” type of style and they proceed to tell me what “this” should be… and others have simply embraced my new look… and left it at that.

Hey, I know why I shaved my head and I am still comfortable and delighted with my decision.

But, going back to… “things are not what they seem” — with each response, my “right-brained” self used the comments as a gauge. A dual-sided gauge no doubt, for surely those that decided to give me feedback had some sort of preconceived notion as to why I would or would not shave my head.  Sometimes what I thought an individual might say, they didn’t… or, what I thought they wouldn’t say, they did.

Can you imagine 54 days straight of “something that someone said or did” granting you with continuous “ah-ha” moments?

Well…welcome to my world… and I would NOT trade it for anything!

Surely my friend didn’t have my hair adventures on her mind when she posted her status… but I can guarantee you that in some way, shape or form… her reason for posting her statement directly relates to we ALL have a unique story.  AND simply… embrace it for what it is!

55Tomorrow is day 55…

with an open-mind, I enthusiastically await what comes my way.

Cheers!

-k

en-er-gy…

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2012 at 6:57 am

A quick Google search yields this simple definition:   The strength and vitality required for sustained mental or physical activity.

Delve further, and naturally you will find an abundance of definitions, information and explanations… and all correct in their interpretation of the word “en-er-gy.”  Such an intriguing and expansive concept.  Mysterious en-er-gy.  Electric and thermal energy.  Chemical en-er-gy.

Kinetic.

Attractive.

ENERGY!

As of late (just for a reference, probably for the past 9 years), I have been consciously focused on energy.

Mainly… the chemical energy that one emits and receives when they interact with another. Truth be told… it is almost to an obsessive state.  I am going to blame it on being an artist and an Aquarius… ok, ok… let’s blame it on my expressive soul.   Bottom line, I am dependent on energy.  And clarifying just what “energy” is to me, I should say that I am dependent on stimulating, positive, passionate, and revitalizing energy.  Not anything far from the norm, eh?  Surely, we all crave this type of connection.

I know this to be true:

The daily connections that you make with others contain energy  that is often not recognized and even taken for granted.  The energy generated during these connections can feed you… or they can deplete your spirit.  Acknowledge it or not… this type of energy that is transferred from one person to another  is ever-present and surprisingly powerful.   It is a force… and whether it be good or bad, it is a force that steers you towards those that can and will reciprocate that same energy.  And that ain’t nothing but the truth!

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

I’m not preaching… just sharing.

Sharing because I am confident that there are others who “get this” and seek this very same connection.  Sharing because sometimes (as my brother would say) “it is a beautiful thang” to be reminded that what you emit, you attract.  Sharing simply because… hey, it’s what I do!

Indulge me for a moment…

Think about the people who you keep close in your circle.  Your spouse or your partner might be exempt for this example… so think about extended family members and your friends.  Co-workers and acquaintances.  There is a varied mix, eh?

Now… of this mixture, think about the ones that you tend to gravitate towards.  Repeatedly gravitate towards.  This is probably most applicable to those that you consider friends… think about the ones that without a doubt, you seek out and you genuinely enjoy their company.

Now ask yourself this…

Why them?

Haha… I’ll tell you.  It is energy baby.  It all boils down to en-er-gy!

The connections they provide are stimulating… right?  When you give them your energy, they respond by fueling you and giving that energy right back to you.  A continuous flow.  There is a spark… a magnetism… (as we say this together) there is en-er-gy!  And to repeat myself… that ain’t nothing but the truth!

This is the point at which my husband would tilt his head to the side and offer a chuckle… although he is not on a soapbox like I am, he understands.

Seriously… I pour that word on him like it is a fine wine.  The word “en-er-gy” has become embedded in my vocabulary and I am constantly using it to describe my daily activities… especially my social endeavors.  Haha… as funny as this may sound, for me, en-er-gy  is as essential to me as the air I breathe.

Naaaah, he and I will probably never share the same devotion for the concept of energy.  But we do both recognize its presence and from the sideline, he does appreciate (maybe even admire) my overzealous approach.

That circle I spoke of earlier… your go-to  peeps, you really wouldn’t hold them in that regard if there wasn’t that connection.  Where I find sippin’ on a succulent wine with friends while listening to come fantastic music incredibly enjoyable, a connection via energy with that group is a nonnegotiable — a must!  It just is what it is… and for me, what it will always be!

I know that you are there as well.  Perhaps you aren’t as vocal with your observations as I am…maybe never even analyzed it to this degree, but there.  As adults, we sometimes have the mind-set of “life is short” and we spend our days/time accordingly.  So then I say… having a preference as to who you gravitate towards and an awareness as to where you deposit your energy is the perfect means of ensuring that your time is well spent.

Relocating to the Washington DC area temporarily upset my circle, leaving me with my favorite go-to family members and my best girlfriends dispersed around the globe.  As I keep in contact with them, I am slowly but surely finding my energy in new and unexpected places.

But that’s my take…

What about you?

I’m only putting this out there because I am curious as to how others grasp this concept…. surely not to be swayed, just enlightened.

Those energy connections are paramount.  Haha… and no pun intended… they are electrical and I am drawn to them!

Cheers!

-k

A note to my 42 year old self…

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

What do you do with your notes to self?

You know, those personal collections of thoughts, repeated mantras and declarations that you remember or recite.  Notes to self that often are generated via a life lesson…  acting as an aid in maintaining our confidence, elevating our spirits, keeping us sane and/or reminding us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, the notes are nothing more than the randomness that constantly swirls throughout my head.  Poignant and witty bits of wisdom that present themselves daily and (THANK GOODNESS) as I age, become vividly crystal clear.

As a wife and a mother of a teenage son and a pre-teen daughter it is important and necessary that I have presence.  Even more so for my daughter, me being of sound mind, strong body and calm spirit plays a key factor in our relationships.

BUT, first and foremost, I am a woman.

An independent woman, a woman who works full-time outside of the household, a woman who has an artsy side and enjoys being social, a woman who takes pride in her appearance… and, as important and significant those roles are, I am a woman who is conscious about and determined to be defined as more than a wife and mother.  So, as a woman, I am adamant that presence starts with me!  And for BOTH of my children, I would encourage them to do the same.

Haha… not to get all “Oprah’ish” on you, but the reality is that my notes to self steer that path.  They keep me energized, balanced, allow me to reflect and in times when I lose focus, they do what Hansel and Gretel attempted to do with bread crumbs… they help me find my way home.

I bet there are an abundance of women (perhaps men too) who identify with me and my note to self.  We all do this… we jot down or think thoughts that will rejuvenate us and propel us forward… helps us to “get our minds right!”  It’s human nature, eh?

Wondering if I am alone… but my notes repeat themselves.  Like fashion trends, they are cyclical; coming in and out of season over time and when appropriate.  A few years into my fourth decade, I can easily spot and appreciate those patterns.  Haha… I keep a stash of notes and draw upon them frequently.

My favorite note to self, I keep as the sole information offered in my “about you” section on my facebook page:

“What I know to be true… Change is constant, inevitable and beautiful.  You should accept your imperfections.  Time heals all wounds… AND, this too shall pass!”

So elementary but specific to us all, eh?  Incredibly apropos for “life” and the myriad of situations and events one will encounter.

I recently stumbled across a random note to self that I quickly scribed in a matter of 10 minutes.  Written approximately 3 years ago, in reading it again I was compelled to share — actually with the hopes that in the future, my children might read and appreciate their mother’s candid thoughts.  At the time, I was given an assignment to write down 25 random thoughts.  These were my thoughts — and to this day, they continue to be relevant.

1. I absolutely love the color green.
2. Despite my imperfections, I think I am beautiful… and I wish more women embraced themselves in this manner.
3. My children are my heart… they are little apples off of the tree and I am often humored as to how they have adopted so many of their parent’s characteristics.
4. I love my husband’s shoulders.
5. I am so proud that my siblings and I have a wonderful and loving relationship.
6. I feel sorry for those that do not know the joy of having a great friend.
7. I love MAC eye shadows.
8. I should read more…
9. I enjoy the smell of coffee, yet I don’t really drink it (Haha..an update:  a busy work schedule and a need for caffeine, as of 2012, I occasionally drink coffee).
10. One day, I would like to go to Africa.
11. Music invigorates me.
12. I am an artist… in a perfect world, I would immerse myself into an art project… and everyday, create something magnificent with my hands.
13. I miss my grandmother.
14. I love my daughter’s hands… from an early age, they have always appeared wise and mature.
15. My son’s introspectiveness amazes me.
16. A great glass of wine and good company is a wonderful treat.
17. I love accessories… a fabulous pair of shoes, a snazzy handbag, the perfect coat….mmmmmmmm, it takes me there! 😉
18. I am always on the prowl for the perfect shade of red… both lips and hair!
19. I love to cook… and KNOW I should do it more often.
20. My children have a great dad.
21. Sometimes, I yell too much!
22. I enjoy decorating my house, your house… any house.
23. One day, I will own a dog… although, Ziggy, the cat, isn’t bad (as of 2012, we now have Izzy the cat).
24. I love listening to and watching my loved ones laugh.
25. I AM BLESSED!!!!

Haha… pretty much, that is me in a nutshell… do you feel as if you know me better?

Well, I definitely intend on frequenting this list often… and of course, continuing to write new notes.  But I do feel inclined to add a #26…and it reads as such:  I am happy!

Cheers!

-k

Good & Plenty can make it good and plenty?

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Good & Plenty an aphrodisiac?

How did I miss the boat on this one?   Lo and behold, it seems that there is an abundance of articles written to support this notion… including the Elle magazine write-up that I recently stumbled upon.  Reading that article sparked my curiosity and it definitely induced a desire (no pun intended) for further research.

Written back in 2009, by Rachel Grumman, the article outlines the top 10 grocery store items that can improve couple’s libidos.  The first item?  We could all easily guess… and rightfully so, it deserves its #1 status:  Chocolate.  The second, not as easy.  Honestly, it was another “who knew” moment for me… but after reading the article, I definitely understand the correlation:  Pumpkin pie.

The third item?

Haha… the third item immediately generated a raised eyebrow!  Who knew that Good & Plenty, my all time  F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E childhood candy can make you horny?  Really?  Those pink and white oblong candies?  The candies that as a child, I strategically ate — eating one piece at a time (alternating the colors), shifting it from side to side in my mouth, cracking the candied shell with my teeth until it disappeared and THEN chewing the black licorice center.  Those candies???

Apparently so…

According to Ms. Grumman and a host of others that I researched, the libido elevator comes from a mixture of the scent and taste of licorice.  That combination is supposed to pack a mighty punch — causing an increase in blood flow to your special parts — thus heightening your desire and putting you in the mood.  Although men too can be effected, it seems that women are most impacted…. haha – or should I say, stimulated!  Needless to say, you have got to be a fan of licorice and attracted to the flavor — if not, then it is a moot point, eh?!

And in a “keeping it real” kind of way, for me, it really does make sense.

I had an “ah-ha” moment… even more so after I went to the store and purchased a 99¢ box of my beloved candy.  No…no… NO — not what you are thinking!  Haha… I am not about to narrate steamy details of my bedroom affairs.  The store visit was mandatory because my memory needed to be refreshed.  It had been yearssssssssssssssss since I last tasted Good & Plenty.  After reading the article and spending way too much time googling information, I had to taste them again — with a “grown-up/adult” tongue!  It was an experiment…

Funny how you never forget habits.

Pink, white, pink, white… one after the other, I popped in pieces and devoured my Good & Plenty just as I did as a child.   BUT… this time, I analyzed the smell and the taste — as if it were a fine wine.  Yep… the licorice taste and scent was very intense.  Very warming… it gripped me in sort of hypnotizing manner.  The flavor… deliciously spicy and it lingered on my palate — and that is when I had that “ah-ha” moment.  The light bulb turned on and I made the connection.

Eating the Good & Plenty didn’t make me want to immediately hop in the sack… and I don’t think I had an increase in blood flow you know where, BUT — there was a bit of a euphoric rush.  The feelings that overcame me while eating Good & Plenty are reminiscent of the sensations experienced when drinking my favorite red wines.  That damn anise!!!  I love reds packed with anise… and since anise has a flavor that resembles licorice, it explains the attraction.  Truth be told… where the Good & Plenty fell short, a glass of a robust red, packed with anise will always do the trick! (Ahem — too much information?)

At any rate… so much for my experiment, eh?

Well… the articles that I found never did mention the quantity of Good & Plenty that needed to be consumed in order to reach that sexual peek.  Hmmm, and I do have a good portion of the box left over…

Haha… are you thinking what I am thinking?!

Cheers!

-k