Cruising!

Long time no chat! I started making this an email, but the pictures were kicking my butt so I thought this would be a good way to do it!

We did a 7 night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston TX, and thankfully went the week before Hurricane Harvey came in. Cozumel Mexico, Georgetown Grand Cayman, and Falmouth Jamaica were our for locations with Jamaica being the favorite of all three. Mom and Dad went with us as well as Mom has been dying to go on a cruise for years ūüôā

Day 1- We started the day out early but had a chance to eat breakfast with a couple of friends on our way to Galveston. Check in was actually fairly painless, far better than I’ve ever experienced at an airport. Still had to do security checks, baggage screening, etc, but all of the lines moved smoothly. I think the only time we actually had to stand still was when we got our Sea Pass cards (used for ID on the ship as well as used like a room key for a hotel and for making purchases on the ship) and that still only took about 10 minutes total. Dropped our bags off at our rooms and then it was off to the Windjammer for lunch! The Windjammer is an all you can eat buffet with something for everyone. After lunch we did some exploration of the ship, watched the view as we left port and took a quick nap. Then it was time for dinner in the Dining room complete with a wonderful 3 course meal.

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Ship as we arrived in Galveston.
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Walking up the terminal to board.
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Chilling in our room. We had a handicap room for Steven which gives quite a bit of space. Great if you have a wheelchair to maneuver!
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Hanging out on our balcony!
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Farewell Galveston!
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The stunning chandelier in the dining room.

Day 2- Sea day. Mom and I had mimosas at lunch and sat and gabbed for a while while the menfolk read and napped in their rooms. We checked out some of the shops and then entered a jewelry show! We were allowed to keep the jewelry on through dinner, which also happened to be the first formal night. I loved having a balcony room as a retreat to sit and relax during the day. It was quiet and peaceful. After dinner we went to our first entertainment show. It was similar to a Cirque de Soliel show.

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Mom and I gabbing and enjoying mimosas!
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I mean, I could get used to having this view while I eat…
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Jewelry show, I don’t have closeups of Mom’s jewelry though.

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Formal night 1.
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Gorgeous sunset.
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Towel bunny!
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Hard to tell but the curtain had lots of sparkle to it.

Day 3- Cozumel, Mexico. We arrived in port early for a full day excursion to the Tulum Ruins. We ferried over to Playa del Carmen, then took a bus to the Ruins. Iguana’s are the local inhabitants now and were seen all over the place. Steven had one crawl up and sit on his knee while the rest of us were off exploring, but I had his phone, so no proof! A bus ride and ferry back to port just in time to board before casting off to our next location.

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Cozumel, Mexico from the pier.
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Iguanas!
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Steven and I at the Tulum Ruins.

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Iguana Selfie.
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Towel Elephant! Yes, I know it’s childish but I really enjoyed these every night.

Day 4- Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We did a little snooping around the shops at the pier waiting for the days excursion. Turns out we could have done most of our shopping in advance, but kept getting different start times from various people. A short walk and a bus ride brought us to the harbor for our Catamaran ride out to Stingray City Sandbar where we got to SWIM WITH STINGRAYS! This was what I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint! After our swim we retuned to the pier and finished up our shopping. We had dinner at one of the specialty restaurants, Chops Grille. I believe this was the evening the entertainment show was comedians who were very entertaining, but they may have been on day 3, I can’t remember now.

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Ship from the pier. We had to take tenders back and forth.
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Pirates.
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Our catamaran.

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Stingray City Sandbar.
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Dad and I with the stingray!!
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We may have gotten a little sun…

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Lamb ribs.
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Towel stingray!

Day 5- Falmouth, Jamaica. Toodled our way through the shops at the pier and actually completed almost all of our planned shops before the excursion. That worked out well as we discovered shopkeepers were much more willing to bargain in the morning with their first customers than they were in the afternoon. We took a bus ride out through town on some crazy narrow roads and then did a Bamboo raft on the Martha Brae. i even got to captain our boat! We didn’t get very far while I was in charge, but I also didn’t have any accidents so I’d call it a win. All of the raft captains have items they sell as well and we came away with a beautifully carved gourd with special detail added just for us. Lunch was jerk chicken at a local eatery (this was Steven’s most anticipated event of the trip and it also did not disappoint). The evening’s entertainment was a night of Elvis tunes.

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Coming into Jamaica.

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The ship just towered over everything!
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Different kind of palm tree.
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Safety first.
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Bamboo rafts.

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Many of trees were actually bamboo! Apparently when there aren’t pandas to eat it, bamboo gets rather tall. Also, it’s not a tree, but a grass, and grows to full size in just 3 months!

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Jamaica from the ship.

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Took a ride down the water slides.
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Towel dog?

Day 6- Sea day. Just a relaxing hangout day with some pool time, reading, and napping. Formal night 2 included a lightening and thunder storm off in the distance and an ice skating show after dinner. This was our last evening in the dining room with our WONDERFUL dining room attendants. y’all I LOVED the service on the ship. Yes I know that’s how it should be, but so often these days customer service just isn’t very good. Every single staff person we dealt with went above and beyond. They learned our preferences, stayed and chatted with us as time allowed, and just gave us a personalized experience. I love that everyones name tag included what state or country they were from, which usually sparked it’s own conversation.

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Watching the storm go by.
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Formal night 2 with our amazing dining room staff.

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Day 7- Sea day. We made this a game day. After breakfast we played putt putt golf on the bow of the ship, dominos on the pool deck, and shuffleboard. Some last bit of reading and relaxation and another evening at Chops Grille. We rounded out the night with the headliner entertainment, Saturday Night Fever.

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Sunrise.
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Putt putt on the bow.
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Dominos on the pool deck.
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Shuffleboard!

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My little collection of towel animals.

Day 8- Galveston. Debarring was also quite painless. Some people complained about others cutting line, even if those people had been directed to do so by ship staff, but again lines moved quickly and we were off and through customs in about 20 minutes. We stopped a Buc-ee’s (local gas station that doubles as good souvenir shopping) and then home to nap and unwind.

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Mom at Buc-ee’s
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Everyone was exhausted when we got home, even the dogs!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the pictures! If you ever get a chance, I highly suggest a cruise, even if it’s just a 3 night. And splurge for the balcony!

Edgy yet Pretty

Felt edgy yet pretty yesterday. Edgy. Not really a word I even thought I would use to describe myself- I thinks it’s the new haircut that did it. But I like it. The haircut and the description.

I’ve always been one to follow the rules, push boundaries but only a tiny bit, a follower, a sheep, afraid to disappoint, a people pleaser, and always trying to take anything possible to lesser the burden for others. Everyone else came before me.

It was killing me. I was miserable. There was zero balance in my life, it was either 0 or 100, anything in between did not exist. 

I’ve had to learn to say no, to say I’m sorry but I can’t, to decline invitations, and to do so without feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt. I’m slowly getting there. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting better.

I will still be one of the first to offer to help, to be a listening ear, a helping hand, to say if you need me just let me know. But now I will also take care of myself and my needs. A little rougher and tougher around the edges (unless there’s a puppy involved then I’m a total sucker for anything).

I’ve always wanted to be a leader, someone others looked up to, a mentor. I never thought it would actually happen because I was never smart enough, or good enough, and there was always someone smarter or better instead. I’m learning that even the best leaders aren’t always the smartest or the best, but they strive everyday to learn and improve, then they share that with others.

Life is not a competition against others; but a chance to uplift and encourage those around you.

That’s a whole lot of rambling-all because today when I looked in the mirror, I genuinely liked what I saw. And maybe a little because of my hair.

 

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DIY No-Sew Cutout Twisted Tee

I stink at posting regularly! I think about posting, and then feel like I don’t have anything new to post about! Partially due to the fact that I post on Facebook and Instagram fairly regularly and don’t want to just post the same thing again. Although I know it’s not all the same people in all areas (so if this a dup for you, sorry!)

I’m a big fan of DIY projects, especially when I don’t have to purchase anything for them! I also like having clothing variety, these days that’s primarily gym clothes since I wear a uniform at work and they do not allow for ‘customization’.

My project last week was to take some boring old T-Shirts I had and make them into something more fun. I did use the YouTube to find different styles for cutting up shirts and this was what I came up with! We had a Grand Re-opening at the gym on Saturday and I cut a couple there for other people as well.  Super easy and takes about 10 minutes start to finish! Having a sharp pair of scissors is essential to get clean cuts.

Enjoy!

Booty Workout

Today I did a Booty focused workout. ¬†I ordered a new magnetic phone case this week to help with taking pictures and videos at the gym since I generally workout alone and don’t want to worry about bothering people all the time. Plus, with the magnet I won’t have to balance it with a shaker cup or steal other equipment. It’s a win for everyone.

This is my first time doing this particular workout. I’ve done most of the exercises before, but there was a new one I hadn’t, and some I haven’t done it quite a while, so it’s all a bit rusty.

 

Superset –¬†Sumo squat/curtsy lunge

Elevated single leg lunges

Superset – straight leg kickbacks/bent leg kickbacks

Pull throughs

Stiff leg deadlifts

Single leg, leg press

Glute raise

For each exercise I did 3 sets, 10-15 reps each.  Focus on the stretch of the hamstrings and the squeeze of the glutes to really help build the booty.

22x22x22 Challenge

Day 1 of 22

On April 24, 2016, I accepted the challenge from Keri Cinquina to help raise awareness of the Veteran suicide problem.

I, Caiti Thornhill, am doing 22 push-ups per day for 22 days in an attempt to raise awareness of the Veteran suicide problem. On average, 22 AMERICAN VETERANS commit suicide daily. #22KILL

If you accept, copy and paste this to each video. We encourage you to reach out to the Veterans in your life and remind them that they have your love and support! We must continue to find the emotional and physical strength to win this battle.

I am calling out Jackie Quiles!!

The goal of this challenge is to remind the American people that our Veterans are still fighting and they still need our support.

Please spread the word that suicide is not the answer.

A new video will be posted each day for 22 days, each with someone new being challenged.
– How it works; video yourself executing 22 push ups to your ability level.
– Post the video to Facebook and other social media using the hashtags above.
– Talley your pushups (I.e. a group of four people in the video doing push ups would look like this #88PushUps for #22Kill)
– call out your friends, family, Battle Buddies…The POTUS, anyone…the sky is the limit. The goal is to raise awareness for our Service Members who are battling this demon.
The organizations at the links below are raising the bar in creating a culture that OUR Veterans know their sacrifice was not in vain.

#suckitPTSD

www.22kill.com   www.honorcouragecommitment.org   www.cplchado.org  www.taniaglenn.com   http://www.harthtx.org

I may or may not post each video here, but they will all be on my¬†Facebook page¬†and will be public in case you’re not a FB friend!

 

Infinity and Beyond

I made a dress this weekend!

It’s called an Infinity Dress and is one I’ve been wanting to make for over 2 years now. You may have seen them by now, super popular dress style for weddings these days. ¬†Bridesmaids can all be in the same dress but have completely different looks! Also great to almost any body shape!

The straps are what make the dress. ¬†They are super long, I’m talking a good 6 feet or so. The ways to wrap them around to make different looks up top are endless, hence the reason they are called infinity dresses!

All in all it took me 5 hours from start to finish. ¬†That’s from the time I opened the pattern, to the time I tried the dress on! It also included trying to match what the pattern was showing. The first go always takes me the longest, but after that it’s fairly smooth sailing. Which is good because I’m hoping to make them for the girls now, so fingers crossed the pattern runs small enough since I have yet to find it in a kids size! Then I spent a good 30 minutes trying out different looks. The pictures below are some of those looks! (Please excuse the hot mess that is me, it had been a long, busy day!)

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These were my two favorite styles

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I love that this dress can be styled in so many different ways.  The fabric is a good mix too. I could easily wear this out for a day of shopping or lunch with friends, and then turn it around and wear it for date night or to a wedding!  Just might have to make a it in a couple more colors for even more variety!

Rodeo Austin

One of my favorite events of the year! I love everything about the rodeo. The events, the animals, the culture. For the last four years I have been working at the rodeo as part of the EMS group, this year, I actually went as a patron for a night! The EMS group I work with is great, a multitude of experience and all are more than willing to teach me, which I am always so grateful for.  I love working with people face to face so this is always a special treat.

Almost all of the music concerts I’ve been to were during the rodeo. ¬†So far my favorites have been Scotty McCreary and Andy Grammar. ¬†Both were entertaining, brought the crowd into the music, and just fun in general! ¬†Here are some pictures and a couple videos from this year! *I’m terrible about remembering to take pictures so there aren’t as many as there should be!

This was so cool.  There was an elderly gentleman at the rodeo who was celebrating is 98th birthday! He was also a WW2 veteran and got a standing ovation along with a Happy Birthday.  He was also chosen as Fan of the Night and got a second standing ovation.

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Barrel Racing
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Look, I made this!
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One of the Mutton Bustin’ sheep and her Rodeo born babies. ¬†They were playing kill of the mountain and she never moved.

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Texas Longhorn
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One of my good friends, Ellyn, joined me too!

 

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Rodeo fashion is always entertaining all on it’s own. Such a wide range of looks. ¬†Here we have a ¬†fox fur and Swaravski crystal ruff? Shawl? I’m not really sure what you would call it but it was amazingly soft!
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Kevin Fowler Band
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Andy Grammar

Mutton Bustin- is my favorite rodeo event. Kids riding sheep, very entertaining!

 

Until next time, later Y’all.

Food from Facebook?!

I’m baaaaack! Went on vacation, had a wonderful time. Came back and hit the ground running. ¬†Oops!

Anyway. So a popular thing on Facebook has always been people posting pictures of their food. ¬†Be it because it’s healthy, totally unhealthy, fancy, different, restaurant, home cooked, whatever. This used to annoy me. And then I realized it was a great way to find a new recipe, that’s already been tested by someone else so if it’s totally horrible, I know not to try it.

Nowadays, there are recipe VIDEOS!!! Many by a group called Tasty, and so far they have all lived up to the name. ¬†These videos are great because they actually show you how to do the recipe from start to finish, great for people like me who are visual learners. ¬†Some give all of the exact measurements, some don’t, but they are fairly easy to figure out. ¬†I’ve tried to include the link for each meal in case you want to check them out! If the links don’t work for you and you want the recipe, let me know!

Here are some of the ones we tried in the last few weeks…

Grilled Peaches

Recipe Video

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These were so easy to make and delicious! We added some Blue Bell Vanilla Bean ice cream on top. Totally unnecessary because the peaches were great on their own!

One Pan Balsamic Chicken

Recipe Video

 

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I really enjoyed this one. Viv ate hers kind of like it was going out of style, Annabel wasn’t a huge fan because of the balsamic. ¬†We added extra at the end which ended up a little stronger than intended. ¬†I would also wait until it is completely ready before adding the tomatoes. We added them in about 2 minutes before ready to take them off the heat and they were a little soggy. 30 seconds probably would be perfect

One Pan Chicken & Veggie Dinner

Recipe Video

 

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My favorite part of this meal was shopping in my own front yard for fresh rosemary! I forgot to add the Olive oil to this one, but it worked out well because I used chicken breast that had already been cut in half and were thin.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings

Recipe Video

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I thought these were great. Made me think of childhood. ¬†The girls liked them until they found out the red stuff was tomato soup and then they wouldn’t eat anymore. ¬†Needless to say it was their loss.

Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner

Recipe

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I cooked the potatoes a little long on this one so they were started to fall apart quite a bit by the time everything was done and mixed, but the taste made up for it!

 

So there you have it. 4 delicious meals and 1 dessert, all because of social media!

We are trying a new one out tonight, Chicken Spaghetti, check back later for results!

Painting with a Twist

But without the Twist. Because usually the twist is alcohol, preferably wine, and if you’re me, you drink out of a plastic wine glass, because we be fancy.

Anywho

Without the twist is when you go on a Saturday afternoon to the All ages painting classes, because they are geared towards kids, and kids don’t drink, or at least they shouldn’t. ¬†Though I think drinking with kids could be rather entertaining. But it’s also illegal.

And I digress again.

So Saturday I decided last minute to take the girls to a painting class. I’ve been trying to take them for weeks and it just wasn’t panning out. ¬†Originally I just reserved seats for them and I was going to watch and assist as needed, but then I decided that I’d have much more fun painting, and would still be able to help if needed without being overbearing, so I called on the way and reserved a third seat. ¬†Good thing too. Some of the parents there were all sorts of up in their kids business about using too much paint, or going outside the lines… What do you expect from your 3 year old…? The only thing I did for the girls was wipe off some of the giant gobs of paint so it would dry before summer arrives.

These classes are awesome, even if you have no painting/artistic ability, because they are practically a paint by numbers, but without the numbers. ¬†Besides, when you are encouraged to add alcohol, it’s helpful to make it easy to do under possible intoxication. ¬†The instructors take you through it step by step, including how to mix paint for different colors and which brushes to use. ¬†You can of course go off the grid if you wish and use different colors or designs, which is what the girls and I did.

So first we first arrived, we got our canvases and were seated way at the back.  Thank fully a large last minute party showed up and we were bumped to the very front and the girls could see everything.  Aprons were donned, plain and black for the kid classes, except for one, she picked up a birthday bikini painted apron that her mother quickly changed her out of. Our blank canvases included an outline for our picture, the rest was up to us.

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Super excited. They’ve been wanting to go for a while and this was a surprise!

Below you can see a little bit of the outline already traced. We got here nice and early and had to wait for it to start so they pretended to paint which kept them out of boredom induced trouble.

First we filled in the outline with white paint (so it would be shiny) and then filled in the nose. This part was the hardest for me because I so wanted to go in and help clean up the edges, but I did not!

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Then we filled out the background. Viv did almost all of hers with the giant brush, nicknames Big Bertha, which Annabel lined all here edges with Tiny Timmy, and then used Bertha to do the rest.

And then we got busy painting the fun stuff and I forgot to take anymore progress pictures until the end. But the girls loved it all and I’m sure we will go back again for more!

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The whole gaggle of kids. Most of the adults decided against joining in the group picture so we could take one.

And here are the final products!

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Since my pretty Purple card from Younique was how we paid, I made sure to include Lips and Lashes!

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My Challenge to You

I have a little challenge, it’s very simple, and perfect for the beginning of the year. Though only by coincidence. I don’t see the need to wait until a new year begins to make changes, though I know traditionally people start new things at the beginning of a year, month or week. Or so it seems. Most of my big changes have happened in the middle of the year and on whatever day of the week I’m not working. Because when you work nights you don’t know what day it is anyway.

I originally created this video with the FacePage in mind for commenting, you’ll see what I mean at the end, but it still works here.

My Challenge to You