Spring Cleaning + a DIY!

I don’t really know how I feel about Sundays. I really like that I get to be at home..sipping coffee, working around the house, & watching Netflix, but then there’s that impending moment where you realize “I don’t get to sleep in tomorrow!” and “It’s going to be 5 more days before I get this bliss again.” I’m currently caught between the two emotions, but I’m more on the happy side. The sun is shining, it’s beautiful outside, my sweet sweet nephew is coming over this afternoon, and the handsome husband is coming home in a few hours from the lake. And a happy Sunday to you!

I stayed home this weekend while Charles went to the lake for a few different reasons. First, I had a hair appointment on Friday afternoon that I was NOT going to miss. Second, our house needed a good cleaning + we needed groceries, etc. The plan for me was get my hair done on Friday afternoon, meet some girlfriends for dinner, and then Saturday morning, wake up and start re-organizing the kitchen, scrubbing everything, cleaning windows, cleaning the clutter in the guest bedrooms, wash the sheets and all the laundry, etc. I had lofty goals and I was in the right mindset to accomplish them. It’s so much easier to get things accomplished when your husband is out of town. I know you feel the same way.

This plan was on track until I woke up at 3 am on Saturday with what I believe to be food poisoning. It. Was. Miserable. I didn’t sleep, I had a headache, I was sick to my stomach..you name it, i had it. PLUS it was dreary and cold outside which didn’t help matters. Luckily I managed to get out of bed for short periods at a time in the morning, and was able to get all of the laundry done / sheets washed. I even managed to go later in the morning and stop by the local farmers market for some nice flowers before picking up some soup for myself. And look at these vintage taper candle sticks that I found for .99 cents at a thrift store? I was SO pleased. Luckily, we live in a day and age with Walmart to go groceries, so I even ordered my groceries from bed and all I had to go was pick them up. DIdn’t even have to get out of my car, & I went in my pjs. Luxury!

I did manage to finish all of the dishes, most of the dusting, washed the insides of all of the windows, cleaned the bathrooms, etc. I even felt well enough last night to go sing at church and go to dinner with my parents. I woke up this morning feeling SO refreshed and ready to go {I know..why couldn’t i have just felt this well and motivated yesterday?}

I want to share a quick DIY with you for something that helps me when I’m cleaning, and I hope it will help you, too! It’s DIY Toilet Bombs! There are literally the easiest things you’ll ever make, and they work SO well. I use these when I’m cleaning the toilets and it greatly extends the amount of time I need to go before I have to scrub the toilet again. It’s a busy time of year, one where you’re having BBQ’s, cookouts, bonfires, friends over, etc, so what better DIY is there to help with the increased bathroom traffic? I actually use these as garbage disposal cleaners as well. They are all natural, reduce odor, and clean + prevent dirt. Here’s how to make your own!

Here’s the cast of characters:

  • 1 + 1/3 cup baking soda {reduces odors, keeps clean}
  • 1/2 cup citric acid  {all natural! This is found in the fruits that we eat and causes the “fizzy” sensation of the bath bombs. It can be a pain to find..I found it by the mason jars in Wal-mart, but it took me three stores to find some!}
  • Essential oils of your choice  {I used a mixture of grapefruit, lemongrass, and lavender!}
  • Spray bottle of water  
  • Some sort of ice tray / silicone mold   

First you start making the bombs by mixing together the baking soda and the citric acid in a bowl. Mix well!

Next, take your spray bottle of water and add in your essential oils. You don’t need to add three, I only did because I love the way these smell. You really only need one! Don’t be stingy with the drops! You need between 30-50 drops of oil total. Shake well in the spray bottle of water! {added bonus, you’ll end up with leftover water + essential oil mixture..I recommend using this as a pillow spray to help you relax at night! I use this mixture on my pillow and can instantly feel myself relax and fade away into a fast and peaceful sleep!}

Next, spritz the citric acid + baking soda mix with the water {I used a small bottle and spritzed about 10 times at once.} IMPORTANT: make sure you don’t spritz more than this at one time, or else the citric acid will all fizz up and won’t work with the toilet bomb. Mix up well, and then repeat the spritzing and mix again. You’ll end up doing this for about five minutes. You know you’re done when your mixture has the consistency of wet sand.

You should be able to take a handful of the mixture, squeeze it in your hand, and have it stick together like below. That’s how you’ll know you are ready to go.

Once it’s reached this consistency, you’ll begin placing the mixture in your ice cube trays or silicone baking molds. I searched HIGH AND LOW in Target for some cute silicone ice molds {pineapples, hearts, ANYTHING} but all I could find were these regular ice trays. But get creative!! This can be SO fun. Make sure to FIRMLY pat them down in the trays, and don’t fill the trays too full, because this mixture will rise. Let sit in the trays for about 6 hours or less if they are hardened, and then remove.

Toss a “cube” into your toilet and let the fizzing begin! I swear you will fall in love with this DIY, you’re cleaning routine will thank me!

It’s a whole process…

Have you ever started your week off so organized and with the best intentions of STAYING so organized and to get things done like a boss, only to have your plans already crushed by 4:45am on Wednesday morning? CONGRATULATIONS, we can now be friends. Welcome to my world. And if you managed to stay on track this week with all of your organization and schedules and well intentions for the week…well done, and also, what is your secret? Share with the group.

This has been my life this week. I started off on such a high note, I cleaned the house on Sunday when I got back into town, I had my clothes picked out for work, I had my materials rip roaring and ready to go for this blog post, I had my week planned out, down to the day. Now it’s Wednesday morning and I haven’t accomplished much any of what I intended to this week at all, the little dirt elves had a party in my house while I was at work {somehow}, and I’m exhausted and my body feels worn down. I’m going to give myself some slack, though, because I think I set my intentions for this week a little too high, especially with starting a new work schedule {6am to 3pm!} Hopefully next week, I can get back into the groove.

They say that summer is when your hair grows the most {I’m not really sure why, but my own personal theory is that it’stoo dang H.O.T outside for me to sit inside spending an hour doing my hair when it’s just going to get ruined outside in the heat. Unfortunately, in the summer, my hair also tends to feel at its worst! Maybe it’s because I’m dehydrated, I’m not really sure {I’m no expert, people}. The fact of the matter is, there’s a lot that goes on in the summer! Sometimes, I just need my hair to look on point. This weekend will be filled with events and it’s just going to be one of those weekends I need my hair to cooperate. I thought it might be fun to show you what I’ve been using at the moment. Disclaimer: These are not necessarily my favorite hair care products of all time…that will be a separate post eventually down the line, but these are what I’m currently using.
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v  First up, I use the Living Proof Timeless Pre-Shampoo treatment {check it out here! – or at Ulta} I put about two quarter size amounts into my hand, rub them together, and distribute the product from about halfway up my hair to the ends. Talk about your hair feeling silky smooth, my gosh, this product is honestly one of those products where I can actually tell a difference if I don’t use it before I shampoo my hair. If I can recall correctly, it says you only really need to leave it in for about 5 minutes, but I like to keep mine in a bit longer – I’ll usually slap on a face mask {like these new Yes To facemasks – my favorites are shown below!} and tidy up the kitchen or something like that while I wait. I feel like it adds a kick of much needed moisture to my hair. This is something I have actually repurchased because I love it so much. A little goes a long way, which is good, because it’s on the pricier side – a small bottle is $10, and I believe the larger is upwards of $24 or so if I’m not mistaken.

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v  Next, I grab my Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde purple shampoo {check it out here}– have you heard of purple shampoos? They help tone the brassiness down in your hair. I used to use Shimmer Lights, and I’ll probably go back to it, because it’s about $7 whereas the Paul Mitchell is about $15, and I feel as if they both function about the same, although the Paul Mitchell does have a better scent..so if a good smelling shampoo is worth an extra seven dollars to you, more power to ya. I do something a bit out of the ordinary with this shampoo though, while I have the pre-shampoo treatment on my ends, I mix together the Paul Mitchell shampoo with a bit of baking soda, which turns it into a more clarifying shampoo. I massage this now-thick mixture into my scalp and let it sit while the pre-shampoo treatment is working on my ends. This way, the purple shampoo has time to sit and work.

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After this all sits – shampoo and condition as usual! I throw my hair up in a towel to let my hair rest – I heard from a stylist once that you need to let your hair cool down for as long as possible before you put products into your hair, so hey, I thought I’d follow the advice.

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v  Once I left my hair rest, I put a quarter sized amount of Toni & Guy Leave in Conditioner {you can get it at Target!} Let me start by saying that I had run out of my Paul Mitchell super skinny serum {all time favorite leave in} and I needed something to take to the lake with me. I grabbed this, and it actually does a great job. My hair isn’t left stick of heavy or greasy as a lot of leave in conditioners do, and the smell – can we just talk about the smell of this product? It smells like cologne. AND IT’S ONLY $7! I’ll take it. This makes brushing and styling my hair a heck of a lot easier.

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v  I typically put an additional small amount of Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Dramatic Repair leave in conditioner {sold here}, but I think I’m about to stop this little part of my ritual. I haven’t really noticed this helping me, it’s a bit heavy on my hair and it goes on very streaky. When you push the nozzle, the product concentrates in one area and doesn’t distribute well, so I usually end up having to squirt the product into my hands, rub it in, and then put it into my hair. A pro about this product? It smells so clean and nice. So there’s something.

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v  I’ll now either let my hair air dry to about 90%, or if I’m running late, I’ll blow dry {Don’t tell Curtis!} Once I’ve reached this mostly dry point, I’ll add in the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day fresh cut split end mender – say that three times fast – and get the deets here. This product makes your ends look like you just got a fresh cut and works to mend together your split ends. Shockingly enough, it actually appears to work {and I should know, I have the most split ends I’ve seen in a long time}. AND THE SMELL? I’m horrible at describing smells, but I’ll give it a shot. It smells clean, it smells like..spring? It’s mainly a fresh scent with a hint of floral-ish undertones. It’s just light and clean smelling, and I love it. So that’s that. Again..a bit on the pricier side, but I bet this lasts me about 6-8 months.

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v  Following this product, I run a pump full of Living Proof Nourishing Style Cream  {check, check check, check it out} and kind of finger fork this through my hair. This adds a bit of shine and reduces the frizziness in my hair, as well as adds protection against the heat. And again, the smell is just fan-freaking-tastic. I also feel like my hairstyles stay in place better if I use this vs when I don’t. Just don’t go overboard, a little goes a long way.

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v  Once my hair is dry and styled {whether it’s straightened or curled or whatever I decide to do with it that day}, I go in with the Kenra Dry Thickening Spray – got mine here for $17, but you get a rather large can. This product is new for me, my friend told me about this {shoutout to YOU, Katie K} so I can’t say I am a longtime lover of this product, but so far, so good. I lift my hair and it almost more adds volume to the center of your hair rather than to the roots {that’s what dry shampoo is for!} Whenever I curl or wave my hair, I always feel like it’s so flat and not..well, beachy looking enough. This spray instantly adds volume to the bottom half of my hair, which dry shampoo just can’t match. One problem with this is the smell..I’m not a fan. It smells like candy. It’s not a bad smell, but it smells like extremely sweet candy. Not for me. Overall though, I’m pleased with the product.

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v  Now for the final event – brought to my attention by another friend, {aaand a shoutout to you, Kaci!} Welcome Toni & Guy Matt Texture dry shampoo – it was around $12 at my local Target, and they are always running BOGO half off sales of Toni & Guy products. Y’all don’t even KNOW how amazing this smells. It’s like a musky cologne smell, and it never fails, wherever I go, people always ask me what perfume I’m wearing. It takes me awhile to figure it out, but it’s always my dry shampoo that they love the smell of. This dry shampoo is matte so it doesn’t make your hair greasy, and it comes out of the aersol can easily, so you don’t have to worry about distribution problems that lead to greasy roots. This dry shampoo is my favorite, and I have tried Dove, Batiste, Paul Mitchell, BedHead, Not Your Mothers, etc. In fact, even when I have “clean hair” and don’t necessarily need the dry shampoo, I still put some in my hair for the voluminosity {not a word..I’m sure this is not a word, but I’m using it anyway} factor.

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FORGIVE ME – Nobody was home to help me take blog pictures, so I had to do it myself. I apologize. I’ll get my act together soon {just probably not this week, we’ve been over this already..} Okay, now I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I need a cocktail. COMMENT BELOW if you love any of these products, OR if you found one you think you’ll give a try. {I personally guarantee the Living Proof hair products will give you Jennifer Aniston hair….} Until next time!

Emily Ley and her wonderful world of Planners

I may not be the most organized person in the universe, or even in my family, but out of my friends, I’m pretty organized. I rarely forget things, I am great with time, I’m hardly ever late {and even if I am, it’s only by a few minutes..} I’m a planner. By nature. It’s hard for me to plan things last minute, I want a plan upfront because I get anxious with last minute details. Charles has helped me become a bit more spontaneous, but for the most part, I’m a “I need a plan” kind of person. Just ask my friends, who I’m sure I drive up a wall.

It used to be so easy for me to plan ahead and remember things, because my friends would rarely have anything that they would plan ahead. I have a lot of “go with the flow” friends, and I never had to worry about marking things on my calendar too far in advance, since they simply didn’t plan that far out. Thus, I never really needed a planner.

Well, that streak in my friends lives is over. The honeymoon has ended, and now, they’re all joining my plan ahead party. That’s great, right?

WRONG. So wrong. In the past month, Charles has had to remind me of not one, but TWO events that I have completely forgotten about. Out of sight, out of mind, and my head has been elsewhere. Do you know how much teasing I’ve gotten from my husband about how he’s had to remind ME, when typically it’s the other way around? It’s endless. I knew I had to rectify this problem immediately. I knew I had to get a planner. I’m a pad and paper kind of gal. My husband doesn’t understand.. “I just bought you an apple watch..THAT IS your planner”…wrong again, sweetheart, so wrong, that is NOT my planner.

My friend Kaci owns the sweetest paperie and gift store around: Paperwerk {check them out on instagram here!} She carries Emily Ley planners, and I thought “Hey, I need a planner, and I’ve heard great things, so why not give this one a shot?” Little did I know how much I was going to love it. Here’s a few of my favorite components about the planner:

  • the sturdy medal binding — I carry planners / notebooks / etc with me in my purse..i’d like to say that I’m gentle on them, but who am I kidding, I always end up ruining it.  This binding doesn’t budge.
  • the gold plated corners — because if you can carry around a notebook in your purse without bending the corners, I will accuse you of witchcraft
  • the colorful tabs for the months — because..it’s fun
  • the inspirational quotes on the top of the pages — because we all have our days..
  • the hourly breakdown — each day has an hourly breakdown so you can fill in hour by hour what you have going on. It also has a spot where you can write what you’re having for dinner, as well as a spot for a to do list and a note space. {I’m especially thankful for the dinner slot…it never fails, I buy all the ingredients and then forget what I was going to cook!}
  • the sunday recap — on each sunday page, it has a space for you to write a happy memory from that week – HOW FUN IS THAT? I can’t wait to look back and see what I wrote each week. This is going to be my weekly goal. It also has a spot for your upcoming weekly prep on sundays {ex plan meals, tidy up, write tasks}

This planner is truly what it says it is – a SIMPLIFIED planner. It breaks everything down so you can be uber organized, but it isn’t confusing and you won’t get lost in all of the page content.

Check out more of Emily Ley’s planners on her website and check out the designs that fit your personality! Or, better yet, go to Paperwerk and support local businesses! {I hear you get a free Le Pen if you purchase a planner!}

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Once you go Mac, you won’t go back

I’m probably the last twenty something year old that hasn’t hadn’t tried Mac makeup. I usually stuck to my makeup holy trinity: Tarte, Urban Decay, and Make Up Forever. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…or something like that. But I began to get into a makeup rut. I was using the same products – repeatedly – for years. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using the same tried-and-true products, but you’ll begin to get into a rut. Like I did. And it makes you feel that “well I guess this is as good as it’s going to get…my makeup will always look like this.”

Don’t worry. I’ve been there. I WAS there. Just last week, in fact. I was stuck in the same old, same old. And you can get stuck in your routine for a number of reasons. Here’s a few of mine, see if you’re in the same boat that I usually get myself into:

You’re Comfortable with the appearance. Whether you have oily skin and found a nice, mattifying thicker foundation, or if you have dry skin and have finally found a nice hydrating foundation that doesn’t flake, you get comfortable in something that finally works! I have extremely oily skin, and it typically takes me several “trial and error” foundations before I find the right one. Either a foundation is too thin and I have to put on three layers before it even begins to look right, or it slips off my oily face before lunch! When I finally find one that works, I tend to stick with it for some time. {4 years on Make Up Forever Matte Velvet, now a year on Tarte Amazonian Clay}.

You’re Comfortable fitting the product into your budget plan. Because let’s face it – makeup’s not cheap, y’all! If you’re going to buy a high end brand of makeup, you’ll be looking {at least} in the $15 dollar range for less expensive items {such as eyeliner, lip gloss, single eyeshadows} and into the $40-$50 dollar range for the more expensive items {foundations, eye shadow pallets, etc.} When you get comfortable paying $32 for a high end foundation, only to switch to a new one that’s $42, you cringe. Ten dollars is a big difference for 1 fl oz worth of product – but the payoff can be worth the extra pennies.

You’re Comfortable with the application. Every eyeshadow, every foundation, every mascara, every eyeliner, every bronzer, are not made equal. Some eyeshadows are so pigmented they go on your eyes with ease, and some you have to build. You can get comfortable stuck in the habit of only needing to buff a color into your eye crease with a few whisks of the brush, only to find your new eyeshadow takes you ten minutes to apply.

What made me dare to try MAC was my friend Natalie {owner of Hanger Management – check them out on insta!} I asked what cheek color she wore — her cheeks are always the PERFECT color, and I was getting a little bit tired of using NARS orgasm {don’t get me wrong, I’ll ALWAYS LOVE that color, but I just needed something new!} Come to find out, what she wears on her cheeks is a MAC product! I immediately went to the MAC counter and I want to share with you the items that I picked up.

I got the opportunity to play around with all items I purchased this weekend, so I can give you a true, 100% valid and honest opinion of how they work for me. I’m in no way affiliated with MAC, so these opinions are all my own. I was trying to get ready for an event Saturday night, so I was slowly trying to play around with my makeup and take my time getting ready while drinking an over 21 beverage and listening to music. Do any of you do this sometimes? Just take your time to leisurely get ready and play with makeup? It’s a real treat for me. I thought I had plenty of time, since my husband was taking a nap, so I’m about halfway through when he comes waltzing into the bathroom. “Hey, we are picking up some friends, you need to be ready in 20 minutes..” TWENTY MINUTES? Who does he think I am? A magician? I’m TRYING to play with my new makeup, here! Luckily, I’ve gotten some more time since then to really dig into these products, so I’m going to {hopefully briefly} tell you my opinions. Maybe you should get a snack..or a beer..or something while you finish reading this. This is already a long post. You’ll be glad you have it. {Also, since my sister/photographer and I are busy working on a fun mini-series for you all, these pictures were taken with my iPhone…throwing that out to the blog world…}

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MAC PREP + PRIME Skin Base Visage

I was a bit hesitant about this product, thinking it would have too much shimmer. This product claims to eliminate skin redness {I’ll raise my hand to having that} while evening your skin tone and adding radiance. The radiance word made me nervous. Once your moisturizer dries {COMPLETELY – The golden rule of makeup application..don’t apply anything to your face until your previously applied product is COMPLETELY DRY. This goes for moisturizer, primer, foundation..} you are to apply this to your face. A little goes a long way. I feared it would be too oily, but it was a thicker consistency {praise the Lord!} and the shimmer, while there, was BARELY there. I was so pleased! It added a bit of radiance, just as it claimed, without me looking like I did my makeup at Claire’s. You seriously have to look hard for the shimmer. It actually makes your face look a bit airbrushed. For a quick run to the grocery store, you could get away without even wearing foundation, just wearing this. Overall opinion? TOP KNOTCH.

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MAC MasterMatch Concealer in shade 7.0

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to contour, I need a liquid contouring stick as opposed to a powder bronzer. It. Just. Goes. On. EASIER! Plus I find that it’s more controllable and I don’t end up looking too fake-and-bake. Unfortunately, MAC hasn’t come out with a contour / highlighter stick yet {don’t fret – they are launching one this year!} so I decided to go for the MasterMatch concealer in a darker shade to use as my contour color. HOLY CREAMY! I’m debating getting this concealer in my actual shade so that I can use it under my eyes since it applies so butter-cream-like…is that a thing? I just take a contour brush and blend it right in and it is so malleable, it moves wherever I tell it to move. Let me reiterate, this is creamy. Ideal for dry skin – but even on my oily skin, it works wonders.

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MAC Paint Pot in “Painterly”

If you haven’t tried a Paint Pot from MAC…well don’t beat yourself up, because the first time I tried it was Saturday. BUT YOU NEED TO TRY ONE…RIGHT NOW! Essentially, the MAC Paint Pots are eyelid primers – some have a tint to them, like the tinted primer potions from Urban Decay, and some are neutrals designed to either act as a neutral base to even out eyelid color and act as a primer to get eyeshadow to stick, or even to act as a neutral eye shadow when you’re short on time. Having oily skin means that even my eyelids are oily, and shadows tend to slip off of me. I can say with all confidence that my eyeshadow stayed put ALL SATURDAY NIGHT – and I was at an outdoor event in high heat and humidity for about 5 hours. Now if that’s not a success to you, I don’t know what is!

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MAC MAC-nificent Me Eyeshadow Pallet in “Dusky Rose”

Confession time: I wanted to get a different color. I almost DID get a different color. My eyes just always beeline straight for the browns and taupes of the eyeshadow world. The MAC attendant convinced me that with my eye color {blue!} that I should try the dusky rose pallet because it would make my eyes stand out. Boy, am I glad I listened to her! I have enough browns, but these gorgeous matte mauve colors were just what I needed to change things up. Again, I was stuck in a rut, what did I think changing to a different brand would do if I didn’t switch it up a bit? She told me that most people tend to get in the comfort zone with brown colors due to being afraid to venture out..but it’s kind of like wearing an unflattering outfit. Yeah, it will cover you up and the outfit itself might be very pretty, but if it doesn’t suit your features, it will do nothing for you. This pallet is extremely pigmented, so if you’re used to having to layer up eyeshadow for a desired effect, trust me, you will NOT have to with this pallet. If you’re heavy handed, beware. You can get too much too fast if you’re not careful.

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MAC Powder Blush in “Dame”

Here it is! The product that made me want to test out Mac! I’ll be the first to admit, I have quite the heavy hand when it comes to blush…maybe subconsciously on purpose, maybe not, you’ll never know. I love NARS orgasm, but I wanted to try the beautiful Dame blush. This blush does require a little bit of building, which I needed, since I have such heavy hands. It does have the most beautiful coloring. I have more olive skin, but I believe that it would work on those of you who have lighter skin tones. Please excuse the awful hand picture, but i wanted you to see what the color looked like on skin. Give me a break, I took this with my iPhone.

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I can’t wait to dig into more MAC products now. Leave a comment with the product you just saw that you want to try the most!