Paying Homage to 2018

A year ago today, I posted Paying Homage to 2017, where I took time to look back at everything that happened to me in 2017 that influenced me deeply. I said that I had an eventful year, and I was looking forward to 2018. However, I couldn’t have possibly been prepared for all that this year had in store for me. Let’s go ahead and look back at all that has happened in the past 12 months. Be warned- a lot more happened this year than last year.

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I celebrated the new year with my boyfriend, Zach. We started off at my God Mother’s house, then after a trip to McDonald’s minutes before the ball dropped, we made it to my house. I wanted this new year to be rung in perfectly, so I ran to the tv as fast as I could and got ready for the count down. We made it just in time to eat a few chicken nuggets before we shared our first New Year’s kiss.

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After working at Boys and Girls Club for about 5 months, I decided to resign. I’ll keep it professional and not go into too many details, but to sum it up, the employees were not kind to me and I felt that my voice was no longer being heard. It was extremely hard for me to do, as I loved the students I got to know. The smiles on their faces made all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it. However, I knew that I would continue to be treated poorly and for my mental health, it was time to go. I’m still very unhappy with how I was treated and how nobody really seemed to care when I told them, but it’s in the past and I just hope that things have gotten better there.

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The day before my last day of work, I came home to my sick hamster, Arodite. She had been looking sickly for a while, and I wasn’t sure what was wrong. She barely ate and didn’t drink much water. The only way I could keep her hydrated was by letting her chew on a wet washcloth. It was devastating. This day had been extremely hard for her. She wasn’t moving around much, staying close to her tower of bedding she created. That night, I was in the living room with my mother when we started to hear breathy cries from the room Arodite was in. I was too nervous to check on her, so I asked my mom to see if she was alright. She said, “oh, she’s crying.” Then, just as I got up to comfort her and give her some water, my mom corrected herself.

“No, don’t come in here. I think she’s dying.”

I know I should’ve ran in there immediately and held her in my arms, but I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t face her. I ran outside and refused to come back into the house until she passed. My father, who once worked at the county’s Metroparks, put my sweet Arodite down in the most humane way he was taught. I could hear her crying and gasping for air as I cried outside.

I’m so grateful for my boyfriend for coming over late that night to be with me while I cried. I was so upset that my fuzzy little baby had passed and there was nothing I could have done to save her. It was just her time to go.

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As some of you know, my boyfriend was a grade below me in high school, so he had his senior prom this year. I dreaded going because I wanted nothing to do with high school events such as this, but I was obligated. It was a nice time back with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. Zach was the absolute sweetest to me that night. We danced for hours, then left a little early to get Wendy’s. After we finished our food, we headed to my house to relax. That’s when Zach gave me a book he made of reasons he loves me. Reading it made me cry like a baby. I was so sappy and lovey all night. All I wanted was to be cuddled up with my man. I don’t think anything has changed.

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A couple months later, Zach graduated high school. This was a special moment for him and I couldn’t go without sharing. I was so extremely proud of him, and as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma (from my dad, the V.P. of the School Board), my friends and I screamed and cheered. I ended up crying a few times too.

Being alongside him while he was working to get his diploma made it that much more special to me. I watched him get frustrated when he didn’t understand something, excited when he did, and relieved when he was on track. I knew he was ready for greater things and seeing him get that green light to do so was powerful.

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After a long, painful few weeks of bickering and disagreements, Zach and I broke up. I was devastated. But it had to be done.  Of course I was hysterical for months. I begged him to come back, but thankfully he said no. I say “thankfully” because we weren’t ready for each other yet. We needed some time to grow ourselves. Although there were many nights that I sobbed into my pillow and screamed until I lost my voice, I am grateful for our break up.

But here’s the thing- while we were broken up, we were still seeing each other. We wanted to maintain a friendship, since that’s where we started. He would come over and we would talk, or we’d go to the park or the lake to get away from everything. It was nice spending time with each other because he was such a huge part of my life for so long. It was comforting. So that is why we say that although we did not have the title of boyfriend and girlfriend, we were still “together.”

I felt the need to explain this to everyone because people were confused when we split, and even now when we say we’ve been together for over a year. Although we were not boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple months, we were still talking and loving each other just as if we were.  We like to say we never left each other’s side, so that’s why we say we’ve been together the whole time. We basically were. What’s a title worth anyway?

Since the breakup left me with many open days throughout the summer, I got to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. I got to go to my sister’s travel softball tournaments that were hours away, which was a great way to relax. Well, until my sister’s team lost, which was quite often. But getting away from the small town I felt trapped in was wonderful. I felt myself growing just from a weekend of being away. When we got back, my dad offered to take some pictures of me to boost my confidence and keep my mind off things. And that’s when this photo was taken. I really love all the photos he took of me because I feel so strong when I look at them. I see myself not letting things hurt me.

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My friends also deserve a huge “thank you” for all they did for me over the summer. They were always there for me no matter what. Whether I was canceling plans because I couldn’t gather myself enough to leave my room or shaking and crying in public, they understood. We got to make great memories together and I couldn’t be happier.

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I spent my last day as a teen this year. My 20th birthday was hot, exhausting, but so much fun. My best friends took me to the zoo and to dinner. I complained the whole time because it was scorching hot and my feet hurt, but the memories created that day were special enough to last forever. At this point, Zach and I decided to get back together, as we found it impossible to live without the other in our life. So I invited him to come with us to celebrate. Having all of my favorite people together was magical. It was a great way to spend my last few days at home before going away for college.

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On August 17th, I moved into my first apartment. I had never lived on my own before, so I was terrified. I know so many people who were nothing but excited when it came to moving out and that made me feel awful for the way I was looking at it. I thought I was babied too much and I was going to hate it, but after some getting used to, it was the best decision I had ever made. I love living by myself. I have so much more motivation to do things because nobody else can be held responsible for the end result- just me. Oh, I also went blonde that same day after battling with my dark hair for months. It came out sort of yellow, as to be expected, and it took months of toner and purple shampoo before I was able to get it to a subtle blonde. It isn’t the cutest yet, but it’s getting there.

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August 27th was my first day of school at Cleveland State University. I was extremely nervous because I had only one semester of community college under my belt and I had no idea what to expect. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get lost as soon as I got off the bus that morning. It was overwhelming, but after the first traumatizing day, I knew exactly where everything was. I was really surprised when I knew where I was going on day 2.

Now, with a semester at CSU under wraps, I feel amazing. I’ve made so many great friends in the short time I’ve been going here. I found myself exploring things outside of my comfort zone and realizing my potential while being in college. It’s crazy. Tom Hanks once said that he was “exposed to this world that [he] didn’t know was possible” and that’s exactly how I feel.

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Although this past year has been full of ups and downs, it has been the most influential. I got to see what I could and couldn’t handle which ultimately taught me life lessons. In the midst of it all, my love for my best friend grew and grew. Our relationship grew, too. After this rollercoaster ride of a year, I am very happy to say that Zach and I are as amazing as ever. We got through all obstacles life has throw our way with our heads held high. Our love for each other motivates me everyday, and something tells me it just might motivate me forever on.

2018, you were good to me sometimes…other times, not so much. But while I was going through my low points, I recognized all of my good points. I became grateful for all I had and all I would have. So thank you for giving me that ability.

2019, you’re going to be my bitch. I’m not holding myself back anymore, and 2018 taught me how to do that. I will learn from my mistakes, build off them, and prove how strong I really am.

Last year, I said that 2018 had a lot to live up to, but in all honesty, all coming years have a lot to live up to because I’ll only be going up from here.

December in Photos | Blogmas Day 12

We finally made it- the end of Blogmas.

I didn’t think I would make it this far. And I guess in a way, I didn’t. I was late uploading a lot of the time and couldn’t stick to my original schedule. However, I still managed to post 12 blogs in 12 days, and that’s something I am very proud of. My first Blogmas- at least in my eyes- was a success and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

When I wasn’t blogging, I was enjoying December and all it had to offer. I took a few pictures along the way and I thought I could share them all with you. Rather than explaining them in extreme detail, I thought I could just leave the photos to be interpreted by the viewer. So make of them what you will.

 

 

 

Pinterest Christmas Cookie Recipes | Blogmas Day 11

Hi guys! We’re back on track now! Welcome to day 11 of Blogmas!

In just a couple days, Santa will be coming down the chimney (or through the door) and delivering presents to all the little boys and girls. But before that happens, families have to prepare for his visit by baking cookies and pouring milk. Some go as far as leaving carrots for Santa’s reindeer.

Now, I’m no baker so I’m not the person to go to for recipes. And that is why I referred to Pinterest for fun Christmas Cookie recipes. I picked some of my favorites to share with you guys.

1. White Chocolate Peppermint Pudding Cookies via Here Comes the Sun

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 small package (3.9 oz.) vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed peppermints or candy canes (you can also use Andes Peppermint baking chips)

Instructions

    1. Cream together butter and sugar
    2. Beat in dry instant pudding mix
    3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well
    4. Add baking soda and flour and mix well
    5. Stir in peppermints and white chocolate chips
    6. Roll into 1″ balls and place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or a greased baking sheet)
    7. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

2. Soft and Chewy M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies via Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature, 1 stick
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3.5 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup red and green M&M’s

Instructions

  1. Start with preheating the oven and lining a baking sheet with Silpat silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter for 30 seconds. Add both sugars and beat for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pudding mix, soda and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix with an electric mixer until almost incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, add chocolate chips and M&M’s (reserving some) and stir in until well mixed.
  5. Scoop the cookie dough with a medium (1 and 1/2 tablespoon) cookie scoop. Roll into balls and place on prepared cookie sheet, spacing them 2″ apart. Press reserved chocolate chips and M&M’s onto the balls.
  6. Bake cookies for 9 to 11 minutes (10 minutes was the magic number for me). Cool on the sheet, then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

3. Hot Cocoa Cookies via Glorious Treats

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 25 marshmallows

Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkles

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan (or in a microwave safe bowl, using 50% power), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.
4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.
5.While mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until just combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then cover the dough and refrigerate about 1 hour. If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
6. Preheat oven to 325*F. and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat type liner. Use a tablespoon (or a tablespoon sized cookie scoop) to scoop the dough, then roll the dough in your hands to create balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on your baking sheets, then flatten slightly. Bake cookies about 12 minutes.
7. While the cookies bake, cut the large marshmallows in half (crosswise). When the cookies have baked, remove from oven and press one marshmallow half (cut side down) into the center of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake another 2-3 minutes. Allow the pan of cookies to cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.
8. Prepare cookie icing by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and mixing together with a whisk. Place wire cooling rack (with cookies on it) over a baking sheet (to catch any excess icing). Spoon a small amount of icing onto the top of each marshmallow, and use the back of the spoon to spread it a bit. After icing just a couple cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing dries.
9. Allow icing to set up about 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

Meg on the Mic Ep.4- Blogmas Day 10

 

In this episode of Meg on the Mic, I’m joined again by my sister Rianna. We talk about her latest obsessed Supernatural, her college plans, and how we’re celebrating this Christmas. It’s a really confusing and jumbled up pod because it was so last minute, but I hope you guys still find it in your heart to enjoy it. It’s Christmas time after all.

Rianna’s socials:

twitter: @rrose2019

instagram: @ri.rosecrans

snapchat: roseycheekz

 

My socials:

twitter: @_megannlouise_

instagram: @meg.rosecrans

snapchat: megyloui

 

https://www.noradsanta.org

The Best Christmas Movies | Blogmas Day 9

If you’ve been following my Blogmas posts, you probably can recall that I am not a huge fan of Christmas movies. To be completely honest, I don’t consider myself a fan of most movies. I hate having to pay attention to something for extended periods of time. I know, I know, I’m totally lazy. It just makes me feel like I’m wasting my time. However, there are a few holiday movies that I can actually sit through. If I  like these movies, I’m sure everyone else can find something to like about them too.

First, let’s get all the classics out of the way.

1. The “Santa Clause” Movies

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One of my first favorite Christmas movies. Tim Allen kills it. And the magic of the story is so fascinating. I just really love this freaking movie. A lot.

2. A Christmas Story

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Alright… don’t attack me, but I had never seen this movie until two days ago. It started when my sister played (and killed)  the role of the mother when our hometown put on a production of A Christmas Story. That was my first time ever hearing the plot. Then, my boyfriend invited me over on Tuesday to help him put up Christmas decorations (yeah, he’s a procrastinator), and I was “rewarded” with a late night screening of A Christmas Story. I think it was easier for me to get through because I just thought about my sister’s lines versus the lines in the movie. But I really liked the story and purity of the movie. It’s super cute. Even though I almost cried when the dad’s turkey got eaten by the hounds. Spoiler alert, I guess.

3. Christmas in Homestead

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Just like any other Hallmark storyline. Girl meets guy, guy is a butt, girl changes guy, girl and guy fall in love and live happily ever after. But this time… IT’S CHRISTMASSY. I really hate that all Hallmark movies have the same basic plot, but I can never take my eyes off the t.v. whenever one is on. I quickly became obsessed with this movie for no apparent reason. But since it’s not so much of a classic, I guess I’ll sum it up for you real quick. The girl, Jessica, comes to a small town to film a movie. She’s staying in a hotel owned by the town’s mayor, who is a …butt… and while she tries to keep it civil, they end up being a little more than civil, if you know what I mean.

4. Holiday in Handcuffs

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Maybe I’m biased because I love Melissa Joan Hart, but this movie is so good. I first saw this when I was 10 (I think) and I think about it every Christmas season. It’s about a girl who is basically a miserable failure and doesn’t want to disappoint her family when she comes home for Christmas, so she kidnaps some guy and forces him to pretend to be her boyfriend. I’m just so interested in it because guess what… spoiler alert… THEY FALL IN LOVE. And I think we all know, that would NOT happen in real life. So I guess that’s why it’s on Freeform and not Crime Watch Daily.

5. A December Bride

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Another Hallmark movie. I’m sorry. If you’re looking for a painful romantic comedy that will make you feel a whole bunch of different ways by the end, this is the one.

 

I’m trying to get into the holiday spirit this year, so if you can think of any more Christmas movies that I should check out this year, let me know!

Tracking Santa | Blogmas Day 8

Today’s post is pretty short. Forgive me. I’ve been kicking butt with uploads lately, so I think I can get away with it this one time.

When I was little, it was nearly impossible to get me to sleep on Christmas Eve. However, there was one thing that got me every time- Norad’s Santa Tracker.

For those who don’t know, the Santa Tracker “tracks Santa” and his journey around the world to deliver presents. It’s super helpful for parents who need to convince their kids to get to bed before Santa comes to their house, because as we all know, Santa can’t deliver your presents if you’re still awake.

Before Christmas Day, there is a countdown clock on the site that tells everyone exactly how long there is left until Christmas. There’s also a bunch of different activities on the site prior to Santa’s big day. It now includes new games every single day, movies about Santa Claus, and a library to learn all there is to know about Santa. It goes so far as to b.s. an entire story about how they track Santa every year using the same satellites they use to track potential missiles aimed at North America.

I thought it would be fun to share this link with people who may not know about it so they can take part in the fun of tracking Santa Claus this December 25. Whether you’re entertaining your grown self or your children, this site is super fun on Christmas Eve.

https://www.noradsanta.org

 

Winter Tag | Blogmas Day 7

You can ask anybody who knows me… I hate winter weather. Cold air and wet feet from drudging through the snow? No thank you. However, there are a few great things about winter that I can get behind. One of those things is the winter tag. I found this tag by EllDuclos on ellduclos.blog and thought it asked great questions that I wanted to answer. So after checking this tag out, click on the link at the bottom of this post to see where the brilliant tag came from!

Holiday Traditions

I suppose my family’s holiday traditions revolve around family parties. The family on my mother’s side loves to celebrate holidays together. It starts as early as Thanksgiving. At our family’s Thanksgiving dinner, we write all 7 of the cousins’ names on slips of paper and draw them out of a hat to determine which cousin will get which cousin’s Christmas gift this year. We normally put a price limit on the gifts to make it all fair, but my family loves really hard and almost always goes over the limit. Once Christmas time has arrived, the family comes together for the family party which is usually held either at my parents’ house or my grandmother’s house. We have dinner, socialize, and exchange gifts that we bought after the drawing.

Favorite go to Winter Lippies

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys. I don’t wear many lip colors anymore. I usually just reach for Carmex or Vaseline to moisturize my lips. Katy Perry’s Katy Kat Matte Sphynx lipstick is my usual go-to if I decided to mix it up and wear some color, even though it is almost my natural lip color.

Favorite Winter Scents

One thing I love about winter is all the different scents there are. Peppermint, gingerbread, and cinnamon cookies are some of the yummiest smells of Christmas time. However, I really like the cozy homelike scents of vanilla or warm cinnamon apple. They always make me want to curl up in bed with a warm blanket. Right now I’m trying a cinnamon scent in my apartment and I really like it so far. But I’m thinking I might swap it for gingerbread soon. But if we’re talking about perfumes, I prefer warm vanilla or winter candy apple from Bath and Body Works. Those have always been my favorites.

Go-to Fashion Trends

I really love flannels during the fall and winter time. They’re always so cozy. I also have this obsession with vintage and cabin socks. If my feet are comfy, I’m comfy. I just recently got a few pairs from Walmart for maybe $5 and they are the softest things I’ve ever worn on my feet. I also really like beanies for the winter. My hair is at an awkward length where it just sticks to my neck whenever I wear them, but they are so warm and cozy. I’ve realized I’m more interested in comfy than style these days.

Favorite Holiday Movie

My favorite holiday movie has got to be any of the Santa Clause movies. I just watched the first and last movie with my family the other day and I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about such a classic. It was hysterical. I don’t really enjoy Christmas movies, so that’s really saying something.

Favorite Holiday Tune

Please don’t come for me, but I don’t really care for Christmas music. I think they’re all the same boring song with bells in the background. If I really had to chose one though, it would be Ariana Grande’s cover of Santa Tell Me. Her voice makes the tune bearable.

Prefer to Stay Home or Travel for the Holidays?

I have yet to travel for Christmas. Although I don’t know where I would go, I would be super interested in traveling one year. Perhaps to a warmer climate like Florida or Cali. I really love cold weather we get here at home, but not when it’s snowy. So maybe we could find a happy medium?

Winter Skin Care Must Haves

I don’t take very good care of my skin and I’ll be the first to admit it. I usually just use a cucumber moisturizing peel off mask and 14k gold under eye gel pads. But I’m breaking out more than I ever have before so I don’t know… maybe don’t listen to me.

Winter Hair Care Must Haves

My hair has been damaged for years from constant dying/bleaching and so I’ve had to really baby it lately. With the winter weather, it’s been twice as brutal. I’m trying not to wash my hair as often as I used to to prevent dryness so I use Batiste or Not Your Mother’s dry shampoo to make it look fresh and clean even when it’s definitely not. When I do wash my hair, I usually use conditioner, then apply leave in conditioner when I get out of the shower. This really helps with the static problem I usually have to deal with this time of year.

Favorite Winter Activity

I never did anything in the winter until last year when my boyfriend encouraged me to try new things. Even then we didn’t do too much. We just saw lots of Christmas lights. And although I don’t really understand why everyone likes it so much, it definitely puts me in a different mood so I’d have to say that’s my favorite winter activity. Any excuse to spend time with people I love is good enough for me.

Must Have Winter Beauty Product

Physician’s Formula butter bronzer is my favorite product year round, but when winter comes and I’m looking even more pasty than usual, I love to use a little bronzer to give myself some color. And this bronzer has been my favorite for almost a year now. It lasts so long and the formula really is just like butter.

Love or Hate Snow?

I really hate the snow. I would probably like it if it didn’t get the inside of my shoes wet or make it slippery to walk anywhere. It is really pretty though. I just have a negative feeling toward it because of my experiences with it. But I always love waking up to snow on the ground on Christmas morning.

One Item on My Wish List

One thing I really want this year is a ring light so I can start filming proper videos. I have a really nice camera that I like a lot, but no matter where I go, the lighting is always trash. If I got a ring light I think I would be doing so many more videos.

Favorite Holiday Treat

My favorite holiday treat is definitely the Pillsbury sugar cookies with the pictures on them. Nothing can EVER top those. They’re truly heaven sent. Any time we make them at my house, they don’t last more than a couple days.

When do I get Holiday Shopping done?

I really suck at shopping for other people and that ultimately ends up with me shopping days before Christmas. Procrastination gets the best of me.

Well that’s all the questions for this tag! Now I tag all of you! If you try out this tag be sure to send me links so I can see what your answers are!