Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 Tips for Daily Health- Fall Edition

1. Pack your lunch. Save calories and cash with this tip! You control not only what you eat but also how much. Portion sizes and calorie content are astronomical in most restaurants. Pack a Flat Out wrap with low sodium turkey, spinach, your favorite veggies and a light Laughing Cow cheese wedge. Add a small baggie of carrots and you are looking at a cheap, healthy alternative to lunch!

2. Fit in exercise where you can. We hardly have time to sleep much less work out which may be true but is still an excuse. Try fitting in exercise throughout the day in unconventional ways. Take the stairs over the elevator, walk rather than take the bus or train. Do sit-ups during the commercial breaks. 50 calories burned here and there add up!

3. Snack your way through the day. Always keep healthy snacks with you. A handful of nuts or a piece of fruit at 10am will keep you from binging at noon. It will also keep your metabolism going which helps you burn calories faster.

4. Drink up! Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst due to dehydration. Try carrying a bottle of water around with you all day. I also find that drinking a bottle of water before lunch and dinner helps to take the edge off if I’m really hungry preventing me from over eating.

5. Trick…. With all the fun holidays coming up prepare yourself for the deliciously sinful treats that come with it! Trick your taste buds by choosing a sweet fruit or low fat/low calorie treat that allow you to indulge without going overboard.

6. Or Treat! Also remember to treat yourself from time to time with something “real”. If you deny yourself certain foods they become impossible to resist and often lead to a binge. Allow yourself one “real” piece of candy or slice of pie but limit yourself to once a week.

7. Enjoy Fall Fare. Fall is full of great healthy food. Find some healthy recipes that incorporate pumpkin, apples, and squash. Apple spiced tea is also a great way to keep hydrated, keep hunger at bay, and keep warm!

8. FALL into a new routine. The best way to get consistent exercise is to plan and make it fun. Join a gym that offers fun classes and pack a bag everyday that you bring to work (or class) with you. Try something new with friends or your significant other. I went to open skating this weekend, broke a sweat and had a great time!

9. Do Unto Others….It is so easy to be consumed with stress in today’s fast paced world that we often forget to be sympathetic, understanding and patient. Do something nice for someone for no good reason. Give the bum a dollar or smile and ask the grocery cashier how his or her day is going. You wouldn’t believe how great it feels just to radiant positive vibes on total strangers. Mental health is just as important as your physical health!

10. Veggie lover. Begin to become conscious of incorporating at least one vegetable into every meal, or better yet, replace a starchy processed carb with a nutritious veggie dish. It will become easier the more you do it and veggies will actually start to taste better than that processed, fatty crap you call macaroni.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicago's finest in health food- Part 2

One of the greatest things about Chicago is the abundance of amazing food! Well I just so happen to live across from one of the greatest foodie gems in the entire city. The French Market located in the Ogilvie transportation center is spectacular in it of itself but nestled in the back corner is a little slice of heaven called RAW. The food is prepared 100% organic raw vegan, which means nothing is cooked, seared, boiled, broiled, or grilled. Everything is in its natural state.

(This is the Collard burrito)

Now don’t get me wrong, I love healthy food but I don’t like to sacrifice taste in order to get it. RAW may sound intimidating but with just one taste of anything on their menu, you will be convinced that healthy food can actually taste amazing!! I have tried everything from their tuna pate and collard burritos, to the chocolate brownie and energy soup! The store has only been open a few months but foodie news travels fast. If you go there any day during the lunch hour and early dinner hours you will see a line of people at the RAW counter. Owners Carole and Polly are so excited about their success and have hopes for expanding the business someday soon. If you are in the Chicago area I strongly urge you to wake up your taste buds to a new kind of food that does your body good!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Chicago's finest in health food- Part 1

PART 1: Element Bars

Until recently I have sworn off nutrition bars from my diet. As a consumer I always felt cheated because while the label claimed the bar provided great health benefits (low-carb, no sugar, filling, energy boost, blah, blah, blah) when I checked the back for the ingredients it was like reading gibberish. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. About two years ago Jonathan Miller felt the same way and took it upon himself to start making his own bars out of ingredients he found in his kitchen pantry. No fancy wrap needed, he would pack them in tin foil and bring them to work everyday, much to his co-workers entertainment who fondly coined them ‘space cakes’. Little did they know, Jonathan would soon turn ‘space cakes’ into the very successful, terribly delicious, and uniquely custom, Element Bars. While Element Bars does not claim to be a diet bar, it packs as much nutrition punch as you want it to and tastes like forbidden treat. The idea supporting Element Bars is simple - we all have different tastes when it comes to food (something witty about home recipes). So why not bring a novel customization idea into the food industry and run with it? And why not top that idea off with an incredibly simple user interface which allows such customization to be available to everyone? Ergo Jonathan’s internet website When you log onto the website you have four choices for the main core of the bar; chewy, oaty, chrispy and datey. Once the core has been chosen, choose which fruits, nuts, sweets and boosts you want. The right hand side of the page allows you to see how each choice affects the nutrition facts of your customized bar. Once satisfied you can name your customized bar, I chose the Messi Jessi which was a chewy core with agave sweetening, flax seeds, prunes, and a boost of soy protein.

I visited Jonathan’s bakery to catch a glimpse of the behind the scenes action going into my Messi Jessi.

Mixing the ingredients

Biggest mixers I've ever seen!

The finished product!

But it wasn’t always flaxseed and agave nectar for Jonathan. As a self proclaimed ‘serial entrepreneur’ he knew it would take hard work, patience and most of all the loving support of his wife to get Element Bars off and running. Having already started, maintained and sold a previous business in college textbooks, he knew there would be many sacrifices along the way. But to Jonathan, there is nothing quite like the thrill of “starting something from scratch,” and getting it to the point where it can thrive on its own. Spoken like a true entrepreneur, as I sat and vigorously tried to type notes on every word he said I couldn’t help but notice how passionate he was about his business. Not because he is necessarily a health food nut or because he just wanted a nutritious bar to eat but because he really believes in it and will do whatever it takes to make it succeed, including get grilled on the popular TV show Shark Tank.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Jonathan impressed judges (not an easy task) with his business savvy approach. I was perched at the edge of my seat watching the clips, actually nervous for him but he kept his cool and eventually made a deal. The return on his investment was priceless. While he did have to fork over some ownership of the company the publicity he received from the show practically “brought the website to it’s knees.” On the very same night as the infamous Kanye West rant about Taylor Swift, Element bars was third on the list of Google searches next to Kanye and Taylor.

It was an absolute pleasure getting the opportunity to meet Jonathan and check out the bakery. Whether you are a foodie or not, I encourage you to check out the site and see what creation you would come up with for your customized Element Bar. If you're stuck, the Messi Jessi is highly recommended : )

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Onion Breath!

The more I have been experimenting with food the more I have come to realize how versatile the onion is. Not only can it be thrown into almost anything, it really gives food that extra oomph to take something from blah to Oh-My-GAAHHHHH! Better yet, the onion packs an abundance of health benefits. It is known to alleviate asthma due to it’s sulfur-containing compounds, fight the flu, they are a natural source of inulin (a type of prebiotic), and they are well preserved so it’s a great ingredient to have laying around. They can be used in so many different dishes. Soups, stews, chili, sauces, dips, stir-fries, salads, sandwiches, wraps, eggs (scrambled, omelet or frittata), or throw them on your burger or mix them in with other veggies on the grill. The possibilities are endless!

Experiment 5- Egg white veggie frittata
Veggies- Zucchini, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and asparagus
Spices- Cumin, paprika, garlic, S&P
1 Egg+egg whites+skim milk+olive oil+parm cheese
Bake at 350 degrees until brown on top

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two for one hump-day special: Experiments 3 & 4

Experiment 3: Roasted whole chicken. Now I can’t take full credit for this one, but I did find the recipe….and I did sit, drink wine and observe Corey prepare it, you know, as moral support. Anyways, he made a whole chicken with veggies. We used a turkey roaster but you can also use a crock-pot. It turned out so juicy and flavorful! And the best part is we had left over chicken for sandwiches the next couple days. This is a great one to try, highly recommended!


- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 4 lb whole chicken

- Sprigs of fresh thyme

- Sprig of fresh rosemary

- 1 tbsp salt

- 1 tbsp black pepper

- 1 lb carrots

- 1 lb assorted bell peppers

- 1 large fennel bulb

- 1 lb celery


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken with half the salt and pepper and place springs of fresh thyme and rosemary on top and in the cavity. Lay chicken on a roasting rack and place in the oven. Meanwhile, chop the carrots, bell peppers, fennel and celery into 2 inch pieces and combine in a large bowl with the remaining salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss to coat. After the chicken has roasted for approximately 45 minutes place the veggies in the roasting pan and return to the oven for another 35
minutes stirring once. The chicken should register 160 degrees on a meat thermometer and the vegetables should be tender. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes so that the juices redistribute and serve the chicken sliced on a bed of the vegetables.

Experiment 4: Eggplant Pizza Casserole, courtesy of Ali from Live Laugh Eat.


- 1 large eggplant

- 1 jar pizza sauce

- 1-2 cups spinach

- 1 large tomato

-Cheese (I used mozzarella; Ali used goat; I want to try low fat feta next time)


Preheat oven to 375* F. Wash and cut eggplant and tomato into round discs. In a glass pan/casserole dish, layer ingredients in the following order starting at the bottom 1) eggplant discs 2) pizza sauce 3) spinach 4) tomato discs 5) pizza sauce 6) eggplant discs 7) pizza sauce 8 ) cheese. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 65 min. or until eggplant is soft. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes.

P.S I added basil underneath the top layer of cheese and a sprinkle of garlic salt. I also didn’t put the cheese on until the last fifteen minutes because my experience with homemade pizza has been that it burns. It came out perfectly browned on top so I think it worked!

**Photos courtesy of Google images (I will have my camera back next week!!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cooking experiments cont...Quinoa recipes

Experiment #2: Quinoa salad- if you don’t know about quinoa, you must add it to your diet regime asap! It is a whole-grain that looks similar to cous-cous. It is a great source of dietary fiber, it has an unusually high protein content and is gleuten-free so it’s easy to digest. Here are a few different recipes starting with quinoa cooked in chicken or vegetable stock and a cube of bouillon:

1. Tofu, chicken, shrimp or steak prepared how you like. Add a veggie, good choices are broccoli, mushrooms, squash or zucchini. Mix a tsp of olive oil with a tbsp of balsamic vinegar and drizzle on top. (served warm)

2. Whole foods inspired with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, low fat feta cheese and a tsp of lemon juice. (served cold)

3. Dried cranberry, chopped walnuts, green onions, garlic, and drizzle just a little bit of honey (my fav so far!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cooking for Dummies

Upon my much-anticipated move to Chicago in a week I have earth shattering (and slightly tragic) news; I am officially hanging up my college party pants for the domestic (ever elusive and obviously foreign), apron. Yes friends you heard it here first, I’m a big girl now and it’s high time I graduate from microwave to oven. Don’t get me wrong I’m shakin’ in my boots. For those of you who say cooking is easy, whatever. Not all of us grew up with mother Martha Stewart (or anything remotely close) so for those of you who, like me, grew up on Ramon Noodles and cake batter. I render it necessary that I document this momentous occasion and share with you my trials and tribulations.

Experiment #1: Sweet potato fries- if you order these at a restaurant or buy them frozen from the grocery store they will hardly be any better for you than regular fries. However, if you make them yourself you know exactly what is on them and how they were prepared and can rest assured they are healthified. I cut up two sweet potatoes into long thin strips and laid them on tin foil. I sprinkled extra virgin olive oil and various spices. I put them on the grill and what came out was nothing short of heaven. Absolutely delish and a perfect veggie to pair with any kind of poultry!

Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Living Healthy Lifestyle

One of the biggest lessons I have learned since Freshman year is that being healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. You have to make a choice that no cookie or piece of cake tastes better than fitting into your jeans. Easier said than done in a society plagued with artery clogging cuisine. Old habits die hard and now-a-days you have to try hard to make healthy choices when you are constantly being tempted with sugar and lat laden food. You can only “diet” for a short amount of time therefore making lifestyle changes that you can stick to is more worth your time than just losing weight. So learn to love veggies and say no to sugar. Cutting sugar out is one of the best and easiest things you can do. I swear, if you stop eating candy, cookies, cake, etc. you won’t miss it anymore. Some people can have just one and be satisfied but not me. I’m a “once you pop, you can’t stop” kind of girl. If I can muster up the self control to say no when it’s in front of me, I’ll be able to forget about it 10 minutes later. But that’s not to say you can’t. Everyone is different and like I said, it has to be something you can stick with. So if you can’t give up that cookie-a-day habit than change something else, refined carbs is another easy way to drop pounds and give you more energy throughout the day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oopsie poopsie!

So I guess I’ll start with an apology due to my month-long hiatus from blogging. The truth is I have been thoroughly enjoying my last summer before entering the “real world” and in so doing I have not been exercising, consuming three times the daily recommended caloric intake and drinking beer, wine and spirits likes it’s going out of style. Nice role model huh? At least you know I don’t lie, and I’m certainly not perfect.
If there is one thing I have learned on my journey to a healthy lifestyle it’s that consistency is one of the hardest things to achieve. Prior to my disappearance from Bloggyland, I was eating 5 small, healthy meals a day and exercising regularly. I then dived headfirst into a tub of potato salad holding a beer in one hand and a cheeseburger in the other, and haven’t looked back, until now. If you can’t sense my frustration let me tell you, I am at an all time low. I haven’t felt this defeated since the summer after freshman year. Finding motivation now to start all over again is proving to be harder and harder with the new responsibilities that have been continuingly coming my way since graduation.
I know for a lot of you this might sound freakishly familiar so after some deep soul searching (and maybe a little googling) I came up with some things we can do to get us out of this rut and back on track…..again!
1. Something is better than nothing- You may be at the point where you would rather eat dirt than go to the gym in which case I remind you that getting any form of exercise is good. Don’t tell yourself you’ll go tomorrow or later because you won’t. Take the dogs for a walk, clean the house, do something and little by little you will regain the energy and motivation to do more. Just don’t expect yourself to wake up tomorrow and be excited to go to the gym again, that takes a while, so start slow.
2. Don’t cut all at once- You’re body has now become accustomed to eating whatever and however much so start by cutting refined carbs at dinner or chips with lunch. Just don’t decide you are going to redeem all of your food sins from the past month in two weeks of fasting, you will just end up right back here.
3. Back to the basics- when you start planning your meals and snacks remind yourself that a fruit or veggie should be incorporated in every meal time. Fill up on these before you eat anything else and try to stay away from heavy cream dressings and dips. You can still enjoy a cheeseburger just loose the bun and if you can handle it loose the condiments, which are packed with sugar.
4. Drinking counts too- take into account that most beers are in the range of 150 calories per beer. Pop, even diet, has its adverse effects on your hunger as well so just because it’s a liquid don’t consider it harmless (unless it’s water of course which you should increase your intake as much as possible).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bringing me down to earth...

(From left to right: Mary, Erica (my sister!), Asha, Dionne before the Prom for adults with special disabilities)

Too often we loose sight of the things that really matter in life because we are so concentrated on things that don’t. I am reminded of this every time I visit my sister. For those of you who don’t know, my sister was born blind and autistic. She lives in a group home not far from my parents’ house with three other girls who are also handicapped. While Erica, now 25, cognitively remains at about a five-year-old level, she is a bright, vivacious, intelligent woman whom friends, family and acquaintances have learned so much from.

I often catch myself complaining about petty things, forgetting to be grateful for the simple things in life. There is nothing that can put things into perspective for me and bring me down to earth faster than visiting her. The ability to walk, run, see, hear and move our bodies and minds as we please is a luxury, not a right. It amazes me even more how happy and content they are in a situation where you or I would feel helpless and defeated.

You may find this post uncharacteristic of me (as I typically write in a more humorous tone) but I thought this was important. Stress is a major contributor to weight gain and our lives are full of it. We create it by being constantly accessible to friends, family and work and we are bombarded with negativity on various forms of media. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in it all but since very few get the opportunity to go to a place like my sisters and have this experience for themselves I thought I would do my best to pass it on to you.

Be happy with who you are and grateful for what you have. Take a moment to put your problems aside and imagine a world where you are confined to a wheel chair, have never seen a sunset, or never heard your own voice. Think about all of the things that you have, not what you lack. Enjoy the simple things in life and take a deep breath every once in a while. Remember that good health is body and mind, being emotionally stable is just as important to your health as staying active and eating well.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summer Slim Down

Does it get any better than Jessica Alba circa Into the Blue? Her athletic build is enviable but it’s not fair to compare yourself to her. I included this pic as motivation, not as a realistic goal. Staying in shape is important to a healthy lifestyle but you need to do what is best for your body type and be content with that. That said, slimming for summer and the constant threat of being bikini ready is daunting but not impossible, as long as your goals are realistic.

If you’ve ever uttered the words “my diet starts Monday…” prior to polishing off a large bowl of Noodles’ mac and cheese (with extra cheese), this post is for you. The great thing about slimming down for summer is that you are no longer limited to just working out in the gym. The hard part is that it’s long term (unlike slimming for spring break) and the cheeseburgers and beer are cheap and plentiful.

If fitting a workout into your schedule is your problem, try the buddy system. Pick your buddy wisely though, your best friend may not be the ideal person. You need someone that will push you, isn’t their for social hour and will set a time and day to go without bailing on you.

If summer grub is your roadblock, try slashing calories where you don’t need them. Eat a cheeseburger without the bun or fruit instead of fries. Drink plenty of water, which does wonders on your body.

You’ve been cooped up all winter, take your workout outdoors! Bike, hike, run, walk, rollerblade, swim, the options are endless. Try incorporating your social life into your fitness life. Go for a walk around the lakes and gossip with your girlfriends instead of meeting for lunch or drinks.

Something is better than nothing. People think if they don’t have an hour to spend at the gym there’s no point in going. Do crunches during the commercials, take the dog for a walk, anything that gets you moving is worth your time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Little 500

*DISCLAIMER: I wrote this post partially for entertainment but more so for the purpose of endorsing a healthier state of mind when health is often the farthest thing from your consciousness (or lack thereof). This does not mean I encourage, promote, or participate in the following activities. This may or may not be satirical; that said, you are free to interpret it the way you like. NAMASTE

Unless you are looking to achieve super-senior status, this week marks the last hoo-rah for IU 2010 graduates. Campus is a-buzz once again with Little 500 fever (For those of you who don’t know, it is the equivalent of Mifflin at Madison WI, 4th of July on Big Island, or any other major event in which excessive binge drinking ensues.) After three years of experiencing this event first hand I thought I would offer my most sound advice on how to avoid reeking insurmountable havoc on your gut, derriere, thunder thighs, fat arms, et al.

Chase wisely- you are already ingesting a significant amount of sugar through the liquor so why make matters worse with empty calories? When possible, use chasers that have zero sugar such as soda water, crystal light, or sugar-free soda and juice. You’re less intensely hungover self will thank you in the morning.

Keep finances in check- no I don’t mean opening a tab (which I strongly discourage based on the level of ease it is to order 22 shots of patron, on YOU!) I’m talking about your calorie bank. Splurge as you like but know that means you need to save in another way. Drunk college kid translation: if you want a cheeseburger, don’t play beer pong. If you want to play beer pong, have a hamburger without a bun and scrounge for some veggies or fruit. Have small healthy snacks on hand so you a) don’t get too drunk, or b) don’t get too hungry you don’t have anything but cheeseburgers to eat, which you eat two of because now your really drunk and just don’t care and want to eat everything in sight.

2-4-6-8 HYDRATE- get over your lame frat-guy pride and order a glass of water. You’re dehydrated enough as it is drinking all day, do yourself a favor (and probably everyone else around you) and drink water, especially towards the end of the night. Chances are you’re probably sufficiently drunk as it is. If you can remember to drink it often throughout the day you will also feel less hungry (alcohol induces a false sense of hunger) and be less tempted by all the on-hand crap food.

Slow and steady wins the race- don’t be that guy/girl that starts pounding shots and ends up hugging the porcelain God by noon…..on a TUESDAY! Drink at your own pace because being the drunkest person at the party is social suicide. Not to mention at our age, succumbing to peer pressure is about as lame as Ed Hardy paraphernalia.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Healthy Dinner Ideas

One of the hardest parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is eating nutritious meals. As I've said before, what you do at the dinner table has a lot more to do with your six-pack than what you do in the gym. The American diet makes this task astronomically difficult. We eat too many calories, too much fat and way too much sugar. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66% of Americans are considered overweight.

I've got the healthy breakfast down by now, that's easy enough; egg whites with chopped spinach and whole wheat toast with almond butter- usually gets the job done. I can typically get through the day with some healthy snacks like a piece of fruit, nuts and a nutritious lunch. It's dinner where the you-know-what hits the fan. I get home from class and have zero self control, I'm too lazy to cook or move and usually end up head first in [my roommates] bag of chips.

So in the event you share a similar epidemic, or hate to cook, or think you can't cook anything healthy that actually tastes good too, I have the perfect recipe for you. This is our family's go-to meal because it is basically nutritionally perfect, it fills you up, it tastes good, and you can eat pretty much as much as you want- naturally my favorite part!

You will need: (this feeds about 3 people....or one with left overs!!)
1-2 either red or green peppers
1-2 zucchinis
1-2 yellow squash
Olive oil
Chicken, shrimp or tofu, etc. (optional)
Spices to taste (cumin, crushed red pepper, paprika- just a few I typically use)
(Obviously you can get inventive with this and add mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, etc. but this is just a basic recipe if you are as clueless about cooking as I am)

Chop up peppers and toss in a sauce pan on medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. While they begin to cook (stir occasionally so they don't burn), chop up the rest of the veggies and put them in a separate pan drizzled with olive oil. Here is where you can cook your protein if you decided to do so or throw some brown rice on the stove (or quinoa if your feeling really adventurous. To make it taste better boil chicken stock instead of water and add a vegetable bouillon cube). Once contents are thoroughly cooked combine the veggies (and protein) and add spices. And that my friends, is one healthy (and easy) dinner!!

*This post is dedicated to my girl Makenzie who shares a love of eating (mostly healthy) and fitness but most importantly good laughs, great memories and the best friendship I could ask for....All together now.... awwwwwwww :) luv u girl!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A little Mama Motivation

For those of you who know my mother, you know she’s built like a brick house. But those pipes weren’t God given. She works hard and there’s no one like Mom to light a fire under my increasingly voluptuous bum! Mama graciously signed me up for the 2010 Twin Cities (half) marathon. While I participated last year I fear my training and motivation has declined as steadily as my training and motivation to enter the workforce in 3 months. To my fellow bus riding, gym absent, late night munchie eating, beer pounding peers out there, I encourage you to set a goal for yourself that you cannot back out on. (Hey, if I’m going down I’m bringing you with me!) If the pure and simple joy of feeling great, being healthy and having bountiful amounts of energy doesn’t get you going, the fact that SPRING BREAK IS 5 WEEKS AWAY WILL! Hello people, bikini season, think about it!

Call me cliché but it’s true; eat less (junk food, that is) and move more. Don’t drastically cut calories or skip meals because you will end up throwing your metabolism off balance. Eating every 2-3 hours maintains your glucose levels from spiking and dipping which cause hunger bangs that lead to over consumption.

Fill up on water. A lot of times hunger is confused with dehydration and we end up consuming unnecessary calories. Water is not only essential for maintaining basic bodily functions but it can fill you up so you don’t feel like your eating less than usual.

Finally, do some form of physical activity, 30-60 mins, 4-5 days a week is recommended for weight loss/maintenance. I go through spurts where I would rather rip my toenails out one by one than go to the gym. SOOOO, find something that gets you going that doesn’t involve 45 mins of agonizing pounding on a treadmill (see previous posts for ideas ;) )

If you relish in self-induced torture like I do, here are some links for upcoming half marathons:

Twin Cities: June 6 (Pleasssssse join me, I’d love ya foreverrrrr!!!)