via USA Gymnastics says directors will resign — KRON4.com

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – USA Gymnastics has confirmed that its entire board of directors will resign as requested by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The move came Friday in the fallout from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. The former USA Gymnastics sports doctor has been pleaded guilty to molesting girls and young women. Some…

via USA Gymnastics says directors will resign — KRON4.com

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Year of Firsts: Yummy

The past Year of Firsts have been very food oriented. It seems like the easiest and quickest option to fulfil my New Year’s Resolution. I hope to have some bigger and more exciting Firsts in the future, but when you’re in a jam, food and drink will do.

There has been a lot of buzz lately about Nitro coffee. My understanding is that it’s nitrogen infused and gives the coffee a smoother taste. I picked this bottle up at my local Target, without doing much research about the product beforehand. I had only heard about Nitro coffee, but never really sat down to research it. As I popped this bottle open and downed the admittedly smoother than average coffee beverage, I read an article about Nitro coffee and found out that it’s best served cold and without milk. Now that I know, maybe next time I’ll pick it up without any added flavours or milk and see if there’s anything to write home about.

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Tuesday continued to prove to be a food-based day, as I inched into my 2-day stretch at Panera. There aren’t many places to get things done in my area, so Panera is really the go to. It’s the first time I ordered their Greek salad. It was yummy and the bowl was bigger than I had anticipated. It took a long time to finish this baby, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It was light and fresh and refreshing and perfect.

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On to Wednesday’s First: Beet juice. I’ve had beet juice before, but I imagine it was mostly prepared in typical juicer style, so it retains some of its grit. But this was cold pressed and smooth. I’ve had this variety before with berry juice, but the lemon ginger flavour feels invigorating. The berry juice one felt like a dessert drink and this one felt like a boost of energy.

Lastly, my new favourite First is this new nut butter upgrade. It has all my favourites: Cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and sea salt. It’s SO GOOD! Really, I can’t recommend it enough.

Until tomorrow…

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo

via 5.8 magnitude earthquake strikes off Northern California coast — KRON4.com

EUREKA (KRON)–The United States Geological Survey is reporting that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Northern California near Eureka. According to USGS, the earthquake struck around 8:39 a.m. about 130 miles from Eureka. WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON: SACRAMENTO MAN GETS LIFE IN PRISON FOR BUY FILIPINO CHILDREN DOG FOUND TIED UP…

via 5.8 magnitude earthquake strikes off Northern California coast — KRON4.com

Year of Firsts: Bread!

Yesterday’s First was overwhelming. I had an appointment at Panera Bread and decided to show up a bit early and get an early dinner. I’ve frequented Panera from time to time, so I’m relatively familiar with the basics of their menu. I have taken advantage of the pick 2 deals, but I’ve never really gone for the soup options.

I don’t know why I’m not that into soup on a regular basis, I have to be in the mood for it. Yesterday was a slightly chilly day and I said, I would try their soups out.

I’ve never had a bread bowl before, I’ve seen them in their advertisements, but I’ve never actually seen anyone order a bread bowl. So I did just that. I ordered a tomato soup in a bread bowl.

IMG_2456.jpgNow I get that the place is called Panera Bread and they’re really proud of their bread, but was this much bread necessary?

I mean, I’m not complaining, but I got a bread bowl, the bread that they cut out to make the bread a bowl and a side of bread! That’s a lot of bread. I must admit, I enjoyed it.

Strange thing is, the side order of bread was tastier than the bread bowl itself. And may I mention that it is difficult to tear apart that bread bowl once the soup is all gone. I felt bad, I couldn’t throw out the bread bowl, I had to at least try to eat it, but I felt like I was wrestling with it just to get it down to size.

At one point, I noticed a woman across the room staring at me trying to tackle this bread bowl. It got messy, but it got done. As briefly mentioned before, the bread bowl tasted a little funny. It had an aftertaste that is difficult to pin down. But I guess that is expected when you want a piece of bread to be as sturdy as a bowl.

For a sweet contrast, I ordered a Green Passion smoothie. The description is as follows: Peach and mango purees and white grape and passionfruit juice concentrates blended with fresh spinach and ice.

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It was delightful.

Until tomorrow…

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo

via The Cheesecake Factory’s famous ‘brown bread’ is coming to grocery stores — FOX6Now.com

Bread lovers, rejoice. The Cheesecake Factory’s famous “brown bread” will be sold in grocery stores and online. There are three types: dinner rolls, mini baguettes and a sandwich loaf. Cheesecake Factory “brown bread” Other than being able to serve your own brown bread, you’ll get a first-hand look at the mysterious ingredients which reportedly include…

via The Cheesecake Factory’s famous ‘brown bread’ is coming to grocery stores — FOX6Now.com

via Amazon Opens “Go” Store With No Cashiers Or Checkout Lines — CBS San Francisco

SEATTLE (CBS News) — Amazon employees have been testing it, but is the public ready for a cashier-less store? More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon opened its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle Monday. Shoppers scan the Amazon Go app on mobile devices as they enter the Amazon Go…

via Amazon Opens “Go” Store With No Cashiers Or Checkout Lines — CBS San Francisco

Year of Firsts: Meatless Post Clean

So it seems this every couple of days thing is becoming more common. I was too tired last night to catch y’all up on my Firsts.

I wasn’t sure what my First was going to be on Saturday, I hadn’t set anything up ahead of time, so I thought I’d try to wash my makeup brushes with a conditioning mask. I also received this brush cleaner and it was my first time using that.

Look at how much gunk gets stuck in my brushes. It makes me sad to think I put that nastiness on my face. I suppose I should wash my brushes more often. I wanted to see if conditioning them would make them feel nicer because I usually use a soap or shampoo to clean my brushes. Conditioning was a good thing.

 

Then I lit a Skittles candle for the first time. I wanted the smell to be a lot stronger than it was. But it was a nice subtle scent of strawberries. Soothing… I’m all about the soothing vibes.

Later that day, I accompanied my mom on a drive and she mentioned that she wanted to stop at the post office. I had never been to that post office before. It was a First. It was big. I like big post offices. They’re so roomy and exciting. Mail is exciting. It’s so full of possibilities.

While paying for the letter to be sent, the post woman told me to click on the screen to agree that I didn’t include any type of explosives or whatever. But I couldn’t see the screen because of the glare, so I had to get on my tiptoes just to see it. The post woman giggled and said she wasn’t going to laugh at me because there are a lot of older people who come in and can’t see the screen because they’re shorter. And I said, “Yeah, but that’s what makes them so cute.” She laughed. Admit it, short old people are the cutest.

 

Saturday was a busy day of Firsts, I closed out the day by a Carvel stop. Although it was not my first time at a Carvel or my first time ordering a vanilla soft-serve with chocolate sprinkles, it was nice because this was my go-to order as a kid and I haven’t had it in ages. It makes me happy. It’s the simple things.

 

On to Sunday’s First. I had read a lot about these Beyond Burgers and have been quite curious. I heard they taste like meat and are the meatiest tasting plant-based burgers around. I wanted to know how true that was and have looked for them for a while, but can’t seem to find them anywhere.  Anyways, I found them! Beware, even though they are plant-based, there is beef juice extract in it. Apparently, it’s used for the colouring. I could have done without the colouring though.

The directions say to cook them for three minutes on each side and that the insides will remain red. They won’t get brown like that of a beef burger. So I knew they would be red, but I was surprised at how red it was. It looked like a raw beef burger.

The texture was insanely similar to that of a beef burger. Not exactly the same, but a heck of a lot closer than that of other veggie burgers. It was very bizarre in a good way. The taste was smokey, like that of burger, but you can still tell it’s a veggie based burger. The top ingredient was Pea isolate, so I am curious about how they made it taste meaty.

It was an interesting and tasty experience. I don’t know if I’d ever crave this burger specifically, but I certainly wouldn’t turn it down if someone offered me one.

Until tomorrow…

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo

Year of Firsts: Table Cough

Thursday’s First was hyped up in my mind. I wanted it to be elaborate. I wanted to leave with a finished product. I wanted to leave accomplished.

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Thursday’s First was my first time at How To Clinic at the Home Depot. It was supposed to be part of the Do-It-Herself series in which women teach other women to build things. This months clinic was Hot to build a Stacked Tote Tower.

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I had seen pictures online of these workshops being well attended and kind of a big deal, but as I stepped inside the Home Depot to ask a couple of workers where the clinic was, they just threw up their hands and said, “It’s here.” img_2419.jpg

I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT SHOWED UP! The only one! And the two guys teaching me how to build this table had only found out about their having to teach the workshop moments before I arrived.

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The event was marketed differently than it turned out. There was supposed to be hands-on experience and such, but what I really got were these two sweet older men, possibly grandpas, trying to talk me through the directions on the handouts.

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As I started asking them questions, they then realized that some of the blueprints were off and that the guys who built it in the lumber department had taken a few shortcuts. The table really was pretty and I could kick myself for not taking a pic of it. I definitely want to make one now.

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It wasn’t that big of a deal. I tried. It was nice. I left motivated and the people were cool. If only I had space, I’d start buying up power tools and building all sorts of tables.

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Next month’s clinic is about how to build a spice rack, I’m not sure that’s my deal, but who knows how I’ll feel in a month.

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Friday’s First was so simple and so satisfying.

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I’ve had this cough. This stubborn, persistent cough that makes me want to stick my hand down my throat to personally remove this little bugger from my life.

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Now, I’m not doctor or nutritionist, but I do read lots of health-related sites, pins, books etc. I decided to come up with my own cough remedy concoction. And I think I may be onto something because my cough cleared up almost immediately. It did come back later on in the day when I made the drink again and bam- Miracle! Cough Gone. I don’t want to jinx it, but sharing is caring. Here’s my little experiment:

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Ingredients-

1/2 glass water

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!/2 glass organic no sugar added pure pineapple juice

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1 tablespoon lemon juice

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1 tablespoon honey

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1 tablespoon black seed oil

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1 tablespoon raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother

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Mix it up real good and down that baby. I like the way it tastes, but admit it is an acquired taste and maybe not for everyone.

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This drink may not be for everybody and you should definitely check in with your doctor if you have a persistent cough.

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I wish you all well.

Until Tomorrow…

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo

via Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel — WWLP.com

Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. The retail giant said Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 U.S. pharmacies. The small packets, made by DisposeRx, contain a powder that is poured…

via Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel — WWLP.com

Year of Firsts: 2 for 1

In case you’ve been following my little New Year’s resolution of daily adventures, you might have noticed that I didn’t post last night. That’s because yesterday’s First got a little out of control and caused me to break with habit in writing nightly.

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So today you get a two for one special blog of Firsts.

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Wednesday’s First had me super excited in a totally nerdy way. I took my first visit to the Dollar General!

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I’ve been to a Family Dollar and I’m the Dollar Tree’s number 1 fan. I love going there, it makes me feel alive. I’ve also been to international versions of the dollar store overseas, like Poundland and such. Needless to say, I love love love a good discount, especially when it’s a dollar.

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Anyways, I read an article a while ago about how the Dollar General is doing really well in the Midwest and when one opened up in my area, I always said I wanted to check it out. And I finally did. There’s no turning back now.

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I don’t understand how they do it, but everything is so cheap. It’s not the Dollar Tree, but it’s now definitely my first stop before going to the supermarket and after the Dollar Tree.

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The Dollar General is like a mini-Walmart. They sell pantry foods,  refrigerated foods, coffee, cards, makeup, toiletries, shoes, clothes, cleaning supplies, car accessories, small furniture and organizational needs. I mean, I was floored. How did I not know of this place?

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A lot of stuff is name brand and sold within the sell-by date, but they also have a lot of off brand stuff. On average, all the name brand stuff I would buy at a Walmart was at least $1 cheaper and in some cases $10 cheaper. That’s a big deal. That adds up.

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That being said, this place is in my neighbourhood. It’s on my way to my pharmacy and supermarket, I’m not sure it would be worth it for someone to drive clear out of their way from five towns over to take advantage of the low prices. Afterall, gas is expensive these days. (I still remember when gas used to cost 99 cents a gallon!!)

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The one thing that I found the most impressive at the Dollar General is the ethnic hair section, it’s just as big as the ethnic hair section at my local CVS or Walmart. That’s where I post up. That’s my spot.

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Color me pleasantly surprised.

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Ok. So now we get into yesterday’s First. Yesterday’s First was an inevitable disaster. You see, my doctor had been giving me samples of Advair to use for my asthma and when  I ran out of refills, I asked my doctor to write me a prescription for it. Turns out my insurance doesn’t cover it.

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At this point, I’ve been off the prednisone for a couple of weeks and off the inhaler for a week. I was out of any medication that could help me. I have my rescue inhaler, but I’m literally pumping/living on it about 20 times a day. And that’s not what a rescue inhaler is supposed to be, if you have to use a rescue inhaler that many times, then you need a longer-term action plan, which for me was the Advair.

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I play along and call my insurance- United HealthCare. I spoke to a woman named Tracy, who was a little snippy with me, but she was coughing up a storm so let’s forgive that and assume she’s not having a good day. She goes through the list of meds and suggests I have my doctor write me a prescription for Breo Elipta. Tracy tries to call my doctor and of course, they’re closed.

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At this point, I’m holding back tears because I can’t breathe and it’s exhausting. Tracy suggests I go to the hospital if it’s the bad. I told her that in the past, I have been to Urgent Care- which by the way is a nightmare trying to find an Urgent Care centre that takes Medicaid- and they help me for the time being, but then I go home and can’t breathe again. I need a solution, not a band-aid. I need my meds.

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Not long after the call, my coughing and wheezing did start kicking off and I could feel an attack coming on. Ventolin was not doing it for me. So I got dressed and by the time I got the ER, my asthma attack was so bad that registration staff had me skip the line of patients and were calling in a Code Red.

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They rushed me into a room and I must have been making a scene because everyone was staring at me and upon my leaving the hospital, so many people commented that I was sounding better. People that I hadn’t seen at all when I came in.

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At that point I was so lightheaded, my hands were turning blue and tingling. My mouth and nose were tingling and everyone kept asking me if I had ever been intubated before for asthma. It was that bad, folks.

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Everyone was nice or at least respectful until my doctor came in. She listened to my lungs and checked my stats/vitals and told me to take deep breaths. I was trying, but it’s tough. Then she says, I kid you not, word-for-word, “Anyone can make those sounds, just breathe.” She goes on to say that it’s just respiratory and that my lungs are little tight but fine.

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I’m too breathless at the moment to have a sassy comeback, but what is that even supposed to mean? Does she think I’m faking this? How rude! I had a history of asthma and asthma attacks. This was not fake. If you truly thought it was fake and I was just making these sounds for attention, then the responsible doctor move would have been to call for a psych consult or recommend I get some therapy or something. Having a medical degree isn’t an excuse to be a dismissive and insulting jerk. Actually, no one has an excuse to be a dismissive and insulting jerk, period.

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Another nurse came in to get my breathing treatment underway and she said that my lungs were working at 99% capacity which is good. Normal is between 90-100%, according to her. She thought that the attack was exacerbated by anxiety and as another neighbouring patient pointed out to me later on, as she was within earshot of it all and it’s impossible to not listen to another patients issues, it’s a cycle. You feel like you can’t breathe and you’re wheezing and struggling to get oxygen and it’s scary. It makes you feel like you’re dying, being strangled from the inside out. Yeah, I think anxiety is normal. Hyperventilating and panicking because you can’t get air to live is normal. It would actually be weird and rather worrisome if you weren’t panicking.

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Eventually, with the breathing treatment, my breathing slowed down and the coughing slowed down. The wheezing was easing its way. I was moved to the observation area. At the observation area, a supervising doctor came by and asked how my stay was. I told him about my doctor’s comments and he was like, Wow, that shouldn’t have been said. Well, he didn’t say it like that, but that was what I gathered from the situation. Even some of the other nurses thought she was rude.

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My mom chimed in that maybe the doctor thought it was just an anxiety attack. And I was like, nope, that’s not an excused. I don’t care if my asthma attack was induced by weather, stress or a zombie apocalypse, you don’t take to people that way. Even if it was an anxiety attack: 1) A doctor should be better equipped to handle an anxiety attack than being rude and 2) Anxiety attacks and mental health as a whole are serious conditions that shouldn’t be dismissed so easily. Healthcare is about your body and mind, you can’t exclude one or the other.

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This supervising doctor was apologetic and appreciated the information. I do believe that he relayed the information to my doctor because when she came around to check on me her tone had changed.

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But before my doctor came around the second time, another asthma attack came underway. I was coughing so much that the other patients in the observation room were complaining about my coughing and I had to have another breathing treatment. And this time, I was relaxed, reclined in a chair and colouring on the Pigment app on my phone. So this attack couldn’t be disputed as fake or exaggerated. Not “everyone could make those sounds” and this time I had a room full of witnesses there from the start to prove it.

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Ther respiratory nurse let me keep my mask and told me I could use it at home with my nebulizer. In my head I’m thinking, come on, my insurance won’t cover an inhaler, they’re going to cover a nebulizer?

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My doctor wrote me a prescription for Breo, because that what we were told by insurance would be covered. The thing with the Breo is that the dosage doesn’t go as high as the Advair and I was on the highest Advair dosage. They also had to give me a dose of steroids through an IV and some oral Prednisone to get me through the next 24 hours.

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I was discharged and went directly to the pharmacy, only to be told that the insurance wasn’t going to cover the Breo. The pharmacy tech tried to help and make calls, but ultimately she said that insurance pulls this rubbish off all the time. They’re trying to save a few bucks here and there. Ultimately they don’t care about your health, they just care about their money. But the jokes on them because instead of coughing up $500 for an inhaler, now they literally have a $3,000+ ER hospital bill to the deal with.

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What’s frustrating is that this could have been entirely prevented. What’s even more frustrating is the pharmacy having all these inhalers on display… my literal lifeline, and I can’t have. I can reach it. I can see it. I can almost touch it, but I can’t have it because I’m too poor to afford to breathe.

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I made an Instagram post (@HebaVsReason) and tweeted my insurance about the experience. And let me tell you, I lost so many followers. That’s cool, I’m not in it for the followers, I’m just having a bit of fun. But it amazes me that as soon as you stop the whole “I’m cute, love life and like nice things” act, how many people will drop you. Not even a single “friend” checked in on me. Not even a like or a personal message. It tells you who is really there for you and who isn’t. And I literally don’t have the breath to waste on those who can’t be bothered to even fake a little concern. The whole experience made me very emotional by the end of the night, just thinking about all this energy I put into others and helping people advance in their lives and they’ve all been content to drop me. They’ve well surpassed my career and education wise and I never got so much as a thank you. I have a couple of good friends and my family and it’s in times like these that it’s clear- that is all you need. There’s no need for the fairweather “friends” and that’s ok with me.

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So yesterday’s First was my first time in the hospital for an asthma attack. It was also a lesson in healthcare, hospitality, friendship, life, empathy and learning to not take for granted the little things. Very rarely did I ever feel thankful to breathe normally until I was faced with not being able to breathe.

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Hopefully, my next post will be less of an emotional rollercoaster.

Until tomorrow…

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo