Christmas Town USA

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I love lights. Absolutely love them. When I was young I would beg my parents to drive me up and down the highway during any beach trip so I could see the signs and the lights.

So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that I had been living in North Carolina my whole life and I didn’t know McAdenville existed.

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McAdenville, also known as Christmas Town USA, became one of my new favorite places this year. In past Christmases I’ve driven around neighborhoods looking at lights and I’ve visited Tanglewood for its Festival of Lights, but a whole town of lights is something I had never experienced.

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When people at work told me that this town was only a short trip away from Forest City, I decided it was a requirement for my Christmas celebrations. And reading the website about the town made me even more excited. I strongly encourage you check it out here if you love lights as much as I do.

Luckily, I didn’t have to beg too hard for Travis Durkee, Alyssa Mulliger and Cory Tarlton to agree to go with me. Travis, who couldn’t believe I lived in North Carolina and had never heard of Christmas Town USA, even offered to drive his comfortable BMW so we could get the whole experience while riding through the town.

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Girls.. it was one of the best nights of my life. The town is absolutely beautiful. Everyone decorates their houses, there are over 300 trees and it perfectly expresses the magic of Christmas.

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We borrowed the fancy newsroom camera to capture the moments. And I’m really pleased with how the pictures turned out.

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How beautiful is that?

After driving through the town once, we decided to get out and walk around. I think that was my favorite part of the night because it gave us a chance to take more pictures and visit one of the town’s little shops to get apple cider.

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Although it was a little chilly, I loved every minute of the trip.

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I’m also extremely grateful that I have friends who will go look at lights with me and take pictures in sleds with me like this:

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You guys are seriously the best.

PS- I’m planning another trip to McAdenville this Christmas and anyone is invited to join.

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A Daily Courier Christmas

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All work and no play makes Erin no fun to be around. So during the weeks leading up to Christmas, I decided to make the office as cheerful as possible.

Spreading the Christmas spirit isn’t always easy at work, but I was determined, and with the help of Alyssa Mulliger, Travis Durkee and Garrett Byers…. we made that place look like a winter wonderland.

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The boys helped me put up some twinkling lights and Alyssa and I spruced up the place with purple and pink Christmas trees for our desks. (PS- I want everyone to know those snowflakes took hours to make. They aren’t as easy as Youtube says they are.)

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Once Travis saw our trees he decided he needed one too.

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And of course Jean Gordon puts up her pen tree every year.

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Garrett even got in on the fun with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Lori Spurling donated it to his desk for the holiday season. It was perfect for him if you ask me.

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When it was all said and done I was very pleased. When the lights were turned out it was beautiful in the newsroom. Alyssa and I often worked in the dark so we could enjoy the lights.

We also had our very own normal-sized Christmas tree from Matt and Amanda Clark. Amanda donated it to the newsroom complete with ornaments and lights. Giddy with excitement, Garrett, Alyssa and I happily decorated the tree one evening to complete the Christmas decorations.

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I was very pleased with the finished product and with the Christmas spirit that filled the office.

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But Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a party. And any excuse for yummy food is fine by me.

So Alyssa and I began planning and shopping for the office party a few weeks in advance. We encouraged everyone to bring food and found some cute Christmas-themed snacks to make. We told everyone to wear their best Christmas attire or tacky sweaters and we waited for the day to see if anyone would participate.

The party turned out to be everything I hoped for. People brought snacks, dressed up and enjoyed spending time with each other. And there was food. Lots and lots of food.

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I made some reindeer cookies.

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And Alyssa brought the reindeer noses.

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And we wore our reindeer antlers and red tights to complete the ensemble. I’m so glad Alyssa was willing to dress up with me because if you know me or have read my blog at all… you know I absolutely love it.

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This is the part where I show you cute pictures we took during our photo shoot with the Christmas tree.

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We even got some of our coworkers to get in on the picture-taking fun.

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How cute are we as reindeer?

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By the way, Alyssa’s shirt says “This is my ugly Christmas sweater” and Travis’ tie had little Christmas trees on it and was reversible. My coworkers make me so proud. (I also curled my own hair for the party. Somebody write that down as a monumental moment.)

The Daily Courier Christmas party was a complete success.

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I’m going to have to start thinking of ways to outdo it for this year.

 

The one about a Christmas party

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It wouldn’t be Christmas without annual get togethers and I was lucky to have Emily Lewis around for one back in December.

After a night out on the town in Charlotte, Emily spent the day taking her boyfriend Dan Hughes around North Carolina and showing him some of her favorite spots. He had never been to the area before and she wanted to show him where she went to college and just how awesome North Carolina really is. (Hint hint, you could still move here Emily.) It is the best state after all.

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Later that night we met up again for a Christmas party. The very popular Zandi Watts has some friends that throw a fancy affair every year and she happily invited me in 2012. We love any excuse to dress up.

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But this year most of our usual crew came along, and we looked fabulous if I do say so myself.

Zandi, Katie Parham and I even had a photo shoot before heading out. (You would have never guessed that would you?)

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We went shopping before the party and Zandi helped me pick out the beautiful, red dress. I don’t usually like wearing red because I think it makes me look paler than I actually am, but I think this one was a good choice.

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And of course, Zandi had the perfect accessory for the evening in the form of a present headband.

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Then we were off to meet Bags, his roommate Ashley Bare, Emily and Dan to enjoy the party, eat some snacks and take some more pictures, of course.

 

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Weren’t Emily and Dan just the cutest?

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I must say, Christmas parties are my second favorite, after Halloween of course, and it was a really good evening spent with some wonderful friends.

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And it wouldn’t have been a Christmas party without props.

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I’m so thankful I have amazing friends to spend the holidays with and that Emily got to come down for a couple of days. We really missed you Emily and I hope we get to see you again soon.

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Oh, and this happened at the end of the night. Because who doesn’t need a picture like the The Cat in the Hat?

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Welcome back, Emily!

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After my adventure with Zandi Watts on Thanksgiving, I had a visit from one of my favorite people. The beautiful Emily Lewis, one of my best friends from college, came back to visit North Carolina in December.

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Emily and I have so many memories from our time in college, from Taco Bell runs to dancing the night away, she was my go-to friend who was always ready to do something fun. So you can imagine my devastation when she graduated early and moved back to Ohio. I’ve seen her at college homecomings and on our Nashville trip but I was feeling very Emily-deprived when she announced she and her boyfriend were coming for a visit.

It was long overdue.

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We had a little Catawba College reunion in Charlotte and it felt just like the old days to have her back for a weekend.

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I missed her so much.

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We all missed her really. I’ve been telling her she needs to move to North Carolina for years now to be with her best friends but she hasn’t taken me up on that offer just yet.

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Oh and Zandi and I took a cute picture that I really just wanted to share. Typical right?

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It was a wonderful evening and I was so happy to have my Emily back by my side for a little while.

But don’t worry, the weekend Emily fun didn’t stop there because the next night we headed out to a Christmas party. I’ll be back with that blog post soon. Until then, I’ll leave you with this cute selfie Emily’s boyfriend Dan Hughes and Mike Leal took on my phone. Enjoy and keep reading!

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Thanksgiving with Zandi

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Since I only get one day off work for Thanksgiving, driving the three hours home to celebrate wasn’t in the cards this year. So as usual, Zandi Watts came to the rescue and invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family. 

The first tradition I was introduced to with Zandi’s family was the washing of the turkey. I arrived in the evening to a house full of Zandi look-a-likes, yummy food and a turkey that needed washing and stuffing. If you are interested in seeing the video of me washing the turkey, check it out here. It was an interesting feeling I must say and of course Zandi’s brother Josh made it even more memorable. 

On Thanksgiving day, I woke up to go see the beautiful Zandi plays drums in the parade in Charlotte. She did an amazing job as usual…and she looked like she loved every minute of it. 

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And then this happened with the turkey. It’s a nice family photo don’t you think? 

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Another family tradition is taking pictures with the turkey. Isn’t Zandi’s family the cutest?

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After stuffing our faces with that turkey….we did another part of that Thanksgiving tradition: a photo shoot.

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Here’s a piece of advice for all of you girly girls: It always pays to have a best friend who is a photographer.

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And I’m pretty good at taking pictures of her too :) 

 

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Then Zandi’s sister-in-law Keri Watts got in on the action and we had a great time.

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I’m so thankful for my best friend Zandi Watts who let me spend Thanksgiving with her family. I’m so glad that I have you in my life. 

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That weekend kept pounding

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Since I haven’t blogged in such a long time, I figured I would do two posts today. Especially since I realized Bags’ birthday weekend was awesome. 

I dressed up as a flapper, went to a pirate party AND went to a Carolina Panthers game with Emmy Scott. It really does pay to know members of the Panthers purrcussion who get tickets. 

This time it was the awesome Jason Meyer who had some tickets, and Emmy and I quickly accepted the invitation. 

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Zandi, I stole this picture of Jason from your Facebook. I hope you don’t mind.

Anyway, Emmy and I had a blast tailgating with Zandi’s dad and watching the game.

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We even snuck down to see our little drummer girl Zandi Watts and Jason in action. 

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After getting kicked out of that area, since we aren’t rich enough to buy such good seats, we spent some time in the gift shop. 

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And I found a hat that I kind of liked. Anyone want to buy it for me? 

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We ended our game day adventure with a photo shoot outside of the stadium. That has to be done after every game.

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A fan from the opposing team even got in on the fun. Nobody can resist a photo shoot.

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Emmy is a blast to hang out with and I loved every minute of that day. 

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After the game I packed up and headed back to Forest City for some much needed rest after an amazing weekend. 

Arghhh I’m a pirate

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And I’ve turned into a very lazy blogger. 

I know I’ve said this before, but I always intend to keep the updates coming on my life with blog posts… but then life always gets in the way. Oh well, life happens.

It’s been months since I last posted and I realize a lot has happened, but I still want to share those moments with you. 

So… the night after we celebrated Bags’ birthday, we became pirates. 

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Katie Parham and I were talking one day and we realized most of our friends had pirate costumes laying around from past Halloweens. So why not put them to good use with a pirate party? The result was a good time had by all and some cute costumes. 

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And of course Zandi added some flare to the party by introducing us to Stacy. The lovable parrot that quickly became the star of the show. 

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A good time was had by all and we decided the pirate party should be an annual event. Because who doesn’t like dressing up and saying arrghhhh every now and then?

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Stay tuned..more updates are coming. Arrrghhhh!!! 

Bag’s last roar in the 20s

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So I have this friend named Christopher Baglio, or Bags as we call him.

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Bags was born on October 31 and insists that his birthday is way more important than the Halloween holiday. Last year we went out for the birthday celebration but this year Bags wanted to do something bigger since he was turning “cough, cough” 29. Yeah… he’s old.

That’s where the 1920s theme came from. And we looked awesome, if I do say so myself.

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Bags looked the best of course.

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But I was excited to wear my flapper outfit again and I think I pulled off the look quite well.

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We celebrated Bags’ 29th birthday in style. And now I’m just going to give you a bunch of pictures because I know that’s probably what you are here for anyway. Who wants to read when they can see flappers and beautiful 1920s men instead?

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I have to tell you, themed parties are my favorite. I love playing dress up.

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I’m so glad that Bags had a wonderful birthday and that he picked such a great theme. He looked like he would fit in perfectly back in the day.

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I luv ya Bags and this is your very belated Happy Birthday blog post!

And stay tuned girly girls because I have a lot of catching up to do on my blog. I have Thanksgiving photo shoots, Christmas parties and weddings to update you on. Come back soon!

A Daily Courier Halloween

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Not only did I celebrate Halloween with my friends in Charlotte, but I also celebrated with my coworkers. I absolutely love having parties at work. So I started campaigning for participation early in October.

The first order of business was the pumpkin decorating contest. We had the first one last year and our publisher Lori decided to do it again. That resulted in some very creative pumpkins.

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Fellow reporter Alyssa and I got together to paint and bedazzle our pumpkins. She made a Furman University pumpkin and I tried to recreate something I saw on Pinterest.

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However when time came for the judging, Travis Durkee’s Pumpcreational vehicle took first place. Customers also enjoyed his “Thirsty Thursday” pumpkin that is in the background of the picture.

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The second step to making Halloween exciting in the office was encouraging everyone to wear costumes and join in on the fun. I begged and pleaded with my coworkers to get into the spooky spirit and bring in their favorite Halloween foods for a party. Alyssa and I decorated the office the night before and the next day I was pleasantly surprised with what filled the table.

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I dressed up as a flapper and I was so happy that almost everyone wore a costume.

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But of course, those newsroom boys went over the top with their costumes and made my day. First I was introduced to Garrett Byers, the zombie who was eating his own intestines.

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It’s a good thing I had my policewoman there to protect me.

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Then I was lucky enough to be in the presence of the beautiful, blonde Hulk Hogan.

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Travis had been trying to decide what to be for Halloween for a long time and he told Alyssa and I that we would have to wait and be surprised. I would say it was worth the wait because he looked awesome. Although, I was clearly not impressed with his punches.

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After everyone got their fill of Halloween food, we got together to take a group picture. These are just a couple that show you all of the Halloween madness.

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It was such a fun day in the office and my newsroom coworkers really are some of my favorite people. We look good in costumes.

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After it was all said and done, Alyssa gave away prizes for “Best Costume” and “Scariest Costume.” I bet you can guess who won those.

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And if you didn’t get enough scares back in October, I will leave you with this last picture of the Garrett zombie that we took while we were out. I would run if I met this fella in a dark alley.

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A trip to the pumpkin farm

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My best friend Zandi Watts really is, for lack of a better word, the best. If you haven’t noticed, she is in a lot of my blog posts and there is a good reason for that: We have fun together.

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I spend so much time with her that I have been told that I am an honorary member of the Watts family. That has turned out great for me because I get invited on family outings. The first time I met some of Zandi’s family was sophomore year of college on a trip to a pumpkin farm.

It was a fun trip. We went on a hayride, picked out pumpkins and fell in love with taking pictures together. My college roommate Lisa Easter also came along. It was a pretty fun day.

We had a picnic lunch.

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I bonded with Zandi’s brother Adam Watts.

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I met a cute pig.

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Zandi and I took pictures.

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Fast forward five years and we visited Patterson Farm to do the same thing, with more members of the Zandi Watts family.

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And Zandi’s niece Maddie was the star of the show. She is the cutest :)

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Check out these Erin Kidd photography skills. I think I captured a pretty great moment with Zandi, her mom Vicki and Maddie.

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I loved spending a day with the Watts at the pumpkin farm. They are hilarious.

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Shot potato guns.

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Shot tomatoes out of a slingshot at a target.

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Then Zandi and I took some pictures. You know that had to happen.

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We even met some scarecrow boyfriends that needed our attention.

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It was a great day with the Watts and I’m so glad that I’m an honorary family member so I can go on trips like these. The only thing we didn’t get to do was pick out a pumpkin…but that’s a long story and we all blame Joshua Watts.

Thanks for reading about my pumpkin farm trip! See ya soon girlies!