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The Nesting Spot on Boom Boom Prints

The Nesting Spot on Boom Boom Prints

One thing I’ve meant to blog about for a while is that I am selling some of my prints on the site called Boom Boom Prints. It is a fairly new site where you can order different sized prints, canvases, onesies, phone cases, greeting cards, maternity shirts, bags, and wall clings with art printed on them from different independent artists. Some of the art can also be customized to match your nursery’s colors.  Boom Boom Prints takes care of all the printing and shipping and I get a portion of the sale. I have been doing it since they started in October but it is turning out to be really useful right now since I am unable to sell my own prints directly at the moment. I can’t sell my personalized prints there but if there is something else you’ve wanted but didn’t get around to getting or if you’d like it on a different medium then go check them out! There are a ton of talented artists on there to choose from.

I was also their featured artist back in June! Here is a room mood board made from one of my prints and here is where I was interviewed.

Big News/Why It’s Been So Quiet Around Here

Highland FamilyThis post is long over due! I planned to write it months ago and then even started it a few weeks ago but it got deleted. It seems strange (and it was never my intention) making the announcement after the fact instead of telling you the news in advance, but here it is, we have moved to Scotland! Part of why I put off writing it was because I was waiting for my husband, Ken, to make a Facebook announcement to friends that hadn’t heard yet and part of it was I have been unsure as to what I should even write. There is so much I could say. I could write a small book just in the background of how it all came to be and how it all happened in the last few months. It’s been really hard to get motivated to sit down and figure out how to edit myself down.

But here goes nothing. The story actually starts way back in 2001. After graduating, my college roommate, Beth, and I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland a week after 9/11. I was going there with a 6-month work visa through a company called BUNAC (which looking at the site now, it has grown and changed a bit, and the expenses have increased a lot) and she was going to get her Master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh. It was a really great time and also very hard time. I was there during the darker and colder months and of course there was so much uncertainty in the world after all that had just happened in New York. Scotland was wonderful but trying to find a job with such a short work visa proved to be very difficult. I finally did find a temporary, holiday job at Next, which is a department store here. Ken, and I had just started a relationship and he flew out to see me for my birthday in January. Scotland was imprinted on our hearts.

Fast-forward a bit and Ken found a youth minister job in San Marcos and I later found a teaching job there as well. We were engaged a year after his visit to Scotland and married 3 months after that. We settled in and it became our home.

We loved our town and church home. Our family was far away so our friends became like family. We knew that God had planted us there for a purpose and we dug in for that. We had no plans to move unless we felt God moving us. Scotland was always on our hearts during that time and we wondered if we’d ever be given the opportunity to live and serve here, but we just didn’t know.

We had actually seen a couple of opportunities over the years but none were quite right or worked out. But then toward the end of 2014 Ken saw the job posting for youth pastor in Pitlochry that got him really excited. He sent in his CV but didn’t really expect it to go far since nothing else had. But he eventually did hear back with some interest. I won’t go into the whole hiring process but he flew to Scotland over Valentine’s Day weekend for an interview and was invited to come as youth pastor and he accepted. While there he fell in love with the people and the possibilities and not just the obvious beauty of the area. He had a real peace about whichever way it would end up. He knew that if it worked out that it was meant to be and that if it didn’t, God wasn’t done with us yet in San Marcos.

So, that was in February, and we looked to try to get the process done and move by mid July. I can talk more in-depth about all of that in subsequent posts. Only by God’s continual help were we and the church successful in getting it done on time.

Leaving our friends and church in San Marcos was very difficult; there were lots of tears. I have never liked goodbyes, and having to do it over a 5-month period was very hard. It definitely put my introversion to the test. And at the end I was so exhausted, physically and emotionally, I had a breakdown on the last night and had to skip a goodbye dinner to take a nap. I am so thankful that we live in an age where we can still talk via the internet and phone though. The world has gotten so much smaller.  So none of the goodbyes are forever.

I don’t want this blog to become only about Scotland but it has always been a mixture of my life and nesting/crafting things so hopefully that will continue. I know a lot of people who we’ve left are interested in keeping up with us on here though so don’t be surprised when you see a lot of Scotland posts.

People have asked what will happen with my business now that we’ve moved. And to answer that I have to say, I’m not really sure. I plan on continuing it but I’m just not sure what is going to work best now that I’m across the ocean. Obviously, it is an online business so in theory I can move it anywhere but with the ornaments being time sensitive and most people ordering at the last-minute I don’t know if I could get them out on time. But I have had some people already asking if I’ll be making more. If I can get a printer that will work for printing on the fabric like before then my initial thought is that I’ll make a limited edition of the best-selling ornaments. I usually start cutting and sewing all the ornaments about now in June or July and don’t stop until Christmas. It is fun but also exhausting especially when Fall hits. I don’t want to do that this year. I don’t want all extra time to be taken up by that. I want to be able to enjoy the holidays and my family. Thankfully, I’ll have two of the three kids in school this year so I might be able to get more done during the day instead of only the evening. I also am thinking I’ll start selling my art as digital downloads so people can print them out themselves. That will save me having to worry about printing, shipping, inventory, etc. I still haven’t really figured it all out yet. I closed down my shop a week before moving and just wanted to survive the move and settle in. We finally just got internet in our house after being here almost a month. It has been a painfully slow process. The kids will start school mid August. After that I think we should get in a good groove and I can have time to really figure these things out.

All is going well though and we have been welcomed so wonderfully, more than we could have hoped for! We are so very blessed to be here and get the chance to have this adventure as a family. We look forward to all that is ahead.

I have so many things that I look forward to sharing with you all. But if you have any specific questions or things you’d like to see please ask in the comments and I’ll try to make sure to answer them in upcoming posts.

Oh, and I set up an Instagram account under the name @thenestingspot so you can follow me there as well.

Show and Tell

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Okay, so it’s time for some new links!  As before, they are kind of random.  I like to keep you on your toes!

I am sure most of you know the art of Katie Daisy.  I just love it and have bought a few of her prints as gifts.  Here she writes a great post defending her business decisions.

Elise gives great advice about how to encourage fellow parents instead of warning them with “just you wait”.

I was a bit sad to see this news.  How could Cadbury change their recipe?  It’s my favorite Easter candy.

It’s good to slow down and enjoy the amazing things around us.  Here’s a free printable of the star-gazing events of 2015 so you don’t miss any!

Speaking of enjoying things.  It’s easy to forget to enjoy time with our spouse once kids get in the picture.  Rebekah is doing a date night in every month to try to be intentional about her relationship with her husband.

Here’s a great lesson we can learn from babies.

If you’ve ever been underwhelmed by airplane food, this may be why.

This just made me laugh.

I’ve always thought Bratz Dolls are so ugly.  Why can’t they be made to look like this from the start?  Such an amazing transformation.

And lastly, a friend posted this on Facebook.  Wow, just wow!

(I forgot to post any pre-leaf outtakes…the pictures at the top are what they were all like. heehee)

 

 

Christmas Card Picture Outtakes

I was planning on posting these last week but the flu made its way through our house and it never happened.  Thankfully, we all survived.  Three of the five of us had it fully although we are thinking that the other two had it a bit because they shared some minor symptoms without the fever.  It was also my birthday on the 29th while I was getting over the flu so that wasn’t very awesome but we made the best of it and I had a pretty sweet day filled with lots of love.  Now that life is getting back to normal I have time to write up a couple posts.

A while back I mentioned that when we took pictures of the kids for our Christmas card, that to make it work to get all three smiling AND standing near each other AND looking at us, we played a game of counting to three and then throwing leaves in the air.  So, we have lots of pictures of them actually in the process of throwing those leaves.  I really love some of those outtakes and promised to share some of them.  (And as a side note, when you start looking at the word outtake a lot it starts looking really weird and foreign.)

First, as a reminder, here is the picture we used for the card.  It is while we were counting to three and there was the anticipation of the throw, so they were all excited.

Christmas card photo

Now here are some of the fun ones.  I love the energy and joy shown in them.

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Love, this last one! …the spin, the running, the smiles!  A sweet moment caught on camera.

We usually have to take hundreds of pictures to get one “good one” but there are often quite a few that are favorites even if they don’t make the cut.

 

Free Printable Butterfly Valentine’s Day Card

Free Printable Butterfly Valentines Day Card from The Nesting Spot

Today I thought I’d share a free printable with you all!  I created a simple little butterfly valentine with the cute saying, “You make my HEART FLUTTER”.  Get it?!  It’s not in your face obvious but the wings are made up of 2 hearts stuck together.

You can use any lollipop as the butterfly’s head and body.  I love blow pops so we went with those but Tootsie Pops don’t have the twisted wrapper hanging off the top so that is another good one to use.

After you cut out the shape of the wings, fold the butterfly in half so the wings are together.  That makes it very easy to cut the slits for the lollipop stick and also gives the wings some dimension.

Free Printable Valentine from The Nesting Spot

I designed them as simply as I could, and here’s why:

I tried to make it all as customizable as possible by not adding my own colors with ink so that you can do whatever you want. By printing it on different colored pieces of card stock you can stick to traditional Valentine’s colors or do the whole rainbow.

I also kept the font simple so that even new readers can read them, as opposed to using a pretty cursive.  I was trying to keep my 1st grader in mind and thought it’d be silly for someone his age to have to have help reading the valentine.

I also left a lot of blank space so that your child can go to town decorating it.  We just used crayons on these but of course markers, paint, and stickers would all be great.  We also used a little heart punch that Audrey got for Christmas since she had asked for lots of art supplies.  So any decorative punches would be fun.  We glued googly eyes onto the lollipop.  First, we used Elmer’s glue which was nice so that Audrey had full ownership of the project but some were falling off (she might not have used enough glue) so then I used hot glue.

Free Printable Valentine from The Nesting Spot

You can click here to download the butterflies.  I put 4 to a page to save on paper.

Printable Butterfly Valentine

Free Printable Valentine from The Nesting Spot

And last, but definitely the cutest, are a couple of the ones that Audrey worked on while I photographed the others.  I kept mine super simple but she went all out and made each one very different.  She also liked choosing different colored eyes for each one.  She really enjoyed getting to do each step herself, from cutting them all out, to coloring, glueing the eyes (with Elmer’s) and then putting the lollipops in the slits.

Free Printable Valentines from The Nesting Spot

I hope you like them!  If you use them I’d love to see how they turn out.  Please send me a link to where you post your versions on the web.

Baby Names of 2014

Custom Baby's First Christmas Personalied Ornament from The Nesting Spot

The last couple years I have made a list of the baby names that were on the ornaments I made from the year before.  I think it is fun to take a look to see what names are trending.  As I’ve said before this is not very scientific since a few of the ornaments were actually for older children and were back dated and some names are most likely nick names.  But I just put all the names on the list.  I got to do a lot of sibling names this year from repeat customers which was a lot of fun.  I also felt like I was seeing more unusual names this year, but I’ll have to go back and read previous lists to compare.  Here are the lists from 2012 and 2013.

Jack was the most used name in 2012 with 8.  In 2013, there was a 4 way tie with Henry, Jack, Jackson, and Oliver with 4 each.  This year’s winner is Henry with 7 (plus 2 spelled Henri).  Jack was second with 5.  So it looks like Henry is taking over now.  It wasn’t that many years ago that I when I heard the name Henry it just sounded like a stuffy old man to me but now I’m used to it being a cute child name.  There are lots of names that when I was first seeing them on little ones surprised me since they were still grandma and grandpa names to me. But now they have become fresh again and I enjoy seeing them used on little ones.  Funny how that works.

Click on the link below to see this year’s list.

Baby Names of 2014

What are your favorites?  See any surprises?

Psst…You can still order personalized ornaments from my shop…it doesn’t have to be right before Christmas.  I’ve still been making them after the New Year.  See all the options here.

Holiday Recap

The fall is always the busiest time of year for me so it makes it hard to post much about it while it is happening.  So today I thought I’d share a few photos of some of what we did during October to December.  Sorry it is all pictures of the kids, I am usually taking the photos and am bad about getting myself in them.  The kids are cuter any way.

Halloween Costumes

My plan was to get all three kids standing by their pumpkins in their costumes.   I can’t wait for the day when are all old enough to just smile and take a picture without drama.  Audrey’s costume was partially handmade.  Josiah’s was found on sale at Pottery Barn for $15.  I had planned on making one but after the cost of materials and then the added time of making it, it was a lot easier to just buy it.  Plus it glowed in the dark.  It was bit long so I shortened the legs (took off the bones first and then reapplied them…which ended up being way harder than I anticipated.)  William’s skunk costume was first worn by his brother when he was the same age (found it for a steal on ebay) so it was fun to see another one in it.  I love that little costume.  I’ll try to find a picture of big brother in it.

Group halloween costumes

Here was another attempt at a group shot.

little skunk costume

Family garden

We’ve talked about making a garden for years but because of time/budget/and a constant drought we have put it off.  My son is required to do a big project of his choosing  for school that can be about most anything so we decided to finally try our hand at a garden.  It has taken way longer than I’d hoped with us finally planting some seeds this last week…let’s see if anything can germinate in our now cold weather.  I will be doing a whole post on all we’ve done but just wanted to show a glimpse for now.

Christmas card photo

Here’s the photo we got for our Christmas card this year.  I thought it was going to turn out like the halloween photos because William hates being told he has to stand next to his siblings for a picture.  I have some pretty fun out takes.  It was all looking dark until I told them to grab some leaves and on the count of 3 throw them in the air.  The anticipation of it and now being a game made them all genuinely smile (when Josiah tries to smile for a picture he does like Chandler on Friends and his face looks crazy) and look at us while I was counting.  It was a Christmas miracle that we got a good shot within a few minutes of trying since it was cold and we usually end up having to try 2 separate times.  One day the whole family will all be able to get in a photo and still look at the camera, can’t wait!

The Nutcracker at the Austin Ballet

Oh look, here’s a picture with us adults in it too!  The kids asked about seeing The Nutcracker last year but by the time I looked into tickets all the affordable ones were gone.  So this year as soon as Fall came I grabbed some of the $15 tickets they had in the nosebleed section for the Austin Ballet.  Of course the way the theater is built there aren’t any bad seats.  We could see just fine.  The only real issue was literally all the people around us were really late and the theater becomes completely black once it starts so they were having a terrible time finding seats, walking back and forth tripping on people,  standing in front of us trying to look at their seats and tickets with other people’s phones, and even arguing with us that we were in the wrong seats (they were in the wrong row).  It looked like something out of a sitcom.  But once all those things got fixed we enjoyed the ballet.  The dancers did an amazing job and I’m happy any time we can introduce some culture into our children.

Seeing the Nutracker

This was before it started and we were trying to get them to smile.  They were not in the mood to be photographed so the first 10 shots are of grumpy faces. I don’t remember what we said to convince them to act like they were having fun.  I think part of why they weren’t as excited as I expected them to be was I later learned they thought it was just going to be a movie and didn’t understand they’d be seeing it live.

Santa gifts

The kids showing off some of their loot from Santa.  Audrey wanted a 3 wheel scooter and Josiah wanted it all (a house, phone, diamonds, 4 large lego sets) but was happy with the castle he got.

A ukulele from Santa

Once when Ken pulled out his guitar William went crazy for it so I knew he’d love having his own little version.  He calls his little ukelele “blue song”.  He LOVES all things music and sings, dances, beat boxes, drums, etc all day so it has been fun for him to have this to use as he sings and dances.

Christmas morning

There were lots of other things that happened that aren’t pictured.  We had lots of family come and stay with us in September, October, and November but we aren’t good at taking pictures while hanging out with people and some of the ones we emailed from family are too small to post on here.  We really enjoyed that time but it also allowed us to appreciate the mellow Christmas and New Years we had with just us since we were really tired by the time December came along.  For the first time maybe ever we were able to just stay home and enjoy rest and each other while Ken had off work for a week.  It also allowed us to slow down and reflect more on the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Looking at all the out takes of the Christmas card photos made me laugh so I’m gonna show a few of those in another post.  It’s a shame to never show any of the other ones that don’t get chosen.  They’re the ones with the most personality.

I’ll also be sharing more about our garden as well in the future.

How about you?  Are you able to get all your kids to look at the camera and make a natural smile?  Are you good at taking pictures of yourself with the kids?  

 

Show and Tell

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Christmas Morning image by Ken Naquin

Here are 10 links I’ve been hoarding for a while with the intent to share random things I find around the web.  I have meant to post them long ago but the holiday rush kept me from getting to it.  Christmas and New Years are over but perhaps you still have a bit of down time before school or work starts up again next week.

I am really hoping to post a bit better this year so hopefully soon I can get a few more holiday photos up and share this year’s baby names from the ornaments I sold to see what is trending.

Fun fact: I actually don’t own/use a cell phone but here are some fun tricks to use for photography if you have a smart phone.

A memoir from Laura Ingalls Wilder is out.  We have listened to some of her Little House books with the kids on road trips and at bedtime.  It would be interesting to learn more about how it really was back then with the idyllic fiction taken away …or it might be sad and burst my bubble.

I think the Doll Friend Project is a great idea. “For every doll purchased from Phoebe and Egg, a doll will be given to a child in the foster care system.”

This abandoned french chateau looks amazing.  Can’t wait to see what it looks like once it is finished with the remodeling.

Embrace being different!  “I hate to break it to you, it would be a pretty boring world if we were all like you.”  Here’s a great reminder from the diverse country of Laos to be true to who God made you to be and not conform to everyone else.

Some of the links I found would have been better shared before Christmas but it’s never too late to finally learn how to tie the perfect bow every time!  I had never seen this technique before.

One of my friends, Brady Muckelroy, is an amazing professional solo bassist…yes, you read that right, a solo bassist.  In recent years he started building his own bass guitars by hand and has sold to Mike Huckabee among many others.  Here is a really great short video of his craftsmanship.

If you or someone you know is looking to adopt, this book looks like it could be a great resource. Every adoption experience is different but it has to be comforting to get some practical advice and encouragement from some other people who’ve already gone through it.

As you’re thinking through your career and life at the first of the year, here are 10 great lessons Joanna Goddard has learned in her career.  Even if you have learned them all, it is always good to be reminded.

And finally, here’s a good reminder to embrace the beauty you have in front of you and not chase what you think you need to make your house Pinterest perfect and go in debt.

Hope you all had some very wonderful holidays filled with lots of love and food and rest!

Thanks a Bunch!

racoon thank you

Sorry it has been quiet around here.  Just remember that when it is quiet here it means I am feverishly creating elsewhere.  I participate in only one local show a year and it is on December 6th here in San Marcos.  It is a small, curated show with all local makers of all different types of art/crafts.  I really enjoyed getting to be a part of it last year and am excited about it again this year.  The hard part though is that it comes at the busiest time of year for me and so not only do I have to keep up with the ornament orders pouring but need to make more items to sell at the event.

I haven’t sold any stuffed animals on here in a long time but have looked forward to the day when inspiration hit and I thought of some new guys to create.  It finally hit and so I have been sewing a bunch of characters to sell at the show.  I am debuting them there and then will hopefully start selling them here next year as well.  So far they are all one of a kind and have a lot of cute details.  I have made them out of fleece to make them super kid friendly and soft.  I’ll show you a couple sneak peaks.  I am also working on a desk calendar and some greeting cards.  I hope to get those listed in the shop very, very soon.

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We’ve been dealing with lots of coughing in the house.  We had some breathing scares one night with Josiah but pumped him with meds and it helped.  His cough was still around after 3 weeks so we took him to the doctor and she thought he had mycoplasma which could lead to pneumonia so she prescribed some medication.  We certainly don’t want any of that since that was part of what he had when he went to the hospital last year.  All of the rest of us probably have it too since we are all coughing but our lungs seem to be able to handle it a little better.  All that to say that it has been a bit crazy around here.

We did have a lovely Thanksgiving though.  We have Ken’s mom and step dad in town this week and the kids are always excited to play with them.  In fact, we’ve had most of Ken’s family over at different times over the past couple months.  Everyone lives so far away so it’s been nice of them to make the big trip here.

Okay, now to the reason I started this post to begin with. Apparently, since I haven’t written on here in a while I can’t make myself stop talking.  I am so grateful for all of you that have supported my little business these last 5 years.  It is always so much fun to engage with people from around the world since I otherwise don’t get out as much as I used to with my three kiddos.  I love what I get to do and it is all because you are all so wonderful to work with.  So, as a small way to say thank you I have created a coupon code for 20% off your entire order for Black Friday only.

The code is:  URTHEBEST

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!  And those of you who aren’t in the United States, even though you weren’t celebrating this holiday, I am still so very thankful for you too!

And you know what, since I haven’t been on here I’ve neglected to do one of the things this site is probably intended for which is to actually show what I’m currently selling!  So, here are some of the ornaments that are available right now.  Remember that they can be personalized to say anything you want.  You can’t get that at your local big box store!  And those of you with names that you can never find on keychains or tiny license plates, this is the time to finally have your name on something!  And what better time to get it than when it is 20% off!

ornament grid

(This sale excludes my listings that are already reduced prices for buying multiple prints at a time, so if you are buying those please don’t use this coupon.)

Indian Elephant Stuffed Animal

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

The other animal I made as a baby gift over Labor Day weekend was this little elephant.  My husband’s cousin and wife are expecting their first little one (a boy) soon.  They actually live in India but are in the States visiting family right now and waiting to have baby boy.  So, when I heard they’d be coming I knew I wanted to give them something special to take back with them to India.  We didn’t want to give them anything too big since they’ll have to figure out how to pack it back but hopefully this little guy can squeeze into most places.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

He is from Abby Glassenberg’s second book Stuffed Animals.  It is a great book if you are looking to learn how to construct stuffed animals, draft their patterns, or even just to follow her patterns to make some really cute little guys.  Another plush designer, Mignon Prider, made one herself but added beautiful embroidery to make it look Indian.  So that was my inspiration to try to do something similar but try to keep it as kid friendly as possible.  I made it all in fleece except for the cotton for the ears and the felt tail.  I took my time with the sewing not wanting to make any mistakes.  I had never sewn underbody gussets before but thankfully everything seemed to work the first time.  It was really invigorating to sew something new and complicated looking that came out so well.

Elephant from The Nesting Spot

I really like how the elephant looks without the tusks or mouth.  In fact, I was so excited to get to this point that I forgot I had sewn tusks and a mouth for it.  I was ready to sew on the blankets and call it a day.  If you wanted to you could leave it just like this and then everything would be machine sewn and strong.  I wanted to show you how it looks with and without the tusks so you can see that it is versatile and can be made just the way you want it.

I did make my ears slightly smaller than the pattern calls for since Indian elephants have smaller ears than African elephants.  I also used safety eyes to give my guy a more awake and happy look than the original.  Abby’s elephant has felt eyes and eye lids which make him look sleepy to me.

Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Elephant from The Nesting Spot

I love that little tail.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

 

elephant detail shot

1.  A close up of the blanket on the head  2. The blanket on his back.

I did a blanket stitch around the edges of both.  I have done blanket stitches many times but it is always a long time in between so I usually have to watch a tutorial online to remind me of the steps.  The interior designs I just made up as I went.  I wanted something pretty simple so started with the orange designs and then added the yellow and red.  They are not perfect because I just eyeballed them but I was happy with how they turned out.  I hand sewed the blankets around the edges to attach them to the elephant.  The thread is hidden by the blanket stitch and fluffiness of the fleece.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

Finally, I added the tusks and mouth.  I wish I had a picture that showed the mouth better.  I like how the elephant looks with these final details but it was kind of a pain trying to figure out the right placement.  The tusks kept wanting to stick out at different angles.  That was probably the longest part of the process for me was sticking on the tusks.  And it being for a child I wanted to make sure they were sewn on tight but it was awkward at times making that happen without the stitches showing.

Indian Elephant from The Nesting Spot

We also gave them one of our favorite baby books, The Happiest Baby on the Block, as a more practical gift.  We have given so many copies of that thing.  But we have found it so helpful.  Thankfully they didn’t have a copy yet and actually have a collection of elephant items for baby, so it all worked well!

Have you bought and tried any patterns lately?  From a book or online?  What were your thoughts?  Got any favorites you’d like to share?