Fall Jackets Options this Season

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The weather in Arizona is finally starting to cool down, so I am looking to find the perfect jacket for the cooler weather! I wanted to share with you some of the adorable jackets I am dying to get my hands on!

I am really going for styles that will transition well into the winter season. The winters in Phoenix range from the high 50’s to mid 60’s making jackets an easy look to carry over. The focus today is on two of my favorite boutique shops.

The first shop is Closet Candy Boutique. Absolutely one of my favorite stores! I’ve been dying to get my hands on this jacket. It’s the Ready for Take Off Jacket in the color chocolate. Its the perfect fall/winter jacket and is the perfect accessory to a plain white tee or a cute dress. Pair it with these adorable boots from Closet Candy and you have an amazing outfit!

One of my other favorite shops is Modern Vintage Boutique. This chic boutique sports a unique jacket I can’t wait to try out! I also adore this Faux Leather Cognac jacket! I love the lighter look for pumpkin patches, hayrides, walks in the desert, and everyday attire. It’s a beautiful jacket for fall!

The final option is the Sequins Sleeve Cargo Jacket. It ties two of my favorite things together, jackets and sequins! This is a unique and bold choice to pull off and I highly recommend you try it. This look will transition your style into the holidays seamlessly. Because, as we all know, sequins are the perfect addition to any holiday look!

I can’t wait to show you what I decide on! Let me know which item you think I should get below!

 

–Kayla

5 Things to Look for in a Photographer

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One of my favorite hobbies, if you can call it a hobby, is getting professional pictures taken. I love the excitement of putting together a cute outfit, finding an adorable location, and getting pictures that will last a lifetime.

I thought I’d revisit our engagement pictures, and I just fell in love with them all over again! My expectations have grown over the years to expect better quality pictures and more candid poses. I am currently on the hunt for a good photographer to do Horse Shoe Bend in Northern Arizona. Today I am going to share with you 5 things I look for in a good photographer.

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My favorite “posed” photo. 🙂  Photo Credit: Jennifer Conrad Photography

 

Experience: If they have been to that specific location before, they will know how the lighting works, best angles to hit, and where the best scenic areas are. I look for photographers who are experienced in the area I want the photos taken. It takes a lot of the pressure off you to know where to line things up.

Quality: When you are looking for a photographer, make sure you for consistent quality. Zoom in on the photos, do they look fuzzy or are they clear as day? Make sure they have produced consistently superior quality photos or you could be at risk for getting fuzzy and ‘not quite right’ photos.

Price: There is absolutely no reason to overpay. I support paying a fair price for good pictures. But there is a fine line between a photographer who charges an appropriate price and one that is going to overcharge you. Make sure you read the fine print of the contract. Are you getting rights to the pictures? An online gallery? Do you have the ability to print the pictures on your own or do you have to order through the photographer? Make sure you know all the details of how the photographer works before you book the session.

Style: There are very different styles photographers choose. Some have a darker edge to their photos, some are natural light photographers, and some are studio photographers. Does their style fit what you are looking for? If you are looking through their photos and are saying, wow these are too dark, or too overexposed, or I don’t like how these photos are too posed, this is probably not the photographer for you. You want to go through their gallery saying, “Wow! I would love to have photos like this!” That moment is when I know I’ve found my style.

Reviews: Some photographers have reviews on their pages, others have comments under photos, and some have tagged pictures on Instagram. Take the time to research your photographer. Do clients seem happy with their pictures once they receive them? Is the photographer delivering their end of the bargain in a timely manner. Make sure you look into what others have said. It can save you a lot of headache in the future!

After you go through these five steps, you should have a gut instinct about which photographer will fit your style and needs. If you are unsure, it’s best to keep looking until you are confident with your decision! I am so excited for my next session and can’t wait to see yours as well!

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Photo Credit: Miss Mae Photography 

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Photo Credit: Miss Mae Photography

Malibu. Sun, Surf, Good Times

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My husband and I haven’t had a week of vacation together since we were married two years ago. With me working full time, and him being a full-time student, we don’t get a lot of time off. So, I was thrilled to get so much time together! We had no stress, no responsibilities, and no worries!

We made plans to go camping in Malibu for a couple of days. We had never been to LA/Malibu, so we were ecstatic to see what the area was like. Let me tell you, Malibu is GORGEOUS! Between Los Angeles, San Diego and Malibu, Malibu won hands down. The beaches were pristine and well maintained, and it was so much more relaxing than LA and San Diego had been. Our campsite was located in the mountains at Malibu RV Park, on the east side of the Pacific Coast Highway. Our campsite overlooked the ocean, and it was stunning! No matter where we were  in Malibu, the ocean was just a few steps away.

Our first stop was the Santa Monica Pier. I had heard that it was a must see place in LA, and it was such a unique and fun experience. There are so many rides for kids to play on and there are tons of tasty food vendors and places to buy souvenirs. If you head to the end of the Santa Monica Pier you will see some locals fishing off the dock. If you are lucky you will even see a seal like we did! Now, this seal wanted fed. When he wasn’t he left. But it was still so fun!

We also went to the beach on our first day and spent time enjoying the sights. My husband is normally a very tan person. But he has been so immersed in schoolwork, he is not outside as much. He got burnt to a crisp that day, which put a bit of a damper on the rest of the week. 😉 

Zuma Beach was without doubt our favorite beach, especially since we saw dolphins there almost every day! Evan’s plan was to try surfing for the first time, and I was going to paddle board for the first time. The water was too rough that week for me to try paddle boarding, but Evan could try his hand at surfing. Let me tell you, he really enjoyed it! I give credit to all the surfers out there. Surfing was definitely a lot of work, he was exhausted!

We went out to eat at some amazing places while we were out in Malibu: Malibu Seafood, Spruzzo, and Burger Fi. Malibu Seafood was right next to our campground and was definitely a local favorite. I am not a huge seafood fan. However, I got a deep-fried shrimp platter, and I am pretty sure I have never had such tasty food! It was unbelievable! Everything was made fresh and so well done. Also, if you stay at the Malibu RV Park, you get a 10% discount on dinner! The next night we tried Spruzzo, a local restaurant near Zuma beach. We went there for the $20 combo pizza, and it did not disappoint!

We took one of the days of our vacation to go and visit Hollywood! We have a bucket list of places we want to hit while we live out west, and Hollywood was definitely on there! Our first stop was the Hollywood Walk of ame. Who knew it was so long! It was such a fun time seeing all the new and old stars. After the walk of fame, we drove to a neighborhood near the Hollywood sign to get some gorgeous photos!

During our trip to downtown LA, we ate at Chili Johns. Whenever Evan and I go on a trip we try to stop at least one restaurant Guy Ferrero ate at. Let me warn you up front: it is located in a rough area, and the outside looks like it hasn’t been updated in years. However, the food is unbelievable. The chili is fantastic. But the lemon cream pie was to die for! I haven’t had that good of pie since the last time my grandma brought me pie! We spent the rest of the day saying goodbye to the ocean, with a promise that we would be back soon.

We loved Malibu and would highly recommend staying there on your next trip to California!

My husband and I haven’t had a week off together since we were first married two years ago. With me working full time and him being a full time student, we don’t get a lot of time off. I was so excited to get so much time together! We had no stresses, no responsibilities, nothing but just enjoying our time together!

 

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Malibu has the best beaches!

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Santa Monica Beach

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End of Route 66

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Santa Monica Pier

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Zuma Beach

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First Surf Experience

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Good luck!

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Burger Fi

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Don’t let the outside fool you!

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Amazing chili!

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Our campsite

Last First Day

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My little sister, Maddie, starts her first day of her last year of high school today, she is officially a senior! For me this is a crazy day because she has always been my little sister, to see her growing up into a wonderfully woman is amazing and so humbling. I am unbelievably proud of her so I wanted to let you all know a few fun facts.

1.) Maddie is a master makeup artist! It’s astounding how good she is and she’s only 17.

2.) She is one of the most intellectual people I have ever met. She is a quick learner and remembers everything!

3.) She is driven and passionate. When she knows what she wants she will work incredibly hard until she gets it. I have always admired this about her.

4.) Maddie has such a big heart, she loves everyone and wants to help those around her.

5.) She is gorgeous, hands down the most beautiful sister in the world, and I could not be more thankful that God gave me her as a sister.

So today, on my sisters last first day of high school, I want to say good luck and I love you! There are so many bright and amazing things awaiting you, and I can’t wait to see you conquer them all. I have never doubted for one moment that you will achieve all your goals in life. We are so proud of you and so thankful for you.

Keep perspective this year and enjoy every moment! The days are long but the years are short! Love you Maddie!

 

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One of my favorite pictures of us!

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Yes I made my family get up super early to have coffee and play board games before I boarded my flight to Phoenix 🙂

 

2 Year Anniversary!

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Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband!

Our second year has definitely been the best year of our marriage so far! My husband, Evan, started medical school and finished with flying colors. We had our first Christmas at our apartment instead of traveling home. My husband had surgery on his elbow in the spring, and my company was bought out and I started a new position in a large corporate business.

A lot of things happen over this year of our marriage. We have learned a lot about each other and we have grown together in our marriage. For me, the biggest thing I have learned over this past year, is to be patient. Medical school is rough, especially with me working full time and us being far from our families. But, I wouldn’t trade a moment of our lives for anything. My husband is the best thing that has happened to me, and I am so grateful for him each and every day!

So please enjoy some throwback pictures! 🙂

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Destination: San Diego

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This was our first time in California, and we were stunned by the gorgeous San Diego beaches… and when I say gorgeous, I mean breathtaking, stunning, and truly a wonder of The Lord. Every time I see the ocean I am reminded of how much love I have for it and how much it speaks to me in a way other landscapes can’t. I spent the greater part of my weekend trying to convince my husband that we needed to move to the beach when he is done with medical school! I’m really fighting for some time on the ocean where I can learn to surf, explore the wildlife, and go deep-sea fishing. That’s all in the future though, so let’s go on to the things we did while we were on this trip!

As soon as we arrived in San Diego we went straight to Seaport Village. Seaport Village is a beautiful outdoor center full of unique restaurants and businesses. It overlooks the ocean and docks so you can watch sailboats and fishing boats floating across the water as you walk in and out of shops. It was absolutely gorgeous, but be warned: parking is very expensive near the village. I would highly suggest parking closer to Gaslamp Quarter for the day and walking to Seaport Village.

After Seaport Village we walked to the USS Midway Museum, which is about a 10-15 minute walk. On your way to the USS Midway I recommend stopping at the local fishing pier; It was hands down one of the coolest/weirdest things I have ever done! Once at the Midway, you are able to see what life was like on a US Naval Ship that was involved in battles during the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. There are unique war planes on the top deck, too, so  you are able to see living quarters and much more. I would definitely budget your time to spend a couple hours here, and with an $18/person (online cost) fee, it is well worth your time and money!

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View from Seaport Village, very cloudy morning on the coast!

 

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Swordfish for sale 🙂

 

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The USS Midway!

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Top of the USS Midway with my husband

 

After the USS Midway Museum, we went to BarleyMash where we had some creative burgers that I’ve never tried before! My husband had their award-winning “The Champ” burger and I had “The Volcano” burger. Both were amazing and  at a good price. This place is a  must-hit if you are in the Gaslamp District.

After that we headed to Coronado Beach, which has an absolutely mind-blowing  view of the ocean with its clean beaches and significantly less crowded sands. It’s also dog-friendly, if you have a pup that you want to bring along! Then, because I couldn’t get enough of the beaches, we drove down to Imperial Beach Pier to watch the sunset over the water. It was the most amazing sunset I had ever seen in my life! To tie in my Midwestern girl roots,  I ended my day by  taking my husband to his first drive-in movie… Baywatch! How appropriate!

 

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Coronado Beach, such a calm beach

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Imperial Beach Pier

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The next day my husband and I got up early and headed straight for Mission Beach. This was probably my favorite beach we visited on the trip, and it was certainly the most popular and well-known beach in the area. I loved taking in the morning with my husband watching the amazing waves on the warm sand with very little spectators besides ourselves.  It was without doubt the perfect morning- and no surprise, but there’s a Starbucks about 5 feet from the beach, which makes it even better! I would highly recommend seeing Mission Beach early in the morning with a nice cup of coffee. Mission Beach also has a boardwalk with its own mini carnival, small roller-coaster, arcade and fair games. They have and amazing ice cream and shaved ice, too!

To end the day, we went to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. This park was off the side of the road, but the view was well-worth the drive. It has a very shaky ground though, so be careful when you go! My sweet husband also took me to see a lighthouse! This was extra special for me because I’ve been telling him since we first met that I wanted a lighthouse. 🙂  I was thrilled that he could make this dream come true with the Point Loma lighthouse! Although admission was a small fee ($10/person), that experience was priceless for me.

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Mission Beach!

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Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

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Sunset Cliffs Natural Park!!

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Gorgeous view of Sunset Cliffs

Overall, my husband and I had an amazing time on our first trip to California, and we highly recommend San Diego for your next trip

1st Year Medical School-What I’ve Learned

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My husband, Evan, started his second year of medical school today. As we were talking about how relaxed he was heading into his second year, I started to reflect on this past year and what I have learned.


We started Evan’s journey into medical school knowing we had a long 4-year road ahead of us. The program does not allow my husband to have a lot of time to be with me or to help around the house, leaving most of the day to day work as my responsibility. There are many days where it is difficult for me to keep up with everything, but my husband has never once complained. He has met me with patience and love, knowing I am doing my best to keep up with everything going on; and while keeping up with all my responsibilities is daunting at times, it is nothing compared to what I see my husband go through.


My husband works ’round the clock, 7 days a week. When he is not at school or in the lab, he is studying. Every day is a new battle for him. He faces two hard exams every Monday and Friday, with labs and practicals in between. The material is extensive and time-consuming, but even through his hardest weeks of studying I can hear his excitement for what he is doing; Learning a new skill, investigating a new research technique, getting to work in the labs. He loves his career, and that makes every struggle we have come across this year worth it.


One of the hardest parts of medical school is trying to explain to anyone outside of the medical field how much time and effort we put into this- How much money we are investing, how we truly can’t go to every family or social event we’re invited to, etc. We make sacrifices, more than we want to. But that is the beauty of doctors that many overlook. They dedicate years of their lives to studying and perfecting their craft, taking on thousands of dollars of debt, and sacrificing many things in their personal life to take care of your family members and friends.


So today, I want to take a moment to thank all the medical professionals out there because when you have sacrificed over 8 years of your life in school, 3-4 years of residency, and years of specialty to be able to serve the community to the best of your ability you are a true hero. The next time you see any sort of Doctor or medical professional, take a moment and thank them for all they do!

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Antelope Canyon

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Had the absolute pleasure of getting to explore Antelope Canyon with my husband and his mom a couple days ago! It is without doubt the most unique canyon I have ever seen! I will say, it is a view you must see in person, as the colors inside the canyon change depending on the time of the year and the position of the sun. Located just 7 miles from the Utah border, this canyon is a must see for anyone coming out to Arizona!

There are no words to describe its beauty, so please enjoy these photos that try to. 🙂

 

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Here is the view before you head down the 5 flights of stairs to the canyon.

 

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Hope you are inspired to come and see Antelope Canyon soon!

Destination Denver: Part 2

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Denver is an absolutely gorgeous city. I had never really explored anywhere around Denver, so it was really exciting to spend our second day trying so many new things! A fun surprise was that my mom’s best friend, Melissa, and her daughter drove down from Breckenridge to spend time with us, too! 

We started our day heading to The Broadmoor Seven Falls out in Colorado Springs. To foreshadow, I am pretty awful at directions; I get confused even when being led by a GPS, so it was no wonder that we got lost on our way to Colorado Springs! The good part is that we got some help from your friendly neighborhood bikers who were able to lead us in the right direction. 

 

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View from the Deck! Crazy tall stairs!

 

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Map of the 7 Falls, hard to tell the difference without the map

 

 

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Extra waterfall at the top you could hike too!

 

The Broadmoor is a very upscale place, beautiful restaurants and hotels lining the whole village. We took a shuttle from The Broadmoor shopping area up to the Seven Falls. Once you get there you pay your fee of $14/person to get in. Then you hike up the driveway about a mile to get up the falls. There is a stunning view from the bottom of the falls, as well as an elevator you can take up to a small cliff view that lets you see all the falls! The part they don’t tell you and we didn’t know until we got there was that the steps to the falls… are very steep. We knew that there were over 200 steps, we just didn’t realize there is no ground beneath the steps! My mom and her best friend are absolutely terrified of heights, but they did an amazing job going up and down the waterfall stairs. If you are thinking about going to Colorado, I would say this is a must-see destination. It’s just an absolutely gorgeous view!

After the Seven Falls, we went out to lunch and then toured the Garden of the Gods. The Garden of the Gods is extremely unique and fun to see. The Garden is made of entirely local red rocks (most popular in Sedona, Arizona) and were just as beautiful as they were fun to explore. The best part of this day was after our tour of the Garden of the Gods is that it started snowing! That night Denver got about 5 inches of powdery, white snow! I don’t see a lot of snow in Arizona so this was such a special surprise.

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It was so beautiful and made that night so cozy! To celebrate our trip we had a wonderful dinner of coffee and chili. We had an amazing mini-trip to Denver and I am so thankful that my mom and sister could come out, too! 

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We are unique 🙂

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Thank you, Denver, until next time!

 

Destination Denver: Part 1

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I haven’t been to Denver since I was kid; however, I was able to meet up with my mom and sister for a mini vacation there this weekend! It was so much fun and we saw so many breath-taking, gorgeous sights!

Day One: I flew in from Phoenix, and my mom and sister flew in from Indiana. As soon as we  met up at the gate we started our Denver adventure. Stop one: the Red Rock Amphitheater. The Red Rock Amphitheater is a stunning location for musical events and other festivities.

 

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Red Rocks at the Amphitheater

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Red Rocks at the Amphitheater with my mom and sister!

 

From the Amphitheater we drove to the mountainside viewpoint. We soaked up the view as much as we could until we were surprised with hail! We then followed a sign for Buffalo Bill’s grave. In all honesty, we had no idea who Buffalo Bill was, but figured why not?! It was a gorgeous grave and was located near a beautiful view of Denver. While at the gravesite, we decided to head into the nearby shop and get some root beer floats. Well, lets just say, I would not recommend root beer floats here. When we received the floats they were completely overflowing, sticky, and most of the root beer was gone because of the fizz. We were very disappointed, but it made for one funny story!

 

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My sister broke the rules!!

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Our new Colorado Style!

 

After Buffalo Bill, we decided to drive around and see what views we could find on our own. It had been so long since I’d been in Denver so we wanted to see what beauty it had for us. As time flew by and our mileage counter climbed we still  couldn’t find anything (plus, we were getting pretty far away from where we were staying). We then made the decision to get off at the next exit, which was Golden off 70. We were surprised to find a gorgeous river right off the interstate, so we decided, “Well, lets go look at the river and get some pretty pictures!”

 

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My mom and I by the gorgeous river during a hailstorm!

 

We found the perfect turn-off spot where the river continued to flow between two mountains. It was just an absolutely stunning view! The river was part of Clear Creek Park. It was so gorgeous; The road winds around the mountains and you can’t go wrong taking some time to go and see this river and this view.

 

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Where JoJo and Chase went on their date in Denver 🙂

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I love these two so much 🙂

 

After this, we drove back to Denver, got some Qdoba (my mom’s favorite) and then crashed at our family friends’ house. She was so sweet and was willing to host us the entire time we were in town. She took us out and we went shopping around the local boutiques, too, because my mom, sister, and I have to go shopping when we are together. Plus, my sister is a total fashion inspiration- she always has the cutest, unique style! (more on that to come later 😉 )

Stay tuned to Destination Denver: Day 2 because we had so much fun that day, and had some fun visitors!