There Is No Point

Wouldn’t you say it’s about time we push away all falsities and just grasp the raw truth?

Life has no point.

It doesn’t.  Now don’t get all righteous on me and say it’s our job to make the world a better place and what not.  Don’t jump to conclusions; just listen.  For centuries upon centuries, no one has been able to solidify enough real information to give us the answer we need.  There are countless sources with contradictory information, though.  The earth and all its characteristics were made from God, straight from Genesis 1:1.  Our galaxy was created in an astronomical explosion and, thanks to gravity and a few other properties, the universe came to be, from “A Day Without Yesterday” written by Mark Midbon.  I could go on and on talking about reality being a mere fragment of imagination or being puppets of a greater being, but you don’t really care about any of that, do you?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m glad you’re here!  It’s important you acknowledge why you’re really here instead of the basic “I want to be a good person”.  You’re probably here to find some source of inspiration that will miraculously push you to conquer life and magically accomplish your biggest dream.  Or you’re here because you’re at the end of your rope yet still grasping at straws just in case you missed something.  Either way, we are all searching for the same thing: purpose.  We are all hoping someone out there knows a trick to find life’s true purpose that no one else has heard of.

I hate to break it to you, but there isn’t one.

But there are also over 7 billion.


Yes, you heard that correctly.  No, wait, I don’t mean that one person has to live up to over 7 billion reasons to exist.  That’s impossible and, to be frank, just plain anal.  Putting that much pressure on one person is going to kill them faster than any disease.  To that, many people usually just say, “Screw this,” and abandon any real direction or desire to accomplish goals.  Neither one of these extremes are going to reward you – take it from someone who’s tried both and hit rock bottom each time.

There is no point.  But there are also over 7 billion points.

No human is supreme.  But there are over 7 billion unique souls.

Think on that for a moment while you listen to this short audio clip from a recently released Netflix film entitled To The Bone.  It’s a movie about a 20-year-old woman named Ellen who is struggling with anorexia nervosa.  (Don’t worry.  This audio does not focus upon any topic that may trigger someone currently with/who had an eating disorder.  However, it will most likely make you uncomfortable.)  

Ellen’s first time seeing her new doctor, Dr. William Beckham

*hands you tissue* This is a hard idea to come to terms with, especially hearing it like this.  Eli (as she calls herself) begs her doctor for hope, but There are enough idiotic inspirational quotes out there that mean nothing.  Beckham knows better than to feed falsities to a girl so good at seeing through society’s bullshit.  The path he chooses is honesty.

“There is no point.  Or at least big picture – we don’t get to know what it is.”

Obviously, this isn’t what Eli wanted to hear.  Like many of us, she wanted the magic words that would save instantly save her.  No more searching or struggling or deliberating.  Just a reason.  He refuses to give it to her.  Maybe that’s because he doesn’t want to lead her on.  Maybe it’s because he himself doesn’t know.  Or maybe he knows that the reason he gets up and faces each morning will never be the reason Eli chooses life over starvation.

That’s the case with everyone.  That’s why there can be over 7 billion points to existence or none at all.  There is no one on this earth who can “save” you or appoint you a reason to stay alive.

The reason is up to you.

Other people can help you, but the choice to put down a razor blade or to apply for a prestigious job or to attend a missions trip is all yours.  Before I have anyone jump at my throat, I understand what is meant by the term ‘this band saved me’ or ‘this speaker turned my life around’.  My adolescent therapist, Twenty One Pilots, Dan and Phil, and Lilly Singh were those people for me.  I used to say they saved me from the life I’d been living.  Which is partially true.  My therapist showed my eyes where to look for a new side of the equation.  Tyler and Josh of TOP created honest and comforting music for when I thought I was alone.  Dan and Phil used their platform to show people (typically people like me) that there was a way to move on.  Lilly showed the world that there was nothing holding anyone back if you didn’t let it.  So sure.  They had a hand in my awakening.








But to say they SAVED me, that’s just not true.  I saved myself.  Me.  Kaden Elizabeth Hurley.  I cried to a friend instead of suffocating all emotion.  I made the choice to I made the choice to stop purging my food.  I pulled off the road instead of crashing into a tree without a seatbelt.  I made the choice to engage with those idols mentioned above and to incorporate parts of their success tricks into my life.  It was me.

I gave my own life meaning.

Taking someone else’s passion and trying to make it yours only backfires on you.  Life’s point has to be important to you.  Fight for your country, knit hats for homeless people, get out of bed even when depression strikes, I don’t care.  Wait, no, I do care.  I care an awful lot.  I care so much that I’m here for you, right now, telling you that you’ve had the strength, the skill, the dedication inside you all along.  I can’t tap into it and guide you to a promotion or a counseling center or a medical discovery.  That’s your responsibility.  All I can do is remind you of your uniqueness.  Over 7 billion people and not one repetition.

So do yourself a favor when you’re done reading this.  Think of something you need to make your life feel complete.  (Write it down in the comments or on twitter if you want to be held accountable.)  Channel that concept into your everyday life.  Adjust your purpose if you need to, but never forget it.

Because remember, life has no point until you give it one.

Eat to Fuel YOUR Body

The other day, I was at one of those typical backyard BBQs with a pool and music and miscellaneous homemade dishes.  When it actually came time to eat, I opted for coleslaw, gooey mac n cheese, and a zucchini muffin.  Others at my table loaded up with burgers, hotdogs, and/or chicken.  Obviously, they noticed my lack of meat.  It took awhile for anyone to actually ask me about it, which I thought was kind of funny; it’s just food!  “Are you vegetarian?” I smiled, knowing this conversation could go one of two ways: 1) shame the shit out of meat and processed foods or 2) explain that I’ve experimented with food until I found what worked for my body and what didn’t.

Don’t worry.  I chose the latter.  Why bother stirring up unnecessary tension and hostility?

This discussion got me really thinking about food, cultures, our bodies, and how different they really are.  For example, my best friend’s family immigrated to America from the Philippines (an Asian island), and they were shocked at the food portions and choices in here.  Where they’re from, meals were much smaller, first of all, and they didn’t eat atypical American breakfast foods – i.e. pancakes, omelets, etc.  Instead, the focused on foods similar to those pictured below: eggs sunny side up, rice, fish or pork, and pickled veggies.
Courtesy of Red + Black Apron, a typical Philippine breakfast!

To someone who grew up in central Pennsylvania with an abundance of home cooked donuts, blueberry pancakes drowned in syrup, and crunchy, greasy bacon, I never would’ve considered eating anything like this that early in the morning!  Their way of eating was just so different than mine, it threw me for a loop.  But is it okay for us to eat so differently?

Is a raven like a writing desk?

(Yes, the answer is yes…) Very few people throw a fit or become overly judgey when it comes to different cultures eating different foods or at different times in the day.  We think it’s interesting, hence foreign cuisines being a massive part of taking vacations.  So then why, here in the world’s largest melting pot, do people feel the need to shame other people’s food choices?  Who cares if you dislike chocolate or avoid red meat or only buy whole foods?  It’s your body and your goals.  You know what works best for you, not the other 300 million Americans trying to force their own diet upon you.

The number of social media accounts, commercials, even books dedicated to body shaming are endless which is totally awesome, because our bodies deserve love and appreciation.  But, uh, I think you guys forget to mention other things that go along with body appreciation.  I don’t know, like, the custom diet each unique body fuels itself with?  If our bodies are as different as we have come to believe, then why do our food choices have to fit into a certain mold as well?  Come on, a marathon runner wouldn’t maintain the same diet as a crossfit athlete.  I mean, look at them!

Matt Fraser – Fittest Man in 2016 and 2017
Edna Kiplagat – winner of 2017 Boston Marathon












Yeah, I know this is an extreme comparison, but it gets the point across.  Both of these amazing humans have worked out what the best food is for their specific lifestyles.  Marathoners, like Edna, focus their meals around carbohydrates and fats such as peanut butter sandwiches.  Crossfitters, like Matt, work their meals around protein and complex carbohydrates such as chicken breast with a sweet potato.

Whether someone lifts or runs, avoids animal products or can’t get enough of them, calculates exact macros or flows more intuitively, that person does so for personal health.   I, myself, enjoy vegetarianism.  Since I weightlift so frequently, however, I needed to make adjustments to ensure I got enough protein.  After some trial and error, I’ve found which foods help me perform at my best and which foods hinder my abilities.  That’s all I need.   It’s none of my business why someone follows a certain diet, and he/she shouldn’t feel pressured to defend that diet.  Respect other’s choices, because they don’t really affect you.

Life’s too short to fuss over what diet your friends are on or which snacks the celebrities are skipping.  Eat what makes you happy and feel good.  It’s that simple.

Suicide is NOT a Joke

When people see the title of this post, I’ll bet at least half of them scoff in annoyance.  To those of you who do not understand why I made the above statement, see this through someone else’s eyes for a moment.  Just a moment then you’re free to make your decision on the concept.

First things first: say the word.  Just to yourself.  Whisper, “Suicide.”  As Hermione Granger once said, “Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.”  Once you take away the taboo of saying suicide, approaching the topic becomes loads easier.

When my therapist told my parents about my suicidal thoughts (not my plans or actions, mind you), their reactions, though in different forms, were of the same emotion: terror.  Yes, I know, the idea of your child killing herself is scary.  The reason I said terror instead of fear was because when they would look at me, all I could see in their eyes is the same look that I imagine an individual holding a triggered grenade would have as he/she looked at the threat in the palm of his/her hand.  But besides being suicidal myself, I have interacted with people who have attempted to kill themselves and helped talk someone out of that downward spiral.  They had kept their pain in the dark, adding on to the power it held over them.

People who haven’t experienced suicide automatically just say, “Oh, well, why didn’t you just tell someone?  It’s not that big of a deal.”


This.  This is why we cannot tell people.  To the vast majority of the human population, being suicidal is seen as weak and a joke.  So please explain to me how the hell someone suffering from severe depression and suicidal thoughts is supposed to have enough confidence in real help when insensitive, ignorant shit like this is plastered anywhere from a billboard to a post on Tumblr.  It even reaches churches.  There is an annual talent show type thing that my church has every March.  The deacon who throws it together approached a few Youth Group members (myself included) about performing the following joke: Four journalists are pacing around the hillside in agony because they have no story to write about.  They agree they may as well jump off the cliff.  On the count of 3, all but one plummets to their death.  The last one standing exclaims with glee he now has a story to write about.  Oh, okay, so our life struggle is something to be used for entertainment?

Think before you speak.  You never know what battles are being fought right before your eyes…




Your feelings are NOT inadequate!

Ooooh if I had a nickel for every time I heard, “well at least you’re not _____” or “but so many people have it worse than you” or “why are you making such a big deal?”, I could afford quite a few college text books, a mini fridge, and a parking pass for all 4 years of college.

This is the most ridiculous attempt at sympathizing with someone I have ever come across.  It’s not that their effort is unappreciated.  It’s the fact they are trying to make someone’s situation seem petty or trivial even though it may be destroying their life.  “Oh sure, your son is in the hospital, but at least he isn’t dead yet.”  “Why are you acting so depressed?  At least you have a family and friends.”  It demonstrates such a blind level of understanding.  The level of pain you are able to handle is light years different from the level of pain someone just down the street can.


If this is a foreign topic for you, check out Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on Empathy.  Here is the link.  She says that empathy is feeling with people.  It’s a vulnerable choice that enables you to connect with another through shared feelings of anguish or guilt or loss.  Through empathy, you understand that you are not the only one who has felt this way.  You realize that you are allowed to feel however you feel in that moment.

For so long, I thought that since I have two parents, a house, a few friends, and a strong school career that I wasn’t entitled to the darkness creeping up on me from my repressed anxiety and depression.  I told myself I was overreacting, being a wimp, being ungrateful.  It took a close encounter with suicide, a year (and counting) of therapy, and a loyal best friend to convince me that feelings are feelings.  Mental illnesses don’t discriminate.  My chemical imbalance isn’t something I can change.  If you are a billionaire with a dream job and a massive group of followers, your feelings of loneliness are not stupid.  If you are a great student with an admirable GPA, you can still feel far from perfection.  If you are on a beautiful vacation at a tropical island, you are allowed to feel sad and betrayed.  It doesn’t matter what your current state is.  


I will not shame you for them.  You will not shame yourself for them.  Do not accept when other people shame you for them.

Stay strong, beautiful friends.



It’s Just a Bad Day, Not a Bad Life

Oh yeah.  You know that feeling.  From the moment you opened your eyes, absolutely nothing went the way you needed and/or expected it to.  Your coffee spilled all over your car seat.  Your laptop died, and you don’t have the chord to charge it.  You took the wrong exit, causing you to roll into work 30 minutes late.  Each person you interact with says just the right thing to set you off.  Each assignment you had to undertake may as well have burst into flames with how well you completed it.  This was me on Friday.  It caused me to be so down on myself, lost all patience with everyone I interacted with, caused me to see nothing but the negative.  On top of it all, I couldn’t get away from all the awful executive orders Trump decided to sign.  It scared and angered me so badly that I actually got sick.  But that’s beside the point.  I have news for you.


It’s the same concept as with maintaining a healthy, balanced diet: occasional cake doesn’t ruin your health or physique.  Therefore, a shitty day doesn’t ruin your whole life.  Yeah, if you’re in that position right now, you probably are rolling your eyes at my positivity (at least that’s what I used to do).  You’re thinking of telling me to piss of, there is no way.  I’m relapsing.  It’s over.  But that’s not true.  You can use it to make you stronger.

“Fight it.  Take the pain.  Ignite it.”


“Tie a noose around your mind, loose enough to breathe fine and tie it to a tree.  Tell it, ‘You belong to me.’ This ain’t a noose this is a leash, and I have news for you: you must obey me”  ~ Twenty One Pilots

Think about it.  There are 365 days in a year.  Let’s say you experience a real shit day about 25% of the time, an uneventful day 25% of the time.  That leaves 50% of the days to be enjoyable and rewarding.  Are you willing to throw away that beautiful 50% on just one of the crushing 25% days?  I’m not.  And I won’t let you, either.  Whether it takes hours of meditation, nonstop music, 4 batches of baking, a 15 mile run, I believe you have the inner strength to become bigger than this day.  Or this week.  Or this month. Or the next 4 years (not that I’m referencing a specific presidency or anything).  No matter how long it takes, there WILL be an end.  You may think it’s not there, but maybe that’s because you aren’t looking in the right direction yet.  That’s why you have the rest of us.  You won’t ever have to fight this alone.



I love you, dear friends.  Be strong and be brave.  This won’t be forever.

Body Image Inspiration

Everyone has his or her own journey.  Every journey begins somewhere.  For some, a journey begins with an internal trigger.  For others, only an outside stimulus can get them going.  As for me, I was reliant on outside stimuli for quite some time.  I partially still am.  Regardless of what motivates you, the important part is that you’re still here.

Someone who really showed me that I wasn’t alone even in the depths of my depression and bulimia was Kelly.  (here is her YouTube link which can lead you to her Insta and Twitter)  She talked about her struggles in such a transparent way that I couldn’t help but feel safe and supported with her.  I grew out of the confines of my eating disorder alongside her, getting stronger and healthier together.

Here she stands, dressed up for an evening out.  The caption of this photo preached finding peace in being yourself.

Her latest adventure involved a Miss Chicago competition and coming in as first runner up.  She was amazing!  Her platform was eating disorder awareness and education.  Most competitors prepared themselves for the event by increasing workout regimes while tightening up diet.  Kelly did neither of those.  In fact, she got sick a few days before the pageant which stopped any workouts for 4 days.  How amazing is that?  This woman declined the competitor stereotype and still came in first runner up.  If that isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is.

I aspire to be as free and loving as Kelly is.  Starting this blog was my first step.  Getting my words to more people will be the next one, because maybe, just maybe, I have it in me to inspire someone just as Kelly has inspired me.

Be the change you want to see, my friends.


Finally Winning A Battle

One word: finals.

For college students or high school students or even jobs that involve a prime project, this is the most stressful time.  Not necessarily this week, but whenever finals come around, you feel it.  For students, that often means 5+ hours of studying with minimal sleep and food consumption (or stress eating.  Guilty).  The week ahead marked the first round of traumatizing exams and major presentations which my graduation depended upon.  Fun, yes?  On top of that, it was a Sunday which meant going to church which always manages to throw my anxiety out of wack.  Plus, I found myself suddenly thrown into a huge dissension between a friend and his ex.

I lay upstairs, staring at the ceiling, trying to decide whether this was all worth it anyway.  I ached.  I was frustrated.  I was stressed.  My head felt like a congregation of NASCAR race tracks, each thought was a car racing at top speed around and around … My chest tightened.  I was going to vomit.  The room was closing in.  Suddenly, everything stopped.  I realized I didn’t have to subject myself to these hellish thoughts.  In a frenzy, I gathered my keys and water before speeding (literally) to the gym.  I spent a solid two hours there.

When I finished, I realized what I had just done.  I had just beaten my anxiety.  It was such a simple solution, I couldn’t believe I had never done it before.  Granted, it wasn’t permanent, because guess who woke me up at 3 a.m.  Each day is a battle, so I can’t expect to win every one.  However, I was so proud to place Sunday under the “Win” column that I even took a selfie to commemorate the event.

No I didn’t put on makeup for the gym.  This was church makeup I was too lazy to remove since it went with my winter scarf.


If I can crawl my way out of a suffocating cage of nerves and despair by simply getting the hell out of my house, so can you.

Go for a walk.  Sit on the porch with a coloring book or a good novel.  Window shop at a mall or grocery store.  Go to a friend’s or relative’s house whom you feel comfortable with.  Go to the movies, a museum, a play.  Put on uplifting music, open the windows, and dance.  There are an infinite number of ways to challenge those demons clouding your vision.

I believe in you.  You should, too.

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” *internally screaming*

Let’s take a mini poll; how many of you have ever taken on a task from a friend/boss/family member/etc that you knew you wouldn’t even have time or energy for?  Leaving you exhausted and the task either undone or not done correctly?


*glances around* *raises hand* *sees others raise hands*

*casually sits sipping Capri Sun with best friend because life* Twenty One Pilots always knows the right thing to say.



Of course we have.  If you haven’t … psh, you go Glenn Coco, because saying the simple word “no” can be pretty damn challenging sometimes.    Maybe you feel guilty declining to make 3 donation boxes for a church group.  Maybe you feel pressured to be the designated driver when you know you have to be somewhere else at that time.  Maybe you feel lazy turning down your boss when asked to complete a project on the side.  Maybe you feel rude saying no to a family lunch.  I have news for you … STOP!!!!

There is no way you can possibly do all of those commitments until you take care of yourself.  Whether you’re sick or just having an off day, take some time for YOU.  There is no one more important.

I’ll be honest; this was me, and at unstable times, still is me.  It’s hard to calm the voices telling you to work harder because you aren’t good enough or you have to complete this one, too, before you reach acceptability.  Hell this may even be the cause of your insomnia, your anxiety, your weight gain/loss.  Whatever your symptoms are, the best thing you can do is find balance.

Hold up a sec.  I don’t want some of you to rush to work or home with the attitude of “I just won’t do this or this or this because I don’t have energy.”  If that is true, good on you for being aware of your mind and body that day.  However, if the propositions are important to you and will impact your life in someway, find it in yourself to get it done.  Oh, no, not at that very moment.  Breaks are good.  Try again in an hour, maybe 5 hours, maybe tomorrow.  Either way – balance.

As I was writing this post, I jumped onto YouTube for some motivational Harry Potter music when I stumbled upon this group: Fearless Soul (click here for their website).  The video I found is entitled, “Balance in Life”.  If this post resonated with you at ALL, please, give it a listen.  It’s less than 6 minutes.  I promise that it’s worth it.  Click here for the video.


Stay strong in this budding new year, my friends.  You aren’t alone.




Here Comes the Sun

If you have anxiety like me, you’ll be familiar with the word “ruminate”: to repeat random thoughts over and over, pondering deeply.  This effect occurs with most strength after an attention grabbing movie or book.  Tonight, my church had a showing of the movie Miracle from Heaven.  I felt obliged to go, therefore, I anticipated dozing off halfway through.  However, the movie hit home.  I couldn’t help but watch.  At the end, it wasn’t the declaration of faith that moved me; it was the perseverance of faith and hope.  They used this quote from Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life.  One is though nothing is a miracle.  The other is though everything is a miracle.”  It got me thinking, applying that concept to my own life.

That little girl went through literal Hell to recover (including a visit to Heaven, she said).  What did I suffer through?  Oh, just chemical imbalances.  I stopped myself right there because even if my problems were not as severe as her’s doesn’t mean they have no significance.  In fact, I know we have to fight for every. single. second.  A constant battle takes a lot out of you, things that sleep or medication can’t even treat.  Because our lives are so much of a struggle, we all have the same choice: give in to the black cloud hovering about us or stretch for the rays of light that find their way through the darkness.

Today is the last day of 2016 (thank God!).  It is my last year of high school.  It is my last year of being considered a child.  Most importantly, it is the last year I let that black cloud control every aspect of my life.  I wanted my Kindred Spirit, Carly, to join me.  I painted this picture for her, filled with her favorite sayings, so that she will always know there is hope, sunshine, love, support.  I post it here, for you, so that you, too, will find a light in the darkness.

Sorry the picture is crooked; technology isn’t always my best friend.  This is the painting I did for Carly with her favorite sayings on her favorite flower.

This past year may have been the epitome of suffering and loneliness, but that’s what the new year is all about.  Trying something new.  Finding a different approach to fighting for your life.  Remember that nothing lasts forever.  We never know how much longer we will have in this life.  What we do know is what is happening right now in this present moment.  This moment may be glorious or degrading, but we never really have control over occurrences like that.  We can control how we perceive those moments, though.  Whether it’s depression or anxiety or heart disease or cancer or PTSD or paralysis, we only have so much time in this life.  Why spend your limited seconds reflecting on all the pain when you could reflect on the beautiful moments, even if there are only a few of them?

There will always be heartache and happiness wherever you go; it is your choice which one you will reach out for.  As for me, I think I’ll reach for happiness.  Here comes the sun, and I will choose to say it’s alright.

Be the Warrior You Were Born to Be

In case you haven’t noticed, the weather has basically sucked for the past week here in Pennsylvania (a.k.a. the Land that God Forgot).  I suppose my depression has caught the “sucky” bug and made my past few days beyond challenging.  Every smile, every step, every task completed took an enormous amount of energy that couldn’t even be solved by a night’s rest.  My attire consisted of leggings and fuzzy socks.  Don’t even get me started on my eating habits.  To cease to exist would be a blessing … but we all know that won’t happen without consequences.  Two interesting things happened during these times, though, that made me realize maybe these demons can be used to help other people directly (not just you, Loves, who stumbled upon this blog).

A good friend of mine has been dealing with a relapse of some pretty serious depression while struggling to hold together the relationship he has with his girlfriend.  I told him these exact words: “I know it’s painful.  There’s not much that hurts more than ending a relationship you put so much of yourself into.  You probably feel abandoned and unworthy, but remember, you’re not.  So many people are put through breakups that shatter their heart, trust, even outlook on life itself.  However, when you weld your heart/trust/life back together, it will bring into the picture a whole new person with strengths and boundaries and knowledge that the person before would never have had.  So instead of allowing your mind to ruminate over how awful you feel, take this time to do something you absolutely love doing by yourself.  Put the phone on do not disturb.  Turn up the music.  And lose yourself.”  He was immediately comforted to know that someone understood his feelings.  He also felt better once he allowed himself to escape reality for a bit.

The next day, I was running around for last minute Christmas shopping with my mom.  As we got in the car, she looked at me and confessed how anxious she felt about feeling as if she were forgetting something again.  I took the opportunity to enlighten her in the cruel way anxiety works.  Since she constantly tells herself (verbally and mentally) that her brain is stupid or she’s such an idiot for not remembering this or that, her anxiety (currently a hesitant diagnosis) trained itself to bombard her with accusations of forgetfulness no matter where she was or what she was doing.   I told her instead of punishing her mind for attempting to save her from forgetting, be gentle.  Rationalize the situation.  Anxiety can’t maintain its grip if you talk yourself down.  She smiled and thanked me profusely for making her feel at ease with the situation.

These are just simple ways to triumph over those demons that can’t leave you alone for 5 damn minutes.  Take this advice to heart, because someday it may save you or someone you know.  A warrior is not always someone who wears armor, shoots a gun or carries a sword, jumps into combat to defeat another country.  Each day we wake up to fight the same battles over and over, giving 100% of whatever strength we have for that day.  That, dear friends, is what makes a warrior.

Promise me you will always keep up this fight.  You are lovable.  You are worth it.  You are strong.  You are a fucking warrior, because you are here right now reading this post.  Keep fighting for me.  Much love, and happy holidays!