December came and went.. where was I?

Probably on the couch watching the series finale of Gossip Girl (Dan? What the..)

Noo.. well.. yes, but no. Our month was so crazy – I am afraid I haven’t gotten all my Christmas cards out! I def didn’t write on my blog, I’m pretty sure that I forgot to get someone something annnnd then it was Christmas! I mean holy cow! We had birthday parties, and dinners out with friends, we had a family funeral for a wonderful lady who lived 101 years and who was loved by literally hundreds if not thousands of people in Kansas City, St. Joseph and Plattsburg and then Christmas and New Years. WHOA. I am wiped!

I have had some time to reflect on my year. I feel like I got into a habit of making declarations; I WILL LOSE WEIGHT, I WILL EAT HEALTHIER, I WILL BE ORGANIZED… and then, although not always realizing it, followed that up with… tomorrow. How lazy is that??  It’s all about fear. I fear I will fail or disappoint, and so instead I drink soda (yum), and sit around, and watch TV. I don’t want to be sad and frustrated with my self, my weight or my laziness anymore! I want to be happy and thankful and moving.

So, TODAY needs to be my word for 2013! I need to stop dwelling on the rough patches from the past, and look forward. We all need to do that. Everyone I know has something in there past that they are caught up on – something that keeps them from fully moving forward. Do you know what yours is?

This year, I would like to start a food blog. A blog about restaurants, near and far.. and food I love or don’t, cooking, cookbooks – anything food. And do you know why I haven’t started it.. Because I can’t come up with a name.. how ridiculous is that?

Fear again!
Are you seeing a pattern, I sure am!

I would also like to get back into photography. I miss taking my camera EVERYWHERE! I miss the process of shooting and processing. Although I would love to get a new camera, I have a nice Nikon 35mm that I think I will make an effort to play with more. Ideally I could find a photographer in the area that needs some help at shoots or in the studio – just so I can be around it. I would absolutely love that.

As I type this I realize that my hope is that 2013 will be a transformation year. I’d really like to take that budget bull by the proverbial horns and get it under control, I have to lose weight and clearly my creative side is screaming at me to do something.

I hope you come along for the ride, I can’t promise that I will complete everything on my want list – but I will do my best – and promise, if nothing else, as an outsider – you will be amused!

Happy New Years! Love you all for reading.

xoxo

m

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What does your perfect 12 hours look like? An exercise

Have you heard of Danielle LaPorte and her White Hot Truth? Or better yet, The Fire Starter Sessions? I’ve just subscribed to her blog and am currently reading (the actual book) The Fire Starter Sessions. It makes me feel like it’s ok to have my dreams, no matter how silly or unattainable they might be.

Isn’t that crazy, I have dreams that I KNOW are unattainable – but have never been able to let go of. I know I have spoken of this dream before. Unattainable based on our current financial situation, or risk taking tendencies. If you know me well enough my dream, professionally, has always been to own my own… Sometimes it’s a coffee shop, a store, a design business, a bookstore.

But honestly, my dream has always been, and will always be to own a store with a lovely window, that’s decorated seasonally, that when you come in you instantly feel like you’ve come home. There’s coffee brewing, lovely things to purchase for your home, and in the back a little area to sit and plan a party or wedding or design fantasical pieces of stationary. With wood shelves, and nooks to sit and look at a book or two. A whole wall of candles, and lovely napkin rings and bird dishes. Random, I know! This unnamed store is my elusive diamond.

My ambition is not be extremely wealthy, but to be able to provide for my family financially, creatively and spiritually, and honestly, I don’t feel like I’m doing any of these very well right now. So I read a review of this book, The Fire Starter Sessions, and it started a fire back up of wanting this perfect store, to go along with my lovely husband and generally perfect, terrifying, hilarious little Captain.

So, I decided to sit, in a quiet room for a little bit, and think about what my perfect 12 hours would be. Ms. LaPorte askes that you think about 12 hours at home (or realistic) and 12 hours away (or fantasy). I immediately began wondering what other peoples ideas were.. But I resisted .. So here we go. 

Realistic (part fantasy.. Yes I’ve already started cheating..) My morning would start off with everyone home and waking up in good moods. Making coffee, feeding the pup, making breakfast – waffles and turkey sausage for Hubs and the Cap, oatmeal and turkey saus for me. It’s fall. Showering, getting ready, and heading into the store (that’s what I’d call it, the store.. As in, going to my store, or oh.. Yeah – come by the store..), opening it up- turning on the star that hangs in the corner, flipping on the coffee pot and turning the sign that says open. I’d work and dust and tulle around  while ringing customers, having some creative sessions with a bride and mom, or helping to plan a 1st birthday for a friend (my customers are friends, sure!). Lunch would be lovely with PB&J in the back with Hubs and the Cap. Home for dinner, something cooked perfectly in the crock pot and Hubs loved it. Served with Red wine (or white.. Or rum & diets, whatever). Bath time for Alex, and bedtime was EASY.PEASY.. (this never happens.. Fantasy)… the day would end with Hubs and me on the deck talking about nothing but something all at the same time, laughing, listening to the Scarlet Pimpernel or Wicked or something broadway. I picture us on our old deck – I think because some of my favorite nights happened on that deck.. And bc we need speakers on our “new” deck.

So the realistic part that’s not fantasy based (owning my store). My morning would start off with everyone home and waking up in good moods. Making coffee, feeding the pup, making breakfast – waffles and turkey sausage for Hubs and the Cap, oatmeal and turkey saus for me. It’s fall. Showering, getting ready, and heading to Columbia for football with everyone! The St. Louis and Indy Clarke’s all come, we tailgate, eat dinner at Murray’s and all stay at a hotel where the Cap is up super late and we all are sitting around watching the kids play.. Lovely!

Fantasy. Breakfast on a beach with eggs and fresh oj. Taking Alex to the Beach. Some spa time. Lunch somewhere yummy. Playing at the pool with Alex, nap time for everyone! Reading Alex books and snuggle time. Babysitter comes. The Hubs and I go to dinner dressed to the nines – drink wine, have apps, perfectly cooked scallops or salmon, dessert.. Yum chocolate! Stroll on the beach. Kissing.

Home to Alex.

So what do your Perfect 12 hours look like? Do you have dreams that you can’t let go of??

xoxo,

Mindy’s cause..

Ray and Mindy ClarkeWe recently had our family pictures taken.. and although I totally hated my hair in them – I loved the pictures so much. This one, of the hubs and I makes me smile, ear to ear.

If you are needing someone to take pics of you or your littles, you should check out Nicki Griffith. She’s a doll. Seriously, coolest lady, coolest job, mega talent!  There are LOTS of amazing ladies (and some gents) right here in KC that do amazing work… we are so fortunate to have so much talent in our little cow town.

I have really started trying to make more of an effort to support local businesses. I feel like it’s so important to help our community thrive. I pledged to help our community by eating local as much as possible this holiday season. There is a great website, Eat Local KC, that can lead you in the direction of great local Farmer’s Markets, Grocery and Healthy Food Stores, Meat Purveyors, and my personal favorite – Kansas City Restaurants! 2 of my favorite restaurants in KC are listed, Aixios and Blue Bird Bistro.. but sooo many are not…  Do you have favorite local hangouts? Beers? Wines? Meats? We would love to hear what your favorite businesses and restaurants in Kansas City are.

Here is a short list of some of my favorites!

That’s all she wrote folks. I know I have often shared my favorites with you. But I would LOVE to hear some of yours. Won’t you please share them with me!
One place, I’d really love to go is up to Smithville to The Justice Drugstore, I have heard it’s so good.

Here’s a little picture that Nicki let Alex take of his mom and dad.. it’s not the best picture of me.. but I think it’s so cute. I am having one printed and put on a shelf in his room!
Mommy and Daddy by Alex

Look what I made on my lunch break!

We had craft time today on our lunch break! I made this wreath in under an hour (barely, but still under) – and if I do say so myself.. I think it turned out AWESOME!

So, giving credit where credit is due.. I need to mention Mrs. Priss and her Felt Pom Pom thingamabobs.. If you don’t read her – you should. She’s so fun and creative. Also, her tutorial on the Wreath is here.

I have also been playing around with different recipes again, on Friday, I made Peanut Butter Bread.. it was sooo good. I purchased Honey Butter from Shatto and spread some jelly on it – OMG! It was delicious! I added in some Flaxseed (about 1 TSP) and some honey to improve the nutritional content.. also to sweeten it a little, and I am so glad I did! Here are some photos and the recipe!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/peanut-butter-bread/
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – I used Whole Wheat baking flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chunky peanut butter – I used creamy
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the peanut butter until crumbly. Combine the egg, milk and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Transfer to a greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in.loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

All for now.
xo.xo
mindy.

Happy 2012!

It’s been a crazy few weeks – I haven’t written in soo long! But I have a lot of stuff in the works – so I hope to be able to share some fun projects coming up – but until then – here’s some super fun photos of my kiddo.

It’s my goal to make one of these for him each year. I started this year – but luckily have not drank enough in the past year to forget all his 1 year old favorites! He is growing into such a little man with a mind of his own. Oh my goodness. He picks up his little bowl of good toddler food – and says… um, no mommy, and then hands it to me (or spills it all over the floor). Generally I resort to giving him yogurt or mandarin oranges and calling it a day. If he eats both of those things – then I feel like it was a success.

We took Alex on his second airplane trip this past weekend. His first came when he was only 3 months old – and so he slept the whole time.. this one – was so much better.. he was AWESOME! Watched his movie – drank his milk – and colored on himself.. it was so much better then the drama filled few hours I imagined. This flight came 1 week before we say adios to 1 and HELLO to 2. This makes me very sad. Something about him getting older, and not being a baby anymore makes me a blubbering mess.. I just can’t even believe it. He learned new words this weekend from his cousin Matthew — he picks up a bagel and says bagel. I couldn’t believe it! The Captain loved the aquarium. Ran around entertaining the other guests by yelling, “WASSS THAT, WASS THAT?” and the the ever favorite – “MOOOOONNNNNKKKKEEEY” – oh my goodness, it was so loud. Hubs and I really loved the dolphins and beluga whales – the Captain didn’t seem to care about them. We watched our other nephew play hockey this weekend as well – it was so cool, I really like hockey – I remember really liking Blades games as a youngster.. It was doubly cool because Andrew rocks on the ice – it was amazing to see.

This mama loves Chicago. I love the downtown – the hustle and the bustle – the restaurants, museums and the shopping. I love Buck Town and the cute little shops. I LOVE LAND OF NOD. Why don’t we have one in KC?  Oh I love it. Ray and I went a few years ago (6 years ago..) just the two of us, before we were married – we stayed at the Hyatt, and walked and shopped and tucked into little bars for libations – it was lovely. I could use a little getaway like that with the hubs every once in awhile. He’s my favorite person to travel with – he takes good care of me, and listens to what I want to do – he also enjoys and appreciates good food – knows that it doesn’t have to be expensive – and loves going places where the atmosphere is good.. this is why we get along so well – we are very similar in this regard. Not to mention – he can smell out good Irish Pubs in just about any city.

On the eve of me turning 33, I am truthfully not excited about it but I’m not sure why exactly.

I know I am disappointed in how long its taking us to get pregnant again, it took us so long with Captain A.. when Aunt Flo comes every month – I cry for a whole day. It’s excruciating. I tell myself every month to stop putting so much pressure on myself, and to enjoy the “trying” part more – not make it a job. It’s hard though, I blame the fact that I am overweight – or don’t eat enough flax seed… or whatever. But I know that it’s just not time yet and that God has a plan – it’s just so hard to wait sometimes.

Normally my birthday is my favorite day of the year – seriously – I love my birthday. Growing up birthdays were magical days of favorite breakfasts (B&G), special lunches, yummy dinners, presents (that generally I asked for and received) and cake. It was a whole day of surprises and Mindy. My mom sent me a card everyday for a week leading up to my 20th birthday in college. It was awesome. She did it right every year – from Strawberry Shortcake doll cake to special Spaghetti dinners – it was always a great time. Even on my 17th birthday, she was having to say goodbye to her mother – someone who she still misses everyday – she still made sure I felt loved and special on my day.

I hope Alex feels that way about his mom. I hope I do it right. Maybe I am not excited about my day because I am super excited about Alex’s. Is there not room for both?

happy almost birthday to me..

mindy.

My trip around the World!

Nah, not really. More like the trip around WORLD MARKET!

I love World Market – many times I will got there when I need help with my creative juices, or on my lunch break if the morning has been particularly bad.. or sometimes to actually shop. I went the other day hoping to find a sale on some lamps – I didn’t – but I got my camera (iphone) out and took pictures of things I saw.. fun – uh! Yes’m!

I love all the pretty packaging that they have.. it really calms me – pretty packaging in general calms.. not so much World Market! They have lovely lamps; hanging ones and table top ones.. Do people still use those paper globes as decoration?? They seemed to have a lot of those! I found pretty purple hand towels, and chair I almost drolled on – a couch for the basement (where we truly need a couch) – and one of my favorite wines! Ray and I went to the Coppola winery in 2009 – and tried this flavor – Alcante Bouschet – you couldn’t buy it around here for a long time – but in the last year or so I have started seeing it. It has a beautiful bright fuchsia label – and it tastes AWESOME.

Then came the strange – like the Bacon flavored syrup – not like syrup you’d put on pancakes – but more like syrup used for coffee or italian sodas. ICK. One of the pictures is the little recipe book that came attached to the bottle.. (can anyone say – classy?). The last picture is a white white to go – it comes in a little bag that’s easy to pour out of – or sip out of.. I found this to be so funny! Like – I laughed out loud.

Clearly this shopping trip was kidless – I would not take the little monster to this store right now – not only would he scream his perfect little head off – but there are so many breakable items! I mean seriously – i shouldn’t spend too much time there – I fall A LOT!

Signing 0ff! I know it’s been FOREVER since I wrote – this time of year is so crazy busy. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.
All my love!
mindy.

 

My LOVE of paper

This post may be hard to relate to for some of you – sorry. I am, by trade and at heart, a designer. I long to make things pretty, rearrange advertisements so they will make sense to the masses, and feel like business documents do not have to look boring – but can be pleasant to read and esthetically pleasing to the eye, no matter the topic.

I love paper. I have reams of paper, samples of paper, small booklets of paper at work and at home. I love to use different papers, expensive papers – smooth and textured alike. I love paper. I have an appointment at 2:00 today with one of my favorite paper ladies – she has the coolest job – she co-shares a job with another amazing lady – and she sets people up with paper samples from Xpedx (one of my favorite resources for all things paper). Plus she gets to co-host amazing paper shows where manufactures will come and tell us about their paper and why it’s awesome, and then we get treats or coffee and loads of samples… I realize what I giant nerd I am.. really I do.

Do you know that movie American Pyscho? The only part of that terrible (I don’t like to be scared) movie that I remember is how he’s obsessed with having the best business card – the prettiest, best design, best thick expensive paper. Sadly, I understood his need and want for the best paper (not to mention best title). Now, I wouldn’t go all serial murdery on someone – but understood in some non-pyschotic way.

Annnyyywhhooo.. Paper. I have books written about paper – I mean, really? So I wanted to share a few of my favorite paper things with you. First, business cards, I fear business cards much like greeting cards and invitations are going away, slowly but surly. Business cards are such a personal representation of you – or at least they can be – I realize that your card might have been designed by some boring HR department (I have one of those too)– but if you have a side business, are a mom (or dad), you’re retired, you’re looking for a job, or mate – you should have a personal card that represents you. I have been doing some calling cards for moms with kids that have play dates – so cute. I have been seeing them all over – here are a couple of links:

Minted: http://www.minted.com/mommy-calling-cards
Etsy: http://tinyurl.com/8xyjbcd
Here’s a good little blog post about business cards also: http://www.thefancyfarmgirl.com/business-card-love/

Calendars and Lists: there is nothing better then a paper calendar. For someone that is iphone calendar dependent (seriously, my life is in my iphone!) – I also very much depend on my MomAgenda (speaking of – I need a new one!). I love to write things down, and keep lists. I also lose lists quit a lot – but if I write it down I almost always can recreate it. I have found an awesome app for my mac and iphone (Apple! Hola!) it’s called Evernote. See when I switched from PC to Mac – the one thing I really missed was OneNote. I love ONENOTE! But with Evernote – I can make a list on my computer and it will update on my iphone.. this is amazing.

Paper Crafts: I love to make things out of paper – like wreaths and garland. I have visions of making paper garland for our tree this year – and maybe popcorn garland too.. Paper Source is a great place to go for crafty ideas like this. They always have paper flower or wreath kits, and they are super easy and super fun to do.

Here are a few of my favorite paper items:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

oh, and here’s an AWESOME Business Card!

Wardrobe help! Bloggy friends, Models and Mannequins.

I am in desperate need of some wardrobe help. I have been in an awful rut for months – and when I manage to find time to go shopping (DREAD!), I either can’t find something – or the stuff that I do find is outrageously priced. I decided at some point that I am in need of a style… my own – non plain Gap T-shirt – style. A look that helps define me, that showcases bits of my personality all the while complimenting my life style. WHAA?? WTH am I talking about – I can’t find a GD pair of jeans that fit me well, let alone accent my inner self. WHATEVS..

So I started a Pinterest board of Things I want to wear – I have listed casual outfits, mainly jeans with sweaters and scarves – and Toms.. apparently I really want a pair of Toms! Tall brown boots also seem to be a favorite, work outifts and accessories.

These are my 2 favorite casual outfits:

Comparing these 2 looks- it appears, I am most comfortable in jeans, t-shirts with cardigans, and large purses. I agree.. now – the thing both images have in common that I love is the use of jewelery and flats.. neither of which I own many of.. I also LOVE the gray sweater in image 1.

Work Attire: The dress code at work is business.. not business casual – although there are enough cotton pants, and questionable looking shoes (flip-flops, tennis shoes) to make one wonder.. but it is most definitely business dress code.  I have also pinned a few outfits – and found this on Pinterest – but it introduced me to this great website called Polyvore – I actually haven’t really figured it out yet, but people put outfits out there – and then it tells you where to buy each piece.. this was on Polyvore – and I think it’s a great idea. Looks like there are 3 pairs of pants for 5 days and 7 shirts/tanks or sweaters – obviously there are pieces that have been reused.

Amanda, over at MODG Blog, has been trying on post-prego jeans. I have been so interested in her posts (she takes pictures of herself standing on the toliet.. makes me laugh everytime!) – however, she is skinny and petite. I am neither.. I mean, I’m not a gargantuan or anything – but I am overweight (working on it) – and normal; not too tall, not too short, size 7.5 shoe.. maybe – just right.. well I would be if I wasn’t overweight. Not to throw myself a pitty party or anything.. geeze – Debby Downer? Man! Okay, back on track. Hayley over at Tiny Twig goes out on a Limb has put together a little bloginare on the “No-Brainer wardrobe” – she has such cute style – but again, tiny and cute.. So I really do need to find that perfect balance of drawing inspiration from everything around, and trying to become that person or model or mannequin. Anyway, she had us pin stuff onto our pinterest and then share the link – that got me looking at other peoples pins, and found some interesting things.

I did a search for “work clothes” today on Pinterest, and wouldn’t you know – found this awesome page: http://pinterest.com/source/corporette.com/

Off topic: Do you remember that movie?? Kim Catrall and Andrew McCarthy at their finest!

Where do you draw inspiration from? What’s your favorite article of clothing?
By far the best dressing up outfit I ever had was a wonderful pair of clown dungarees, which my Granny made.”  – Kate Middleton

mindy.

What I forgot to tell you, what I am listening to, and a few reviews..

Get a coffee, soda or herbal – this might take a minute!

So as one of my friends pointed out – I have listed 39 shows on my current dvr list.. that is A LOT of TV… but what is almost unbelievable is that, I have missed a couple. I am almost ashamed!! But not completely bc I am posting it out on the interweb for all to see. Glee and General Hospital are forever recorded.. and I love both of them – and can’t believe I didn’t tell you about them.

So I love Glee. Glee makes me happy – even when it makes me cry. Yep it has been known to make me cry – like when Kurt’s dad got sick.. sad. It also makes me roll my eyes sometimes too (Lea Michelle doing Babs again??)! But this season Rachel’s mom comes back, some of the kids graduate, there’s surly another prom – right.. it’s funny show – and I enjoy the music..

Since college I have watched General Hospital. This is also on my DVR list – I don’t watch it everyday – but I do tape it everyday. And since I have Friday’s off, I generally watch an episode from during the week and then watch Friday’s. It’s my time to breath – and I enjoy getting caught up in make believe drama on occasion.  (hubs – stop rolling your eyes!)

Also, any awards show is also on my list. I loved the Emmy’s. I thought Jane Lynch did a great job – not better than Jimmy Fallon did last year – but still a stand up job. STL Today (http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/television/article_521f9013-a5ed-5f78-b733-9bef59e4093f.html) reported that the reviews of this years Emmy’s were not good at all.. but did mention the “cutest” moment of the night – being when the funniest women on TV stood together on stage, like they were in a pageant, held hands and waited for Melissa McCarthy (GO SOOKIE – Man, I loved Gilmore Girls!) to be crowed as the newest lead actress in a comedy series. It was funny and perfect – it was by far my favorite moment. My other favorite moment was when Jane Lynch said, “ Some people wonder why I am a lesbian, ladies and gentlemen – the cast of “Entourage.” That made me laugh out loud. I also LOVE the Oscars and Tonys, I don’t get into the Golden Globes as much – but I think it’s because they have been so uncomfortable (albeit HILARIOUS) with Ricky Gervais hosting.. I am assuming he won’t be asked back this year. The Golden Globes is always entertaining because everyone is always a little drunk.

On Sunday’s Emmy awards the Canadian Tenors performed their version of Hallelujah. It was beautiful, and it make me have goose bumps..  I immediately looked them up on itunes, and bought their version – and actually am pondering the whole album. They truly are wonderful singers – if you haven’t checked them out –you should do so.

So it’s Thursday – man I have some reviews to do – woo!

How I Met Your Mother: He’s going to end up with Robin, right? No, not Ted… Barney – we see a little part of his wedding but the bride (of course) is not revealed. But if it wasn’t Robin, then why did the bride want to talk to Ted???  It wouldn’t make sense if it was anyone else. The dance that Barney and Robin did at Punchies wedding was adorable.  I do like Nora, but it’s got to be Robin. The second epy was fine – Marshall and his drunkenness was funny and I do like the introduction to the diner, I hope that stays – I reminded me a bit of Seinfeld.. anyway – I thought the season started out strong.

Two and a Half Men: liked liked liked. I love that Rose killed him. And I could have only loved Ashton’s character more if he would have cut his hair.. The character is adorable –  I wanted to hug him. I think it’s going to work!

2 Broke Girls – wow, I think it’s a winner.. So far it’s my second favorite new comedy of the year.

Castle –  Loved it. Win.

Glee – Glee was good. But not great. Sue Sylvester kind of irritates me – and I didn’t love any of the numbers – except the one Blaine did… it was all fine – I am still excited for the season.

New Girl – My FAVORITE of the season so far! Could this show be any cuter?  I DO NOT THINK SO. I am sad they have to recast Daman Wayans Jr – he’s awesome in the roll of, “Coach (but equally so on Happy Endings).”  I am excited for this show – and think that the character Jess should date – or hook up – with the roommate that also was heartbroken. There is something about him that I loved. I’m Jess!

I haven’t fully gotten to Wednesday nights shows.. so I will watch those and give an update on Wednesday and Thursday shows.

This weekend is the Plaza Art Fair! It’s my favorite weekend of fall. I love it sooo much. My goal this year is to not walk around, feeling like a giant loser bc I should be painting or taking pictures of something and selling it – I can do that. I could do that.. why don’t I do that… every year it’s the same thing – but somehow I still LOVE it. There is something about the food (and drink.. yay!) vendors  – the art, and ALL the freaking people – I just love this time of year, and this year it’s going to be beautiful out. The last picture is of the first Plaza Art Fair in 1932. You can click on any of the photos to see a larger version of them!

 

It didn’t take as long as I thought it was going to..

mindy.