How My Father Inspired Me to Travel

man in a baseball hat drinking in a bar

This is my Father’s Day tribute post.

My Dad has lived in Los Angeles for over 50 years and is a location manager.

What is a location manager?

A location manager is a person in charge of scouting locations for films, commercials, and television shows.

As a result of my Dad’s trade, it is no surprise that he knows Los Angeles inside and out. Recently, as we drove to a film set he scouted for his most recent project I looked out the window and admired the golden hue of the mountains. I thought to myself, I wonder who owns that land and why it remains (thankfully) undeveloped. Then I remembered that I was sitting next to my Dad, practically a living, breathing GPS unit complete with historical archives. I pointed to my left and casually asked him, “Do you know who owns that land?” I shouldn’t have been surprised when he provided a name and – I kid you not – explained to me the legacy of the land extending back 150 years. His breadth of Los Angeles knowledge is mind-blowing.

My Dad was born in 1941 and grew up in western Massachusetts. His parents worked at the Eaglebrook School and he and my uncle attended the prestigious boarding school tuition-free. My dad has a painting in the living room of the lush green hills surrounding Eaglebrook School, the same view that his father, the head chef, saw every day as he prepared food for hoards of hungry students.

When my Dad graduated he felt the pull of our nation’s collective manifest destiny and headed West to begin his life-long love affair with Los Angeles. He started working lights at The Troubadour in the legendary Southern California music scene and collected stories that I’ve grown up to revere. Somewhere there is a picture of him and The Doors’ Jim Morrison, each of them with their arm around their girlfriends, both named Pam. As if that isn’t cool enough, they’re all wearing leather pants. Yeah, that’s my Dad.

thanksgiving with the beach boys
Thanksgiving 1967 (Neil Young, Richie Furay, Steven Stills, Dewey Martin, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and my Dad)

He’s had Thanksgiving with The Beach Boys, managed Buffalo Springfield, had fights with Bob Dylan, partied with Mama Cass, and so much more.

At some point, he transitioned from the music scene to the movie industry, where he put his vast knowledge of the Los Angeles area to use scouting locations for major motion pictures. I remember being on location with him one day and holding my little sister who was probably around 2 years old at the time. Whoopi Goldberg walked by, tousled my younger sister’s strawberry blonde curls and said she was the most adorable little girl she’d ever seen. She followed with, “Those curls could give me for a run for my money!” I didn’t know who Whoopi Goldberg was at the time, but I did agree that both she and my little sister’s hair was fabulous.

My Dad is truly the most remarkable and well-lived man I’ve ever known. His influence sparked my own desire to travel, live with gusto, remain curious about the world, and get out there and collect stories. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without having such a wonderful role model. Hearing my Father’s stories inspired me to make my own and I will be forever grateful he is in my life.

This Sunday he and I, along with my siblings and Penny, are embracing a 30 year Father’s Day tradition and taking a drive out to the LA Roadster’s So Cal Car Show in Pomona. We’ll be posting plenty of pictures to our Instagram so if you like classic cars check it out.

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Hot-rodding!

Casa Barranca: An Ojai Winery Experience

Pratt House Facade at the Casa Barranca Winery in Ojai, California 2017

“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.” – Jack Kerouac

Every time I visit Ojai, California, I am completely taken aback by its awe-inspiring beauty; the rolling hills, open skies, sunshine and ecologically friendly attitude are all things that make Ojai a very worthwhile place to visit. Whether you have a desire for some tasty farm-fresh food, want to visit an interesting art gallery, or have a sudden thirst for some top-notch wine, Ojai provides.

As a lover of all things wine, I was pleasantly surprised when Vicky and I were invited to Casa Barranca’s Wine Tasting Party.  I couldn’t wait to travel to Ojai to indulge in a little (or in my case, a lot) of that miraculous nectar of the gods. As we were approaching the estate, we were greeted by a jovial security guard asking to see our tickets. After a few confused and frantic moments on our part, he chuckled, waved us on, informing us that there were no tickets and that one should always start the day off right and with a good joke. Normally, I would agree with his life philosophy but, when the ability to drink massive amounts of delicious wine flashes suddenly before my eyes, I become slightly less appreciative of the fine art of comedy. After just a few moments and some carefully maneuvered driving through the flurry of people trying to park, we checked in and headed inside the Estate.

“Casa Barranca” meaning, “house of the ravine” was commissioned by Charles and Mary Pratt in 1909 when they decided that they needed a place of serenity to escape to when the busy streets of New York became too overwhelming. To fulfill their dreams of building a house that matched the majesty of Ojai, they enlisted the help of, “…two of the most gifted architects of the Arts & Crafts Movement, the brothers Charles and Henry Greene.”

The Arts and Crafts Movement revitalized “…traditional artistic craftsmanship with themes of simplicity, honesty, function, harmony, nature and social reform. The movement promoted moral and social health through quality of architecture and design executed by skilled creative workers, and was a revolt against the poor quality of industrialized mass production.”

By the late 19th century, the American Arts and Crafts Movement, was flourishing because it was a step towards a more natural, balanced and harmonious lifestyle as well as, a direct response to the mass consumerism of the industrial revolution and the end of the Victorian era and its architectural over-embellishment.

Living Room by The United Crafts from the Craftsman Journal, United Crafts, 1802
Living Room by The United Crafts from the Craftsman Journal, United Crafts, 1802

The Casa Barranca Estate, is the second Greene and Greene creation that we have visited. The first, was the beautiful and sprawling Gamble House in Pasadena, California. Both residences have a warm, earthy, simple yet luxurious charm that I appreciate and are excellent examples of the American Craftsman style.

As soon as we entered Casa Barranca, we were greeted by a banquet table filled with glistening wineglasses and name tags. I don’t think I have ever been more excited to put on a name tag, than I was in that moment.

We didn’t waste our time, and within five seconds of grabbing a wine glass, it was filled with Rosé . Rosé is wine that incorporates some color from the grapes and may be the oldest known type of wine because of the method originally used in its production, known as the skin contact method or pigeage.

wine glass on ledge
Ready for Rosé, Casa Barranca, 2017

Rosé has always been one of those types of wine that I’d drink in a pinch, but when it comes down to it, I’m a red wine gal, through and through. That being said, their Rosé was decent. It wasn’t too sweet and it had the crispness of what I would typically associate with a Riesling.

While sipping our first glass, we strode around the grounds and took a self-guided tour of the Estate. The thing that most amazes me, as an East coaster, is the West coast’s mentality toward open green spaces and the absolute joy and genius of the “sleeping porch”.

twin sized bed on an old california craftsmen sleeping porch at the gamble house in pasadena
Time for a nap. Casa Barranca, Ojai, California. 2017

The sleeping porch is a thing of beauty. A place where you can sleep outside, with all the comforts of an indoor bedroom but, with a much better view. Sleeping porches, while still used as a means of relaxation and regeneration had a much more practical use in the early 1900’s:

“Tuberculosis was the number one cause of death and fresh air was considered some of the best treatment for people suffering from this lung ailment. The population in the southern states discovered that by building a screened, private porch they could enjoy the cooler summer nights rather than sleeping in a stuffy and warm bedroom. Hospitals also made use of the fresh air by placing patients’ beds on porches.”

After spending all day wandering through a craftsman house, that was designed to promote the free flow of California air, I wish that sleeping porches had not been replaced by the modern conveniences of air conditioning.

Once we finished exploring, we headed down to the festivities on the lawn and tried Casa Barranca’s Arts & Crafts and Bungalow Red wines. Vicky’s Dad is a Casa Barranca member and receives quarterly wine shipments and while he prefers the Arts and Crafts Red blend Vicky and I love the Bungalow Red. We especially liked that the wine was made organically and the winery uses honey from their own apiary.

people laying on blankets on a green lawn in ojai, california
Party Time. Casa Barranca, Ojai, California, 2017

After filling up on wine and some delicious, much appreciated, vegetarian food, we headed over to the pool to cool off. As soon as we sat down, we met these two hooligans who dared me to jump in the pool fully-clothed.

older couple in pool
Honestly, I didn’t need much convincing. It was very hot out. Casa Barranca, 2017

 

woman sitting in pool wearing all her clothes.
Taking a dip. Casa Barranca, 2017.

 

two women high-fiving next to a pool
Hi-Fives All Around! Casa Barranca, 2017

Overall, the time spent at Casa Barranca was filled with laughs, wine and just the right amount of lunacy. If you happen to be in or around Ojai we recommend stopping into the Casa Barranca Tasting Room and having a few flights. Unfortunately, the Estate isn’t open to the public but if you join their Wine Club you might get an invite to their next event.

We are grateful that we had the opportunity to visit and would especially like to thank Vicky’s Dad, Richard, for the tickets!

Things 3: A Quick Review by a Real User

Screenshot of Things 3 - A Quick Review by a Real User

A lot of things go into starting a new blog, a lot of things go into maintaining a blog, and a lot of things go into living your daily life.

I use Things, a productivity app geared toward getting things done and staying organized, to combat the jungle of my to-do list. I’ve been a long time user of Things starting with the first iteration of the product and shelling out cash for the updated version Things 2. Recently the developers at Cultured Code dropped the latest version, Things 3, to a thirsty fan base who have been waiting years for updates.

I took a look at Cultured Code’s website to see if the new Mac OS version was worth the price ($40 dollars for an update, $50 for new users) and as excited I was to see the new design I ended up disappointed. The first thing I noticed was that the app dropped many of its older skeuomorphic design elements and has adopted a lighter feel. The result is a cleaner landscape which will likely appeal to more users but lacks character. When I first opened it I almost mistook it for DayOne which is a journal app highly praised for its beautiful design. So yes, it is pretty but in an uninteresting way.

There is a long list of new features. I’m only going to address the Mac OS version of Things 3 since I don’t have the latest iPhone or iPad version.

The Good

There are plenty of things to like about the new Things. There is a new way to cleverly integrate your calendars so you can see your calendar events in the Today and Upcoming views which means, unless you’re editing your calendar, you don’t even need to have it open on your desktop. Things 3 allows you to plan what you’re going to do that day (or week) with what you already have scheduled.

Things has also created a way for you to segment tasks by the time of day with their “Today and This Evening” feature. For example, if you need to hit up the bank during the day but won’t have time to sort your sock drawer until later you can place it in the Evening section.

The Today and Evening View of Things 3 by Cultured Code
Today and Evening View – Things 3

I like to nest my lists which means I create tasks and then create tasks within those tasks. It is, essentially, an outline and Things 3 has created a way for me to create checklists within tasks without resorting to creating a new project.

Starting a Checklist in Things 3
Starting a Checklist – Things 3

When you create a new task in the lower right hand corner there is a small grey icon that looks like a checklist. If you click that and start typing you’ll be creating a new task and starting a checklist!

Checklist Feature on Things 3
Checklist – Things 3

Another major update is the addition of time-based reminders. Cultured Code is way behind on introducing this feature that most to-do apps have had for at least a couple years. The new time-based reminder works and performs its function flawlessly. If you want to set a reminder for any task simply double-click the title. If you’re in the Today view click Today and then Add Reminder. If you’re in any other view you’ll need to click the small grey calendar icon in the lower right hand corner to bring up the Reminder function. Unfortunately you can only set one reminder but it’s a start.

Set a Reminder in Things 3 by Cultured Code
Set a Reminder – Things 3

There are a few other updates which are nice. I like the ability to have multiple windows open. I also enjoy the little pie next to a project slowly changing based on your progress. The concept of Headings is fantastic but I could not figure out how to add them anywhere. I tried a variety of different selections but nothing would allow me to un-grey the New Heading option in the Menu Bar < File area.

Lastly, I appreciate that Cultured Code allows their users to purchase their software instead forcing their fan base into a subscription model. Things 3 is a hefty up front cost but the developers offer a free fully-featured 15 day trial so you can decide if it’s worth it for you. That being said, Cultured Code is not offering much of a discount for their loyal legacy users.

The Bad

Cultured Code did a good job with Things 3 but it could have been better.

As I stated earlier the design is pretty but lacks distinction. It blends seamlessly in with all the apps I already use which sounds nice but in practice it’s just a little boring. I would appreciate the ability to customize the application a little bit. I’ve included a picture below of an Evernote window and a Things 3 window side-by-side to illustrate my point.

Things 3 vs Evernote
Things 3 vs Evernote

There are wide gaps between my Areas of Responsibility which 1) don’t look good and 2) make my sidebar significantly longer.

Side by Side Comparison of Things 2 & 3 by Cultured Code
Side by Side Comparison of Things 2 (left) and Thing 3 (right)

The sidebar is an area where I would really appreciate that customization. In the latest design Things 3 eliminates the category titles from the sidebar leaving it up the user to guess what exactly they’re viewing. I know the designers did it to streamline the look of the app but they did it at the expense of clarity (ironic). I want the option to add helpful titles back to my sidebar. As long as I’m wishing and wanting, I’d also love:

  • The option to add a shortcut to the sidebar (for example, a “Tags” shortcut that took you to a view of all your tags)
  • The ability to collapse sidebar menu items
  • Being able to define where you want projects in your sidebar instead of living with the new default which places them underneath their area
  • If I add a tag to an Area of Responsibility or to a Project I’d like the option of having that same tag applied to each task within the respective container
  • Batch editing for multiple tasks
  • The ability to drag a task from the current list to an existing Project while in the slim view single window (existing projects are in the window, you simply can’t drag and drop as you would be able to with a Project listed in the sidebar)
  • Collaboration – this is Things 3 and the year 2017 and I still can’t share a list with Penny or anyone else unless I use a different to-do list app – big problem.

The Verdict

Would I recommend Things 3?

I’m not sure. I’m going to continue to play with the free trial until it ends and make a final decision but if I had to make a decision today I would not upgrade. The price to upgrade to the new version for legacy users is $40 which is a steep cost for what is available. I’m tempted because I really enjoy the calendar integration, checklist feature and separate windows but ultimately the cons keep me from opening my wallet right away. I’m on a budget so I want to make sure this is a product I would use daily and really enjoy. I take one look at that weirdly spaced sidebar and think, “I don’t want to see that every day.” If that could be adjusted I may change my mind.

If you’re a new user with disposable income and fondness for clean design (and can live without collaboration in your main to-do list app) then it’s a decent purchase. If you’re looking for a budget to-do list option with more customization and collaboration features check out Wunderlist.

Regardless of what to-do list app you use or if it’s just plain ole’ pencil and paper, happy travels!

The 2017 Ultimate List of Road Trip Essentials

black audi on road surrounded by mountains

This is the Pitstop Pirates 2017 Ultimate List of Road Trip Essentials.

There will be eleven posts coming in the next few weeks to cover all the essential items you need to pack for a long road trip.

We’ve driven over 12,000 cross-country miles in the last six months and in doing so we’ve identified a long list of items that improve our travel experience. We wanted to share our insight in order to help those who are new to roadtripping and also to engage discussion from the travel community.

When we first started out there were several items we initially thought were essential (looking at you, Vitamix – I know, I know…) only to find they did not warrant the valuable space they occupied. Through trial and error we discovered some great and practical items that made our trip much more comfortable and enjoyable. This is our current list and we’re always looking for ways to make it better but as it stands these are personal items that we bring on almost all long-distance road trips. You may decide that some of our items aren’t essential to you or your family and that’s okay!

For reference we don’t have a large car – we’re driving a small Audi A4 sedan and it can be a very tight squeeze when traveling with animals but we make it work. Due to our size constraints we focus on space saving items – if you have any thoughts or suggestions on our list, please let us know in the comment section below. We love to hear from you, our readers, and look forward to sharing your tips!

Our priority is packing in such a way that we hit the sweet spot of comfort and organization while using as little space as possible. If you’re traveling with other people you may be able to share some of these items and therefore save on space.

Categories

Personal Items

Car Comfort and Organization

Bags

Clothing

Tech Gadgets

Navigation

Travel Apps

Food

Memberships

Car Emergency Kit

First Aid Kit

If you’re on a schedule and need to see all the recommendations now in an easy to digest format I’ve created a printable spreadsheet with each of the above categories and their corresponding items and recommendations which can be found here.

If you’re looking for travel tips instead of a gear list please keep an eye out for our upcoming list of road trip travel tips.

We were not paid in any way for these reviews and recommendations. All of these items were purchased with our own money. We strongly prefer to shop locally when and where possible. If you do, however, decide to to purchase an item via the links provided we will earn a small percentage and be immensely grateful for your support.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave them below! And if you’re curious about other items we bring during our travels, sign up for our mailing list below to have updates delivered directly to your inbox – or just keep checking back here.

Personal Items to Bring on a Long Road Trip

black audi sedan surrounded by luggage

This post is part of the 2017 List of Road Trip Essentials.

There will be ten more blog posts coming in the next few weeks to cover all the essential items you need to pack for a road trip. This post will focus on the best personal items to bring on a long road trip.

We’ve driven over 12,000 cross-country miles in the last six months and in doing so we’ve created the ultimate list of road trip essentials. When we first started out there were several items we initially thought were essential (looking at you, Vitamix – I know, I know…) only to find they did not warrant the valuable space they occupied. Through trial and error we discovered some great and practical items that made our trip much more comfortable and enjoyable. This is our current list and we’re always looking for ways to make it better but as it stands these are personal items that we bring on almost all long-distance road trips. You may decide that some of our items aren’t essential to you or your family and that’s okay!

For reference we don’t have a large car – we’re driving a small Audi A4 sedan and it can be a very tight squeeze when traveling with animals but we make it work. Due to our size constraints we focus on space saving items – if you have any thoughts or suggestions on our list, please let us know in the comment section below. We love to hear from you, our readers, and look forward to sharing your tips!

Our priority is packing in such a way that we hit the sweet spot of comfort and organization while using as little space as possible. If you’re traveling with other people you may be able to share some of these items and therefore save on space.

picture of road trip essential items personal items
Our Road Trip Essential Personal Items
Pillows

For our first long voyage I assumed that the car seats would be comfortable enough for my neck but unfortunately after three hours of driving I started to experience neck fatigue. I borrowed Penny’s travel neck pillow which offered some support but I felt silly wearing a pillow designed for airline travel. The neck pillow also constricted my movement which didn’t feel safe on the road.

For our second voyage I did some research and found a neck pillow better suited to driving that also complimented our car’s black interior. When Penny tried my new pillow she noticed how soft and comfortable it was and asked for one as well. I actually keep it in my car even when we’re not pulling 600 mile drives.

In terms of bed pillows we recommend bringing your own bed pillow with you on long trips. It’s comforting to lay your head down on a familiar pillow after a long day. Another plus, you will likely avoid any neck aches from too-soft or too-hard hotel pillows.

Lower Back Support

Both Penny and I have lower back pain so we looked for a way to prevent flare-ups. My car’s adjustable lumbar support might be good enough for short trips but we needed something more for those long travel days. We settled on a posture corrector seat and despite it looking a little weird on a plush seat it works really well.

Blanket

While you’re not driving it’s nice to curl up in a small blanket or large throw and catch some zzz’s. I use an old Army poncho liner from my military days because it’s magically light, easy to pack, and provides variable temperature warmth. It’s also helpful when you sleep in a sketchy motel room and want to cover the existing sheets with something familiar.

Lotion

I always have lotion at the ready. Washing my hands with cheap rest-stop soap tends to dry my hands out and lotion keeps them nice, soft and healthy.

Lip Balm

I’m addicted to lip balm, specifically Burt’s Bees Peppermint. I bring it with me everywhere I go – whether on a road trip or not. Penny is partial to the ultra conditioning lip balm with kokum butter but that one is a bit glossy for me, so if you don’t want to have shiny lips, you may just want to stick with the peppermint or a similarly delicious flavor. If you’re like us you’ll be sorry if you forget to pack lip balm!

Sunglasses

Life on the road can be amazingly bright especially if you’re driving westbound during sunset. Bring a pair of sunglasses and make sure they’re polarized to reduce eye fatigue while maintaining optimum visibility.

Tissue

Ever desperately need to blow your nose…while in traffic? Have some tissues handy to avoid using your sleeve. Ew.

Mints

Mints are a quick pick-me-up when you’re feeling tired and (bonus!) they make your breath fresh,  which is nice for your companion. It may also keep that cop who pulled you over in a better mood.

Aromatherapy

In the same way that mints can provide a nice wake-up kick to the senses, having an essential oil or fresh herb handy can be just the boost you need to stay focused while driving a long monotonous stretch of road (looking at you I-10). My good friend put some dried mint in a tiny jar which I kept near me while driving. I would periodically open the jar and take a deep breath which kept me energetic . Perhaps more importantly, it kept me grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.

Weapon / Knife

Regardless of whether you view a utility knife as a weapon or not, it can be used as one. You should always have a knife around.  It s a handy tool and serves double-duty as a means of self-protection. That being said, if you’re down to a small utility knife to save you, you’re probably in bad shape…that’s why I also have a tire iron, machete and baseball bat. I know, I’m paranoid but —- QUIT LOOKING AT ME FUNNY!

if you do choose to travel with something better suited for self-protection please check the laws in the states you’ll be passing through to make sure you’re in compliance.

Carabiner

I have at least a few carabiners with me while driving. Why? Because they’re incredibly versatile! I clip one or two to my main backpack and have a few more in my emergency tool kit.  I’ve used a carabiner to secure my bag to my chair while at a cafe, clip my dog’s leashes to a fence, or attach the top of my water bottle to a luggage handle. I’m currently using one to hang a lantern from the top of our tent.

Tape

There exists a great scholarly discussion on whether or not you should keep duct tape, gorilla tape, gaffers tape or tenacious tape in your bag. Tenacious tape seems to be the king of repair tape but I’ve settled on gorilla tape because of its strength, the lack of sticky residue, and the ease of tearing it with your fingers instead of having to cut it with a knife or scissors. A small piece of gorilla tape has been serving as a temporary patch on our air mattress for the last four day days – not too shabby.

Gorilla Tape Patch for Coleman air mattress
Gorilla Tape Temporary Patch
Beverage Container

Stay hydrated. I prefer HydroFlask to keep my water cold which is especially helpful during summer driving. I also have a KleenKanteen but recently it’s been leaking and on the whole, has been less reliable than the HydroFlask therefore I can’t recommend it.

I like to keep my coffee or tea mug separate from my water bottle to avoid lingering tastes and having to wash it out so often. I also really enjoy having both coffee AND water available to drink. Some of you minimalists will be fine with just one container in which case definitely go with something stainless steel so that your water doesn’t taste like coffee later in the day.

For my coffee I use a 16oz Tervis tumbler with a travel lid that came in a welcome packet from the Wounded Warrior Project. I like it for coffee because it doesn’t keep beverages hot all day. I don’t like pouring piping hot coffee and having to wait at least four hours before I can sip it without burning myself. Ugh.

Baby Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

When my dog chased a llama through the fields of Indiana I ended up covered in mud and who-knows-what-else. I thanked myself for packing baby wipes and hand sanitizer.

Bottle Opener

How many times in your life have you heard, “Does anyone have a bottle opener?” ‘Nuff said.

Safety pins

I primarily keep these around to make sure my blouse doesn’t blow open and I inadvertently end up flashing strangers. I’m currently using one right now to keep a low-cut dress modestly placed. Sorry, strangers.

Good Luck Charm

C’mon, who doesn’t benefit from the comfort of traveling with a good luck charm (or two, or three)? It might not help, but it definitely won’t hurt. Unless it’s broken mirror or something. Don’t bring that.

Light Source

At some point on the road you’re going to need to rely on a light source other than the sun. Whether it is a lantern, flashlight or even some fire-starters make sure you have a way to create light. Don’t rely on just one source of light either – I have a small Fenix flashlight in my car AND in my packed bag, a headlamp in my first aid kit, and a lighter on my person (I wish I had the foresight to make sure they all shared the same battery – I address this point in our upcoming post on travel tips.)

Entertainment

Penny and I travel with a small assortment of games that require no electric power or batteries. We like having easy access to entertainment no matter where we are and whether or not that place has reliable internet or power. Our favorite games to play during our downtime are Bananagrams or All Queens Chess.

Eye Mask and Earplugs

Penny loves to look at me and hangs on every word I say so she has no need of either of these items but you, dear reader, may find yourself in a situation where you’ve driven very late into the night and want to sleep in the next morning. Unfortunately you may also be crashing on a far-flung friend’s couch with light pouring into their living room and they have noisy neighbors. Be prepared and have an eye mask (this one is molded so it doesn’t rest on your eyelids) and earplugs

If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave them below! And if you’re curious about other items we bring during our travels, sign up for our mailing list below to have updates delivered directly to your inbox – or just keep checking back here.

We were not paid in any way for these reviews and recommendations. All of these items were purchased with our own money. We strongly prefer to shop locally when and where possible. If you do, however, decide to to purchase an item via the links provided we will earn a small percentage and be immensely grateful for your support. Thank you!