Australia: Zoo fun

The weekend arrived and we were finally able to go out with all four of us again.  Saturday started with a nice brunch at Cafe Indigo.  It is clearly THE spot in Double Bay.


Kyle got the blueberry pancakes (above) and I got my sister’s fave, the breakfast bruscetta (below).


My sister got a new (to her) order, which looks very similar to the salmon benedict but has avocado instead of hollandaise.


P fell asleep in the stroller at lunch so I cut out a bit early to go back home and put him down for a proper nap in the pack n play.


Once he woke back up we headed off to take the ferry to the Taronga Zoo.


We bought tickets in advance because then it comes with the gondola ride up to the entrance.  Scenic and lazy fast, yes please.


Pretty good views once you reach the top!  The weather was warm and humid but you could tell a storm was in the works just barely holding off. 

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We saw koalas, komodo dragons, crocodiles, and a few other Aussie specific species, in addition to giraffes and monkeys and more universal zoo creatures.


The seal show was definitely a big hit as P likes all things water and balls.  There had a few California sea lions!


We broke for lunch afterwards, but I wasn’t super hungry.  The meal options were decent, and then I saw roasted pumpkin and it made my day!  My eyes were bigger than my stomach because I got both of these (one with potatoes too) and it was a LOT of fiber to take down at once.


After lunch P fell asleep in the ergo for his PM nap, during which we saw big cats, goats, monkeys, kangaroos, and wallabies.  And a lot of others, but those were the highlights.


Group shot!

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We went back to show P more kangaroos once he woke up because there was a place that let you walk amongst them.  We cut that one short once I saw a wallaby sizing P up.

We stayed around until the very end which meant we missed the gondola ride back.  Instead we took a bus back to the ferry.  Patty-cakes learned SO many transportation words on this trip!  It started pouring the second we docked in Circular Quay, so we huddled behind the ticket counter as best we could while waiting for the next ferry to take us back to Double Bay but man was it coming down!  That said, it only lasted an hou ror so and then was basically gone (maybe a light drizzle continued, but barely).  We were SO lucky it didn’t rain on our parade ruin our zoo plans!  Seriously, talk about good fortune with the weather! 

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The boys went out to a pub to watch (Australian rules) football and rugby, so Laura and I ordered pasta take-out and watched Memoirs of a Geisha.  I read the book so long ago I honestly couldn’t remember anything, which was kinda awesome.  I really liked the movie!  The Brumbies won, but the Swanies lost so it was a bittersweet night for the Aussies among us. 

My highlights: week 4


Pretty much my breakfast all week. 


Except for this one.  With nomnompaleo’s cinnamon banana coconut pancakes.  Thanks for the suggestion Ttrockwood.  🙂


Hipster babe.

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Brussels before and after.  I used this recipe and it’s my new favorite way to eat ze sprouts.  For the record, I’m not a picky one with the cruciferous category (I love all my greens in sickness and in health), but Kyle is and he loved them too…so if that’s any indication of the yum factor, there you go.


omgomgomgomgomg [fingers crossed]


You all know about that whole cauliflower pizza crust thing, right?  It’s a thing in case you didn’t know – google it.  I made mini crusts, but they weren’t firm enough to hold up as a crust.  Still yummy though.  I used nooch instead of cheese so that’s probably where the issue stemmed from.  I just smeared avocado all over the tops and called it a day.  Good enough for me!


Toy of the week. Tongue out = focusing.


Dates from the dessert.  Kyle brought these back from the UAE for me and it’s hard to practice restraint as I pick my dessert out each night.  I’m actually shocked there are any left given my hideous track record with moderation (especially when it comes to dates!).  They are SO good. 

PS I have a reader in Dubai!!  That’s so cool!  Hi Lindsay!! 


MOPS sisterhood.


Speaking of which.  We had a recipe exchange this Monday’s MOPS meet-up and I came home with a few good ones.  Unfortunately there were lots with allergens that I’ll have to get crafty with. 


Rocking out.


Date night!!  My sister came to Davis to babysit so Kyle and I could go on a double date.  We met friends at Ella in Sacramento and had a fantastic time – fancy food, delicious drink, great company.


I recently watched this on Netflix and as a result became a huge huge fan of Chipotle.  So I went and tried their food – for the first time – and yum!  As the wife of an entrepreneur, it makes me happy to see good people with good ethics succeed in their business while upholding their values.

We live near one of the locations with the vegan sofritos.  Hope they roll that out nationwide!  The only bummer is that the guacamole is more $$$ even if you don’t do dairy.  I feel like they should make an exception if you don’t want the (free) cheese or sour cream you should get (free or reduced price) avo in exchange.  I still paid extra for it though. Obvs.


My handsome date.

And that’s the week! 

Our first weekend back in LA

It’s so weird that we haven’t been back to LA since we left back in April.  We’ve seen several of our so cal friends since but not all of them so we decided to pop in for a quick visit.

Honestly, we’ve been trying to squeeze a weekend in since this past fall, but then all this (good) stuff was happening with Kyle’s business…and then the holidays came along…and you know how it goes…


But we finally got this in the calendar and what a fun time it was!

Now.  As much as I adore my friends, I’d be lying if I didn’t also admit to being really really excited about the restaurant scene.  Davis is great for farm fresh produce and exceptional quality in whole food ingredients, but there aren’t too many options for dining out.  Not that it matters now, because we don’t dine out with a baby, but it limits our take-out options and means I cook our food 99% of the time.  That’s great for our bank account, but can be exhausting. 

Some times I miss the days of treating ourselves to the Whole Foods hot bar or the Veggie Grill.  Back then I thought we did it way too often, but now I’m glad I indulged.

Santa Monica (and the surrounding Westside) is packed with vegan and vegetarian options that spoiled me so rotten when we lived there!  Native Foods, Real Food Daily, Blue Plate, Seed – I could go on and on…and that’s not even including the new places like Sage or the ones I never tried , like Cafe Gratitude.

But I digress.  I love living in Davis, and the sushi I get here is actually the best I’ve ever had, so that’s the positive.


We left after Thursday’s swim classes and P fell asleep right away.  In a super awkward position.  But he didn’t want to budge when I tried to ease his neck back to a more neutral position.  Oh well.

Unfortunately, he didn’t sleep too long, but it was at least enough time for me to eat breakfast and finish my starbucks.  I’m really torn when I drink coffee now because I don’t know what to use as a milk.  The only options at Starbucks are soy and dairy and P’s skin is looking SO much better since I’ve been eliminating his allergies from my own diet.  At home I’ve been trying to limit my nut intake to just the almond milk in my coffee but I know I should get rid of that too.  Which means I either get to drink black coffee or figure out a non-soy, non-nut, non-dairy, non-seed alternative.  Rice and oat milk have zip to offer nutritionally, so I’m thinking I may try coconut milk and see how he reacts?  Coconut is supposed to be a palm fruit so it should be safe, but I’m still nervous. 

Anyway, I ended up feeding him banana and corn puffs and some other snacks while Kyle drove.  After that he finally fell asleep for a more real nap.

We only stopped once to get gas, pee, nurse, and all that jazz…during which we laid out a blanket on a grassy patch so patty-cakes could burn off some energy.  I feel so bad that he’s strapped into the car seat because he wants to romp so badly nowadays.


We finally made it to Newport Beach, where we were staying the night with my g-ma.


We called in an order for take-out from Native Foods in Costa Mesa.

Dinner is served!


I told Kyle to tell them no onions, which apparently meant no onions or salsa.  Bummer.  The Caribbean Jerk Kale salad could have used a little more something something, but it was good anyway. 

Their menu has lots of new things on it, and I wish I could have tried a few of them, but I was in the mood for kale, so the kale salad with tempeh seasoning won out. 

[Side note: it is really hard to find a soy, nut, seed, and wheat free option on a vegan menu.  I knew this going into the weekend, but decided to just do my best, enjoy the food from my fave restaurants as well as I was able while still minding P’s allergies, and once we got home I’d reassess my plan for the future.]


Kyle got the Oklahoma burger, which is one of his standards, with sweet potato fries.

We tried to play with the little guy and stimulate him a lot in that last hour before his bedtime, to try to make up for a boring day for him.  He wasn’t too fussy in the car ride, but we still felt bad.


My g-ma very nicely shared her holiday chocolates with us for dessert. 

The next day we hit the road after breakfast. 


I made us all some eggs, and I was so impressed with the fact that I didn’t crack any yolks I had to take a photo!

Once we arrived in Westwood, we swung by the hospital to say hi to my old coworkers and visit the units that delivered P and took care of me post-partum.

Then it was off to lunch!


Huckleberry always sounds delicious and they had a ton of new menu offerings!


I got the salad trio plate, which was really hard because I wanted at least 6 of the items in the window.  I narrowed it down to the shaved brussels sprout salad, roasted carrots, and fried tofu. 


I also got a quinoa cake.


The brussels salad was AMAZING.  I don’t even like capers (or so I thought) but it was salty perfection.  Combined with creamy avocado.  Mmmmm…

The tofu had sesame seeds, which I didn’t realize at the time, so I only had a few and saved the rest for later. 


Kyle enjoyed my bread in addition to his own order of the wedge salad and vegetarian quiche.


So cheesy.


P had fallen asleep in the car on the way from UCLA so we brought him in the stroller (covered with an aden & anais blanket) to try and prolong his nap but the street noise woke him up pretty much right after we were seated.  He was still tired so he was in and out of it, until he saw our food. 


I gave him a napkin to occupy him, which worked like a charm.  He ripped it into a million pieces and we ate in peace.  Win win.

After we were both stuffed we walked over to Montana Ave to meet up with Kyle’s friend.  From there on out we spent the day meeting up with various groups of friends.  I felt like a pinball on the Westside, just bouncing from one place to the next.


Eventually we got settled at Seamus & Cindy’s (we stayed with them for Fri and Sat night).  It was so cute watching the boys kinda not really play together.


James has a LOT of toys but he was so good at sharing. 


For dinner I went to the Veggie Grill in Westwood with my girls, Alene and Ethel


I was so excited to try some of their new items! 

PS Did you know they have an iPhone app?  Cutting edge much?  It’s awesome!


I got the kale caesar.  Yummm.

Kyle hung back with our sleeping babe and got pizza from CPK so it was especially nice having a girls night with my besties.  After I got home, we watched the last of the (DVR-ed) Orange Bowl game and passed out.

The next day we had a brunch on the calendar, so we were out of the house early and off to Rose Cafe.


I got a scramble with extra avocado, while Kyle got the spinach benedict. 


We both licked our plates clean.

P was especially popular since both the couples we went to breakfast with are pregnant! 

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Good practice.

We both felt like crap afterwards and I’m 99% sure the decaf we had wasn’t decaf at all.  My head was buzzing and I felt really blah. 

Since P fell asleep in the car we decided to take our time getting back to Seamus & Cindy’s place, so we ran some errands, including a trip to Bristol Farms for lunch/dinner BBQ stuff.


I sipped on Kombucha while the boys prepped and cooked and drank beer.

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More people came over around noon and the kiddos alternated eating and napping cycles.

We had chips and salsa, bread and cheese, and a massive spread of salads, asparagus, fish, meat, brownies, etc.


I had a couple of plates like this.

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And a gluten free beer that Ethel gave me the day before.  Whoa strong!  I had to pace myself with this one.

We spent the day watching football and kiddos, which is pretty much my heaven.


I had the same stuff for dinner because I stayed in with P while Kyle went out with the boys.

Cindy and I ended up staying up chatting and watching D list movies, but I loved it and wished we lived closer to each other so we could do it all the time.


Sunday morning was mellow.  We hit up Coral Tree for brunch, which was where Kyle and I went on our first date way back when. 


I got a big ass stack of GF blueberry pancakes (it’s hard to tell but that plate is massive) with a fried egg on the side.


Kyle got the almond crusted french toast with a strawberry smoothie.  I’m pretty sure the "almond crusted" portion was cereal because it looked an awful lot like honey bunches of oats to me. 

P watched on with envy as James enjoyed bits and pieces of Cindy and Seamus’ eats. 

We both had leftovers because the portions were massive which ended up being my second breakfast and lunch later on the road.


We basically packed up and headed back to Davis after that.  The kids played a little more together and we stopped for one last order from Veggie Grill though.


Also I went to WF to get a few packages of my fave seitan.  😉

The drive home was long.  Aside from a 30 minute nap, we had a really unhappy kid on our hands.  It was a real workout trying to keep him occupied while we listened to the Niners v. Packers game. 

We stopped twice – the first was a nursing break, and the second was to switch drivers. 

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Kyle’s BBQ tempeh smelled so good I decided to try and eat my dinner while driving.  [His is the crappy photo on the left (sorry!) and mine is the yummy monstrosity on the right.] 

I ate 3 bites of mine before realizing it was way unsafe.  So I waited to finish it once we got home.

For the record, the harvest bowl is most definitely one of the Veggie Grill’s best dishes.  It has Field Roast sausage, which is awesome, as well as quinoa, roasted veggies, and kale topped with a fantastic gravy / hemp seed sauce.  I loved the cauliflower and squash in the bowl as well as the dressing so so much. 


Now I’m going to be pestering Kevin Boylan to open a VG in Davis until it happens.

Back to meal planning and food prep! 

A weekend of Lafayette leaves

I’m so behind in posting!!  Indulge me as I recap last weekend…

Thursday night we got a surprise visit from Kyle’s dad.  He was passing through Davis so he spent the night at our place.


He arrived during patty-cake’s dinner time.  More peas for P, please!

After we all played for a while, it was bedtime for the little guy.


We had called in a take-out order from Mermaid sushi earlier, so the boys went to pick it up while I nursed P to sleep.  Yes, that’s a sushi order for 3.  🙂

Love the soosh.


I don’t have many pics from Friday.  I made a nice breakfast hash, which I paired with 2 fried eggs and 1/2 an avocado.


Now that’s some yolk-age.

P had the same breakfast minus the salt.  His kidneys can’t handle the amount of sodium that my taste buds enjoy.

For lunch I made a salad.

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Spinach, carrots, butternut squash, avocado, goat cheese.


These are 8 inch bowls.  I eat everything out of them nowadays because they are huge and perfect.

Kyle got home from work in the early afternoon and I had the car already packed so we could head to L-town.  We had a dinner date with my sister and her boyfriend in the books (from, like, July).  Kyle and I so rarely get the chance to go out without the babe, so this was fun.  My parents stayed home to “babysit”, but P was already down for the evening when we left so they didn’t have to do anything.

We went to The Door in Walnut Creek and had a fun night being adults.  No peek-a-boo, no spit up, no baby talk.  It’s an Asian restaurant with a small bites menu, so we got two rounds of eats.  And two rounds of drinks.  In the venn diagram of our diets, there weren’t too many things that fell in the center for all four of us, but being an Asian restaurant there were plenty of vegetarian, dairy free, and meat options. And since they were only $6 (on average) it wasn’t a big deal to try out lots of things.  Definitely a fun night.  We’re pretty happy to be living close to family (and babysitters!) here in Nor Cal.  I think they like seeing Mr. P often too.  😉


He’s such a good kid.  And pretty cute too, if I may be so bold.


Hello fall!  This what he does when you say “share with mama?”.

I promised Kyle I’d cook him brunch on Saturday morning (he stayed sober the night before so I could have a glass of wine with dinner).

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I made him french toast on cinnamon swirl bread.


Topped with vegan buttah.

Next up, P!


I made him a little plate of greek yogurt, blueberries, and figs.  But he wasn’t into any of it.  This was his first time trying yogurt and he was so turned off by it, he didn’t even want the figs or blueberries (both of which he’s previously loved).  I guess the tang of plain yogurt isn’t a baby friendly flavor.  Ah well, we’ll try again later.


My turn!  Inspired by my breakfast the previous day, I made the same savory fare (fried potatoes and eggs) minus the avocado.

I guess the savory rut has returned!?  [I’ve been on a peanut butter oatmeal kick for the past week]


Leftovers scrounged from my parents’ fridge for lunch…to make a big ‘ol salad…including spinach, red quinoa, strawberries, goat cheese, and 2 egg yolks (my sister only wanted her whites and I couldn’t bear to see the yellow parts go to waste).


Topped in TJ’s balsamic glaze.

We went back to Davis in the afternoon (after P napped and we got caught up on Top Chef).  I love that it’s on demand because that way we don’t have to beg my parents to use up their precious DVR space to record it.  Oh how I miss you cable Bravo…

I snacked on granola and berries on the drive home.  And then nuts and kale chips once we got to our casa.  I’ve been downing kale chips like a fiend.  Alive & Radiant makes the best ones in my opinion.  I don’t really like the Brad’s naked ones – they taste stale or something.


After we went on a family walk we put P down to sleep, then scavenged the fridge for leftovers.

I made a big salad with spinach, quinoa, butternut squash, carrots, and avocado, but it didn’t fill me up so I had 2 slices of leftover (Vicolo) pizza on the side.


Still trying to get into Breaking Bad…

Sunday morning was leisurely.  I did Jillian’s shred level 3 and then treated myself to pancakes.

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I should have written the recipe down for these because they were great.  Costco stopped carrying my fave GF mix (of course) so I made these from scratch.  In an effort to up the protein I added protein powder (Garden of Life brand) into the mix.  I’m not really a protein powder girl, but if the ratio is relatively low, the flavor isn’t very noticeable and it does hold me over longer.  This had oat flour, almond flour, and protein powder as the dry portion (plus baking powder, egg, and almond milk).


I topped it in peanut buttery sauce (peanut flour thinned with almond milk and maple syrup).  I’m loving peanut flour lately as an add in to various things.  Oatmeal, smoothies, soups, etc.


We all watched football together still in PJs.


Lunch was a simple hummus/avo/egg salad atop GF bread with carrots on the side.  And some chocolate Halloween candy for dessert.


While P took a daddy lap nap, I got to work on dinner.


OMFG.  This pot pie.

Why didn’t I write this down!?!  I used this vegetable and mushroom pot pie with rosemary biscuit topping from Bon Appétit as a rough guide, but of course didn’t really follow anything but the cooking time for the biscuits.

And I didn’t even use the same biscuit recipe!  Instead I made the salt & pepper biscuits from the latest (November) Bon Appétit mag.

Only a changed a ton of things.

1) I used GF appl purpose flour (from TJ’s) in place of wheat all purpose flour.
2) I used coconut oil instead of butter.
3) I used plain goat’s milk yogurt instead of sour cream.
4) I used almond milk instead of cream.

See?  Basically a new recipe.


Gluten Free Salt + Pepper Biscuits [lactose free, vegetarian]


  • ¾ cup plain yogurt (I used Redwood Hill goat’s milk)
  • 4 tbsp plain almond milk (plus a bit more if needed)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 6 tbsp chilled coconut oil
  • flaked sea salt


Preheat oven to 400°.

In a small bowl, whisk yogurt and almond milk.

In another (larger) bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper, then cut in coconut oil until the texture is that of a coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces.

Add in yogurt mixture and then gently stir until a shaggy dough comes together (be careful not to over-mix).  You may need another splash of almond milk (it should be a shaggy dough texture).

Form biscuit clumps and place dough atop hot pot pie filling.  Sprinkle with more salt and pepper.  Place in oven (uncovered) and cook for ~45 minutes or until tester inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.

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I’m not sure how these would work as (non pot pie topping) biscuits, but they were basically the best things ever with the delicious veggie pie filling.


I’ve never cooked with dried mushrooms before, but I’ve read up on how to rehydrate them and all that jazz.


I got them at TJs.  I’m not sure if they’re available year round, but I’m going to stock up now that I know they don’t taste as cheap as they were ($1.99 if I remember correctly?).  Especially since they last forever.


For the filling I used:

  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 5 celery stalks
  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3 parsnips
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 oz dried mushrooms, rehydrated

I cooked the veggies in a splash of olive oil, then added in some veggies broth, and the mushroom water.

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Sooooo good.


I was only back in Davis for Monday and then it was back to my parents’ house again this week.  Have I mentioned how GREAT it is living close to family!?!  Love it. 🙂

A real cake and banana baked oatmeal


Buying bananas at Costco is hard to pass up (so cheap!) but they all go ripe at the same time.  All 150 of them.  So one second you have a bunch of green fruit and then you blink and find yourself with a million pounds of brown spotted bananas to use up.  Stat. 

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I’ve been adding them to everything.  And freezing them for smoothies.  I have 2 loaves of banana bread in my freezer.  I have pumpkin banana bread in the fridge.  I have made gluten free banana pancakes for myself twice.


These guys were my birthday breakfast.  I used the mix I got at Costco with an extra egg and banana mixed in.  It makes them way more fluffy and delish.  I think I like them better this way.  I might try with pumpkin puree mixed in next.

I digress…


The point I was (long-winded-ly) getting to is that the product of banana overload is this beautiful baked oatmeal recipe.


Baked Banana Oatmeal [vegetarian, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]


  • 3 really ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup oats (certified GF if needed)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp NuNaturals stevia more fiber baking blend (or sub sweetener of your choice)


Mash bananas and whip in eggs, milk and vanilla.  Then add in dry ingredients. 

Pour into (greased or parchment paper lined) 7×11 baking dish. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 275 degrees.

Let cool before portioning out servings.  It will set once it gets to room temp.  I ate mine that way, topped with peanut sauce (peanut butter, almond milk).


Don’t worry if the mix looks really liquidy before you put it in the oven…I was skeptical, but it baked down to perfection.

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So yeah, there’s the recipe of the month.  Don’t expect much more from me until November.  Ha!

Here’s what my mom made me for my birthday dinner.


I had a few things bookmarked that I requested.


Pan-seared butternut squash from The Kitchn


Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon by Jessica


Food52’s kale and quinoa pilaf

And wouldn’t you know it?  Every dish was freakin’ awesome.  Thanks mom!!!

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We always got to pick our birthday meals growing up, so it was so cool to be back in Nor Cal, close enough to home to re-start the tradition.  And my mom baked me a cake too!!


Oh how I’ve missed birthday cake!  [Am I rocking that sweatshirt or what, Marie?!]



Good food.  Good fun.  Good news all around.  Right Patty-cakes?


The WF employee recommended Pamela’s GF chocolate cake mix and I can say I 100% agree that it’s the best I’ve tasted.  You’d never know it was gluten free.  It’s not just “good for a GF cake”.  It’s just plain good.


Fudgy and soft and chocolate-y.  She used this frosting by Cherrybrook Kitchen.  It’s appearance is different than the (Betty Crocker) icing I’m used to seeing but taste wise it was indiscernible.  Also a winner in my opinion (no vegan/GF qualifiers needed).

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I feel pretty lucky. 🙂