Lost in London – The fine art of finding more while lost.
My day job consists of organizing and planning things; so one might assume that when I travel everything needs to be all planned out?
That’s actually not the case at all. I don’t like trips that are too structured; I do enjoy an organized tour or two, but I also love exploring freestyle. Getting lost in side streets is the best way to experience a new city.
On my recent trip to London; I was reminded, more than a few times, that I have a horrible sense of direction, lol.
In my defense, I’m lazy; when roaming with others I like to let them take the lead. Always being “the boss” can be exhausting! During my off time, I like to give up control and let others figure out where the hell we are and how the hell we’re going to get to where we’re going.
When I am alone I do make a point to pay more attention to my surroundings and I google map stuff. But there’s a freedom to not knowing exactly where you are. Instead of going from point A to point B; look around and pop into anyplace that look interesting.
My favorite travel days are when I have a general idea of what I want to do and see, but I’m free to roam and explore. I love just happening upon things.
I also love when you tell your travel companions; hey let’s buy crowns and wear them to Buckingham Palace and their first reaction is yes!! Let’s!
Who you’re traveling with can make or break your trip. Just because you’re great friends with someone doesn’t automatically mean you will be great travel buddies…just saying.
After our palace visit, my fellow royals and I made our way to towards SoHo. There are so many different areas with cool shopping and dining options; it’s impossible to see them all. So pick one or two areas to get lost in.
I can be difficult to roam freely in a large group; hey, not everyone has the same interests, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Once in SoHo we quickly discovered that finding a lunch place that appealed to all six of us would be almost impossible.
One of us, probably me, decided we should split up. And instead of being offended, the rest of the group seemed relived. It’s perfectly fine to break up into smaller groups or to venture out alone and meet up later.
I partnered up with Alex and I’m pretty certain that our four other colleagues thought that we would get lost the moment we split; Alex is also directionally challenged.
We spent the afternoon popping in and out of funky places. Some of our colleagues prefer to read the full menu posted on the door before deciding if a restaurant is suitable or not, which is perfectly fine.
Alex and I took a different approach; our lunch venue was selected because they had funky green couches and shiny chandeliers. Once seated we knew we had made the right choice when we saw that they had a section on their menu dedicated to boozy hot chocolates.
After lunch we shopped in super cute boutiques; it was a fabulous afternoon. And guess what? We made it back to the hotel all by ourselves, crowns and shopping bags in hand!
I hope you enjoyed my London adventures; my next trip is San Diego. I will try to pencil in a day or afternoon to get lost there too.
I challenge you to get lost somewhere; and guess what? You don’t even need to leave your hometown. I am certain that there are places that you drive by all the time that you’ve been meaning check out. Take an hour and be a tourist in your own town!! Get lost!!
I know a lot of my readers like to see my oddball purchases. I do love all those tacky touristy shops! Here are my finds from my Lost in London afternoon.
I got a few postcards for my blog board, tacky red double decker salt and pepper shakers; I had bought a pair of these a few years ago for my then bf, now have my own. And some colorful macaroons from Harrod’s.
On every trip I get a print or post cards that I frame. I love having reminders of where I have been hanging on my walls. I bought this print, see above, it spoke to me! 💋
The two pics below were cards that I bought in a stationary shop on my last trip to London. The frames were cheap, but the finished look is fancy! I love them.
To see what my latest London prints and cards will look like framed, follow me on Facebook at @oui-liette. I am going to do a mix of store bought frames and custom framing.
I am kicking off February with some pics from my London trip.
This post is all about exploring a new city and loving every minute of it! And it features my favorite color, which is pink in case you were wondering, lol.
Afternoon Tea in London is a must! We found a very pink place for our first London tea experience.
We made reservations weeks ago at a place called Sketch, it’s super trendy and very Instagrammable.
The Elan Cafes, there are a few different locations in London, also offer pretty places for afternoon tea.
The Sketch theme is Alice in Wonderland meets Marie Antoinette’s let them eat cake!
It’s amazing how such tiny food can fill you up so quickly. We started with custard and caviar, then bite size sandwiches and sweets tray, then scones, they were my favorite; and finally cake!! Oh and there was tea of course.
The Tea Room is pink, but they do have a few other rooms. You’ll need to specify if you want the pink room.
It’s such a magical funky place and the staff were very friendly.
And just when you thought that you’d seen it all; Sketch has one last big surprise for you. Here’s a hint, make certain to take your phone with you when you visit the restrooms.
These stairs lead to the most unique toilets I have ever seen.
These egg shaped toilet pods are at the top of the stairs, and they are wild! You really feel like you’re in some funky fairytale storybook.
Everyone who walked in had the same reaction, “oh!”. And for the record, I wasn’t the only weirdo taking pics in the bathroom!
After our bellies we were full of tiny finger food items, we made our way towards the Grandby Street area.
On our way, we happened upon the most fabulous store front!
It’s called the Maddox Gallery and it’s all decked out for Valentines Day!!
This is my favorite part of exploring a new city, finding flowery, pink, hidden gems.
I think you love me? Yes, I do!!
Caranby Street has the coolest store fronts!! Lots of shopping and people watching.
On our way back to the hotel we spotted this pink taxi, sadly it was taken.
I promise that I am not making this up, but later that evening as we walked back to our hotel from dinner, we spotted these pink garbage bags. My friends thought I was strange for taking a picture of garbage, but I thought it was the perfect end to our perfect pink day in London.
Tomorrow evening we will be taking a haunted walking tour. I’ll let you know if it was cool or not.
Happy February! 💕💖
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If asked to describe what New Orleans is like, I would describe it as an assault on your senses; it’s all too much.
It’s too much food, it’s too much music, the smells are too much, the people are too much, there is too much culture; it’s just fabulously too much!
Here are my to 5 things to do in New Orleans that are too much!
#1 Too much history and culture!
New Orleans oozes culture; it’s impossible not to soak in the culture and history of the city. I don’t think there is any other city in the US with such a distinctive vibe and energy.
If you are a first time visitor you need to take a guided tour because there is just too much to see and do. I have done a few walking tours and a bus tour. Both types were excellent, if you do a walking tour in the summer make sure you are dressed properly and stay hydrated, because the summer heat and humidity is way too much!
There are also several night time walking tours that are fun and will be cooler and to say that the city comes alive at night is a huge understatement. I recommend you visit one of the cemeteries and the Garden District; and of course the French Quarter, which is so full of history, that you almost need a guide to fill you in on all the fabulous and tawdry history.
#2 Way too much music!
New Orleans is the birth place of jazz; if you love jazz, you have to visit!! You will want to go to French Street, but music floods pretty much all of the French Quarter, it doesn’t matter where you go.
While shopping on Royal street a few years ago, I made my way outside to find that the street had been closed and a band was playing. They played three songs, packed up and the street was open again. Spontaneous concerts seem to be the norm.
Each bar on Bourbon Street has music blairing; most have live bands, country, R&B, Cajun… there is something for everyone. The music spills out into the streets with musicians on every corner.
Everytime I’ve been to Jackson Square I have heard students busking, the talent is amazing!
#3 Bourbon Street is waaaayyyy too much!
Bourbon Street is over the top too much. I have been to New Orleans 6 or 7 times now and I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with Bourbon Street virgins a bunch of times. I have noticed that most react to Bourbon Street in the same way; they are flat out freaked out! Lol
And here’s why; it’s an insane place! It does assault the senses, it smells, it’s dirty and it’s home to a few ligit scary people.
People who think that Vegas is a wild place have never been to Bourbon Street. I think it puts a spell on people and makes them lose their minds…or that could also be the alcohol?? Lol, no one knows for sure?
Each person who I’ve taken there for the first time come away thinking, omg, this is too much! But then something happens, once the shock of it all fades a bit, intrigue and fascination take over. This usually takes 24 hours, then they are hooked.
The French Quarter is a contrast in extremes. You can dine in the most fabulous restaurant and then cross the street and walk past the most raunchy strip club.
On this past trip we left Bourbon Street at 6:30pm on a Friday night to make our way to the airport to catch our flight out; as we left, the crowds of people were already starting to file in; things were starting to get crazy…and it was 6:30!!! Lol
You need to experience this for yourself, it’s better to travel in a pack, go with the “no one left behind” rule and just be smart about things. And the number one rule, do not walk in puddles on Bourbon Street, it’s not water!!!!
#4 People watching, so much to see!
You will see and hear the most amazing things in the French Quarter; on this past trip, as I was walking down a side street when I happened upon a wedding procession. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; I was honored to be part of it in some small way. It started with a police escort, followed by the bride and groom literally dancing in the street accompanied by a band and their friends and family following behind waving handkerchiefs. It was so beautiful it looked staged! We saw two wedding processions during our walk, I think it’s a very common thing in these parts. The video and pictures below really captured the moment.
Everyone who encountered the procession stopped, clapped and danced; there was just no way not to smile and be happy. This to me embodies the spirit of New Orleans. After all their motto is “laissez les bons temps rouler »; Let the good times roll.
Another example of New Orleans contrasts is that a few blocks away from Bourbon Street and it’s hedonistic revelers is Jackson Square. It was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, learned that fun fact on my walking tour!! You almost expect to see a princess in a horse drawn carriage to pull up at any moment.
This is Cathédrale Saint-Louis, apparently Walt Disney was a huge fan of New Orleans and could be seen in and around Jackson Square sketching and soaking in the sites and sounds; he was also very inspired by the jazz music that floods the streets.
As I was coming out of one of the little boutiques that surround Jackson Square, I saw another wedding party making their way to the front of the Cathédral; I decided to follow them…ok so I may have some stalker tendencies? Lol, I am attracted to pretty dresses, what can I say??
Voilà! A horse drawn carriage and a princess…ok, it was a bride, but she was obviously fulfilling her princess dream.
The bride was ok, but this little flower girl was adorable!! The dress, the flower crown, the hair…the dress.
#5 Too many unique boutiques and shops!
Even though Bourbon Street feels very frantic, the surrounding cobblestone streets remind you that you are in the South where there doesn’t seem to be a big rush. You need to embrace this laid back vibe when boutique hopping.
There are so many little shops; I even love the real trashy touristy shops that seem to all sell the same things. But there are also unique shops where you will be able to find treasures to take home.
I love, love, love roaming around going from shop to shop. I always discover new places. On this trip we stopped in a shop that looked like just another mask shop until we went inside. It’s called Masquerade and is located on St-Anne Street. All the masks are hand made out of leather, they are mini works of art. I am kicking myself for not buying one for next Halloween. I hate having reverse buyers remorse, when you regret not buying something.
We found one shop that looked like several others that sell spices and rubs, but it turns out they also give Cajun and Creole cooking classes, how fun would that be?? I am adding this on my to do list for my next trip.
There are voodoo shops, we found a super cute milliner shop (hat maker) on Royal Street; I found a funky lamp shop and lots of antique places. One place that I would recommend going to is the Local Artist Co-op, it’s located on Dutch Alley. It’s behind Cafe du Monde, which is the super popular places for beignets.
And if you want a few touristy things go to the French Market, you can hit Cafe du Monde, the Local Artist Co-op, then just keep walking and you will hit the French Market.
Ok, I may have taken too many pics of cute shops? I couldn’t help it!
Here are my finds for this trip; a Kelly green leather clutch, it comes with a wrist strap and body strap, in case you are wondering lol. A small framed hand painted skull from the Local Artist Co-op. I buy a lot of art when I travel, they don’t need to be big or expensive. I love having reminders of my trips in my house. And I couldn’t resist a feather mask, pink of course!
Too much amazing food!!
My most favorite thing to do in the South, not just in New Orleans, is eat! They have the best food on earth!! There is just too much good stuff to add to this post, I will dedicate a full post to all the yummy things to eat!
Bonus Thing To Do!
Because a visit to New Orleans means that you will be walking for hours, I always stop for a quick and cheap massage. There are a few places almost on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Street, you will see an Asian man sitting outside trying to entice customers to come inside.
We made our way inside for a 30 minute foot massage, then we let ourselves get talked into a 30 minute neck massage, prices are great and it feels soooo good!
Here’s a funny story, as soon as we sat down for our massages, we could hear a ruckus outside. It just got louder and louder until it turned into a full on fight. The top picture is Staci and I nervously discussing how super relaxing it was to have a fight during our massage. The funny part is that the little man on his bench outside didn’t even flinch. It eventually quieted down, so we did get to relax and enjoy. New Orleans is full of surprises, you really never know what you are going to see or hear.
I hope this post has given you the urge to visit this beautiful city; there is just too much not to love!!
Les bons temps ont roulé, so now it’s time to go.
I already can’t wait to go back!!! Stay tuned for all the yummy food we ate in New Orleans ans Mississippi! That will be coming up in the next few weeks. Next Sunday I will share my day in a maple syrup sugar shack! I should be down from my sugar high by then? lol
(If you are easily scandalized, please don’t read, 😳)
Roses and chocolates are fine…I guess? If you like that sort of thing? Here are 5 other options to help SASS up your Valentine’s Day…or night? Whatever, lol.
Scissor Sisters Booty Bucks
Not ready to put a ring on it? The Scissor Sisters have a few hilarious ways to say…mm, I love you??
They have created super funny Booty Bucks for that special someone in your life. If interested, please DM Melissa on Insta: lil_gingersnap, they are 50% sass, 50% kick ass and 100% fun!
My two favs are: “I’am so glad we got drunk and had sex”and “You repulse me the least”, lol. Share which you like best??
What’s Wax Got to Do With It??
Nothing!! Just say no to wax; body sugaring is the way to go! If you are so fortunate to live in the Moncton area, then you are fortunate enough to visit our local goddess, Kimberly, at Kimberly the Studio. I’ve been to lots of fancy places with fancy spas and Kimberly is by far the best at what she does!!
What does she do you ask? She does it all! Lol, she’s been called a Vulva Artist, she will make your vagina look and feel it’s very best! Not for anyone else, but for yourself. She’s an artist and a poet and embodies female empowerment. I make a beeline to her studio whenever I am in town.
Guys, a gift certificates for your ladies will help spice up your love lives. Another way to spice it up, would be to get your backs sugared, lol, just saying.
Her studio, Kimberly the Studio, is located at 139 Archibald St, in Moncton. If you are too far to visit Kimberly, aw so sorry, I feel really bad for you. Make an appointment with your local ladyscaping artist; you just won’t get the Kimberly experience.
She also wanted me to mention that that The Aberdeen Cultural Center will be hosting their annual fundraiser, l’art en boîte. Valentine’s Day in Moncton is not just heart day, its art day!! For $50, you get to go home with an original piece of art. Check them out, buy your ticket, support local artists.
Get A Heart On!
One of Moncton’s best Restaurant’s, if not the best, is Gusto Italian Bar & Grill. It’s located on 130 Westmorland St. If you haven’t been, I can guarantee you will looove it!
It’s the perfect place to take your sweetheart on your next date night; all their food is amazing, but their freshly made cheesecakes are on another level!
They also have a super cool vibe with lots of dark corners on the main level; perfect for a romantic night out.
Meet Gusto’s hostess with the mostess, Guylaine, flaunting their gluten free, pecan caramel cheesecake. It’s beyond delicious! I have no idea what’s in the crust, but I could have just eaten the crust alone and been super satisfied; and did I mention it’s gluten free? It’s their feature cake until March.
Netflix & Chill, Solo
There’s no shame if you find yourself in between lovers this VD Day…oh I mean, VDay 😬
Plan the perfect night in; order yourself a heart shaped pizza and a few slices of cheesecake to go; wash it all down with a box of wine and binge watch the first season of You and Dirty John. You will be counting your lucky stars that you’re single after watching, trust me!! Man that is some scary shit!!
(Also if you don’t know what Netflix & Chill means, look it up 😳)
Here’s an idea, skip the homemade card and go for custom condoms; yes you can have a custom message printed on the package. Full disclosure, I haven’t tried these…yet, but OMG what a fabulous idea!! FYI, all my friends are getting oui-Liette condoms next Christmas! Lol
I hope this post helps to get you in the mood. Please note, I am not being paid or getting freebies to promote the companies & services listed above; my shout outs are ligit. Ok…I may get a free slice of cheesecake from Gusto’s every once in awhile?? But just the ones that flop over and aren’t pretty enough to serve to customers, lol.
And I just noticed an unintentional theme, all my featured companies in this post are from female boss ladies!! Except for the condoms, not sure if that is a female led business or not? But it’s a great ideas so probably thought of by a woman?? Kidding…sort of.
Thanks for reading, share the love by liking or sharing!!
Shout out to my nephew Jack for being a great little photographer and all round supporter!
A friend invited me to a local Christmas Market just 40 minutes outside of Moncton, New Brunswick. Having been to all the fancy Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria, her expectations were high for her little hometown market of Bouctouche, NB.
We were both pleasantly surprised! Unlike craft shows where a lot of the vendors sell similar things. This Country Christmas Market had a wide variety of vendors and absolutely beautiful treasures.
I encourage anyone in the Moncton area who is looking for something to do tomorrow, Sunday Dec 2, to make the trip out to Bouctouche; it’s well worth it!
Christmas Markets are popping up in big and small cities this time of year; please make sure to take advantage. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and to support local artists!! It’s a win/win.
Here are a few of the great things we found!
Nick The Dutch Baker had amazing treats!!
My fav items were these homemade wooden cutting boards, see below. I have seen them go for a few hundred dollars each in bigger cities; the large one below was $60!!! Bummed that in my excitement, I didn’t catch the name of this vendor…sorry.
My favorite vendor was Sarriette Boutique. I could have bought every single item they had for sale; and their displays and packaging were on point!! (Side note, Sarriette is French for Summer Savory, which is a spice found in Atlantic Canada).
No Canadian Market would be complete without some maple syrup products; now I may be biased, but I am fairly certain that the East Coast of Canada makes the best!!
Did you know that Maple Syrup is referred to as Liquid gold! And did you know that Canada has an emergency reserve of Maple Syrup?? It’s true!
I was surprised to discover that a lot of my West Coast friends have never heard of Maple Cream or Butter. I am bringing some back to Vegas with me so I can blow their minds! lol
I’ve seen lots of beach glass art, some are cheesy, but Sea Glass Concepts had some super cute art! Check them out online!
From cookies to cranberries, this small Christmas Market had it all!!
I had a great time at the Bouctouche Christmas Market; what a fun day! The only thing missing, as per my friend, was spiced wine! We will make that suggestion for next year.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! Oh and be nice! Santa doesn’t visit assholes! lol
Back in Canada for work, I found myself with a few hours of free time to explore the city; what to do, what to do? To say that this city has an infinite list of things to do is a huge understatement!
My favorite thing to do in a big city, any city really, is to walk the streets, people watch and to get the feel of the unique vibe of the city.
We walked our way to Graffiti Alley, which is in a really neat part of town. It is in the Fashion District and runs south of Queen Street West from Spadina Ave to Portland Ave.
Never heard of it? If you are Canadian, I bet you have seen it without knowing what it was. It’s the alley that Rick Mercer, a fellow Maritimer, walked through during his awesome rants on This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
I discovered Graffiti Alley a few years ago, if you read my very first blog post on the hard hitting subject: How to Take the Perfect Selfie, you will have seen this pic, taken there.
You often see photo shoots being shot when touring the alleys, which I love to witness.
If you find yourself with free time in this beautiful city, I urge you to get out and explore!!
We have had two awesome meals here, here are my recommendations:
Si Lom Thai Bistro – 534 Church St
My second recommendation Is Donatello: 37 Elm Street
Tomorrow I am off to my hometown of Moncton, N.B. I have already put my parents on notice that I will be expecting lobster rolls for lunch. They are more than happy to comply. But tonight, I am eating smarties in bed; resting up for some vacation adventures.
Thanks for reading, more pictures on Insta & Facebook: oui-liette, check me out! And click like below if you liked. If you didn’t like this post, sorry, but you just read all the way to the end, so it couldn’t have been that bad, lol.
Feel free to share your fav thing to do in this Mega City! I will be back here in two weeks, would love some recommendations.
More fun things to do in and around Las Vegas, while sober…or tipsy! Lol
This next activity, is my second fav thing after kayaking. You probably shouldn’t do it while drinking though, lol.
When you think of coming to Vegas, I bet a Camel Safari isn’t exactly top of mind? I am a list girl, those who know me will be shocked by this statement I am sure…not! I often make mini bucket lists, just to keep things interesting. I try to pick 4 or 5 new things a quarter. New on my list was going on a Camel Safari.
Since Las Vegas is in the desert, I thought it would be plausible that there would be camel safaris available somewhere…right? I mean, come on, anything is possible, it’s Las Vegas!
I was right! I did a quick Pinterest search and there it was! The company is called: Camel Safari…ok, they may not get points for originality, but hey, they do Camel Safaris, so it fits. My nephew Jack was coming to visit, so I booked us a Camel Safari! I really need to give my nephew a shout out, like camels, teenagers can be, at times difficult, but he is and has always been game and receptive to all my cockamamie ideas…and there have been many!! You rock Jack!
Camel Safari, the company, is located in Bunkerville, which is a little over one hour’s drive from Las Vegas. So not that far.
There are different tours available; you can feed the animals, they have more than just camels; they do bachelor and bachelorette parties, where you can party under the stars. Side note, the night before we went on our safari, they filmed an episode of the Bachelor there! And of course they do Camel Safaris, please check them out online: http://www.camelsafari.com
Now I am no camel expert, but everyone that I spoke to about my upcoming adventure warned me that camels are basically assholes. My experience was the exact opposite, these camels were very well behaved. Mine had a funny, quirky personality, we bounded over the fact that he seemed to love getting his picture taken, just like me.
Again, I am no animal expert, but I attribute their well-mannered behavior to the fact that they are so well cared for by their keepers. They are not locked in cages, they get to roam on the estate; where they hang out with their camel friends and a rescued zebra, who the camels have accepted as one of their own.
The staff seem to be there because of a genuine love of animals, it was great to see! And a fun experience, I highly recommend!
Camel Safari…checked of my list!!
NEXT! Let’s do a speed round of my go to places; this is where I take my visitors who come to visit me.
Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains is 15 minutes off the strip (all of these places, I found on Pinterest, it’s my fav search engine.)
Seven Magic Mountains is a temporary art exhibit in the desert, I guess you can drink there, as long as you are not the driver. You can take great pics and it’s free!
Liberty Bell Arch
Liberty Bell Arch is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, it’s on the Arizona side. It’s a geological masterpiece! The arches were formed over 300 million years. It is less than an hours drive from the strip. It is a moderate hike, bring lots of water! Sorry, this is a non-alcoholic activity, but it is free!
You can’t see the Arch from the highway, so when it finally does come into view it’s amazing! Please be careful, the rocks at the base of the Arch are lose and sharp. I didn’t venture all the way up to the base; but my friend Sean did, he did a lot of slipping and sliding on the rocks while I was safe a distance away taking pictures.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire is approx 50min from the strip, you really, really need to go! It is breathtaking and there is a spiritual zen vibe to it. The hikes are amazing, the park is over 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops, as per their site, please go to: http://www.parks.nv.gov for more info…oh and they have cool petroglyphs.
Save your drinking for when you get back to the strip, you need to be on your A game for this one. There is a fee to get into the park, but well worth it.
Nevada has lots of Ghost Towns, if you have a bit more time or are touring the state and see them from the highway, you should stop! As long as you aren’t driving, I don’t see any issues with an adult beverage or two, hey you may even see more ghosts after a few?
Welcome to Vegas Sign
What people may not realize is that Las Vegas has a very sophisticate side, we have world class entertainment, top chefs and the worlds most impressive NHL hockey team…GO KNIGHTS!
But there is also a fun and cheesy side; everyone who visits me needs to get their picture taken at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. I think it’s the most fabulous touristy thing you can do!
Although this is a free activity, there is always a guy there who offers to take your picture, I recommend you let him. He is a pro! He will help you find your inner cheese! Don’t forget to slide him a $5 afterwards! $10 if you are a larger group.
My brother wins for best jump, the worst jumper is Gilles, bottom left. Gilles you really let us down, you should be embarrassed, lol. My dad and uncle were living their best thug life, trust me you would not have wanted to be on the ice, with these two hockey guys in their hay day!
What is your best Vegas hot spot? Have you tried any of the activities listed here? Please share!
As always, thank you for reading, this one was long, but I needed to jam pack lots of content. If you enjoyed please click on like, feel free to share on social media and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss anything.