Meet the Parents

Let me preface this by saying, I have no pictures. I was a terrible blogger and took zero pictures of what ended up being a very fun and productive weekend. I wish I did, but I want to write it all anyway.

Friday night Chris and I headed south to Freehold for Lindsey’s birthday dinner at The American Hotel. The food was good, and the place was nice, but we were surprised to learn that it turns into a nightclub for cougars after 10pm. I’ve never seen so many moms shaking it to Flo Rida. It was… interesting. We had a great time catching up with everyone and toasting to Lindsey.

Saturday morning we went to see our first wedding venue! We suspected it would also be the most expensive venue on our list, and it looks like we were right. At least, I hope we were right! We would love to get married in Jersey City because it means so much to both of us, but it’s also crazy expensive. We’re paying for this shindig ourselves, and staying within budget is critical. Still, we wanted to at least see Maritime Parc so we could know. The woman who helped us was lovely, and actually taught us quite a bit about weddings. For example, we were so proud to have already finished putting together our guest list. When we told her our number was under 100 (92 at the moment) she asked us if we remembered to count ourselves. No, no we did not. Lesson learned.

We got a tour of the venue which has stunning views of both the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline, but even with our small(ish) guest list, we will still most likely be priced out of Maritime Parc. We were disappointed, but the more we thought about it, the more sense it made. We would have been very small fish to them. They basically told us, we’d have to book a date that matched with a bigger wedding because it wouldn’t be worth it for them to even open the place with our small group. I realize a lot of venues host multiple events at once, but I would still like to feel like our event is a big deal to them. It will be to us!

Saturday night, we drove up to Montclair to meet my mom and sister and Chris’ family. It was the first time everyone had met before, and of course Chris and I were the last to arrive. No matter, our families found each other, and we walked into the restaurant to find everyone happily chatting away. Admittedly, we were a bit nervous, but the night went so well! I got to talk wedding details all night with the ladies, and it was very surreal to see all the people I love in one room around one table. I’m so excited to be marrying Chris because he really is the love of my life, but I’m pretty much equally excited to join our families. It sounds so old-school to say that, but I really do love Chris’ family, and my family loves him, and I’m just so excited for everyone to get to know and love each other.

Today we cleaned house and relaxed, which was lovely. I watched a ton of Game of Thrones this weekend. I’ve read 2.5 of the books now, and had started watching Season One a few months ago, but couldn’t get into it. I came back to it, and now I’m hooked.

Chris had a big, huge project that consumed most of his free time this weekend, and it’s really neat! He basically made our apartment it’s own computer network. I’ll butcher the explanation if I try and go into too much detail, but basically he bought a giant storage device and converted all of our file storage over to it. Then, he wiped both of our local hard drives on our computers and reinstalled the operating systems as if they were new computers! It’s amazing. My computer is going on 5 years old, and it’s been running like molasses on a cold day for a while now. I hate using it, and it’s really impacted my desire to blog. It used to take like 30 minutes just to upload photos, and it was killing me. Now, it’s like a dream! I always knew it was all my music and photos slowing my computer down, but who wants to delete all that stuff? Turns out, I didn’t have to! Now, I still have access to all my media, but none of it is stored on my local hard drive, which means my computer is operating with maximum memory. It’s really something.

That was our lovely weekend. I wish I could do it all again.


so it begins

February is going to be one busy month for me. Like I have something planned every day of every weekend. Like I will probably sleep 24 hours total. Like, it’s going to be rough. Still, at the end of February, Chris and I are off to sunny, beautiful Jamaica, so I’m keeping my eyes on the prize. The craziness kicked off this weekend, so I’m feeling it today. There’s not too many pics, so I’ll keep it short. Let’s go!

Friday was actually quite lovely. It has been absolutely freezing lately, so Chris and I decided to stay in, and I attempted a very ambitious, for me, recipe of fish tacos.


They were delicious and much easier than I thought! I:

  • marinaded two filets of flounder (because it was on sale) in lime juice, chopped garlic, cilantro, chili powder and paprika for about 15 minutes
  • crushed a cup of tortilla chips and added those same seasonings (minus the lime) to the chips and breaded the fish with them
  • poured the remaining marinade over the fish and cooked it in the oven for 15 minutes on 375

In the meantime, I:

  • made brown rice with lime and cilantro
  • sliced up an avocado
  • chopped up a quarter of a red cabbage and mixed it up with salt, pepper, lime and cilantro
  • warmed corn tortillas in the microwave (2o seconds each)

When the fish was done, I flaked it into chunks they layered it on the tortilla and topped it with the cabbage slaw, jarred salsa and sliced avocado. They were divine!

Saturday we were up bright and early and off to New Brunswick. Chris dropped me off at the Alpha Chi house then went on to spend the day with his parents. I spent the day helping the Alpha Chi’s get ready for formal recruitment, and getting so excited! Their plans sound so great, and I just know they’re going to have an awesome time.

When I was done, Chris picked me up and we wandered the mall for a few hours killing time until Steve’s birthday dinner!

We decided on Hibachi which I was so excited for, but ended up waiting forever to eat even though we had reservations. The people at the table where we were to be seated had finished before we even arrived, and despite the fact that we were obviously waiting, they just continued to sit and sip their drinks FOR AN HOUR rather than heading to a bar or, ya know, not drinking their faces off prior to driving home. Anyway, we eventually sat and it was worth the wait.


The birthday boys (Steve has a twin) had a great time and so did we.

Sunday was another early morning for us as we had to drive into the city so I could drop some things off at a medical lab. I’ve been dealing with a host of (blessedly) minor medical issues lately including increasingly annoying digestive problems, anxiety (maybe related, maybe not) and getting diagnosed with a very benign blood disorder called Thalassemia (I have a very mild form). All these ailments have resulted in about 6 doctors appointments in 2 weeks. It’s not fun, but I’m eager to get it taken care of before our trip, and I’m thankful for health insurance. Sunday was just a drop off so it was quick, but it was still a pain to wake up and drive into the city. Thankfully, Chris did all the driving because he is a saint.

After our mini adventure we went on a chilly four mile run then came back and cleaned for a long time. It was needed, and our apartment looks lovely now. I met my mom for lunch which was just what I needed then came back home to finally relax and unwind.

We watched Dream House


which looked like it should have been amazing with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. I remembered seeing the trailer and thinking it looked very cool. Turns out seeing the trailer was the worst thing I could have done. The “surprise” that comes about 40 minutes into the movie is totally revealed in the trailer. So, the first half of the movie was basically a waste of time for me. How does that happen? How do you give away the twist in the movie in the preview?? The rest of the movie was just ok. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Oh and I spent the weekend mezmerized by this beauty


Ok. It’s a little cloudy there, but the moon was gigantic (I guess the moon doesn’t really grow; it just appears closer to the earth, but that’s less fun to say) all weekend, and it was so amazing. The world is just awesome sometimes.

Have a great week!

Cutting the Cable

While out on our early morning long run Saturday, Chris and I were lamenting that our cable tv provider, Comcast decided to raise our rates again (it’s not Comcastic). Like a used car salesman, cable companies offer a product with no fixed price, which forces us as the consumer to engage in a truly exhausting form of haggling. Every six months, we call them up and threaten to drop them. They tell us they’ll, “see what they can do” and come back with a cheaper monthly rate for cable. Ultimately, we end up with a rate that’s only slightly higher, but it’s frustrating.

Struck with inspiration (or maybe just heat exhaustion) Chris said, “Maybe we should just cancel cable?” Done. See, I hate the TV. I like a lot of TV shows, but I hate the TV. I hate trying to find something that I want to watch when I want to watch it, and I hate commercials. Generally, I spend 5 minutes browsing through our 100 or so channels of absolute garbage before giving up and watching reruns of older tv shows on Netflix. Also, I’m cheap, so canceling cable was right up my alley. It helps that we have a few friends and family members who have done the same, and they have no regrets, so it seemed like an easy call.

Chris was thrilled. I think he was really excited to use his power as a consumer to stick it to The Man, so we cut the cable.

Miles was really excited too.

Ok, so you don’t actually cut the cable, which sort of bummed me out; you just unplug it. Then, you call Comcast and tell them, “Smell ya later, suckers!” I don’t think Chris really said that. He was probably very polite; that’s why he’s in charge of these things. Being the jerks that they are, they jacked up our internet costs sine we’re no longer bundled, but we’re still saving about $50 a month. It’s not going to make us millionaires, but it surely doesn’t hurt, and an extra $50 a month for a subpar product that we were barely using was really a waste of money. Just like that, we were cable-less.

And now we spend our evenings reading by candle light.

Not really. In case you’re thinking of cutting cable too and are wondering what you’ll do with your free time, here’s what we plan on using.

First, Chris went out and bought an antenna for $50 (pays for itself in a month!). I thought it would be rabbit ears, but apparently those don’t exist anymore. Instead, we have a sleek black square about the size of a magazine sitting next to our tv. With the antenna we’re able to pick up all the networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, WB, and some news channels) in HD. That means we can watch the news, the Olympics and most importantly, The Bachelor for free. We already have a Netflix subscription for $12 a month, which provides one DVD at a time as well as unlimited streaming. There are a huge selection of DVDs, and turnover is usually 3 days between when you return one DVD and when you get a new one. In order to stream movies and tv, we use the Apple TV.

It’s teeny, and it does a great job of streaming Netflix as well as movies and tv shows from our home computers. The selection for Netflix streaming is lacking. They have a ton of documentaries and a surprising amount of tv seasons, but the movies are usually stuff you wouldn’t want to watch, even for free. To compensate for that, we subscribed to Amazon Prime ($70 a year) which provides a larger movie and tv selection to stream for free. Apple doesn’t allow you to view Amazon Prime through the Apple TV, but Chris was able to hack (jailbreak) the Apple TV and install a program (XBMC) and an add-on that works around Apple’s restrictions to stream Amazon. The interface for Amazon is not as sleek as Apple’s native apps, but it’s easy to figure out how to use, and Chris says it was easy to install (I doubt that because he’s a smarty pants and often describes ridiculous tasks as “easy” but there are tutorials online).

Since we already paid for Netflix when we had Comcast to supplement cable, I’m not counting that as an additional cost, so if you break down the cost of Amazon Prime plus the antenna over the course of a year, our savings  still come out to $40 a month or $480 a year. It’s not a huge number, but I feel much better paying for services we’ll use than putting more money for nothing in Comcast’s pocket month after month.

So there you have it. We’re cable free and loving it. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, do it. It’s liberating.



It’s indie (rock and roll) to me

Sorry for that. Ever since Chris told me he got us tickets to see an indie film, I’ve had that Killer’s line stuck in my head.

Moving on. Last night, Chris and I joined our friends Val and Jimi for the opening night of a 7 day indie film festival in Chelsea. It was a real blast. There’s just no other way to describe it.

We all met up after work for a quick dinner (salad at Lenny’s, not the best, not the worst) before heading over to 23rd between 8th and 9th. The film was shown at the School of Visual Arts Theater with both a pre and post wine party. The wine was provided by Brancott Estate, which I had never heard of, but was very good.

There was a pretty big crowd for the small theater, but we managed to squeeze into the bar before too long, and as soon as I had wine in my hand, I was feeling much more excited for the whole thing.

Opening night featured a short film called Old Man, which was basically just a recording of Charles Manson’s insane ramblings from a prison phone call set over an animated back drop. It was hard to totally enjoy Manson’s crazy talk considering he’s a verified psychopath and convicted murderer, but after several minutes of truly nutty diatribes, I did laugh if only because it was so crazy. Not my favorite, but the animation was very good.

After that odd start, we were all a little nervous for the full length feature, but almost right away, the movie pulled us in and had us totally hooked. You know how movie promoters always say, “It’s a little film with a big heart” or something to that effect, and it always sounds so cheesy? Well, that was really the case with Missed Connections! It actually had a really big heart. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was hands down the best rom-com (so not my favorite genre) I’ve seen this year, and possibly for a lot longer than that.

Missed Connections revolves around the infamous psuedo dating site where city dwellers can submit moments experienced with strangers in the hopes that doing so will give a lost opportunity a second chance. In the film, lawyer Lucy turns to the site to track down a guy who turns out to be completely wrong for her while the right one, IT guy, Josh, has been there the whole time. It sounds cliche, but the story is well told, the characters are exceedingly funny and original, and I left the theater smiling from ear to ear.

I’m not sure if you can find this film anywhere in theaters or online, but if you can, I strongly recommend watching it. It was seriously so well done.

On a side note, I immediately recognized one of the characters in the movie, Malcolm Barrett, from a short lived ABC show that I think only I watched called Better Off Ted.  It’s on Netflix now, and I’m recommending you watch it too because it’s also funny and charming. When I saw him after the premiere, I was definitely starstruck. Very fun.

Also very fun, the tiniest cupcakes I have ever seen served after the movie.

Sorry for the blurry/overexposed shot, I was trying not to hold up the flow of traffic out of the theater.

So, that was my super exciting Wednesday night. We even made it home by 10:30, which is still way past my “school night” bed time, but it was worth it.

If you’re in the area, the festival goes on for 6 more films, and I highly suggest checking it out.


Weekly Wrap Up 7/24

Hi there. Let’s recap this week, shall we? I could break this out into multiple posts separating workouts from playdates, but I’m lazy, so I won’t. Enjoy!

Monday- rest day. Because we used to do our long runs on Sundays, I got used to having Monday as a rest day, and it just kind of stuck like that. We’re still very active during the weekends, and havingMonday as a free night is so nice. It allows me to ease slowly into the work week. I’ve been doing my grocery shopping and other weekly prep on Monday nights rather than Sunday nights which has helped the weekends feel longer and fuller, so having extra time on Monday evening without worrying about working out has been fabulous.

It’s been fun spending more time with these monsters too


Tuesday- early morning 3 mile run, evening hour of free yoga. Look at me, doubling up! This is my favorite combination ever. Getting up early to run gets me going strong for the day, and watching the sun set while stretching and relaxing is so refreshing and grounding at the same time. I met my new running buddy/neighbor for 3 quick and dirty miles  before the sun was totally out, and it was rough. She’s quicker than me, and it hurts both my legs and my pride to work so hard to keep up, but I think it’s a good thing. You’ve got to run faster to get faster, right? At first, I was dying to maintain 10 minute miles with her. Now, I’m still dying, but our numbers are creeping down into the 9:50s! Progress!

In the evening, I took advantage of free yoga in Hoboken. I’d tried to go once earlier in the summer, but the instructor didn’t show up. I came back with a friend from work, and we were not disappointed this time. There was already a sizable crowd for the yoga, but there was also a 5k going on in the same area. It’s the Party with a Purpose 5k, and I’ve actually done it the past two years, but it’s always miserable. It starts at 7pm, when it’s still really, really hot in New Jersey in July, so you run through the crowded Hoboken streets in stifling humidity and basically want to die. When the information popped up in my inbox this year, I thought better of it and decided to downward dog instead.  That’s right, I picked yoga over a road race. Who am I? Still, if I hadn’t been wearing flip flops, I might have thrown aside my mat and jumped in with the running masses. I do miss the excitement of racing. I think I’ll be registering for something soon.

Yoga was lovely even with the noisy crowds. Our instructor was a total trouper for yelling over the local radio DJ’s microphone, and it was fun watching the runners watch us make pretzels of ourselves.

Wednesday- rest day. The storms that have been threatening us finally rolled in on Wednesday night, and they arrived with vigor. I got drenched on my walk home  because I’m far too impatient to wait in the train station like the other sane people. Nope, I prefer the drowned rat look. Anyway, as soon as I got home I needed to shower (is it weird that rain makes me feel like I need a shower?), so a run was not in the cards. I was so proud of Chris though who did come home and run on the treadmill without me. I would never have predicted that three months ago, but the boy is really a runner!

No matter, rainy days call for donning pajamas, reading books and eating hot food in my opinion, so that’s exactly what I did.

Thursday- early morning 3 mile run. Right as I was debating whether or not to run on rainy Wednesday night, my friend Debbie texted me and asked if I wanted to run on Thursday morning. That pretty much made the decision for me, so we met up in the morning for a much more pleasant three miles. The rain had cooled everything down significantly, and we even got a nice breeze. I felt less like death this time, so I must be improving.

An added plus was that those morning miles helped offset a little afternoon happy hour. Well, happy hours really. My coworkers and I visited the newly opened Surf City Bar in Jersey City. In a previous life, it was the (in)famous Sand Bar. I think you have to be from New Jersey to have heard of it. Anyway, it had a pretty sketchy reputation, so it closed and was recently reincarnated as a cute beachy bar miles away from any actual beach.

The weather was still overcast after Wednesday’s ridiculous storms, so you won’t get the full effect from these pictures, but Surf City does a nice job of achieving that Jersey Shore bar feel. Minus the Snooki.

The bar sits on a marina overlooking the Hudson River, so you can see some beautiful boats and watch the ferries come and go.

They have a normal bar set up, but they also have a little sand pit as well. Because we were there during the day, there were a few kids playing in the sand as their parents relaxed, but I’ve heard it’s less family friendly at night.

The fake palms and Margaritaville XM station give it a little bit of a Key West vibe, which is what they were going for, but we all found the musical selections too mopey for a happy hour crowd.

The absolute best part of Surf City? It’s so so so close to my apartment! You can actually see my apartment from here. Any happy hour that’s close to home (walkable!) is a great happy hour.

Friday- ran 3 miles. I was pretty impressed with Chris and I for getting 3 quick miles in before our date night. It was a hot one involving beautiful flowers, John’s pizza, gelato and The Newsroom.  Wow that show is good!

Saturday- biked 7 miles. I met a friend in the city for brunch at Sarabeth’s (this meeting included me ending up at a bakery called Sarabeth’s in Chelsea before realizing that brunch was in TriBeCa. Oops). The place is adorable and the service is great, but the food was underwhelming. I ordered a goat cheese and spinach omelet, and it was bland. The blueberry corn muffin that came on the side, however, was delicious, so I’m thinking if I return again, sweet might beat out savory.

I came home and met up with Chris for a 7 mile bike ride through Liberty State Park to enjoy the seriously gorgeous weather that the week’s storms had brought us.



Afterwards, we finally went to see The Dark Knight Rises. I really enjoyed it.  I won’t give anything away, but I’m glad they wrapped things up the way they did, and I think Joseph Gordon- Levitt is quickly becoming my favorite actor. There’s not much he can’t do.

Sunday- ran 3 miles. This was a fun day and a fun run! I woke up to homemade breakfast from the cutest boy ever, then quickly packed a beach bag and headed down to the Jersey Shore.


Once there, we ran our 3 miles along the boardwalk! It was a really wonderful change of scenery, and it primed us nicely to spend the day laying on the beach. We stopped for lunch before changing into bathing suits, and I was pleasantly surprised to find much more than the standard boardwalk fare in Long Branch.

Check out that salad! With apples, walnuts, dried cranberries and grilled chicken, it was fresh and filling.

Finally, it was time for the beach, and even though it was a traffic filled mess getting down there, we were glad we got to enjoy one of the nicest days of the summer at one of our very favorite places.


After a quick stop at Chris’ parents house to say hello (and be deliciously force fed) we headed back up North to collapse on the couch with a double header of The Bachelorette (didn’t like the format, but I’m so happy for Jef!) and Breaking Bad (meh, not my favorite; felt like filler).



  • ran 12 miles
  • biked 7 miles
  • yoga’d 1 hour

It was a great week and weekend, and I’m more than a little sad to be back at work today, but, as is always the case in the summer, I’m working for next weekend. See ya then!





Friday Favorites- The Hunger Games Edition

Hi y’all! It’s Friday! It’s a sleepy day over here because last night we saw The Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys in concert!!

The show was great! Both bands were awesome, and the crowd at the Garden was the friendliest group of people I have ever seen a concert with. Everyone was just really happy and nice. It was a good time, but I’m dragging today!

Other than that, I’ve got one thing and one thing only on my mind today, and that is The Hunger Games.  I actually don’t go to the movies that often because I’m cheap I have discerning taste, so I don’t usually spend $15 (this is NYC) for your run of the mill rom-com, but I love the movies as a grand spectacle. When there is a blockbuster-y movie about a book I read and enjoyed, I have to see it. Usually the night it comes out. Usually in 3D. I get a little obsessed. It all began with Harry Potter, obviously, but I’ve geeked out over The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and, sadly, Twilight. Those were great, but I feel like there has been OMGSOMUCHHYPE over The Hunger Games, and it’s just pumping me up even more. You can bet your bottom dollar I would have seen it last night were it not for The Black Keys concert, and tonight we’ve got a going away  party for friends who are moving to Germany at the end of the month, so I’ll be going to say good-bye, but if they were moving to Pennsylvania, I would probably be seeing this movie 😉

Long story short, I haven’t seen The Hunger Games, but I’m dying to. I’ll be seeing it Saturday and reliving it in my head all weekend.

So, without further ado, I bring you my Friday Favorites: Hunger Games Edition

Favorite Themed Party Idea– A whole bunch of cute food ideas for maybe a pre-Hunger Games viewing party? I especially love this goat cheese one. Yum.

Favorite T-Shirt I Would Wear to the Theater

Favorite T-Shirt I Would Wear in Real Life– I feel like this one is understated enough that I could totally get away with wearing it ALL THE TIME.

Favorite Hunger Games Funny

Favorite Hunger Games Bling– These are the sweetest bracelets I’ve seen, and this whole Etsy store is filled with jewelry with really cute book and movie references.

Favorite Gorgeous Dessert– These are seriously impressive.

Favorite Nails– Cute flames that don’t look like they’d be too hard to recreate.

Favorite Meme

and finally, Favorite I Need This Yesterday

Anybody else super excited for this too?

Motivation from all sources

Running is not always easy for me. There are plenty of days that I have to drag my butt out the door with all the old motivational mind tricks like, “Oh I’ll just do 10 minutes; then I can quit” which is a great one because you hardly ever quit once you’ve started. On the other hand, there are times when I dream about running all day. Yesterday was the latter. I had originally planned a morning run, but once I found out my afternoon plans were cancelled, I quickly rescheduled to an evening run. An extra hour of sleep in the dark mornings of early spring AND a run in the sunshine? I  didn’t have to think too long about that one.

I came home ready for my run but also kind of starving. When I have a weekend where I eat my face off (like this past one) I find myself extra hungry on Mondays as I try and force my body back into a more regular eating schedule. I could’ve run hungry, but I don’t really like that, so I tried half of a new Clif Bar I picked up as a little snack fuel.

It was called Carrot Cake, and it almost looked the part, but it tasted like a weird blend between an oatmeal cookie and orange Skittles. I think it was the cranberries that made it just a little too tart. It wasn’t a winner, but it did give me the boost I needed to take on my run.

I had 4 on the schedule today, but I figured if I wanted to hit the gym afterwards, I should probably just do 3. I did a different route than my normal one, which was a nice change of pace. I always run better when there are people around (because I’m a show off) and there were tons of people out yesterday, so it ended up being a really good run.

I came back and hit the gym for about 25 minutes to do some lifting so I don’t turn into a noodle during half marathon training. I did this workout again.

While at the gym, someone had turned on Mad Money you know that show where this guy


yells at you about which stocks to pick. It was actually really good gym motivation. All the yelling got me hyped up like when Jillian Michaels used to go bananas on all the contestants on the Biggest Loser. I learned some stuff too. Like, did you know that Colgate Palmolive is planning to introduce a new dish soap that will disinfect sponges as it cleans dishes to keep your sponges from smelling? That’s pretty brilliant. I would buy that for sure.

Anyway, after the gym, I came home and made some dinner. Nothing fancy just a grilled cheese sammich (on gfree bread!) with some garlic roasted broccoli

and tomato soup

I got the soup at Trader Joe’s, and it was meh. I like my tomato soup tangy and tomatoey. This was a bit too creamy for my taste. The broccoli hit the spot though, and I went back for seconds.

After dinner I felt like a lost soul. There is a gaping whole in my life Monday nights, and it’s in the shape of Ben.


Woof. Actually, I don’t miss that face at all, but I do miss my Monday night Bachelor ritual. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. Almost. Enter Downton Abbey. I won’t do a post about it because the blogosphere has been blowing up about this show, and I’m a little late to the party. Cely has been doing more funny posts about this show than I ever could. I tried to resist, but I really could not. It’s dramatic and British, and I love every minute of it. I’m tearing through season two. Like I said, I won’t say much, but for those who watch, I just finished the William and Daisy storyline, and I cried. It’s no Ben and Courtney, but it’s pretty fantastic.


Just like watching Mad Money pumped me up for my gym workout, there are all kinds of motivation out there. Runner’s World has a great article about motivation through finding your bliss that’s worth checking out.