My 2017 Word of the Year

I’ve done typical New Year’s Resolutions posts in the past, and when a year goes by and I don’t end up ticking items off the list, it makes me feel meh. So, I embraced choosing a word of the year two years ago, and I really like having one word to sort of guide my intentions for the next 365 days. Without further ado, here is 2017’s word!

Move.

To move more and to be moved, emotionally. To find a new, spacious, and safe dwelling for my family. To put things in motion. To progress, to move forward, to break stagnant cycles and find a way to flourish in change. To put one foot in front of the other. To propel, to guide, to lead, to charge ahead, to be confident in the movement I set in motion in mind and body.

To trust the process. To trust the pain, the difficult parts, to see them for what they are, momentary lapses of contentment, momentary lapses of stability. To trust myself, in both intellect and spirit, to make decisions that move ME and not just those around me.

To move toward a greater good, for me, for my family, for my community. To move in action. To move in prosperity, in success, in seeking, in questioning, in advocating, in analyzing. To move toward what is right, to advocate and assert, to move confidently in confronting things I know are wrong. To move deeper into love, into gratitude, into reflection. 

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What’s your word for 2017?

Things I’m grateful for.

On Thanksgiving (well, everyday, really), I try to think about what I have in my life that I’m grateful for. They’re not all deep, profound heartwarming things, for example, I’m grateful for my body pillow, the longer battery life on the iPhone 7, and It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Hair Conditioner. Here’s a list of things that make me super grateful.

What things can you think about that you’re grateful for, too?

(Side note: I’ve been focusing on gratitude a lot the past few years. It’s an excellent way to move past feelings of anxiety or stress. Try it sometime — when you’re freaking out about say, your car having to go to the shop for another crazy fix (yes, it sucks – my AC is out), be glad you have a (usually) running car and access to a good mechanic. It can feel a little bit Pollyanna, but gratitude and the reminder that someone is ALWAYS unfortunately struggling more than you are can really help you turn around a sour mood.)

  • Holly and Matt. These two are my sun and stars and my biggest fan club. Baby giggles can turn me from Grinch to shiny sunflower, and my hubby is pretty much the kindest (and smartest) person I know. It’s been awesome turning into a parent with him as a partner. Plus, he has a great butt.
  • My parents (Lynn, Bill, Mike, and Angel Shirley). Seeing these three become grandparents has been a great source of joy. (And I know my MIL Shirley is around somewhere, watching over us.) Our parents are always hooking it up with babysitting and baby clothes and gifts, advice, and love. It takes a village to raise a baby and thank goodness we have supportive, loving parents.
  • My siblings April and Tommy. April would give you the shirt off her back with no questions asked in freezing weather, and Tommy is always the first to tell you he loves you and why. My parents did good… they have some amazing kids.
  • My bestie Katelyn. We’ve been pals since the sixth grade. She’s the funniest person I know! Even though I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like, we never struggle with reconnecting when we finally get together on the phone.
  • My dear friends. I am blessed to have several close friends (and I’m not calling them out by name because knowing me I’ll forget someone). These people have made our transplanted home in Los Angeles truly feel like HOME and for that I am so grateful.
  • My mommy tribe. I couldn’t have gotten through pregnancy and year one without the help of my girlfriends. There’s nothing in life like someone saying “Oh yeah? Me too!”. Plus, it’s nice to have people to text in the wee morning hours when your kid won’t go back to sleep and you’re four minutes away from losing your sanity.
  • My job. I’m approaching three years at Event 360, and being out on our 3-Day event in San Diego this past weekend was a heartwarming reminder that the work I get to do is not only super fun, it MATTERS. I work with a group of kind, talented individuals, and for that, I am grateful. I’m also grateful that I found a career path I love. Social media and copywriting are the bee’s frickin’ knees.
  • My blog. Blogging and social media has opened up so many doors for me, in terms of opportunities, endeavors, and padding my bank account. I never dreamed these little blogs would be a small source of income, and that’s awesome. THANK YOU for reading. You guys clicking links and reading just helped me pay for a root canal. (Nothing like a good cause, eh? Haha.)
  • My health. I’m always a work in progress, but despite some annoying small things like a heel spur, needing a root canal, and the persistent weight problem, I’m healthy. Working with a group of people afflected by a devastating disease is a sad reminder that health is usually taken for granted until it’s gone. This body of mine though imperfect, works, walks, moves, and celebrates life.
  • The Internet. From Reddit to cat memes to safety pins to mannequin challenges to Lightning deals, I frickin’ love the Internet. Yes, deep, dark harbored secrets and horrible things happen on the Internet but… for the most part, this is an incredible communication and information tool that has changed the way we live.

So those are the big things. I have A LOT to be grateful for.

Here are some of the smaller, sillier things I’m grateful for, too.

  1. PG Tips Tea. I fell in love with this tea on a trip to London in 2000, and I’ve had a cup every morning since. It’s strong. Super strong. And it’s awesome.
  2. The smell of orange blossoms on a summer day.
  3. When you get in a tunnel with a bunch of other cars in traffic and all the cars start honking just because.
  4. Slippers.
  5. Purring cats.
  6. The Pantsuit Nation Facebook group.
  7. My blogging mastermind group.
  8. A good yoga class.
  9. Writing.
  10. When your jeans feel a little bit looser.
  11. Freshly washed sheets with freshly shaved legs.
  12. When people you don’t know start liking your comment on a friend’s Facebook post.
  13. Plums.
  14. Allergy medication.
  15. Busting the mental health stigma.
  16. Gel manicures
  17. Sunshine
  18. Sarcasm
  19. Back Up Cameras in newer cars. (I’ve been driving a lot of rental cars lately, and man, this is nice. Makes me want a new car… but not a car payment.)
  20. Browsing real estate apps for my future house. (Yep — hopefully this is happening in 2017!)
  21. Getting real mail.
  22. Extra percent off clearance sales
  23. Baby hats
  24. Tubing Mascara (You literally just pull the mascara off your lashes in the shower. Perfect for sensitive, runny eyes like mine, and no mess to have to rub off with soap or anything. This one is only $8.)
  25. My personal trainers who were mean yet simultaneously awesome because they demoted me from mayor of Excuses Village and got me into shape.
  26. Sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar and marshmallows.
  27. Silicon Valley (the show.)
  28. My neighbors
  29. The beach
  30. Baby babbling
  31. Clementines
  32. State Parks
  33. Doing a good parallel parking job
  34. That feeling of reading a book so good you can’t put it down.
  35. Dark chocolate chips with a cold glass of milk.
  36. The person reading this blog post right now.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friend. Thank you so much for being you, for putting out into the world who YOU ARE and your own individual contributions. You rock.

 

February Pop Sugar Must Have Box Review

I’ve been a fan of subscription boxes since they came out. I love getting mail and when I started to get more bills than fun mail, I decided to try out subscription boxes. I started with BirchBox, which sends beauty samples, and then moved on to Julep when I rediscovered my high school love of nail polish. I stayed with Julep ($20 monthly) for two years, and then moved on to Ipsy ($10 monthly), though ultimately I left Ipsy rather quickly because I wasn’t thrilled with the samples I’d been getting. I had coveted the PopSugar MustHave Box from afar, but felt that $40 was too much a month per subscription box. I mean, that’s my whole gym budget! When I scored a generous Visa giftcard for Christmas, I decided instead of buying diapers or groceries that I would actually treat myself.

Lo and behold, a three month PopSugar must have subscription was mine. I started in December and have received my last subscription for February, but I will renew because it is AWESOME. Let’s take a look at what I got for February, shall we?

Here's the box all pristine and lovely.

Here’s the box all pristine and lovely.

Coconut Body Lotion, Athletic Socks, and $20 Giftcard = $43 value

Coconut Body Lotion, Athletic Socks, and $20 Giftcard = $43 value

FoodStirs Sugar Cookie Mix with Sprinkles and Cookie Cutter: $12 value

FoodStirs Sugar Cookie Mix with Sprinkles and Cookie Cutter: $12 value

$29 Sparkly Pave Endless Arrow Heart Ring

$29 Sparkly Pave Endless Arrow Heart Ring

CleanseBalm

Beauty Counter Cleansing Balm with Cloth and Spatula, $50

Tray

Hello Beautiful Trinket Tray, $14

Tilo 100% Modal Scarf, $125

Tilo 100% Modal Scarf, $125

So if you were counting, the value of this box is $273. Whaaaaaat?! Awesome. I love everything that came in this month’s box except for the coconut body lotion, but that’s just a personal preference because I’m not much of a lotion girl. My favorite thing is the scarf because it’s so soft and the print is adorable year ’round. The trinket tray is also handy, and who’s not going to like a glitzy ring?

I think what I like about this box is that it sums up the experience of going treasure hunting at my favorite store, TJ Maxx. It’s packed with things you don’t really *need*, but the kinds of things that make you smile and swoon just a little bit. While I don’t know if I can justify staying a member of this box forever when I have things like diapers to buy, I plan to stay on a bit longer. I’ve so far loved all three boxes I have received, and the occasional item that I don’t love, I pass on to a friend who will. Win win.

Want to know more? Look at the boxes I received in December and January, thanks to the people at My Subscription Addiction. If you decide you want to subscribe, use my referral link, because I’ll earn points and you’ll earn good karma. Happy Tuesday! <3

Week 38 Bumpdate

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How far along? 38 + 3
Baby’s Size: A ukelele or large bundle of Swiss chard
Weight Gain: 20 pounds, give or take. I can’t say I’m surprised given that my appetite is that of an Olympic athlete lately… and we know baby girl is a cool seven pounds six ounces! 🙂 I’m trying not to stress about it, but I don’t love seeing the numbers point north… however, I haven’t been able to do much activity and I’m definitely enjoying giving in to my cravings. As someone who’s pretty much always on a diet, it’s been a refreshing change to live my life going, yes, you know what? I WILL have that thing I’m craving. I know this time is coming to a close so I’m enjoying it now while I can (and while my belly gets too full to do any major damage!).
Maternity clothes? Yes indeed! Anything non maternity has my belly popping out.
Best moment this week: Matt and I have been enjoying our last few weekends as just Matt and Alyssa, and we’ve made it a point to go eat at some of our favorite restaurants. We had a date where we went to the Local Peasant, an awesome bar and gastropub, and then out to see Steve Jobs (my review? eh). We also had Thai food at a friend’s house. I don’t have a ton of energy these days so when I do get out and about it’s always a good time! Also, seeing little girl on ultrasound again for our final growth scan, and having triple confirmation that she’s right on track and doing great. We even got to see that she has a little bit of hair (all that heartburn isn’t in vain).

My mom also took some awesome maternity photos of us and I love them!

lynnette joy photography petaluma photographer maternity portraits

Photo by Lynnette Joy Photography

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It’s also been fun to be obviously pregnant and see random strangers smile at my belly or say nice things. I think because I’m rubenesque, it took awhile for people to decide if I was pregnant or just… erm… fluffier, so now that I have a legit baby bump, the public is more responsive about me being with child. This is a double edged sword of course, because I don’t love the “Is it twins?” comment or the “You’re ready to pop! You’re huge!”,  but the other day a little old British lady said “Aren’t you just lovely! Hang in there, dear!”. It was very comforting and kind.

Miss anything?

  • Sleeping on my stomach. I’m not going to take this bullet point off  this list ever. (Yup. Keeping this one on the list.)
  • Not being in pain. My pelvis feels a lot better thanks to Chiropractic care, but this week I got diagnosed with pregnancy gout (wtf?!) in my toe. This is a weird one to me because it’s a flare up that most people who eat dark organ meats get and I definitely don’t do that… and I eat very little meat in general! My OB said she’s never had a patient get it before, so as usual there’s me doin’ pregnancy my own weird way… I’m also just achy and swollen and my lower back is definitely feeling the strain of carrying around our bambina, and when your toe is searing hot/swollen, that adds another layer of discomfort.
  • I actually miss exercise still!
  • Not being a ticking time bomb. Family gets really excited when I call, thinking that I’m going to tell them I’m in labor.. and then I burst their bubble and am like “No… just a regular phone call”. Haha. Every time I see my neighbors they’re also like “Oh… you’re still pregnant?” Yes, yes, I am. I can tell too that people are starting to do the vague text like “Oh hey, how are things?!”. Comes with the territory!

Movement: Like crazy! Sometimes I feel like she’s kicking trying to figure out if she can bust out of my belly. She also dislikes going to the twice-weekly non-stress tests we have to do, because she kicked the monitor off my belly again this week. Love my little rebelista.
Food cravings:  Let’s see: I craved Mexican food today, so I got my favorite beef enchiladas with a fried egg on top from Los Toros. I also craved street tacos (just asada, tomatillo salsa, cilantro, and onion) from our favorite taco truck, chocolate milk, gummy bears, and salad.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope. Amazing! Life is much better without barfing.
Gender:  Girl!
Labor signs: I definitely feel like I’m brewing and getting closer. We’ll see what doc says next week!
Symptoms: Back pain, gout in my toe, nasal congestion, achy, crabby, but sleeping like a champ.
Happy or moody most of the time: I’m crabby because I don’t feel good, and poor Matt has been so patient and calm with me with all my moaning. I have a pretty high pain tolerance but that doesn’t mean I don’t crab about it, haha. However, the excitement level for this little lady to get here is getting pretty insane — I can’t wait to see her cute little belly and stroke her head and hold her in my arms!

However, despite being a cranky crab, I feel happy and mentally as “ready” as one can be. Pregnancy has been a rough ride for me but I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to experience it, and so happy our little bee has made it to full-term.

Shirts by my sister - click the link for her Etsy store!

Shirts by my sister – click the link for her Etsy store!

Looking forward to:

  • having a baby!
  • Also, Thanksgiving and Christmas will have a whole new perspective with a bambina in our lives. I bought her a personalized stocking and I pretty much die of cuteness every time I see it.
  • Using this adorable room. Here’s a sneak peek- I love the way our nursery came out! (And yes, baby girl’s name starts with an H. A lot of people know her name already, but I’ll wait to share a photo on the blog to reveal her full name.) I made that hanging H and feel pretty proud for channeling some craftiness. 12170644_10101489987445316_1771524049_n

Okay folks, I’m outta here! Will this be my last bumpdate? Who knows?! Hope you all are doing well!

 

Week 29 Bump Date

Hold the phone… see that? 29 weeks?! I’m one away from 30! *dance* Can’t believe I’m already a few weeks into my third trimester!

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How far along? 29.5 weeks. Holla!
Baby’s Size: A Barbie Car (ha!) or a Pineapple – one of my favorite fruits!
Weight Gain: 0. My appetite is slowly coming back to normal as the nausea calms down (praise the lord), but I’m learning I need to eat small amounts often to keep the gag reflex away.
Maternity clothes? All day every day. I’m pretty sure I’ve “popped”. What do you think?
Best moment this week:  I went up to Northern California where my sister, mom, and best friend threw me an amazing, intimate baby shower! It felt nice to have a change of scenery and celebrate Baby Curran with family, and my sis, mom, and bestie really put their heart and soul into planning an affair I’d love. So grateful!

We also got to check on our gal at the perinatologist last week, and she’s measuring perfectly and we even got a 3D shot of her cute little face. It’s always a relief to “see” the baby and know all is well.

Miss anything?

  • Sleeping on my stomach
  • Being able to eat a lot. I know this sounds dumb, but I ate a whole Chipotle veggie burrito bowl last week and regretted it for many moons as I just don’t have “room” in my belly anymore, so it was an uncomfortable few hours as I digested and felt like a python that had eaten an antelope.
  • Not being achy! The lower back pain has intensified as I pop out.
  • My pre-pregnancy brain. I’m definitely more forgetful and have to write tons of lists.

Movement: All the time!
Food cravings:  I haven’t indulged in this one yet, but pop tarts. I always love cereal, fruit, and greek yogurt. I haven’t craved anything super weird though, yet.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Strong smells, and I’m most susceptible to the yuckiness immediately after I wake up. Grocery shopping and walking past the fish section was not pleasant last week. The heat continues to be a challenge here in the valley as I can’t be outside for long before I start feeling gross.
Gender:  Girl!
Labor signs: None. Please stay that way.
Symptoms: Nausea, lower back aches, heartburn, insomnia, super tired, reduced appetite, feeling like a turtle on its back
Happy or moody most of the time: Not barfing daily means I’m perking up! I’d still like more energy but I’ll take what I can get 🙂
Looking forward to: hitting 30 weeks (holy crap) and starting to sift through all the stuff we’ve acquired for baby. It’s time to start setting up the nursery! We also start our baby care classes this week. It will be fun to be diapering dolls and stuff with the hubby, knowing that in just a little while we’ll be diapering on a real, live baby. Wow!

That’s all, folks. Catch ya next time!

 

 

Bun in the oven updates: Weeks 18, 19, and 20, all in one!

Whew! I’ve been busy, and then was out of town for a few days in Denver for Fitbloggin. I’m behind on my bumpdates, so here’s a combined one for weeks 18, 19, and 20 and I’ll be back later this week to reveal baby C’s gender!

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How far along? 20 weeks and 3 days! I’m MORE THAN HALFWAY THERE! WooHOO!
Baby’s Size: A  belgian endive. I’m only familiar with a regular endive, and this veggie comparison is perplexing to me, because the baby is 10 inches, and all the endives I’ve seen are like four inches. I guess Belgian endive must be a larger variety?
Weight Gain: While I was up two, the last two weeks I’ve been particularly full after small amounts (baby is growing and pressing against tummy!), so I’m back to only one pound gained. Works for me! I really hope I can keep up this trend, though I know the next few weeks the baby itself will start to gain weight (it’s just under 1 pound now).
Maternity clothes? Indeed! I love my striped dress I wore in last week’s photo, and I’ve been doing a lot more loose knit dresses and leggings. While a couple people at the conference this week said I don’t look pregnant, I can definitely feel and see a small bump forming. I should probably take a 20 week photo but that would require going outside in the current 102 degree heat… so it will have to wait until Thursday, when I’m 21 weeks!
Best moment this week:  While traveling hasn’t been especially easy on me (lots of nausea and tiredness, but in Denver in particular that could have been altitude sickness), I loved seeing all of my Fitbloggin friends. Of particular awesomeness was a delicious lunch sponsored by California Avocados. Mmmm, avocados. People were so kind and joyful about my pregnancy, and I really appreciated how excited people were for us. Makes me smile knowing Baby C comes into this world with a whole army of supporters behind them.
Miss anything? Sleeping on my stomach! My snoogle is keeping me decently comfortable, but side-sleeping is not my jam. (Disclosure: That snoogle link is an affiliate link. If you click on it, I get rich! (Or make a penny. But you know, it’s all in your attitude, right?)
Movement: YES! I’ve been feeling “stuff” the past week, but wasn’t sure if it was rumbly intestine type stuff or the little acrobat. After some pretty definite “Whoa, I’ve never felt that before” I decided I’m definitely feeling kicks and jabs. Since I identified it, I feel like I feel it all the time now. Super cool, and helps me ward off free-floating concern about how the little one is doing in there. Matt is anxious to feel it but I think it will probably be another week or two until the little sprout can kick strong enough to get through that pillow-like anterior placenta and soft tummy so he can feel it.
Food cravings:  Week 18 brought an odd craving: saurkraut! I like saurkraut, so it’s not like it was a random new craving, but it was a bizarre thing to crave. I also wanted raw carrots, strawberries, and on the unhealthy side, plain potato chips. I did make Matt pick up some guacamole for me from Chipotle in Denver 🙂
Anything making you queasy or sick: Sadly, I had a bout of random barfing last Monday, followed by some nausea in Denver last weekend. I think it’s super weird that I’ve struggled more with nausea in my second trimester than my first, but that’s how the cookie crumbles for some people.
Gender:  We’ll have 100% confirmation on Thursday. Hooray!
Labor signs: None, and fully intending on keeping it this way.
Symptoms: Tiredness, some free-floating nausea, holy heartburn, more klutzy as my abdomen poofs up.
Happy or moody most of the time: I definitely cry more easily, like after being inspired by Keep It Up David’s story, or when someone told me I had a sweet and fresh face (I think that was more I was feeling so crummy and nauseous that day, that someone being so nice to me was just really appreciated.) I’m starting to have some anxiety about being a parent (as in holy wow huge life change!), but I know that’s totally normal and if I didn’t feel that way, it’d be concerning!
Looking forward to: our anatomy scan on Thursday, and a nice, long 3 day weekend!

 

 

Bun in the Oven Update: Week 16

Howdy! You guys sure showed me last week when I whined about if anyone reads this blog, so yes, I will be continuing to share updates when I peel myself off the couch at night 🙂 Thanks for your excitement and for reading… it makes me feel all special!

Searching for any sign of a bump. Nope.

Searching for any sign of a bump. Nope.

How far along? I’m actually 17 weeks today but will be writing about last week’s 16th week!
Baby’s Size: A dill pickle. This one stumped me a bit. Like one of the huge dill pickles you get from a jar? Or the small dinky ones? Doesn’t seem like a good size estimator!
Weight Gain: Zero, still. Fingers crossed I can keep going like this or gain only small amounts. I’ve been trying to do something active every day, whether it’s riding my Pedego around the block or walking to the store to pick up stuff for dinner.
Maternity clothes? Yup, or the awesome hair-tie-around-the-button life hack.
Best moment this week: Continuing to share in celebration with friends! Today I got a package from my friends at Katie K. Active… and it’s safe to say Baby C. will be rockin’ this adorable onesie come November! I mean, cmon, how friggin cute is that? It’s really awesome seeing how many people are so excited. What a lucky bambino to be born into such a great community.


Miss anything? Matt made brownies tonight and I didn’t lack the batter off the spoon because of raw eggs. Womp womp.
Movement: No, but things are definitely feeling more ‘jelly belly’. I think my weeks of being a stomach sleeper are coming to a close because even tho I’m not bumpin’ yet, I can feel something in there. It will be cool when I do start to feel kicks, but I’ve been told it may be awhile as I have an anterior placenta, which means my placenta is a cushion between baby and belly.
Food cravings: Nothing crazy or overt this week, though I did want a simple salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and ranch dressing last night. Oh, and strawberries, and chocolate milk.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Sadly I’m still having some bouts of nausea, and checking out the frozen foods section in Target made me feel queasy. I also get nauseous if I take a shower that’s too hot. My appetite is bizarre – sometimes barely there, as in the night I had a protein shake and mango slices for dinner because it’s all that sounded good, or sometimes I feel like I want to eat ALL THE THINGS.
Gender: (Same) We know, and close family and friends know 🙂 I’ll be sharing once we get final confirmation after 20 weeks, just in case early predictions were wrong!
Labor signs: Nope. Let’s keep it that way. (Same.)
Symptoms: Still sleepy, a little heartburn, felt “off” a few days this week, lower back soreness.
Happy or moody most of the time: Mostly happy with weird moments of hormone-induced irrationality. I’m still waiting for that “lalala rainbows and unicorns” amazing second trimester feeling.


Looking forward to: The Mojave Desert Petroglyph tour this weekend with Matt and Julie, and my acupuncture appointment tonight 🙂

Love has no…

You guys! This is so cool. My co-worker Michelle has two awesome daughters, Maddie and Sophie, and they were filmed in Santa Monica on Valentine’s Day for this video. Watch the video below (which has over 7.5 million likes)  and bask in the warm fuzzies that come from knowing it’s 100% true.

Beautiful Food: Romanesco and Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

I’ve been playing with food photography lately and wanted to share these shots. Have a wonderful Friday!

Romanesco is a green cauliflower with a slightly nutty taste. It came in my Farm Fresh to You box (a weekly box of organic goodies delivered to my doorstep). I can’t wait to roast it up this weekend with some olive oil and parmesan. (Interested in Farm Fresh to You? Use ALYS6615 for $10 off your first box.)

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I wanted to make Valentine’s Day treats for the guys at my husband’s office, so I whipped up a batch of semi-homemade lemon blueberry cupcakes. (Semi-homemade as in use a box mix for Lemon Cake, then add blueberries, more lemon juice, and top with homemade Cream Cheese lemon frosting. Yum!) The icing is with the Wilton 2D rose tip, with yellow food coloring streaked inside the bag to create an ombre effect. They came out so pretty!

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