Life, Material, Travel

Sea Kayaking with Everyday California (SD Bucket List #9)

Save the time I called 911 to report that our family cat was missing, I like to think I can handle high-pressure situations pretty well. Apparently in the Amanda Book of Life, high-pressure situations do not include being surrounded by dolphins… which is exactly what happened last weekend during our Everyday California Whale Watching Tour.

First let’s address what Everyday California is… Formerly OEX, it is based out of La Jolla, CA and run by ridiculously good-looking ex-Abercrombie models. (Really – every employee was beautiful.). These are the cool kids, and they want to take you on the water and show you their world. Our guides were Sam and Draper. They were both high-energy, excited, and gave thunderous high-fives. The check-in process for our tour was a bit chaotic, but somehow we all ended up exactly where we were meant to be. There were about 17 of us (8 pairs and my girlfriend Taylor), lots of different familial pairings. We headed down to the beach at about a quarter to 2 PM (our tour time), to get situated in our kayaks before heading out into The Great Unknown. Charlie and I were in a kayak, and Taylor rocked the single. We were given the opportunity to rent wet suits, but I was in full Lulu, and we figured being Midwesterners, we would be fine.

My immediate thought when we were pushed into the water, was “I’m so glad I don’t have my phone/camera/tablet/any electronics.” You get wet on this adventure. Soaking. Kudos to Lulu for making unintentionally amphibious workout gear. (For reference I was in the Run Inspire Crop, Run Swiftly Tech Crew, and the Forme Jacket.) We started paddling out to Sea (about 2 Nautical Miles!) from La Jolla Cove, and I just couldn’t believe this was the first time we were doing something like this since moving to SD. The ocean was breathtaking and peaceful. On our way out to the “Whale Zone” we ran into some friendly seals and sea lions who stopped by to say hello. We also ate kelp, because apparently that is what the cool kids do.

After arriving at the “Whale Zone” we parked for a bit, waiting for some social whales to stop on by. We spotted a dolphin coming in from the distance – and I got so excited! A dolphin! A wild dolphin! Well apparently this dolphin was a scout for its pod, because soon after its arrival about fifteen dolphins showed up. They were jumping in the air, swimming together, flying under the water. It was absolutely unbelievable. At one point they zeroed in on our kayak and there were six swimming underneath and jumping in front of and to the side of our kayak. This is apparently where I lost my cool and just kept saying “THIS IS AMAZING!” over and over again. And asking Charlie if he saw the dolphins, to which he replied “I’m right here! Of course I see them!” Truly one of the few times I wished we had a GoPro, other than to strap it on to Tucker’s head. But I honestly don’t even think I could have worked a camera at that point. I was so awe-struck at the beauty of NATURE.

After some time with our dolphin friends, we headed back into the cove. To be honest, the only time I felt cold was getting OUT of the water, and walking back to EC. Other than that I was fine in my garments. But I can see why you may want a wetsuit if you’re not from Northern Michigan.

Another bonus of Everyday California is their merchandise! I am not one for buying “tourist-y” things – but their logo is just too cute to pass up. Trust me on this. I ended up buying a sweatshirt and leaving with it on. Because I was freezing.

Charlie and I are definitely planning to do a trip with Everyday California again – in fact we’ve already booked a Sea Cave and Snorkeling Tour when Charlie’s brother is here!

Tips for Everyday California:

  1. Call for great pricing. They do have Groupons pretty often, but if you call they give you a pretty comparable price. Plus it feels good to be directly supporting a local business.
  2. Parking can be tricky – arrive 45 minutes ahead of time to give yourself parking AND check-in time. They like to be on the water at your scheduled time. (There is also a super cute restaurant next door we want to check out next time – Shorehouse Kitchen)
  3. Bring CASH for tips – This is your Guide’s livelihood. We didn’t realize that and only had minimal cash on hand. We’ll plan better next time.
  4. Bring any waterproof cameras you may have – we plan on buying these before our next adventure.
  5. Equipment is included – except for a wetsuit. If you get cold easily, plan on renting one. (They’re not expensive to rent – maybe $10.)
  6. Be prepared to wear a helmet and life vest. This is for your safety, and the safety of people around you. Deal with it and prepare your hair ahead of time.
  7. Try not to black out when you see nature. You may think you’re better than that – but you’re not.

Since we also have surfing lessons planned for March, we decided to invest in some Rash Guards and Swim Pants/Trunks. Here is what we ended up with. Try not to be blinded by our stylishness. (All via Lands’ End)

Water Gear

Happy Swimming!



P.S. Since I failed to provide any cool live-dolphin photos, please accept this Lisa Frank Dolphin as a substitute.



Gruyere Pizza with Quinoa, Chard, and Prosciutto

My name is Amanda, and this pizza changed my life. Before today I thought pizza was just ingredients put on a crust. But today… today I realized that pizza is a vessel for happiness inside of my mouth. And I have found the perfect combination of pure edible bliss.

We are constantly getting Swiss Chard in our CSA. The first recipe I made with it was a pasta mustard combo – and it was pretty good. But I quickly realized that to eat Swiss Chard, at least for me, it had to be disguised by something else. Preferably cheese. I came up with this recipe after cooking a few different dishes with Chard. When it came out of the oven and we all took a bite (our friend was over), there was complete silence. I am pretty sure this is the pizza jackpot. AND we can even pretend it is slightly healthy for you! Whole wheat crust! Quinoa! Chard! For the Quinoa, we buy the Costco “Ancient Grains” mixture. It is a reasonable price, cheaper per ounce than plain Quinoa, PLUS it contains lots of other good and yummy things in it. (Millet & Amaranth)

I hope this pizza leaves you as speechless as it left us!

Gruyere Pizza with Quinoa, Chard, and Prosciutto

  • Servings: 3 People
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

  • 1 ½ cup Gruyere Cheese – shredded (approximately 5 ounces)
  • 4 cups Swiss Chard
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic – minced
  • 4 slices Prosciutto
  • 3 Tbsp + 1 ½ Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¾ Cup Quinoa/Quinoa Blend (pre-cooked)
  • 1 pound Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Grease 12×14 baking sheet with either Crisco or Cooking Spray
  3. Stretch pizza dough to fit baking sheet (Set aside)
  4. Wash Swiss Chard, remove stems, and chop into small strips
  5. Heat skillet on medium low with 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  6. Add minced Garlic, cook one-two minutes. (Do not let Garlic burn! Gordon Ramsay hates that.)
  7. Add Prosciutto and Quinoa to skillet
  8. Cook 5-6 minutes or until Prosciutto begins to get crispy
  9. Add Chard leaves and 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  10. Sautee until Chard leaves are wilted
  11. Remove from heat
  12. Brush Pizza Dough with 1 ½ Tbsp of Olive Oil and season with Pepper
  13. Sprinkle 1 cup of Gruyere over Pizza Dough evenly
  14. Distribute Chard goodness
  15. Top remaining Gruyere over Chard goodness
  16. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until ingredients are melted and crust is fully cooked
  17. Remove Pizza from baking sheet and slide directly onto oven rack
  18. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until Pizza Crust has reached desired crispiness
  19. Remove from oven and let sit for two minutes before cutting

Life, The Manimals

Fiesta Island (SD Bucket List #19)

Charlie and I often say that we wish we loved anything as much as Tucker loves everything. And we mean it. There is not a happier dog in the world, and his ultra-extreme-happiness mode can be found at a HIGH LEVEL at Fiesta Island. For those non-San Diegans, Fiesta Island is a man-made island (read – technically trash) on Mission Bay. Part of the island is a fenced off dog-park that has 2-3 beaches and SO MANY BIRDS. If you haven’t caught on via Instagram, we have a Brittany… and Brittanies LOVE birds. They literally cannot handle their own love for birds. Our dear friend refers to the island as “Dog Island” and we couldn’t agree more.

Our favorite part about the island is that there is enough space for all types of dogs. Dogs like Tucker who need to run-run-run, water dogs, fetching dogs, playing dogs, really ALL dogs. It is amazing. We try to bring Tucker there twice a week to give him his bird fix.

We got a new fancy camera for the honeymoon, so far I’m just using it for food and animal pictures…

(Click for bigger viewing.)




S’More Nutella Brownies

I have a slight addiction to Nutella. To the point where we cannot have it in the house, for fear of me kidnapping Tucker and holding him ransom until Charlie gives me the Nutella I had previously asked him to hide from me. Not that that ever happened. Or anything.

Anyway, World Nutella Day (February 5th) exists. It is a real thing. And I found myself completely Nutella-less on this day. It was, to put it lightly, a culinary tragedy. Luckily, I cannot be restrained to a single day, and decided to dream up a Nutella Recipe fit for a Queen and bake it on another day. Because in our household, every day is World Nutella Day.

The recipe turned out as I imagined. A crackpot of happiness, euphoria, and rainbows packaged into an edible square or rectangle. This is the Holy Grail y’all. The fountain of youth. I feel confidently about that. My dear friend Whitney was over and assisted in the photography. Try not to eat your computer screens.

S’More Nutella Brownies

  • Servings: Not Enough
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print
Graham Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 Packs Graham Crackers
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup – melted)

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks Butter (1 cup)
  • 4 Squares Unsweetened Chocolate (4 oz.)
  • 2 cups White Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups Flour
  • 1 ½ cups Nutella (approximately one jar)
  • 1 bag of Mini Marshmallows


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Grind Graham Crackers in a food processor or find a burly man to crush them with his hands
  3. Combine ¼ cup Sugar, ½ tsp Salt, and 2 sticks melted Butter in a bowl with Grahams
  4. Press delicious Graham mixture into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan (Note: if you want to sprinkle some Graham magic on top – reserve about a ½ cup of crumb mixture)
  5. Bake for 15 minutes
  6. While crust is baking – heat 2 sticks of Butter and Chocolate over Medium-Low heat on the stove
  7. Once Butter and Chocolate are melted, add Sugar
  8. Stir until dissolved (Please note – this mixture ends up looking a little weirder before it gets better, just trust the process)
  9. Once dissolved pour into a mixer, or mixing bowl
  10. Wait five minutes for mixture to slightly cool
  11. Add ½ tsp Salt and Vanilla
  12. Beat in one Egg at a time until batter is smooth
  13. Add Flour
  14. Pour Brownie Batter over Graham Crust
  15. Bake for 30-35 minutes
  16. While still hot, use a toothpick to poke holes around the brownie
  17. Melt Nutella over stove or in microwave
  18. Spread Nutella over brownies while still warm
  19. Scatter Mini Marshmallows until happy with Mallow-Coverage
  20. Broil on LOW for 2 minutes (or until golden brown)
  21. Let cool for ten minutes
  22. Cut while warm
  23. Or eat with spoon

Spicy Sweet Potato Burrito

Do you know the difference between a Sweet Potato and a Yam? That’s great. California doesn’t. Among other things California does… oddly, they mess up Sweet Potatoes and Yams. I know this because in a hurry for an impromptu belated Thanksgiving Dinner I grabbed a Yam, instead of a Sweet Potato. Thinking it was a “silly old me” moment, I brushed it off. Until I went back to the grocer a few months later and my horrors were confirmed – they have Yams and Sweet Potatoes mixed up. This is consistent with almost all grocers in San Diego, save Target and Trader Joe’s. I feel like I am living in The Truman Show and everyone is laughing while I hold a Yam to the sky and yell “Why, God?! Why!” I even tried talking to the Produce Manager at the grocer and she said “No, Yams are orange on the inside and sweet. Sweet Potatoes, are white on the inside.” I wanted to grab a knife and slice open that tater, cook it in the deli, and make her do a taste test between a Yam and a frozen Sweet Potato fry. But I didn’t, because at that point I thought they might tackle me if I wielded a knife.

Yam Controversy aside, I love Sweet Potatoes. So much. I also love a company called Penzey’s Spices. It originated in C’s hometown, but now there are franchises everywhere. INCLUDING SAN DIEGO. Add that to the list of things I like about SD. Penzey’s sends out a catalog each month, we get two – I’m not sure why, and not only does it include a coupon it also includes lots of fun recipes that include Penzey’s Spices! One of these recipes was for a Sweet Potato Burrito, so I thought I would give it a shot.

Spicy Sweet Potato Burrito

  • Servings: 6 Burritos
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 3 Medium-Large Sweet Potatoes
  • A dash of Salt
  • ¾ tsp Vindaloo Penzey’s Seasoning
  • ¼ tsp Sweet Curry Penzey’s Seasoning
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon
  • 1 ½ cups Sharp White Cheddar Cheese – grated
  • 1 15 oz can of Black Beans – unsalted or reduced salt
  • 1 15 oz can of Corn Kernels – unsalted or reduced salt
  • 6 Whole Wheat Tortillas


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pierce Sweet Potatoes with a fork and roast until soft. (Around 40-60 Minutes)
  3. Remove Sweet Potatoes from oven and let them cool.
  4. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
  5. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  6. Combine Spices, Black Beans, Corn Kernels and Salt in a large bowl.
  7. When Sweet Potato has cooled slightly; puree, rice, or smash the insides in a separate bowl.
  8. When Sweet Potato is smooth to your liking, combine with other ingredients.
  9. Add 1 cup of Cheese to the mixture.
  10. Spoon mixture into Tortillas and top with remaining Cheese.
  11. Wrap Burrito tightly and lay fold-side down on baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until heated through.

Life, Travel

Honeymoon Planning

I genuinely enjoy planning. Whether I am planning a meal, a day, or a three week vacation, I am almost always thriving off of the “Thrill of the Plan.” (Do you not experience that? Is that just me? Someone please reassure me it isn’t just me.)

While it is traditional to have the Groom plan the Honeymoon, I was more than happy to volunteer to start the planning process. Charlie and I had discussed before that we wanted to go to Europe for our honeymoon. Charlie studied abroad in Germany, and has traveled around, whereas I did a European trip in college as well as an Italian trip with my beloved Aunt Sue as a high school graduation present. (No, my Aunt Sue is not interested in adopting you.)


I chose Germany as my destination country, because I love beer and Germans. Charlie chose Italy, because wine and food, obviously. We figured while we were abroad we may as well hit another country or two. Our first inclination was to do a little country square dance and hit Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and then Italy. I really had my heart set on seeing Switzerland, as it was one of the countries I did not make it to in college. Charlie wasn’t necessarily that pumped, but I had high hopes!

Because beer is delicious, and there needs not be another explanation, we decided to start off our adventure in Munich. We had both been there before and had our favored spots (A – Augustiner, C – Spaten) and wanted to spend a few nights in the city. After that we were between Salzburg and Vienna, however Vienna had WAY more convenient train routes to Switzerland, so we settled into Vienna. Then we got a call from Aunt Sue that we just had to go to Salzburg, and if we did she would put us up in The Hotel Bristol. Haven’t heard of it? It is where Christopher Plummer stayed in the Sound of Music. Clearly, we said yes and adjusted our travel plans. We still had the issue of somehow getting to Zurich, and entertained the idea of one night in Salzburg, one night in Vienna, and then one night in Zurich before heading to Italy. That seemed like a lot of travel, and trains, and Charlie carrying our bags around… so I started to do some research into Zurich. I knew we would be in a city with Munich and also Pisa, and realized the “Swiss Experience” I was really after was hiking. After some ill-fated attempts to find easy access hiking trail from Zurich, I gave up. (Sidenote: I am sure they exist – I just couldn’t find them.)

I started to do some further research into both Austrian and Swiss hiking towns and came across Innsbruck. Not only does it look absolutely gorgeous, but there are hiking trails EVERYWHERE! So we booked an AirBNB and are going to be staying two nights. Conveniently, there is an overnight train from Innsbruck to Italy, so that will make our travel to the villa much much easier.

The villa! We found the most magical beautiful villa in the world while on AirBNB. It is right outside of Camaiore, near Lucca and Viareggio. We rented a car, and Charlie is learning how to drive stick. His darling instructor’s (our dear dear friend Whitney) motto is “When in doubt, peel out.” During one of their “lessons” the people from PetSmart came out to reprimand them for doing donuts in their parking lot. But Charlie’s teacher rolled down the window and yelled “First timer!” The employees gave Charlie a hearty thumbs up, laughed, and went on their merry way.

Anyway we hope to explore lots of towns while in Italy, and also drink a lot. The villa has a full kitchen (or appears to on AirBNB) so we want to get to know the local butcher and live off of Prosciutto. At least, that is my plan.

After a week in the Villa we are heading to Pisa – a town neither of us has been to. We were originally just going to do one night there, but I kept running into trouble booking our car – it appeared that almost every car rental agency was closed on June 2nd. After some research I realized – it is a national holiday! Festa della Repubblica! Thank goodness we hadn’t made reservations for that day – we could have been stranded!! Our favorite local café is owned by a family originally from Pisa, so we plan on picking their brain for where to stay and eat etc…

I am just SO excited to go on this adventure, particularly with Charlie, because I love traveling with him. I have, however, learned some hard lessons during this travel process. So here are some “P&C Honeymoon/Travel Tips!”

P&C Travel Tips

  1. Check the country you’re going to for National Holidays.
  2. Hotwire makes no sense. (If you’re doing a ‘Secret Rate’ bid, note that the star rating on the ‘Secret Rate’ page will most likely differ than the ‘Standard Rate’ star rating – even on Hotwires page. This infuriated me, as we bid for a four star in Munich and ended up with a 3 ½ star. I called customer service and after an hour and five minutes they actually hung up on me. It was unbelievable.)
  3. If you find an AirBNB/Hotel/Apartment you like BOOK IT! We missed out on some great deals and places because we couldn’t firm up our plans fast enough.
  4. Look into Eurail Passes. (We’re in that process now.)
  5. Look at bargain airfare. We ended up booking through Norwegian Air. You literally pay for everything, but the base rate is so low it ended up being a great steal. Hopefully all will go smoothly on our actual travel days.
  6. Don’t buy anything in Euros. Request that it be priced in USD or use a Capital One card (no foreign transaction fees). You’ll save yourself confusion, and also $30.

I am sure there will be MANY more to come, especially once we actually FINISH the trip. Seriously cannot wait to give million page recaps.




Spaghetti Squash alla Norma

Let’s address the first question I assume you have. What the H is Spaghetti Squash? Oh you already know? That’s great, join the other overachievers in the front row and skip a paragraph.

Spaghetti Squash is like the unicorn of the Squash Kingdom. You never knew something like this existed but then you find it, and you cannot get enough of it. You want to visit lakes with the it, hold its hoof, brush its hair… It is that magical. We received a Spaghetti Squash in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) a few months ago, and had absolutely no idea what to do with it. So naturally we used the interwebs and googled this squash unicorn. We found that you roast it and it can be used as a substitute for spaghetti. In all of the pictures I was amazed that this squash somehow looked like… spaghetti! I assumed that this was due to some tedious effort to come, as I didn’t read fully through the directions we found. In the end it turns out you have to do basically nothing to transform this gourd into spaghetti. Just gotta fork the crap out of it. (Highly recommend cooling prior to that.)

Anyway our exposure to Spaghetti Squash pretty much opened up our eyes to lots of yummy pasta dishes that we can make slightly less unhealthy by switching out pasta for the squash. Don’t worry – we added extra cheese to make up the difference. We’ve played around with a few recipes (that I will eventually share), but this is by far our favorite. I found a recipe for Penne all Norma and adjusted it for our tastes, and also to serve 300 people, since we love leftovers. Apparently the “Norma” comes from the Opera “Norma” which was composed by Sicilian Vincenzo Bellini. Sicily is where this dish originated. Though I doubt it was with Spaghetti Squash. And there was probably more yelling and definitely more hand gestures.

You may notice I omit Basil (I am allergic), Ricotta (I never use enough), and Tomato Paste (I always forget to buy it anyway) from the Martha Stewart inspiration recipe. Feel free to add these things back into the recipe, if they are your favorites.

Reading the ingredients, these are all actually pretty healthy (sans the heaping Parmesan), and Gluten Free! Hooray for accidentally accommodating food allergies and diets.

Spaghetti Squash alla Norma

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 Large Spaghetti Squashes (Larger than the ones pictured)
  • ½ Onion chopped fine (I use the Cuisinart, because I have weak onion eyes)
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • +1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (To taste – I usually use a “heaping” measure)
  • 1 c Cherry Tomatoes sliced
  • 3 14.5 oz cans Diced Unsalted Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Eggplant, cut into 1-1 ½ inch cubes
  • Parmesan Cheese grated
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions (Squash): (I highly advise making the Squash long before you need to touch it.)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice squash in half vertically (hot-dog way).
  3. Drizzle squash with olive oil and season generously with pepper, sprinkle with salt.
  4. Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil. Spray foil with Cooking Spray, or oil.
  5. Place squash cut side down on foil.
  6. Cook for 1 hour, or until you can easily pierce through the skin/meat with a fork.
  8. Use a spoon to scoop squash loose from skin.
  9. Scrape squash with a fork to remove the spaghetti strands.

Directions (Sauce):

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp Olive Oil in a large pot for 1 minute.
  2. Add diced Onions and stir for 3 minutes.
  3. When Onions just start to get translucent, add Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, and Ground Turkey. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  4. Cook until Ground Turkey is fully As in, not pink.
  5. Add Eggplant, stir once to move everything around. Then cover for 6-8 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  6. When Eggplant starts to get soft add all Tomato ingredients.
  7. Cook while stirring for ten more minutes, or until Cherry Tomatoes are soft.
  8. Put forked Spaghetti Squash into sauce pot and continue to cook until the dish is to desired temperature.
  9. Serve with a heaping amount of Parmesan. That would embarrass even the greatest cheese-loving Italian.
  10. (Alternative is to place spaghetti squash on its own in bowl and then cover with hot sauce. Like in the pictures.)

Food, Life, Travel

San Diego Bucket List

We recently hit our 2-Year Anniversary of living in SoCal. I can’t believe it! We arrived via Subaru Forrester, boyfriend and girlfriend, with an ornery cat, and not a couch to our name. Two years, one puppy, a marriage, and a lot of Ikea trips later we are starting to build our “home” in San Diego.

I think one of the biggest mistakes one can make is not being a tourist in your own backyard. So Charlie and I have decided to start a San Diego Bucket List/Repeat List! You must tell us if you can think of anything we’re missing from the list… For those who think we are missing the zoo, we went a TON pre-puppy, so we aren’t including it on the list. (But we agree, baby pandas are awesome.)

So far we have:

  1. Surfing (scheduled!!!)
  2. Camping
  3. Coronado (The day in…)
  4. Catalina Island
  5. Paddle Boarding
  6. Potato Chip (The hike… We eat enough potato chips on our own.)
  7. A Brewery Tour
  8. George’s at the Cove/Day in La Jolla
  9. Sea Kayaking
  10. Del Mar (Again, the day in…)
  11. Sunset at La Jolla Cove/Torrey Pines (We’ve already done this… but it is too beautiful to not do again!)
  12. Shady Taco Place (I can’t remember for the life of me the name of it – but it apparently has the BEST tacos in SD. Which is a big deal.)
  13. Man v. Food Locations
    1. Lucha Libre
    2. Phil’s BBQ
    3. Broken Yolk
  14. Balboa Park and Museums (Again)
  15. The Pearl “Dive-In”
  16. Little Italy Farmer’s Market (Our obsession…)
  17. Bluewater (The BEST food in San Diego. At least we think so…)
  18. Fish Market
  19. Fiesta Island/Dog Island (Again…)
  20. Hillcrest Farmer’s Market

I cannot wait to get going on this list… and adding more items to it!