First Day. First Grade.

27 August 2013 | 5 Comments

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This morning, we had planned to walk to school with friends.  He wanted me to take him into class.  I smiled because he still wants me around, he told Dave to go to work.   

Then, it started to pour.  And thunder.  Our plans for walking to school with friends were thwarted.  I started a mad scramble for figuring out the logistics of Finn, Tate, a stroller, the pouring rain, and where to park.

I forgot first day pictures until we were in the car.  So I pulled out my cell phone and got one in his seat. 

Smile!  I’m clearly winning mother of the year over here.

“I can go in by myself, Mom.”  I dropped him at the front door and he assured me he was ok.  The rain was down to a sprinkle at that point.  There was barely even time to say goodbye because people had parked all over, blocking normal traffic flow. 

This wasn’t how I wanted this to go.  I wanted to walk him in and snap pictures at his desk and tell him to learn something cool.

He hopped out of the car, shut the door, and I realized in an instant that I had forgotten to give him a hug.  I had forgotten the one thing I had done every single day of last school year.  If there weren’t ten cars of frazzled parents behind me vying for a place to drop their child off, I would have yelled after him.  And probably done a Chariots of Fire run through the parking lot and squeezed the shit out of him. 

Instead, my eyes welled and I tried to calmly talk to Tate who cried the moment he shut the door.

She sobbed harder as we pulled in the driveway and tried to keep me from unbuckling her.  As a bonus, it was pouring again.  Thirty minutes after dropping him off, she wailed, “Let's go get Finna Jaaaames. Heeeee's aaaaat schoooOOOOoool.”  She also told me 72 times that she wanted to go to school with Finn and reminded me that she had a Monsters University folder.

Because in her mind, that is the height of preparation.  Never mind the fact that she two and doesn’t have complete control over her bodily functions.  She’s ready.  She has the folder to prove it.

I kept thinking to myself, I need a do over.  A perfect first day of first grade morning, one where I don’t feel like everything is falling apart.

We walked to pick him up at midday and I gave him that hug as soon as he was out the door.  We took those first day pictures, he walked home and chatted with his friends, and we went and had a special lunch out.

Admittedly, it wasn’t fantastic, but there is always tomorrow.

Potty Training... Round Two.

26 August 2013 | 23 Comments


You see this jar?  It’s mini m&m’s, also known as the potty jar.

Bribery, I un-ashamedly use it.

I’m just going to come out and say it, it’ll be like ripping off a band-aid and then maybe you will hate me a little bit. 

We didn’t have to do anything for potty training our first. 

A month before he turned two, he just started doing his business every morning.  We’d give him an m&m each time and high five each other that we weren’t changing poopy diapers.  We’re GENIUS parents!  Why does everyone think this potty training thing is hard?  Then a month or so later, we decided that we might as well try the whole peeing thing too.  We let him run around pants-less and a couple days later, he was done.  I can’t even really remember him having any accidents.

It was like magic.

This little one though?  She’s been bugging us non-stop about going on the potty.  We bought this awesome toilet seat with a built in child sized seat and thought we’d kind of let her figure it out when she was ready.  So for the last few months, we’d sit her on there and make a big fuss when she went knowing she wasn’t ready or really understanding what she was doing.  But she’s getting there and now she’s going a few times a day.  We still need to work on the timing, sometimes she tells us just after she went.  She wants to be changed any time she feels soggy.

She also hilariously tells everyone in the house what a good job they are doing when they go on the potty.  It’s especially fun when guests come over and she’s shouting through the door what a GOOD JOB they are doing!  {Poor Finn just yells at her, “It’s my own PRIVACY Tate!”} 

It’s getting to the point that maybe we should do this potty training thing in earnest now.

Except we have no idea what to even do aside from the couple of mini m&m’s.  Do we try pull ups?  Or will those just make her think she’s wearing a diaper?  We bought some of the Gerber training panties, but I’m not sure I want to use those when we’re out.  Do I put her on the potty at regular intervals?  Repeatedly ask her if she’s got to go?  Let her figure it out?  A friend of ours had a potty seat for the trunk of her car when she was potty training, but I’m so not willing to go that far.

I’ll take all your hints and tips and tricks.  How did you do potty training at your house?

{The potty seat is an amazon affiliate link.}

Rooftop Bachelorette.

21 August 2013 | 15 Comments

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My three best girlfriends are Jackie, Sarah, and Natalie.  I’ve told you about them before, though now they’re in different cities, states even.  I talked some more about Jackie, two years ago, when I pretty much did the most praying I’ve ever done in my life.  Which is exactly what she did for me the year before that.  Apparently November is a tough month… until now.  To say that she’s been through a lot is a mild understatement, but this November, she’s walking down that sandy beach aisle and right into married life. 

And last weekend, we got to celebrate that.  With a lot of rum punch on my mom’s roof.

There were no penises or strippers.  We ate fancy things in miniature form, made her open mortifying gifts, and laughed so hard that my face hurt.  That right there makes me think that we did something right.  Then we capped off the evening with fireworks.  It was totally Jackie. 

Now bring on the wedding, also known as the perfect excuse for a week in Mexico.

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cantaloupe soup serrano ham

The Menu

  • Rum punch {fresh pineapple juice, lemon juice, grenadine, and Meyers Dark Rum}
  • Prosecco
  • Limoncello soda
  • Cheeses: triple cream brie, Van Gogh gouda, cheddar, and Taleggio, with grapes and strawberries and roasted almonds
  • Salami
  • Breads and crackers with olive oil herb dip
  • Dips: roasted red pepper eggplant, pecan bleu cheese, grogonzola torta
  • Caprese bites: Black Cherry balsamic and olive oil with mozzarella, whole basil leaves, and tomatoes 
  • Watermelon with balsamic reduction
  • Cantaloupe Strawberry Soup Shooters with basil mint oil and Serrano Ham
  • vanilla and chocolate macarons
  • assorted fancy dessert bites
  • dark chocolate covered caramels
  • vanilla lemon cut out cookies

caprese appetizer bite watermelon balsamic

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007 bachelorette cookies

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And Then I met George Boudreaux. + A Giveaway!

19 August 2013 | 54 Comments

It was destiny that two days before I left for BlogHer, Tate got a wicked stomach bug and we were using the Butt Paste on her little bum at every diaper change.  As if I needed a reminder of how much I love this product.  As a mom, it’s a pretty good clue when your two year old requests it during a diaper change. 

At BlogHer, I got to meet and talk to Dr. George Boudreaux, the man who invented Butt Paste.  We had a little chat and he told me the story of how his Butt Paste got from his little pharmacy in Louisiana to my neighborhood store.


Dr. Boudreaux was a neighborhood pharmacist.  In the seventies, he started mixing up batches of cream for diaper rash for his customers.  He experimented with his formula until it was perfect and word spread with local moms.  One in particular took her baby to the doctor with a horrible diaper rash and her doctor sent her right over to George.  She came into the pharmacy and requested some of George Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.

And the name just stuck.

He said at that point, he knew he was on to something and he decided to package it and sell it, but no one wanted to buy an unknown product with the funny name.  He believed in it so much in fact, that he offered to retailers that he would buy back any product that didn’t sell and cover their shipping costs as well.  They had nothing to lose and sure enough, it started to sell, albeit slowly.

Then, Al Roker mentioned Butt Paste on the Today Show and fifteen minutes later, retailers were calling, clamoring to get it into their stores.  In 2004, Oprah had George on in a 5 minute segment about quirky ideas and the influx of traffic crashed the company’s website, their supplier worked for months to keep up with orders.  In 2006, ran an article asking what Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie should use on Shiloh’s little bum when she had a diaper rash, readers overwhelmingly recommended Butt Paste, so George overnighted a pound of it so they could try it themselves.

And the rest, they say, is history.  I laughed when my friend recommended it, and now Butt Paste is one of my favorite baby products.  I also love that the brand has a sense of humor and some fantastic, funny campaigns like this:

Dr. Boudreaux was part Cajun sweetness, part savvy business man, and all delightful to talk to.  He spends a lot more time with his family these days and travels to every LSU football game, he even showed me his 2007 championship ring, a gift from the LSU coach.  George, I didn’t have the heart to tell you that they beat my beloved Buckeyes to get it.  He still does a few appearances each year on behalf of the brand and I’m thankful that BlogHer was one of them.  It was such a pleasure to meet him!

Please share a funny story in the comments here or a silly photo of you and Butt Paste on Instagram.  Boudreaux would like to give one So Wonderful, So Marvelous reader a $100 Visa gift card!  That will buy a whole lot of Butt Paste!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the Promotion prompt on this post.

Tweet (public message) about this Promotion, including a link to the video located here and exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that Tweet in a comment on this post.

Post (publicly) a Boudreaux’s Butt Paste-related picture on Instagram, including exactly the following unique term in the image description: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that Instagram photo in a comment on this post.

Blog about this Promotion (including a link to the video located here and a disclosure that you have received a sweepstakes entry in exchange for blogging about this Promotion), and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 8/19/13 - 9/15/13.

Be sure to visit the Boudreaux's Butt Paste page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

About Us: My Sister Lyndsey… Married To Herself.

15 August 2013 | 5 Comments

So you know I’ve been doing the whole Bloggers on Marriage series and I love seeing how others approach marriage.  My sister Lyndsey said we need to include the people who are singly married to themselves by choice or circumstance.  And she very much agreed to do the writing even though she’s neither a blogger nor married to someone other than herself.  She is, however wearing a very obnoxious green wig and false eyelashes in this photo…


How long have you been a couple single and whom liked whom first?

This October we will have been a couple single for 35 years.  I definitely liked her first.  She made me laugh and I knew that I would spend my whole life laughing because she is completely wacked.

What has being married single taught you?

It has taught me to be independent, to march to the beat of my own drum, and not care what anyone else thinks. I love me so much, it doesn’t matter if anyone else does (even though I know secretly everybody does.)

What is the most fun thing you have ever done together alone?

I guess the question should be is what fun don't I have?  One- I am easily amused so everything is fun to me.  True story: I got put in the corner when I was little as punishment and I played with the lamp for hours. Even after I was done with my time out.  Two- Ummmmm, I am single, so really what fun can't I or don't I have?   What is the definition of fun for $2000 Alex?  What is- this girl! Trebeck your mother is a whore… which makes her my new best friend!

How do you resolve issues?  Do you ever go to bed angry?

I never go to bed angry…  I do however, go to bed drunk with the gratefulness I don't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn with kids!

What is the secret to a happy marriage singlehood?

The fact I don't have to have sex with the same person if I don't want to.

Aaaaaaaaannnnnnndddd done!

About Us: Casey + MCB, Married 9 Years.

14 August 2013 | 2 Comments

It’s that time again.  Our anniversary week is in full effect and you know what that means.  I’ve asked some of my favorite bloggers and their spouses to stop over and to share some words on marriage.  Sit back and relax all week while they charm the pants off of you!

I am so excited for this one!  Casey {wearing Roozle as a baby in the pic} is an absolute force of positive energy.  We ‘met’ on Twitter and bonded over the fact that both of us are ironing-challenged, thankfully we both married well or we’d be wrinkled messes.  She is a blogger living in Boston with her wife and their four year old daughter Roozle.  Life rules isn’t just her tag line, she means it and that zeal and confidence comes through in her writing.  This year she was one of the keynote speakers at BlogHer Voices of the Year.

life with roozle family photo 2

How many years have you been a couple & who liked whom first?

We've been together for 10 years. We met at a protest in 2003 on the first day of the war with Iraq. We were both there with our ex-girlfriends and saw each other from far away. I followed her for a few blocks, checking her out. I know now that she was checking me out too, but her ex started to get jealous and put her arm around her which made me think they were together so I left. Feeling encouraged by a super cute girl sighting, I went to a lesbian bar the following week. When I walked in, MCB was there, telling her friend all about seeing a cute girl (me) and how her ex messed it up. Mid-sentence, I arrived, and she pointed and said, "THAT'S HER!" but her friend quieted her quickly so I didn't notice. She came up to me later that night and we talked and danced and exchanged numbers. It all happened really fast after that. 

What has being married taught you?

Marriage has taught me how to just hold tight. Sometimes a moment feels awful and frustrating and terrible, but if you just hold tight, it often fades away. It's almost like living with a toddler: you need to pick your battles. There is a lot that goes into two people's actions. Intentions, past experiences, current experiences. I try really hard to focus on that and not be too sensitive to the moment. This lesson has worked well outside of our marriage as well. 

What is the most fun thing the two of you have ever done together?

The most fun thing we've done together has definitely been creating this little family of ours. We have a great time together. Our daughter is exceptionally silly and the three of us are always laughing.

How do you resolve issues?  Do you ever go to bed angry?

We try to have fun and see the good in situations. It doesn't always work, but we try. We have definitely gone to bed angry a few times in the last 10 years, but work really hard not to. 

What is the secret to a happy marriage?

The secret to all happiness is low expectations. Marriage is not excluded from this. When you don't expect much, everything that happens feels like the best day ever. It rules.

About Us: Kristina + Matt, Married 13 Years.

13 August 2013 | 1 Comments

It’s that time again.  Our anniversary week is in full effect and you know what that means.  I’ve asked some of my favorite bloggers and their husbands to stop over and to share some words on marriage.  Sit back and relax all week while they charm the pants off of you!

Kristina.  I didn’t think we would be friends, but I was wrong.  I was so wrong.  My favorite thing to come out of Blissdom was Kristina’s friendship.  She is so nice, I thought.  Too nice to be friends with me, I thought.  And she probably is, I think she must wonder sometimes.  She is also quiet and funny and introspective and strong and ballsy and spectacularly giving.  She makes me want to be a better woman and mom and wife and sister and friend.  I make her consider getting something other than light pink on her toes.  Fair trade, right? 


How many years have you been a couple & who liked whom first?

This fall we'll have been together for almost 15 years and married for almost 13.  Matt likes to say he liked me first because he said hello across the room.  I think I liked him first because I called him first.  I didn't wait for that 3 day rule.  ;)

What has being married taught you?

Marriage is hard work.  I always thought that if it was "right" there wouldn't need to be any work and that is the far from the truth.  Marriage is hard work every day and you need to be intentional about it.  It is also more rewarding than I ever thought it could be.

What is the most fun thing the two of you have ever done together?

We traveled a southern route across the country.  We stopped to see a ton of historical landmarks and then spent a week in Palm Desert, CA before heading home.  Our way home was a more northern route.  We can't remember fighting or disagreeing the whole trip and actually loved having all of that uninterrupted time with each other.

How do you resolve issues?  Do you ever go to bed angry?

We try to communicate but sometimes have a hard time doing it.  He likes to talk about everything right away and I like to process it and talk about it later.  We have definitely gone to bed angry but we always talk about it in the morning. 

What is the secret to a happy marriage?

Matt says communication.  I think he's right but, going to therapy has also worked wonders.  We started marriage counseling this summer and I could kick myself for not insisting that we go earlier.  It's really taught us that as well as we thought we knew each other, there were still things that we were holding back or hesitant to say.  Our lines of communication are much more open now than they ever were.

About Us: Sarah + Ken, Married 9 Years.

12 August 2013 | 1 Comments

It’s that time again.  Our anniversary week is in full effect and you know what that means.  I’ve asked some of my favorite bloggers and their husbands to stop over and to share some words on marriage.  Sit back and relax all week while they charm the pants off of you!

I met Sarah this year at BlogHer and we realized we’d been at Blissdom together too.  She is one of those people who is so genuinely nice and funny that you want to make her your friend immediately.  We bonded over the agony of walking into a party alone and genuinely scary kids toys.  Get yourself over to Toddler Summer and be sure to say hello. 


How many years have you been a couple & who liked whom first?

Her: We’ve been a couple since I was a sophomore in college 16 years ago. I’m pretty sure that he liked me first and strategically asked me to borrow a pen on the first day of the geology class where we met.

Him: We’ve been together 16 years. I definitely liked her first.

What has being married taught you?

Her: Marriage has taught me that doing things together, while sometimes harder, is much more satisfying than doing them on your own.

Him: Being married has taught me to use one another’s strengths to become one super entity!

What is the most fun thing the two of you have ever done together?

Her: Having a family is definitely the most fun thing we’ve done together. No one else appreciates the small, silly moments of parenthood quite like your partner. The small things – like mispronounced words and toddlers hiding in the refrigerator may not be fun or funny to anyone else, but we laugh together about and with these small people in our lives all the time.

Him: The most fun thing we’ve done together is have babies. Also the scariest thing!

How do you resolve issues? Do you ever go to bed angry?

Her: We are lucky not to have too many issues. And when we do, we talk about them. We’re both pretty patient and even-tempered, which I think really helps us not to make a bigger deal out of things than we need to.

Him: I think I’m usually the only one with issues. They are resolved quickly once I find a way to express what they are. I go to bed angry sometimes, but generally I can’t sleep until I’m feeling better. So I’d say I never go to sleep angry.

What is the secret to a happy marriage?

Her: I think the secret to a happy marriage is to be friends. It might seem cliché – but the more you like each other, the more you enjoy each other’s company, the easier it is. I also think we support each other in our hobbies and passions really well even though those things are now totally different from when we first met. We’ve allowed each other to grow and change and supported each other along the way.

Him: Secret to a happy marriage? See answer number 2.

About Us: Katrina + Chris, Married 19 Years.

It’s that time again.  Our anniversary week is in full effect and you know what that means.  I’ve asked some of my favorite bloggers and their husbands to stop over and to share some words on marriage.  Sit back and relax all week while they charm the pants off of you!

Katrina is an author.  As in, she published a real live book and another one is coming soon.  Everyone should have an author friend and now I have one of my very own.  Don’t be jealous, you can be friends with her too.  You won’t be able to help yourself after reading her take on marriage.  Swearsies.  Did I mention the blog?  I’m not quite sure how she does it with two dogs and four children, but you can bet I’m going to find out. 


How many years have you been a couple & who liked whom first?

We've been together for 25 years, married for almost 19. Chris asked me out a few times in high school before I said yes. He was persistent; I was reluctant. Eventually, his charm, good looks, romantic mix tapes (heavily featuring Billy Joel), and homemade cream of mushroom soup won me over.

What has being married taught you?

Katrina: That I'm not always right and that life is more fun with a best friend beside you.

Chris: If I was on a deserted island, I'd be content to be there alone with my wife and kids. They are everything I need.

What is the most fun thing the two of you have ever done together?

We tend to have a lot of fun together no matter what we do. We once had a friend who asked, "Do you always laugh at and with each other -- even when you're alone?" And we do. There's a great deal of laughter (and kitchen dancing) in this home.

How do you resolve issues?  Do you ever go to bed angry?

Katrina: We always try to keep things in perspective. And that perspective usually comes after I've yelled a little bit and then taken a few deep breaths... sometimes over the course of a few hours.

Chris: I don't go to bed angry because when there's an argument, I'm typically relegated to the couch.

What is the secret to a happy marriage?

Sometimes I think it involves a special combination of wine, Scotch, and a great sense of humor. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. But our greatest marriage advice came from a trusted advisor on our wedding day. He said, "Remember, this union comes first. No matter how many kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids may come, you must honor this relationship as your number one." We wholeheartedly believe in "putting our own oxygen masks on first." When our kids were younger, we made it a priority to hire babysitters, to go out to dinner together, to breathe and reconnect. When our kids are grown and gone, we will still have one another. That's a good thing for us because we truly enjoy each other's company. And as an added bonus, we're not afraid to shake our groove things on the dance floor.


06 August 2013 | 5 Comments

My white diary with the lock and the purple hearts all over it is filled with my sixth and seventh grade self. 

In eighth grade, our English teacher had us keep a journal that we would turn in each week, my private thoughts intermingle with her notes. 

That spiral bound notebook gave way to a deep purple diary with KEEP OUT written on it in black graffiti scrawl when I turned thirteen.  That one took me right through the angst of high school.  I always promised myself that I would write more often, much like I do here. 

Then, I moved to Belgium for two months and filled every inch of space in an entire journal, recording every minute detail.  I wrote for hours a day.  Hours.  There are notes scribbled when I was in class, on a train to the North Sea, and holed up in my bedroom there. 

The flower covered journal of my twenties is by far the one that I’ll keep hidden from my children.  Though after ten other boys, there in my own writing, I talk about meeting their father. 

In my late twenties, there were no journals, just a hundred or so emails and chats that I have saved.  That, and the half finished novel.  Of course.

I think of this blog when I tell people what I do.  I tell them that staying home with my children gave way to the writing.  The blogging.  In my head, writing is something I stumbled upon.  Something I started so much later in life, after my ‘real’ career ended.

But I suppose really, it’s been there all along. 

Lemon Basil Lemonade. {And Cocktail.}

01 August 2013 | 2 Comments


My in-laws have a huge garden each summer.  We benefit greatly in the form of raspberries, zucchini, lettuce, and sometimes even dreaded beets.  Every time Finn or Tate go over there, they come home with cartons of gooseberries or a radish or two.  Yesterday, we stopped to visit.  At Tate’s insistence, we wandered through the garden with Grandma Sue, talking about tomatoes and peaches, when we came to a pot of lemon basil that smelled a-mazing.  The first thing I asked was, what can you make with lemon basil?  We talked about pasta and marinade.  I think it would also be good for potatoes, vinaigrette, chicken, or shrimp dishes.  Then, I said it would be awesome to try a lemon basil lemonade with it because it really has a pungent citrus smell.  Sue picked a bunch and sent it home with us to give it a try.

I decided first, I would make an EASY homemade simple syrup. 

What is simple syrup?  I’m glad you asked.  Simple syrup is just water and sugar heated together until it combines and you no longer have sugar crystals.  Sounds fancy, but it takes just a few minutes on the stove for this to happen.  It’s great for making sweet tea or lemonade because the sugar is already incorporated.  FYI, my friend Emily made simple syrup for a shower once and I thought it was a genius idea so people aren’t stirring in a bunch of sugar that sits at the bottom of their tea, she put it in a cute little container with a pour spout.  Ta daaa!  Tea as sweet as you’d like it.

Simple syrup is also versatile because you can add anything you like to flavor it.  Remember that yummy vanilla lime simple syrup?  The only limit is your imagination.  Add mint and lime for a simple syrup mojito, add lavender or rose or hot chilies for fancy unique cocktails, and yes, lemons for simple syrup lemonade.  The ratio I always use is 1:1.  Equal parts sugar to water.  Then add whatever you’d like for flavor.


074 084

Lemon Basil Lemonade

  • Lemon Basil Simple Syrup {recipe below}
  • 1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice {about 5 lemons}
  • 2.5 - 3.5 cups of water {to taste, you can use fizzy here if you want}
  • strawberries {optional}
  • lemon slices, + basil leaves to garnish

In a pitcher, combine lemon basil simple syrup, lemon juice, and water.  Stir until combined.  Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon slice and basil leaf.  If you like, you can slightly mash a few strawberries and add.  My kids loved both versions.

If you want to make it a cocktail, add vodka to taste.

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Lemon Basil Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of lemon basil leaves * {if you want it extra basil-y, add a few regular basil leaves as well}
  • peel from 1-2 lemons {use your vegetable peeler here, it’s super easy!}

Put everything in a saucepan on the stove.  Heat, stirring until all sugar crystals are fully incorporated.  {The water will look clear again.}  Remove from heat and allow to stand one hour.  Then, strain out solid pieces and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

* If you don’t have access to lemon basil, you could use regular basil, however I would use 1/3 cup of regular basil and double the lemon zest while making the simple syrup.

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