Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dearly, Alas

Last week, EJ decided to send a letter to her old class at public school. She got an envelope, pulled out her old yearbook from her memorabilia box, looked up the school address, and started making out note cards for all of the kids. I left her to her own devices, and told her to call me when she needed a stamp.

Because it is a magnet classroom, 90% of the kids are the same year-to-year, which means that, when EJ left this year, she was leaving a room of kids with whom she had spent most of her time for four straight years. She likes her new school, likes the new kids, etc., but obviously misses her old environment, too. I'd be shocked if she didn't.

Today, as I was doing a little straightening before guests came over, I found this on her craft table.

Drama much? Dearly. Alas. GULP.

When I think about the transition from public school to democratic free school, I don't worry that it was the wrong choice. The reduction in the stress level in our home, the increase in our child's overall curiosity and creativity, and the positive feelings being (re)fostered about learning are worth all the emotional stuff that comes with making a big change. Still though, the guilt with this...the guilt is strong.

It isn't simple though, this nostalgic reaction to change. Case in point: EJ is still attending Girl Scouts with her old school troop, and loves getting to have a visit at her old stomping grounds a couple of times a month. When I asked her after her last meeting if she had fun hanging out with her old classmates, she said, "Actually, I spend most of my time with a new girl from another class, she's really nice."

That's right: when placed in an environment specifically to allow her to easily retain the long-lasting friends she dearly misses (her words), she feels secure enough to hang out with a girl she's just met this year, instead.

I remember when parents of older kids would look at me with my non-stop toddler and say, "It gets harder," and I'd just sigh and think, "Oh, goodness, please don't warn me of something I can't stop, anyway, I'm already so exhausted and I can never sit down. Are you even watching this toddler siphon off my last bit of energy?" Every year, I watch the non-stop action go more and more internal, and while I don't have to chase her all over anymore, I certainly can't follow all the action as easily as I could keep my kid safe via monitors and baby gates.

And yes, I know, it gets even harder, still. Let's just hope I still find little notes occasionally to keep me in the loop.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Magic Elixir

What's happening in this pot on my stove, right this very moment, is magic.

That's chicken stock: foundation of so many meals, elixir of health, comforter of souls.

There are very few things that as a home-cook/foodie—scratch that, there are very few things that as a person, full-stop—give me as much satisfaction as making homemade stock. It has everything, in opposites, all at once: planning + spontaneity, simplicity (in preparation) + complexity (in taste), tradition + variety/innovation.

Many weekdays, I can feel scattered, oscillating between boredom (with lulls in my "real" work, and only mindless housework to fill those gaps) and freneticism (moving between kid activities and husband meetings and personal commitments, usually all planned in overlapping occasions.) It is very easy, at the end of a day, to be both tired and unsure if anything of consequence even got done. Duality is the constant theme. It can feel unsatisfying.

Not today, though, oh no. Today is a chicken stock day. Today that duality got harnessed into something both incredibly basic and deliciously remarkable, all at once. Today I opened up my freezer and pulled out the leek tops and chicken carcass I saved from two previous meals, and thanked my past self for not throwing them away, which always seems easier in the moment. I went into my fridge and grabbed the half-onion I wrapped up on Monday after making a small bit of tuna salad, as well as a few organic carrots and celery stalks purchased on sale. I walked outside to our herb garden on the patio, just off the kitchen, and got the last bits of herbs hanging on: rosemary, chives, marjoram, sage, and even a tiny sprig of Thai basil, just to mix it up a bit. I pulled out my stash of Penzey's spices, picking out a fat dried bay leaf, and pouring out some mixed peppercorns and kosher salt. Into the pot went all of these things, with no real cutting or fuss, just some washing and breaking up with my hands, and covering with plain-old Chicago's finest, Lake Michigan tap water, until the pot was full. I walked away, but then remembered garlic—how could I forget garlic?—so I returned and dropped in a few cloves.

Stock is so forgiving. If I don't have all of my usual ingredients, but have enough, I can make something tasty. If I want to try something new, it's all good. If I forget something, it can always be added later. Stock doesn't judge, bless its collagen-laced heart.

Ten minutes after simmer today, the aroma started to waft out of the kitchen, and it is…well, let's just say, I wish you were here. Divine? Is that too strong a term? My husband, who works from a home office, just peeked out from his secret sanctum of headphones and total focus to ask, dreamily, "What are you making for dinner?" I, too, find myself distracted as I type this, the smell taking over the space in the best kind of way, and we aren't even an hour into the process.

When I make chicken stock, I feel totally satisfied; if nothing else goes well in a day, by evening I will have a dinner in my belly that has made us all smile (tonight: butternut squash risotto), and a freezer packed with the promise of yumminess for at least a month to come, maybe longer. Stock rewards me for my past thoughtfulness with ingredients saved, and pays out in future tastiness via soups, stews, rice dishes, noodles, casseroles…stock just gives and gives.

Do you know why magical characters have cauldrons? I think all the talk of "eye of newt" is greatly exaggerated, and if they are magic, can't they just conjure up any potion they need? No, I think if a witch or warlock really wants to feel powerful, there is only one thing to make in their oversized cast iron pots: chicken stock. It's the real magic elixir.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

MyClean Winners!

May I have a drumroll please…

…and the winners of the one-time free housecleaning service are…

Thanks, everyone, for entering. Lucky winners, the folks at MyClean will be reaching out to you this week to tell you how to redeem your free cleaning voucher.

And remember, local friends, we can all be winners! If you would like to try out MyClean and live in the Chicago area, your first cleaning service will be $50 off if you use coupon code KoriTelling50.

Thanks, everyone!

Friday, October 3, 2014

MyClean Giveaway and Discount Code

This post is sponsored by MyClean. In exchange for a review of their cleaning services, I received a free "Get It Clean," appointment, as well as a discount code to share with all of you, and the chance for three blog readers to win a free cleaning service of their own. All opinions within this blog are mine, and have not been reviewed or approved by MyClean prior to publication.

As promised after yesterday's introspective tome about the thing that weighs me down (umm...me), today's post is a fun one, and will give three lucky Chicago readers the opportunity to win a free housecleaning service.

You read that correctly, FREE CLEANING. And for those readers who aren't lucky winners, don't worry: MyClean has provided a promo code for all of you good for $50 off your first cleaning service. I like games where everyone wins.

Before I give away the goods, let me share my experience with the MyClean.

I like to do things online, so I appreciated their simple cleaning request form. Using sliders, you can choose your number of bedrooms, bathrooms, cleaning frequency, and level of cleaning required. As you move the sliders, the price adjusts to reflect the cost of your request. Take a look:

See how happy that lady looks? She's happy because she just ordered a cleaning one-handed while her child insisted on being held. Again, everyone wins!

If you request recurrent cleanings, you can receive up to a 15% discount, and if you prefer a specific staff member, you can reserve them for your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly home or office cleanings. Specific services, like event and post-construction clean-up, as well as outdoor space and retail location cleanings, are available as well.

I put in my request on Monday, and was able to pick a time for the next day had I needed it. I chose a mid-day Thursday appointment, and our cleaner arrived right on time, ready to go. This was a real feat, as our neighbor, President Obama, came to town in between my cleaning order and the actual appointment, creating a secret service lockdown around our condo. On Wednesday, I received a confirmation of my cleaning, at which point I emailed back to let them know that they would have to park on an adjunct street and come through federal security. Our cleaner, Sherritta (Ritta), had arrived with plenty of time to adjust to this added hurdle, and had all of the information I had provided in my email to make getting to our building possible. If they can arrive through the secret service, I think I can officially endorse them as reliable.

Once a friendly, very sweet-to-our-puppy (who kept jumping on her) Ritta introduced herself, we talked about what I really needed done. I let her know that the two areas I could really use help were cleaning our dusty blinds throughout the house, and getting the baseboards/corners/shelves clean. Although I did not order the deep clean service, the treatment she gave those areas was move-in/move-out thorough. Here's an up-close photo of clean blinds, a thing of beauty:

Ritta was in our home for roughly eight hours, which is longer than I anticipated. She used a combination of our cleaners and hers, although clients can request that everything used be from their own stock, or that MyClean bring all their environmentally-friendly cleaning products in. Her work was solid, and her personality was wonderful. Even as our dog tried to lick the floors as she cleaned them, she stayed patient and helpful. That puppy was probably just trying to warn her not to work so hard, as roughly 30 minutes after Ritta left, Gracie dunked herself in her water bowl, then ran all over the house with wet paws. Sorry, Ritta. I enjoyed those clean floors for a half-an-hour, I promise.

"Naughty? Who me? Why yes, these floors look too clean, let me fix that."
Before she left, Ritta gave me this completed checklist, with the items we agreed upon finished. My only additional request would have been vacuuming, but there was not time for this in the end. Ritta pointed out that when clients' homes are vacuumed, it is always done with their own machines, as MyClean does not want to track dust or allergens from one home to another.

This morning, I received a follow-up email, thanking me for my service, as asking me to complete a quick survey to review my experience.

To sum up:

Best features of MyClean Chicago service: Ease of use, friendly service, effective cleaning.
Things I would change, if possible: Add multiple people when necessary to make appointment faster (this can be requested), estimate based on square footage as well as number of rooms to better predict appointment duration.

While we have a regular cleaner who has helped us out for many years, I would definitely use MyClean again, especially for deep cleans, or just to mix things up and catch the stuff that neither my family or our regular cleaning person notice.

NOW, Chicago friends, don't just take my recommendation, try MyClean for yourself! Koritelling readers can receive a $50 discount on their first service by using promotion code: KoriTelling50.

In addition, type a comment on this post about your least favorite housecleaning task (mine is laundry) before 7:00 p.m. CST on Monday, October 6th, and you will be entered to win a FREE CLEANING. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, October 7th, and will have two days to claim their prize (directions to follow on Tuesday), at which point if any are unclaimed, I will chose new entries.

A big thank you to MyClean for this giveaway, and for the great experience yesterday.

Good luck, everyone!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Big Story (The Continuing Story)

Important Disclaimer:

This post is about obesity. Not obesity, in the general, "America is the fattest nation in the world, please be ashamed while looking at all this headless, faceless video footage of wide behinds and bulging guts walking down city sidewalks" way that you see it reported on the news. Do you think those folks realize their butts are being videotaped for segments like that? I would be really irritated if my butt ever showed up on the evening news unwittingly, but I digress.

Today I'm writing about my obesity. The obesity I am living with today, in October 2014. This version is different than the one I lived with last year, or five years ago, or even a decade ago, when I was pregnant and much, much slimmer and healthier, but still, technically, obese.

If you do not want to read a truthful, sometimes upsetting account of my current experience, I get it. Come back tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be doing a giveaway, the tone will be light, and if you live in the Chicago area, you will be able to get a discount for house-cleaning.

I have written about this subject before, both here at Koritelling, and at my previous blog, Mommylu's World. I will likely write about it many more times, too, since obesity is not an ailment that disappears quickly, even with the best care.

Alrighty, disclaimer done. Do you feel better? I do!

Let me be clear about why I am writing today.

  1. I am not seeking pity. To keep an honest blog in which I tell personal stories but do not include occasional updates on obesity would be ludicrous, given the role it plays in my daily life; that said, I don't write this for any particular response from others. If you reach out to me, you may want me to know that you care, or that you wish this could be different. Thank you. I wish that, too. Support = yes. Pity = no, thank you. I got a terrible shake when it comes to weight, but I am fortunate in so many other ways, pity is never required.
  2. I am not seeking diet or fitness advice. You want to know about calories? The latest "good" food versus "forbidden" food? The increasing variety of couch-to-5K program? Whether carbs or fat or gluten or dairy or sticks or twigs are the best to have for breakfast while slimming down? ASK A FAT PERSON. I'm pleased your nutrition and work-out routine work for you, or your sister, or your aunt, or this lady that you knew growing up who was "so overweight, it was so sad," but has recently lost so much weight you "could barely recognize her" when you ran into her at your hometown hardware store while looking at paint swatches. I promise I have people to call when I need ideas of how to address my weight. And if you ever catch me at a cocktail party and want to hear some hilariously funny stories of how well-meaning, but incredibly rude, acquaintances have approached me to tell me about weight loss strategies at the most inopportune/humiliating times, I am happy to provide you with at least 20-30 minutes of uncomfortable laughter.
  3. I am not seeking blame or shame. I do not feel to blame for my current condition, but I do feel responsible for my choices and their outcome. I do feel shame, regularly, and I work hard to address that feeling. Shame is horrible, and it accomplishes nothing toward behavior change.
  4. I am not seeking consensus. I can only speak for myself, but if what I say resonates, I hope that you will use it to act with compassion to those in your life who may be in the same situation.
  5. I am seeking connection. When you read this, you will know an obese person. If this seems like a bad idea, please return to the disclaimer at the top, and I'll see you tomorrow, friend.
Another year has gone by with more doctor's visits, more feeling awful, more trying to address my diet and exercise, and always feeling like I cannot outsmart the weight-creating machine. 

Does it feel like a fight? Heck yeah. It is the worst kind of fight, a fight with the vehicle in which I rely to carry me in this world, the vessel that I wish to praise and to treat with tenderness. It is a reluctant, terrible fight to survive.

I wish, just for a moment, I could transport others into my skin, to feel the physical weight of the sensation of getting bigger and bigger, of always feeling both hungry and nauseous (and often getting sick), of bumping into things and not fitting into restaurant and movie-theater chairs. The worry that comes with "not fitting" is now almost constant: if I come out to attend an event with you, or travel to see you by plane or train, please know how very much I value you, because I am putting my worry (and reality) of not fitting in my seat aside to brave the experience, understanding that I may be embarrassed and physically hurt (as often happens) if the chair I must sit in has arms that squeeze me in.

I wish, for just one doctor's visit, I could make others a fly on the wall as we discuss test results. A pre-fatty liver. Worries that cholesterol could get high. Insulin-resistance. Headaches. Backaches. Sore joints. Irritable bowel syndrome. All with the doctor's shoulder shrug that says, "I don't know how to fix this, either, I don't know how to put all the pieces together." The discussions about the miracles of weight-loss surgery, and my perfect candidacy, with its accompanying risk of killing me or creating life-threatening complications. The reality that, sadly, my insurance will not cover the cost, so I cannot even consider surgical options, the only treatments (so far) that appear to immediately change the gut flora for obese people, eliminating insulin resistance, digestive problems, and hormone-controlled constant hunger. I wish folks could see my face drop and my shoulders slump as I am told, once again, by my concerned physician that I should meet with the hospital nutritionist—yes, I have done this before, but will try again, as it is the only help provided.

I wish, just for one nutritionist's visit, others could be there as we use antiquated dietary recommendations for weight loss—skim milk, no eggs, only diet bread, cottage cheese (YUCK) on everything, etc.—as the start of our discussion, but then try to navigate the complicated waters of my own personal digestive struggles. 
  • Avocado is healthy fat, but it makes me sick. No, I can't sub avocado for other things with this food plan we are working on, I just have to give up that fat, but of course, I won't feel very full. That won't work? The other fats I suggest are actually trigger foods? Yikes.
  • Crunchy vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower make my stomach so upset, I can't sleep. Too much salad is bad, too. Nutritionist suggestion: blend all my vegetables. Sure, I guess this can work, but that is pretty limiting outside my home, especially if those are the main foods I'm supposed to eat. Also, is this a forever solution? It doesn't seem very sustainable.
  • Beans: if veggies bother me, the nutritionist wants to know about beans. Beans are straight-up off the table now, as I eat them and quickly appear to be food poisoned. Yes, I'm sad about it. I love beans. I love their taste, I love cooking them, I love how inexpensive they are, I love that my husband and daughter like eating them, too. Yes, I can eat them blended, at least in small amounts. Sure, I'll give it a try.
  • Fruit is delicious, but it leaves me hungry; when I eat it at restaurants, I have to be very careful, as I'm allergic to one of the preservatives put on it to keep it looking so fresh and appetizing. Yes, the nutritionist has heard of this, and wants to know, does this preservative irritate my throat? Yes, my throat, lips and tongue balloon up, and I have trouble breathing. Nutritionist suggestion: continue not to eat fruit at restaurants, try to "make the best choices I can."
  • In summary, what's my diet supposed to be? Low-fat or high-fat dairy? Lean protein with blended vegetables, but no carbs? Fruit at home, but with some low-fat protein to fill me up? What can I eat that will both make me healthier and also feel okay every single day?
I wish, every once in awhile, I could share the discussion with the nutritionist, the doctor, and the trainer in which it is suggested that I keep a food journal, with meticulous notes, even though the therapy I have sought to address potential psychological factors of my obesity has suggested that keeping a journal just like that encourages obsessive thinking, shame, and as a result, resistance to behavior change, binging, and feelings of hopelessness. If only I were a robot, and we could just download all my data in an impersonal way.

I have believed, for a long time, that my obesity has not been simply the result of a lack of disciplined self-care on my part, while at the same time, I have understood that my choices have hastened my weight-related suffering and worsened my overall health. These ideas are in conflict, and I must hold onto them, together, all the time, one not canceling the other out. Much as I wish, I can't have others feel how it is to be in this body, or attend health care visits with me as I struggle to describe my symptoms and attempts to ameliorate them, or be in my brain as I try to anticipate size-appropriate seating options everywhere I go. I cannot see the clear solution that gets me out of this situation, but I also cannot seem to get the team I need to help me figure it out, despite trying, despite love and support and access to quality medical care. I know that my solution is not simply lowering calories in and increasing calories burned—the best docs have said that this equation is only a part of the disease for awhile—but all the while, I try to do better with reducing intake and increasing activity.

It is difficult. It is sometimes overwhelming. It is so damn lonely.

I routinely seek ways to escape my situation. I laugh with friends. I exercise. I look fear in the face and go out into the world. I travel with friends and family who mitigate some of my limitations. I play with our new puppy. I try making a new recipe. I'm always in my body, though. Everywhere I go, it is there, and this year, it has felt more encumbering than ever.

For me, obesity is a prison I take everywhere with me. Even during the fun times it is there, in the sweaty feeling in the fold of my neck, or the arm rests pressing painfully into my hips. If vacations fortify our spirits, giving a necessary break to life's struggles, what I wouldn't do for just a few days reprieve from obesity—a brief vacation from being locked inside this body—so that I could feel stronger in my fight to be healthy. 

I want to be hopeful. I want to feel like, this year, this will be the time I get a handle on this, turn the boat around, and through sheer will and hard work, reverse my body's current course. I want to believe that I have that kind of power, even as I know that it takes more than just me and all the resolve and dedication in the world to cure a disease like this. I want to know that there is a set of keys waiting for me to unlock the prison doors. Though each year I feel this disease killing me a little more, make no mistake: I want to live, and I will continue to fight for my life, even as it looks as if nothing has changed.

As much of a downer as the current state of my obesity can be, there is an odd freedom to living outside the edge of normal, to knowing that we are more than our bodies, and we must deal with the struggles that come with them. While I certainly try to to look my best, with some semblance of fashion-sense, I no longer worry about my looks. I just can't. It is fruitless, and requires energy I don't have. All the shirts in the world will show that I am heavy, all the pants will need to fit both my larger stomach and my thighs, so none of them will be very trendy. All the hairstyles will still expose my double chin, so I might as well just get the one I like the best, and feel great about showing it off. The little wrinkles of vanity truly don't worry me anymore. Maybe this is just the effect of age, but even in this body—maybe especially in this body—I like getting dressed up, I like wearing bright colors, and I like not worrying about every single stitch of clothing being flattering. 

Is that a hopeful ending? Gosh, if you stayed with me this long, I can at least end on a reassuring note, right?

Here goes: Before you know it, we will all venture into the holiday season, cold weather creeping in, with baking and parties and family meals, no matter what your diet. Soon the sunlight will diminish, and my body will take a cue from the season by getting slower and more tired, but even exhausted, I will be grateful to wake up with my family surrounding me, as I hope you will be with your families, too. We will all face our struggles. I will face my obesity for another year. I will hope for more answers. I will pray for more joy, even with the restrictions that accompany it in this shell. And should any new breakthroughs come around, I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Speck Yourself Out

This post is sponsored by Speck Products, who provided me with some lovely Speck cases to try out and write about here on the blog. All opinions presented here are my own, or those of my family members who have sampled the Speck cases along with me.

Do you have your new iPhone yet? Waiting until the holidays to upgrade? Something in a flashy Android model, maybe? Or are you like me, hoping to make your old phone last as long as possible, and only upgrading when something breaks on the phone that cuts open your thumb when you use it? (Yes, this has happened to me, and yes, I'd do it again if I could save some money on my technology.)

When I finally did upgrade in the spring of 2013, saving myself from constant digit injury, I purchased an iPhone along with this lovely orange Speck case:

While the decorative white floral background is now more weathered in color, the case continues to get compliments, and more importantly, my phone has not been damaged. Klutz that I can be, I have dropped the phone, thrown the phone, and stepped on the phone. My daughter has "played with" the phone, in the aggressive way that only children can call love. The phone has travelled, been shoved into tight spots, and been jostled around loosely in bags. The phone lives, even as the battery becomes less and less chargeable, and I'm grateful that the case I chose primarily for looks has been a protection powerhouse.

You can imagine my happiness, then, at being invited to a Speck happy hour during the BlogHer14 conference, at which point we could check out some of their new products. I brought home a few, and here are the reports from the peanut gallery (aka, my husband, daughter, and parents):

Last year, EJ earned an iPad Mini for doing so...much...homework. We thought it would take her all year to gather up enough points in our homegrown homework hours-to-points-to-dollars exchange, but her class's ludicrous workload of two hours a night and sometimes eight hours on the weekend made her iPad mini a stocking stuffer. (Don't worry, we've changed schools, but that's a story for another day.)

For my favorite Minecrafter and all those like her, Speck created the DuraFolio case, which I was able to snag in fuchsia, her favorite color.

While at first reluctant to take the gel case that she had grown accustomed to off of her device, as soon as she tried this, she loved it. She really likes that she can set it up in the stand position so easily to watch stampylongnose videos (again, Minecraft), and as her mom, I like that the fabric is bumpy and a little grippy, which makes her less likely to drop her device.

We also sampled an iPad mini case that was designed to hook over the back of a car headrest, so that it could be a mounted screen for videos, etc.

While we thought this would be perfect for a car trip, and tried it on a drive from Chicago to Washington, DC, it was heavier than the kiddo preferred and clunky, with the hook in the way when you weren't using it on the back of a seat. It was also hard to reach once mounted, which would probably be an advantage for use with toddlers or preschoolers, but was a nuisance to our nine-year old. As soon as we stopped at a rest stop, the kiddo searched her bag for the folio case, swapped them out, and just took to holding her device while she was using it for the remainder of our trip.

For my Dad, who along with Mom recently upgraded to their first iPhones, I brought home a CandyShell Card iPhone 5 case.

This case allows the user to make their phone into a wallet, a feature which I think would be perfect particularly when working out, attending festivals/concerts, going out at night with a tiny bag (or no bag at all), etc. My dad's review was simple: he likes the look and the sturdiness of the case, and he appreciates that he can put a few cards (2-3 fit at a time) or dollars in the slot behind. He does not like that you can see which cards are there, due to the window/cut-out at the back; putting your phone up to your ear and flashing your credit card isn't his favorite idea. His use for the slot: his health insurance cards. Retirement hack, complete.

My mom received the coolest case of them all, the CandyShell Amped iPhone 5 case.

A retired speech pathologist, Mom has already self-diagnosed the age-related hearing loss that both she and Dad are now experiencing. Knowing you can't hear doesn't help you hear, though, and I figured she'd enjoy having the sounds of her phone amplified. She agreed. Then she had hip surgery, and hasn't had time to switch out her old case for this one. Suffice it to say, her hearing isn't her main concern right now, but she is looking forward to giving this a whirl.

Finally, my hubby, Mike, swapped out the original Speck case I purchased for his phone, which he liked very much, for the CandyShell + FACEPLATE iPhone 5 case.

A few weeks prior to trying this new case out, Mike had lost the protective film over his iPhone screen, making it vulnerable to scratches. The new case, with a permanent faceplate cover, solves that problem. While he likes that feature, he did have trouble putting it on without any bubbling in the background. He also had difficulty cleaning it, so that the top corner, when the screen is dark, still shows bubbles and smudge (sounds like an English dinner, right?) He may eventually switch back to his original Speck case, once he purchases a new screen guard, but has liked the faceplate version enough not to make any moves in that direction. As a techie guy, if this case was aggravating him, he would have taken it off within days. We are now heading into month three, and it is still in action.

We are Apple folks, clearly, but Apple is only one line of products for which Speck provides cases and accessories. We feel grateful that we got to try the latest and greatest for iPhone 5 and iPad mini, and when we eventually upgrade (likely at iPhone 8), we will look to Speck again to keep our devices safe and snappy-looking.