5 Ways to Upgrade Your Bachelor Pad

When you’re setting yourself up for success, you’re probably aware (of have heard repeatedly) that the people you surround yourself with everyday have a direct impact on your trajectory. The right people can help you feel powerful, tackle problems with critical thinking, and help you view the world from a perspective that enables you to be and do your absolute best.

What you probably didn’t think about, however, is the impact your personal physical space also has on your success trajectory. Trying to feel like a boss, ready to go out and conquer your goals can prove difficult if your home or apartment feels drab or immature. Sure, poor living conditions make for great motivators in movies, but let’s be honest – for the average man, rising above is not actually a skill many possess. We want to feel powerful and we want certain material things to help us with that.

So how do you upgrade your bachelor pad or living space so it’s more inline with the man you’re meant to be? In this episode, I’m joined by Misty Maxey of Misty Maxey Designs. She’s The bachelor pad designer and she has some great insights and advice on how you can upgrade your space while still being true to who you are. Not all interior designers want a million throw pillows and weird things on the wall. Misty is here to give you easy and actionable advice and 5 ways you can upgrade your bachelor pad (or married pad, or office space, or wherever really).  [Subscribe Here]

5 ways to upgrade your bachelor pad with Misty Maxey | The Sharp GentlemanSHOW NOTES:

Misty has a lot to offer guys looking to step up their home and/or office game with better style. She’s offering a free 30 minute design consultation to help you flesh out some ideas via Facetime or Skype just for you guys (as loyal listeners). This includes answering your design questions and helping you identify the style direction you might be interested in traveling. It’s definitely something we should take advantage of while we have the chance! Learn more:  www.mistymaxey.com/thesharpgentleman

More on Misty:

Misty Maxey has always loved interior design. With two artistic parents, her creative path was written in the stars. Always seeking to grow in her knowledge and understanding of the interior design field, she regularly sought out the experience from successful designers.

With knowledge and life experiences forming her understanding of the importance of interior design, she opened her business with the goal of inspiring bachelors to live their best life ever by co-creating their home that reflects who they are and to become.

As a survivor of domestic violence, Misty regularly gives back by providing complimentary design services to survivors and their families. This restores dignity and gives back to her community.

Blake Hammerton: Misty, thank you so much for joining me. It’s awesome to have you on the show!

Misty Maxey: Thanks for having me, Blake. I’m so excited to talk with you and just give some more knowledge to your listeners.

BH: Yeah. That’s the biggest reason I wanted to bring you on this show is that, you know, I look at all the topics we’ve talked about in the last few years and the blog posts and all the conversations I have and we talk about trying to make men better, right? And we talk about fashion and style and communication, but one of the things that always seemed to be lacking was your actual personal space, the physical space you go home to or are working in,  and is it clean, is it set up, do you feel happy with it? And I thought this is a huge hole. So for you to reach out to be on your show, the timing could not be better.  I’m excited to learn more about what we can do to take guys living with mismatch for furniture to men who have really awesome pads.

MM: I’m excited to help with that. For sure. I’ve definitely seen, you know, the guys that they went to the best school, maybe they have like a Nordstrom’s stylist or they’ve reached out to get a nice suit and nice quality of suits, and  they may even drive the best cars, but then you go back to their place and it’s just an Ikea sofa. Maybe they have a coffee table, maybe it’s just a stack of like crates or boxes, and then they hand you a Red Solo Cup for your drink. And I’m like, what’s going on here? How do you, you know, live this dual life? That’s really where I started to see, you know, this niche market that wasn’t being tapped and really just trying to find out like, is this a really good idea for me to niche myself in this way and really serve these guys? Or is it a really terrible idea? Which, why is no one doing this? You know?

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Bachelor Pad with Misty Maxey | The Sharp GentlemanBH: I think one of the things that’s funny about it is that, you know, guys are stubborn and we’re set in our ways. And so you think, is this a good idea? Is this a good avenue for me to go down? Can I not so much change them, but can I help improve them or will they say, “no, no, my furniture is fine. Get Out of my house and take your red Solo Cup with wine in it away,” you know? So what do you think was the catalyst for you to decide that, bachelor pads and Bachelors was your path to go. What was the catalyst that made that happen?

MM: You know, for me it was really just launching my business and starting to work with clients, and really seeing that the bachelors that I did work with were very good at making decisions because a lot of them are in business, and so they’re very quick to make decisions. They’re not indecisive and are super straight forward about what they do and do not want.

And as a business owner myself, that’s what I want. I want people to tell me what they like, what they don’t, what they can afford, and what they can’t. Whereas a lot times, and not to be stereotypical, women tend to be a little more indecisive, and so the project kind of drags on and they’re not quite sure, you know. They’re looking on Pinterest and they’re looking all around and they don’t know exactly what they should do in their space.

And then on the flip side of that, when you get together with a couple, it’s like you’re a marriage counselor and I didn’t go to school to be a marriage counselor. I don’t have all this time to draw everything out of each person. And then we’re in negotiations between the husband and the wife for weeks before we even get the project off the ground.

Working with the bachelors, it was a lot of like, “okay, I’m going to show you a couple of different ways that we could go about doing this after I meet with you and I really get to know your personality.” And then from there they’re like, “I love this, I hate that.” And it just makes the whole process much more streamlined and they’re just really easy going and I love working with them.

BH: It seems to paint such a different picture when you watch things on HGTV where the couple comes in and they’re all hunky dory and easygoing and they say, “oh, that color’s great.” And they love that. And so you feel like, well, I could do that. I got this. I could help couples, no problem.

And then real life hits and you realize that the one doesn’t say more than three words in two years you’ve been working with them, and the other never stops talking… and they can’t agree on anything. And so that’s, that’s your life now. And you wake up one day and go, “what have I done?!?” So I can see where we’re working with bachelors who are clear cut and certain will definitely keep things moving forward quickly.

MM: Yes, and just in general, it’s my personality. I tend to get along with guys a lot better than girls. I’ve worked in a lot of show rooms and different spaces where I was surrounded by women and it was just a lot of drama and emotions and all this. And I have two sons myself and I’m personally more interested in, you know, let’s just cut all that crap and just get to a business, you know?

BH: That’s true. I’m all about it. So why do you feel that they’re working with guys and helping them clean up their space and make it more their own? Why is that important?

MM: You know, I think guys get a really bad rap with their spaces. And for me, I want to rewrite that stereotype. Let’s create a different narrative about men and design. Like I want to show guys that they can have spaces that show the world that they’ve arrived and they’ve got it going on – that they’re adulting now, but that also restore them. They work really hard all day at the office. So to have a space to come back home and like put your feet up and feel comfortable, is just so important. And I think that’s not always addressed in the design realm when it comes to men.

BH: Yeah, and so that’s one of my personal disconnects when I look at a lot of design stuff. I may look at something and on paper or in a display, and it looks awesome, but I could never live there. You know, you find that the pictures, it looks awesome. The furniture, the art, the lighting, the textiles, the flooring – all of it. It looks so great, but in no way does it look comfortable for me at the end of the day.

MM: Exactly. For me, it’s finding that kind of balance between, “we can’t have your dad’s old recliner that’s falling apart that he handed down to you because it’s just a piece of junk and you need to get rid of it…” But also, “we can’t have a $10,000 Sofa that’s made out of linen that you’re afraid when your buddy comes over for the super bowl that he’s going to spill beer all over it and then there goes your investment.”

BH: I guess a good follow up question is where do you feel is one of the main spaces where guys are missing the mark?

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Bachelor Pad Dining Room Misty Maxey | The Sharp GentlemanMM: You know? I think that they are missing the mark on the return on investment in interior design and how creating a space that is functional and aesthetically pleasing can actually help them in other areas of their life.

Whether it’s their career, leveling up their business, or finding that lady that they’re looking to have a relationship with, they don’t always see the value of design and accessories. Buying a sofa and buying some throw pillows and a rug, for example, they might feel like they’re just wasting money on crap. They think, “how is that actually gonna benefit me and improve my life?”

BH: I think that’s really true and we can easily see how that works when we go to nice hotels. Guys who don’t really seem to give a crap about anything in their space, they’ll still recognize when they go to a really fancy hotel how nice everything is. And they feel powerful and they feel like everything is put together well. Even though it’s not their space, it’s just a hotel room, but it has the couch and the throw pillows and the rugs and the lighting and everything is just so, and it just makes them feel like they’re in a creative physical space now.

You just want to take that into their own space and make it some place where not only are they’re comfortable to come home to, but it makes them feel like they can tackle more, they can be more, do more, have more, because at least they’re here in this powerful room, whatever it is.

MM: Exactly. And so many people are working remotely now. There’s such a high percentage of us that want to work while traveling or are at home office spaces. If you’re at home working and there’s a bunch of crap everywhere and your office chair is uncomfortable and all these things, you’re not going to be as efficient and effective as you could be if you upgraded your space.

BH: Right! So let’s talk about upgrades and ways that we can actually start taking actionable steps in doing things to improve our places. What are five ways to upgrade your bachelor pad – in your words?

Step One: Clean Up

MM: Obviously step one, clean the place up. Get in a routine for doing your laundry and putting your dishes in the dishwasher and all those things. Declutter. Maybe some of you might’ve heard about Marie Kondo and her Netflix thing and you know, kind of grabbing each piece that you have and be like, “does this spark joy for me”? Or in other words like, do I like this thing or not? Did I get it from my mom or did my girlfriend buy this vase and now we’re broken up, and every time I look at the thing, I just think of her – get all that crap out, get the place clean and ready to roll.

BH: I think that makes a big difference to where we sort of feel like we’ve had something for so long, we should hang on to it. You think it’s an heirloom. You sometimes need someone to help you realize that tee shirt is not an heirloom, dude. That’s a travesty. Get rid of that.

MM: Yeah, and it brings a new lightness into your space when you look around and everything that you see makes you happy. Like there’s no depression that’s going to happen in there. If you’re just surrounded by all these things that just feel great in the space and it reminds you of this awesome time that you went on this trip, or any other positive memories, you’ll feel better and more powerful.

BH: Right on. Okay. So what’s, what’s step two?

Step Two: Get Artsy

MM: So step two is art. And I mean, like real art – nothing that is hung with a thumbtack on the wall. No hot chick posters, no sports posters, all that stuff is not considered art if it’s on the wall with a thumbtack. So to get some good art, there are plenty of places online where you can get some really nice canvas pieces that are affordable and they can do wonders for your space. But I would also encourage guys to get out in their neighborhood and go on art walks.

In Portland here, we have what’s called First Thursday. Local artists show their pieces and they’re usually pretty reasonably priced, and you get to meet the artists, and it might even be a good opportunity to bring that lucky lady with you, and you guys can go get a glass of free wine.

Go look at art and start to develop your own opinions on what kind of art you enjoy. Because art is really, really personal. Just like music. You might like jazz and someone else likes hip hop. I might like a certain piece of art and you might think it’s absolutely horrible. And so just going back to that first piece in step one, make sure that the things that you’re bringing into your space when it comes to art or things, make sure  you actually enjoy looking at them. When you get a big piece, put it above your sofa or your bed and you can pull colors for accents. Like your accent pillows are different things out of that piece. Start your color Palette.

BH: Gentlemen, first of all, I’m talking to you – when you hear the word art and you think, “oh no, we’re going down this path. I’m going to turn into that scene in Beetlejuice where she decorates the dining room and the kitchen with skulls and faces and claws” – It’s not like that.

MM: Exactly.

BH: I can totally support that. My wife and I have started doing the whole going out for artsy activities. We’ll go to Arts-a-Blast or Painting With A Twist. You drink your bottle of wine, you paint a horse, you paint a sunset or a Tuscany village, (or something) and it’s a group thing. It’s really fun. It’s a cool experience. We have a bunch of them all over the house now.

We’re fun cause we’re competitive and we’ll hang the same painting next to each other’s. Sometimes we get drunk and think, “God, we’re terrible at this. Why do we even sign up for this?” But it’s better than your bud light poster. Don’t, don’t do that

MM: Yeah, exactly. Like let’s elevate it, gentleman. Let’s bring it up just like a couple of notches.

BH: So that brings me to kind of a sidebar. What about a man cave? This is the whole big thing where we have She Sheds and Cheryl’s burned down and we have man caves in general. What’s a good man cave for adults, and what’s a bad man cave for a 22 year old who just never let go?

MM: You know, personally I love doing themed spaces and if that’s where you’re going, just do it and do it well. And if you love a certain sports team or something like that, like incorporate the colors and go full with the theme. But I think some of the best a man cave spaces that I have worked on have been more of a gentleman’s lounge. Think of the cigar lounge or these different spaces that have a lot of wood, bookshelves with interesting things, or some cool taxidermy. Then you’ve got the nice Chesterfield Tufted Sofa and a really cool poker table for your buddies to come over.

These are the kinds of spaces that I think are a little more elegant, but I don’t ever go bashing on the original man cave. But don’t do that like in your main living room. Like do that in the basement or the garage space or wherever, but not like when you walk in the front door. We don’t need to know you’re a Colts fan when we walk in the front door.

BH: Right. So that’s, that’s true. I think that the main theme here, gentlemen, is if you open the front door to your home or apartment and you’ve entered your own man cave, you have to go back, you’ve done something wrong. So you can have your man cave, just not right when you walk in.

MM: Yes. Exactly.

BH: What’s step 3 in the upgrade your bachelor pad plan?

Step Three: Make a Better Bedroom

MM: Step three is moving to the bedroom. So the main thing in the bedroom is going to be the bedding. Obviously, I shouldn’t have to say before we get to the betting that your bed should not be just on the floor, that you should have a bed frame of some sort and like a headboard and hopefully you all know that. So let’s just move on to the betting piece because this can be a little bit more tricky.


BH: I totally agree, and I just read an article online a few days ago detailing how Millennials are placing mattresses directly on the floor these days. What is that?

MM: I don’t know. I think maybe it’s just a trend, but I honestly think that you feel a lot better when your bed is up off the floor on a frame and it looks nice with a nice headboard. You look like you’re adulting. You’re not in this like millennial “trying to save money, getting the cheapest thing or not even getting a bed frame at all, but calling it minimalism” thing – that’s not what I do.

BH: I think that the idea that we can take minimalism, but we can make it better by building a frame, but then having your storage underneath it so there’s less storage in your room, so you can be minimal, but you don’t have to look like you’re poor.  So we have beds and bed frames. What else do we need? Let’s go to the the linens.

MM: Yes, the linens. The bedding is very important. You want to have good sheets. You don’t want to feel like you’re rolling around in a bunch of crusty old sheets. And especially when you invite the ladies over, you want to impress them. They want to feel comfortable just like you [Blake] were talking about in the hotels. So make sure you have really nice crisp, clean sheets. I would highly suggest not getting dark sheets because they can show spots and stains more easily, and they just don’t look as crisp and clean.

And the other thing that you want to think about is thread count. So the higher the thread count, typically the more luxurious and soft the sheet is going to be. But that’s not always the case. So I would encourage you to buy your sheets in person and try them out. Make sure that before you buy them, you know the return policy because sometimes you might feel them in the store and they feel great, but you get them on your bed and they just feel rough. A cotton with a fairly high thread count (500+) or if you want to go a little more luxurious, you could get something like an Egyptian cotton or silk.

BH: All right, so we all agree on now and we’re going to clean our space. We’re going to get some art. We’re going to make sure that our beds are off the floor on frames and have really nice linens. So we’re good. We’re soft, we’re clean, we’re artsy. What’s number four?

Step Four: Furniture For Adults

MM: So number four is just furniture in general. You don’t want to have everything in your apartment or home from Ikea or Craigslist, or your mom’s basement. Things should not be broken. I know you guys like to fix things, but if your coffee table leg falls off, don’t just go get the drill from the garage and screw it back on. And then there’s a big screw on the side of the thing. Like, go get a new clean coffee table.

BH: I’m not going to lie. I feel a little bit attacked right now.

MM: I’m just saying, it’s not always the right fix. Sometimes the fix is throwing the thing out and getting something new.

BH: That’s true. I can’t argue with that. All right, what are your suggestions on furniture?

MM: I think that you can still get some really quality pieces off craigslist or even like storage-wise from Ikea. I’m not saying that everything that you have to buy is going to be from some high end furniture retailer because I do understand as a decorator like me, even some of the markups on those things are very high. But I do think that it doesn’t give you an excuse not to invest in some quality pieces that are gonna last you for years to come. Especially when it comes to your Sofa. I see a lot of guys definitely choose comfort over aesthetics, but guys, seriously, there are plenty of styles that don’t have those gigantic rolled arms that are made out of microfiber that have the like two recliners on either side. You can do better.

I get it. But maybe that’s for the man cave. I think a really nice quality piece will make a difference. It can be really stereotypical, but a leather couch or a really nice down fill will certainly work. So you have all of that comfort but it’s quality and it’s gonna last you for years – 10 plus years.  I think that’s one big investment I encourage guys to make. And then obviously just back to the bed, we want to get a nice quality bed, whether that’s a really cool live edge wood bed frame and headboard or upholstered or something like that, you want to get a nice quality bed so that when you’re moving around in there, it’s not all squeaking and feeling like it’s gonna fall apart.

BH: So do you feel like in the bedroom it’s really easy cause your anchor is your bed? So we have something that draws attention without being obtrusive. And when you’re looking at your main common area, your living room or a kitchen or whatever, do you feel like the sofas going to be the anchor?

MM: Yes.

BH: Okay, so this may be a silly questions but what do you tell a guy that believes his giant 78″ television is the anchor or the room?

MM: I think along the lines of a whole media unit in general. Guys love their tech stuff, and you have all these cords and the game systems and all those things, right? So make sure that you get a nice media cabinet to kind of close all that stuff away. Not everyone needs to know that you have the old N64 and also the Sega Genesis and also the original Xbox. It’s great that you have those things and have fun with them, but you know, to just keep the space nice and clean and crisp looking, make sure you have a nice media cabinet to kind of hide all those things away.

BH: Along those lines of hiding wires and media cabinets, what do you think about large TV armoires or built-in cabinets?

MM: I think it depends. I think it depends on honestly how you use the space. If you love to watch TV and Netflix, by all means get the giant TV and make it a space where you feel comfortable coming home, kicking your feet up, watching the game or whatever. But if you’re more of the kind of person that wants to come home and maybe only watch a little TV or only on the weekends, but really your passion is like playing guitar, make sure that you have a really nice accent chair where you can sit and play guitar and relax. So I think it’s going to depend on what your activities are and what you’re actually doing in the space.

BH: Sounds good. Makes good sense. Anything else for point number four?

MM: I think one thing would be that Craigslist can be really fun and I personally love thrifting and going to antique stores, so I don’t want to push you guys away from not going on those hunts to find really cool unique quality pieces. I think they can add extra character and they’re not going to feel like you went to whatever big box furniture store and you bought the entire matching set of anything. I think if you take some time to do some of that treasure hunting, whether it’s on Craigslist, Cherish, Ebay or other websites that have vintage pieces, I think it’ll give your space a richness to it and you can get some really awesome quality pieces at super affordable prices.

BH: Man, I’ve only recently started to tolerate antiquing. I still envisions my grandmother leading me around for the next 15 hours to look at the same old rusted out and tarnished spoons. Terrible. I’m coming around to a few elements of it now that I’m older have have taste.

MM: Exactly. And it gets you out in your community once again. And just seeing what’s out there and talking with people is great. I think we’re such a technology based society now that we don’t go to flea markets and haggle with people, or go to these certain markets. Art, for example, to just really get to know where you’re getting your things from I think is just so important for building community.

BH: Excellent. So what’s your number five? The one that ties this all together…

Step Five: Keep Only What You Love

MM: Number five, encapsulated in all of this is: get things that you love. Don’t just buy something because it was in the vignette at the furniture store, or to just fill the space because it’s empty, or use all these hand-me-downs that your mom gave you when she downsized from the basement. Really be intentional about the things that you’re bringing into your home and make sure that you love them.

They’re aesthetically pleasing and functional. If you do that, you’re going to create a space that really represents you and your personality. You’re not going to let other people bully you into a certain design aesthetic. And I think the other big thing is a lot of people think that there’s all these rules around design and what you can and can’t do. And I think sometimes it’s okay to break the rules. And if you really like this crazy stump, use it as a side table! You don’t have to follow every single rule. There’s some basic principles of design. But really bringing in things that you love is going to create that space where you feel comfortable and at home.

BH: You talked in the beginning of the show, when you’re talking with couples and he may be looking at something he saw once, but he’s apathetic to provide input to the process, while she’s on Pinterest every hour, looking for more inspiration – would you suggest that guys just sorta find examples of a style that they like and see if they can start curating the items needed to build that for themselves or do you have another way to go about doing that?

MM: I think Pinterest is a great place to start. It will help you discover maybe that you’re not just mid century modern person, just like your personality is not just one thing. – you can like elements from different style altogether. My expertise is having an eclectic look because we, as humans like different sorts of things. And so if you can get on Pinterest or one of those other forums and start gathering pictures or even magazines of different things you like, that’s a great start. You might find maybe one thing is going to be ultra modern, you love this white leather sectional, but then you start looking a little more and you like some farmhouse rustic things. Those two things can live together in the same space. And so using Pinterest would be a good place to start to kind of parse out what do I like and what do I not like?

BH: That’s awesome advice. Where can we go to learn more about you, your services, and your best practices?

MM: You can check me out on my website. www.mistymaxey.com  I have three different packages on there. The first one starts at $500. So it’s not a huge investment to just get started. This one’s for more of the DIY type of guy that just wants some direction. And then they just kind of go up from there.

I also have a special offer for your listeners though! I’m offering a free 30 minute Facetime or Skype chat to answer any of their design dilemmas. So maybe you’re not quite sure what to hang over your bed or what size it needs to be, or you want to get a rug, but you don’t know how big it needs to be. Different things, little design dilemmas like that. I’d be happy to help your listeners with those.

BH: That’s awesome. Cause I know there’s so many times where I think, “man, I wish someone would just tell me is this okay? Can I hang this up?” And my wife’s too supportive. So she’d say, of course you can. Then my friends will come over and go, “dude, what is that?” So I’m excited to have a resource I can reach out to now. So that’s excellent. What would you say are some parting words or the last bit that you just want to put in to plan, that seed so we can get some something cool to grow.

MM: So I just say there’s no need to feel intimidated by decorating. We can’t be an expert in all things obviously. And so hiring experts and consultants for things that we don’t know about or we want to learn more about, to achieve the different things we want, is a good way to ensure they to pay off. I think getting started with these tips, but then eventually realizing that you’re never going to be an expert in interior design, and calling in a pro is a good idea. And so I think those would be my parting words of wisdom. Yes, go out, try, do new things, learn new things. But if you get stuck or you start to feel intimidated, just know that there are expert consultants that do this every day that can save you a lot of time and money.

BH: I think that’s awesome. And I think the big takeaway here for me personally when I think about it is that we, in whatever industry, whatever kind of avenue we’re trying to go down, we’re always trying to level up men and as a species. We’re always trying to level up some kind of thing, whether it’s ourselves or our job or our money or our relationship, whatever it is. When we look at this whole time trading something for value, is this valuable to me?

Do I really need to hire an interior designer? Do I need to hire someone to paint my house? I can paint my own house? Well, of course you can, but do you want to? You go back to the thing of if I want to level up my space, I’m going to have someone else come in and help me. If you want to level up my job, I’m going to read a book that someone wrote or I’m going to get a consultant that someone is, you know, there’s always some other person, some other entity to help you level up. And this is a great example of knowing when to ask for help and when to level up with the help of an interior designer like you. We want to level up our space. Learn some DIY enough to be dangerous, but if you really want to level up, give it to the pros.

So misty, thank you so much for joining me. This has been insightful to learn about the different things we can do to improve our space, to not only help us level up our game in just personal space, but in our relationships and how we approach the day and attack things, knowing that like this is our space and it makes us feel good and we’re going to go out and crush it. So it’s been great to have you on and to learn about some stuff and to learn about the special 30 minutes we can take advantage of when we get stuck because you know we will…

MM: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me, Blake. I’m so excited that we get to share this with your gentleman and I hope that it helps them to level up in their spaces and in the rest of their life as well.

BH: So gentlemen, reach out and learn some things about what you can do to make your space better and start improving small bits. Clean up, get decluttered, and see if you can find things that spark joy. And if it doesn’t, throw it out and use that 30 minutes to talk to misty and learn more.


Have you ever used an interior designer? What space needs help in your life?
What kind of impact do you think having a powerful space would have in your performance?

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The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.