Top 10 Beauty Stocking Stuffers for 2014

With 4 days left of holiday shopping here are a few things you need to buy as stocking stuffers! This is a gift giving guide of beauty from the inside out!

  1. My new book, “#ImBeautyInspired A Keepsake Journal of Original Beauty Quotes & Affirmations!” 🙂 Yes, it’s a shameless plug but I think it will make an awesome gift. It’s filled with inspiration to empower young girls and women to embrace their inner beauty. Available on amazon.com for $12.99 paperback and $3.99 Kindle edition.#ImBeautyInspired abeauyscarlet_3d copy
  1. Beauty Blender Sponge: I have been using this product for over 2 years and this sponge is better than any makeup brush I have ever tried. It gives a fabulously flawless finish. It’s a great gift to give for the makeup savvy girl in your life. Available at Sephora for $19.95 for the original sponge.IMG_6749
  1. Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Makeup Remover: I have fallen head over heels over the past year for Bobbi Brown makeup and Soothing Cleanser Oil! The entire makeup line is just gorg and natural looking. If you want a makeup that will give you a non-makeup look…this is it. Available at Macy’s prices range from $20 and up. If you’re in Chicago, go to the State Street location and ask for Viola. IMG_6748
  1. Laura Mercier Secret Concealer and Secret Brightening Powder: These two products have saved me from looking a hot tired mess. It covers and gives life to my dark circles. I can’t live without these two. Available at Sephora for $24 each.
  1. IMG_6751Origins Skincare: Too many products for me to name but here are a list of my faves… GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream – brightens the eye area, $30 at Sephora. GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer – feels great and offers the perfect amount of moisture, $26.50 at Sephora. High Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream – calms and relaxes my skin before bed, $41 at Sephora. Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – Offers the perfect amount of balance on my skin, $21.50 at Sephora.IMG_6752
  1. Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator: It removes all the dead skin and leaves my skin extra soft and smooth feeling like silk. Available at Sephora for $35.IMG_6756
  1. LVX Nail Polish: This product will be on my list every year, as I have not found a better brand than this. The polish last up to 6 or 7 days without chipping or peeling. Available on shoplvx.com for $16.
  1. IMG_6755Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil and Opaque Liquid Lipstick: The brow genius and the long lasting lippie are a match made in beauty heaven! Without the brow genius…my brows would not exist and without the liquid lipstick…I would spend all day reapplying my lipstick (and that’s no bueno)! Available at Sephora for $32 (brow) and $28 (lips).
  1. IMG_6753Eden Body Works Hair Care: This brand of products keep my tresses looking healthy and just fly! A few of my faves: Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo to remove the buildup and detox my hair. Coconut Shea Styling Elixir offers heat protection from heat styling. Coconut Shea Oil strengthens and adds shine without buildup. Available at endenbodyworks.com for $8.99 each.
  1. IMG_6759Green Smoothies: These are healthy treats full of fruits, veggies, vitamins and all sorts of goodness. They help to nourish the body, give great energy and boost beauty from the inside out! I love the book, “10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse” by JJ Smith available on amazon.com for $9.59 paperback and $2.99 kindle edition.IMG_6760

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping! Enjoy your beauty purchases from the inside out!

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The Beauty Benefits of Water

Do you know the health and beauty benefits of water? Yes, water…it does a body good!

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1. Clear Skin – it keeps your skin hydrated from the inside out

2. Anti-aging – it plumps the skin

3. Weight loss – you eat less because you feel fuller

4. Shinny hair – Cleanses the hair and leaves a shine with a cold water rinse

5. Flushes out the toxins – gets rid of waste so you can digest your food better

6. Gives you energy – it’s a natural stimulant for the body and brain

7. Calms the nerves – the sound of water can help you relax, relate and release. Melt the stress away!

 

So pick up bottle and get to drinking! I’m on bottle number 4 today and I plan on getting water wasted! What about you?

Please note: In order to see results you must be consistent and drink 6-8 glasses a day. Cheers and happy drinking!

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Eco-Friendly and/or Natural Beauty Faves

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, I want share some of my eco-friendly and/or natural beauty favorites!

Coconut Shea Leave In By: Eden Body WorksIMG_3554

Great leave in conditioner with Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil just to name a few. It ‘s also Paraben and Sulfate free! It helps to detangle my hair before I blow-dry.

Black Castor Oil By: Tropic Isle LivingIMG_3555

A great conditioner infused with Shea, Red Pimento and Rosemary. It helps to detangle hair before I rinse and leaves my hair feeling smooth!

The Healthy Deodorant By: LaVanila IMG_3556

This deodorant is healthy and keeps me smelling fresh! Soothing essential oils and antioxidants help to soothe and nourish. This product is vegan free, no animal testing or harsh chemicals.

Purifying Toning Water By: Nude SkincareIMG_3557

This toner is made with ginger water, great burnet root and cinnamon bark extracts. It has probiotics to balance the skin for a clearer complexion. This toner softens and soothes the skin.

Goat’s Milk & Chai Hand Cream By: Nubian HeritageIMG_3558

This amazing hand cream is filled with multi-vitamins, rose extracts and healing vegetable oils. This cream soothes dry hands and smells refreshing!

Illuminata Illuminating Herbal Makeup By: Mojo SpaIMG_3559

It’s a 3-in-1 multifunctional product that primes, moisturizes and illuminates! It’s handmade and smells some kind of amazing! It contains 20 different herbs, fruits and herbs to help heal and rejuvenate the skin.

LVX Nail Polish IMG_3560

The polish has a long lasting, chip-free, non-streak formula that is free of toxins and harsh chemicals. The products are free of formaldehyde, resins and camphor, which can be harmful to the nails and skin. More importantly, LVX is vegan, socially responsible, cruelty- free and all products are made in the USA!

Magic Marker Lip and Cheek Stain in Flamenco By: Josie MarinIMG_3562

This is a natural beauty brand created to be eco-friendly and toxin free. It’s also fragrance and paraben free.

Cheek Stain By: Tarte CosmeticsIMG_3561

They are known as a high performance natural brand. Their products are made without all the fillers that aren’t good for the skin! They are a cruelty free brand and they don’t test on animals.

So there you have it…some of my favorite eco friendly and/or natural beauty brands and products. These products are either good for the earth or good for your skin. Either way, they are good! Happy Earth Day! MUAH

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Skincare 101 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Behind the Ingredients

Skincare 101

There are good ingredients and there are bad ingredients but it’s the bad ingredients that are ugly! Knowing the features and benefits of your skincare products is one thing but understanding the function of the ingredients is another. It can sometimes be overwhelming because in some cases, you have never heard of the ingredient, it is hard to pronounce like some medical terms and there’s not a quick definition to reference.

Today, I am going to share the good, the bad and the ugly behind some of the most popular ingredients.

Coconut oil is moisturizing, nourishing, and anti-aging. The Good: It is so moisturizing, it is great for dry hair/scalp and it helps to nourish damaged hair. It works wonders on extremely dry skin like dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema.  Most importantly, it can be used as massage oil.

Glycolic Acid, one of the most popular acids is derived from sugar cane. The Good: Anti-aging, clear acne breakouts, even out the skin tone while making the skin brighter, softer and smoother.

Peptides are amino acids also known as protein molecules, which boost the natural production of collagen and elastin. The Good: They help plump the skin and give it elastin as the skin starts to age, wrinkle or sag. Think of an old sweater and how loose and stretchy it gets over time, if you were to apply peptides, the sweater would go back to its original shape as if it were new.

Silicones are derived from plastics; they coat the hair, which does not allow the product to penetrate the hair shaft. The Bad and the Ugly: It can cause buildup and does not prevent breakage; it disguises it.

Silicones have similar properties to rubber and plastic. Do you know what happens to rubber and plastic when you heat them? They burn!!! So when you continuously use products with silicone and apply heat, you can burn and damage the hair. Silicone also clogs the pores, which can cause breakouts on the skin.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is chemical used in detergent, soaps, shower gels and shampoos; it allows the product to foam and lather. The Bad and the Ugly: This ingredient strips the skin of its natural moisture, which causes dryness and irritation to the skin and scalp. It is also known to cause hair loss.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (poison). You can usually find this in nail polish and hair straightening/smoothing products (like the Brazilian Blow Out). The Bad and the Ugly: It is known to be an irritant on the skin and cause allergic reactions like dermatitis. The chemical can also cause sensitivity to nose and eyes as well as breathing difficulties.

So there you have it: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Behind The Ingredients! Did anything surprise you? Will you take a closer look at the ingredients during your next beauty excursion? Comment below and share your thoughts…

 

 

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An Open Letter to Mother Nature From a Beauty Perspective

Dear Mother Nature,

I don’t know how else to say this so I will just be honest! I hate this extreme winter weather that we are experiencing and I am so over it! It is ruining my style of fashion. I am forced to wear snow boots on a daily basis instead of the cute fashionable pair that I purchased in the fall. In fact, they are still inside the box and that is just a fashion faux pas…. Sigh 🙁

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My skin is also suffering and that is so not cool. I have super dry skin from this blistery below zero weather. I have to purchase more products to soothe and moisturize which in turn affects my budget. I mean really…are you sick, did someone make you mad??? What is it???

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As if that is not enough to convince you, let’s talk about my hair! It is just dry. I have to over moisturize like nobody’s business. I have to use two different conditioners and five leave-in products to get moisture. UGH!!!

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IMG_2634Last but not least, this cold weather has cut my social life in half, which has made me gain weight! Now that is just unacceptable and so unfair! It is so cold that all I want to do is stay home. Boo… I feel like the weather is holding me captive and I freakin have Spring Fever!

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Mother Nature, please give me a sign, show me the light at the end of the tunnel or give me something to hope for…please!!! My beauty routine is suffering, my social life is starting to suck and the cold frigid weather is just a buzz kill.

I am going to step down from my soapbox before I upset you, as that is not my intention. I just need to express my feelings and frustrations in hopes that you may have a heart and grant us with an early Spring!!!

With All My Best Intentions and Spring Fever Feelings!

Beauty School Scarlet…MUAH

 

 

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Beauty Trends for 2014

It’s NY Fashion week and all the haute designers are giving life to the latest trends! Check out what’s hot from beauty to fashion for 2014!

Pantone is the industry standard for color matching. The color for 2014 is Radiant Orchid. Check out these Beauty Starlets with the eye color of the year!

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Trends come, trends go and sometimes they just recycle. Check out these revitalized cat eyes for 2014! Beware because this ain’t your mama’s makeup 🙂 !

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Less is more for 2014. The fresh faced no makeup look is back in style again! So remember ladies…a little goes a long way! IMG_2532

The Rachel Zoe runway hair was inspired by women in the safari; a textured look. Think of it, as a woman not being able to wash her hair for several days and it’s a beautiful hot mess in a braid or ponytail. I think it’s kinda cute…giggles!

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The Michael Kors runway was all about the messy bun! A bun knotted up with chunks of hair hanging out. It’s a cute effortless look!

IMG_2550The Tracy Reese runway was all about waves and naturalistas! Beauty in the natural state!

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Pucker up with soft berry lips. It offers a hint of color that is just enough! But if you want to be bold…do it orange! It’s not just the new black on TV; it’s the new color for the perfect pout…smooches! IMG_2549

IMG_2533So what do you think? Are you on trend for 2014? What styles will you glam and what will you slam? Share your thoughts because my inquiring mind just wants to know!

 

 

 Photos via beauty press 

 

 

 

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Makeup Bag Madness; When to Throw Your Makeup and Makeup Bag Away

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend (who shall remain nameless) and she pulled out her makeup bag and I was in shock to say the least.

My friend knows that I love her and she understands that it is my duty as a Beauty Maven to share my thoughts on a makeup bag with issues, situations and circumstances. So she let me take pictures and allowed me to share her story as long as I keep her identity a secret!

I have said it before and I will say it again…you have to change your makeup, sponges, brushes and makeup bags on a regular basis to avoid breakouts, infections and germs! Here are a few tips to help you if you are in the same situation 🙂 .

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Mascara has a shelf life of three months! Two months is really the best time to purchase a new tube but you never want to go past three.

When you start to see the mascara getting dry and clumpy that means it is time to say goodbye because air can push bacteria back into the tube, your eyes can become irritated or worse, you can get an infection like pink eye or swelling. My suggestion is to purchase two at a time this way; you will always have one in reserve.

Liquid foundations, pressed and loose powder could last up to a year if you are cleaning your makeup sponges and brushes at least every two weeks. If not, the shelf life lessens to 6 – 12 months for liquids and creams but one year for powders because you are adding bacteria; dirt and oil back into and on the product. When this happens, you will see the product separate, the color or consistency will change and or the product will smell. If this occurs, throw it out so that you can prevent breakouts and or skin irritations!

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Lipsticks, balms, stains and pencils should be replaced every year. It is said that they can be replaced up to two years but if you think about it, your mouth is exposed to the most germs. You cough, you touch your lips with your hands, the air (smoke, smog and pollution) are all exposed to your lips. Then you reapply that gloss, lipstick or balm on top of everything. So, with that said, I say toss it after one year! Besides, four seasons have changed and new colors have come out so stop exposing yourself to germs and expose yourself to some new colors! However, if you are always applying with a lip brush and cleaning that brush on a regular, you can keep it up to two years. If your lipstick, balm or gloss starts to change in color, consistency or smell, throw it out!

Powder Eye shadow should be replaced every two years but I have to ask the question, do you really want to replace something that is in constant contact around the eye area every two years? I mean if you religiously clean your brushes and spay your shadow with alcohol, then I would say maybe. But none of us are that anal, not even myself.

Besides, how many times have you blown on the shadow brush before you applied it to the eye spreading all those germs instead of taping it on your hand? Mmm hmm, I know, I get it. So I say toss that shadow after 12 months and keep it moving. Let go and be happy that you don’t have any sort of eye infection! If you are looking to save money, purchase the quad shadows or shadow palettes with 8 -12 shadows and replace after one year. Again, if they smell or change colors, it is time to throw it out!

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I have said it before but I will say it again and again… Makeup brushes need to be cleaned at least once every two weeks! Breakouts are not always due to stress and eating the wrong thing. Not removing your makeup and or cleaning your brushes can cause breakouts! The dirt debris and oil from your face can build up in the bristles of the brush, which is the cause of the breakout. Here is a great video link on a how to below…

Real Simple: How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Change your makeup bag every six months to a year. Makeup can waste inside of the bag, dirty brushes and sponges harbor bacteria, which can cause breakouts and skin infections. Now just because it has not happened to you so far does not mean that it can’t; prevention is the key! It’s better to be safe than sorry 🙂 .

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Makeup sponges need to be washed after every use! Think about those times you have contaminated your powder with your sponge by applying and reapplying without washing it. When the powder changes color fast, it is because of the oil, dirt and debris from the sponge. Ladies, throw it away now! You should not be that attached to a sponge, they are disposable you know…IJS! You can use a mild shampoo to cleanse your brushes or sponges as well as brush cleaner on a weekly basis if you are an over achiever…LOL.

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To keep you safe, here are a few pointers to follow… If a product smells, changes colors, and or consistency, throw it away! If your go to product irritates you after the shelf life, toss it! Always wash your hands before you wash your face or put on your makeup. Keep your products in cool dry places and make sure they are closed after you use them. Just like a car depreciates once you drive it off of the lot… your products do the same once you open them as you have now exposed them to the bacteria in the air. Clean out your makeup bag because it will get dirty; don’t be a victim of makeup bag madness!

 

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8 Beauty Trends to Leave Behind in 2013

As the saying goes, out with the old and in with the new. Well, the same thing applies to beauty. There are some beauty trends that don’t need a pass in 2014 and here is my list of have nots!

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Moon Manicures: I never understood the purpose of a moon manicure. It looks unfinished or like your polish is chipping from the bottom. Why would someone want to sport an unfinished look?

Stiletto Nails: This pointy nail fad just has to go! The nails look like daggers waiting to poke your eye out or something that can be used as a weapon to commit a crime. IJS

Magnetic Nail Polish: There are easier trends with polish these days like nail stickers, gel nails and art designs. Bigger better technology; let’s move on!

Colored Hair Chalk: Are we in the 80’s? I mean like really? This is a throwback that only needs to be revived for Halloween or the kids. If you must rock this style, get some clip-ins and use one color, not several.

Shaved hair on the Sides: (not the short styles but the long hair styles) This style is not for everyone. Some people don’t have a perfectly shaped face or head to pull this look off. Sorry, but we all know this statement is true! Cassie and Rihanna are the only two who can rock this style hard core and be cute, sexy and adorable all at the same time. LBVS

Bright Red Hair: Leave this look to the celebrities. This is not a color for daily wear.

Exaggerated Lip Injections: It’s just over the top, the injections hurt and it looks crazy! Most of all, it hinders your speech; not to mention, you can get an infection if they are not done correctly. Use a lip plumper; it’s cheaper, safer, faster and stings a little but your speech is normal. IJS

3-D Manicures: While it may look cute for a couple of days, once you hit your hand on something, do household chores or normal activities in life; the designs fall off and you have now wasted your money. Just do nail art 🙂

Some trends are classic, some trends are trendy and others are just fads. The trendy fads are the ones that need to be left behind! What are your thoughts? What beauty trends will you leave behind in 2013?

 

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A Conversation With Celebrity Hairstylist Larry Sims

A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Celebrity Hairstylist Larry Sims at an event. I was so intrigued by his personality and story that I had to get an interview. Thankfully he was gracious enough and agreed to have a phone conversation with me!

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Before we start the conversation, here’s a little background information on how Larry Sims started his career. He started as a backup dancer but not just any dancer. He always had a passion for hair so he would style the artist’s hair and makeup backstage. One day someone noticed and passed his name on to Celebrity Hairstylist Ken Paves.

Later, Larry worked as an apprentice for Ken and occasionally filled in for him from time to time. One day, as luck would have it, Ken was not available and Larry was able to fill in to style none other than Victoria Beckham. Yes, that’s right…Larry is the one and only who cut and styled her famous bob hairstyle. The rest is history and needless to say, his client list has grown there.

Now that you have the quick version of his background, sit back and enjoy a conversation with Larry Sims!

BSS: What is your definition of beauty?

LS: Self-confidence, personal style, freedom of expression and being a trendsetter.

BSS: Who was your biggest influence?

LS: As a dancer my biggest influence were the people on the glam squads working on films and videos. Like: Christopher Maldonado – stylist for Aaliyah who passed away was my biggest influence. Oscar James is a huge influence and my mother with her own personal beauty style.

BSS: What advice would you give a cosmetology student who is interested in starting out in the beauty industry?

LS: Do your homework, be around people who are successful and stay humble, perfect your craft and do test shots. Be an apprentice for a stylist so you can learn more.

BSS: When someone is looking for a new hairstylist what are the top 3 tips they should look for?

LS:

–       Read yelp reviews

–       Ask for referrals

–       A great stylist will ask about your lifestyle and history of your hair

BSS: What is the hairstyle trend for 2014?

LS: Natural, textured hair, and hair that is not perfect. More of an editorial look like a messy bun.

BSS: When shopping for hair products, what ingredients should people look for and what should they stay away from?

LS: You don’t necessarily get better results with more expensive products. Stay away from products with additives. Get products with moisture, proteins and protect the hair from heat.

BSS: What is the best way to winterize your hair?

LS: When wearing hats make sure your hair is super moisturized and conditioned.  Avoid hats with wool as they can damage the hairline and break the hair. Use cashmere or silk scarves.

BSS: How can my readers maintain healthy hair at home?

LS: Keep your hair moisturized, do masking with deep moisturizing treatments and use heat protectants.

BSS: You have just launched the Go Pro Curls line, how do you see your brand expanding over the next 3 years?

LS: Go Pro Grow will be launching in 2014 and I want to expand my brand outside of hair. I want to be the Martha Stewart of beauty…candles, bedding, sheets and more.

BSS: Where can my readers find the Go Pro Curls line?

LS: We are in Sally’s Beauty Supply and local beauty supply stores. In 2014 we will be in Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Target, CVS and online.

BSS: Is there any other information that you would like to share?

LS: TV projects are coming and the Go Pro Grow line is launching

BSS: Larry, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me and sharing your story!

 

 

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My Top 10 Stocking Stuffers Must Haves

Christmas is just a few days away and you still have time to purchase a few items for your stocking stuffers! Here are my top 10 suggestions that I have tried, tested and approved!!!

LVX: The No chip, no smudge nail polish wonder of the world! It last up to 8 days; Beauty School Scarlet tested, Beauty School Scarlet approved!IMG_2106Hair 180 Whipped She Butter: Gives lightweight shine and moisture without weighing the hair down!IMG_2110Beauty Blender: A makeup sponge that puts any makeup brush to shame with a flawless finish! It’s not your mama’s makeup sponge…LOLIMG_2115

Big Girl Cosmetics Grapefruit Foaming Wash: Gentle foaming face wash great fro combination skin. Removes excess oil without drying the skin.IMG_2109Josie Marin Magic Marker Lip and Cheek Stain: Long lasting lip power that you don’t need to reapply!IMG_2116Smashbox CC Cream: A genius lightweight makeup that moisturizes, corrects dark spots, evens out the skin tone with SPF 30!

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Stila Smudge Stick Eyeliner: No smear, no smudge, waterproof eyeliner with fun colors for all skin tones!

IMG_4393Soap & Glory Clean on Me Shower Gel: Creamy clarifying shower gel that smells amazeballs!IMG_2108Mary Kay Lash Love Mascara: Long lasting no flaking mascara that makes the lashes look lushes!IMG_2119Peter Thomas Roth: The multifunctional Queen of Exfoliators! Baby smooth skin in just 5 minutes! IMG_1032

 

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