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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Panther
Who Should See It?

You're probably reading the title of this post thinking... DUH, everyone!  I know, I know... we're rooting for everyone black.  But there are a good amount of people that may buy tickets to support but not actually go see the movie because they think it's not a movie for them.   Look at me, look at me (in my Captain Phillips voice), you need to go see this movie.  At this point, our excitement can barely be contained and for good reason.  Black Panther premieres this week across the US and is already set to do better than ANY marvel movie to date.  Now if that doesn't get you all excited and giddy on the inside, I don't know what will.  Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of being invited by Disney to go to an Advance Screening here in the DC Metro Area.  Comic, Super Hero movies have never been my thing but I knew that "for the culture", declining was not an option.  There was a lot of hesitation on my part though because I knew NOTHING about this storyline, the backstory, the history and I went by myself so asking questions during the movie wouldn't be possible.  But let me tell you... IT DOESN'T MATTER.  This movie taught me that an AMAZING movie can be a GREAT movie for anyone regardless of what you know about the characters.

Can I Bring The Kids?

Black Panther is rated PG-13.  After watching, I can only imagine that it has that rating due to fighting scenes.  Even those scenes aren't gory!!  A little shooting, a little arm/leg breaking, and maybe some sword fighting.  Nothing crazy!  There's a little kissing and when I say "kissing", I mean the type a Mom + Dad do in front of their kids... again nothing crazy.  I would feel totally comfortable bringing my 7 year old or my 13 year old without hesitation.  This is honestly a movie the entire family will absolutely LOVE.  I went for free and I'm paying to go see it again.  That alone should say something!

I'm Not a Marvel Enthusiast.  Will I Like The Movie?

GIRL.  I know the hesitation all too well.  I have never gone with the kids to see any of these hero movies and my husband is always willing to take them.  Surprise surprise.  But after seeing Black Panther, I'm wondering what I've been missing out on all these years.  I knew absolutely NOTHING about these characters at all.  I also attended the screening by myself.  Yet, I left that theatre with my heart still pumping from all the action.  From the moment the movie starts to the moment the movie ends, you are captivated by the action, incredible acting, story line and the insane amount of BLACK MAGIC all up + throughout the scenes.  You need to know absolutely NOTHING about the history of Black Panther or the characters in order to thoroughly enjoy this movie.  Ryan Coogler + the writers did an amazing job of making sure the movie itself provided you with enough details + understanding of the characters whether you're familiar or not.  If you are already a Black Panther fanatic, you will NO DOUBT enjoy the movie.  If you are not familiar with Marvel Comics, Heros or Stories, you will NO DOUBT enjoy the movie.  It's THAT good!!

With The Cast Being Predominately Black, How is The Acting?

Honestly, I know exactly what you're thinking!  So many movies have been made with a predominately black cast and the acting misses the mark occasionally.  We've all seen it happen before.  In case you missed it, this is an ALL STAR STUDDED cast of black actors + actresses.  Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Letitia Wright, and John Kani round out the main cast of Black Excellence.  Among those names are maybe a few that are not as well known but let me tell you... they showed up + showed OUT.  They came with their A-game making you wonder why you haven't seen them in other movies!  Don't you worry, the acting here will not let you down.  PROMISE.

The theatre where I viewed the movie was a good mix of races, I would say 50/50.  That is 50% black and 50% other races.  I showed up in my movie theatre finest but the majority had on jeans, sweats and sneakers.  That's fine because I don't usually base my standards on what others are doing.  Throughout the movie there was clapping, loud laughing, cheering + excitement.  For those feeling like they need to find the theatre in the blackest neighborhood in order to have that feeling of togetherness, you're wrong!  JUST GO SEE THE MOVIE.  The way you become engulfed in the movie, you won't care who is sitting right or left of you.  When you want to applaud, you will!  When you bust out laughing, you will!  And guess what?  Who gonna check you boo?!  

This is my first advance screening movie review + I was super nervous to not divulge deets so please be easy on me for not sharing more information.  The experience itself is what most of you had questions about but you can click here for more information about the movie itself.
Friday, February 9, 2018

January (2018) Faves

I've always wanted to start doing these monthly faves posts but have either been inconsistent or never followed through.  Either way, the start of a new year has me all excited to start another chapter with you!  January was a great month because I received quite a few PR packages in December and did a little Christmas shopping for myself as well.  I feel like I've shared most of the products below over on my Instagram Stories (if you don't follow me on Instagram, umm why?) but I've included links below if you want to grab any of them yourself.

Revlon Brush Dryer

I have no clue where the hell this dryer has been all my Momming life.  When I say that this thing makes Wash Day 10X easier, I'm not lying... I'm not playing... I know no one has time for any of that when it comes to Wash Day.  If you haven't grabbed one yet, DO IT NOW.  Why is it so good?  I would best describe it as an AMAZING detangling brush with a powerful blow dryer attached to it.  You can grab one here in my Amazon store and have it time for Wash Day.

NARS Natural Radiant Longer Foundation

When NARS said they were sending over this foundation for me to try, I can't lie, I was shook!  I've always wanted to love their All Day Luminous Foundation because of the coverage it offered but it honestly had me looking WAY too luminous at the end of day.  Think GloWorm.  So after reading the description of this foundation, I was all the way hype!  Now I will admit that it took some time for us to get to know one another.  When she says 'matte', she means 'matte'!  I had to change up what I normally put under foundations because usually I have an army of mattifying products but with this particular foundation, those products made my face too dry.  Can you believe I'm saying that?  TOO DRY!  But girl yes, with this foundation I had to step away from my usual army of products so that my face would be properly moisturized and wouldn't feel super dry + tight.  It doesn't help that I've also had a few breakouts on my chin here + there so I had to make sure those spots didn't look all crusty with this foundation.  Ya'll know what I'm talking about.  So yeah, the foundation is bomb... coverage on 100, super lightweight, silky finish and definitely lasts all day.  If you've been waiting for NARS to come out with a full coverage option for us oily girls, THIS IS IT.

Three words.  They.  Were.  Right.  Every single person who has ever raved about this product was right.  It took me a minute to grab this baby because of the price and I actually waited until Sephora had that $25 off coupon for VIB Rouge Members.  But, GIRL.  They weren't lying when they said you wake up looking like you have NEW skin the next morning.  I've been very careful with the directions and suggest you do the same.  This doesn't seem (or feel like after you applied it) like one of those products that say leave it on for 20 minutes but you can leave it on as long as you'd like.  No ma'am.  Follow the directions + use your sunscreen!

I mentioned earlier that I've had some breakouts on my chin, so cue the hyperpigmentation that follows.  This product has been working double time (along with another product, can't share yet) to get rid of these dark spots.  It's lightweight for my oily skin but super effective.  I began noticing changes after about a week, nothing crazy but visible FOR SURE.  Currently, I have the 1 fl oz jar which was the perfect size for me to try it out but I will be back for that larger size as soon as this one is done!

Yet another acne savior... I know, I know, I'm all about a good acne product!  LOL.  The Glycolic Acid in this baby does an amazing job at gently exfoliating over time.  It's not an overnight miracle worker but with continued + consistent use, this stuff WORKS!  For the price you really can't beat the results.

Creme of Nature Blow Out Creme

You know a product is good when you create a whole video for it!  And, that's exactly what I did for this here Blow Out Creme.  I could tell you but showing you would be better.  Click here to watch the video + see my review.  Bottomline, this was the best thing to happen to my Straight Natural life.

Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen

If you've been following me on Instagram (again, you should be!) then you know that I've been obsessed with Collagen.  20g of it goes into my coffee almost daily so I when I saw Algenist had formulated a way to apply it on my skin as well, I signed right up!  Once you get past the poor syringe (and you should, it gets better after here), you'll notice visible results immediately and over time.  How exactly does that work, you ask?  When you apply it, your skin instantly looks better, brighter, more even toned.  But also, as you use it consistently your skin will start to actually feel smoother!  I will admit the price point is up there BUT I've found that most (not all!) expensive beauty products don't take long to see results and that's certainly the case with this one.

Express Chunky Fringe Oblong Scarf

If you follow me on Instagram then you've seen this scarf often in my Instagram Stories + Images.  Since I purchased it, I haven't taken it off except to shower.  LOL, okay that's an exaggeration but the scarf just gives me life!!  It's probably more the color than the scarf itself but who cares?!  It just jazzes up any outerwear situation... Sweats?  Throw on the scarf!  Jeans + Tee?  Throw on the scarf!  Boring ass Business Casual?  Dress it up with the scarf.  Anyways, it's on sale NOW and still available in this hot pink shade over at Express.

That's my round up of January faves!  Does this seem like something you would check back for each month? I will try to keep the list well rounded... a little beauty, a little home, a little food, etc.  Anyways, hope you'll be back for next month's edition.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Biggest Lesson I Learned in 2017

Edit: I started this Blog Post with the title "7 Things I learned in 2017" because it sounded 'good'.  As  Blogger/Creator, I'm always looking for images, captions, titles, etc... that capture the attention of you all.  These days, we have very little attention to catch to begin with so it's not an easy task.  But as I began writing I realized that there was one area of my life that grew in a way that deserved it's own Blog Post.  Motherhood.  So, I switched gears and decided to give this area of growth the attention it deserved because I honestly feel like it could help a fellow Mom.  Momming ain't easy and while we are always looking for shortcuts to the 'right way' to do things, sometimes there is simply no shortcut except to do the work!  So, as you read this please keep in mind that I did plan to share other areas in my life that deserved applause (marriage, finances, business) but for me, this is the one I'm most proud of + want to share.

Whew, that year went by fast didn't it?!  And I'm not just saying that because we are now in 2018 but literally each week I would say "the week is flying by" or I found myself saying "where did the day go?" quite a bit.  Not sure if time is speeding up or what but it's starting to feel like we don't have as much time as we thought!  Even though the year flew by, I gained some MAJOR lessons last year and am already looking forward to what this year will teach me about myself.  Most of the lessons I learned had to do with my role as a Mother, Friend + Wife.  Business was great, can't complain about that, but I honestly feel like becoming better in those other areas left room for me to grow my creativity as an Influencer.

A Pro at Raising Children || A Rookie at Raising Teens

LAST. YEAR. WAS. HARD... for me as a Mother.  I have three children and for quite some time now, I've considered myself a "Professional" Mom.  Friends + family have reached out to me over the years as a resource in raising their children so you can imagine my confusement when I felt lost in Motherhood at the beginning of 2017.  I'm not talking about 'google the answer to your problem' lost but more like 'on the phone sobbing to my own Mom' lost... there's a difference.  All of the work I put in seemed to not be 'working' on Taylor anymore and I just didn't know what to do because I had never done 'this' before... you know, raise a Teen.  This was all new territory for me and I felt like I wasn't warned.  Similar to how I felt about the first time I had real contractions... nobody warned me it would be THAT painful.  Keep in mind, I mentioned death or dying to my nurse multiple times during delivery.  LOL.

I digress, it was almost as if I was a rookie Mom again.  Trying out different tactics to see which would work.  Not knowing if what I was doing was right or if my child would hate me forever + end up on the stripper pole.  And yes, these are real life fears I have since every family has at least ONE kid who ends up taking the crazy route!  It was also much scarier because feeling like a rookie to a child who is 1, 2, 3 years old isn't so bad... you have years to improve!  Feeling like a Rookie to a Teen is scary AF because you know there isn't much time left for you to fix this shit.  Boy did we struggle as a unit but I found leaning on other Moms who had already raised Teens (including my own Mother) helped me A LOT.  The "village" aspect of raising a child sort of fades as you begin to feel like a Pro.  In fact you stop wanting advice because you got this shit.  But boy did I go crawling back for advice this year!  It was in those times that I was reminded that I needed to trust myself again just as I did when they were children.  I didn't know what I was 'really' doing back when they were toddlers, but I trusted that what I was doing was the 'right' thing to do.  This was the mindset so many women reminded me to maintain and to stop doubting myself.

Here I was, 14 years in the game and doubting my skills as a Mother.  It was a scary feeling and the first thing I wanted to do was hide these flaws + pretend like shit was all good.  But who would that have helped?  It was hard for me to actually say "I don't know WTF I'm doing right now, can you help me?!".  Sure, if I was putting together a dresser from IKEA then I would have no problem admitting this weakness but somehow asking another Mom for help in this area of my life made me feel so vulnerable.  And, I know what you're thinking... what about Google or Self Help books?  Who writes that stuff?  Do you know?!  Yes, sometimes it's a person with tons of accolades and receipts to prove they know their stuff but sometimes it's a person who doesn't even have children.  Nope, no thank you.  So I went directly to the source... people I knew that I had raised Teens themselves!!

I can't say Taylor + I are 100% better right now... that would be a lie but things are SO much better than they were.  Honestly, we may not hit a good stride for maybe another year or so but I'm working hard to get there.  The constant attitude, eye rolling, dirty ass rooms, privileged behavior, talking back + more is still happening but I'm learning how to better react + not jump up and pop off at her every time.  Gotta preserve my sanity + that wasn't doing it.  So if there's one piece of advice I can give to Moms is to keep your village close by because you just never know when you might need them again.  Let me know if you want me to continue this journey as a series where I update the Blog with how things are going + what is working!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Kombucha Champagne Recipe
with SUJA

*I've partnered with Suja on this content but let's keep it real, we all know I'm obsessed with my Suja juices + kombucha LOL*

I'm not going to make this an elaborate Blog post because I'm sure you are here for only ONE reason... the Kombucha Champagne recipe.  It's ridiculously simple to create and taste AMAZING!  Head to your nearest Target and grab some Suja Kombucha in the refrigerated aisle.  They have sales on these all the time but even when they're not on sale, $3.99 a bottle is not much at all.  I've tried this cocktail with all three of the flavors: Peach, Ginger, Green and they all tastes great so choose whatever flavor you want really.  Next, you're going to grab a bottle of that bubbly (Prosecco) and make sure it's one you've tried and like.  You don't want tart/bad champagne to ruin the drink!

Now it's time to pour up!  This is the easy part... Pour 2 parts Kombucha + 1 part Prosecco for each glass.  I prefer to share this recipe in parts so you are able to alter the amount for any size glass you're pouring into.  You can garnish with some cranberries or sprigs of thyme/rosemary to make it all fancy looking.  Other than that, you're good to go!  Tell me that wasn't the easiest (and most delicious) cocktail you've ever made.  Thank me later.
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Last Minute Holiday Party Style
with Mielle Organics

Whether we want to accept it or not, we are at that time of the year again... the Holidays!  Every week there seems to be some sort of Holiday Shindig that we don't have time for but we attend out of courtesy.  And the nerve, some happen to be on the weekdays!  Who has time for that?  I know I don't and I work from home chile.  Luckily there are a few go to styles I keep in my back pocket for these occasions and they only take about 30 minutes or less.

The Half Up-Half Down style is so classic and is perfect for everyone but little girls especially.  If your daughter's hair isn't bone straight, no worries, that's not necessary.  You will need the Sacha Inchi Curl Enhancing Cream from Mielle Organics just to add some moisture back into the hair prior to heat styling.  Next, grab the Mongongo Oil Style Setting Spray and the Honey & Ginger Styling Gel + Edge Gel.  Use the Style Setting Spray to do a rough blowout of the hair prior to styling.  Don't worry if the hair isn't super straight because that's not the look we're going for!  Next take the Styling and Gel + Edge Gel and apply it to the edges to do the ponytail.  I like to use just a little gel prior to the edge gel because they work great together in giving a super neat look.  Last, we're going to take large chunks of hair and Wand Curl them.  Again, don't worry about being super precise... we're going for effortless waves, not perfection.

It's just that easy.  If you want to be a little extra (and who doesn't?), grab a cute headband and throw it on!  Baby girl is ready to go and no one knows that this took you less than 30 minutes to achieve.  Of course, if you have a little more time you can skip the heat and use flexirods instead.  For this, I would recommend the Babassu Oil Curl Mousse to set overnight!  One thing I'm not going to do is let these Holiday Events stress me the hell out.  That's what I have three kids and a husband for.  Am I right?!  Hope this quick style comes in handy + if you do happen to use it, don't forget to tag us!

Let's chat soon.  XOXOMCS

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Get Your Wallets Out
The Sephora Sale is BACK

As I fumbled to share my favorite products on Instagram Stories the other night, I realized that sharing here on my Blog might be a better platform.  It would have taken a cute 50 Instagram Story frames (or more) to really share everything.  15 seconds is just not enough, can we get 30 already Instagram?!  Or would that be too long??  Nevermind.  Anyways, the Sephora Sale is BACK and they're not being stingy with the discount like they have been in previous years (major shade).  20% off is a decent discount, especially when there are no limitations like there are at Ulta (shade again).

Let's get into this list.  Now I really only included my favorite products that it would be nice to get 20% off of.  No I didn't include anything on the lower end of the price spectrum because if you've been waiting all year to save $2 then your ass doesn't need to be at this sale.  That's real talk (no shade at all).

CLARISONIC MIA FIT:  I've tried all different types of face cleansing devices and the Clarisonic is by far my favorite for exfoliation.  As an oily/acne prone skin girl, exfoliation is definitely something I need on a regular basis so I  live by my Clarisonic.  I bought my first Clarisonic over 7 years ago (read my initial Blog post here) and I    still love + have one now!!  If that doesn't tell you it's a must buy product, I don't know what does.

ALGENIST COMPLETE EYE RENEWAL BALM:   If you're reading this then you need to be using eye cream!  LOL.  I've gone through quite a few different eye creams + I've only stuck with this one because I notice a difference.  It does a great job at smoothing those under eye lines and while it does help with darkness, this part takes time.  Just being honest.  For me, applying this daily is like applying moisturizer to my under eye area... it can't be skipped!

GLAMGLOW SUPERCLEANSE: This is a new produced I recently added to my stash but I'm obsessed with it.  If you've ever tried the SuperMud Clearing Treatment mask in the white jar (kind of a cult fave), then this cleanser is pretty similar.  Think, a SuperMud cleanser... a little messy but 100% worth it!

ORIGINS PLANTSCRIPTION ANTI-AGING POWER SERUM: Another new one to the arsenal but definitely a heavy hitter.  I love that I can use this night or day.  It's absorbs really well into my skin and plumps it right up.  Within days I saw an improvement in my skin's texture and it seems to be helping in balancing my oily t-zone and dry patches.

SUNDAY RILEY U.F.O. ULTRA CLARIFYING FACE OIL:  GIRL.  If you are acne-prone then this oil needed to be in your arsenal like yesterday!  It's amazing and works FAST.  I tend to only use at night or on days where I'm wearing no makeup because oil under makeup doesn't work for me.  Hi, oily skin girl here FYI.  But I do get the occasional bump on my face so when I feel it forming under the skin, I break this bad boy out + slather my face.  WORKS EVERY SINGLE TIME.

ALGENIST POWER RECHARGING NIGHT PRESSED SERUM:  First of all, this smells like unicorns + angels.  Now that I've gotten that out the way, it's one of my favorite "final" products to use in my nighttime skincare routine.  It legit feels like my skin is drinking this stuff up every time I    apply it.  Immediately your skin looks better after applying and when you wake up in the morning, it makes you do that double take in the mirror because you can't believe how great your skin looks just overnight.  It's pricey but one of those items that's worth every penny.

ORIGINS ORIGINAL SKIN MATTE MOISTURIZER:  Origins sent me this product towards the end of the Summer and I totally wish I had when Summer started.  It has this cooling gel texture when applied that immediately sinks into your skin leaving it so smooth and matte.  But, not overly matte to where your skin becomes irritated because I hate those mattifying products.  If you have oily skin, it's hard finding the right moisturizer that doesn't feel too heavy but also does it's job at moisturizing.  Try this one, I bet it will be Holy Grail.  Thank me later.
GLAM GLOW VOLCASMIC MATTE GLOW MOISTURIZER:  You ever buy a product, love it but then forget all about it because you keep buying more products?  That was this product for me, LOL. Not sure how I kept forgetting about it because it smells like Fruity Pebbles and for a straight week I was obsessed with it!  The product in the container is a tad solid but it then melts into your skin and makes it feel INCREDIBLE.  I love wearing this under makeup because while it helps to mattify, it also gives your super matte makeup this soft glow.

NARS VELVET MATTE FOUNDATION STICK:  I will start off by saying YOU NEED THIS.  It's not the best foundation for super oily skin like mine but it's sooooo good that I don't care.  Coverage is medium but buildable to full coverage.  The formula is silky and just goes on so well... similar to how the Velvet Matte Liquid Foundation feels if you've ever tried that.  If you need to touch up makeup while you're out then this is the perfect product to bring along since it has it's own sponge on the other end of the stick.  I throw it in my bag for every event I attend because it's an easy touch up... go ahead and throw it in your bag too.

MAKE UP FOREVER ULTRA HD FOUNDATION:  I'm not sure I've ever used a more lightweight, full coverage foundation EVER.  Using this with a Beauty Blender isn't even possible because the sponge almost soaks up all the foundation since it's so thin in consistency.  You're probably starting to notice that every product I'm recommending is for women with my skin type... OILY/ACNE PRONE!  #facts  The line has a crazy number of foundation shades so finding yours may take a little time but you WILL find it.

NARS SUNWASHED DIFFUSING BRONZER:  Have you tried to contour and messed shit all the way up?  I'm talking about you just look like a dirty + muddy mess.  I'll be the first to admit this was one of the reasons I stopped contouring!  This bronzer is such a sheer and buildable glory.  It makes it nearly impossible to mess up the process of warming the perimeters of your face.  We'll just call this the "Impossible to Mess up Bronzer".  If you're a pro then you might be not be interested in this but for us natural makeup girls who don't really "beat our face", this product is perfect!

MARC JACOBS ANGLED BLUSH BRUSH:  I understand that it states "Blush Brush" in its name but thats not what I use it for!  For me, this is the perfect contour brush because of the angle and density of it.  It's funny because I've never even used it as a blush brush.  LOL.  Call me a rebel I     guess but it's the best damn contouring brush I've used... also the most expensive but definitely THE BEST.

Now go on, shop and be merry!  If you have any questions, ask me below but whatever you do, don't let these items sell out.  I'll share with you all what I actually purchased next week!  Happy Sephora Sale Shopping.

Let's chat soon.  XOXOMCS.
Sunday, November 5, 2017

#SallyBeautyDC Influencer Pop-Up

First off, if you ever get an invitation to attend an event hosted by Sally Beauty, GO!  You will NEVER be disappointed because they always go above + beyond.  This is my second Sally Beauty event that I attended, the first being in New Orleans.  Both times I received invitations and had no idea what to expect.  I'm dead serious.  It seems like they want you to be pleasantly surprised when you arrive so they give out very little details prior to.  This event did NOT disappoint at all.  From the swanky venue at The Fathom Gallery in DC, to the gorgeous outdoor deck, to the open bar, to the amazing flower wall + photo station.  When was the last time you were at a photo booth with 5-6 umbrella lights PLUS a ring light.  You might think that's extra but for Sally Beauty, it's standard.

Once I arrived at the space,  I was given a run down of what to expect throughout the evening.  In addition to the food, drinks and dope stations... there would also be a few demos and a panel.  Not going to lie, whenever I hear panel I roll my eyes because the information tends to be redundant when it comes to hair (for me at least).  Boy was I WRONG!  During the demo, Monica Stevens (@moknowshair) shared the importance of choosing a Ceramic flat iron over a Titanium one.  Two words, HEAT DAMAGE.  I don't know about you, but I didn't know that before she told me.  Then on the panel, the stylists (Gregory Patterson, Maria Antoinette and Monica Stevens) explained the importance of washing your hair and not replacing shampoo with Cowashing.  Again, I was ready to roll my eyes until they began talking about how hormones can affect hair growth and hair loss.  The hormone DHT can build up on the scalp if not frequently cleansed and begin to cause hair loss.  This is one of the reasons why it's important to not only shampoo but shampoo frequently.  Lord, my mouth was wide open because this was all new to me.  Sometimes I go a good two weeks without washing my hair out of pure laziness.  Not anymore!

Maria (@themariaantoinette) + Yolanda (@etcblogmag)

LISTEN.  Thank you Sally Beauty for having me + sharing the knowledge!!  Oh and the Swag was ridiculous.  Check out that picture (below).  ALL full size products from brands like: Eden BodyWorks, Cantu, Silk Elements, Ion and Col.lab!  I said what I said... If Sally Beauty invites you somewhere, GO.

Let's chat later. XOXOMCS.

Shoppe Owner


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