Last weekend I put on my big girl pants & knocked out my taxes. Technically they’re not that difficult, but it’s a task crossed off my to-do list so I’m celebrating the victory. 🎉 This past weekend was a different story. I found myself in a deflating situation Friday morning & spiraled so quickly, I could barely move by the afternoon. That might sound dramatic, but I feel like I’ve been moving against the tide for months so that was my body giving in to mental and physical exhaustion. I had to be gracious, allowing myself to do whatever the heck I felt like doing, including RELAX. I read books, took naps, cheered on Team USA in the winter olympics, & started season one of Downton Abbey. I also managed to continue & finish my 7-day cardio challenge which made me feel so proud. 🔥 Life is not smooth sailing, but what defines you is how you handle the waves that come along. So cheesy, I know, but it’s true. My days look much different in 2022, & I’m in career limbo at the moment, but I’m taking it one step at a time. If you’re doing your best to survive, I’m right there with you. You are NOT alone! ♥️
“Cellist Jenny Go has one thing on her mind: getting accepted into her dream music school in Manhattan. After receiving a critique about lacking artistry, she gives in to a moment of insanity and spends the night roaming the streets of Los Angeles with a boy she’s just met at her uncle’s karaoke bar. The night ends as quickly as it began, but the pair exchange contact information. When Jaewoo stops responding to her texts, she does her best to forget him and focus on music . . . until she moves to South Korea for a semester and finds out he’s a student at her new school. Not only that, he’s a member of XOXO, a new K-pop band taking the world by storm. Now a relationship is a possibility, but it means sacrificing their respective music paths. Will Jenny choose cello over Jaewoo, or is she willing to give up her dream for the boy she’s falling in love with?”
I don’t consume contemporary romance on a regular basis, but I turned to “XOXO” to fill a hole left by the disappointing romance in my last read. Unfortunately I didn’t fully connect with Jaewoo and Jenny as individual characters therefore their romance did not interest me in the slightest. Jaewoo was fine but not particularly interesting; he actually reminds me of myself which makes sense because I’m pretty boring. I didn’t like Jenny’s irresponsibility every time Jaewoo was in the near vicinity, missing cello practices and cancelling plans with friends. I understand this behavior is normal for a teenage girl with a boy on her radar, but it always irks me.
Setting my romance disappointment aside, the writing is well done, and I flew through every single chapter. My favorite part was Seoul Arts Academy. I was fully invested in the goings-on at SAA and might’ve given this book a higher rating if it was centered around the school and students. I also loved all the mentions of food, even though it made me insanely hungry. Every single dish sounds delicious, and I need to find a local Korean restaurant ASAP. Those factors saved this book, bringing my rating to a total of three stars. I think “XOXO” will appeal much more to readers of this genre who are used to cute romances and young adult behavior. I can only handle so much before I’m annoyed so I’m definitely not a member of the target audience. However, the friendships and school shenanigans won my heart so I will be rereading this book in the future.
Dieting: In Chapter 13, eBook page 99, Angela asks why Gi Taek isn’t eating. He replies that he’s on a diet, & she remarks that he shouldn’t skip meals. On eBook Page 120, Gi Taek mentions being on a diet again.
*Disclaimer: I am very thorough so just know that this section might contain SPOILERS.
Grammar & Spelling
eBook Page 75 – “ . . . having never been this situation before” instead of “. . . having never been in this situation before”
eBook Page 82 – “A familiar figures steps from the wings . . . ” instead of “A familiar figure steps from the wings . . . ”
eBook Page 184 – “An hour and half later . . .” doesn’t make as much sense as “An hour and a half later . . .”
eBook Page 193 – “ ‘Okay, now I think that everyone’s,’ Ian says . . .” instead of “ ‘Okay, now I think that’s everyone,’ Ian says . . .”
B*tch – Said twice
B*llsh*t – Said once
D*ammit – Said 3 times
D*mn – Said 8 times
G*d – Said 19 times
Scr*w [everyone else] – Said once
Sh*t – Said twice
Sh*tty – Said once
Sl*t – Said twice
Chapter 27, eBook Pages 192 to 196 – During their camping trip, some of the Seoul Arts Academy students hike up the campsite mountain to a shrine dedicated to the located mountain sansin (deity).
Chapter 16, eBook Pages 113 to 116 – While alone in a closet, Jaewoo & Jenny almost kiss before the door abruptly opens.
eBook Page 168 – Jaewoo & Jenny kiss on a swing set while alone in a park at night. On eBook page 181 Jenny says that they “made out for half an hour.”
eBook Page 177 – Sori tells Jenny that there will be very little adult supervision on the school camping trip so she might have a chance to “get into Jaewoo’s pants.”
eBook Page 208 – Kissing
eBook Page 210 – Jenny tells Jaewoo all about her first experience at a bathhouse, humorously saying her friends Angela & Sori saw more of her than her mom in recent years. He suggestively texts back “I wish I could have been there.”
eBook Page 214 – Jenny runs off to meet Jaewoo, & Gi Taek says “Have fun. Don’t get pregnant.”
eBook Page 215 – Jaewoo & Jenny hug & kiss in a fifth floor corner of the school, a blind spot from the security cameras.
eBook Page 229 – Jenny tells Sori to cover for her at the dorms because she’s staying at Jaewoo’s mother’s apartment due to the rain. Sori suggestively texts back “GET IT GIRL!!!!!”
eBook Page 231 – Jenny falls in asleep in Jaewoo’s bed. He eventually wakes her up, & she goes back to his sister Joori’s room.
eBook Page 248 – Kissing
eBook Pages 248 to 249 – Jaewoo & Jenny reserve a karaoke room for thirty minutes, Once they turn on some music, they spend the whole time kissing. Aside from removing each other’s shirts, nothing else happens.
I don’t even know where to begin so I’ll start by saying ‘m deeply sorry for disappearing. My blogs mean the world to me, but 2021 kicked my butt. PERIOD. Drama went down at my retail job, & when I could no longer handle the stress mentally & physically, I put in my two weeks. The cherry on top of being unemployed was not getting a job I really wanted three months after applying. I made the decision to enjoy the last two months of the year & do something I never do: enjoy family time during the holidays! In typical Lauren form, I didn’t keep my promise. Well, technically my family did make some great memories in November & December. However, my workaholic tendencies reared their ugly head, & I worked myself into the ground. I’m so exhausted & need a vacation from my two-month vacation, as ridiculous as that sounds. Going into the new year, I have one potential job on my radar. I’m terrified & want to throw up every time I think about going through the application process again, but my sad bank account is pushing me forward. I have no choice! I have to get a job NOW. I’m feeling a fresh wave of nausea talking about this so let’s move on & take a look at what productivity I did manage during 2021:
Let’s take a look at the numbers: I ended 2021 with 488 art blog followers (down from 497), 475 lifestyle blog followers (exactly the same), & 322 subscribers + 154.3K views (up from 293 & 140,868).
I could let those numbers discourage me, but there were things in 2021 that were beyond my control. It wasn’t possible for me to be more active unless I wanted to make myself sick so, in the wise words of Elsa, I’m choosing to Let It Go. I’m currently looking for a work-from-home job which would give me more freedom to be creative on the side. If all goes well, you’ll hear from me again very soon. 💕
It’s a gross understatement to say 2020 was a rough year so I won’t say it. Instead I’ll look forward to the new year with cautious optimism & lots of prayer. Speaking of prayer, I recently heard Joshua Aaron’s Hebrew cover of the song The Blessing, & it is a spiritual experience. It’s the perfect prayer to lead us into the coming year so I recommend you find a quiet spot, close your eyes, & let the song wash over you. Wishing you & yours a healthy 2021! 💙
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” ’ “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”– Numbers 6:22-27
• The world lost Kobe Bryant & his daughter Gianna along with Alyssa, John, & Keri Altobelli, Ara Zobayan, Christina Mauser, & Payton & Sarah Chester. Kobe was my favorite athlete & one of my biggest inspirations; I still don’t have the words to describe the deep sorrow I feel or how much I miss him. 💔
Let’s take a look at the numbers: I ended 2020 with 497 art blog followers (up from 486), 475 lifestyle blog followers (up from 472), & 293 subscribers + 140,868 views (up from 274 & 121,601). I must admit those numbers are extremely disappointing & feel like a slap in the face after a year of work. Even though I wasn’t very active creatively, I put my all into every single blog post & video I produced. I’m letting my self stew in misery for a bit, but then I’m going to suck it up, hold my head high, & do better in 2021.Onwards & upwards! ➡️ ⬆️
📖 This Bible verse feels very appropriate after the year we just endured so I’m leaving you with Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain and a time to lose; A time to keep and a time to throw away; A time to tear and a time to sew; A time to keep silence and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate; A time of war and a time of peace.”
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As I was writing this blog post, the Gilmore Girls episode currently playing on my iPad, season 3 episode 7, referenced Riverdance. That is the best possible sign that today is a great day to support the Irish arts! Former Riverdance dancer Kincaid Stringer & his mother Shannon Kincaid, a painter, have teamed up for a great cause. They’re selling seven of Shannon’s paintings through Indiegogo for a COVID-19 relief fund; all proceeds will support Irish actors, artists, backstage workers & crews, clubs, concerts, cultural & event spaces, dancers, dance schools, festivals, musicians, performers, singers, theaters, & writers. I grew up dancing & singing so the arts are very important to me. Riverdance is the reason I asked my mom to sign me up for dance classes at the age of four so the Irish arts are also very important to me. Let’s not forget my Irish ancestors! 🇮🇪 The arts have done a lot for us in quarantine so it’s only right that we give back. You can choose to only donate money or receive a painting or two or seven in exchange for your donation. If it’s not already obvious, I’m buying “The Dancer.” Can’t wait to have a gorgeous Irish dancing queen above my bed! 👑 Please consider setting aside $25, or more, to support a great cause & get a piece of Ireland for your home. 💚🤍🧡
*NOTE: The Indiegogo campaign ends on September 17th, & the paintings will ship in November. Because of COVID-19, please consider that shipping could be delayed.
Irish people’s love of dancing has been well documented throughout their written history. In fact, one of the earliest references to dancing details a visit between the Mayor of Waterford and Mayor of Baltimore in 1413. The modern Irish dancing of today is no longer merely a processional combination of singing and dancing as an act of celebrating, but a sport that produces athletes that are physically strong, as well as creative and artistic. What was once a tradition specific to Ireland (as well as England, Scotland, and some parts of America) caught like wildfire in 1994 with the debut of Riverdance. The theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance took the world by storm and has been a global phenomenon ever since. Now, twenty-five years later, the Irish dancing community consists of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world today. Teachers from around the world have committed themselves to spreading their love and passion for Ireland’s traditional form of expression. Regardless of how far a dancer progresses competitively or professionally, being an Irish dancer is something that is inextricably bound to their identity forevermore. In this piece entitled “The Dancer,” you feel the excitement, the confidence, and the artistry that comes from expressing a centuries-old tradition that has touched the hearts of many. – Kincaid & Shannon
Ireland and Scotland combined have a rich culture within the performing arts, which has resulted in a thriving gig scene. Musicians are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to create new and fresh work that is often steeped in tradition. Many are staunch believers that musical traditions must be preserved as they always have been – the “play it like my father used to” kind of sentimentality. Yet, every generation brings a new wave of talent that feels that this attitude discourages progress and evolution. This debate between tradition and innovation is a tale as old as time. Still, many feel it is possible to honour your origins while also exploring and adapting to the future; they are not mutually exclusive. Irish music legend, Míchéal Ó Súilleabháinn, believed that traditions are never frozen, but rather are fluid. He believed that the idea of authenticity originating from a pure source located in antiquity was bogus! This painting is for the new wave of artists and musicians who are creating some of the most incredible new-age folk / Trad music in the world. Project Smok, Beoga, Talisk, Ímar and the like are leading the way for the future of Irish music. – Kincaid & Shannon
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
Ériu is the goddess of sovereignty and the mythological mother of Ireland. She is often interpreted as the modern-day personification of Ireland. Along with her two sisters, Banba and Fódhla, Ériu was a part of a triumvirate of goddesses. Before their final defeat, each goddess requested that the island be named for her. This was granted to all of them, but Ériu became the chief name in use. The old Irish name Ériu evolved into Éire in modern Irish and depending on the case is spelled Éireann or Éirinn. This is how we finally arrived with the English name for the country, Erin. The painting has been imbued with symbols to depict all that Ériu embodied within pre-Christian Irish culture. Ériu represents the sacred feminine, as illustrated in the column capitals, or the decorative element at the top of a column, that represent the three phases of a woman’s life cycle – the maid, mother and crone. The stars behind her and the lunala around her neck evoke her role as a lunar goddess. Her hair bleeds into the trees, depicting her connection to the earth and its bounty. She holds this bounty in her hand as a glass of mead, which was served at the feast of Goibhniu, and offered immortality to those that drank it. Around her head is a ring of knot work encasing the land, which is topped by the stone of divisions from the hill of Uisneach, the symbolic and sacred centre of the island in Irish mythology. Ériu’s bones are said to have been laid to rest on this hill and serves as a gateway between the Underworld and the world above. – Kincaid & Shannon
There is much more to an Irish pub than just having a drink. In Ireland, pubs are central to the way of life. Similar to a church, they represent a pillar of Irish social life and community. A place where pints, comfort food, live music, and sport can be always be found; somewhere you can meet friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers, in an inviting atmosphere. It’s for these reasons that recreations of Irish pubs can be found in any city around the world. O’Connor’s was opened as a pub in Galway in 1942 by Thomas O’Connor, and is currently operated by third generation O’Connors. Every inch of it decorated in eclectic memorabilia, the pub has become famous for its hospitality and world-class live music. So much so that Ed Sheeran used it as the location of his music video “Galway Girl” in 2017 featuring actress Saoirse Ronan, furthering the pub’s world-wide recognition. – Kincaid & Shannon
Ireland has a rich tradition of various festivals taking place throughout each year. The Rose of Tralee was first held in 1959 and has since been held every August in Tralee, County Kerry, to select a young woman to be crowned the Rose. Cities all over the world host their own selection balls to determine who will represent them in Ireland. The festival bills itself as a celebration of the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility, and Irish heritage” of modern young women. Bursting with music and dancing, this festival celebrates the very best of Irish culture and the future of Irish relations worldwide. The winner and their family become a part of a global network, showcasing how Irish culture is thriving amongst the Irish Diaspora. They say, “Once a Rose, always a Rose.” – Kincaid & Shannon
A session is a casual gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music, usually taking place in a pub, but has also been known to take place on street corners or even in someone’s kitchen. Irish “trad” music has garnered a deep appreciation, not just in Ireland, but also around the world. It’s important to note that a session is more than just a casual jam between musicians – the focus is on the instrumental tunes found within the Irish tradition – reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slip jigs, and the like. Whether it be in a pub or someone’s home, sessions are times of brilliant music and ever-flowing drink that have a certain habit of continuing late into the night, if not into the wee hours of the morning! – Kincaid & Shannon
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
These are just two quotes from one of the biggest literary personalities in Ireland’s history, Oscar Wilde. A literary treasure, Wilde was a hugely popular playwright and poet in the late 1800s. Besides well-known works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lady Windermere’s Fan, his biting wit and flamboyant style gained him notoriety as well. As a people, the Irish are known for their good sense of humour, which has bolstered them during periods of great hardship throughout history. Wilde embodied this intrinsically Irish trait to the very end. Even as he faced death, he was cracking jokes and reportedly said, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” A collection of art in support of Irish culture would be incomplete without paying homage to Oscar Wilde. – Kincaid & Shannon
*Note: I don’t like to label things as “trashy” because I consider that insensitive to both author & reader. I did a google search for “trashy YA” after both Twilight & Vampire Academy fell through, & this book popped up. I went with it because it was available to me on Scribd.
– N o v e m b e r 1 2 t h t o D e c e m b e r 1 1 t h –
*Note: Even though I didn’t win the Disney Plus Dream Job contest, I decided to continue with my 30-day marathon. You can expect a variety of throwback shows & beloved movies as well as my thoughts on the brand new app.
*Note: I worked most of December & got sick so some of my holiday content was SUUUPER late.
After my Disney Plus failure, I decided to get back on the horse & try again. I entered the CenturyLink Hallmark Movie Dream Job contest, and . . . I lost again. 😂 I made lemonade out of lemons & did a “25 Days of Hallmark” marathon. Each day I picked one old Christmas movie & one new one from a Kurt Adler advent calendar, amounting to 50 movies total. Enjoy!
Farewell to Carl Ruiz (chef), Carol Channing (actress & singer), Caroll Spinney (Big Bird & Oscar the Grouch puppeteer), Lee Mendelson (Peanuts producer), Luke Perry (actor), Gabe Khouth (actor), Georgia Engel ( actress), Peggy Lipton (actress), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Rene Auberjonois (actor), Rip Torn (actor), Robert Forster (actor), Russi Taylor (voice of Minnie Mouse), Ron Leibman (actor), Stanley Donen (choreographer & director), Tim Conway (actor & comedian), & Tyler Skaggs (Los Angeles Angels pitcher).
Let’s take a look at some numbers from the past year: I ended 2019 with 486 art blog followers ( up from 431 ), 472 lifestyle blog followers ( up from 420 ), & 274 subscribers + 121,601 views ( up from 244 & 88,153 ). To be honest, those numbers are disheartening. I didn’t see significant growth in 2019, & that is a knife to my heart. That being said, I accept partial blame. Even though some rough patches were out of my control, others fall on me. I felt unmotivated for most of the year which led to getting behind on work & producing content months after production. It was a quarter life crisis that really got to me, & I’m determined to be much better this year. This is a new decade, a new chapter in my life, a chance to refocus & reap more fruit from my labor. 2020s, I’m about to kick butt & take names. Watch out! 💥
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12:20pm – Blogging + The Hunchback of Notre Dame 💻
1:30pm – Lunch + The Hunchback of Notre Dame 🍲
The animation. The soundtrack. The story. I swear God Help The Outcasts is one of the most beautiful scenes in any Disney movie. There’s a reason this is in my top 10. If you’ve never seen it, GO GO GO!!!
2:40pm – Blogging + JONAS 💻
S1E1 – Wrong Song
In the 1st episode, Nick experiences a hardcore crush. After he discovers she has a boyfriend, he has a hard time letting go. I don’t care who you are. That’s relatable content! Who says Disney Channel can’t be deep??
S1E2 – Groovy Movies
Um . . . the end of this episode when the brothers remake their old home movies for their mom’s birthday made me tear up. I swear I’m doing fine! 😂
S1E3 – Pizza Girl
4pm – Blogging + Kim Possible 💻
S1E1 – Crush
Yup. Still know every single word to the theme song. CALL ME BEEP ME IF YOU WANNA REACH ME!! 📱
S1E2 – The New Ron
S1E3 – Sink Or Swim
Round of applause for Disney QUEEN Christy Carlson Romano! 👏 👏 👏 She was not only Ren Stevens on Even Stevens but also the voice of Kim Possible. Now she’s cooking with fellow child actors on her YouTube channel. We truly don’t deserve her! 👑
6:15pm – Dinner + Brother Bear
When I say I sobbed during the entire movie, I mean I was literally shaking with tears streaming down my face. 😭 The story about brotherhood always tugs at my heartstrings. This is another film in my Disney top 10. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out BIG time. Two words: Phil Collins. If that doesn’t convince you, you don’t deserve this movie in your life. 🤷♀️
Final thoughts for the day: I was surprisingly emotional during almost everything I watched today. Louis Stevens giving up his collectible card to give Ren a nice necklace for her birthday as an apology. Miley Stewart missing her mom. The Lucas brothers remaking their ruined home movies for their mom’s birthday. Basically everything in Brother Bear. Holey moley! I need some time to recover. We are 3 days into this marathon, & I hope you’re enjoying hanging out with me. See you tomorrow! 👋
Magica uses “Bibbidi bobbidi boo!” to keep Mrs. Beakley under her control. Also, Magica’s brother Poe was turned into a raven, & he uses “Evermore” & “Nevermore” often, a reference to Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven. Those are just two of MANY easter eggs in Ducktales. 😲
S1E4 – Where No Duck Has Gone Before
. . . I blinked, & suddenly episode 5 was playing. I thought I was so invested in the show that I lost track of time. NOPE! Certain episodes are missing in the lineup so I only watched two. It seemed like 5 because of the episode numbers.
11:30pm – Getting Ready For Work + Ducktales & Emperor’s New School 💄
S1E4 continued! ( D )
S1E1 – Rabbit Face ( ENS )
“He’s gotta ACE. THAT. TEST.” Such a catchy theme song! 🎶
S1E2 – Squeakend At Bucky’s / Kuzco Fever ( ENS )
2pm – Work 🛍
4:25pm – 15 Minute Break + Emperor’s New School ⏰
S1E3 – Empress Malina / The Adventures of the Red-Eyed Tree Frog Man
*Note: I made up for my earlier mistake & watched a 3rd episode of Ducktales.
Can we talk about how creepy Armstrong is?? He’s a robot that becomes power hungry & uses his technological abilities to wreak havoc. In 2019, that is S C A R Y.
Final thoughts for the day: Ducktales is amazing, & I forgot what a gem Emperor’s New School is. Also, we need to talk much MUCH more about the friendship between Kuzco & Pacha. I am so excited to be watching this stuff through older eyes. It validates my memories of an amazing childhood in the 90s & 2000s. There’s a bit more variety coming soon from my list so hang tight if you want to hear about films & shows that have yet to be mentioned. I ended the day with 12 TV episodes & 1 movie. We have 28 days left. On to day 3! ➡️
This is a bit of a mouthful so please be patient with me. I’ve been inactive in all creative aspects of my life so don’t feel like I abandoned this blog for something else. I have been in not just a creative slump but also what I would call a life slump. We are nearing the end of a decade, & I feel like I’m going through a personal crisis, questioning my purpose in life & what I’m meant to be doing. At the end of the day, I am an artist at heart so none of this will be going away anytime soon. Writing keeps me sane, especially at times like this. That brings me to the next part of this saga.
A little less than two weeks ago, my dad drove himself to the emergency room. Three days later, he had open heart surgery. The next day he woke up with amnesia; it isn’t an extreme case but serious enough to require slow, detailed sentences & repetition. One week later he was able to come home, still showing signs of memory loss. To say my family is emotionally drained & physically exhausted is an understatement, but we are walking hand in hand through this journey & taking it one day at a time. Every day he shows signs of improvement, & I cling to those glimmers of hope because the lowest moments have brought me to my knees sobbing in prayer. Perhaps that’s where God wants me to be more often. I am so grateful for the overwhelming amount of prayers & outpouring of love. I know my dad is the best so I’m glad other people think so too. 😉 Onto the last part of this update!
I know this is a change of tone, but hear me out before you roll your eyes. Disney & reviews.orgare offering $1,000 in exchange for watching 30 Disney movies in 30 days on their new streaming service Disney+. First of all, this would be a bright spot in my life after a sad ending to the month of October. Second, I am a Disney fanatic & binge-watcher extraordinaire, the perfect candidate for this “dream job.” Third, that money would be an amazing gift to me & my family. This is where I need Y O U R help so pay close attention. The application process includes social media following & a video reviewing my favorite Disney movie. The video is not on Youtube yet, but you can start clicking on each of my links & following me. What are you waiting for?? GO GO GO!!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading everything I had to say. I appreciate everyone who has supported this blog. It means the world to me. 🌍 I promise it won’t be long before I’m back with a new post. Keep an eye out! 👁
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