[Skirt: Robert Rodriguez * | Shoes: Zara (2010) | Top: ancient, no idea | Clutch: New Look | Sunglasses: House of Harlow]
So, we’re in the car, just driving along, when suddenly Terry pulls up next to a derelict industrial site.
“Let’s take photos here!” says Terry.
“No,” says I.
“But it’ll be really cool,” says Terry. “It’ll look all post-apocalyptic and awesome: the juxtaposition of fashion and decay! Or something.”
“No,” says I, “It’ll look like I’m tripping around a derelict building site in stilettos: the juxtaposition of style blogging and stupidity. Which actually describes my blog pretty well, now I come to think of it.”
“It’s abandoned,” says Terry. “There won’t be any Others there to stare at us.”
And that’s how I came to find myself tripping around a derelict building site in stilettos. And also how I came to climb a steep, muddy hill in those same stilettos to get to it, because honestly, there’s not much I won’t do to escape The Others. Also, I’ve long been claiming that anything other people can do in flats, I can do in heels, and I’d hate to have to contradict myself at this late stage.
So my belt is crooked in some of these, I got building-site dust on my skirt and I was holding my clutch bag upside down at least part of the time, but at least it’s not another country road, hey? “You look like you’re walking away from the building after setting the explosives,” Terry commented when he looked at the last one. Which is certainly ONE way to look at it, I guess…
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[Skirt: ASOS | Cardigan: H&M | Shoes: Vivienne Westwood for Melissa* | Sunglasses: eBay]
Can you believe today was only the second sunny day of the year so far? (The first one was documented here, just in case you’re keeping track… ) Yesterday, I was walking the dog in a winter jacket. (Me, I mean, not the dog. He just wore his own clothes…) Tomorrow, the forecast is for pouring rain. It’s been COLD, in other words. Really, really cold. Also: rainy and miserable. Fun times, people, fun times!
Because of all of this, I’ve been feeling really, really uninspired with fashion lately, which explains the complete lack of posts here this week. Not only was it pretty much impossible to get out and take photos (Because, did I mention COLD? And RAIN?), even if it hadn’t been, I’ve basically been taking refuge in comfort clothes most of the time. Jeans. Sweaters. Those H&M cropped pants that I bought in four different colours, and thank God for that, because I actually can’t remember what I used to wear before I had them. All very boring, very sensible, very WARM. Which has been the main thing, really.
Up until last year, I’d probably just have ignored the weather and worn all of my little cotton dresses and skirts anyway. Because it’s SPRING, dammit. It’s for dresses and sandals and other lovely things, and I WOULD wear them. This year, though? This year I just can’t be bothered. I remember at one point during last year’s disappointing summer (OK, make that at SEVERAL points last summer…), I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be doing THAT again, and by “THAT” I meant “insisting on wearing sundresses and sandals, even although it’s cold enough for coats and boots”. I slipped up a couple of times that summer (old habits die hard), but so far this year I’ve just not felt that pull to wear something unsuitable in defiance of the weather. It’s very unlike me, and will no doubt make this blog even less interesting than it was to start with, but. … I wore a coat last week, folks. A COAT.
On the plus side, I may have completely given up on the Scottish spring/summer, but I haven’t given up on the warm weather altogether, because next month we’re headed to Miami, to warm our poor, chilled bones in the South Florida sun for a few weeks. Yay! As most of you know, Florida is like a second home to us at this point, but although we’ve visited Miami a few times now, we’ve never actually stayed in the area, so that should be fun. And hopefully HOT. Or hotter than here, anyway, which, let’s face it, won’t be hard.
So, we’re goin’ to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami. And yes, I WILL be quoting Will Smith a lot, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
In the meantime, I think I might need a few more pairs of those H&M pants to get me through the rest of the “spring”…
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We didn’t get it.
The buyer decided to go with the other property she was considering (That makes it sound simpler than it actually was… Needless to say, there’s a whole story connected to this, and the internet is not the appropriate place for it, but the upshot is that this girl could never actually have afforded our house – as in, it was way, WAY out of her budget – but decided to string us along for three weeks anyway, pretending that she could. There’s a reason I refer to some people as The Others, and it’s because they’re NOT LIKE US.), which means the house we wanted went to someone else (albeit only as a rental, so there’s still the chance of it coming back on the market at some point), leaving us in the awkward position of having a house for sale which we don’t actually WANT to sell, because there’s no longer a property we’re interested in buying*. Which is… yeah.
Of course, the housing market is slow right now, so there isn’t really an issue with just leaving things as they are and seeing what happens. If and when we DO get an offer on our place, well, we’ll have a difficult decision to make, but for now I guess we can at least take comfort in the fact that the uncertainty we’ve been living with for the past few weeks is (temporarily, at least) at an end. I’m honestly not joking when I say I haven’t slept properly since this potential buyer came along (I REALLY wish we’d known she couldn’t actually afford it: it would have saved a lot of people a lot of time and energy), and ever since our house went on the market basically every waking second has been consumed with thoughts of if we would sell, and when we would sell, and what we would buy if we did. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for the past few weeks, and only now can I finally exhale.
It’s a sad kind of exhale, though. We really had our hearts set on this house, and we came SO CLOSE to getting it that losing it now is even harder to deal with than it might otherwise have been. And we know there will be other houses. There will (hopefully) be other buyers. One day it’ll happen, and we’ll finally get our house.
It’s just… we would’ve really liked it to have been this one.
* Clarification: I didn’t mean this to imply that we’re taking the house off the market, just that we’re no longer in a hurry to sell, because we don’t have anywhere to buy: we’re definitely not taking it off the market, though!
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[Dress: ASOS | Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti* | Belt: Primark - all bought last year]
This is what I was wearing the day we started negotiations on the sale of our house.*
Yes, folks, we got an offer. Yay!
But it wasn’t nearly high enough to allow us to move. Boo!
The whole time that the house has been on the market, there’s been only one property we were seriously interested in buying. It’s been pretty nerve-wracking, to be honest. We knew the house we wanted could be sold at any time, but after weeks and weeks of non-stop searching, we hadn’t found anything else in our price range that we were even vaguely interested in buying: not even one. Basically, we needed an offer on our house ASAP, and it needed to be high enough to allow us to make an offer on the new one. If the house we wanted was sold BEFORE we got the offer we needed… we wouldn’t be able to sell at all. (Or we’d have to sell without having anywhere to move to, which isn’t really an option for us for lots of boring reasons I won’t get into, because, boring.) Just to make things even more complicated than they were already, the owner of the house we want to buy was also marketing it for rental, which meant that not only was there a chance that someone would come along and buy it while we were waiting to sell ours, someone could also come along and rent it. Which would suck.
We started negotiations with a potential buyer on Tuesday.
The seller of the house we’re interested in agreed to rent it to someone the same day.
If any of this is sounding familiar to you, then yes, you’re right: it’s familiar because this is JUST OUR LUCK. In fact, you may remember this exact set of circumstances from such scenarios as “the first house we found was sold on the same day ours went on the market” or “Nigel waited years so he could try to sell his house at exactly the same time as us“. Honestly, I’m not in the least bit surprised by it, because it seems that there’s just no other way for things to happen for us. I’ve been predicting all along that we wouldn’t get an offer on our house until the one we wanted to buy was off the market, and oh hey, look, I WAS RIGHT! Again. I may not have much luck with property, but damn, I’m ON FIRE over here with the predictions, seriously!
All is not quite lost, though. Or not yet, anyway. The seller of Potential House #2 has told us he’d much rather sell it than rent it: it’s still possible for him to pull out of the rental, and he’s given us until Friday to get back to him, after which the rental will go ahead, and we’ll lose the house. OUR potential buyer, meanwhile, is trying to decide between our house and another one, and has also said that she’ll give us her decision by Friday, now known in our house as D-Day. Or, actually, let’s call it OMG-Day, yes?
Basically, then, we have 24 hours to sell this house. If we don’t get the offer we need tomorrow (and honestly, I’m not hopeful), we lose the possibility of the only house we were interested in, and will basically be unable to sell ours at all until we find something else.
So, no pressure then. I mean, it’s not like absolutely everything depends on what happens in the next 24 hours, and we’ll lie awake all night talking endlessly over all of the “what ifs”, and getting up early to sit and stare at the phone, waiting for it to ring. Oh no, wait: that IS what’s happening. And we’re already spending most of our time staring at the phone, willing it to ring, and then feeling sick to our stomachs with nerves/excitement any time it does.
Basically, it’s a bit like being in an episode of 24, only with, you know, houses instead of terrorists. And us instead of Keifer Sutherland. If you could all just imagine the sound of a ticking clock at this point, then a 4-way split screen with Terry and I in one box, the potential buyer in another, our seller in the third and, I dunno, let’s put Rubin in the 4th, just for the hell of it. That’s my life right now. I think we can all be grateful that my Twitter account is still hacked at this point, because I can’t even begin to imagine the hysteria I’d be subjecting everyone to over there.
Any good vibes you have going spare would be really welcome around about now…
(*We took the photos BEFORE the negotiating started, obviously. I mean, I didn’t go, “Oh, we have an offer on the house? Quick, let’s run out and document my outfit!”)
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(I didn’t have a picture of a bird to represent Twitter, so here are some adorable baby ducks, photographed by my mum, in Florida last year, instead. You’re welcome.)
I mentioned this at the bottom of my last post, but just thought I’d better put it at the top of the page for those of you who can’t be bothered ploughing through 500 words on foundation! As I know a few of you have noticed, The Others hacked my Twitter account this morning, and have been speaking Russian on it since then. I have no idea why: probably some mysterious plot connected to Nigel, the International Man of Mystery Next Door, I would imagine.
Anyway, because they’ve changed the email address connected to the account, I can’t get in to reclaim it. I did submit a support ticket to Twitter a few hours ago, but according to the information on the page, it normally takes them “several days” to deal with these things, so it looks like I’m stuck with the infiltrating Others for the foreseeable.
I don’t actually use Twitter very often (all of the tweets from the blog are automated), so I’m not crying into my pillow or anything, but I have had a few messages from people worried that I’m being held hostage or something, so I just wanted to pop in to say that I’m still alive, and if you’re following me on Twitter and get any weird DMs from me or anything like that, please know that’s not me, it’s The Others. Unless it’s a DM about shoes, obviously: that’ll probably be me.
In fairness, whatever is being said on my Twitter account now is probably more interesting than what I normally say on it. Thanks, Others! Want to take over my blogs, too? I could be doing with a bit of a break, to be honest…
Although I’m a big fan of MAC’s lipsticks, and some of their other products, it’s been a long time since I’ve bought one of their foundations because up until recently they were all just too darn dark.
Back in my university days, I briefly went through a phase of wearing the brand’s Studio Fix Fluid in the NW15 shade, which was the palest colour available at the time. It was a little too dark for me, though, so when I’d used up the bottle (Yes, I DID use up the entire bottle. In my defence, although it was too dark, so were all of the other foundations I’d tried, so it was either that or go barefaced, which would’ve been UNTHINKABLE to my younger self. This is the girl who used to stop to apply mascara every time there was a fire drill in the building she lived in, after all…) I moved onto something else, and didn’t give MAC another thought… until this year, when they announced they’d be expanding the Studio Fix line, and creating two paler shades: NW10 and NC10.
I was overjoyed by this news. It came at a time when most of the brands I like were discontinuing their paler shades, so when someone announces that they’re actually creating some, I feel it’s my duty to show them some support. I knew from my previous experience with MAC (and a little too much time spent swatching colours at any counter I happen to pass) that the NW shades are the best match for my skin tone (For the uninitiated, the NW shades are for pink undertones, while the NC ones are for yellow ones.) so as soon as my existing foundation died, I ordered Studio Fix in NW10, and I’ve been using it now for around two weeks.
Here’s what it looks like on, from top to bottom, the back of my hand, the inside of my arm, and blended in (very, very roughly, or you wouldn’t actually be able to see it!) on my hand again:
It’s pale, but I wouldn’t describe it as SUPER-pale, however, bearing in mind that the skin on my face is a little darker than the skin on my arms and hands (thanks, freckles!), I was really pleased with the colour match. (I DID try to swatch it on my jawline, but honestly, you couldn’t see it in the photo AT ALL, which I guess is testament to how good a match it is.) For the past few months, I’ve been on a bit of a mission to use up all of the beauty products I have lying around, and I’d promised myself I wouldn’t buy any more until I’d done that, so I don’t have any other foundations handy to compare this with. In terms of colour, though, I’d say it’s comparable to the Bobbi Brown foundation I’d been using previously, maybe just a little darker, and although it looks a little orangey in my photos, that’s the fault of the photographer (moi) rather than the foundation, and I don’t notice any of the dreaded orange in real life.
As much as I love the colour of this, however, I’m not totally sold on the foundation itself. On the plus side, the coverage is good: it gives medium, buildable coverage, which I find perfectly suitable for most days, and it’s also fairly matte, so it helps combat my shiny forehead. It also contains SPF15 which is really important for me, as I burn easily, and am careful to the point of paranoia about protecting my skin. (Obviously if I’m going to be spending time in direct sunlight I would use an SPF higher than 15, but this is fine for day-to-day.)
On the minus side, though, although matte foundations are great at combating shine, lately I’ve been finding that dewy ones are more flattering on my skin, which is currently showing some signs of stress. I’m lucky in that I rarely get breakouts, but I have had some dry patches over the past few weeks, and this is less forgiving on them than a dewier formula would be. I normally apply my foundation with a stippling brush, but after a bit of experimentation, I found that this looks better applied with a regular foundation brush, although it’s still not quite as blendable as I’d like, and I feel it’s a little more obvious on my skin than some other foundations I’d use. In fairness, that could simply be down to the fact that my skin’s not exactly “glowing” right now, so I’d quite possibly have the same reaction to just about anything. Time will tell!
Oh, on the subject of time: I know quite a few people find that Studio Fix tends to oxidise, and turn orange over the course of the day. I haven’t had that issue, and find it looks more or less the same at the end of the day as it did at the start, so that’s another point in its favour.
The people who complain about the chemical scent, on the other hand?
Those people are totally right.
This is £20.50 per bottle, and although I do like it, it’s not quite ‘Holy Grail’ material for me, so once I’ve used it up, I’ll probably try something else. I wouldn’t rule out going back to it in future, though, if only because it’s one of the few foundations out there that actually is pale enough for my skin.
[You can buy MAC Studio Fix Foundation here.]
P.S. If you follow me on Twitter, you might notice that “I’m” tweeting in Russian at the moment… The Others hacked my account this morning and locked me out of it: I’ve submitted a support ticket to Twitter but the site tells me it usually takes “several” days for them to respond, so it looks like I’ll be continuing with the Russian until then!
Well, as you can probably tell from the lack of hysterical blog posts and tweets, Wednesday’s cleaning-fest and raised hopes all turned out to be for nothing. OK, not QUITE for nothing: the house got a REALLY thorough cleaning, and Rubin got a nice walk while we were waiting for the viewing to be over. Oh, and Terry now has a great dinner-party story to tell, about that time he was forced to hide behind the bins in his own back garden when the prospective buyers turned up early, and he wasn’t sure what to do other than to dive outside and hide. (I had already vacated the house with Rubin by that point, having anticipated just such an event, but Terry wanted to have a quick word with the estate agent before the showing, so he’d stayed behind. I watched from behind a tree as The Others drove up to the house and Terry sneaked out. I actually have no idea why it’s so important to me that they DO NOT SEE ME, EVER but somehow it is…)
So we have a clean house, a happy dog, and I also got a good laugh at the expression on Terry’s face as he made his escape. What we don’t have, though, is an offer on the house, and that’s kind of a bummer, because obviously we can walk the dog and hide in the back garden any time we like, but we can’t move house until someone decides to take this one off our hands first. We also can’t seem to think or talk about anything else, as you’ve probably realised. We spent the entire day yesterday waiting by the phone, jumping every time it rang, feeling crushed every time it turned out be just another recorded message telling us we’d won an all-expenses paid trip to the Bahamas…it wasn’t much fun, in other words, especially when things had been looking so hopeful.
So, now we’re back to waiting, and hoping someone else will come and take a look at it. On that subject, I was just out of the shower on Wednesday, when there was a knock on the door, and Rubin instantly exploded into frenzied barking. Terry was on the phone to a client at the time, and I couldn’t just let Rubin bark his head off while I answered the door, so I scooped him up (Rubin, I mean, not Terry. If I’d been carrying TERRY, that would definitely have made what was about to transpire a little bit stranger, but honestly, not much…) and rushed downstairs, still in my dressing gown and towel turban, and with Rubin doing his utmost to escape my clutches. I tucked him under one arm, and used the other hand to throw open the door, only to be met with…
…two little girls. Like, less than ten years old, probably.
“Er, excuse me?” one of them said. “I just wondered how much your house is?”
I was a little taken aback by this, to say the least. In all of the scenarios I’ve imagined in which prospective buyers turn up on the doorstep unannounced, I have to say, I’ve never imagined them wearing school uniform. So I stood and stared at these Junior Others, uncomfortably aware that Rubin’s legs were frantically clawing at my dressing gown, which was about to open any second, at which point I would go from simply being The Mad Woman on the street to being The Mad Woman Who Flashes Children. Which would definitely be a downgrade.
“Wow,” I thought, “Either I’m getting REALLY old, or buyers are, like SUPER YOUNG these days!” Then I said the first thing that popped into my head, which just so happened to be the question, “Why, are you interested in buying it?”
Well, the child gave me a really strange look, and honestly, I can’t say I blame her, because there I stood, all wild-eyed and partly-dressed, with a towel on my head and a small, hysterical dog under my arm, asking her if, by any chance, she was thinking of investing in property.
“Actually,” she said, “It’s my mum who’s interested in it, not me. Because I’m ten?”
(She didn’t actually say the last bit. I could tell she thought it, though.)
At that point, thankfully, Terry finished his phonecall and came to my rescue. He took my place at the door, and I slunk off upstairs with Rubin, to spend a few bitter moments wondering if I could possibly have handled the situation any worse than I had. (Conclusion: probably not, but you never know with me…)
I’m guessing that this probably won’t turn out to be the hottest lead on the house, because seriously, who sends their 10-year-old child to negotiate the purchase of their next home, WHO? (Answer: THE OTHERS do, obviously.) Is that a thing now? It is, however, the only lead we have right now, so I’m just going to put it out there that if any other pre-teens are interested in getting their foot on the property ladder, we would be more than happy to show them around.
I promise I will try to wear real clothes this time.
(I also promise that sentence sounded much less creepy in my head…)
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[Jeans c/o 7 for All Mankind // Blazer: Zara // Breton top: Zara kids // Clutch: Dune // Shoes: Primark // Sunglasses: Gucci]
I don’t often wear jeans here on the blog, but I DO actually wear them fairly often in “real life”: in fact, a few years ago, before I got brave enough to start wearing dresses all the time, I wore jeans CONSTANTLY, and it’s really only the fact that I find it so difficult to find pairs I like that stops me still doing it. Now I come to think of it, if my beloved Dorothy Perkins skinnies hadn’t died, this blog probably wouldn’t exist in its current form, so you can either thank jeans for that fact or curse them for it, depending on how you feel.
These particular jeans were sent to me by 7 for all Mankind, and they’re the ‘Cristen’ skinnies: I picked them mostly because of the mid-rise, which means the waist fits perfectly, unlike low-rise jeans which, without exception, will either give me muffin-top, or will stick out at the back creating a charming “builder’s butt” scenario when I sit down. Man, I hate low-rise jeans. I also liked the fact that the legs are skinny without being legging-like, and although the 32″ inseam means they will obviously have to be hemmed (I’ve just tucked them under for now, because I was impatient to wear them!), that’s par for the course for my short legs, so I’d have been more surprised if it wasn’t the case. These are my second pair of 7s, and once again I was completely enamoured with the soft, stretchy denim, which kind of holds everything in, without making you FEEL like everything’s being held in, if you know what I mean?
Add a Breton top (of which you can never have too many, and don’t let anyone tell you different) and a pair of heels, and you basically have my standard uniform for any time I’m not wearing a dress. Exciting, huh?
* * *
In other news, we have someone coming for a second-look at the house tonight, so as soon as I hit publish on this post, I’m off to throw myself into another cleaning frenzy. This would be exciting anyway (the second-viewing, I mean, not the cleaning frenzy. Although I guess it depends what floats your boat…) because let’s face it, you don’t come back for a second look at a house you DON’T like (Do you? As you know, the behaviour of The Others is a mystery to me…), but it’s even more exciting because the person in question told our agent that she’s “really keen”. GULP.
I’d say we’re not getting our hopes up, but honestly, I would be lying, because the hopes are WAY up here, folks, despite our best attempts to batten them down. It’s hard NOT to feel hopeful when the words “really keen” have entered the conversation, isn’t it? The house we’re interested in is still available (which is a miracle in itself, seriously), so if this person were to make a good-enough offer, it would allow us to make an offer on IT… Obviously there are a lot of “ifs” in this scenario, and also a lot of “buts” and “maybes”, and I’m totally getting ahead of myself, because it may all come to nothing, but… keep your fingers crossed for us? If nothing else, at least it would allow me to replace all of the “OMG I AM SELLING MY HOUSE!” posts with “OMG I AM MOVING HOUSE!” ones instead. A change is as good as a rest, you know…
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Since the house has been on the market (Yes, it’s another one of those “I’m selling my house, and I’m going to talk about it forever” posts. Sorry.) we’ve had three sets of potential buyers come to take a look at it.
Now, this was a part of the process I’d been absolutely dreading. I HATED the thought of having to follow The Others around my house, listening to them list all of the things they hate about it, and repeatedly answering the question “But what do you DO with all the SHOOZ?” (Note to self: remember to make up smart comeback to this, so you don’t keep on having to go, “Er, I wear them? On my feet? Am I doing it wrong?”), so I was really pleased when our estate agent told us we didn’t need to be there when they show people around. This works for me: I don’t have to deal with the awkwardness (I have the ability to make even normal situations awkward, so I really hate to think how badly I could screw up a situation that is inherently awkward anyway…), and the prospective buyers don’t have to pretend they’re going to buy our house, just out of politeness. (Which is what I tend to do when I look at houses and the people are in them at the time. If Terry wasn’t there to stop me, I’d probably make an offer on the spot, and end up buying a house I absolutely hated, just because I couldn’t think of a polite way to end the conversation.)
There’s a good side and a bad side to this, though…
[Dress: Stop Staring // Shoes: Christian Louboutin]
One of my favourite things about Dunkeld House Hotel was the fact that it was very much a “dress for dinner” kind of place. As you know, I over-dress for EVERYTHING, and I’ve long-since become accustomed to sticking out like a sore thumb everywhere I go. There are so few opportunities to get “dressed up” these days, and people are so hellbent on being “comfy” at all costs that it can be quite difficult to indulge my love of fashion without feeling like a bit of a freak because of it. People regularly find my blogs having Googled something like “Can I wear jeans to a wedding/christening/other special event?” and I guess when even something like a wedding is deemed denim-appropriate, the act of wearing a dress when you don’t actually HAVE to can seem totally incompressible to some people.
At Dunkeld House, though, I finally felt like I had found my people. It’s extremely rare for me NOT to be the most over-dressed person in the room, but when we went down to dinner on Saturday night I didn’t feel even a little bit out of place, which was a strange and wonderful feeling. Naturally, then, I totally failed to capture this moment in photos: it was starting to get dark by the time we went downstairs, and it was also absolutely freezing outside, so the combination of the flash and my “OMG, hurry up and take the photo so I can go back inside!” look meant that these were the only shots that were even vaguely usable: d’oh!
Anyway, since I’ve (finally!) run out of photos to show you, I guess this is the perfect opportunity to give you the opportunity to go and take some for yourselves. Hilton Hotels have kindly given me a £100 gift voucher for their hotels, to give away to one lucky reader. The voucher is valid for one year, and I’m afraid it can only be used at hotels within the UK, but hey, I guess that’s a good excuse for you to come and try out somewhere like Dunkeld House for yourselves.
You’ll find the instructions for the giveaway in the widget below (Please not that only entries which follow the instructions will be valid: you must follow this site using either Facebook or Bloglovin’, and provide your email address for verification, and so I can contact you about your prize!), and entries are open for one week. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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