The Invisible Dress

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How great is this dog?!? This is Zeus. Or Rambo. I never know which is which. They definitely have differences, but when they’re just milling around you (with 2-3 other dogs), bumping you over or sticking their head under your dress, it’s hard to have the presence of mind to recognize their identifying pictures.

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INVISIBLE DRESS?! You see a dress, you say? Well yeah, I didn’t mean it in an “emperor’s new clothes,” way, but it’s like this. This dress is like tofu. It’s pretty much flavorless, it just takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Without some sort of seasoning…or ACCESSORIZING (keep up with me now, we’re gonna connect the circle verrry soon), it’s INVISIBLE. But it can be sweet or savory or tangy, depending on what you put with it. Like this dress (bam). It’s just a basic black swing dress. I can ath-leisure it with a chambray shirt and sneakers…or prep it up with a khaki linen jacket…or be a little boho chic, like today, with a kimono and pendant necklace.

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I started the season building a wardrobe of essentially “invisible” clothes. Things that go under things…now I’m at the fun part when I’m starting to collect the seasoning…the spicy personality pieces to wear on top. And I love me a kimono. I’m such a cardigan girl in the cold weather…kimonos are a perfect warm weather alternative – they’re generally lightweight, inexpensive, and yet add a real pop of pow to an invisible base.

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I paired this up with a mint green druzy pendant necklace from Charming Charlie’s and some gold dangle oval hoop earrings handmade by an artisan in Brooklyn.

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I REALLY need to color my hair!!!

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What I’m Wearing:

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

NOPE.

Ha.

But I went to the beach this week for the first time this year. That’s really late for me. Usually I start beaching by Memorial Day! But this spring was a little on the cool side, and I’ve been so busy with other things, I hardly noticed it had gotten to be JULY and I’d yet to put on a bathing suit.

BATHING SUIT. Now, I’m not one of those gals who’s all “Oh, I can’t wear a BATHING SUIT out in public, people might SEE ME,” and ends up sweating the day away in shorts and a tee or a sundress, refusing to go in the water in her clothes. No, I’m probably more comfortable wearing a bathing suit on a crowded beach than a short or sleeveless dress to work or to the market. At the beach, who gives a crap what a stranger thinks about the way I look? If they don’t like seeing my body, TURN YOUR HEAD THE OTHER WAY. That’s THEIR problem, not mine. But of course, they’re STRANGERS. I DON’T care about a stranger’s opinion. But to go sleeveless (GASP!) at work, THAT was a big deal.

People are funny, no??

Anyway, I put on my suit this morning, this is its 3rd summer…and while the suit is essentially fine (other than me just being a little weary of it), the straps are very stretched out and not doing such a good job of keeping the girls in place. And I spend a lot of time in the water and can get knocked around a bit, so I need Good Straps.

SO. It’s That Time. Bathing Suit Hunting Time. And it’s late in the season for it. Every year I say I’m going to do this early in the year when there’s a good selection of suits in the stores. And I always end up shopping in July or August. Sigh.

But I went to the mall tonight in the middle of a disgusting humid drenching downpour…to try on some suits. First, Macy*s, which had ZERO for me to even try on. Ruh-roh. Usually Macy*s is my go-to for the mid-summer suit. Next, JC Penney’s…BINGO. I didn’t LOVE anything I saw in my size, but at least there WERE suits in my size that checked off enough boxes for me:

  • 1 piece
  • skirted
  • relatively modest
  • super stretchy snug fit
  • very very supportive straps
  • not a fortune

This is what I found to bring into the fitting room with me – a mix of size 18s and 20s.

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I’m really weary of black, black and white prints, and what I call “pool liner blue.” But, sigh, that’s all there was in my size.

Unfortunately 2 of these turned out to be tankini tops. I am not enamored of the tankini as so many others are. I do too much ocean time getting tossed around, I can’t afford to wear something that could flip up…or get pulled down. The daisy one was so tight I couldn’t even get it up past my hips anyway.

This one was also tight – size 18 – but I managed to wriggle myself into it. Everything was pretty smooshed in and down. I like a snug suit, but this was a little TOO snug.

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This one felt just right. Stretchy and snug without being TOO snug. The straps aren’t going anywhere. And the print…eh, whatever. At least I won’t be flashing my fellow-wave divers at the beach when my suit falls down. That’s more important than color or print to me.

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Success. Disappointed there wasn’t more of a selection, but that’s totally my fault for looking so late in the year. Amazed that I found something after only two stores.

 

NEXT year I’ll start my hunt earlier so I have time to shop online where there are SO many more options. Some places I’ve seen cute plus-size suits online are (they *all* have more options earlier in the season):

The tag price was $96 (wh-a-a-t?!) but it was 50% off AND I had $7.57 (ha) left on a JCP gift card from 2012. So, not too bad.

Both suits were by Azul.

See ya in the surf (ooh, corny)!

Declaring Independence

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Fat people shouldn’t wear white.

Okay.

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Happy Independence Day! Congratulations to our nation for declaring its independence 200something years ago.

And I’m declaring my independence from (stupid) rules like “fat people shouldn’t wear white.” I suppose it’s because light colors make things seem more prominent…larger. Well, newsflash, the darkest black in all the land is not going to hide the fact that I am FAT. Dark colors might make me a little more invisible…but I Don’t Want to Be Invisible!!! And so white I shall wear. And horizontal stripes. ETCETERA.

What “rules* do YOU break? Or HAVEN’T broken??

What I’m Wearing:

 

My Week in Review: Week 16

Four months of Fashion Schlub, woohoo! In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m big on anniversaries, commemorating special dates, etc.

Last weekend I was just plumb tuckered out. It was a beautiful weekend – everyone was out at the beach, barbecues or by the pool. I was happy to be inside in the air conditioning with no “out in the world” commitments. I have a bit of a proclivity towards reclusivity. I get that from my mother. She could go days without leaving the house…without even getting dressed. There are times I consciously fight against this inner tendency…and sometimes, exhausted, I just go with it. Unlike her, I know I *have* to go out eventually, because I have to work, so I’m not especially worried when I hang my feet over the edge of the rabbit hole for a couple days. She had the luxury…or disadvantage, depending how you look at it…of not having to work, so she truly *could* just hide out at home, reading (then saving. forever.) her New York Times and keeping track of winning lottery numbers in notebook after notebook and ordering umpteen Joan Rivers’ cocktail rings off the Home Shopping Network.

But My Mother is a whole other story for another day.

Anyway, I got my little mental break from The World last weekend…which was good because this week I needed to be able to go Full Steam Ahead.

It was Camp Week at work which is just a whole different set of issues than usual. No pictures are anywhere to be shared yet, so…

I got a dress from Gwynnie Bee that wound up being sort of a line in the sand for me. It was much shorter than I’m used to. I tried it with bare legs and with leggings…wasn’t really happy with either.

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But I wore it out anyway.

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My daughter and I took turns being the photographer. I’m happy to have my favorite model back.

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Then there was the striped-tee controversy.

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I met up with friends at a coffee house that usually has a vegan goodie or two…and always has some local artists’ work up on the walls, which is nice. Chocolate-chip ch-ch-ch-chia cookie. Yum.

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This time they had an exhibit by local high school kids.

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Thursday night I went to an aquarium to photograph a Sweet 16 party.

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Doesn’t she look like Cinderella? It was a really fun family to photograph. I love shooting people who LIKE to be photographed – it is a rare treat.

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We’ve been getting so many big packages at work this week we finally decided to put them to good use.

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And lastly, weird mail arrived from a fellow named William Voltair. It turns out this guy sends these letters all over the place. See copies of the letter(s) here. 

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And now…I’M ON VACATION!!! Yay.

It was so weird Not Blogging yesterday! Feels good today to be back 🙂

Ask Me How I Am

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Go on. Ask me.

“Okay, how are you?”

“I’m OUTSTANDING.”

In the field.

Ba dum-bump. Sorry. I hadda. Corny Daddy jokes run deep in my veins.

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Anyway, just a simple outfit post here. But can I just say that a year ago I would NEVER have worn a sleeveless top out in public. Never. Ever. Never ever.

So, this is the chosen tunic top from the Target try-on haul a couple days ago. I’m wearing a black cami under it due to the ginormous arm holes. I’m not happy about it but I’m doing it. I WILL prevail over the cavernous arm holes on sleeveless tops. I will (shakes fist at sky).

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This was nice to wear. Ava & Viv from Target, lightweight rayon, size 3x. Nice drape. I could even wear it unbuttoned over a black tee or dress as a vest-type thing. Ooh, lookit me with the layering creativity!

And *speaking* of layering creativity, my new friend Debbie (aka The Queen of Layering) over at Fashion Fairy Dust has been been nominated for Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger Of The Year. Whoa! The Pittsburgh Style Week (hope I’m saying this right!) recognizes the leading men and women in fashion, business, and the arts and honors them for their extraordinary accomplishments. If you have just a moment and could trot over to the voting page, take a look at the nominees, then Vote for Fashion Fairy Dust (cuz, you know, she’s the best), that would be amazing and I will be your very best friend.

Style Week Pittsburgh <- Vote there! Scroll down a-ways to “Meet the Nominees – FASHION & LIFESTYLE BLOGGER OF THE YEAR” and give Debbie your vote.

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And ps, my amazing daughter has been doing some of my photo shoots lately…like this one! She’s doing a great job, don’t you think??

And THAT, my friends, wraps up my 30-DAY BLOG EVERY DAY CHALLENGE!!! I kinda can’t believe I actually did it. I kinda think Pittsburgh should give ME an award, too!

While challenging, it was actually kinda fun. And it was very exciting to see how many new followers I got during the 30 days. Thanks You Guys, for reading and following and commenting. I felt I little alone here back 30 days ago…and now I feel like I’ve made some new friendships…and rekindled some old ones. But now I will let myself off the hook a bit and return to a more manageable, 3ish times a week.

See you in a couple days!!!

What I’m Wearing:

This One or That One

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Or the other one.

Yes, once again I’m going to ask your opinion. It’s not like I can’t make up my own mind…or like I’m going to count up the votes and let the majority decide…but I do like reading the comments and sometimes someone has a thought I didn’t have and it pushes me off the fence. Sometimes just carefully crafting the pros and cons list for each item, I push *myself* off the fence. Either way, it’s sorta like going shopping with a girlfriend…”whatcha think of this one, grrl??”

SO. I see now that I have a little bit of a problem. A STRIPE problem. As in, I keep buying things with stripes. Mostly black and white (or white and black) but also some navy and white. And I can justify most of them, but just this week I brought home, guess what – a black and white striped top – and when I went to hang it in the closet, I realized it is EXTREMELY similar to one I bought just a few weeks ago and haven’t even worn yet.

In the picture above, going from right to left (I know, just bear with me), that’s a navy and white striped dress, then a navy and white striped long sleeved tee. Then a short sleeved black and white tee…then two short sleeved white with black stripes tees…and lastly a long sleeved back tee with white stripes. So you can see they’re all slightly different…EXCEPT the 2 short-sleeved white with black stripes tee shirts.

Those are the two I want to hear opinions on. They both still have their tags on and are within a returnable time frame.

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#1 is from Target, Ava & Viv, a 4x for $16.99, it’s very a lightweight, almost silky cotton blend. This one seems a little sportier to me, and I would wear it like this or over jeans with sneakers. I’d wear this erranding, shopping, etc.

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#2 is from Rainbow, it’s a 3x, was $7.99, my first “cold shoulder” top, and the softest thing ever, like if “sueded cotton” was a thing, this would be that. It’s a good length for leggings or jeans and I think the cold shoulder elevates it just slightly above v-neck #1 as far as where I would I wear it and what I would wear it with. This I would wear out with girlfriends for coffee or drinks in the evening, with flats.

So, while they’re a LITTLE different, they’re really essentially the same shirt and either could work for casual day or evening. And do I really need TWO? If I returned the Target top, that’s $17.99 that could go towards something else. What else am I going to get for $7.99 if I return the Rainbow one?

BUT.

Ha.

There’s also this. A little older, showing a little wear, but not bad by any stretch of the imagination, I have…

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The peanut gallery watches the picture-taking with such interest

#3. Yes, it’s more “black with white” than “white with black,” but really. It’s a bigger fit…leaning a little towards schlubby in my view…but I COULD return BOTH the other tops and have $26 to put towards something else I ACTUALLY need and don’t already have…like a kimono to go over my green dress…or, ha, SHOELACES (I’ve been looking for elastic shoelaces because bending over to tie my sneakers is really an uncomfortable prospect).

So, there we have le Challenge du Jour. We’re not saving the world here, but…sometimes it’s nice to be included in a manageable challenge.

What say ye?

 

Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone

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Certainly in the past year I’ve gotten more comfortable with certain things I used to be horrified about – a little shorter hemlines, shorter sleeves, seeing myself in photographs. But this dress was a Big Leap for me. It’s WAY shorter than I’m comfortable with. I would never wear this length to work, but I *would* wear it down to the Beach Hut in the evenings with friends (on a non-windy day!).

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This dress is SHORT. My legs are FAT. I am a BRAVE m_____ f_____. I feel brave. And kinda cute.

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I ran into a store after the shoot. In PUBLIC. In the short dress. With my fat legs. Yup.

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It felt good to be not so covered up.

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On a twirlability scale of 1-10, this dress is only a 2. But I had to try.

The dress is going back to Gwynnie Bee tomorrow. But I’m glad I didn’t just stick it back in the blue bag to return. I glad I wore it Out in the World.

Go me.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Corey Trista dress in Jane floral print, size 3x,  via Gwynnie Bee

    You can get a FREE 30-day trial of Gwynnie Bee by clicking the link below. Just to be transparent, if you join through a link from my page, I do make a little commission from Gwynnie Bee.

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Target Try-on

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Looking for white jeans and/or leggings. These are not them. And I thought this light rayon top would be darling over said white pants. But I’ve got the too-tight-tummy *and* too-low v-neck. Pass.

You may think I buy a LOT of clothes. I do not. I try ON a lot of clothes. I buy VERY few. And of those few, a certain percentage always gets returned.

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At first glance I thought OOH this could be the replacement for the nightgown dress so I can send that back! But they only had a 4x which was too large and it had SERIOUSLY large arm holes, which would require wearing something under or over and there goes the whole easy-breeziness of the dress. 
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Seriously??

It must be nice to say, “Oh, I’m a size 6/8/12/whatever” and walk into almost any clothing store and be able to find things that fit. And maybe even SEVERAL things. Wow. I would not hate shopping so much if I could be more successful at it than I am.

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I am looking for another sporty, stretchy tee or swing dress. This one is good on top, but too clingy on the bottom. It’s not the worst but there’s something out there that’s better, I just know it (hey, did you see me being all optimistic-y??).

Even in plus-size stores and departments, there’s no such thing as a “straight size 24,” cuz one size 24 woman is 5’9″ and another is 5’0″. One carries her weight in her legs tummy and butt, another has a flat stomach but broad shoulders and big boobs. And a constant complaint of mine is that PLUS SIZE WOMEN ARE BROAD NOT TALL. I mean, obviously SOME are tall, but the manufaturers (ha ha I’m funny) think as women expand horizontally they’re also growing vertically…so I end up trying on things that, if they fit in the chest and tummy/hips/butt, are too “tall” in the torso and I constantly struggle with too large necks, too low necklines and hemlines, too-long sleeves and droopy waists. Sigh.

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Not a fan of things that cling to my hip bumps.

So I have to try on a LOT of frogs before finding my clothing prince. Which is why anytime I’m anywhere there’s a plus-size section, I make at least one quick trip into the dressing room in search of a magical plus-size unicorn.

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I need more “things to go over other things” but this seemed a little heavy for summer. Maybe I’ll luck out and see it on the clearance rack in August or September.
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This has possibilities. It’s lightweight rayon, got that easy-breezy thing going on, but….
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Sigh. 

So. One thing came home with me. If you guessed the last item – the black and cream sort of tribal print tunic with side slits (I love me a side slit) – you would be correct! DING DING DING DING DING, get yourself an ice cream. I have to try it at home over a cami and see how it feels (I KNOW how it FEELS, it feels icky and hot). I have to see if the LOOK is worth the hot layering in summertime.

I think everything I tried on was Ava & Viv.

And so ends another saga in my Try-on Turmoil, ha. I returned a pair of black flip-flops and a black top I bought a few weeks ago, a little impulsively. So it’s sort of like this was free. Hee hee.

Until tomorrow….

Here I Am

I know I keep raving talking about The Curvy Con, but it is still high in my heart.

There were a lot of wonderful things I experienced during that day, but…when it comes down to it (and on maybe sort of a selfish note), having spent most of my life as The Biggest One in the Room, it was…comforting? Refreshing? Whatever, it felt GOOD for once to be just like everybody else. Or at least, it wasn’t my (our) BODIES that made us stand out. We were ALL big. So the things that made us different from everyone else were…better. The outfit we’d put together…the reaching out to people who were there alone…the comments we made or questions we asked during presentations. The things that made us US made us different…not the way our bodies looked. And that was good.

JCPenney debuted a video at The Curvy Con entitled Here I Am. If you follow the plus-size community you may recognize some of the icons spotlighted in the video. If not, you’ll see plus-size blogger Gabi Gregg of Gabi Fresh, Valerie Sagun of Big Gal Yoga, Jes Baker-blogger and author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Mary Lambert, and this past season’s Project Runway winner Ashley Nell Tipton. They share their stories, both their struggles and successes. They’re all beautiful women, but they are also strong, successful women who did not let their bodies get in the way of following their dreams.

I hope you watch.

 

My Week in Review: Week 15

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The week started at THE CURVY CON (!!!). I still have some leftover excitement from it – in fact, i just realized this evening that I never really looked through my goody bag – I was so exhausted at the time I opened it to peek inside, went “OOH!” then set it aside for a time when I could really look at all the things. I’ll be sure to let you know what goodies I got.

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I’m DEFINITELY going to go again next year, Sep 8-9, 2017, it’ll be like my birthday present to myself. I’m hoping to take a buddy along next time. If *you* want to go, here’s an affiliate link* to get to the advance ticket sales.

At the end of that amazing (exhausting!) day, I got back Just In Time to see a beautiful sunset over the harbor.

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Monday at work was Nautical Day. There were a lot of stripes going on!

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It was also the first day of “Summer Secret Santa,” and I got a lovely inspirational message from my SSS.

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Another day a friend/co-worker surprised me with a Hello Kitty fan slash candy holder. With candy!

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My daughter found this when unpacking from her return home. It’s a letter I gave her a lonnnnnnnng time ago. Apparently I’ve had a desire to be Fabulous for quite some time.

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We did the infamous Denim vs. Denim photoshoot.

A co-worked brought her puppy to work. The visit wore her out and she fell asleep in my office. She had loose puppy skin. Squeee!

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I was looking for a little gift for someone at Marshall’s and couldn’t resist a quick dressing room trip. I got one of these tops – you’ll see it soon on the blog.

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Grabbed dinner at Blaze Pizza then went down to a beach with friends to eat. It was a perfect night for sitting out. Pretty light, a little cool. Pizza.

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We met Wilson.

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Got a little blast from the past from a long-time friend. She sent some pictures from our horse-crazy high school days. That’s me in the orange with the cranky looking grey mare.

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Today was Take Your Dog to Work Day…so Caleb hung out with us in the office along with his new little friend Zoey.

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And now Caleb is pooped. And so am I. Goodnight.

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*If you use this link and end up purchasing the tickets, I get a cute little commission 🙂