Friday, 28 June 2013

Monthly Mash Up #6



Good things come in three's too
This month has gone by in the blink of an eye. I've spent the vast majority of it being ill, and still am suffering. I'm not sure if I've picked up some sort of bug or just really run down but I feel absolutely dreadful meaning I haven't been acting like my usual self . Despite this I've still had an okish month looking back at it. Between feeling rubbish I've really tried to start my pre-hockey season fitness regime. I've given myself a long-term challenge and entered the Great Manchester Run next year as part of #TeamBlogger. It would be great if other bloggers join in so click here to have a look. You all probably know by now from my very hyper and excited tweets that I got a 2:1 in my law degree. Coming from a girl that was considering taking a year out because I was so ill this time last year, its pretty incredible. I'm very proud. However, not as proud of the fact I have finally found my name on a Coke bottle ;) My mission has been achieved haha. Oh and the last good thing, I got a volunteering place at Citizen's Advice! From popping down to London for a family day out to getting my blog back together I've been getting back into doing things I adore rather than constantly revising. I am absolutely loving the Investec World League Hockey on at the moment, and its really inspiring me through my endless physio on my ankle. Whilst I love the summer weather we keep being teased with, I do think heat isn't something the UK deals with well. I can take hot weather fine on holiday, but here, not so much. Despite that I'm praying for the sun to be shining on the next two weeks as its my 21st and uni Graduation! Fingers Crossed. The next couple of week are manic with my birthday, #fabbbloggersmanc event, graduation and Manchester bloggers meet up all at the same time as having our kitchen and 3 bathrooms re-done. Lets hope I start feeling like myself again. 


Monthly Obsessions
I've already mentioned that I've been obsessing over the Investec World League Hockey this month. It's been a massive motivator for me to get into pre-season fitness. I hate to say it but I am also loving the 30 Day Shred. Whilst its hard at the start it improves your fitness dramatically in a couple of days, so is perfect if like me you like instant gratification. I have Carly Rae Jepsens album on repeat at the moment. Its ideal for the gym. I'm not usually a fan of that kind of music, but there's something about the album that I am in love with and it instantly puts a smile on my face. TV wise, although I'm struggling to get into the Americans,  I am absolutely obsessed with 90210 and BINTM. Mark my words, Jessica is going to be there to the end (and not just because of our name sharing). Before I finish talking about technology, I think I've been quite a bad blogger this month and I've not really loved any beauty products in particular. I do rate my Simple Vital Vitamin Foaming Cleanser. Now I know someone is going to tell me foaming cleansers strip everything from my skin but I like this, and it works well on my skin. I've had really bad skin lately with being ill and I was using a different cleanser but as soon as I returned back to this, my skin has rapidly improved! If it works, don't change it is going to be my motto from now on. Finally I am just going to scream my massive praises to MAC Strobe Liquid which has somehow managed to make me look nearly human even though I could be mistaken as an extra from Twilight.

So thats been my month? What's everyone else been up to? Please tell me other people have this lurgy (I don't want to inflict it on anyone, but it would be nice not to be alone). Oh and if your going to #fabbbloggersmanc let me know! Its my birthday weekend and I don't know anyone going!

xoxo
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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Daddy I'm Home

Source: Tumblr

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the vast majority of undergraduate students end up back at home after their degree is done and dusted. I remember way back when I was in Year 9 (2005-2006 so not that far back) my Maths teacher said how his son had just moved back home after graduating from uni. Quite simply I was horrified and certain that wouldn't be me. After living (somewhat) independently for 3 years, I was adamant that moving home would (A) be a step backwards (B) be a sign of failure (C) the worst thing imaginable, not necessarily in that order. Now its actually me in that position my head's in a different place.

Before I dive head first, its probably best to fill you in on my back story. I've just finished a law degree at university and have now moved home for the foreseeable future whilst I do my LL.M LPC and train as a solicitor. My parents aren't going to charge me rent or any money for food despite my protests, because I'm paying my own postgraduate tuition fees. Quite honestly I'd be a fool not to move home with an offer like this. Whilst I did briefly consider getting my own place in the city, my lack of money after my fee's have been paid made me think of the practicalities. My family home is just under an hour away on the bus from the law school and, riddled with a stupid amount of student debt and extremely limited savings, if moving home helps me to have a few less sleepless nights, its worth it. See my 13 year-old self didn't think about money issues back then, because in my mind I'd walk out of University, into a high paying job and live the dream. That's exactly what that was though; a dream. For law, education isn't over when you get your undergraduate degree, you have to do more, but without a lovely student loan to help you out. That's why moving home seemed the best option for me. I know where I want to take me career and I need to work for it. Not having to worry about food or accommodation is one less worry while I get some stability. Regardless of how I dress it up, ultimately I am still moving back to a single bed in Manchester, but rather than being forced into it because their was no realistic alternative, I chose to do it. I have direction and a realistic plan of how I am going to do it. I don't see moving home isn't a failure or a step backwards anymore. What I do see it as a consequence of doing well in my degree and having enough ambition and motivation to try and make it in a ridiculously competitive profession. Because of my new found security, I am able to take those unpaid placements to my hearts content, helping me follow my dreams. I don't have to work 3 part-time jobs in addition to a placement and my studies, failing to have an sort of life outside law. I can have fun with friends, play hockey for a local club, and blog, time just for me to relax. No one has forced me home kicking and screaming, it just so happens that there are a couple of good law schools near my family home and I got offered places at all of them. OK yes there are branches in other cities which I could have gone to and lived a more independent life, but when the difference is being comfortable or worrying how you are going to pay for anything or everything, it comes down to a question of happiness. For me, home offered me happiness

Call it stating the obvious, but moving home generally means living with your family. One of my biggest fears about moving home was that I would loose my independence. I'm pretty much a miracle and only, child. My mum and dad had me quite late on, and had pretty much given up when I decided to grace the world with my presence. Consequently I am always going to be babied to some extent, which I will hold my hands up and say I am totally fine with. I will even go as to say I love it. What's better than to come home from a rough day at placement and have your favorite tea cooked for you in a bid to cheer you up? We all like this kind of attention, I'm just lucky enough to get it more than others. What I was fearful of was that my parents would treat me like a child though, when actually I turn 21 next week. Over the last month or so I've found out the hard way that that works both ways. If you want to be treated as an adult, you need to act like one. If I let my parents do everything for me, there going to go back to treating me like I was 13 again. Rather than door-slamming arguments, we attempt to have grown-up conversations. Treating your family home like you would your student halls isn't going to go down well. The kitchen isn't a cafe with constant meals readily prepared and I let them know rough plans regarding my coming and goings. All pretty standard things, but showing respect is an equal thing and my parents have also had to get used to some new things. From little things like making space in the downstairs shoe cupboard and remembering I do Uni work in the office so need some quiet to most importantly, me having my own life. My parents will fully admit that over the last month its been hard to get used to me not wanting to go out with them constantly because I have other plans.  Being an only child I was always off out with them on little trip here and there. Their used to me spending loads of time with them when I visit for uni. Now I'm not just visiting, it takes adjustments on both sides. I do my bit around the house, respect my parents have a routine as much as I do, and in return, they realise I'm grown up. Albeit I still love a good old Sunday morning shopping session with my mum but she understands that sometimes, I just want to be with my friends, and that's OK. I think we've now come to a mutual understanding, and I've got to say, life is good.

When I think about those three issues I believed when I was 13, I laugh at myself. Moving back in with my mum and dad hasn't been a step backwards, its actually helping me to advance my career further. Failure is something I have never associated with myself. I achieved a high 2:1 in my degree, have an amazing long-term placement, solid career prospects and a direction. For me, knowing exactly what I want to do with my life, and working to get it is a massive success and not something to be ashamed of. As for the worst thing imaginable, I will have to admit, I'm quite enjoying living at home with my parents. From having a heckle and giggle at the television while watching T.V. with my mum (don't lie, you all do it) and going on all day walks with the dog with my dad to doing my work placement and going out with friends, I've never felt more secure and happy with myself. When your younger you roll your eyes at anyone who said happiness is all that matters. It's only when your (semi) grown-up that you realise that being truly happy with your life is the best feeling in the world, and that maybe home is where the heart is ... (gag ;)).  

So, to those graduates who are on a different path, chosen a different route and are managing to live away from home I admire you. To those of you who like me have chosen to return to your family home I can relate with you. But to those of you in the midst of an internal debate whether to bite the bullet and return, I give one piece of advice. Choose. Whatever you do after university, let it be your choice. If you want something, find a way to work towards it. It's amazing how idealistic ideas change when you consider practicality. Just make a choice that will make you happy.  
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Monday, 24 June 2013

Mallzee Launch + 50 VIP accounts!


If you can remember, way back in September I posted about an innovative new website called Mallzee. If like me, you can just about remember last week, you can refresh your memory here.



In a nutshell, Mallzee is a way to make online shopping more interactive and sociable. There's a couple of key features that help make Mallzee completely different from anything else I've heard about. Say you want a dress but can't decide which one, Mallzee lets you get your facebook friends to vote which one you should buy. Secondly, its completely tailored to you. When you initially sign-up you go through a sort of style questionnaire and can select the shops you want to feature in your 'mall'. From brands ranging from Very, Forever 21, Miss Selfridges, New Look and many more, browsing you favorite sites has just got a lot easier.   Not only does adding items to 'My Wardrobe' let you save clothes to browse later, it will also automatically pair other items with it, taking the effort out of searching for the perfect outfit. Finally there's massive benefits by using Mallzee. I don't ever need an incentive to shop, but using Mallzee, you get rewarded for buying items from your favorite brands. For every £3 you spend through the site, you can earn a Mallzee Dollar and once you get 25 dollars you can buy exclusive products, amazing discounts of brands and much more!

Now for the exciting bit. Laura from Mallzee has very generously given the first 50 of my followers VIP accounts, getting  new features first and special discounts etc. All you have to do is register at Mallzee through this link and they will activate it on their end.

So what do you think? Are sites that combine social networking and online shopping the way forward or are you sticking with the old fashioned methods?

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Multi-taskers



With space limited in our bathroom cabinets, products that claim to have multiple benefits can not only save precious space but gain you time too. I'm not usually a massive fan of multi-tasking products, more often than not feeling like they haven't fully delivered on any of their claims, let alone all of them! Here are some of  my favorite, and a couple of my least favorite, multi-tasking products.

The only multi-functional product for my hair that I have ever stuck with is my raved about V05 Blow Drying Lotion. Whilst I don't notice the effects as intensely as others may due to having extremely thick hair, it does make a difference. One thing I hate about hair products that aim to achieve a 'sleek' effect' is that they often leave hair flat. This helps smooth hair but still inject some volume so you get the perfect blow dry without damaging your hair through using heated styling tools.

It's no secret that I love Soap & Glory's Clean On Me, a shower gel and body lotion all-in-one that helps me get out the door that little bit faster. However, I'm less than impressed with Scrub Your Nose In It. This is apparently a scrub and mask in one but not up to the usual Soap & Glory standard. As a scrub, its average, its abrasive enough to work but nothing special. If you use scrub's often like I do, the quantity you get for its normal retail price will really hit your purse hard too if you plan to make this your go-to. As a mask I don't think this works at all. I saw no improvements whatever in pore size or the general appearance of my skin. Even the next day there was nothing different. I don't know if I'm somehow using it wrong, but for my skin, their are most certainly better alternatives. One product that really does deliver though is This Works In Transit Camera Close-Up(*), perfect for festivals, holidays and those who just want everything in one bottle. Its a really hydrating moisturiser, a primer and a mask in one and a good one at that. The way I use this is instead of my usual moisturiser, and then skip my primer for a lovely hydrating base, I wouldn't use a moisturiser in addition to it because it would just be a waste of product. Once I take my make-up of my skin is magically soft and smooth, like I've had a hydrating mask on. I know you can use this in the conventional 5-10 minute face mask style, but you might as well get all the benefits at the same time! 

Lip products are probably one of the most known about multi-tasking products, with many offering to hydrate and add a pop of colour at the same time. Unlike the majority, Korres Lip Butter has a good level of pigmentation that's lasts and really melts into your lips. Arbonne's Lip Moisturiser(*) is such an effective lip balm with the added bonus on sunscreen! Now I personally never think about protecting my lips when I'm working on my tan lines, but it really does make sense to look after them too! 

I'm always dubious of make-up products that can have dual usages, some things I wouldn't want to even try putting anywhere else than their specified area. Benefit's Benetint(*) is probably the most well known for this, being both a cheek and lip stain. With a small brush akin to nail varnish, its consistency is similar to a liquid highlighter or lipgloss and works well as both! So pigmented and long-lasting this is perfect for making office make-up ready for the evening. Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades in Way To Glow is also a great one to have in your make up bag. Use the top left shade as a highlighter, each shade individually as a bronzer, or all together for a healthy glow! I use this when my skin is looking a bit dull mid-afternoon, and it just gives me a more fresh look. A lot beauty bloggers rave about e.l.f's tone correcting powder in warm but I'm not a fan. I find it doesn't do anything to make my skin look more flawless. I'd try a different shade if it were just that but it isn't a very good powder either, clinging to dry patches and often looking a bit cakey around the nose. Lastly a relatively recent addition to me is my Ilah Brows Travel Kit(*) and I really couldn't live without it! Containing 3 powders that could be used for brows or as eyeshadows, a lip balm and a brow balm all in a sleek package, its perfect for slipping into your travel make-up bag! The powders are unbelievably long lasting (completely gym and heat-wave proof) and highly pigmented, you can touch up your brows and create a nice smokey eye at the same time!

Do you use any of the products I've mentioned? Have you got any multi-tasking must-haves?

xoxo
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Monday, 17 June 2013

Classic Graduation Outfits

On Friday I got the exciting news that I'd be graduating with a 2:1 honours in my LLB Law degree. I've been putting off looking at dresses for graduation, not wanting to jinx anything but now I can really start the hunt for my perfect outfit. I want to look pretty classic and am going to stick to black, white, cream, grey because I don't want the pictures to date in a couple of years,. The sash/hood at Keele is quite a vivid yellow with red trim (nicer than it sounds) so I think its best to keep it simple and leave my statement trophy jackets for nights out. Saying that I don't want to wear plain black head to two and blend completely into the gown either. I'll add colour with my shoes, but dress wise I am determined to keep it classically smart. I honestly didn't think finding a nice simple dress in those limited colour options would be hard, but apparently I'm very picky. It seems its virtually impossible to avoid fashion trends and remain timeless! Everything has either got some sort of pattern on it (damn you spots and stripes), some form of neck embellishment that would conflict with a sash, or the fit of the dress was just not flattering at all. So far these are some of the best options I've found, and I'm leaning towards the River Island skater dress, 2nd on the left on the top row. Whilst I've got until the 11th July to search high and low for something I like, this has definitely confirmed that life is so much easier following my magpie tendencies, and being plain is hard work!

50 shades of grey





If you have happened to see anywhere that does a dress fitting the bill please let me know! What are you planning on wearing (or what did you wear) to graduation?

xoxo
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Friday, 14 June 2013

Diet-friendly Carbs



Carbs are a beautiful thing. They fill you up, give you energy and are generally pretty tasty. But rather evily (word? Is now) they tend to be calorie heavy, salt ridden and full of other nastiness you should try and limit. Now as a massive carb lover, I will happily bulk buy anything claiming to be on the healthy side that allows me to indulge without then feeling annoyed later on. Recently I've been trying out some new vitamins and what not to help with my headaches as recommended by the hospital, and stumbled upon Slim Pasta Spaghetti, and Zero Noodles in Holland & Barretts. Easily swayed, I got one of each and  have been loving them ever since. 

Slim Pasta Spaghetti has 15.4 calories in the entire pack. That right, one entire squishy pouch has just over 6 times less calories than a low-calorie pack of crisps. Err what? I'm not saying eat the entire pack but its nice to know if you fancy getting into a carb coma, you can. I am no food/nutrition expert but even I knew this could be because there could be other things making it not so good. However after reading the nutritional table, its rather promising. Free from saturated fat, sugar and gluten and cooking amazingly fast in around 2 minutes. I'm sold.

Nutritional Values for Slim Pasta Spaghetti - A bag is 200g.

Zero Noodles is a similar story. This boasts 8 calories in the entire pack, is free from saturated fat, sugar, salt and gluten and is wheat free! It takes a little bit longer to cook, around 10 minutes, but come on! 10 minutes for guilt free yumminess!

Zero Noodles Nutritional Value - A bag is 200g
I can hear the cogs in everyone's head turning. Your all thinking what's the catch? Well nutrition wise their pretty much empty calories. They don't contain much so obviously you wont get a lot out of them. Similarly they don't taste of much without some sort of sauce or flavoring and I definitely would not eat them without adding something to them. What they are good for though is for using up anything you having lying around the kitchen waiting to be used up.


The other night I made tea for the family with them and it went down a storm with everyone. I used some prawns, sweetcorn, peas, mushrooms, anchovies, a small pot of stir-in Dolmio Sauce. Served with salad it was really lovely. You could literally pair it with anything though if like a lot of people fish and mushrooms freak you out; chopped up chicken pieces, vegetables, fish, whatever's in your cupboard really! So while they need something adding to them, and are pretty much empty calories, for carb lovers they are perfect to get your pretend carb fix whilst eating healthy.

They are pretty hard to get hold of, and expensive online. Your best bet is trying at Holland and Barrets where I think a packet was around the £1.50 mark. Expensive for 1-2 meals but when you consider just how low in calories and other nasties they are, may be worth it if you love to tuck into a bowl of pasta or noodles.

xoxo
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Packing Light

Its that time of year again when most of us try and get half our wardrobe into a reasonably sized case without facing extra charges which eat into our duty free shopping money. I'll hold my hands up, Nelly the Elephant probably packed lighter than I usually do when she went off to join the circus. My friends at Uni take great pleasure in the fact that I moved into halls, with a hired van. In my defense we have one small car and literally could only get my bedding in, but you get the point. Since then I've tried to see the error of my ways and now I can at least give advice on how to pack light. OK, so I still don't practice what I preach, but as they say if you can't do it, teach it (I don't entirely believe that saying, but that's beside the point)! I'm not jetting away this summer but to try and take the stress out of you, I've done some outfit planning. Enjoy!

7 nights away = 20 items
-the items






Making use of a plain body con by throwing a denim shirt over it and pairing it with plimsolls can give you an extra outfit. Similarly, varsity t-shirt dresses can be put with heels at evening, as a beach cover-up or loosely tucked into shorts for sightseeing. Using simple items and dressing them up with accessories, everything gets worn more than once, with you never in the same outfit twice and plenty of space for those holiday hauls!



Top tips

  1. Treat one-piece swimwear like bodies and pair them with shorts, skater and maxi skirts for a streamlined, relaxed look. Fringing, cut-outs and mesh sections are especially good!
  2. Heels take up a lot of room, and are usually the main culprits when your case is too heavy. Try limit yourself to two plain pairs that, although won't have the entire hotel gasping in approval, will go with everything in your case.
  3. Think about what your likely to be doing, and what your likely going to want to wear. There's no point packing lots of flowing skirts and dresses if your going to be doing lots of hiking. If you hate your arms/shoulders, only packing vest tops or strapless dresses will leave you frustrated. Similarly, if you rarely stray away from the poolside, packing one bikini and 3 pairs of jeans isn't going to cut it. It's wasting precious space.
  4. Simple separates may be less than inspiring but will help you use your limited wardrobe to its full advantage. Having tops that go with all your skirts/shorts etc. means you can create a handful of different outfits. 
  5. Lightweight accessories will help to transform otherwise plain outfits. If your a bit unsure about having plain separates, go on a accessories spree to places like Primark & H&M that do lots of cheap, light-weight jewelry which take up hardly any room in your case. Just be sure that collectively they remain light, otherwise it'll add up on the scales. 
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Monday, 10 June 2013

Perfume 101

Image Source: Tumblr
Perfume reviews are something I love to read. Like most areas in beauty industry, the market is constantly overflowing with new products, and choosing a new fragrance can be a bit of a daunting thing. Despite most females wearing perfume daily, very few can discuss or describe them confidently. If I had a pound for every time I saw in a review 'I'm not very good at describing fragrances', (a crime I'm also guilty of) I wouldn't be using my student discount like my life depended on it. As bottles appear to have become more embellished, so have fragrance descriptions, and they can leave us pondering what the actual scent is! In a bid to understand this myself, I've done some research on commonly used terms and thought I'd put together a little guide. Hopefully it will be of some help.

I think most people are aware that fragrance comes in 4 categories. Perfume is the highest concentration, and so needs the least amount, Eau de Parfum lasts longer than Eau de Toilette and aftershave often has antiseptic properties for after shaving (funny enough). This is also usually reflected in the price, with eau de toilette being the cheaper often, but needing far more to get the same effect as two drops of Perfume. Whatever the strength, do not rub your wrists together! It will bruise the scent and waste your money. 

The confusion generally starts when notes are discussed. Top notes generally describe the most prominent ingredients in the scent when it is first smelt. Middle, sometimes known as heart notes, dictate what category, or family, the fragrance falls into whilst base notes linger the longest.

Leading right into families, there are 5 main ones used to describe fragrances; Citrus, floral, fruity, oriental and woody. Citrus scents are those reminiscent of lemons, oranges etc. whilst floral scents can be either of one individual flower, or a blend of a combination. I tend to get floral and citrus scents confused with fruity fragrances. These tend to have hints similar to berries and apple blossoms. I don't really go for woody fragrances being more of a girly girl but these are those that smell like freshly cut dry wood and include significant quantities of sandlewood or vetiver. Similarly, oriental fragrances are another family not in my collection. These are those mainly stated to be evening or winter appropriate and focus on spices.

So there's my overview of fragrance descriptions. I hope its helped in some way. What's your favorite fragrance? Do you stick to certain families?
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Friday, 7 June 2013

London



If you follow me on twitter & instagram, you will know I popped down to the capital on Monday. My parents and I booked this trip ages ago before we realised it was the day before the Queen's Coronation 60th Anniversary Service. After last year, there is one thing I think everyone can agree we do well, we know how to create an atmosphere, regardless of occasion. Walking around London, the bunting for the Tuesday really did create a bit of a buzz for me, whether that's because my trips to London are less frequent than I would like I don't know. After having a bit of a picnic in Green Park on the cute deck chairs, we went for  a wander. The trip was primarily to get my 21st birthday present before July from Tiffany's. There's only counters in Manchester, and my parents wanted to make it a bit more special by going to the actual shop. My God those sale's assistants know how to do perfect bows quick-time! Bet they get asked to do all the Christmas wrapping in their house. Sadly my little bag has been hidden away until July 4th, so I'm now playing Dora the Explorer with my dog trying to get another peek at the loveliness. Popping for a post-tiffany's coffee, and most likely to restart my dad's heart after seeing some of the prices, I spotted a taller-than-I-imagined-and-incredibly-flawless Louise  Thompson from Made in Chelsea. Needless to say my mum and I went a tad giddy. Then it was time to hit the shops. I only had a couple of destinations on my list, focusing on those not in Manchester. I got so excited in & Other Stories, everything was such an amazing quality and so highly pigmented. I had to be so strict with myself. Then I stumbled upon Liberty. I've heard Lily Pebbles raving about how amazing the beauty hall is, and I have to admit, I had a "were not in Kansas anymore toto" moment. If you visit London, you must go. Although they didnt have the Aromatherapy Associates gift set I wanted, I did treat myself to a new pair of Shu Uemura eyelash curler's and a C.O Bigelow lipgloss which Sophie is definitely responsible for enticing me. For tea we nipped into Bella Italia. I adore italian food, and they have them all over but usually nip to Pizza Express or Pizza Hut if I'm honest. Anyway cutting a long story short you need to order the Cookie Dough Lava Cake. I have never tasted anything nicer in my life. Pure heaven. Despite all this, I think the highlight of my day was finding a Coke bottle with my name on it! Saying I have one of the most common names in the world, tracking this bad boy down was hard work. Then to top it off, I was sat across from Marcus from Coronation Street on the train back home! Definitely woke me up when I saw him boarding haha.
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