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4 Teas Perfect for a Winter Afternoon

Though winter is wrapping up and spring is quickly approaching (and may have already hit where you live), around here we’re in for a least a few more weeks of chilly days and snow on the ground. Which calls for a good cup of tea on a regular basis.

tea cup with books

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a cup of tea and a good book. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a stormy afternoon. There’s just something about enjoying a hot cup of tea that helps me relax and regroup. It has a way of bringing balance and perspective. There is a sense of civility and gentility in tea time. There’s no denying it’s a lovely way to pause in the midst of a busy day.

And when you find a flavor of tea you really love, the experience is made even better.

tea cup

I love to try new flavors of tea. One entire drawer in my pantry is devoted to all the different types of tea I like. My daughters each have their own favorite varieties as well. (Apparently, our tea habit is a family affair.)

My favorite place to get tea is The Republic of Tea. Many of the teas they sell rank in my list of all time favorites.

I’d like to share my picks for 4 of the best teas for a late winter afternoon:

1. English Rose Tea

The English Rose Tea is part of the Republic of Tea’s special Downton Abbey themed series of teas. This tea is delicate, fruity, and utterly delicious. It has a sweetness all its own. I find I don’t need to add anything to this tea. It is perfect even without any sweetener or milk of any kind. Plus, there’s a picture of the Crawley sisters on the front of the tin. Ah, lovely! What more could you ask for in a tea?

2.  Almond Coconut Macaroon Tea

As the name implies, this tea tastes like a coconut macaroon (without the calories!). It is a red rooibos tea with a bit of sweetness from the coconut. There’s also a nice hint of almond flavor in this tea. It really is like drinking a cookie. So delicious!

3.  Caramel Vanilla Cuppa Cake Tea

I’m a lover of all things caramel, so this tea is right up my alley. It’s perfect with a nice splash of cream or milk added. The vanilla and caramel flavors of this black tea blend nicely and make for a smooth, dessert-like taste.

(Are you sensing a theme yet? Apparently I really like teas that taste like dessert….)

4.   Earl Greyer Black Tea

What true tea connoisseur doesn’t love a nice Earl Grey? And this is one of the best Earl Greys I’ve tried. This tea is a lovely blend of bergamot, orange, and quality black tea flavors. It is warm and inviting and absolutely perfect for afternoon tea time.

I highly recommend trying any of these teas for your own afternoon tea time. Go ahead. Take out the fine china tea cup, brew one of these teas, and sit down to relax and enjoy a quiet moment this afternoon.

tea cup with flower

(Just as a side note: This post is in no way sponsored by Republic of Tea. I simply love their teas and wanted to share the love with you. So go check them out, and enjoy!)

Modest Fashion Friday: Cheery Blue and Pastels

blue-sweater-pastel-skirt

Though spring is still several weeks away for our area, I’ve had the itch to dress in bright, cheerful colors and pretty pastels. I’ve been searching my closet for items with springtime appeal that are still warm enough for our current wintertime weather. I love a challenge like that.

For church recently, I chose to wear an outfit that featured a beautiful and classically simple sweater. The sweater has a sweet little bow detail at the neckline, giving it an super feminine feel. The periwinkle blue shade is just right for this time of year. Three quarter sleeves help the sweater give the perfect amount of warmth.

I paired the sweater with a coordinating skirt with splashes of pastels in shades of blue, lavender and yellow. The knee length skirt is modest, cute, and easy to wear. It’s from the brand J. Jill. I have many pieces from J. Jill in my closet, and love wearing every one of them.

The skirt was another ThredUp find. i know I mention ThredUp a lot, but it really is my favorite place to shop. I’ve found so many beautiful clothing items at amazing prices from ThredUp. (It’s the only way I could afford high end and designer brand clothing!)

blue-sweater

This simple combination made for a lovely and stylish look. A pair of navy tights and taupe suede boots rounded things out and kept the outfit weather appropriate.

Spring may not be here quite yet, but the colors of my late winter wardrobe can lean in a positive direction, right?

What I Wore

Sweater: Banana Republic (via ThredUp)
Skirt: J. Jill (via ThredUp)
Boots: Nature Breeze (via Zulily)
Headcovering: Garlands of Grace

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

 

 

Linking up with: Modest Mondays| Hello Monday| Classy Monday | Start the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore | What I Wore Wednesday | Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

How to Cover Melasma and Skin Discolorations

how-to-cover-melasma

I’ve struggled with melanoma (an area of dark skin on the forehead or around the eyes, also known as the mask of pregnancy) for several years now. It came about as a result of hormonal changes related to pregnancy and was exacerbated by a case of adrenal fatigue. In many people, it clears up after pregnancy, but I’ve had a hard time getting rid of mine. I’ve had to become creative in how to cover it up.

If you have melasma, dark spots, discolorations, or hyper pigmentation, these tips can help cover the discoloration and even out your overall skin tone. It’s a fool proof method I’ve used with great effectiveness for quite a while.

Here I’ll share with you the products I use to cover my melasma and how I apply them.

Concealer

I’ve tried several concealers over the past couple of years to cover my melasma. Some have worked better than others. The two concealers I have found most effective concealers are Benefit Erase Paste and Maybelline Instant Rewind Concealer.

Generally, I dot the concealer over the darkest spots, then blend it lightly onto the skin with my finger. The Benefit Erase Paste is a peach-toned color correcting concealer that evens out darker skin discolorations. It’s perfect for wearing underneath foundation. It does a very effective job of covering melasma, especially on the forehead. I do find that it tends to crease a bit on the under eye area, but setting it with a translucent powder helps keep it from creasing a lot.

For the under eye area, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind is very effective. It’s a lighter formula than Erase Paste, so it doesn’t have the same tendency to crease. The applicator makes applying and blending super easy. Plus, because it’s a drugstore product, it is fairly inexpensive.

Foundation

My all time favorite foundation also happens to have the best coverage for skin discoloration issues. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ is the foundation I wear nearly everyday. it has amazing coverage and it so easy to apply, blend, and wear. The staying power is impressive and the look it gives is flawless. Its formulation is perfectly suited to covering up skin discoloration issues. I highly recommend it.

For a drugstore foundation option, Covergirl Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation is a great choice. The coverage is excellent and it’s very build able. It’s creamy and easy to apply.

Setting Powder

It’s always a good idea to set the T-zone and under eye areas with some powder, especially when covering discolorations in those areas. I like to set my foundation with a translucent pressed powder. My favorite powder to use for this purpose is Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless translucent powder. it is inexpensive and extremely effective. It’s nice and light, so it won’t settle into fine lines like a heavier powder might.

Ultimately, I realize that finding ways to deal with the root cause of my melasma will be the most effective way of dealing with it. However, until I find a way to clear it up, I know that I have found a method that works to smooth out my skin tone and make the discoloration less noticeable.

This method can work for several types of skin discoloration issues, including hyperpigmentation, age spots, and even dark circles. Hopefully, these tips and recommendations are helpful if you are dealing with the same sorts of skin discoloration issues such as I am with my melasma.

Do you struggle with skin discoloration issues? Do have any additional suggestions on how to deal with it? Please share in the comments.

 

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Modest Fashion: Mid Winter Musings

Here in New England, we are currently buried in the midst of what is proving to be the most snowy winter in recent years. And when I say buried, I mean buried. Literally. There is snot piled up to the top third of the windows on our first floor. A couple more storms and those windows will be covered completely. It’s a little depressing.

Every year around this time, I start getting a case of cabin fever. Some years it’s worse than others. Surprisingly, this year’s cabin fever isn’t too bad yet. Maybe it’s because I’ve been keeping myself busy. My kids are so happy about all the snow, they’ve spent most of their afternoons outside, digging tunnels in the snow banks, sliding down the hill in the pasture, and having snowball fights to their hearts’ content.

Meanwhile, I’ve been huddled by the fire, sipping tea and reading. That’s exactly how I like to spend a snowing winter afternoon.

All this snowy weather calls for warm but pretty fashions that keep me cozy while still looking pretty. This outfit fits those requirements perfectly.

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The outfit features a pretty lavender blouse that brightens up the look. The crocheted beret adds a feminine touch to the outfit as well. You know how I love hats—this one is different than the type I usually wear. It has a delicate, lace-like pattern in a gray and purple variegated knit that perfectly compliments the rest of this outfit. And the subtle pinstripe on the gray skirt that adds some interest to an otherwise simple a-line style.

lavender-gray

If I have to be buried by snow for the winter, I might as well do it in style!

What I Wore

Blouse: Old Navy
Skirt: Chadwicks
Beret: (similar)
Boots: Lauren by Ralph Lauren

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

 

 

Linking up with: Modest Mondays| Hello Monday| Classy Monday | Start the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore | What I Wore Wednesday | Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

Winter Lifestyle Favorites

Winter is quickly passing by (yay!) and spring will be here before we know it. While it’s still winter, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things from over the winter months. I’ve group each of the items into categories.

Fashion

Floppy wool hats

floppy wool hat

I’ve always been a hat person. Typically, I wear hats to church each Sunday. This winter, I’ve developed a love of floppy brimmed wool hats. I just can’t help myself. They’re so stylish and fun to wear. So, I’ve been wearing them…a lot! I have a lovely blush pink one with a lace band that I especially love to wear.

Books

Whatever the Cost by David and Jason Benham

book cover

My family and I had the privilege of hearing the Benham brothers speak last summer. It was inspiring and entertaining and challenging. I immediately bought their books. In Whatever the Cost, David and Jason Benham recount the events that took place surrounding the cancellation of their HGTV show. They explain the choices they made, the reasons for the stands they took, and their response to the media firestorm that resulted. They discuss the importance of being willing to stand up for what we believe in, no matter the cost. I’m really enjoying this powerful book.

Personal Care

Spongelle Bath gel infused sponge

bath sponge

These lovely little bath gel infused sponges are perfect for anyone who loves shower gel but hates to see any get wasted. When you get these sponges wet, they suds up nicely and smell wonderful. They’re perfectly designed to only use the amount of gel you actually need, so no wasting any precious suds.

Beauty

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Color Balm

blush stick

Cream blush is perfect for the winter months, when skin tends to be on the dry side. Lately, I’ve been using and loving the Clinique Chubby Stick Blush in the shade Amp’d Up Apple. It has the tiniest hint of shimmer to it, giving a lovely healthy glow to the cheeks. It is a very natural and dewy look. I can’t stop using this blush.

Health & fitness

Sunny Health & Fitness stationary bike

stationary exercise bike

I’ve been riding an exercise bike at least 5 times a week consistently for the past year and a half. A month or so ago, however, my bike decided to quit (one month after the warranty ended, of course) and I’ve been without one. I find I’m much more faithful to my workouts with the bike than without, so my husband bought me a new one. I actually like this one much better. It is chain driven and has the feel of a real bike. It’s designed for spinning, which I haven’t done yet, but I’m inspired to try. I’ve found a couple of spin class videos on Youtube I’m planning to try out sometime. In the meantime, though, I’m back to riding every morning and it’s making me very happy!

Berrywell

elderberry syrup

This stuff is like liquid gold in our house during cold and flu season. It’s made of elderberry syrup, along with a bunch of other immune boosting ingredients. It’s truly amazing stuff. My husband takes it faithfully and hardly ever gets sick. (I wish I could say I’ve been as consistent in taking it—or as healthy.) Plus, it’s 20% off right now. Get some for yourself and stay healthy this winter.

Home

Canvas Factory photo print

canvas photo print

If you saw the giveaway I hosted last week, you’ll know what a lovely job Canvas Factory did on the canvas photo print I ordered from them. Our family portrait for this year looks beautiful printed on a large canvas and hanging in our living room.

Those are just a few of the things I’ve been loving and using over this winter. Do you have any favorite items you’ve been loving lately? Please leave a comment and tell me what they are. I’d love to hear from you!

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

3 Ladylike Looks Perfect for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and it’s time to start planning the perfect outfit for an evening out with that special someone.

Looking for some ideas on what to wear on a date with your sweetheart? I’ve got some Valentine’s Day fashion inspiration for you.

Look No. 1

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How about a beautiful wrap dress? This brand of this dress is Banana Republic (I got it from—where else?—ThredUp). It’s a nice neutral color, so it’s so easy to accessorize to add some color and interest. In this look, I’ve added a lovely pashmina shawl in shades browns and burgundy. It enhances the color of the dress, and it gives a bit of extra warmth for a chilly February evening.

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I’ve paired the dress with some simple nude heels, keeping the look understated. But a pair of dressier shoes, maybe with some sparkle, could completely change the look.

Look No. 2

valentines-outfit-floral-skirt

A bright, cheerful floral print in pinks and reds is a fun, slightly preppy way to celebrate this holiday of love. The rose print of this skirt is ultra feminine, as is the other details like the dropped waist above the gathered silhouette. Paired with a simple sweater set and a string of pearls, this outfit is easy to wear but looks very dressy in a ladylike way.

valentines-day-outfit-floral-skirt

These shoes—what can I say about them? They’re probably the most adorable shoes in my closet. From the two shades of pink to the perky little bows to the 4” heels, the shoes scream “Girly-girl!” No, they’re not exactly comfortable, but they sure are cute.

Look No. 3

valentines-ladylike-looks

This is a much more subdued outfit than the previous one, though no less feminine. A knee length pencil skirt in a swirling purple, brown, and olive green pattern pairs nicely with a gorgeous velvet blazer. The blazer is from Ann Taylor and is typical of that brands classy, ladylike pieces. The blouse is a silky, fitted one in a soft, subtle lavender.

I love how all the tones of purple in this outfit play off of one another.

valentines-velvet-blazer

The shoes I wore with this outfit are a nice dark brown that goes with almost everything. I love the ankle strap and the height of the heels. These shoes are so classy.

I hope these outfits have given you a bit of inspiration for planning your look for a Valentine’s Day date night. Dress like a lady—I guarantee your fella will be impressed.

What I Wore

Look No. 1
Dress: Banana Republic (via ThredUp)
Scarf: (similar)
Shoes: Clark’s

Look No. 2
Skirt: Talbots (via ThredUp)
Sweater: Chadwick’s (similar)
Shoes: Fashion Bug (similar)

Look No. 3
Skirt: Nine &Co.—thrifted (similar)
Blouse: (via ThredUp)
Blazer: Ann Taylor (similar)
Shoes: Nine West

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Linking up with: Modest Mondays| Hello Monday| Classy Monday | Start the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore | What I Wore Wednesday | Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

Valentine’s Day Decor

valentine's-day-decor

Valentine’s Day is one holiday that always seems to creep up on me and catch me by surprise. It seems like I’m never quite ready for it when it gets here. I hardly ever decorate for it. Maybe I’m just not a fan of the pink/red color combination. At any rate, this year I actually impressed myself by having the foresight to plan ahead and decorate for Valentine’s Day!

I like to keep things simple with all of my holiday decor, and this time was no exception. I also don’t want to break the bank making my house look pretty for a holiday, so I like to keep the decorations fairly cheap. All the little touches I did for Valentine’s Day decor this year came from the Dollar Tree (‘cause I’m classy like that). So, they fit both of these requirements.

Plus, my kids had a lot of fun getting involved in the decorating!

Fireplace Mantle

I love decorating my fireplace mantle anytime of year. It’s the focal point of our living room, plus we actually use the fireplace almost everyday in the fall and winter months, so it gets a lot of attention. It’s the perfect place to showcase some special decor touches.

valentine-decor1

For this year’s Valentine’s decor, I placed three small pillar candles in a neat row. I wrapped two of the candles with pink burlap ribbon. The candle in the middle has some sticky-backed foam hearts stuck to the front. Placed on the mantle, the arrangement is simple but makes an eye catching statement.

Desk Display

My desk is a early twentieth century reproduction of a chippendale style piece. The top of the desk is a perfect place for a seasonal display. For Valentine’s Day, I placed a simple white bud vase filled with branches. On the branches, my kids helped me add some of the heart shaped foam stickers. It has a fun and whimsical look which I love. Added to that is a pillar candle in a burnished copper candle holder and a red pillar candle in a hurricane glass. Having this little arrangement on my desk makes me smile.

valentine-decor-desktop

Dining Table Centerpiece

The centerpiece I chose to use on my dining table is simple and easy to put together, but it makes an impact, which is what I was going for. I took a fairly large candy dish, added some conversation hearts, placed some pink burlap ribbon on the base of the dish along with some crystal candlesticks and voila, a simple but elegant tablescape.

valentine-decor-centerpiece

Front Door

On the front door, I took a simple grapevine wreath and added pink burlap ribbon and some of those fabulous sticky foam hearts. My children did most of the foam heart placement—I think it’s adorable!

valentine-decor-wreath

Simple things like these little touches add so much festiveness to our home. Each little bit of decor brings a smile to my face. Maybe you’ve been inspired to add a bit of Valentine’s Day decor to your own home. Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day? Please let me know in the comments.

Canvas Factory Giveaway

It’s the first Monday of February and you know what that means…

It’s giveaway time!

This month, I’m so excited to be working with Canvas Factory. Canvas Factory has graciously offered one of my readers (YOU!) a free 16” X 20” canvas photo print. Isn’t that amazing?! They also offered one to me as well so I could show you just how great they are!

In choosing a photo to have printed, I wanted something that would look nice in a large size. I wanted something colorful, but that would go with the decor in our home. As I looked through my photos, I came across our family photo from this fall, and I knew it would be perfect.

Each year, we gather the family together to take a family portrait. With my good quality DSLR camera and a simple tripod, I arrange my husband and children, set the timer, and join the crew on the other side of the lens.

canvas-factory-giveaway

I’m pleased with how well this year’s family photo came out. I knew it would look beautiful as a large sized canvas print. Printed on a 16” X 20” canvas, it’s even more gorgeous than I imagined. It makes an eye-catching display that brings life and color into my home’s decor.

The quality of this print is excellent. It is well made and the printing itself is very well done. I highly recommend using Canvas Factory for any canvas printing you may want to have done. The ordering process is super simple. Each step of creating the print is easy to follow.

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(close-up view of the quality of this print)

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can print on one of these canvases.

And now, on to the giveaway!

You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will close at midnight on Friday, February 10th.

A big thank you to Canvas Factory for sponsoring this giveaway!

Modest Fashion: Fabulous Gray Fedora

grey-fedora3

A gray fedora is classic headwear at its finest.

I’m huge fan of wearing hats. I happen to be of the opinion that a girl can’t have too many. This fact is evidenced by the enormous collection of hats of various types and styles in my closet. (I may or may not have a slight problem.)

One of my newest hat purchases is a beautifully stylish gray fedora. The brand is Gap but the fedora came to me by way of ThredUp (like about 75% of my current wardrobe). I’m completely smitten with this hat. The width of the brim, the shape of the crown, the color, even the grosgrain ribbon band—it’s all perfection. To top it all off, it fits like it was made for my head.

*Sigh* I think I’m in love…

Styling this hat within my wardrobe choices is so effortless. It goes with practically everything I own, making it easy to mix and match with lots of different outfits. This hat is versatile, too. It can be dressed up or worn with more casual looks.

grey-fedora2

For this look, I chose to pair it with a long, taupe colored skirt, burgundy sweater, and soft ombre scarf. This outfit has so many elements I absolutely adore. The hat, the scarf, the colors—they play so beautifully off of one another.

The skirt has been one of my favorite items in my entire closet for a long time now. If you’ve read any of my fashion posts before, you may have noticed that I hang on to my clothes for years. When I find a clothing item I really like, I tend to wear it for many seasons. I choose good quality clothing that has a timeless appeal. My clothing choices are based on my personal style. I don’t generally follow trends unless I feel they fit with my personal sense of style.

Anyway, back to the skirt. It’s a great fit, I love the fabric and the color, and it’s nice and long, which I love. And the best part—I bought it at a thrift store! Bargain shopping at it’s finest.

This sweater is another item I’ve had for a while. It’s simple and can be accessorized easily. A wardrobe staple if there ever was one.

Oh, this scarf! What can I say about this scarf other than it is gorgeous? My ombre scarves are some of my most worn, with good reason. They’re just plain beautiful! This one is made from a soft, draping fabric with a silky feel. It’s so luxurious to wear. It came in a subscription box last year and I’ve worn it so much since then. The colors of this scarf just happen to tie the entire outfit together perfectly.

My hair is styled in a braided side bun, which worked well with the low brim of the fedora. If you’d like to try this hairstyle, you can check out my tutorial to learn how I did it.

grey-fedora1

I know I’ve gushed a bit about this outfit, but I just love how it came together. It made me feel so regal and elegant to wear it.

Plus, it included a gray fedora. Need I say more?

What I Wore

Skirt: thrifted (similar)
Sweater: (similar)
Scarf: (similar)
Fedora: Gap (via ThredUp)

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Linking up with: Modest Mondays| Hello Monday| Classy Monday | Start the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore | What I Wore Wednesday | Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

FREE Valentine’s Day Printables

With a background in graphic design, one of my little known hobbies is designing decorative printables. I find it fun and relaxing to create something pretty to hang on a wall or add to a notebook. It makes me happy to express my artistic side this way.

In honor of Valentine’s Day (which is coming up quickly!), I’ve designed some pretty printables I think you’re going to love. These are free printables for you to print out and enjoy. Use them any way you like. They’re my Valentine’s gift to you, all my friends here at Mud Boots & Pearls.

valentines-printable1

 

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