Friday, April 24, 2015

Falling For You

I was lucky enough last month to meet a little girl who has squeezed my heart from afar for a long time - Jennifer McGuire's daughter Lila.

This little girl is so completely adorable that it's kind of out of hand. Her cuteness needs a federal regulation slapped on it. And she's as charming as she is beautiful.

Here's a picture I snuck of her when she was getting her nails done by the queen of all things nail polish - Kristina Werner.


Seriously. She is ridiculously cute.

So I was so excited to see Simon Says Stamp come out with the Lila's heart set as part of their Falling For You release. It totally captures the spirit of this sweet little chicklet. And that's really saying a lot for the artist, because it's an amazing spirit.

So I'm taking my beloved little Lila and playing along with my friends today on an AMAZEBALLS blog hop. You'll faint when you see the list (below). Plus - there are goodies for every stop on the hop, so grab some coffee and prepare your eyeballs for some amazing art!

My contribution for sweet Lila's Heart is a little watercolor with my FineTec watercolor and some Smoky Slate ink. Seriously - how much do you love this girl??



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Not as much as I do - I can promise you that!!!

I made a little video of my process on my Lila card - so take a peek here:





I also love Kristina's ADORABLE set in this release - I played with this on the same visit - my friend +Leslie Hanna was nice enough to let me borrow her inks since I was far from home. I just did some inky messiness on this sweet piggy for a birthday card - my sister's birthday was Earth Day so this is her card!



Here is the full list - be sure and visit each one for your chance to win!


Have fun looking at these beautiful cards by some people I can promise you are lovely - inside & out.

Loveyameanitbye.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Excuse Me Sir - My Cheese Is Too PALE

There was some earth shattering news this week.

That beloved monument of fluorescent food - Kraft Macaroni & Cheese - has decided to go a somewhat more natural route with its classic, kid-friendly snack. And college student snack, I might add. Aaaand, a graduate student snack. #askmehowiknow

This is great. I love it when any food company makes an effort to produce anything that approximates real food.

I do, however, think that food warriors have gotten too nasty on the subject. Read through Chobani's Facebook feed to see what I'm talking about. Being mean and yelling aren't a great way to get good change to happen, or to win people over to your cause. And more natural food is a great cause. So I think people should be nice and celebrate wins like these, instead of insulting a company with a great history, employing a lot of people and providing popular products to a market which wanted them.

So that's my "be nice" lecture for the day. When in doubt - be nice.

Anyway, on the subject of fluorescent orange food...

So at what point in human development did we decide that a delightful English cheddar just bored us to tears? Was someone having a lovely spot of cheese and wine on a farm somewhere and just burst out in tears at the ennui brought on by white cheese? Did they then decide on making it their life's work to infuse all cheese with the glow of a nuclear holocaust? I mean really - what precipitated the dyeing of food? Especially food that really stands on its own, like cheese?

I understand dyeing candy. Kids are strange little beasts. You sometimes need to have your tongue dyed blue by something when you're young - I get that. But cheese? I remember when I found OUT that cheddar cheese was dyed orange and I was so confused. I felt like my whole cheese-loving life had been a lie - I actually didn't know the real color of cheese! Talk about questioning your place in the universe. Boy howdy. Maybe that's the real origin of Who Moved My Cheese?.

Margarine, which is most decidedly NOT real food, used to come with a little package of dye that you smooshed into it to make it look like butter. Why? Why would you want your petroleum stick to look like butter? If you're eating petroleum, it should look like petroleum, in my humble opinion. That helps your amygdala reject things that are dangerous for you. Like sticks of petroleum.

As a recent recipient of some REAL Cadbury chocolate from England (love you Bekka), that isn't full of wax and God knows what all - I can tell you that your amygdala should be firing up every time you even THINK about chocolate in the US. When I was researching food dyes after pondering the orange cheese question, I found this, which I find pretty interesting.

So, America - we have to face ourselves. It's not an evil corporation forcing us to eat fake food. It's  a market (us) in our country (us) spending our dollars (us) on food that is dyed bright red, yellow, orange and blue. We are food losers. We like shiny, brightly colored food.

The UK has their act together, clearly, and the very same company is making these more natural foods to sell them, and doing quite well. So is Cadbury, who makes a heinous approximation of real English Cadbury to sell here in the US.

(Although honestly, I don't want any freaking beetroot or annatto or paprika in my cereal bars either - food should just be the color it is.)

So - I hereby proclaim that everyone in America who rants about food needs to zip it and quit spending money on anything that has road cone dye in it. And be nice to the people who work at Kraft and Kellogg. They are just giving the country what it wants, and buys. They aren't evil. They're regular people just like us, working hard, trying to be good at what they do, and probably stamping on the weekend.

I believe dye belongs in ink, and paper and paint, and powder and all sorts of things I play with daily.

So at this weekend's class we had some fun with dyes at my Background Stamps technique class.

Everyone got to choose what background stamp they wanted. I did my samples with the Handcarved and Hardwood Stamps, but I have to say - by the end of the class, the samples they did with the Something Lacy stamp were my absolute fave. So I had to come home and play. Also, since the retired list is out, I'm super excited to see that this stamp is NOT on it. YAY US!

I will have some virtual shopping options available for my retirement sale, so stay tuned for that.

Anyhoo - here's a little fun with some retiring colors and a NON-retiring stamp or two (Sentiment is from So You).

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Now that I look at this - it sort of looks like some of the cheese dye colors.

If you receive this card in the mail - please don't lick it. It's not good for you.

And now - for this week's cooking update. Here's a sad tale - my Crockpot crock cracked. Say THAT three times fast. So I've been hesitant to use it, and I don't know if Crockpot was affected by the dockworker's strike or what, but the replacement crocks have been unavailable for SIX MONTHS. So I've had to make do. Now I'm thinking I don't need a crockpot because 200 degrees for 8 hours in the oven does exactly the same thing. See this pulled pork recipe post for proof. And since I hate appliances in general, and don't like unitaskers (I don't own a toaster, for example), maybe saying goodbye to the crockpot is just ducky.

However, Jennifer McGuire has recently sold me on a unitasker. And if she can sell ME on a unitasker, she can sell Alton Brown on a unitasker.

I eat a LOT of eggs. While I love a good filet, bacon, etc., I can honestly say I'd do just fine without meat. If left alone, I tend towards mostly vegetarian foods. But I cannot live without eggs. I eat them every which way, but I almost always start my day with a boiled egg, because they're easy and delicious. My mom made us breakfast every day before school my entire school-aged years, and I never, ever had a breakfast without an egg. She taught me to love soft boiled eggs, mashed up with pieces of torn, buttered toast, which, were I to commit a capital crime, would be my death row meal. So if you want a way into my heart, I strongly suggest papercrafting and eggs, both of which Jennifer brings. The thing about her is that when she finds something awesome, she shares it, and she was kind enough to share the most miraculous unitasker in the world with me last month - the VonShef egg cooker.


VonShef Egg Magic Witchcraft Cooker


I am not even kidding - this thing has changed my life. What's crazy is it uses this tiny amount of water to steam your eggs (you poke a little hole in them with this pokey thing they give you) - and there are individual measurements on the water cup that comes with it for every combination you could imagine. Are you cooking two soft boiled eggs? There's an amount of water for that. Are you cooking 7 hard boiled eggs? There's a measurement for that. I've tested ALL the settings and all the different quantities and doneness of the eggs and they are perfect. I actually suspect witchcraft.

And you KNOW I do not recommend unitaskers, so if this gets my seal of approval - you know it's legit. Get one. See the deets here.

Basically here's my advice. If Jennifer tells you you need something, you need it. Get over yourself. Order whatever she says before they run out.

Also, if you cannot get local free-range eggs and you're within shopping distance of Vital Farms, those are my faves. But buy from your local crazy chicken lady whenever possible.

Because crazy chicken ladies do stuff like buy harnesses for their (indoor) chickens.



And we should support that.

In any way we can.

Loveyameanitbye.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Peacock-a-Doodle-Doo

One of my blog readers - Kym -  sent me SUCH a fun article this morning.

It turns out that I have single-handedly begun turning the world blue.

Well - maybe not exactly me, but still. I'd like to think I had SOMETHING to do with it.

As it turns out the use of the color blue in the art world is on the uptick. Take THAT Picasso!!

Here's a chart of the trend:

See? BOOYA. There's hope for humanity after all.

Read the full article here on Smithsonian.

Tell me that's not the most awesome thing ever. Made my Thursday.

Speaking of awesome things...

Sometimes, some project or another just hits your creative bone just right.

This week, it's the Mix-Ability challenge.

Now what's funny about this challenge, is that Dina was actually inspired by a photo I took at the Renegade Craft Fair a few years ago, of these beautiful notecards by Gina Su on Etsy. (A fellow Austinite, I might add - no wonder she's awesome.)

Here's the photo that stuck with Dina:


Aren't those sweet?

So her challenge is to stamp an image, but leave part of it uninked, and where you've left it uninked, to free range doodle. You can use Gina's flowers and grasses as inspiration, you can zentangle your design - whatever you'd like! Just remember to use at least two different mediums on your card.

I had to drop everything when she pre-staged the post yesterday - this one really spoke to me and I knew JUST the stamp to use - Perfect Peacock. I also wanted to play with my FineTec watercolor, which you will see in the video - love 'em.


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Isn't that fun? I love it! Just a different and whimsical way to use a stamp as a jumping off point. You know I love doing that.

Here's a quick video with my process - there's a supply list below the video.



Wasn't that fun?

Here's what I used:

I used the MISTI to line that sentiment smack up against the edge to leave room for the peacock, which I cut out after doodling and watercoloring.

Oh - and good news - I have a venue for my convention retreat! The room is a wee bit smaller this year, so you'll want to register early if you're coming to Salt Lake!

So please go forth and create some blue art and let's get that chart where it needs to be!

Loveyameanitbye.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where Is the Pickle Salad?

I wake up with very deep thoughts in my head every morning. I totally understand what Isaac Newton and other geniuses felt like when they were formulating ideas even in their sleep.

My deep thought upon awaking this morning was this: why don't people put pickles in salad?

We have pickle like things - like olives, or capers - but I have never had a salad with dill pickles in it. Isn't that weird? I'm not talking about potato salad or tuna salad - those house pickles - I'm talking about lettuce, tomatoes, bleu cheese dressing and... and what? Why no pickles? Have they been blackballed? Did I miss a memo?

I told you - I'm deep. You can actually use this blog post as a continuing education credit in any institution of higher learning. You're welcome.

Today I felt like doing a little fingerpainting. Our Product Focus team at Splitcoast is reviewing the Spellbinders 3D MBossabilities embossing folders, and one of the crew was kind enough to loan me theirs so that I could play along.

It has been a crazy rainy spring here so I needed some bright colors and knew what I wanted to do. Here's a sneak peek.


While playing around with this, I decided to find a Big Shot Pro sandwich that worked. A few years ago, I got a crazy Black Friday steal on a Big Shot Pro - I rarely shop on Black Friday, but someone on Splitcoast posted a flash deal and I could not resist. The Big Shot Pro was $399 when I grabbed the deal for - wait for it - $149. Now the price is down considerably, but still hasn't met my awesome price. What's cool about it is you can use all your regular Big Shot dies, but also some super fun 12x12 dies that do fun things. I use it a lot for these little dress boxes  for events & weddings. 

So anyway, I wanted to come up with the sandwich for these embossing folders, and I did. 

Here's what I used:

Poof - works great!

Then, I added water LIBERALLY, and used my Brusho watercolor to create a vivid background. 

When that was dry, I rubbed on some Viva Decor Inka Gold, and burnished it with my disposable washcloths, and gold embossed a sentiment from the retired set Hand Penned Holidays on the center raised panel. 

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I love the look of the gold against that vivid background - so fun and easy.

Come check out what the team did with their projects here.

But before you do, check out the quick video I did of this card. And then go buy some pickles and try them in a salad. I'm going to.





PS - if you're coming to my June retreat - please check your emails for a teaser, some prize info and a private chat group for attendees.

Also - Salt Lake retreat hopefuls - I got some good news today about a venue - stay tuned!

And for my foodies - I tried an AWESOME pulled pork recipe yesterday. My crock for my crockpot is cracked, so lately I've been doing my crockpot recipes in the oven and it works great. Just 200 degrees equals low - I put everything in a casserole dish with a piece of parchment paper under the lid to make sure I have a tight seal - and I can't tell the difference!

Here's the recipe:


  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 6 TBS dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. Pendery's Fire & Smoke, or a good hot, smoky paprika. I think the Fire & Smoke made it - scroll down on this page to see it. 
  • 2 tsp. Coleman's mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. comino (I like Bolner's Fiesta)
  • salt
  • oil
  • 1 sweet onion, cut in half
Heat oil in a skillet - I use safflower oil from Whole Foods because it comes in glass jars - I try not to buy food in plastics. Mix the seasonings and pat them all over the pork. Sear the pork in the hot oil. Put into casserole dish on top of two onion halves. Salt both sides of the meat. Deglaze the pan with 3/4 cup of water, and add this liquid to the dish. Cover dish with parchment paper and tight fitting lid. Cook for 8 hours at 200 (or in your crockpot on low). Shred with two forks and let rest in juices for 20 minutes before serving. Serve on a toasted bun with coleslaw. 

Loveyameanitbye.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

MISTY with the MISTI #heh

I went to bed at 8 last night. I don't know why - but I was wiped out.

I'm a sleep camel. I don't need much sleep really - 6 hours a night is plenty. But I do need that. And if I go a little short for a week or so, I have a point at which I collapse like a fainting goat. A good night of 10 hours and I'm back to normal. Last night was that night. As much as I wanted to finish Dr. Who, I could not. It was fainting goat city. Then SOMEONE, whose name rhymes with BLOTCHY decided to sing the song of his people at about 6 and ended my restorative slumber.

I decided a breakfast taco would ease re-entry so I headed out in the morning, and this is what I saw.


It was spooky.

We don't get fog often, and so people really don't know what to do with themselves when it looks like this. There was a lot of unnecessary stopping and brake tapping coming between me and my taco.

But I prevailed.

I drove in it for so long that it started to look like art to me, so I thought I'd try to re-create it post-taco.

It was surprisingly easy and fun, and I have a little tip for you for the MISTI in the video below. But here's the card. It uses Lovely as a Tree, Mossy Meadow, Baked Brown Sugar and Coastal Cabana Ink, the MISTI, and Golden Fluid Acrylic - Titanium White.


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Now I learned a few things. Your base colors need to be more saturated than you think if you want any color in the final result.

You need to clean your hands. As you'll see in the video I got paint all OVER the place. Oh well. It is what it is. :)

Here are a few cool and/or funny things I saw this week, before the fog rolled in.
  • I met a sweet friend and her daughter at Mandola's for some stamping on Thursday, and while I waited for them to arrive, I saw the most beautiful baby girl who was SUPER outgoing and smiling at me. When they got ready to leave, I noticed that she had been attached to her chair by this super comfy, easy baby harness thing! It was SO much better than those gross restaurant boosters with seat belts, and much less germy I'm sure. I asked her mom about it, and she said it was this. I thought it was genius. 
  • This man is totally blind and paints beautiful paintings by touch. So cool. 
  • This amazingly confident young lady painted Starry Night on a second-hand dress and wore it to prom. Love. 
  • This lady transforms grotesque (and in my opinion, offensive) dolls into beautiful ones with a little paint. 
  • This cat does not value your opinion. 



Loveyameanitbye



Saturday, April 11, 2015

(In)Conveniences

Isn't it amazing how spoiled you get by conveniences?

My credit union was pretty late to the whole mobile deposit party. I was thrilled when they got a mobile deposit app because there's nothing more soul-draining than a trip to the bank. Well - maybe a trip to the post office or the IRS - but still, the bank is right up there.

So today - I've been trying to make two mobile deposits. I had to do the first one twice - and I was so mad! It took forever to tell me it failed.

The second one, I'm STILL trying to make - I think I'm on round 4. And in the middle of being annoyed, I had to laugh at myself. For being annoyed.

How ridiculous is it to be aggravated that my cell phone is turning a piece of paper in my hand - 10 miles from my bank - into money in my bank account in about 5 seconds??? I am literally living a Jetson life. I got over myself quickly :). It reminded me of one of my fave videos - I've posted this before, but it's worth seeing again.




That guy is wise beyond his years :)

Today I taught one of my technique classes, which was a hoot, despite a kerfuffle about where we were sitting during the class. We survived. Resilience is good. I think my stamping students would make a great zombie apocalypse team.

Speaking of techniques - I have the classes lined up for the retreat - taught by me and some guest instructors! We're doing an advanced heat embossing class, 3D card elements, a mini album class, mixed media madness, die cutting secrets of the stars, MISTI tricks, a class all about H2O, and stencil and mask secrets!

I believe I am out of two person rooms, so if you're interested in picking your own roommates and getting your own 3 or 4 person rooms, book soon!. Each person gets a goodie bag full of products, 8 quick tip demonstrations in between the 8 classes, breakfast and lunch by my celebrity chef, and 24 access to our retreat room for late night stamping! I will also be giving away some amazing prizes, like a Silhouette Cameo and a few MISTIs and more.

When I run out of sleeping rooms, you can still attend the retreat - but I will send you a list of nearby hotels.

Register here!

Now today was one of those days when I really was craving a nice salad or something green. I've been so busy for the last month or so that I haven't eaten enough veggies. Good food takes time, for sure. And I haven't had much of that. So after class today, I headed to the Whole Foods (it's in the same parking lot) and got the ingredients for one of my fave salads on earth - their own sweet summer kale. They sell this pre-packaged in their prepared food sections, but I have a phobia about vegetables I haven't washed myself - so I prefer to make my own. And they were nice enough to provide the recipe a few years ago, which I will share with you now!

Sweet Summer Kale:


  • 1 lb. kale (I hand tear it into bite sized pieces)
  • 1.25 C Slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1.25 C sun dried cranberries (If buying at WFM, get the sugar infused ones, not the apple juice infused ones - they taste much better. I'd prefer no sugar at all but I haven't found those anywhere.)
  • 1.25 C dried apple rings, chopped (I prefer the deydrated, crispy ones from WFM - the chewy ones are not my fave. I just smash them in the bag with my pounder thingy and add them.)
  • 1.5 TBS garlic, chopped (I use 1/2 this amount, microplaned)
  • ⅓ C red onion, brunoise (Chef talk for grated or finely diced onions. Those snobs!)
  • ¾ C orange juice (Florida's Natural - it's from America)
  • ¾ C white balsamic vinegar (I use Alessi)
  • 2 ¼ tsp red chili flakes (less or optional, if you're a sissy :) )
  • 1 TBS oregano, chopped (I use fresh from my yard - not sure what the dried equivalent would be.)
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 4 oz. olive oil
  • 2.25 tsp kosher salt
  • 2.25 tsp black pepper

You’ll have oodles of dressing left over so make it up but don’t add all of it to the kale - start with half maybe. I put it into a container I can really shake it in. Shake it and let it sit for a few hours, shake again, let it sit. The kale will absorb the dressing and become amazing. It also compresses a LOT after sitting for a bit. I put it into a container that I can BARELY close the lid on, and after shaking and chilling it's about 25% full. This gets better the longer it sits. Amazingly amazing. Enjoy. 

They initially published this recipe on their site, but I can no longer find it, so I don't know if they removed it or if Google hates kale, but I'm unable to link you to the original, which was published by an NYC Whole Foods. 

I promise you, unless you're dead inside, you will LOVE this salad. It keeps very well too.

Now when I was at the retreat in March, I borrowed my friend Leslie's Distress Inks and just goofed around making fun backgrounds on watercolor paper to make into cards later. I love the vivid colors and the unpredictability of the "smoosh" background - just smoosh the inks onto a craft sheet, spritz them a bit with water, and then smoosh the watercolor paper into the smooshpile. I got two prints from each spritzing. 

I paired that with the greetings from Big On You - because they're big! 

For my little dots, I took my Essentials piercing template and aligned it above the watercolor paper on my card. My Energel .5 is the PERFECT size to make dots using the template as a guide. If you scribble on your mat in between dots, you get more perfect dots.


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It IS your day - it's Caturday! With a glorious Sunday stretched before you. Make the most of it.

I'd like to spend most of it sleeping, but that probably won't happen. A girl can dream, right?

Loveyameanitbye.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

ISO Tote Bag Predator

I really have a tote bag issue.

They are overflowing my bag closet.

The back of my car is FULL of them.

All because we have a bag ban in Austin.

It's like some sort of Brothers Grimm curse, where you wish all your bags away and then are drowning in bags somehow for eternity, just because you are a princess and your stepmother hates you.

Or maybe a Greek myth, where you banished plastic bags - let's say from Lydia, (since that was part of the Greek Empire, I believe) - because you got mad that some broad whose dad owned a plastic bag factory winked at your toga clad boy crush, and then the gods decided (because that's like their full time job - screwing around with people's fates) that you were a saucy wench and should be sentenced to live in a world where every single store you patronized flung sustainable, eco-friendly, anti-global warming, renewable, cross functional teaming bags at you until you died under a mountain of them.

Except those aren't myths or fairy tales - because they are actually happening. And not just to me, as I confirmed today on Facebook.

Whatever it is, it's out of control.

I need a whatever the natural predator of tote bags is to come into my house and EAT ALL THE BAGS!!!

What would that predator look like? A walrus? A gorilla? A narwhal?

Whatever it looks like, I won't be scared of it. I'll welcome all of its hairy legs/eyeballs/horns/teeth/compound eyes with open arms. I'll even name it and give it a heated doghouse. If it eats. all. the. bags.

This weekend - I was THRILLED when one of the handles on the tote bag I carry my stamping supplies to class in BROKE and I got to throw it away! Only 5 squillion to go! Speaking of class, we had fun at my last technique class with this I Love Lace background stamp - I love this thing. Maybe that's why it's called I Love Lace. They know me so well!

Since it's more typical to see this image in lighter colors, I thought I'd switch it up and stamp it super dark just for something different.

I did a little ombre on it, going from Versamark all the way to Early Espresso.

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I added a little vignette from Painted Petals - just kept it small so the lace could be the star. I punched that out with the 1.75" circle punch, and framed it with one of the Circle Framelits.

I did a MICRO video - super short - on how to do this background. I had to hurry because the tote bags are multiplying. I can hear them.

If you don't see a video player below, click here.




So now that I've gone and done a video for you - can I interest you in some tote bags?

I'm happy to deliver them.

Really.

Loveyameanitbye.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter Everybunny!

I used to be one of those people that obsessed about having my stamps perfectly clean.

I remember once I went to a retreat with my friend Jennie and her mom - who was an AMAZING artist and a joyful human being - and I watched as she used her stamps with abandon - not even cleaning them after she was done using them. 

Maybe it's an age thing - because now I am MUCH more relaxed about when I do and don't clean my stamps. Most of the time if I'm not using some sort of solvent ink, like Staz-On, etc., I just stamp them off on my grid mat and put them away. Photopolymer stamps are easy to do this with and don't see to retain as much ink as rubber stamps do. 

When I got my beloved Stipple Rose stamp from my friend Holly last week, she kept apologizing that it was well-loved and stained with Staz-On. No worries, I told her. It's seriously no big deal. I could not care less about the wood blocks, and the rubber is WICKED easy to clean with Ultra Clean, no matter how many years you "loved" your stamp. :) See what I mean?


I have the big refill bottle - that I've had for about 15 years - you really don't need that much - I doubt I'll ever use it all. I prefer this smaller spray bottle.

One stamp that was squeaky clean because I'd never used it, was my adorable Happy Easter Bunny stamp. What better occasion than Easter to let this hilarious little bunny dance around on a card?



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Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Here's a list of the supplies.

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog


Just for fun, I filmed the process of this card, so that you can see that this technique really looks like a hot mess in the beginning, but if you stick with it, it can really shape up. If you don't see a video player below, click here to view it on YouTube.





Happy Easter, or Passover or just happy weekend!

Loveyameanitbye.



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