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The 10 Worst First-Date Looks…

Last night I was struck by a strange realisation. It occurred to me that when choosing that perfect date outfit, my choices become more and more eccentric, experimental and… repulsive, if that dreaded feeling of first date cold feet sets in. Does anyone else get that, or is it just me?

I am known for being the most fickle person in the world, as far as my love life is concerned. It has to be said, it’s entirely true. I can wholeheartedly accept a man’s offer of a date one day, and within twenty-four hours, frantically spend a sleepless night trying to think of a genuine reason to cancel. Genuine, so that I’m not suddenly that bitch who lied to get away. It doesn’t matter how much I fancy the pants off of him, I get nervous about dates in the same way that I get nervous about job interviews, business meetings, dentist appointments and basically anything that requires me to behave like a grown up.

Somewhere along the lines, this ‘fear’ of first dates commitment has manifested into a strange inner Iris Apfel who pulls together the craziest outfits my usually conventional wardrobe can muster; a combination of stripes and spots, neon and print, over-sized and extravagant, all in a strange hope that it will send him running. It’s extreme, but it works like a charm. No man wants to date a glittering, glimmering, animal-adorning traffic cone who jingles with every step due to the sheer amount of jewellery stacked from fingertips to armpits.

I’ve spent my evening giggling as I ponder over which of the latest runway pieces would send any man running to the hills fastest…

1. Excessive amounts of fur/wool/feathers/general fluffiness.

If you walk into a restaurant wearing this scarlet Prada fur dress, for example:

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Prada

You could probably chase him out of the building so fast, you wouldn’t even have chance to ask about the specials. It’s no secret that men do not like fussy fashion, and while a fur coat can definitely be sexy, there’s fur… and there’s Muppet. Equally, while shearling lined jackets reappear every autumn, this fluffy blue item would have the same effect… wear the two together, and you’ll definitely not have to worry about stammering over his offer of a second date!

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Gucci

fur

1. Dolce & Gabbana. 2. Chloé. 3. Vladimiro Gioia. 4. Givenchy. 5. Chloé.

2. Sparkles

If he can see you from miles away, the two million hand-sewn sequins of your evening dress sending millions of tiny beams of light into the sky like Tinkerbell on LSD, it only means that he’ll have plenty of warning to make a run for it before you even arrive. If you actually like your date, a sequin skirt or a sequin-encrusted lapel on a silk blazer would look amazing (but not together – that would be too much), or equally, a crystal bracelet or necklace (again, just one) can really complete an outfit, but something like this…

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Marco de Vincenzo

…will probably a) blind him, and b) repel him.

sequin

1. Dolce & Gabbana. 2. Yves Saint Laurent. 3. Manish Arora. 4. Tim Ryan.

3. Glitter Boots

In the same strand as the sparkly, sequin coated garments of above, but these deserve a point all to themselves… they’re just so… disco.

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Saint Laurent

shoes

1. Saint Laurent. 2. Saint Laurent. 3. Saint Laurent. 4. Saint Laurent. 5. Saint Laurent.

4. Strange geometric patterns

The mysterious creature that is the human male is easily startled, confused and extremely judgmental. If you’re walking around looking like a walking set of traffic lights, a human puzzle set for children, or generally just like someone who is overly fond of your basic shapes, they will get spooked. Maybe it’s a lasting trauma of all of those hours that they spent stuck on a ‘peg-and-hole’ game at nursery (sorry.. kindergarten?)

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Chanel

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1. Peter Pilotto. 2. Stella Jean. 3. Chloé. 4. Just Cavalli

5. Orange or Purple lips

Neon eye makeup (3)

I tend to stick to the two signature shades of nude-pink or bold red, and while I’m yet to meet a guy who doesn’t like red lipstick, I can still see that wary glance at my lips if every they have been coated in lashings of MAC’s Ruby Woo before they lean in for a kiss. Nevertheless, those glances only last a moment, but as soon as I step into experimenting with more daring shades; hot pinks, oranges, purples… no more kisses for me. It suddenly just isn’t worth the lipstick marks, and the strange explanations that would have to take place if anyone were to noticed that bright purple stain on his neck.

lipstick

1. Mac Pure Heroine. 2. Bobbi Brown. 3. Dior. 4. Illamasqua. 5. Barry M.

6.  1980s

While I’m a 90s kid, I have always strongly believed that what happened in the 80s, stays in the 80s. They can keep their big hair, big shoulders, big, noisy, flashy clothes. They can keep bright leg warmers (but blacks and neutrals, however, are acceptable) and parachute pants and disco-gym gear, and they can definitely keep Madonna. We don’t need such nonsense here, regardless of what the trends tell me. It will only end if tears if we allow the 80s trends back into our lives, I can tell you. Are we so incapable of learning from our mistakes? Walk into a bar dressed as Bananarama, and he’ll be sure to make his excuses. Especially if you go for a matching haircut, but let’s not go that far…

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Chanel

80s

1. Fay. 2. Tsumori Chisato. 3. Topshop. 4. Mango.  5. Vivienne Westwood.

8. Monsters Inc.

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Schiaparelli

Do you suspect that he’ll prove to be particularly difficult to get rid of? Go couture, in the fluffiest sense of the word, and take a very large leaf from the Monsters Inc book for your evening’s inspiration. Seriously, what man would want to be seen walking down the street with a character of a Pixar movie?

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Schiaparelli

monster

1. Just Cavalli. 2. P.A.R.O.S.H. 3. Yes London. 4. ASOS. 5. Cédric Charlier.

8. Bag Lady/Homeless Chic

The clue is in the name with these two…

Most often known as the signature style of the Olsen twins, very few people can pull off homeless chic like they can. For one thing, drop the sunglasses – they are a vital part of making the look work, and you’re going for a look that is one step too close to actual homeless person.

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Vivienne Westwood

bag

1. Junya Watanabe. 2 Barbara Bui. 3. Brunello Cucinelli. 4. The Row. 5. ASOS.

9. The Walking Laundry Bag

While tartan is in, I had no idea that tailoring a plastic laundry bag into a dress or coat was acceptable? If you add a well-told tale about how this is your only outfit, because you had to give your clothes to a [insert ridiculously eccentric character here] on your way to the laundrette, he’ll disappear quickly enough. It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘crazy bag lady’.

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Celine

tartan

1. Comme Des Garcons Vintage. 2. Comme Des Garcon Vault. 3. Vivienne Westwood. 4. Lavinia. 5. Comme Des Garcons Vintage.

Wear these five items together in a crazy mis-mash of tartan, and you’ll be somewhere close to the Celine laundry bag outfit.

10. Runway Beauty…

Runway makeup is all about art and extravagance, and therefore, as we all know that the average man’s understanding of makeup is limited to a more natural look, 80% of the looks that emerge on catwalks will chase any guy away…

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Alexander McQueen

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Yohji Yamamoto

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Vivienne Westwood.

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The 3 L's

Motivation from my Idols

I’ve always been a bit of a ‘collector’ of inspirational quotes and idols, people to admire and look up to, and, in any way possible, learn from. Too many people choose the wrong sort of idols now days, celebrities who have too much of a tendency to get caught with drugs, stumbling around drunk, crashing their expensive cars and generally setting a bad example.

Most of my idols are, and have always been, entrepreneurs, and yet while so many people have heard of their companies, so few can name a single founder’s name, besides a few of the ‘A list’ entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I’ve always been someone who wants to be a ‘business polymath’, rather than purely focusing on photography, or design, or writing. There are so many things I wish to do, notebooks full of business ideas. I’m a big dreamer, but I know my strengths and my weaknesses – I’m creative. My creativity completely engulfs the rest of my personality, in fact. However, I’m having to work heard to learn about the business side of things. I’m not sure that I believe that some people are born with the instinctive knowledge required for building a business empire, but if such a person exists, I most certainly am not one of them. That said, I’m intelligent, I’m hard working, and I make the most of my library card, my kindle, I’m always contacting the right people with the right knowledge, picking their brains, and slowly, I’m improving.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from a few of my entrepreneurial idols. Hopefully someone will be blogging about my business(es) one day.

simone

To be free is not to have the power to do anything you like; it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open future.

-Simone de Beauvoir. Writer, philosopher, political activist.

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Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favors action. Race balls-out toward the extraordinary life that you’ve always dreamed of, or still haven’t had time to dream up.

-Sophia Amoruso. Founder of Nasty Gal.

master-class-maya-angelou-2-600x411

I think you can be a jack-of-all-trades and a mistress-of-all-trades. If you study it, and you put reasonable intelligence and reasonable energy, reasonable electricity to it, you can do that.

-Maya Angelou. Author, dancer, actress, singer.

JK-Rowling

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
-JK Rowling. Author.

Anita-Roddick

Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as a survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling.

-Anita Roddick. Founder of The Body Shop, human rights and environmental activist.

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The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.
-Gisele Bundchen. Model, actress, producer, entrepreneur.

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The thing about us, is we think big. Huge.

-Mary Kate Olsen. Fashion designer, entrepreneur.

I will never stop working. I want to have something to do. When you work, you’re taking part in life.

-Ashley Olsen. Fashion designer, entrepreneur.

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The lesson that I have learned in life is that we should try and try and try again – but never give up.

-Richard Branson. Founder of the Virgin brand, entrepreneur.

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Don’t worry about being successful but work towards being significant and the success will naturally follow.

-Oprah. TV host, producer, entrepreneur.

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How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.

-Coco Chanel. Fashion designer, Founder of the Chanel brand.

EileenFisherWelcome

Life-fulfilling work is never about the money – when you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.

-Eileen Fisher. Fashion designer.

winston_churchill

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.

-Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister, author, historian, artist.

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Kate Moss for Topshop

Everyone with an even remotely fashion-minded blog is talking about Kate Moss’ new Topshop collection, and of course, I felt it only right that I join in. It’s been eagerly awaited since it’s announcement last year… probably longer in fact, as I think many die-hard fans have spent the last three and a half years with cramping crossed fingers for a return of their favourite fashion model-slash-designer. Thinking about it… has it really been seven years since her first Topshop collaboration??

One thing that I have noticed, however, is that my personal ‘top picks’ from her long awaited new collection, seem to differ from the top picks of most bloggers. It is a gorgeous collection, for sure, but no matter how many fashionista models or designers try to persuade me otherwise, I won’t be joining in with 2014’s cow girl trend. Not even Chanel can convince me otherwise. Nor am I a fan of seventies inspired fashion. I’m just not one for fringe.

Kate Moss Topshop collection 2014 preview

Kate Moss Topshop collection 2014 campaign

Nevertheless, it is a stunning collection, and no doubt it will remain on rails for all of five seconds. I think I’ll have to avoid Topshop for a while unless I wish to be trampled to death. I’ll stick to online shopping for my favourites. Maybe I can just about squeeze the gorgeous black jumpsuit into my suitcase.

My Topshop Top Picks:

Also, who was the photographer for her collection?? Brilliant.

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The Curvy Ups and Creepy Downs of Optical Illusion Fashion

At school, I was always the kid who sucked at spotting the hidden tigers and butterflies in the Magic Eye books that would be shared between us beneath the branches of the willow tree that stood in the corner of the playground. Though I’m not entirely sure that my friends were being honest when they’d swear that they could see the possibly non-existent exotic animals hidden between swirling lines of ‘grass’.

So when the trend for optical illusions reached fashion, I loved it. Why strain yourself searching for pointless pictures of exotic animals hidden in a pointless painted jungle, when we can put the age old tricks to good use? Now a simple bodycon dress can give the impression of curves in all the right places, balancing out those somewhat un-proportioned figures. A godsend if, like me, you have what I would call a ‘crazy pear’ shape going on. While I do love my ‘curvy’ bum and my clothes-sit-well-on-me boobs… dress shopping can be a nightmare. Bodycon’s are a no no, unless I’m deliberately going for the ‘two aspirins on an ironing board’ look teamed with the ‘will that bum fit through the doorway’ look. The basic bodycon is a cruel illusion in itself, exaggerating my proportionate differences. That’s fine, I can rule out bodycon’s from my wardrobe. I can be a pear-shaped quite happily. After all, to be a perfect hourglass, with my waist and hip measurements, I’d need 30F boobs (according to a quick online calculator) – no thank you!!

So I’d resigned myself to a lifelong bodycon ban, sticking to a rule of baggy tops with pencil skirts or fitted tops with flared skirts – both fine, cute, easy enough.

Then I saw Kate Winslet in that Stella McCartney dress circa Autumn 2011.

I’m not saying this was the first optical illusion within fashion. I mean, look at corsets! And my ‘baggy/pencil skirt, fitted/flared’ rules But for me – and most women worldwide, judging from the stir that this dress caused – it was a definite moment of ‘yes – finally!!’

Before this dress popped up on every celebrity with boobs, there was the interesting Viktor & Rolf dresses of their Spring 2010 collection.

And since, there are been so, so many adaptions of the Stella dress (who made several restyles of her own), that I could dedicate an entire blog to each design.

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Alexander McQueen

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Stella McCartney

However, yesterday, this trend took a strange turn for me. It was a first – never has a photograph of Keira Knightley ever sparked such creeped-out horror to my eyes. Nor has a photograph featuring Chanel couture – and especially never have I disliked a combination of the two, as much as I do in this moment.

I give you, the weirdest ready-to-wear optical illusion outfit I have seen to date:

It’s like… Chanel’s version of the Skittle family of Toy Town.

Optical illusions should be used to flatter our curves, and create them when we have none! It’s about making a woman more womanly, more beautiful. Not… separating our upper and lower half, burying our natural curves beneath swathes of shapeless fabric and wrapping a teeny tiny waist until it no longer looks slender, but sickly.

And for this outfit to be Chanel… while I get how this outfit fits perfectly with their theme of the ‘incredible lightness of being’, I’m disappointed.

Then again, I saw their Pre-AW14 collection. Cowboys and Indians? Really? That’s the look you’ve chosen for this season, Mr Lagerfeld? Ok… you’re the boss.

Please, please, please.. no more scary illusions, ok? I know that the hourglass enhancing bodycon dresses of Stella McCartney’s collections are three years old now, but you know… if it’s not broke.

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February Wish List

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  1. Cambridge Satchel Company. Navy & Peach Satchel. £160. Available here. I’ve been dying for a Cambridge Satchel for ages, but somehow I just never end up buying one. Soon.
  2. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Prices start at about £90. Available here. This was my perfume of 2012, and I’m missing it. Not that I specifically choose a perfume for each year… it recently occurred to me that I just so happen to buy my perfume around Christmas each year. Or of course, someone buys me perfume as a Christmas gift. Maybe I’ll break with routine. I love Dior J’adore – especially the teeny tiny travel sized bottle that I have in my purse because it’s adorable. But I’m definitely more a Chanel girl. Always have been
  3. Bo-Homey cushion. $44.99. Available here. Because my bed is screaming out for some cushions. It’s just so pretty!
  4. Crosley Keepsake Turntable in Blue Floral. £160. Available here. What is it about vinyl that makes every song sound so much better? I’m more than a little bit obsessed with vinyl, be it vintage, classics or new releases. But a floral turntable?! Yes, please!
  5. ‘Time of Your Life’ phone case, available for a range of Samsung or IPhone models, as well as prints, posters… etc. Prices start at $15. Available here. I love everything in Kavan & Co‘s Redbubble portfolio. It takes self-control not to paste my whole home with beautiful motivational quote posters. It seems I’m a sucker for graphically beautiful inspirational quotes.
  6. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith… or, you know.. JK Rowling. £9.99 to pre-order from Amazon… I think Waterstones have the same pre-order price too! I’ll be buying mine from the latter. Waterstones need my money more than Amazon. Available here. It’s like Harry Potter all over again. Queuing outside bookshops at midnight for a book release. Actually no, I never did that with Harry Potter. I’d be sent to school, my mother would go and buy it first thing in the morning, and I’d some home to find I’d then have to wait the three or four agonizing days for her to finish it. Luckily these were during my pre-Facebook days, and I avoided the M25 circa book six. But this time, I don’t have to share this book with the rest of my family. I read the first of the Comoran Strike series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, mostly during my few months in Rome, reading a few pages a day in bookshops because I didn’t want to carry around a bulky €25 hardback copy with me. Anyway, super excited for book two!
  7. Alexander McQueen Velvet & Leather patent heels. Originally £455, but here, they are £204.76!! I don’t know how well I’d be able to walk in these. Anyone who knows me knows that my heel-skills are limited to kitten or wedge. Me and stilettos are not on good terms. But still, they are beautiful. These and a little brocade black tea dress? Yes. I keep having to push the word ‘steampunk’ from my head, though.
  8. Chloé monochrome jacket. Originally £1370, but here, £479.50. There is nothing to say but, I have 1000 outfits from my wardrobe that would look so good with this. Damn…
  9. Victoria Beckham. Originally £2195, but here, £987.75. Pricey, but my god, so gorgeous. It’s sexy but girly but classic. Without the visible built-in bra straps, I’d say it’s very ‘modern day Audrey Hepburn’, except that I think she’d have avoided the outerwear as underwear and visible bra straps trends. Isn’t it about time that certain newspapers stop wondering if the ex-Spice Girl/’WAG’ can match other designers?
  10. Tom Ford Lipstick in Spanish Pink. £36. Available here. I’m still searching for that perfect pink lipstick. It’s out there, somewhere. Maybe I’ll try this one next.
  11. Undercover Leather Travel Organiser. £59.95. Available here. Cyclamen, please, magic gift-bearing elves of the universe. Of course, I can’t have a wish list without something travel-related. I don’t really need this, of course. I love my On the Road passport cover too much, but still. Browsing, browsing, browsing.
  12. Guerlain Météorites Face Powder. $60. Available here. I know, I know. Pretty packaging doesn’t mean that the contents are necessarily as amazing as they look, but it’s hard not to pick my makeup on looks alone. I mean, it’s the beauty industry. Choice of three colour pallets depending on your skintone; clair, medium and dore.
  13. Olivia Burton Floral Watch. £85. Available here. I haven’t worn a watch in about a decade, not since the hideous, chunky hand-me-down that would go off at random times during those rare moments of silence at school because I had no idea how to un-set the alarm. Is that trauma? Perhaps.
  14. ‘Refind your footing’ in turquoise. $34.99. Available here. I’ve loved brogues and brogue-esque shoes for a few years now. I’ve worn the soles out of several pairs now, I wear them to often! So far, though, I’ve stuck to ‘classic colours’; black, white and various shades of brown. But these… oo. I have room for a pair of turquoise brogue-esque flats in my life. Also available in brown, blush and beige. Actually… I want them all.

Hmm… right now I’m struggling to remember why exactly I’m saving my money… time to stick a memo to my wall, I think.

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Chanel Couture SS13

Apparently the inspiration behind this collection was a ‘gothic Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and quite frankly, I would give anything to have been there and seen it for myself.

Vogue’s description: We stepped into an enchanted forest beneath the dome of the Grand Palais and into a world seemingly straight from the pages of Shakespeare, a wooden auditorium surrounding us, and edgy fairies about to come to life before us.

I am waiting impatiently for clearer photos of the rest of the collection to appear online, but I love what I am seeing so far! Black feather eye makeup has been teamed with more black feathers woven into their hair or placed in a bunch precariously above the eye see here. Again it sounds like they have stuck to the monochrome colour pallete that they are so damn good at, with splashes of colour such as this dark floral dress, which really ought to belong in my wardrobe.. as do those boots! Those boots are incredible, and I need them!

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Chanel Couture SS13

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More Lovelies…

1. Nicole Richie in Naeem Khan. I love her blue eyeshadow. I love the colour of this dress; I think the colour stops all of the embellishments that cover every inch of fabric from becoming glitzy and OTT. So demure and lovely.

Michelle Dockery Golden Globes 2012

2. Michelle Dockery in Alexandre Vaultheir. Definitely my second favourite dress of them all, after Kate Hudson’s amazing McQueen dress. Her figure is amazing, and is really has to be to pull off something as fitted as this! Love the gold detail and the high neckline. Love, love, love. ♥

Anne Hathaway Golden Globes 2013

3. Anne Hathaway. Now that her hair has grown a bit, it really suits her. And I keep hearing people say that she should carry on regaining the weight that she lost.. she always looked great, but personally I think she looks just as amazing when she’s this thin too! She’s wearing Chanel Couture, and she just looks so lovely and angelic and delicate.

Jessica Alba Golden Globes 2013

4. Jessica Alba. I’ve never been a big fan on top-to-toe coral or peach but it really suits her. Oscar de la Renta. Love the style and shape of the skirt. However… the orange lipstick teamed with coral is a bit predictable, and I hate the weird, fluffy handbag. I’m sure I had something like that in my dressing up box when I was a child…

Salma Hayek Golden Globes 2013

5. How incredible if Salma Hayek’s figure! Apparently she considers herself ‘short and chubby’, so I’ve decided, she must be insane to think that of herself. The bow at her hipbone really draws the eye to those amazing curves…. what else need be said? ♥

Megan Fox Golden Globes 2013

6. Megan Fox. Dolce & Gabbana, teamed with a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, Lorraine Schwartz jewels and a Salvatore Ferragamo clutch bag. She looks so angelic!

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Golden Globes… The Good 2#

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