General

Ohh Haiiiii

So, you’ve stumbled across my blog. Welcome.

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My name is Loren, I’m 27 and I have started this blog mainly to collate thoughts and put them out into the universe.

Over the next few posts, you’ll get to know me a lot more. My ups, my downs, and most importantly just me. A space dedicated to being completely selfish – The focus: Loren.

This blog will coincide with my photography as well. I have been a photographer for over 10 years now. It’s a deep seeded passion. You can follow my work on Instagram: @obscurphotos.

I am new to the whole blogging world – so be kind when I post. If you think I could improve in some way, let me know. Feedback is always welcome. I won’t however tolerate trolls and people who just want to spread hatred. You will be banned.

A photo to start the blogging off – a selfie! Because, why not? It’s nice to put a face to a name, right?

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General

Weekend Snapshot

Random Fact 009:

  • I am lactose intolerant, but I still really enjoy dairy.

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Good morning fellow bloggers! Happy Saturday. I hope everyone is having a relaxing start to their weekend? I know that I definitely am.

Just a quick one today – just a weekend snapshot. My weekends are usually so hectic, so I wanted to jot down what I do in an entire weekend. This weekend is particularly good because I get to do a photoshoot.

My Saturday started off with me getting to bed at 1am. Usually, that sets me up to fail the next day because I get so tired. But I was browsing Netflix for so long, the night just got away from me. I end up watching The Intern, and eating a quarter of a watermelon. I really enjoyed both.

What does my Saturday look like?

8am – Got woken by the cat deciding that my back was comfier than wherever he was sleeping prior to that.

8:30 – Currently, I am at Starbucks. I am enjoying my lactose free caramel latte, with a toasted blueberry bagel with cream cheese. Standard order here. I love it.

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Moving into the rest of the day, I will be getting my nails done, and then looking for photoshoot props at a cheap accessories store at my local Westfield. I am thinking about going to visit my nonna (grandma) and then back home to prepare lunch for my husband.

This afternoon my husband (Josh) and I are going to my mums for dinner – we’re making ribs in my dad’s wood-fire oven. We did this a few weeks ago – oh my god. Best thing ever.

After dinner, will probably come home to watch a movie together before retreating to bed most likely before midnight. We’re only 27, but I swear we have the soul of 80 year olds.

Sunday, ah Sunday. I most likely will start of my day with a walk around my neighbourhood, followed my breakfast with Josh and then cleaning my house before my photoshoot.

Tomorrow’s photoshoot is with a good friend of mine – think glitter, half-dead flowers, and mystery. If you want to check out some of my work to date head on over to Instagram and follow @obscurphotos. I will be documenting my weekend here as well. Tomorrow I’ll posting behind the scenes on my story too.

Also – I will be documenting my travels this weekend on Snapchat (@lorena.snap) – add me, and you can come on my slightly boring – but Loren like adventure.

As always,

Loren out.

General

#foreignfilmfriday

Random fact 009:

  • A lot of my inspiration for my photoshoots come from foreign films.

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Happy Friday bloggers! I hope you have all have had a wonderful week.

Tonight I want to talk films! I love foreign films. I think they are always so beautifully crafted. There is something so eloquent about them.

I’m going to list my favourite foreign films – ones that I throughly enjoyed and got a lot out of, creatively.

  1. Amelie

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2. Volver

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3. Sex and Lucia

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4. Room in Rome

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5. Blue is the Warmest Colour

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6. Perfume

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I’m sure there is many more out there that would be beneficial to watch. If anyone out there knows of any films that are visually stimulating, please let me know. I’d love to broaden my horizons.

What are your foreign favourites? Let me know.

Loren out.

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10 items I can’t leave home without..

Random Fact 008;

  • I only own 1 pair of socks. (Ask me why)

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#THURSDAYTHOUGHTS

Happy Thursday fellow bloggers! Just a quick one tonight.

I had a random thought today about my handbag, and I got so frustrated. I was like, “why is my bag so flippin’ heavy”? My husband’s response was… “uh, because you’re a woman. Standard”. Thanks babes. But no.

It’s because I have essentials that I pack every single day.

  • – Mascara
  • – Paw Paw Ointment
  • – Pen and mini diary
  • – Protein bar
  • – Headphones
  • – Chewing Gum
  • – Bottle of water

Then the three OBVIOUS ones..

  • – Keys
  • – Wallet
  • – Phone

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Girls of the blogosphere (even boys) what are your 10 essentials you carry in your bag? Let me know.

Loren out.

General

Product Review – Enjoy Life!

Random Fact 007;

  • I’m not James Bond. 

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Happy Tuesday everyone!

I am so sorry I haven’t been around much lately – I’ve had a severe migraine for 18 days. It hasn’t been a bucket of fun, to say the least.

So – This post is something I’ve been meaning to do for a little while. I am apart of a collective called Social Soup. Basically they have a whole bunch of brands that release new products, or re-vamp products and they pick people according to your online profile preferences. I’ve have completed a few projects to date. One of which is the latest project Enjoy Life!

This is what I received in the pack

  • Roasted Sunflower Seed Bars
  • Cocoa Chocolate Chip Bars
  • Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Vanilla Honey Cookies

Enjoylife

The idea behind this project was that it is “Free from 7 allergens” being;

  1. Tree Nuts
  2. Eggs
  3. Gluten
  4. Peanuts
  5. Soy
  6. Milk
  7. Sesame Seeds

I only a have a few allergies, but I know a whole bunch of people who literally cannot eat like, anything. So, I had a mini get together and we devoured the goods over some tea.

General consensus was, half were tasty, some were inedible and overall very high content of sugar. After reading various comments on the Facebook page it seemed that that was a pretty common with other Soupers. It was mentioned that these are supposed to be snacks and not consumed in large quantities at a time. But I dunno, if I sit down with a box of biscuits with tea – Realistically, I… like to eat a lot. I don’t get my figure by being conservative. Ha ha!

I really enjoyed the chocolate bars, and the vanilla honey biscuits above the others. The chocolate bars were pretty rich, but I like that. I am one of those weirdos that like 85% cocoa in my chocolate blocks. The vanilla honey biscuits were nice, once you ate the first one and got over the ‘woah, what is that weird aftertaste’ it gets better and they become quite nice.

The other stuff tasted a little bit like cardboard. The chocolate chip biscuits had a chemical like aftertaste and the other bars, the sunflower seeds – that was horrible. I had a few people try I all and they had the same opinion.

Where to buy? 

For my fellow Aussie’s – Woolworths is the place to go. In the health food isle. Be warned, they’re kind of pricey! $6 minimum.

For my American friend’s – Walmart and something called CVS Pharmacy.

I don’t think they sell this product in the UK – Sorry folks.

To sum up, I think overall, definitely worth giving the product a go to see for yourself. It is perfect for people who have allergies to almost everything because they really do cater for you. Which is a nice! But do take note of the sugar content.

Until next time friends.

Loren out.

General

Dear Loren… Part 2

Random Fact 006:

  • Purple is my favourite colour

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Hi Guys! Welcome to Wednesday 🙂

Just a short little post for today.

Remember I wrote about my little journal last week? I completed the first little page of the book (see below).

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It was kind of fun just, colouring. I am pretty keen to continue this every week I think it will fuel my creativity.

Next week: A page for four letter words.
Note: they may or may not contain profanities.

Loren out.

Spiritual

Crystals 101

Random Fact 005:

  • I’m a whole season behind in Game of Thrones and I regret it so much.

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Hello followers (and potential new people)!

Today I am going to talk about crystals and gemstones. I have a huge fascination with them and I personally use them every day. I’ll go through what they actually are, and what they were used to in the past and what they are used for these days. I’ll then touch on how I use crystals and why and a few extra bit and bops.

Minerals, gems, and crystals have been used for millennia to enhance emotional, physical and spiritual balance. A little bit of science; concepts of electromagnetism as proven by James Clerk Maxwell and their interdependent nature along with the various breakthroughs in quantum theory have given us scientific evidence for what the ancients always knew. Because everything vibrates at certain frequencies, they have the ability to shift and alter the frequencies of other objects or bodies when they occupy the same space.

Hence, a crystal – which vibrates at its own frequency oscillations – vibrates within our own energy field through the physical law of resonance and creates a larger vibrational field, affecting the nervous system and transmitting the information to the brain. In essence, these connecting vibrations can harmonize frequencies and stimulate biochemical shifts that affect physical health in a positive, healing way.

That’s the science-y stuff! So who used crystals in ancient times? Plenty of people, Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used crystals. Particularly in pendants, talismans and amulets. Most often, they were considered useful in enhancing health, attracting desirable things, and for providing protection in battle.

So, I don’t walk about my day-to-day with talismans and amulets but I do carry tumbled stones and a wear a necklace (i’ll go into detail about that next).

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I’ll go into why I love crystals and how I use them.

For me, personally; crystals centre me. They taught me how to ground myself when I am in that state of anxiousness. They allow me to feel their vibration and they heal me.

Still with me?

With my crystals, I often mediate with them or i wear them somehow on my body. It reminds me each and every day that I am allowed to be true to myself and (like i mentioned in a previous post) to completely love and accept myself. I have always had a strong connection to crystals, my dad bought me my first crystal; a rose quartz. I cherish that stone immensely.

I’ll go into what I believe are the top 5 crystals (according to me! ha ha)

  • Smokey Quartz;

This stone is one of the most efficient grounding and anchoring stones and at the same time raises vibrations during meditation. This stone teaches you how to leave behind anything that no longer serves you. Psychologically, smokey quartz relieves fear, lifts depression and brings emotional calmness.

  • Rose Quartz;

This is the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. It is the most important crystal for the heart. It purifies and opens the heart at all levels and brings deep inner healing and self-love. It is calming, reassuring and excellent for use in trauma or crisis. If you want to attract love, look no further than this beautiful stone.

  • Amethyst;

This stone is an extremely powerful and protective stone with a high spiritual vibration. This stone is extremely beneficial to the mind, calming or stimulating mundane into tranquility and deeper understanding. Mentally, it helps you feel scattered, more focused and in control of your faculties. Amethyst balances out highs and lows, promoting emotional entering. IT dispels anger, rage, fear and anxiety. Alleviating sadness and grief, it supports coming to terms with loss.

  • Onyx

Onyx is strength-giving. It provides support in difficult or confusing circumstances and during times of enormous mental or physical stress. This stone centre’s your energy and aligning it with a higher power. This stone has a connection with the whole. It cantata you forward into your future and facilitates being master of one’s destiny.

  • Moonstone

This is the stone of “new beginnings”. As its name suggests, it is strongly connected to moon and the intuition. Like the moon, the stone is reflective and reminds us that, as the moon waxes and wanes, so everything is part of a cycle of change. Its most powerful effect is that of calming the emotions.

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That’s all for this post! I really hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about crystals! If you too are into crystals and meditation – Please let me know. I’d love to connect with you all and discuss it further.

Loren out.

Baking

Totally Baked!

Random Fact 004:

I don’t really like chocolate cake (unless it’s with banana!)

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This is an ‘appreciation blog post’ for.. FOOD!

If I know anything in this world, it’s food. I come from an Italian family that appreciates different types of food on many levels. My sister is even starting her own little baking company! Deets for that here (ps. it’s under going a revamp)

I’m going to share a recipe with you all that I know works very well.

Chocolate Banana Cake
You need approx. 2 large overripe bananas for this recipe.

2/3 cup (160ml) milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
150g butter, softened
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup mashed banana
100g dark eating chocolate, grated finely

Creamy Chocolate Frosting:

200g dark eating chocolate
1 cup (160g) icing sugar
1/2 (120g) sour cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°F fan-forced. Grease 22cm-round cake pan; line base with baking paper.
  2. Combine milk and juice in a small jug; stand 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat butter and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined; transfer mixture to large bowl. Stir in sifted flour and soda, banana, milk mixture and chocolate. Spread mixture into pan.
  4. Bake cake about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes; turn, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, make the creamy chocolate frosting.
  6. Spread cold cake with frosting.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting:

Melt chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl over medium saucepan of simmering water; gradually stir in icing sugar and sour cream.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Serves: 8

That’s it for this blog post! Short and definitely sweet.

Let me know if you end up using this recipe – I’d love to know what you think.

Loren out.

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General

Anxiety vs. Gratitude

Random Fact 003:

  • I love cats.

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Reading time: 10 minutes.

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope everyone is settling into the week nicely.

Today’s discussion is about anxiety versus gratitude. I have decided to discuss this topic today because it’s something that I am very familiar with. If you read my post on Monday I shared to you how crazy my head can become at times.

I started off my week this week with my anxiety already at a peak point. It all started, when my fridge broke. I mean, it’s just a fridge right? It shouldn’t be a big deal, however immediately I was so stressed out and worried about all the food, and how I was going to repair it, and if I couldn’t repair it where I was going to buy a new one from let alone find the funds for it. Ps, it was 5:33am. ugh. I had a hectic day at work, came home my water bottle leaked everywhere in my bag, learnt I had a huge fine to pay, and I *nearly* smashed a wine bottle.

I suppose it’s an understatement to say that I had a pretty shitty Monday!

I have to consider that not everyone will know what anxiety is all about, because some people a) have never experienced it and/or b) have such mild cases of anxiety it doesn’t affect the day-to-day. If thats you – well done.. honestly. I applaud you.

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I’ll start by what it means to have a diagnosis of ‘anxiety’ (please note, I am not a health professional of any sort, if you feel you might be suffering from anxiety or any other mental health issue, please seek clarification from your GP). Anxiety is when those anxious type of feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled. (Information from BeyondBlue)

How does anxiety affect people? Basically with anxiety it can be broken down into 3 seperate categories:

  • Physical: panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy
  • Psychological: excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking
  • Behavioural: avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious which can impact on study, work or social life

For me personally, it is various things from each category. For example, when I am in a peak moment of anxiety I have panic attacks, my heart races, my chest tightens I am incredibly wound up and on edge. Then this leads to excessive worrying, I obsess over my thoughts and if it’s too a point where I am having a ‘mental health’ day I avoid my friends, my work and literally stay under covers until it’s night time again. It’s terrible.

I have a few friends that suffer from anxiety as well. It’s more common than we like to admit. There are many different types of anxiety as well – I won’t get into them here but if you want some more information check out this site.

Now, let’s talk about gratitude! Most of us associate gratitude with saying “thank you” to someone who has helped us or given us a gift. From a scientific perspective, gratitude is not just an action. Gratitude is a positive emotion, which is really important because it serves a purpose. Positive psychologists contend that gratitude is more than feeling thankful for something, it is more like a deeper appreciation for someone (or something,) which produces longer lasting positivity.

Expressing your thanks (not just to others, but to yourself) can really improve your overall sense of well-being. It can help in so many factors in your life, such as, relationships, overall happiness and optimism, better physical and mental health and a more fulfilling life.

So – we’ve talked a little about anxiety and we’ve talked a little about gratitude. Let’s talk about the tools that are available to us everyday. What actually works? (This is all from personal experience) 

  • Mantras;

A Mantra is a sacred utterance, a sound, a syllable, word or group of words believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers. A mantra may or may not have syntactic structure or literal meaning.

So, what mantras do I use? I often say..

“Even though.. *insert what is currently causing me grief*.. I completely love and accept myself”  <– ( I learnt this from my psychotherapist)

“Everything happens for a reason..even if we don’t understand the reason”

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  • Apps that can help;
  1. Pacifica – This app helps track your mood, has daily challenges and the handy little tool of thought recording / journaling.
  2. Calm (personal fave) – This is purely for meditation. It gives you guided meditations for different stages of your day, such as ‘sleep stories’, ‘daily calm’ and a option to just ‘breathe’.
  3. Daylio – This is in the format of like a calendar. It’s almost like a ‘calendar of feelings’ – it gives you options of ‘good’, ‘meh’ and ‘fugly’.  It has a diary entry option as well.

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  • Food;

If you’re like me, food is like my favourite thing on this planet. One of the main reasons I actually get out of bed. I am an emotional eater though, so apart from me not being the healthiest person I do appreciate what is actually good for my body.

Spinach – cashews – chamomile tea – avocado – bananas – blueberries – dark chocolate – leafy greens – oats – salmon – whole grains

Just to list a few. Pinterest has SO MANY recipes you can try as well.

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Phew! Did you make it through all of that? If you’re still with me, thanks for sticking around. I promise i’m nearly done..

Two things that help me through my day each and every day is my journaling, and my support network. I have a great group of friends, an amazing husband, a loving family and genuine work colleagues. Check out my journals that I have, one is purely for my anxiety and the other is purely for documenting what I am grateful for. It really helps!

Just to end this huge post I have a link to some great TED talks about mental health. I found them via Sarahrosecoaching blog! Definitely go check them out.

I really hope you enjoyed reading this post. This is an issue that is close to my heart and personally affects me.

Let me know what you all think. Do you suffer from anxiety? Do you know someone that does? Let’s start a discussion. Sometimes all it takes is to just say “hey” to someone to open the door to help.

Until next time.

Loren out.

General

Destination: Relaxation!

Random Fact 002: 

  • My source of strength has always come from my dad (post about my dad will come soon).

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Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a very relaxing weekend.

The word ‘relax’ got me thinking over the weekend. I often wonder if it has a different meaning for each individual?

Last weekend, I went to visit a friend in Wollongong, Sydney. I needed to find my inner peace and gather inspiration for a new journey I was about to embark on. Said journey is for a different post (stay tuned). 

I ended up at Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley. Such a peaceful place. We arrived at around 4pm, so the sun was setting, it was getting pretty cold. It made for such a lovely setting though!

IMG_20170702_202239_768Photo by @obscurphotos

My friend I was with mentioned to me how relaxed she felt just looking at the view of her surroundings. We were forced to stop for a moment just to observe. Do nothing else, but observe. Anything that I may have been thinking about, any weight that I had sitting on my shoulders at the time, literally disappeared. I was taken a-back as to how all of a sudden you can go from 100 back to 0 in the same time it takes you to get to 100 in the first place!

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Now, I suffer from anxiety. So, often my mind is roughly about 2000 miles ahead of where I am supposed to be. I’ve also already created 50 plausible outcomes for each scenario I may be faced with, and another 50 solutions ready to go. This may seem convenient and effective later down the track. However, I assure you, it’s definitely counter-productive.

The purpose of this trip for me was to remember how to ground myself each time I am getting to my anxious peak point, and remember how to RELAX. In another post to come I will be talking about my anxiety and ‘grounding’ more, and how I go about ensuring I am present and focussed every day. 

I was on Pinterest today, and I found this cute visual representation of different ways to take a break! (link on picture) – It certainly puts things into perspective a little bit!

Relax

One that caught my eye was ‘sit in nature’ – Kind of ties into my whole experience at the temple. I was amongst nature, I was allowing myself to stop for a second to appreciate the earth for all it’s beauty.

This takes me back to my posed question.. Does the word ‘relax’ mean something different for everyone? Do we all relax the same way?

Relaxation to me means to get back to nature – Being outside, camping, looking at landscapes, staring at the moon / stars, a walk down my street, sitting in the sun playing with my cat… Just to name a few!

I take this question to you now – What does relaxation mean to you?

I’d love to hear what you all think about this.

DSC_4398Bell of Gratitude @ Nan Tien Temple – Photo by @obscurphotos

– Loren out.

General

Dear Loren, this should be fun..

I  have decided that at the beginning of each blog post, I will post something random about my self – just so you get to know me a little better.

Thus, random fact numero uno;

  • I come from a pretty decent sized Italian family. I understand Italian, I can often read Italian – But i cannot speak Italian.

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So, I was going through some of my old books recently (I have two huge bookshelves crammed with books, btw) and I found a book that I got gifted years ago but have never actually used. (see picture below). 

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First and foremost, 100% it’s because i’m hella lazy. I go through phases where I feel this amazing rush of creativity and I get all Superwoman about it all. Then, because I do nothing about it, the idea of being totally awesome goes out the window. Story of my life. 

So, I open page one up and it says:

“This book belongs to” – Well, me.. Loren

“Write your name backwards” – Ok? Nerol .. weird

“Write your name in large letters” – Like caps lock? LOREN

Seriously, what is the point of all this.. This is literally when I put this book away. I know this because I put my surname in as well, and I had used my maiden name.. So I mean, that was a good 4 years ago now. Told ya, lazy.

I started to think about it, why would this book begin the way it did? I proceeded to read the instructions, point 5 says: ‘experiment’. Light bulb moment! I get it now, wreck this journal.. actually destroy it. Sweet.

I haven’t started yet because I have decided that I am going to tackle a mini project within the book every week – and then post about it at the end of the week. I figured this will keep me accountable; and let’s be honest provides me with content.

I’m going to leave it here for now, and check in with this side project next week. Instruction number three; order is not important. 

*flips through book quickly and stops at random page*

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Photo by @obscurphotos

Okie dokie, next week i’ll be talking about how great (or not) I coloured outside of the lines. Woo!

Loren out.