My Alternative To A T-Shirt!

Hey everyone! Often in the summer I like to keep it casual. I’ve always thought that meant a cotton t-shirt. However with t-shirts, the fit is usually emphasizing what I would prefer not to have emphasized. I kept thinking I just needed to try a different cut of t-shirt. If I went with the “feminine” cut it was too tight and clingy, especially in the midsection. If I went with the boxy, traditional fit I looked like I was wearing a bag. I finally realized that I needed to re-think casual and t-shirts weren’t working for me.

My Alternative Casual Top! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, an alternative. This top is becoming my go-to, quick-out-of-the-door top. The fabric is light and skims nicely without billowing. It’s a light crepe fabric that doesn’t wrinkle or show sweat. The armholes are cut correctly so my bra does not show at all. And it’s reversible!

My Alternative Casual Top! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I prefer the polka-dots, rather than the floral side, because I still have a bit of a hang-up that florals (especially this size) ages you, even though they’re everywhere right now. I think that’s an out-dated notion and I need to get over it!

My Alternative Casual Top! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I know lots of us prefer to not show our arms, or at least the top half of our arms. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to let that worry just pass over me. Yes, my arms aren’t what they used to be and they’re not the beautiful, toned arms that many women are sporting today a la Michele Obama. But, they’re normal, healthy, pretty common arms and everyone needs to get used to seeing them! I’m not going to over-heat because people aren’t used to seeing middle-aged women’s arms! Now, they need to get over it!

My Alternative Casual Top! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’ve paired it with my new black shorts you saw a couple of posts ago and these comfy espadrilles that are also getting a lot of wear this summer. Have a great weekend everyone!

Linking up with Jennie at A Pocket Full of Polka Dots!

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Practical White Shorts!

Hey everyone! White shorts? Yikes. I know. I know. They’re see-through. They show any little dimple in your behind. You can see your underthings. I totally know where you’re coming from because I have those same thoughts. I haven’t had a pair of white shorts in decades because of those reasons but I like how summery and crisp they look. Yes, I could get a pair of white denim shorts, but sometimes all those seams and fabric and pockets are too hot (I’m getting myself prepared for the south!). Luckily I’ve found a great pair that has a lighter fabric and no wrinkles (I’m looking at you linen!).

I talked in this post about how I was on a search for shorts for this summer since I actually had none (yes, really!) and sometimes wanted to give my summer skirts a break. I’ve tried on probably 6 different pairs and so many of them, if they fit in the waist, are humongous in the legs. This waist is comfortable and stays in place and the legs are a straight style. I’m wearing a size 2.5 (Chico’s has their own sizing).

My blogging friend, Jodie from J Touch of Style, has commented that she thinks I should try red tops more often since I usually gravitate toward the blue colors. She’s also been showcasing more items from Chico’s store. I always thought of Chico’s as more for older women who are more flamboyant in their outfits than I am, but I’ve seen some cute things on Jodie and her mom and step-mom, so I thought I’d peep in and have a look around.

This top is another off-the-shoulder style, which I find quite impractical, so I wear it the way I want! You saw me do it here too. Yes, it does look cute off the shoulder, but I think it looks just as cute this way. Plus, if you’re like me and will not be wearing a strapless bra anytime soon, you can still wear these cute tops that are everywhere this summer!

I did need a pair of summer shoes that I could throw on to go to the store or run errands when I didn’t feel like wearing my sandals. These shoes are lightweight fabric on the upper but has an extra spongy base in the shoe so it’s not a typical flimsy espadrille flat. Plus, there were so many patterns to pick from that it was hard to decide!

I decided to give you a break from my tan heels and my yellow purse. I’ve packed up most of my clothes, shoes and purses so you’ll have to bear with me. Yes, this purse is too small for me since it just makes me look bigger, but I love it and when it’s really hot outside I don’t feel like carrying a heavy leather, sweaty purse. It’s going to be fun watching me adjust to the south, isn’t it?

This post contains links where if you click, or even purchase something, I receive a small commission. As you can imagine, this blog ain’t free!

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A Summer Wedding!

Hey everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! We did because my nephew got married and had a really beautiful wedding. It’s such a nice time to get together to catch up with everyone and for a happy occasion — as opposed to the opposite! Anyway, this is what I wore.

Summer Wedding Attire! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

You’ve seen the dress here before. It’s material with some stretch so comfortable for sitting and dancing. Yes, it’s sleeveless (seems like that’s all they make these days!) but if you’re in air conditioning it’s so easy to match a shawl to the dress. This exact floral pattern is no longer for sale but they have very pretty options here and here, a solid option here and a really cute polka dot here. I did size up (usually a size 16 but went with 18 here). There are plus size available too here and petite here.

Summer Wedding Attire! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The brand is Alyx and the style is a sheath dress. My favorite cut for a dress. No pesky waistband! You’ve seen me wearing their dresses before here and here.

Summer Wedding Attire! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I got the shawl at Charming Charlie’s which had so many to choose from I had a hard time deciding. I forgot to take a picture of tying the shawl in front which was a nice option to keep it from sliding off. It was just heavy enough to hang nicely in front and keep the chill off my shoulders while under the air conditioning unit.

So, that was my wedding attire. Sorry about showing the same shoes over and over. I would have tried out my dark green pumps with this dress that you’ve seen here but I’ve packed them up along with most of my others so you’ll have to bear with these a bit longer. See you on Wednesday!

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This Looked Better In My Head!

Hey everyone! So, I’m sure I’m not the only one this has happened to: you are thinking about what to wear and two items in your mind look perfect together. Then you try them on and the reality is oh, so, the opposite!

This looked better in my head! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This top I tried on at the store wearing my white jeans. It looked cute but the material of the top is more office-appropriate (i.e. polyester) and the jeans were casual cotton. I thought in my head the top would look perfect with these wide-legged, tan pants. Nope! The top was too flowy and the pants were even more flowy. Plus, the soft tan was too washed out for the crisper colors in the top. Also, the pant material, which is a soft cotton, just didn’t seem to go with the polyester fabric of the top. Now what?

I pulled out my wide-legged, cropped pants. These worked better than the tan pants because the fabrics work better together since the pants are rayon viscose/spandex/nylon fabric and the crisp black pairs well with the colors of the top. However, all of a sudden, there is a heavy black line right in the middle of my body!

This looked better in my head! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I hadn’t even noticed the black line until I saw these pictures. It hits below my natural waist, so I didn’t think anything was wrong with it. But, when it’s paired with these pants that are cropped, so look shorter, it cuts my body right in half. A universally unflattering proportion!  Supposedly, the proportions you want are 1/3. You want your body to be cut up into thirds (think long tunic over ankle length pants or long skirt with cropped top) and this black line cuts me right in the middle. Blergh! So, not going to be wearing these two together.

This looked better in my head! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Oh well! I live and learn! I don’t think I would have noticed this if I hadn’t taken these pictures. If I had just walked out of the door, I would have thought this outfit was fine. I’ve heard advice from others to take pictures of yourself in outfits so you can look at them a bit more objectively and I have to say I can see the value in that for sure!

Hope you have a nice weekend. I have a fun wedding on Saturday so I’ll be showing you my summer wedding outfit on Monday. See you then!

This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a couple of cents for each click and a couple more dimes if you purchase something. Thanks!

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Pretty Summer Pants!

Hey everyone! So, even though it’s summer, there are occasions when I still want to wear pants. I’ve been looking for a thinner fabric pant and the ever elusive comfortable fit around the waist. These pants have both and are not the “control top” versions I have been wearing and raving about.

These pants are by Wit and Wisdom and were recommended by one of the readers here. The waistband is very comfortable with lots of stretch and the fabric all around has lots of stretch. I really wanted a pretty color and they have lots of options and are on sale now! The only problem I see, is I ordered regular size 16 and I should have ordered petite. I think they would have fit around the ankle better. Thank goodness Nordstrom is so good about returns!

Summer Pants! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’ve paired it with the shirt from Loft you’ve seen before here. It’s on sale now too and available in white.

Summer Pants! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m heading back to Michigan so perhaps this hair will calm down, though I’m going to be trying out all of your suggestions. We may have found a house here in Charlotte and we have two showings on our house in Michigan this weekend, so fingers crossed!

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I Found Some Shorts!

Hey everyone! So, let me just start off by saying that I know my hair looks puffy. I’m in Charlotte for a week and humidity and my hair like to mix and make a souffle! I could feel my hair getting bigger and bigger as we were photographing, so in many of the pictures I’m trying to smooth it down! I also only picked pictures from the beginning of our walk before my hair reached impressive heights! I’m going to have to figure out something before I move down here permanently. This helmet head is not what I was going for with my haircut! Any humidity hair advice? Please leave in the comments section!

Cute Shorts that work for my apple shape! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Anyway, you probably have noticed that I don’t wear shorts much. Usually I’m wearing a skirt and find them so much more flattering to wear in the summer. However, I know there are times when I wished I had a pair (like when you have to sit on the ground — impossible in a knee length skirt!) but besides all of the usual problems with finding pants you have to contend with the length too.

Cute Shorts that work for my apple shape! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I don’t care to show my thighs, so the shorts have to come to my knee or just above. Oftentimes, to get the shorts that fit in the waist you also get really wide legs and it looks like you’re wearing a pleated skirt. Really unflattering.

I gave these NYDJ shorts a try. I have a pair of their jeans and though on the more expensive side, I can find a good fit and they’re comfortable. They recognize we may be thicker in the middle yet still have slim hips or thighs. They also recognize that we need fabric that stretches without it looking like fabric that stretches. I’ve worn these almost non-stop since I got them last week.

Cute Shorts that work for my apple shape! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Summer forces me to find a top that has coverage but can still keep me cool. I will do sleeveless when it’s really hot, but my fair skin needs some protection from the sun. This top fits the bill. The fabric is thin, so be aware of what your bra color is, but was very comfortable to wear. I felt confident that I wasn’t showing a lot of skin but still looking stylish. The peasant style embroidery is a trend, so I wouldn’t invest too much in this style but this will be fun for this summer.

Cute Shorts that work for my apple shape! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Ok, I’m off to explore this city and to keep looking for our next house to live. These photos were taken at the UNC botanical gardens. Such a pretty place for a hot summer walk!

I’m linking up with all of the lovely ladies at Not Dead Yet Style today!

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I Made It Through To The Other Side!

Hey everyone! Ack! I’ve been gone so long and have missed you all! Those two weeks have turned into what? 6 weeks? Gosh, I’ve lost track. What a tunnel I went through. Honestly, I look back on the last six weeks and I just feel exhaustion!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

To catch you up, I haven’t actually moved yet. We did get the house in Michigan packed up (mostly) and all the  projects that we’ve put off for 15 years or did halfway or just learned to live with, have been finished. I live in a perfect house with no “honey-do” list. Can you imagine that? It’s blowing my mind! I know everyone says this, but why didn’t we do these things earlier so we could enjoy how beautiful this house really is? Well, thinking of my family, we actually wouldn’t have been able to maintain living in a perfect house anyhow, so that’s probably why!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, now that the house is perfect, and on the market, we’re now in the phase of having to keep the house (and barns and land!) show-ready. At the same time, I’ve come down to North Carolina to get the ball rolling here. As you know, my husband has been in NC since the end of April, which has been hard on all of us (though I’ve become very familiar with power tools during that time!). He’s living in a sad bachelor apartment (only one fork, spoon and knife — his choice!) and definitely needs his wife and family. Someone over 4th of July asked him if it felt weird coming back to Michigan to visit and he said no, it actually feels weird living in North Carolina away from home. So, that was my signal that I needed to get down here and start making things happen. At least this is a lot more fun!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Right now, I’m in Charlotte, but we took these photos over 4th of July in my super-photogenic studio. How come we’ve never photographed here before? Because it had turned into a storage area. Many years ago, before our kids activities took over our life, I had a hobby. Like many people, that hobby (fiber art) took a backseat and my cute little garage-turned-studio became quite un-photogenic. Now that every part of our place is clean, organized and perfect, I’ve discovered a great place to photograph!

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m wearing a really pretty but classic black tunic. It reminds me of a ballet teacher with the dip in the back and sides. It’s the perfect example of when I say “make sure it skims, not clings”. The fabric is a knit and it has some weight so it falls straight without blowing around. It’s also available in several other pretty colors like gray and olive.

I paired it with my J Jill jeans from many years ago and my Sam Edelman sandals from many years ago (these are similar). You can see I was playing around with the necklace length to see which I liked best. I also made a conscious decision to not wear my black sandals. They would have looked fine, but I didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy, a look that is a bit out-dated.

New Haircut! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

And finally, I got my hair cut! I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile, but just couldn’t make the time. The day after we listed the house, I treated myself and my daughter to a haircut, facial and pedicure. We deserved it! Both of my daughters were so integral in getting the house ready and I couldn’t have done it without them. My eldest had to leave immediately to be a working-student with a professional horseback rider and missed the day of pampering. I will be making it up to her, though she would have chosen what she’s doing now (riding horses and cleaning stalls) over a spa day any old day!

I’ve loved reading your comments during this time and will be responding soon as things (sort of) settle down here. Thanks for hanging on and being patient while I got through this. I have no plans to stop writing and photographing any time in the future, so I think you’re stuck with me!

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Scarf Dilemma Re-Run!

[A Re-Run from last Spring! I’m cleaning the basement today instead — yay for me!]

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about scarves. You know, the one single accessory every expert recommends adding to an outfit for instant panache. However, with a large bust scarves don’t work like they do for others. Many times I feel strangled by the scarf or it’s billowing up adding lots of volume already on top of lots of volume of a big bust or it’s perched on my shelf drowning me in fabric. And I love scarves. I love the colors and patterns and they do add instant panache to an outfit. Here are three different scarves with the same outfit so you can see what works best for my body and outfit and perhaps for yours.

The first scarf is a thin, silky,  infinity scarf that I knotted so it wouldn’t lasso a boob and the knot weighs it down and pulls it away from my chin. This way it shows some neck and some of the neckline of my dress.

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This second scarf is another infinity scarf with lots of fabric. I love the pattern and I think the size of it fits my body size. However, I don’t wear it often unless it’s cold outside because I really do drown in it and it sits up high on my shelf.

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Gosh, I’m a glutton for punishment. I love this scarf and love the color and pattern and how the bright color shocks an outfit. It’s not an infinity scarf, rather a long rectangular traditional scarf. I’ve tried many ways of knotting it to get it down and away from my face so there looks like there is a gap between my chin and my bust though it still adds volume.

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So, for me, adding a scarf is a trade-off. Yes, you do add color and pattern to an outfit and it can really pull an outfit together. And, yes, you do add volume to an already voluminous torso. Sometimes that matters and sometimes it doesn’t, so just keep it in mind and recognize that this is one of those exceptions to the rule for us exceptional big-busted women!

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Why I Haven’t Cut My Hair!

Hey everyone! So, you’ve probably noticed that my hair has gotten pretty long. It’s started reaching my shoulders and flipping up, something I hate. You may have also noticed that my posts have been shorter and I’ve been doing a couple of re-runs. You may even have noticed that all my photos lately have been at my house and photographed by my youngest daughter. You’re now saying to yourself: No I didn’t notice, but why should I care?

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Well, I haven’t had time to cut my hair or write longer posts or go anywhere interesting for the photographs because we are moving. No. Not the blog. Not my Instagram feed. Not my Facebook page. We’re moving in real life. My husband was offered a job too good to pass up in North Carolina. So, we are moving from Michigan to the south. It has taken us all by surprise!

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

To make matters even more complicated, my husband is already down there (hence my new photographer!). So, I’m here trying to pack up a 10 acre farm by myself. Yes, my two daughters are helping, but they have very full lives of their own. Besides packing, I have to put my beloved house on the market. All of those little inconveniences you put up with have to be fixed. The paint has to be fresh. The house sparkling.

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, this is just a long way of saying, I have to take a break from this blog for the next two weeks. I’ll be posting re-runs from when I started this blog and very few people were reading, so it will probably be new to you. I’ve been trying to keep up with the blog (hence the photos taken at my home), but we’re planning on putting the house on the market in less than two weeks and there is just so much that needs to be done.

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This is exciting but also very sad. We knew we would move when our daughters were out of the house, in maybe a few years or so, but this came very quickly and unexpectedly. As you can probably all imagine, this is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. There are lots of decisions that have to be made that are not easy decisions. We’ve lived in this house for 15 years and in Michigan for the last 20. We have several very old horses this will disrupt and have given away one already. We just adopted 4 barn kittens last fall (bringing our total to 8!) we have to consider. We’re leaving behind family and good friends and great neighbors.

Photo-bombed by my animials! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, as I post these re-runs, remember that I’m cleaning a basement (yuck!), lugging heavy boxes (ugh!), painting every surface and mentally preparing to say goodbye to a very full life here while imagining a new future and send me your good vibes. I’ll be trying to answer your comments, because that is one of my favorite things to do each day (seriously!). Enjoy these photos of our little photo-bombers. The hazards of photographing on our little farm!

See you in two weeks!

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Trying Out Two LuLaRoe Items!

Hey everyone! I was contacted by Bronwyn Wright, who is a distributor for LuLaRoe, who asked me to review an outfit. Have you heard of them before? They are a clothing company that sells their products through individuals instead of through retail stores. This way women (and I believe it’s mostly women) can have some income while having flexibility to raise a family.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I remember when I was younger, lots of my friends were selling Pampered Chef or Longaberger Baskets or toys or something else to try to bring in some income and still stay home with their children. These home-based businesses were a good option for many women then, so I’m happy to support them. This time, the product is clothing, something I can get behind!

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Anyway, Bronwyn contacted me and asked me if we could collaborate on an outfit which she sent to me at no cost in exchange for writing a review (100% my words and opinions. I’d have it no other way!). I had heard of LuLaRoe but hadn’t seen anything in person yet, so I was curious and said yes. She had me fill out a styling questionnaire and then sent me what she thought I would like.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I love the skirt! It has a wide waistband that isn’t tight at all (I’m wearing XL) and doesn’t roll down. It’s a stretchy fabric, so even though it’s a pencil shape, my movement is not constrained in any way. The pattern is very pretty and the weight of the fabric is perfect for spring and summer, so I’ll be wearing it a lot!

Since I have such a large bust, t-shirts are one of the hardest items for me. They’re either too tight or too loose and to get them to fit my bust they have to have a lot of fabric. This shirt does have a lot of fabric, but it’s meant to be a flowy top. It definitely covers my midsection well and has the round neckline that I find to be the most flattering. And purple! I don’t wear a lot of purple, but I do think it’s a flattering color for me.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Since there are many LuLaRoe distributors out there, I thought I’d ask Bronwyn about herself, and how she got into this business so we could get to know her so she’s not just an anonymous name on Instagram!

Why and when did you start selling Lula Roe? I started selling LuLaRoe after I had my first daughter, who was born 10 weeks early. I had finished my degree three weeks before she started trying to be born at 26 weeks. We spent a month on hospital bed rest 6 hours from home, and then 5 weeks in the NICU. I felt like I had lost a lot of my identity from concentrating on school and then focusing on her, so when LuLaRoe presented itself when she was 6 months old (and still not allowed out of the house because of fragile lungs) I jumped at the chance! I also live in a small town, and saw the need for shopping outlets. When the nearest shopping mall is 2 hours away… how could I say no to being that mall?!

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Why are the clothes different from just going to a retailer? Well, if you are buying clothes from me personally, you are literally putting food in my kids’ bellies. This isn’t supporting a giant company. LuLaRoe is growing, but since this is a low overhead clothing store, you are not paying for infrastructure, store fronts, or some franchise owner’s second home. You are paying for doctor’s appointments, retirement funds, and Cheerio’s. Another thing is that LuLaRoe only cuts 5,000 pieces in every pattern, and there are 70,000 consultants. That means that in a small town like the one I live in, you are not wearing the same pattern as 15 other people in town. Also, the prints span the ranges of every women’s preferences. I have seen pieces so ugly I could cry, but someone else finds it beautiful! So there is something for everyone, rather than being a specialized store for one style, age, or body type. I personally carry clothing for women who wear sizes 2T-3XL.

Why did you ask me to collaborate? I was looking up pictures of women on Instagram for a styling seminar I was doing for my team, about how to dress different women’s body shapes. I loved how confident and classy you looked, and couldn’t find any evidence of LuLaRoe on your page. I am all about empowering women of every color, shape, size, and age, and your Instagram handle also stuck out to me. Girls do, and will continue to, rule.

LuLaRoe for Apple-Shaped Women! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

What items would you recommend to women with apple shapes? The items I picked out for you were ones that were a similar shape to the ones I saw you wearing on your feed. The Perfect tee is my personal favorite, it is fitted around the bust, and flowy around the midsection. This works at camouflaging the area that almost anyone with more than one kid feels a little less than stellar about. The patterned Cassie skirt draws attention down to your legs also. I also thought about sending you a Julia dress sized up a size, and a Joy vest. The Julia is a fitted dress, but when you size up, it keeps it’s shape without clinging to everything. The Joy vest over it adds some visual interest. The Carly dress is another favorite, it is a very flowy t-shirt dress.

How would you suggest women order the correct size? I ask this since I told you my sizes but also my measurements since apple shapes usually don’t fit into the size categories very well. This is one of the challenges of online shopping, but one of the perks of LuLaRoe. I have dressed enough women that I can confidently recommend sizing based off of what sizes you normally wear, and your body type. LuLaRoe makes almost everything stretchy, so most people can go up or down in any style at any time, and be fine. There’s a little wiggle room. And the retailers are there to provide that customer support to give their best suggestion on how something will fit. (When is the last time you got to message Macy’s and ask them how much stretch a certain fabric had, or if something fits true to size).

Anything else you’d like my readers to know about you or the clothes? My name is Bronwyn. I’m a business major, mother of two, skatepark wife, and I am always looking for ways to make women feel more powerful and confident. Women who know their strength and what they’re capable of are world changers. LuLaRoe believes that also.

How can my readers contact you? My Facebook shopping group is here on Facebook and my Instagram is @LuLaRoeBronwynWright.

Thanks Bronwyn for the outfit and for this fun collaboration! Have a great weekend everyone!

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