my 2017 makeup highlights …and lowlights

Every year I find myself feeling the same way: how has another year come to a close without me even realising?

And since every year seems to fly by faster, in order to remind myself that I didn’t just miss an entire year, I spend some time reflecting.

Part of this reflection, for me, included a slow scroll through the best way I know how to record things – my Instagram feed. And so I present to you, in a totally self-serving and self-indulgent sort of a way, my very own highlights and lowlights of 2017.

Sugar Cube Co: Sugar Scrubs

You guys knew this had to be on here. I received this for Christmas in 2016 and it totally blew my mind. Sugar Cube Co is a small, Christchurch business run by two hard working girls (Bex and Kath) collectively known as the “Sugar Cube Co Girls” and they have poured so much love into this product that you can’t help but love it too. 2017 was also the year that I tentatively dipped my toes into the world of fake tanning and found their Sugar Scrubs to be the best thing to accompany it. You can scrub literally right before you tan, there’s no need to wait 24 hours, and it gives you the smoothest application. I’ve written a more in depth blog post about sugar scrubs and how they’re better for your skin than other scrubs and you can see that here.

Coincidentally, they have given me a code to give you guys 15% off (it’s MICHE) but just remember that I fell in love with the brand before we started working together so you know it’s real.

Goodness Products

Oh my Goodness, do I love this stuff and so do all of the clients I’ve recommended it to. Most of us have spent our whole lives being told to strip oil from our skin because oil is bad and will cause acne and as a result we have stressed out, frazzled skin that’s screaming out for some TLC (that’s tender, loving chia). I started using Goodness in May and I honestly haven’t looked back. I have had some hormonal issues which have led to me supplementing my skincare regime with a very gentle acne fighting product however I still use Goodness to remove my makeup, pre-cleanse in the shower and moisturise. The packaging is goals, Goodness is cruelty free, and the whole range is cheap as chips from the supermarket. Honestly, what more could you want?

Huda Beauty: Mauve Obsessions

We all know I was a big fan of the Rose Gold palette in 2016 but I can tell you, hand on heart, that this palette is her best work yet. So creamy, so blendable, so pigmented. It may be half the size but it beats out Desert Dusk for a spot in my list as every single shade is bang on point.

Essie: Gel Couture range

I didn’t think I could love Essie any more than I already did, and then Gel Couture came to New Zealand. Honestly, what a formula. I found that with the old Essie polishes, I could get up to two weeks withoutย muchย chipping or wear and tear. With these, I get next to none. Even on my weird index finger that I apparently hit the keyboard too aggressively with as it splits and peels in a way that none of my other fingernails do. A couple of coats of Gel Couture and those splits and peels are sealed in and protected and it doesn’t chip at all.

Pretty in pink ๐Ÿ’•

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Colourpop: eyeshadow palettes

Holy moly, what a game changer. I am genuinely amazed that they can produce palettes of this quality for such a low price. I broke my no-neutral-palettes rule because I just knew I needed one of these for my every day palette. They blend out so beautifully and smoothly and they’re so pigmented and vivid. I am well and truly shook.

And now it’s time for the lowlights… the products that I will be quite happily leaving behind in 2017. Au revoir. Peace out.

Kylie Cosmetics: Royal Peach palette

I only bought this out of curiosity and… wow. The Royal Peach palette was such a disappointment I actually gave it away. First of all, it absolutelyย reekedย of an acrid chemical glue smell. It was chalky, hard to blend and had more fall out than Paramore in 2010. Goodbye and good riddance. You can see my full, honest review here.

Too Faced: Natural Love palette

I will write a separate blog post on the reasons why, but 2017 was the year I realised I had fallen out of love with Too Faced. This palette had such promise. And it delivered on none of that promise. You can see my full review here.

Fenty Beauty: Pro Filt’r Foundation

Again, I wrote a proper blog post about this discusses my full thoughts on this product and you can read that here. While there were some features that, for me, were a hit, there were just too many misses that I find myself unable to wear it. Mostly the fact that it simply would not stay around my nose, no matter what primer or application tool, or even setting powder or spray I used. I know there are some people that really love this product but it’s not for me.


And that concludes my year in makeup products – I would love to hear your thoughts on what products were hits and misses for you this year so leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram.

I hope you all have an amazing New Years and a wonderful start to your 2018 xx


what to get your makeup obsessed girlfriend for christmas

If you’re reading this, you either haven’t bought your girlfriend/sister/bff a present yet, or you’re suspecting your boyfriend/girlfriend/mum/dad/whoever hasn’t got you anything yet and has absolutely no idea what to get.

You are (or they are) not alone.

Because while you might think that somebody who documents their likes and dislikes as much as I do would be pretty easy to shop for, unfortunately you would be wrong.

My boyfriend found this out the hard way. He wanted to buy me an eyeshadow palette he’d seen me post about, because he thought I wanted it. He later found out that I’d been posting about it because I already had it.

So to make things a little easier on my loving friends and family I’ve put together the following list of stuff I want, that I either don’t have or could use more of:

1. Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow

I have wanted these forever but I always seem to find a reason not to buy them. The shades I particularly want are Kitten Karma, Smoldering Satin and Rose Gold Retro… If you’ve left this to the last second (like I know my man has) Mecca has really quick express shipping. Just double check your makeup addict’s collection first to make sure you’re not buying a shade they already have!

2. The Gigi Hadid x Maybelline lippie collection

I love maybelline lipstick and I love the look of this collection but I haven’t had a chance to pick any up for myself just yet. I love the shades Khair and McCall. You can get them from Farmers for only $25 a pop.

3. Essie top and base coats

While you’re at Farmers, you might as well make a quick stop at the Essie stand.You can never have too many top and base coats so even if your makeup pal already has one, they’ll no doubt be stoked to get a top up. And if they have the Gel Couture top coat in stock (they never do) you’d better snatch that up pronto. I own several Gel Couture polishes but they’re no good without the top coat which I sadly haven’t been able to get. (It’s the twisty white bottle, ask someone at the counter if you’re lost)(this is mainly a hint for Ben, I reeeally want this one)

4. Sugar Cube Co sugar scrubs

Just like the top and base coats, you can never have too many bath and shower products. Anything you can use up, it’s good to have more of. Which is why I definitely wouldn’t say no to more Sugar Cube Co sugar scrubs under my tree – this stuff is like crack to me. You can also use my code MICHE for 15% off! Get your sugar fix here. But be quick – cut off for Christmas shipping is 10am on Tuesday the 19th.

5. Makeup brushes

Because the more brushes you have, the less often you have to wash them. #science. You can get good cheap ones online but if you’ve left it to the very last minute and online shopping isn’t an option, the rose gold Artiste brushes from Farmers are pretty good for the price.Make sure they’re the rose gold ones, though, as my experience with the rest of the Artiste range is it can be pretty hit and miss.

I hope that this helps someone! If you spot something you want on this list, feel free to send it to your man… fingers crossed he gets the hint!

Rimmel London Breathable Foundation

Finding a good foundation is like finding Prince Charming.

You have your little checklist – has to be tall, has to be handsome, has to surprise you with roses... and then he also has to be single.

Foundation is just like that. I had my checklist. I needed something light and breathable, low maintenance, in a pale but warm shade (because, yes, I look like I’ve never seen the sun in my entire life, but I also look bright pink if there’s even a hint of coolness to the shade) and then itย alsoย needed to be affordable and available in New Zealand.

In comes Rimmel. It ticks every box and even some I hadn’t thought of.

First of all, it’s light as air. You can barely feel it on the skin, and a little goes a long, long way. You can even set it with powder and still feel like your face is naked. It’s a medium coverage, and when coupled with the concealer it’s easy toย customize your level of coverage to suit your needs.ย 

The concealer is basically the same formula as the foundation except a little thicker because it’s full coverage (I mean, it’s a concealer, duh) but it’s still light as air and has a non-cakey finish.

It also ticks the low maintenance box – it’s incredibly long-wearing and you won’t need to touch it up throughout the day. I have normal skin, so if you have oily skin you may disagree, but I wore this from 6:30am to 10pm and it still looked fresh right up until I stepped into the shower.

It claims to last for 25 hours, I personally don’t have the energy to test that claim but if you do, more power to ya.

The final tick from me is that it is SPF20 – this is theย perfectย summer foundation. It’s lightweight, sweat proof and protects you from the sun. What more could a girl want??

It has a great big “cushion applicator” (picture a giant lipgloss applicator) which is actually a huge pain in the ass for me as a makeup artist because it’s much harder to decant than just a standard pump but if you’re buying it for yourself, you’ll probably really like how easy to apply it is.

My biggest problem with the range is that it does only come in 6 shades – while they have the perfect warm-but-pale shade for my skin (and I tried their lightest shade, porcelain, on a real-life ginger with actual real-life ginger skin and it was perfect for her), if you have darker skin you probably won’t find your shade here.

If you were wondering what a redhead with a tan looks like, here it is ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒž also a full month from my last hair appointment and my colour is still looking capital F R E S H so FRESH (thanks @jordichch โœจ) Eyes: #hudabeauty Rose Gold palette and #inglotcosmetics 14 pigment mixed with Duraline, #dodolashes in style D307 (โœจuse code MICHEFRANCES for ๐Ÿ’ธ offโœจ) lips: #revlonnz Ultra HD Gel lippie in Desert ๐ŸŒน face: #maybelline Super Stay primer, #rimmellondonnz Lasting Finish Foundation mixed with #benefitnz Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer, contoured with #rimmel dual ended contour stick and all set with #inglot powder ๐ŸŒธ @toofaced Papa Donโ€™t Peach blush, #anastasiabeverlyhills Moonstone highlighter โœจ brows: #abh Dipbrow Pomade ๐Ÿ’•โœจ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒน #motd #bronzed #duraline #abhfreaks #norvina #abhjunkies #sundipped #gingerhair #redhair #sttropeztannz #anastasiabrows #dipbrow #tanredhead #tanginger

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This is something that definitely needs to change – if RiRi can bring out 40 shades in her first ever release, Rimmel (who have been around for donkey’s years) should be able to come up with at least 20.

But since it has an RRP of only NZ$24.99 and it’s available from Farmers, Kmart and The Warehouse, it definitely ticks the affordability and availability boxes.

TL;DR: perfect summer foundation, does what it says on the tin, but needs more shades.

As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I did receive these products for free however my opinion remains honest and unchanged.

the official rimmel london nz best bits list

Rimmel and I go back. Way back.

Rimmel made the first lipstick I bought, at the tender age of 16 when my best friend and I got matching red lippies at the mall. They also made the first powder I fell in love with, that I still use to this day.

They’re affordable, of good quality, and easily accessible here in New Zealand.

But, with all “drugstore” brands, you are going to get some hits and misses.

So let me take the guesswork out of it with the official “Rimmel London NZ Best Bits List” (made official by yours truly, because I can.)

1. Stay Matte Pressed Powder – this stuff is all that, a bag of chips, a cake, a roast potato and half your mum’s ancient tin can collection. I wear this every day in the shade Transparent (which isย not a translucent powder, it is a lovely vanilla/ivory shade, a bit warmer than most lightest-shade-they-have shades) and it’s everything I want a powder to be. It sets foundation without being cakey, as well as being my go-to for on top of bare skin. It’s also only NZ$14.50 from The Warehouse. Get into it.

2. Insta Fix & Matte Powder – if you were looking for a translucent powder, you can’t look past this. It’s perfect for setting under your eyes without it going all crepey, you can use it to bake, set your foundation and concealer, and importantly there’s no flashback. Best of all, it’s a whopping NZ$16.99 from Farmers.ย (Soz but how can you argue with that price point???)

3. Wonder Wing liner – the beauty of this is in the shape of the tip. It’s a conical felt tip liner but one side has been shaved flat so you can stamp on your wing. I use theย edge of the shaved side to get a really fine line across my lashline and then use the flat edge for killer wings. It stays on really well – dries fast, doesn’t smudge or fade – but I find I need two coats to get it really black. This is a must have for me in the mornings – I can hit that snooze button one more time cause I know my liner is only gonna take me like, four and a half seconds. You can get it from Farmers for NZ$17.99.

4. Brow This Way Eyebrow Powder Kit – this is an amazing dupe for the Benefit Brow Zings, only it’s much friendlier for the pocket at NZ$16.99 instead of NZ$55. Brow powders are great because it’s easy to blend them out to look really natural. This one also comes with the cutest tiny spoolie.

5. Magnif’Eyes Eye Contouring Palette – I’ve used Smokey, Blush and Nude and I can hand on heart say I love them all, but Blush has to be my favourite. If you’ve got green or blue eyes, you need this palette. It has an RRP of NZ$25.99 which I honestly think is a steal for a 12 pan palette of this pigmentation.

I’m all for high end makeup but brands like Rimmel make beauty on a budget so easy. Perfect for Christmas presents for the makeup addict in your life.

What are your favourite products from Rimmel?

As always, this blog post is entirely my own, honest opinion. Everything I have written here I believe to be true. I did receive items 2 through 5 for review but paid full price for item 1, regardless my opinion is genuine.

on backing yourself / the story of how my client paid me almost twice what I charged her

Like most little girls who grew up “girly”, I’ve been a makeup artist my whole life.

It all started when I met my first red lipstick. It was the 90s, and my mum’s lipstick collection was entirely mauves and browns. So, when she brought home this bright red lipstick she got as aย gift-with-purchase, it was like something off the TV or the pages of a magazine. For me, it was love at first sight.

These days, I like to believe I’ve moved beyond finger-blended eyeshadow (this was my go-to) and vibrant red lips applied like a lip smacker.

I got my qualification last year and made the shift from painting my own face to painting the faces of others. I really enjoy being a makeup artist. It’s fun and it’s creative.

And yet (there’s always an “and yet”, isn’t there?) I find myself really dreading doing it.

Leading up to my bookings, I can’t help but feel all “doom and misery” inside. I’m so nervous I’ll do a bad job that I just can’t look forward to it. Which doesn’t make any sense, does it? I love doing it and my clients are always super happy with the outcome.

To be fair, all those fears go away the moment my brush touches their face and I remember I’m actuallyย good at this, people want me to do it! But it’s the lead up to the event that gets me. And then, of course, the awkwardness of charging for it.

Whenever my clients pay me in cash I awkwardly mumble “oh, thanks” and stuff it into a pocket. I behave as if I’m not running a business, and I’m embarrassed that they would even think to pay me.

Just last week I was hired to work on a photoshoot with a photographer I really like and a local musician who wanted some photo and video content for a project she’s working on. It was a really fun shoot – I was nervous, for sure, but the vibe of the team was great and we had a really good time together.

The makeup turned outย brilliantly.ย I kept catching myself looking at her and admiring what I’d done – it was the cleanest contour and the crispest wing you ever did see. She even told me, several times, how happy she was with it.ย 

But when it came time to discuss payment, I completely clammed up.

(Word of advice for MUAs: if you are working on a shoot, talk money first – be clear if you expect to be paid for all the hours you stay behind or just for the initial makeover.)

I sent her an invoice for my standard one hour/one face rate (NZD$75 if you’re curious) even though I had been on the shoot with her from 8:30am until 4:00pm which is seven and a half hours work.

So, why did I rip myself off like that?

My client was over the moon with her makeup.ย Iย was over the moon with her makeup. But I still felt like I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t professional enough or well known or whatever, and my insecurity caused me to self-sabotage.

It was actually the client who turned around and said “I would really like to pay you more as you stayed for the whole day and you did such an amazing job! Please change the invoice to $130” (which is almost double what I initially charged her).

I was lucky to have such a wonderful client who really valued my work – most people would have been happy to accept the first invoice.

And that’s why it’s so, so important to back yourself. As a freelancer, you set your wages. It’s entirely up to you to say “I’m good at this and I deserve to get paid for it.”

But this advice applies to just about anyone, in any job. Back yourself.

Once more, for the people in the cheap seats:ย 

back yourself text

It’s normal to feel insecure when you’re putting yourself out there. It’s totally normal to feel like you’re not good enough to do something.

Just don’t let that run your life.

Don’t let that fear stop you from doing what you want to do. I may have needed a client to smack me in the face with it, but I am good at what I do. My promise to myself from here on out is I am going to be more confident in my abilities and believe in myself more.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.19.58 PM
That’s me!

So my question to you guys is, have you experienced this feeling before? What was your reminder to back yourself? Leave me a comment xx

off to the races // cheap race day looks

The Melbourne Cup is now only two weeks away and the Christchurch Trotting Cup and Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup follow swiftly behind, so the pressure is on to find the perfect outfit.

If you were organised (like me) you would have been planning/obsessing for months and would already have your outfit sorted. But if you’re still trying to figure what to wear to the races, fear not. I’ve got you covered.

Let’s break this down piece by piece.

The Headpiece

If there is one thing you can’t skip, it’s the headpiece. It’s an essential component of a race day outfit.

gold leaf headband tiara fascinator

I love this gold tiara for two reasons: it’s cute, and it’s $10. This is actually the one I have ordered for myself. You can get it here from AliExpress but be warned:ย shipping could be anywhere from two to four weeks. If you’re not willing to take the risk, you can get an identical one for $22 here on Showpo.

gold leaf fascinator crown

The Iconic has a huge range of fascinators and headpieces from $28 up to a couple hundred dollars – click here for price: low to high and happy hunting. Shipping is super quick, and some of them are really cool like this funky Monroe Headpiece.ย I mean, yeah, it’s a little different... but I can’t stop myself from loving it.

marilyn monroe headpiece fascinator morgan taylor

Other cheap places you can look are $1-$8 shops at malls (they usually have a pretty good selection!) and places like Lovisa.

The Dress

I’ve been having this never-ending battle with my BFF where she sends me links to completely inappropriate dresses she’s seen online and I have to gently, lovingly tell her no.

The races is a daytime event, so the dress code sits closer to a garden party than an evening out.

Translation: this is the only time, ever, that an LBD is inappropriate.ย 

Of course, fashion is up to interpretation but if you can, stay away from black and keep your lengths knees and below.


Jumpsuits are always an option – like this gorgeous one from Boohoo. It’s $45 but they always have sales.


This one is a little steeper at $80 but it’s pretty reasonable if you get in while the 50% off sale is on. This would look super cute with a gold tiara.


Of course, you can’t go wrong with rummage rack finds like this off the shoulder number from Pagani. Online it says only size 16 is available but if there’s a Pagani near you, go have a dig through the sale rack. It’s $25 – hard to beat.

The Shoes

Possibly the most frustrating part of putting together a race day outfit is finding the right shoes. You don’t want to beย too matchy-matchy but you also want them to make sense with the outfits.

A simple rule to follow: match your shoes to your headpiece – unless your headpiece is the same colour as your dress, then match them to your handbag.

If your outfit is light but not white, these shoes from The Iconic are cute – and they’re only around $50.


If you prefer a chunkier heel and have a little more money to spend, I love these Lipstik shoes from Hannahs. They’re $100 but they’re quite versatile so you’d get more than a day’s wear from them.


If you’re really stuck for shoes that go with your outfit, go black. This is also appropriate if your headpiece, dress and bag are already one colour and you’re afraid of cascading (if you’re unfamiliar with the term “cascading”, it means dressing head to toe in one colour – we all did it at primary school and we’ve all sworn never again). These shoes are only $30 from H&M so they won’t break the bank.

You can also check out Kmart, The Warehouse and Number One Shoe Warehouse for cheap options.

I hope that this helps some – if you are going to the races and your outfit is sorted, I’d love to know what you’re wearing! Leave me a comment below!


As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and everything I have written here I believe to be true. This post is not sponsored in any way.

huda beauty desert dusk review

I’ve had the Desert Dusk palette for a few weeks now, but I’ve been finding it so hard to write a review.

To be honest, after I wrote my review for Huda’s last palette (the Rose Gold palette, read that here) I sort of changed my mind about it. I initially wasn’t a huge fanย and it was a while before I could call myself convinced. So I really wanted to get to know Desert Dusk, you know? Take her out for a couple of drinks. Find out if our star signs are compatible.

Spoiler alert: I’m swiping right.

The shades aren’t totally dissimilar to the Rose Gold palette. In fact, side by side, they almostย look like they could all be from one big palette. Shades like Suede (RG) and Musk (DD), Maneater (RG) and Saffron (DD), Coco (RG) and Oud (DD) were similar enough that, if I was buying individual shadows, I probably wouldn’t buy both shadows in each pair. The shade Angelic also appears in both palettes.

But texturally, they are completely different. The thick foiled shadows of Rose Gold are gone and instead, there is a pleasing mix of mattes, duochrome toppers, shimmers and a glitter.


The mattes are totally different to the first palette. Where they were leaning towards dry and chalkyย before, now they are creamy and much easier to blend. The big thing here is that the mattes aren’t totally matte – if you look closely there is an almost imperceptible amount of sheen in the shadows.


The hero shimmers of this palette are Blood Moon (which is so pigmented it will stain your fingers after swatching!), Cashmere and Turkish Delight. They’re just so rich and gorgeous. Nefertiti is also lovely, it has small amounts of actual glitter in it but sadly the glitter doesn’t adhere so well to the lid so be wary of fall out.

Having a wild Saturday night with @hudabeauty ๐Ÿ’• details…. @ericaknellermakeup says I have the lid space for 3 people so Iโ€™m trying to be a bit more grateful to have this face of mine ๐Ÿ˜‚ eyes: @shophudabeauty Desert Dusk palette, @xobeautyshop lashes in The Gold Digger ๐ŸŒน brows: @benefitnz Goof Proof brow pencil ๐Ÿ”ฎ face: @revlonanz Nearly Naked in Ivory (this is discontinued… boo), the best setting powder @lorealmakeup true match mattifying powder, @cozzette Illume to contour, @benefitcosmetics Rockateur blush and @beccacosmetics Moonstone highlight (although it doesnโ€™t pop on me as much as it does on the gorgeous @tinay.ang) and lastly lips: @anastasiabeverlyhills Pure Hollywood ๐ŸŽ€

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Duochrome toppers

Honestly, I’m not 100% convinced these are better than the foiled shadows. I was totally sucked in by Twilight when I saw it in the pan, but you need a solid base behind it or it fades to the background. You can see in the picture below, I really packed it on but it is still quite sheer. It is designed to be a topper, but I thought it was just a purple version of the RG foiled shadows and I think I would have preferred if it was.


The biggest disappointment of the palette. Cosmo looks beautiful, it has so much promise, but it simply does not deliver. It’s supposed to be “ready to wear” and packed in something to help it stick to your lid… but it starts dropping off the moment you apply and it doesn’t stop. You may have applied to your eyelid, but this glitter wants to be on your cheeks. It also moves around something terrible in the palette. When I opened my palette for the first time, it looked like it had lifted out of the pan and been patted back inside.ย It’s a no from me.

@hudabeauty Desert Dusk palette ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป also first selfie with my iPhone 8+… let me just say that I have never seen my flaws in such high definition before ๐Ÿ˜‚ details: eyes: @shophudabeauty Desert Dusk palette (desert sand, musk, eden as transition shades, saffron, amethyst and oud as crease/outer corner, Nefertiti, royal and Turkish delight on lid and then went to town with cosmo glitter), @maybelline Hyper Sharp Wing liner, @xobeautyshop lashes in The Soulmate ๐Ÿ’• face: @revlonanz Colorstay, @rimmellondonnz Stay Matte powder, @maybelline Master Blush palette for blush, @beccacosmetics Moonstone highlight (also in inner corner) ๐Ÿ’• brows: @rimmellondonnz eyebrow pencil and brow powder ๐Ÿ’• lips: @colourpop Karrueche X Colourpop satin lip in Darling ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

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As for price point, this is a pricey palette. NZ$107 gets you eighteen shades, so you are getting a big palette for your money. Huda also upped her game on the packaging compared to the last one, it feels sturdier and it comes with a decent sized mirror. Although the mirror is basically useless since, due to the fragility of the glitter, I would never chuck this in my makeup bag to use on the go. It’s good quality and I am loving using it, the shades are gorgeous, but I guess it’s up to you to decide if you think $107 is worth it.

Close up ๐Ÿ‘€

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As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I paid full price for this product. Everything I have written here I believe to be true.