November 29, 2010

Product Review: Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Tone Correcting Concentrated Serum Night

Find out more about the production from Neutrogena's website.

This product claims to fight the look of stubborn dark spots and discoloration to uncover more even-toned, younger-looking skin.  This product has essential soy, retinol|SA, and pure vitamin C to smooth out texture, smooth out wrinkles, reduce the look of dark spots, and revitalize your complexion.  

Let's review claim-by-claim.

Smoothing out texture
I don't notice a difference to the texture of my skin.

Smoothing out wrinkles
Nope.  I still have my fine/deepening lines, and worse, I've got more now than when I first starting using this product a couple months ago. 

Reducing the look of dark spots
For the first month that I used this, I did notice a slight reduction in dark spots.  But that was then, this is now.  If I don't have any makeup on and I take a picture of myself, I can see the age/sun spots in the photos so clearly!  I thought they were supposed to be reduced in darkness or size!

Revitalizing complexion
I get better results with SK-II, Envie de Neuf, and my own orange peel brightening mask.  I don't think this product is playing a major role in my skincare.

This product isn't working for me anymore.  I don't think I will repurchase this.  The only good thing it does for me now is that it's a convenient "light moisturizer" I can take on the plane without getting hassled by the TSA.

I won't be repurchasing this product again.  I like Neutrogena's brand overall, but I'm not too thrilled with this product's performance.


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November 19, 2010

Natural Vitamin C Brightening Mask

My home-made orange peel powder.

Mmmm!  Chobani Greek Yogurt is so tasty!

For the mask, this yogurt could be too thick.

A little too thick, but effective all the same!

I normally like to do all my masks at night so that I can sleep with the serum(s) on throughout the night; however, I think this mask is great for the mornings.  Not only do you get the benefits of low-cost, all-natural brightening mask, but you get some time to eat your morning yogurt as well.  ^_^

Benefits of this mask:
Brightened skin
Moisturized skin
Softened skin
Luminescent skin
Refreshed skin
Cooled skin

For my mask, I used only the yogurt part of Chobani's Greek Yogurt, which is really thick.  I have also used Yoplait's strawberry yogurt with similar results.  


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November 16, 2010

All-natural calming toner

Just as I have received a new SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, I discovered a new way of using my lavender essential oil with what is left of my TN Dickinson's witch hazel.  The irony of trying to use up the inexpensive products so you can use the expensive product, only to find that you want the inexpensive product.  LOL.

1 tsp witch hazel
3 drops lavender essential oil

This makes for an all-natural toner that soothes and calms you to face the day or unwind from the day.  The lavender oil is surprisingly not greasy and has a cooling sensation on the skin as the toner gets absorbed.  This natural toner is more hydrating that witch hazel alone, is easily absorbed into the skin, and prepares the skin for serums and moisturizers that come after the toning step.  Personally, the scent of lavender essential oils always reminds of the spa and getting facials, so this is a plus for me!

The witch hazel at Wal-Mart costs around $5.00.  The lavender essential oil at Whole Foods costs between $7 and $11.  This will last a lot longer than a bottle of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence because there is so much witch hazel and essential oil.

Note:  This toner is not limited to lavender oil.  I have mixed and matched with tea tree oil and rose oil for some interesting toners.  Adding tea tree oil will tingle the face as its antibacterial properties annihilate acne-causing germs!  *insert evil laughter here*  Adding rose oil will moisturize the skin and calm it without the tingle that lavender oil causes and makes my skin feel so soft.  This could be my alternative to pricier toners and essences!  ^_^

2nd note:  Before using any essential oils, be sure to read what they can and can't be used for.  Also, be sure to read when they can and can't be used, i.e. pregnant or not.

November 15, 2010

Sisley Paris Phyto Star Eyes in Sparkling Rhapsody

Just when I am coming to terms with my extravagant spending on the Tarte Jewelry Box, comes another temptation!  Sisley Paris' Phyto Star Eyes Sparkling Rhapsody e/s palette is now available.  I should have held out!  :-P  Such luxury and beauty for chic elegance!

Click on the images below to link to the promotional tutorial videos.  I think I linked them correctly.  Please let me know if there are any problems.

In case the pictures don't link to the videos, below are Plan B links.  ^_^


Day Makeup

Evening makeup


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November 13, 2010

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

Traveling can really take its toll on one's skin.  This week, I went to Las Vegas and my skin suffered with work stress and travel stress.  The only good thing is that I got to see Mr. P for a short time.  ^_^

I was trying to implement a travel plan of taking a mask with me to counteract the travel stress.  However, I forgot to pack my mask this time.  So the moment I got home from Vegas, I tore into my SK-II Facial Treatment Mask.  I don't have a lot of these masks, so I'm sure I can't do a great in-depth review of this product.  However, I will say that this product has impressed me a great deal. 

I am very impressed!!!

I put the mask on and relaxed for about 30 minutes.  I took off the mask and patted the remaining serum (which was a lot) into my skin on the face, throat, and decolletage, then I went to bed.  When I woke up this morning, those fine lines under my eyes and on my upper cheeks were filled.  My face was moisturized without feeling greasy.  My skin felt refreshed!  EDIT:  Also, also!  It's very cooling and refreshing, and my pores are smaller after using it!!!

I like it a lot.  If I finish my other current masks, I will see if I add this to one my of mask wish lists.  ^_^

To read more product information about this mask, click here.

Below is the copy/pasted blurb about this product:

Radiance, Moisture Enhancing Mask by SK-II. Revitalizes. Comforts. Provides intense hydration. A 100% cotton mask that soaks skin with Pitera's fusion of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids. Immediately replenishes dehydrated skin, leaving it refreshed and cool.


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November 08, 2010

Product Review: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex

Does it seem that the fancier the item, the longer the name?  LOL...  my humor.  ^_^  I'll put the product info at the bottom.  Visit Estee Lauder's website here.

I've been using a sample size of this product for more than a month and I really really really like it!

I'm not a fan of this type of packaging.  For this one little bottle that can easily set you back $80 for the 1.7 oz version, this type of packaging will not allow you to get every last drop.  If you go with the conversion that there are about 450 drops per fluid ounce (viscosity of the serum is taken into consideration) and the 1.7 oz bottle holds 765 drops, that's about $0.104 USD per drop.  And given the type of packaging this is, there is bound to be a couple of drops that you won't be able to get.

Repairing fine lines
I still have fine lines under my eyes and around my mouth.  However, when I use this product I feel as if it smoothes out the lines a little bit.  I think this product works through absorption and by filling in the lines.  The thing is, I believe this is best used at night when you're resting and your skin has a chance to repair.  So while I don't notice a dramatic improvement, I can safely say that my skin isn't getting worse, either.

Evening out the skin
In my experience, I think this product does do a fantastic job of evening out my skin tone.  It seems to take most of the redness away from around my nose and mouth.  It's going to seem weird but I think that this product doesn't get absorbed fully into my skin and I believe that's a good thing!  After applying this product and letting it set, I can't help myself sometimes and touch my skin to feel how smooth it is.  It feels a little bit like a primer, but not as powdery or dry.  It retains a bit of moisture... for me, at least.

So judging by my last statement, yes, this product does provide some hydration.  But this is no excuse to skip moisturizer.  Serums still need to be locked to skin with a moisturizer to boost efficacy.

Environmental Repair
Now this statement, I truly can't say.  I think the only way to prove this is to do an experiment with two sample populations with similar lifestyles and living in similar environments.  Your control group would not use this serum, and the experimental group would.  I think that's the only way to see if this environmental repair claim is true.  However, for all the other benefits, I think we can afford to let this claim slide a bit.  ^_-

Okay, now read on for the product information, which I copy/pasted from the website.  Remember to visit the website for more information and product comparisons.  ^_^

~~~  ~~~  ~~~

"Best Anti-aging Skincare"
2010 CEW Beauty Awards

The one formula beautiful skin can't live without.

This comprehensive, high-performance anti-aging serum-inspired by groundbreaking DNA research-brings your skin a dramatic reduction in the visible signs of aging.

Use it every day to help continuously repair the appearance of past damage, prevent future damage and deliver high levels of hydration.
If you want younger, healthier-looking skin now and in the future, don't go a night without it.

Even the best can get better. This advanced formula-with 20 patents worldwide-includes all the benefits you love about the original, plus more to help your skin repair itself like never before:

Exclusive Chronolux™ Technology
  • Repairs the appearance of past damage.
  • Addresses damaging effects before they become permanent.
  • You'll see a visible improvement in the signs of aging-specifically lines, uneven skintone and immediate hydration.
Enhanced Environmental Repair
  • Neutralizes up to 90%* of environmentally generated free radicals before they can affect skin's appearance.
  • That's key, because environmental assaults such as UV, smoke, pollution and even emotional stress are the #1 cause of premature signs of aging.
  • Our advanced technology repairs the appearance of damage caused by every major environmental assault.
Continuous Hydration

  • Creates the optimal environment for repair with nature's long-proven moisture magnet Hyaluronic Acid.

  • Clinical tests prove skin's levels of moisturization increase dramatically.

  • Soothes daily irritation and builds a rich anti-oxidant reserve to help replenish skin's natural protectants.

  • Think of it as "insurance" for younger, healthier-looking skin, today and tomorrow.

    • Apply every PM on clean skin. Follow with your moisturizer.
    • Use several drops.
    • Smooth in gently all over face and throat.

    • Dermatologist-tested
    • Ophthalmologist-tested
    • Fragrance-free
    • Non-acnegenic

    * In vitro testing.



    "Smile on!"

    November 07, 2010

    2010 Anti-Aging Awards Winner

    It is here!!!!  Finally, an easy-to-understand list of some good anti-aging skincare products!

    Best Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15+:

    Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15

    The contenders: Dailymoisturizers with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15or higher promising benefits that include a firmer, more even-toned, less lined complexion.
    Testing time: Eight weeks.
    Admittedly pricey, Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15 ($150, department stores) proved to be an all-around MVP (most valuable product). It rated highest overall with consumers and was also the most moisturizing. While the Visia Complexion Analyzer images showed very little reduction of age spots or wrinkles with any of the 10 products tested, using the Chanel did result in a slight improvement in beneath-the-surface UV spots (which turn into splotchy skin over time). Testers also gave Chanel the top score for firming, softening, smoothing, and adding radiance to their complexions. "I liked the creamy texture and the way it went on," reported one pleased panelist. "It really helped my skin look plump and younger."

    Best Night Creams:

    L'Oréal Paris Advanced RevitaLift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme and Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Night

    The contenders: Creams and lotions created to keep skin moisturized and boost its overnight-repair function. These formulas often include antioxidants and wrinkle-fighting ingredients such as retinol.
    Testing time: Eight weeks.
    And the winners are... It's a tie! When lab and consumer results were tallied, L'Oréal Paris Advanced RevitaLift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme ($20, drugstores) and Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Night ($42, CVS) shared the top spot.
    The differences between them: Pro-retinol-A–infused L'Oréal received the best overall consumer performance score, including the highest ranking from panelists for firming and reducing wrinkles. Budget-friendly L'Oréal was also tops, per lab results, in minimizing forehead lines and wrinkles. Visia analysis showed that Vichy, on the other hand, was best at evening out skin tone and addressing fine lines and wrinkles around two other age-sensitive areas — the mouth and nose. Both treatments received impressive moisturizing scores and high praise from consumers for their light textures and unobtrusive scents, and for not causing skin irritation. "A couple of people have commented on how nice my face looked in the past month," said one volunteer who tried the Vichy. "I don't know if it's the product, but this has never happened before."
    Tip: While panelists were generally pleased with the softening and smoothing benefits of night creams, the treatments were less successful at minimizing age and UV spots than more targeted treatments, such as the winning age-spot faders.

    Best Eye Cream:

    Olay Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex

    The contenders: Treatments promising to improve signs of aging around the eyes, including dryness, crow's-feet, fine lines, puffiness, dark circles, and sagging lids.
    Testing time: Eight weeks.
    And the winner is... Olay Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex($42, drugstores) ranked highest in the lab and proved to be a standout hydrator, according to the Corneometer moisture study. Visia analysis also showed Olay to be one of the top performers on undereye crinkles, though the results were modest. Consumers noted that the cream reduced their crow's-feet, puffiness, and undereye bags. Several liked the nonirritating, soothing properties as well. "It felt nice going on, moisturized my skin, and was very gentle," reported one.

    Best Anti-Aging Serum:

    Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum

    The contenders: Concentrated blends of vitamins, peptides, antioxidants, and botanicals formulated to avert or minimize fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and uneven tone.
    Testing time: Eight weeks.
    Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum ($23, Target) was a superior performer overall and shared the highest consumer score with the second-place finisher, Mary Kay. Consumers gave this vitamin A- and E-enriched formula high marks for its tone-evening and skin-firming properties; the latter victory was echoed in the lab, where Boots received a perfect firming score, according to our Cutometer measurements. "It's easy to apply and nongreasy," said one panelist. "My skin has never looked better."

    Best Body Lotion:

    Fresh Sugar Açai Age-Delay Body Cream

    The contenders: Moisturizers that, over time, can also firm, smooth, and even out skin, plus enhance radiance.
    Testing time: Four weeks.
    It may be packaged — and priced — like a royal indulgence, but Fresh Sugar Açai Age-Delay Body Cream ($65, Sephora) is also a real worker bee. This lightly scented formula, laced with antioxidant açai oil, skin-smoothing sugar, and softening citrus fruit acids, was the only body lotion that received top lab scores for both moisturizing and firming. Fresh also earned one of the highest consumer grades for its skin-tone-evening and radiance-enhancing properties. Panelists raved about the rich-but-not-too-greasy texture as well: "Easily applied and clean," said one tester. "Left a nice glow."

    Best Hand Cream with SPF 15+

    Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Hand Repair Creme SPF 15

    The contenders: Hand lotions and creams with a minimum of SPF 15. These moisturize and address roughness, wrinkling, and brown spots, some with ingredients commonly found in face creams: antioxidants, peptides, and retinoids, to name a few.
    Testing time: Four weeks.
    Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Hand Repair Creme SPF 15 ($56, department stores) had the best overall performance score, rating first in a key hand-cream measure: ability to moisturize after six hours. Testers raved about the soft feel of their skin, and several singled out the scent — an unsurprising bonus from a company known for its fine perfumes. Most comments reflected these perks: "What a difference," raved one 49-year-old tester. "My hands look much smoother, as if I am in my 30s."

    Best Instant Wrinkle Smoother

    Boots No7 Intensive Line Filler and Olay Regenerist Filling + Sealing Wrinkle Treatment

    The contenders: Fast-acting topical treatments promising to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles. These temporary smoothers work by either plumping up the skin or filling in creases with a spackle-like serum.
    Testing time: 15 minutes in the lab (to test the instant claims); one week at home.
    And the winners are... Boots No7 Intensive Line Filler ($18, Target) and Olay Regenerist Filling + Sealing Wrinkle Treatment ($19, drugstores) showed their might in somewhat different areas when our experts and panelists rated skin changes in three wrinkle-prone hot spots: the forehead and around the eyes and mouth. Olay ranked highest in the lab for reducing forehead lines, and came in first with consumers for minimizing wrinkles all over the face. Boots won for ease of use and performed slightly better than Olay on eye wrinkles. As one tester reported about the Boots: "Very fast results, not irritating, and it gave me a fresh look when I was tired." Tip: The wrinkle-flattening effects our lab experts noted on the Visia 15 minutes after application were definitely subtle. But if you don't have a cosmetic dermatologist on your speed dial, or months to wait for your skin care to kick in, our winners can provide you with a quick pick-me-up.

    Best At-Home Peel:

    Boots No7 Advanced Renewal Anti-ageing Glycolic Peel Kit

    The contenders: Facial peels infused with glycolic and salicylic acids, among other exfoliants. Inspired by in-office dermatologist treatments, these at-home versions aim to slough off dead cells in order to improve radiance, skin tone, and smoothness — and soften the look of lines.
    Testing time: Four weeks.
    Boots No7 Advanced Renewal Anti-ageing Glycolic Peel Kit ($25, Target) won most-appealing peel. This twice-weekly Boots kit, a glycolic acid solution that's left on for five minutes and neutralized with soothing pads, was the top performer both in the lab and with volunteers at home — a hit on all fronts. Visia imaging showed that the peel evened tone and smoothed skin, which consumers echoed; they also reported that it minimized the look of creases while leaving skin soft and radiant. "It made my face smoother and silky as a baby's bottom," one woman raved. "I was tempted to use it every day!" (She didn't.)

    Best Facial Firmer:

    Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Growth Factor Extreme Neuropeptide Serum

    The contenders: Creams and serums that claim to firm, tighten, lift, tone, and/or sculpt sagging skin with active ingredients like peptides. Some also aim to hydrate and reduce the look of lines and wrinkles.
    Testing time: Four weeks.
    Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Growth Factor Extreme Neuropeptide Serum ($150, Sephora) is a treatment that proved splurge-worthy; lab tests showed that it toned and firmed the jawline, and more than half of consumers agreed that it increased firmness. "I even feel as though my face looks thinner due to firming around the jaw," one participant claimed. The creamy serum also scored well for hydration in the lab, but didn't improve the look of lines and wrinkles — none of the treatments in this test did.

    Best Age-Spot Fader:

    Roc Multi Correxion Tone Perfecting Treatment

    The contenders: Serums and lotions aimed at fading dark splotches. These manifestations of UV damage are among the major signs of aging — right up there with wrinkles and sagging.
    Testing time: Eight weeks.
    Roc Multi Correxion Tone Perfecting Treatment ($13.80, drugstores) proved to fade age spots noticeably, according to Visia analysis — and, even better, to do so for under $15, a lot less than you'll pay for the other age-spot faders we tested. This lotion, which you can wear alone or under moisturizer, also happened to be the product best tolerated by skin and least likely to cause irritation. Still, not even the winners erased spots outright. Said one tester: "Although it did not lighten all my spots, it worked remarkably on the ones it did lighten."

    Best Instant Redness Reducer:

    Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder

    The contenders: Remedies — whether in cream, serum, or powder form — that claim to reduce facial redness and soothe skin both immediately and over time. Though their anti-aging qualifications may not be immediately obvious, uneven skin tone can add years to your appearance.
    Testing time: 15 minutes in the lab (to test the instant claims); one week at home.
    Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder($32.50, department stores) nearly swept the category, with top scores for ease of use, consumer performance, and overall performance (a measure of lab and consumer results). "This face powder worked immediately," said one tester, adding that "it definitely minimized the amount of redness I have and did not take a lot of work to apply." Another liked its calming effect on her inflamed skin: "It felt soothing and worked great under my makeup."

    Best Body Sunscreen with SPF 30+:

    Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 50 Lotion

    The contenders: Water-resistant or waterproof broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sun damage is the number-one cause of wrinkles and age spots, so not all the sunscreens were required to make specific anti-aging claims; instead they had to be formulated and packaged in a way that would appeal to women 35 and over.
    Testing time: A single summer.
    Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 50 Lotion ($10, drugstores) is a product that volunteers gave outstanding marks for both preventing a sunburn and resisting water. Surprisingly, testers also preferred this product over lower-SPF options for ease of absorption, not feeling oily and greasy, and not causing any burning or stinging — three areas where lower-SPFs usually perform better. Testers noted that it was "easy to apply" and "felt rich and creamy on dry skin." They also liked the fact that it didn't have a strong fragrance. And considering the price ($10 for eight ounces), you never feel guilty about using too much.
    Here is the link to the full article.



    "Smile on!"

    November 05, 2010

    Product Review: Maybelline New York Great Lash Mascara

    In soft black, waterproof.

    The claims:
    A mascara that conditions as it thickens.
    • Lash-doubling waterproof formula glides on smooth to build great-looking smudge-proof lashes
    • Lash building brush makes it easy to get a full lash look without clumps or globs
    • Contact lens safe and hypoallergenic
    • Waterproof; also available in washable formula and washable with curved brush
    I haven't had great luck when working with my lashes, so I'm going to make my best effort here to cover the product and my experience using this product objectively as I can.

    I don't know if this mascara conditions as it thickens, I didn't use it enough to get a good feel for that; however, I really liked how thick yet still natural my lashes looked after applying the mascara.  I was surprised by how well this mascara holds curl in the lashes.  I'd apply it at 7:15am and I still had a nice little curl 12 hours later. 

    Smudging and raccoon eyes, however, were a constant problem for me.  I learned that I needed to curl my lashes just right and be vigilant throughout the day to avoid smudging.  If my lashes were curled properly, I wouldn't see smudging until 6-7 hours later and that would be it.  But if I didn't curl my lashes just right, I could expect to see smudges by 11am and raccoon eyes by 3pm.  Constant vigilance be damned if my lashes were not curled properly to begin with.  Most of the time, I didn't know if my lashes were curled properly or not until after the smudging occurred. 

    Side note: I have never appreciated the importance of curling lashes until I started using this mascara.  Curling one's lashes not only opens the eyes and makes one look good, but it also serves to lift lashes off one's cheek when one blinks or closes one's eyes.  However, I have hooded monolids and my curled lashes wrap around the hood of my eyelids like a taco shell to taco filling.  Judging by the pictures I take, you wouldn't be able to tell a difference if I have mascara on or not, unless it was a close-up picture.  But really, how many people do you come face-to-face with on a daily basis that you allow to stand within 2-3 inches of your face?

    I can't comment too much on the contact lens safe or hypoallergenic statement because I've had 3 eye infections since beginning to use this product.  I don't know if I contaminated the product, or if I truly am one of those people who develop allergies with age, but I have not fared well with this mascara in my beauty repertoire.

    So, now's the question:
    Would I repurchase this product again?  I would not because I may be allergic to it.  If I weren't allergic to it, my answer would be different.  ^_^



    "Smile on!"

    November 03, 2010

    SK-II Whitening Source Intensive Mask

    This is not a review of the SK-II Whitening Source Intensive Mask because I had only one.  Supposedly after using the mask, which you leave on for 5-15 minutes, your skin will be brighter, whiter, firmer, and moisturized.  

    I like to think that I have found the alternative to the Envie de Neuf mask.  It worked just as well as the EdN mask for a first use.  I suppose that if I had more of these I could have noticed some dramatic whitening by the end of the "programme."  Anyways, I think this is it.  This mask could very well be THE ONE!  ^_^

    November 01, 2010

    Shiseido Body Creator Aromatic Sculpting Gel

    This is another Shiseido product that I have used in the past.  I bought it in 2004.  The lady who sold this to me said it would help tighten, firm, and smooth the appearance of cellulite.  At 23, did I really need it?

    This isn't a review.  I'm just continuing on with the list of Shiseido products I've used before, while wondering to myself why Shiseido doesn't rank as high on my list of favorite brands.

    As I was saying.  I bought this in the winter of 2004 for help with cellulite.  ~_@  What I remember liking about this gel is that it smelled like grapefruit and it smelled soooooo good!  I don't think it is meant to provide moisture because it's a gel and very light.  I also don't think it was meant to be used in the winter because it contains menthol in it which makes it very cold when you apply it to the winter.

    I really liked the packaging.  Even though the sculpting gel was expensive, I think it lasted me a good 6 months.  I can't honestly tell if it did anything to my cellulite.  I looked the same, I felt the same, I was trying to lose weight through exercise and diet, and I wasn't paying that much attention.  The only thought I had was basically, "Every little bit helps."

    Anyways, it's not a bad product to try and I wouldn't mind getting it again.  ^_^



    "Smile on!"
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