Saturday, November 1st, 2014

I love Mountain Rose Herbs – Herbal Medicine. Beauty. Enhanced Sex.

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, herbs, roe, tinctures
Dried fruits and herbs for Beautiful Berry Nourishing Heart Tea #HerbalMedicine

Dried fruits and herbs for Beautiful Berry Nourishing Heart Tea #HerbalMedicine

It’s not a surprise anymore that I love herbal medicine. I’ve been writing a lot about it the past months. I wanted to share some pictures of things I’ve been buying recently for herbal medicine and beauty. Everything is from Mountain Rose Herbs which is where I’m an affiliate and source almost everything (unless they’re sold out of something). They offer such great prices on their stuff and the staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable.

Organic Herbal Teas (tisanes)

Organic Herbal Teas (tisanes)

These teas are remarkable blends that I love drinking. My daughter loves them, too. I use my big bad-ass french press to brew a big ol’ batch of herbal medicinal tea. (Read more here.) I’m particularly fond of the Dream Tea (it really works), the Vita-Blend Tea, Lemon Tea, and the Moon Ease Tea really works, too.

Organic Essential Oils for robust health and fighting illness.

Organic Essential Oils and tinctures for robust health and to help fight illness.

You know I love tinctures (I teach you how to easily make your own here). I buy some blends and I make some of my own. Since the tincture making experience, easy as it is, takes time to process, I sometimes buy pre-made blends if I don’t have something ready of my own. Or, if there’s a single herb tincture that I don’t feel like making myself, I buy it. For example, I always buy Mountain Rose Herbs’ Ashwaganda Tincture and Astragalus Root Tincture.

I’ll also never be without Black Cumin Seed oil for its crazy ridiculous benefits… it’s from a powerful medicinal plant which enjoys a robust reputation for healing a lot of things. It has a long history (especially in Egypt) of being used for many ailments from headache to toothache to sick stomachs to beauty (and a ton more).

"Classic Pack" of Essential Oils

“Classic” Sampler of Essential Oils

I also source a lot of essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs (I also love Living Libations but they’re usually more expensive, but oh so amazing. Their lemon oil was life-changing for me with Wild-Caught Salmon Roe). I use essential oils daily in our home vaporizers / aroma diffusers (I haven’t tried this one, but it’s on my Amazon wish list). I like to have one in the bedroom, office, kitchen, and family room. They work miracles for energizing when I use peppermint and rosemary … or calming when I use lavender … or disinfecting at flu time when I use eucalyptus, tea tree, and thyme. I also use essential oils for a plethora of other things. I have an epic blog post coming soon on how I use essential oils. I like the small vials (pictured above) in Mountain Rose Herbs’ Classic Sampler for my first aid kit.

Bulk herbs and spices for herbal medicine.

Bulk herbs and spices for herbal medicine.

Here are a few great choices for soups, tinctures, and teas. I use the rose hips in many of my tinctures to add a beautiful boost of Vitamin C.

I use Schizandra berries in my longevity and beauty tinctures. I read something interesting about Shizandra. According to the little gem of a book, Herbs for Long Lasting Health (by Rosemary Gladstar, my favorite author on herbal medicine), “Schizandra is often associated with the sexual organs, as it’s known to increase the staying power of men and to revitalize women’s sexual experience. When taken over a period of three to four weeks, it’s said to give a warm, tingling feeling to the vagina.” Um… OK!

And, astragalus root? That’s a potent longevity root that I will never be without. It has a stellar reputation for building immune strength and energizing the body. I use it in soups and stews primarily, like my Longevity Bone Broth (recipe here). I simply drop some slices into any simmering stew or tea and let it enhance my creations with longevity vigor. I aim to be a centenarian, after all. (Strain it out before consuming the soup, stew, or tea.)

Herbal Organic Beauty and First Aid

Herbal Organic Beauty and First Aid

Last, but not least, beauty (and first aid). I buy a mix of their oils so I can create my own blends for oil cleansing and healing (I have a post coming about a new twist I’ve added to my oil cleansing routine that upgraded it significantly — spoiler alert: this thing).

Mountain Rose Herbs also has awesome hydrosols (basically herbal water sprays for face and body… some are edible for food too, I think). These products are great for anti-aging, hydration, and just making me feel good. One of my favorite hydrosols is the rose water. I buy it, by the big size, and transfer it into smaller bottles, one of which that I carry in my purse at all times. I spritz it on my face to freshen up my makeup, give me a bit of hydration, and calm my senses with the smell.

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Recipe: Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Brain Boosting Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie

Enjoy this mega brain-boosting smoothie for your next breakfast or lunch. Warning: if you have a little one around, especially a little girl who loves pink, be sure to double the batch or she’ll drink all of yours.

Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie

Blend everything in an awesome high-speed blender. (You don’t really need a high-speed blender to make this… but life is better with one.)

Read More »

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Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Recipe: Spicy Aloe Beauty Salad (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free)

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, gluten free, paleo, recipe, vegan
Spicy Aloe Beauty Salad (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free)

Spicy Aloe Beauty Salad (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free)

I’m into beauty. I’m a girly-girl. I like beauty products, anti-aging goodies, sparkly things, makeup, and all things pink. And, as someone who closely watches what I put in my body, I do the same for what goes on the skin of my body.

Enter: Superfood Aloe.

Aloe is an amazing superfood that can be used externally and internally for amazing beauty results including fighting wrinkles when taken internally. Yeah, who knew?! Trouble is… fresh aloe is bitter so it’s not easy to find ways to consume it.  Sometimes I drop a chunk in my smoothie, other times I add to soup (like my Beauty Soup Recipe), and yet other times I add it to salad. (Be sure to consume only the clear gel/flesh part, and avoid the yellow part or you’ll get a sick tummy and be running to the potty more than you want.)

Here’s a refreshing and energizing salad that brings you beauty internally and externally with the hydrating cucumbers, circulation-boosting jalapeno, beauty enhancing raw honey, and skin loving aloe. Enjoy.

Read More »

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Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Recipe: Beauty Soup (Gluten Free)

Beauty Soup

Beauty Soup

Don’t you just love a nice bowl of soup? I know I do. Soups are one of my favorite foods, because they’re generally easy to make, and, most often, they are so very nutritious. Blending up all of those ingredients facilitates digestion, which can make for a happy tummy and happy you. Today, I have a wonderful soup recipe that serves up some potent beauty ingredients in a delicious and creamy way. Oh, and Greg loved it, too. He asked for seconds.

Enter: Beauty Soup.

Read More »

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Saturday, August 24th, 2013

EASY Beauty Routine – Oil Cleansing

I’ve mentioned on a few occasions about one of the biggest and quickest improvements I experienced going from decade-long-vegan to omnivore was improvement in the condition and aging of my skin. I also mentioned a few times about how ridiculously easy (and can be inexpensive) my beauty routine is. Well, as you might imagine, a lot of ladies wanted to know what I do for skin care.

Beauty Routine Oils

Beauty Routine Oils: Coconut Oil, Sea Buckthorn, High Vitamin Butter Oil / Coconut Oil Blend

So… apart from eating a skin loving diet high in skin enhancing nutrients (retinol, collagen, essential fatty acids just to name a few), I have a simple skin care routine.

Read More »

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Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Sprout Skincare – Great Stuff & COUPON!

by Kristen Suzanne in awesome giveaway, beauty, environmental

Ooooh beauties… do I have a great post for you —> Skincare. Animal friendly. Non-toxic. Need I say more? Are you interested? Let’s get to it.

Sprout Skincare: I’ve been a fan of Sprout Skincare products for a couple of years now. Although I’m always trying new beauty goodies and sharing my finds with you, there are some that are always going to be found in my bathroom. Enter: Sprout Skincare. This fun little company is owned by Adina Grigore and she’s a total gem – solid gal – good energy vibin’ woman. She makes great products and her love in them shows. So, I was thrilled when she sent me some of her products in their new packaging … as well as offering my readers a treat! Lucky you!!

What did she send me?

Eco friendly, Natural, Non-toxic Skincare by Sprout Skincare (I love the glass packaging)

I was the blessed recipient of her amazing all over cream (I’m playing beauty goddess with it and using it with my new passion, essential oils. It’s a nice carrier product for them). She also sent me a travel size cleanser and toner, which is perfect because we’re planning a camping trip soon. Not only are they a great travel size, but the way to use them is great for camping. You see, the cleanser uses a cotton ball to wipe over your face, and then a quick splash with water to rinse off. That will be easy to do while camping instead of lathering up a cleanser, getting my hands all soapy, etc). She also sent me a kit of her lip balms. Adorable little case for them. As you can imagine, I’m stoked and grateful. Thank you, Adina.

So, what can you get as a reader of mine? Well, I loved the travel size cleanser and toner so much that if you make a purchase and use the coupon code KRISTEN when you check out, you’re getting a travel cleanser and toner for free! How awesome is that?! And, during the month of August, there’s free shipping, too. Double score!

Hop on over to Sprout Skincare and treat yourself to something marvelous. If I can make a recommendation, you will not go wrong with purchasing Adina’s cream. It’s one of my favorite creams ever.

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Monday, February 27th, 2012

My Latest Favorite Beauty Face Cream (& other beauty products by Pristine Beauty)

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, body care, review

I have a favorite new face cream (I’m always trying beauty products – seems there are new eco-friendly and non-toxic companies sprouting up all the time – see some of my other past favorites here… It’s Pristine Beauty’s Hooray for Brallywood Butta. It is fabulous.

Hooray for Brallywood Butta

Let me back up a bit and tell you how I came about this cute little company. I saw Sarma (from Pure Food n Wine) update her Facebook status that she was excited about their hair products. Since Sarma colors her hair, I figured this was a vetted hair system to check out. Typically, I am a fan of Morrocco Method’s super natural products, but they’re not a great fit for colored hair – boo! – so I had to find something new. After checking out some things on Sarma’s website, I went to Pristine Beauty’s website to research more.

Enter: Hooray for Brallywood ButtaI actually ordered a bunch of things after researching each product (or its ingredients) on EWG’s Skin Deep website.

Read More »

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Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Raw Beauty Tip: Fruit On My Face

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, Kristen Suzanne, video

Hi Everyone!

Here’s a quick, easy, and “tasty” beauty tip! The next time you’re prepping some fruit or veggies for your salad, smoothie, or juice… take the parts you’re cutting off to throw away and rub on your skin for a quick nutrient packed mask. For example, when I cut off the peel from an orange or grapefruit, I take the inside of the peel (which has some flesh on it) and I rub it all over my face. If I’m cutting off the greens from strawberries, I rub the fleshy part on my face before tossing the greens into my bunny bowl (that’s the bowl of scraps I toss off our patio to the bunnies – they love organic produce!). Cucumbers, pineapple(!), papaya, and apples (I rub the apple’s core on my face) are awesome, too. These are natural and effective ways to enhance your beauty. Think about it… nutrients straight from the source, right? You’ll feel awesome while you’re doing it, too. Just remember to wash it off after about 5-10 minutes.

Read More »

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Friday, January 8th, 2010

Beauty Products I Use (Eco and Animal Friendly) – Environmental Working Group ROCKS!

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, body care, eco friendly

I received the following from a reader:


I would love to see more beauty product reviews and info. I’m always looking for a great new shampoo/body wash/etc… and I trust you to find the healthiest stuff.

First of all, thank you for your confidence and trust. That warms my heart. And, thanks for making your request – it’s a great one!

OK! Beauty stuff! Better yet… Eco & Animal Friendly Beauty stuff! I’m a true girly girl at heart. I love makeup and beauty goodies. It all started back when my mom let me wear purple eyeshadow to school when I was about 12 years old. I was hooked. When I was growing up, you could stick me in a makeup department for hours and I was happy as heck. However, these days there aren’t many makeup departments that make my list though. Too bad there weren’t great healthy products back then! Now that I’m aware of the toxins present in most beauty products which not only harm animals with testing, but that are also destroying our environment, I’ve become uber selective with what touches my face, hair and body.

Before we begin with some companies that I enjoy, I want to introduce you to Skin Deep – Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, the amazing website put forth by the Environmental Working Group. This site is instrumental in helping me find the healthiest and least toxic beauty products. You can search the database by entering the names of various companies (although not every one of them is in there) or by searching specific ingredients (helpful when companies aren’t listed). I’m seriously grateful for this website. I look forward to the time when more and more companies are added. The EWG does so much work in helping people learn about the various toxins in products and our environment. For example, check this page out for useful health tips. (BTW – They are always in need of monetary donations to help further their work if that’s something you’re interested in, go here.)

Check out these eye opening videos of some of their work…



The Beauty Products I Use
I strive to make my makeup, skin, hair, and overall body care as pure as possible, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, all natural, and non-toxic. The following companies are some of the brands that I use and recommend. I do not list every green or vegan company out there, as I’ve not tried them all. Furthermore, not all of the companies I listed here are vegan (although most offer vegan products – be sure to check specific products if that’s important to you). Some offer vegetarian products that use honey or beeswax, but I don’t purchase those. However, even if they offer vegetarian products, they are animal friendly in testing and eco friendly in ingredients, packaging, etc. There are also some companies that I’ve tried and not had much success. I talk a bit about those, too.

A note about mineral based products.Minerals are pretty much the rage and have been for a few years now. I do have some myself, but I read this blog post from EWG recently which I found intriguing: Is Mineral Based Makeup Safer?

I’ve tried many things from this company: mud shampoo, face cleanser, body cleanser, face toner, hand soap (the citrus smells divine!), intensive shea butter moisturizer (great stuff), and deodorant (it’s the best natural deodorant on the market in my opinion – love it, although most days I don’t use deodorant – a perk of clean eating! – but I admit there is a day here and there, maybe from hormones, where I like a little help and this is what I turn to). I’m partial to their fragrance-free options because I try to avoid products with essential oils while pregnant. I was a fan of their mud shampoo, but then my scalp started flaking. I’m now using Morrocco Method’s hair care line (detailed below). Terressentials’ products are hand-crafted, USDA Certified Organic, and they are truly 100% Natural. I will most likely try some of their baby line, too, when the time comes. (See Nature’s Paradise link below for another great baby option.)
I’ve been using Morrocco Method’s products on my hair for almost a year. The awesome thing about their products is that they’re organic, vegan, gluten-free, and even Raw! I’d go into more detail about why I’m a big fan, but I already have herealso read the comments section in that link because the owner, Anthony Morrocco, dropped by to chime in. He addressed some readers’ questions – gotta love that level of commitment and accessibility, it counts for a lot in my book.
I’m a paying customer of theirs, but recently they sent me a review package including some of their groovy elixirs to use on my scalp and hair. I love them. My husband and I have marveled at the rate of my hair growth. Some say that the pregnancy is contributing to that, but I’ve been using Morrocco Method products for some time now, well before I became pregnant. They also sent me their Agave Mist Styling Spritz to try. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the spray bottle… the sprayer thing itself shoots out a spray that is not “mist like” which makes it a little hard to use. I’ve bought and tried their Feng Shea Facial Scrub which is a nice exfoliator.
They have released a new conditioner, Pearl Essence Cream Rinse, which I’m eager to get my hands on. And, they have an interesting Lunar Hair Chart for the best days to cut and beautify hair each month.
Pristine Beauty (updated 2/28/12)
Read my recent raving review here about the “butta” and their other products. I’ve been using their face cream, hair products, and more.
This is a lovely company with terrific products. Raw Gaia has beautiful, living skin care products created from cold-pressed, organic and vegan ingredients, infused with essential oils and floral waters of the finest quality. I thought I’d have to miss out on playing with their products for the most part because the company is based in the UK, and it wouldn’t be very environmentally responsible of me to have stuff shipped here frequently. However, it appears from their website that some online stores in the United States carry their products. That is helpful because those online retailers probably buy in bulk, but it’s still better to buy as locally as possible. Regardless, I like this company and wanted to showcase them. Plus, I have some European readers, so this is a great company for them to try.
Zosimos Botanicals is an excellent company. I use their loose powder mineral foundation. One of the best aspects about this company is the customer service. I know that when I turn friends on to them, they’ll get treated well. And, what’s more… they’re an environmentally conscious company. They handcraft their own line of natural products in a 100% wind-powered workshop. Cool!
I have a lot of fun on this website. They make a nice blush (Stargazer), as well as some eye shadows (I use these for liner and shadow, but honestly, I’m not crazy about loose powders for shadows so I don’t use these as often anymore). Try their sample sizes to experiment with colors first – as they can be a little different than what you might expect. They have a vegan mascara that I haven’t tried yet, but plan on doing soon. Coastal Classic Creations continues to get excellent ratings in the Skin Deep database I mentioned earlier. In my dealings with them, this is another company with terrific customer service.
Want to pretty up your face and body with organic fruit and veggie extracts? Then check out 100% Pure, which definitely has a spot in my heart. I’m a fan of many of their products – they smell amazing, and why wouldn’t they? They’re mostly made from fruit and veggie extracts and other awesome smelling natural ingredients. I stick with the products of theirs that are vegan and I’ve been very happy with them. It seems like they’re continuously offering new colors, which is nice to see. When I first started with their products, I noticed they were heavier with the pinks than with the peaches (I prefer the peaches).
Some of my favorite picks from 100% Pure are: hand lotions (vanilla is true heaven), cleansing foams (my skin is left feeling clean, not stripped), coffee bean eye cream, pineapple enzyme face mask (this stuff is fun), rose facial mist (total aromatherapy relaxation in every sprtiz), body butters, powder blush (I apply a couple of layers to get the color I want), and the vegan lip options. I also love their compact powder, Healthy Flawless Skin Foundation Powder. You’ll notice that the description on their website says it’s vegetarian, but there are only vegan ingredients. I called to confirm and I was right… it’s vegan.
A unique aspect about 100% Pure’s products is that they pretty much do not contain minerals (except where she uses mica for a shimmer effect), because the owner, Susie Wang believes that fruit and veggie extracts are the best option for your skin.
This company makes one of the best USDA certified organic shampoo/soap options for babies. They offer products for the whole family, too. I’ve only bought the baby shampoo (I used it on my face and body), but many of their other products look promising and I plan on trying some.
I wrote about this company in a blog post here (there’s a video, too). It’s a great little company from Santa Fe. They are working on some “raw” products – yay! Just like I enjoy getting to know the people who grow my food from the farmers’ market, I love the idea that I shook hands personally with the man crafting such fine products for my face and body.

UPDATED (May 2010) WITH THREE NEW REVIEWS:
Dr. Alkaitis (my favorite) – Click the link for a thorough review

Miessence - Click the link for a thorough review

Sprout Wellness - Click the link for a thorough review

Natural Food Products From My Pantry

There are a couple of products that I regularly use straight from my kitchen. Most notably they are rose water, orange blossom water, and coconut oil. You can find rose water and orange blossom water at most Middle Eastern markets or online. I use it on an organic cotton ball as a refreshing toner for my face. When it’s hot in the summer, I put it in a spray bottle and spritz my face, neck, and hair with it. It’s delightful.
I use organic coconut oil as a moisturizer, too. I’m not crazy about using it on my face – I don’t seem to react as well as some others do for that. But, I like it on my legs and my growing pregnant belly right now.

Now, for a couple of animal and eco-friendly companies that are not my favorite.

Suki
This company makes both body care as well as makeup. I want to like this company. Truly, I do. So much that I’ve tried many of their products, some of them twice! I keep thinking, “They get great reviews, even some awards, so surely I’m missing something.” But, for the life of me, I can’t get excited about them. The Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser, that’s one of the things I’ve tried… twice. It didn’t get my makeup off very well and just didn’t give me a clean feeling. It smelled heavenly though and I wanted to eat it! The face lotions… they just didn’t make me jump for joy. And, the makeup… hmmm… well, I’ll start by saying that the cheek and eye colors, which I have tried, contained beeswax. I actually bought them without knowing that. However, I still wanted to review them without that as a consideration. Some of the colors were nice, but here are my beefs: The eye cream colors did not stay put. At all. By the time I left the house after applying it, there were oily creases. Now, maybe I have oily eyelids? I don’t know. I tried many things like using powder as a base, touching up with powder after, etc. Nothing helped. The eye colors are also not easy to apply. I tried using both a brush and my fingers. The cheek tints had some nice colors and effects, but it wasn’t easy to carry in my purse because the jars are a little heavy and took up room in my makeup bag, but how can I complain about glass jars, right? It’s nice to have makeup in those! The biggest problem with the makeup I tried was that (3 times!) the pots of color started to smell horrible after a relatively short period. It smelled rancid. That said, I’ll give the company big props for great customer service, their mission, and their use of glass containers for most of their products.

Alima
To be fair, I’ve only tried one of their eye powders, but I wasn’t crazy about it. It didn’t have much punch for color. A friend of mine who is a former makeup artist recommended them to me; however, I wasn’t impressed enough to try again since I was already happy with Coastal Classic Creations (mentioned above).

RMS Beauty
This company has a nice, clean website. Their mission is commendable (green packaging / containers and pure products). I only tried a couple of their products including the cream eye shadow and living luminizer. The cream eye shadow gave me similar problems as the Suki brand did – it creased and felt a little oily on my lids. Now, it is supposed to have a glossy-like effect, but it creased on me and I didn’t care for that. The website says that if creasing occurs to use a finger to gently (pat) correct, but who wants to do that all day? By noon, I’d have it mostly rubbed off if I kept doing that. The Living Luminizer is their best seller, but I was not a big fan. It was kind of weird to use. I tried highlighting various recommended areas of my face with it but found that either I didn’t notice it at all (making it a waste?) or it was too obvious. Perhaps I needed professional help using it… but if a makeup product is too hard to use, then who wants to use it? RMS uses minerals for their products but claim that they are not in the form of nanoparticles, thereby possibly making them healthier (does anybody know if this is true?). Unfortunately, I learned that some (or all?) of their products contain beeswax. Darn. I couldn’t find specific lists of ingredients for the various products on their website, so I’m not sure if the products I bought were vegan… I now suspect they weren’t. I should have checked that before purchasing, but I’ve learned my lesson and will do so next time!

Want to know why I’m a stickler for avoiding bee products – read this!

Well, that gives you a look into my makeup drawer and shower. Hope my recommendations have helped. I’m off to shop (I got a little excited after visiting all of these websites when collecting links for this blog post). So, what are some of your favorite products? Leave your recommendations, successes, and horror stories in the Comments section.

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Spa Day – Earth’s Living Green Clay (w/ video!)

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, video

I love beauty products, and since going Raw Vegan I’ve made it a point to use products that are seriously natural. (I’ve written posts about some my favorite products here, here and here, and I’d like to add to that list… for makeup, check out 100% Pure – this stuff is AWESOME!!!)


Today, I’m having a spa day and enjoying some relaxing time with a fantastic clay mask. It’s great for drawing out impurities, detoxing your skin, and exfoliating so you have soft, gorgeous, glowing skin. The clay is called Earth’s Living Green Clay and you can buy a bag of it here. (**For better value, I highly recommend doing what I did and buying the 4-pack and saving some money.)

It’s easy to use and easy to make (oh! and super fun!). Simply mix the clay with some water (1 part clay:2 parts water, and if you’re sassy like me you’ll use rose water or orange blossom water like I discuss in the video). Let the clay stand 2-3 hours to gel, and slather it on your body. Good times. (What’s with that expression below as the still video shot??? – LOL)


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