Tag Archives: fashion

Seven summer trends I am loving

30 Jun
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Dress by Zara

  1. Midi dresses
    Summers have always been about dresses, but this year round midi has been the go to length for almost everyone. Whether you are headed to the beach or to a party at your friend’s, this is the piece everyone is opting for and loving. There are so many styles to choose from-print, plain, fitted, embroidered-that its easy to carve a whole summer wardrobe out of them alone. But even if that is not your thing, don’t shy away from buying one and trying the trend yourself! You will love it! The best part is that with every brand trying to cater for the increased demand in midi-dresses, there is something for everyone (and at every price point too) so I am sure you will find a dress that suits your personality perfectly!
    My favorite brands to shop them from are :
    For casual, day-to-day onesZara, H&M, Forever 21,Topshop
    For dressier optionsGal meets glam, No 21, Topshop, Anthropologie, ASTR 
    Pakistani/local favouritesGeneration pk, Roba by Saiqa 
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  2. Matching separates
    We saw them make an entry into the style scene close to the end of last year, and this is a trend that seems to be here to stay for a while! And for good cause! They are versatile, easy to style and even more easy to wear individually. And no one likes anything better than clothes they can style in different ways and re-wear again and again!
    My favourite places to buy them from:
    International options: Zara, H&M, River Island, Topshop
    Pakistani/Local favourite:The Sassy store
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  3. Minimalism
    My own fashion mantra has always been ‘less is more’ and I always try to practice it, but when the whole fashion community turns around and comes back to the basics, embracing minimalism, the said practice becomes even more fun for me! So ditch the over accessorized look and opt for the basic blue jeans, white shirt version this summer. Or go for matching separates and pair them with your favorite bag and flats to complete the look!
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  4. Button front midi skirts
    I love skirts, I love anything midi and I love button front style these days so this trend was easy to fall in love with, but once I tried it on I fell more in love with it for one simple reason-it gave me summer, beach party vibes while it was still freezing outside in Chicago! Honestly though, these are perfect for those weekend summer BBQs that we look forward to all through the winters. But also, they are so light weight, so breezy that you can’t help loving them-and definitely something different from the usual skinny jeans we all end up reaching for!
    My favourite places to buy them:
    Internationally:H&M, Topshop, Mango, Zara
    Pakistani/Local favourite (for midi skirts):- Outfitters 

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    Zara Skirt

  5. Plain slides
    You have seen every fashion blogger wearing these by now, and for good reason. They are comfortable, go as well with your jeans as they do with their skirts and they go with minimalist vibes everyone is in love with these days! Plus, a good pair of flats is always worth investing in, right?
    My favourite ones are the ones below from Steve Madden.

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    Steve madden Greece slides

     

  6. Small sun glasses
    I have a love hate relationship with this trend, I love seeing everyone rock them but I can’t see myself wearing them. Still, I adore the retro vibes they instantly add to any outfit and if you have short hair, these are very easy to pull off!
    My favourite places to buy them:
    InternationallyQuay, Topshop
    Pakistani/Locally:- Mango, Mantra

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    Quay

     

  7. Short hair
    Which of course brings me to my favourite trend so far! Short hair are as in these days as they have ever been and I am loving the return of this trend! I feel like this hairstyle instantly makes you look at least five years younger and like a ten times more stylish version of yourself. Here are a few people rocking this style so effortlessly that it is making it hard for me not to go get this cut myself!

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    Brittany Xavier

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    Olivia Culpo

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    Zara Peerzada

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Stop judging a book by its cover

10 Sep

I was sitting at a community table at a coffee shop today, waiting for my friend to show up, when a woman came and asked if she could sit by me.

I thought the gesture kind and a sign of being brought up right, for of course she could, it was a community table after all!

As she sat down, we started conversing, and the flow of it was so good that we did so for a good thirty minutes at least-the time it took my friend to arrive (seriously, though I need to stop getting to meet-ups on time).

However, although the conversation was fun and it felt like two like-minded individuals were talking, she said something towards the end that left me feeling less than great, and yet I realized it wasn’t something new that I was hearing.

Her exact words were ” I am shocked to find out that you are completely different from what I thought you were when I saw you, I wasn’t expecting this kind of thinking from you nor this type of a conversation with you.”

Let me rewind a bit.

You see when she came to me, I saw only a woman. When we were talking, for me,  I was a medical student and she a practicing doctor.

But here is what she, and I think most of the world, saw when she approached me.

She, a burqa clad woman with a niqab covering her face, saw a girl in three-quarter jeans, a top and, (as she pointed out) a made up face and stylized hair. (For the curious ones-I was wearing eyeliner and lip balm and had walked out right after a shower-it was one of my most laid back looks.)

She saw a woman who was everything Islam represented, going and starting a conversation with a woman that in her head embodied everything Islam resented.

And yet, to her shock, when we started conversing she found out that I didn’t only have enough brain cells to hold up a conversation about politics, the rights of women and the importance of career goals, I also had morals as strong as her, a stronger knowledge of my religion and a better realization of the distance we had developed from our religion.

So let me decode her words for you-what she meant was, when she saw me she thought I was a shallow girl with no moral code and no idea of my religion, and thinking back to the conversation, I could see the points she had already tried to prove that to me.

A tiny example, when she tried to make me agree that the girls from my high school have the worst reputation in Lahore, there must be a reason to that, I wouldn’t agree no matter how much she pushed. I might have spent only two years in LGS Defense, but they were enough to prove that those girls were nothing like the reputation that preceded them-but do you know what they had in common?

They were strong, opinionated, ambitious girls who were-you guessed it-fashion forward. Just like I was. Just like Islam told us not to be (in her head, at least.)

However, while I failed to persuade her that most of what she had heard about the school’s girls wasn’t true, I will give her this much though, that she changed her view on me at least. By the end of our conversation, we exchanged numbers and she urged me to stay in contact because she liked me that much.

A small win? Yes, too small in fact and hence, the bad taste left in my mouth wasn’t done away. And although I can’t blame her, I am tired of this.

This perception that because I dress a certain way, my religion is bound to be worse than yours.

I respect every woman who covers her head, those more who follow the rules of dressing in Islam down to a ‘t’, but to the same women, I want to say this-don’t judge me because I am not practicing my religion the way you think it should be practiced. You don’t know how much I pray for the strength to gain that level too, you have no idea of my struggles on that and most importantly, I believe, you don’t know whose way of practicing religion God prefers.

But, just for the sake of perspective-if your Islam was honestly as good as you deem it to be, you wouldn’t be busy judging me.

Honestly, I have been at this end of the conversation times too many. People see me from far and think of me (and even go as far as to call me) an amoral girl or a slut (excuse the language). Till one of them somehow gets to know me and realizes (admitting said realization to my face) of how wrong they were.
But the ones who don’t get to know me, continue on their tangents-with me, with other girls like me.
They see the jeans and the tops and assume we are sluts, assume that we have no sense of our religion, assume us to be below them hence, and the chain of assumptions goes on. If the girl in jeans goes and talks to a guy, he must be her boyfriend. If she goes out with male friends, she must be sleeping with them.
If she doesn’t talk to you, another man, it must be because she is too proud.

If she does, then she is trying to get you in her bed too.

If she wears make up, she is a slut trying to seduce you.

If she dresses fancy, it is to attract you.

Stop. Stop. Stop.

Stop labeling us and putting us in a box just because you don’t get us. We don’t fit the box you are trying to put us in to.

You know how you lie? That is a sin too-oh, I can almost see you smirking as you think to yourself that showing my skin is a bigger skin. Well staring at it is an even bigger one, isn’t it? Gossiping about it is even worse. Spreading rumors, is probably the worst.

But of course, you get to judge me because we sin differently.

‘Sinners judging sinners for sinning differently.’

I learned a lot from this quote, but mostly this-I can’t judge someone for something I deem religiously or morally wrong because I can’t see the whole picture. And I definitely can’t see who God prefers amongst us.

It taught me the need to focus on my own religion, for how can I judge a thief if I am a liar? How can I judge a sinner if I am not a saint?

In short, I am not saying my religion is perfect-but is yours? And yet do you see me pointing fingers? How are you sure yours is better than mine, stronger?

Just because you cover your head makes you so sure you are better in front of God than me, then please continue to bask in that ignorance and judge me endlessly.

But if you can, consider this-what if my morals are better than yours?? What if I am closer to God? What if I do something on a daily basis that God likes more than you covering your head daily?
Do you have any guarantees? Because I don’t.

Consider this-what if not covering up as Islam instructs is my one sin (or amongst a few), and one that I ask for help on a daily basis, one that I regret the most. Look at your list of sins, how many do you have?
Look at that list and shorten it, and stop looking at mine, because that in my head is the most important thing Islam teaches us-no judgement on anyone’s religion, just attempt to perfect your own.

Learn the basics. Learn to be tolerant. Learn to stop judging a book by its cover.
And remember that Islam isn’t about sitting in groups and bashing others on what they wear and how they live their lives, and using that to make yourself feel good about your religion.

Islam is about practicing good deeds, and that too so well that you force the people around you to be impressed and inspired by you to work on their own personas.
Lead by example, that is the basic teaching of our religion!

Hence, I repeat, learn the basics. And remember, that Islam puts women on a pedestal in every way, in every walk of life, then who are you to try and pull them down based on outward appearances? 

More importantly, Islam taught us repeatedly to to look into the hearts of people, not their actions.

The whole concept of intentions is so clear in our religion-a good intention is almost as good to our Lord as a good deed. That in itself shows how important the goodness of our hearts is.

And if you think you can’t know how good someone’s heart is just by looking at them, then how can you judge their whole religion based solely on what they wear?

I end this post on a heartfelt request.
Stop judging us just because we dress differently from you.
It hurts. Me yes, but your religion even more so.

 

Friday Five

1 Jul

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. I’m currently travelling which makes sitting down with my laptop to write a post really hard!

However, I had been really looking forward to write this week’s Friday Five. Why? Because it marks the start of the 4th of July weekend and (drum rolls please) it also marks the start of some amazing sales. Listing down my favourite five for you right here. Do check them out!


1. 50% off at Ann Taylor. I’m in love with this top. And how cute is this one. Use the code JUSTBEACHY at checkout to avail the offer. 


2. Up to 70% off at ASOS! Look at this top! Perfect for summer, no? And now perfectly priced too. 


3. Anthropologie is offering up to 30% off at select items. This top is perfect for this summer-on trend and just so cute!

4. Upto 60% off at the entire Old Navy online store! Now I can get this whole look at less than half the price! Ten minutes dance party? 


5. An extra 50% off on sale items at Banana Republic. What could be better? Maybe a 40% discount on regular priced items? ‘Omg’ indeed! (Seriously crushing on on this neck-tie top though!)

Happy shopping! Love,

 Gull!

How to perfect your airport look

27 Jun

Airport style has intrigued me since well before the age of Instagram and Snapchat, kids. (God, that makes me feel ancient!)

The main reason? I always wondered how all those celebrities looked so good even after having been stuck so long in an aircraft where the air will end up getting as stuffy and stale as in a semi-functional refrigerator. How did their clothes never look crumpled? How were their hair always so perfect?

Over the time, via a lot of hit and trial, I’ve found answers to some of my questions and in doing that, have improved my own personal “airport” style. 

Here is the first lesson that I have learned though-your “look” needs to have a perfect balance of chic, comfy and laid back. Something that looks great when you are boarding but also allows you to relax once you are on that plane!


Finding that perfect balance was the hard part but over the last few years I’ve found a go-to look for travelling and even though I still don’t manage to look as fresh as Victoria Beckham when I get off my flight, I can achieve blogger status in my post flight looks and for me that’s good enough. 

Here are my tips for getting your perfect airport look. 

Don’t wear light colours. 

No matter the length of your flight, even when you are super careful you will end up getting off the plane to find specks of stains of things you probably didn’t even touch. Even if you are super lucky and avoid that, every crinkle gets magnified in light colours and your clothes look like they have never been ironed. And have never been washed (from the overall stale air)!

Wear sweats or tights/leggings. 

Your legs, and your body needs to be able to have breathing space. Tight clothing doesn’t only cut down on that but also keeps you restricted and feeling uncomfortable. Plus, it definitely doesn’t help in your circulation to the lower limbs which is always a major concern for me on longer flights where I know my venous return is already getting compromised from the decreased activity and my posture (ok, too much medical jargon coming in). So for long flights I stick to comfy leggings or sweats!

However, for shorter flights stretchy jeans or cropped boyfriend jeans are my go to. They might not give me the space in long flights but they are “roomy” enough for shorter/domestic ones. 

Later, Layer, Layer 

For me, this has been so helpful. Because I either feel too hot or too cold while travelling. No in between. So, my go to is a loose tee with a light weight sweater , which I can remove or wear as the need be. And a jacket to layer. Stylish yet practical. 

Moreover, carrying a jacket thus has too many advantages-it warms me up when I am feeling too cold. Plus, I usually carry my heaviest jacket thus to cut down on my luggage weight. And, as my jacket collection is one of my favourite things in my wardrobe, any jacket that I fear wouldn’t be able to travel well in the luggage, I board with it. 

Most importantly, slip into the jacket when you get off your flight, and it will hide any imperfections in the rest of your look. (That’s why so many celebrities get off their flights with those cute but well covering jackets.) You will look put together no matter what the state of the rest of you is!

Keep socks 

They will keep your feet warm on the flight. But most importantly, when you walk through the security checks, slip them on and avoid having to walk completely barefoot through the line (and on that carpet)!

Keep your carry on light. 

I used to have so much in my hands I wouldn’t have the time, energy or enough free hands to focus on myself. So, now I keep it all minimal. An easy to manoeuvre carry on and a hand bag. That’s it. I keep the jacket on till I’m in the plane and then remove it or not depending on the temperature.

The girl who looks like she just walked out of the spa, not a flight? That’s one of her secrets. And I say that from personal experience!

Tie your hair. 

I used to think everyone boards the flight with their hair perfect, stays so through out and gets off thus too. I was so wrong. All I have learned is that the easiest way to keep my hair looking presentable is two tiered. Keep them in a loose bun through out (which, as a person with long hair, makes my life easier). And then brush them out and use a little dry shampoo right before landing. Because that is the only way you will look like you’ve showered in your life. Ever. 

Keep an extra pair of shoes 

And that’s the secret to all the heels you see in the “airport looks” done by your favourites. Smart girls always have an extra pair of heels on them that they pull on for boarding the flight and leaving it. Other than that, comfortable flats are all you will see them in. Always. 

Change out of those clothes 

Here is my favourite tip. It might make you feel a little extra, but, keep an extra tee in your carry on and change before landing. Especially if you know someone important is going to greet you at the airport and it has been a long flight. 

Your clothes aren’t the only factors that make up part of your airport looks, general hygiene and how fresh you look are equally important parts of the equation, so here are some tips on them!

Right after take off

Wash your face with a cleanser you prefer (get a travel-sized pack) and ensure that there is zero make-up on your face. Follow that up with a good moisturiser and an under-eye mask. 

In the flight 

Keep yourself well hydrated and avoid coffee and (if you drink) then keep their number minimum too. Drink loads of water, keep moisturising yourself and ask (nicely) for a hot towel or two to keep your hands and face completely clean. Keep breath mints with you and keep using that travel-sized perfume you brought along!  

Right before you land.

Wash your face . Brush your teeth and, if you can, floss. After refreshing yourself, use a little under eye concealer to instantly refresh your eyes. Swipe some mascara and a bit of eye liner. And you will look so much more presentable that even you will be surprised by the change! 
Cheers,

Gull

Friday Five

17 Jun

Happy Friday everyone! Thank God the weekend is here-was said not by me because tbh I have been making such good use of my month off from med-school (i.e. I have been sleeping so much) that all my days have melted into one another and my Mondays have been as good as my Fridays!

Sorry, I get to feel this way only for three weeks once a year, hence I had to enjoy this/brag about it. However, I have also got five fab things for you today that I am sure you will love and will hopefully make you equally happy!

  1. The most gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff wrap around watch. 
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    Rebecca Minkoff wrap around wrist watch

    Honestly, I was obsessed with it the minute I saw it! It is classy, with a twist and as it doubles as great arm candy it is perfect for travelling when you need accessories but also don’t have a lot of space for too many of them!

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    The “Go Naked” Urban decay perfume oil

  2. The new Urban decay perfume oil.
    Not only does it smell divine but it comes in a travel friendly bottle that fits in your purse, is easy to use and has the cutest packaging. It is limited edition though, so hurry and buy it while stocks last!

    jewelry

    Rings from Fervor Montreal

  3. Everything from Fervor Montreal.
    Especially their Chloe collection which is delicate and colorful at the same time.  And their statement rings! Each piece is so versatile, that it can go with almost anything-a quality I always look for when packing for over-seas trips because I want jewelry that can go with more than just one of my looks!
  4. This Furla travel bag which is everything!
    The best part is that it is on sale!! And I feel this bag (or one similar to it) is a must for every fashion-lover out there! It has length adjustable straps and can act as a backpack as well as a hand bag! (I love such flexible pieces!)
  5. This lash primer that has changed my life.
    Honestly, I always thought that lash primers were the most useless make-up item ever. Till I used this one and my perspective (and life) will now never be the same. One swipe of it on my lashes followed by my mascara and it feels like I am wearing the most natural-looking fake lashes. Does that make sense? I hope it does because I mean it-everywhere you go people will be commenting on your ‘brand new lashes’!

XO,
Gull.

Work-friendly cafes in Lahore 

12 Jun

I’ve never been the kind who can sit in a library for hours and study/work. Nor can I do that at home. Being a medicine student though, that equation didn’t work well for me and I had to find a place where I could sit and study for longer than five minutes in a go.

My answer came to me out of forced circumstances. My final exams were just around the corner, when some relatives came to Pakistan to visit us.

The energy levels at home were beyond anything. Everyone was as people should be when they haven’t met their loved ones in years-loud, worked up and ready for laughs on the smallest of triggers.

Fun times but not for someone with their medicine finals so close. One day, tired of the noise levels, I gathered my books and ended up going to a cafe close to my house.

I got more studying done that day than I’d in the past four at least.

And hence it began. My love for studying and working at cafes around town.

However, I soon realised that every cafe wasn’t work friendly. Some didn’t appreciate you sitting for hours after paying for only your coffee while others were too loud or their furniture too relaxed (yes, that’s a thing) to let you work. However, in the past four odd years, I’ve found some favourites for working at. And though I wish that we could have a Starbucks at every corner too where you could sit and work for hours, these cafes have been saviours for me and today I share them with you!

1. Gloria Jeans, Z block DHA:-

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It’s at the top of my list for a reason. The staff is infinitely courteous and accommodating. The noise levels through most of the day don’t get too annoying.

However, here is the best part-most weekdays, as you climb their stairs to the upper level you will find almost all the tables occupied by customers working away (or even studying) creating a perfect work friendly environment for anyone. Add to that, their community tables are at the perfect height for the given chairs for any kind of work (hi zero neck strain). And, they don’t guilt trip you for sitting with your single coffee cup-for hours.

Verdict-The staff is helpful, the baristas good at their work and the ambiance always both welcoming and work-friendly.

2. Mocca, Mall one, Gulberg 

Mocca


The only reason it’s at the second position on this list is that personally it’s a little too far out of my way. Otherwise, it’s as good as Gloria Jean’s Z block for working out of. The staff is diligent, the lighting amazing (minimal eye strain, omg). Add to that their amazing coffee and macaroons and the place becomes the perfect cafe to work out from. Again, a lot of other workaholics come here too and many a times you will find yourself surrounded by a group of other people working or studying there too, creating the perfect ambiance for you to do the same. That stands true especially for the new covered area they have made on their rooftop. (Plus glass walls, omg!)

Verdict-the food options are vast, the coffee is amazing and the staff is helpful but non intrusive, letting you work as undisturbed as can be.

3. Coffee Shop, Defense club, J block DHA

Coffee shop, Defense Club


One place I can sit from morning till evening with minimal distractions, great (usually) coffee and very, very helpful staff-it’s this. And I’ll be honest. I’ve spent many a day here with my laptop or my books. The only flaw is their lack of wi-fi and the at times not-so-good coffee. However, the staff here is made up of the best, most courteous group of people ever which almost make up for the draw backs. Almost.

Verdict-Perfect ambiance for working if you can do so without wi-fi. Or can arrange for your own.



4. Rina’s Kitchenette, DHA

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Rina’s Kitchenette 


It is almost as good as the other places on the list. The only issue is, this place can either work really well for you or not at all. How? Because the place is small and if you end up going there during rush hours (or when a particularly loud group of people is there too) it’s not going to work out for you at all. But between the rush hours, the community table on the ground floor is a favourite of mine to work at because honestly their dessert menu is the best in the city.

Verdict-They have the best dessert bar ever and amazing coffee too but the environment can swing from being work friendly to the opposite on different days and during different hours. Hence, it’s a calculated risk at times but a great one nonetheless.

Friday Five

9 Jun

The five travel linked beauty products that we fell in love with this week are listed below. I hope you enjoy them!

darphin

Travel essential-Darphin Beauty revealing cream

  1. Darphin Exquisage Beauty Revealing Cream
    Moisturizing should be a key part of your beauty regime no matter if you are travelling or not, but travelling requires you to put extra efforts into the step. This cream is a little thicker than your usual moisturizers but that is why it makes it an absolute in-flight travel essential! It keeps your skin firm and super radiant, no matter how long the flight.

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    Travel essential-Aerin rose hand cream

  2. Aerin rose hand and body cream
    Because your face is not the only place that gives in to the drying impact of travelling-you need to give as much attention to the rest of yourself too. This Aerin cream is ideal for keeping your hands and feet moisturized, helping you smell great at the same time! (I might be slightly obsessed with its fragrance, to be honest!)

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    Travel essential-Ouai Dry shampoo

  3. Ouai Dry shampoo
    This little guy is a life saver, especially for the days when showering on the go isn’t the easiest task. For me though sometimes even after a good wash my hair looks flat-probably because of the change in air and water, and this spray helps my hair look voluminous again. So, for any time during your trip, if your hair seems too flat and not fresh enough, this will be your savior!

    kateee

    Travel essential-Kate Somerville Cleanser

     

  4. Kate Somerville Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
    A good, deep cleaning cleanser is a must when travelling-because you are definitely going to be more in the outdoors than normal. Plus, your skin is never really prepared to deal with the different percentages of bacteria and dust particles in the new environment, so the best way is to keep your skin as clean and your pores as gunk-free as can be. This cleanser is ideal for the required amount of exfoliative treatment, letting your skin remain clean and fresh looking (and far away from pimples).

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    Travel essential-Karuna face masks

  5. Karuna face masks
    There is nothing more refreshing (nor better for your skin) than to return to your hotel after a day of sight-seeing and going to bed with a nice face mask. Not only will you wake up the next day re-energized but so will your skin! And these Karuna face masks, especially the hydrating one, is one of my favorites when travelling! It keeps my skin fresh and hydrated, minimizing the break-outs I once used to be prone to while travelling. In fact, the last time I was travelling, I began to break out pretty badly but between the cleanser mentioned above, these masks and this ELF acne fighting spot gel, I was able to make the pimples go away!

 

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