My Covid-19 journey of self-isolation: Day 21

March 30: I feel like I’ve been training for this pandemic pretty much my whole life, but especially ever since my life exploded and I became a full-fledged hermit in a self induced cocoon to try and survive and heal from my own tsunami of pain.

A loner by nature, I’m peaceful while everyone around me is in a frenzy. I find serenity in projects at home, the garage, and the garden. I have always enjoyed solo exercising, working out at home instead of the gym, and I’m even more self sufficient now. Beaches are closed, but my own backyard sanctuary is open 24/7.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. It’s a mindset. Home is not a prison; it’s a sanctuary. What a perfect opportunity to slow down and create your own retreat.

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Social distancing is a way of life. Not a problem. Avoid close contact? Not a problem. Shelter in place? Def not a problem.

I’m taking all the necessary precautions; washing my hands so often that I feel like LadyMacbeth minus the fact that I’ve never murdered anyone.

Doctor:
What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.

Gentlewoman:
It is an accustom’d action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of
an hour.

Lady Macbeth:
Yet here’s a spot.

Probably because my mom was an RN and cleaned so often with Lysol that I’d often tell her I had Lysol in my veins instead of blood, but my house is VERY CLEAN. Like eat-off-the-floor clean. To me, the smell of bleach is as sweet as Chanel perfume.

Now I’ve ramped it up a bit. I disinfect food containers and cans before they come in the house, open mail with gloves on, and I have enough food to last three weeks.

The worst part of all of this is that Angel Boys 1 and 2 were supposed to visit and they had to cancel their trip. 2.0  just turned four and I missed his birthday as well as my son’s celebration, something that has really never happened in the 39 years he’s been alive.

When we FaceTimed, little Angel Boy 2.0. told me that all the libraries and toy stores and restaurants are closed. When I asked him why, he said it was “because of the virus.” I asked him what a virus was, but he didn’t know, only that all of his fun places weren’t available to him. Dad’s home because the university is closed and he’s teaching online. Mom and baby are home too, and I wish I was there to help, but I can’t go to them.

Everything is beyond surreal.

So far, I’ve had some good experiences and only one bad one.

This happened on March 11 and I wrote about it that day…”This virus is bringing out the absolute worst in people, including my own community. I was at our library, buying a couple books from the little store cos I’m going to have oral surgery and need to stay put for a bit. As I was paying for the books, I saw a huge bottle of hand sanitizer at the check out counter. I attempted to use it and the volunteer (about my age or maybe a little older) said it was “only for the workers” and “didn’t I carry my own hand sanitizer in my purse”. Needless to say, I immediately went over to the librarian who apologized and assured me that the volunteers are not supposed to HOARD the sanitizer, asked me to write up a complaint (which I did) as well as request of her to make sure all employees, volunteer/paid, knew that the library is a public institution paid for by my taxes and that was egregious behavior. What she should have said was “help yourself”. 

Except for the odd hoarding of toilet paper, that was really my only negative experience. Everyone else seems to have a feeling of community, that we’re all part of this strange Twilight Zone time, that 2020 will never be forgotten.

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So far, I’ve used five rolls of toilet paper. I know that seems like a lot, but I use it to clean, too. Did you guys hoard anything? How are you doing on paper products? Has this slloowww down changed your life? How? In what way? What kinds of adjustments will you keep when things go back to the way they were? What is it you’re missing?

I think we’re in for the ride of our lives. As above, so below.

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“All roads lead home”

Not necessarily true in all scenarios, but it’s a lovely thought–especially when it’s a text from the original Angel Boy.

Here’s the backstory:

I didn’t want to go the gym ‘cos it seems like everyone is sniffing, sneezing, or coughing, and I don’t want to get sick.

It was a beautiful sunny SoCal morning,  so I thought it’d be fun to try out my new hiking boots, spend a few hours out in nature and soak up the new growth sage-y fragrance blooming after our recent rains.

It is a fact that I have hiked this hill at least a hundred times. It is also a fact that when I go solo, I get lost 100% of the time. I don’t know why or how it happens, but I start out with a solid plan and by the time a couple hours has passed, I’m all turned around and can’t figure out where I am, how I got there, or how to get out.

One time I was lost until dark. I wouldn’t call for help and stubbornly walked until civilization emerged. However, I was fully prepared to sleep with my coyote family if necessary.

I don’t panic anymore. In my head, I say, “Well, Princess, it looks like we’re lost again. Let’s just enjoy the journey.” And then I laugh crazily to myself.

True to form, I got lost. Knowing that my DIL added me to the tracking GPS on her phone, she could be counted on for support if I was in real danger.

I texted my son, “Guess what, I’m lost again.”

He texts back, “All roads lead to home.”

Which wasn’t really helpful in my current dilemma, but it was awfully prosaic of him. (And snarky.)

After a couple of hours wandering around in an aimless pattern, I spotted two young boys riding their bikes. I asked them if they could point me in the right direction to get back where I started. They very kindly did (super nice that they didn’t start laughing at me) and I proceeded to follow their accurate directions.

Love my new hiking shoes, loved the hike, but glad to be back at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Apparently, all of MY roads DO lead home. My Angel Boy is a genius.

Who can guess where I was? It’s embarrassing to admit how often I’m clueless up here.

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I can see snow! It was hazy today but that’s definitely snow.

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Bright red toyon berries.

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Coyote scat and my awesome new hikers!

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Power plant off in the distance.IMG_8593

New cairns have arisen.

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I bet a lot of locals know where this is. Do YOU?

 

 

 

Brilliant nonstop chat and research with the most interesting human on planet Earth

Every day starts at around 5:45 a.m. It’s nonstop talking unless he’s eating or sleeping.

“Grandma?” Which really sounds more like “Grand-maw” if you’re sounding it out.

“I’m hungry. Let’s go in the kitchen and I’ll sit on the big stool and watch you make my breakfast.”

Grandma? Why is it still dark out? Why do you love seashells so much? Can I have this rock? Why do you cut up my apple like that? Why do you make me oatmeal? Why is the stove hot? I burned myself one time and Mommy put ice on it. Why do you put cinnamon in it? I wish I was in a rocket ship and could fly off to space.I didn’t wet my bed last night. I’m wearing my Batman undies. Look, Grandma, look at me. Why do you love me so much? I’m your first little boy, Daddy is your second little boy. Right, Grandma? Right? Grandma, are you making coffee now? Why do you do that? That’s the same kind of coffee you get at MY house. We have a Trader Joe’s there, too. Is this safe, Grandma? (As he jumps from the chair to the sofa, and back.)

“Be ever so careful, my favorite boy!”

Silence as he’s eating his breakfast. But not for long…

“I’m really smart, ammnt I, Grandma?”

“Grandma?”

“Yes, T?”
“Is that a TV screen? I only get to watch it for special. When do you watch it, Grandma? Why are you so small, Grandma? Daddy’s big and you’re small. You’re my little Grandma. I’m going to be bigger than my Daddy soon. Like when I’m six or twelve. I will, I really will. I’m not kidding. For reals. My Dad is SO strong, right, Grandma? Why did your little boy grow up, Grandma?

That one got me.
“Hmmm”, I said.
“I think about that too, T. Sometimes I wish Daddy was still a little boy and then I think that he grew up so he could have a little boy like you and make me so happy. What do you think?”

“I think….I think that I want a breakfast burrito now. I’m still hungry.”

Yup, he’s his Daddy’s little boy, that’s for sure. No doubt about it.

The questions have been coming fast and furious as soon as he turned three.

It started with ” where do sloths live?” and I said, “Let’s go to the library tomorrow and do some research.”

The next day we went to the library and checked out a few book about sloths.

After that it was “let’s do research” about everything that had been cooking in his brilliant little mind.

“I love the solar system, my favorite planet is Neptune, I love Neptune because it has rings. We live on planet Earth. I want to know about astronauts.”

Another trip to the library; more books. When he learned that astronauts wear diapers in space, he had to repeat that fact at least a hundred times.

“What happened to dinosaurs?” “Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why are they only in museums? Why are they just skeletons now?”

“What’s lightening?”
“How does electricity work?”
“How does a volcano erupt?”
“How do bees make honey?”

That question couldn’t be answered very easily with a book, so we did something really special: computer research. We found a video that explained it in a way a toddler could understand. I have to admit that I didn’t know exactly how bees made honey and what we learned made me appreciate the importance of bees even more than I did before. For example, did you know that forager bees have two stomachs, one just to capture the pollen that will eventually turn into honey? Or that some of the jobs that other bees in the colony have is to vomit the contents of their stomach into a succession of about twenty other bees’ stomachs so that certain chemical changes can take place? Or that all the bees work together to flap their wings and evaporate the liquid when first placed in the comb and that when the liquid becomes thickened—well, that’s the end product—honey. In order to produce just one pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. I’m THIS MANY YEARS old and never knew all of that. It took a brilliant 3.5 year old child to teach me!

Finally, my very observant little grandson said this…
“Why don’t you eat meat, Grandma?”
When I gave him a simple answer about how I love animals and don’t like to eat them, he said he didn’t like to eat animals either. His mom told me that later that afternoon, he asked her why Grandma doesn’t like to eat animals.

I’m so grateful to be able to generate a thought process like that. We are in desperate need of his generation to make the world a better place. Kinder, more compassionate. More empathy for all living creatures with whom we co-exist on this planet and learn to become better stewards of our oceans and the air we all breathe.

He’s so adorably exuberantly awkward in his joie de vivre. But me? I’m beyond exhausted with so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Inside camping nap because it’s so rainy today.

What does Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and depression have in common?

I was going to dip my toe into the world of writing from my gut, shining a light into my tortured personal journey as I stumble through the dark–I was GOING TO DO THAT.

But instead of spiraling down into that sad place, I grabbed my keys and drove into the village, deciding what I really needed was some therapy; retail therapy. Always the joker, the self deprecator; that’s me!

After a very rainy day yesterday, today was warm and fresh and shiny.

As soon as I walked into one of my favorite consignment shops, I spied a box of scarves and hats thrown haphazardly on each other like a pile of puppies. My eyes were drawn to a familiar brown and tan monogram on a scarf. I thought to myself, “it can’t possibly be authentic, but let’s take a closer look.” I picked it up. Hmmm, it sort of felt like silk. I checked the price tag. $12.00. TWELVE DOLLARS? It can’t be a real Louis Vuitton. Or could it?

I asked the salesperson, “Has this been authenticated?” She told me the owner didn’t think it was real so it wasn’t priced as a genuine designer. YES I WILL HAVE THIS, I told myself. Just then, my bad mood cleared up. I was firing on all cylinders.

One of my hidden talents is the ability to sniff out authenticity. Too bad that talent doesn’t extend to people, but that’s another story.

When I got home, I examined it more closely. The monogram was accurate, it was beautifully sewn, and I found a hidden tag that confirmed my suspicions- 100% soie Made in France. Yup, deffo genuine LV. SCORE!!!!!!

I also tried on an amazing St. John’s knit dress that I really really wanted, but even at resale prices, it was a bit too expensive, so I reluctantly put it back.

As I was meandering through the aisles, I spied a wall display. Draped over the shoulder of a red sweater was an oversized black and white houndstooth scarf. My eagle eye spied the logo in the corner: DIOR. Hold on, girl. Acting like it’s not a big deal so that no one else would want it…I grabbed it off the hanger–the original sales tag was still attached. It was 100% cashmere Christian Dior!!! And it was $20.00. TWENTY DOLLARS! How could I say no? This beautiful shawl-like wrap needed to be rescued. By me.

Instead of continuing to dwell on the things that weigh down my heart, these little treasures helped to cheer me up–perhaps merely a superficial bandage, but sometimes that’s all it takes to shake me out of a despondent mood. At least for a little while. Until next time.

A Tale of Two Dresses

Do you ever take a moment or two out of your busy day or before you close your eyes at night and wonder who in the hell Princess Rosebud really is?

So do I, my friend, so do I.

Toward that goal, ponder upon this for a while. The following might give you (and me) some valuable insights into my intimate gray matter. (Not Fifty Shades of Gray, maybe only about three or four.) Or not. You decide.

I bought two dresses. I love them equally. I hung them side by side to admire them and I’m looking at them right now and I’m loving so much about each of them for their individual intrinsic qualities.

One is a Lilly Pulitzer. a tried and true real designer brand that I could wear anywhere and be appropriately attired. I love the sleeves and the sassy outrageous bright colors and the dynamic print. It speaks of shiny happiness to me. I also love that it’s XXS, which soothes my poor body image issues. In my convoluted and distorted mind, I feel that IF I fit into an extra extra small size and it’s loose on me, then no matter what or how I feel on the inside, I can’t be ginormous, right? (Not that I’m body shaming anyone as this is my own personal issue.) With a spiky highhigh heel or summer-y espadrille, this is a sexysexy dress cos it’s super short, too.

The other dress is a treasure I picked up at the Buffalo Exchange in Ballard when I visited Angel Boy 2.0. It’s Forever 21 (which is EXACTLY how I feel on the inside. Arrested development and all that…) I love everything about this dress too: the muted burgundy and black/tan colors, the print, the little buttons, the tassels, and the vaguely Elizabethan/hippie empire cut with the billowy long sleeves. With leggings and adorable boots, I can’t WAIT for autumn.

One dress cost ten dollars; the other was on sale and cost less than one hundred dollars. Equal love. Money didn’t factor into the love.

Two shades of Princess Rosebud. There are a few more shades to my personality, but none of them are too extreme unless you start counting the number of seashells adorning the walls and shelves of each and every surface. Hence the title of my blog…

On another totally unrelated subject, many thanks to whomever sent me the package of thongs! I don’t normally wear Calvin Klein underwear cos I love silky things next to my skin, but they are super cute. A mystery gift giver, how awesome! Or…stalky. Hmm…

Conversations with a human #578. Chicken Butts.

My little three-year-old guy, the one I refer to as Angel Boy 2.0, needed to tell me something so he grabbed the phone away from his dad.

“Dad, I need to tell Grandma something right now.”

“What is it, T-man?”

“No, I’ll tell her. Give me the phone.”

“Grandma, look! My dad made a work space in the garage!”

“Wow, that’s pretty awesome, are you helping him?”

“I have my own tools, Dad’s are really really sharp. See?”

“Grandma! I’m coming to your house next Wednesday!”

“That’s right, T! Good job remembering the days of the week.”

“Theosaurus, I need to ask you a very important question, OK? Can you listen really hard?”

“OK Grandma.”

“Do you have anything special you want me to bake or make for you and Daddy to eat when you come? Muffins or dinner or anything you choose.”

I thought he’d choose oatmeal cookies or apple pie or a blueberry cake, but I wasn’t ready for what he said next…

“Hmmm. Let me think. Grandma? Can you make chicken butts?”

“Uh, how do you make chicken butts?”

“You do something and then put them in the oven and then they’re chicken butts.”

“No, T, I will not make chicken butts. Not ever. Choose something else, please!”

“Can you make popsicles?”

“Yes. I can make popsicles but I will not make chicken butts.”

“OK Grandma. Can I press the red button now?”

“Yes, T and then take the phone back to Daddy. See you soon! Bye.”

Chicken butts. Nope. Just nope.

He’ll have to be happy with an apple pie.


Stuck on the spin cycle

Quick post, but had to share.

I went to THE MOST AMAZING spin class this morning.

Upon waking at 6ish, I wasn’t all that keen to go to my regular weight lifting class ‘cos it’s sorta boring and not nearly enough cardio to burn off wine calories, so I checked the schedule, saw that one of my faves was the spin instructor, packed my shiny pink and black bike shoes, and off I went.

For this class, she had compiled a song list of 60s hits for the hour.

I’m talking classic Beatles, Hendrix and the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Who, Sam and Dave, Dylan. The ride started off with Dion and Runaround Sue.

There was so much high energy in the room that it was contagious. Beyond vibrational! No one wanted the hour to end.

Changed the tone of my whole day into joy and I’m exhausted. So good.

Learning to walk

If I took a poll, I surmise that most females will agree that there’s trial and error in learning how to walk in high heels. A learning curve. I realize that not everyone likes to wear stilettos; some may even feel that it’s another indication of how we women are oppressed and repressed, and I can certainly understand that point of view.

But not for me.

I swear, and my mom would agree if she were still alive, that I begged and begged for my first set of heels when I was three years old.

Santa Claus brought them for me (we celebrate Christmas AND Hannukah lol) The little high heels arrived as a set with a faux mink stole and tiara, but it was the shoes(OK, I admit it, and the tiara) that became as natural to my persona as my curly hair and snarky repartee.

Yes, I was an extreme girly girl. I mean, did you ever stop to think of why I refer to myself as Princess Rosebud? My dad first started calling me Rosebud cos it’s similar to my IRL name, and after the tiara became part of my daily fashion accessories, it was only a matter of time before I became royalty. I’d always felt that I was born into the wrong family and this was all the proof I needed.

I really wish I hadn’t lost the tiara…I could still rock a sparkly rhinestone tiara, I know I could.

But here’s my dilemma.

I can walk for hours in heels and I don’t care if they hurt my feet, either.

But I can’t for the life of me, walk in flats. I’ve tried, I really have, but I don’t know what to do! It’s such a quandry.

I’ve practiced…but HOW? Do you shuffle? Kind of like shuffling bare feet through sand at the beach to avoid a jellyfish sting? Is it a heel/toe movement? Do you bend your knees? When? I just don’t get it at all. I feel very awkward in flats.

Even cute ones like the vegan Tory Burch’s. The Jimmy Choos are the worst. I mean, they’re super cute, but it’s impossible to figure out how to walk gracefully. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me. Even the less expensive ones don’t work right. They’re comfortable, that’s for sure, but I am definitely challenged. I keep buying more and more shoes in case I find the magic formula, but I haven’t found them yet.

There are many YouTube instructional videos–“How to Watch in Heels and Stilettos” –but nothing for flats. I guess I’ll have to only wear heels or suffer the embarrassment of lumbering and shambling down the street.

Ladies, what’s the trick? Help me!

This. Is who I am.

Okie dokie.

What did you think about my recent post about finding a local source for Chanel and other high end designer goods?

Loved it? Don’t really care? First world problems? Entitlement issues?

Angst. I suffer. Truly I do.

On the same day I purchased my new Chanel sunnies, I was still riding the sweet endorphin rush and made a beeline to Rite Aid to see what was on clearance as a way to detox myself.

Here’s where you’ll get to know the real me. To walk in my stilettos for a brief moment; to feel compassion for the crazy that I am, and which I fully OWN, by the way.

This is complicated, so follow closely.

Do you see these three bottles of nail polish?

(I’m assuming you are all nodding your heads.)

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It’s a low end brand but that doesn’t mean low quality. The polish lasts quite a while and doesn’t chip-while it’s not $10 Opi or Essie quality, it’s perfectly acceptable especially if you’re quirky like me and change your colors on a whim. One day I’m sparkly and the next day I’m red hot.

You get the picture…

But that’s not this story NOR my dilemma.

Bear in mind that I JUST spent a small fortune on new sunnies and the price tag didn’t make me flinch. Notwithstanding THAT, I am really very thrifty. Frugal, even.

The nail polish brand must have been discontinued because there were signs offering a deal. If you purchased two at the regular price of 99 cents, the third one was 24 cents.

So random. 24 CENTS? Honestly, who came up with THAT number?

But my convoluted thought process was working overtime. Do I NEED three new colors? NOT REALLY.

But how can I pass this deal up? I did a quick calculation and discovered the price would be $2.22 for all of them.

You prob think this is a no brainer, right?

NOPE. Not for me.

I agonized for a good ten minutes, talking to myself (in my head, not OUT LOUD, sheesh) about the necessity and/or waste of $2.22 when I really only wanted ONE color, and then I asked myself (again, IN MY HEAD) whether or not I could walk away from a deal like that and might I not find a use for the other two colors at some point in the coming months.

It was excruciatingly painful to be in my orbitofrontal cortex,  anterior cingulate cortex, the striatum, and my thalamus at that moment. You wouldn’t want to be in there, trust me.

All the odd OCD synapses were firing at the same time.

I mean, do you see the insanity? How can I explain it to anyone when it makes no sense to myself?

If you move the decimal point over a bit, you can figure out about how much I spent on new sunnies. (Well, more, but who’s counting.)

I had less angst over THAT amount of money than I did with the $2.22.

What did I do?

Holding your breath?

I bought all three.

NOT SO FAST.

Actually, I first decided not to, and was walking to the shelf to put them back, and then I thought I was being BEYOND mental and completely ridiculous, so I changed my mind.

Whew.

I’ve had some tough decisions to make in my life but this ranks right up there with the most insane waste of time about virtually nothing significant. (Like the time I stressed about driving twenty miles to take back a $2 ball of twine. Which I eventually kept. Read all about it here.)

I told you I suffer from angst. I really really do.

Believe it.

A Pink Lego Handbag. OMFG.

After writing about the dark night of the soul, I thought it’d be a good time to raise our collective spirits with a bright white uplifting #retailtherapy experience–you could say I underwent a Jungian shadow moment.

Carl Jung stated the shadow to be the unknown dark side of the personality. According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.(Wikipedia)

So I guess I’m now healthy and balanced and that’s our ultimate goal, right?

Since I decided that I NEEDED (need as opposed to WANT) a new pair of sunglasses,  I performed my usual high level due diligence research. My options were to drive to South Coast Plaza in Newport Beach OR take my chances with whatever styles were available at Nordstrom or Bloomingdales. All of those locations are not in my little town and with holiday traffic, I knew it’d be hellish parking.

BUT WAIT.

Apparently there’s a new game in town. How did I never know about this? How? It’s inconceivable that a biz could open HERE that specializes in high end designer goods and it slipped in under my radar? I can speculate that I’ve been a bit preoccupied with certain personal issues and while that might well be true –but if I had only known, perhaps it would have softened the extent of my pain.

Enough ruminating. It’s here, and to coin a phrase from one of my fave Seinfeld episodes, it’s “spectacular.”

This is a tease; I won’t actually give specifics yet. But this should make you salivate.

You know how sometimes a company gets it right from the very first moment? Like they’ve done their homework with fonts and graphics and design and PR and marketing and customer relations?

That’s this place.

The website drew me in and I was hooked.

But I really wasn’t prepared for the ENTIRE EXPERIENCE.

It’s at the end of a cul de sac in the business area of our city, not a regular retail location.

There’s a security gate and an actual guard who checks you in.

VIP parking stalls.

And then I walked in. OH EM GEE.

Bright white walls, bright lighting. All dressed up for Christmas.

And the PINK LEGO HANDBAG. See? I wasn’t kidding around. It’s GIGANTIC. Like almost as big as me and I’m FIVE FEET TALL.

img_6371And look at the holiday decor. AWESOME. Well done.

img_6372When I arrived, I was greeted by two lovely smiling ladies and offered a bottle of water, and I’m not talking the low end generic stuff. I’m talking about Fuji Water. FANCY water.

Since I was looking for sunglasses, specifically CHANEL, I was given a tablet connected to their online website and catalogue and told to choose up to 10 items to see at one time. Those choices would be brought down to me from the warehouse area. When my sunglasses arrived, I was directed to a seating area to try them on and decide if I wanted to make a purchase.

It was so easy. I pretty much already knew which style I wanted and when I tried them on, it was as perfect as I had anticipated.

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A quick bit of plastic exchanged hands for a minute and then my purchase was presented in a lovely bag with lots of little marketing materials.

A wonderful retail therapy day!

Here’s me with zero makeup but a huge happy smile cos I LOVE my purchase.

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Nice shades, huh?