Thursday, June 9, 2016

Spring 2016 Walmart Beauty Box! (Unboxing and First Impressions!)

 Hello My Fellow Life Lovers and Beauty Junkies!

(I feel like I need to warn you right up front that this is a bit of a long post, so if you don't have at least 5 minutes to spare, you might just want to bookmark it and come back later? But, please do come back! I'll be sharing a lot of first impressions as well as a few recommendations for items that I've tried! If you're not busy at the moment, pull up a chair, grab a cuppa joe, or a glass of wine and I'll spill it all out on the kitchen table for ya!)

So... It's that time again! Another quarter is here and with it, comes the Spring edition of the Walmart Beauty Box! I haven't done an unboxing in quite a while, so I thought it was about time. I've gotta tell ya... I really enjoy this li'l box of goodies. It's actually kinda ridiculous that I get so giddy when it arrives in the mail. I mean, it's not like Publisher's Clearing House suddenly showed up at my door with a big fat prize check or anything, right? (hmmm... wouldn't that be nice?)

Ahem... Uh, sorry about that. I got a little distracted, planning just exactly how I would blow appropriate the money, if I was ever lucky enough to win a major sweepstakes like that ...or maybe the lottery?

Oh lordy! There I go again. Drifting off into a land of fancy cars, grand homes located all over the world and well, you know, the necessities in life, right? I mean, you can't honestly tell me that you've never given even a little thought to what you would do, if you suddenly came into an obscenely large amount of cash, can you? Yeah... I didn't think so. So! What would you splurge on? Let me know in the comments!

OK. Let's get on with the Spring Beauty Box, eh? If you're unfamiliar with this subscription box, I'll give you the details throughout this post. And here's a link to the site, in case you'd like to give it a go yourself. Walmart Beauty Box

(While I do have a couple of referral links here on the blog that allow you and I to receive a discount or some type of perk for using it, (like Ipsy and Scentbird) I wanted to state, up front, that this is NOT a sponsored post and I am NOT using a referral or affiliate link for the Walmart box. If you do decide to use the link that I'm providing above to get to the site, I won't receive any compensation, or points, or anything like that. I just figured that I'd save you all a few keystrokes. LOL)

You know, for $5 (which is technically just the shipping cost) this is an awesome way to discover new products, or products that you might already know about but you just haven't had a chance to pick up for yourself. I've been subscribed for going on 2 years now and just about every box that I've received, has contained (at the very least) one thing that I'd been really wanting to try, but I just hadn't gotten around to going out and getting it.

The box comes quarterly (every 3 months) and on average, there are usually 5 to 6 deluxe or full sized products and anywhere from 4 to 6 samples of everything from makeup to perfume to skincare and even health and beauty aisle items, like toothpaste, deodorant, body wash and all of that good stuff. Most of the smaller samples come with pretty decent coupons for the products, too. This is currently only a quarterly subscription, but I really wish that it was monthly. I'm so happy with this box that I'd happily sign up for that in a heartbeat!

Plus, unlike the ever elusive Target Beauty Box, you can actually subscribe, so that you don't have to constantly check back on the website at the beginning of every month, hoping that you'll see when it goes up for sale so you can grab one before they're sold out. Those boxes usually sell out in the first couple of hours and they don't do a second run or a restock. I've been trying (unsuccessfully) for over a year to get my paws on one! Grrr! But, I digress. Back to the box I do have, eh?

You'll often see a couple of products that are from the same brand, like shampoo and conditioner, or a couple of different formulas of the same brand's moisturizer in this box. Sometimes, you'll have one full sized item from a company's line and then a card with a foil packet sample of another one of their products. And that card generally has a coupon for one or both of the products on it. I've found that they're usually surprisingly generous discounts, too. As you'll see in the photos, this box had a Neutrogena, Olay, Aveeno kind of theme to it and I've gotta say that I'm not the least bit unhappy about that, because I already love many of their products!

This Neutrogena Moisture Smooth Color Stick (#140 Pink Grapefruit) is not only one of the items that I've tried from this quarter's box, but I instantly fell in love with it! It's a beautiful shade of slightly blue toned pink and it's so creamy and moisturizing, but not at all sticky like some creams or balms can be. I think it's just perfect for the Spring and Summer & I know that I'll be rockin' this one a lot! Plus, they're only like... $7! For me, that beats a $20+ high end lipstick every time!

To be honest with you, I've been more than a bit obsessed with all of the "new" matte liquid lipsticks for a while now, so I've been completely ignoring all of my creamy, balm-ish or moisturizing lip products.

Because of that, I doubt that I would have even looked at this lovely lippie on my own. I would have passed right by it in the lipstick section and never thought twice about it! Seriously. But now, I'm chomping at the bit to go get more shades for Summer!

Can you believe how gorgeous this is? And for such a buttery, creamy lipstick it has excellent opacity that just glides over your lips. The best part is that it has some excellent staying power, for what I would compare to say... a NYX Butter Gloss. It feels terrific on the lips, to boot! Winner all around!!

I was interested to see a concealer/corrector sample (also from Neutrogena) in this box, but I won't be trying this one out. I always avoid anything that's labeled "anti-acne" because about 90% of products labeled as such contain salicylic acid, which I know is fantastic for acne prone skin, but it's way too harsh on my super sensitive skin & would aggravate the nasty (Malar) rashes that are common when you have a disease like Lupus.

So, that brings me to the next sample - also from Neutrogena. (see what I meant about a theme?) Well, ever since emilynoel83 (from Beauty Broadcast channel on YouTube) talked about the Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Foundation back in the early part of last Winter, I've had my eye on it as a possible (and much less expensive) Summer swap out for my beloved Bye Bye Foundation from It! Cosmetics.

The Healthy Skin Foundation costs between $12 and $16 for a 1 fluid ounce bottle, depending on where you purchase it. You can get it for considerably less if you're lucky enough to find it on sale, or if you have a coupon or a discount code. It's available at Ulta and pretty much any drugstore or retail establishment that has a makeup department. It's also available online at several locations.

OK. Brace yourself. The Bye Bye Foundation is... $65 for just under 2 fluid ounces. Yup. You read that right. It's not a typo. But... A little bit goes a loooong way and I promise you that it does exactly what Jamie Kern Lima says it does on her infomercials and on QVC.

I've seriously tried a gazillion foundations over the past few years and with my super sensitive, extremely dry skin, it's not easy to find one that will cover the angry red blotches and welts from the rashes I get, without causing me even more irritation and/or inflammation. I wore the It! CC+ w/SPF 50 for about 2 years and then the Bye Bye Foundation launched. When I say that it literally changed my life for the better, I'm not joking. So, yeah... It's been worth every penny to me. But if I can find a comparable replacement for a fraction of the price, you can bet that I'm gonna be all over that!

Their Hydro Boost Water Gel is my go-to moisturizer all Summer long, because it absorbs so completely and doesn't get oily on those super hot and humid days the way a lot of heavier moisturizers often do. Plus, it's packed with really "good for you" ingredients.

Next up, we have a couple of Olay samples. I haven't tried the Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, because I'm not sure that it's a product that I'm interested in using down the road. If I do decide to try one, it will be the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. I've yet to find a product that makes a noticeable difference in the lovely (NOT) jowls that have begun to appear along my jaw-line these last few years. If I give it a go, I'll come back here and add an update to let you all know my thoughts on it!

I do enjoy getting perfume samples now and then and I definitely prefer the little glass bottles that have a spray-top, like this Vera Wang Embrace sample. I have to admit though, that I don't get as excited about getting them, now that I have my subscription to Scentbird. Scentbird gives you 20 times the amount and I'm going to try not to sound like a total snob here, but the fragrance choices that you get from Scentbird are a bit higher end than the "drugstore" brands that you get in these boxes.

Now, when I use the term "drugstore" I'm in no way trying to disparage either the products or the names behind them. I mean, I love Vera Wang... As a matter of fact, when our daughter was married in 2013, her wedding dress was from Vera Wang's "White Collection" and it was absolutely breathtaking! And it just goes without saying that more then a couple of my "holy grail" makeup products are from the drugstore.

Bottom line: This Vera Wang fragrance is very nice, but it has a tad too much of vanilla and not quite enough of the floral and citrus notes - for my personal taste. That being said, if you're a vanilla gal, I think you'll absolutely love this one!!

Source: Google Images - (not my daughter)
Vera Wang White Collection Style# VW351011
OK. Moving along.....

I do like to use a whitening toothpaste because I'm an avid coffee and tea drinker. I've tried a few, including my current brand (Crest 3D White), but this Colgate Optic White is one of the brands that I haven't used yet, so I was very happy to see it in this box! I'll come back and post an update later, after I've had a chance to give it a good test!

Ahhh... Good ol' RoC! I currently use the RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum under my daily moisturizer as part of my daily skin care regimen and I've been more than happy with the results. I've only used this RoC Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Neck and Face Cream a few times, so I don't feel that I can give you an honest review just yet. All I can say, is that if it ends up giving me similar results to the serum, I'll be a very happy camper! I've lost a fair amount of weight over the past year and much to my horror and dismay, I've been noticing a bit of what I call "chicken neck" (crepeiness) when I look in the mirror these days! Yikes!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this new cream will firm that area up a bit.

I'll be honest about this Banana Boat SPF 30 Sunscreen... I use makeup that has a physical sunscreen of 50 built right into it and I really don't expose the rest of my body to sunlight - if I can help it. With Lupus, one of the things that happens to you is severe photosensitivity and since I'm already a super pale skinned lass of Irish descent, I've been beyond sensitive to the sun my whole life. So, needless to say, I avoid the beach like the plague and if I'm swimming in or sitting by a pool, I stay in the shady parts, even if that means moving my chair or myself around as the sun moves throughout the day. That being said, this will get passed on to my husband, or to one of my friends.

This Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer is awesome! I don't know if I can chalk it up specifically to the Monoi Oil in this product or not, but I've been using it in the shower for the past couple of weeks and my skin is smoother and more hydrated than it has been in years! Especially my legs. Once I'm out of the shower and I've patted my skin dry, I follow up with a dry oil spray that also contains Monoi Oil and I'm good to go! Now, the real test will happen during the Winter months, but if it's working this well now, there's at least a chance that it will be better than the multitude of products that I have been using during past Winters.

I've used Cetaphil products on and off for years and I've always been happy with them. I still use their daily facial moisturizer from time to time, but I haven't used this Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser since I discovered my Purity Made Simple by Philosophy. It's a bit pricey compared to lots of other cleansers on the market, but I've had such truly amazing results with the Purity, that I'm willing to spend the extra money for it. But, if you're looking for a good cleanser that will gently and thoroughly remove makeup and excess oil from your skin, that won't dry you out or break the bank, I highly recommend this!

I honestly think there has been some type of moisturizing cream or lotion from Aveeno in just about every Walmart Beauty Box that I've received, since I've been subscribed. And as far as I'm concerned, that's a VERY good thing! I adore the Aveeno brand and have used loads of their products for years and years. I will definitely be testing out both the Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer and the Restorative Night Cream that came in this box!

Their Soothing Oatmeal Bath packets saved my poor daughter from scratching herself raw when she came down with chicken pox at the age of ten. (wow... I just realized that was 22 years ago!!!!) The poor girl was covered from head to toe with huge, red, welts and her face was so swollen, she was unrecognizable. I can still vividly remember her coming into our bedroom and waking me up in the middle of the night - many nights - and asking me if I'd "put some of that stuff in the tub for me, please?" Now that she's a mom herself she uses the Aveeno Baby products, almost exclusively, on our precious grandson.

I have at least one of the small sample or travel sized tubes of some type of an Aveeno lotion or cream in my purse at all times and I have giant tubes of the Ultra Healing and Intense Relief hand creams in darned near every room of the house. Having an immune system that's as crazy as mine, means that I wash my hands about 30 times a day. (at least!) If it wasn't for Aveeno's amazing products, I'm sure they'd have shriveled up and fallen off by now!

So, do I recommend the Aveeno brand? Well, Yes! YES! YES! and YES! In my humble opinion, when it comes to your skin, whatever it is that you might have a need for, Aveeno has a solution!

Hope you enjoyed this unboxing! The Summer box should be here any day now, so I'll try to do a post for that one as well. Oh, and...

I don't want to give it all away, (ahem...) but there's something kinda big coming up here on the blog very soon!! So keep checking back, or better yet, make sure tosubscribe to Spilled On The Kitchen Table so that you don't miss out on any of the fun!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pura D'Or Update and Review

Hello, My Dear Friends!

It's been a while since I began testing out these products from Pura D'Or, but as my long-time friends and readers know, life and Lupus have this uncanny way of slowing me down, or more often, having me down for the count for long periods of time. That being said... A promise is a promise and I did say that I would test these Organic Argan Oil infused hair and body products and come back with a review, so here it is! Finally, right?!

(In case you missed my original post about these products and how I obtained them, just click HERE and then come back for the review! - Or, you could read this and then go check out the original post - I'll leave that totally up to you.)

Products used: Pura D'Or Premium Organic Gold Label Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo, Pura D'Or Premium Organic Argan Oil Conditioner in Lavender & Vanilla and Pura D'Or 100% Organic Argan Oil for Body Face and Hair

I've lost a significant amount of hair over the years. Now, you'd probably never believe it based on the way it looks now, but my crowning glory was long and full and quite strong when I was growing up. Even when I cut it into a shorter, very "Olivia Newton John type" of style in the late seventies and early eighties, there was still a lot of it! So... what happened?

(I apologize if this is a bit on the TMI side of things, but I truly want to share my "hair journey" as thoroughly and openly as possible and explain why my hair is in the condition that it is. Other people's hair loss situations might differ from mine.)

My "issues" began when I was in my late twenties, after over a year of poking, prodding and several embarrassing scans that were ordered and performed by all manner of doctors and technicians, I was diagnosed with (what was at that time) a rare illness called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (PCOS/POS)

It was so rare at the time, that my GYN, who had been in practice for several years, as well as another doctor, who happened to be the director of reproductive endocrinology at a well known and respected medical college and teaching hospital, had barely heard of it at that point.

My condition persisted for several years and was severe enough that my entire reproductive cycle came to a complete stop. I had multiple cysts on both of my ovaries and one that eventually evolved into a pre-cancerous tumor, that resulted in the decision to remove my right ovary in 2010. During those years, my hair's volume reduced by at least 40%.

According to Wikipedia: "PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women between the ages of 18 and 44 {and can cause a number of symptoms including androgenic alopecia (increase hair thinning or diffuse hair loss).} It affects approximately 5% to 10% of this age group. It is one of the leading causes of poor fertility."

Then, in  my late thirties, for reasons still not understood by my doctors to this day, my cycles all returned pretty much to normal and at least some of the hair that I'd lost during those earlier years, started to grow back in. Of course, it was never again the luxurious mane that I'd had in my youth, but it was definitely an improvement!

A few years passed and much to my dismay, along came more health issues and a year and a half ago, after more poking and prodding and testing by specialists, I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called SLE Lupus. As fate would have it, Lupus is also a disease that can bring with it a significant amount of hair loss.

So, here I am again, struggling on a daily basis, to find the best solutions that I can, to my rapidly thinning, fragile hair. And lo and behold, along came the good folks at Pura D'Or with the offer of a possible solution! I read as much as I could about the company and it's products and was impressed enough that I agreed to try them.

So, now that you know a little bit of the "back story" let's get on to what you're all here to see! The product review!!

I used both the Gold Label Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo and the Organic Argan Oil Conditioner for a period of 90 days. I used them exclusively and between 2 and 3 times per week.

I never use a brush on my hair when it's wet (and rarely when it's dry) because the bristles on most brushes can cause hair breakage and I certainly don't need any more of that than I already deal with! I also use only the lowest settings on my blow dryer and I do not use heated styling tools, such as curling or flat irons, also in order to avoid any further possible damage to my hair.

My hair had also been in a ponytail for about 10 hours before taking it down for these photos.
As you can see by the differences in the photos above and below, the Pura D'Or products did seem to help prevent a fair amount of hair loss from occurring and I definitely believe that they gave my hair quite a bit of added fullness and body.

(The hair in the bottom right frame of each photo, is any hair that came out in my comb after getting out of the shower and before blow drying my hair)

My Opinion!

Because it is important to me to assure my readers that the opinions that I share here are 100% my own, I want to reiterate that what follows is my experience with these products and I have not been influenced by anyone else's opinion, or review. As is true in all things, a particular product might work a certain way for one person and then work in a different way for someone else. If you try these for yourself, the results that you get could differ from mine.

That being said... I am happy to say with certainty (and with a completely clear conscience) that for me, the Pura D'Or Premium Organic Gold Label Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo and the Pura D'Or Premium Organic Argan Oil Conditioner in Lavender & Vanilla that were sent to me to try, did exactly what they claim to do! Only a small amount of each of these two products is needed to cleanse and condition my hair, so they last quite a long time, making them a very economical choice as well.

I strongly recommend these products to anyone who is looking for an organic, gentle, ingredient rich solution, to the cleansing and conditioning of fine, fragile thinning hair and/or a sensitive scalp.

Now, as for the Pura D'Or 100% Pure Argan Oil For Body, Face And Hair, I must add that while I did not use it on my hair, (because all oils tend to weigh my hair down) I did use it on my face and body and I feel that it truly did an excellent job of keeping my skin feeling both hydrated and soft, without feeling greasy or leaving any type of oily residue behind. And as I stated about the hair products above, only small amounts of the Argan Oil do an excellent job of adding soft, supple hydration to the areas of my face and body where I need it, so I feel that the price point is extremely reasonable!

I hope that you found these reviews helpful and if you have any questions or need clarification about the products themselves, how I used them, or anything else that I might not have covered regarding your particular needs, please don't hesitate to leave me your questions in the comments below. I'm more than happy to help in any way that I can!

Oh... And if you don't want to miss any of my future posts, please subscribe over on the right hand side of this page, or right below this post and you'll be sure to receive Spilled On The Kitchen Table right in your inbox, every time I have something new to share!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you come by again for more chit-chat, hauls and reviews!

Live Strong and Live Well!


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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Scentbird! - Why I subscribed (and a review!)

Hello, My Beautiful Bloggy Friends!

Yup... I've done it! I've decided to take the plunge and pamper myself with another monthly subscription service. It's called Scentbird ...and so far, I'm loving it! Want to know why?

There are a few reasons that I decided to give this monthly subscription program a try. But, before we get into that, I want to state up front that I do NOT have a contractual agreement of any kind with Scentbird or any of their affiliates. I pay for this subscription service with my own money and I do NOT receive any monetary compensation for posting about, or reviewing their products.

***There is one little perk, similar to the type that you get with quite a few of these services, but I'll touch on that a little further down in the post.

OK. So, now that we have that out of the way - let's get to the "why" part of this, shall we?

1. I've always loved wearing perfume and enjoyed it when someone around me has noticed and said something along the lines of "You smell great!"

2. I've never been the kind of gal who enjoys wearing the same perfume all of the time. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I've never had a "signature scent". (Who knows... Now that I've subscribed, that might just change!)

3. That being said, spending (what could easily add up to) hundreds of dollars a year on a new bottle of perfume every few months, just to keep my interest piqued, is simply not in this girl's budget.

4. I finally got tired of spending our hard earned money on perfumes that smelled great in the store - or on those little fold out cards in all of the fashion magazines - only to find out that the wonderful seventy dollar (or more) fragrance, smelled completely different when I actually spritzed some on and wore it all day. (and not in a good way!)

So, needless to say, when I heard about Scentbird I was intrigued! The process is pretty simple, really. I'll do my best to briefly explain how it works and I'll add a couple of short little videos from Scentbird at the bottom of the post to give you a more 3D perspective. (I promise... they're really quick)

Step 1. You start by going to the Scentbird website. (I'll tell you in just a bit, how you can get a free month of perfume by using my referral link!) When you sign up for the program, you have just a few simple things to do to get started.

Step 2. You fill out your email address, name and all of the usual information and you choose a password, just like pretty much anything you sign up for on the internet. You'll have the choice of a month-by-month subscription at the cost of $14.95/month, or you can choose a 3 month, a 6 month or a 12 month/full year subscription. I chose to go month by month, but you can cancel any of their plans at any time and for any reason.

(You'll have to forgive me, but I can't remember the exact costs associated with the other plans at the moment. I do know that each one will save you a bit more money overall, depending on which choice you make - The costs for each plan are clearly stated on the website and just so you know from the get-go, if you do decide to go with one of these, they will ask for full payment for that plan, up front)

Next, you'll be asked to take a quick profile "quiz". This gives Scentbird a better idea about which types of scents you tend to like best, so that they'll be able to recommend new fragrances for you. But, never fear! You don't have to choose the perfumes that they suggest. As a matter of fact, you can choose exactly which perfume you'd like to receive each month in advance, by setting up your personal queue for (at least) 12 months in advance.

Now, keep in mind that neither the quiz, nor setting up a queue will lock you into those choices. You can go into your Scentbird account and change the fragrances themselves, or the order in which you want to receive them, at any time. The only exception to this, pertains to the following month's fragrance. You always have up to the 5th of each month to change that month's choice. But after that date, you're locked into the perfume that was next in your queue. However, the next month and months that follow can still be changed.

Scentbird carries literally hundreds of top shelf, designer fragrances and it can be a bit daunting at first, trying to decide just which scents you want to try, but you can narrow your search by using the chart at the top of the page that shows you many of the different "notes" used in creating a perfume. You can also search by designer, or by the actual perfume name, if you already have an idea of what you want.

Your first month's shipment (which comes in a glossy black bubble mailer) will contain one sturdy black plastic case/holder that contains a glass pump spray bottle of what Scentbird considers to be a 30 day supply of the perfume that you selected. I'd say that for me at least, it's really enough for a couple of months use. The only time that you might run out before your 30 days are up, is if you fell so madly in love with the scent that you went a little crazy and sprayed it all over everything in your house! LOL You'll also receive a little black "crushed velvet" style drawstring pouch to keep your perfume in, if you so desire.

The glass atomizer or spray bottle just pops in and out of the case and once it's in there, a quick twist of the case will raise and then lower the insert so that it is flush to the top of the case. That way, you won't ever have to worry about the little bugger "going off" in your purse accidentally!

After the first month, you'll receive your selection in the same little black bubble mailer with the shredded paper packing fluff, but without a case. (unless you've ordered an extra case or two) Extra cases come in black, or in a few other fashion colors most of the time, but Scentbird also offers limited edition cases and even pretty patterned ones now and then for special occasions. The last time that I
checked, the cost of each extra case was $12.95. (US) They also offer boxed gift sets throughout the year that from what I've seen so far, consist of three different fragrances.

This is one of the current gift sets that's available for men.
***So, I'm sure that you've probably been waiting to hear about the *free perfume that I mentioned above, right?!

This is how it works: Just head on over to the right side of this page and click HERE on my "referral link" (the Scentbird logo) and you'll be whisked away to the Scentbird site. Since you've used my link, if you should decide to sign up for one of their subscription plans, you and I will both receive a **free perfume! You can then pass your own referral link on to friends and get the same little perk! I call that a win/win situation!

**This free month is available to new Scentbird subscribers only. Once you have paid for your first month, you will receive your second month's selection FREE of charge!

Another benefit to signing up for Scentbird, is having the ability to purchase full sizes of the designer fragrances you love, at awesome discounts! How does that happen? Well... a few days after you've received your selection for the month, you'll receive an email from Scentbird, asking you to do a little review of that fragrance on their website. You are never obligated to do a review, but when you love a particular fragrance and your review reflects that, they take notice and they'll usually send you an email, offering you the option to purchase the full sized version of that perfume at a pretty decent discount! There are also other special offers that Scentbird will send you emails about throughout the month.

Looking for a unique holiday/birthday/just because gift for the guy (or guys) in your life? Well then you're in luck, because there's also a Scentbird subscription option for men! (The link is on their website)
So.... Now you know how Scentbird works and just a few of the reasons that I decided to sign up! Are you thinking about checking it out? If the answer is "yes!", I'd love to know what you think of the idea and why you feel it would work for you, so please give me a shout in the comments below!

Check out these very short videos to see a bit more about Scentbird!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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