Album Review: “Rhapsodies In Black” by Exit Eden

18951120_415097612216750_3197680066864352688_nSo I have a new band for you, they’re called Exit Eden! If you are into the symphonic metal scene then you might know some of the ladies in the group. Oh yeah, all four singers are WOMEN! You know, there are a lot of female fronted bands that don’t like their bands called “female fronted” but I think it’s awesome! And I love the fact that these four powerhouses that have either fronted or were background singers for other well-known bands is amazing!

American singer Amanda Somerville and Brazilian vocalist Marina La Torraca have both worked with the Dutch heavy metal band Avantasia, while French soprano Clémentine Delauney has previously fronted Serenity but is now working with Visions of Atlantis. The last member of the group is German singer Anna Brunner is also the newcomer too, although I have yet to find if she’s worked with any bands yet or released her own material, she definitely has a strong voice to lend to the ensemble.

The album consists of 11 songs, but they are not singing their own songs. They’re actually covering a very interesting and unique blend of songs. I found it odd that they are covering more songs from the early 2000’s than maybe the 1980’s, but maybe there is copyright issues and were only allowed to do so many, but I still think the setlist is good though. I will say there were a few that I had to look up and see who they were originally by, but I’m hoping who the real artist is won’t cloud my judgement!

We start with Depeche Mode’s single “A Question of Time” and I didn’t know what to expect, but I sure liked it! I imagine the original version is very heavy, so the fact they is somewhat soft is fun. The song itself is very commanding so it works with the slight change of adding more symphony sounds and the male choir in the background. All of the ladies have different tones, but I really like Marina’s fierce vocals in the choruses. I apologize in advance if I get one wrong here and there. I’ve only figured out Anna and Clementine’ voices so far. The second is Rihanna’s hit “Unfaithful” that came out before she went bad. I liked the original a lot, but I’m not going to lie when I heard this one, I was shocked and happy all at the same time! I liked the raw string introduction and I really love Anna’s voice on this track. She has a strong, 80’s power-metal type of voice. It’s gorgeous! Majority of the heavy metal singers do not write personal songs so it’s a little strange to hear something that may not exactly be about them or their struggles, because half the time the music they do is more fantasy, folklore kind of stuff.

Third is another shocker and one that I really tried to keep an open mind about because they went and covered a Backstreet Boys song. Thankfully, not one of their bigger 90’s or 00’s hits, but still it’s a boy band song! However, it’s not bad! I liked the fact they kept the same slow tempo and didn’t destroy the essence of the song itself. I will say I do prefer the BSB version but this is a good effort! Next is Shontelle’s “Impossible” and I thought this was a different one. I remember it was a big hit in 2011 I think but didn’t think I’d ever see it on here. The melody’s not bad and I do like the addition of the guitar solo, but it is a hard song for me to listen to in any version so unfortunately I don’t like it as much as I wish I could and it has nothing to do with Exit Eden!

I wonder if it’s hard to do a Madonna cover? I mean, think about it. If you have listened to a song for years, know all of the words to it. How does one decide they want to not only cover it, but instead of keeping the pop sound, you change it to metal? I feel that would be difficult, but again I like the effort. This is Madonna’s “Frozen” and it’s hauntingly beautiful! Honestly, it could have been better without the beginning part of the guitar solo but that’s my opinion! Now we’re going to talk about a song that when I first heard it, I thought the original artist had covered it. No joke! It was Bryan Adams’s “Heaven” everybody has heard some version of this song at one point in their life! I have to say this is the one that I didn’t care for as much. I think there is too much and it’s mostly in the sound itself, I think the ladies were amazing but it lacked the same flair.

Keeping with the pop theme, we have Katy Perry’s “Firework” and even though Amanda Somerville is the only American singer in the group, and she seems to do most of the vocals, I think they managed to make it sound more Americana. Between Amanda and Anna’s voices, the vibe is unreal. It sounds so simple too! I don’t know how they did it! And then we have a shocker, it’s Adele’s “Skyfall” but it has become another song that has become a real hit as far as covering. The Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation also covered it in 2013. I liked the sound, it still has that powerful sound but I think it would have been better if it was only Clementine and Marina’s voices on the track.

This next one is one that everyone has heard, maybe in the right way. Several of us have only heard the crazy version on the snack commercials, like moi! It’s a good thing my mom doesn’t read my reviews! The song is Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and it does sound roughly the same, the duo vocals between a male and female, but I have no idea who the guy’s voice is. It could be another singer of a band or their guitarist voice. I’m not really sure! I think the song itself is very good though! And then we have Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” and I love the playful mobile sound at the beginning before switching to this sharp metal sound. I love Anna’s disornated voice during the bridge. I love the high vocals in the choruses – they’re going to be a bitch trying to hit once I figure out the melody again! It’s one of my favorites on here! The last song is Visage’s “Fade To Grey” and this was another song that I did not know at all. For the last song of the album, it definitely had the vibe “let’s go out with a bang” and I definitely approved of that! However, it does go a bit quiet once the verses start but it’s still very interesting though!

I was really surprised when I listened to this. I had been looking forward to it because I follow both Amanda and Clementine on Facebook, so finally I got to hear it officially was very satifasying! I almost got worried because it released in Europe first and I kept seeing on the band’s Facebook page that it was on Spotify and I kept having to check like every other day before I released we’d be second in line! I felt like an ass afterwards!

Have you heard of Exit Eden yet? Did you listen to the album too? What are your favorite(s)?

snowflake

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EP Review: “Nervous System” by Julia Michaels

18581722_1057525084392104_2680261785040618447_nWe’re going to be talking about singer/songwriter Julia Michaels extended play! It came out the last week of July, but I haven’t had enough time to actually listen to it and review it for you guys until now!

Julia was strictly writing for other artists like Fifth Harmony, Britney Spears, and Selena Gomez. When some of her songs began to be too personal to give away, she started to keep them to herself and hoped to release them as her own for once. Personally, I’d find this daunting because there’s no guarantee to do this and be on the Billboard Top 100  Music Charts, but she managed to do it on her first try!

Now she has released this new EP called “Nervous System” with seven tracks included on it. Let’s see what we think about it!

We start the mini album with the song, “Issues” and I do remember when it first began playing a lot on the radio, I wasn’t really feeling it, but then I switched and I really like the slow introduction with the zigzag sounds before she starts singing in this very low voice. It has became one of my favorite songs and I might actually put it on my favorite songs ever list – if I ever decide to update that post again. The second is “Uh Huh” and again, I had the same reaction. I just didn’t like it, but unfortunately my outlook didn’t change overtime. It has a more acoustic sound to it, and her voice is very soft and low. It’s a cutesy type of song but that’s about all I can say!

The third is “Worst In Me” and this has a more upbeat type of sound but then again you get this sad vibe as you’re listening to it, but she’s kind of known for her breakup songs now. She’s become a more pop-y Taylor Swift since she’s taking a break right now! Anyways, I like it for its simplicity. Next is “Make It Up To You” and this has an interesting sound kind of has its urban notes and it has a nice groove! I really like it because it doesn’t sound like the other three tracks. “Just Do It” is after that one and I thought we were back on the slow train, but it kind of sounds like “Issues” with its slow and fast tempo changes, but I mean it’s a little boring but it’s not bad either!

I like this next song, it’s called “Pink” and I didn’t really know what to expect with it until I was busy doing something else in the middle of listening and I was pretty thrilled with what I was hearing. The beat has a pop-synth kind of feel to it but it’s different and fun and I really like the story of the guy she’s talking about in this song. It’s not necessarily a breakup song, I feel it’s about admiration. It’s good! The last song is “Don’t Wanna Think” and it’s a real breakup inspired ballad compared to the others. You can feel her emotions and she’s very explicit in her words but I think it works with the song. I also love how it’s just her and a piano in the background. It’s beautiful!

I think the EP itself isn’t that bad. I think I expected more after hearing such a simple but softer tone from her with both “Issues” and “Uh Huh” that I wanted her to get out of that sound and basically out of her comfort zone with the rest of the tracks. However, I can’t say that I hated it and will not listen to it ever again though. I think if I’m in a sad place (which will happen) then I might consider giving this another listen and see what happens.

Have you heard Julia Michaels’s new EP yet? What were your thoughts about it?

snowflake

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Album Review: “Ritual” by In This Moment

19366082_10158910196285054_3916349050705466920_nIn 2014, the band In This Moment released their album “Black Widow” and I was really pumped for it because I enjoyed their 2012’s record “Blood” hell I even got my mom into the title track, I was so proud of myself! However when I reviewed “Black Widow” I wasn’t really into it as I figured I thought I would be. So when I found out they were releasing a new album this year I was hoping for another bad ass album but figured it would be smart to be prepared for another flop.

If you don’t know anything about In This Moment, they are a female fronted band from California and the members consist of Chris Howorth on lead guitars, Randy Weitzel on rhythm guitar, Travis Johnson plays bass, and Maria Brink is the lead vocalist. They recently replaced their drummer after he left the band early this year, but I don’t think they ever released the new guy’s name because I have yet to found who it is! So I apologize for not having that piece of information.

The album starts out with an introduction. Since “Blood” they’ve had some sort of interesting intro to the whole thing. It makes you want to sit on the edge of your seat after each one. For Ritual, the introduction is called “Salvation” and it’s like two minutes long, but it’s mostly of creepy sounds. I don’t suggest listening to it in the dark! Don’t judge me either. It has these thunder like clashes and sirens and you hear a deep male saying different chants in the background. At the end, you have Maria quote something, my guess is something from the bible but I’m not sure on that. The actual first song of the album is their first single “Oh Lord” and I will say, I didn’t like it the first time I heard it. However, later on that day my outlook of it did a 180 and I’ve loved it ever since. It has this sultry vibe and I tend to think that with previous ITM songs. Anyways, the lyrics definitely have a gospel kind of feel and surprisingly so does the music even if it’s like really dark and heavy rock.

Second track is “Black Wedding” and when I saw this, my mind went directly to Game Of Thrones and the whole “red wedding” episode. They just ended the new season and I’m still pissed at that scene because I usually see those types of things coming and I didn’t, so I’m kicking myself even today! Anyways, this has a very creepy piano beginning, almost has a feel of carnival vibe. Thankfully when the choruses start, it subsides. It features a legendary rocker by the name of Rob Helford of Judas Priest, which explains a lot because as I was listening to it at first, I didn’t think that sounded like Maria! At the end has Maria saying another quote and it is the intro to the next song “In The Air Tonight” which is a cover of Phil Collins’ song. Now I will say I have never heard the original and I’m betting my dad would make me listen to it sooner than I think. It is mellow, slow and ominous. Maria does a good job of making this song come to life.

The next one is “Joan Of Arc” and again, it has a seductive sound. At first, I was a bit worried about how this was going to go, but I actually like it. The lyrics talk about the same things that the legendary Joan of Arc was accused of in mid-1400’s. We have “River Of Fire” next and I really like this one as a whole. It has a fierce, dominating sound to it and you get a small sections with Maria’s powerful roar. I feel like she doesn’t do those as often as she used to, or is that just me? It’s also pretty catchy, so it wouldn’t take me long to learn the words to this bad boy. The seventh track is “Witching Hour” and I’ve been wanting to know how this goes, because I had fallen in love with the title without even hearing it! It has a clear witch-y vibe to it and I liked that, it was just the music that I had a hard time getting into it. It’s very tame and there’s nothing really special about it. So I was bummed about that!

After, you have “Twin Flames” which sounds like it could be like a ballad in a way, Maria’s voice is very sultry and soft, music’s about the same but the volume does increase and you hear the heavier guitars more towards the choruses. It’s not bad! This was the other one when I saw the title I was like, “please be good” and thankfully I got this one right! It’s loud and theatrical, which is something that they’re becoming more known for both on stage and in their songs! The track is called “Half God, Half Devil” now you know why I wanted it to be good! “No Me Importa” is much more softer, you have the background sound of a piano against these harsh guitars. It has a good balance of sounds with the instruments used. I like it.

These last two songs start with “Roots” and this is another badass track! Very mysterious and I love the meaning of it. The strong lyrics is what gives it life. It’ll be another I will learn, however I hear quite a few “fuck”s in this too so I won’t be singing it out loud unless a couple of people leave me alone for a bit, which won’t happen! Anyways, finally we have “Lay Your Gun Down” and this is definitely a ballad, they usually have their slower stuff at the end of their albums and it works very well because after building up the listener, you need a good ballad to kind of get them ready for the end of the cycle. It is hauntingly beautiful, that’s about all I can say! I have a few songs to check the lyrics and this will be included in the list.

I have to say, I was worried about this album, but I am glad how good it sounds! I know whenever I listen to albums I tend to compare the next record against their last and I’ve noticed I do that more whenever I’ve reviewed it on here. I don’t mean to do it, it just sort of happens. If this came out after Blood, I would have been a happy camper because I think it’s in the same category of that album than Black Widow, but like always that’s my opinion.

What do you think of In This Moment’s “Ritual” album? How are you whenever you’ve chosen a favorite album, are you very judgemental to the next or do you try to keep an open mind about it?

snowflake

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August Playlist

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Hello!

I debated whether or not I wanted to do another playlist post for August but I had made my Spotify playlist way before I published the wedding playlist so there was no question about it.

Ever since the June and July Spotify playlists would keep switching to a broken link, I have been trying to figure out a better solution so I found where you can link the playlist by URL and I did that for July’s playlist but as far as I know nobody’s listened to it! I might just be listing out like the top 10 songs I listen to a month as an exchange? I’m hoping that’ll work for the moment.

If you want to hear the full AUGUST playlist just click here!

Rx – Theory Of A Deadman
Sorry Not Sorry – Demi Lovato
Through Hell – Palisandes
Points Of Authority – Sylar (Linkin Park Cover)
The Resistance – Skillet
River of Fire – In This Moment
Need Nothing – VÉRITÉ
Westering Home – Celtic Woman
Judas – Fozzy
Hot Water – Audien, 3LAU feat. Victoria Zaro

There were several album announcements I had heard this past month! I have to say I’m more excited for Demi Lovato’s new album compared to Taylor Swift. However, I am curious to see who she attacks in this one but at least Demi should be more lighthearted and positive! I’m getting really excited for Theory Of A Deadman and Nothing More’s albums as well! So far those are the only ones that are on my radar and I’m not making any plans to review them at the moment!

Before I end this post, I thought I’d also add the links of the reviews I’ve done this month as well! I have a couple more to complete that I’m hoping will be up for September! Hope you all enjoyed them and this mini playlist too! I’ve got one more for this month that goes up on Thursday, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for it!

Somewhere In Between by VÉRITÉ | Songs Of The Whispering Things by ANÚNA | Evolve by Imagine Dragons | The Storm by ZZ Ward

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Album Review: “The Storm” by ZZ Ward

19437444_10154388996340882_3300483539664199082_nLast year the bluesy pop singer ZZ Ward released an EP called “Love And War” and now she’s back with her second full length album “The Storm” which was released in early July! I didn’t even know she was going to put out another album until this sucker popped up on my Spotify one afternoon! I really do like ZZ’s combination of a bluesy, almost soul sound mixed with pop accents here and there. It’s really interesting!

So we’re going to start this now, track number one is “Ghost” and it starts off just like I wanted it to, very sultry and mysterious. It has a nice mellow groove, goes great with her high-pitched voice! If you’ve never heard of her music before because it’s not overpowering in any of the areas. It’s perfect. Second is “Cannonball” featuring Fantastic Negrito and it is so bluesy and I love it! I love hearing the guitars and faded out piano notes in the background. It’s soft and sexy! I also think this Fantastic Negrito is a perfect addition to the song. That’s another quality I love about blues music is that with the right melodies and vocalists, it will turn anybody on! Oh, and I love the harmonica! I definitely don’t hear that anymore! Third is “Help Me Mama” and I feel like I heard this before listening it for this review. This has more of a gospel-soul sound, which the title indicates that right away! At least it did for me.

Next is the title track “The Storm” and it starts out with a light piano and guitar with ZZ’s voice, though its pretty softer in this song. In fact, the entire track is pretty mellow but it’s not exactly a ballad. You can clearly hear an orchestra in the background and it has a couple of fiddles in there too! It’s very nice! Fifth is “Domino” featuring Fitz and I’m thinking it’s the same one from Fitz and The Tantrums and I was right! This one definitely has more of a pop song vibe to it. I’m fine with it, because I think it’s nice to take a break from one genre to create something else in the other, so it has a good balance so far! After that one is “Let It Burn” and we’re back on the sassy, country-blues sound again! Considering I’m not the biggest country fan, I’m still shocked this gets by! This one has some good bass in it, which freaked me out, but I like it! I hope this gets used on So Do You Think You Can Dance because I think somebody could do great things with this one! That’s all I’m saying!

This next one is called “Bag Of Bones” and it’s very quiet, there’s nothing really to it and I actually like it. She’s letting the lyrics guide you and vibe is allowing you sway back and forth. I really like the acoustic guitar towards the end. It gives it a nice edge. “She Ain’t Me” is next and I was very ecstatic to see that we’d have a breakup song on the album! If there wasn’t one or two on a blues album even I’d be concerned! However it has more of a pop song to it so that part kind of bummed me a bit, but it’s not all that bad. The harmonica pops back into this one but I think I liked it more in the other song.

We’re almost done, the ninth track is “If U Stayed” and we finally have ourselves a ballad! It’s only her with her guitar and piano. It’s a breakup song, but it’s also gentle and very sweet at the same time. Next is “Hold On” and we’re on the upbeat train again, but it doesn’t sound obnoxious like I freaked it would be as second to last songs tend to be, which isn’t a bad thing. I usually like them. The last song is “Ride” and it features Gary Clark Jr. It was also featured on the soundtrack for the Disney animated film Cars earlier this year! That should have been my indication that ZZ was coming out with new music right there! Anyways, it has a good beat, very pop-y and a little bit bluesy. What more can you ask for?

I always look forward to new music by artists and bands, but once I hear a good album I tend to become very picky. Sometimes I want to hear something different from that person(s) because I think music should evolve and I don’t like seeing an artist being held back and stuck in the same genre and singing the same words over and over again. However, there are some were I do love the music they create enough that I don’t want them to change so much. I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So I think ZZ’s second album is amazing and I think it’s one of my favorite albums to come out this year! If you’re counting, that’s two so far!

Are you a fan of ZZ Ward’s music? Have you listened to “The Storm” yet? What were your thoughts?

snowflake

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Album Review: “Evolve” by Imagine Dragons

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Imagine Dragons is back! They recently released their third album called Evolve and I was actually really excited to hear it, but I’ve been going back and forward on how I feel about them. They are one of those pop-rock bands that is really hard to categorize because they make their music so different. When played live they sound like a genuine rock band but studio versions it sounds totally out of the box; almost has an alternative sound going with it.

The band is made up of four members: Wayne Sermon on lead guitar, Ben McKee on bass, Daniel Plantzman on drums, and Dan Reynolds rounding it out on vocals. They also have touring members too, but I’ve decided not to include them on here.

The first song is titled “I Don’t Know Why” and it has a nice easy introduction, very electronic. It has the perfect ominous tone to be the starter of the album. It has a nice groove and sort of gives me an old school pop vibe to it as far as the popping sounds of the beat and how low Dan’s voice in the choruses. It’s very strange but in a good way! Next is a favorite of mine, it’s “Whatever It Takes” and Dan is very fast saying the verses, I always get kind of cringy whenever I hear singers do this, hell even rappers! It just makes me very nervous! Anyways, this gives me an urban feel. It’s mellow but the tempo builds at the choruses!

Third is their first single they released this year, “Believer” and since it has been played over and over again, I have been sort of dodging it on the radio. I do love the fact that it sounds like a regular ID song, but I will be honest when I say I was a bit bummed on how much it sounds like “Radioactive,” nobody seems to mind but me. Next is “Walking The Wire” and this is an interesting one, it has a slow start but they keep that beat going. I like the gentle guitar you can hear towards the second verse a lot. It’s another favorite of mine! The fifth track is “Rise Up” and I was expecting this one to be a heavier, but I was sadly mistaken. It’s okay though! I liked the stripped down sound in the beginning, again you have a nice guitar strumming in the background. I do like the drum beat throughout, so it was better than my exception!

Next is “I’ll Make It Up To You” and I’m happy to say this is as close to a ballad as we’re going to get with Imagine Dragons! I like the love I feel in the words and you guys know me, I don’t really pay attention to the lyrics! It’s not really that bad. “Yesterday” is the seventh track and this one kind of freaked me out a little bit. The first thing I thought of when I heard was, “are they drunk?” It also gives me a Beatles vibe too, so I was dumbfounded with this one! It totally has more of a pop sound despite the noticeable guitar towards the end of the second verse, but.. It’s a weird one let’s just leave it at that! Luckily after that one, you have a somewhat regular ID song again. It definitely has more of a rock sound to it with the addition of the piano it sounds like their normal tracks!

The last three tracks start with their second single they released called “Thunder” and it is my fourth favorite on the album! It is another that has a hip hop undertone to it. I love the drum beats in it and the high-pitched “thunder” throughout, ah it’s so good! I actually don’t have any complaints about it! Next is “Start Over” and this one gave me a tropical vibe, I know that sounds weird but it has an exotic sound and that was the first thing that popped into my head and that’s what I’m going with, but what’s more surprising is that I actually like it! The finale is “Dancing In The Dark” and it has a mysterious intro and leads into this electronic beat, it’s very airy and almost static-y since Dan’s voice keeps going in and out, but again I like it.

If I can be honest, I think it’s a good summer album. There are a few songs that I felt were meant to be played for the season. Despite calling the album “evolve” and it being their third album in general, their sound is generally the same. There’s nothing really different with it. I’m also finding myself comparing them to other bands in different songs. So even though I liked a few of the tracks I was kind of disappointed with it.

What do you think of Imagine Dragons new album? What were your likes and dislikes about it?

snowflake

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Wedding Playlist!

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Howdy!

Today I officially start the wedding posts!

I put a poll out on my Twitter the week before the wedding to see what everybody preferred, a regular playlist or the wedding playlist and it was pretty unanimous after like two days!

There were a couple of songs I knew were going to play as they had some significance to either Blondie or Brandon, like the song she walked down the aisle was “H.O.L.Y.” by Florida Georgia Line which was perfect, it went along being in a church and it was just slow enough. The song they used for their first dance was “Can I Have This Dance” by High School Musical 3 soundtrack. Blondie is obsessed with anything HSM and she really tried to get him to learn the dance moves but he never gave it to that! She basically sang to that whole song while they were dancing; I can’t make fun of her because so was I! The song she wanted to dance with dad was “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw and that was her decision, she cried because I saw her flap her arms to her face when it began. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what the song was with Brandon and his mom, but if I remember to ask before this goes up I’ll update it!

I quickly realized throughout dancing on how little rap songs I know now! I had to ask Blondie for the songs that were on the list to be requested, because I honestly did not know what the actual song was called! I tried to compile the ones I could remember into a good sized playlist for you!

Drop It Low by Ester Dean feat. Chris Brown
With You by Chris Brown
Dance (A$$) by Big Sean
I’m The One by DJ Khaled feat Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper, Quavo
Shots by LMFAO feat. Lil Jon
Yeah by Usher feat. Ludacris and Lil Jon
Wobble by V.I.C.
Wild For The Night by A$AP Rocky
Turn Down For What by DJ Snake feat Lil Jon
Low by Flo Rida feat T-Pain
Get Low by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
Wild Boy by MGK feat 2Chainz, Meek Mill and French Montana
Sexyback by Justin Timberlake
Same Drugs by Chance The Rapper
Congratulations by Post Malone feat. Quavo
Bend Ova by Lil Jon feat. Tyga

There were a few slower and country songs that played throughout, but I didn’t really pay any attention to them so I couldn’t tell you what I heard, because I was either busy talking or getting a drink and trying to catch my breath!

Hope you all liked this post. Next week I go into detail about our nails, hair and what we all wore (the guys are included too.)!

snowflake

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