What I Love About Afternoon Tea!

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Hello!

Last October, when I stayed at my mom’s work while she recovered from her second surgery, my nana and I got to have a lot of fun together and one of the things we both got to enjoy was a theme dinner there at the nursing home.

Gail who works in the activities department explained to us that they try to have four different themes in a year. She and the other girls decorate the different dining rooms and they plan with the chefs of a meal that would go with that particular theme. The one I got to enjoy was “Serenade At The Seven Seas” or something like that. I liked it. I also loved trying the different courses, but the other ladies were a bit mixed though!

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The theme was called “My Fair Lady” and I guess the ladies in the activities department decorated the dinning rooms and made feathered hats or “bonnets” for the female residents! She took pictures and even wrote out the menu of what they served to the residents! I was going to use the one she made, but it had some spelling mistakes so I just redid it – later I realized I could have spelling mistakes on mine! Funny how they works!

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They also had a little tea party too!

According to Gail, in the film a couple of characters host a party and they decided to recreate that with the residents, so they decorated the large activity room with very pretty and colorful table clothes and had these beautiful centerpieces in the middle of them. They looked very vintage but yet modern too! They also made the ladies hats with feathers and ribbons in crafts. My nana really loved that, but as you can see apparently so did Alex!

28535342_1768924659838523_1707063689_nIn 2016, I actually wanted to have an afternoon tea themed birthday party. I had so many ideas that I wanted to do. I wanted to decorate my grandparent’s kitchen table with different fabrics, and since my birthday is like the day after Halloween, I knew my nana had a large black table liner and I thought if we put that on the table itself and laid out a red runner in the middle that way it wouldn’t look too dark and gloomy for the party!

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve actually wondered what I’d serve to this tea party if I ever had one! Since I read so many of my fellow blogger friends going to afternoon tea at different hotels or just plainly at home with their family members and/or close friends., I’ve been able to figure out what all is served, and I’ve grown to love the three teared stand of food that is laid out on the table. The first thing they give you is your tea. However, I’m like the 1% that doesn’t like coffee or tea, so I’m more interested in finding a good lemonade recipe. My mom actually made a homemade strawberry lemonade last year, where she let the strawberries sit out in the juice overnight to allow the flavors to marinate together. I’m kind of partial to anything raspberry, so whenever I see a “raspberry lemonade” on a menu at a restaurant, I instantly order it! So I’d rather have a raspberry lemonade instead.

As much as I’ve gathered, you usually start with the sandwiches, they are usually placed on the bottom and bigger tear. The traditional flavors are egg salad, smoked salmon and cumber all cut in small bites so they look more dainty, and they always have the crusts cut off! Now I look on Pinterest for other ideas to make this a little bit more casual, so I am curious about creating a sandwich or two as some kind of wrap or pinwheel–using the traditional plain tortilla or having a variation of spinach or whole wheat!

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On the second tear you had the scones, which apparently in the states we say the word completely wrong! I’d explain on how it’s really pronounced but I don’t even know how to describe it, so I apologize there.

I have actually seen quite a few of my favorite chefs make scones on their television programs, so I already know of some different kinds I’d like to try out. I also know that when you’re making them for the first time, they’re suppose to be crumbly, so there’s nothing wrong with them, that’s just how they’re meant to be! Ree Drummond created the Maple Oat Nut Scones after not being able to visit a Starbucks where she lives; they look really good! The way she described them on her show The Pioneer Woman they taste like a biscuit type of pancake, because it has a strong taste of maple syrup! However, I think I would have to keep the coffee out of it! And then there’s a Cheddar and Dill Scone recipe from Ina Garten, she’s made this with both cheddar and a Stilton, which is like a stronger blue cheese! She’s very inspired by French food and had a gourmet food store back in the day, so she’s figured out different ways to make a good savory scone!

28536475_1768924629838526_1468751189_nNow the real question is what would I do about the clotted cream and jam that they serve alongside the scones itself? I know we don’t have the traditional clotted cream or nobody makes it to that level as the British, so the next best choice to have would either be mascarpone or cream cheese! Personally, I’ve never been in jam or perseveres, so I wouldn’t necessarily put it out as an option if it was only me, but if I had a group of people, I’d probably get a small jar of strawberry or blueberry jam, but for those who want to be really adventurous they can try out the marmalade. You know, I love the smell of that stuff because it’s like oranges, but I have never tried it before and if it was put out there on the table, I probably would like to try a small dab of it.

As far as the top layer of the stand, my thoughts have differed, sometimes I think a very casual take on decorative cupcakes would work out very nicely! You could make minis so they’d fit on the tear better. However if you wanted to add a fun twist to them, like stuffing them, it wouldn’t necessarily work on the tiny ones. I’ve noticed I keep looking into French pastries. You’d think I’ve been watching too much Ina Garten lately! So the possibility of having macrons, which is something that is on my food bucket list (yes, I do have one those! I actually need to work on that soon!) and there’s the tarts or tarlets you can make, like the Mini Raspberry Tarts that Julia Baker made on her TV show! These were so cute and seemed really easy to make! If you’re a chocoholic, in which I sort of am, you need a couple of good chocolate desserts too! Truffles would be a good idea, as you can just eat it in one bite! You could dip strawberries in chocolate or make little pote de creme (puddings!) in mason jars too.

There doesn’t seem like there’s a right or wrong way to create your own afternoon tea! If you’re interested in learning and seeing what is actually served at the teas in the United Kingdom, I have compiled a list of favorite blog posts for you! I hope you have enjoyed this post!

A Candy Shop Afternoon Tea at Conrad St. James – Lux Life | Love Is In The Air at Langham London’s Valentine’s Afternoon Tea – Fresh And Fearless | Afternoon Tea at Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour – Little Miss Katy | Afternoon Tea at Rockcliffe Hall – This Northern Gal | Sweet Treats: Glam Rock Afternoon Tea at K West Hotel & Spa – AbsolutelyLucy

Have you ever attended an afternoon tea before? If you have, what was it about it that you loved the most? For those of you who haven’t, have you ever been tempted to create one yourself? Let me know in the comments!

snowflake

Book Review: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

968Everybody loves a good conspiracy. 

The first full day I spent at the nursing home back in October, a CNA was pushing me down to my nana’s room for breakfast and we passed the smaller activity room on our way there and I saw this book staring at me and it was semi dark in the room so I was still shocked that I even saw it at all. A little later, my nana and I went exploring and we went in here to check out the rest of the books and I ended up grabbing it on our way out the door. I stayed there eight days and read over 200+ pages!

Now I have watched the movie but I had only seen it once and it’s been a few years since I’ve watched the whole thing. I’ve finally caught up on the other two films, but I didn’t know they were based off of books! One thing that is definitely different from the two is that the movies are out of order of the books. I found that out the hard way! There’s a character in Angels & Demons that comes up in this book too but it’s only a few times, but it can still get kind of confusing at times!

If you don’t know what the book is about, it follows a Harvard symbolist professor Robert Langdon, he is in Paris, France doing a lecture for his newest book and he gets called up in the early morning that he is needed by the French police to help, the curator of the Lourve, Jacques Saunière is dead. When Robert tries to crack the code on Jacques’ body, they are interrupted by a cryptologist Sophie Neveu and she tries to help Robert and French police captain Bezu Fache figure out not only who killed Jacques but why he would basically mutilate his body in such a way.

The second batch of people in the book starts with the story of Silas. A character that I remember wasn’t explained very much in the film. The name “Silas” isn’t his real name, he was given the name by fellow Bishop Aringarosa after he rescues him. Silas is an albino with a troubled past and he wants to help Aringarosa’s cause of the Opus Dei and find the Holy Grail, even if he has to kill the leaders of another secret society the Priory of Sion.

The story itself has a lot of information. And I mean, a LOT of stuff that you need to digest at one time. It does make you question everything that you’ve been taught like if you went to church a lot as a child. It does make you wonder about if there is some truth in the bible, if it’s just made up by people. I’ve always questioned the belief in that, although I do believe in a higher power and I think they do watch over me, but I don’t know if it’s a God. And the possibility of Jesus having a child with Mary Magdelene has fascinated me for years too! It is just interesting to read about the other things that could be true.

If you like conspiracies like me, you will love this book as a whole, but unfortunately I had a lot of cons about it too. I absolutely hated the writing style. The chapters were incredibly small. You’d go back and forth on the different point of views of the many characters, when you’re only given a page and a half on each person and the events that followed. Another thing that gets on your nerves is that the author will include both French and Latin, which is fine, but it’s only later in the chapters that he actually adds some of the translated words at the end. So you literally have no idea what went on with those characters unless you have a dictionary for both languages!

I grabbed the last book of series Inferno, on the last day I was there. I have been thinking about whether or not to go ahead and read it, because there is also another book before it. Yeah, not only did I read book two, I also found out that there’s a third book that I never knew about at all because they haven’t done a movie about it. They were supposed to though. I’m hoping there won’t be much included in The Lost Symbol so I can go ahead and check that out, but I think it’s just best to wait until I can purchase that book and attempt to stay in order here.

Have you read The Da Vinci Code yet? Or possibly watched the movie? What were your thoughts about either one? And let’s not get on the discussion of religion, okay? Let’s be respectful here.

snowflake

I’m An Onomastic!

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Hi 🙂

There is something you can catch me doing on Sundays. No, I don’t lounge around, well maybe sometimes, but most of the time I’m asking for our local newspaper looking at the birth and obituaries sections. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those creepy people who look at who’s died looking for a date. I look up and down the two rows at the beautiful names of children who were born in the last two weeks or so. I can’t quite explain why I do it or how it got started, I’ve just been addicted to asking for the paper on that specific day. I’m not interested in the news articles, just this part.

I wish I could say it was my only outlet but it’s not.

When I started Pinterest back in 2012, I was searching other boards and one day I found a board full of names! I found so many good ones that I didn’t just want to “like” each one so I ended making them a board. And then a couple of years later I made up another (secret) board of names for characters that were stuck in the depths of my mind. Luckily for me, there is actually a big difference between these two boards. One has more modern and classic baby names whereas the second has forgotten and out of the box names.

Here are some examples:

Baby Name Board:

Hazel | Paige | Abigail | Otto | Leon | Lachlan

Character Name Board:

Oryn | Zachari | Leopold | Tarina | Isadora | Annika

After watching so many episodes of Jeopardy, I actually started to see more and more contestants say they’re also obsessed with names as well, but there is actually a name for it. It is onomastics.

I am into is where the names originated, like my name: “Meghan” is actually Greek, which shouldn’t had surprised me as much as it did but I thought it was pretty neat though! I tend to love names from different countries like Denmark, France, Ireland, Italian, and Sweden. I also love names that were made up from stories like Shakespeare (despite the fact I can’t read his stories for the life of me!). I had always heard that Mr. Shakespeare is the one who came up with “Jessica” I still don’t know if this is true, and then of course you have mythology! I love the Celtic, Egyptian, and Norse mythology names! I have contemplated about using the names “Seti” and “Ra” in my children’s names!

When I first started looking into the large branches of the British monarchy, I realized they had very long names. One time I saw where they had seven middle names–not counting their first and last names! This person was actually Mary of Teck or later known as Queen Mary who married King George V in the early 1900s. “Mary” is actually her first middle name while her first was “Victoria” but her family called her “May.” As I’ve found the middle names are usually driven from previous family names. Mary would have been a young girl when Queen Victoria was still queen, but I have no idea about the rest.

Where is it in time frame where they start adding onto the names? I haven’t exactly figured this out yet as I’ve just figured out of the century of the War Of The Roses! I’m also curious on how open were they to give their children different names too? I’ve just recently found the name “Susan” while researching a former duchess on Facebook. It was the first one I had seen dating back to the 1500’s.

Now when you look back further their the history books, around the time when you have the Plantagenet and Tudor families where they only had one name. For explain King Henry VIII’s first daughter Princess Mary, is just simply Mary Tudor. Same goes for Queen Elizabeth I, she was just referred to Elizabeth Tudor. If she hadn’t became queen, I think some people would have gotten confused while researching the Tudor dynasty as King Henry VIII also had a younger sisters by the name of Princess Mary and Elizabeth.

For this next part I thought I’d share some of my favorite names and explain that some belong in other categorize too! So maybe if you’re expecting or love names just as much as I do, they will become some of your favorites too!

Classic:  Isabella, Victoria, Eleanor, Anne, Theodora, Cecily, Naomi, Albert, Edgar, George, Louis, Michael, Nicholas, Philip, Richard, Samuel, and Vincent.

French Names: Blanche, Celeste, Camille, Agnes, Alexandrine, Augustine, Bastien, Claude, Emeric, and Ernest.

Irish Names:  Aoife, Bridget, Fiona, Eabha, Moira, Oona, Siobhan Ronan, Declan, Donal, Liam, Mahon, Owen.

Out Of The Box: Piera, Olympia, Wilhelmina, Evanna, Reverie, Atlas, Thompson, Calix, Hugo, Audric, Henrik, and Micah, 

Are you interested in names? What are some of your favorites? I really want to know, so please tell me some in the comments!

snowflake

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Tune Tuesday | Canada ’17

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Hey!

Welcome back to week two and it’s all about Canada!

I am very excited about talking about the variation of Canadian music today! We’ve got a little pop and some electronica in the mix! Also, people seem to think the French language would only appear for week five: France, but if you didn’t know this, but there are a few countries that have French as part of their official language. So you’ll be getting a taste of it in this post too!

First off we have Alessia Cara! I think she is amazing despite the fact when I first heard her song “Here” I figured she would be a one-hit wonder. I know, even I’m furious with myself! Her 2016’s “Know-It-All” has done a very good job lately, cracking out the hit like “Scars To Your Beautiful” at the end of the year that was about self-esteem and accepting who you are. She has such a sweet voice that you do not believe she’s basically 20 years old! I thought she was like 16-17 when I first saw her.

Second act is Shaun Frank. If you don’t listen to a lot of dance music then you’ve probably never heard of Shaun. Unfortunately, I’ve only heard of two or three tracks but they’ve mostly had an interesting, chilled beat with some good vocals! I recently found on YouTube were these live versions of his songs “La La Land” with Delaney Jane and “Let You Get Away” featuring Ashe. I love both of them, but I really wish they would release that version of “Let You Get Away” mostly because of the saxophone. Who knew that was used in the original? Or was it?

My last is a duo by the name of Lydia&Sebastian. They are the ones who mostly sing in French, which is perfectly fine! I actually like it this way, it’s fun! They do have a few songs sung in English, but majority of their music is in French. I don’t know a lot about them, but from the songs that I have heard they have a more chilled out vibe in their music, I would categorize them in the modern adult, they’re not too pop-y in an obnoxious way! They’re really interesting!

How are we liking the artists featured on Tune Tuesday so far? If you have any suggestions for music in 2018’s lineup, let me know!

snowflake

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The Perfect “Vikings” Playlist

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So… this is going to be interesting to explain to the whole world but I have recently created a “Vikings” playlist, but unfortunately I do not watch the series. Now you’re probably wondering why the hell I even bothered making it? Well, to answer the question truthfully, I am more interested in the historical aspect of it. I will instantly look into the stories, in this case, the sagas written by the Anglo-Saxons centuries after the Vikings.

In 2013, I watched a very cool program called America Unearthed and it was about conspiracy theories of the United States of America and what we were told throughout the generations. There was one episode that really got my attention; every year we have a “holiday” celebrating Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus setting foot on the New World first in 1492, but to me, that seems very weird because trade is such an old profession that when I watched this show I started to rethink what I was always taught in school.

The host Scott Wolter, explained about the different stones, what we now know as “rune stones” found all over the eastern side of North America. Before the colonists were made up and the states got their names, the French would “claim” land by putting different stones or boulders in sections of land and would crave their names and sometimes even the year onto it so the other explorers would know that somebody has already been there. This really gave away to the possibility that maybe Christopher Columbus was not indeed the one to first discover North America and maybe the French or Vikings themselves did instead.

To me, this is what history is all about, we’re finding more and more artifacts that we keep changing it and I do believe some things in the history books are wrong. However, it does not mean a thing unless there’s concrete evidence and since it was so long ago, somehow we don’t have enough documents that survived to help prove that somebody was here before the Spanish, but it is a very interesting concept and maybe one day somebody will be able to prove the impossible!

I also watched the mini documentary series called Real Vikings that would air just after the newest episode when it came back on November 30th. I thought it was pretty cool, but I’m a history junkie! I did learn a lot about their culture in those short four weeks. I also got to see the last 2 minutes of the episode plus the teaser of the episode that would play that next week, so it all sort of came together and inspired me I guess. Anyways, I do hope that sort of explains why I did create the playlist in general.

I will include the whole playlist at the end of the post, but I wanted to talk about a few of the songs that I feel are perfect for some of the characters or themes of the last ten episodes of season four! I also arranged the song in order of how I thought Ragnar’s life and reign started and how it will continue in the series and any other information I can find out in the meantime!

The type of music I am naturally drawn to symphonic metal, it already has a fantasy vibe. The sound of the genre is completely different from what you normally hear from normal rock and heavy metal bands. The word “symphonic” comes from “symphony” of course and that means it will have the sounds of orchestra plus powerful choirs deep in the background. Everything is still the same, except for a few things, one of which is majority of the bands have female singers. There are a couple bands that share the role with a much harsher male vocalists, which can bring out more of the heavy metal sound than the women, but where they lack, they also bring emotion to the character and story they are trying to tell within the song.

Sacrificum by: Xandria 

It was actually a little easier finding a song that fit the story and/or character of “Ragnar” more than anyone, including his sons. The word “sacrificum” is Latin for “sacrifice” and I thought the lyrics fit the ending of Ragnar Lothbrook on the show pretty well; because the song it tells you how the character started off in his life just like everybody else and managed to get at a certain level, in this case became an Earl, but is now facing death and it sounds like he is talking to his family, his descendants, and that’s what really sealed the deal for me!

The Howling by: Within Temptation 

I thought this was an interesting perspective as far as looking into the violent ways of the Vikings themselves. They were essentially killing machines and took whatever they wanted, whether it was gold, jewels or in some cases people. What drew me to this song though, was the outlook of the people that lived in those villages that they raided and sometimes destroyed. I thought the combination of the two views, the victim to the warriors would be a neat contrast and would give you another side of the story altogether.

Kings Of Kings by: Leaves’ Eyes 

One thing a lot of people may not know, is that there quite a bit of bands in different parts of the world (mostly in Finland and Norway) that do pull from Viking folklore. Leaves’ Eyes is one of those bands, their album “Kings Of Kings” is based off Norse kings and even have a song just for “Halvadan The Black” and I have included it below!

This song though I thought represented all of the kings (and queens) mentioned both on the show but historically too! I also think it could describe Ragnar’s sons Bjorn and Ivar The Boneless (we won’t get into what I think of that character right now!) as they become bigger than their father as far as traveling and invasions.

The Undiscovered Land by: Xandria 

I hadn’t listened to this song a lot before I realized it went with a certain character on the show, so I’ve been really into it lately!

I tried to look into the lyrics of the songs and that’s what made me think of giving this song to Floki, especially after what my dad told me of what happened in the season finale. It is a lot softer than the other songs, but since Floki has turned into this sad, almost depressed person now, I thought he needed a ballad to really show what he is going through and feeling after the death of Ragnar, Helga and his adoptive daughter.

We Are Murderers (We All) by Xandria 

I think with the title alone, I may not need to really explain how it got included into the playlist! It’s still pretty cool how I thought which character it would be belong to though.

It was actually the first verse that made me put it at the end because of the newest character on the show. Jonathan Rhys Meyers has joined the cast as a bishop/warrior Heahmund. There’s not much about him other than he is considered a saint in Roman Catholic Church. So I thought the song in general could be used to describe this character to a T, because I’m thinking the bishop as a peacemaker, not a fighter! At least, that’s what I was always taught. I think that is really going against what we all were told by our parents and grandparents about heads of the church and the fact that he was really a warrior is shocked me!

I recommend you either look up the lyrics to each of the songs I have listed above or if you had the time you can listen to them to see if you agree or disagree with me on placement. I would also love to hear of your playlist or song to that you think describes or tells the story of Ragnar or any of the other characters.

So what do you think of the playlist? Are you a fan of the show? Who is your favorite character(s)?

snowflake

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The Rise of the French House Scene | A Guest Post by The Life of a Thinker

It all started with Daft Punk’s galactic, robotic synth-pop. Since then, artists such as David Guetta, Martin Solveig and Madeon have warped the French house scene. So, with that in mind, what’s next for this genre of music, and how has it evolved over the years?

First of all, we have to start with Daft Punk. At the moment, they have been relatively quiet with their music since the release of Random Access Memories in 2013 and the success of their track Get Lucky with Pharrell Williams. However, despite them lying low nowadays, the majority of French and international DJs admire their work (including Madeon – more on that later).

Aside from their choice of wearing masks when performing causing them to stand out, it was the duo’s (consisting of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo) fusion of electro and funk which was one of the setting stones for the French electronic genre.

Since then, other DJs have added to the industry. David Guetta’s album Nothing But the Beat (and subsequently the 2.0 version) was, in my opinion, the album which brought the French DJ to the spotlight. For example, his track Titanium not only brought Sia fame, but was also a successful electronic ballad (almost) which a lot of people still remember today. As well as that, their other single together, Falling to Pieces branches out more into dubstep, and his latest tracks including Hey Mama drift more into the hip-hop genre.

Finally, we have Madeon, who – admittedly – is my favourite DJ at the moment. Last year, he released his debut album, Adventure, which saw the musician (real name Hugo Leclercq) collaborate with the likes of Kyan, Dan Smith (from Bastille), Passion Pit and Mark Foster (from Foster the People).

In terms of his style, Hugo still gives a nod to one of the original artists from the French house scene. In tracks such as Cut the Kid, Ok and Pay No Mind, Madeon uses imaginative and flourishing melodies in an off-beat fashion which develops upon Daft Punk’s original style.

But, at the same time, Leclercq brings something fresh and exciting to the French dance music industry. If anything, as well as making links to other music styles within his music, his ability to creatively tell a story through his songs is impressive. In his track, Imperium, Hugo tries something different and almost branches out into dubstep. Meanwhile, in his collaboration with Bastille frontman Dan Smith, Leclercq almost mimics their alternative style of music and in You’re On, the track is an electronic take on the euphoric pop songs of today.

So, as we enter another year of music, perhaps French DJs are about to make their mark? In terms of the genre of music, could it see a merge between pop, alternative and dubstep? Comment your thoughts below!

Liam
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Song Review: “Propaganda” by DJ Snake

So before we start this off, I just wanted to include this tweet that I posted the day before NYE because I couldn’t contain myself once I heard this song that we’re about to discuss! You should have seen my face when I saw who had favorite the tweet. I was also thanking God that there were no spelling errors in that tweet too!

Anyways, if you’re familiar with my reviews then you know how much I love instrumentals. I seriously can’t get enough and I wish DJs made more of them honestly! Certain songs sound good without words, sometimes you just have to let the beat speak for itself. And with that being said, this sucker is fucking good! Sorry there’s no other way to describe my love for this track without using the “F” word in the same sentence.

Let’s be totally honest, anything that DJ Snake releases is great! I wasn’t really feeling “Middle” at first, but now I’m starting to like it. I always look forward to new DJ Snake music. I mean, I should’ve listened to it when he put it out on his SoundCloud instead of waiting until it was on Spotify, but I just decided to hold out for a bit longer. I mean, I love it so it really doesn’t matter where/how I listened to it! I don’t think my views on it would have changed. It sounds like a true DJ Snake track: crazy sound and makes you want to move. It could be an awesome song to add to your workout playlist just a little heads up!

So what do you think of “Propaganda?” Do you think DJ Snake will finally release a full album or EP for us this year?

 

snowflake

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