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Thrifted goods: 3/31/14

Since my blog is finally up and running, the grunt of the work is finally done and over (praise be, praise be) so it's smooth sailing from here on out. And I miiiiiight've just broken into song (specifically Queen of the Stone Age's "Smooth Sailing") in my head whilst typing that.

In a very technical sense, this is my first actual "a day in the life of" post, because today I immersed myself in one of my favorite past times:

Thrifting, not drifting. *winkwink*

Honestly, Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" might've been a lyrical documentation of my thrifty side - minus the walking into da club with whaddup, I got a big *cuckoo!* because though I may be Texan, I don't own a farm. My life, but in an eclectic rap-meets-Harlem Shake sort of breakdown (I swear everyone's doing the Harlem Shake in the MV). And I partake in lurking around and in racks of consignment shops (Buffalo Exchange, Plato's Closet, and something local to Houston: Taxi Taxi) and donation centers (Goodwill - which I am now avoiding because of their unethical treatment towards their employees, and Salvation Army).

Today's haul is from Salvation Army, which literally is the "thrift shop down the road" for me (thanks Macklemore):

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Mischief managed! After some snooping around at SA, I got some knee-high lace-up Converse and Celebrity Pink Jeans for a total of under $16!

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Should I mention the LEATHER texture?! J'ADORE.

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Please excuse my wonky image decorating app. On another fantastical note: they're lightly worn! You can still see the tread marks, but for some reason only the edges have the most wear.

The faux leather Chuck Taylors were $14 after taxes and the jeans were off the 99-cent rack. I'm completely confident and happy with my purchases - I love these Chucks and happily await the day I can suit up with them on my feet. The material, the quality, is just OOOH!!! I'm a sucker for well-made products, and for good reason too: Converse is so, so established in the timeless fashion brand sense (something we call "brand equity" in Marketing) and the skater clique (I prefer Vans for longboarding). That, plus in part that I like to weigh out my options since I'm buying secondhand goods. But even so, even my shopaholic self can manage restraint! 

I'll actually be cutting up the jeans into shorts and them embellishing them as a DIY project (which I will also use as a post feature!) for the summer and festival season coming up. Hooray, craftiness!

Also: Get pumped up! Tomorrow I'll be posting my first cosmetics/beauty post and the theme of it is everyone's favorite iconic shade: reigning Reds (incidentally this is what I'm going to name the post too!). If I haven't directly stated it, but I'm sure all the readers sense it: I am really corny and have names (and commentary) for everything.


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Get to know the girl: Part II ***long***

PREPARE THYSELF. No joking. This is a BEHEMOTH post.

For the last two days, I've been gathering great, great quality questions from my friends all over the social media sphere (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitterdom) for my "get to know the girl" posts. And, to cut to the chase, I shall answer them in one fell swoop in a fantastical questionnaire!
Here we go! 
  • What are some things that always really make you happy?
    • Honestly? A great ambiance: I'm by nature very, very sensory and empathetic, so even the smallest disruptive force is something that will be picked up by my super-power senses and then terminated or quelled (or CRUSHED BY SHEER FORCE) by me - if it resists. The kind of music I like (I like, not you like); the area around me has to smell like it came out of a LUSH Cosmetics store (or is one, y'know); if people are around me they have to be upbeat, chatty, sociable, and open-minded. Intellectuals! Scented candles! Tasty food! Nice lighting, very aesthetic and beautiful surroundings with lots of detailing. Spontaneous surprises, lots of action, places to be. Things that appeal to my cerebral side. I like art, and it has to play into everything. In short: Great vibes.
    • In contrast: if your hands are clammy, someone's voice is shrill, or the weather is humid and nasty-gross, or if you or your place smells like the Stink Bomb Squad has been storming around, if you don't mind your "please" and "thank yous", or you like trap music (ugh trap music), or you sound like/are an ignoramus, get away from me and more importantly why is Houston weather always doing the thing (that thing) to us?
  • Trapped on an island, and you only have 5 books. Which books would you bring to stave off the encroaching insanity?
    • AHH, I love this question for the "encroaching insanity" bit - I don't think, that with these books in my desert island survival arsenal, that I'll undergo any intellectual/mental atrophy. The books in mention are books I own: they range from novels, graphic novels, and compendiums. 

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    You name it - I own it! Or not.

      • "The Little Prince" by Antoine Saint-Exupery holds a special place in my heart forevermore. Every time I gloss through the pages of this delicately-put children's book, I weave the intricate lessons of the loss of innocence and love that Saint-Exupery pens. And every time, at the ensuing end, I tear up. I tear up a lot. Like, I just can't handle the feels that this CHILDREN'S BOOK gives me. Very touching, very bittersweet. 
      • "Solanin" by Inio Asano is sort of like what picks up after the message of The Little Prince: finding one's way in adulthood, searching for a way of "being" when we're all impersonators, and just feeling at peace with oneself. This one's a "slice of life" genre graphic novel.
      • "The Tale of Despereaux" OR "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiMicallo. I really hated how the big screen adaptation was a COMEDY??? Wait, WHY? These two are also children's novels, with beautiful illustrations that play with the idea of light and dark, belonging and isolation, pride and love woven into the storylines. My pet rabbit's name, actually, is based off "The Miraculous Journey".
      • "The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll" by Lewis Carroll (Rev. Anderson). I lovelovelove Alice in Wonderland, but the Disney movie bores me to tears and lucid dreaming in my sleep, aching for days of more enjoyment and sunshine. Aside from AIW, he actually has witticisms in his other works that are incongruous (which makes them really, really funny but that might be because my humor is as dry as Jupiter's deserts). 
      • "The Adventures of Tin Tin" by Herge (I wish I had the ENTIRE COLLECTION!) - if you watched the 2012 Academy Awards show and heard the faintest squeaking from whichever part of the globe you're from, that squeaking was really me leaping out of my couch for UTMOST JOOOOY when the film directed by Steven Spielberg won the Best Animation vote (TAKE THAT RANGO!!!). It's not that I didn't like Rango, I just bow down to Tin Tin, you know? On the real though, that was the ONLY reason I vulture-eyed the Academy Awards in the history of me. Tin Tin is a French comic based in the 1900s-1920s (it was written in the 60s); Tin Tin being the bright-eyed and laser-meticulous smarty-pants journalist that he is, with his ally Snowy, the Highland Terrier! At times Snowy puts up with Tin Tin because like Sherlock Holmes: Tin Tin can really skim over "trivialized" details and he falls into uncanny events that he manages to get out of every. Single. Time. Watch the scene where Tin Tin and the Captain crash land in the Sahara and Snowy heroically saves Tin Tin (and his coif) from an untimely demise. You'll see what I'm talking about.
    • What made you first interested in cosmetics?
      • I guess some of my friends think I'm running a makeup/beauty-only blog? Regardless, my mom's a cosmetologist so the interest is really cause-and-effect. Uh, meaning, when I was 5 I took one of my mother's bottles and nail polish and doused and globbed it all over my palms. My hands were rose-pink. I WAS PROUD as much as my MOTHER WAS FURIOUS. Now that I'm older, and less prone to the crazies, I do nail art as a soothing hobby whenever I have peace and quiet.
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    Painting my nails is akin to wearing mood rings! The mood I was feel when I did this set was colorful and punchy.
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    Mood/style: soothing, mermaid-inspired.
    • What's your favorite make-up brand?
      • Can't really say - I like certain things from certain brands? Drugstore-wise, or as Londoners say "high street brands", I like Wet 'n' Wild's lipsticks. The spread of colors and finishes really give Sephora and other department store brands a run for their money. Basically, I like certain things, like MAC blushes, Kat Von D palettes, Benefit brow cosmetics...  
      • edit 4/1/14: My "holy grail (HG)" cosmetic will always, ALWAYS be bareMinerals Original SPF 15 foundation. It was when Bare Escentuals was still independent and at its peak of public popularity and hype, rolling the infomercials of "swirl, tap, buff" (swirltapbuffswirltapbuff) back in my middle school years. This is what eventually moved me into the whole "enhance your natural features" realm of makeup and the world of foundation. Even though I was 13/14 at the time, I leaned towards brands like Physician's Formula and Laura Mercier, which provided more earthy, neutral tones. This was the initial phase of me rejecting red lipstick (which I later warmed up to in my later years! thankfully) because I thought I looked like a clown. 
    • What past times do you have for different seasons?
      • In the spring and summer: I shop, I love dresses. They're my nitty-gritty guilty pleasures when it comes to binge shopping. Dresses. Skater dresses, especially, and THEY'RE IN SEASON - and don't forget the glorious, exquisite KIMONO JACKETS?! And the thing feeding my inner child: During the spring, when patches of clover cover the soil, I like to take my shoes off and stand in them. I like to feel the earth, it's very calming. Again, I'm very sensory. The ground is soft enough to even run on! (I climb trees, too.)
      • In the fall and winter: Most things I do regardless of season, but I like to swaddle myself in blankets (a term I've coined as a "blanket burrito" since 2006) and drink hot chocolate. Oh! And steal people's body heat. That's exactly how I say it too: "I'm gonna steal your body heat." I'm charming, shush.
    • How would you describe your personal style? 
      • As someone who's young at heart with an old soul: it's a mix between gyaru, grunge, alternative, and retroglam. My closet breaks off in a dyad: brights (devoid of browns, blacks, grays) and neutrals (devoid of pastels, colors) and with no inbetweens. The only thing consistent is that each piece has a lot of texture and patterns. It's unique because it's my interpretation for combining those styles, I don't try to ascribe to a lot of trends or silhouettes because most people's fashions and styles aren't me. Sure, skater dresses and kimono gowns are "in", but even if they WEREN'T, I'd still be flaunting them up and down the streets and sidewalks because flow-y schtuff is my schtuff.  
    • What's your general opinion of people?
      • I have a love/hate relationship with people. I'm predisposed to see that everyone has good intentions (which comes across as naive) and I become extremely resentful when people use me or misunderstand me, which is something I usually have trouble with. So whenever I find companions who want and see the very best for me (read: take me seriously too!), you will be my friend, and I will be your friend. I will see you as family, because I don't take my friendships lightly when I emotionally invest in people.
      • My view sounds a little stoic because we come from the past, but my feelings are slowly maturing into full bloom. I give people the benefit of the doubt (whether they deserve it or not) and I've got to discipline myself with more discretion and grace. 
    • What types of qualities do you find best in people?
      • People who have the best qualities that I have: spontaneity, optimism, passion, honesty, loyalty, a big heart, charisma, loves to change it up whenever things get dull, they're adventurous ("nothing learned, nothing gained" mentality), and a tendency towards empathy and compassion. Oh, and they're intellectual progressives! I love progressives (feminists, liberal-minded folks, the like). And for the qualities I lack: communicates fluidly and beautifully and well, like spoken poetry (I admit I can be brash when talking and it makes me appear careless and rude). They need to know what they want, but even if they don't, and their cards are folded, that's okay. They need to know and understand they can't always be courageous, and strong, and full of pep! and wow! and dazzle with woo-hoo glitter-in-the-air-party-up-in-here pizzazz. They're real, but they know how to keep things going and know that when things get tough, it's okay to ask for help.
    • What are some things that you carry with you that you can't live without? 
      • Day-to-day there are specific artifacts I use, not necessarily carry on my person 24/7, that are important to me and my lifestyle. The first is my iPod, named Vinyl (it's a classic black 160 GB model), but I can switch between Pandora radio, FM stations, and souvenir CDs I've gotten from concerts I've been to. My life constantly plays to a soundtrack - though I march to the beat of my own drum. Secondly, I need a form of pen and paper (or a note-taking app on my phone) to jot down spurious ideas that zip and zoom into my imagination. I like to lose myself in the moment, but I would never forgive myself for losing a fleeting idea stoking in the fires of my mind. I like to keep records, archives, scrapbooks, chronicles, tidbits... so blogging fits comfortably into my life (I've been doing some form of diary-writing or blogging since I was in grade school!) The next articles are specific:
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    These are the necklaces that my parents bought me. I drape them over my neck and decollete a good chunk of the time (not when I'm exercising or showering, etc). The star's from my dad - he bought it for me in 2011, and the little Ganesh pendant is from my mom - which I got this year. They hold a lot of  symbolic value for me, in the way that they're gifts from my parents (who I sometimes have a shaky relationship with), and their cultural/religious meaning.
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    At most, I carry a lot of lippies and moisturizers on hand! On the account that I'm dehydrated frequently and sporting chapped lips are unsightly (and feel unsightly) , I keep a good lot of them stowed away in my purse. Shockingly if I don't have any on me, I go buy more and then we have the makings of a lip balm hoarder... Again to prove how sensory I am: I carry a tin of solid, organic perfume (Pacifica Persian Rose is my go-to) so a sweet, rosy aroma can waft around me and cradle me in mind-numbing amazingness.
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    School didn't structure me to have a planner. I did, because I'd be on the fritz without one (did I mention my undiagnosed ADHD?). I've always had planners, but this Hello Kitty "engagement calendar" specifically (the brand and planner model) has been a two-year ritual for me - I bought my first Hello Kitty agenda from a San Francisco Kinokinuya's when my family and I hopped on a roadtrip to California during Christmas break '12. They're neither cheap nor expensive; cheap when you compare it to a typical Sanrio store, and expensive among normal, student planners. (It's $18.)  Putting things in writing is a motivational aspect in my life too, so I list out the things I gotta do for the day so I can prioritize my time.
    • If you could steal anything from anyone, what would it be, and from who?
      • Tsk, tsk. What I'd pilfer is something that isn't tangible or physical; I have enough possessions to last a lifetime, and I know it. To cut straight to the chase: I want unadulterated confidence and tact, diplomacy. I've hurt people without meaning to, and in return it hurts me, too. And then people sometimes manipulate me when I'm amorphous and unsure of myself. Who'd I steal it from? I dunno. They can keep THEIR qualities, because I believe at some point I'll get to that end without having to masquerade it off someone else. I'm fine.
      • edit 4/1/14: The word I'm looking for is CONVICTION!
    • If you could move anywhere right now, all expenses paid, with no strings attached to your current home, where would you go?
      • San Francisco! It's the city my dad loves, and I love it because 1) the lovely bay weather (my personal moniker for San Fran is the "Yay! Area"), 2) it's surrounded by water which is something I've grown up with. When I was young and still living in Port Arthur, I lived directly across from Sabine Pass, so nesting near a body of water is crucial. And lastly, just the VIBE. It's oddball but historic and fresh and slope-y and structured but laid-back and all-in-all perfect?
    • If you had one lesson to pass on that you've learned this far in life, what is it?
      • This deserves it's own post and I will answer it in full depth to the extent of my being.
    • What was your favorite thing about the "Kinetic" shoot?
      • This deserves its own post too! 

    Let me take a moment to take a breather (you should too if you bulldozed through all that!). This took me n amount of hours to compose, but I do it for you guys! And I really hope you appreciate it and the future content I will be providing. All your individual personalities have really shown through in the questions you asked! Thank you! For the last two questions I didn't but will answer, I will be hyperlinking the posts together so it navigates to-and-from each other.


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    Get to know the girl: Diana Maria

    Name: Diana Maria Nguyen
    Nicknames: (deep inhale) Doodle, D, DD, Di, Lady Di, Princess, Queenie, Diana Banana, Rocket (I had bright auburn hair once), Red, pejoratively "Disney Star", Coconut, Danish, Blondie (I was also blonde some time), Crazy Cat Lady, Lionness/Lion Hair Lady (do you know how much hair I have no you don't and you don't want to know either)
    Birthday: January 19 (Capriquarius cusp - yes, I do enjoy astrology!)
    Resides in: Houston, TX / Hometown: Port Arthur "Aurora", TX
    Major: Concurrently undecided and floating through the universe, but planning on Social Psychology and Marketing for next semester
    Notable things: I like networking and plan on doing PR now and in the future; I am Danny Nguyen's sometimes assistant; I have an Etsy shop start-up in the process; I eat fries with my ketchup and not the other way around

    If I could describe my personality in 3 words: Cheerful, quirky, spunky

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    Prepare yourself for a blog full of bad-res #selfies. Don't say I didn't warn ya.
    Let's skip all the formalities now that the introductory post is done and over with: I am special in every pejorative sense of the word. I am the kind of girl who will interrupt my own conversation with someone to scream "I LOVE THIS SONG!" and then make a bee-line to be underneath/near the speakers pounding the music to bask in the ambiance. If I don't know the song, I will proudly whip out my phone and Shazam all the musical appreciation I have for it out of it. No I don't care if anyone sees me because of how conspicuous I am. I am the kind of girl who will drink chocolate caramel coffee at 2AM and be totally be at peace for pulling an all-nighter scrolling through Tumblr and not be that exhausted the day after. In a crowd, I will start singing Les Miserable numbers and whoever sings along, are the individuals who compose "my people". Theater geekette, musical theater geekette. I am an alto. When I am bored, I will take your phone and create an entire album of just selfies of just me (a whopping 3 people can vouch for me on this). I am also the kind of girl - if I find my friendship with you to be of much emotional value to me - to overburden you with chatty helpfulness. It's my inclination. I'm a Chatty Kathy, so sue me. There's also the habit of seeing the world though rose-tinted glasses - that life is one big adventure and a miraculous artistic process

    I am a illustrator in a pen-and-paper sense. I am also better articulated writing than I am speaking because my mind's shooting off into a hunna-million directions at once and I trip over words and ideas like a ditz would on air. Sounds awfully dreadful - but it happens. The metaphysical, psychological, and emotional realm are my especial province so I am also the kind of friend to wax poetic about philosophies with you until 4AM. My favorite holiday is Valentine's Day because lovelovelovelovelove and after-Valentine's Day sales at Target with their cutecutecute V-day themed wares. With that being said, my favorite colors are the trifecta of Valentine's day: Pink, red, and purple. All shades and hues in-between. 

    The Pokemon 2000: The Movie scene where Ash turns into a Gorgon-like stone and Pikachu is in denial of his symbolic "death" GETS ME. EVERY. TIME. That, and Miyazaki movies. I ship Haku and Chihiro (Spirited Away) so, so hard. I have commentary for everything (like, why is Benny Benassi's album art for "Electroman" a constellation of a BANANA?). My hyperactivity is also the result of a lot of frenetic, nervous energy. Or you could just say I'm ADHD. I might seem comfortable with myself in your wake, but trust me, I'm akin to a Venus flytrap: prod me enough and I'll open up to you. 

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    Moi, taking a selfie while on webcam because The Chainsmokers got to me.

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    Pretty sure this is a Jim Carrey impression from The Mask days. (Who are we kidding, I'm just a goofball.)
    At times, I dabble in the dark arts of video gaming, beauty, fangirling and punking out at concerts, and longboarding. Did I say the "dark arts"? Yes. Because they are very much the dark arts. (Come with me to the dark side. It's so, so fun. Especially when someone has a blacklight and we're all wearing glow-in-the-dark jewelry.) I prefer my eyeliner to be the color of my soul: black. Pitch black. 

    Coming up, I've gathered questions from friends of Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to answer for Part II of "Get to know the girl"!


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    A spotlight introduction

    Sit by me with some tea
    And then you'll see
    What makes me

    I'll start, ceremoniously: Diana Maria here, and I bid all thee hello, my lovelies! Welcome to "The Reader Model"! 

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    (I really... really enjoy decorating photos, a la Puripika style.)

    Before we begin: What's a reader model, you ask? As someone who enjoys the gyaru and decora subcultures of Japanese fashion, "reader models" are commonplace on the covers of best-selling magazines targeted towards teenage readers - and wield CONSIDERABLY more power than a reader model would in the States. A reader model is not a simply "cover model", like the actresses, socialites, and models on Seventeen, Glamour, or Allure. Reader models are POWERHOUSES! - and actually a force of sales and marketing. It's the reason why "reader model" is a term retained by the gyaru community - they're BIG in Japan. It's a little hard to put the thoughts into only words, so let's let the visuals kick in (the following pictures are pulled from Google Images):

    This is Kumicky (her real name is Kumiko Funayama) and her adorkable face, smiling from a March issue of Popteen!
    From an objective point of view, I believe she's the "it" girl of Popteen spreads all over Japan as of late - I've noticed more and more of her since 2010. She appears on the cover more often than say, Okarie (other reader models that may or may not belong to Popteen)?:

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    And this memorable face is Tsubasa Masuwaka, or as Japan deems her: "the billion yen gyaru".
    She collaborates with the famous cosmetics brand Koji and is the face of the sub-brand Dolly Wink and Candy Doll! She used to model for Liz Lisa (a proprietary brand in Japan known for it's "shabby chic" gyaru styles), still models for S-Leg brand socks I believe, and was a spokesperson for Palty and Pocky earlier in her career. Her track record, charisma, and grounded approach to business is why she's in my Top 5 role models. c:

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    This is Tsubasa with Yui Kanno (left) back in 2009, who also markets the make-up brand Melliesh. You see their familiar faces, and you just want to SNATCH UP! the mascara, eyeshadow, lipstick, or whatever they're endorsing in a heartbeat. P!nk and Liv Tyler of Maybelline have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on these gals!

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    Basically, what these "reader models" do is generate a lot of hype and interest in products by modeling in clothes, sharing beauty tips and secrets on notable magazines like PopSister, Popteen, egg, BLENDA, etc., and even run blogs to connect with their fans and readers! They're a business in themselves.

    In the global way, YouTubers, vloggers, and bloggers alike are reader models too! Michelle Phan, for example, is a reader model. She may not MODEL per se, but she does generate interest in cosmetics and the like (ex: her brand Em) that she uses in tutorials. Big-timers who do the same are Temptalia (the beautiful Christine) and the Muse (Musings of a Muse). 

    So, a reader model: A reader model is a spokesperson for THEMSELVES. Male or female, doesn't matter. They are the ones who INSPIRE. Along the way they accumulate interest to the self, like fans, friends, sponsors, or even business partners, but they always stay true to their passions on a personal and professional atmosphere, and never, ever let anyone talk them out of who they are - or otherwise. They're human connection in a very artificial, technology-ridden world. 

    How does that relate to ME, my blog, "The Reader Model"? 
    My blog is a lifestyle blog, all in all, and all-encompassing in the fields of PR, entertainment, music, fashion, beauty/cosmetics, and I really hope to reach out to people just by being me. What you can expect are correspondence/collaboration posts with fellow bloggers, beauty reviews (I'm not a MUA! I can't possibly do tutorials!), LOTDs ("look-of-the-days"), travel experiences, fun events to go to in my city, friendly promotions, and things precious and personal to me.

    On an ending note, "The Reader Model" has been in the wings of development for a couple of months now, a vision that's been floating in the ether of my imagination. The idea has been dancing around a labyrinth of "I'll get to it eventuallys" in due part to an ingrained Goldilocks-esque mentality of getting it "JUST, JUST RIGHT" and now, here we are! Better now than never, right? 

    I'll be doing a "get to know the girl" follow-up post after the break!


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