Why the blogging world is so upset right now 2In case you missed it, this week has been rather a controversial one for the world of social media after a company’s Facebook post publically criticising a Youtuber/Instagrammer went viral.

If you haven’t heard about it, the Youtuber sent a private email to a very popular lodge explaining that she was heading to their region for four days and enquiring as to whether they would be interested in collaborating with her. She offered to provide social media coverage via her channels (87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 instagram followers) in return for free accommodation. The email in its entirety (other than her name being blocked out) was then shared by the establishment on their Facebook page with an open letter from the owner. In essence he called her out for having no self respect and told her to pay her way ‘like everyone else’.

A flurry of comments to the Facebook post followed in support of the company. They all followed a similar theme, commending the lodge owner for taking a stand against ‘freeloaders’ and denouncing this particular Youtuber as a ‘self entitled millenial’ who just wanted a holiday for free.

Why the blogging world is so upset right now 2

Unfortunately if this wasn’t bad enough, things escalated pretty quickly.

Here’s a summary of what happened next:

  • Someone worked out who the influencer was and directed her to the Facebook page, where she was able to read all of the comments criticising her and the wider blogging community.
  • She took to Youtube to record a response to the company, whom she claimed publically ‘outed’ her private correspondence in an unneccssary manner. She also criticised the company and the commenters for judging others life choices and for shaming rather than supporting young entrepreneurs.
  • In amongst her off the cuff, clearly unscripted counter attack, she also made some of her own generalisations, citing that anyone over thirty did not understand the industry.
  • Most bloggers entering the debate read her initial email to the company and saw it this way: The blogger was reaching out to the brand to pitch a potential collaboration and suggesting initial terms which would then be followed up and fleshed out in further discussion emails if the brand responded with interest to the proposition.
  • Most non bloggers (and even some bloggers) saw it another way: An embarrassing demand for free accomodation from a ‘blagger’.

The email has been disected into minute detail by those both for and against the influencer and massive assumptions have been made on both sides. For example because the blogger mentioned the dates of her visit and was not specific in what she was requesting lots of people have assumed that she was asking for her whole stay to be covered. This may or may not be the case. More likely she was intending on a one or two night stay before moving on, although of course this is conjecture on my part. On the other side, most in support of the blogger have assumed that those making judgements against her do not work in or have any knowledge of the industry themselves and are of a certain age.

Much has been made of the influencer’s followers. Those in the blogging industry see the numbers as sizeable – 180,000 followers across two platforms is an impressive feat and and takes time and effort to build. Others see the numbers as ‘tiny’, with the view ‘I’ve never even heard of her, so who does she think she is?’ or worse ‘well anyone can buy followers and fake their way to being seen as influential’.

The Cafe also turns out to be notorious for being outspoken and regularly calling out behaviour it does not agree with to its substantial social media following, which is actually larger than the blogger’s own numbers (likely numbers gained due to the promise of controversy based entertainment such as this). When comments began to be added in defence of the influencers saying that he could have privately just said no his response was: “Well it wouldn’t have gone viral then would it? Silly girl.”

Why the blogging world is so upset right now 2

It has to be said that the pitch from the influencer wasn’t very well worded in this case and thus at a first glance if looking at it sceptically it does read badly. For example, it doesn’t explain how her coverage may benefit the company, nor does it state what that coverage would be. This led many to surmise that she was offering a guaranteed favourable review in return for the free stay and therefore her review wouldn’t be trustworthy. We shall never know whether she would have followed up with clearer terms and conditions in the next email, or whether she would have demonstrated the value she could provide in return for the stay.

Now I tell you all of this not because I want to debate whether either party was right or wrong. What I really want to talk about is how shocked I’ve been at the level of general hatred and anger directed towards the blogging industry as a whole following the post going viral and the assumptions and stereotypes made not just about this influencer but against every blogger/Youtuber.

When the news first broke I sent a tweet to the girl on Twitter expressing my disappointment at the comments regarding blogger ‘freebies’. I told her to keep going, by which I meant: Learn from it and move on (it was hard to fit it all into the number of characters allowed in a tweet!). I came home yesterday to find that other Twitter users had been going through all of her tweets (and thus replies), had picked up on my comment and decided to reply to me on it.

One of them, from a complete stranger had gotten over 100 likes and been retweeted several times. It basically said that she was asking for a free five night stay and that I shouldn’t be supporting her, before explaining to me (or should I say mansplaining?) how a ‘genuine marketing professional’ would guarantee sales through traditional advertising whereas a ‘niche blog’ never could. That led to more strangers jumping on the bandwagon to tell me that the industry I’ve chosen to work in has no value and that I, as a blogger, also have no value or anything to offer. Here are just two of the tweets I received:

“As a blogger your bottom line is to get what you can get for free…free is the bottom line not anything else you and everyone else knows that is the truth of the matter…”

“She wanted a free weekend away with her boyfriend. We’d all love one of those. And a photo/blog on her SM of which the demographic is young teenage girls with low disposable income & not able to jaunt oversees would give the hotel how much in additional bookings? Very very minimal.”

Let’s take the comment on her demographic being ‘young teenage girls with low disposable income.’ Well I am a 36 year old woman with a full time career alongside my work as a blogger. I own my house and with no children have a reasonable disposable income each month. What I like about social media is that unlike traditional reviews and advertising, you get a more personal insight into people’s experiences and I follow people from their teens to their sixties. A well done blog post or YouTube video takes you on a tour and shows you what you can do during your stay too, all fleshing out why you might want to stay there so that you can make a decision on whether it appeals to you or not. That’s why I, as a consumer, find it a useful tool when looking for ways to spend that disposable income of mine!

Thus these tweets sum up my frustration with this whole debacle. Yes, the individual Youtuber may have made an mistake in contacting a brand whose marketing strategy is certainly not in line with her proposal and yes the pitch is flawed. I take no issue with that. This brand didn’t WANT to utilise Bloggers, it didn’t fit their strategy and they had every right to turn down a proposal that wasn’t right for them. However by sharing the letter publically and then later stoking fuel on the fire with later posts and comments, the focus has shifted from the one blogger who wrote the letter, to every single blogger whether part time, full time, paid or not. The view of us being ‘only after freebies’ has been picked up and repeated in parrot fashion thousands of times.

Where it gets even more complicated is that some bloggers have made matters worse by rallying others to join them in leaving fake, negative reviews on the cafe’s site, or else leaving horribly offensive comments on the cafe’s Facebook post, all of which the cafe owner shared on Facebook to illustrate his point that bloggers are awful human beings!

As the furore rages on and the comments pile up I have had to keep reminding myself of a couple of things:

Whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion, it doesn’t mean that it’s anything I should concern myself with. My job is to keep writing my blog because I love to do it, and to act with a code of ethics if I do post reviews that may encourage others to spend their hard earned money upon my recommendation. I also know that despite the comments, there IS value to be had from brands working with bloggers in the right circumstances and it is NOT a bad thing to approach a brand with a well thought out pitch if you are offering a valuable, mutually beneficial service. Not every collaboration is about guaranteed sales, a company may be looking to increase brand awareness, engage a new audience or simply to utilise the skills of the blogger to create beautiful content which they can feature on their own channels too.

However even knowing these truths about the industry and also telling myself that the opinions of complete strangers are just that, the very idea that people are judging me in a bad light merely because I identify as a blogger has still really gotten to me.

Why the blogging world is so upset right now 5

For 3+ years I’ve been creating content I love and sharing it with the world for no greater purpose than enjoying myself and hopefully entertaining some of you along the way or providing reviews that are useful. I don’t earn money from my blog and I pay hundreds of pounds each year to host it and keep it running, investing my time and money into creating content and purchasing photographic equipment and supplies, self funded competitions etc. I know my blog isn’t life changing and won’t help find a cure for cancer, but I never started my blog for that reason. The thought that even with the best of intentions and using a VERY stong moral compass that I’m construed by some as greedy, worthless and ‘just after freebies’ just because I blog in my spare time is hard to reconcile.

I think a lot of the blogging industry feels the same hurt, confusion and frustration right now.

LovedByLaura

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Simple Tech Upgrades To Speed Up Blogging Tasks

This year I haven’t blogged as much as I wanted to. It wasn’t for lack of inspiration though, far from it in fact. The root cause was simply that my laptop was so incredibly slow and unreliable. I’d boot up my laptop ready to write a cracking post only to feel all my motivation drain away as I stared at a loading screen for 10 minutes. I was spending a silly amount of time dealing with frozen screens or having to redo lost work because my computer crashed halfway through saving. Anyone who’s experienced that knows how soul destroying it can be!

Added to this, I had begun to dread all the fiddly and time consuming admin tasks that go into the making of a good, informative post. Taking pictures and writing the main copy is the fun bit that I enjoy but I’m really not such a fan of continually clicking between tabs to copy and paste links and fact check information, it all felt like a proper chore.

Simple Tech Upgrades to Speed Up Blogging Tasks

Over the past few months though I’ve made some really simple, cost effective tech upgrades to help improve the situation and make things easier. I’m very happy to say that it’s worked and I’m getting back into the swing of things now and feeling much more motivated.

Here’s what I did and how you can do it to!

Simple Tech Upgrades To Speed Up Blogging Tasks

A super speedy laptop – for £138

Although I’d love to replace my laptop with an all signing all dancing Apple iMac or MacBook Pro they come with a far too hefty price tag. I opted for a far simpler and more cost effective solution; I replaced my laptop hard drive with an SSD (solid state drive) for £138. I got this one which my lovely boyfriend (who is far more knowledgeable on computer hardware than I am) recommended for me.

I won’t try and pretend that I know the technical details which explain why an SSD card boosts performance and is better than the standard one you get in your laptop (to be honest for all I know there are little elves sitting atop unicorns casting spells in there). I’ll just tell you instead that it’s well worth the investment and will make your laptop seem brand new again.

Mine boots up in 10 seconds flat now, I don’t get any horrible laggy freezes anymore and even heavy duty apps like Photoshop run with ease.

Basically when I tell my laptop to do something it just does it now without any delays or grumbles and that’s all I’ve ever wanted!

The swop was really straighforward, a bit like changing a sim card on your phone, so there’s not much technical know-how needed. Just remember that if you are going to change your hard drive then you’ll lose everything from the old one, so make sure you back everything up first and have a way to remember your passwords as you’ll need to set everything up again. Here’s a helpful guide I found which tells you everything you need to do step by step.

Going Dual Screen

Simple Tech Upgrades To Speed Up Blogging Tasks

If you’re unfamiliar with dual screen set ups, it basically means that you have an extra monitor running from your computer (be that a desktop or laptop) so you can display and use more than one internet page/programme at a time.

Simple Tech Upgrades To Speed Up Blogging Tasks

This is handy if you’re in the middle of writing something and want to refer to reading materials or insert links into the post. Instead of having to toggle between tabs all the time you can just have the web page/email open on one monitor and your draft blog post open on the other screen. Another way I use it is to have all my photos open in a folder on one monitor so that as I’m writing my post I can refer to them and then drag and drop them in, again without having to continually click back and forth on on screen.

Getting A Mouse

Simple Tech Upgrades To Speed Up Blogging Tasks

It’s not all that practical using a mouse when you’re using your laptop on the sofa but now that I’ve sorted out a proper office space with a desk I felt it was about time I got one. I opted for a USB plug in mouse over a wireless one because I don’t want to have to change batteries all the time and don’t mind the extra cable.

It’s such a small change, but I just find it so much easier to scroll through things and navigate with a proper mouse, plus I don’t get that weird numb finger feeling that comes with using a touchpad for too long anymore!

Making my office space more comfortable

Simple Tech Upgrades To Speed Up Blogging Tasks

It’s very distracting when you don’t feel comfortable and so if you’re going to spend a long time at a screen it makes sense to get a good supportive chair.

Simple Tech Upgrades To Speed Up Blogging Tasks

On a recent trip to Ikea I found an affordable, super comfy chair that was perfect for my desk space. It’s a funky acrylic design in a curved shape which I have finished off with a faux sheepskin from Ikea. Although it’s supposed to be a rug I’ve used it as a throw and it means that everytime I sit down I feel like I’m getting a big furry hug – a huge improvement on the fold out wooden low back chair I was using before!

(I know I’m stretching it a bit by calling ‘buying a chair’ a tech upgrade, but to be fair to me it was flat packed and came with instructions so that’s technical enough for my liking!)

I hope that some of you find this post on my recent tech upgrades helpful – if you’d like to see more about blogging on LovedByLaura let me know what sort of topics you’d like me to cover in the comments!

(Please note that this post isn’t sponsored, it’s all just stuff I’ve purchased myself over the last few months!)

Shop The Post

Logitech M90 Optical Mouse
Crucial MX300 SSD Drive
HP 24″ Monitor
Desk Chair
Faux Sheepskin Rug
Logitech M90 Optical Mouse
Crucial MX300 SSD Drive
HP 24″ Monitor
Desk Chair
Faux Sheepskin Rug
Logitech M90 Optical Mouse
Crucial MX300 SSD Drive
HP 24″ Monitor
Desk Chair
Faux Sheepskin Rug

LovedByLaura

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Let's Talk The Pressures of Blogging

Last week Loved By Laura turned three which blows my mind! Whilst I’m incredibly grateful for all the fantastic things that blogging has brought me, it has made me think back on my blogging journey and it’s fair to say that it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses. Over the years I’ve had my fair share of struggles with the immense pressure that comes with running a blog and how obsessive it can all become if you’re not careful.

There’s pressure to succeed (even if you’re not quite sure what that actually means), pressure to keep up with others, pressure to grow a following, deadlines and expectations.

Lots of us don’t get paid to do what we do yet we still treat it like a second job and somehow end up heaping a huge amount of pressure upon ourselves to consistently produce new and exciting and creative content day after day.

In my first year of blogging everyone seemed to be celebrating huge milestones and setting ambitious goals for growth, which made me feel like I needed to focus on my numbers too. People whom I’d started out with were writing posts entitled ‘how I tripled my followers in a month’ and I felt like a big fat failure because despite following all the advice my audience was hardly growing at all. The funny thing is that now looking back on it, I was actually doing quite well. I just couldn’t see it at the time because I was comparing myself to the 1% and thinking that was the norm.

I started to develop a bad habit when shopping. I knew I was doing it, but I couldn’t stop myself. I wouldn’t ask myself ‘Do I need this?’ Instead I’d be thinking ‘This is cute. Could I turn this into a post? Would it make a good Instagram picture? Is this going to get me likes and followers?’ I’d ignore the most practical or affordable options if I spotted a more Instagrammable version available. Have you ever noticed that they charge you more for anything that comes in pink, white or rose gold now whereas pick royal blue or green and it’s a total bargain?! I’m pretty sure my generation of bloggers created that strange economy. Sorry.

In those day I also spent so much time looking through a lens and planning how I’d write about my experiences that sometimes I forgot to actually experience them, or didn’t feel that I had the time to enjoy them because it was more important to get that perfect shot. I was creating 3 blog posts a week for over 2 years and it took non stop effort to be able to generate that much fresh content.

At the start of 2017 it hit me that blogging had taken over my every waking breath and I wasn’t really enjoying doing it any more. I knew it wasn’t the end of LovedByLaura but I needed a break and I took quite a long one to refocus. I wanted to work out what I did and didn’t miss about blogging so that I could change things for the better.

One of the best things during that time was going on days out where I left my camera at home and committed the experiences to memory instead of film. I’d missed days where it was just about going to the beach and enjoying the company around me instead of going to the beach and hunting down the most photogenic beach hut!

Let's Talk The Pressures of Blogging 2

Six months have passed and it’s only now that I’ve got back to posting regularly again, I’m more realistic in what I can and should do with my time and what my limitations are. I allow myself nights off. Sometimes I even eat my food hot even if it would have made a perfect Instagram shot! I’ve saved myself a small fortune by not buying so much new stuff and instead writing and photographing things that I already own and adore.

Sure, I’m never going to be the most successful blogger by doing things this way and it means that some days I go quiet on social media because all I’ve done is eaten a pot noodle and annoyed my cats. That’s okay though. I’m happy with where my blog is right now and I’m just enjoying the process of blogging and what I loved at the beginning before all the pressure piled on.

Let's Talk The Pressures of Blogging 2

So…does this mean I regret the first couple of years? Absolutely not! Whilst I got too consumed by it all for a while, those first few relentless years got my blog to where it is now and I’ve learned from all the experiences – the good and the bad. It really is just one long crazy life lesson being a blogger!

P.s. I still can’t help buying the rose gold option of everything even if it costs more. Nobody’s perfect.

LovedByLaura

If you like this post, you might also want to read this one!
The Curse of the Green Eyed Blog Monster – Dealing with Envy

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Loved By Laura Turns Two Arena Flowers Giveaway

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I sat down to write my first blog birthday post and yet here I am again for my blog turning two! TWO YEARS OLD! My goodness what a year this has been.

Loved By Laura 2nd Birthday – A Look Back

There are so many highlights that it’s really hard to choose, but I thought I’d share some of the things that made this year so special and why it means the world to me that you all continue to support my blog.

Loved By Laura Turns Two Arena Flowers Giveaway

My First Outfit Of The Day Post

To mark my first blog birthday my friend Marcus persuaded me to pose for some outfit pictures. I was incredibly nervous as I’d never attempted a fashion post before but the encouragement I got from you in comments and tweets and on Instagram was overwhelming. I’ve been doing OOTD’s ever since!

Although I sometime have confidence wobbles, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy styling up a look and I’m much more adventurous with my outfit choices these days, so it’s done wonders for my wardrobe!

(See my first OOTD post here.)

The Bloggers Blog Awards

I was completely speechless when I got shortlisted for the inaugural Bloggers Blog Awards as a wildcard entry.

To see my name listed alongside so many talented, highly successful bloggers is still one of my proudest moments to date. I’m pretty sure that none of the other girls had a clue who I was before the day but every single one of them was down to earth, encouraging and just as freaked out by the whole thing as I was!

We all had a wonderful time at the event and it was an incredibly positive experience. I made sure that I nominated my own favourites for the 2016 Awards because if I can bottle that feeling and pass it on I want some other bloggers to feel it too!

(Read my post on the Bloggers Blog Awards 2015 here.)

Loved By Laura Turns Two Arena Flowers Giveaway

Finding My Foodie Feet

I’ve always loved writing about food and drink but in the past year I’ve been able to really grow this side of my blog. Not only have I been developing and featuring more original recipes recently (look out for a recipe in my next post in fact!) but I’ve also been able to participate in some incredible experiences and collaborate with some fabulous food partners too.

I learned how to make authentic Italian pizza with I Just Love It

Levi Roots cooked me authentic Caribbean cuisine

…and I dined with Jimmy Doherty who taught me to appreciate Jersey Royals.

Who Me?

I’ve had quite a few ‘pinch me’ moments in the last year too, where I’ve received an invitation and thought: Who me? Are you sure?!

Noteable standouts are participating in the Joe Browns Christmas Campaign (Me? Modelling? Say whaaat?) and having a bath in public. With champagne. And the Saracens rugby team. Seriously don’t pinch me I’d rather not wake up thanks.

Loved By Laura Turns Two Arena Flowers Giveaway

You Lot!

Yes you. The ones reading this post, supporting my blog and leaving me lovely comments of encouragement. You’re hands down the best thing about blogging and I thank you all for sticking by me!

Celebrate With Me! | Win £100 Voucher For Arena Flowers

In fact to say a big thank you, how would you like to win £100 worth of beautiful flowers from Arena Flowers?

Loved By Laura Turns Two Arena Flowers Giveaway

Well here’s your chance! Arena Flowers have kindly offered to send one lucky reader a £100 voucher to spend with them. I received my own huge birthday bunch from them last week and they’ve been in pride of place on my coffee table ever since.

Loved By Laura Turns Two Arena Flowers Giveaway

I had a massive smile on my face when I opened the box (they come carefully packaged in protective cardboard). Fragrant sunflowers, lilies and roses in the most beautiful hues, fresh berries and stunning foliage. The flowers themselves are lasting ages too.

You could fill your house with small bouquets, send some to a friend to show how much you appreciate them or go to all out Instagram Heaven with this premium rose bouquet!

To enter please follow the instructions on Rafflecopter. To be eligible you must complete the mandatory options, then there are some additional optional entries if you fancy an extra chance at winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions are the rules which apply to this competition. By submitting their entry, entrants will be deemed to have agreed to be bound by the following terms and conditions.

*This competition is run by Loved By Laura in conjunction with Arena Flowers.

*To enter the competition entrants must complete the mandatory entry requirements on Rafflecopter before the closing date listed.

*This promotion is open to residents of the UK.

*No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are lost or delayed, or which are not received for any reason.

*The prize on offer is £100 Arena Flowers voucher redeemable at Arena Flowers

*The prize is only as stipulated and cannot be transferred and/or exchanged for cash.

*Confirmation of the prize will be made by email to the winner and announced on Twitter after the closing date.

*Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner. If the winner cannot be contacted, or is unable to comply with these terms and conditions, Loved By Laura and Arena Flowers reserve the right to offer the prize to another eligible entrant. Failure to respond and/or provide an address, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize.

*Loved By Laura and Arena Flowers reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. If we do this, we will publish the amended terms and conditions on the competition page.

*Loved By Laura and Arena Flowers reserve the right to end this promotion at any time, and without notice.

Good luck everyone, and thanks again for helping Loved By Laura Turn Two!

LovedByLaura

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Three Loved By Laura Rose Gold Iphone 6 SE Competition

 

Loved By Laura is turning two!

I don’t always get the time to reply to all of my comments or acknowledge my new followers but this doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate each and every one of you. I can’t thank you all enough for sticking around here and spurring me on to create even bigger and better things week after week. You are the reason I blog!

So to welcome in my recent new readers and say a massive thank you to my existing ones I’m going to be running some giveaways over the next few weeks in the run up to my blog’s 2nd birthday.

I’m starting off with the biggest prize I’ve ever given away on here which I’m hoping that you’re all going to love: A Rose Gold iPhone SE.

Win A Rose Gold iPhone SE

Yes that’s right, I’ve teamed up with Three.co.uk to offer one lucky reader the ultimate fashion accessory! The Rose Gold iPhone SE features among other things a 4-inch Retina display, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a 12MP iSight camera to help you flatlay to your hearts content!

…if I could enter my own competition I would!

Full terms and conditions are listed below and entry is via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

iPhone SE competition with Three – Ts&Cs

*These terms and conditions are the rules which apply to this competition. By submitting their entry, entrants will be deemed to have agreed to be bound by the following terms and conditions.

*This competition is run by Loved By Laura in conjunction with Hutchison 3G UK Limited, operating as Three, Star House, 20 Grenfell Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1EH.

*To enter the competition entrants must complete the mandatory entry requirements on Rafflecopter before the closing date listed.

*Entrants must be aged 18 or over.

*This promotion is open to residents of the UK, except for Three employees, their families or anyone else associated with this competition.

*No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are lost or delayed, or which are not received for any reason.

*Winners agree to participate in publicity as Loved by Laura and Three may require.

*The prize on offer is a 16GB iPhone SE (rose gold) and a Three SIM card loaded with £10 of credit.

*The prize is only as stipulated and cannot be transferred and/or exchanged for cash.

*Confirmation of the prize will be made by email to the winner and announced on Twitter by 15th August 2016.

*Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner. If the winner cannot be contacted, or is unable to comply with these terms and conditions, Loved By Laura and Three reserve the right to offer the prize to another eligible entrant. Failure to respond and/or provide an address, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize.

*Loved By Laura and Three reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. If we do this, we will publish the amended terms and conditions on the competition page.

*Loved By Laura and Three reserve the right to end this promotion at any time, and without notice.

Coming up…

…and that’s not all! I have some other giveaways planned too because I want to be able to thank as many of you as possible. EEK I’M SO EXCITED!!! So keep your eyes peeled in the run up to my blogiversary as there’s much more to come.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

LovedByLaura

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