Co-pays Paid with Time

It is a funny thing what just a few short days can do for your well being. 60 days ago I was a wreck. Emotionally and physically. Life just took hold of me and decided to throw me around a little bit. I say a little bit, because I’ve been through worse, but the difference between this experience and ones in the past is that I learned a few things during this particular ride. In the past I went along with the nightmare, got out of bed, stumbled in pain, went to appointments, took my meds, and eventually got myself physically back on track. I was numb emotionally, though. I wouldn’t try to break things into little pieces and exam them, I never allowed myself to be upset with my circumstances because that just felt selfish and needy. I know now that being selfish and needy is perfectly fine on occasion.

I know my life had shifted when I went to my 6 month appointment with my Rheumatologist yesterday. I see the best Rheumatologist on the West Coast. People travel from all over to see him, different cities, towns, and even states. I have been under his care for over 10 years now and he is the first doctor that truly lets me decide my own fate. He is very well aware that I am addicted to steroids, and is constantly reminding me of their adverse effects when I need to up them. I am in control of my meds, and he is really just there to supervise and advise. During my allergic reaction nightmare an ER doctor increased my daily 5mg of Prednisone to 40mg, and as I stated in that article….I was in Heaven. My body works on steroids. I can move like a normal human being, I can outlast the best of people without the need for caffeine pumping through my system 24 hours a day. Prednisone slowly kills me though, my vision goes blurry, I get the face of a puffer fish, and I just know internally my insides are decaying. So, I am back down to my maintenance dose of 5mg back to aches and pains everyday. There is this fun balancing act with autoimmune, and the rules are always changing and the outcome is never the same. It really isn’t a balance at all, but rather roulette.You either win or you lose. I often win, but when I lose I lose it all.

Seeing the best has its dues and not just in the form of co-pays, but in payment of time. When I was a girl and reliant on my parents to bring me to my appointments we always had to pay an additional amount in time. Hours. I remember sitting in the outdated waiting room agitated and just wanting to go home. I would run out of magazines to read and the TV only played PBS (still does). My mother would be irate for having to wait so long, and my father remained calm until we left and then it was a continuous rant all the way home about how an office could be managed in such an unprofessional manner, etc. Everyone in the car ride home including myself seemed to have amnesia about my actual visit with the doctor. I got all the time I needed, all questions were answered, all aspects of my disease were explained to my parents (for the 10th time), but most of all we were never rushed by the doctor himself. It is in our nature for the good to immediately dissolve the minute any negative is associated with it. We did that, time and time again.

I sat in that outdated waiting room for probably the 50th time in my life on Saturday. I watched a show about a British vet, I don’t sit in the 50 year old chairs because the cushions have worn down and I can’t seem to ever get out of them. I read the walls cluttered with pictures of charity events my doctor has contributed to, and for a slight second I thought to myself “I am going to be here forever today and be bored out of my mind”. You see, in my adult years I have learned to take the earliest appointment on Saturday(says something about a doctor that works Saturdays) usually 6am, and then I am the first patient and I don’t have to wait. I see him for roughly 30 minutes, leave with my prescriptions and do not return for another 6 months, but this Saturday all that was available was 7:30 meaning my doctor would already be at least an hour behind. As the thought of my own boredom creeped into my mind I became angry with myself. Angry because 60 days ago I was the patient needing the hour long appointment when I was only scheduled for 20. I did sit in that office filled with anxiety and fear about a disease and medication I had been dealing with for years that suddenly seemed to change its attack method. I had all the time in the world with the man whose care I have been under for 10 years. I was not rushed, I wasn’t even sick, and I was not made to feel guilty for eating into 3 other people’s appointments. So, Saturday I waited an hour over my scheduled appointment time to see my doctor for 20 minutes. I am no longer the sickest person in the room. In fact I usually am the freak show of the waiting room, I am under 100 years old, I don’t look sick, and so to everyone else in the room me seeing a Rheumatologist is just absurd.I sit in a room filled with bitter old folks who bitch about their appointment not being on time and I just want to scream at them, because once they get back there they always take up an hour of the doctor’s time. We get to choose the way we react about the situations we are put in. I typically check in, ask how far behind the doctor is, and then offer to get Starbucks for the receptionist and I don’t come back until she calls. It really is that simple.

As I have grown older I now know that nothing comes without asking for it first. I do not feel I am more fortunate than most when it comes to my general doctor and my specialist, I feel I have an amazing relationship with both because I opened my mouth and asked for it. Doctors and surgeons do not have time to hold anyone’s hand….especially those that are not truly ready to be well. I used to go to my quarterly appointment with my specialist, answer the questions, get my meds, and leave – 20 minutes max for a 2 hour wait time. In my most recent years those I speak my mind. I ask for the things I want, I challenge his opinions for him to give me a better answer, and I 100% am honest with the outcome I hope to accomplish. I know a lot of people with chronic illness that walk around this life filled with complaints. Complaints about their health, their doctors, and their meds. All situations are different of course, but I can guarantee 90% of these people are just not asking for what they really want, and not giving up until they receive it. You aren’t always going to have the best doctor, hell I won’t in a few years, my Rheumatologist is somewhere near 100 years old, and I’ll never find someone like him again but I can damn well make sure the next one hears me just as clearly as this one. I have found a voice. When you have a chronic illness having a voice is the most important aspect. No one hears you when you are silent. No one hears you when you have already given up the fight.

I wrote this mainly because I enjoy that I have become more self aware. More aware that not all situations deserve a reaction, and that our reactions are 100% reliant on us alone. The last few months I have been surrounding myself with much more positively from the outlook I have to the friends I keep. No matter how much pain, defeats, or obstacles life gives you the reaction you give life back is 100% the way life will continue to treat you.

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Sunday Stretchy Pants for a Taco Trifecta

People tend to assume that because I am small I cannot eat a lot of food.

People are wrong. I am capable of anything as long as I fast all day, prepare my heart for the food I am about to demolish by drinking an abundance of caffeine, and wearing stretchy pants. I can achieve anything with caffeine and stretchy pants. The world is at my fingertips.

Taco Trifecta was born after neither me or Mikey could decide on what kind of tacos to cook together during our collaboration, and so the only logical answer was to make all three options. Chicken. Shredded Beef. Fish.

Tacos are an important staple in our family. We used to have a taco party every few months…yes a taco party for no good reason other than everyone loves tacos THAT much. So, why you may not think tacos are very interesting or deserve my longest post to date – think again because there are some sauces, ingredients, and tomatoes in here that you cannot live without.

All recipes below were created by my uncle – referred to as Mikey, 2nd dad, uncle, and architect. 
Pictures were a combination of Mikaela(the pretty ones), Mikey, and myself(the ugly ones).

We are so precious.

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Collaborations are so exciting for me. I enjoy seeing other people in their work space, I like knowing other cooks thoughts and ideas. We will begin this post with all recipes for the food and then at the end some reviews, insights, and comments. The entire experience with all 3 taco recipes will be posted to this blog article, but at a later date I will create individual posts for each taco so that they are easier to locate, scroll through, and make on a whim. For now …..read. PS I read somewhere that if you want to keep followers engaged on your blog you should keep posts under 500 words…..bye followers!!!

Pulled Chipotle Beef

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef (I used a boneless chuck roast)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced fine until it resembles a paste (if you want extra flavor/heat, add an extra pepper)
  • 1 med. white onion, sliced.
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño pepper, sliced

 

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DIRECTIONS:

Stir together the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stainless skillet over medium-high heat. Place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, sliced jalapeño and sliced onion to the skillet.  Saute for 3 minutes, or so, until onions start to soften. Add the chopped garlic and continue saute for about a minute. Add the beef broth and stir the pan to deglaze it, scraping up any good stuff from the bottom of the pan. Add tomato paste and minced chipotle, and whisk into the pan sauce until combined. Bring the sauce to a low boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened. Pour the pan sauce over the beef in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the beef shreds easily. (Truth be told, about halfway through I flip the beef over to keep things even, at least in my mind!)

Shred the beef with two forks, and toss to coat with any of the remaining juices. I also spoon some of the juices from the slow cooker over the beef for extra flavor!

Taco Sauce – made from beef juices – you absolutely have to make this I am deeming it crucial to the ENTIRE process

Immersion blender in the the slow cooker liquid, transferred that to a saucepan, added about 1 Tbsp. Of white wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp. simple syrup. I reduced that over medium heat for just a few minutes and whambo!

THE TACO

You can really choose to dress these tacos however you wish, but we did fried flour tortillas….which are mine and my aunt’s absolute favorite. We can eat them for dessert. Beef. Cheese. Lettuce. GRILLED Tomatoes (these are getting an article all on their own), sour cream, and the reduced beef sauce.

Please do not be offended by our high class plates….we enjoy being classy.

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NEXT!

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Grilled Chicken is always more of a personal preference but we stayed with the chipotle theme.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Chicken
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Avocado Oil
  • Lime
  • Chipotle Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder

Let chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, and then cook all the way on the grill!

THE TACO

Chicken was perfectly cooked, because there is almost nothing worse than overcooked chicken. Corn tortilla, cheese, lettuce, grilled tomatoes because I am addicted, sour cream, and avocado. OH! I also put the beef sauce on everything! Obsessssed.

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NEXT!

I will tell you that at this point we all were stuffed..but no one wanted to be a loser and back out. So we continue to eat. German/Americans.

Here is Kyle giving up at life.

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Mahi Mahi Tacos

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Mahi Mahi
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Avocado Oil
  • Chipotle Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder

Grill fish until completely cooked and then serve. The secret to fish tacos is the sauce…..a sauce so good it needs to be put on everything. Everything. Fries, tacos, potatoes, sandwiches, socks, salads, EVERYTHING.

We are going to refer to Mikey as the architect from now on because he is excellent at creating amazing recipes with solid foundations. Foundations that I then go in and destroy…but sometimes corn dip comes out of the destruction. Does this make me Godzilla?

Here is the sauce recipe…verbatim of what was sent to me, and like all good recipes you will need to taste as you make this for personal preference.

Chipotle Sauce 

  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and then minced into something resembling a paste
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonaise – real mayonaise, people
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar (this is where tasting becomes crucial)
  • Fresh squeezed juice of 1 lime
  • Taste and Tweak

So simple and yet life changing.

THE TACO

White corn tortilla, fresh cabbage, grilled tomatoes (addicted), fish (duh) and chipotle sauce…..tons…….just eat that.

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Final Thoughts:
Beef cooked for over 6 hours will always trump all other proteins
Fried flour tortillas are life
Grilled tomatoes changed my life
Beef sauce is mandatory for all tacos
Chipotle sauce could be glazed over a dirty sidewalk and I’d still eat it
I need Mikaela’s camera
I rolled around on the floor in discomfort for two hours after eating all this food
Worth it

–I have been at this blogging gig for a little over 6 months and though I am quite proud of myself for maintaining WWB I am most overwhelmed with the tremendous support and interest I have received from those around me. If you are already a subscriber, have read my about me, or follow my social media accounts then it is most likely obvious I am a family oriented girl. I grew up surrounded and supported by family. I was raised with the lesson to cheer on everyone, because we all can be successful. Success takes work. Cheer for those that work. Yet, I still am humbled when people take notice in something I have created. Collabs are my jam. I like to grow(figuratively, of course being 4’11) and the easiest way to do that is by cooking, taking photos, writing, reviewing, and creating with others. Family, friends, followers, and strangers on the street are more than welcome to contribute to WWB…..it was kind of the reason I decided to create it in the first place.–

 

Mikey’s Killer Cream of Corn

This will kill you.

They say a family that cooks together stays together, but I personally think that when people cook together one of them ends up murdered. Most home cooks do not like anyone in their kitchen while they are at work. I remember my dad screaming from the kitchen “why are you in my kitchen?” and I was generally the only exception. People love to gravitate towards the food because we are grazing beings. We love to snack, but a chef hates you snacking in their space. My dad would jokingly slap my brother’s hands as they tried to sneak samples of dinner and say “you are ruining my presentation!” Yes, this is how I grew up, and now how I cook myself. No one is allowed in my personal little cooking bubble.

My uncle sent his genius recipe via email, but this last Sunday we did cook together and I am happy to report everyone involved is alive and well!

I made this, put it in a glass container for dinner the next night, but proceeded to eat the WHOLE thing standing at the counter. I am going to die. Send help.

UPDATE: I wrote this particular piece about a week before Taco Trifecta (still pending release) and I used the foundation of this recipe to create a Mexican Corn Dip. Holy Jesus. Recipe will be below the original, and please for the love of butter make BOTH.

Do not send me or Mikey your hospital bills.

 

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Creamed Corn

4 ears of corn
Butter
Milk (I used heavy cream)
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Parmesan Cheese
Cream Cheese
Jalapeno

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Original Recipe is as follows: The original corn on the cob was wrapped in foil with unsalted butter, smoked salt, fresh ground pepper, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and onion powder. Heated that thru on the grill…
The next day, I took 3 ears of the leftover corn and cut the corn off the cob. In a saucepan I heated 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup milk, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, and more ground pepper until melted, and then added corn to heat through.

I made mine fresh as I did not have leftover corn, and the only difference I made was heavy cream instead of milk and an addition of 1/4 barbecued Jalapeno.

Ya’ll will need Jesus for this.

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I was able to pair this with my Black Bean Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mash before devouring it, so that is the picture below.

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MEXICAN HOLY GRAIL CORN DIP:

5 ears of corn
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Garlic Powder to taste
Onion Powder to taste
Cream Cheese 8oz
1/2 Grilled Jalapeno
1 Cup Salsa Verde
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 cups Pepper Jack Cheese
2 Fresh Limes
Cilantro and Green Onion for topping

Let all your wet ingredients melt in a saucepan, add your cheese and corn. Let everything get gooey and delicious. Based on personal preference you may need more heavy cream/sour cream. I made this early in the morning and had to reheat later that afternoon for the festivities and this dish reheats beautifully.

This dip is the perfect mix of fresh with the in season corn that has a crisp bite, spicy, and gooey. What more could someone want in a dip? I always know a recipe is a winner when all individuals in the household are hovered over a tiny glass bowl fighting to the death for the next scoop. This was a winner, folks. At one point we had to put the lid on and lock it in the garage…..well not the garage….I screamed at Kyle for one last bite before he locked it away, and Mikey was truly insulted when Kyle(again, no manners) tried to leave the house without leaving him any for the next day.

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Original Cream of Corn Recipe created by: Mikey
Photos here and there Mikaela Immenschuh Photography

Parmesan Roasted Cabbage

Who really likes cabbage outside of coleslaw or boiled down and then shoved into an egg roll? ME!

I love sauteed cabbage with potatoes or other various veggies. Cabbage is not a garbage food, people! We should be eating it! Roasted cabbage gets an amazing earthy flavor, and the high heat gives it much needed texture. This isn’t the wilted down cabbage you are used to.

Roasted cabbage
Head of Cabbage cut into rounds
Butter
Grated Parmesan
S&P

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes depending on your preference for crispiness.

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Champagne Pops!

This doesn’t really need a “blog post” because it is seriously so easy, but I needed somewhere to put all my sexy/pretty pictures.

Champagne.

Popsicles.

To die for.

I used Outshine popsicles, and everyone should know my fave Ballatore champagne.

Hooooonaaaaay.

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This is like porn to me.

German Potato Salad

I am a German Girl.

I like potatoes.

I like bacon.

I like mustard.

I love German Style Potato Salad.

I made this for my Grandpa because he does not eat eggs or egg products so classic potato salad is not something he eats or will even go near. I predicted that Grandpa and I would be the only guests at the BBQ enjoying this dish, but to my surprise quite a few people enjoyed this version. German Potato Salad is a complete opposite of American Potato Salad because for one it is served warm, and there is no mayonnaise in it at all. I urge you to at least try this dish for yourself before casting it off to the side.

I have also listed my recipe for classic potato salad below….well the way I make it, because I obviously brought that to the BBQ as well…… over achiever.

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German Potato Salad

2lbs Red Potatoes
3 Tablespoons Good Quality Coarse Ground Mustard
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Yellow Onion Carmelized
1 Clove Garlic
6 Strips of Bacon

I am not going to tell you how to boil potatoes because some people like them overdone, under cooked etc. I personally cube mine, put them in cold water in the pot, bring them to a boil, and cook them til just the edges of the potato crumble away. 20 minutesish?

Caramelize your onion, garlic, and then add bacon. Once this is completed I add my mustard and apple cider vinegar into the hot ingredients. Once the potatoes have been strained immediately mix the ingredients together. Many people are not aware that even with regular potato salad warm potatoes should be mixed into your sauce of choosing – the potatoes will absorb the sauce this way.

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Classic Potato Salad – Krystal’s Way

3lbs Red Potatoes
1 Red Onion
1 Bunch of Green Onions
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Mustard
3 Pickles
6 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 Bell Pepper
S&P
Red Chili Flaks
Fresh herbs

Remember to mix EVERYTHING together WARM!!!

 

Farmers Market Soap – Rutherford Reserve – Review

In case it was not obvious or apparent I am big fan of all natural ingredients and the same standard applies to beauty and skincare products. I also am a big fan of farmers markets. Naturally, when a farmers market has skincare products I am going to buy them. In fact, usually when first arriving at a farmers market the first stands I look for are: dog related anything, soap, lotions, body scrubs, and cute hobo bags. There are plenty of stands with fruits and vegetables so they can wait as I wander around aimlessly looking for the above list.

This last weekend Kyle and I went to a new farmers market with some friends, and since the very first thing I bought was bandannas for my dogs I apparently “missed” the soap lady stand. I am just going to believe she wasn’t there the first time I walked by and was able to set up in the approximate 20 minutes it took us to walk around the court again, hence I never missed her….she just wasn’t there, because I would never miss or walk by the soap stand. Obviously.

I love anything Milk, Tea, Honey,Ginger, Almond, or Oatmeal scented (these are my top favorites I clearly have others). The skincare stand at this particular farmers market went by the name of Rutherford Reserve, and I will link all their info below because she has an Etsy shop so you do not have to be a Sacramento local to enjoy her products. I believe I was greeted by Karrie – the owner – I honestly was so excited to find her and the products I could not be 100% if that was her. No matter who it was that I met they were darling and helpful. I was told all the products were made by hand by her, and she had really different things that I had never seen before. She had fruit scented soaps, citrus, herbs, and your classics of course – lavender, oatmeal etc.She makes her own incense as well – which I will need to purchase the next time I run into her. I bought 4 soaps in total and I am sad to tell you I didn’t pick 4 different soaps because I was in LOVE with Ginger Milk Tea – oh my jesus – so I got two of those, 1 Lemon Delight, and 1 Red Clover Tea. I promise I will buy ALL the scents next time to review, but I was hypnotized by the Ginger Milk Tea I just could not help myself.

Enough blabbering – my final thoughts are below.

Aesthetics: I adore that these soaps remain rustic, they do not have clean cut edges and some of the pieces have chunks missing out of them – I adore it and love it. You can tell there are no dyes or anything artificial because the colors remain true to the ingredients. The lemon bar is almost completely white with some flecks of zest. Ginger Milk Tea (oh my god, again) is darker, and the Red Clover Tea is a beige with red and brown ribbons running through it. I think they are beautiful and love that they keep the natural look about them.

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Smell: I unfortunately have become a total scent snob in my aging years, and I will blame my grandmother for this as she is EXTREMELY sensitive to almost all things with ANY scent whatsoever. I am nowhere near that extreme, but I become very agitated if something works its way into my nostrils that my body does not enjoy, and so overwhelming or faked scents do not do well with me. The soaps are PACKED with scent, but not in a bad way at all. In fact, the remaining two that are not in my shower are sitting about 10ft away from me currently and every so often I can smell the lemon bar, but it’s a fresh and comforting smell. I used the Ginger Milk Tea in the shower about 6 hours ago and if I take my arm up to my face there is a faint reminder of the bar, and personally I like that faint scent. I do not like a soap where the scent sticks to your skin like glue, because if you are a woman that wears perfume ( I am not) the two could not agree with one another, and also I have found that the only soap products that stick to your skin all day are the artificially chemical loaded ones. Although I would like to bathe in Ginger Milk Tea 24/7 I don’t mind that scent lingers throughout the day to give me faint reminders but in no way overwhelming or “stuck” to me. All 3 soaps had the same scent pay off which is amazing because no matter scent you choose to buy you can assume consistency. The Lemon bar did not have more scent than the Red Clover Tea because they all are jam packed with flavor.

Use: When it comes to natural or homemade soap “use” is the make or break. I have tried so many homemade soaps and so many do not lather. These babies lather, and WELL. I was honestly impressed. When I find a shower product that smells amazing, does not make my sensitive skin break out, and doesn’t send me into an allergic reaction I tend to stick with it for life and use it for everything. I washed my body, I lathered it on my legs and then proceeded to shave. Lather was well done, and the moisture afterwards was there. Also, the ginger bar has bits of real ginger in it that act as a soft exfoliate which is just enough for my wimpy skin because salt and sugar are  generally too rough, and in some cases even bits of oatmeal which is what handmade soaps tend to use.  In case you don’t believe the “homemade” or “organic”skincare products you are buying are true an easy way to tell is if after you rinse off the product you get that “squeaky clean” feeling. Your skin feels this way because there isn’t a fine coating of chemicals making you believe your skin is as soft as a baby’s arse – guess what your skin isn’t that soft. Only babies get that precious skin – it’s all downhill from there.

Bottom Line: I want everything I own to smell like Ginger Milk Tea. These soaps did not cause my skin to panic at all, I felt moisturized, clean, and delish. I would and do recommend these to anyone. All associated links with Karrie’s company are below.
Also, I bought all these products myself. Maybe next time a giveaway perhaps?

 

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