Vicky Lam

Vicky Kicks off the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

by Alex Beetham on July 4, 2014

In honour of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE) starting up today, I have the privilege of turning you over to Vicky Lam who was recruited to bring this years ad to life… only to then melt into a puddle. I’ll let her explain.  - Alex

Every summer, Nathan Phillips Square plays host to the largest and longest running outdoor art fair in Toronto since 1961.   The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is a sure sign that summer is well under way and is a great chance to see hundreds of local artists at an iconic Toronto landmark.  This year, art director and graphic designer, Una Lee, contacted me to help bring her vision to life.

Vicky Lam_TOAE_Layout1

I was excited to work on a local project that would help give exposure to hundreds of talented artists.  However, the challenge was apparent – how could we make our shot look like a blistering hot summer day with melting ice cream? And ice cream letters to boot?   The reality was that it was only the beginning of February in what seemed like the longest and coldest winter Toronto has had in years.  So, I enlisted the expertise of stylist, Christina Yan.  Christina and I have worked on a couple of typography projects before as well as a couple of shoots involving ice cream.  It only seemed fitting that we collaborate once again when the two ideas finally collided in one shoot.  After much deliberation and preperation, we worked with fake ice cream, as well as real ice cream components to get the look for a still image and also animated .gif.  With the help of dry ice, a large chest freezer, letter stencils, lots of ice cream, and a family value pack of Crisco, we embarked into this new territory together.

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From there, we ended up with this:

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And here’s a close-up of the great textures Christina created:

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The last challenge was to shoot a melting animated .gif.  Shooting an animated time-lapse meant there was no room for error and no turning back.  We had to use real ice cream to make it happen. We weren’t completely sure just how typographic ice cream shapes would look as they melted, but here it is:

Vicky Lam_TOAE_Timelapse-03-July

After two days of careful preparation and styling, we ended our shoot with a giant puddle of melted ice cream on the studio floor:

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Many thanks to Una Lee for having us on board for such a fun idea, and to Christina Yan for figuring out how to make the impossible happen!  Be sure to check out the TOAE this weekend and support local artists.  Enjoy the summer sun while you’re at it, and maybe grab an ice cream too.

Credits:

Photographer:  Vicky Lam
Client:  TOAE
AD: Una Lee
Stylist: Christina Yan
Assistants: Michelle Brussolo, Brendan Klem

All Images © Vicky Lam

**Editors Note** We (I) deeply regret the loss of perfectly good ice cream used for this shoot.  If you wish to contribute to the memorial, in lieu of cash we (I) would ask that you send pints of Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s to 70 Ward Street, C/O Alex.  We (I) thank you for your support at this difficult time.  

 

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    IN PRINT | VICKY CAPTURES THE SOLE

    by Matt on April 17, 2014

    Vicky Lam is taking over the Blog to share her latest cover story – take it away Ms. Lam!

    © Vicky Lam

    With all the frosty weather we’ve been getting across Canada these days, it’s hard to believe that Spring actually started over a month ago. Nonetheless, be prepared to look sharp for when the time comes for picking up the latest Spring Style issue of Precedent Magazine.

    It’s no secret that I have an affinity for shoes of all kinds. So it was even more exciting when I found out that not only I’d shoot the cover, but the cover story featured local shoemaker, Peter Feeney. As much as I like shoes, this was the first chance for me to get a glimpse into what exactly goes into the making of a pair of shoes.

    We’ve all heard of bespoke suits before, but how often do we think of bespoke shoes these days? A cordwainer, (aka a shoemaker) is hard to come across nowadays. The process of getting tailored shoes made sounds like a luxury and a unique craft that seems extinct in today’s mass produced fashion industry – which makes it even more inspiring to hear Peter’s story.

    I’ll tell you more while you get a look behind the scenes as we laid out just some of the tools and materials Peter uses on a day to day basis.

    © Vicky Lam

    Peter left his job in advertising and home in Toronto and ventured to Florence, Italy, where he apprenticed for four years to learn the art and craft of shoemaking from the real masters (and also learned to speak Italian!).

    Fear alone would deter many of us to stray away from following such a unique passion and dream, but Peter persevered and brought back what he learned to become one of the very few, unique cordwainers in Toronto.

    © Vicky Lam

    It was a pleasure for me to meet someone that is so passionate about their art, and also to learn more about the process that goes behind the construction and design of one pair of shoes. Peter is a one man team, but when I saw all the materials and tools he had in his studio to make just one pair, I was blown away. The amount of detailing that goes into each shoe is impressive, and consequently takes at least 40 hours if not more to construct. Befittingly so as each pair is a unique testimony of Peter’s craftsmanship and representative of his clients’ personalities.

    © Vicky Lam

    And here’s a closer glimpse of the final image we ended up with. You’ll notice “the last” in the middle there – that’s terminology for the custom-moulded model which a cordwainer uses to form a pair of shoes. This time, we used Ted’s lasts because his feet appeared slender, proportionate and seemed to be average sized.

    © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
    Client: Precedent Magazine
    Associate Editor: Braden Alexander
    Art Direction: Gilbert Li & Isabel Foo from The Office of Gilbert Li
    All shoes, Tools & Materials Courtesy of Peter Feeney
    Assistant: Rebecca Leach

    To get a closer glimpse into Peter’s story check out Precedent’s article here. And to see just some of the possibilities Peter offers for a bespoke pair of shoes, check out his site.

    © Vicky Lam

    Many thanks to Precedent and The Office of Gilbert Li for having me take part in such a fun, eye-opening and inspiring project! And also for including me on the contributor’s list :D .

    © Vicky Lam

    Have a great Easter weekend everyone! ~ Vicky

    All Images © Vicky Lam

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      IN PRINT | VICKY’S GREEN DAY

      by Matt on March 17, 2014

      In honour of St Patty’s day, Vicky Lam has decided to reflect upon one of her most memorable, and green projects of last year. Here’s Vicky to tell you more.

      It isn’t often that I have the opportunity to work on life-sized sets, but this one project had me really excited just by the sound of it. I love working with colour and have always wanted to shoot physical typography, and this shoot had it all. When the folks at DDB Toronto contacted me about this idea, I was giddy inside, because I could finally work on a monochromatic set! I love the subtle play in tonalities and it reminded me so much of the days in art class when I had to do painted colour studies. It was finally the moment to use those skills and bring them to life in a photograph.

      © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
      Client: Manulife Financial
      Agency: DDB
      Creative Directors: Paul Riss & Rob Sturch
      Art Director: Loretta Lau
      Copywriter: Jordana Rapuch
      Photography Producer(s): Kirsten Nichols & Phaedra Kennedy
      Prop Stylist: Christina Yan
      Prop Styling Assistant: Carmen Cheung
      Prop Painting: Rob LaFrance
      Typography Builder (that’s right, these were built too!): Jamie Oxenham
      Retouching: Robyn Nowoczin
      Assistants: Mike Smith & Alex Beetham

      For a large set like this, I enlisted the help of a super team to make it all happen. Prop stylist, Christina Yan, found all of of our office supplies and furniture set, and then passed them along to prop maker, Rob LaFrance to paint them the infamous Manulife green. It was amazing to see all the items in person, and a bit surreal to see already green plants painted greener.

      Seeing all the items in one tone was surreal, but also reminded me a bit of American fine art photographer, Sandy Skoglund and her elaborate, coloured sets. It was really neat to be able to channel some inspiration from her body of work. Working on this one set also made me really appreciate Sandy’s work even more (see some below), as it took a real team and planning to bring all the details together.

      © Sandy Skoglund

      Here’s a glimpse into our shoot day and a closer look at the physical letters, prop maker Jamie Oxenham made for us. But first, did I mention we shot this en français as well?

      © Vicky Lam

      © Vicky Lam

      © Vicky Lam

      © Vicky Lam

      © Vicky Lam

      Many thanks to DDB for having me shoot such a fun project and of course, all the great folks to make this all happen! ~ Vicky

      © Vicky LamImages © Vicky Lam
      Single © Sandy Skoglund

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        IN PRINT | PANCAKES FOR EVERYONE!

        by Matt on January 23, 2014

        In the few years I’ve been living in Toronto, I’ve come to realize that this city has a real affinity to dining out. The options are bountiful, and if you’ve spent any time on College St. over the last 10 years, you know they come and go in a flash. The number of restaurants in the downtown core alone is actually quite staggering, and if you’re not an adventurous diner, it can be difficult to know where to start.

        Providing a solution to this predicament, is the Toronto Life Eating & Drinking Guide, a collection of the year’s best in all things food and beverage. Featuring reviews from over 1000 restaurants, bars and more – the annual has become a definitive advisor to many looking to navigate Toronto’s food scene. This year’s cover can be found all over the city – as selected businesses are given a window decal to proudly showcase their achievement – and it was captured by our girl Vicky Lam!

        Here she is to tell ya more.

        I’m always curious about finding good eats around the city, so it was a great pleasure to be asked to photograph the cover of this year’s Eating & Drinking Guide for Toronto Life. Director of Photography, Daniel Neuhaus, enlisted the help of Food Stylist Linsey Bell to help us create a wondrous pile of pancakes.

        © Vicky Lam

        The day started off when the folks from Barque dropped by with some of their duck and blueberry pancakes. I have a soft spot for pancakes as they always remind me of the annual Stampede breakfasts back home in Calgary. However, much to my dismay, we didn’t get to eat a single pancake the entire day. Instead, we sorted through all of them, sacrificed a few, and narrowed it down to only the best looking ones worthy of a cover shot.

        © Vicky Lam © Vicky Lam

        It took a few tries, and lots of maple syrup to get it right, but we remained focused and prevailed. Here’s our final shot, along with a close up so you can check out that glorious detail!

        © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
        Client: Toronto Life
        Director of Photography: Daniel Neuhaus
        Food stylist: Linsey Bell
        Pancakes: Barque
        Assistant: Alex Beetham

        © Vicky Lam

        We went through a lot of pancakes by the end of the day, but it was definitely worthwhile.

        © Vicky Lam

        © Vicky Lam


        The Eating & Drinking Guide is on newsstands now and available straight through ’till June. Pick up a copy and find out what the best of Toronto has to offer to meet all of your dining and drinking needs.

        Special thanks again to Toronto Life for having me shoot yet another delectable cover!

        And last but not least, here’s a shot that didn’t quite make the cut. However, it does make me wonder; you can never have too much syrup right? ~VL

        © Vicky Lam

        Couple of big high fives to Vicky for sharing the sweetness of the day – and to pancakes for being delicious.
        All Images © Vicky Lam

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          IN PRINT | MADE (AND PHOTOGRAPHED) IN CANADA

          by Matt on October 25, 2013

          Vicky Lam has got brand new series of editorial shots that are hot off the presses and she’s here to tell you all about it.

          I’ve always been proud to be a Canadian, but even more so today.

          Pick up today’s issue of Report on Business in the Globe and Mail, found nationwide, and learn about Canadian-made products and companies that we should be proud of. I was really happy when Clare Jordan from the Globe and Mail contacted me and put forth a challenge – to photograph an eclectic mix of products yet maintain a consistent feel as an entire series.

          It isn’t often that I get asked to shoot an entire series of more than 3 shots as a tabletop photographer, so this was an exciting opportunity for me as a visual story teller. Furthermore, it was an eye-opening experience as I learned more about Canadian companies and products. Seriously, who else didn’t know that Michelin is actually a Canadian company? I know I’ll appreciate it just a little more next time I change over to winter tires.

          Here are a few shots from the story:

          Bikes from Devinci
          © Vicky Lam

          Cookware by Paderno
          © Vicky Lam

          Beautiful speakers from Totem Acoustic
          © Vicky Lam

          Tools and Hardware from Garant
          © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
          Client: Report on Business Magazine
          Director of Photography: Clare Jordan & May Truong
          Art Director: Domenic Macri
          Associate Art Director: Emily Vezer
          Article written by: David Berman, Dawn Calleja, and John Daly
          Assistant: Alex Beetham

          I’ve mentioned before that it usually helps me to visualize beforehand to try some sketches (especially for larger shoots), but even so, sometimes it comes down to playing with the actual product when on set. McCain Foods has been a long-standing Canadian company and world leader in producing frozen fries. Here are some quick drawings I did before the shoot as possible executions.

          © Vicky Lam

          And the various types of fries McCain offers – I never knew there were so many! And to think, we didn’t even purchase all the different varieties available at the grocery store! We baked and fried 5 various varieties, can you pinpoint all of them?

          © Vicky Lam

          So how did the final shot turn out? For that you’ll have to pick up a copy of Report on Business and learn about six outstanding Canadian companies while viewing the rest of my latest work. In a time where there’s an influx of imports, I feel proud to be able to feature quality homemade products from right here in Canada.

          © Vicky Lam

          All Images © Vicky Lam

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            IN PRINT | VICKY’S SWEET DREAMS

            by Matt on October 22, 2013

            We’re handing the blogging powers off to Vicky Lam for today’s post, as she’s put together a wonderful tale filled with childhood dreams and sugary indulgence. Ladies and Gents give it up for Ms Vicky Lam!

            ★★★ I DREAM OF DOUGHNUTS ★★★

            And there beside Obama and the likes of Prince Harry, you’ll find my cover of doughnuts for last month’s issue of Toronto Life.

            © Vicky Lam

            I was really excited when Director of Photography, Daniel Neuhaus, contacted me about photographing doughnuts. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so it was hard not to salivate at the idea of photographing a large stack of doughnuts from Toronto’s Glory Hole Doughnuts. And then the day finally came when it all showed up. Glory Hole graciously supplied us with an endless amount of donuts in all colours and toppings. I felt like a kid in a candy store, only this time it was our own personal supply of doughnuts.

            © Vicky Lam

            The only challenge was figuring out how to stack these gigantic doughnuts into one large tower, and keep it standing upright. To solve this jenga-type problem, we enlisted the help of stylist, Christina Yan. Here are some snippets to how we approached the shoot and what really goes on behind the creation of a doughnut tower. To start off, Christina illustrated the cutest stack of doughnuts to help us visualize, and from there we began the construction process.

            © Vicky Lam

            © Vicky Lam

            In reality, our jenga tower of doughnuts was actually a precarious leaning tower of Pisa, supported by all kinds of dowels and skewers.

            © Vicky Lam

            Here’s what the final shot actually looked like, along with an extra that’s worth clicking on so you can see all the glorious detail!

            © Vicky Lam

            © Vicky Lam

            Also as part of The Things To Eat and Drink issue, here is another shot I took that’s a bit more on the healthy side of things. Mmmm… heirloom tomatoes!

            © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
            Client: Toronto Life
            Director of Photography: Daniel Neuhaus
            Stylist: Christina Yan
            Assistant: Alex Beetham (doughnuts), Rebecca Leach (tomatoes)
            Doughnuts: Glory Hole Doughnuts

            Many thanks to Daniel Neuhaus and the team at Toronto Life for such a fun and delicious shoot – plus keeping me giddy with anticipation weeks before the actual shoot day! Also many thanks to Christina Yan for her doughnut styling prowess. ~VL

            All Images © Vicky Lam
            **Editors Note – Click the detail shot of the doughnuts. Do it.**

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              IN PRINT | VICKY KNOWS WHY MOMMY DRINKS

              by Matt on September 27, 2013

              Champagne was the drink of choice for the authors behind Vicky Lam‘s latest cover when the book deal was announced. Now having an interview with NBC’s Today Show under their belt, as well as a spot on The Globe and Mail’s Top Ten in it’s launch week, we’re guessing they’ve installed a fountain that flows Dom Perignon. We’ll start off with a quick shot of the big cover, before handing things off to Vicky who’ll crack open another bottle and tell you some of the Reasons Mommy Drinks.

              © Vicky Lam

              I was at my local Indigo/Chapters last weekend and low and behold I found a copy of my first book cover on for sale! Well, more like a cover I shot for the wonderful duo that is Lyranda Martin-Evans and Fiona Stevenson. I’m excited to be a part of the inaugural launch of Reasons Mommy Drinks – the book edition! What started as a personal blog with hilarious anecdotes for new and expectant moms alike, soon grew into a weekly column for Metro. And now, they have a book!

              © Vicky Lam

              I am by no means a mother myself, but found each entry to be a hilarious insight of what one could expect. Definitely worth the read and a great gift for all your new mom friends out there. Now available across North America via your local Indigo and Amazon.com. So get yourself a copy, put a drink in hand, and prepare for some good laughs. Cheers to all the moms out there! ~VL

              VickyLam_MommyDrinks_book6VickyLam_MommyDrinks_book4

              © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
              Authors: Lyranda Martin Evans and Fiona Stevenson
              Cover Art Direction: Travis Cowdy
              Assistant: Logan Allmendinger

              Big thanks to Vicky for sharing, and a huge congrats to Lyranda and Fiona on their success! For more info on why mommy drinks, go check out their blog ReasonsMommyDrinks.com.
              Have yourselves a great weekend folks.
              All Images © Vicky Lam

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                IN PRINT | OUR COVER GIRL

                by Matt on July 25, 2013

                What a cover girl wants, a cover girl gets. Whether it’s the hottest fashions, the most delicious foods, or everything in between, it’s a ‘Best of’ kind of life. One that – with a little help from Toronto Life Magazine – our girl Vicky Lam got to live through her latest work.

                Here’s Vicky to tell you all about it.

                When photo editor, Daniel Neuhaus, from Toronto Life contacted me about shooting the ‘Best of the City’ feature, I was so excited! It’s these kind of shoots that bring out my love for products and also my innate desire to shop endlessly. I got to see the best products, play around with innovative designs, and taste some fabulous food. Best of all worlds in one shoot!

                © Vicky Lam

                To start we featured these great-looking and surprisingly very comfy outdoor Acapulco chairs. I really loved the graphic design of all the chairs and the dramatic transformation in appearance with every slight change in angle. The convex shapes reminded me of satellite dishes. Here’s the shot that’s in this issue plus an outtake because I had so much fun photographing them!

                © Vicky Lam© Vicky Lam

                Following the chairs we got to have some fun with one of my favourite subjects – shoes! So many of them, 10 pairs to be exact! I’m a sucker for shoes of all kinds. I wish I could keep every pair I’ve ever photographed, especially from this shoot. Jimmy Choo!! Enough said.

                © Vicky Lam

                After all that shopping we were feeling a bit hungry so me moved onwards to the food and drink feature. The lovely folks from Weslodge came by the studio and mixed up some of their finest drinks for us. The main focus was on their 2 week, oak-aged Negroni which gives it a super amber glow and ultra smooth taste. (Yes, we drank on the job this time, and it was so good!)

                © Vicky Lam

                Here is an extra detail of the Negroni in all of it’s glory.

                © Vicky Lam

                We had many shots to do for this issue which ranged in varying types of products and sizes. It’s always a collaborative process, and with the Toronto Life team already knowing what range of colour backgrounds they wanted to work with, I did some rough sketches to help visualize and plan ahead.

                To narrow down the prop and background selection, I usually like to sketch something beforehand to see if it works or not. For our main course we featured sticky pork ribs from Electric Mud – so before you see the shot – here’s a look at my sticky rib sketch.

                VickyLam_TOLife_Ribs-Sketch© Vicky Lam

                To cap it all off here are some of my favourite items from the cover shot that deserve a shout out:

                  Fresh Citrus Mist – just plug in a lemon or lime, and start misting! What a bizarre, yet fun concept.
                  Neon Pink Heart Lamp – limited edition from Clint Roenisch Gallery and comes in a variety of colours and shapes!
                  Elastic Wooden Miniature Robots – who knew something so simple, could be so mesmerizing!

                Can you spot them?

                © Vicky Lam

                Many thanks to photo editor, Daniel Neuhaus, for having me on board to photograph the Best of Toronto, my team Alex & Linsey, and all the local vendors who came together to make it all happen! ~ VL

                Photographer: Vicky Lam
                Client: Toronto Life Magazine
                Photo Editor: Daniel Neuhaus
                Food Stylist: Linsey Bell
                Assistant: Alex Beetham

                A huge thanks to Vicky for sharing both her lovely looking work and for the inside scoop on her time working with the best Toronto has to offer. Before we call it a day here’s a little peek inside the ‘Best of the City’ issue which is on the shelves of all fine print pushers across Ontario now!

                © Vicky Lam© Vicky LamAll Images © Vicky Lam

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                  IN PRINT | A GIANT RABBIT WHO LAYS EGGS

                  by Matt on March 28, 2013

                  As many children prepare themselves for a visit from a giant gift bearing rabbit, we on the Westside are celebrating the season with some new and eggs-travagantly colourful work from Vicky Lam.

                  Enjoy.

                  © Vicky Lam

                  Go hit up The Grid to find out what’s going down in Vicky’s image, and be sure to have yourselves an egg-cellent long weekend!
                  Image © Vicky Lam

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                    5+ | MARISSA MASTENBROEK

                    by Matt on March 21, 2013

                    For quite some time now, two of our post categories have been collecting dust, and it saddens me. In a way I feel like Kate McCallister when she left Kevin at home that first time, wondering how I got so caught up in the madness of life that I could leave my babies behind. It’s been exactly 350 days since we last put 5+ at the start of a post’s title, and much like when Kate met up with Gus ‘Polka King of the Midwest‘ Polinski, I’m really pleased that I can start to feel like a good parent again.

                    Before we meet today’s creative mind, I’d like to give a big shout out to all the Art/ Creative Director’s who have taken part in the previous installments of this wonderful means of learning ‘What 5 things inspire you right now?’. Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Marissa Mastenbroek.

                    © Vicky Lam - MarissaMarissa © Vicky Lam

                    So Marissa, what 5 things inspire you?

                    Deadlines
                    If there is a project on the go with no due date, chances are laundry will trump it.

                    Nature
                    Oh Summertime, how lovely your greens when backlit by sunshine.

                    Last year while camping, I felt inspired to make something as my son took his epic 3 hour naps. I didn’t have a lot to work with. I cut out some eyes from paper and glued them (with Play Doh) onto things I found at my feet – rocks, pine cones, sticks – then shot them in the forest around me. Those images turned into a series of three story books for Noah. I wanted him to remember the camping trip – and think I am a good mother.

                    5+Marissa_015+Marissa_02

                    Foreign flora is inspiring and curious. Only God could think up a Monkey Puzzle.

                    5+Marissa_03

                    Nice Typography
                    Look what I found in my in-laws’ garage.

                    5+Marissa_04

                    Some awesome graffiti typography.

                    5+Marissa_05

                    This is a nice tealight font.

                    5+Marissa_06

                    Three Illustrators in Particular on Noah’s Bookshelf
                    The detail in Marc Boutavant’s ‘Mouk’ is breathtaking. It looks like a combo of Illustrator and pen to paper. Not sure. Delphine Durand‘s creatures and animated designer furniture in ‘Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood’ are so cool. And, Jon Klassen, in case you’re reading this blog, your images inspire me too. I love your pared back palette.

                    Marc Boutavant, Delphine Durand, & Jon Klassen

                    Riding My Bike
                    Nothing makes me feel more alive than racing along a dirt-packed trail with the smell of pine trees and ripe raspberries in the sunshine.

                    5+Marissa_08

                    (Also, thin black markers and lineless paper. And naps. And macchiatos.)

                    Big thanks to Marissa for sharing her 5+!

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