Friday Finds #124

As this post goes up, I’m headed to Spokane Washington for the MTNA National Conference. It’s one of the highlights of the year. I love conferencing!

If you’ve ever attended a conference (or gone on vacation for that matter), you know how the days leading up to the event are always a little crazy.

Thus, this week’s finds are on the short side, but that’s OK because you can explore ALL the past Friday Finds to your heart’s content here.

March is the birthday month for Piano Pantry as the first post went up on March 20, 2016. Just for fun, here is the very first Friday Finds ever posted on Piano Pantry!

 

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While we’re on the topic of conferences, you  may be interested in these posts here on Piano Pantry:

Conference “Management” 101: Tips for using Evernote plus a free resource

Tips for Presenting: Tools, Resources, and a Pep-Talk

 

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Wood Stoves and Ash Wednesday.

 

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My favorite liquid foundation makeup brush, Kabuki for Face.

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Design Your Rhythm of Work – Theme Days.

I’ve been trying to do this a lot more this past year and it works quite well. Think about the different categories of life/work you have and focus on one area each day. For example, on Mondays, my mornings are dedicated to my current church worship leader work and Monday afternoons are my piano studio. Thursday mornings are Piano Pantry work and afternoons are Church Prep, etc.

 

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The Ghost Moth

 

Friday Finds #123

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! From what I understand of the holiday, it is not only to commemorate the arrival of the Christian faith in Ireland, but also a celebration of the Irish culture. Since it’s during the Lenten season, the ban on alcohol was lifted for the day, hence the history of it being a “drinking” holiday.

It’s not a holiday I normally remember (or celebrate). Truth be told, the main reason I’m making a point of it here is that I’ve been enjoying customizing my Friday Finds image for each holiday, and it was one more chance to have a little fun.
*(Insert crying, smiley emoji.)

If you like to pull out holiday-themed activities with your students, this coming week is the time for St. Patty’s!

 

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If you order them today (and have Amazon Prime), there’s a good chance you’ll have your St. Patrick’s Day stickers just in time for Monday or Tuesday lessons this week. If you want a closer peek at the St. Patty’s day ones in this pack, check out my Facebook Video I made last week.

 

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Here’s a round-up of lots of St. Patty’s Day activities for your piano students this week!

St. Patrick’s Day Improv from Teach Piano Today
St. Patrick’s Day Game from ColourfulKeys.ie
St. Patrick’s Day Games and Activities from Susan Paradis|
St. Patrick’s Day Rhythm Game from Sara’s Music Studio
St. Patrick’s Day Worksheets from MyFunPianoStudio.com

 

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40 By 40. I really love this idea of having a list of 40 things I would like to do by the time I’m 40. Time is ticking though so I better get started. I have less than two years.

Now you know how old I am.

 

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Staying Organized with Silicone Cupcake Liners. In my studio, we use them during group classes for students to hold their own game markers. I also use them to organize my teaching tools drawer next to the piano. They are especially perfect for housing Japanese erasers sets. My jewelry drawer at home is next!

 

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Another Marie-Kondo style decluttering tips for piano teachers. This one from Teacher Piano Today.

 

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How to Translate Music Scores with Your Phone Camera.

 

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When we lived in Australia (from 2006-2009), one of my favorite shows was McLeod’s Daughters. This week, I came across it on Amazon Prime! Happy girl dance!

 

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What Seth Godin Teaches Us About Piano Studio Marketing.

 

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When I need technology help or tips, one of my first go-to’s is DottoTech. I love his YouTube Videos! I’ve learned a lot about Google Chrome, Gmail, and even Evernote from his videos.

 

Friday Finds #122

 

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If you haven’t checked our Rosemarie Penner’s blog, you should. The Unfinished Lesson has been one of my favorite piano blogs to follow over the past year or two. Rosemarie always seems to have unique blog posts, is tech-savvy, and student-focused.

Her two most recent posts were both worthy of my clipping and saving in Evernote. One tagged under “lesson planning” and the other under “evaluations.” Check them out:

“How do you know my child is progressing?” I’m glad you asked!

Student-Led Conferences

 

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3 Myths (and 1 Truth) About Grain-Fed Beef. | The Nutrition Diva

 

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A fellow teacher recently asked me about a recommendation for a beginner hymn book. Within the same time frame, one of my new adult students and I determined that although she wants to improve at reading hymns, they were a bit too challenging for where she is at the moment. I told her I had the perfect book for her. I’m sure I’ve shared this book in the past but since it’s come up again recently, here it is again.

The Piano Student’s Hymnal published by Alfred

 

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“What shall we do next?” is one phrase that I try to be conscious of using regularly in my teaching.

 

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A new toy in my kitchen.

GIR: Get It Right Premium Silicone Ultimate Spatula, 11 Inches, Lime

 

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Every once in a while my husband will send me something that he thinks I would enjoy sharing in Friday Finds. (Is that cute or what?). This is one of Drew’s finds. 🙂 Watch and be amazed.

 

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Don’t Tell Me How Lucky I Am To Have A Good Husband

 

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If you’re making plans for some fun recital ideas for your Spring Recital this year, check out:

 

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Here are some great suggestions for beautiful modern piano music for teens.

I have a student currently playing the very first song in the list above, The River Flows in You from Yiruma. It felt like she was needing something beautiful and a boost in energy for piano. This piece did the trick. She absolutely loved it so much, she almost mastered it in the first week.

 

Friday Finds #121

Last week, first the first time in awhile, I started a new student. In this photo we were exploring the highs and lows of the piano by placing the animals in order of where he thought their sound matched on the piano.

We then listened to several tracks from Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Musical Journey Book 1 and guessed what animal(s) the song could be about. Tracks included. “Porcupine” by D. Kabalevsky, “The Bear” by V. Rebikov, and “The Sparrow” by A. Rubbakh. Lastly, we choose a couple of animals we wanted to create songs for and improvised for each of those animals.

(If you’re interested in where I found all these stuffed animals, visit this post.)

 

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Playing the Piano Naturally for Children, a video by Vicki King.

 

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The newest sticker addition to my studio.  Creative Teaching Press Emoji Rewards Stickers. These are even better than the first batch of emoji stickers I bought. (That set had too many useless emoji’s for piano student rewards).

 

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Make a Hot Date with Bach: Daily practice for playful renewal.

 

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My Wife Was Dying, and We Didn’t Tell Our Children: The choice was unusual, but loving: We wanted them to live without the shadow of their mother’s mortality hanging over them.” (from The Atlantic)

 

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I remember reading the now famous book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” on my flight to the 2016 MTNA Conference in San Antonio.

I’ve always been a continual tidier, cleaning out areas of our home at least once a year.  The most life-changing tip I gleaned from Marie Kondo though, was the idea of folding clothes in small squares and storing them upright rather than stacking.

Check out what piano teacher and blogger Jennifer Foxx learned not just about her own home, but about tidying her studio:

Tidying Up the the Music Studio: 3 Things I Learned from Marie Kondo

 

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Classical Classroom Podcast Episode 192: The Hilarious History of Classical Music with Igudesman and Joo

 

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One of the most useful pieces of technology I have is a 10-ft. Lightning Cable for charging my iPhone and iPad. I would have never thought it was necessary but now I wonder how I ever got by without one!

 

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13 Kitchen Tools You Should Own By the Time You’re 30. Boom! I hit all but one. I don’t own a wok.

 

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Styling Your Bed Like a Cozy Minimalist.

 

Friday Finds #120

 

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The photo above is a little blurry because it’s a screenshot from a video I came across on the PianoStreet.com. Check it out!

 

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I’ve been enjoying Ina Garten’s Favorite Love Songs playlist on Spotify this past couple of weeks.

 

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Congratulations to my friend, Joy Morin, on the 10-year blogiversary of ColorinMyPiano.com! She’s celebrating with sales through the month of February so keep your eye out.

 

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It was also fun seeing Joy’s meet-up with a teacher and a student in Puerto Rico.

 

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More big news in piano-teacher world… Piano Safari has launched a Spanish Edition

 

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The best way to keep guacamoleNow I just have to remember this tip…

 

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The Best Graphic Design Options for Piano Teachers.

 

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I thought this was a great idea for a blog post from Sara Campbell.  “A Thoughtful Answer to FB’s “Very Responsive” Badge”.

 

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Chili Cheese Fritos made it into my grocery cart for the first time this past week, and I am in love. They don’t taste greasy at all like regular Fritos and were a nice crunchy topping for one of my favorite chili recipes: Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili.

 

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Randall Faber Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in Education from Roland Corporation.

 

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Joy Morin has posted a couple of videos recently that follow up on her Wednesday Words of Wisdom posts.  Here’s the first one.

Friday Finds #119

It’s Superbowl Sunday weekend!

If you’re looking for last minute ideas for game-day food, check out my favorite appetizer-type recipes in the post “Game Day Round-up for Your Studio and Kitchen“.

 

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Another great piano teacher blog I just came across this week! CreativePianoTeacher.com. One of the writers, Davis Dorrough actually announced my session last year at the MTNA Conference in Orlando. Hi, Davis!

 

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MTNA just announced a new conference for advanced teaching. This is very, very cool!

 

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The MTNA e-Festival has taken a drastic drop in price from $60 to $25 per entry! Another incredible announcement from MTNA!

 

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I’m feeling really tempted to buy this piano bench after reading the review on 4-D Piano Teaching. Does anyone else use this bench and have feedback? If so, please comment below!

 

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GIML (Gordon Institute for Music Learning) has given their website a much-needed update. It is so much more user-friendly and visually appealing!

 

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We hit record low temperatures this week in Indiana with one day at -15 and windchills at -40. Chili was on the menu for dinner that night. Here’s my current favorite chili recipe. 

Other favorites through the years have included Tex-Mex Corn Chip ChiliOne-Pot Chili Mac, and Instant pot White Chicken Black Bean Chili (we prefer the chicken cubed rather than shredded).

 

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Good intentions (how to be on time).

 

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The story that Emily P. Freeman tells in episode 65 of The Next Right Thing podcast had me rolling with laughter. It’s exactly the sort of thing I could see happening to me. I found it so funny, I made my husband listen to it that night.

It’s about having a green thumb…or maybe not having a green thumb… (we’re talking caring for living plants here in case you’re lost).

It’s a 2-minute story and will add a smile to your day. (It starts at 1:30 in case you only want to listen to the story.)

 

Friday Finds #118

Two weeks ago I told you that I would share a photo of the make-shift kitchen we set up after we moved into the basement of our new house. It wasn’t photo-worthy last week but this week it was.

To be honest, I can’t believe I’m even showing you this! You must think I’m crazy, but I don’t care! We’re finally living in our new home and that to me is amazing.

The top left photo is my “cooking area” with a toaster oven, George Foreman Grill, Induction cooktop, basic oils and seasonings, Ultimate Cutco knife set (I used to sell them in college), cutting boards, and hot pads. The crates below house some of my basic bowls, storage containers, and frequently used utensils.

In the bottom right photo, we see the microwave, coffee maker, toaster, and water kettle. The tubs and bags below the table are holding the paper serve-wear we’re using to minimize dishes, plastic wraps, and baggies, etc. I just try to think of it as camping on steroids.

The best part is yet to come when, later this year (sometime between April and July), our kitchen cabinets will be done and then I can show you the pretty kitchen!

Now that you feel better about the kitchen you have – go cook something wonderful!

 

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One of my favorite “under 20-minute” podcasts is the Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips. As with the majority of podcasts I listen to on a daily basis, I only listen to the ones that interest me the most (or you eventually go on podcast overload). Here’s one of my recent Nutrition Diva listens:

3 Myths (and 1 Truth) About Grain-Fed Beef

 

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What’s In Season: January Produce Guide. I always seem to find myself craving orange juice in the winter. Unfortunately, I don’t like eating oranges because I hate the membrane, but citrus is definitely a big one this time of year!

 

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“Frustrations” by Piano Addict. I love the opening quote on this post…

 

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How to be Honorable.

 

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Hands Separately Practice – Useful or Not?

 

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Recently I’ve determined I really want to try and incorporate more fish into our diet. So, last week we had this super-simple and really delicious Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes

On my recipe list for this week is another super simple Poached Cod in Tomato Sauce, and bookmarked in my recipes tag in Evernote for the future when I have a better setup is a this a-little-heavier-on-the-ingredients recipe Macadamia-Crusted Sriracha Ranch Salmon.

After seeing my kitchen you understand why my recipe list includes only recipes with minimal ingredients!

 

 

 

Friday Finds #117

My piano was long overdue for a tuning. The start to the semester is always a good time to give a little extra care to our instruments. This time around, my sostenuto pedal needed to be adjusted. In order to fix it, my tuner had to pull the key bed out which was a perfect time to give it a little cleaning!

Besides dust, other items that had found a home below included a sticker and a key letter-name manipulative that students set on top of the keys when they’re learning key names. All in all, I would say we weren’t doing too bad!

While we’re on the topic of piano care…

 

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My Local Music Teachers group met last Friday at a local piano shop for a program on piano care. One of the items they recommended was the Cory products for cleaning your piano keys and polishing the body of the piano. Pay attention to the finish of your piano before choosing the polishing product.

You can get a kit on Amazon that includes the Key cleaner and polish for super high-gloss piano finishes.

 

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“Naked Piano Week”. Exploring the piano and understanding how it works is something I’m sure we all think is important but likely forget to do. Ideally, I think it would be nice once a year to set aside one lesson to refresh with students how their instrument works!

 

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This blog post on using multiple computer screens by Rosemarie Penner was an excellent idea to share on productivity for teachers. I’ve been using two screens for a couple of years and should have done it sooner. My husband has been using 2-3 screens at work for even longer. It’s not hard to set up and it saves a lot of time flipping between screens.

 

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Speaking of flipping between computer screens/windows, if you’re not using some of the basic keyboard shortcuts (like “Alt-Tab” for switching between windows), you will save yourself a lot of time by learning some of those shortcuts. Here are shortcuts for Windows users and shortcuts for Mac users.

 

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Several of you have emailed me after I write the post on how I manage internet content. Part of managing internet content is also managing your email inbox. Here’s a podcast I listened to a couple of years ago that helped me improve how I manage my inbox.

 

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Oxo products are amazing. See what items Oxo employees love.

My absolute favorite Oxo product is the cutting boards. I would recommend owning all three sizes (especially the 14.5″x 21″)

 

 

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Like Nicola, I started using My Music Staff this year. One of the biggest things I like about it at the moment is having professional-looking invoices emailed to families. Check out Nicola’s review.

 

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What a lovely thing. See how this woman transformed a rotting tree into a useable space for her neighborhood.

 

 

Friday Finds #116

This is my photo of the week because mostly because it encompasses what I’ve been meditating on these last few days. James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Plus, since we’re just back to lessons this week, I didn’t take any photos of studio happenings.

If you’re on the Piano Pantry email list and read December’s Secret Letter, then you’ve heard the news that we moved! (Hence no Friday Finds the last two weeks). We’re finally living in the basement (future studio) of our new house while we finish the upstairs. Next week, if I remember, my photo of the week will be my crazy makeshift kitchen!

 

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How to Handle Sentimental Clutter – whether you’re moving or just de-cluttering after the holidays, this is good advice.

 

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WunderKeys now has a Level 1A – this is big news!

 

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One of my students started playing Tum-Balalaika from Faber 3B Performance this week, so we Googled “Balalaika” and came across this amazing video.

 

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SETH GODIN | The thing about arguments…

 

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8 Easy Ways to Create Work-Life Balance (using self-care habits) from piano blogger Rosemarie Penner.

 

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A 7-pound bucket of Nutella. Tempting.

 

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The Best Guide on How to Buy, Care For, or Sell a Piano

 

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A new collaborative project by Jennifer Foxx.

 

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Types of posts that have to stop in 2019. I can’t say I disagree.

 

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A few podcast ideas from one piano teacher to another.

 

Friday Finds #115

Christmas Edition

Last lessons are being taught, final gifts are being purchased and wrapped, and grocery cards are full of holiday treats as Christmas nears. May you have a blessed time with friends and family over the next week and find your time off from teaching rejuvenating and relaxing.

Merry Christmas!

 

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Easy Christmas Lead Sheets to Inspire Creativity.

 

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If you’re a user of hashtag’s, check out The Best Hashtags to Use During the Holiday Season.

 

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     #myfavoritechristmascandy

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I thought I was in heaven when one of my husband’s co-workers made this Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow.  

His co-workers went bonkers over this Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake I made. (Tip: We like it better with about 1/2 the number of cranberries.)

Both our families go crazy over these Cranberry Feta Pinwheels when we make them during the holidays.

 

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A beautiful night time Christmas tour.

 

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Peppermint candy canes or fruity candy canes? Get in the debate!

 

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We’re having ham for our family Christmas lunch. Here’s the most popular honey ham recipe on Pinterest. (My mom is making ours – she does her own thing and it’s awesome but I don’t have a recipe 😉 )

 

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How to Host an Easy Holiday Brunch.

 

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You Need To Follow These 10 Instagram Accounts For Holiday Inspiration.

 

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Christmas season posts from my Instagram account (which I use mostly for my studio).