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Free Gift Tag Printables

August 25, 2016

I'm glad so many of y'all enjoyed the little lunchbox notes I created for the kiddos.  I thought it was only fair to make something for the grownups too.  I'm guessing most of y'all will use these as wine tags but if someone taped one of these to a big pan of brownies or a starbucks gift card and left it on my doorstep I wouldn't be mad at 'em.


Click HERE or on the image above to download your wine gift tags!

Once saved you can print and share but please don't let me find them up on etsy or for sale somewhere else.  Let's bring some free cheer to the world this time.

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Outfits for the ballfield

August 24, 2016

Happy hump day!  I missed y'all yesterday, sorry about that.  I was super super super busy.  Just kidding, I was pretty much a slave to Tagg's train lay-out building plans all day.  Y'all know how that goes.

I've had a few ladies ask me to post some casual outfit ideas for sports practice/kids activities.  While I'm not a soccer mom yet I do think having one or two go-to outfits that you can swap out for your yoga pants occasionally is a good idea for anyone.  I think an easy cotton day dress + slip on sneakers is just as comfortable and easy to throw on.  I'm also a HUGE fan of dry shampoo (this is my favorite by far) (also try spraying at night before bed) but I like the pretty baseball hat option as well for keeping it low key.  It dresses down an outfit in a good way.  I'd just throw on a light jacket or vest or a cardigan for when the temperatures start dropping.


Long Sleeve dress || high neck dress || Striped tank dress (only $30 with code: WEEKOFSTYLE) wool baseball hat (monogrammed, of course) || tie front tank dress || Cowl neck shift dress (comes in 10 colors)




black slip on sneakers || nike sneakers || ugg tan sneakers || vans classic perforated sneakers || metal toe cap sneakers || diamond quilted sneakers || Leopard print slip on sneakers || Tory Burch slip on sneakers || cross body bag || washed denim baseball hat || faux suede baseball hat ||  Kendra Scott earrings || look for less stone drop earrings ($15)






field jacket (40% off with code: WEEKOFSTYLE) || Barbour vest (less expensive option here) || Open pleat cardigan || Cardigan Sweater




affiliates used

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Work It Girl.

August 22, 2016

Don't forget!  The Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale starts TODAY 8am which is in like two minutes so HURRY OVER!!!

Work it girl.  I fully think that having a pretty dress and a pretty work space will magically make me more productive.  Acrylic makes me more organized.  Fact.  Blues and purples are my go-to for the house and myself this fall!


Writing desk || How Dark Wall Art Print || Marble Column Lamp || Ruffle Neck Shift Dress || Gallery Print Pump || Tie Dye Midi Dress (also love this very similar one on sale here) || Geode Drop Earrings || Rough Seas Wall Art Print || Leopard Clutch ($39) || The Boss coffee mug || Bourbon & Boweties bangle || Converge Wall Art Print || Gold Bar Cart || hello friend glass tray || Block Heel Pumps || Foldover Crossbody Bag ($39) || tissue box cover




affiliates used

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FREE BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCHBOX PRINTABLE!

August 21, 2016

I got in the habit last year of leaving little notes for Wells in her school lunchbox.  I think she loved it but did tell me that when she's in second grade I'll have to hide them behind her lunch.  Haha!

Mostly I just scribbled a quick MOMMY LOVES YOU! on a post-it note.  This year I thought I would step it up a notch, at least for the first week or two so I created some BACK TO SCHOOL lunch note printables perfect to stick in her lunch.  I thought you might like to use them as well so I created a downloadable pdf.  Click on the image to open in a new window and from there you can download and save or print out. Then just cut them out and stick them in your kids' lunches.  Who said you couldn't be a pinterest Mom without a lot of effort?


CLICK HERE FOR FREE GIRLS DOWNLOAD

CLICK HERE FOR FREE BOYS DOWNLOAD

Please Note:  Much of the clipart used above to create these printables can be found via AngieMakes and Jones Design Company. Head on over to download and create some fun of your own.  Feel free to share and print these as much as you want for personal use just don't try to pass them off as your own or try to sell them.

And Don't forget the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale starts at 8am tomorrow, August 22nd and runs through August 23rd at midnight!  If you are new to the sale this is one of two yearly clearance sales and the best time to stock up on favorites at great prices.  The number one piece of advice I can give you is to create an account right now so that you can check-out quickly. Your items are not reserved for you in your cart so the faster you can get through check-out the better!  Once you check out you'll get sent to the back of the line and have to wait to get back to shop the sale.


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Advice for a new school year

August 20, 2016

Like any first-time Kindergarten Mom I've spent a lot of time recently googling advice for kids on the eve of starting school.  From what to say and what to pack to creative lunch and organization ideas. I've pinned back to school party ideas and night before traditions and first day picture ideas.  I've got a new giant wall calendar in our laundry room made of washi tape and a dry erase board.  I've got my girl's newly monogrammed back pack and water bottle hanging nicely from a little gold hook above her school shoes.  We're ready for this.


It reminds me of when I was pregnant and obsessed with BabyCenter.  I wanted to read every single word I could get my hands on regarding mothering.  I wanted all the advice and charts and plans and methods because I was confidant that in those techniques I would find a way to be a good Mom.  I love that naive new mom that I was.  I want to hug her and laugh at her at the same time.  Me, who at 28 literally re-read a worn copy of Happiest Baby on the Block four times in a row one night completely perplexed as to why my two week old was crying around the clock when I just knew I had read something in there that would fix it.  It makes me laugh thinking about it now.

So here I am six years later doing the very same thing.  The feeding chart may have been replaced by a lunch calendar and the organized supplies for the next day may have changed but my methods for feeling in control are still the same.  I'm filling in the unknown with all the charts and plans and methods I can get my hands on.  But unlike last time I'm a little more aware that preparing and doing are worlds apart.  I know that making lunch the night before isn't going to stop my girl from feeling nervous about where to sit in the cafeteria on the first day.  Most likely she'll be the girl who walks in confidently and claims a seat but will she notice the student who is nervous about where to sit and is having trouble finding a friend and reach out to them?  This time I'm not just teaching my girl about herself I'm also teaching her about observing and reacting to the world around her.

I'm both excited and nervous to start getting into the big stuff.  The how to be a kind and contributing member of society stuff.  We've graduated from the little things (that felt so damn big at the time) like how to hold a spoon and not pee your pants and how to write your name and walk in a straight line and wait your turn for the slide.  Shit's about to get real.

I've loved reading one post in particular for the past few years and I've included my favorite part below. You can read the whole article here.  I'd love for you to share any of your own favorite articles or pieces of advice you've got for starting a new school year.  Feel free to comment below.

We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.
We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.
We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.
Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.
_________________________________________________________________________
Don't forget the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale starts at 8am sharp Monday morning!
J.CREW 20% off select style and an extra 30% sale with code: REFRESH
J.CREW FACTORY extra 40% off clearance with code: EXTRA40
LOFT buy one get one 50% off tops + sweaters no code needed
ANTHROPOLOGIE extra 40% off sale items

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Five on Friday + Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale Dates and Details

August 19, 2016


1. The dates for the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale are confirmed for August 22nd at 8am until August 23rd at midnight!  If you are new to the sale this is one of two yearly clearance sales and the best time to stock up on favorites at great prices.  The number one piece of advice I can give you is to create an account right now so that you can check-out quickly on Monday.  Your items are not reserved for you in your cart so the faster you can get through check-out the better!
The girls shift dresses are by far my favorite item.  They wash and wear so well and are the perfect dress for little girls because they go from the playground to parties and always look nice.  They run small in my opinion so size up for your girls! The Elsa tops and Tee Shirt Dresses like the Marlowe and Essie are my favorite picks for the ladies.


I've also heard rumors that they'll be adding new items to the sale on Tuesday morning as well which makes strategizing all the more important!  Good luck, ladies!


2. I want to plant a fall vegetable garden this year with cabbage and lettuce and kale and spinach and potatoes.  I've been looking online for what works best in our climate but it all seems a bit overwhelming to a newbie.  I should have already started growing seeds inside I think to transfer later but I'm guessing I can buy started plants in the coming weeks like you could back in the Spring.  I'd love to hear from you if you garden!

 via

3. I found this insanely good recipe last week on pinterest that reminds me of something one of my besties in Pawleys Island makes.  If you like BLT's and you like pasta you will be in hog heaven with this BLT Pasta Salad.  You can find the recipe here.


4. I stumbled upon the art of Karen O'Neil over the weekend and FELL IN LOVE.  I think it's hard to find art for the kitchen and she has nailed it!  Her pieces are structural and the colors are gorgeous.  If I won the lottery I would literally scoop up every one of her pieces.


5. I know we're in full back to school mode but who can pass up pretty swimsuits on sale?  There is still a solid month left of hot weather around here and most of the South has an even longer season left so now is a great time to find some good deals on pretty swimsuits!









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White Jeans Now + Later

August 17, 2016

As we head into back to school season it's time to start thinking about transitioning into fall clothes! It's easy to get dressed once the weather turns cold and we're pilling on the fleece and the sweaters but I have a harder time in September and October when it's still hot and sunny in the afternoon and cooler in the morning and evening.  I'm not quite ready to pile on the plaid scarves just yet so that's when I like to trade in my tank tops for long sleeves and flat sandals for booties.  Clearly I'm still into earth tones and neutrals again this year!



White jeans ($54) || Cream off the shoulder top || Grey swing tank || floral print cold shoulder top || off the shoulder ruffle top  || Crochet trim cold shoulder top || roll tab sleeve tunic || gray tunic || shawl collar cocoon cardigan




Tory Burch Miller Flip Flops (probablythe most worn shoe I own!) || Jack Rogers (also a long time staple and probably getting worn way more often now that Wells has a matching pair!) Posh Embellished Sandal || Sweety Lace Up Sandal || Lucky Brand Flat Sandal || Soludos Flat Sandals || Majorca suede open toe booties || Jack Rogers Bailee Booties || cut-out bootie || Jessica Simpson Tandra Bootie || Majorca Open Toe Booties




Tory Burch Britten Convertible Clutch || Look for less Larissa black clutch ($13) || Tory Burch Leather Cross Body Bag (possibly my new favorite bag and a steal for TB at $250) || Mother of Pearl Pendant Necklace ($18) || Jem Drop Earrings || Pinata Tassel Earrings || stone drop earrings || Firenze tassel earrings || Penta Drop Earrings || Geode Drop Earrings




affiliates used

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You're doing it wrong.

August 16, 2016

You're doing it wrong.  Yes, yes, and yes [insert raised hand emoji].  I can't even begin to tell you how many things I screw up every day or how many things I get wrong.  It's countless.  It would literally be a never ending list. Little things like taking my car in for an inspection a week late and big things like cutting Tagg's hotdog into wheels instead of logs yesterday afternoon.  But I like to think that I do more good than bad and that my love for people shines through.


Saturday evening I posted a controversial photo and caption to instagram.  Some people didn't like it.  Some people felt that my motives were wrong.  Some people thought that my tone was wrong.  Some people thought I was too chipper for the situation.  Some people questioned if I was really respecting the life and death of someone with such an upbeat post about wine.  What I heard?  You're doing it wrong.  And to that I say, yes, yes, yes, I probably am.  I do so much wrong.  Don't we all?

I'm not here to rehash or to try to further my case for why I don't think I was being an asshole. I'm here to say that a few people thought I was being a jerk and I'm okay with that.  That's a big deal for me.  Maybe even a first.

["just said goodbye to an old friend and now it's time to say hello to a new rose´"]

I suffer from anxiety and depression and a year ago those comments would have pulled me under.   I would have heard "you're a bad friend and a bad person and you are inappropriately handling a situation that every single other person on the planet in the history of forever would have gotten right" running on a constant loop in my head since Saturday.  Replaying what I did wrong and what I said wrong and what I should have said or done and...and...and...and.  Maybe it's the zoloft or maybe it's the work I'm doing to get better or maybe it's getting older or maybe it's God or maybe it's all of those things but nine months ago it would have consumed me and this time it didn't.  Cheers to that.


What I'm curious about is not why people felt that way or were put off by my post because that's their right to think that and feel the way they do.   I'm more curious why they felt the need to tell me.  I took that picture and wrote the caption on a public platform so no lecture needed on how I opened myself up.  I get that. I'm thinking so much broader here.  Not really an answer to this particular situation but in general, what motivates us to openly criticize others?  I'm certainly not advocating for gossip or talking behind someone's back.  But honestly, in the world of blogs and social media I am curious what motivates a person to stop and tell a virtual stranger directly that we don't approve of their choice rather than just shaking our heads at what we don't like and simply mentioning it to our best friend over coffee.  You see it mostly on facebook boards and Scary Mommy posts.  The Mommy Wars.  Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding.  Cry it Out or Co-Sleep.  When to you turn your kids car seat around.  What school are you sending your kids to?  What activities or camp did you sign them up for.  Do you feed them organic?

Is it a personality trait?  A need to control?  A desire to feel better about our own choices?  I used to think that everyone needed to like me and if they didn't I was doing something wrong.  Now I realize that it's just different strokes for different folks.  Is public criticism an off-shoot of that same tree?  I'm supposed to like everyone so if I don't like you so it must your fault.  We're all taught early on that we're supposed to like everyone and everyone should be our friend and I think we should focus instead on treating everyone with respect.  Those are not the same thing.  Everyone doesn't need to like me or want to be my friend and I'm not going to apologize for that.

Like usual I'm not really sure of where I wanted to go with this post.  My brain works better at 5am than it does at 7am when the rest of my house is awake so maybe I should have hit save instead of publish and given myself time to sort out my thoughts tomorrow during dark morning.  I guess my overall message is just to be you and forget the rest.  Be okay with not gaining everyone's approval.  You do you and I'll do me.  Celebrate life. Celebrate death.  Celebrate what you want however you want.  Life is too short to worry about pleasing everyone so make sure you're happy in your heart and love your people fiercely.  Try harder tomorrow.

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Deals Under $100

August 15, 2016

MONDAY MONDAY MONDAY.  I'm loving all the first day of school pictures all over social media this morning!  I hope all of my friends in South Carolina have a fabulous day back.  It's hard to believe that I'm about to take Wells' first day of Kindergarten picture soon.  There are so many cute and creative pictures out there and I'm hoping she'll let me do one.  I'm guessing I'll get an eye roll by the car instead.  Haha!

Who's ready to see some deals today?  I've rounded up some pretties all under $100. These can get you through the rest of summer and easily transition into early fall.  That's always such a hard time for me getting dressed because it's usually so hot here through September and most of October but I'm over my summer clothes.


Pleated Hem Sweater 40% off || Tassell Earrings 25% off || Crepe A-Line dress with pockets 40% off (comes in 8 colors) || T-Back Swing Tank 40% off (comes in three colors but you know I love the grey best) || Belted Wrap Dress 50% off so only $33 (comes in 4 colors) || Hallie Sandal 40% off || Sleeveless Striped Shirtdress 40% off || Graphic Sheath Dress 40% off || Navy Crochet Back Trapeze Dress 40% off || Pink Popover Dress 40% off || Retro Sunglasses $12 || Floral Print shift Dress 40% off || Navy Applique´ A-Line Dress 40% off || Vince Camuto Leather Sandal 30% off || Vince Camuto Estie Sandal 40% off || Open Toe Bootie 20% off || Cage Sandals 40% off || colorblock faux leather tote || White Jeans 60% off || Gladiator Sandals 50% off




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Lilly Pulitzer Sip n Shop

August 13, 2016

I want to invite all of my Richmond friends to a great event going on today at the Lilly Pulitzer store in Short Pump.  Enjoy sips & sweets while you shop and support the Ronald McDonald House.  If you haven't been to the RMH on Monument Avenue I urge you to check it out.  They host families while their children undergo long term treatment at MCV/VCU Health.  Various groups provide home cooked meals, activities, and a sense of comfort and normalcy during an otherwise stressful time.  I know there are so many charities out there and you have to find one that pulls at your heart.

This is one of those for me.  While we never experienced any extended stays, Wells underwent multiple cranial surgeries as an infant an hour away from home and Tagg has had his own two 4-5 day hospital stays from illness and asthma here in Richmond.  It feels like ages and ages and getting just a taste of that I can see what a tremendous hardship it is for families with children undergoing long-term care especially when they are away from home.






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Date Night plus One (and a cute new handbag on sale)

August 12, 2016

Anyone have any fun plans this weekend?  Wells is still with Matthew's parents and loving every minute of the two on one attention and endless fun.  Build a Bear, Mini Golf, Back to School clothes shopping, Target toy aisle shopping, baking cakes, swimming, beaching, walking the dog; lots of bonding and memories being made.  Now she's headed up to the mountains with them for the weekend.  I'm pretty sure she's not going to want to come home.  Tagg misses her lots.  It's really sweet the way he'll randomly sigh and say, I miss Wells.  But, he has adjusted to life as an only child swimmingly.  It's nice seeing the unfiltered version of him without his boss around.


Last night Matthew and I took him on date night with us and he was an astronaut when we went out to dinner.  He was the hit of the restaurant, to say the least; marching in there and walking back to our table with his helmet in his hand and his head held high.  We went to Continental; one of our favorite local places and super allergy friendly. I can't even handle the cuteness.  He spent the previous two days in his explorer vest and 'noculars looking for adventure out in nature before deciding he'd rather go to space.  Four year olds are so much fun.


I remember coming home late at night in college and ordering the most random things off the tv.  Om, pre-internet explosion people.  Shoes, make-up, shampoo, ponchos before ponchos were cool, kitchen gadgets; those ladies made everything look incredible.  While the random infomercial products were always less than stellar in person and annoyingly on auto refill, my QVC goodies were always name brand so the quality didn't disappoint.  I remember spending hours watching a Philosophy demonstration and being mesmerized by the sales pitch and the scrolling numbers at the bottom of the screen.  Maybe the only thing more intriguing were the hair pieces.  Ah, rainy Sundays pre-kids and before high speed internet.

I hadn't thought about those purchases in years.  So when QVC contacted me a few weeks ago about partnering on a post about Aimee Kestenberg handbags I figured it would be fun plus I know y'all always appreciate less expensive finds.  I feel like a cheesy spokesperson when I say they are handcrafted of genu-wine leather, but seriously, they are real leather bags in a decent price point; most are under $150.  I'm obsessed with all the pockets and the gold metal details.


I ordered the Pebble Leather and Suede Hobo in Latte and I love it.  It's the perfect size and looks much more expensive than it is.  It's today's special so right now it's under $200 + free shipping.  The latte color looks less orange on the website than it does in person.  You can see in my pictures here that it's actually a really nice warm natural leather color.  If you click on the fourth image of the picture upside down it shows the true color as well.  It's super lightweight but has a ton of room and so many pockets on the inside and outside.


Hands down my favorite part is that you have the option to pay in installments.  What?!  I didn't even know you could do that!  While I would never suggest using that method to order more than you can afford it's nice to spread the total out over 3-5 payments.  So the bag I'm wearing above can be purchased with four payments of $44.  Nice.  I sure wish my auto place would do that for the state inspection repairs.  I swear someone in Virginia has a back deal with a tire conglomerate.  Does anyone pass an inspection without needing at least two tires and new wiper blades every year?  Seriously, raise your hand.


If you're curious about my pretty bag you can take a look below to see more of my favorites from Aimee Kestenberg collection.




Thank you to QVC for partnering on this post.  All thoughts and reviews on handbags, late night binge shopping, and astronauts are all my own.

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Back To School Mini Sessions

August 9, 2016

Several people have asked if I was going to do any more sessions this summer so I thought it would be fun to schedule some back to school sessions!  I'll have my big chalkboard with me so we can create a beautiful back to school memory board for you to share on social media with your child's name, age, grade, and favorite things.


For more information or to schedule a session please send me an email at JuliaKyleRyan@gmail.com

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Getting Ready for Kindergarten

August 8, 2016

Wells is ready for Kindergarten!  We left the boys at home and headed out together on Saturday to pick out her first backpack and knock out the school supply list.  We did the basic all american thing and went to Pottery Barn Kids, Target (complete with Starbucks and a Jamba Juice and popcorn in our cart), and then Chic Fil A.  I loved every single minute of it.



She spent the entire afternoon practicing leaving and coming home from school.  Complete with fake home work and tests.  She gave herself an A on one and a B on the other and asked me sign it.  Haha!

It is so incredible to see her so confidant about leaving home and starting something new.


When people asked us why we waiting to send her to Kindergarten, this is why.  A year ago, when she was five, she was returning to something familiar for another year of preschool with teachers and friends and a building she knew.  And she was terrified; overwhelmed with anxiety that it was going to be "different" and she was worried about that.  She knew what the Three's had been like and she knew what Pre-K had been like but she didn't know what JK (junior kindergarten) would be like and the unknown was too much for her to process.  So the idea of sending her off the elementary school was absurd.  It didn't matter how many educational skill sets she had mastered or how many of her friends she'd be going off to school with, despite being five she just wasn't ready for Kindergarten last year.  Oh what a difference a year makes.

If you're curious what anxiety looks in a five year old, it's bees in your tummy, and pain in your foot, and waking up all night with the same questions, both specific and abstract, over and over again for weeks despite having been given a solid answer each time.  I'm happy to talk a bit more in depth about that and some of the ways we're teaching her cope.  So far they seem to be working and will hopefully be tools she can continue to use as she gets older.

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Hang Out Room For Kids + Final Three Days of the Anniversary Sale

August 5, 2016

Soooooo.  We officially don't have a playroom anymore.  Minus the legos, I moved every single one of the kids' toys into their rooms.  We converted one of the train tables into a lego table a while back and that's still in the family room right by my computer desk.  It works out really well to keep that in a more main part of the house and with the edged table everything stays off the floor.  I'm not very good at making them clean up after themselves so I'm hoping that moving their things into their own space will help teach some personal responsibility.  No more fighting over who made the mess or got it out or who played with it more.  Doesn't matter.  If it's in your room you clean it up.

While I like the idea of them having some separation, I also want to force them to get along and hang out together so we've created a little den for them in the guest bedroom.  I picture this being a space they'll really use for years to come.

I painted the walls Sea Salt at 50% (we had leftover paint from our master bedroom) and moved the art table, love seat, and a tv in there.  I'm starting to dream and scheme about how I want to decorate this room.  I'm such a neutral lover but this isn't the place for that.  I want more saturated color and in here but it's a small room so I don't want to overwhelm it with too much going on.  I think this will be a good homework/study room in a few years too.


Wall color (sea salt at 50%) || sofa || fringe pillow || leopard rug (also love this lighter rug and this rug if you want to stay more neutral) || art print || basket || nesting tables || 3 tier shelf || Family Forever Magnetic Board || lamp




We've hit the final weekend of the NSale so I've rounded up my favorites for you one last time before prices go back up.  Only three days left to get the presale prices.  You don't want to be sitting around in November wishing you didn't have to pay full price!








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