How to Style Your Entryway

The entryway.

It’s the “hello” and “goodbye” to your home.

It sends you off to start your day and it greets you when you put down your keys at night. The same goes for when you have guests in your abode—this is their first impression.

Yet, the entryway is often that one spot in our homes that becomes an afterthought. Perhaps, the space feels awkward and you don’t know where to begin.

I’ve compiled a list of practical tips that you can implement in your entryway, ensuring you and your guests feel cozy from the moment the front door opens.

1. Wall Hooks

Before we can get all fancy with decor, we need a space that actually functions for your everyday life. Start with some simple hooks to hang a hat, purse, keys, Bruno’s leash, etc. Creating designated spaces for belongings prevents clutter.

2. Shoe Basket or Boot Tray

Let’s be honest with ourselves. We don’t always put our shoes back in the closet when we get home. So, let’s run with that. Give your shoes a tidy place to hang out right where you want to leave them anyways. A basket is great because they completely conceal your shoes.

3. Console Table

If your space allows, a console table serves as a beautiful greeting to you and your guests. A place to set your coffee on while you tie your shoes. I recommend a console table with drawers. This will allow you to tuck things away and out of sight. Drawers are perfect for hiding keys, wallets, sunglasses, and chapstick.

4. Mirror

A mirror will not only bounce light and make a space look larger, but it will allow you to fix your hair or your hat as you head out the door.

5. Books

Now for the fun part! Styling. Start with some books. I like to choose books that have a similar color palette. Place them in a neat stack. This allows for some of your favorite books to be displayed.

6. Greenery

There is nothing quite like greenery to beautify a room! Whether faux or freshly clipped from a field, greenery breathes life into your entryway.

7. Candle or Wall Plug-In

A sweet smelling home is a cozy home! Greet all who enter with either a candle or a scented wall plug-in.

8. Bowl or Tray

If your entryway table doesn’t have drawers, opt for a wood bowl or tray to house keys and sunglasses.

9. Wood Bead Garland

This is definitely not a necessity for an entryway, but it is a really playful styling tool! You can place it in a bowl, drape it over books, wrap it around the neck of a vase, etc. A wood bead garland just adds something unique that elevates the style of a space.

10. Rug

A rug always ties a space together. I find a rug to be particularly helpful in an entryway. It will prevent you from tracking in dirt. Jute rugs are durable, yet earthy and inviting. Choose a rug that isn’t too light in color, otherwise it’ll show dirt fairly quickly.

11. Lamp

If your entryway doesn’t have an overhead light, or you simply want more lighting, place a small table lamp on your console table. This gives off a warm, inviting glow.

I hope these styling tips are useful and inspiring! What part of your entryway do you love most? Take what you love and run with it! ♥️

DIY: Spray Painted Light Fixtures

We’ve saved hundreds of dollars.  Not by switching to Geico. lol.  (Sorry, I had to.) But by spray painting the light fixtures that came with our home!  Today, I want to share with you the before and afters of our 90s brass fixtures.

I can’t stress enough the power of paint! It can transform almost anything.  Our 90s home had some faded brass light fixtures.  They dated our house.  But instead of buying all new light fixtures, we bought a can of spray paint and made them more classic.  I’m all about design that can stand the test of time.

Here’s what some of the light fixtures looked like before. ( I didn’t get a before picture of all of them, but you get the idea.)

You can see how the brass finish has faded.  They also needed a good cleaning from all the renovation dust. We taped up any pieces of glass to prevent them from getting painted on, and we removed the glass domes on the chandelier for good.

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I believe it took about 3 or 4 coats of black spray paint to achieve a solid finish.  I can’t even begin to describe how NEW the lights look now.  Shiny and classic. For the chandelier, I had the idea to buy Edison bulbs for a vintage look.  It honestly looks like something you’d buy at a store brand new!

Here are the light fixtures now!

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The moral of the story here is: work with what you have.  For $6, we updated 5 light fixtures! Often times, a little paint and creativity can go a long way.  See the beauty in what God has given you.  Get a little crafty.  It’s so gratifying to look up at our light fixtures and see how we used our resources and creativity to save money.  These light fixtures give me joy when I look up at them.

So tell me, what projects have you transformed with a little paint?

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At Home Photoshoot with Zulie Rego Photography

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|Photos in this blog post are courtesy of  Zulie Rego Photography.|

So I’ve got my laptop here with me in the kitchen.  Billy’s baking Magnolia chocolate chip cookies and I like to watch him. Quality time is one of my love languages haha.

I wanted to share with you all the fun photo session Billy and I had in our home.  It all started with Instagram.  I had connected with a photographer named Zulie awhile back.  Maybe like a year ago? Anyways, she reached out recently and wanted to photograph Billy and I and our dog.  Well, Zulie is a very talented photographer, so that was an easy “YES.”

So the plan was to do a whimsical shoot in a local preserve, but Florida decided it wanted to rain literally non stop all day.  But Zulie had the brilliant idea to do an in home session.  Really chill and cozy.  So that’s exactly what we did!

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Zulie and her assistant, Elizabeth, came by and were the absolute sweetest.  So fun and warm.  They had us laughing the whole time and made us feel so at ease.  And they are both insanely talented.

Our dog Lady was very much involved and wanted to be in every picture.  But she’s adorable so we let her.

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We made some green tea…had some ’40s music playing.  A good time was had by all.

There was a particularly cool moment where they asked us to grab our Bible and read a passage out loud together.  So precious.

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Zulie is based in Miami, Florida.  But, she is always up for traveling!  So, Brides, you need to reach out to Zulie.  Her work is positively stunning and professional.  She is excellent at capturing authentic moments and she has a great eye. You can check out her website here and her Instagram here.

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Interested in having an in home photoshoot?  Here’s some food for thought:

  1. Dress comfortably.  You want your photos to look cozy and true to your daily life.
  2. Make your favorite beverage or snack.  Try to emulate activities you do in your home.
  3. Open all your window coverings to let in as much natural light as possible.
  4. When it comes to posing, if it feels weird, it probably will look good.  haha. I know that sounds backwards, but sometimes you have to tilt your head a certain way, but just trust the process.
  5. Have fun.  This isn’t a yearbook photo. Be silly.  Laugh a lot.  Enjoy the moment!

Well, this was so much fun.  Enjoy the pictures and check out Zulie Rego Photography if you want to book a session of your own.

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Faux Fireplace + Vintage Mantle

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I’d say 2018 was one of the fastest years of my life.  It literally flew.  I attribute this to the whole home buying process.  The pre-approval process, the house search, countless hours on Zillow, and then of course the renovation.  It really was a great year.  It had some rough points.  But nothing God couldn’t heal.  It’s funny, because if we were to sit down and chat about the worst thing that happened to me in 2018, it would directly lead me to tell you about the BEST thing that happened to me in 2018.  Isn’t that just classic Jesus?  He has this beautiful way of taking a painful mess, and turning it into something beautiful.

2019. Is it really you? I know we haven’t known each other long, but I like you already. 🙂 So far, 2019 has been the year of organizing and goal planning.  Go watch Tidying Up on Netflix. Don’t question it, just do it.  You’ll want to have Marie Kondo as a friend.  She makes cleaning a joy-filled thing and I love that!

God has already provided in so many little ways this month.  It’s cool how He provides even for my insignificant, unnecessary wants.  Like two free mid century dressers from my Grandma-that are both special and my style.  Like, wow! God loves us in ways that are so personal.  He gets us.

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This vintage painting gives me all the Prince Edward Island vibes!

Okay, so now let’s talk about that faux fireplace that I mentioned in the title of this post.  We found this beautiful wood mantle at a vintage store.  It’s from the 1800s, ya’ll.  It was one of those pieces that I knew we would regret it if we passed it by. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

I’ve always dreamed of having a fireplace!  And this mantle made that a reality in a way. It really adds such a cozy ambiance.

I wish I had a lot to say about HOW we did it, but it was pretty simple to install.  (Other than the fact that it was so heavy!) We just used L shaped brackets to attach it to the wall in the studs, then hid the brackets with some bead board.  The bead board also adds a different texture than just drywall.  So it makes it look like its own structure.

And that was it! Now the fun part–I get to decorate a mantle each season! I think it’ll be a fun little space for me to change and refresh throughout the year.  Eventually, I want to get a larger vessel for the firewood, so that it fills the space better. But for now, I’m just using what I have! We also plan on getting some white cord covers to conceal the tv cords.

Got a dream for your space? Chances are it’s achievable with a little imagination and creativity.  Don’t be afraid to do something different. Your home isn’t about achieving Pinterest perfection.  It’s a dwelling you create to bring YOU and your family joy—and that looks a little different for everyone.

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Renovation Progress

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Okay! So this whole “design blogging ” thing has me so excited! So let’s get to my official first blog post as The Youthful Home!

Since purchasing our home, we’ve tackled a handful of projects. And assuredly, will continue to do so. The list never seems to end haha. But, I wanted to share with you all the initial updates we made to the house before we moved in!!

For starters, huge thank you to my dad and Billy’s dad, and his brother for all their help! We couldn’t have done it without them.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Literally the day after we bought the house, Billy started removing the popcorn ceiling. He simply sprayed the ceiling with water and then scraped away! (Note: Some homes have asbestos in their popcorn ceilings and must be removed by professionals.) I was so impressed he knew how to do that! Removing the popcorn ceiling really brightened the rooms.

Ceiling Texture

We hired someone to texture the ceilings and it turned out so nicely! Really updated the home.

Interior Paint

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Okay, if you’ve ever tried to choose a white paint color, you know how confusing this can be. There are SO MANY WHITES. Like, what?! Each shade has a slightly different hue. My greatest concern was choosing a white that would come off cold. Well, somehow I picked the most beautiful warm, milky white on the first try! It’s called “Whisper White” by Behr. Amazing you guys. We had Sherwin Williams color match it because we have a connection there thanks to a kind friend. 🙂

For the ceiling, we just did the standard ceiling white and it turned out great! Love the subtle contrast between the ceiling and the walls

Billy and his dad used a paint sprayer to paint everything. This made the process so much faster.

Floors

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Billy ripped up all the nasty, stained carpet. It was in terrible condition. Like, you wouldn’t want to walk on it barefoot. lol.  Which is kind of important in a home.

Then, we hired someone to install our Coretec Luxury Vinyl Planks.  They are 100% waterproof, which is really important for Florida humidity. We chose medium, warm brown with neutral undertones.  I really like how wide the planks are and how much it looks like real wood!

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Now, all the hard labor is complete and we’re moved in and making it home!  We are taking it one project at at time.  I can’t wait to take ya’ll along for the ride.

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Introducing The Youthful Home

I’ve been on quite the journey with blogging.   I’ve been at it for a few years now, and it’s become a happy little hobby of mine.  You see, I love writing. I love taking pictures.  I love creating.  And if I can do all that, and maybe inspire someone at the same time, then mission accomplished.

With all that said, I’m excited to announce a little change happening around here. This blog is now titled The Youthful Home.

To some of you, you may have already seen this coming. Because honestly, decorating and making a home have become my greatest passions.

I’ve mulled this idea over for awhile now. When my husband and I bought our first home a few months back, the timing seemed right to focus in on a topic more.  My favorite place. The home.

So what does this change mean for the blog? Here’s the type of content you’ll be seeing:

  • Our Home Renovation Journey
  • Budget Friendly Home Decor Tips
  • DIYs
  • Seasonal Decor Tips
  • Interior Inspiration
  • Vintage and Thrift Shopping Hauls
  • Recipes
  • Faith Inspired Content

The Youthful Home is where I hope to inspire you to love your abode.  To create spaces that tell your story.

You can read more about the heartbeat behind The Youthful Home in the About Me page!

I passionately believe the home should be a peaceful sanctuary in which you can be your utmost, childlike self.  A place where your faith grows.  A place where your love is shared. My goal is to never lose my young, joyful spirit and I’m inviting you to join me.

Welcome to THE Y O U T H F U L HOME

Ahhhh this little homemaker is so very excited and joyful about this! Love to you all!

Our First House!

I remember when I was younger, I used to wonder, “How will I know what God’s will is for me?” I have since discovered that God shows His will for me through His peace.  I always try to pray that He will steer my heart towards what He wants for me. And He has done just that, time and time again. With His peace.

I had peace when I met Billy. Peace when we got married. Peace when we found our first apartment. And our second. Peace when we went to our new church. And now peace as we found our first home!

We didn’t put an age or a year on it.  We knew we wanted a home one day, but we weren’t in a rush. We weren’t trying to keep up with anyone.  Rather, we knew God would give us His peace when it was time. And He did.

A few months ago, we started the whole mortgage process.  Not the fun part. haha. We looked at so many home listings. Went to an open house here and there, but nothing gave us that peace, ya know?

When I saw the listing for our now home, I was intrigued.  What’s funny is, the pictures were awful. You couldn’t really tell what the house even looked like. The lighting was bad. Paint colors were gross. Usually, I would keep on looking when I saw such a listing.  But for some reason, I could see potential.  I could see that the yard was large, the ceilings were high, a pool, a beautiful neighborhood, and great location–close to Billy’s job and close to my sister and brother in law.

I kept the listing at the top of my mental list. Then, when the list price dropped, I was like, “Woah! We gotta see it.” Billy was on board, and we viewed the house that weekend.

So. Beautiful. We could see past the popcorn ceilings and stained carpet. The house was in good condition, with so much potential.  It was so bright and airy.  WE FELT THE PEACE. haha. We both knew without saying a word to each other.

That weekend, we put in an offer, and it was accepted. And now, we are officially homeowners.

The day before our closing, we were at church and our pastor was talking about how the only thing we have is what God has given us.  It’s all His.  All for His glory.  Billy and I looked at each other and he squeezed my hand. What a beautiful reminder right before our house closing.

So yes, we legally are homeowners. But more literally, we’re just using what God has blessed us with.  We are really praying that God will show us practical ways to use our home for Him.

We can’t take an ounce of credit for this new chapter. God truly is in all the details.


Before we move in, we are doing some DIY renovations.

  1. Remove popcorn ceiling.
  2. Retexture ceilings
  3. Remove tile and carpet.
  4. Paint all the walls.
  5. Put down waterproof luxury vinyl plank flooring.

It’s been such an exciting process.  In just two weeks, the popcorn ceilings are gone and have been retextured.  The tile is gone and Billy has ripped up all the carpet. We are so thankful to family and friends for helping us tackle this project!

We’ve taken lots of before pictures, process pictures, and soon–after pictures. Can’t wait to take ya’ll along for this ride. Lots of blog content is in the works!

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Reading Lately

My! It’s been a minute since I’ve written to you all. Life has been very busy, but very blessed! After a hectic couple of months, Billy and I are homeowners! And that is ALL GOD! Can’t take an ounce of credit for that. He is in all the details. There will more to come on all that soon…

Amidst the crazy, I’ve been reading a lot lately. It’s become a favorite source of entertainment! So, I thought I’d share the past few books I’ve read. I’m thinking of making this a regular series on the blog, once I’ve read some more books. It’s fun to share one’s literary love, isn’t it?

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With its witty banter, beautiful development of the characters, and sweet romance, you must read this classic. Not going to lie–pictured Kiera Knightly the whole time. I recommend you read it while listening to the movie soundtrack! It makes it a complete experience.

2. The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe

This book read like a movie, which is always so fun. I first saw the Hallmark movie and loved it, so Billy bought me the book for my birthday! It’s set in the Charleston area of South Carolina, which was fun, since I’ve been there. This novel focuses on complicated family relationships, with some romance thrown in! Highly recommend.

3. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I read this book the week I waited for my next novel to arrive. It’s an easy read that could change your life! Dave Ramsey teaches you why you don’t need credit cards, how to budget, pay off debt, and live with financial peace! Spend, save, and GIVE! You NEED to read this book! And then message me so we can talk about how awesome it is.

4. Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

My Mom got me this cook book for my birthday, and let me tell you: it doesn’t disappoint! Anything Joanna Gaines touches is a delight, just saying. We’ve dabbled in a few recipes already. Her chocolate chip cookie recipe is insanely good. What I like about this cookbook, is all the recipes are good olé classics. Recipes you can make over and over again. Like “Fluffiest Pancakes.” Um, YES.


Currently Reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

I’m just about halfway through this book, and love it so far! Very witty and humorous. Oh and the Netflix movie is a must watch. I’ll let you know more in the next “Reading Lately” blog post!

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Bruschetta Recipe

My sister and I have started a new Thursday night tradition. We have each other and our hubs over at each other’s homes, alternating weeks. It’s become a coveted time of laughter and good food! The perfect way to break up the week.

When they came over to our place, I made bruschetta as an appetizer and they enjoyed it so immensely! What I love about bruschetta is it’s delightfully light, looks impressive, but is deceptively easy to make! So I thought I’d share my recipe with you all–because that’s what friends are for!

Speaking of bruschetta, I must confess a pet peeve of mine—when people call it “broo-shetta.” Being the little Italian girl that I am, hearing bruschetta mispronounced is like nails on a chalkboard for me. Haha. “Broo-sketta” sounds far more beautiful, don’t you agree?

Bruschetta

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tomatoes, petite diced and seeded
  • 1/2 onion, petite diced
  • A few leaves of basil, chopped
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A dash of garlic powder
  • 1 to 2 TB of olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baguette

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil.
  2. Refrigerator mixture until ready to serve.
  3. Slice baguette into 1/2 inch pieces.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and garlic powder and toast in even for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. (Or until desired crispiness.)
  5. In a small pan, simmer balsamic vinegar until it bubbles and reduces in volume. It will continue to thicken as it cools and will form a glaze. Set aside.
  6. Spoon tomato mixture on each slice of bread and drizzle the balsamic glaze on top.
  7. Enjoy!

-From the kitchen of Julia Brown

http://www.theyouthful.me

I love how light and refreshing this appetizer is! The perfect cheese board pairing! May this recipe delight your tummy and wow your guests.

Ciao!

Apt. Reveal :: The Living Room

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Curled up with a blanket atop my lap and a cup of tea in hand (well, actually its resting on a coaster, but tea in hand sounds much more poetic),  I am thrilled to be composing the second installment of our apartment reveal: the living room. If you haven’t already, check out the bedroom reveal here.

It wasn’t until I had my first apartment with my hubby that I realized a talent and passion of mine: interior decorating. Prior to being married, I was actually a little messy. My room always had a chair with a pile of clothes on it. (Sorry Mom and Dad.)  I didn’t always make my bed. After having my own space, to my own surprise, I’ve become somewhat of a neat-nick.  I think it has to do with all the heart and attention to detail I’ve put in, that I strive to maintain a home that best displays my handiwork.

img_7595 One of my favorite parts of my new-found hobby is the hunt. I try to be very intentional and particular in my purchases.  If I don’t love it, I will pass and continue the quest for that just-right piece. I think that’s why I enjoy vintage markets so much–you invest time and exploration into a well-loved treasure.  (Also, it’s cliche but true: They just don’t make things like they used to. Shop vintage when looking for quality, made well pieces.)

When creating a living space, it is of great importance.  This is a co-space.  A space where not only you will dwell, but your friends and loved ones too.  It must be inviting, cozy, and story-telling.  Don’t just slap some stuff on a wall.  Find pieces that mean something to you. What speaks to you? What represents you as a person? Your family. Culture. Upbringing. Hobbies. Colors. Your home is a giant painting of who you are and I think that is absolutely beautiful.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

  • I am Italian and so very proud of it. Therefore, the framed map of Italy is not only beautiful and special but represents something very unique and specific about me and my family.
  • I like nature. Being outdoors refreshes the soul.  So, I like to bring the outside–in, with lots of (faux) plants, wood, and natural textures.

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Without further ado, kick off your shoes, and have a seat on our sofa. Welcome to our living room.


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Let’s start with this space pictured above. When choosing pillows for your sofa, think: cozy, soft, and texture. Target never fails me when it comes to pillows. All my living room pillows are from Target. Shocker. The blanket on the back of the sofa adds visual interest with a homey-feel.  It was hand-knit by my Grandma Nancy as a wedding gift. This Lane cedar chest is one of my favorite pieces in our entire home.  My Grandma gave it to me. It was given to her when she was 13 years old.  Not only is is it stunning, but it also serves as a great storage solution.  It houses all my fall/winter clothes!

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Let’s talk about this rug, shall we? Now, its quite clear I am a neutral-loving girl. But when choosing a rug, I wanted something that wouldn’t show dirt, would add a pop of color and a sense of warmth, and would play up the vintage vibe I got going on.  This Magnolia rug checked all the boxes.  It is seriously the star of the room.  When decorating, choose one item to be the focal point.  This prevents a room from looking cluttered or too loud.

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We purchased this loveseat to serve as additional seating for when guests come over.  It is quite comfortable, and is where I teach all my online classes.  I appreciate its slim design.  It doesn’t overwhelm the space.  As for the pillow: I searched for a blush pillow for months. I kid you not. Just ask Billy.  When Target released this velvet blushing beauty, I knew it was the one.  I’m telling you–wait for the pieces that you love…not like. What I love about this pillow, is its still a neutral.  But it subtly introduces a hint of color and pulls from the colors in my area rug. Win.


Here are some more details from our living room. Remember: greenery transforms a space. Add some life. It will take your home to a whole new level.

We’ve had a lot of luck at yard sales.  Historic neighborhoods often have community yard sales, and typically people with historic homes own vintage things. Yard sale gold!  The wood end table pictured above was only $20 at a yard sale. I love its raw beauty. The kerosene lamp was a yard sale gem as well! Only $5! And the table housing our record player was another $20 yard sale find. Using vintage items gives your home instant character and prevents a space from looking too “sterile.”

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Well, that’s all for now, folks! If you’d like links to any of the products discussed in this post, simply comment below or contact via the contact page. Remember to create a home that you enjoy. That brings you peace and admiration. That envelopes your loved ones with comfort from the moment they enter. Happy decorating, friends! Stay tuned for the bathroom and kitchen reveal.

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