The Vendor Vault: Little Brotique

diamonds dogs are a girl’s best friend

Tracey Clegg {a crafty momma & fellow wedding lover} has found her knack for dressing a very important member of the bridal party. What started as a sweet & simple boutique for accessorizing little boys has evolved into a fabulous Etsy shop full of bow ties, suspenders & bow tie collars alike! Read on to learn more about Little Brotique & why your pup should look his best on your big day!

let’s hear it! how did LB get started?

My husband, Kameron, and I always wanted to have kids, and we both felt it was really important that I stay home with them! He got me a sewing machine for my first Mother’s Day as a mom, and I got to work. I knew that I wanted to be in the wedding business because well, I love weddings! I already knew how to sew bow ties and suspenders so I worked on my own patterns/ sizing, took pictures, and crossed my fingers as I put up my first Etsy listing. However, my first order didn’t come until 6 months later. But within about 2-3 months of that first order we were busy enough that I was able to quit my day job!

As for the name it was mainly my husband’s idea. He was so set on just “the Brotique” but since we were only doing little boy’s products at the time I felt we needed to add “Little” in there! And now with the dog bow ties it makes me think of Mulan and how her little dog was name “little brother” so, Little Brotique seems to fit well!

The dog bow ties didn’t come until about 2 years after we started our business. We were receiving so many requests for matching dog bow ties that I thought “why not!” So I worked on a pattern for those and they have been a huge success! They are my very favorite item to make! And I get the BEST pictures back from customers. Dogs are adorable in bow ties!

dogs (in wedding duds) have been trending since 2015, why do you think couples should include their furry friends in their wedding?

Dogs are so perfect for weddings! They are a part of the family and they want to celebrate too. I totally understand the hesitation though for some brides. It takes some extra work to include our little fur babies, but the memories and pictures that come from including them, make it all worth it!

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We’ve seen everything from floral wreaths around the neck to fully formal doggy tuxedos! Why do you think Little Brotique bow-ties are the best choice for dogs and their brides-to-be?

I love all the fun dog wedding fashions, but you just can’t go wrong with a simple bow tie. The dogs look stunning but not uncomfortable. And a comfortable dog is a much more well behaved dog! Which is a big deal during a wedding ceremony!

A bow tie must be much more comfortable than other alternatives – can you tell us about the quality & materials?

When I was first working on the pattern for the dog bow ties I had considered a few different options. For instance, I debated on having the bow tie Velcro on and off the collar, but when it was all finished it seemed like it would be incredibly itchy! So I scratched that idea (pun intended) and went for a collar with the bow completely attached. I knew this would make our bow ties less versatile but it would add that extra comfort I was looking for. I use 100% cotton fabric which is very soft! And I also love that linen look instead of stiff polyester.

Should brides choose their pup’s accessories based on the season, the color palette, or just try to avoid a pattern that clashes with Buddy’s spots?

Choosing a color can be difficult. You want something that will match your wedding and not clash with your dogs coat color. You also want to be able too see the bow tie really well. So this is probably obvious, but if you have a lighter colored dog I would go with a darker colored bow tie and vice versa. It seems like most people think of this since my two most popular colors are the navy blue, and the blush pink! But it’s also kind of fun to have them match the groomsmen’s bow ties! I make those as well so they would be a perfect match!

I’ve got two thick necked french bulldogs (& my future sister-in-law has a really tiny yorkie mix) does Little Brotique offer bow-ties for dogs of all sizes?

There is a huge range of sizes when it comes to dogs’ necks. Because of this, I offer a wide range of sizes. Ranging from an extra small to fit a Yorkie, Shih Tzu, Maltese, etc. all the way to an extra large for labs, bulldogs, etc.  I am also willing to do custom sizes. Just email me how long you want the collar to be and how big you want the bow to be. I can make it however big/ small you need it to be!

After a bride purchases a LB accessory, when is the best time to apply the collar? Do you have any tips on keeping it clean/in good condition up until the wedding day?

When you purchase the dog bow tie make sure to try it on your dog, and if the sizing isn’t quite right I’m happy to exchange sizes. But other than that, I would wait on having your dog wear the bow tie until the event in order to keep the bow tie clean, crisp, and in place.

As the artist, what are your personal favorite colors/patterns of the Little Brotique bow ties?

My very favorite fabric for the dog bow ties is the aqua plaid fabric! It’s cute, classy, and has quite a few different colors in the pattern which make it easy to match to! Plus it looks good on most dogs. My favorite solid color though, is a toss up of the light blue and the mint. They are both classic and beautiful!

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. . .

if you’re including your fur baby on the biggest day of your life, dress them accordingly! Shop Little Brotique & design your dog’s favorite accessory!

{IMAGES: Style Me Pretty Vault, Little Brotique}

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The MMW Guide to Garters

You (awkwardly) wore one to prom and you’ll pick one out for your big day – but what’s the deal with those little frilly thigh accessories?

ORIGIN

The little piece of lace dates back hundreds of years ago to those good ‘ol ancient superstitions (and pretty much any bride’s worst nightmare.) It was believed that owning a piece of the wedding gown was lucky and would bring wealth. This would incentivize guests to tackle the bride and rip off a piece of the dress! Brides wised up and began carrying a piece of their gowns to gift a lucky guest instead of waiting to be attacked at the reception. This turned into the delicate little accessory we see today.

Now, the groom is the only one who should remove the garter from the bride. When she tosses the bouquet, he throws the garter and the enthused recipients will be the next to marry (not necessarily each other, but hey…ya never know!)

HOW TO STYLE

The original reason for wearing a garter was to hold up stockings. Garters are usually sold in sets so that a bride can wear one on each leg and choose to keep one and allow the groom to throw one. There’s no set rule as to which leg gets to rock the garter, but brides usually choose to wear it on their dominate side. Place your garter just above the knee, not too high (avoid my naive prom-going self from 2010, I hiked it up to my hip not knowing what it was for then gawked at my friends taking photos with theirs since I had no idea what it was for..eek.)

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Picking your Garter

Garters have become waaay more elegant over the past couple decades. Many designers make custom garters depending on what the bride wants. Do you want it to match your gown, show off your personality or be your “something blue?” While satin was once a popular design, lace, tulle and silver gemstones have taken over as the popular garter fabrics.

Keep in mind that you’ll be wearing this throughout your wedding day – for photos and the traditional take-off, so pick whatever you’ll feel most comfortable in!

MY FAVS

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SIMPLE LACE – RAGGED DIAMOND $23.99

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DELICATE DECOR – MELINDA ROSE $85

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MONOGRAMMED DETAIL – SOUTHERN EVER AFTER $25

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ENCRUSTED ELEGANCE – GARTER QUEEN $60

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LIGHTLY LAYERED – DAVIE AND CHIYO $22

THE TOSS

Okay y’all – as an adolescent wedding guest (and even now) I cringe at the weird, mildly drunk “sexy dance” that grooms often engage in while taking off the garter. Imagine your new husband sulking underneath your gown in front of your family, friends and grandparents while Wild Thang plays in the background!?

*dry heaves*

 You can forgo the whole “removing” part and just hand your groom the garter to fling to a lucky groomsmen. After you toss the bouquet, award the winning recipients with their own custom bottles of wine or beer – SO much better than a pre-owned sweaty piece of lace. My absolute favorite garter toss idea?

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Yeah I’m kind of biased, but send the garter off with a NFL football! A fun activity, a more accurate toss and a cool souvenir.

AS WITH ANY WEDDING FACET, CHOOSING YOUR GARTER IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO INFUSE YOUR PERSONALITY & STYLE INTO A FUN ACCESSORY! AWKWARD OR AWESOME, ENJOY YOUR GARTER TOSS AS ONE OF THE LIGHTER MOMENTS OF THE DAY.

{PHOTOGRAPHY: Caroline Lima, Thecablokkfotolab, Lauren Fair, Marissa Lambert, Amalie Orrange}

 

The Vendor Vault: Boho Halo Company

WITH GRACE IN YOUR HEART & FLOWERS IN YOUR HAIR

Sierra Wallis is a whimsy-obsessed Mom on a mission. With an incredibly focused eye for detail, she created a company set on elevating and producing sprightly & spirited accessories. Boho Halo Company is responsible for accessorizing brides, bridesmaids & flower girls with awe-inspiring, rustic-chic, intricately crafted flower crowns. Read on as Sierra explains the importance of wedding day accessories & why every bride deserves a crown:

 it’s obvious that creating flower crowns was your calling, but how did you get started?

S: I fell into the flower crown business by accident. I was toying with the idea of starting an Etsy shop when I took my daughters school shopping a few years ago. My oldest daughter, Sophia, wanted to buy a flower crown to wear to school. When I looked at the halos available at the mall, they all just looked really crappy to me. Plasticky, glue showing, really fake looking flowers. I told her I thought we could do better. And so we began. The first few were very simple designs. Everyday wear. As time went by, they slowly evolved into much more elaborate wedding pieces and photo props. I fell in love with the flowers and textures that could be combined in infinite ways to create beautiful pieces.

 are Boho Halos the new veils? Can you explain the difference?

S: The wedding veil would be the more conservative or traditional choice. The most recent flower crown fad (flower crowns are certainly not a new thing!) began as a more “bohemian” style choice, but I think it has evolved into a hair accessory that most brides can embrace. Flower crowns can be so personalized. Small and dainty. Large and bold. Muted and soft. Vibrant and edgy. I feel like a bride can really put the stamp of her personality and style into a flower crown. And its not an either or choice anymore. There are many brides that beautifully pair a flower crown with a veil. Its all about the bride’s personal style.

when & where did this accessory emerge?

S: It’s funny because while I would agree that flower crowns are incredibly popular right now, they are by no means a new fad. Think Queen Victoria with her orange blossom crown, Frida Kahlo, Marie Antoinette. Flower crowns have a long history (we’re talking centuries) particularly associated with weddings and special ceremonies. However, the hippie culture of the 60’s has heavily influenced the “bohemian” accessory’s current incarnation. The bohemian style is a lot about being a free thinker, living and acting free of regard for conventional rules and practices.

“I just feel like that the flower crown fad has evolved into more than that. It’s about putting your personality into your accessories. Having your accessories accentuate your personality.”

who is most likely to wear a flower crown on a wedding day?

S: I make flower crowns for the whole wedding party. Brides, bridesmaids, flower girls, mother-of the-bride. The flower girl crown would be the most traditional. But these days whole bridal parties rock the halos!

after the dress is boxed and the bouquet is preserved, how can you recycle the flower crown & wear it with everyday outfits?

S: Flower crowns are so fun because they can be dressed up or down. A simple sundress, a flower crown and sandals work great for a mellow summer afternoon. A pair of jeans, a flowy top and a flower crown would be great for a music festival. I have clients that wear flower crowns daily and wear them with everything. Again, it comes down to be able to put your stamp on it.

your collection is large, but each crown is so unique – do you have a favorite flower crown detail?

S: Oh boy…I’m terrible at picking favorites because I love everything. It’s the contrast that makes everything beautiful. The different colors and textures. The juxtaposition of two flowers or colors that shouldn’t work together, but somehow do. I love all of it!

from a professional’s standpoint, how important are bridal accessories to the overall wedding day look?

S: It’s important to be sure that your accessories match the feel and style of your dress. But you don’t want to overdo it. It’s a fine line. You want your accessories to accentuate your look and show your personality. This is the reason flower crowns are so hugely popular! Because they can be loud and boisterous or sweet and understated. You can completely personalize this accessory to your emphasize your personality.


order your Boho Halo

MMW VENDOR SEAL: THIS VENDOR WAS ACTUALLY USED BY MEG IN REAL LIFE

{IMAGES: KEVIN KOPANSKI PHOTOGRAPHY, BOHO HALO COMPANY ETSY}

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The Vendor Vault: Victoria Isabel Photography

YOU MAY STICK THE TOP TIER OF YOUR CAKE IN THE FREEZER, HANG ONTO A PIECE OF YOUR BOUQUET & PRESERVE YOUR GOWN – BUT WHEN THE RECEPTION ENDS, THE ONLY TRUE MEMORIES THAT ARE FROZEN IN TIME ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHS.

Victoria Tate, professional photographer, dog mom & capturer of all things beautiful explains why she began the business, the importance of getting fabulous photos and how to ensure an incredible variety shots from your big day:

VICTORIA, HOW DID YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?

V: When I first picked up the camera, I was photographing varsity wrestling for my high school. When I got to college, the fun followed, but I went from photographing guys in singlets to men in uniform. I never grew up or even went to college thinking of being a photographer. I honestly didn’t know the “job” existed and just assumed you were “born into it.” However, in Spring 2012, a couple asked me to take their engagement photos and from there I was hooked. Even though my love for sports photography continued, my obsession for couples and love stories became incomparable. That very same couple asked me to photograph their wedding and of course I said yes. It was crazy because I had zero idea of what I was doing and not going to lie, I had never attended a wedding up to that point. I researched, watched YouTube videos, read blogs, and more. On the day of the wedding, some things happened and for some reason I loved taking on the stress instead of the bride having to deal with it. At the end of that day, I knew this is where I wanted to be. That feeling of helping someone for an entire day and taking on their stress made me feel alive. I love the fact that I get to spend months helping someone prepare for this amazing day then on that day, help carry their dress, fix their veil, give the groom a confidence boost, hand him a napkin to wipe down his sweaty palms, laugh, cry, and celebrate the new Mr. and Mrs.

SPEAKING OF THOSE SENTIMENTAL MOMENTS – CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE WHOLE “UNPLUGGED WEDDING” CONCEPT & WHY BRIDES SHOULD CONSIDER IT?

V: This is major in this industry. An unplugged wedding is when you are asking your guests {usually in a cute way by displaying a sign that you took time to make} to put away their phones, cameras, and any form of technology. When the couple is requesting this, they are asking for one simple thing: respect. It’s only for the ceremony, so that’s 30 – 45 minutes of zero gadgets… piece of cake. The reason why this is so important is because as the photographer and videographer, we are PAID to be the ones to capture the big day, not you.

Sure you want to get some photos and post them on social media to get those “likes” and “hearts” but is it really worth ruining a photo over?

As the appointed crafter of those moments, we expose an image so the lighting is perfect. Your flash goes off and now it’s just a white screen of nothing and overexposed. Getting that epic down the aisle shot of the first kiss? All of a sudden Uncle Leroy decides to step out too far into the aisle and block all the action. This is what an unplugged wedding solved. Zero electronics = zero distractions.

HOW SHOULD A COUPLE DECIDE IF THEY WANT AN UNPLUGGED CEREMONY?

V: The biggest thing with this is the amount of guests and the size of the ceremony location. Do you have a lot of guests that are in their twenties and love social media? Yup, then have an unplugged wedding because you KNOW they will focus more on their followers then you. From experience, the older generation is just as bad, especially family members. They bring their “fancy” cameras, iPads, and cell phones. They try and take pics of their “babies” and think that since they are family the sign doesn’t apply. Well, if you know that your guests have multiple electronics, then stop them from getting them out before it’s too late and they’ve ruined the job of the ones you paid for.

HOW SHOULD A BRIDE LET HER GUESTS KNOW THAT THE CEREMONY IS UNPLUGGED?

V: There are multiple ways to get this point across. Of course, the most common way is to make a big, attractive sign at the entrance to the ceremony. MAKE people see it as they enter and draw their attention to it. Something that I suggest is to also put the information on their wedding website. The Knot and WeddingWire have phenomenal templates and have multiple spots where “unplugged wedding” would look good. Lastly, make it a part of your invitation sweet. Whether it’s on the accommodations card, simply placed on the invitation, or on the RSVP, it can be made known elegantly.

PLEASE DISH ON A SITUATION IN WHICH TECHNOLOGY RUINED A WEDDING DAY MOMENT?

V: PRAISE THE LORD this has never been an issue for me and the weddings I’ve shot. Sure, you can’t stop everyone from getting their phones out, but when they have seen a sign, they at least try to be sneaky about it. I always like to call those people out though by capturing a photo of them because my wandering eyes always notice the screens. I’ve taken phones from kids and put them down and I’ve asked that cousin with their nice camera to take mine while I sit and adore. As for weddings I’ve been to as a guest, wow! I always take my camera, however, I’m always aware as to where the photographer is and I don’t keep it out the whole time and I don’t record a thing. One instance that I will remember forever is a very close friend’s wedding. The photographer was set up for the most romantic first kiss as husband and wife. Then, right as the groom took his bride for the perfect dip, grandpa decided his phone could do better and stepped right out in the middle. LUCKILY, I snagged the shot phone free. THE FIRST KISS. What are people thinking?! Another wedding I was at, I was sitting and taking it all in, I took a second to glimpse at the photographer and in that moment I saw a kid get excited about something on his phone and knock the camera guy over. Just no.

WHAT FACTORS SHOULD BRIDES CONSIDER FOR THE BEST WEDDING PHOTOS?

V: Time of day and timeline are everything. This 100% goes with tips to make the day easier on us photographers. Weather, it’s important – but we can’t predict, control, or fight it. Rain pics can be solved with cute umbrellas, hot days can be solved with shade, and late at night shots are assisted with flash.

Now down to time and timeline. These are huge. Ceremonies done too late in the day cause everyone getting to the reception fast which means zero time in between the ceremony and reception for the recessional, group shots, family formals, and private portrait time… not to mention time spent traveling from ceremony to reception and also wherever you wish to have your photos done.

If you have the ceremony too early then the sun will be beaming and your reception might end at an awkward time, but you’d definitely be guaranteed your coverage. Below are what WE as photographers would see as the perfect wedding day…


11:00 Bride Starts Hair and Makeup
12:30 Groom starts getting ready
1:00 Bride puts on dress!
1:30 Arrive to Church
2:30 Ceremony
3:15 Ceremony Ends
3:20 Recessional/Thank You’s Begin
3:40 Recessional/Thank You’s Ends – Family Formals Begin
4:00 Family Formals End – Bridal Party Group shots Begin
4:30 Bridal Party Group shots End – Private Portraits with Bride and Groom Begin
5:00 Private Portraits with Bride and Groom Ends
5:15 Reception Introductions
5:30 EAT, DRINK, and BE MARRIED!
6:00 Toasts, Dances, Games, and more!

SCHEDULE TIPS: BRIDES, ALWAYS SHOOT FOR STARTING BEAUTY AT 10:30 BECAUSE SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS BE LATE. SOME BRIDAL PARTY SHOTS CAN BE DONE BEFORE THE CEREMONY IF THE BRIDAL PARTY IS READY ON TIME.


ANY ADVICE FOR COUPLES ON MAKING THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOB AS STRESS-FREE AS POSSIBLE?

V: If you’re a bride and you’re wanting to have your private portraits and other photos taken somewhere that isn’t the ceremony or reception, then PLEASE find that spot ahead of time. Like, weeks ahead… MONTHS. Do not throw this onto your photographer/videographer last minute or the day before or give them extra homework. Also, PLEASE let us help you schedule your wedding day. Personally, there’s a reason why all my brides have told me that their wedding day was the most comfortable wedding day. Lastly, if you plan to have a fast paced wedding, with everyone getting ready in different locations, ceremony/reception distances away, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get a second shooter. Photographers have lists of second shooters who are ready to help out and even though it may cost you a little extra, would you rather know you have the full day captured or risk rushing around and missing something? Don’t put yourself in this position. It’s not worth it.

CONTACT VICTORIA

MMW VENDOR SEAL: THIS VENDOR WAS ACTUALLY USED BY MEG IN REAL LIFE.

{images: victoriaisabelphotography.com}

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The Vendor Vault: Beauty by Billie Jo

YOUR BRIDAL BEAUTY IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE RING, THE GOWN & THE GROOM.

(OKAY, OKAY – ALMOST AS IMPORTANT AS THE GROOM)

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Finding the best look to complement your gown, enhance your natural beauty and show up in photos is no small task – bridal beauty expert, Billie Jo, dedicates her passion to making the most of your memorable day! Read our interview if you’re sitting on some beauty questions, on the fence about hiring a makeup artist for your wedding or if you’re interested in booking the best artist in the Ohio/Michigan area.

When did you start doing makeup & why did you choose to become a bridal professional?

Billie Jo: I dabbled in selling Mary Kay cosmetics when I was younger, but I had a full time job, a husband and a baby; so my makeup dreams had to go on the back burner. After 12+ years of working for the same company, I was laid off due to the housing market crash. This was a blessing in disguise. I was able to attend beauty school and become a licensed esthetician. I loved all facets of skin car and makeup so this was a perfect fit for me!

What is the most important beauty prep before the trial & actual big day?

Billie Jo: I’d say the most important beauty step for prep is anything skin care. As long as you take care of your skin, your makeup will last longer and look better! Start getting monthly facials 6 months prior to your wedding and your skin will glow.

Do you prefer brides go to into the trial knowing what they want or do you like to work with a blank canvas & create a beautiful look on your own?

Billie Jo: When I first meet with a client, I will ask her to bring inspirational pictures and adjust the look according to her skin tone and facial features. It’s always better for brides to come with a picture or two, because my vision may be different than theirs.

What are some current big trends in wedding makeup?

Billie Jo: Airbrush makeup is still having a big moment and for good reasons! It lasts longer & looks more natural. Strobing {also known as highlighting} is very trendy right now and it can look beautiful if done right!

Are there brands you prefer to use over others?

Billie Jo: There are so many brands on the mark it’s truly unbelievable! I don’t believe there is one brand out there whose products are all the best. Some have better eyeshadows and others have better blushes. I currently love Temptu for airbrush, Face Atelier for foundation and Viseart for eyeshadow. I don’t carry any drugstore products in my kit – not that there’s anything wrong with those products, I just like to use more luxurious and professional products on my clients.

What should brides bring to makeup trials?

Billie Jo: I only need a few inspirational pictures. I ask that they show up with a clean face and then I prep their skin with the appropriate moisturizer and primer.

Any tips for brides interested in using a makeup artist as far as planning goes?

Billie Jo: I would say plan ahead (I only have a handful of Saturday’s available in 2016!) and make sure you set enough money aside in your budget to hire your makeup artist. Brides spend so much money on pictures and don’t have makeup that works with photos or lasts for the entire event. Not all makeup looks good on camera, and I’m trained to know what looks good and what products work. Plus, it’s nice to be pampered on such a special day!

What should the bride look for in a makeup artist?

Billie Jo: First, I would say look at the makeup artists portfolio to see if their style matches what you want. Second, make sure you like him/her. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time with the artist and you want to make sure that person is a good fit! Last, but most important, make sure their kit is clean. Sanitation should really be the number one concern of you and your makeup artist. There are so many diseases that can be spread around from an unsanitary kit.

Can you explain how you break down the price of your services?

Billie Jo: I typically charge per person (not by the hour) and each person takes approximately 30 minutes. I think the misconception is that all I do is makeup and it should be cheaper. My products are the biggest cost of my job. A lot of products are used for each wedding and they’re all high quality products. I’ve gone through proper training and continue to educate myself whenever I can. When I’m not doing weddings, I am researching products and making sure all my brushes are clean and that my kit is sanitized. I have had many brides who were concerned that their bridesmaids couldn’t pay for makeup on top of all the other expenses – and to this, I’ve recommended the bride pay for it and give it as a gift in lieu of jewelry. Of all the brides that have done this, not one bridesmaid has complained about it! They typically love it!

Book Billie Jo

MMW VENDOR SEAL: THIS VENDOR WAS ACTUALLY USED BY MEG IN REAL LIFE.

{IMAGES: ERIN MCGINN COVER PHOTO, BEAUTYBYBILLIEJO.COM}

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