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South America’s 8 Must Visit Places…

My love of travel began back in the year 2000, and in the past seven years since then I have traveled to countless places, had numerous adventures and made many memories.  Over time the details of these trips can begin to blur and the emotion and excitement originally felt can fade into a distant memory. However my experiences in South America are made up of rare moments that I will hold in my heart forever.

It is a continent of magic, enchantment, inspiration & love and somewhere which evokes a great sence of wanderlust within me.  Though I have traveled there extensively it is a place I always long to return to and on trips back I have always had the feeling of my soul somehow coming home.  For me, that’s the bewitching allure of travel, and the thing that always drives me to keep exploring new corners of the world.

So here is my list of South America’s 8 must visit places… May they be as awe-inspiring for you as they were for me!

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1 – Cycle the ‘Road of Death’ in Bolivia.

‘The Road of Death’ is a twisting 80km mountainside trail, considered the world’s most dangerous road. Get a major adrenaline rush as you dodge trucks and local filled buses while admiring the incredible views of the sweeping mountains.

2 – Visit the Amazon Forest.

Bolivia’s ‘Las Pampas’ is one of the lesser visited areas of the amazon where you can get up close and observe capybara, monkeys and caimens in their natural habitat.  Plus hike through the forest, fish for piranha and swim with pink dolphins.

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3 – Samba Dance Around Colourful Brazil.

A visit to Brazil any time between Christmas and mid-February guarantees you a party as they prepare for, or celebrate, the famous Carnival. From Rio de Janiero’s Bloco Parties & Sambadrome, to all-night beach parties in Bahia, or the soulful drum beats of street parties in Salvador.

4 – Dance the Tango in Buenos Aires.

Explore Buenos Aires, the city of colour, vibrancy and romance offering incredible food & wine, beautiful architecture, fascinating culture and of course tango dancing.

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5 – Experience the Power of the Iguazu Falls.

A cascade of hundreds of waterfalls emerging from the jungle in a powerful mass over the Brazilian & Argentinian boarders.  Explore the falls by boat ride or walk up to ‘The Devils Throat’ and see views from the top of the biggest fall.

6- Get Lost in Bolivia’s Salt Desert.

Uyuni’s salt desert was once a great lake that dried into giant mysterious salt flats.  Stretching as far as the eye can see the white of the salt reflects light in an amazing way, making it appear like you are walking through the clouds.

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7 – Hike to the Ancient Aztec City of Machu Picchu.

Walk along Peru’s ancient Inca Trail which winds through mountains peaks, cloud topped forests and old Aztec ruins to finish at the ancient city of Machu Picchu.   

8 – Explore Hidden Islands on Lake Titicaca.

For an off the beaten track experience take an over-night trip to the hidden islands on Lake Titicaca.  Hike across the island by day and stay in family run guest houses by night to see beautiful views of natures and experience local life.

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The Cool Girls Summer To-Do List…

The start of June means summer is officially here!  I already feel like my summer has kicked off with a bang after my amazing week spent with vising friends exploring Italy and embracing the sun – blog post to follow soon!

We spent the week reminiscing about our beautiful summers past and catching up on what we have planned for the next few months.  And it confirmed my idea that summer’s are meant to be spent with friends, having fun, embracing all opportunities and creating amazing memories.  Here is my cool girls summer to-do list with ideas to make sure you have the best summer ever…

The Cool Girls Guide to Summer

Take a European City Break with Best Friends.

Taking a trip to a European city with your best friends is such a fun way to kick off your summer season.  Discover cute shops and cafes by walking around the city streets, feel inspired at exhibitions and museums, drink red wine in sunny plaza’s and try delicious foods.  Plus its a great way to bond with your friends and create cool memories together.

Go to a Music Festival.

Get your girl group together and hit up a music festival this summer.  You can go to a day festival in your city, spend a weekend camping at a cool hippie festival like Glastonbury or Bestival, or combine it with a beach holiday and hit up some of the festivals in Croatia, Spain or Portugal.

Go Strawberry Picking.

Strawberry picking in summer is so much fun and there are strawberry farms all over the countryside.  Put on vintage dresses and spend the afternoon with friends picking strawberries and chilling in the sun.  The best part is feasting on strawberries afterwards or having a baking session and making strawberry tarts.

Throw a Garden Party.  

Embrace sunny Sunday’s and throw a girls party in your garden.  Serve prosecco, summer fruits, cupcakes, mini sandwiches, healthy salads and tasty teas and ask everyone to wear cute dresses.  You can have fun getting creative by covering your garden in bunting and decorating the table in a cute vintage theme too.

Read an Inspirational Book.

Long summer days are the perfect time to get reading and feel inspired.  Don’t know what to read… Check out my Reading Guide for ideas.

Have an After-Work Picnic.

Even if you have to spend you days in the office, embrace summer evenings by organizing to meet your friends for an after-work picnic.  Go to a cool park in your city, get everyone to bring some food, pop some prosecco and have dinner together al-fresco.

Hit the Beach.

You have to hit the beach at least once during summer even if you don’t live by the sea.  Plan a girls holiday to a beautiful beach town, go island hopping somewhere exotic or take a road trip and visit a cute seaside town, then spend the days swimming in the sea, eating ice-creams and topping up your tan.

Check Out Some Exhibitions.

If travel isn’t possible for you this summer check out what cool things are going on in your local area.  Visit some exhibitions, check out new museums and see what fun events are happening.  Its a great way to feel inspired and excited about your summer plans without breaking your budget.

Find a Cool Summer Cocktail Spot.

Long summer nights are the perfect opportunity to have a girls night out with friends.  Plan to go somewhere you haven’t been to before like an artsy pub, an underground speedeasy or a cool rooftop bar.

Travel to a Country You’ve Never Seen Before.

Get somewhere ticked off you travel bucket list by organizing a trip to a country you have never seen before.  Traveling is a great way to get inspiration, open your mind and have an adventure and the best way to add some magic to your summer is going somewhere exciting and new!

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What to do When you have Itchy Feet…

If you read my blog regularly (thank you!) then you will know how much I love traveling and how I am always dreaming about new places I want to visit and discover.  Apart from fashion, traveling is my favorite thing to do with my time and I have invested so much time and energy into taking big trips and seeing the world.  That’s because traveling inspires me, the discovery and new experiences it brings helps me to grow and change the way I see the world and it makes me feel happy and excited about life.  I honestly feel so lucky for all the incredible places I have visited so far and I can’t wait for all the future trips I plan on taking.

Right now we are starting to research for our summer trip and we are thinking Colombia in South America!  So I have been reading a lot of travel guides and searching travel blogs for tips about top places to visit in Colombia.  All this makes me super excited because Colombia sounds amazing!  And it also brings back beautiful memories of my gap year traveling around South America! But it is also giving me pretty itchy feet and making me yearn for my South American travels right now.

I am lucky because it will only be about ten weeks until we take our summer trip but I know there have been times when there have been no trips on the horizon and my life has been consumed by day to day things and working.  And in times like this its easy to feel like travel is far away and out of sync with your lifestyle.  So today I wanted to share with you my five easy ideas to do when you have itchy feet and how to bring adventure into your life when you can’t travel anywhere.

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Research.

Even if you don’t have any trips coming up in the immediate future always keep yourself open to the idea of traveling by doing research.  Read travel magazines and blogs, save and rip out articles of places you want to visit, make a Pinterest Board of travel ideas or make a travel book of places you dream of visiting.  Keeping you travel dreams in mind increase the chances of you actually making them a reality and gives you things to feel excited for in the future.

Inspire Yourself.

Search for new sources of inspiration by watching travel documentary’s, reading magazines like National Geographic, visiting photography and anthropology exhibitions, reading travel books and journals and watching adventure films.  Following the adventures of others will open you mind and bring you inspiration for exciting things you can to do in the future.

Embrace Your Local Scene.

Find out what exciting things your local scene has to offer and make an effort to visit them in your free time.  If you are really busy dedicate one day a month to having fun and take off for an adventure in your city or local area.  Visit museum or exhibitions, soak up the culture in another near-by town, go hiking or cycling and explore the countryside or check out local festivals and events.  You may be surprised how much your area has to offer and it will give you appreciation of the amazing place you live in.  To find out about whats going on check Trip Advisors of your town, blog posts, facebook events and local magazines and newspapers.

Push Yourself to Try New Things.

Create adventure in your day to day life by pushing yourself to try new things and create new experiences.  Eat out at new restaurants, take some fun classes, try new sports, experiment with cooking exotic foods, visit parts of your city you haven’t seen before.  Including new things in your life keeps you feeling inspired and energized, helps you learn and grow and can even open doors to new opportunities and introduce you to new people.

Get Creative.

Remember and feel gratitude for all the amazing trips you have always taking by finding creative ways to honor them.  Create scrap books or your trips or make a photo wall in your home showing all your favorite trips and experiences.  Honoring your past travels in this way will help to keep them alive and fill your life with positivity and achievement.

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My Spring Reading List

Spring is upon us here is Milan! The weather has been amazing recently with sunshine and blue skies nearly everyday.  Its only April and the weather is as good as an English summer! This makes me so happy because it means summer is on its way.  And makes me long for lazy weekends spent chilling in the park and reading lots of books.

So with that in mind I thought I would share with you my Spring reading list.  What are you reading at the moment? I love book recommendations so please share your favorite books in the comments below…

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(photo from pinterest.com)

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff – Set between Copenhagen, Paris & Dresden in the 1920’s ‘The Danish Girl’ explores ideas of love, gender, marriage and discovering true identities.  The story expresses a beautiful insight into the main characters feelings and emotions during his transgender journey and becoming one with himself.  I can’t wait to watch the film too.

Self by Yann Martel – Written by the author of Life of Pi, ‘Self’ explores the differences between women & man, violence & happiness and life & death through his half autobiographical-half fictional novel.  I am intrigued to see what this book will be like, but as I loved Life of Pi I am expecting it to be great!

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie – This book tells the story of an abandoned kitten rescued from the New Delhi streets and taken to live with a Dalai Lama in Tibet.  The cat spends it days sitting next to the Dalai Lama and listens to his conversations & teachings with Hollywood Stars, Buddhist Masters, Professors, Philanthropists and all who come to visit the Dalai Lama.  Over time the cat gains an insight into finding peace in a busy and challenging world and shares interesting ideas on finding happiness from his own perspective.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg –  Ever since reading Sophia Amoruso’s book I am all about the Girl Boss! So Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In went straight on my reading list.  Her autobiography speaks about building a career, being a powerful women in business and getting to the top of your field.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

If you want some more book recommendations check out my post ‘My Winter Reading Guide’

 

Positive Vibes – Dream Big

Ever since I was young I have always thought it was important to dream big.  That’s why I took a year out and went traveling around South America with my best friends.  That’s why I did a study exchange to Milan.  That’s why I started my career as a Fashion Stylist.  And its something I always try to share and encourage through this blog.

We only live once so I think it’s really important to make sure our lives are as beautiful and exceptional as possible.  And a great way to do that is to dream big, visualize our ideas and work hard to achieve them!   Even the biggest of dreams is possible to achieve if you believe in yourself, have a plan and keep focused.

When I turned twenty I wrote a list of dreams I wanted to achieve before I turned thirty.  Some of those (like living abroad, starting my own business & traveling Sri Lanka I have done) but I have still got quite a few things I need to tick off.  So for today’s posts I thought I would share with you nine dreams I want to achieve.  I hope it gives you some inspiration and I invite you to share your dreams in the comments below…

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(traveling in colombia)

1 – Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Ever since one of my friends did this in her gap year I have been fantasizing about climbing to the summit of this incredible mountain in Africa.  It is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and from the top you can see beautiful views over Tanzania.

2 – Travel around Columbia.

Even though I have visited a lot of South American countries I have never had the chance to go to Columbia yet.  Everything I hear about this place sounds amazing and I dream about spending a summer backpacking here.

3 – Become a Master at Cooking.

This is something I am always working on.  I love trying new foods and I think a great way to learn about a culture is through the food.  Whenever I travel I like to study the food and learn how to cook something special.

4 – Go to Coachella & Glastonbury.

Ok I know this is technically two dreams.  But as a huge lover of both fashion & music I have always wanted to live the bohemian dream at these two festivals.

5 – Work in New York.

New York is one of the most inspirational cities for fashion and in the future I would love to work regularly over there styling Editorials and Photo Shoots.

6 – Visit India.

The colours, the food, the people and the culture.  Everything about India fascinates me and I have always dreamed about making a big trip around this country.

7 – Work with a Women’s Support Charity.

As a girl who is building her own business I believe it is so important girls & women are empowered and have the support they need to achieve their dreams and make a positive impact on the world and I would love to work closely with a charity who advocates this.

8 – Write a Book.

As a Blogger and a passionate writer, having my own book published and being able to inspire others would be incredible.

9 – Shoot an Editorial for Vogue.

As a Fashion Stylist who works with lots of international magazines working with Vogue is the ultimate dream!

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Positive Vibes – 6 Things I Learnt From Yoga…

I have done yoga on and off since I was a teenager.  While traveling I attended classes when we visited beach towns and hippie villages and I always loved my experiences but I was never able to seriously commit.  Then one year ago, when walking through the park near my house, I discovered an evening yoga class going on and decided to sign up.

Since that point I have made Yoga a big part of my life and made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  My teacher, Elena, is incredible and not only do we learn Hatha Yoga for fitness and strength, we also study Vinyasa (or flow) Yoga, Meditation, Mantra, Chakras and Breathing.  I now love to take part in Yoga seminars and retreats to push my body and learn more.  For the lovely ones of you who follow me on Instagram you saw that yesterday I attended an amazing lesson all about Thai Yoga and how yoga poses can be used to release aches and pains – so amazing!

I only started a year ago, so I still have a lot to learn, but it is amazing to reflect and see how much growth I have made in such a small space of time, because I honestly think starting Yoga has been one of the best things I have ever done.

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(photo taken from pinterest.com)

Here are six things Yoga has taught me…

1 – Connection

In Sanskrit the meaning of yoga is union or connection.  To a lot of people Yoga means bending yourself into crazy positions and drinking detoxing teas.  To me Yoga means feeling connected to my body, to my emotions and feelings, to my experiences and to the world around me.

2 – Strength

A big part of yoga is stretching out your muscles and building up your strength to allow your body to hold the poses.  When I first started I could barely touch my toes and had little-to-no core strength.  One year on and I am able to hold poses I never imagined I could do and every time that happens I feel so happy and empowered.  As well as physical strength I have gained inner-strength and know I can achieve anything I desire.

3 – Commitment

As much as I would love get up at sunrise and spend my days doing yoga and meditation on the beach, for me this isn’t possible.  However I have made the commitment to fit yoga into my modern lifestyle.  As well as practicing two-to-three times a week I also listen to my body, follow breathing techniques, mediate and practice awareness and this commitment has increased my self-belief, happiness and ability to manage stress.

4 – Release

It is taught that with great release comes great gain and that by letting go of what no longer serves us we are creating space in our being for new, more positive things to enter our life.  I love this sentiment and by releasing my worries, fear, mistakes and negative feelings I am opening my heart to positivity, motivation, love and inspiration.

5 – Presence

Yoga teaches us to be present in the moment and listen to our body, our breathing and our mind.  To me this also means to fully enjoy the present moment I am in.  To stop worrying about the past or the future, to appreciate how beautiful the moment is now and to make the most of every experience.

6 – Awareness & Acceptance

Yoga is hard work and requires you to have awareness of your body & mind. You have to be realistic of what your body can do and accept yourself for the stage you are at now.  It’s not possible to go in day one and start doing head stands and meditating for three hours straight!   For me that led to becoming aware of my actions, thoughts and feelings and to accept that its ok not to be perfect all the time.  This awareness led to me notice when I do start feel negatives thoughts or emotions and allows me to remedy those with positive things.  And accepting myself for who I am, mistakes and all, has brought greater self-love, confidence, happiness and peace into my life.

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Six Films to Watch if you Love Fashion…

When it comes to finding fashion inspiration, films are one of the first places I turn too.  As much as I love creating fashion photography for my work, for me there is something so special in watching the outfits comes to life on screen and seeing how they help depict the characters.  I love looking at fashion throughout history and watching films is a great way to do that.  Here is a list of six films I love for their fashion and style…

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The beautiful Audrey Hepburn plays the character of Holly Golightly, a New York escort and socialite.  The opening scene of the film starts with Audrey strolling past Tiffany’s wearing a chic LBD and pearl necklace and has been a major style influence ever since.

The Duchess

This film tells the story of aristocrat Georgiana Cavandish, Duchess of Devenshire, played by Keira Knightly.  Considered a style icon of her time Georgina was well know for her extravagant parties, beauty and fashion sense however her life was shadowed in sadness and heartbreak.  Her embellished dresses and luxurious jewellery & hats are an inspiration to anyone who loves period costume.

Marie Antoniette

Telling the story of France’s indulgent queen who lived a life of luxury in her palaces full of dresses, shoe and cake (“Let them eat cake”) while her people lived in poverty and starvation in Paris.  This movie is as much about history as it is about the beautiful fashions of the times and shows incredible costume dresses, hats, shoes and jewellery.

Clueless

If you love 90’s inspired fashion then this is the film for you.  There is denim, tartan, knee-high socks and mini backpacks galore.  The young Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash totally rock their roles as rich, air head teenagers loving life in their American high school.

This Is England

Shane Meadow’s independent film is set in 1980’s northern Britain and follows a group of young skinheads finding their place in the world in the aftermath of The Falklands war.  The film has a stylish-retro edge showing the subcultures defining style of shaved heads, Dr. Martins and Fred Perry polo shirts – I love it!

The Great Gatsby

In true Baz Luhrmann style this movie is spectacular, colorful and elaborate.  If you love the beautiful dresses of the roaring twenties then you will love this movie filled with flapper dresses, sequins, feathers and sparkle.  Costumes were designed specially by Miuccia Prada and are amazing.

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Postive Vibes – Resolutions Worth Keeping This 2016…

I love the start of a new year because it signifies a fresh start and I think it offers a great moment to take some time out to reflect on how life has been going, where you are at and what you want to achieve.  I always try to take a few days to think about what I really want out of life in the next twelve months and how I am going to get there.  I have also noticed over the years that if I want to make some positive changes in my life, I have to set the right kind of goals to get there.  Whenever I have set myself the generic ‘lose some weight‘, ‘save some money‘, ‘get more organised‘ resolutions I find I have given up on them before January is out and I am left feeling negative about myself. That’s definitely not a good way to live! I have learnt I need to set myself the right kind of goals to make sure I stick with them and in return that brings more positivity and happiness into my life.  Here is a list of positive resolutions I hope will inspire you to feel great this year…

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Eat more Fruits and Vegetables.  If you try to put yourself on a super strict diet from the first of Jan you are probably going to get sick of it pretty fast and end up binging out of chocolate before the month is out.  Instead of trying to commit yourself to some crazy fad-diet choose to make one small change in your eating habits like eating more fruit and veggies.  The positive effect on your body will mean you start to lose weight naturally and will feel great.

Be Kinder.  The world can be a tough place and you never know what kind of private battle the people you meet may be dealing with secretly.  Taking time out to do one kind thing every day or helping a stranger out when you see they are in need may make a bigger positive impact on their life than you think.  The more nice things we do the more positive energy we spread.

Find a Type of Exercise you Love and Make it a Regular Hobby.  I can’t tell you how many times I have signed up for a gym membership in January only to find by April I am not using it anymore.  I used to feel really bad about that, but then I realised… It’s because I HATE the gym! I find it really boring being stuck on stationary machines and I don’t like working out inside.  I started trying out other sports and realised I love yoga, cycling and swimming.  I now do yoga three times a week and I joined a cycling group to go out at the weekends. Now exercise is something I love and look forward to doing every week because I found what works for me.

Make Quality Time for the People You Love.  With busy schedules and heavy work loads its easy to get caught up in daily routines and forget about doing things that matter.  Try and make time once a week to really dedicate yourself to your loved ones.  Cook a special meal for your boyfriend, plan a fun shopping trip with your girls or organise a special day out with your family.  Our close friends and family are the most important people in our lives and investing time in your relationships will bring you so much positive feelings and love.

Give Yourself a Break.  Even if it’s just at the weekends or one evening a week put some time aside and dedicate it solely to yourself. You could start a new hobby, go for a walk in nature, read a book, take a bubble bath or just chill on the sofa and watch some TV.  It doesn’t matter as long as you are focusing only on yourself and how you are feeling.  Taking a little time out will recharge your batteries and help you de-stress.

Cut Down on your Social Media Usage. This one is a tough one I know, and I’m definitely not saying try to cut it out altogether because that would be impossible. But set yourself a small goal just to use it less. It could be to turn your phone off when you are meeting up with friends so you really dedicate your time to them, to have one hour a day social media free or to stop using your phone after 9PM – whatever works for you. But reduced social media usage increases your actual human interactions and makes your relationships stronger.

Express More Gratitude.  Finally before you start planning all the things in your life you want to change, take stock of what you already have and how lucky you already are.  It’s really easy to compare our lives to others and think everyone is doing better than us.  But the truth is we are all lucky in our own way and we all have so many great things going on.  If you make it a regular habit to look for gratitude you will realise you have more amazing things than your thought.

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My Winter Reading Guide…

I don’t know about you guys but as winter comes in I love chilling on my sofa under a big blanket, drinking tea and reading books.  Right now we are having a four day weekend in Milan (yay!) and as I have been so busy with photo shoots, I am taking the whole weekend to relax and take it easy.  That means baking mince pies, decorating the house for Christmas and reading lots of books.  Here is my reading list in the run up to Christmas…

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(photo taken from pinterest.com)

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt.  I just finished this book and it is amazing.  Written in a strange biographical way, full of personal accounts, interviews and journal extracts, The Blazing World tells the story of female artist Harriet Burden who conducts an experiment by presenting her work behind male fronts to see if women are treated differently in the art world.  The story is really interesting.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  I love reading and I am slightly embarrassed to say I have never read any of the classics, the reason being I always imagine them to be long and wordy and slightly boring!  But I decided this winter I should at least give one a go and I decided to start with this one.  It’s actually amazing!  I started it on Friday and I am already half way through!

Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso.  I haven’t read this one yet but it is written by owner of amazing online store Nasty Gal.  It’s all about the growth of Sophia’s career through Fashion, how she set up Nasty Gal and is full of advise for other girls wanted to build a successful career too.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.  I read To Kill a Mocking Bird at school and I loved it.  The story is so sad and real and I found it really touching.  So I have been waiting to read to stories sequel, set two decades later, since it came out this summer.

I love being recommended new books, so let me know what you are reading in the comments below or check out my summer reading list for more book ideas…

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