Have Blogs Just Become Photo Shoots?

I happened to run across this blog post yesterday. It is called "Where Do We Go From Here?" by Kristin of the blog B@H.


Some bloggers are finding themselves stepping back because of the editorial constraints and calendar photo shoots to be done for sponsors and advertisers. 

They are trying to mix family and home and editorial deadlines. And they are oftentimes finding that they simply cannot do it all and stay sane.

Yes, I need to make money just like the next blogger. And I'm not under the gun like some of the more popular/younger bloggers. But I feel their pain nonetheless.

Are we stuck on a conveyor belt, trying to churn out what we think we're supposed to be blogging about? Have we lost control of what we really want for our blogs?

Can we take back the blog? as Kristen writes.

I think it is an important and interesting post to read whether you are a blogger, reader, or both.

I'd love to know your thoughts about Kristin's very thought-provoking post in the comments.




65 comments

  1. I read it. My blog isnt so big that I have a million deadlines to meet, so I am still able to blog about what I want to. I do understand her frustration when she had a lot of blog obligations and deadlines to meet. That would take hte fun out of it for me.

    PS. the round circles at the bottom of the post that More posts about this subject blogging is what I meant.

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  2. I've never blogged for money, so this isn't an issue for me. I post what I want, when I want. I don't like blogs that are all about selling me something.

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  3. I was just wondering about this the other day; so glad some one addressed this situation. I think all the blogs are becoming the same; the personality isn't shining thru like it used to. There were individual post and blogs; but now it seems everyone has the same theme and just different versions of that theme. COME ON someone start the trend to take back the BLOGS!!!!!!!

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    1. Well, I'm willing to take back the blogs! I've been shouting this from the rooftops for several years now! You can make money from blogging and not sell your soul. My ads make my money. I blog about whatever I please. But then I don't have fancy sponsors knocking down my door!

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    2. The personality is what I miss, the people I follow are genuine people. I miss honest real stories. I don't open many of the decor blogs, I have several lovely homes and would never use most of these ideas, so repetitious. I would name names to see if anyone agrees with me but I am not that honest..But I do want to give a big compliment to Marty of 'A Stroll.......' She lets you in.

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    3. I love Marty of "A Stroll through Life" as well. I feel like she is talking to me when I read her posts. Brenda is my favorite read. I do miss the colorful headings and borders with artwork that blogs used to have, Everything is so streamlined and white anymore.

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    4. I hear what you're saying. I do have a theme blog but I share from the heart and all my projects are my own. My opinion is to only post my own work and experience to help others. I don't do the ads because I honestly believe they make a blog look cheap, however I do have a banner that links to my own shop. I refuse to be streamline and follow what others are doing, I miss real life genuine people, a blog should represent the writers personality and what they're writing about not what everybody else is doing. If you can't meet the demands then it might just mean you need to cut back so that you can always do great.

      Carole @ Garden Up Green

      Carole @ Garden Up Green

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  4. Her font is so small and light colored I figured I'd get eyestrain even trying to read it! I copied it and pasted it into a word document for easier reading.

    Aside from her health concerns and family, I think she's saying that she doesn't want to put up her damn Christmas tree before Thanksgiving for a post. Well if she had it up before Thanksgiving I'd not be interested in it anyway :) Certainly there are more issues but that one stood out as a good example.

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    1. I know. I could barely read it and I read it twice. I have emailed bloggers about enlarging their font. They seem to ignore me.

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  5. I think that many bloggers do the work that magazines did. That is EVERYTHING! The photographer, the stylist, the publicist, the planner, the writer, the advertising, anything else?! It can be a tremendous amount of work that is published much more frequent than any magazine. I understand how having any sort of health issues can really make it much more trying. I think a lot of bloggers put pressure on themselves and feel it build up to its highest this time of year. But it is very important to be honest and authentic.

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    1. When I create things, I do them how I am planning to live with them. I don't put a background behind it and add a twig of rosemary (or whatever!) and all that jazz. But more and more, that's exactly what I'm seeing. As if what we've created isn't good enough!

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    2. LOL or tie lavender to all of your dining room chairs....the things that I've seen over time that are so fake; I just laugh at them !

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  6. That was quite the post - I can't imagine having to write about something that someone else is telling me to write about! I never know what I'm going to write about from one day to the next....it's just whatever pops into my head that I'm thinking about. I think that keeps it authentic. And since when do all houses have to look exactly the same? Isn't the point that we are all individuals? I hate when I see blog after blog with the same. old. things. I'm over it. I want to see individuality and uniqueness....where did it go?

    Thanks for stirring the pot, Brenda!!

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    1. Well, when I do a sponsored post, I write what I want, but have to include say, kitchen appliances in their somewhere. The one I did earlier is a sponsored post. But I'm the creator. I can't schedule posts weeks and months ahead of time. When I sign on to do something for a company, it's all I can do to remember to do it! Mostly I just blog and blab about whatever I want, which seems to stir the proverbial pot...

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    2. The pot! I did a post about falling leaves and the cycle of life and said He / She for our Creator and had a scathing comment and email about that. Good grief. Evidently there is no feminine principle or side to God and if you think there might be well you won't be going to heaven. At least to the commenter's heaven :)

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  7. I've always thought blogging was done because the blogger HAD to write. When I was blogging that is why I blogged. I don't understand letting some unseen, unknown entity control what I write and when. I didn't have ads of any kind on my blog. It seems now that everyone has them. So sad. I always took my own photos. I have seen photos now that are definetly not the bloggers own. I feel bad that bloggers have had to come so far only to hit a wall.

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    1. Well, I have to pay the bills, so I have to have ads. I also pay Mad Mimi to make sure those who sign up get my emailed posts. I work with one ad company and if an ad is intrusive and someone complains, I let them know to remove it. But having ads that you don't have to deal with and having to jump through hoops for sponsors are two different things. There are companies I've worked with that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. And there are companies that I would welcome. I'm not rearranging my whole life for them though. If it seems uncomplicated and straightforward, I might sign on. If there's too many likes and all that jazz, I won't. I don't do complicated well!

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    2. You are honest on why you need ad income, I respect that and am happy that you can do this in a unobstusive manner. And I don't mind ads or sponsored posts, I don't like the same style.

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  8. My blog is for fun only and that takes a little of the heat off. I do feel like it has all turned into a fancy photo shoot. In some respects, I really enjoy that but it sure makes me feel pressured. It seems like if you don't have top notch pictures every time then it's not ok. I'll be honest and say that I have days where I want to walk away.

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    1. Stacey, I've had a few days when I wanted to walk away. But I'd miss you guys too much if I did! I don't let that stuff pressure me. I put more pressure on myself than anyone else could anyway! I don't try to be like anyone else, and I couldn't fit my square self into a round hole if my life depended on it!

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  9. I do wish, as someone that doesn't blog and is only a reader, that so much of the content I read wasn't cookie cutter decor that everyone does pretty much the same way--and it seems as if many are actually competing with each other. I know they must to some degree, but it doesn't seem to be working right anymore. I've had to down size my list of blogs to follow because once you've checked out a dozen or so, they all just blur together into one big house of many white rooms with white furniture and all the same accessories. Even my most unique bloggers are losing their shine with me because their sites are one big adclick that's nearly impossible to navigate...ads are everywhere. I'm so tired of closing out the damn ads because that is not why I am into decor blogs...it's for the DECOR. Well, that's how it was a year ago when I first discovered these blogs, not so much anymore. Photo shoots? Oh yes, indeed. I can't even imagine getting to a place in which that is how I would want to live my home life, or to put my family through living that way because of me.

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    1. I hear ya and the pop ups drive me crazy...

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  10. I don't blog but I love to read them so...if you need to post some ads to keep em coming, tell me about some products, etc, I am all in..to a point. If that is all there is then I can go elsewhere, just like I want to see personal stuff but if it is nothing but pics of somebodies kids I will go look at my own. And maybe nobody cares but while I am at it I am over the constant pictures of the same thing ie: flower, 10x. BtW I love your blog and now you know why I usually keep my opinions to myself.

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  11. I can't apologize for my ads because it's how I keep the electricity on and feed myself and the pupsters. It wasn't always that way. But once I was divorced, had to figure out how to pay the bills myself. I also pay Mad Mimi so that those that subscribe to my posts actually get them. It's worth the money to me to do that. I feel like I'm doing my dream job. There's nothing else I'd want to be doing. That I have to also think about money, well, that's what a job is all about! I love what I do.

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    1. Brenda, I found your blog "back in the day", when you were living in Texas and thrilled about decorating your beautiful home. I loved it then, and I love it more now. You are so REAL...your style is your own, and you never seem to be competing with Jane, Mary, and Sally with their chalkboard art and cookie-cutter kitchens and family rooms. I read blogs because I want to KNOW people, not to be bamboozled by their gorgeous photography, super achieving children, and wealthy, doting husbands. My friends are real people, and that's the way I want it to stay. Authenticity is everything, and you do it beautifully. Thank you!

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  12. Hi Brenda, I just wanted to stop by and wish you a happy thanksgiving. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

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  13. Brenda- Just wondering why no one's name is showing up by their comment-I thought they usually did.
    Anyway, I had read that post when it first came out and I so get it. I think it is okay when people are doing it for a living. Most of them though, I chooses not to visit because they are full of pop-ups and rolling ads that drive me nuts. It is funny how there are so many identical things on blogs anymore. When I first started blogging every one was unique and had different and individual styles. Now it seems like a lot of them try to "outdo" each other. That is just kind of sad.

    One of the things I don't "get" (and this is just MY opinion and maybe I don't "get it" because I am a blond)...anyway-when they have these "parties" and there are groups of 8 to 10 bloggers that are showing off the same thing- just under their own name. Why, after visiting the first one, would I visit another one showcasing the same thing? Am I missing something? It seems like all the links are alike but maybe I am just not "getting it"? That is a serious question. I often visit because I like the blogger but I have already seen that feature on someone else in that "party".

    You do a great job of balancing, Brenda. You do sponsored posts but they are not in-your-face and they don't assault me the minute I open your blog. Keep it up, lady! xo Diana

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    1. Hi Diana, after having just left one multiple blogger party, and last year one that i did on my own, it's really for the bloggers that link up. the hosts do get more exposure, but in reality, it's all about the linkers getting seen by multiple blog's readers. I always had my own feature and put in the extra effort to be different. It is what you make of it. It benefits both ends, and it's a great way to find new blogs. Now, that many bloggers don't have a blog list, it's one of the easiest ways to find new and different blogs.

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    2. I love blog lists or rolls and Linky parties! Have found many an interesting new blog that way.

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  14. Well I guess it's just like anything that is a job. Once a blog becomes a job and not a hobby, it just isn't as fun as it used to be. Mine is still just a hobby that I make a little bit of money from. So it's still fun.

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  15. I'm seeing all the names next to the comments... I totally understand about the parties. Someone asked me to pair up with them like that, and I said no, I get confused enough as it is. I don't need too many people in the mix! I don't get it either. Now Debra and I are hosting a Christmas Open House link up for everyone. But I guess whoever links up where ends up there??? I don't even know. But she asked me, and I agreed to co-host the event.

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    1. Kelly, I guess it fits into a job description for me. But it is one I love. I majored in journalism. I LOVE to take photos. And I get to do that everyday and it helps me pay the bills. What more could one ask for? I don't let that take away the love I have for blogging. Blogging is so much a part of me. It's how I've met all of you. Friendships I wouldn't trade for the world. But then I'm an introvert. So having this be part of my life isn't like letting it's take over my life. It's just a huge part of my life because I want it to be. I took my younger daughter to lunch yesterday for her birthday, and I told her: "I'm getting to do a job that I truly love, and that makes me happy."

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    2. So having this be part of my life isn't like letting it's take over my life. I meant "like letting it take over my life." Typing too fast...

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  16. I really feel for these young moms who get sucked into this blogging machine. they make some money and it helps out their family, but in the long run they can lose and miss out on so much more, because they have to "keep up". It reminds me of the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors that kept saying "feed me!!". I got off that ride before it did me in!

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  17. Thanks for the advice about font size!

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  18. I stopped doing product reviews a long time ago, but I admit to being tempted when a company asked me to write an unbiased post about a food thermometer. The terms were typical: they would send the product and give my blog social media exposure. I couldn't review something like that without actually testing it, so that meant I would have to find a recipe, shop for food, cook the food, and set up something halfway decent so the photos wouldn't suck. And, I'd have to cook the food at the crack of dawn so I could take photos in sunlight--provided it wasn't raining that day. No one in my family wants to eat BBQ whatever at 9 am. (And that's a real problem for me with ALL food posts. If I cook it, I'm gonna eat it, and I want my family to enjoy it, too--but they have jobs. So they end up eating heated blog post food. For that post, I quickly did the math. I would be in the hole for at least $100--maybe more if I bought flowers at the grocery. Not to mention the humongous mess I would make. All for a freaking thermometer. NO! Also, when I see a beautiful, slick, professionally executed blog post, I enjoy the details tremendously and admire the talent. However, since I am a blogger, and I have gone through the photo process, two things come to mind when I see gorgeous posts, day after day, week after week: either the blogger is truly talented, blessed with health and energy, or the blogger is truly talented and has assistants.

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  19. That was well thought out! And you came to a conclusion that many of us should take into consideration. And it made me come to the conclusion that I'm glad I don't blog about food!
    Brenda

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    1. You nailed it Michael. When I do post recipes, my food pictures are awful, because I'm making dinner. At night. When people eat. LOL I would never in my life make a meal that no one is going to eat or one that I'd have to warm up. I'm not a food blogger though, thank God ;)

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  20. I haven't read the blog post, yet, but I have an opinion, none the less. I have a blog. I love my blog. I love for others to read it. However, when the day comes that I need all that advertising and those deadlines, is the very day, I will stop blogging. I blog for me, for my long distance family, and for the few visitors I get to stop by. It is for fun and for keeping in touch. That's it. It's just a blog. I guess I understand the need to make a little extra money. I'd be lying if I said I didn't need extra money but I miss the old days of simply blogging. No ads, no deadlines, no posts about crap I don't use and never will use, or stuff I couldn't possible afford nor buy if I could. All I want is just a bunch of folks, across the globe, being neighborly. I love to see others simple decorating ideas, hear about their daily lives, and even those posts where someone has suffered a tragedy or crisis. I like getting to know these people so I can laugh with them, cry with them, and offer a word of encouragement or a simple prayer. Most of the bloggers now are almost untouchable and definitely unbelievable. I click right on by not bothering to read their posts. Soooooo...now that I have offended most every blogger on the blog-o-sphere...I'll wave, blow kisses, and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Grace & Peace.

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    1. I certainly understand how you feel. We lost our sense of community. I do need to make money, no way around it. But I still think you can have ads and be an integral part of a blogging community.

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  21. I still blog for myself but am honored when people stop by and say kind things.

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    1. I blog for myself, and I blog for money. Hope that doesn't offend anyone. You write books, so I assume you write books also for money. Hey, we all gotta eat!

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  22. Did not realize that all of this was being done to the "sponsored" blogs. But it might explain why I have stopped reading most of the ones that I used to enjoy. I began to get weary of what seemed like the same ideas on so many of them. Almost like they would wait for the first to post the theme of the week and then all follow suit, so to speak. I also get tired of the "buy this, buy that" sales pitches. I think it is a lot like my fascination with HGTV years ago, as long as they had realistic DIY, and budget friendly things I could relate to, I was watching a lot of the shows. Then somewhere along the line the shows became more about spending lots instead of less. I do not know many people that can afford to spend $10,000 or more on a single room makeover. So I stopped watching. I have the same feelings for most of the blogs I used to like. I just like to read about someone's real life and get ideas for a DIY project now and then, but those blogs are few and far between these days. Thanks to you and a couple of others, I still have some I like to read.... Brenda

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    1. I'm glad you still find my blog "readable!" I blog about what's going on, throw in some decorating, which is also part of what's going on. And in nicer weather, what I'm growing on the patio. I like to blog about my life. It makes me accountable to myself. And hopefully it entertains others in the process!

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  23. Unlike many bloggers, I am not in it for the money - don't advertise and don't plan to. I have been asked by companies to write a post about their product and only did it once. Most of the time, I like the company, but a blog post about their product is just not me.

    If anything, businesses won't be happy with me because I am about using what you have a moving stuff around. I'm not doing any Christmas shopping this year because we are taking a family vacation. I'm not going in stores, not buying any new Christmas decor and don't have any need for all the fun wrapping papers/ribbons available.

    I will keep blogging about the things I create as long as people are reading and I feel I have a relationship with my blog friends.

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    1. And you have a wonderful blog, Carol, that shows your lovely colorful home. I'm glad you were able to retire and not have to take on an "after retirement job." Keep Steve painting!

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  24. Brenda,
    We all have different agendas. I blog about things that I like and that I hope are useful to others. I will do a sponsored post if it is a topic or product that I would find useful. I think it is a perk for everyone to have a giveaway now again. I would hope that my readers would see that I am passing on the goodies to them as well. I treasure the connections that I have with my blog friends and would never want to abuse that friendship.
    xo
    Jemma

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    1. Sometimes you have to walk a fine line. But I too enjoy my online friends more than anything else. That is the greatest perk of all.

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  25. The bottom line is, blogging started off as a kind of virtual journal, as a way of documenting and sharing things with others.

    Many have found a way to make a living out of it, and that's great, but that turns it in to a job, and jobs are seldom as fun as leisure activities. There is now a boss to please, and responsibilities and deadlines to meet, etc.

    SO many bloggers start off thinking it's an easy way to make money and I think many are realizing that it is in fact a LOT of work and very time consuming.

    It's all a trade-off, and each blogger will have to determine how they want to approach it.

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    1. I am lucky, in that I make money, but I enjoy blogging so much that it doesn't feel like a job!

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  27. I follow quite a few fashion blogs, and it seems that many weeks they all are blogging about the same scarf or the same coat, sweater, boots... you name it. AND their blog layouts and looks have all become the same as well. There is no more unique look to any of them. They all carry HUGE handbags that weigh as much as they do. I love fashion which is why I follow them, but I sometimes wonder if they realize how weird it is for them all to be the same.

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    1. I don't read any fashion blogs, because a fashionista I am not! Weird. All carrying huge handbags now, huh? I don't keep up with trends.

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  28. I can read the small print easier with my vision problem. The advertisement makes it hard to read some blogs. I skip them. Brenda, I do not notice your ads.

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  29. I understand her post, because I had to make those kinds of decisions due to health issues, too. I like to post twice a week, but often it is only weekly or even every two weeks. I enjoy sharing what I actually AM doing or making in my own home, in real-time, but I will sometimes have sponsored posts, or add affiliate links if it fits. I try hard not to have in-your-face advertising. I've had to turn down hosting parties because I can't take on too much, and I don't want blogging to be a stressful thing in my life...but I enjoy joining a few each week (especially yours, Brenda). I've never been under the delusion that people are just sitting around waiting for me to post, but I hope they enjoy it when I do!

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  30. Brenda,
    Just keep doing what you do. Your blog is the only one that I read almost everyday.

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  31. Well, I don't think any paying advertisers will be knocking on my door. What in the world would I promote? It's not like there's a time machine where I could talk about new products from the 1930s or 40s. My life is so far behind any trend that I'm sure I give them a headache lol

    As far as reading other blogs... I don't even bother with the glossy ones, unless they have some heart. Even on those I rarely comment. And bah humbug to the stress of posting ;)

    xo

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you! However, if you are a no-reply commenter, I cannot reply via email to your questions or comments.

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