Category Archives: Art

Guess Who’s on Time Magazine’s Top 100 List?

There are so many amazing people on this list, but I’m only going to discuss a couple of my favorites.

First, have I mentioned how awesome John Greene is?  Like here and here and here and here and here and here and here?  Well, it turns out I’m not the only one who thinks so.  This month Time magazine named John as one of the top 100 influential people in the world.

In his bio written by Shailene Woodly (she stars in the film adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars, out June 6, 2014), she mentions a few of the awesome things John does, like best-selling author, vlogbrothers YouTube channel, VidCon, but there really is a lot more.  I could write about the reasons I think this guy is cool, for…a long time.  However, I’m going to let you see for yourself…as he talks about other people who should have made this list instead.

Another is Pharrell Williams.  Isn’t that the guy from that video you post incessantly?  Yes, yes he is.  Justin Timberlake wrote his bio and tells the world how Williams made him “fearless” after helping him with his first album.  Then he writes about Pharrell’s own music.

That’s what Pharrell does. He injects that vibrant energy into the music in a way that you can feel. Whether it’s the chord changes that remind you of another time or the melody that instantly grabs you, you are transported to another place. You smile, you dance, you clap along. His music actually does make you happy.  – Justin Timberlake, Time Magazine Top 100 Influential People in the World

I have to say Justin’s got it right.  I adore Pharrell’s music because it really does make me happy.

Malala Yousafzai is another on the list, and she is someone who inspires me to stand for what I believe.  She has amazing courage, heart and dedication.  As an advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan, Malala drew the attention of the Taliban.  Even knowing that her life was in danger, she continued in her cause. In 2012 a man came on to her school bus, asked for her by name shot her in the head at point-blank range.  She was 15.  Yousafzai didn’t let that stop her.  Since her recovery she’s gone on to speak at the United Nations and released a book last year.  At 16 she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Okay, so that’s only three out of 100.  A lot of interesting people made the list this year, and I definitely recommend you take a peek.  I’m still going through the list and all the bios myself, and it just gets more and more interesting.  Most of the people on this list inspire me to be more, to embrace life, to take chances, to do what’s right, and to be mindful of the impact my actions have on others.  I can’t say I like everyone on the list.  Some, I can’t say that I’ve heard of before, but I’ll not forget them now.  Who inspires or influences you?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. There is a distinct possibility of another post coming.  Make sure you look for it…or beware…I’m not sure which.

 

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Kubla Khan Read by Benedict Cumberbatch

I recently posted that Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan is my favorite poem.  Then I found this clip of Benedict Cumberbatch reading it.  Although the cadence and pace are not the same as the way I typically read it, which is really similar to the way my college professors did, the change in pace shifted my focus to words and phrases in another way, emphasizing different imagery and motion, especially in the middle.  Its interesting, I like it.  Have you ever been to a poetry reading?  I think it might be fun.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

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Tulsa Makes News for Music

PhotoWow, I totally meant to post this last week.  Although, now that I think about it, today works better.  On the heels of Saturday’s Imagine Dragons concert, it seems fitting to show off my fine city.  National Geographic wrote an article, Tulsa: Tailor-Made for Music.  I’ve raved about Cain’s Ballroom before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again.  It remains one of my all time favorite places to catch a show.  Tulsan’s love our music, and the first Friday of every month, Downtown Tulsa offers up music, museum, galleries and more in the Brady District to visitors free of charge for First Friday Art Crawl.

 

The Philbrook has opened up a downtown location, there is a glass blowing studio, galleries, Guthrie Green (named after the famous Woody Guthrie), The Woody Guthrie Center, restaurants, bars, theaters….downtown has gone from a ghost town after 5pm to a vibrant, lively place to be.  Let’s not forget baseball too!  Opening day is quickly approaching it it will be time to catch the Tulsa Drillers in action at ONEOK Field.  (Oh, the glories of spring!)  Now all I need is for some warmer weather to really enjoy strolling around downtown…ah, a margarita on the patio of Elote or the rooftop of El Guapo is calling my name….

 

‘Til next time,

 

Jessica

 

 

 


More pretty things….Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American ArtI went to see more pretty things.  You may have noticed in my post about the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, I like art.  Well, maybe it was in my posts about art shows that you figured that out, or maybe you just discovered that I lack self-control when it comes to art.  I would like to say that I restrained my art buying impulses…but that would be a lie.  In the museum shop, I found a beautiful signed and numbered print that made me thing of my grandparents.  There was not option.  This was a necessary addition to my growing collection.  However, that was my sole purchase on this trip.  I may be getting better…or just have less money because I keep buying art.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is nestled in a ravine on 120 acres of land in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Ozarks, visitors can explore more than 3 miles of walking trails surrounding the museum.  Both the trails and the building are designed to take advantage of the natural flora.  This trip, we didn’t have time to walk the trails, but during the building’s construction, I had the chance to walk through the winding trails, filled with dappled sunlight and head to the overlook where you can see the entire facility.

The juxtaposition of natural and man-made beauty is gorgeous.  Architect Moshe Safdie’s design looks like it is embraced by the surrounding landscape, and utilizes the natural spring in the area.  Crystal Spring, from which the museum gets its name, fills the area around Crystal Bridges with sparkling spring water.  With pine beams, poured concrete, and red cedar trim, the building is as much a work of art as the masterpieces it contains.  The curved copper roofs of the glass, metal and concrete bridges suggest waves to me, and integrate the spring water wonderfully.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American ArtConceived and founded by Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, Crystal Bridges is as moving inside as it is outside.  The museum isn’t just a pretty building filled with art, it is also a center of learning.   Inside you’ll find a library filled with comfortable chairs and books.  The temptation to sit and read near a window with a view out over the water was nearly overwhelming, but I refrained. (see, I don’t follow all my impulses)  The museum offers year-round educational opportunities for all ages.  Some of their offerings include lectures, workshops, films, gallery talks, and special events.  There’s even an app, and great content on their iTunes U site.

Hiram Walker at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Hiram Walker

Even though this was my third or fourth trip to the museum, Alice Walton’s collection is augmented by visiting collections on a regular basis, and there is always something new to see among the favorites I found last time.  The museum contains American Art from colonial to modern art.In the first six months, the museum drew more than 300,000 visitors.

Georgia O'Keeffe at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Georgia O’Keeffe

This visit we were there to see the The Artist’s Eye: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Collection on loan from Fisk University.  Georgia O’Keeffe is a long time favorite artist, and I will always jump at the opportunity to see any of her work on display.  I’ve even had the opportunity to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fé New Mexico, and prints of her work has graced my walls for…well, let’s not think about how long it’s been there.  However, I was not as familiar with her husband, Alfred Steiglitz’s work and collection.

An artist in his own right, Steiglitz’s photographs inspired me.  He pioneered new ways of taking photographs as seen in images such as “Steerage”, and brought to mind summer days spent daydreaming with “Equivalent”.  Although, I like to take pictures (these days mostly on my smartphone), I really loved learning about the different methods he used, and how they impacted the tone and mood of his photographs.

Stanton Macdonald Wright at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Stanton Macdonald Wright

Stieglitz was also well-known for his galleries and collection of art.  The paintings in his collection were just lovely.  I discovered new artists and found familiar names next to new paintings.  Stanton Macdonald Wright (seen left) and Marsden Hartley were two of my favorites from his collection.  Although picking favorites in art (as everywhere else) isn’t something I do well.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

I also loved the watercolor collection, At First Sight: Collecting the American Watercolor, that will be on display until April 21st, 2014.  My best friend asked me if I could imagine owning all of those paintings.  Of course, I can imagine it!  What I can’t imagine is how much it would take to accumulate all of those beautiful works of art or how big my house would have to be to display them all.

I made sure that I was able to visit favorites from previous visits too.  And I discovered that Crystal Bridges’s restaurant offers dinners from museum members on certain evenings….yes, please and thank you.  I would love to see this place lit up at night.

photo (4)The permanent collection at Crystal Bridges is amazing on its own, and admission is sponsored by Wal-Mart.  Although, there is sometimes a cost for the special collections.  The visiting exhibits and changing seasons on the trails make it a unique adventure every time.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

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Outlander on Starz Preview

Are you a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander? I am.  Starz released a preview of their original series based on the novels.  Right now, I don’t even get Starz, but if I can follow Claire and Jamie on screen?  It could totally be worth it!

Watching this, I remember how much I love these books!  I think I’m going to need to read them again.  Time traveling adventures, epic love story, gorgeous descriptions…I get goosebumps just thinking about these stories.  Well, now, I’m off to read…well, after I face real life and buy a new vacuum.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coriolanus

I got a text just before we arrived at Circle Cinema for the Nation Theatre Live broadcast of Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston as Caius Martius Coriolanus and Mark Gatiss as Menenius.  “It’s packed already,” the text read.  Truthfully, I wondered how my friend defined “packed”.  Every show I’d seen to that point had filled maybe half the theater, so I couldn’t figure out why she was worried.  Then, I walked into the door.  The line to enter the theater snaked around the corner, through the gallery, and nearly out the back door…hmmm.  Maybe I was wrong to doubt my dear friend. (Sorry about that!)  It was definitely packed.  Fortunately, we had already purchased tickets, so I picked them up and we joined the crowd.  The theater was filled.  As the play began, people were still searching for seats.  It brought joy to my geeky literary heart that so many had turned out for Shakespeare. I’ve been looking forward to this event for…a while, and it was worth the wait.  Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s later plays, and it is one that I hadn’t read or seen before the broadcast.  Considering how much I love Shakespeare, that alone would have made the evening a success.  With a cast such as this, there was no doubt in my mind that it would be an outstanding performance, and I was right.  This production was at the Donmar Warehouse, in London’s West End.  The Donmar is a converted banana ripening facility, so it offers a rather unique space for the production of a play.  With limited space, and therefor stage settings, the use of the walls became essential, and the actors really become the focus.  I love watching Shakespeare performed, because his humor, and sometimes snarkiness, don’t always translate as well on the page.  The beauty of the language really shines through when you can see and hear everything.  When actors are hurling words across the stage, sound and rhythm of the language impact mood and pacing of the story as much as anything else.   Watching the characters, language, and story come to life on the stage permits me to experience well-loved, worn out volumes with fresh eyes.  I knew this would be a great performance going in, but this cast still blew me away. http://youtu.be/2VA3ZSaC2nU In Tom Hiddleston’s performance as the main character, I saw not only a great warrior who was a terrible politician, but also a man who spoke from his heart, didn’t see any need for prevarication or deception, and no reason to sugar coat the truth.   Caius Martius isn’t someone who’s easy to like, his arrogance and surety that there are people meant to rule and others meant to be ruled is off-putting, to say the least. He makes comments about the common people comparing them to measles and remarking that they stink.  Hiddleston’s performance takes him beyond that into a character that has shining moments of humility and caring scattered through…you know, like a real person.  Caius Martius Coriolanus was a man who loved his mother, wife, and child, and wanted to make them proud.  You end up pulling for this guy, even as part of you wonders if you should. Menenius, played by Mark Gatiss, probably came out on top as my favorite character in this play.  Menenius battles as skillfully with wit and humor as Coriolanus does with muscle and sword.  Gatiss’s skill at playing the intellectual politician is evident to anyone who has ever seen Mycroft in the BBC’s Sherlock, but Menenius uses humor and warmth to defuse rising tensions and utilizes sentiment as readily as intellect.  Watching Gatiss’s Menenius deflate overblown egos with a handful of well placed words and a smile, wielding his scarf almost as both a prop and weapon is a joy. Aufidius, the general of the opposing army, played by Hadley Fraser impressed me as a character as well.  Aufidius and Caius Martius met in battle several times, each time Martius emerged victorious.  Aufidius wants nothing more than to defeat this enemy, and swears he would kill him while he was sleeping if the opportunity presented itself.  However, when Caius Martius Coriolanus is banished from Rome he makes his way to Aufidius’s home. Fraser’s character accepts Coriolanus’s offer of service to his former enemy. There is so much I loved about that scene.  The bending of Martius’s stiff pride to ask for help, and putting his life in the hands of his enemy.  Aufidius’s final acceptance of the offer…these actors!  Can I go again? http://youtu.be/1d30XZhnRWs The theater at Circle Cinema was filled with my kind of people.  Shakespeare, Sherlock, and Loki fans alike were out in force, and it made my geeky heart grow three sizes bigger.  I overheard mentions of Loki and Mycroft all over the place.  Both Hiddleston and Gatiss got a cheer during the opening interviews with cast members and directors. Some people even drove 5 1/2 hours just to see the performance, and this was a friendly bunch who struck up conversations with strangers. (Other people do it too.  It isn’t just me!) The whole evening felt like it was spent in a theater packed with friends.  Really, can we do this again? Actually, I have attended four viewings at Circle Cinema in less than two months.  Considering, I maybe went to a movie once a quarter…I thought, maybe I should just become a member, so I did.  Supporting a non-profit independent movie theater is a no-brainer if I get to continue to see these kinds of things.  Other great shows that are coming soon are the National Theatre Live broadcast of Frankenstein, Jerusalem (showing now), Nebraska (showing now), August: Osage County (showing now), Inside Llewyn Davis (showing now), and so many others.  Since three of those feature Benedict Cumberbatch, I would say someone is a member of the Cumbercollective, but that dude just released a wealth of work this past year.  Check out the trailer for Frankenstein below.  Who could resist that?  It looks awesome! http://youtu.be/bLS48tH9Y14 ‘Til next time, Jessica

 

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For Those in Doubt…Including Me

I get these Daily Rumpus emails by Stephen Elliott, and Saturday he linked to this video on The Rumpus site. The Gap by Ira Glass came at a good time. Reading over the short stories I’m working on, and recent drawings left me with the it’s-all-crap feeling. All the creative types I know suffer through this, and sometimes it is just a phase…sometimes that phase makes encore performances.

  1. It doesn’t all suck. It just isn’t…polished.  You’ll either get an end product you’re satisfied with (deadlines keep me from the endless “perfecting” that happens otherwise) or you’ll get three wishes from a genie…okay, so maybe just an end result you don’t hate.
  2. Keep working.  None of us ever get where we want to be without effort.  Besides, if we got everything perfect the first try, what do we have to strive for?
  3. Imperfections are where the love lives…just keep working

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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More LEGOs!

A pile of Lego blocks, of assorted colours and...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, the things I come across on the internet.  Today, I found a link to all kinds of amazing things people have built with LEGO’s…hmmmm…I have some building to do!
‘Til next time,

Jessica

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Oh No…I’m Getting Ideas Again

Recently, my Facebook feed has been inundated with content and videos from Upworthy, and I watch some of them.  For the most part, I realize that these are a time suck.  Maybe I get a bit of good news or get outraged over an injustice, but on the whole were they really worth my time?  Probably not.

 

Today was different though.  Today I saw a video that inspired me to actually go out and do something.  The video was for the Urban Innovation Exchange that started in Detroit, and discussed a SOUP project they do.  People come in, pay $5 for a bowl of soup, salad, and a vote.  Individuals from different projects come to the event to talk about their project/organization, and whoever gets the most votes at the end of the evening gets the funds raised from the event.

 

Random Acts of Kindness 2013

Random Acts of Kindness 2013

That started me thinking (always a dangerous idea, I know!).  After my Random Acts of Kindness 2013 , I received great feedback about how this inspired other people.  Some people did a 12 Days of Christmas theme, others just went out and did nice things for people, and others said that they wished they could do something like that but time/money/resources was an issue.  So, how could I make giving back to the community part of things that they already do?  How could you put your own spin on this Urban Innovation Exchange and SOUP project?

 

A pair of aces is arguably the best hand to be...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to be part of a poker game when I lived in Chicago.  Each person would buy into a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament for a whopping $5 per tournament (some nights the first one ended early enough there was time for a second…or we’d had enough to drink and enough fun that we just weren’t ready to stop), and whoever won the tournament usually donated the money for food.  Yes, that’s right, no one ever really left with a dime, just the joy of winning (and I do so enjoy winning).  We showed up because it was fun, and we liked playing. (even if occasionally an individual would bet to make all their piles of chips even)

The SOUP event got me thinking about how a night like that could be turned into a mini-fundraiser.  The winner of the tournament got to pick the charity to receive the evenings winnings.  It seemed like a revelation to me, because somewhere along the line I forgot (even after the Random Acts of Kindness 2013) that giving back didn’t have to mean big bucks, supporting causes you believe in doesn’t have to feel like work, and that a lot of people worry that they don’t have enough time or enough money to make a difference.  

 

I may have mentioned that I hang out with some really amazing people. (Seriously though, why would you spend time with people who weren’t?)  I host a lot parties (in some form or fashion) at my house, and I almost always cook for the get together (because I just love cooking).  I always get questions like: “How can I help?” “What can I bring?” “Do you need anything?” I’m willing to bet that next time if I tell them they an bring a can of food, $5, a personal hygiene item, a get well card, a letter for military personnel stationed overseas, or even an hour of their time to donate to a good cause they’d do it in a heartbeat.

Maybe you don’t play poker or host dinner parties.  So what?  You can use this for movie nights, game nights, book clubs, quilting circles…whatever you do for fun.  Seriously, I would love to see a group of people who get together for like a Halo night write thank you letters to military personnel…how cool would that be?  Too bad I suck at Halo…any takers?  Maybe you’re planning a Sherlock watch party, and you have everybody bring stuff to make a package for a member of the homeless “network” or a Doctor Who party where everybody brings something for either mental health services (because he’s a mad man with a box) or for a children’s charity (because he can’t just sit there and watch children cry)….oh crud, here I go with theme parties again.  Can you see the possibilities?

So how do you know where to donate in your community?  Well, excellent question.  Although, I only looked briefly, when I did a search for “Tulsa Non-Profit Organizations” the first link that came up was a website Great Non-Profits that you can use to search either by city/state or by area of interest.  People can leave reviews and share experiences with different organizations too, which I love.  I haven’t actually dug in to ensure that every non-profit is on the up and up, but I do know that the ones I skimmed through for the Tulsa area were well-known, reputable organizations.

Need more ideas?  Send me what you and your friends do for fun, and I’ll come up with something!

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

 

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The Imperfections Are Where the Love Lives

Recently, I attended a private party at Pinot’s Palette, a place where you make a little art while you drink a little wine.  A co-worker organized a party and invited us to bring some people and join in for an evening of painting and wine drinking.  This was not my first trip to Pinot’s Palette.  Some of us had booked seats on an open night for my Aunt’s birthday. At the birthday celebration my mom and I had a blast, so when this came up, I invited her along.  Plus, she’s kind of fun to hang out with.

 

ImageYou start off with a blank canvas…and some wine.  We chatted and laughed, and I got to know more really fun people. (and forgot to take pictures of the work “in progress”)  The instructors are all very kind and patient.  Well, they’d have to be right?  Creating art, especially for the first time, can be a bit intimidating, and people get really worried if it doesn’t look exactly like the example or the one the instructor’s painting.  (Plus, they serve alcohol…patience is always a requirement when alcohol is involved.)  All of the instructors I’ve had either have or are getting a degree in Fine Arts, and I’ve been impressed with them.

 

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Slowly, under patient (and often repeated) instruction…and more wine, an actual picture begins to take shape.  I like to paint at home for fun.  Mostly abstracts…that way I don’t have to worry about reality too much. When we saw the example, my mom turned to me and groaned “circles”.  If you’ve ever had to paint or draw a circle freehand, you know what she was talking about.  Me I just shrugged, and told her that if it ended up really crooked we could just say we wanted to try Salvador Dali’s style.  

 

When I come to these places, I have to really be careful, because I’m not in my old comfortable painting clothes.  You know the kind, jeans worn until there are holes, the hems have frayed, they are all soft and comfy, and fit perfectly.  My usual are jeans like that (but also paint smeared) and an amazingly soft but ugly flannel shirt (the sleeves are a different color blue from the rest of the shirt).  I can’t really complain though.  I stole it from my sister when we were in high school.  However, for an evening out in public on Cherry Street, I tend to dress like a grown up.  (Mostly a grown up, I still had on my Chuck Taylors…those are grownup…right?)  All night, I had to remind myself not to wipe my hands on my pants…I’m a pretty messy painter at home.  My clothes managed to stay paint-free, but my hands were smeared with green paint before we even got started. (Eh, their hands.  They wash.)

 

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Typically, painting doesn’t make me nervous.  It is kind of relaxing.  However, that’s at home alone in my little spare bedroom/studio. Apparently, I don’t relax well when other’s are watching (probably not actually watching because they’re painting too, but it sure feels like everybody’s watching!)  I don’t know why.  It isn’t even really stage fright, because I’m mostly okay (when forced) on stage.

 

The same issue plagued me when I played the piano…and the clarinet…and sang in the choir.  Put me in a group where no one can hear me and I’m great…anytime that I realize someone is actually paying attention, I mess it all up!  My poor mother had to stand in another room just to listen to me play the piano…for years.  These days, I’ll let her stay in the room…sometimes.  I can’t play and talk…or sing at the same time.  Lord help us if you want me to play while you sing.  I get distracted by the singing, and apparently forget how to mostly play things…like chords.

 

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Vintage Ride, by Jessica Thompson

 

Aaaaannnnndddd we’re back on the actual point.  You know what helps with this nervousness?  Wine.  Wine helps a lot.  I didn’t worry so much about what other people thought about my creation, or who was watching.   When my inner perfectionist tried to raise her head, I drowned her out with a nice red blend and some laughter.  At events like this, I try to just enjoy the company, the laughter, and the whole  process without worrying too much about the finished product. Sometimes, it even works.

 

A long time ago, I got some great advice about the little imperfections in things I make. When I was making my first quilt, I worried about mistakes a lot.  The rows didn’t line up exactly, or it wasn’t perfectly square (or both).  My Mom just told me that the imperfections were where the love lives.  That’s how they know that it was handmade…she also told me when I pricked my finger with the sewing needle, “whatever you do, don’t bleed on the quilt!”  Both excellent pieces of advice.  The one about the imperfections being where the love lives, is the one that really stayed with me through quilts, painting, music, and even baking…wait, maybe cooking was “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as it tastes good”. (I may have dropped a pie…or two.  What can I say, I am not the most coordinated of individuals.)

 

By the end of the night, I ended up with a painting, some new friends, and great memories.  The imperfections are where the love lives.  “Vintage Ride” hangs in the entryway of my house, front and center.  The memory of laughter, family, friends, and fun are in every brushstroke.  I wouldn’t change a single thing.

 

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My Mom and I showing off our creations

 

Have you ever gone to a place like this?  Taken an art class? (I really want to do that, but it scares the bejesus out of me!  Probably that whole creating art in front of someone…or a bunch of someones.)

 

‘Til next time,

 

Jessica

 

 

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