How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium

Whenever Spring comes around, I automatically want to fill the house with green plants. They make a space feel alive and as I mentioned when I put together my kitchen window plant (which is still going strong), I love the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. I have a tray on top of my coffee table where I put the remotes and photo/coffee table books so they’re tidy, and usually have a candle sitting on top. I decided to build a happy little tabletop terrarium (Bob Ross fan here) to take the place of the candle, but knew it had to be small because of where I was putting it. I have been seeing a lot of terrariums lately, and there are so many possibilities with how you set this up that you can really customize to fit your taste. Here’s the few easy steps it takes to build a tabletop terrarium no matter what jar you decide on.

First, you’ll need a container. I found my container at Home Goods which actually had a tag as being from their terrarium line, but you can really use any kind of clear glass container to house your little garden. I picked up my jar just yesterday which motivated me to get started ASAP, and here’s everything I used for my DIY tabletop terrarium.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium Supplies

I was worried I would make a mess because of the soil, so I went outside to put together the terrarium. I started by putting a layer of rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the jar to help with drainage, which I found at Lowe’s. You could probably use fish tank rocks if you prefer too. I thought the pebbles were pretty, so I put a little more than what was probably needed, filling about an inch or two in my jar. I specifically went a little pebble happy because I didn’t want them to get lost when I added everything else, which they almost did. If you’re like me and want to see the pebbles more in your bottom layer for aesthetic appeal and not just function, I recommend going a little heavier.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 3

Next, you’ll want to add a layer of activated charcoal. This helps filter the air and keep it fresh in a closed environment, since I planned on closing the lid to my terrarium when finished. I just did a light layer to where you couldn’t see the pebbles anymore, about a 1/2 inch or so. I surprisingly couldn’t find this at Lowe’s, but the nice cashier recommended I try a pet store since activated charcoal is often used for fish filters. She was correct! I found it at Petsmart for about $6.

After the charcoal, I added a very thin layer of moss. I just wanted a little bit to prevent the soil from falling into any cracks below. Next, you’ll add your soil and put in plants as desired.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 4I used a variety of succulents, including a cactus, so that I would have different heights and textures. I think ferns would have been pretty too, but succulents are supposedly very hard to kill and do no require a lot of attention or watering. In fact, they can die by over-watering them because they are desert plants and like dry, hot places. I purchased a water bottle which I’ll use to lightly spray my garden every few weeks. They also like sunlight, so put them in a spot where they can see the sun….I’m hoping my coffee table is sunny enough.

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 5I actually wanted to go lighter on the soil layer so everything sat a little lower, but I wasn’t able to because of the size of the root base the plants had. Maybe that’s something you’ll want to consider when selecting your plants, container, and determining the thickness of your layers..

I found a few bigger rocks outside in my yard (free!) and placed them on top for decoration, along with a little more moss.

Finally, add the top and you’re done!

How to Build a Tabletop Terrarium 6

How to DIY a Terrarium

How to DIY a Terrarium 2So here’s my final mini garden.

Do you like the idea of bringing the outdoors inside? How are you embracing Spring?


Bench Makeover & How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

My friend just moved into her new home, and is having a lot of fun making it her own. She luckily received some hand-me-down furniture (we all know how expensive it can be to furnish a new space), and wanted help revamping this bench for her guestroom! It had a really sturdy base, but the upholstered top was dirty and outdated. This fix took LESS THAN 1 HOUR – including going to the store and buying fabric! Here’s how we did it, including how to calculate fabric yardage. 

Style Trials Bench makeover no-sew hgtv chevron fabric - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

We proceeded to Jo-Ann Fabrics (which is 2 minutes from my house), and immediately started looking at their upholstery designer fabrics. I like to pair larger organic prints such as paisley or florals with hardlines such as stripes or a mini print. We fell in love with this grey HGTV chevron fabric which is part of the HGTV designer fabric collection. It offset her paisley bedspread and green walls quite nice, and is a trendy print that would immediately bring this bench back to life!

Grey chevron and printed paisley fabric Style Trials

Figuring out the yardage was pretty easy, so I’m going to quickly walk you through a little math lesson. Luckily I have an interior design degree and worked with custom fabric treatments (i.e. windows coverings, pillows, etc), but I know this can be the hardest part and potentially a costly mistake. Using these tips on how to calculate fabric yardage will hopefully help!

How to Calculate Fabric Yardage

First, we measured the area being recovered. This bench was only 45″ wide and the fabric bolt was 55″ wide, so we didn’t have to worry about seams or railroading (turning the bolt sideways) the fabric. 55 inches minus 45 inches = 10″ total of allowance (or 5″ per side) to wrap around the back of the bench and staple – perfect! Next I had to figure out the depth so I could determine how much fabric I needed cut from the bolt.

The bench was about 16″ deep, and I wanted to allow an extra 4″-5″ on either side for staple-gun allowance. 16 inches + 5 inches (allowance top) + 5 inches (allowance bottom) = 26″ total. That’s what I based my overall yardage on, since the 55″ width of the bolted fabric is a standard that stays the same as they simply unroll the bolt for how much fabric you need.

From here, you take the amount in inches (in this case 26″), and ALWAYS divide by 36 to convert inches into yardage of fabric needed. That gave me 0.72 yards of fabric needed. I typically round up to the nearest 1/4 yard because it doesn’t hurt to get just a little extra fabric in case your calculations are off. You can judge this yourself based on how much seam allowance you included and how far off from the next 1/4 yard you are. We ordered 0.75 or 3/4 of a yard.

How to Recover an Upholstered Bench No-Sew Technique

  1. We started by unscrewing the top of the upholstered bench from the base using a drill.
  2. We decided the new chevron fabric was thick enough that we could simply recover the bench over the existing fabric, that way we didn’t damage the padding or loose it’s shape. If you can do this, it makes the entire process SO much easier.
  3. We laid the face of the chevron fabric down so it was facing the ground. Then we put the board on top, front side down. Because this is a geometric print with a repeat, I wanted to measure to make sure it was evenly spaced out on the fabric. I measured the center of the board (where the purple pen is shown below) and lined it up with the center of a chevron point like this. I also eyeballed where I wanted it to hit on the sides. style trials Measuring fabric to recover seat - How to Calculate Fabric YardageIf you’re not sure, you can always wrap the fabric around the board with your hands and look at it real quick to make sure you like how it’s placed. It’s always better to double check!
  4. Next, we proceeded with stapling the fabric around all 4 sides before proceeding to the corners. Make sure to read my tutorial from when I recovered my kitchen chairs on exactly how to do this, and how to fold the corners which can be the trickiest part.Staple nosew recover fabric tutorial diy - How to Calculate Fabric Yardage
  5. From there, simply drill the seat back on the benchtop and you’re done!

Before & After Pics:

Before and After Bench Seat Recovered - How to Recover an Upholstered BenchStyle Trials Bench Recover Before And After - How to Recover an Upholstered Bench

Style Trials Bench Makeover After Grey Chevron Print

Not too shabby for less than an hours worth of work, huh? She plans to eventually stain the piece darker and add new hardware, but at least now it looks fresh and part of this century! 🙂

What do you think of the finished piece and have you tried doing anything like this before? If so, let me know below…I’d love to see your before and after pictures!

 


We Got Another Puppy! How to Introduce your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

This post brought to you by American Kennel Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hubby and I noticed that our long-haired chihuahua, Milo, is extremely social but has lost a little spunk this past year. We don’t think it’s because he’s getting older (he still acts like a puppy around other dogs), but rather that he’s at home by himself all day. He needed a friend…I mean, look how high-strung he was? 🙂

We’re excited to announce that we adopted another furry friend this past weekend. Meet Charlie Bear. 🙂

Charlie is a purebred AKC registered long-haired chihuahua, just like his soon-to-be brother Milo. When researching, I found great resources on the AKC website that can definitely help anyone interested in finding a dog. For example, they have this tool where you can search for breeds to get info on each kind such as grooming details, temperament, size, and where you kind find breeders. We figured going with the same breed would probably make the most sense for us, since we are familiar with long-haired chihuahuas and hoped they would bond quicker. I also liked that they have an AKC Rescue Network, where you can find dogs that need a new home.

Whether you’re getting your new furbaby from a breeder or a shelter, of course you’ll want to do your research. Getting a dog is a major life decision, so here are a few tips/questions I found to think about when making your choice.

Breeder Questions

1.) If working with a breeder, make sure the breeder is responsible. You should ask to see the puppy, the parents (or at least one of them so you can get an idea of what your puppy’s future may hold), and the premises where the puppy is being cared for. It should be clean and odor free, and the puppy should be well fed and not appear sickly.

2.) Pay attention to how the pup interacts with the breeder. Does it shy away from the breeder? Does the breeder seem to genuinely care about the puppy?

3.) Don’t expect to bring the puppy home until it is 8-12 weeks old. The puppy needs that time with it’s mom and littermates for socialization and to grow strong.

4.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The breeder should want to answer all of your questions, and likewise want the puppy to go to a good home. Good questions to ask would be about the breed’s strengths/weaknesses, any knowledge of genetic diseases, and documents. The breeder should be able to share proof of health and make sure the pup is up-to-date on it’s shots/vet visits while still under their care.

Below is a great example of responsible breeders…and seriously, can we talk about how cute these mini wirehaired dachshund puppies are?!

Shelter Questions

1.) Don’t be afraid to ask why the dog is in a shelter. Was it rescued, a stray, surrendered by the previous owner (and if so, why)? That knowledge may help determine what kind of care the dog will need.

2.) What was the health condition of the dog when he came to the shelter, and what kind of vet care has the dog received since? Are there any special medical conditions or dietary needs you should know about?

3.) Training – is the dog housebroken, good around kids, other pets, strangers, etc?

Of course Milo will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll never forget the first day I brought him home.

We read a lot on how to introduce your new puppy to your resident dog, and went with these steps. It went flawless, so I wanted to share!

Tips on Introducing your New Puppy to your Resident Dog

  1. Introduce your dog to the puppy on neutral ground, that way he won’t get territorial. Avoid your house and yard. We let them meet at a school playground down the road so there was a lot of open space, and did this on the weekend so there wasn’t anyone else around.
  2. Ideally you should put them both on the ground, and stand with your legs apart in case the puppy gets scared and wants to seek refuge under you. Avoid holding the puppy and letting the dog smell him because he will feel trapped.
  3. Keep a CLOSE eye on them, and if any fights break out of course separate them. Luckily Milo is a little lover, so I didn’t have to worry about fights.
  4. Bring them back to your home, and let them start out in your yard before bringing them inside. Baby steps. I let them both hang out on our back porch too, then finally brought them inside.
  5. From here, try to keep your schedule that you had with the resident dog the same. You don’t want him to resent the puppy, and of course always keep an eye on them when together until they are very comfortable around each other.

dog meeting puppy for first time style trials

I admit I was nervous for the transition and having to train a puppy again, but I just know once they get comfortable they will be best buds. Charlie already seems pretty comfortable himself.

long haired Chihuahua puppy style trials

They really are so much more than just pets, aren’t they?

Do you have any tips or ideas on introducing a new puppy to your resident dog? I’d love to hear them, so leave me a comment below!

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Master Bedroom Makeover 1: New Bed, Bedding, and Mattress

When we moved into our first home, we knew right away we wanted to buy new Master bedroom furniture. We only had the hubby’s bed and dressers from college, and wanted to re-purpose those in our first guest room. We also had hopes of getting a new mattress and upgrading to a King Bed. Knowing me, this was a long process because I wanted to get it right and not just settle….and that meant figuring out exactly what it was I did want. I’m happy to say our Master is now my favorite room in our house! This will be broken up into a few posts, and I’m going to focus this on our first step. The actual bed makeover.

Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials

 I knew I wanted a serene, hotel feel to the Master, and was literally stalking my favorite home decor website Joss & Main everyday. If you haven’t heard of Joss & Main, they have discounted high quality designer furniture and accessories, but it’s a flash sale site. That means their products are only on sale for a few days. I first spotted this awesome upholstered bed there, but didn’t purchase right away because they have a no-return policy. Instead, we actually bought the mattress first.

We got our mattress at Denver Mattress Company, part of Furniture Row. They had a bunch of designer mattresses ranging from Sealy to TEMPUR-Pedic, and a variety of styles ranging from inner-spring to memory foam. We shopped around layed around and found our perfect match – the Serta iComfort!

style trials icomfort serta mattress master bedroom

Photo Credit: www.mattress-inquirer.com

Here’s why we chose the iComfort® Sleep System by Serta®:

  • Made with revolutionary Cool Action™ Gel Memory Foam – the world’s first memory foam infused with the support and cooling touch of Serta’s MicroSupport® gel.
  • Gel memory foam is designed to provide enhanced cooling comfort and more support where you need it for a cool, comfortable and supportive sleep experience.
  •  Serta offered a variety of iComfort models, and we went with iComfort Savant comfort level (in the middle, not too soft but not too hard)

I’m not going to pretend this mattress wasn’t expensive, but we figured a good mattress is an investment we should make and can last up to 20 years. After all, a human spends 1/3 of their life sleeping! Isn’t that crazy when you think about it?! We did upgrade to the King size, but opted out of the adjustable bed frame for now.

Next came the upholstered bed.

style trials skyline upholsetered bed with nail head

I seriously am in LOVE with this Skyline upholstered bed I found at Joss & Main , and it was a steal at around $700 for a King size bed (not just the headboard). Although Joss & Main is a flash sale site, I found that it’s not unusual for many items to be repeated throughout a month. My bed kept coming up, but I kept getting cold feet because I knew I couldn’t return it. I finally realized that Joss & Main is owned by Wayfair, and I could read customer reviews on my products there.

This Skyline bed got rav reviews, so I finally pulled the plug and purchased the Talc color. I admit I was still worried it may be a little too light in color, but it’s actually a really nice light linen color with tan cross-hatched fibers throughout. From a distance, it actually takes on a slightly light grey tone. I was also worried about getting the King size as I thought it may overpower the room, but found that because this bed is lower to the ground than our old Queen bed, it actually made the room look larger! I also love how the nail heads in this bed are individually placed, rather than a cheap trim that’s all attached.

Next came the bedding.

Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials 2

I looked high and low for a pattern I liked. Seriously, I looked at Macy’s, West Elm, ZGallarie, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Ross and Marshalls, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond. I fell in love with this serene Barbara Barry Poetical duvet at BBB. It was light, neutral, had interest because of the pattern, and was dark enough to contrast with the upholstered bed. Since I live in Florida but like a little weight in a comforter, I filled it with Macy’s Hotel Collection Primaloft All Season Comforter.  I preferred down alternative not only for the price, but also because I wanted to be able to wash it. It’s worked out great so far.

To go along with my bedding, I wanted to add a little “glam” with silky tones and a hint of color. I found the perfect quilt or coverlet also at Bed Bath & Beyond, which happened to also be by Barbara Barry and actually called Glamour! Haha, perfect!

Style Trials Bed Makeover Barbara Barry glamour quilt coverlet

I think this definitely adds a little interest to the combo, and makes the bed more luxurious. I also purchased 2 matching accent pillows. Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials 3

Here’s a shot of the room BEFORE, then after the bed was added but everything else was still the same. I had some big plans for the windows, dressers, nightstands, lamps, etc. There’s been SO much more done since then, so you’ll have to make sure to subscribe to Style Trials (and click the verification link in the email it sends you) so you don’t miss the full view!

BEFORE:

style trials bedroom before makeover

AFTER:

Master King Bed Makeover Skyline Upholstered Barbara Barry poetical style trials

Big improvement, huh?

What is your Master Bedroom style? I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the first phase of this makeover – leave me a comment below!


My Kitchen Table Makeover – Easily Recover Chairs

Moving into my first house, I realized how little furniture we really had and how expensive it can be to furnish. Right now I’m trying to focus on buying things we don’t already own, and refreshing the hand-me-downs we do have. On my agenda today, our kitchen table!

Our total kitchen can only be described as BEIGE. As in beige walls, countertops, floors, and even appliances (until we eventually upgrade). I’m trying to bring in some color and life through prints, fabrics, and plants until I can add a little depth with the permanent surfaces.

We have a kitchen table which is in pretty good condition. It’s a hand-me-down, but the fabric on the chairs has definitely seen better days. I’m sure it could be cleaned to look better, but the dinginess and color (yep, beige), was a makeover project I was willing to take on.

It’s actually quite easy to give an old chair, bench, or ottoman a completely new look by simply recovering them with new fabric…and this method doesn’t require sewing because it’s just the seat! I admit this was my first attempt at recovering a chair using a staple gun, but seriously it was super easy. Even if you don’t have a DIY bone in your body, I’m sure you could pull this off. Here’s how….

First, figure out how much yardage you need and where you want the pattern to fall on the seat. I think I accounted for 1 yard per seat (taking the pattern into account), but I also found this handy pattern yardage calculator you could use.

Next, the tools to do the job. You can find a staple gun at any home improvement store, and the fabric I picked out was an HGTV Home fabric called Turtle Shell found at Joann Fabric. It’s on sale too! I know it’s a little loud, but I knew it would definitely liven up the space.

Style Trials Kitchen Chair Makeover Tools HGTV fabricHere’s the table before:

Style Trials Kitchen Table Before

First, unscrew the seats from the base. I ended up using a power drill to unscrew because the screwdriver wasn’t strong enough.

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 1

Next, place the seat upside down on top of the fabric, taking into account where you want the pattern to be centered on the seat. You can leave the existing fabric on the seat and work around it. Leave at least a 4″ border around the seat and cut out your square.

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 2

Pull the fabric tight around the edges, leaving the corners lose. I found it was easiest to start at the top (stapling multiple times across the length of the seat), then pull from the opposite side (bottom). The repeat the other sides until it looks like this….

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 4

Next is the trickest part. The corners. You want to make sure you pull these really tight to get a finished look. Start by pulling the fabric in closer from the edges towards the corner, and stapling in place. Then take the remaining fabric and fold like the picture below, and pull extremely tight. Then staple in place as well.

*Note, you may need to cut off some excess fabric to make this easier. If you have too much fabric, it will be bulky, harder to pull tight, and harder to staple.*

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 5

The finished back should look like this…

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 6

And the front like this!

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 7Next, screw the seats back on, and voilà! Checkout the before and afters!

Style Trials Recovering Chairs 8 before and after

Style Trials Recovering Chairs finished with hgtv fabric

What do you think of the finished results? Have you ever recovered anything using a staple gun?


Making a Happy Kitchen Window Plant with Miracle-Gro

With my love of painting and art, I grew up watching Bob Ross paint “happy little trees.” Now that I have a home, I realize that plants really do make a space feel more cheerful. I love the idea of bringing the outdoors in, which is very feng shui.

In my kitchen I still have the old window valance hung from the previous owner, but will be sewing my own soon. In the meantime, I wanted something pretty and green to add to the kitchen window sill. I stumbled upon these pretty ferns and succulents while shopping at IKEA, as well as this long, white jar. Everything was relatively cheap too. I think this total project cost me about $15 for the plants and vase, and they had a bunch of different plant pot options. If you don’t have an IKEA near you, these mini plants, succulents, and even cacti, are in season right now at home improvement stores like Lowe’s. This sat on my window looking quite messy, until I finally decided to actually plant the mini plants together.

DSCN1832

Luckily, I didn’t have to buy soil as I had a free sample of Miracle-Gro stored in my garage. To be exact, it was the Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n GRO concentrated planting mix, courtesy of Scotts. I dumped it in my jar, then added water. In my pictures below, once I added water you can literally see the plant mix expanded up to 3X’s the amount I started with. So cool! Another benefit is it holds up to 50% more water than basic potting soil, meaning less watering/maintenance for me.

DSCN1835

DSCN1836

DSCN1837

After the soil expanded, I made holes where I wanted to put my plants. I removed the plants from the jars they came in, but retained the soil around it. Then I planted them in the holes, covered with a little more Miracle-Gro, and that was that! The plants are still thriving, and making every “dish washing day” happier.

DSCN1840

If you want to get really crafty, try painting your own flower pot like I did in this paint-pot tutorial.

I’d love to hear your comments. How do you make your house happier?

 


Yard Sale Coffee Table Makeover

Furnishing my house has been a task due to my indecisive nature, but I found I’m able pull the trigger much quicker if I think I’m getting a heck of a deal. Then in true Tim Gunn style, I simply “make it work.”

I was itching to try my first furniture DIY makeover project, but really had no clue what it would be. I scoured thrift stores and resale stores, but anything I liked was too pricey in my opinion for a first attempt. Then I went to a few yard sales, and hit the jackpot! I found a gem that’s the perfect size for my living room, but definitely needed tlc. I was able to negotiate her down to $10…not bad! If I hated it, I would toss it, and for $10 I figured it was worth a shot. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find the full shot “before” pic,” but you’ll get a sense in the pics below.

Here’s the tools I started with:

Style Trials DIY Table Makeover Tools

  • Sanding sponge (medium grit) to get in the crevices and oddly shaped areas
  • Epoxy Putty
  • Painters tape
  • Electric sander (not pictured) with fine grit – oddly enough, I found this too at a yard sale a few weeks ago!
  • Flat latex paint (if you want it shinier and easy to wipe, get something with a sheen instead. Eggshell, Semi-gloss, or Gloss)
  • Paint sponges

BEFORE

Style Trials Coffee Table Makeover Before

You can see how beat up the wood was, especially in the molding on the legs. Also, there’s a metal piece at the foot of each leg (which I kinda liked), but I hated the matching fake drawer pull that was on the side of the table. I simply unscrewed the drawer pull with a screwdriver…easy peasy. Since I was keeping the metal legs, I taped them off so I wouldn’t accidentally paint or sand them. Then used the putty to fill in the drawer pull holes and “remold” the missing chunks on the legs.

Style Trials Coffee Table Makeover Putty

Style Trials Coffee Makeover wood epoxy

As the epoxy was drying, I took my electric sander and sanded down the finish on the entire piece, plus smoothed out any nicks. Once the epoxy was dry (about an hour dry time), I sanded down those areas too, and used the sanding sponge to get in the small molding crevices. I tried my best not to sand the entire thing too much, because I wanted to keep as much of the dark stain as possible. You can see here the natural wood color poking through, but I knew the darker finish would show up better during the distressing stage.

Style Trials Coffee Table Sanded

Next, you want to prep to paint by getting off all the dust caused from sanding. Either wipe with a clean damp sponge, or you could try my trick. Blow that sucker off with a leaf blower! Worked like a charm.

From there, I went straight into painting. I probably should’ve primed it first since I wasn’t using chalk paint (which doesn’t require primer), but I’m not gonna lie…I didn’t. I felt like this piece didn’t need it because it had a marble top, and the top is what would get the most wear and tear. Also, this wasn’t going in a highly trafficked area, but if your piece is then you should probably use a primer first.

Style Trials Prime and Paint Furniture

Clark + Kensington flat paint in color Harbor Lane

Let me tell  you, I was really excited about the paint because I got it for FREE! Every few months or so, Ace Hardware has a “Find Your Soul Paint” event where you literally get a free quart of paint of your choice…no purchase necessary! I post these types of deals on Style Trials Facebook and Twitter pages,  but you could also follow Ace Hardware  just to make sure you don’t miss it.

I went with Clark + Kensington flat paint in color Harbor Lane. It’s a really pretty pale blue. It dried super quick, so by the time I was done with the first coat I was able to immediately paint the second. The paint sponges helped to get into the little areas without being streaky.

Now, I could have left it just like that, but I wanted a distressed look. Sometimes I think distressing actually makes a piece look more expensive, plus painted distressed furniture is really on trend right now.

Style Trials Distressing Furniture

My living room is still a work in progress, so I quickly styled this for the after photo.

AFTER

Style Trials Living Room Coffee Table Makeover 2

Style Trials Living Room Coffee Table Makeover

I’m thinking not bad for $10! What do you think? Have you given a piece of furniture a makeover?


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