31 Mar 2017

Mango Spring Edit

Mango High Street Best Sellers Spring Summer 2017 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog


Mango is a shop that I always used to dismiss, thinking it wouldn't be my style and was probably going to be way out of my budget. That was, until last summer when I spotted Hannah rocking some of their amazing summer dresses and suddenly they were on my radar. Ever since then I've found myself wandering into their Glasgow store on many an occasion and have discovered plenty of gems within their range. With classic basic pieces as well as on-trend patterns and cuts, Mango is a fantastic place to fill your wardrobe. They have a plethora of super cute slogan tees, laidback summer dresses in perfect prints and a killer accessories game to boot - all with pretty purse-friendly price tags too.

I've been trying to cut down on my spending recently (woohoo student life) so I've been trying to pick up more wearable pieces when I feel that urge to shop, which is where Mango seems to excel for me. Although they have some more trend-led pieces, the majority of their collection is so easy to wear and they have something for every occasion. 


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Mango High Street Best Sellers Spring Summer 2017 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog


Just like last spring, I'm still having a bit of a love-in when it comes to trousers, and Mango have some seriously beautiful pairs that I have my eye on! Think classic suit styles, paper bag waists and the ever-so-cliche spring florals in flattering cuts. My body shape makes it difficult to find trousers that fit properly, but I find that Mango's selection tends to tick the boxes when it comes to fit. They also have some beautiful culottes and wide leg trousers that would be perfect for summer, if the sun does ever decide to make an appearance!

Another firm favourite of mine from Mango is their jackets. I bought my first Mango jacket in the January sales, which you can see in this outfit post, and I wear it most days. The perfect coat can really make or break an outfit, which is why I'm not surprised that I've found myself unintentionally building quite a collection. The structured pink blazer featured above is a sure-fire sass magnet and would be the perfect way to smarten up a pair of jeans and a casual tee. I'm picturing black jeans, a slouchy grey tee and my trusty grey Adidas Gazelles.

Let's finish on a high, and chat accessories. Much like a jacket, the right accessories can really change an outfit for me. Mango's bags are to die for, with shapes and styles that wouldn't look out of place on the catwalk. How gorgeous is that quilted yellow bag? I have a real thing for yellow accessories and that floral detail is something else entirely.


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What styles are you loving for spring?

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28 Mar 2017

Heads and Tales, Edinburgh

Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Heads and Tales Edinburgh Gin Bar Cocktails Food Review | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I don't spend nearly as much time as I'd like to in Edinburgh these days, despite it only being a short train journey away. As a result, I don't really know much about the Edinburgh food scene, but now that I've pretty much eaten my way around Glasgow I thought it was about time to get started on Edinburgh's host of restaurants and bars too. I was invited along to review Heads and Tales, a gin bar located just off of Princes Street, so I recruited my original blogging bestie Hayley for a night of cocktails and catch ups to see how it fared.

Heads and Tales is home to two Edinburgh Gin stills, which is a particular favourite of mine, so I was really excited to get stuck into their menu. The bar itself is located underneath The Huxley restaurant and at first glance, it's easily missed, but when you descend the stairs under a canopy of fairy lights you'll feel at home straight away. With a mix of cosy cave booths, comfy armchairs and towering tables this sprawling bar is definitely a gem hiding away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh city centre.

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24 Mar 2017

How to Get Free Stuff for Your Blog


How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Spoiler alert: you can't.

Okay, click bait title aside, there is a misconception nowadays that bloggers are all sent lots of shiny new products for free, with no hard work involved, and it gets a little tiring. Sure, it is really nice to be seen as worthy of receiving press samples from brands, but I've spent years building up my blog and put a lot of work in on a daily basis to be in this position. When you think about all of the hours of work that go on behind the scenes, is that new mascara really a freebie? Well, no. There is a big difference between payment-in-kind and free, which a lot of people don't realise. To create just one post I can spend hours styling, shooting and editing photographs, writing the post content, optimising said post for search engines, scheduling social promotion and monitoring analytics. That doesn't even include the time spent researching, testing or replying to emails - blogging can be a pretty time-consuming hobby when you take each small part into account. Yet time after time I have people tell me just how lucky I am to "get sent all of this stuff for free". Whilst I am very lucky to be in this position, it's not just luck. It's hard work - and a lot of it.

"But Charlotte, you said you'd tell me how to get these not-so-free freebies for my blog?!"

Well, here are some of my top pieces of advice when it comes to securing brand collaborations and press samples...

How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Work Hard

I feel like this should be a given, but unfortunately, a lot of people don't always realise it. If you want something, work hard for it. Put in the hours to refine what you do, work on your content, improve your photography, promote your blog, learn SEO - whatever it is you think you need to do. I'm not saying that you need to have Pinterest-perfect pictures to get these opportunities because that's just not true, but the reality of it is that with so many bloggers out there you need to be able to keep up with the crowd in some way or another. Work hard and reap the benefits! It took me years before I was offered my first brand collaboration, and I'm still a small fry in the blogging world, but I'd be nowhere if I didn't put the time in. You can't just expect these opportunities to fall out of the sky and land straight in your lap.

Provide Mutual Value

The whole point of brand collaborations and press samples is exchanging value between all parties, so you need to have something to bring to the table. The brand are providing you with something of some sort of value, be that products or money, and in return, you're providing them with content and promotion. They're also providing you with the opportunity to create content, which in turn is valued by your readers who come to your blog to see what you think. It has to be mutually beneficial, and as much as I wish the blogging world didn't all boil down to numbers, there needs to be something in it for everyone involved. To be fair, though, this isn't always number focused - maybe you can provide beautiful imagery or moving words. The PRs on the other end of that email will need to justify who they're choosing to collaborate with, so it's important that you can provide something that will make it worthwhile. A big audience doesn't necessarily mean an engaged audience and everyone will have their own idea of what constitutes as being successful. 

Know Your Worth

Knowing your worth is something that I've only just started to come to terms with, but is so important. Appreciating the value of what you can provide is not only important on a personal level, but for the industry as a whole. The work you put into a blog post is valuable, you are providing a service, albeit a service that you (hopefully) love. Fair enough, not everyone has the desire to monetise or create sponsored content, but spending hours creating beautiful content in exchange for that fabled "exposure" can devalue what the industry as a whole does. As I said in the point above, there has to be something in it for everyone and that something should be relative to your worth. Don't undersell yourself and the hard work that you do!

How To Get Press Samples Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Be Professional

Professionalism and politeness are key in so many walks of life. Running a blog does not mean you are automatically entitled to samples and I hate when I see people acting as if they are. A blog is a business, so careful consideration is needed when you're putting things in the public eye. Tweet what you like, I do, but be aware that it can come back to bite you. If you're seen to be inflammatory or are consistently slagging off brands or fellow bloggers, it might not necessarily give the best impression and could be off-putting. You might not care, and that's cool, but if working with brands is part of your overall intentions for your blog then I'd definitely spend a bit of time thinking about how you come across on the internet as a whole. Building relationships is a big part of working with brands and so being polite, and doing what you say you will when you will, is so important. Communicate, be honest and open. It's a two-way street, and you never know where you'll bump into people again. I've had experiences where I've built a great relationship with someone who has then moved into a new role and gets in touch with new brands and opportunities or has even recommended me for other opportunities with their contacts. 

Stay True

Quite possibly the most important point of them all, really. Personally, I blog because I want to share the things I love, so I turn down campaigns or opportunities that aren't really relevant to me - which is quite a lot sometimes. Staying true to yourself and what you love is so, so, so, so important and it quickly becomes glaringly obvious if someone is "selling out" and writing about random topics like car insurance or generators on a beauty blog for the sake of a few quid. Blog about what you love and your passion will shine through. At the end of the day, is that not what it's all about?

What would your one top tip be for a new blogger? Let me know in the comments!

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21 Mar 2017

Living our lives through a lens

Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Top - Primark; Jacket - Mango (old); Jeans - Dorothy Perkins;
Bag - Primark (suuuuuper old); Sheer Socks - Next; Shoes - Next

Do you ever pick up something in store that is totally not your style, but convince yourself that you're definitely cool enough to pull it off? Yup, that's what happened with these shoes. Back in February, I was at an event with Next to chat all about their new shoes and these beautiful nude frill loafers caught my eye. They're not a colour I'd usually pick for shoes, or a shape, or even a heel height that I'd typically wear, but there was something about them that I just couldn't resist. Lo and behold, they've instantly become my new favourite shoes and I find myself trying to fit them in with every outfit I can. I love how they smarten up a pair of jeans, and when you throw a pair of those super on-trend sheer socks into the mix I almost feel somewhat... fashionable. Imagine that!

I'm really loving frill and flare details at the moment, with the flared sleeve trend being a particular favourite of mine for spring. I picked up this gingham top in Primark a few weeks ago, and although the boxy shape does nothing to highlight my waist, I find myself wearing it on a weekly basis. It's so easy to wear and I love the flowing sleeves, with the gingham pattern being perfect for the upcoming spring season. Paired with my favourite cosy jacket that I snapped up in the January sales from Mango, this combination is perfect for casual days at college or coffee dates.

Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Next Ruffle Shoes Gingham Flared Sleeve Outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Speaking of college, I've just started my third and final block of my first year. I don't have anywhere near as many classes this block, which is a huge relief, but I do have some big deadlines to work on in the coming weeks. My timetable has cut down to two and a half days a week which is already making a huge difference to my productivity levels (in my mind at least) and I'm feeling excited to get stuck into my new modules as they're all really interesting. More time means more time to spend on my blog, too, which is always nice! Now that I'm not working I really want to make the most of this extra time and have been trying to build up some work experience as well as taking on a couple of little freelance projects and finishing off some e-courses. Improving my content is always top of my list, and I've come out of a little tough spell feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running once again. I'm planning on filming a college/university based Q&A video for my YouTube channel at some point soon, so if you have any education related questions to ask then leave them in the comments or you can submit them anonymously using this form and I'll try to answer them in my video.

In other news, I've just realised that I haven't shared something pretty big on my blog. I've shared the news on every single social media platform, and even my YouTube channel, but somehow it slipped my mind to actually mention it here.... So, we adopted kittens! They're called Bonnie & Clyde and are six-month-old brother & sister. We rescued them from a local Glasgow charity called Catflap, and you can get a proper introduction to them in this video I filmed for my channel at the weekend. They've settled in so well and the whole family is absolutely smitten with this precious pair. Losing Ginger left a real hole in our lives, so having Bonnie & Clyde has really helped us through what was a difficult time for us all.

That just about covers it, for now at least. I finally found a remote that works for my new camera so regular outfit posts should be coming your way more often now. Hopefully!


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POST CONTAINS A PRESS SAMPLE - READ MY FULL DISCLAIMER HERE
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16 Mar 2017

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

How To Create An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
How To Create An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

It still comes as a genuine surprise to people how organised I am with my blog, particularly those who have known me since before I started writing and therefore are fully aware of just how unorganised I used to be. I talk a lot about being organised in blogging, as I find it really helps me to keep on top of things, so I thought I'd share the one thing I couldn't be without when it comes to writing content - my editorial calendar. My calendar has taken numerous forms over the years, starting as a simple list in an old notebook before eventually moving on to become a spreadsheet and Google Calendar combination. I've figured out what system works best for me, and there's definitely not a one size fits all solution, but my editorial calendar works wonders when it comes to planning and producing posts for my blog and my social channels too.

Figure Out What Works For You

The first step in creating an efficient editorial calendar is sitting down and figuring out how you work best. Do you prefer handwritten lists over a digital calendar? Would a bullet journal style system be more beneficial than a spreadsheet? Don't be afraid to mix and match, I certainly do, but there's no point in trying to work in a way that is detrimental to your productivity. At the moment I have a bit of a hybrid system, in which I use my Google Calendar to roughly schedule the days I want to post and what I want to post about, alongside my YouTube videos, college commitments, appointments and events, then I have a spreadsheet which contains a rundown of my posts, the categories and what needs to be done for each piece of content. I also keep daily to-do lists in my diary which I update every evening to figure out the best way to allocate my time. I have been considering a bullet journal type spread, but I find that having a calendar that I can sync across all my devices for easy access fits in with my lifestyle and typical routines a bit better.

How To Create An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Consider Your Commitment

It can be tempting to spend hours creating a fancy spreadsheet with all the bells and whistles, but can you really commit to investing these hours on a regular basis? The system you choose needs to suit the time you have available to spend on your content planning, so I'd carefully consider this when you start working on your calendar. In another respect, you have to think about your blogging schedule. There's no point in creating a calendar of daily content for your blog when in reality you only post once or twice a week! I used to try and force myself to post every single day without fail, but it just doesn't work for me. Instead, I use my Google calendar as a tool to figure out what I can post and when. This is particularly handy when I have to balance my course commitments and social life too, as I can easily see what else is happening in my life at a glance. If I have a lot of deadlines in one week, I'll post less, but if I have a relatively empty schedule I'll maybe try to squeeze a couple more posts in to make the most of it. 

Think About Categories

Colour coding is life. I'm all about assigning pretty shades to different schedules and categories, so it's something I incorporate into my editorial calendar in a big way. My Google calendar hosts 7 different mini calendars, each with its own dedicated hue, and my spreadsheet is colour coded based on the post category too. I find this really helps in keeping my content fresh, as I can quickly see what topics I've been talking about more often, and can substitute something a bit different to mix things up a bit.

Leave Space To Brainstorm

The main thing my editorial calendar helps me with is planning new posts. Obviously, it's primary purpose is to plan when they are published, but it also helps me to come up with the ideas in the first place! By having a clear overview of what I'm writing about, and when I'm writing about it, I can spot gaps to fill and figure out what would work there. This is where my Google calendar comes in particularly useful, as I can see what occasions and seasons are coming up that may influence my content. I try to be as flexible as possible with my content and often have a bank of post ideas ready to slot into empty spaces as and when they're needed.

How To Create An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Be Ready To Adapt

Once you've settled into a routine, it's important to remember that it doesn't have to be set in stone. Change can be good, and it might help you look at your organisation with a fresh set of eyes! If something isn't working for me, I'll take a look at how I can alter it to work better, or just remove it from my calendar altogether. Even simple things like shifting a couple of posts around or publishing on new days can help everything fall into place, or sometimes I might need to scrap my system altogether and go for something more complex. For example, at Christmas time I tend to add a new page to my spreadsheet to help me deal with gift guides or social media content, as I try to increase the rate at which I share new posts in the run-up to the big day, so having a more in-depth organisational system helps me keep up with the added pressure.



Overall, though, it's just about what works for you. Some people are born organisational-geniuses, whereas some, like me, have to work hard to stay on top of things. If you have any tips or tricks for organising your blog (or life) then be sure to leave them in the comments, as I know that I'd love to hear them and I imagine many others would too!

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How To Create An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

How do you organise your blogging schedule?

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14 Mar 2017

My Endometriosis Story

My Endometriosis Story and Diagnosis | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I'll be honest, this post has been sitting on my "to-write" list for over a year now. Endometriosis is something I've always wanted to talk about because I wholeheartedly believe that not enough people are aware of what it is and the impact it has, but also because it's such a huge part of my life and has been for over five years now. Despite wanting to share, I never quite knew how to put my feelings into words, so it kept getting pushed back further and further until a whole year had passed. March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, so it felt like a good time to share my story and shed a little more light on what endometriosis is.

One in ten women are affected by endometriosis, whether they realise that or not, and a result they suffer from debilitating pain that impacts their life in a number of ways. This pain is caused by cells like the ones found in the womb grow in areas where they shouldn't, with growth being stimulated by the hormones released throughout the menstrual cycle. Endometrial tissue acts in the same way as the cells in the womb, except that when they break down and bleed during the menstrual cycle it can't escape the body, causing inflammation, scarring, irritation, cysts and many other symptoms. There's no known cause, but the effects can be devastating, with endometriosis causing chronic pain, fatigue, depression and fertility issues to name just a few.

I'd always had painful periods, and since the age of 14 I'd been prone to ovarian cysts, but I'd never seen it as an issue until I was about 16 when I ended up experiencing the toughest seven months of my life. After staying at a friend's house one night I'd ended up with quite a sore back, which I put down to sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, but when the pain didn't ease after a few days I visited my doctor and was considered to have some sort of urinary tract infection. Soon after, the pain had spread through my abdomen and was so crippling that I'd lie on the bathroom floor or curled up in my bed praying for it to end. At this point, appendicitis was assumed, and I was rushed to the hospital for ultrasounds and blood tests and observation. The next day I was discharged with no real answers, apart from the assumption that an ovarian cyst had burst and was the cause of my pain. The next seven months followed a similar pattern of being bed bound for days at a time, with weekly hospital admissions, countless blood tests and ultrasounds becoming a regular occurrence. My school attendance was dismal, as I could very rarely muster the energy to make it in, and my mental health suffered as a result. My school were unsupportive at best, "friends" who didn't understand assumed I was just lazy and my relationships were put under an unreal level of stress for a scared sixteen-year-old. A lot of those friendships didn't recover, the lack of support was hurtful and that's something that still affects me now.

Endometriosis Awareness UK | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Infographic from Endometriosis UK

Towards the end of January 2012, on one of the rare days I managed to make it into school, I was struck with a whole new level of pain and ended up being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, again under the assumption that it was appendicitis. After another round of ultrasounds and blood tests, the decision was made to perform a laparoscopy (something that had been mentioned the very first time I was admitted to hospital) which is a minor surgery involving a scope being inserted into the abdomen to look for signs of conditions like endometriosis. This surgery showed scarring and the remnants of a burst ovarian cyst, but I wasn't formally diagnosed with anything at this stage. To this day, I still suffer from chronic abdominal pain and have had a number of different investigative procedures with the aim of finding a cause. I had a second laparoscopy in November 2015 where endometrial tissue was discovered and removed, which eased my pain slightly but did not eradicate it completely. The only way to diagnosis endometriosis is through a laparoscopy, but even then it can still be missed.

The thing is, though, I'm actually lucky. My endometriosis experience has been far from a walk in the park, but it could have been so much worse. I've learned to deal with the majority of my pain so that I can live a relatively "normal" life, but I do have my limits. I have flare-ups which leave me exhausted, my periods are an absolute nightmare at best, and hormonal migraines are a regular occurrence. I'd be completely lost without the pill, and as much as people slate it, it's absolutely changed my life. There is no specific "cure" for endometriosis, and there's no way of telling what impact this is going to have on the rest of my life.

One of the most difficult things about endometriosis, for me, is the loneliness. So many people don't understand the condition or how it can impact someone's life, so I guess that's the whole reason I'm sharing this. I cope okay for the most part, but like I said I am so lucky in that respect. It takes an average of 7.5 years to reach a conclusive endometriosis diagnosis, but this needs to change. It's the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK and a diagnosis can be life-changing. You can read more about the symptoms of endometriosis here.

Find out more about endometriosis from Endometriosis UK, who provide a brilliant resource on the condition

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1 Mar 2017

New Look Spring Edit 2017

New In Spring New Look Deals 2017 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog


Maybe it's a little bit early to be talking about spring style, but with the evenings getting a little lighter and the cold winds lifting just slightly, I can't help dreaming of sunnier days and wardrobe additions for a new season. I've had a New Look voucher burning a hole in my purse for months now but somehow I've still not spent it yet - which is an absolute miracle for me! My problem is, I just can't decide. I've been lurking on the new in page nearly every day for the past few weeks and each time they add new stock I fall in love all over again. Seriously, they are killing it right now!

I keep finding myself drawn to their trousers, particularly because I know I can trust the fit, and they have a fantastic selection right now. Relaxed fit, tailored, embellished denim, culottes, you name it. I think trousers are such versatile pieces and I'm always looking to add some more to my collection. I've started to embrace the ever-so-popular culotte style and I'm excited for the weather to warm up just a little bit more so I can wear them more and more. They're so comfortable to wear, but also give off that effortlessly chic vibe that I'm always striving for.

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New In Spring New Look Deals 2017 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog


When the grey skies start to appear less frequently colour starts to creep into my wardrobe once more. I live nearly exclusively in grey and black, so finding colours that complement my existing clothing collection is key. I think yellow is such a happy colour and is perfect for sunny days, I can't help but smile when I'm wearing yellow, so I was really excited to see some beautiful yellow pieces arrive in store at New Look. I still regret not picking up that yellow biker that was floating around Zara last summer but I think the New Look version may just solve that issue! The bottle green version is irresistible too, it's such a beautiful shade and the fit is one I'm drawn to regularly.

Speaking of jackets, that's yet another category that New Look are bossing right now. Even when the weather does perk up, you're very lucky if you can head out in Scotland without a jacket, so having a few lighter options for spring is a must. I'm loving long duster-style coats with cropped trousers or culottes, but I'm also really drawn to this classic button front coat which comes in five gorgeous colours and is an absolute bargain at £34.99.

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What styles are you loving for the upcoming change in season?

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