Purdy Things

We are Living in a Material World…

Posted on September 3, 2013. Filed under: Home, Master Bath Remodel, Purdy Things |

…And I’m picking out some gorgeous items for our master bathroom renovation!

After about a dozen stores for bathrooms, faucets, tile, stone, flooring, etc., we’ve finally picked out the majority of our materials at the first place we went to (go figure) and I’m here to share them with all of you eager and aspiring bathroom renovators.

1. Floor tile

I had to have basket weave floor in one of our upstairs bathrooms. It makes me giddy. It’s a good thing Adam likes it too. I really like how this particular pattern is subtle and the Carrara marble has the gray, green/blue colors we were looking for. See those little accent pieces? Perfection.

floor tileSorry for the blurry iPhone picture

We actually decided to carry this tile over into the shower floor for cohesion and in an attempt to make the space seem bigger. Gasp! I’m surprised myself. I hate cleaning shower floors, but everyone has assured me that the new tile and grout will be much different than my 50 year old shower floor that is stained, not sealed, and just plain OLD.

Believe you me, if this shower floor situation doesn’t work out, I’ll tell you all about it and go to therapy. I’m slightly nervous.

2. Shower wall tile

Oversized subway tiles in Carrara marble for the walls of the shower. Tres chic. So pretty. They’re fairly large at 8×20”. Apparently big tiles cheat the space and make it seem larger. So do lighter colors. It will really brighten it up in here. I hope it looks bigger than it does now. We’re going to grout with a light gray to bring out all the veins in the marble and because I don’t want to clean white grout. Just keeping it real…

3. Accent wall tile

Same material as the shower tile – Carrara marble – but smaller in size at 4×12”. We’ll tile about 4 feet up the wall behind the sink and toilet, add a pencil border, this accent border of mixed glass and marble, a pencil border and a ledge piece, and call it a day. The tile will carry over to the half wall.

4. Counter top

We haven’t decided on the counter top yet, but we think we are going with quartz. It’s a very durable material and great for bathrooms and kitchens. Plus, it’s very versatile and comes in all colors and patterns. Yes, we have marble tile everywhere, but I was hesitant to have a marble counter top in a bathroom with lots of beauty products and curling irons that would inevitably make contact. These are the my top picks for counters in no particular order: marble-like, looks like Corian to me, probably the best match to our marble (I don’t think it has to match, just coordinate), a little bling and pizzazz with this one. Of course I’m leaning toward the sparkly one, but I haven’t seen any of these in person. Since we need such a small piece, I may be picking from the scrap pile anyway and my options might be limited. Then again, I don’t know if they have scrap piles for manufactured quartz since it’s – well – manufactured. I doubt they make a lot of extra.

5. Vanity

vanityImage from Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

I ordered unfinished to save money and because I really like this vanity! We couldn’t find anything we liked that was ready to install. We plan to rent a paint sprayer from Lowes or Home Depot. I’d like to paint it a dove gray. We’ll finish it off with some satin nickel cabinet knobs.

6. Vanity Light

In my mood board, I used a fixture from Shades of Light which I lurrrve.

bygoneImage from Shades of Light

It’s down to $135 from $150 which isn’t bad, but isn’t great when you’ve spent most of your budget on marble tile. So I did some more browsing and looky what I found at the neighborhood Lowes:

sea gullImage from Lowes

Pretty darn similar, I say. Real close. So close that I don’t have a clear favorite. So I went with the cheaper option that wouldn’t have to be delivered. Plus, it comes in a satin nickel which will match the rest of our fixtures. It was a win win.

7. Fixtures: sink and shower

We didn’t pay near this much! Thank goodness! You’ve got to love amazon! But fixtures are one thing you don’t really want to skimp on. It’s very difficult to fix plumbing later on without ruining all your tile work. Who likes a leaky faucet anyway?

Brushed stainless steel, traditional with a modern twist. You gotta love it! It sure beats what was in there:



8. Storage solutions

medicine cabinetImage from Lowes

We’ll be getting a much larger and less industrial looking medicine cabinet. Hurrah!

shelvesImage from Grandin Road

Grandin Road makes this awesome shelf caddy that you mount into your door hinges. We’re still thinking about it. We may be able to get along without it. It is a pretty nifty design, but it’s expensive.

We’ll also get some wall-mounted shelves for over the toilet – TBD. I’m excited.

Bathroom accessories like towel bars and hooks will be a brushed nickel, but we haven’t picked them out yet since those are some of the last things to install.

And this is how we felt after buying our tile:

tile shock

It was painful. We did save a ton of moolah by buying it from The Tile Shop during their Memorial Day sale.  I plan to go to HomeGoods, World Market, and Hobby Lobby for vanity knobs, towel hooks, bath mat, etc. We plan to make a structured valance for the window ourselves and I’ll try to snag some sale fabric for that.

Does anyone want to help us grout? That basket weave floor has a lot of grout lines! It’s going to be so much fun!

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Our Quick, yet Grand, Adventure

Posted on August 19, 2013. Filed under: Purdy Things, Travel, Wellness |

Long story short (believe me, it’s a long one), I won 2 free round-trip flights anywhere in the contiguous United States last year. We decided to go somewhere a good distance away to get the most out of our freebies:



We flew direct to Phoenix from Atlanta and arrived midday. We picked up our rental car and headed to the Hilton Squaw Peak Pointe Resort. They have a lazy river. It’s the only reason I picked them. We spent a nice relaxing afternoon by the pool, playing some miniature golf, and got ready for dinner.

We ate at the St. Francis. Guy Fieri has been there on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We figured we couldn’t go wrong. We didn’t.

Adam got a burger. I got a pig dip. It was a French dip with a lot of pork: pork loin, prosciutto, cheese. It was delicious.

The next morning we woke up early since we were still on Eastern time and spent a few hours at the pool. Then we showered and packed the car to drive up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

On the way, we saw lots of cacti, climbed up mountains, saw the beautiful Verde Valley

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and detoured up 89A, the Red Rock Scenic Highway, to see Sedona

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and Oak Creek Canyon.

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We stopped in Sedona for lunch.

It was another 2 hours or so up to the Grand Canyon. We stopped in Williams, AZ to use the facilities and it looked like the small town from Cars. It was so cute. We got on Route 66 for our bathroom break. That was exciting.

The Grand Canyon was predictably indescribable. It was my second visit to the canyon and Adam’s first, but our reactions were the same. We were awestruck.



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We stayed inside the park at Yavapai Lodge. Here’s the sunset over the canyon our first night.





We also saw a ton of elk. Tons of them. They were more common than squirrels. It was crazy.




For our second day at the canyon, we hiked 1.5 miles down Bright Angel Trail to the rest house and back.



Our elevation changed by 1200 feet. It took us about 2 hours in total but we were booking it. It was pretty easy on the way there. Hiking back up out of the canyon was a work out! It was a really interesting hike because you get to see the layers of rock change as you descend as well as the climate and vegetation.


It was a great experience. As a public service announcement, we each packed 2 big water bottles, 2 bags of trail mix, and Adam brought beef jerky. We were pretty well prepared for a 3 mile hike in mid-July.


Despite this, we had to stop a few times on the way up to catch our breaths and my bearings. It was hot, our altitude had changed significantly and we were truckin’ it uphill.

The park rangers say it’s supposed to take you twice as long to come back up. Well, it took us an hour to get down to the rest house and an hour and 10 minutes to get to the canyon rim. We’re bosses.

We decided not to go any farther down than the rest house because there wasn’t much shade remaining on the trail below us, hardly any water available, and we had to think of the increasing heat of the day and the increasing heat as you get lower in the canyon. We would’ve loved to go all the way to the bottom, but the park service strongly recommends hiking one way on the first day, camping by the river, and hiking back out the next day during the summer. It’s just too hot to do it all in one day.

That afternoon, after showers and rest, we drove to the east end of the South Rim and climbed the Desert Watchtower. From the top you can see the Painted Desert to the east and there’s a great view of the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.


Our last night at the Grand Canyon, we ate at the historic El Tovar Hotel. It was yummy. I think Adam had filet mignon and I had lamb chops. Yum.


And our stay at the Canyon was capped off by this beauty:


Too bad it wasn’t arcing over the Canyon… It was still gorgeous.

After the Grand Canyon, we headed south and back to Sedona. We decided to hike up Cathedral Rock with no idea what we were in for.


It was an amazing hike – extremely strenuous as you are literally climbing up steep rocks.


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Once you reach the top – the saddle of Cathedral Rock – you feel like you’ve conquered something. If you’re in relatively good shape, you can definitely do this hike. It’s tough, but very rewarding.

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What a view.



the Century Plant


After our hike, we were able to check-in to our hotel early for a shower and a change of clothes. We had a late lunch at a local pizza place and hit up downtown Sedona for some shopping.

We got a Christmas ornament for our tree. It’s a tradition of ours to get ornaments from the places we’ve been and some gifts for family, particularly for my parents since they had Mason while we were gone.

Our final dinner was at the L’Auberge Resort Restaurant.


Image courtesy of www.gogobot.com

I wish I had our own pictures to share but it was too dark. Our table was on a platform over Oak Creek. It was an amazing end to a whirlwind of a trip. We got to sip wine and eat great food while we listened to the water run over the rocks. We chose to have 3 courses – you can choose a 3 or 4 course meal. Adam had the pork belly with compressed pineapple, the corn chowder with lobster, and the halibut. I had a salad with cranberries, goat cheese and candied pecans, the corn chowder with lobster, and scallops with grilled Brussels, corn, chanterelles, and pork belly. It was delicious.

I’ve been a little discouraged by the slow progress on our bathroom and the fast pace of life in general. It was great to get away, recharge, see our beautiful country and spend time with one another without any distractions, no cell phones (I left mine at home accidentally), to-do’s, and renovations.


“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” – Rumi

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Mod Podgin’ It

Posted on June 20, 2013. Filed under: Hobbies, Home, Purdy Things |

Sometimes good intentions don’t guarantee good results.

Case in point:


My scrapbook paper wall tiles

If I’m going to be honest, they never really lived up to my expectations and then they got worse. The sheets came off and I’ve had to glue them back on so many times.



Not to mention that people sitting over there are afraid twelve pieces of pine are going to wop them on the head. We could get sued.

So I decided to embark on another craft project that involves scrapbook paper and glue. I know. I never learn.

I wanted to work on a mosaic with a Moroccan trellis pattern using different pieces of scrapbook paper.


Here’s how it goes:

1. Purchase big giant canvas (hopefully with a coupon)

2. Purchase enough scrapbook paper to cover canvas (plus extra since you’re cutting it to pieces) in the color scheme of your choosing

3. Find a template on the internets of the repeating shape you’d like to use.

(It helps if it tessellates. If you don’t know what that means, go back to high school and take geometry. I’m kidding. I was the worst math student ever. Here’s a link to Wikipedia for you.)

4. Do some computer magic to make it the size you want.

5. Print template, trace onto thick paper and cut out for your stencil.

6. Trace stencil onto scrapbook paper (I’m sure you can guess what comes next…)

7. Cut out shapes (you’re so smart!)

8. Make a grid pattern on your gigantic canvas with a yard stick and a level (this will keep things from getting all sorts of crooked and help you to start at the center.

9. Arrange the shapes on your canvas the way you’d like for them to appear starting at the center.

10. Break out the modge podge and your inner craft.

11. You know what to do.

Now you can carry the mosaic onto the sides of the canvas if you’d like, or you can wait until it dries, trim the overhanging pieces, tape off the surface of the canvas, and paint the sides black or gray. Or you can leave the sides unfinished. I chose to leave my canvas unfinished because one, I didn’t have enough of the right-shaped scraps to use on the sides and two; it would have looked weird to have black sides when all the colors I used were light and bright.

I tell you what. This project turned out so much better than the tile project. I know that these little pieces of paper aren’t going anywhere because I modded til I podged-ed. The quatrefoils are adhered with mod podge and then I painted 2 coats of podge over them.

Here’s the final product:


It’s a big improvement. So shiny! Yes, there are itty bitty white spaces between some of the shapes, but I think it adds character. Call them grout lines if you’d like.



I do feel bad for asking Adam to mount 9 squares in a grid pattern only to change my mind later. But it’s better to accept failure and make it better than to live with it. This is what happens when you DIY. Some things work and some things don’t.


Though we are in the midst of a master bathroom renovation, we do have plans for our den. They’re small, but a lot of small changes can make a big difference. I’ll let you know what’s in the works soon!

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The Rock Garden

Posted on June 7, 2013. Filed under: Gardening, Home, Purdy Things |

I realize the majority of my posts the last year have been yard-related. We’ve really been trying to get our yard in shape for the summer. It’s getting there. I get prouder every day.

A couple outdoor updates for you…

We were good members of our community when we ordered 25 bales of pine straw from the local high school for their PTSA fundraiser. Too bad those high schoolers didn’t spread it. But now we have fresh pine straw at the mail box and in the backyard where we ripped out ivy. Huzzah!




You can see that my tulips by the mailbox were in full bloom a few weeks ago. They were so pretty. I hope they bloom next year.



We’ve filled in the cavities in the backyard dug by this guy:


We spread some fescue seed and we’re crossing our fingers, saying our prayers, hopping on one foot, sacrificing a lamb, and wishing and hoping we’ll get some grass to grow up ins here. So far, so good.

And the purpose of everything I’ve shared up to this point is to build your anticipation for the minor reveal of my rock garden. I use that term loosely.

To the left of the staircase that leads to our patio is a pretty slope with ivy, what looks like daylilies, and rocks. I filled in the gaps with salvia (a perennial so it will come back every year) and impatiens (an annual, but in my experience they tend to come back anyway).



Looks nice, right? It’s the small touches that sometimes make a nice impact.

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Say Hello to My [Bushy] Little Friends

Posted on December 15, 2011. Filed under: Gardening, Home, Purdy Things |

Um. I’m a bad blogger. I don’t have many before pictures. And I’m not quite sure we’re ready for the afters, but my little friends are producing big blooms and they cannot be ignored.

There were weekends of yard work at our house September through November. Why every weekend? Check this out:

That is a lot of leaves, my friend. And that is only a fraction of the leaves in the backyard. Oy vey!

Sometime in there I decided I would focus on this sore spot:

This area in our backyard was pathetic. It had 2 deadly rosebushes with thorns as long as my big toe. There was an annoying fencing thing-a-jig (technical gardening word, people) that caused a small cliff. Then there was a random assortment of rocks and those ugly catawampus boards trying to be a border. The dangerous roses weren’t even blooming this fall. I don’t know how to take care of roses. Honestly, I’ve never tried. I have heard from wise women like my mother and grandmother that they are very high maintenance. That doesn’t sound like fun.  And considering that they were extremely spike-a-licious, meant that they HAD.TO.GO.

Because there was no ground cover here, and those stupid boards were a barrier, all the rain water that comes around the side of the house would pool in one spot, bringing a ton of debris and pine straw with it. See that pile? Tres chic.

I clipped down the rose bushes, piling the thorny branches up for compost and began to dig out the root balls. Funny story: as I was literally jumping on the spade to get it under the root ball, I lost my balance and fell backward into – you guessed it – the pile of rose thorns. OWWWWEEEE! Luckily I had pretty rugged jeans on so it didn’t hurt as bad as it could. It was a total Wiley Coyote moment, though. Thank goodness no one was around to see it. I laughed at myself for a while.

After I got rid of the rose bushes, I tugged on the fence thing and it came right up. The boards and the rocks were a little more labor intensive. The boards actually had rebar in them securing them to the ground. I used a stiff rake and a shovel to level out the slope. I also made trips to the back of the lot with the wheel barrow to transfer dirt to help with the grading. This took a while and we finally came to the conclusion that we should buy some bags of dirt. Dirt is cheap. Regular visits to the chiropractor are not.

The day before, I went to Lowe’s and Pike’s Nurseries looking for red blooming camellias. Pikes had what I needed and they have a lifetime guarantee on their plants. I bought 2 Yuletide camellias in the smaller size. They were $30 total compared to $100 for 2 camellias in the larger size. I figured the small ones will grow and we don’t have to have mature plants on the back of our house.

Why did I pick camellias? I’ve always loved them. My mom has a beautiful camellia on the back of my parents’ house and it thrives there. We needed some foundation shrubs in the back and I wanted something that would bloom in the dead of winter. They are evergreens and fairly easy to grow.

I planted the Camellias according to the instructions and added a little of my own (via my mother):

  1. Dig a hole 3 times as wide as the root ball and to a depth where the top of the root ball will be exposed
  2. Set the camellia down in the hole
  3. Fill with water and let it drain and get sucked up by the camellia (This was advice from my mother. It ensures that the plant gets plenty of water right away)
  4. Back fill hole with a combination of organic camellia soil and home soil (your own dirt).
  5. Make a shallow trough around the root ball in the dirt so water won’t collect at the trunk
  6. Scatter wood chips on the top of the soil, but keep away from the trunk. The wood chips help keep the soil moist and cool.
  7. Water again

After I planted the camellias, we spread out the new dirt we got to level out the slope even more. Adam seeded it for grass a few weeks later, I made sure my camellias were tended to, and voila (after 8 weeks of grass-growing, but who’s counting?):

Of course the camellias are still very small. They’ll start to really grow this spring and summer. We will need to seed the grass again come spring and probably in the fall too. This area had no grass before, so we figure it will take a few times of seeding and fertilizing. (Hopefully we’ll get it where we want it in the next year or so.) We’d like to seed some grass a little further up the slope where you see that bare spot between grass and fallen leaves. There is straw on the ground to protect the young shoots since the water runoff comes around this side of the house. We also discovered that the grass did a lot better where we laid down new soil. So we plan to add new soil in the spring to the barren areas to stimulate growth. Don’t mind the AC unit. I am hoping it won’t look so huge once the camellias mature and balance it out back there. No problems with water run-off and debris piles yet and we’ve had some downpours.

The grass is fescue for all those interested. You can buy fescue sod; it’s a relatively new product. But it costs this crazy number with 3 zeroes on the end. Seed costs for our size yard were less than $100, partly because we over-seeded. We decided to try the cheap way first and it’s working out pretty well.

You may have noticed something different about this area as well:

Before… in the summer. Look at all those leaves!





Yep, the playground is gone. It’s been gone for a while now. We took it down with the help of a friend and Craigslisted it for free as long as they came and hauled it off. Someone came the very next day. The grass is growing pretty well where it used to be. We’re excited about that!

That’s a very big oak tree in the middle of the backyard. We’re thinking about having it removed since it’s placement is a little odd and it gives the only flat area in the back too much shade. We’d like to have an edible garden. Removing a tree that large will cost a couple of thousand dollars. So it’s a decision we need to think about. If we do decide to remove it, we will plant 2 little trees somewhere in the yard to appease Mother Nature – and county law.

I’m pretty excited about my bright red flowers just in time for the holiday season.

I can’t wait until these camellias are 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, producing hundreds of blooms!

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A Christmas Dinnuh Pahhhhteee

Posted on December 8, 2011. Filed under: Food and Beverage, Holiday, Home, Purdy Things |

Adam and I had some of our friends over for a Christmas-themed dinner party. I was very excited about decorating for the party, particularly the table setting:

I broke out the fine china for the first time. I think using it a little over a year after you get it is pretty darn good! We had dinner on our new table. The 9 of us crammed in and got real close.

I used silver chargers, china, red napkins and coasters I picked up from Crate&Barrel.

For the centerpiece, I pulled 3 glass vessels that I already owned from the Christmas decoration stash and put red candles (we already had) in them. I used some footed dessert bowls that we have, stuck a votive in them, and filled them with acorns from the yard! For the final little touch, I took 3 rocks glasses from the cabinet and casually arranged camellia blooms from our Yuletide camellia bushes in the backyard along with some trimmings from our Christmas tree. It was a great way to set a wintery table-scape with things we already had.

I was very happy with the way it turned out. I still love to play house to this day even though I guess it’s for real and not playing. I swap out placemats, napkins, and centerpieces every few weeks for the heck of it. It’s like a mini-makeover that occurs mess-free in less than 10 minutes. Can’t beat that.

Can’t beat a blog post that’s less than 300 words either.

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Finally… A Table and Chairs

Posted on November 18, 2011. Filed under: Home, Purdy Things |

After months of looking and coping with the realization that they don’t make furniture like they used to, we have a kitchen table and chairs!!!

Adam’s parents were so generous in gifting us this beee-you-tiful table and chairs that we picked out as a wonderful housewarming present. They broke the furniture-buying ice so to speak. We’ve been in this house for 4 months and this is our first furniture acquisition. And we have a long way to go!

Why did it take so long? Well, in what little experience I have shopping for furniture, it always takes a long time. Additive to that, I was and usually am very, very picky. I wanted a round pedestal table on a true pedestal, with a drop-in leaf, solid wood, and one color finish. Besides those qualities, I had to like it stylistically. So it took a long time. You’d think I was asking for the moon when I wanted a solid wood table. A lot of manufacturers don’t make solid wood furniture and substitute a lesser quality wood with wood veneers. And most solid wood tables were out of this world expensive. But I finally found one that I love and Adam likes it too:

forgive the pictures. I had to use the older camera. 😦

This table is made out of poplar and hemlock. The top is planked and a little rustic/worn looking. The planks have these pretty tongue and groove joints that you can see from the side of the table top.

There is a 2 foot leaf that drops in and it is planked as well. The leaf really blends in because of all those planks.  It has a warm mahogany finish and I love the over-sized ball turning in the pedestal.

The feet are pretty fabulous too. See how there are nicks and knots and a general rustic vibe? We love it!!!

The chairs are made out of solid wood as well. The seats can pop out. We plan to re-upholster them in a fabric that is complimentary to the kitchen curtains. Kitchen curtains will be an adventure for later.

The seats of the chair are smaller than your average kitchen chair, but we’re small people. Our behinds fit in them just fine. And the other chair options were REALLY wide. For special occasions, we’d like to be able to fit 6-8 people around this table if we can, so getting slimmer chairs is key. (With the leaf, the table is supposed to seat 8.) We really like the shape of the backs. The chairs are the same stain finish as the table, but less rustic. They still match though. I made sure of that before we ordered them.

Why solid wood? Why not? When it comes to a kitchen table, something that will get used multiple times a day for eating, crafting, doing homework (one day), I wanted it to be very durable. It’s comforting to know that we can sand this baby down in 20 years and refinish it without going through a veneer.

We are so grateful for our wonderful parents. Adam’s parents were more than generous with this gift. We couldn’t be happier. Every morning this week when I’ve walked into the kitchen, I grin like an idiot. And then I pet the table or put my nose to it so I can smell the newness. It’s love. My parents gave us some money to use on stuff around the house. We haven’t used it yet. Yeah, we’re tightwads. We’re thinking about using it on a grill or some furniture in the living room. I’ll let you know when we finally make a decision.

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Things I’ve Been Digging on Etsy

Posted on October 13, 2011. Filed under: Home, Purdy Things |

From IScreenYouScreen based in Cadillac, Michigan:

World Map



Lost Quote


From japonicas in Perth, Australia:

 Bird perch necklace


Rosebud earrings


From HungryArt based in Pennsylvania:


Zoo Animal Linocuts


From BandAPrints in Fort Collins, Colorado:

 Cities of Indiana


From articipe in Baltimore, Maryland:


Kitchen Recipes


From DestinysCreations in Windsor, Connecticut:


Georgia Heart Necklace


From n2design in San Luis Obispo, California:

Rock Me Mama



Adventures Quote


From BGBJewelry in Phoenix, Arizona:


Turquoise Quartz Earrings


Aqua Quartz Necklace


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