YOGA for VENEZUELA

For all of you who are not familiarized with the situation in Venezuela here’s a very short synopsis:

- Protests started over 2 months ago for 3 main reasons: violence, inflation and constant scarcity of basic goods.

- Over 200,000 people have been killed in the past 15 years (since Chavez government started)

- Over 40 people have been killed during this protest.

- There’s a large amount of students and leaders unjustly in prison.

I could write a whole essay about my country’s situation but those key points are just to give you and idea of what’s going on.

Anyhow, because of this, Venezuelan’s around the world have been protesting in creative and pacific ways. Some get together on the streets with signs and flags, others go to masses that are celebrated for the peace of the country and there was even a 5k race in Miami last weekend! But one of the forms of protests that people have been practicing the most is hosting Yoga classes for the country’s peace.

Maybe I’m wrong by using the term “protest” when I talk about yoga, but it has been a great way to create awareness and send good vibes to Venezuela and its people. This caught so much my attention that I decided to organize a yoga class where I live (Savannah, GA.)

At the beginning I was a little bit nervous because there’s not a lot of Venezuelans here; I didn’t know if people where going to support this initiative and had no idea of how I was going to put this event together.

My friend Jim told me he could help, so he put me in touch with the people at a local pizza bar on Tybee Island called Huc-A-Poos. Surprisingly they were GREAT! Heather (one of the owner’s) was so excited to donate the space that I couldn’t believe it.

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Heather from Huc-A-Poos and Me

The next step was to find a yoga teacher. After asking around, my friend Natalia hooked me up with Kendall, the BEST teacher in Savannah, and she said that she was “honored” that we asked her. At this point I couldn’t believe how this people were so happy and thrilled of helping me when they have no relationship with Venezuela… AMAZING!

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Natalia, Kendall and Me

After all this all I needed was for people to show up. I created an event page on Facebook , promoted the class on different social media platforms, a Venezuelan SCAD student made a flyer that we were able to hang in different places (thanks Carla!) and I even had a radio interview but, of course, that weekend was one the largest 5K here in Savannah and it was also the Orange Crush (think spring break in Panama City, FL. but in Tybee Island)

When I found out all this I started thinking “why did I get myself into this?, no one is going to show up.” People told me to change the date but I really wanted to do it on 04/12 since the protests started on 02/12 so it was exactly 2 months after.

Long story short, different people started to reach out because they wanted to collaborate with the cause… The people from Lululemon Savannah wanted to give us mats for those of them who didn’t have any but still wanted to come to the class, Becks from Boho Mobile Tans donated a gift card to be given to the person who gave the highest donation, Bobby gave me one of his books to raffle and a dinner for 2 at The Lady & Sons and Huc-A-Poos donated 3 bottles of alcohol to be raffled as well.

The big day was finally here and after a roller coaster of emotions the excitement was back!!! The sun was shining, Heather had a cooler filled with ice and water bottles waiting for us, Bobby and some friends came to help me set up everything and people started to show up! I was surprised with the turnout… 38 yogis came out and just 4 of them were Venezuelans, isn’t that impressive? The support we got from the community was just incredible, we even made $529 that are going straight to improve the conditions in the barrio of Petare in Caracas.

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 Yogis arriving at Huc-A-Poos

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Bobby and Me 

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During the class

I can’t explain how thankful I am with all the people who helped us out and that showed up to support the cause! Our friends from Fleet Feet Savannah were amazing at spreading the word as well as the people from Lululemon, Huc-A-Poos and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

I believe that when we have big challenges or events in our future is normal to feel fear, loose focus and motivation. These are the moments where we need to lean on the positive people that surround us who can lift us up and help us regain perspective! #SOSVenezuela #LejosPeroNoAusentes

Spring Cleaning

We all know it’s Spring, and even though in some states and countries is still snowing, it’s finally getting warmer down here.

I feel Savannah just have 2 seasons: Winter and Summer. This year our temperatures dropped to 14 and, of course, 2 months later we’re in the 80’s… crazy!

Anyways, you have all probably read around the Internet or magazines about the popular “Spring Cleaning”: donate the clothes that you haven’t use in the past year, organize your closet by colors, put away your coats, etc. Here I want to invite you to do your Spring Cleaning in a deeper way:

 

1. Get rid of negative thoughts: having a negative output about most things that happen around you is not going to take you anywhere. Remember, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

2. Put aside the people who bring you down: we already have many things in our everyday lives to be worrying about the negative energy of the people we may be surrounding ourselves with. YOU have the power to choose the people around you. Surround yourself with confident people that challenge you to be better everyday and that bring out the best in of you.

3. Stop worrying: if you can’t do anything about it is not worth your time; if you can do something about it stop worrying and ACT.

4. Choose to be happy: you don’t know when will be your last day on earth. Make the right choices and keep in mind that “happiness is a journey, not a destination.”

5. Don’t complain: complaining, criticizing and gossiping is just going to give you a bad reputation… and no one wants to have a bad reputation, right?

 

LIVE one day at a time. We are all IMPERFECT. EMBRACE change. Go with the FLOW.

April 2014 Activities – Savannah, GA.

I’m so excited to start the month announcing 2 events that I’m helping to organize… If you are in the Savannah area come and support these causes!

YOGA FOR VENEZUELA

Venezuela is going through a devastating situation and we can ALL help!

Come join us for an outdoor yoga class to send good vibes to the people of Venezuela and help create awareness.

Wear white as a symbol of peace, bring your yoga mat, water bottle, towel and good energy!

Yoga Instructor: Kendall Beene-Crowder

Donations welcomed (all funds will be send to Caracas, Venezuela and they’ll be used for different social activities in the barrio of Petare such as buying water tanks for extreme poor areas that don’t have access to clean water and buying light poles for dangerous areas that don’t have any electricity)

Here are some links to a couple of videos in case you want to get more familiarized with what’s happening in the country:

http://fusion.net/Justice/video/pressured-freedom-press-venezuela-477096

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a-eeAnhcgU

After the events Huc-A-Poos will be open serving the BEST pizza in town so stick around for some fun and start your weekend right!

RSVP here

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BOSTON STRONG COMMEMORATIVE RUN 

The Savannah Striders are getting back into their monthly downtown runs, and what better way to do it than commemorating the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

As most of you know 04/15 will always be a date to remember, so join us at Ellis Sq. for a short tribute and a 3.1 + mile run… Then we’ll stick around for dinner at B&D’s!

We encourage you to wear your former Boston Marathon gear or royal blue and yellow (colors of the BM Association)

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Hello Spring!

As flowers bloom and the sun begins to shine, I’m back home and couldn’t ask for more.

These past few weeks have been super busy, lots of ups and downs but they’ve definitely been the happiest days of my life.

Since the last time I wrote here a lot has happened…

  1.      I got the opportunity to speak in front of a wonderful group of bloggers about CHICALOVERDE
  2.      My heart got completely broken because my country has been fighting for its freedom for over a month and people have been killed #prayforvenezuela
  3.      I ran two 5Ks placing 3rd on my age group in both races
  4.      I got to spend two much needed weeks with my parents
  5.     I started organizing a yoga class for the peace of Venezuela, which will take place in Tybee Island, GA. in mid April.
  6.    I married the love of my life, again (this time in the church) and was surrounded by my whole family and best friends.
  7.      I spent an amazing week with my husband in paradise
  8.      I decided to run a summer marathon… VUM here I come!

Even though a lot of emotions have been invading me (sadness for my country, love, happiness, anxiety) I feel very blessed… so blessed to the point that I ask myself sometimes, do I deserve it all?

I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my life: moving into a new house, marathon training (yay!) and maybe some running coaching in the near future.

Here are some pics of all of the above! Enjoy :)

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Savannah Striders… WINNERS!

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Pre-Wedding FUN!

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 LOVE

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 The Big Day… dessert, anyone?

 

Critz Tybee Run Fest 2014

Running any race at the Critz Tybee Run Fest is so much fun! Fleet Feet Savannah always puts on a great event so this is my third time participating in it. Because of the time of the year the weather is usually crappy during the race, but this didn’t keep us from having a great time.

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Some of the Savannah Striders

I signed up for the five different races, which, if you sum them all up, equal the distance of a full marathon. Because of some commitments we had I was not able to run the first race (a 5K), so I decided I was just going to aim for a great time on the half marathon.

My friend Andrea and I’ve talked about me pacing her to PR, which was finishing anywhere under 1:55. When I got to the starting line I didn’t see her so I started running by myself. Around mile 2 I saw her way in front of me so I had to sprint really hard to catch her!

It was raining and windy, but we had a good time catching up and getting the work done. Every time I looked at my watch I kept telling her “you are totally going to PR.” We were running at around 7:55 min. mile throughout the entire race.

Around mile 11 I felt this extra boost of energy and started picking up the pace. I finished in 1:43:45 (my 2nd best half marathon time) and she finished in 1:45 placing 3rd in her age group!

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Yep! I finished strong :)

After the half was over I was so excited (runner’s high ya’ll!) and decided to stay for the 2.8-mile beach run. I’ve already paid for it so I might as well give it a try. It was super windy and cold on the way out and hot on the way back. Surprisingly I managed to finish in 20:45 placing first on my age group!

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Freezing! Waiting for the Beach Run to start!

Hearing the crowd cheering, hanging out with some of the best runners in town and seeing people with huge smiles on their faces despite being soaking wet and cold reminded me of why I run! I can’t be thankful enough of what this sport and what the Savannah Striders have given to me!

Work It! by Nat Wester

Since most of us have physical goals for 2014, the super fit and healthy Nat Wester from Mean, Green, Clean-Eating Teen is sharing with us a workout that you can easily do at home! So no excuse! Let’s get back on track ;)

Hello again! This is Natalie, back this time with an awesome workout.

It is January… the month of the typical New Years Resolutions. How many times have you committed yourself to “I am going to get fit!” or “I will loose weight and eat better!”?

Each year, thousands utter those very words, promising to become healthier and more athletic. But how many ACUTALLY follow through? Not many.

Perhaps a reason for this is the scary thought of going to a gym. Many people don’t like the idea of working out in front of others right off the bat. Or maybe, a gym membership is just too expensive for one’s budget right now.

No matter what the “reason” may be to not achieve these resolutions… they are NOT valid excuses!!

Below I have set up an easy, AT HOME workout that takes less than an hour to complete. All you need is a set of dumbbells and your own body! Now… try to find an excuse for this one! ;)

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Workout Breakdown:

Start the workout with the “Starter”

Progress on to the curcuits. You will do each move in the circuit for 45 seconds, with 15 seconds rest. You complete each round 4x.

You use the Dumbbells on the fallowing movements:

Chest Press, Chest Fly, Neutral Chest Press, Chest Fly with Twist, and Pushup w Row.

How to do some movements you may not know:

Down Up Pushup: Start in a plank on your hands. One arm at a time, move to a plank on your forearms. Return to start and repeat.

Pushup With Row: With hands on Dumbbells right under shoulders, do a pushup. When you return to plank, row the dumbbells up, one side at a time.

Neutral Chest Press: Chest press with palms facing each other.

Plank with Leg In: In a plank position, bring one leg at a time in to your nose, crunching your abs. You can also bring the knee out to your side for a side ab crunch.

Chest Fly with Twist: Regular fly pattern, but twist your palms away from your face at the top and twist them to face eachother as you bring them down.

Thank you Claudia for the awesome workout featured on Clean Eating Teen, and for letting me share this workout with your readers! You rock , as always J

Have a great 2014 everyone, and remember… NO EXCUSES!

Natalie

Rails to Trails Ultra 2014

When I asked people who completed this race last year about it, everybody kept saying: “it was very foggy!” So, I woke up on race day and there it was… the FOG! The temperature was nice, but when I got to Fort Pulaski I felt I was freezing (and of course I was wearing short shorts and a lil tank top while everyone else was wearing long sleeves, but it was ok)

This event raises money for a great cause (to restore the McQueen’s Island Historical Trail) so I was happy to be there without caring too much about the conditions.

I waited on the starting line for around 25 minutes talking to friends that I haven’t seen since last year about their holidays, the weather and their expectations for this event. This was the first time I was doing a trail race so I was kind of nervous because I always, ALWAYS, train on pavement. Image

Me and my painful smile

The race started and .5 miles in I was running in grass… Wowwww! What a difference! I’d say that 75% of the course was grass and dirt and just 25% of it was paved. This was a 5.2 mile loop that I had to run 3 times to complete my 25K. I was so happy that I brought my iPod because most of the time I was running by myself at an unfamiliar place, so that encourage me to keep a good pace.

The fog was everywhere and sometimes the wind was a killer but I enjoyed it very much! There’s something about these smaller races and about the ultra running community that I can’t describe… Everyone was so friendly and smiling! This race definitely opened my eyes and made me gain so much more respect for ultra runners! These people could run for hours (and I mean 12+ hours) without complaining or collapsing… I always say that running is like therapy, and these people take that to a whole new level!

I finished 15.92 miles in 2:11:23, which put me as 3rd female overall! Great, right?

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After the race with some of the Savannah Striders! A great group of runners, volunteers and supporters

Now I’m ready for my next event on February 1st! Do you have any races or challenges for this year?

2014 Goals… Anyone?

Happy New Year! How exciting is to start 2014 with a clean slate, right?

That’s the magic of every January 1st. On this date you usually feel that it could be the beginning of a new you, but the truth is that every day is a new beginning.

The past month we’ve been super busy around here. My husband and I had our first Christmas together (which was amazing BTW), my parents came to visit, we went to NYC to spend New Years with my family and I started a new and short training plan for an upcoming race that takes place on February 1st.

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Mom & Me

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Bobby & Me in NYC

Like every year I made some resolutions that I wanted to share with you for several reasons: they could inspire you to make your own, sharing them with others makes me commit to them and you could add some of these to your list if you like them!

So here we go! I’ve divided my resolutions/goals into different categories:

Spiritual/Personal

  1. Stop worrying about the things I don’t have control over, they are not worth my time… and life is too short to be wasting time
  2. Stop thinking about the future and focus on what I CAN do today
  3. Don’t argue over small stuff … Again, that’s a waste of my time
  4. Speak to my parents more often
  5. Stick to my yoga practice
  6. Live a healthier and happier life

Physical:

  1. Cut back on sugar
  2. Have a green juice every morning
  3. Do 1-2 triathlons during the summer + a full marathon in the Fall (NYC here I come!)
  4. Keep eating rainbows and chewing more
  5. Don’t beat myself over a missing training session (yes, I do this some times)

What are your goals/resolutions? If you haven’t written them down go ahead and do it. This way, when you are lacking motivation or find yourself in an uncomfortable position, you can go back, re-read the list and think about what inspired you to improve yourself.

Let’s get started!

5 Questions for Nat Wester

This month I asked 5 questions to the talented and inspiring Mean, Green, Clean-Eating Teen

She is such an inspiration to so many people that I thought it was a great idea to dig a little bit more into her life and share it with you! 

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1) What does a day in your life look like?

My day, at least during the school year, is pretty consistent in form. My school starts at 7:30AM. I’m definitely an early bird, and don’t have energy to workout other than the morning! So I wake up at 4:45AM, workout from 5AM-6AM. I strength train 4-5x a week, and the days I do not I enjoy an hour of power yoga! I also try to in-cooperate yoga and stretching throughout each and every day.

After I work out, I get dressed and eat breakfast, and get a small lunch together for school. I don’t have much time to eat with my classes, and the lunch period is too crowded to even sit down sometimes. So I usually stick to munching on a few small snacks (nuts, eggs, fruit) through the school day.

Since I AM just a “teen” after all, I have yet to obtain my license to drive. I am taking the classes now, so I will have it within a few months. But as of now I take the bus home after school! I’m lucky that my mom can drop me off in the mornings, because that always sets a nice tone for my day :)

As soon as I get home I either grab a snack, or start dinner. Usually it is the latter, because I hate eating late. The earlier the better for my tummy! Dinner is eaten by 5, and if I am still hungry Ill eat a snack later. The rest of the night is typically taken over by homework, studying, and of course, blogging! I do make time to visit with my sister once she gets home from school, and help her with any homework, and also to visit my mom after her work day.

And like the party animal I am, I usually hit the hay around 8 or 830 PM! No joke. :) The weekends are really fun because I don’t have to get up so early, and both my sister and mother are with me all day. I still workout first thing when I get up, but the rest of the day is never planned! The weekends are the only “free” time I really have, so I make sure to see friends, family, and to -try- and stay up late! I also enjoy experimenting with recipes, and sometimes going out to eat (the only place we really go out to is Chipotle. We love their pledge to stay GMO free, plus the food is just YUMMY!) or to the movies, church, ext.

2) Why do you love yoga so much to the point that you want to become a certified yoga instructor?

I started to experiment in yoga around 4th grade. I remember no being able to even hold crescent pose (kinda like a lunge variation) for a second! I also remember doing some online videos, in which they progressed into balance poses such as half moon, where I was completely astounded by the fact such a thing was POSSIBLE.

It was a challenge for me… and I LOVE a good challenge. The fact that I had (and still do have) so much to learn, so many poses to try and complete, kept me interested. One of the things I love about yoga is that even though the postures never really change, YOU change. The poses and asanas grow with you as a person… there are variations for all levels.

Plus, even if you have to stay on the exact same “level” for years, each day the practice brings something new. Sometimes I feel wonderful, and the entire class flies by. My muscles feel great and I don’t get caught up in my head! But than on other days, the entire class I am stuck. My legs hurt, I lack strength, I just want it to be over with… those are the times when real growth happens. Every time I lay in savasana after those types of days, I feel glad that I kept with my practice, that I acknowledged I was feeling off, and acted upon it.

The reason I want to become a yoga teacher is similar to the reason I also want to become a fitness trainer. I love that EVERY DAY, there is something new to experience. No two days are alike… this is wonderful for someone like me who enjoys being challenged. However, in a sense, there is a consistency to yoga, and fitness and general. I like the fact that I can rely on having a supportive atmosphere daily to walk into, that I will be able to support, talk to, and befriend those who are just as passionate about health and fitness that I am.

Yoga is different than most fitness methods in the fact that EVERYONE can benefit from it. Everyone- a child, a young man or woman, a nursing mother, an elderly couple, even an athlete- can reign wonderful side effects from partaking in yoga! I am excited to meet so many people, with different stories and in all walks of life. In fact, next semester the football coach at my school has asked if I would like to meet with the football team each week and teach them yoga!

3) What’s your favorite holiday dish and why?

Oh, darn! This is a hard question. I think it depends on what I am in the mood for. I am not sure if its a “holiday” dish rather than a seasonal one… but I LOVE soups and chili. Thanksgiving and Christmas time are always prime time to cook up a huge batch of pumpkin chili, or chicken soup. I don’t get this stuff during summer so I look forward to it all year! :) Also, ANYTHING involving sweet potatoes or winter squash, I love.

4) Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I see myself out of college, and hopefully growing major connections (if not already having them). Another reason that I love to blog besides writing is to make connections… I would LOVE to be able to have my own TV show one day. You see cooking shows all the time, but how amazing would it be to be a part of one that focuses on holistic methods and a wholesome diet rather than using processed ingredients to make things taste better, or trying to whip up some “15 minute” meals? I know that is a long stretch, but that is why I am starting my journey towards this giant dream NOW instead of later! I also have many ideas currently for opening a holistic grocery store with my mother, and hope that those plans will be farther acted upon and developed.

I also see myself with a yoga teaching certificate, as well as personal training certificates. I hope to be actively using those on a daily bases as well as a holistic nutrition degree. I also think it would be wonderful to continuously study in the holistic culinary arts. I think that traveling will play a big role in this, as well as to help spread the word of health and nutrition to as many as possible while learning about other cultures approach to life and health!

5) How long ago did you start your blog and why?

I began blogging August of 2012. I had been active in the health and fitness lifestyle for a while by then, and read other health blogs daily. I had always wanted to start one… I would even think of things to write in a post while I would take a shower! Haha :) Finally, I decided to just DO IT! It was difficult at first, and I did not post regularly in the beginning. But in the past few months I have really gotten serious about it and I am so blessed to have met so many wonderful people and gained new experiences from it :)

If you want to get more inspiration from this wonderful young lady, don’t forget to follow her:

www.cleaneatingteen.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/holisticmealplanning

www.twitter.com/cleaneatingteen

www.pinterest.com/cleaneatteen

www.youtube.com/user/cleaneatingteen

My First THANKSGIVING

Hi everyone! I’m happy to announce that I’m not a Thanksgiving virgin anymore :)

Yesterday we had the most wonderful day. Bobby and I woke up at 6:45 am, had our lime water and got ready to go to the Turkey Trot to run 4 miles in a 30 degree weather (-1F). It was a beautiful winter morning with not even one cloud in the sky… perfect for Bobby’s first race!

We got to the park and waited in the car for about 15 minutes with the heat on. When we got to the start line I needed to use the porta potty (because a race is not a race without using them, right runners?) and of course the line was super long.

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Freezing on the porta potty line :)

We successfully made it to the start line right before the national anthem and before we even noticed we were running with the crowd. There were people of all ages: kids, adults and grandpas. Everyone was running with a smile on their face! People had funny turkey outfits and hats and it seemed like everybody was enjoying themselves.

The route was very pretty. We even went through a beautiful trail that I didn’t even know it existed.

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Bobby on the trail

I stayed with Bobby the whole time because I didn’t want to miss that special moment of him crossing the finishing line for the first time! Surprisingly he loved it so the next goal will be a 10K :)

At the end we ran into some friends including my fast girlfriend Andrea who got 1st. place on her category!

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Andrea and I, happy to be done!

After the race we came home, showered, had breakfast and took a nap. Then we went to my mother-in-law’s who had been cooking since tuesday and this is just a sample of what was waiting for us:

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Amazing, right? She cooked for over 20 people and of course I had to try it all!

There was also a beautiful dessert table that I didn’t get a picture of with cupcakes, coconut cake, banana nut cake and cookies.

When we got there we enjoyed some time with our loved ones, then we all hold hands, said what we were thankful for and then prayed together. I feel so blessed in so many ways that I can be writing here all day, but mainly I’m thankful for the health and happiness of my family and new family; for my wonderful husband and for the chance that I have to do what I love the most which is live a healthy life and inspire others to do so.

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 Bobby and I post-dinner 

It was such a perfect day!

Last (but not least), I wanted to share with you these 2 images that made me laugh really hard yesterday, hope you get a kick out of them too!

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My brother sent me this one saying that was me LOL! And the one below I saw it somewhere on FB and thought it was pretty hilarious

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