eyeshadow

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold Review + Swatches

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Color:
Rose Gold is exactly that, a shimmery rosy champagne gold color. Is it the most unique shade on the market? No. Is it the color Laura Mercier intended, and promises you? Yes. The caviar stick also makes this kind of shade more versatile–the creamy formula can be worn on it’s own for an amped-up take on a neutral eye, or used as a base for softer hues to neutralize it and tone it down. Also, the color coding on the bottom of the stick and the swatch on Sephora’s site are pretty true to the real hue. (4.5/5)

Wear:
Caviar Sticks promise to be long-wearing, and I was satisfied on that front! This shadow lasted over nine(!) hours looking flawless and freshly applied–no creasing or transferring (as the brand claims). I didn’t experience any shimmer fallout, either. (5/5)

Formula:
Caviar Stick Eye Colors are creamy shadow sticks that are designed to “glide onto lids,” “blend seamlessly,” and have “a rich-pigment payoff.” When testing this product, I checked off all those boxes! It goes on so easily and blends well, unlike some thicker, potted cream shadows. It had a high-shimmer payoff, with or without primer. (5/5)

Packaging:
Caviar Sticks come in lightweight but sturdy plastic pencils that twist up the product. The cap snaps into place and the twist-up mechanic doesn’t feel cheap. The brand and shade name are printed right on the side of the “pencil”, and I like that each shade is color coded on the bottom (making storage easier). (5/5)

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Price:
My Caviar Stick is a sample size that came in one of last year’s Sephora Favorites (making it both smaller–0.03 oz–and cheaper than it would’ve been on it’s own). However, the full size is $28 USD for 0.05 oz. That’s the same amount of product as a MAC powder eyeshadow, but almost twice the sticker price and price per ounce ($300 for MAC, $560 for Laura Mercier). Not to mention it is around the same price as similar products from Bobbi Brown and Marc Jacobs.

So, is it worth the higher cost? I think so. Rose Gold is exceptionally pigmented, versatile, and performs well, and has the sanitation, longevity and ease of use that other cream products don’t always have. I had zero problems with this product, so I think a $28 price tag isn’t outrageous, given the quality. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
I was definitely impressed by Rose Gold Caviar Stick. I don’t reach for cream shadows often (and this is the first one I’ve tried that came in pencil form), but it totally blew me away. It had fantastic color payoff, ease of use, and lasted forever, not to mention it’s potential multipurpose use. The only thing some may balk at is the price, but if you see yourself reaching for it a lot and hate dipping your fingers in potted shadows or dirtying up extra brushes, this will definitely be worth the investment. (4.5/5)

Overall:
Rose Gold Caviar Stick is an awesome product. I hadn’t tried any Laura Mercier products before, but this was a great introduction to the brand. The shadow performed fantastically and looked great for an incredible amount of time and gave me no issues. (4.8) A

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Would I repurchase?
Yes.

Availability:
-lauramercier.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-Lord and Taylor
-Selfridge’s
-Bloomingdale’s
-Bergdorf Goodman
-Macy’s
-Neiman Marcus
-Saks Fifth Avenue

Useful Information:
-Caviar Stick Eye Color comes in 11 shades.
-Caviar Sticks are dermatologist tested.
-By many people’s standards, Laura Mericer is not cruelty free–they sell their products in China and cannot guarantee their ingredients’ suppliers are not animal testing.
-This product was purchased by me.

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NARS Duo in Kauai Review + Swatches + Dupes

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Color:
NARS describes the colors as “gold lame” and “iridescent smoky orchid.” That description is spot on: the left shade is a rich, warm metallic gold, and the right shade is a cool, shimmery grey-based plum. Neither of these shades is the most unique. Urban Decay Maui Wowie is slightly yellower, but similar to the gold. As for the purple, Urban Decay Gravity is similar. However, the gold is lushly pigmented, with the metallic effect coming through. The purple is semi opaque, but even with primer, it needs to be built up a bit. (3.5/5)

Wear:
When it comes to wear, the gold was excellent, lasting a full 8 hours looking flawless. The purple didn’t do as well: it only made it 5 hours before it looked faded (even with primer). (4/5)

Formula:
The gold applies soft, smooth and opaque, even without primer, and has great textural intensity (the foiled effect, naturally, looks enhanced over a base). However, it was a pain with fallout, the kind of shadow where you’d want to apply your face makeup afterwards to avoid looking glittery on the cheeks. The purple also went on smoothly and blended easily, and didn’t suffer from fallout. But, the pigment wasn’t as intense as I’d have liked, and needed to be built up. (3.5/5)

Packaging:
The duo comes in traditional NARS rubberized packaging with a great full-size mirror included. The rubber texture is great for absorbing impact from a fall or during travel. Also, the compact is sleek and thin, and stays secure when shut, making it easy to store. It also has that nice feel you expect from more expensive products. The two pans of shadow have a nice distance between them, and they don’t kick up much product to begin with, so there isn’t much worry of powder crossover. However, this kind of rubber packaging is prone to showing fingerprints. (4.5/5)

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Price:
A NARS duo is $35 USD, and contains 0.14 oz of product. That’s $250 an ounce. (Comparatively, one MAC shadow is $15 for 0.05 oz, which is $300 per ounce.) This is another great example of spending a little more to get more (in this case, 2 shades instead of one, with 0.9 oz more product), and having it add up to less money in the long run.

In terms of quality, it’s not the best, but it doesn’t do so poorly that I’d say it isn’t worth the money. The gold is fabulous and the fallout can be contained. The purple could’ve been improved a bit more. But the shades work so well together and look fabulous enough that I’d say $35 isn’t an outrageous cost, especially if you don’t already have something similar. (4/5)

Wow Factor:
If it isn’t clear by now, the gold definitely grabbed my attention in a positive way. The metallic, high shine finish is lovely and sets it apart from the other golds I own. The purple has been done before, but I like the rich smokiness and how it pairs well with the brighter gold. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors, so it’s not the most unique combination, but I like the way Kauai turned out. (3.5/5)

Overall:
Kauai is a rich, plush looking duo that draws the eye. It looks lovely in the pan and on the lid. However, there were some technical issues (fallout and lack of vibrancy) that disappointed me. My makeup collection is not super large, but still I was able to find dupes for both shades. If you like the shades and don’t mind working with their respective difficulties, go for it. However, there are cheaper options available if you like the effect and not the price tag. (3.8) C+

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Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-NARS is cruelty free, but their parent company, Shiseido, is not.

Availability:
-narscosmetics.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-ASOS
-Barney’s
-Macy

BareMinerals READY 4.0 Eyeshadow Quad in The A-List Review + Swatches

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I had been eyeing these beautiful shadows from BareMinerals for so long. I had heard amazing things about the formula and pigmentation, and the color combinations were lovely as well. For my first foray into this line of eyeshadow (and with BareMinerals products as well), I settled on The A-List, a girly quad.

Color:
The four shades included in this quad are Icebreaker (“Pink Pearl”, top left), Fashionably Late (“Pink Sugar”, top right), Swanky (“Dazzling Plum”, bottom left), and Black Tie Optional (“Black Velvet”, bottom right). It’s a mostly girly palette with the darker colors adding versatility and depth to the super feminine pinks.
-Icebreaker is a light, frosty cool pink champagne with silver shimmer. It’s a great highlight shade, soft and shiny but not too stark for the brow. The sparkles kind of got everywhere, though. (4/5)
-Fashionably Late is a cool, baby pink satin. This one had great pigmentation, even without primer. Not the most unique shade under the sun, though. (4.5/5)
-Swanky is a dark matte plum base with golden sparkles. It goes on opaque, even without primer, but the golden shimmer doesn’t translate onto the eyelid. (4/5)
-Black Tie Optional is a matte, medium dark black. It has such rich, opaque pigmentation, great quality for a matte. (4.5/5)
The palette has a great mix of finishes that work well together and can be combined to give a variety of looks, ranging from soft and feminine to more edgy and evening. (4.25)

Wear:
The only shade that gave me any trouble was Swanky. It started wearing down at a mere two hours, and looked markedly faded at 6 hours. The three other shades looked fresh by the end of the 8-hour testing period. (4.25)

Formula:
All four shades yielded great pigmentation that was opaque on the lid. They were also easy to apply and gave me no issues with dryness or blending. They didn’t feel as soft to the touch as I had imagined (Swanky was the worst offender, feeling a bit gritty), but this is inconsequential, since it doesn’t impact application. The sparkles in Icebreaker were a bit messy, but remained contained to the eye area, so it wasn’t too much of a mess. No other shades had any fallout problems. (4/5)

Packaging:
BareMinerals delivered with more luxe packaging that one tends to expect from brands in this price range. The compact is sleek and rubberized, absorbing impact from falls and making it more resilient during travel, but holds fingerprints like none other! It feels nice and not cheap in the hands. Also, the mirror inside is full-sized, making it functional to take along with you. I do feel like there is a bit too much plastic, and that the size could’ve been minimized a bit in proportion to the shadows inside, but it’s not too large or tricky to store. I don’t know if it was just my quad, but the clasp was fussy on mine as well–it stays firmly shut, to the point where I accidentally dropped it trying to get it open! (Thank goodness for that rubber packaging!) So that is an area for improvement. (4/5)

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The rubber packaging can be a bit hard to keep clean!

Price:
One of these quads is $30 USD, for 0.17 total ounces of product. That’s $176.47 per ounce. For context, 1 MAC eyeshadow is 0.05 oz and sells for $16, a total of $320 per ounce. Each pan of product in this quad is a little more than 0.4 oz, which a little bit of a drawback. But 4 MAC shadows would cost you $64, $34 more than what you get here for only 0.3 more oz of product. In that regard, I would say this palette is a steal. (You could get two of these for cheaper than 4 MAC eyeshadows, and end up with more product weight!)

In terms of quality for the price, BareMinerals didn’t skimp. Each of these shadows is stellar. While Icebreaker is a bit less than neat, it’s a unique highlight shade with fab texture and looks gorgeous on. While pink and black may seem like boring shades, both were rich, easy to apply, and long-lasting. And while the plum didn’t impress on wear time, it still looked gorgeous added depth and interest to a palette that could’ve otherwise been one-note. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
I had high hopes for this quad, and it rose to the occasion! Icebreaker definitely impressed as an unusual but well-performing highlight. Fashionably Late looked sweet and feminine without straying into childish or eye infection territory. Swanky could’ve done better, but works well with the others. And Black Tie Optional is a perfect, rich black matte. The formula of BTO is what pushes it over the edge–black mattes are common, and too often are they patchy or dull. This was neither. (4.5/5)

Overall:
At a first glance, it’s not the most unique quad under the sun: just about everyone owns a matte black, pinks can be tricky and highlight shades can be dull. The A-List turned those notions on it’s ear. Each shade impressed me in one way or another! The quality is top of the line, and I think the pigmentation and mix of textures and shades creates awesome versatility. That’s what hooked me the most with this quad: you can create a soft, girly eye or a more dramatic edgy eye, or mix the two for something elegant, or pop-punk–the looks are quite endless, more so than they initially appear! (4.3) B+

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Availability:
-Sephora
-Ulta
-bareescentuals.com
-QVC
-ASOS

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-BareMinerals is cruelty free, but their parent company, Shiseido, is not.
-The A-List MAY be in the process of being discontinued :/
-Ready quads are made without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOS, or Triclosan.

October ’14 Huge Sephora Haul

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I noticed that a lot of Sephora Favorites looked really good this year. I wanted to put it off ’til it was closer to my birthday (in November) or the holidays, but after discovering that the Give Me Some Lip set is already sold out online, I decided to pick up the rest before it was too late. I also scored some other goodies I’ve been eyeing for a while. Major splurge? You bet. Early birthday/Christmas presents? Totally. Worth it? 100% percent.

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I’ll start off with the perks. Sephora was having a mascara week it seemed as all the 100-point perks were mascaras. So I indulged in a 250-point perk and grabbed a sample of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb perfume. I’d heard great things about it and was curious to see what it smelled like. I decided on Clinique and Urban Decay mascaras (the latter of which ended up being foolish, as I coincidentally bought a sample of the same product in the Lash Stash). And finally, I used a promo code to grab a sample of Dior Diorshow, another mascara I’ve heard rave reviews about, as well as Diorshow Maximizer, a lash primer.

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Next is Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe. I originally wanted to grab this back in my September haul, but sadly, it was sold out at the time. So I knew I couldn’t pass it up this time around! Unlike other lippies which look bold in the tube but go on sheer, Poe is a true navy blue. I love the Studded Kiss formula and can’t wait to give this shade a test drive.

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Another product I’ve been lusting over for a long time are Stila’s adorable palettes. I got In the Garden, a palette composed of warm earth tones, because I have hazel eyes and thought these kinds of shades would flatter them. Plus who can resist some good matte neutrals and pops of color? Not to mention it comes with an eyeliner as well. The packaging is sleek and feminine, and I love the shade names.

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Now for the bulk of the haul–the holiday collections! I’ve always wanted to try a palette from Too Faced, and when I saw their seasonal Everything Nice Palette, I knew it had to be mine. Once I opened it, it was so me–pink and girly with bright and edgy shadows as well. It also came with 2 bronzers (one of which is Chocolate Soleil, which I love), 2 blushes, 3 brushes, and a sample of their Better Than Sex Mascara, which I’ve also heard fab things about. It also came with a cute, spacious clutch. This ended up being one of the products I was most excited about!

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Some girls live for eyeliner. While I’m more of a lipstick girl myself, I can’t say no to Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. So when I saw they were releasing Ten, a set of, you guessed it, 10 liners for the holidays (plus a sharpener), I knew I had to pick it up ASAP. It features nine samples of all-new shades (all of which are gorgeous), plus a full size Perversion, a gorgeous black matte eyeliner. This is another thing I can’t wait to test out!

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And now what prompted me to indulge in this haul in the first place–the Sephora Favorites! I scored all except the one mentioned above, and once I saw them, I was even more bummed out I couldn’t grab Give Me Some Lip, because of the Sephora Favorites I got are great! The first is Meet Your Match, a set of 6 color-coordinated lip products and nail polishes. The purples are Nails Inc. polish in Devonshire Row with Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Strangefruit. The nudes are Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Child with Formula X Nail Color in Invincible. And lastly, the corals are Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun with Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Elite.

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Next is the Glitz and Glam Party Essentials Sampler. I really loved the metallic silver clutch the products came in. It doesn’t feel cheap and could really function as a nighttime bag. Another great thing about this kit is that it features four full-size products! There are nine total items in the bag. First is Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Infrared Matte. This is one of those full-size items. Next is a deluxe sample of Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo. I love dry shampoos, so I’m definitely happy about this product! Another full-size baby is Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Good Girl Gone Bad. Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold and Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadow in Metallic Dusty Rose look like they compliment each other very well. The Sephora Collection False Lashes in Astonish are full size. I love Benefit’s girly packaging and have heard great things about Watt’s Up! Highlighter, so I was excited to see the Luminous Champagne shade included. And lastly, there’s the (just about) full size Lancome Artliner Eyeliner in Noir, another product I’ve heard fabulous things about.

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Draw The Line excited me because no one can deny the effect eyeliner can have on a look. This box gives you six options, one of which is full size. The liners are Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12 HR Wear in Black Lace, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown, Kat Von D Deluxe Tattoo Liner in Trooper, NARS Via Veneto Larger Than Life Long Wear Eyeliner in Black, Deluxe Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner in Blacquer, and a full size Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Double Ended Eye Pencil in Perversion and Rockstar.

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Super Stars is another one of those interesting variety packs. I like these a bit more than kits with all one kind of product (like the all-eyeliner one above). This kit is very diverse, with 12 different cosmetics, haircare, and fragrance. The products are Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown, Benefit POREfessional, Benefit They’re Real! Mascara in Jet Black, Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, Chloe by Chloe Rollerball, Formula X Nail Color in Ignite, Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment, Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil, NARS Blush in Orgasm, Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream in Light, Stila Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black, and Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Sin. Some of these, like the UD shadow, NARS blush, and Chloe Rollerball, are full size.

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As an avid lip product junkie, I couldn’t pass up Give Me More Lip. There’s a little of everything–lipstick, gloss and balm. And there’s plenty to go around–this box contains 17(!) products! The items included are: Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Speak Your Mind, Benefit Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm in Posie, Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino, Buxom Mini Full Bodied Lipstick in Menace, Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment, Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw, Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Blush, Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Red Armour, Make Up For Ever Waterproof Lip Liner Pencil, OCC Lip Tar Test Tube in Black Dahlia, Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion in 10 Red Essence, Stila Stay All Day Vinyl Lip Gloss in Nude Vinyl, Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Moody, Tarte Lipsurgence Power Pigment in Flush, Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Naked Dolly, and Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Fuschia. 

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And finally, the Lash Stash. I first heard about the Sephora Favorites from Elle Fowler reviewing that year’s Lash Stash years ago, and it piqued my interest. Mascara completes a look to me–it can even wake you up when you don’t have time for much else. This kit includes 11 fab lash products: Benefit They’re Real!, Buxom Lash Mascara in Blackest Black, Clinique Dual Ended High Impact Mascara and Lash Primer, Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara, Kat Von D Immortal Lash 24 HR Mascara, Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara, Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover, Sephora Collection Outrageous Curl Dramatic Volume and Curl Mascara, Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara in Jet Black, Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, and YSL Mascara Volume Effect Faux Baby Doll.

I’m so excited to try everything out! Naturally, reviews on the individual products as well as the Sephora Collections as a whole as soon as possible. I’m embaressed to admit I’m still posting reviews from last month’s haul! But I have more free time coming up, a large chunk which I can commit to blogging. Stay tuned!

Have you tried any of these products beauties? Tried any of the previous Sephora Collections? Do tell!

Wet ‘n’ Wild Limited Edition Summer 2014 Eyeshadow Trio in Lost My Wristband Review + Swatches

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This is the last of three trios I have from Wet ‘n’ Wild’s 2014 summer collection, which was inspired by the scene at music festivals. I have to say, I had such I high hopes for these, especially Lost My Wristband, but sadly, none of them performed quite as well as I wished.

Color:
Of the three I picked up, this one was exciting because of the vibrant looking pastels. However, when I swatched them, they’re all so sheer. What looks like a bright grass green, sunshine yellow, and strawberry ice cream in the pan are actually sheer powders. The green had the most pigment, and could be built up a little, but only to semi-opacity. The yellow was practically invisible even with primer, and the pink, which was meant to be a sheer highlight to begin with, didn’t have a ton of opacity. On top of it, none of these colors are sensationally rare, so I’m sure better quality, more opaque dupes are out there. (2/5)

Wear:
Not only was this trio weak in pigment, the wear time wasn’t phenomenal either. Even with primer, the shadows just didn’t hold up. The pink was faded after only 3 hours, the yellow was gone completely at 4 hours, and the green was a little faded at the 7 hour mark. (2.5/5)

Formula:
All three shadows have a pretty soft feel to the touch, but that translates to some notable powder kickup when a brush is used. I didn’t have any issues with fallout, though. The poor pigment and weak longevity really take this score down, though. (3/5)

Packaging:
The packaging is pretty standard for WnW trios: a rectangular plastic compact with a clear lid, unnamed shades, and ingredients/directions on the back. I like that these limited edition versions have white packaging instead of the usual black compact, though. Details like that always make a limited release feel more special to me. The packaging is lightweight and small/thin, so it’s easy to store, but I have trouble with these staying closed occasionally–don’t count on it making it through a trip without some wear and tear. (4/5)

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Price:
Like all WnW products, this trio was very affordable at $2.99 USD. But this part of the score always weighs the quality you get as well–the “bang for your buck.” Sure, it’s inexpensive, but the quality is just not there. You can find these shades anywhere else for better quality at a similar price, even from within WnW’s own line. (2/5)

Wow Factor:
Like the other items I tried from the summer collection, Lost My Wristband definitely left an impression, but in a negative way. The pigment and staying power were just so disappointing. (2/5)

Overall:
The colors look so lovely in the pan, and they’re not horrible. But they definitely need primer to be workable. I don’t see these working well on many skintones (the pastel hues + chalkiness), or for many functions (definitely not a work palette). But a girl who wants something softer for spring/summer or wants to experiment with color without going too bold could find a way to work it into a look. But by and large, it’s not for me, and don’t recommend it to those who love bold, rich colors. 2.6 (D+)

Availability:
-Drugstores

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Wet ‘n’ Wild and it’s parent company are completely cruelty-free and mostly vegan.
-All three shades in Lost My Wristband are matte, so there’s no texture diversity.
-This palette is limited edition, so get it while you can!

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