My 10 Favorite Elton John Songs


THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY SNIDEL & BEATRICE B ITALIA, BUT ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

Last month as a very late Valentine’s Day present (since I was away in London for Fashion Week), my husband fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams: to see Elton John live in concert playing some of my all-time favorite songs. Needless to say, he played everyone of my favorites except for one, but something tells me that I’ll be able to gone on without it like that ;) It really was everything and more, nothing really compares to his magnetism on stage. Why do I love this artist so much? Well, what’s central to the brilliance of Elton John’s art are the contradictions within the man. (We also almost have the same birthday, mine’s the 24th of March and his the day after.) He can kill you with the beauty of a tender ballad, then switch over with an intense blast of filthy rock and roll. He can dedicate decades of work to defeating AIDS, then engage in a public catfights with other celebrities through the gossip columns. So without further ado, here are (in no particular order) my top 10 favorite Elton John songs!

1. THE BITCH IS BACK!

One of Elton John's best hard rock cuts, this song was banned on several radio stations, in the United States and elsewhere, due to the use of the word "bitch". “The Bitch Is Back” is a rousing rocker from John that doesn’t pull any punches with its feisty lyrics. The high-energy horns, female backup vocals and the clanging guitars are some of the best parts of the song. “The Bitch Is Back” (also from Caribou) was banned by some U.S. radio stations, but that didn’t stop the song from becoming a No. 4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

2. CROCODILE ROCK

Sometimes it’s an artist’s slightest work that maintains the greatest staying power. Which is not to say "Crocodile Rock" isn’t a terrific tune; just that its aspirations are small. It’s a song from the '70s that’s a pastiche and homage to all the '50s rock, pop, and doo wop that Elton John and his peers grew up on. From that perspective, it’s a rung or two above Sha Na Na. Here the devil’s in the details, like the whirligig organ that floats above Elton’s central piano riff, or the ascending guitar lines that underpin the chorus. Roger Ebert said that great parody becomes that which it parodies, which is a high-falutin’ way of saying that on 'Crocodile Rock,' Elton didn’t just imitate his idols; he equaled them.

3. I’M STILL STANDING

Although it’s not quite fair, the eighties seem to be regarded as a “lost decade” for Elton John, at least when it comes to critical appreciation. Outside of his 1989 Sleeping With The Past album (the first produced after his recovery from drug addiction) and 1983’s Too Low For Zero, the decade yielded plenty of hits for Elton, but few of them memorable. (The less said about "Wrap Her Up," his campy duet with George Michael, the better.) Too Low, yielded our No. 9 Elton John song selection and this propulsive rocker, a staple of Elton’s live shows and another iconic song that has come to define the singer’s public persona. Weaving effortlessly between genres, "I’m Still Standing" is somehow both a full-out rocker and completely danceable, the wailing electric guitar and searing synth meshing with a bouncing bass line that’s almost disco-esque.

4. TINY DANCER

It may have been immortalized by writer/director Cameron Crowe in Almost Famous, but for Elton John fans, "Tiny Dancer" has always been an undisputed classic. It starts with that simple, beautiful opening piano riff, like the tinkling tune of a music box, and builds effortlessly into a full, warm sound – a chorus of voices, a relaxed acoustic guitar, Elton’s piano weaving its way around every note. Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics for his girlfriend at the time, and surely her face is lost to the mists of history; it’s the unforgettable images in his words, her dancing in the sand and those Jesus freaks "handing tickets out for God" that will endure.

5. GOODBYE, YELLOW BRICK ROAD

You could write an entire separate piece ranking Elton John’s '70s albums, but one looms large above the others, if only by size and the weight of its many iconic songs: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." If Elton John and Bernie Taupin have created a magnum opus, this may very well be it. While Elton and his band hopscotch through the entire history of American popular music, Bernie crafts evocative words that look ever backward with nostalgia, wit, and occasional anger. This title cut captures those themes perfectly with the tale of a green young farmboy who finds himself trapped in the orbit of a world weary, powerful figure. There’s something almost Spector-esque about the sound Elton and his band achieve on this track, adding an extra halo of wistful yearning to the song.

6. YOUR SONG

“Your Song” (from John’s 1970 self-titled second album) was his first breakthrough hit around the world, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Your Song” is a simple, beautiful ballad that can apply to all kinds of love. It’s no wonder that it’s still one of the most-covered Elton John songs of all-time. And yes, I get teary-eyed every time I listen to it! A true gem.

7. ROCKETMAN

Harry Nilsson did it with "Spaceman," David Bowie did it with "Space Oddity," and Elton John did it with "Rocket Man." Each song as about the new-at-the-time phenomenon of men actually climbing aboard giant machines and soaring upward beyond the veil. But while the other songs zero in on the strangeness of space travel, only Elton John and Bernie Taupin manage to capture the underlying sadness of drifting alone above Earth, so far from family and friends, looking back at a massive turquoise orb that just grows smaller as you float away. It’s that emotional undercurrent, that human element, that Elton and Bernie so often discover, and that makes their greatest songs so great.

8. DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME

It's mushy and a little maudlin -- but it's great, too, a dynamic gem that unfolds and builds to epic, horn-drenched proportions over its five and a half minutes. And it's hard to beat a backing vocal choir that includes Beach Boys Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston, Toni Tennille and Billy Hinsche.

9. I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES

Featuring guest harmonica from Stevie Wonder, "I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues" finds Elton John delivering a warm slice of '80s mid-tempo pop, aided and abetted by his own down and dirty piano skills. The man’s one of music’s greatest balladeers, but this is something different; this may be the closest he’s ever come to the straightforward soul music that’s one of his many influences.

10. I DON’T WANNA GO ON WITH YOU LIKE THAT

The lead single from 1988's Reg Strikes Back is taut, spare and propulsive, with some of the most inspired piano playing we'd heard from John in quite some time. The song describes someone ending a relationship due to not feeling exclusive and important to their partner. The song was regularly played by John in concert during the 1990s, before he retired it in 2000… which is why this is the only song I did not hear play at his concert! A great break-up song, all about remaining strong!

LOVE & XX’S,

 
 

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Black, Pink and Lavender Outfit


THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY HEARTLOOM AND NIA DANA BUT ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

Happy Monday! In light of my pretty packed week, I’m keeping it short and sweet on here with little bit of contrast in today’s look. It can look great on anyone as these colors are flattering on all skin types. We’re talking pink, lavender, and black. Plus it’s an outfit that I feel good in, on top of being fashionable. And I’m sharing two brands I’ve recently discovered that I wanted to share with you in what I styled today. One is outerwear and the other is jewelry. And these staple pieces can be worn in many other different looks. So continue reading to see more details from casual, feminine yet edgy look with direct links to shop.

How beautiful is this light pink fur coat? It is rex rabbit, with a relaxed fit and hook eye closure. Fits true to size, I love that this coat can be dressed up or down. I love the slate pink color mostly, as it’s a very unique pink shade. And let me tell you how warm this baby is! I literally only had a white bodysuit underneath (with a bra) and I was snug as a bug in a rug! This coat is valued at $370 which is a bit expensive, but it’s definitely an investment piece! Luxurious I might add as well :) Check out more clothing items by Heartloom!

I love these long geometric statement earrings. Very lightweight as they are made from 0.3 mm silver sheet - I discovered this jewelry brand from Barcelona on Instagram!. Nia Dana Jewelry designs minimal chic pieces with quality metals and each piece is individually handmade. These earrings for example took about 10 days to produce, so you know the added details to everything will be perfect. In which case, they were! Check out more of her designs here www.nia-dana.com

These two-tone ankle boot beauties in lavender feature a pointed toe and stiletto heel. They’re 5” heels, so I wouldn’t recommend these if you’re not about the height. But I’m quite petite (only 5’3”) so anything that can add length especially to the bottom portion of my body is a good thing. One of the best ways to elongate your legs as a petite woman is to wear cropped pants with statement booties as such. Not only will it give you height, but the two together looks great while really showing off your new pair of shoes. And how much do you love the frayed hem on these faded black pair of denim jeans?!

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Hope you enjoyed this more laidback casual look today on the blog! I think this outfit would also be perfect for Valentine’s Day, whether hanging out with the girls or with your date. A definitely day-to-night kind of look - easy peasy. What would you guys like to see more of? Styles like these or more polished up looks? I definitely have a few projects in mind when it comes to editorial work, but these will take a good second. Got an idea you’d like to see on M + S? Drop your thoughts in the comment section down below! Wishing you a great first week of February!

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LOVE & XX’S,

 
 

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Just a General Making Sure My Soldier's Straight

WEARING: L'ATISTE FRINGE JUMPSUIT | TELEPORT SHOES BOOTS | SUNGLASS WAREHOUSE PRESLEY


THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY L'ATISTE AND SUNGLASS WAREHOUSE.

This past week I left a question up on my IG stories asking you guys to drop questions relating to blogging. There were so many that I could no way put it in my usual Sunday IG post, where I've been selecting ten and answer them. So today's post is dedicated to a selected ten questions I've chosen to answer relating to my work and the world of blogging, which is more like the Wild Wild West. Just a General making sure my shoulder's straight ;) Continue reading to learn more about my experiences as a full-time blogger, where today marks three years since M + S launched. Happy Blogiversary to me and Happy Monday to you!

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START BLOGGING?

Right before I started MaQ + Suz, I had endured some pretty heavy-duty, life-changing experiences which encouraged and led me to my new platform. Along with my desire to find an outlet where I could put both my visual eye and the written word together at the same time had always been apparent, but it wasn’t until I entered the world of blogging before everything came full circle.

WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE AS A BLOGGER?

Every day is different depending on my schedule for that week, such as what deadlines are approaching, upcoming events and so on. Overall, I  spend over 40+ hours a week working on the blog and that includes responding to emails, meetings, posting on social media, editing photos, writing blog posts, working on SEO, going out for photoshoots and events, writing contracts -  the list goes on and on and on. We have shoots every day so I try to stick to a routine that way I don't have to organize as much. So I usually start my mornings with emails, walking the pooch, a photo shoot, and/or meetings/events. It's never a day off when it comes to my job and there's just never enough hours in a day to get it all done.

HOW DO YOU GAIN MORE FOLLOWERS?

I get this question a lot and I have to say it's really all about the quality of your content! This, and being consistent every day and being patient. Remember, the number of followers you have is just a number. What's important is the engagement you have with your audience and what you do every day to give them something that makes them want to follow you. That being a source of inspiration, or a special skill one can learn from, it should be something that makes you stand out and be unique. Now if you're in this for instant-gratification, I'm telling you right off the bat, don't do it! Gaining a substantial amount of readers/followers takes TIME and a ton of work. You have to be okay with the fact that it could take years.

Also, AUTHENTICITY. I believe if you stay true to yourself and your branding image, along with high-quality content, then new and old followers will genuinely want to follow you and your business. Sharing the process of your journey keeps things real and I love people for that, and I know others will love you for it too!

So here are a few tips to help you grow your audience:

Create Killer Content – The more often you do something the better you'll get at it. And that goes for content, whether you're behind or in front of the camera, don't be afraid to think outside the box, take risks, and try new things you'd normally not try. This will help you find your aesthetic/style.
Post Daily – Consistency is key. I can't tell you how many times back in the earlier days when I wouldn't post every single day and my engagement dropped nearly half its size. YIKES! Don't be out of sight, out of mind in terms of posting!!! 
Engage With Your Audience – I always try to comment back on comments whether its on IG or the blog, but I also comment others within my niche. 
Tags & Hashtags – Yes you should abuse the #30 rule for IG. Don't be shy to tag promo accounts within your niche to get a possible repost after using their hashtag of some kind. You can tag up to 20 accounts in a single IG post. So take advantage!

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE DEMANDS/PRESSURES OF WHAT YOUR JOB?

As demanding as it can get, I take perseverance & determination, hard work, and discipline and yet at the same time it also requires you to not take yourself too seriously. Otherwise, it’ll no longer be fun anymore and life is also meant to be enjoyed. I guess it’s all about finding your own balance, and everyone has a different path and in variated times in our lives.

WHAT CAMERAS/LENS DO YOU USE?

Canon 5D models, Olympus EMD-5, lens Canon 28-135mm 3.5/5.6

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GROW YOUR FOLLOWING & WHEN DID YOU START TO BLOG?

I launched my blog in August of 2015. For the first year or so, I really didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't sure what my niche was, how I wanted to brand my image, etc; and most of the time felt completely lost. I experimented with a lot of different topics from interviews to meet and connect with other like-minded people in my field as well as attending events to network. Once I started to hone in on my style I felt more confident in pursuing blogging full-time. In two short years, I've gained over 35K on Instagram with a total reach of over 70k. I work with global brands such as L'OréalAvedaKiehl'sDove and more & have been featured in WWD, BFA and Getty Images

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A BLOG/LIFE BALANCE?

It's always important to prioritize what you NEED to get done versus what you want to get done. Now that I do this full-time, I am always on deadlines, so these come first. Afterward, it's a matter of what else I can get done for that day. I never feel like I get enough done every day, but it's only because there's so much and so many hours in a day! Learning to accept what I cannot control has helped me so much, and has kept me grounded. I'm not as hard as I am on myself (which is super difficult for me, if you know me at all) as I can be onto to others just as much. Also, taking it easy more and more is actually healthy and well-balanced. For example, I rarely ever work on Sunday mornings.

WHAT DO YOU DO ON THOSE REALLY BAD DAYS?

Whenever I’m having a pretty awful day, I cut myself loose and leave the ‘office’ for the day. I’ll go and take a long walk with my German Shepherd, MaQ and the city always is an escapism from another escapism. New York has a way of clearing your head and at the same time eating you alive (if you’re not careful enough). And sometimes there are days that’ll defeat you, where you’ll feel so bad about everything that getting up seems hard enough on its own. But then I think of all the shit that’s brought me to where I am today and I do believe I made it here for a reason. Perhaps the past has made me who I am today, but it has certainly motivated me to keep going and to keep pushing boundaries I didn’t think were possible. You have to keep on keepin’ on…

HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR CONTENT?

I gather inspiration from everywhere. The sights and sounds of the city. From traveling. From people watching. Food, books, music, film. The list is endless. If I ever find myself in a rut in terms of finding inspiration for content, I just take a break from thinking too hard about it and enjoy a good book/film, walk, bath, etc; and it always comes to me. If really stuck I am not afraid to ask my readers for feedback and what they want to see more of. Listen to your audience!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER BLOGGERS?

Word HARD. Be NICE to people. Always appreciate what you have rather than wanting what you may not have (yet). Just because someone else's journey is on a different (maybe even faster/or so you think) path than your doesn't define you or your work! It's not the destination that matters, it's what we go through along the way that does which is what I try to share with you guys more and more. And, the glasses are ALWAYS half-full, guys, I swear! 🙂

LOVE & XX'S,

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Green Oasis in a Concrete Jungle

WEARING: s a k u NEW YORK FLOREAL EMBROIDERED SLIP DRESS |
UNIQLO HEAT TECH TURTLENECK | MAD-STYLE ROCK & ROLL CROSS BODY BAG | 
MAUMERO HANNAH ANKLE BOOTS | LAST CALL PEACOCK EARRINGS  

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY s a k u New York.

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The motif behind Korean designer, Lissa Koo's work is both the chic New York sense and the easy, breezy West Coast atmosphere. While being a unique, never-seen-before style, saku New York offers clothes that are ready-to-wear and easily approachable for anyone. Pursuing both sportiness and femininity simultaneously, saku New York showcases silhouette apparel that greatly emphasizes women’s beauty along with comfortable fabrics that allow easy movement. The last of the three features with s a k u New York from the past week, a garden feel in the concrete jungle, this floral embroidered dress on the blog today is just that: there's a lot going on with lots to attend to but I still feel beautiful and yes, feminine. (Shocker in my "style vocabulary" ha ha ha!) Continue reading to see how I deal with feeling and looking positively radiant even if what's going on around me is completely chaotic and never-ending (or so it seems...) 

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Like a garden, what doesn't grow will die. And like in a garden, there will be setbacks: stubborn plants/flowers that will require higher maintenance, furry rodents trying to steal and ruin your crop, and yes, even those dry spells and perhaps even worse, when it rains... it really pours time period(s). Time and effort are an automatic given, and just in self-care, no matter how crazy your life can get, it is so important to give that time and effort to yourself. Sure, I love to see my friends and colleagues but I love my alone time just as much. In fact, I need it. Otherwise, I'd probably lose my mind. I got to have that in order to sort things out in my head and trust me, there's a lot going on up there at the moment. And I've always believed in that if you really want to grow, you've got to figure it out on your own and really, and I mean, really know what you want. Don't be compromising of that. 

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You also have to keep your eye on the prize. But just like that garden, that will get messy and hard to upkeep from time to time, you have to be able to see the bigger picture. Because like everything else in life, and yep, even when it comes to taking care of yourself, it's never an easy ride. It's more like an upside down topsy-turvy rollercoaster if you ask me. But, no matter how awful or how hopeless the ride seems to get, remember you can get off that ride at any time. But if you're not a quitter like myself, just hold on to that "Holy, shit!" handle and brace yourself until the ride ends. Because it eventually will. I can whatever metaphor all day long, but you know after any storm comes the rainbow right? I know, but it's true. Hang in there, my friend!

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Lastly, aside from 'me' time and seeing the bigger picture, don't forget to embrace your beauty amidst the chaos. Yes, you're probably tired, frustrated, stressed, maybe all three: but it's all about the energy you carry. Believe in the best of yourself and the other not-so-great reminders we have daily will slowly start to melt away. Every day I wake up and when I see myself in the mirror I try to reflect on the positive parts of myself rather than the negative. Instead of thinking, "My god, I look awful, I hate my nose, I wish it were smaller, instead start looking at the parts you, in fact, love about yourself. Maybe, "Wow, I never noticed how long and lush my eyelashes are," or, "That scar may be permanent, but it doesn't define who I am nor does it make me any less beautiful." In fact, I think these chaotic imperfect attributes are what makes some of the most beautiful people in the world. Think about it, you ever deeply love someone who was perfect? Yeah... my thoughts exactly. 

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LOVE & XX'S,

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Detroitish

WEARING: INK DETROIT TEE | DEZZAL ASSYMETRIC MERMAID SKIRT | 
& OTHER STORIES FISHNET SOCKS | HUSH PUPPIES MAZIN CAYTO NUBUCK BOOTS 
| STELLA & DOT GOLD AND BLACK FRINGE NECKLACE

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY DEZZAL, HUSH PUPPIES & STELLA & DOT

 

DETROIT IS LIKE ROCK AND ROLL. IT'S LIKE SOUL. DETROIT IS THE WHOLE IDEA OF COOL. IF YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE, THEY PROBABLY WON'T UNDERSTAND. YOU HAVE TO SEE IT. LIVE IT. BE IT. THAT'S WHEN DETROIT STARTS TO MOVE YOU.

 

Hello, my darlings! Are you excited for the long holiday weekend? Summer time and the livin' is easy... or so to speak. Got any special plans? I used to be a huge fan of the Fourth of July when my pops was around, but his passing, which was a few days after Independence Day, has changed my ways of celebrating. I used to go out and watch the fireworks, but since he's been gone, I find it too hard to do, let alone celebrate anything. I'm a very private person and getting myself to open up to you guys has been challenging, and quite frankly, a little terrifying. Af first I thought no one would listen. No one would care. But as time has gone on, I have become more courageous in telling my story. Am I ready to tell-all? Oh hell, nah. Some things are better left unsaid. But with baby steps and perhaps when the timing is right, I believe I will slowly but surely share more about myself.  In today's post, I'll be discussing two topics. One, how to get through jury duty easily and as painlessly as possible. And two, I'll be talking about copycats and if imitation really is the best form of flattery.

Miraculously I only served jury duty for one day. Now before you go and get your hopes up, know that most cases you'll serve for at least 2-3 days. But some of the tips I'm about to give you has nothing to do with getting out of it faster. It is a civic duty and most of us take it for granted. Just like paying your taxes or voting in this country, it is something you have to do. But while you're stuck at the courthouse for eight hours a day, why not have it go as fast as possible? So instead of twiddling your thumbs while you watch the clock, bring a shit ton of reading materials, whether, on your iPad, or a newspaper and/or a book, you're going to have to keep that mind of yours occupied. Not much of a reader? (We can't be friends if you're not... haha JK!) You can play games or stay engaged on social media with your phone or laptop. Or you can do what I did, the moment I sat down at 9 am sharp, I whipped out my laptop and went straight to work. 

Another tip while serving jury duty? If you're a heavy snacker like me (I don't eat 3 square meals a day, but rather on average, snack non-stop throughout the day instead... a heavy lunch makes me lethargic, and as Gordon Gekko once said, "lunch is for wimps") make sure to bring a lot of single dollar bills for the vending machine. You can't bring in food or drinks through security (just like the airport) so be prepared to have some singles to get through the day and to keep your belly happy. Bathrooms and the courts, in general, are pretty skeevy so be sure to bring hand sanitizer. Sometimes the bathrooms will have no more soap or paper towel to dry your hands, so even keeping a package of tissues with you would be good. Lastly, bring a jacket or cardigan especially if you serve during the summer because they normally crank the AC full blast in these buildings, especially in the courtrooms. 

And now onto copycatting. I've been reading a lot from other bloggers and influencers about their frustrations in others copping their creative concepts or even worse, flat out re-doing the same shit they saw someone else do. (literally from head-to-toe outfits, same travel itineraries and more.) I've even read somewhere about influencers wanting to copyright their own work. Guess what, folks? Most creative ideas and/or concepts have been done since the dawn of time and have been recycled and done over and over again but in different ways. So when it comes to fashion, no, nothing is exactly your own invention. There may be inspirational or admirable factors (and yes, the dreadful SWF factor... I've experienced it and it's creepy AF), but to think you were the first to come up with an idea, you better think again. The challenge is to try and find something that hasn't been done before and actually seeking out to do it! I can't tell you how many times I've seen others try to do what others do, and it's cute, perhaps even flattering to some, but don't hold it against them. Why? Because... YOU are YOU, and that is your POWER. They can try all they want to be like you, but at the end of the day, that'll never be.  

Going back to my roots in Detroit, as a kid, I used to get made fun of for liking X-Men comic books and wanting to go out and be Batman rather than Cinderella. When I hit adolescence, I was known for being, 'flat as a board', 'chink', and other derogatory names I don't feel worthy of mentioning. Fast forward to now, half of the kids that used to pick on me are now trolling through each and every one of my Insta Stories and through my other social media channels. I've never received an apology, nor do I ever expect one, but now I think it's all comical. Why are they watching? Because I'm doing me and they're doing them, and I can guarantee my life is much more interesting than it was back in high school. I see 'em, but I don't acknowledge them. The same goes for anyone who can't be true to themselves. Why do you want to be anyone other than yourself? One of the most powerful tools to have in life is authenticity! Without it, there's really not much else to go by. So is imitation the best form of flattery? Nope. Don't be basic. (As the 'millennials' call it.) Here's something to go by, INSPIRE, NOT IMITATE.

LOVE & XX'S,

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