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Memories To Remember – Brazil Part 1

img_8515Visiting the hometowns after almost 30 years… 

Brazil stretches roughly 2,700 miles from north to south and from east to west to form a vast irregular triangle that encompasses a wide range of tropical and subtropical landscapes, including wetlands, savannas, plateaus, and low mountains. Brazil contains most of the Amazon River basin, which has the world’s largest river system and the world’s most-extensive virgin rainforest. The country contains no desert, high-mountain, or arctic environments.

Chris and I were born in Brazil and we haven’t been back to visit our family in a very long time. We finally decided to plan our trip with the boys. We went in May 2021 for 22 days and the weather was around 80-100°F daily. There’s no real winter season. We had a blast and enjoyed our family trip. I decided to post some tips and ideas in the hopes it will help you make a decision to visiting this amazing country. Despite all the media negative reports of kidnappings and murders taking place in Rio and elsewhere in the country, these occurrences are actually incredibly rare, especially for tourists. That is not to say that the country is free from crime. Fortunately, we didn’t experience or witnessed any. It was a memorable trip for us and the boys and we plan ongoing back sometime soon. =) 

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The reality is the majority of tourists will leave Brazil thinking the media paint an unfair picture, yet unfortunately incidents and accidents do happen and not always crime related.

#1 Deciding if we wanted to enter as a Visitor or as Native. 
Since we have multiple nationalities, this was the first thing we needed to decide on.
We decided we wanted to enter as a native (We had Brazilian passports) and the kids as a visitor (American passport only) to save time and question from custom. Well, that didn’t workout as planned. The immigration customs in Brazil were a little ridiculous. Even though we had our Brazilian passport, they asked a million questions and ended up causing issues to let the boys in to the country. (Because they have multiple nationality Brazilian and American) After a while they decided that it was ok to let them enter as visitors. My suggestion for anyone with multiple nationalities is to have ALL passports in hand. 

#2 GETTING A PASSPORT/VISA
* You will need: A valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities, with no intention of establishing residence.
* Passport Photo: Photo should be 2”x2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm). (We took our photos at CVS and I believe we paid $17.00 each.)
* Apply Early! Getting your passport in the mail takes about 6-11 weeks. Find forms online, print them and fill them out prior to your appointment to either your Town Hall or US Post Office. I don’t recommend mailing the application in, as this could potentially cause major delays.
* Fees- Passport book: You will pay -$165 for a standard passport book (Valid for all international travel by air, land, and sea)
#3 Immigration and Customs Regulations
* When arriving at Airport:
Everyone has to do an immigration and customs declaration. Airline must distribute both immigration and customs forms to fill out before your arrival. However, it is recommended to download and fill out the forms before traveling. You should be careful with this form, as it must be returned when you leave the country. There are two different doors at customs, as in most airports: the green line (“Nothing to declare”) for those who carry allowed items (clothes, books, personal equipment, etc.) and the red line (“merchandise to be declared” ) for those who are bringing some special items to Brazil. At this point, you will be asked to deliver the customs form to the agents and open your luggage for inspection.
*Currency Restrictions for Entry: More than 10,000 BR ($1,850.20 USD) must be declared to Customs
(Today’s Exchange Rate $1 USD = $5.40 BRL) This amount is per person. Trust me, you do not want to bring more cash than stated above. Not only for safety but customs are a little tricky when you bring 
more than enough. Avoid using ATMs in unfamiliar, secluded, or lightly protected areas. You can use your personal credit cards anywhere and the currency is exchanged on the spot so you know exactly how much you are spending in US dollars. Plus, it’s the safest way. 
* Luggage What can you carry: Items in Brazil comparing the value of the dollar up on top is very cheap. Pack light and buy what you need after you arrive and settle in. – clothes and other articles for personal use only (quantities must be compatible with the duration of stay and be for personal use only). This includes all type of electronics. Don’t bring more than one item per traveler. 
REMOVE all price tags – I packed a few clothing items for my personal use, and the items were brand new. I did not remove the tags on them when we went through customs. They tried to charge me a Tax fee for my PERSONAL clothing (ridiculous if you ask me.) 
* Brazil Airport Tax regulations: If you bring new things, worth more than US$500, you must fill out the customs form. All new products valued at more than US$500 are taxable. The exemption limit is personal. Passengers traveling with family members (spouse and children) cannot combine their personal exemptions. The tax is 50% on the value that exceeds the above-mentioned exemption limits. The tax will be assessed by customs officials and its payment is a condition for the release of the goods. (Basically they look up the highest value and tax you half of it.) If you don’t pay, you leave the airport without your items. 

#4 Driving – License or Permit (IDP) and Car Rental (If you decide to drive)

It’s not necessary to have an international driver’s license to rent a car in Brazil. You can drive a car if you obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) within your first 30 days in Brazil. You should not drive in Brazil if you do not have an IDP unless you have acquired a permanent 

Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night. Crime trends indicate an elevated risk of robbery or assault on public bus systems throughout Brazil. The U.S. government recommends against personnel using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil.

We decided to drive as Chris knows his way around and wanted to drive to other states instead of taking a bus or train. (as mentioned above, just not as safe) It was easy for him to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) with AAA to drive legally and worry free. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. 
* How to Apply:  AAA is one of only two private entities in the U.S. authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue an IDP. You will need to provide: An application, two original passport pictures, a valid U.S. driver’s license and pay $20 permit fee and you’re ready to go!
* Car Rental: Renting a car in Brazil is one of the best ways to explore as much of the country as possible. Renting a car might not be worth the hassle if you are just planning to remain in one place. Drivers tend to be reckless in big cities, and they do not always comply with traffic laws. There’s a wide variety of rental companies to choose from in Brazil. We opted to rent and pay for everything in advance online (We used Booking as our go to for all we needed as the safest option and rented from Foco Aluguel de Carros ) We rented a Jeep Renegade (The biggest car available to fit 5 passenger – Note the luggage space is very limited to 2 bags) for 22 days and paid a total of $470.32 USD. We picked up at Rio de Janeiro International Airport and dropped it off at the same location. 

aerial view of city buildings during daytime


The violent crime rate is high in most Brazilian urban centers. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report high crime rates, but these incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Be aware of your surroundings.


#5 Safety & Security  
*Thieves: 
Unfortunately, robbery is a major challenge for Brazil. Sometimes the larger the car is, the more targeted you will be. You will need to stay vigilant to reduce the threats. If you can avoid it,  don’t drive at night. After 8 pm, you can even ride through red lights to make sure criminals don’t target you. However, you will need to be very careful when doing this. Carjackings and hold-ups can occur at any time of the day or night, especially at intersections and in tunnels. Some robberies involve individuals robbed at gunpoint and taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from one or more ATMs. You should also be mindful that Brazil’s road conditions can be incredibly unpredictable. Parking is limited and you might want to check with street guards if any around if you need to pay to park off the street. You will be able to park your car only in public parking spaces, and these are marked on the street with a white line. Yellow means you’re unable to park at any time. 

* Do not travel to: 
Informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas), even on a guided tour, at any time of day due to crime. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these areas. Even in favelas that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding favelas, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities.

To reduce the chance of becoming the victim of a crime, limit the belongings you carry with you. Carry your money in your front pockets and limit the number of credit cards you carry. Make copies of all of your personal documents – including your credit cards, license, passport, etc. – and keep them in a safe place. This will be helpful if you lose your documents. Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. (I personally removed all jewelry, including my diamond ring.) If you need to wear expensive jewelry or carry a camera, conceal it until you arrive at your destination. Be aware of the street environment and avoid contact with those who may be looking for robbery targets. Seek a safer location. Go into a store, bank, or simply cross the street. Do not walk on beaches after dark. Assaults are common. Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas, particularly near popular tourist locations in the city of Rio de Janeiro. 
* Victims of Crime: Hope this won’t happen to you but if it does you should contact the local authorities to file a Brazilian police report before departing Brazil. In most instances, you can report crimes to the tourist or civil police. You should also inform the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
* The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided among four services:
* 190 – Police * 191 – Police on interstate roads * 192 -Ambulance * 193 – Fire Department and the U.S. Embassy at 011-55-61-3312-7000 Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. 

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Brazil is impossible to summarize in just a few paragraphs. In other words, this will be in multiple parts. Stay tuned……

Hope you enjoy reading.. If I missed anything or if you have any question, let me know in the comments below.

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19 Valentine’s Day date ideas. #love #valentinesday

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Because you love his romantic side. And he loves seeing you smile.
  • After all this time, you are still each other’s favorite person to spend time with.

    So why not use this February 14th as just another reason to spend that time together doing something fun?

    Need some ideas? Here you are!

  • 1. Cook something yummy together

    Find a new recipe you both want to try. Or take a cooking class together. Watching his inner chef come out will be cute. And in the end, you get to enjoy a yummy meal together.

  • 2. Take a dance class

    So your cha-cha might not be the smoothest thing ever. But he thinks it’s cute. Try learning some new dance moves together that you can use at home later on when your favorite song comes on the radio.

  • 3. Visit a farmer’s market

    Pick out some fresh ingredients for salsa, or grab some fresh fruit. Or head to a winter market for squash and jarred goodies.

  • 4. Go on a dinner cruise

    A delicious dinner while surrounded by water and stars – need we say more?

    Or, if this doesn’t fit the budget at the moment, spend the evening planning the details of a future vacation, and then start saving so you can take it.

  • 5. Visit a museum or art gallery

    Pick one that you both think sounds interesting, and see what new things you learn.

  • 6. Go bowling

    Winner gets to pick where you go for dessert.

  • 7. Take a hot air balloon ride

    Unless one of you dislikes heights. You want this to be fun, remember?

  • 8. Re-create your first date

    Take her to the restaurant you first took her to. Talk about when you first met. Reminisce about the little details of that time together.

  • 9. Make s’mores

    And snuggle in a warm blanket under the stars.

  • 10. Go to a play

    Dressing up for a nice evening out can be refreshing and fun for both of you.

  • 11. Visit a new city or town together

    Go exploring and see what cool places you discover. Find an old town to walk around while holding hands, or try a new restaurant you stumble upon.

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  • 12. Make ice cream sundaes

    Go shopping together beforehand to pick out all the toppings. Or grab some root beer and ice cream for root beer floats.

  • 13. Go hiking

    If you go often, go to a new spot you’ve been wanting to try together. Maybe even bring along a picnic.

  • 14. Play tennis

    It’s a date and a great workout all in one.

  • 15. Go swimming

    Find a heated pool or some hot springs or hot tubs and relax.

  • 16. Have a spa night

    Book a couples massage or some facials.

  • 17. Have a perfume/cologne date

    Go out and smell some new fragrances, and then help each other pick one that you both like. You’ll have a cute date and get your Valentine’s Day gifts for each other picked out at the same time.

  • 18. Try a couples yoga class

    Because why not use Valentine’s Day to de-stress, stretch and feel great afterward?

  • 19. Attend a sports game

    A night out with a little cheering while eating good food may be just what you both need.

    Give one of these a try this Valentine’s Day – and then use the others for regular date nights with your spouse, and see how much closer you become.

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Article by  Kelsi Jones
Kelsi graduated with a journalism degree and is passionate about the written word and the power it has to bring more good into the world.
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Happy 16th Birthday :) #parenting 

  

 Today my youngest turns 16. I can’t believe how fast time has passed. I’m so proud of all my kids. There’s not words to describe how happy I am to be the mother of my three boys. I don’t know where I would be today If I didn’t get pregnant. They saved my life. I love these kids more than my own life. 

  
Happy Birthday Gabe mom and Dad love you very much.  
Happy Birthday

May everything happy

and everything bright

be yours on your birthday

from morning till night.

And then through the year

may the same thing hold true

so that each day is filled

with life’s best things for you!

Have a Happy Birthday

 Author: unknown

  

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The Sorcery Code ( Book Review ) by Dima Zales

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The Sorcery Code (The Sorcery Code: Volume 1)

by Dima Zales  (Author)

A book about magic.

-The sorcery code is a book about magic.
I’m not a big fan but decided to review it anyways. 

If you like stories about sorcery than this book is for you! Although There is a lot of better potential for the story.

Blaise, An outcast, of his own choosing, a once respected member of the Sorcerer Council, creates a powerful “being”, Gala. He wanted to create a special object that would be magical enough to share with all the peasants so they would have the means for their crops. He felt it was important for anyone to do magic. 

—————

Once a respected member of the Sorcerer Council and now an outcast, Blaise has spent the last year of his life working on a special magical object. The goal is to allow anyone to do magic, not just the sorcerer elite. The outcome of his quest is unlike anything he could’ve ever imagined – because, instead of an object, he creates Her.

She is Gala, and she is anything but inanimate. Born in the Spell Realm, she is beautiful and highly intelligent – and nobody knows what she’s capable of. She will do anything to experience the world . . . even leave the man she is beginning to fall for.

Augusta, a powerful sorceress and Blaise’s former fiancée, sees Blaise’s deed as the ultimate hubris and Gala as an abomination that must be destroyed. In her quest to save the human race, Augusta will forge new alliances, becoming tangled in a web of intrigue that stretches further than any of them suspect. She may even have to turn to her new lover Barson, a ruthless warrior who might have an agenda of his own . . .

—————–

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About the Author

Dima Zales is a full-time science fiction and fantasy author residing in Palm Coast, Florida. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked in the software development industry in New York as both a programmer and an executive. From high-frequency trading software for big banks to mobile apps for popular magazines, Dima has done it all. In 2013, he left the software industry in order to concentrate on his writing career.

Dima holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from NYU and a dual undergraduate degree in Computer Science / Psychology from Brooklyn College.

In addition to his own works, Dima has collaborated on a number of romance novels with his wife, Anna Zaires. The Krinar Chronicles, an erotic science fiction series, has been a bestseller in its categories and has been recognized by the likes of Marie Claire and Woman’s Day. If you like erotic romance with a unique plot, please feel free to check it out, especially since the first book in the series (Close Liaisons) is available for free everywhere.

Anna Zaires is the love of his life and a huge inspiration in every aspect of his writing. Dima’s fans are strongly encouraged to learn more about Anna and her work at http://www.annazaires.com.

I received this product for free for my honest review.

*** Please follow us ***

– Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/EllyFilho
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Top 10 Spelling Peeves 

  • Top Ten Speeling Peeves

  • 1- “Your” and “you’re” are not the same
  • 2- The contraction of “could have” is not spelled “could of”
  • 3- “Then” shows sequencing of events. “Than” is used for comparison.
  • 4- Most of the time, “affect” is a verb, and “effect” is a noun.
  • 5- “There”, “they’re” and “their” are completely different words.
  • 6- “To”, “too” and “two” are completely different words.
  • 7- There is no “A” in the word D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y
  • 8- Your pants are “loose”. You “lose your keys.
  • 9- You “bear” weight with your “bare” hands.
  • 10- “A lot” is always two words.

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#PhotoAdAy

#30DayPhoto

 

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Day 2 what I wore

 

I started a 30-day photo challenge and only did a day one.
Didn’t get to keep going. My days have been so busy I can’t keep up with all I’ve set up myself to do.

I started way too many challenges and I never finish LOL.
I wanted to upload all the images up to date so I can catch up in this post and go on day to day as the days go on. I do apologize to the people who follow my blog and expect it to be so right all the time, but hey! I’m only human.

First of all, I’m a wife, ( to a pastor of a church ) and a mom to 3 teens 🙂 ( so this include all mom and wife duties LOL)

We go to church 3 times a week

 

I’m currently on a 365-day prayer challenge that I do every day ( just don’t have the time to post it )

I’m on a Theological school that I have to study and do a test every month ( that’s in Portuguese and extremely hard because of the language )

 

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Day 3 Clouds

 

I’m taking a 6.00.1x  introduction to computer science as a tool to solve real-world analytical problems at MIT. ( also really hard and time-consuming )

I have online media groups that requires me to post every day or every week in order for me to remain a member ( time-consuming )

So keeping up with all this and feeling sick, and all doctors appointments is not easy but it’s something I love to do. It’s me 🙂

I just wanted to ask for patience .. and say thank you!

 

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Day 4 Something Green – My kids playing at the Gillette Stadium

 

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Day 5 – From a High Angle

 

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Day 6- From a Low Angle 

 

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#ReviewWithElly Alina Skin Care

My Review __ The Alina Skin Care Vitamin C Serum is THE BEST FORM OF VITAMIN C AVAILABLE, it has The most AMAZING SCENT FROM NATURAL EXTRACTS. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants to help prevent premature aging of skin, including Vitamin C, green and white tea, and vitamin E.
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I have used this product 2x a day every day since the day I got it. That’s about 3 weeks. I think it was a short time for the visible results I got. I read many reviews on this product and I read a lot of negativity about it. People saying that the company basically paid for those reviews. Well, yes, I got the product for free, but the results and my opinion, no one can make it up. It’s honest. I wanted to come here and write an honest review. But not just write, I wanted to show my untouched ( no photoshop) photos to you of the results.
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The directions on the package of this product says not to use on your eyes. I wasn’t sure if that meant not to apply to the dark area under the eyes. I’m 36 years old and I don’t have any spots ( dark spots ) on my face or any wrinkles or lines, besides the very dark spots under my eyes so I used it on all my face including my eyes. Or should I say especially there. you will be able to see the difference and judge for yourself.

My honest and unbiased review of this product is that this product rocks, now I will continue to use it till its all done and will buy more. Thank you, Alina, for giving me the opportunity to try your product.

NOTE: People with dry or sensitive skin that have never used a Vitamin C skin care product may experience a slight stinging sensation during the first few applications. This is a normal and typically goes away within a few seconds. It will happen every time you apply. Should you experience redness, swelling or discomfort after using the product, please discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional. I received this case at a discounted/free price in return for my honest review.
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About the Product
  • THE BEST FORM OF VITAMIN C AVAILABLE. Alina Skin Care contains Vitamin C Ester, a form of vitamin c that is widely considered the highest quality, best form available for skin care. Clinically proven to deliver greater results than other types of vitamin c; it’s stable, gentle and incredibly effective at rejuvenating your skin.
  • SUPER HYDRATING. Vitamin C can be irritating to the skin, but not if you complement it with rich moisturizers that give your skin a flood of hydration. Our unique blend of hyaluronic acid, organic aloe and vegetable based glycerin creates a powerful moisturizing boost to this serum. If you have sensitive skin, this is the Vitamin C serum to try.
  • PATENTED INGREDIENTS & CLINICAL STUDIES EQUALS PROVEN RESULTS. Most skin care products don’t contain ingredients that have been through formal, clinical studies. We do. Our patented Inflacin® was developed to calm and soothe irritated skin. What’s more, our patented Qsomes® has been proven to deliver more active ingredients deeper into the skin creating a more effective product.
  • A YOUTHFUL & RADIANT GLOW. Many of our customers have experienced a noticeable difference to their skin within the first few applications. A more even tone, less noticeable wrinkles, and a more healthy, vibrant looking skin.
  • AMAZING FEEL. Upon initial application, you’ll notice the difference right away with Alina. A soft, silky feel that penetrates quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft and alive.
  • Product Description

    SKIN TYPES. This product was formulated for all skin types. Our unique blend using Vitamin C Ester along with rich moisturizers was created to be gentle on your skin, even those with sensitive skin.
    AMAZING SCENT FROM NATURAL EXTRACTS. Many of our customers comment on how much they love the scent of our products. The Alina Vitamin C scent is purely derived from mandarin orange and grapefruit extracts. There is no fragrance used in this product.
    ENCAPSULATION ENSURES PROTECTION FROM LIGHT, HEAT, AND OXYGEN. Vitamin C and other active ingredients can breakdown and rapidly lose their effectiveness when exposed to light, heat and oxygen. Alina Skin Care encapsulates all of our active ingredients ensuring no loss of ingredient efficacy, even after you open the bottle.
    ANTIOXIDANT RICH. Loaded with powerful antioxidants to help prevent premature aging of skin including Vitamin C, green and white tea, and vitamin e.
    WHO IS ALINA SKIN CARE? Alina Skin Care is a science-driven company created to provide consumers with innovative, professionally formulated skin care products. Our team consists of industry veterans that have developed products for some of the top skin care brands in the world, many that can be found today in major department and beauty stores. With more than 50 years of experience formulating both prescription-based dermatological products, as well as over-the-counter premium skin care products, Alina Skin Care has the expertise and credibility you can trust.Ingredients
    Purified Water, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Cyclomethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Diisopropyl Adipate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia sinensis leaf extract, Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Tocopherol Acetate, Pyridoxine HCI, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, PEG-23 Glyceryl Distearate, PEG-12 Glyceryl DIsmyristate, Hyaluronic Acid, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Glycerin, PEG-100 Stearate, Citrus nobilis, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel oil, Maltodextrin, Xathan Gum, Silica, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyenthanol, Caprylyl Glycol NO Parabens, NO Phthalates, and NO Sulfates. No Animal Testing. Made in USADirections
    Apply morning and night to face and neck before application of a moisturizer. Moisturizer can be applied immediately after you apply Alina Vitamin C Serum. NOTE: People with dry or sensitive skin that have never used a Vitamin C skin care product may experience a slight stinging sensation during the first few applications. This is a normal and typically goes away within a few seconds. Should you experience redness, swelling or discomfort after using the product, please discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.You can buy the Product >>>  HERE  on Sale for $24.95
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30 Day #Photography Challenge

 

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I decided to start this challenge 🙂 who wants in?

There was a point in my life that I was a ” professional ” photographer and it was one of  my favorite thing to do. I use to photograph weddings, models, birthday parties, and etc.
Due to illness, I had to stop doing what I loved the most.
I want to do this challenge to relive that dream.
and I’m going to do just that 🙂 Starting day one tomorrow.

 

Amanda
Amanda Miss Brazil USA 

 

Carol

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serious
bride

 

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List of top 5 things you didn’t know

Just for Fun 🙂

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How to Build an Empire with this Chicken Recipe #foodie

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Calories: 490 per serving
Category: Chicken
Difficulty: Easy
Serves 6
Preparation time: Quick (30 minutes)
Type: Main course

ingredients
· 6 chicken breast fillets
· Salt and pepper to taste

Filling
· 6 slices bacon
· 6 green beans
· 1 carrot cut into sticks
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 tablespoon of corn starch
· 1/2 liter of vegetable broth
· 6 potatoes cut in four
· Chopped parsley to taste

Method of preparation

Season the fillets with salt and pepper. On each fillet, distribute a slice of bacon, the beans and carrots. Roll as Swiss roll and secure with toothpicks. In a saucepan, heat the oil and brown the steaks. Add the cornstarch dissolved in the vegetable broth and cook potatoes until tender. Place the steaks on a platter, drizzle with the sauce and serve with the potatoes sprinkled with parsley.