This Is What Happens When Americans Attempt To Learn K-Pop Dance Moves

 

After their amusing first-time experiences eating Korean snacks, the BuzzFeed staff took on a more adventurous–and slightly more exhausting–challenge: K-pop.

“Your upper body is stable, but your lower body is having a sex party,” casually explains BuzzFeed video producer Eugene Yang, completely poker-faced and effortlessly imitating “The Arrogant Dance” made famous by PSY’s “Gentleman.” He’s teaching the staff some provocative motions in BuzzFeed’s latest Korean-inspired video titled, “Americans Try K-pop Dance Moves.”

The staff learned–or attempted to learn–the moves for a handful of popular K-pop songs, including “The Butt Dance” (aka “Korean twerking”) by girl group Kara. They quickly realized that the art of K-pop dance is way more challenging than it actually seems.

 

“I’ve never felt more un-athletic in my life,” said one worn-out dancer. Another guy was more optimistic: “I didn’t do it well, but I had swag in my face, so I think it’s gonna sell.” And another just embraced his bad dance skills, admitting, “My whiteness is revealing itself right now.”

As exhausting as this dance session turns out to be, in the end, participants triumphantly exclaimed in unison: “Korea, hwaiting!”

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com 

 

 

Rice Tales: Indian Journalist Tweaks Ice Bucket Challenge To Fit ‘Indian Needs’

 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has flooded social media platforms for the past couple of weeks has, despite its charitable cause, stirred up controversy about excess and unnecessary waste of water. Some critics chastise Californians and point to the serious drought the state is currently facing, and others find fault with the participants’ lack of precaution and consideration for those living in conditions where water is dirty and scarce.

Without badmouthing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a journalist from Hyperabad, India decided to slightly tweak the original challenge into an “Indian version for Indian needs.” Instead of using ice, the latest Rice Bucket Challenge calls for participants to fill a bucket with rice and give it to those who are needy, raising awareness of hunger and scarcity of resources in India.

The challenge gets rid of the option to opt out of donating by pouring ice water on your head, and instead, ensures that the challenge focuses on the cause: helping those in need.

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The Rice Bucket Challenge Facebook page, which only launched a couple of days ago, has already garnered over 44,000 likes. The new-and-improved challenge was started by journalist (and, appropriately, an employee for a global rice research website) Manju Latha Kalanidhi, who is astounded at the wave the challenge has created, from India to the United States.

“It has a small incentive–post a photo and get liked…but from Sweden, from Australia, from America, people came up with their own little versions,” said Kalanidhi. “I sat up the whole night. Amazing to see the shares and the likes…It is like a social media tsunami. Exponential. It goes one, four sixteen…”

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This could potentially spark a movement of “rice bucket challenges” all over the world, helping the needy in poverty-stricken areas of China to the unfortunate living on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. However, it is important to keep in mind that these social media-crazed, hashtagged challenges should not be a platform for participants to highlight their own act of generosity, but instead an opportunity to contribute individual efforts into a larger, worldwide movement for improving the lives of the less fortunate.

[Photos credited to: Rice Bucket Challenge Facebook page]

 

Asian American Celebs Take The Red Carpet at 2014’s VMAs and Emmys

Two of the most fabulous, star-studded events happened back-to-back this year, and with them came a flurry of hot red gowns, sexy cleavage and swoon-worthy, fitted black suits. At the Emmys, ABC’s Modern Family predictably took home the golden statue for an outstanding comedy, and actor Bryan Cranston deservedly stole the show with his win as the outstanding lead actor in Breaking Bad; and the VMAs–let’s be real–should have been alternately titled “All Hail Queen Bey.”

Nominations and winners aside, what we fashionistas really look forward to are the unique looks that grace the red carpet. Here’s a rundown of the styles these Asian American celebrities wore at this year’s MTV VMAs and Emmys.


1) Actor and singer Darren Criss, whose roots are half-Filipino, kept it simple at the VMAs with black slacks and a mauve blazer, all pulled together with sleek sunglasses.

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2) Also at the VMAs, Korean American actress Arden Cho shined in this form-fitting strapless by Sherri Hill, silver-strapped Aldo shoes, a Farbod Barsum clutch and jewels from Bavna’s Spring 2015 collection.
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3) The beautiful Indian-born American and “Top Chef” host, Padma Lakshmi, dazzled in a simple, yet stunning white Ralph Rucci dress.
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4) The adorably funny Indian American comedian and actress Mindy Kaling chose a unique dress by Kenzo, a coral halter-topped gown with glimmering silver detailing.
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5) You may not have known that this funny man came from Asian roots, but actor and comedian Fred Armisen is a quarter Japanese, inherited from his father’s side. Standing next to Carrie Brownstein, his partner-in-crime on IFC’s hilarious Portlandia, Armisen looked classy in a black suit with a dark gray dress shirt.
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6) Lucy Liu can never do wrong. The Taiwanese American actress looked absolutely heavenly in this pale Zac Posen gown, Jimmy Choo clutch, and jewelry by Lorraine Schwartz.
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7) This hottie came out from behind the camera and swooned all of the Internet when he graced the stage to accept the Emmy for “Outstanding Director” for HBO’s True Detective. Half Japanese and half Swedish, director Cary Joji Fukunaga looked simultaneously manly and sweet in crisp black-and-white attire with his hair in braids.
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8) Last but certainly not least (and definitely the most little), half-Korean American actress Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who plays the snarky Lily on Modern Family, donned an appropriate navy-blue laced dress with black tights and patent black flats.
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[Photo sources: E! News and Vulture]

 

 

NEW STUDY: Instant Ramen Linked With Heart Disease Risk

 

A recent American study is targeting one beloved South Korean food as a factor in one’s cardiometabolic risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke: instant ramen noodles.

The Associated Press reports that the study was based on South Korean surveys (the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV) that looked at the overall diet patterns of more than 10,000 men and women ages 19 to 64. Two major dietary patterns were identified: the “traditional dietary pattern” (TP) of rice, fish, veggie, and fruit, and the “meat and fast-food pattern” (MP), rich in meat, soda and processed foods.

Those who followed the MP diet, which includes instant noodles on its food chart, were associated with an increase in abdominal obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels — all potential triggers for heart disease and diabetes.

 

Women, in particular, who ate instant noodles at least twice or more a week were associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This association was not found in men, and Dr. Frank B. Hu, a Harvard professor of nutrition and epidemiology as well as one of the researchers behind the U.S. study, says this might be because women keep a more accurate record of their diet or because postmenopausual women have higher sensitivity to carbohydrates, sodium and saturated fat, according to The New York Times.

Sodium is certainly one of the key ingredients in instant noodle packages and cups, and one serving of instant ramen exceeds South Korea’s recommended daily sodium intake by more than 90 percent, reports the Associated Press.

The results probably don’t come as a completely surprise to most instant ramen noodle-consuming folks. And it would take a superhuman amount of willpower to ban the comfort food from our diets completely.

 

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South Korean pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers, Ryu Hyun-jin in a commercial for a popular South Korean ramen. (Photo Credit)

For many South Koreans and Korean Americans, instant ramen noodles are a mainstay in their diets, and for myself in particular, the food is a nostalgic reminder of home and childhood. I distinctly remember the joy I felt every time I watched my mother crack an egg over bubbling ramen soup, mesmerized as it disappeared inside the broth, only to resurface in delicious clouds of creamy goodness. My brother and I would take advantage of those 10-for-$1 deals, crushing the noodles inside the packages, and coating the pieces with the seasoning for a delicious, crunchy snack. And, now much older, my brother will never leave California back to the East Coast without packages of ramen tucked snugly inside his suitcase, my mother’s gift symbolizing love and affection.

Needless to say, it may take more than a study to convince ramen-noodle lovers to join the noodle boycott.

Feature photo courtesy of Maangchi.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com 

Listen Up! Asian American Singer Z. Woods Talks Music And Identity

 

Take a cruise down an open street with your windows down, and turn up Z. Woods on your stereo. You’ll be slowly head-rocking to his smooth, silky vocals that float effortlessly over soulful beats and fluid piano riffs and melodies. You might even break a sweat listening to his passionate, sensual lyrics. And you’ll wonder which celestial planet sent such heavenly music to grace our earthly ears.

The man behind the music holds an air of mystery, too. Only known as Z. Woods, the singer (who identifies as Asian American) was born and raised in the city of Malmo, Sweden, and later made the move to Los Angeles by himself, leaving behind his life, family and friends to pursue music. Since then, the singer has collaborated with MC Jin, Paul Kim and David So, with Swedish Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist Stor and has worked with Korean Jungle Entertainment’s hip-hop group, M.I.B.

Woods just released his first original EP, “Songs About You“, on Aug. 19, and the impressive debut features five soulful tunes written, mixed and produced by the singer himself. Audrey got the chance to ask Woods a few questions about his background, his biggest influences, and his vision for music in the Asian American community.

 

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Q: What was it like growing up in Malmo, Sweden?
A: Growing up in a small country like Sweden was challenging at times as there were frequent occasions where I didn’t feel like I’d quite fit in. The Asian population in Sweden is extremely small compared to other nationalities/ethnicities, and so I had to always find a balancing point to navigate between the various cultures that I’d be exposed to. Life wasn’t necessarily difficult, but figuring out who you are as an individual proved to be much harder that I thought it was, looking back at it now retroactively.

 

Q: When and what was your first exposure to music?
A: I was essentially spoon-fed music from the day I was born. Although musical talent is not a common trait in my family, my sister was always a big fan of music and since she had to take care of me for the majority of the time, I would have to listen to whatever she forced me to listen to. That ranged everything from the latest Madonna and Michael Jackson records of the day to traditional Asian music or Asian pop music. I remember my sister constantly trying to record my attempts at singing along on her cassette player.

The quality and general spirit of musicality [in Sweden] has definitely influenced me, but also the situation of balancing cultures above made me seek comfort in music. Music, specifically R&B/Soul music, made me feel as if I was a part of something, as if I could relate to some of the stories I would hear. … My interest for music eventually became passion, passion became love and now my love for it has become an extension of my existence.

Q: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
A: I listened to a lot of urban music. Anything hip-hop and R&B was (and still is) dominating my playlists. Some of my biggest influences from an artistic standpoint include Brandy, Musiq Soulchild, Marvin Gaye, Craig David, Joe and Donell Jones. As a producer/writer, some of my biggest influences are The Underdogs (a production team), Darkchild, Ryan Leslie and Kanye West.

 

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Q: Did you face any challenges in your experience as an Asian American singer?
A: The biggest challenges have been to get people to look beyond their stereotypes and not make any preconceived notions about the quality of my art prior to giving it a chance. I find that our — the Asian American community’s — output often gets quickly dismissed as irrelevant and uninfluential. More emphasis is put on our “weirdness” than our ability to excel and influence. We are and have been easily marginalized, but a change is coming and I intend to be a part of that change.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from for your songs?
A: Inspiration comes to me from circumstances. It could either be personal situations or me drawing elements from situations that my friends/family share with me. Regardless of what it is, I emphasize on capturing the emotion behind it all. I believe at the foundation of every story, feeling, situation, etc. lies emotion. And being creatively involved in the entire creation of a song enables me to do just that. The words, melodies and music are all just elements to this vessel that seeks to speak to your spirit, the center of your emotions and to make you feel.

 

 

Q: What kind of message, through your music, do you want to give to your listeners and fans?
A: I want my audience to be able to find comfort in my music. I want it to be a soundtrack to their lives. If they need a mental break from whatever they might be dealing with, or if they seek to know that they are not alone in how they feel, etc., whatever it may be, I want my music to serve them and help them either get through what they’re going through or enhance any joyful moment. In short, I want my music to emotionally engage with people.

Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: I want to change the world! (Big statement, I know.) I want to make the world know that we, as an Asian American minority group, are MORE than capable and able to create art that is relevant, pertinent and does not cater to a certain demographic. I want the world to know that we are not weird, but that we are the same in that we have feelings and emotions too. I want the focus to be taken off “who” I am and instead be put on “what” it is I am doing. I want to be a part of that movement that will change this global perspective and allow more creative people (from all ethnic backgrounds) to have a voice.

 

Amen, brother. Now, play and repeat.

 

 

Keep Cool In White: Jamie Chung’s Top 5 Summer Looks

 

The heat of summer is slowly waning for those living in actual seasons, but for us residing in Southern California, the sun is still shining (and beating down on us with sickeningly hot rays). So while East Coasters can begin to plan enviously adorable outfits for sweater weather, Los Angelenos can still, rest assured, wear crop tops and flirty skirts until December rolls around. So here are five summer looks in the crispest color on the rainbow, and actress Jamie Chung shows us how to rock it.

 


1. White, from head to toe.

 

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Jamie Chung’s style is always on point, and her look at the Marc Jacob’s Daisy Dream Fragrance event in New York City was no exception. Chung looked sweet and chic as ever in an all-white ensemble that simply radiated summer. Gracing Jamie’s slender body from head to toe, the outfit boasted a mix of patterns and styles that the Korean American actress pulled off effortlessly. While the high-waisted, criss cross-patterned pants billowed loosely around her legs, Chung showed off some skin — and some physique — with a pure white bustier. She completed the look a summer must-have, ban.do’s adorable Twist Scarf in Black + White Polka Dot, for a perfect, flirty vibe.

 

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2. A pale palette.

 

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Chung looks super chic with another white ensemble in this gorgeous pale dress that floats just below the knee. She drapes the dress with a light pink vest to give the outfit more structure.

 

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3. Mix and match.

 

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White seems to shine brighter on Jamie Chung, and it’s the best color to keep cool in the summer heat. Wear a simple white top to complement a great, eye-catching skirt, and don’t hesitate to mix styles that seem to clash. The purse’s fringe gives this look more texture and a completely trendy vibe.

 

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4. It’s all in the details.

 

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This outfit proves that a simple white tee and jeans can go a long way with the right details. The burst of turquoise and the red accents pop even more vibrantly against a plain palette of white and blue.

 

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5. Whiteout.

 

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This is another great example of letting those colors shine against an all-white ensemble. Just don’t sit on a dirty chair!

 

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[Photos courtesy of WhatTheChung.com]

 

 

‘Yokohama Ratchet Pop': Crystal Kay Debuts New Sound

 

“Yokohama Ratchet Pop”? Sign me up.

That’s what Crystal Kay calls her new sound debuted in her latest single, “Dum Ditty Dumb,” and it’s the perfect jam to end your summer playlist.

Born to an African American father and a Korean mother in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, Kay is a multicultural artist who’s been performing since she was 13 years old. And with such a colorful background, it’s no wonder that her music features an energetic and nuanced sound, totally unique to itself.

 

 

“The reason why it’s called ‘Dum Ditty Dumb’ is because this girl is going crazy over this guy, and she wants him so badly that she feels the need to rap it in Japanese, too,” explains Kay, laughing, in the behind-the-scenes clip for the music video.

Sexy bass lines and rhythmic beats are juxtaposed with the traditional sounds of Japanese koto, and Kay’s sultry voice floats effortlessly between English and Japanese. Basically, the track is Beyoncé meets J-pop meets your favorite EDM staple. And the music video is equally riveting, combining 2D animation with live action for refreshing visual eye candy.

Aaaaand, replay.

 

[Photo via angryasianman]

 

The Lipstick That Sold Out Worldwide Thanks To K-Drama ‘My Love’ Is FINALLY Back

 

Hallyu stops for no one. Also known as the “Korean Wave,” Hallyu — that sweeping flood of catchy K-pop bands and heart-wrenching Korean dramas — has left a crazed world in its wake, leaving a multitude of screaming fans incoherently babbling through tears as their favorite star graces the stage.

Needless to say, Hallyu is a bit overwhelming, and its influence, mind-boggling. You might be familiar with a recent example of the mania — the worldwide shortage of one lipstick color that went viral. Now you may be wondering how a lipstick could possibly get so popular. Apparently, all it took was a rumor that the lipstick was worn by the main character of the popular K-drama My Love From The Star. Yup, K-drama influence can get that crazy.

After the rumor spread, YSL’s Rouge Pur Couture No. 52, which boasts a coral-pink shade, universally sold out online and in-stores. It was virtually impossible to get the lipstick unless you wanted to dish out $100 on eBay for a tiny tube of color.

But we have some great news for you — the lipstick is back in stock (and you should probably act fast).

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While No. 52 is still selling for up to $70 on eBay, a quick click of the refresh button on the YSL store page shows that the color is up for sale at the original (and more reasonable) price of $35. You no longer have to mix four different shades of lipstick to achieve the perfect coral-pink hue.

 

Behind all this marketing madness is My Love From The Star, a romantic Korean soap opera with a sci-fi twist. An alien disguised as a human landed on Earth 400 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty and eventually falls in love with a haughty actress in modern South Korea. Twenty-one episodes of hilarity, romance, and an unhealthy amount of chicken and beer ensue. The show was widely and positively received. In particular, viewers in China are die-hard fanatics of the show; one fan reportedly ended her relationship with her boyfriend because he was not as romantic as the show’s leading man.

Predictably, the show’s success has brought much fame to the the stars, actress Jun Ji-hyun and actor Kim Soo-hyun. And while one completely obsessed fan underwent the knife to resemble Kim Soo-hyun (I mean, understandably. Just look at the guy), millions of fans emptied out YSL’s stock of Rouge Pur Couture No. 52  when it was rumored to be the popular lipstick color worn by Jun in the show.

 

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However, the major plot twist of the drama still remains: the lipstick that Jun wore was not made by YSL.

“The color of her lips [during the show] cannot be produced by a single product. The make-up artist mixed a number of different [products], and YSL was not one of them,” said an industry source, according to the Korea Herald.

In fact, it was Korea’s largest beauty company, AmorePacific, who officially sponsored My Love From The Star and had many of their products promoted in the drama. The sales of their skincare products and lipsticks used by Jun skyrocketed 75 percent and 400 percent, respectively, according to Chinese media.

Other companies who sponsored the show have also gained profit. Jun and Kim’s characters used Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones and all visible consumer electronics, including computers, cameras, TVs and refrigerators were Samsung products in the show.

YSL, however, was not a sponsor.

“AmorePacific had considered filing a lawsuit against YSL, which is choosing to remain silent on whether June is using their products,” said a source, reported the Korea Herald.

With all of the craze surrounding this lipstick, you’d think that it had fallen from the stars.

Photo courtesy of Korea Herald and Drama Fever.

 

Song of Style’s Aimee Song Shows You How Celebs Vacay In Ibiza

 

It seems like every high-profile celebrity scheduled a sweet vacay to Ibiza this summer (Kimye, Bieber and Lohan, to name a few), and we weren’t invited (cry). But it’s OK — as long as we can live vicariously through the plethora of Ibiza-hashtagged photos littering Instagram and E! News, we’ll manage.

One of our favorite fashion bloggers who joined in the Ibiza festivities this summer was the lovely face behind Song Of Style — Aimee Song. Pronounced “aw-mee” according to her Instagram, Aimee lived it up on the star-studded Ibiza beaches with her sister and friends, and lucky for us, the popular Korean American fashion blogger documented her trip through an endless stream of enviable photos. As summer is winding down and fall is, well, falling right around the corner, we thought it’d be nice to daydream about cocktails on the beach and adorable bikini attire with a little help from Song of Style before sweater weather sets in.


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Monique Lhuillier Designs Wedding Gown For Her Fashion Role Model, Her Mother

 

Wedding gown guru and highly sought-after fashion designer Monique Lhuillier takes frequent trips to visit her family back in her hometown, Cebu City. But when she made the 16-hour flight this year, it wasn’t just to soak up some Philippine sun. Instead, it was for a rather special — and golden — occasion.

This year marked her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Her father Michel Lhuillier, a Vietnam-born Filipino entrepreneur of mixed French descent, and her mother Amparito Llamas, a Filipino with Spanish roots and a background in modeling, celebrated the occasion in a grand ceremony and bash at the Cebu Cathedral.

 

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(Can we just take a moment to drool over how gorgeous Amparito looked on her wedding day?)

For an event alternatively called the “Golden Anniversary,” the festivities and, of course, the attire could be nothing less than pure gold. Lhuillier took matters into her own hands to create a wedding gown that was as uniquely special as the first one her gorgeous mother wore. (The perks of having a designer in the family, am I right?)

“What I wanted to do was take elements of her original [wedding] gown, so we took it out of the box after being there for 48 years,” said Lhuillier, who said she began prepping designs for her mother’s gown around a year ago. “We found it in really great shape, and there was something so beautiful and timeless about that dress. So I had her put it on and the wonderful thing is that it still fit!”

Using the lace from the original dress, which featured a Watteau train that flowed from the shoulders down to the floor, Lhuillier designed a new gown with a slimmer silhouette and long sleeves.

“Then I did this beaded antique gold overlay covering the entire outfit to incorporate gold into this dress. I dusted beads on her shoulders, her sleeves and then it trickled down the waist and the sides of the skirt. In the back, I drizzled it all over the entire train,” explained Lhuillier. “After all, it was a golden wedding anniversary!”

 

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The beautifully redesigned wedding dress was the perfect way to pay homage to the lady Lhuillier calls her fashion inspiration.

“I grew up with a very glamorous mother. Her elegance and chic style were my earliest influences. I was naturally inclined to design specialty dresses and gowns,” Lhuillier said in a ShopBop interview in 2013. “I’ve always gravitated toward a more glamorous aesthetic. My mother is such a sophisticated, regal woman, and when I was growing up, I didn’t know anything different. I thought all women lived life that way! My sister and I loved watching her get ready and transform.”

To this day, Lhuillier loves to see her mom get dolled up for an occasion, and the Golden Anniversary was no exception. “My mother looked like a queen that night,” she gushed. (And don’t worry, her father looked equally dashing in classic black-and-white attire with a winning bow tie.)

 

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