Kind February <3

IMG_0972[1]Being charitable should be a daily task, like brushing your teeth or having a shower. Sadly, we sometimes only remember to be charitable when there is a particular function/event/drive and there is a chance to promote a particular organisation or cause.

My mission this year is to be charitable every day, in many different ways.

In November & December, I littered our kitchen with canning equipment, trays of fruit, far too much sugar and sterilised jars.

As it approached Valentine’s Day, I can honestly say my Husband is ready to lock me in the backroom to stop me from dropping thread and cotton and pins throughout our two-bedroom unit, as though I am personally shedding these items from my body.

IMG_2609[1]I have no intention of slowing down with my creations, I may have a pretty solid case of #scrunchiethumb and hear the sound of my sewing machine in my sleep, but I feel so good about my creations!

So, how can you help? Well, first of all, Lee is holding a pretty bloody cute Pop-Up Kissing Booth with her dutiful and cuddly Aussie Bulldog, Derek. If you are in the South-East Queensland area, then this event is for you – the details can be found here.

Your gold coin donation will go directly to the support of vital medical research products funded by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

February and March, my donations will be going to Cancer Research Australia, an organisation I was made aware of through my friend Lee, who is fundraising for this incredible charity throughout 2019. I am hoping to reach the $100 mark for them, as I did for Orange Sky Laundry.

I hope to see all of your gorgeous photos taken with the kissing booth and there will also be a few prizes given out for the winning photo of each location! You will go into the draw to win a dog kerchief + scrunchie combo, created by Rock it Like a Redmond :).

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My #instabreak (read: #instarelief)

A week and a bit ago, I decided to deactivate my travel Instagram page, @courtney_brisbaneblogger. It was a choice I battled with over and over and for the first couple of days, I honestly was not sure if I had made the right choice.

Now I can honestly say, I made the right choice. I am not waking in the morning and checking Instagram, worrying about the stats. Worrying that I am not getting notifications from the same people, being disheartened by the lack of engagement.

I miss the contact of several people, absolutely – but for the sake of my mental health, I have to tell you – it is the best choice I could have possibly made. I absolutely want to get back on there one day, although I wonder if there is, in fact, a way to clean-out my followers and those accounts I am following – without re-activating my account.

….

So I waited a week before I continued this post, just to see if my opinion had changed at all. It has not, thankfully. This last week I have been able to concentrate on my business, my work, and my I.R.L friends. I have not been caught up in algorithms and phony human-contact, hashtags, and scrolling through the same photos over and over again.

I can slowly feel my creativity coming back to me, I felt porous, leached dry of any genuine creativity when I was playing such close attention to my lifestyle/travel IG. There are quite a few people I have connected with, through text and message – those who genuinely understand the need for a break.

What I find to be completely amazing though, is the gorgeous woman who started our niche #gram tribe, also was going through the same thing! I had no idea when I was at our meetup (the night before I deleted/blocked everything) and looking at this incredible woman in the flesh, that she too was looking at taking a break. I’ve just checked and yep, this woman -who I really admire, has also taken a break from the gram.

The thing is, it is and is not real life, as much as any one thing can be both and both not something. You look at places, some genuine shots, genuine moments and then there are the pre-meditated, posed, screen-show masterpieces which are popular. It is fictitious, it is vacuous and do you know what? It is not inspiring. Not at all. It creates a breeding ground of doubt, of comparison and of an intrinsic sensation of failure.

I know there are people out there who are personally offended by my choice to delete my page or to stop communicating with them. All I can say is it is personal 100%. It was personal to me and I am feeling lighter, breathing deeper and my social media anxiety is fading.

Thank goodness.

Another thing to remember, social media is not real-life and other people’s actions are always made for THEM, not for you and that is A-OK.

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Christmas + mental health

Not another mental health post, some of you may be thinking. Where are the pretty travel pictures and travel stories, others of you may ask.

They’re here. I’ve got them. I cannot wait to share them, but with only nine days to go until Christmas I have something else on my mind.

Mental health. Not mental illness, not mental disorder, and certainly not mental problems. Mental health.

Christmas to my family is incredibly important, we love Christmas. We love being together and cooking and sharing thoughtful gifts, blasting Christmas music and wearing silly hats and telling terrible jokes from our Christmas crackers. My favourite memory of many of my christmases will always be that moment when I simply could not continue, I was full and exhausted, I’d had a day of fun and it was finally time for bed. I will always hear my mum and dad saying Merry Christmas darlin’ as I headed to bed each year. That is my favourite Christmas memory.

The holiday season is not always a happy time for some, for some people it brings with it memories of loss, a time of grieving, feelings of sadness and confusion. For some it means nothing but anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts.

Christmas is hectic. The holidays can be a real trigger for many people out there and we have a responsibility to check in on others.

For one of my friends, she lost her Mother on Christmas Eve. Another lost her best friend to depression on Christmas Day. Some people no longer have anyone to put their tree up with them. There are families who cannot afford to eat. Families without homes. Families doing their best to keep everything together, even though it seems impossible.

My favourite Big Issue vendor in Brisbane, Nathan is someone who stands outside of the 7/11 on Adelaide Street and wishes a Merry Christmas to ever single person who walks past him. I always make the time to stop and ask him how he is and have a chat. December brings with it a lot of hurt and sadness to his life. Not only is he homeless, but he lost his Mother, Step-Dad and his brother in various December’s. Still he wishes you a Merry Christmas. When I see people ignore him or even scowl at him I feel nothing but disgrace for the human race.

Last year, the week before Christmas, Nathan was telling everyone it would be his last week in Brisbane, he was moving to Hervey Bay to be with his son. His happiness was contagious, he hadn’t been that genuinely happy in months. I was silently rooting for him.

When I saw him on that same corner in January, my heart broke for him.

Missing out on the Portman’s dress you wanted for Christmas is not a tragedy. Working Christmas Eve instead of partying with your friends is not sad. Spending Christmas with your family-in-law or annoying Uncle / Cousin / Sibling is not depressing. They are all circumstantial situations.

I want you to enjoy your Christmas, be kind to everyone. Forget misgivings, remove toxic people from your life. Remember the reason for the season and practice kindness. Smile at your Big Issue vendor, if you have $7, buy a magazine. Chat with them. Ask how are you and be ready to listen and to mean it. Be socially aware.

Christmas is not shopping. Christmas is not presents. Christmas is not enduring Christmas with family, it’s an honour.

Christmas is love.

Practice love, always.

So, this is thirty….

Something a little different today, because we aren’t always travelling – sometimes we are saving, exercising, working and waiting for our next escape! This can get monotonous and boring though and it can be all too easy to slip into bad habits!

Women’s Health Australia performed a longitudinal study on Women’s Health starting in 1995 and assessing over 58,000 women around Australia. The study was performed via surveys every three-years and it looked at chronic disease, health service use and systems, social factors in health and well-being, health in rural and remote areas, women and mental health, roles and relationships, intergenerational issues, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, weight, nutrition and physical activity, mental health, ageing, health service usage, formal and informal work patterns and work-family balance, caring and reproductive health. The study is ongoing and the results have really spot-lighted the gaps in Australia for women’s health.

I thought I would try to summarise what I know to be key points for women in their 30’s to build a foundation of good health. We are all so unique and individual – but these are what I have heard time and time again. At a quick summary – here are the basics…

  • We need to maintain a healthy weight
  • We need to keep our skin looking fresh and youthful
  • If we have any reproductive issues – anything from getting pregnant – or not – to dining appropriate and effective birth control
  • We need to prevent bone loss; and
  • We need to reduce stress.

It is not that simple though – we also require bi-yearly (and sometimes annual) pap-smear checks, we perform our own breast checks, we need to monitor our energy and iron levels. We run homes, have careers, maintain our relationships and attempt to have a social life – as well as be there as a carer, counsellor, lover, partner, parent, finance controller and admin assistant in every avenue of our lives.

Oh – and our metabolism slows – so its an uphill battle with an exercise program and diet. PLUS we have wrinkles, thanks to our skin cells now forming slower – so don’t forget the proper cleansing process twice a day.

If, like me, you have not yet had children yet – then you start to feel the pressure from those around us, the media and medical information. Too bad if you are aiming for good health, want to be financially secure and possibly be established in your career/relationship and self; because guess what? Your eggs are going one by one and that clock is a-ticking!

Watch your teeth, your diabetes risk, your eyes, your pelvis, your breasts, your blood pressure, your sexual health, your thyroid, your skin (skin cancer risk), your weight, your immunisations, try to avoid the flu and make sure you are getting enough sleep.

However for stress levels it’s probably pretty important you just go with the flow and be a calm and happy ball of sunshine – you know, whilst remembering absolutely everything else.

So – lovely women of the world – what are your tips? How do you manage? What is your best advice? Lay it on me, I want to draw from your knowledge and experience!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Lifestyle Post – Goodies & sale items I love or am trying…

So… Christmas is next month. Which of course means I have once again done the complete opposite throughout the year and gained weight, not saved money and not meant the goals I had hoped to throughout the year. Ah well. Nothing like a last-minute dash towards goals, am I right?

SKIN SPECIALS

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Sand & Sky – Natural Australian botanical goodness – my sister got me on to the Australian pink Clay Porefining Face Mask and honestly, it is gorgeous. So is their Exfoliating Treatment. With summer here basically already – it is time to get summer ready! From 15/11 – 21/11 you can get 25% off their Exfoliator kit, 35% off their Mask Holiday Kit, 35% off the Combo Holiday Kit, save up to 40% on general products! What have you got to lose? No nasties and beautiful, soft and noticeable results.

Lady Bits & Pieces

190840ae-81fa-4687-a64c-34436755e33a[1]Boody Eco Wear –  I am going through a real eco-friendly change and I have been a long-time lover of bamboo and hypoallergenic gear. Boody Bamboo wear is eco-friendly, ethical, antibacterial, anti-fungal and fits well. They also have more than just underwear, they have underwear, active-wear, baby clothing etc. With a sign up for Boody news and receive 10% off your first order and in Australia, you will get FREE express shipping on all orders over $100 and free standard shipping on all orders over $60.

2d8440be-3115-4f35-b6e9-dc8760f0f89dModibodi – Again, here is another brand I love, particularly when it comes to sustainable and absorbent, sweat-proof, curve-friendly and super absorbent underwear. Say goodbye to ugly period-panties and guess what, they are Aussie designed and owned! They are currently having 15% off storewide all day on 13-November with the code QUICKLICK and 15% off store-wide on 11/11 – Single’s Day with the code SINGLESLOVE. You can also get 10% off orders over $100.

Health & Fitness

180 Nutrition – I don’t know about you but when I f7fed75a-5e31-4251-b484-364b0b4863c5want protein or other blends, I do not want it to be full of nasties, no point getting results if you are poisoning yourself. 180 Nutrition originally began working with a small charity for people with chronic diseases, and so was born an incredible group of products without chemicals, artificial flavourings and sweeteners. My favourites? The Organic Greens Plus and the Low-Carb Vegan Protein bars (seriously, delicious!). You can save $92 with a box of super-food at the moment (8 x 1.2kg bags of superfood + free shipping!).

5.45.4 – I first came across 5.4 when I was attending my Hypoxi sessions and for macro-nutrient controlled meals they are delicious. Their meals are designed to improve wellness, increase energy and burn fat. They are protein packed, low carb (or good carb), low sugar and low saturated fat. The meals are snap frozen and have a 12-month shelf life. My favourites are the Shredded Mexican Chicken and the breakfast egg bites! Also you can use ZipPay! From 12/11 – 14/11 you can purchase a meal plan (as a new customer) and get $25 off any meal plan with the code CLICK25. You can also order a meal plan and receive 7 Free breakfast meals with the code EGGS.

Take a break..

 

9fc82e16-5a45-4d4e-bbd5-a92f683d9401P&O Cruises – honestly I love P&O, I love that you can go on a 3-day cruise up and down the coast of Queensland and barely need any time off of work to come back feeling refreshed! I love that we can get the all-inclusive package, I love the staff, love the ocean, love the trivia and bingo, love it all! For my Christmas present to Grant a couple of years ago, I bought us a three-night cruise, it was the best. They currently have a sale on a select group of their 3 Day cruises and for cruises of 7 nights or more, you can book and receive your free premium drinks package (this is so worth it, we have done it twice!).

contikiContiki – do not be intimidated by the age-demographic of this one, you can travel on Contiki up until 35. I have been on three separate Contiki trips, each a completely different trip to the other and I was thankful to have everything organised for me. I also met some of my very best friends in the world on my Contiki trips.  They have some amazing specials at the moment, with 30% savings & flight and trip deals.

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

How to beat jet-lag

You don’t.

All the melatonin, pressure points, cardio, water, re-setting your watch, sleeping in-line with your destination does NOTHING.

Your body is tricky, it knows you have failed it. Your body knows you have taken it away from an amazing holiday and brought it home – in cattle-class. Your body knows how many wines you had, it remembers the sound and smell of the three babies that were two rows ahead of you. It is well-aware you have unpacked your suitcase.

It even knows you are sending it back to work – so no, you cannot beat it. You are denying it it’s eating-drinking-exploring days.

If your body wants to nap, nap. If it wants 3L of diet coke, give it to it. If it wants to get up at 6am and act like a crazy-active person for five hours and then crash like you’ve ran a marathon, like Jim Carey in Yes Man, then go with it.

Mourn together. Then when you are ready, plan your next holiday.

Also maybe go to the gym.

Eat a vegetable.

You do you.

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

 

Hypoxi – my honest review

Do you remember the first time you didn’t like your body? When you first started to pick apart all the parts and pieces which make you, you? I do. I was 14, I guess I need to be thankful that it was not before this, which I am positive our next generation are acutely aware of at a much earlier age.

At 32, I think I have given most methods a try. In terms of diets I have tried Atkins, Ketogenic, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, BodyTrim, Lite & Easy, Clever Guts, calorie counting and weighing my food to the gram. With exercise I have had the gym memberships, gone to classes, been involved in boot-camp, bought the heart-rate monitor, running, swimming, HIIT, fat-burning cardio – the lot.

Not in an obsessive way of course, just little lifestyle changes from time to time. Sometimes I successfully kept the weight off for a while and then due to bad practice would put it all back on again (my fault).

I am finding the weight harder to shift, it is more stubborn, it is dense and with a risk for intracranial hypertension – I need to be both mindful and aware of my BMI. Around 4 months ago I was so sick of going to the gym, that I stopped going. My bike tyres kept blowing out, so I stopped riding to work and quite frankly the mornings were cool and dark, so early morning exercise was out of the question (again, this is all my own doing).

My girl friend in Sydney runs her own Hypoxi clinic and for a few years she has told me about the benefits. My best friend and MOH two years ago went through a Hypoxi program prior to my wedding and had great results. I am coming up to the completion of my eight week program and with many of my girl friends asking for a blog post and an update, here it is!

What is Hypoxi?

Hypoxi is a low-impact exercise that promotes quick and targeted results (fat + cellulite)sessions. With advanced vacuum and compression technology (and nutrition) Hypoxi activates your body’s natural system to burn specific areas of fat and cellulite.

Who is Hypoxi?

Hypoxi was developed by a sports scientist, Dr Norbert Egger and his interest in shifting the problem areas for women resulted in the development of Hypoxi, which made it’s way to Australia in 2005.

How do I Hypoxi?

Lucky for all of us, Hypoxi provides a free initial session for anyone and everyone, during this session your local Coach will assess your requirements and objectives and explain Hypoxi. There are many studios, find your closest one here.

When do I HYPOXI?

There are some independent studies to read, which you best believe I poured over before I decided to try it out – link is here.

Hypoxi is a low-impact exercise that promotes quick and targeted results in just 30 minute sessions. Science is backing this one and being the ever-cautious research nut that I am, it took me a few months before I decided to try it out.

Thankfully there is a free session available to all, which gives you the chance to speak with your local franchised, discuss your wants, needs and expectations and also try it out.

I approached the Bulimba clinic pretty nervously, I feel most vulnerable talking about and showing my body to others. I prefer to hide in the corner of the gym, or go for walks in the dark. It’s just how I am. So it took courage for me to claim my free session and head in.

I could not have been welcomed more warmly than I was by Bec, Although I was suspicious of being presented with unachievable projected goals or a price-list that would make me cry, it could not have ben any different.

Bec is personable, friendly and logical. Having Bec be a part of my journey was wonderful addition to what would turn out to be an incredibly effective and enjoyable experience.

I purchased the eight week program, rolled my ankle pretty severely after week three and then needed a month off. So sadly my results were altered I would imagine because of this. Despite this, I couldn’t be happier with the results! So, my measurements after the eight week program!

I have lost 1.5cm from my waist (which is the smallest part of me, so pretty impressive!)

I have lost 9.5cm from my stomach.

From my hips I have dropped 6.5cm and from my bottom I have lost 5cm!

Safe to say I adore Hypoxi, I love my early morning sessions with Bec at the Bulimba clinic and I have one more week to go in my pre-purchased pack. Unfortunately I rolled my ankle half way through and needed three weeks off, however I still saw results I am beyond happy with.

nd I felt as though I was supported and encouraged in a totally judgement-free zone. Having my measurements taken was pretty daunting and distressing to a point. Have you ever just thought “How did I get here?”. Anyways, the trick is to not get too hung up on that and keep on moving forward.

Things to remember and to abide to, honestly I trialled following and not following these and the differences week-to-week were really noticeable!

  • do NOT consume food for two hours after your session and avoid carbs for a further 4-6 hours. Failing to follow this will result in burning your food, rather than your stubborn food.
  • no alcohol after your session and overall try to limit your alcohol consumption
  • no caffeine for two hours after your session
  • keep your water up – 2L per day if you can
  • avoid fruit immediately after your session also
  • in general try to stick to foods with less then 10mg per 100mg of carbs

The machines I used included the L250 trainer and the HypoxDermology (HD) suit, otherwise known as my sleep-time. This contraption rejuvenates the skin, improving its tone and texture and is modeled on the ancient Chinese practice of cupping. There are some complexities when getting into the suit. First of all, I am 5″9, so everything is long and I am tall, I also pack a bun on-top of my head that nearly requires its own separate hat – I am now at a stage where I can manoeuvre that bad-boy into the suit expertly (although I still forget to bring my arms down to a height which is appropriate for Bec to help me, sorry Bec). I go in this for half an hour before my thirty minute L250 session.So, if you are thinking of it giving it a go, you won’t be disappointed. Here are my before and after pictures. Which I’m not super comfortable sharing but for anyone like me who was searching high and low for independent reviews, then I hope this helps!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

The best 8 things I have learned at 30…

The best 8 things I have learned at 30…

IMG_0651• High school was 13 years ago. Do NOT freak out. High school is not a period of your life which you should ever let define you. Whether you were the most popular kid there or if you were mostly invisible. It’s been over for nearly half your life. Leave it in the past.

• There is absolutely no obligation to stay friends or in contact with people who make you feel like rubbish. Seriously. Take a good hard look at who you spend your time with. If they aren’t propping you up, supporting you or bringing smiles to your face – then these are not the people for you. Life’s too short. Cut your losses and move on. Just don’t be cruel or a dickhead about it.

• You can say NO! It’s amazing. Seriously. I spent my 20’s saying yes, feeling obligated to do so and basically silently suffering through a host of activities I had zero interest in being at. You do not owe anyone anything. You are obligated to be kind and gracious if you’re invited to something you don’t wish to take part in – BUT you are able to say “No thank you”, without an excuse.

• Work – Life balance. Say it with me. B A L A N C E. I spent my twenties absolutely going hell for leather to get my qualifications, get those promotions and work my arse off to get to where I wanted to be. And then, well. I realised I was exhausted. I realised that it isn’t about money, or titles. It’s about leaving the office and not feeling overwhelmed with dread for your return the next day. I remember completing a safety investigation over the phone at 12:30am on New Years Day. I was meant to be on annual leave. That was my New Years, after having worked through Christmas. Considering I was paid appallingly to live in the middle of nowhere and be on-call at all times, it just was not worth it. Just remember to have “you” time. Switch-off where you can and make sure you have some kind of self-love. Whether it’s music, Netflix, phone-free time, saying “no” or sleeping. You do you, babe.

• Travel, clothes, house stuff, açai bowls, avocado on toast, makeup, bottle-service and the latest iPhone are all great in your 20’s. Do you know what isn’t? Paying that same debt off in your 30’s. Don’t take that automatic pre-approved credit-limit. Don’t put everything on finance and live within your means. Have your fun – spend your money, but try not to spend the next three years of money before you’ve earned it. Also, pay your bills. Whatever you do – do not go into one of those debt agreements, you’re as good as declaring bankruptcy. Don’t ignore those calls if you owe money. Let them know that you need more time. They are legally obligated to assist you.

• Pyramid schemes are a joke. There’s nothing wrong with supporting your friends where you can, it’s amazing trying something new. Just avoid giving up a weeks wage for some start-up pack, selling things not only will your friends think you’re a jerk for contacting them for the first time in three years to sell your tea/face cream/juice/oils, but there’s a massive chance you’re going to lose that money.

• You are entitled to like / love whatever music, tv shows, food, form of travel, clothing, or socialising you freaking like. In your twenties you’re so busy being turned inside-out by what is and what is not ‘cool’ or ‘in’ that’s it is a complete waste of time. You finally become completely at-one with being who you are.

• Kmart. Is. The. Best. It’s actually considered a date amongst friend. You have pleasure unlike any other when you get to roam free in Kmart.

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Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x