Archive | LIFE LATELY

PHOTOS + A VIDEO FROM THE REINDEER FARM IN LEAVENWORTH

I’ve been to Leavenworth more times than I can count and most of the time I’m excited to eat, visit and do all the things at our usual spots but every once in awhile something new pops up that I can’t wait to try with Johan and the kids. This time it happened to be a Reindeer Farm and it was a huge hit. I’ll let the crazy amount of pictures and quick video below do all of the talking… we loved every minute!


I was taking pics of the kids in Santa’s sleigh when he snuck up behind me! Most of the kids thought it was hilarious. Poppy about lost her mind.

Once Santa was out of sight, someone offered to snap a family photo of us on the sleigh (love it when people do that!) and while you never quite know if it’ll turn out, I think this time we might just have a Christmas card photo!

The kids literally haven’t stopped talking about our new reindeer friends. Through all of our conversations, we all agreed that the reindeer in the movie The Santa Clause are the most accurate depiction of the very quirky and mischievous animals. Bet you can guess what’s showing next on our family movie night!?

Love when outings lead to conversations. Makes all the chaos worth it!

xo, Rae

PS – for all my local friends that might be planning a stay in Leavenworth, I’m going to share some of our favorite places to eat tomorrow. Is there anything else you’d like me to share.

PPS – sign up for emails so you don’t miss anything!

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THOSE FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS + A FAMILY UPDATE

We’ve been in a bit of a blissful post-sports-season lull around our home since last saturday and I’m not gonna lie, this mama that appreciates a packed calendar is LOVING the slowness and togetherness. Nothing like going from having multiple teams and sports happening 6 days a week to almost nothing except off season baseball practices with a few school events sprinkled in.

The perks include but not limited to… kids that have bathed almost every night (ironically since they probably need it less, lol), a more manageable laundry pile without all the layers of practice gear and uniforms, and a car that smells less and less like an old pair of soccer cleats by the day. In addition, all 5 kids ate after school snack together on wednesday and then yesterday they all went with Johan to target just for fun while I got dinner started. ALLLL OF THEM! Can you tell I’m in heaven?

Of course wrapping up a season is always a little bittersweet too. I miss seeing the kids play and be with their teammates but mostly missing our Friday nights watching Oz play high school football. He didn’t grow up playing peewee football or anything so I wouldn’t say we’re much of a football family, but there is seriously nothing like Friday Night Lights. Plus it always gave us something fun to look forward to and do with the family!

Found a few pictures from a small tailgate we did before a game earlier in October…. Take me back!

(Poppy’s cute salty pretzel tee from HERE!)

The jumping and the smiling face action shot — so much to love about this pic!

Gigi and Bestemor chatting in the pic below. Can you guess which one of them gave birth to me and which one to my 6ft 3inch husband? ;)

The colors below! I can hardly handle how pretty. Also when leaves double as entertainment for the kids.

Tailgating was one of the things on our fall bucket list and the weather was good enough in October we ended up doing it twice! Now we just have to figure out a new way to spend our Friday nights…

Speaking of calendars and bucket lists, I have a couple questions for ya:

  1. do you prefer when the calendar is full and busy or more flexible with lots of time to hunker down at home?
  2. have you been thinking about what to put on your Christmas, Holiday or Winter bucket list?

I just started jotting down ideas this week. Can’t believe we’ll be wrapping up our fall bucket list (even though fall doesn’t officially end until December 21st) with Thanksgiving next week!

Happy Weekend + Lots of Love!

XO, Rae

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OOTW, THROWBACK TRAINERS + PLAYING WITH GRIFFIN

The best thing to happen to motherhood since baby carriers and wet wipes has got to be the sneakers with everything trend. I mean, the ability to wear most items in your closet AND also be able to chase after or play with a kid or two is brilliant. I’m a fan of the chunky (slash ugly) trainer and have had my eye on this pair (in all leather) but can never find them in my size and color preference so snagged these reeboks instead which are more of a throwback than chunky but also less expensive and I love them! And the best thing to happen to this plain t-shirt is for sure, this cute camisole. I tend to feel overdressed in a silk top but the two together strikes a perfect balance and feels special without being too stuffy for all the glamorous things I do all day (i.e. target runs, grocery shopping, picking all the things up off the floor, carpool + dishes). Even better, ditch the tee and add a leather jacket for date night! (just got this one for under $100)

(All blue, head to toe! GRIFFIN’S tee from j. crew, adidas sweatshirt from amazon, joggers from rockets of awesome and new balance shoes are from j.crew.)

Gah! I love this hand holding, high energy boy so much! Last week Johan and I picked him up a few minutes early from school to surprise him with a quick fro-yo date. On the way home Johan mentioned on the car ride that he only had one week left of soccer so I followed up with a question about playing next year to which he answered — “I’m kinda thinking I’ll play football instead” — it’s the best, most exciting but also stressful thing when they grow up and start making independent decisions like that!!! My reply was of course one I thought would make him think hard — “Do you think you’ll be able to hit and tackle other kids?”  — and he replied, “I tackle dad all the time!”

Ok. You win Griff. I will always try my best (with loads of wisdom of course) to support your ambitions and dreams. But I will also be praying that I get to see you play soccer next fall, lol.

When you have more than one kid, it’s easy to encourage them to play with each other outside while you do something productive (pick weeds, sweep the porch, clean out the car). But spending time playing with Griff and a soccer ball reminded me how productive it is for our relationship which carries over into our day and home and feels so good. My own dad was really good at playing outside with us. Lots of basketball, riding bikes and going for runs together so I speak from experience how powerful it can be… it’s just too easy to forget sometimes!

So, here’s my official NOTE TO SELF:

play more catch. play more tackle. play more tag.

Does playing come naturally to you or is it something that requires more intention?

Now that the weather is getting chilly, I for sure need to be more intentional about it. I’m always so cold! Sometimes my todo list gets the best of me too… adulting is hard!

XO, Rae

 

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THINGS EVERY FAMILY ROOM SHOULD HAVE

We’re in the process of painting a few walls and shuffling furniture around in our home. Mostly from the family room to the man cave slash playroom which has left us with a very empty room that’s going to need some refreshing! (YAY! Just a little excited about it.) When we redid the boys room over the summer, we made a list of everything a kids room should have in it and it was super helpful, so we started one for the family room too. A little surprised at how short the list is so I know we’re missing things, ha! Would love any and all input!

FAMILY ROOM MUST-HAVES:

  1. a stack of chat books for little walks down memory lane
  2. throw blankets + pillows
  3. a cozy couch
  4. a coffee table big enough to play games or color at.
  5. photos + art
  6. tv and a good sound bar!
  7. soft lighting (i.e. lamps)

I think the biggest challenge will be finding a couch we can afford (key word) that’s cozy to sit on and looks good but can also handle grubby fingers and a pile of people on family movie nights. If you know a good place to shop for one that checks all those boxes, please share!

I’ve also been on the hunt for inexpensive frames I can mix and match on a gallery wall in the family room and am having the hardest time finding some. Other than Ikea or the thrift store, where do you guys find them?!?

And don’t forget to share what your family room must-haves are!?

xo, Rae

(Photos by my brilliant husband, Johan.)

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PHOTOS FROM HALLOWEEN IN SEATTLE 2018

On Halloween We:

Dress up like — Darth Vader (Griffin), Planet of the Apes (Espen), A soccer player (Tilly), Minnie Mouse (Poppy), Mickey Mouse (Johan), and a Strawberry (Me)… Not pictured were Ozzie and his sweet girlfriend who dressed up like a baseball player and an angel for Angels in the Outfield (so cute!)

Make last minute costume changes — Poppy, who was 100% committed to being a strawberry (because in her own words, she luuuuuvs strawberries. she luuuuuv eating strawberries and she luuuuvs being a strawberry.), woke up from a nap 15 minutes before heading out to trick or treat and was repulsed by her strawberry costume. Like wouldn’t go within 10 feet of it. But luckily she was wearing a black dress and we had minnie mouse ears on hand from going to the kids’ classroom parties (costumes aren’t allowed but headbands don’t count, right?) so it all worked out.

Try something new — We usually hangout in our neighborhood with a group of friends (who we love!) but this year decided to switch things up a bit so headed to Queen Anne for their trick or treating event and then walked to Johan’s sister and brother in laws place for dinner, candy eating and a movie.

Hold hands — probably my favorite part this year was that in between going into the shops and knocking on doors, there was always someone’s hand to hold… my favorite!

Count, sort, trade and then taste test the candy — always the first thing that happens once we’re indoors after trick or treating. Do your kids do the same?

Watch the nightmare before Christmas — or at least we did this year after getting back from trick or treating. Am I the only person that isn’t into this movie?

Listen to Christmas music — after the festivities, on the drive home of course, lol.

Carry around a pet ghost balloon — Just in case one of the kids got separated so they’d be able to look up and find us…. it was kind of annoying to drag around (mostly for the other people walking on the sidewalk, lol) but actually came in handy when Tilly wandered off. I’ll explain below!

Digging into poppy’s bucket after she said it was getting heavy, lol! Just doing my part to help a sister out!

Two pics above, everyone’s in the frame while Johan is figuring out settings for the camera so we can ask a stranger to snap a family pic. One pic above, Johan hopped in the frame but do you notice someone else missing? HA! Tilly somehow wandered across the street and we didn’t notice until we were finished with the pic and saw her standing on the other side of the crosswalk looking at us like, “where have you guys been!?” Sooooo glad she stayed put and didn’t keep wandering down the sidewalk… it’s my biggest fear on Halloween. Also the reason why I appreciate starting trick or treating before it get’s dark.

(might be the world’s worst at making a kissy face, hahahah!)

Our days of trick or treating are numbered so feeling extra thankful for our little halloween together, trying something new and having the best time. Hope you guys had the best Halloween yet!

Let me know what your favorite part was in the comments please… I love it when you share!

XO, Rae

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SWEATER WEATHER + HELLO CUPCAKE

Last Friday after a busy week and what felt like forever since Johan and I had a chance to chat or hangout for more than 5 minutes, we took Poppy out for a little date to Hello Cupcake in Tacoma. It was such a fun and needed break and as you can tell, I’m  a happy girl anytime there’s a coffee and cupcake (or 12) in my hands!

Also love that “sweater weather” means I get to add a cozy, textured layer to my usual jeans and a tee uniform. Bonus, every time I think or hear the word “cardigan”, I can’t help but sing, “Cardi-Cardi!” in my head. Ha! Add a bright color to the mix and it does wonders to brighten up tired eyes and a fading summer tan.

Linked outfit details and more pics from our outing below!

(I typically favor cozy quarters over a giant home, but dream of having a prep kitchen with a giant pantry and fridge hidden behind swinging doors with round windows like above. A little over the top but think of how amazing it would be!)

We ordered a dozen mini cupcakes to grub on and share with friends before Ozzie’s football game later that evening. Plus one to eat right away of course! Gotta love places that make their sweets in a tiny size for kids and adults to enjoy. No sugar rush (and invitable meltdown) for them or sugar crash for us.

As we walked down the street with our basically homemade cupcakes from a small shop and stared through the windows of other small shops and restaurants along the way, I thought about how much I love supporting small businesses and appreciate the people who put their heart, creativity and finances out there to make our communities thrive and our everyday lives feel extra special. It’s honestly heroic in it’s own way — even if it means paying $2 for one mini cupcake when you could buy twelve for $5 at target. The value is so much greater. And the lack of preservatives is pretty awesome too.

I’M WEARING | sweater also available here (I sized up 1 for a bigger fit), vintage tee, jeans (similar. also saving up for these), shoes

POPPY’S WEARING | leggings, sweatshirt, hat

Our little outing also made me wonder what kind of a shop I would open…? As much as I have dreamt about opening up a clothing or home goods store (for the obvious personal perks), I would for sure open up a bakery that also served ice cream and breakfast until 10pm (def. the reason I should never open a store, lol — way too hard to decide on a niche!)…. something about knowing my bakery slash cafe would be a great place for family and friends to gather or grab treats for an afternoon pick-me-up or special occasion would give me lyfe.

Do you guys ever daydream about what kind of a shop or small business you would open? Tell me bout it in the comments!

XO, Rae

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HIKING TWIN FALLS WITH KIDS + A WE CAN DO HARD THINGS

Have you guys ever had the kind of week or weekend that was so, so good but also so, so hard? Personally raising both hands after this past weekend which, by all regards, was amazing and guess what!? It was 4 days long! Even better, the weather was to-die-for. We crammed so much into 4 days (including a hike at Twin Falls!) and had lots of fun but at the same time, we were all a little “off”. Johan worked 3 of the 4 days, the kids bickered with each other like crazy and were (generally speaking) hard to please, bedtimes were HARD for no apparent reason, and the list goes on.

Sure there were special moments sprinkled in over the 4 days. But I fell asleep most nights exhausted and ready for a squeaky clean start!? I’ve since gone over things in my mind and think I’ve found a pretty good perspective on it all that I’ll share below but first, a few pics from our hike — AKA one of the very, very good parts from the weekend (except that Johan and Ozzie weren’t with us — we missed you!).

Tilly and Griffin snagged the big camera a couple times and snapped some pics. It’s always so fun to see what they capture — I love them all. Even the fuzzy ones :)

I think it’s just the all black outfit, but looks a little like big foot is sneaking up behind Espen and Griffin in the pic below, LOL.

It was gorgeous up in the woods and mountains and the air was crisp and delicious to breath. There were little turn-offs along the trail where we could take a break (or let people pass us, lol) and throw rocks into the river.

Our view of the waterfall – almost a mile into the hike. We made it another 1/4 of a mile before turning around. Tilly and Griff were disappointed but the other two were ready to head home.

Overall, Poppy did way better than I expected, walked almost the entire time (even the steep parts!) and slept soooo good that night!

The next best thing to chubby baby legs has to be skinny middle school legs (insert heart eyes emoji)… example: two pictures up.

Also… so many sticks, HA! Walking sticks, throwing sticks, funny looking sticks, so basically kid heaven and my worst nightmare. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. I don’t normally mind when my kids play with sticks, but the trail was pretty busy so it was a little stressful and, like with most outings we go on there’s always one phrase I repeat constantly. This time it was, “keep your sticks pointed down, please!”

Espen stopping for a snack break and Poppy stopping for a kiss break!

Back to my fresh revelation on something I probably knew before but know in a new way now… may I always remember on the rougher days (weeks + months) that God’s working things out for our good. And that even though I might be ready for it to end so we can start over the next morning (hallelujah!) it’s not a throw away day. It hold just as much value (maybe more?) than the good days because through it I’m learning to be a better mom and human and they’re learning to be better, sweeter humans too. It’s just a little uncomfortable, ya know?

How does that saying go…? No guts, no glory. Pretty sure that applies to motherhood too but guess what?

WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

Hope you’re having one of those good days but if not, I hope this post encourages you!

XO, Rae

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DAY IN THE LIFE VIDEO: COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY

Happy weekend you guys!!!

One of our favorite things about fall is the start of football season. If you follow along on Instagram Stories, then you know where we are most Friday evenings (Friday Night Lights!) and most Saturday mornings you’ll find Game Day on, followed by games, lots of good food and a bit of chaos :). We don’t always get to spend Saturday mornings at home (hello soccer season), but when we do, it’s my favorite!

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to wake up to five kids (+ a couple extra friends) on a weekend, press play!… also note how slow my brain function is by the end of the day, lol.

Is this what your Saturdays look like? Are there any other days of the week or parts of our life that you’d like to see?

XOXO, Rae

PS – for more videos click over to our youtube channel and be sure to subscribe!

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A LIST OF OUR FAVORITE FALL FAMILY MOVIES + PICS FROM THE HORSE TRACK

A few weeks ago, after watching Secretariat for Family Movie Night, we decided to plan a trip to see actual horse races and had so much fun! I’ll share more about it and some pics below, but first…

…Our movie inspired outing and the months of cozy weather ahead had me dreaming up a list of fall movies so I thought I would share! I separated younger kid movies from ones to watch on date-night-in or with the older kids, but you might also want to check movie reviews on Common Sense Media (if you don’t already?). Not an ad, just a really good (well rounded) resource for us parents! Takes the guesswork out.

FALL MOVIES FOR FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

  1. hocus pocus
  2. halloweentown
  3. hotel transylvania
  4. e.t.
  5. twitches
  6. bed knobs and broomsticks
  7. it’s the great pumpkin, charlie brown
  8. casper
  9. harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone (save this one for school age kids)
  10. mom’s got a date with a vampire
  11. matilda
  12. a charlie brown thanksgiving
  13. little giants (football season!)
  14. enchanted

FAVORITE FALL MOVIES FOR DATE NIGHT (OR OLDER KIDS)

  1. scream
  2. practical magic
  3. buffy the vampire slayer
  4. ghostbusters (80’s version of a PG movie so more like a PG-13)
  5. gremlins
  6. the addams family
  7. the goonies
  8. stepmom
  9. rudy
  10. marley and me
  11. you’ve got mail
  12. the blind side
  13. good will hunting
  14. ferris bueller’s day off (fun for back to school!)
  15. sweet home alabama
  16. election (because election season!)
  17. meet joe black (might be a good one too!)

A FEW OTHER RANDOM ONES THAT ARE ON OUR MOVIE LIST (not divided by age)

  1. willy wonka
  2. the parent trap
  3. annie
  4. mary poppies
  5. the sandlot (always)
  6. mrs. doubtfire
  7. the princess bride
  8. my girl
  9. father of the bride
  10. alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day.
  11. house of rock
  12. troop beverly hills

For those of you with different ages of movie goers (i.e. little ones that need an earlier bedtime and/or don’t sit through a full movie and older ones that are eager to stay up and watch), something that worked for us is planning a halftime or intermission after 30 minutes or so then taking a break to put the younger ones down and grabbing a snack or treat for the older ones before starting the movie again.

Now, back to our outing to the horse track, which was much more casual and laidback than I imagined. Parking was easy, there was lots of space for the kids to run around and it wasn’t crowded at all. Even better, the prices were reasonable enough to not feel pressure to stay all day (gotta get your moneys worth, ya know!).

A bunch of pics from the afternoon!

A few pics I took with my phone!

The food was bad, but still good if you know what I mean.

Now back to the big camera :)

The horses were so big and strong and the races were fun to watch but I think more than anything the kids enjoyed placing bets — even if all we were betting was $1. Made watching the races extra exciting! After each race you could see the horses being walked back to their stables. So stunning to see them up close!

In the below pics, Johan told the kids to act like their horse just won the race, lol… this is what he got!

The boys were obviously way more into it, ha! Love their enthusiasm.

Love experiencing new things with them! Also love me a good movie night with just Johan or as a family… makes me want to make a bowl of popcorn and turn on a flick right now!

Speaking of popcorn, what’s your go-to snack or treat of choice during a movie?

Something we haven’t done much of, but I remember from family nights during my childhood, is making and drinking milkshakes. We had a fancy milkshake maker and my dad would think up the best combos! Need to add milkshake fixings to my shopping list ASAP :)

XO, Rae

PS – for those that are curious, my jumpsuit is from topshop and poppy’s dress is alice and ames

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SUNDAY AT LAKE UNION, SEATTLE

Want to hear something crazy? I’ve lived in the Seattle area most of my life and have never been to Lake Union — at least not that I can remember — yet it’s so close to everything. The Center for Wooden Boats (where we spent most of our time exploring on Sunday) in South Lake Union was so fun and charming! We had a great time looking at and touring the boats, walking along the docks and playing in the water. Johan, who’s family is from Norway and Sweden, said it reminded him of his visits there and even smelled like his family summer beach home. Not positive, but I think I was more excited about the connection than he was, lol. Can’t wait to one day take our kids to visit. Can’t you just see them fitting right in?

Now back to our much more local outing… It was a little stressful keeping Poppy and Griffin from falling off the dock. They probably would have been just fine regardless of my reminders and nagging but I think I said, “walk in the middle of the dock or hold my hand” about 100 times while we were there. Not that they wouldn’t have been okay had they fallen in (we were so close!) but who wants to deal with the chaos and trauma and a soaking wet child on a not-so-hot day. Not this mama.

Borderline too many pics from our afternoon below, but couldn’t get enough of the setting and all the lines! Would make a great spot for a family photo sesh.

I am not a boat person, but left really wanting a boat.

On our way to the lake we stopped at the store and grabbed some snack-y picnic-y food. The second we found a good grassy spot near the boats that also had a playground, it also started raining. I should be used to it by now but am always spoiled by our summer weather and forget! Luckily we found a little undercover patio that wasn’t being used so were able to save the food from getting soggy (YAY!). Checkout the set up while I was making the tray of food though (HA!). Tilly with her raincoat trying to cover the grub.

Also checkout the Griffin pic in the window below… he was so excited and proud of his artistic idea and I love it too.

These little paddle boats were a big hit! $3 for 10 minutes of playtime.

We were also able to take a tour of this amazing house boat built in the early 1900’s, called the Lotus. So cool and inspiring. Seriously wanted to move in! Saved some of the videos from the day on the “Seattle” highlight on Instagram if you want to see.

A little peek of the Space Needle so you can see how close we were to the Seattle Center area which is next on our to-do in the city list.

For all the Seattlites and pacific northwesterners, what’s on your “playing tourist” to do list or fall bucket list? For everyone else, you should come visit us in the PNW!!! I just highly suggest booking sometime between July and October :)

XOXO, Rae

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LIVING IN LOUNGEWEAR + WHY I BLOG + GRAM

This post was originally supposed to be about cute loungewear and how to wear it out of the house without feeling frumpy (tip: a structured jacket works wonders) but my mind is on something else right now and I’m feeling compelled to share with ya.

Recently someone asked (with a strong tone of disapproval) why I blog and post to social media and while I honestly understand their negative perception — because I do love documenting my family, cute clothes and good design. All things that are easy to label “superficial” or “braggy” — there is truly so much more behind my reason, purpose and intention for being in this online space. So if you are interested in the longer, deeper and more drawn-out “why” behind rae ann kelly, keep reading…. (I’ll be sure to link outfit sources below too, lol.)

I share because I’ve been a single, working, stay at home and work from home mom at different points in my life and guess what? It’s all hard. Like, so hard.

I share because we are in this together and can do more together.

I share in hopes of pointing to Jesus and His unwavering grace and love in my life. I am who I am and do what I do because of Him.

I share because I believe as moms (no matter our child’s age) we have incredible influence and the power to contribute SO MUCH good into our world, communities and culture.

I share because I know all too well how quickly it goes. (Stop growing kids!!!)

I share links and companies I love because providing, stocking up on and purchasing things for our families is part of the job description. And besides, it’s so much more fun (and less overwhelming) to “shop” with friends.

I hope my ideas and sources add heaps of function, fun and style to your day-to-day… because, YOLO.

I hope what I share helps you feel free to love and take care of yourself more so you can love and take care of your loved ones more.

I hope my posts and photos inspire you to play more, dance more, celebrate more, love more, giggle more, say yes more and be present more because it’s truly life giving and sanity saving — especially on those never ending days.

I hope my content reminds you that you are enough times 1,000 (because you are!).

I hope my chats about life and family and love and clothes and free printable helps you pursue what you want most in this crazy, beautiful, exhausting, and sacred journey of motherhood.

I hope you know that you have the power to create the kind of life you want, to raise amazing humans and to leave the mom-guilt and the haters behind so you can do you (boo-boo)!

So really, I’m here to help. Like a big sister or spirit guide (lol! watched 17 again earlier this week!). Sure I love having a place to document my family and the sponsored posts, paid content and growing online community is amazing. I don’t take a single outing, new project, follower or work opportunity for granted and am endlessly appreciative for your encouragement and presence in this space. I just want to make sure you know, my heart is to serve, encourage and love on you. Always.

XOXO, Rae

MY OUTFIT | sweat set, jacket (similar), tote (in brown), shoes

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