Here Are Four Hidden Gems On Long Island When You Want To Get Away From Manhattan

When F. Scott Fitzgerald was writing the novel that would eventually become “The Great Gatsby,” it is said that the author took inspiration from the area where he lived – Long Island, New York.

Located outside of the city of Manhattan, people who aren’t familiar with this suburb think that it’s just that – a suburb. But there’s so much more to it than that. There’s culture, cuisine, history and hidden destinations that one would only know about if they decided to take the train and travel.

Here are some of the island’s hidden gems:

Oheka Castle

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Located in the suburb of Huntington, NY, Oheka Castle has been the sight of many celebrity functions. Taylor Swift famously filmed her music video “Blank Space” on the castle’s grounds, Kevin Jonas got married in the middle of a snowstorm, and Dancing With the Stars pros Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd wed on the grounds as well.

And judging from the castle’s Instagram account, the views are perfect for exploring and falling in love with the mansion.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

Sagamore Hill, located in Oyster Bay, has some significance – the grounds were where President Theodore Roosevelt spent his summers with his family during his tenure as President of the United States. Known as the “Summer White House,” tourists can take a look inside the restored home and world of the 26th President, along with taking nature walks around the grounds and learn more about the wildlife that Roosevelt loved so much.

Planting Fields Estate

The Planting Fields Estate, located in Oyster Bay, has a rich history rooted deep in its grounds. Built in the early twentieth century, the estate boasts a massive arboretum and Coe Hall, one of the last of what is known as the “Gold Coast Estates.”

Although the estate is known for its beautiful grounds, the only con is that it is only open during the summer season. So if you’re looking for a nice fall experience out of the city, this might not be the place for you.

Old Westbury Gardens

On the list of the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Westbury Gardens boasts the best of the early 20th century elite – grand, luxurious gardens, nature/wildlife and a huge mansion that has been known to host weddings and formal events. It also hosts many programs that are open to the public all-year round.

According to the official website, the mission of the Gardens is to “inspire appreciation of the early 20th century American country estate through faithful preservation and interpretation of its landscape, gardens, architecture and collections.”

Looking to go on a luxurious last-minute vacation? Here are five Instagram accounts to inspire you.

It’s August. You’ve been working through most of the summer and you decide that you are looking to take a jet-setting vacation to a luxurious location that no one in your immediate circle has seen before. You’ve scheduled some time off, created a checklist of the top things you’re hoping to accomplish and you’re busy trying to find the one place that will guarantee you the time of your life.

But one question remains – exactly where will this vacation be?

Well, lucky for you, Business Insider has all the inspiration for you. Here are some Instagram accounts that are not only all about travel, but will spark something inside you to go to that one special place.

@beautifuldestinations

Sandy beaches? Crystal blue waters? a touch of history? With 12.7 million followers on Instagram, Beautiful Destinations takes you around the world and shows the luxurious side of life – from hotels to cuisine. And it’s grid is so aesthetically appealing that you can get lost for hours just scrolling.

@doyoutravel

Run by Jack Morris, this account follows him and his family (his partner also runs her own travel Instagram account!) as they travel the modern – and sometimes hidden – wonders of the world. With 2.7 million followers (including model Bar Refaeli), his photos will inspire you to take that romantic vacation that you might have not thought about embarking on. #relationshipgoals

@_itsbeautifulhere

Seen in publications such as Harper’s Baazar, Vogue and the Evening Standard, this account describes itself as a “travel guide for glittering eyes.” And the pictures don’t lie – you will definitely find yourself with a twinkle in your eye after scrolling and an inspiration for that last minute international getaway.

@finduslost

As the saying goes – it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s who you have beside you. Run by couple Selena and Jacob, they turned a blog into an Instagram account that showcases the beauty that the world provides, along with some couples photos that you will most likely want to replicate with your significant other in that same location.

@prettylittlelondon

For those looking for a more niche / posh area of the world (say England perhaps?), this account will show you the hidden gems of London. From the famous sites like Carnaby Market to the English countryside, this account will give you the push to go to one of the most famous cities in the world. And who knows? You just might bump into a member of the Royal Family while you’re there.

LISTICLE: Funny Icebreaker Questions

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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate ice breakers. Who really wants to go around a group and force yourself to talk about personal information?

Let me just say this: it’s not my favorite thing to do in the world.

But while perusing Pinterest (because what else is new), I found a list of ice breaker questions that I thought could be really fun to answer.

So let’s get to it!

1. If you could buy any type of food for the rest of your life, what would you buy? PASTA, CHEDDAR CHEESE AND COFFEE. 100%. 

2. What color is your tooth brush? Such a weird question, but it’s orange.

3. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? I actually don’t know. I’d have to think about this one.

4. What is one of the things on your “bucket” list? Interview Milo Ventimiglia from This Is Us. ❤

5. Who is your favorite superhero and why? Spider-Man, because I love all the movies.

6. Who do you admire the most? My mom. She’s the strongest person I know and I love her with all of my heart, despite her driving me crazy.

7. What is your favorite summer activity? I absolutely LOVE swimming, but I never have the time to go!

8. If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be and who would play you? My movie would definitely be a mix of comedy and drama, with all that has happened to me in life. I’d probably say that I’d have Maisie Williams play me, since I’ve been told multiple times that “[I] look like Arya Stark from Game of Thrones.”

9. If you could be any flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be? Caramel Cone ice cream from Haagen-Dazs, because it’s my all-time favorite.

10. Who is your favorite cartoon character? Tweety Bird, because it was my grandmother’s favorite character.

11. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? London and Dublin, FOR SURE.

12. What is your dream job? To be a celebrity profile writer.

13. Are you a morning or night person? If this answers your question – don’t bother me until 11AM at all times. 

14. What is your favorite hobby? Cooking and drinking coffee.

15. What is one thing that annoys you the most? Disrespect and liars. Don’t disrespect me and don’t EVER lie to me. Trust me – you’ll see a very ugly side of me that I don’t want to expose.

16. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? No idea, and frankly, I don’t want to think about that.

17. What is your favorite thing about someone in your family? All of my family loves hard and fights harder. It’s both a great and scary quality.

18. What is one of your weird quirks? Probably too much – ask my friends this question. Better yet – ask my mother this question. She can give you plenty.

19. Describe yourself in three words. Loyal, compassionate, determined.

20. If you could trade lives with anyone for a day, who would it be? Probably an editor who works at a magazine, so that I can see what it’s like to work in that position.

21. If you could talk in your sleep, what would you say? WHO WANTS TO TALK IN THEIR SLEEP? Nothing good comes from that!

22. What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Check my phone to see if any of my friends texted me in the middle of the night.

23. What is your favorite movie quote? “I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.” – Jack Dawson, Titanic

24. What is your favorite joke? Wanna hear two short jokes and a long joke? Joke, joke, JOOOOOOOOKE.

25. What would you do on Mars for fun? Probably jump around, because how fun would it be to jump around on another PLANET?

26. If you could get yourself anything, what would it be? That changes everyday! Today, it would probably be a new phone case, because mine is breaking.

27. Where is the worst place you could get stuck? Anywhere that’s super high, like a roof – which has happened! #habitat

28. What would you do with your “fifteen minutes” of fame? Find a way to secure interviews with every celebrity I’ve ever wanted to meet.

29. Where would you go if you were invisible? Honestly? No idea.

30. What is the one thing you own that you wish you didn’t? Hm… I’ll get back to you on that one.

31. What is your biggest addiction? Coffee and pasta. Simple.

— Adrianna ❤

LISTICLE: TV Shows to Binge Watch

My friends laugh at me all the time about one thing: I have a serious addiction to television. There are times were I’d much rather sit in my bed and watch TV all day than having to go out and socialize. I figured that I’d share with you some of my favorites that I’ve come to love over the past few years.

Enjoy!

Bar Rescue

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This show is a recent find. The premise: a bar expert comes into a failing bar, takes it over and renovates it over the course of five days. What I love about it is the fact that you don’t have to watch the episodes in order – each one is a completely different story, so you can jump between seasons to watch the episode that sounds the most interesting to you.

Gilmore Girls

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Ah, the quintessential feel-good nostalgic show of the 2000s. I absolutely love this show. The characters are funny, the show is light-hearted, etc. And besides – you get a young Milo Ventimiglia as the stereotypical bad boy turned good guy in Jess Mariano. What more could you get? #teamjess ❤

Iron Chef America

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This is by far the best show to come from Food Network. Having the best chefs in the world battle to make five dishes in an hour with a secret ingredient? What better show formula is there than that? Trust me – you’ll get hooked to it from the first episode.

The Newsroom

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I started watching this show because of a high school class assignment. After that, I was hooked and during my sophomore year of college, everyone would find me watching it. From the middle of school to on the job at work, I always had it on and it came in handy when I became a journalism major at the end of the year.

Superstore

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I discovered this NBC favorite during finals in the fall semester of my senior year. The show, about employees working at a Walmart-type store, is funny, and the ensemble cast works so well together to create a fantastic series. Side note: the show was so good that I was able to binge-watch the entire thing in three days.

This Is Us

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This show has everything I could possibly want from scripted television. A great story line, an amazing cast (hello, Milo Ventimiglia <3) and a trip down nostalgia lane. I absolutely recommend you watch this – you will absolutely get emotional with each episode and you won’t be able to turn back from it as soon as you start.

Chopped

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I’ve been watching this popular Food Network competition since high school. I absolutely love the game of it – creating a dish in a specific amount of time using four mystery ingredients. The things the contestants have to use are sometimes bizarre, but the end results are always amazing. It’s also one of my relaxing shows to watch when I’m stressed out.

Weeds

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Now my friends all know that I hate the idea of smoking weed. Yet I absolutely love this Showtime comedy. During my first semester of college, I used to stay up late (usually till 2AM) and watch six episodes a night before I went to sleep. Now before you start yelling about me for spending so much time on the computer – each episode was only 22 minutes, so I really would only spend two hours watching TV. But it’s a great premise

The West Wing

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I mean, who hasn’t heard of The West Wing? If you haven’t, then you’ve been living under a rock. This show has all the drama you could want, and a president that we all wish we had in this political climate. Run and start watching it. This blog post can wait. 🙂

Worst Cooks in America

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Last, but certainly never the least. This show never ceases to stop making me laugh. Take fourteen people who can’t cook, create a competition to see who’s the best of the worst, and the winner gets $25,000? What could possibly go wrong? Just YouTube the series, and you’ll be sure to find something that’s hilarious about this series (especially a certain episode in Season 4 where someone attempted to grill a piece of cheese).

— Adrianna ❤

SOUNDTRACK: Covers to Play

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I think we’re all familiar with the concept of a cover song. You go to a concert, and the artist decides to sing a song that he or she knows the audience will enjoy, even if the song is not their own.

Personally, I’ve found that some cover songs are sometimes even better than the original. I decided to compile a list of all the covers that I’ve come to love over the past few years.

Enjoy!

— Adrianna ❤

Aaron Tveit – “Castle On the Hill (Ed Sheeran cover)”

I’ll be honest – although I am a massive fan of the original version from Ed Sheeran, there is something about Aaron Tveit that any time he decides to cover a song, it’s just great 🙂

Corey Cott – “Sometimes (Britney Spears cover)”

There are many things that I love, but the combination of Corey Cott and a Britney Spears song was one that I never considered until he covered this at the popular supper club 54 Below. It’s one of my favorites from him. ❤

Ed Sheeran – “…Baby One More Time (Britney Spears cover)”

I’m always amazed by Ed Sheeran and the sheer talent he has. This sounds nothing like the original, and yet I love it. Besides – who can resist a good Ed Sheeran performance?

Harry Styles – “Wild Thoughts (DJ Khaled & Rihanna cover)”

I never thought Harry Styles would cover contemporary music, as he tends to go for a 1970s vibe. But as usual, Styles knows what he is doing and it’s just as good as the original.

Jonas Brothers – “Year 3000 (Busted cover)”

Bet you didn’t know this was a cover, huh? The Jonas Brothers cover a classic song from the British pop-band Busted and even cleaned it up so the song wasn’t as crude as the original. Side note: I recommend you listen to the original. It’s a fun one. 🙂

Josh Groban – “Anthem (from the musical Chess)”

As both a musical theater and Josh Groban fan, when he released this song off the album Stages, I fell in love with his music all over again. It’s one of my all-time favorites from Groban.

McBusted – “Love Me Like You Do (Ellie Goulding cover)”

I have a not-so-secret confession to make: I love British pop-bands. So when the British supergroup McBusted (a mashup of the bands Busted and McFly) came together to cover the classic Ellie Goulding song from Fifty Shades of Grey, I had to have a listen. It’s a completely different take on the song, and yet it’s brilliant. I love it.

One Direction – “Torn (Natalie Imbruglia cover)”

One Direction takes on the song that took them to the live shows on the seventh season of the U.K. version of The X-Factor and somehow makes it sound better than it originally did. It’s a more mature sound, but it’s still just as good. 🙂

Theme For Poetry

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This poem was written for a class during my last semester of college. It’s one of my favorite pieces to write, and it was based on one of my favorite pieces – “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes. If you want to read it on my original poetry blog, you can read it at http://topoetornottopoet.blogspot.com/2018/04/theme-for-poetry.html.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Theme For Poetry

After Langston Hughes

My teacher said to me,

“Go to your dorm room and write
a poem tonight.
Let the words flow out of you.
Let them ring true.”

Is that the truth? Is it really that easy?
I’m twenty-two, born and raised in Cedarhurst.
I’m graduating in just a short while, from Yeshiva University
in the middle of Midtown.
(I’m pretty sure I’m the only twin in this poetry class)
I cross Lexington, Park, possibly stop for an iced caramel macchiato
from Starbucks on the corner,
to the middle of 34th and Madison, where I trudge up the stairs
to my messy bed, plop down and start to write.

I’m never sure what is true, if this is between me and you.
I see New York. I feel New York.
But do I see myself in all these blinding lights? Can I find myself
while lying here, wide awake, in the heart of Manhattan?

Who am I?

My love of coffee? My fear of falling in love?
My attempt to find the meaning of life?
(emphasis on attempt)
My love of cooking to relax after a long day’s work?

I would love a car for graduation
to drive and play all the music I love –
Harry Styles, Panic! At the Disco, Aaron Tveit.
Maybe a Beatles song or two.
Just something to jam out to while on the open road.

What else will bring this poem to life?
My anxiety? My complex of letting others scrutinize my soul?
I ponder whether those elements will read between the lines.
What will my poem read like?

Being me, it won’t be perfect.
Nobody is perfect.

I learn from you, you learn from me.

This is my theme for Poetry.

#ThrowbackThursday: Habitat for Humanity

Over the winter break of my senior year in college, I had the opportunity to participate in a Habitat for Humanity trip in Darlington, South Carolina. Volunteering for the organization was something that I had been wanting to do since my senior year of high school, and after years of doing other things for winter break, I made it my mission to go on the school-organized trip in my last year of school, since the plans to go on the trip fell through the year before due to internship commitments.

I came into the orientation with one thought in my mind: only talk to the two people that I knew and just stay in my lane. I was not prepared to make new friends (I was leaving school in May – why should I try to make friends with people that I probably wouldn’t speak to the week I came back?) and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would fit in, because I tend to march to the beat of my own drum and do my own thing.

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Habitat for Humanity group photo – January 2018

When I first left for the trip, I was terrified. By the end of the week, my life was changed. I tackled my fear of heights by climbing onto a roof in need of repair (let’s just say that everyone made fun of me for it later on). I had to shower at the local YMCA, which wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be! I ended up going against my initial thought of not making any friends and I ended up meeting people that I still keep in touch with six months later. One of those people ended up becoming someone that I consider my best friend (maybe I’ll talk about him later just to make him happy :P).

Note to self: don’t place false expectations on anything. Most of the time, those expectations fly out the window – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As we left for home, I realized how lucky I was that I went on a trip just like this. If you have the chance to go on a Habitat for Humanity mission, I recommend you do. It will change your life, just as it changed mine. It was one of the highlights of my senior year and it’s a trip I won’t be forgetting for a long time.

— Adrianna ❤

LISTICLE: Unusual Asks

Fun fact about me: I have a slight addiction to Pinterest. I have no idea why I love it so much, but there’s something about the app that brings me back to it all the time. I was perusing on it last night and I saw this list of questions titled, “Unusual Asks.” I thought it would be fun to answer the questions and see what the answers might be!

Check it out!

  1. What did you want to be when you were a kid? Too many things, but the two that stand out the most in my mind were a chef and a fashion designer. Needless to say, although I can barely draw, I have become a really good cook. 🙂
  2. Which “Friends” character do you relate to the most? I definitely see myself as a mix of Phoebe and Monica, although my friends think I’m more of the former than the latter!
  3. Do you like your name? I love it. I always get a reaction from my uncommon name, and everyone tends to think it’s a pretty name.
  4. Are you a clean or messy person? I like to think of myself as a relatively clean person. There are times when things can get disorganized, but usually I like to keep things clean.
  5. How tall are you? 5’1″.
  6. How tall were you when you were ten? I don’t remember! I’m assuming less than five feet!
  7. What is your guilty pleasure? Coffee, macaroni and cheese, reality television and dark chocolate.
  8. What are you saving your money for right now? Rent for an apartment and a nice vacation.
  9. How many Pringles can you eat all at once? Never thought about this. Depends on the flavor.
  10. Tea or coffee? COFFEE. 100%.
  11. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? My friends call me an extroverted introvert. I can be quiet until I get comfortable with the people around me. Then I can’t shut up.
  12. Sweet or salty? Can I say both?
  13. Favorite social media? Twitter and Instagram. And obviously Pinterest. 🙂
  14. What is your favorite breakfast? Ooh – probably French toast drizzled with maple syrup and a side of home fries.
  15. When is your birthday? November 10th.
  16. What is your opinion on the Kardashians? They annoy me the majority of the time. I will admit that Khloe is my favorite though.
  17. How would you describe your style? Probably comfortable and casual. I much prefer jeans and a t-shirt over fancy clothes.
  18. What color is your hair? Dark brown. For the moment. 🙂
  19. What color socks are you wearing right now? No color, because I’m currently wearing sandals.
  20. Dogs or cats? I don’t really care for either, but I’ll say cats because I’ve had cats my entire life.
  21. What makes you weird? Too much! 🙂
  22. Celebrity crush? Milo Ventimiglia. ❤ #whatwouldjackpearsondo
  23. Opinion on cigarettes? Uch. Never. Smoking. Ever.
  24. Do you want children? Yes, but not right now. Maybe late twenties, early thirties.
  25. Three favorite boys names? Noah, Ethan, Aaron.
  26. Three favorite girls names? Samantha, Elizabeth, Rose.

— Adrianna ❤

To Like or Not to Like: The World of Social Media

Last night, I was on the phone with a close friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a while due to her studying for the MCAT. As we were catching up, she casually mentioned that she deactivated her Facebook account so that she could focus on her practice exams. “It’s so liberating to not have to worry about who’s liking your status or picture,” she said.

She got me thinking about something that crosses my mind periodically. Growing up in the early 2000s (yupp – that just made me feel pretty old), the world of social media didn’t exist. We didn’t get cell phones – which were flip phones – until we were in middle school, and iPhones only became popular when I was a freshman in high school. Everyone was more concerned about enjoying the moment than posing for an Instagram picture with filters. We relished in running outside to play than trying to find wifi so that we can keep up with what our friends are doing. We actually saw people rather than their social media pages.

I don’t know about you, but it bothers me that no one is taking in the moment without Snapchatting it or making sure the picture is perfect to post to Facebook and Instagram. I experienced this about a month ago when I went on a road trip with some friends. My best friend from childhood kept stopping and making my best friend from college (I’m really lucky that they got along) take photos for her so that she can post them to her Instagram account later. She then started to ask us what the best captions would be so that she can get the most likes. It irritated me so much – why was she not taking in the scenery around her? Why did it matter what someone else thinks? At one point, I had half a mind to take away her phone so that she can just “stop and smell the roses.” (it’s a good thing I didn’t, because that would’ve not gone well)

Is it just me who thinks like this?

Now don’t get me wrong – there are times when I want to have a lot of likes. A new Facebook profile picture, a status on a piece I wrote, etc. But most of the time, it really doesn’t bother me how many people like my lastest Facebook status or tweet. Although I use hashtags for my sporadic Instagram posts, I don’t get annoyed when I don’t see as many likes on my photos. It took a while, but by learning not to care what strangers think, there’s something liberating about it – just like what my friend said when she deactivated her Facebook account.

I think we live in a society that lets social media take over their lives. Everyone needs to make the rest of the world believe that we’re much cooler than we are. Everyone tries too hard to give off the impression that they’re more cultured or more traveled than their peers.

My question to you is this: who cares?

Who cares what everyone thinks? What matters more – what strangers (or even friends) think about you or what you think about you? What if you post something because you want to say it? What if you want to take a picture because you want the memory?

We need to stop letting the world dictate for us what is important. Posting that photo or status shouldn’t be for the rest of the world to see – it should be for us because we happen to like it. If everyone else likes it too, then great. But if they don’t like it, then we shouldn’t care.

It’s important to be independent of the world’s pressures. It’s time to be ourselves.

— Adrianna ❤

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About Me!

I am not one to talk about myself that often. Ask any of my friends – it takes a while for me to warm up to someone and let people into my world.

Rather than wait a bit for you to learn about me (which you will as I go along with this blog), I figured I’d give you a list of fifteen things you wouldn’t know about me, a la Us Weekly. Check it out!

  1. My birthday is November 10th. #scorpioseason
  2. I am a recent graduate of Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University. Proud to say I majored in journalism and minored in business!
  3. My favorite ice cream flavor is Cookie Dough or Caramel Cone from Haagen-Dazs. It’s the best!
  4. I have a serious addiction to coffee.
  5. Thanksgiving is my favorite secular holiday. I love it all – the food, the parade, etc. If Thanksgiving was every day of the year, I’d be happy!
  6. I broke my right elbow when I was four-years-old and I still have the scars to prove it.
  7. I have a fear of grates, a la Alice in Wonderland.
  8. My friends mean the world to me. I will fight to the end for them.
  9. I have a twin brother and my dad has a twin sister. I guess it runs in the family!
  10. I can touch my chin with my tongue.
  11. I’ve had moderate anxiety since the age of eleven.
  12. My mom thinks my memoir should be called Small Mouth, Big Mouth, for the sheer amount of talking that comes out of my small mouth.
  13. I can name all the presidents of the United States… even though there is one president that I refuse to add to the list.
  14. My favorite quote: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” – Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror”
  15. I am an avid list-maker. Hence this list.

— Adrianna ❤