Summer Berry Love – Meringues et fruits de la saison

by Jenn on June 28, 2011

in Desserts,Gluten Free,No Cook,Photography

On the way to Simmenfälle

Now that Summer is in full swing, how do you beat the heat??

When it comes to food, I stay as far away from my oven and stove as possible – lots of salads, fresh fruit, anything we can do to not have to cook.  You know it’s funny, I never grew up with air conditioning.  But we lived in what essentially is a forest, and opened up windows on all sides of the house turning on the ceiling fans, and even on 90 degree days it wasn’t fun but it was bearable.  Then, in college and grad school I found air conditioning and became hopelessly spoiled.  When it was 100+ outside, I loved that it was only 80 inside.  What a magical device the A/C is!

And then we moved to Switzerland.  Where we live, there is none of la climatisation to be had.  We have a little fan, and with windows only on one side of our apartment, absolutely no air flow.  So on days like the past few we’ve been having, it gets warm.  The chocolate in our cupboards turns to a pile of goo.  We turn to a pile of goo.  The lake provides a great source of moisture for humidity, and the haze sets in while we all patiently (or not so much) wait for that predicted rain to fall.

Over the weekend, we decide to escape the heat of these lower elevations, and head into the Bernese Oberland in the village of Lenk.  From there a post-bus leads us to the foot of the gorgeous Simmenfälle waterfalls, and we decide a hike in the mists of the falls and the shade of the trees at about 1200m elevation seems like a great plan.  We start at the base of the falls:
Simmenfälle

Eventually the path turns into a small bridge which crosses over a loud rushing part of the chilled spring-fed water, and we stand in the sunshine letting the cool mist fall on our skin – ah refreshing!!

Simmenfälle

Now that, my friends, is the perfect way to deal with a crazy hot day :)

But what should we eat to stay cool????

Returning from our hike, we snacked on fresh local cherries and berries while waiting for the bus again, and managed to take a lovely air conditioned panoramic Goldenpass train back home to Vaud, admiring the lake and hazy Alps off in the distance in the comfort of our luxurious train car…

On the train to Montreux

Seriously, one of the nicest train rides I have ever been on in my entire time living en Suisse – who doesn’t want to spend 2 hrs looking outside admiring these views?

Love these panoramic trains!!

But then we return home, and are brought back whether we like it or not into the heat again.  Our warm apartment, that sticky humidity, all that “awesomeness” we were so happy to escape for the day… well it is Summer and we can’t escape the heat forever…

So when it comes time to make something to eat, the last thing we want to do is cook.  We explore salads, fresh produce, anything that we can do to eat cold meals.  Even make banana “ice cream“!

Fresh fruits of summer Banana ice "cream" with cherries

And we garnish everything with fresh fruit – cherries, blueberries, strawberries, currants….And while I love cherries (especially the Valasian ones), I really love the Swiss berries in season right now most -  fresh local berries are so rich with flavor, just like candy.  Sometimes we can’t help ourselves and they don’t last long enough to make anything with them.   Sometimes they just find themselves on top of yogurt for breakfast in the mornings. But when we can restrain ourselves a little bit, I’ve been incorporating them into nearly everything I’ve been making lately to celebrate their abundance.  Whether it’s a simple maceration to pull out their natural sweetness, or just layering them into chilled custards

Vanilla custard & fruit parfaits

From all the ways we’ve been enjoying Swiss fruits, I think my favorite so far is blending with another Swiss specialty I love – meringues de la gruyère, especially les meringues au vin cuit (yes, meringues made with wine!).  I’ve recently found that I don’t actually have to travel to Gruyères to get these fantastic cookies, but can find them at my local market which has been such a fun discovery.  Inspired by my friend Barbara who made a gorgeous affogato the other week, I decided to blend my love for coffee and dessert together in this dish.

Meringues au vin cuit with coffee & cream

It doesn’t really have a name, because I just combined things together that I loved – meringues, chilled espresso, cream, and fresh Summer berries.  One of the most refreshing desserts I have had in a long time, perfect for the heat.  We just take a spoon and mash it all up together, and enjoy.  I imagine this would also be great with double crème, though I haven’t been in the mood for something quite that heavy lately.  But for now, it’s cold, fresh, and flavorful.  And those berrries just make everything perfect :)

How are you staying cool in the hot Summer season?

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily @ Life on Food June 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm

I love waterfalls. Your pictures are beautiful. I feel cool just looking at them.

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Jenn June 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Thanks!

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Nelly Rodriguez June 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Gorgeous pictures as always and love the landscapes, but my favorite? The last one were you pour the coffee on. I haven’t had affogatto but will need to try it soon, thanks for sharing! I love eating granitas to keep cool. I still can’t bring myself to go for the iced coffee….so hot coffee all day is the balance to ice cold granitas!

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Jenn June 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Thanks!! ha love the combo of hot coffee and iced granitas! I think you need a coffee granita :)

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Barbara | Creative Culinary June 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Wow Jenn…first the amazing I hope you are appreciating every moment of it scenery down to the fabulous fruit and decadent dessert. Which…look carefully, looks like a mountain with streams of coffee and red trees. Maybe it’s too hot here? :)

So…are you at altitude where you are? I’m surprised at the heat you’re dealing with. Even in Denver at 5280′ we have low humidity and definitely a bit cooler weather than the ‘flatlanders’ (yes, we do call everyone else that!). 95 degrees outside today but still comfortable and only 80 inside; without the humidity I’m still surviving without air; though admit it is a floor fan type of day!

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Jenn June 28, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Thanks Barbara!! And ha, you are right about the meringues being mountains with the rivers of coffee & cream, I totally see it now too :) No we are not at much elevation, maybe 500m max…

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Rosa June 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Gorgeous clicks! I love the 2nd one.

Berries and meringue, impossible to dislike such a lovely dessert!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn June 28, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Thanks Rosa! :)

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GFree_Miel June 29, 2011 at 12:06 am

That fruit looks so amazing. I have to say, to this day, every time I look at a fresh batch of strawberries, I think of you and your blog. Fresh berries are the best thing about summer. Yum!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 12:19 am

Aww thanks Miel!! Yes, berries are def. the be best thing about Summer :)

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Radhika @ foodfor7stages June 29, 2011 at 12:22 am

I am sipping a glass of honey lemonade as I am reading your post. This is what I am doing to beat the heat now. But I wouldn’t really mind to have that dessert.
And What a beautiful train journey it is. I am in love with it ever since I saw these pics in your flickr page.

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:38 am

Thank you! And that glass of honey lemonade sounds quite refreshing…

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Maria @ Scandifoodie June 29, 2011 at 12:28 am

Stunning scenery! And what a gorgeous dessert! This makes me miss the European summer!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:41 am

Thank you! Yeah I am loving how much opportunity we have to go be outdoors hiking…

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Maureen June 29, 2011 at 1:14 am

Your photos are so good. My urge to visit grows with each one.

Meringues are very popular in Australia but your dessert certainly takes “amazing” up a notch. Delicious!

It’s winter down under and I’m doing all I can to stay near the heater.

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:46 am

Thanks!! I had never had meringues au vin cuit before coming to Switzerland, absolutely love them – but then I like most meringues :) Stay warm!

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen June 29, 2011 at 2:50 am

Pas de clim?! I would spend all my days out at those beautiful rushing streams too cool myself off, what gorgeous scenery!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:47 am

Thanks! Yeah, we’ve been getting out hiking as much as we can, it’s the perfect way to enjoy the Summer!

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Brooke June 29, 2011 at 4:17 am

That last one? The Dessert that Must Not Be Named? Yeah, that one’s calling me. I think it may be whispering in my ear at night. The scenery is beyond gorgeous, that that last dessert… it’s like supermodel gorgeous…

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:47 am

LOL, thank you so much!

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Karriann Graf June 29, 2011 at 4:35 am

Amazing photography and this recipe seems like the best summer idea ever. Happy (no oven) Baking!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:48 am

Thanks !

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jas @ gluten free scallywag June 29, 2011 at 5:38 am

all these pictures of gorgeous scenery take me back to our few days in winding our way through this gorgeous country-side… one day I’ll go back (definitely with camera in hand!!). On the other hand our last home had no aircon upstairs and was just SWELTERING in 45degree (celcius) heat in Perth’s summer this year. I’m so glad not to have to live there this summer, and instead enjoy our cool double brick south facing home in Melbourne, where although hot in Summer, is at least bearable!

Meanwhilst, enjoy the hot weather and the cool food – as really there is no better time to do so!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:50 am

45?? omg and I’m melting when it gets near 35! Wow I am impressed!

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Mairi @ Toast June 29, 2011 at 8:35 am

It is winter here but I just want to dive in to that last picture….Oh my that looks so wonderfully decadent & delicious.

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Aww thanks Mairi!

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InTolerantChef June 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

What lovely photos as usual! The heat is hard to handle isn’t it? Over here it gets in the 40′s C outside, but that’s NOTHING compared to the kitchen. We have to be so careful at work checking on each other and making sure we’re hydrated, heat exhaustion is no fun. I think chefs should get danger pay in Summer!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm

wow! I think I am officially a wimp complaining about 30C now… def. don’t think I could handle that!

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Kulsum at JourneyKitchen June 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

What a gorgeous gorgeous landscape. You know you live in little heaven right? :-) And yes fresh berries speak of summer like nothing else.

P.S. – Tell me all your tips on landscape photography. GOOD job!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Thanks Kulsum!! Yes, I know there is a little piece of heaven here in Switzerland, one of the many reasons why I love living here :)

Ha about the landscape photog, this was actually the first time I went hiking with my tripod! I think it’s harder than food for me in some respects because you can’t manipulate everything. If you decide you don’t like something in a food shot, you can move it out of the way. But you can’t move a tree in a landscape! Also there is a lot of chance aspect due to weather, no reflector is going to light up a mountain… I try to hike in the mornings so I can get good back light and side light, and by noon I’m usually done with photos unless I want to wait until the early evening…

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Zita June 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

You really live in a beautiful place, Jenn! I have been to Switzerland a couple of times but the last visit was at least 10 years ago so I would love to go back so much!

Our flat can heat up if the weather is hot outside. We usually go out to stay outside and drink a glass of cold white wine or have an ice-cream somewhere or stay at home and have a shower in every hour! :)

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Aww thanks!! Yes been enjoying lovely Lavaux white wine as well, quite refreshing :)

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meeta June 29, 2011 at 10:47 am

Oh yeah loving the dessert ideas with berries. The meringues are especially awesome. Are those homemade or did you get them at Migros? The ones you brought to P2P were great. Need to get my friends from Basel t send me some! Awesome shots Jenn!

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Thanks Meeta! No not homemade, I haven’t found a recipe for them yet! Not Migros either (never seen vin cuit ones in any supermarket), but from a stand at my local weekend market. If I had known about them earlier these are the ones I would have brought to Plate to Page, they are my favorite!

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Hallie @ Daily Bites June 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Your posts always make me want to visit Switzerland, Jenn! Absolutely gorgeous. I, too, load up on lots of fresh fruit and veggies in the summer heat. It’s easily portable, easily digestible, and super refreshing on humid, sticky Wisconsin days. :)

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Aww thanks!! Oh yes, I have been in WI in the summer, definitely can be sticky and humid there!

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Amy @ The Nifty Foodie June 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Oh my gosh…those photos are amazing! I totally want to buy 3 pints of berries and make those my meals today. :-)

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Thanks so much Amy!

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laura June 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Hi!

I just discoverd your blog. I also live in switzerland, near Lausanne. I was wondering in which local market did you find the meringues au vin cuit? Because I am a huge fan of any products made with vin cuit!! I would love to know where to buy them!

thanks

laura

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Thanks!! I’m sending you an email :)

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Phoe June 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm

What gorgeous, cooling photos.

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Thank you!

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Christine June 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Hi Jenn,

Great blog and I love the summer meringue, especially the espresso touch. I currently use a stovetop Bialetti, it is my daily dose of happiness. Anywho, love the pictures. Hope to drool over to JennCuisine again… :)

cheers

Christine
@knapkins_com

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Aww thanks!! Yes we love our bialetti as well!

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Janet NZ June 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Your photos are wonderful.
My niece is currently on a tour of Europe and has fallen in love with Switzerland – now I see why :-)

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Oh thank you! Yes it is indeed a beautiful country…

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Gen June 29, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Je suis en admiration, quelles photos magnifiques!
Et le dessert l’est tout autant, merci pour ce moment d’évasion!

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Jenn June 30, 2011 at 7:42 am

Merci beaucoup!!

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Nashira at Plateful June 30, 2011 at 7:52 am

I’m so, so, soooo in LOVE with your photography Jenn! The landscapes are picturesque. I know how challenging it is to shoot the falls with all the mist in the air.

Your summer dessert ideas look scrumptious. Honestly, I totally admire and envy your food photography and styling skills… :) When will I ever be able to shoot like you?!!

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Jenn June 30, 2011 at 7:59 am

Thank you so much, you are too kind! Yes it made me very grateful for my camera’s fairly robust weatherproofing… but definitely a cool and relaxing way to hike :)

If you’re curious, I’ve collected a bunch of links to food photography tutorials/resources that I have found – maybe they are helpful?

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Simone July 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Now that is what I call a dessert Jenn. And wow I wish I had scenery like that to cool me of on hot and humid days. We don’t have airconditioning in the house and while it stays cool fairly long at some point the heat gets trapped in the house… O well, it’s all part of summer and gives a great excuse to eat this gorgeous dessert!

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Jenn July 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Thanks Simone! Yep it’s a great excuse for tasty dessert :)

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Lisa @ Tarte du Jour July 3, 2011 at 1:36 am

Breath taking photos! They really made me relax! Stay cool…

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Jenn July 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Oh great, I’m glad! It’s cool down some since then, but I would still go back to that waterfall any day, such a lovely hike it was…

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Amanda July 4, 2011 at 9:33 pm

That scenery looks amazing and the food looks delicious! Great photos!

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Jenn July 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Oh thanks!

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Rachel July 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Jenn, you never cease to amaze me with your creativity and talent, both with photography and in the culinary sense..;)
The scenary you are surrounded by is breathtaking…how blessed you are to be able to experience and capture those views!
Those dishes at the end of your post look amazing! I think I may need to try something like that before the summer is over! I’m sure my DH and kids would love them! :)

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Jenn July 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Oh thanks so much Rachel!! I consider myself pretty lucky to be able to explore this place…

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Barbara July 4, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I love the photo at the base of the waterfall. It is so gorgeous and you feel like you are right in the waterfall. Your dessert looks amazing too. I am actually salivating a little.

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Jenn July 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Thanks! I almost was right in the waterfall… haha.

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Erica July 5, 2011 at 1:38 am

Jenn, you have single handedly moved Switzerland up to the top of my “places to go” list. You make it look so beautiful. All of those berry dishes look absolutely divine.

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Jenn July 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

LOL! Switzerland really is gorgeous, I’m so glad I’ve had a chance to live here and see the country …

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Heather July 5, 2011 at 2:41 am

Your pictures always make me hungry even when it’s something I don’t like. I happen to love fruit and ice cream though! Now I really want to eat!

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Jenn July 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Thanks :)

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Carrie July 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm

OMG – I want to eat that last one NOW!

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Jenn July 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm

haha thanks!

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Amber Ellen July 6, 2011 at 12:50 am

Great post! I love the scenery photos, but the dessert shots are making me crave something sweet! They are amazing- the last one is my favorite. YUM!!!

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Jenn July 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Thanks so much! It’s becoming one of our favorite Summer desserts :)

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Heather July 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm

What a beautiful blog. Love the scenery and LOVE the fruit…makes my mouth water!

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Jenn July 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Thank you!! Yes, this might just be my favorite time of year, simply for the gorgeous fruit!

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Jeanne @ CookSister! July 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Oh – look at that tower of berries and meringue!!! Absolutely stunning :)) The shots remind me of the summer holiday we spent in the mountains in Chamonix – one of my favourite summer holidays ever. Gorgeous, as ever!

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Jenn July 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Thanks Jeanne!

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Jennifer Eloff July 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Oh gosh, your pictures are beautiful. Stumbled on your blog. :)

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