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July 28, 2010



stopping by to say hi! i haven't been to silver...i know quite a few that have gone...though...some are not going this year...because of some of the things mentioned...hmmm....hard to say...i am going to the art-is-you event in october...and I'M SOOO EXCITED!!! it's my maiden voyage..for an art event...can't wait!!! big hugz...


This is my first year to go to Silver Bella and I'm so looking forward to it! I think maybe some people feel "snubbed" when they aren't the center of attention and really there is not much you can do about it. Maybe they should say hi to you first! Whatever, I'm not going to allow myself to get wrapped up in all that drama when there is so much fun to be had, great people to meet and beautiful stuff to create.
I LOVE your Yorkies! I have three Yorkies myself and one Shih Tzu who thinks he is a Yorkie.
See you in November. :)


This is a really good post, Karla. I don't know anyone besides you, Beth, maybe one or two who have been to Bella so I don't have any feedback on the cliquishness (or not) of the event. But I think you addressed a lot of key points very well.

I will say that when I have been to Artiscape (Ohio), I've had a mix of feelings. Partly, I'm sort of shy in big groups and I generally go alone, so I don't know anyone to begin with. It's very difficult for me to connect. But part of that is me. I do sense there are "groups" of folks, but I suspect as you mentioned, these are people who are already friends; they don't necessarily shut folks out, but when you aren't already 'in' it may be hard to connect.

That said, I'd love to know people better (the sisses idea is great!) but I really go to take the classes. And I don't think I'd let the idea of a clique stop me from going. (And I'd LOVE to go to Bella -- just too far!)

Leanne Shawler

No Silver Bella for me this year :( But it has nothing to do with clique-ishness....

The only time I behaved badly was when I went to dinner the last night and declined to join a table. I was peopled out and apologized profusely as I knew a few of the gals there... Maybe I should've eaten in my hotel room but I had crafting stuff all over the dining room table!

And I am shy but a trained extrovert -- so if anyone reading this is going to Silver Bella, find out if there's a pre-Bella gathering in your state, that was a great way for me to get to know some folks ahead of time.


Thanks for such an "honest" post. I think to a certain amount there is some cliqueyness in the blog world. Most people I've met are really nice but there are a few who are out to just get in with the "in" group. I've had one of those experiences but realize that that is just that persons way. I have never felt that with most of the bloggers. So, Silver Bella isn't any different than any other except that through the web people can't see your hurt feelings.
You and Beth have both been so gracious and friendly to me I am sure than none of these comments are directed toward you.
Thanks for broaching a sensitive subject for a lot of folks out there who would never bring the subject up themselves.
I just love all your pictures, especially the pups!

Andrea Villarreal

Yes I can see the cliqueyness of it sometimes. That's why this time I decided to join all the swaps and really put myself out there at this last event. That was actually my 6th "Kim" event and it took me that long!! I am naturally shy and when you see everyone already knows each other and you have read their blogs and everything just looks perfect and their art work is AMAZING it can be overwhelming!! It was hard for me to even introduce myself to you for crying out loud!!lol:)But you just have to get over all of that. I am so glad I did this was by far my favorite event. If only for the simple fact that I met some really sweet ladies with the same passion as myself! It's all about just enjoying the journey no matter who you are sitting by.


Hi Karla,
Your post is so very beautifull, oh my goodness, I love all your photoes.
About the cliqueyness, I can`t speak, as not (sadly) in this world of Silver Bella, but your way of posting about this "problem" I think is very honest and very wonderfull spoken.
XO Dorthe


I've never been to Silver Bella and would love to attend one day. But I'd be afraid of everyone knowing each other and feeling left out. However, like the previous commenter - putting oneself out there is what's needed, even for shyer people like myself.
Karla, I can't imagine anyone being less clique-ish than you.


Love the sleeping cat picture.


I think sometimes where women get together there is always going to be some cliqueyness - whether it's from shyness or shared past experiences of a group, someone new may always feel a bit "left out". BUT I strongly believe it is up to each individual person to make their own good time. Not everyone is going to like everyone. That's just a fact of life. In a group setting, you have to put yourself out there, and understand going in, maybe not everyone is going to receive you with open arms, so you just have to keep approaching people and meet as many as you can.

Maybe one of the "Big Sissies" could host an event in their hotel room for the "little sissies" so that everyone gets off to a good start on being able to meet a new friend the first night out. That may help break the ice for those who might be shy or have a hard time putting themselves out there.

I've never been to Silver Bella, but have been to other events like it. There will always be someone in the crowd who wants to be the "it" girl and be noticed by teachers and be with the "in" crowd. Move on and introduce yourself to the next person ...



What a great post!!! My first experience with Silver Bella was going by myself the third year it had been going on. I was scared spitless at first since I didn't know anyone and I felt like I was close to tears when I was waiting in the lobby to go in for the opening dinner. Then, one Heather Ales approached me and asked if it was my first time. I said yes and she invited me to her table to sit and it's been wonderful ever since. I really feel for all those 1st timers coming into an event like this. Thank you for this well written post. I think I may just have to write something on mine about being new person in the sea of uncertainty. :)


Ahh...the dreaded "clique" word. Where there are women there are cliques, unfortunately. Where there are women there are PERCEIVED cliques which is even more unfortunate. I've never been to Silver Bella. I'd LOVE to go. I'm sorry to hear about this little bit of distastefulness. If I had to make a guess, I'd guess it would be more of the perceived cliques than truly nasty woman making sure to exclude their perception of a less desirable. Let's hope not. None of this would stop me from attending, if I were planning to go. I say go and have a blast!! - Kathy


Last year was my first time and I was excited to meet lots of new people! Since you were my big Sis, you introduced me to so many new people. I never once felt left out. Like someone else said here, everyone is responsible for their own happiness! It's not up to someone else attending to make you feel like you "fit". Upon arrival I couldn't find my room mate and wondered if I'd have a place to sleep! Suzanne (Pink Roses) offered me her couch without even KNOWING me! Jessi (Scrappi Jessi) came to me and said "we will figure this out! It was like big arms were wrapped around me from the beginning! I finally found my room mate, who I'd never met, we hit it off and I met lots of new people! I can see how strong friendships form and newbies might "feel" left out...but I never encountered ONE incident where someone was rude. It was quite the opposite! I hope this clears it up for someone who is on the fence about going...it truly was a great experience!


Hi Karla!
I think that just in writing this post-you have reached out beyond your "inner circle" of friends and have proven that you are not sucked into whatever clique environment Silver Bella might generate-so I applaud your efforts. I went one time and had a rough experience but that was mainly because I was a vendor that did not have the funds to also attend classes so I did feel a little left out. People were really sweet to me though and made me feel welcomed even if the event itself was pretty exclusive. It was a pleasure meeting you too-even if both of us were rushing around trying to set up.
~Sadie Lou


I know it's not always possible, but if it were me, and being a bit more on the shy side without knowing anyone at an event, I probably wouldn't go unless I had a good friend decide to go with me. Maybe that would be a great marketing move for Silver Bella, save with a "Bring a Friend" discount?
Just a thought.

Sheila R

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are definitely not clique-ish! You open yourself and your heart so much to everyone. I feel very blessed to have gotten to know you through your blog, SB and other events. You are a true gem!

Suzanne Duda

Very well said Karla. I worry about the new girls and I just want everyone to feel welcomed and happy...I'm such a mother hen! I cherish the friendships I have made at Silver Bella over the years, and look forward to catching up with old friends, but I am just as excited to meet new ones. Looking forward to seeing you in November!
xo suzanne


Nicely done Karla; I wish I could go, maybe next year! Any
event can be like this. The regulars and new attendees~!
I hope to attend in 2011, if the cards line up and the stars a line~



Pretty thought provoking post. I have never personally been to Silver Bella but have enjoyed the posts by various bloggers after the event. Honestly, I would love to attend but would be way too intimidated to do so unless I had my best friend glued to my side. I am on the shyer side of nature and tend to be an observer which has caused much trouble in the past, being accuse of being stuck up. I think the clique comments probably stem from insecurity and personality. There are always going to be some who are more outgoing cheerleader types (ie the popular) and there will always be the wall flower types (ie the intimidated)- now that I am thinking about it, this is just waaaay too much like high school! I think if you go it is not so you will "fit in" but what you will "take out" of the artistic experience, this is not about being popular but about growing as an artist, fellowship with like minded people, learning, experimenting, and honing your art skills, if you pick up a few new friends along the way all the better.


Hey Karla,
There are not very many posts I read where I feel compelled to read each comment before me. This was one. I have to be honest, I've heard the cliquey thing about SB. But I've never been. Unfortunately it's been my experience that whenever a large group of women gather there is a certain amount of cliquishness. I don't know if it comes from a place of insecurity or what. But I just tend to hang with the 'real' people of which there are usually a lot more of. I think SB would be fine, I have some awesome friend who are Bella's. Jodie & you for two, so it can't be bad. As for the thought of you being cliquey....NO WAY! You are the most generous blogger I know. Back in the day I'm embarrassed to say I kind of thought of you as a blogebrity, but after trading comments with you for months I can say your as 'real' as they come. I guess in a nut shell I'm trying to say that if someone wants to go to SB or any other event blog with some girls first & get to know them so you have a contact. Then hold your breath & take a chance. You'll probably meet some life long friends. Lastly, if anyone snubs you don't take it personally. It's their issue not yours. Go find Karla, she'll be your buddy! Lisa


Going to these art retreats and classes can be intimidating especially if you come by yourself and you don't know anybody. That being said, everyone who does come, comes because they have a love of art and creating something of beauty. That is something that everyone there has in common from the start. You would just hope that everyone would be happy and maybe meet some new people with some similar interests. It sounds like you had a great time with old and new friends. I would love to attend something like that someday. You are a lucky girl!


Freda Butler

Karla you and I have never met and yet I feel like I "know you"
just from your blog and the Alice swap. You seem like you go out of your way to be friendly and kind and I can't image that you would snub someone intentionally. I think it happens in every group or club that old friends immediately congregate and talk especially if they haven't seen each other in a while.
This may make newbies get the feeling of being left out or that cliques are formed. I guess we must all remember this and make sure that the new person is invited to join in conversations, etc. I would love to come to Silver Bella but we just leave Chicago the end of October and drive to florida for the winter so would be hard to do.




Hi, Karla: Love reading about your adventures in your studio and seeing your great photos of your companions -- all of them! I was interested in this particular post because I will be attending SB for my second time. My experience appears to be different from your comments this far: I did not find it easy to meet folks there. I went alone and got roommates from the message board. I was glad that I had made those roommate connections and had connected with some gals going who lived close to me before I went. I have not been to other events like this, so don't have a comparison but I did think it would have been a hard group to enter alone, and for the first time. I did not think it was ever - well hardly ever :) those gals are everywhere -- an intentional rudeness or exclusion by others. But I would want a shy, first-timer to know that it could take more than a bit of "putting yourself out there" to find her way and I would stongly suggest that a solo Bella or first-timer make some plans now to meet others before she goes, whether it is on-line or looking for those in her area who are going.

All said, I had a fabulous time last year and would not miss it this year. Just wanted to share my experience since it seemed a bit different.




Well said and you are such a wonderful, kind and friendly person!! I first met Karla face to face at Silver Bella last year, but felt like I knew her before due to blogging and emails prior to SB. I went alone and did not really know anyone, except from the blogs. I got my roomie Sharon from the SB yahoo group and we had a great time together. I think if people are shy, the big art weekend could seem overwhelming, but there are always plenty of people to welcome you in!! I certaintly met many wonderful folks last year. I also enjoy the smaller venues as well. For me, simply put....I need to be with like minded creative people, whether the venue is big or small. It is fun to be with people who just get you!! It is also about getting away from the daily grind of life....and to stay in a nice hotel, no cooking or cleaning or working!! By the way, Karla, Jessie, Suzanne, Jodi and soooo many others were very kind to me. I will be back in Omaha this November and would love to meet any new comers!! Thanks Karla.

Cheryl Stoneham

I have heard the same thing about the cliquishness of Silver Bella. I will be attending my third Silver Bella this year and as a newbie the first year, I was so very fortunate to come to Omaha with my friend, Kim, who made sure I was included all weekend. I tend to be shy when I get into large groups, but, I have to say that everyone I met at Silver Bella has been so welcoming, warm and friendly. I think what is purported to be cliques, may just be old friends enjoying each other's company. Thank you for bringing this discussion to light, so that I hope, I will remember to step outside and make it a point to meet some of the new Bellas this year. In fact, Silver Bella is where I met you and Carol and I adore you both! I can remember sitting with you in a class the first year and how sweet and friendly you were to me! The world of art and blogging has opened up the doors for SO many new friendships and I had such a great time with you and Beth at Kim's event a couple of weeks ago. Tomorrow I'm off to Dallas to get together with another wonderful group of artists at Shea & Debbie's A Guilded Life (in fact, I met Shea & debbie at Silver Bella my first year, also). Take care!


Hi Karla, I always love coming by here to catch up with you. Your beautiful home and art always inspire me. Your yorkies are adorable. I love how they get into everything. I do hope that you will have a wonderful time at Silver Bella. I hope to go one day soon. Looking forward to hear more about Sugarwings and the new grand baby to come.

Eileen Elder

Hi Karla and blogworld! I have not attended any event in person, but would love to some day. I am just a greatful reader who strives to grow creatively, in which i am always amazed by on your blog. What I do know Karla, is that even though you do not know me, you were kind enough to answer a craft/art question I had via e-mail, after trying several things on my own. I knew you would help me if you could, and I only knew that from reading your blog and the attitude you convey. Thanks for being a kind, generous person, and I hope I can get to one of these events one day so I can meet you! Many hugs to you for sharing yourself with us!


Karl, thank you for a very heart-felt post...many events seem cliquey, but as the previous post have said,,it seems that many people are basically shy and need to put ourselves out there more..I have been to other events and I try to be friendly but don't worry about the groups as I am there to learn...sounds like SB is doing a great job with the little sissies...take care..


Karla, you are right about knowing folks better through their blogs. I have been following your blog (and your Yorkies--I also have one) for some time. This will be my first Silver Bella, and like so many who have posted here, I am on the shy side (still no blog!) and will be attending by myself. I can't wait to take the classes and to meet my swap-mates. That you and your friends have an opening event together is wonderful! Why not? Your art is beautiful and I hope to say hello in Omaha!

Zita - Mlle Magpie

Great post, Karla. One of my dreams for the past two years has been to go to Silver Bella so I could learn techniques and gain skills and confidence in crafting. Of course, meeting blogger friends and artists like you would be such a bonus. However, I want my best buddy to come out with me and she couldn't make it this year - good thing I didn't sign up anyways, since my health has been so bad for the past four months :) Anyways, it's going to be next year for me and I'm really, really looking forward to it!

Raised In Cotton~Carol

Hey Girlfriend~

I guess I have been oblivious to the click thing as well~Remember I am the one that wanted to invite everyone to our Glitter Lounge event and then realized that a small hotel room would not fit 200 of our Bella friends:))Like you and Suzanne, I make it a point to meet new Bella's every year and to me it is a wonderful shared experience.


Heidi Woodruff

Hi Karla!
I went to Silver Bella just once, and had a blast! I am thankful I was able to go and found everyone there so friendly, I'd go again if I could! Nothing cliquy going on, just friendships being formed or fortified!

There were a few groups of especialy close friends, which may have looked tight, but really they were like sisters who had been apart and needed the time to rebond! If you go more than once, this will happen to YOU, too (to: any SB newbies thinking about going!)....

Lovely creations you've pictured with your words in this post. Hope I get lucky and win the earrings!
~Hugs, Heidi

Account Deleted

hi there friend!

great post....thanks for putting this out there...

what i took away from last year's SB event...which was my third time attending::

#1. don't let negative people steal your joy
#2. stay away from the ones who make you feel uncomfortable

i won't ever let myself get wrapped up in the childish drama that some like to create...i don't have time for that in my life : )

any newbies? come find me...sit with me and we can have some "chawklette" together....(NY accent)

can't wait to see you again karla!! xoxo


LuLu Kellogg

I am so glad you posted about this issue. It truly was heartfelt.

This will be my first year at Silver Bella and I am so excited. I can't wait to get there and meet all the girls I have been Blogging with over the last 2 years. I will make sure to find you and give you a big 'ole hug!

I really am looking forward to all the wonderful classes that will be taught and learning new things...that is going to be the best!



I was so honored to read your post because you decided to forge into the world of cliques on an adult level and try to explain what is really happening at these artistic meets. I was blessed by it, honestly. I think any time a group of highly talented women have been corresponding, sharing, and even meeting... it is extremely hard to notice the new ones waiting and watching with creative big eyes from the wings. It hurts some feelings when it happens and the ugly label of cliques comes into play. I have never been lucky or healthy enough to go to a meeting, so I could never speak of it, but I do see a kind of circle that developed with the Silver Bella and some of the others... It is only natural and to be forgiven and even expected. It isn't cruelty or snobbiness... It is natural and because you have made friends and we (strangers) are not friends YET. Sometimes it is easy to feel left out. I often feel a bit left out when I see that kind of interaction between those of you I admire so much for your sparkle, art, and talent.... You, honestly, are the best of the ones I have met for answering and responding to comments and notes I leave. It means a lot and helps draw us all closer. I love blogging and love the friends I have met and the blogs I read have become like little notes... If I desire further, more individual contact, it gets stickier because I get disappointed... so I just relax and let it be what it is... a wonderful group of women... I love reading about the Mermaid event and other things... it looks scrumptious and I don't feel left out... I just understand those who might... Hugs from a rambler go on and onner in MO....

Amy Powers

This is a great post...thanks so much for it. I am really going to reach out more this year to help it be a fun thing for everyone. I really want to encourage anyone who is on the fence to come...it's such a fun time.

Can't wait to see you there! I love ya!

Patty in Kansas

Hi Karla....just the fact that you so poignantly addressed the issue of the cliques makes me believe you would never be unkind to anyone...you words spoke volumes about you. I am an extrovert, but it is difficult to walk into a room full of strangers, so I can understand the trepidation a shyer person would have about it. Have a great week. Patty in Kansas

Jennifer Hayslip

Hi Karla!
WOW! Incredible post Karla, and I love how honest you are! It's very disheartening to say that from an outsider that these events can come off cliquey. However it goes to say that we all started somewhere at an event for the first time and knew very little people. Over time we make new friends, build a bond, and grow a strong friendship with these ladies that share our artistic love and passion with. What's incredibly difficult about these events is time flies and you want to make the MOST of your precious time with the ladies you rarely see. I think there has to be a healthy balance in spending time with old friends and spending time making new friends.
It's very intimidating to the newbies ( I SO remember), and I must admit it's up to several of us Silver Bella veterans (or any event in that case) to extend the Olive Branch and make other's feel welcomed and part of the group.
Im not attending Silver Bella's classes this year, however if all goes ok I want to come and be a vendor. Silver Bella CHANGED my life, and I hope women will NOT be held back by the ideas of cliques.
Karla, you have such a giving warmth and openness in your personality and I commend you for an honest and heartfelt post. XOXO,Jenn


This is a great subject Karla!
I think because so many women have become friends that go to Silver Bella, it probably feels that way to newbies. I would probably feel shy and have trouble busting into groups but if I were to go I think I would be like a pantleg to you and Beth...until I finally got comfortable... You two feel "safe" because you are both so sweet and welcoming...
I don't necessarily think people are cliquing off like the high school snubbing, I think many of the Bella's have become good friends and would probably welcome newbies easily!
Now, this is from someone who has never gone and don't see it financially in my future (boo!)But...I have been in this situation and once you put yourself "out there" You will be pleasantly pleased by all these lovely ladies!


Oh Karla I don't know how anyone could take offense at you! I feel like I know you too, and I think the very fact that you wrote this post and worried about it shows that you are not contributing to any ill feelings. Funny how we all feel a little like we did as teenagers in new situations like that. You are so kind to help those who aren't feeling comfortable yet. Oh, and I love the line that the pets aren't for sale-made me laugh!


Sweet Karla! Interesting post! You know that some people are just not going to be happy no matter what the circumstance...if you are uncomfortable in settings like this, you need to learn to deal, or bring your own BFF. I cannot imagine you being anything but fun! But it sounds like a big event! If people feel lost, again, they need to speak up! And I know you would invite me to the Glitter Lounge if I were there! Even if it meant spilling out into the hallway! Your Friend, Bobbi


Oh you are NOT cliquey and neither is silver bells. I just think people have expectations. But you cannot help that. Blogging world is growing at such a rate but we all just need to be ourselves.

I agree it is great to craft with others. This is why I love homeschooling, the girls are teens now, we all do our own thing but together. I love that xoxox Clarice


Maybe next time you have the glitter lounge, you could make it kind of a lounge crawl, where you move from one room to another so more people could join in. Kind of like an open house. =)

Mitzi Curi

What an excellent post, Karla! I've just finished reading every comment, too, which I don't typically do. I've never been to any of the Big Craft Events, but as soon as I can swing it financially, I'll be joining all of you.

When I first began blogging a year and a half ago, I felt like I was two hours late to a party. I started leaving more and more comments with people I could identify with, and lo and behold, the first person to reciprocate by commenting on my blog was YOU! Beth was just as welcoming when I discovered her blog.

I guess I just want to take this opportunity to thank you, Beth, and other more "experienced" bloggers who take the time to reach out to someone new. I'm sure the new Silver Bella attendees feel the same sense of acceptance when they meet you in person.

This seems to be a very valuable discussion based on the response you are getting, so thanks for bringing up a sensitive topic with your typical honesty and good sense.


Hey Karla - you're a sweet lady & so friendly! I am so happy I had the pleasure of meeting you at Miss Frenchie's!
You know, I think what appears from the pics is the Silver Bella friends who have become like family and several of the same ladies (who have blogs that are being followed because of their great talent) that are so blessed to be able to afford to attend the wonderful art events out of town.
It all looks so wonderful from the outside but possibly unrealistic or unattainable for all. That's why I'm so glad there are photos and ideas shared on the blogs.
I certainly would not ever want to see Silver Bella be so closed off from everyone. Lots of great ladies in a great town! :)

Becs Middleton

Never been to one, but hope to one day. Silver Bella would be the only reason I'd ever go back to Omaha...LOL!!! (We used to go to the race track there in the 70's)

Been around the block enough to know that there's always somebody waiting to **** in someone else's bowl of Cheerios- usually it's jealous competition coming from a completely different direction, and I wouldn't get too up in the rafters over it-
My husband and I ran into similar situations when we sponsored and promoted a yearly car show in our area. People are weird- especially if the event is successful and their's isn't. The petty nitpicking was hurtful, but we kept our cool and continued being kind to others, including the adversaries, in spite of everything.
Hang in there- goodness will prevail.


Karla ~
I love your first picture ~ it is spectacular! And the following photos are such enchanting art portraits ~ really love them all!
Your comments on Silver Bella are well taken ~ I went last year (on my own and I am kinda shy) and had not a problem making friends and talking to others. If there were exclusions, I was unaware. I am sure there were previous friendships already in tact and that did not concern me or keep me from enjoying myself in the least.
I always found a smile or a warm conversation every where I went. I will not be going this year, but only because it is over my mom's birthday weekend.
I would encourage everyone to give it a try! I even sat right next to you in one class and was amazed at your talent! It was the junk page journal one, but you probably don't remember me and that is OK. You were very popular!
I really love coming to visit you and your blog.
And I adore your Yorkies ~ they make the best models!
Love and blessings to you dear,


I am going to SB for the first time this year and your post scares me a bit...I don't do Clique'y very well!! I surely hope that it isn't so..... I look forward to meeting you at SB!! I love the idea of the "Glitter Lounge" - I might have to borrow it for my craft studio!


Hi Karla, I am glad that you are opening your arms to everyone who attends SB this time. I went once and noticed more than one clique going on. I even saw a door sign with a title to one of the cliques. I wasn't the only one who noticed it and a lot of us won't go to SB again because of this. I will admit that I did feel left out when all my blogger friends were going to your pre party and I wasn't invited. Perhaps the pre- parties should be avoided so that no one feels left out. Many people will not admit the truth because they don't want to look 'bad', but I think you deserve to get an honest response.


mummakat- Kathi Pilar

Karla you were so gracious at Silver Bella there is no way anyone was thinking of you when they talked about cliquey! I enjoyed meeting you and you were delightful. I met some perfectly lovely women that weekend and I have moved mountains to be sure that I am attending this year as well. See you there ladybug!


Karla, thanks for bringing up this topic! I hadn't heard it was cliquey, but I am rather shy sometimes (and somewhat in awe of super creative people whose blogs I read...) If you hadn't brought this up, it would be easy for me to shrink back a little. But, now I want to just "butt in" everywhere and step out of my comfort zone. I hope I can do it!

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About Karla Nathan

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