“Help! I Need A Good DJ!” – 10 Wedding Tips When Hiring A Great DJ

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Over the course of the years, Rose Marketing & the Third Floor Network of DJs have produced hundreds of live events across the globe. We have booked DJs, artists and hosts for every type of occasion ranging from music festivals, concerts, corporate events, artist tours to weddings, high school reunions and elementary school dances. We’ve also hired DJs for birthday or family house parties and in some cases even made playlists for long road trips or backyard boogies for our clients.

We’ve worked with the best in the business when it comes to moving a crowd from DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Vice, Questlove, Z-Trip, Chromeo, etc. but understand not everyone has the budget that a music festival, nightclub or corporation may have to hire these trusted professionals for their event, so with a little help of a few of our favorite DJ friends we’ve created the tips below alongside a network of DJs to help you find a perfect man or woman to get the job done no matter your budget.

In no way are we claiming certification on what a perfect DJ is, but there are a few things you can think of that could help in the process of selecting the perfect DJ for your event. We’ve all been to an event where the DJ was so great that no one wanted to leave talking about how much fun they had, and we’ve also experienced the polar opposite, where the dance floor seemed empty for most of the night and the DJ seemed to be stuck in the 1970’s with “YMCA” and “Dancing Queen” on repeat. Don’t worry if you’ve struggled with the “case of the bad DJ” because we ALL have at one point. And of course, if you are ever in need of additional advice or DJ suggestions at every budget level
email: info@thirdfloornetwork.com (serious inquiries only).

In the tips below, we will use the example of a wedding as the event as this is what we get asked about the most from non professional DJ/talent bookers looking for guidance. Remember, just like you look endlessly for the perfect wedding dress or suit, design your invitations meticulously, test your make up and food prior to the big day and fine tune the guest list several times to whether or not the quirky co-worker made the guestlist, it’s important to make sure you plan for a great soundtrack for you and your guests that could make or break the vibe of the evening.

1. Have Fun During The Planning Process.
Weddings are meant to be celebrations, while they can be very stressful they can be fun too if you allow yourself to enjoy the process. A lot of brides and grooms think of planning their wedding as a job and procrastinate until the final hour when stress has reached it’s peak and they are worried about other things like who is going to pick up grandma from the airport or where you last left your garter belt. As soon as your date is selected, start thinking about the music for the day/evening. Picking your music could be a fun experience in itself. Invite friends over if you want– share your playlists, pull out the yearbooks and look up the Billboard Charts to your high school or college years and listen to the songs, write down if any of them stick out as dance floor favorites for you and your friends to help better prep your DJ. Thinking about your music will even make the long morning commute more enjoyable. You don’t have to create an entire playlist, but a select few songs you love to give your DJ an idea of what type of music you and your guests will enjoy.

2. Create An Itinerary.
Knowing there will be variables on timing always changing until the day of, it’s always good to start off with knowing what blocks of times you want for various events and types of music for the evening to start until you have a more detailed itinerary. Take into consideration the weather that time of year, the amount of time people are waiting and your own personal experiences at previous weddings. Reminder that the longer your guests are standing without any activity, the more tired they will get as the evening progresses, especially the elders and those with kids. Don’t over plan the evening where you don’t have time to enjoy the evening just to talk to the people you haven’t seen for a long time or dance with your family and friends. Grouping activities is always helpful and will help avoid long periods of waiting. IE: Speeches and dances during dinnertime, etc. Think of the music for the entire day starting from the night before, you can also create a playlist for getting ready in the morning or when you are taking photos to bump up the energy. If you are super romantic, you could even create a mixtape or playlist for your partner to play and think of you while getting ready.

Sample Itinerary To Share With Your DJ Alongside Sample Songs:
3PM-5PM Bride and Groom Preparation (Playlist: Wedding Day Mix)
530PM-6PM Wedding (Music: Pre-Wedding As Guests Wait, Walking Down The Aisle, Returning Down Aisle)
6-7PM Cocktail Hour (Cocktail Music: 90s R&B, Slow Jams, Acoustic Music)
7-830PM Dinner (Speeches, Dances, Photos, Cake Cutting) (Music: Pre-Selected Songs)
830PM-10PM Dancing (Dance: Family/Line Dancing, Current Hits, 90s Hip Hop)

3. Know Your Audience.
While you are creating your guest list, tally up how many people will be attending from the various age groups. This will help determine what type of music most of your guests will enjoy. Every good wedding has music for every age group, with the music appealing to a majority of the crowd. Think about the women in the room specifically, what songs would they like to hear? If they are happy and dancing on the dance floor, the men will be there too.

For example,
Kids 15 and under – 30 guests
15-25 – 20 guests
25-45 – 70 guests
45+ – 30 guests

For example, if 40% of your audience is 45+, make sure to have songs that cater to them that they can dance to, particularly early on as you know they may leave earlier. Some families have particular songs that people like to hear like “Toro Toro” for ballroom dance routines, “Cupid Shuffle” for line dancing or kids always love the “Cha Cha Slide” that they are familiar with because of school – these are perfect for the beginning of the dance part of the evening to get people on the dance floor early before they have to head home. A perfect time to request everyone on the dance floor is by an event such as taking a group photo on the dance floor or after the bouquet toss followed by a popular song people of all ages can enjoy.

The last to stay are usually the closest of your friends and family that are also the young at heart or the drunk and fun, this is a time that could be reserved for special memory, less mainstream songs including songs that you partied to at your favorite clubs, heard on repeat on the radio when you were younger, etc. with those still there.

4. Research Your DJ, Ask For Referrals And Make Sure They Are Prepared With The Right Equipment.
Once you know your date, your audience and your itinerary, it’s time to find the right DJ. The right DJ is a DJ that knows he/she is hired for YOUR wedding. You should be able to trust that your DJ has your best interests at heart when being booked to play and should be accommodating to special requests of songs you want to hear during various parts of the wedding, first dances, specifically for your mom, etc. He/She shouldn’t play just what they want to hear and not consider the audience they are playing to. Some DJs aren’t comfortable in playing songs they don’t like and unless you have the exact same taste they do alongside a majority of your guests, they might not be the right DJ for this particular event. In the same way that you request songs you want to hear, you can request some songs you DON’T want to hear as well.

Shop around for prices, make sure you are getting the best rate you can and in most cases you get what you pay for. You could ask around to friends and family what they pay for DJs as they do for other vendors like photo-booths. Most DJs are paid an hourly rate but in some cases a flat rate could be suggested, especially where travel is needed or additional equipment. In most cases a deposit is required to hold the date. Don’t expect the deposit back if you cancel, most DJs are booked for several months and if they hold the date for you it’s expected you understand that they didn’t take another event to commit to yours just as any other wedding vendor and could be at a loss. You could ask the DJ for a window the deposit could be returned if there is concern you may book another DJ. More experienced and well known DJs typically get paid more for weddings they play at because they are experts in their field, but paying a high price doesn’t always guarantee a great DJ, make sure to do your research and if you are paying higher rates it is because of the quality of the DJ.

Most great wedding DJs have a form that you can easily fill out alongside a list of song suggestions that you could google if you get stuck and can’t think of any. Some people LOVE “YMCA” while others may cringe at the thought of it. Referrals are great especially for previous events you attended that you liked the music at, ask for sample playlists or videos to preview the DJ’s style and if it fits your vibe. If there is time, take the time to check them out live in action in a similar event to yours. What DJs play in a nightclub setting may be different from what they play at a wedding. In a pre-wedding meeting with the DJ either via the phone or better in person, make sure to go over the itinerary, special requests and all of the equipment the DJ has to see what they have or will bring or what needs to be rented. If you have additional performers or routines, make sure the DJ has the music ahead of time and tested. Costs could potentially be discounted if they don’t have to bring their own equipment such as speakers, turntables, etc. and most costs should also include cost for equipment. If you don’t know where to start and need support, your existing vendors are a great start as they usually work together or feel free to contact us.

5. Hire A Host.
Even when you don’t think you’ll need one, you usually do. In most cases the DJ should/could also be/include the host with price included, but if the DJ isn’t a host, or they mention it is an extra person for a cost that you can’t afford, don’t be afraid to ask your outgoing friend or Uncle to take on the job at least to introduce you to the crowd during the intro and dances if you have them. Whoever it is, make sure they have the itinerary BEFORE via email and several copies printed on the wedding day to review and have time to ask questions alongside notice things that may be missing. If there are different versions, make sure to date and number the version so everyone has the most recent version or notice if they don’t on day of. Having introductions of your maid of honor or best man before their speeches is always helpful. Most people in the room know the details of who they are, but for those that don’t, it’s fun to know that the girl who is about to make the toast was your roommate for 15 years or the guy holding the mic was there for you when you got dumped by your first girlfriend. It makes these moments just that more intimate. Make sure the venue or the DJ has all the proper equipment for the toasts as well as back up batteries for the microphones.

6. Have A Kick Ass Intro Suited To Your Personality.
Whether you are the reserved couple that likes to walk in casually to their favorite song or a couple that wants a choreographed routine during their entry, this is the one time that EVERYONE is in the room and all eyes are on you. Fun ideas include creating an intro video re-enacting how you guys met, giving a quick speech before you enter or having the host introduce each wedding party guest as they walk in like the NBA Chicago Bulls. (Hi Five Kim & Cass Cruz). Enjoy the spotlight, don’t be afraid of it and remember that they are there for you because they love you, they want to see you having a good time, especially when being introduced to the world for the first time officially as man and wife. You could kick off the energy of the night with how you first present yourselves. Prep your DJ and review the intro music ahead of time, make sure the music is received prior. You or the DJ may need to make an edit to get to the right part of the song for entry. Make sure someone is filming your kick ass entry, if not a professional videographer, ask someone who will happily film on their phone for you, trust us, you will want to see this special entry later.

6. Don’t Be Shy To Say A Few Words.
Some couples shy away from saying a few words to their guests, wishing they did, it’s a perfect time to say what you’ve always wanted to say to everyone you love all in one room. Whether it be thanking your parents or telling the funny story of you you guys met, remember they are here for YOU. It’s okay to take all the spotlight for the night. It’s okay if you don’t have a well planned speech, a genuine “thank you” to the crowd will be heartfelt and you won’t regret not saying anything at all after. This could also be a good time for you to ask everyone to join you on the dance floor right after. Make sure the DJ has the perfect first song that will keep a majority of the people on the dance floor which you can decide on together.

7. Have A Last Dance Together
Every couple needs to sneak away from their own wedding to be alone, that’s part of the beauty of marrying your best friend and soul mate is they understand the need to break away, but don’t be gone so long that you miss the wedding and miss the last dance. Reserve a last song with the DJ and let him or her know not to play it until instructed by you. You could even let your venue know that you will leave AFTER this last song is played and that they should come find you BEFORE shutting down for this special moment if you are away. Even if it’s just you and your new spouse left on the dance floor that’s left, take that last second to end on a great note and rejoicing that it’s all over. If your family and friends are around even better, great time to play that one slow jam that brings everyone together hugging, singing at the top of their songs like “One Love” by Bob Marley, “How Deep Is Your Love” by the BeeGees or “Just Friends” by Musiq Soulchild. We’ve seen several couples disappointed walking into a wedding that has ended without them knowing because they were “getting some air” or saying goodbye to guests. Don’t worry about saying goodbye to every guest if there isn’t time, they will completely understand if you need a last dance together and may even join you. Make sure the DJ announces that it is the last song of the evening.

8. Tip Your DJ And Don’t Forget To Feed The DJ.
Don’t forget to order a dinner plate for your DJ and arrange for it to be brought to him as you do your other vendors. Although most DJs come prepared eating prior to the wedding or bringing their own snacks, they may not have time to leave for a meal and the last thing you want is a hungry DJ. And if they did a great job, extra $$$ you got from the money dance won’t hurt, even if it’s just a few extra dollars. Before everyone got there, they had to set up all the heavy equipment and now they have to stick around bringing it all back while everyone is gone. Plus they even played “Macarena” for your drunk Aunt Martha! It will help encourage them to continue to do a great job in the future and you can potentially discuss even getting a small referral rate if you do suggest them for future events and thought they did a great job.

9. No Budget Or Weddings In Unique Places?
There are some weddings that take place at the top of the mountains or on a beach that may not be in your budget to fly a DJ out. You could create your own playlist, hire a DJ to create playlists for each hour for your wedding or download great ones you may find on the internet at sites that allow to search and download mixes like mixcrate.com. Once you have the playlist ready, you could easily assign someone to hit “play” from your Ipod/computer plugged into a portable speaker. DJs also have great portable equipment that could be used to travel to exotic location, if you have the budget, splurge on the extra flight, room and DJ cost, some DJs will offer a great discount or even play the wedding for little to no cost if it means an all expense paid vacation.

Last but not least,

10. Don’t Worry If Things Don’t Go EXACTLY To Plan.
Every wedding has their share of challenges whether it be the rain coming last minute or the groomsmen going missing after the bachelor party. Be ready to roll with the punches, know that nothing is ever perfect and if you don’t have a wedding planner, assign one of your bridesmaids or close family/friends to be the best decision maker for you in case you can’t be found and specifically knows how to talk to you in your most stressful situations.

The MOST important thing is to have fun and capture this once in a moment lifetime in your memory. Make a note to your photographer to capture the candid, unique moments on top of the posed photos throughout the evening. Create a unique hashtag for your guests so you can track the photos after on your honeymoon that you can place on your photobooth picture prints, table place cards as well as have the DJs announce on the mic throughout the evening. If you do have a photobooth, make sure to schedule it to come AFTER the main activities such as speeches are over or on pause to avoid people missing the important parts of the evening, this could include bars that are located outside of the main room. The DJ could announce that the bar will be closed during speeches and dances so people could prepare to have their drinks prior or after.

Good luck and best wishes on planning your big day!

For more info on DJ rates, referrals and tips for any occasion from company holiday parties to concerts to weddings, anything large or small:
Email: info@thirdfloornetwork.com

Learn How To Make REAL Money In The Music Industry By Harvard Graduate & Artist Ryan Leslie


I’m a huge fan of Ryan Leslie not only for his music but his forward thinking in advocating for artists to fight for their own rights and learning the music industry that they so desperately want to be apart of yet don’t take the time to learn about. They rush into record label and publishing deals signing away what could potentially hurt them and their bank accounts in the long run. If you are interested in becoming a professional artist or musician making money for selling your music or performing at live events this is a must read HERE.

My top 9 Myspace memories over the past 9 years…

In celebration of the past 9 years with Myspace, here’s a look back at some of my favorite memories at the place that began as a place for friends that eventually became THE place for music.

Friendster & meeting Chris/Tom in 2004

As Director of Marketing for the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP) & LA Music Network (LAMN), my boss Tess Taylor introduces me to Myspace founder and former CEO, Chris De Wolfe at one of our panels. As an active Friendster user at the time who started my Myspace profile to promote our Third Floor Radio shows, concerts, new music in our blog and artists, we meet and discuss the potential future of Myspace as a social music platform. I’m asked for creative input on how to bring artists to the site and we start by setting up one of the first Myspace co-branded events with the Black Eyed Peas in support of the release of “The APL Song” video directed by Patricio Ginelsa. At the time there were only 2M users on the site with a mere 126 registered hip hop artists, within a few years we reach over 200M registered users with over 2M registered Hip Hop artists, making it the largest genre of registered artists on the site. Third Floor Radio independent alumni are a big base of the active users but the site also boasts notables including Diddy, Lil Jon, Kanye West, Drake, B.o.B and many more including every top radio, club, mixtape and TV DJ across the world. I always joke that Hip Hop helped Myspace catapult into the mainstream and everyone wanted Tom to be their first friend, online and in person. The most popular question I’ve asked in my years to come becomes “Have you met Tom?” “Yes, and he is one of the nicest & most humble guys you will ever meet” is my typical response. The amount of artists and celebrities that wanted their photo with Tom always made me smile.

2. Specific Media & Justin Timberlake in 2011

Specific Media and the Vanderhooks purchase Myspace with investor Justin Timberlake. The site is completely redesigned by an amazing design, product & tech team working around the clock to make it happen. We premiere JT’s first single in over 8 years “Suit & Tie,” produce a memorable intimate JT SXSW secret show with him, watch side stage as he performs at the memorable “Legends of Summer Tour” with Jay Z, and accomplish what no one said was possible- a successful relaunch. Traffic and new users increase significantly, especially with the launch of the site’s first TV commercial that we casted starring Iggy Azalea, Chance The Rapper, Pharrell, Riff Raff, Mac Miller, Schoolboy Q, Hit-Boy, Sky Ferreira and more. We celebrate with a re-launch party with Pharrell and Robin Thicke performing their #1 single “Blurred Lines” that airs on ABC via Jimmy Kimmel that same evening. Miley Cyrus joins the duo on stage to perform, a foreshadow to her memorable MTV VMA performance later that year. Aside from JT, Vanessa Hudgens, Quincy, Ashley Tisdale, Big Boy & Rikki Martinez (Power 106), Kelly Osbourne, my favorite actress, Sanaa Lathan (Brown Sugar/Love & Basketball) and many more attend the exclusive private event which also include performances by Classixx, DJ JayCeeOh, Nervo and the infamous Tyler the Creator & Odd Future.

‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell Live at the Myspace Launch Party from Myspace on Myspace.

I become a Belieber in Justin Bieber in 2008

A very young Justin Bieber visits the Myspace office with his Mom and a few friends. He throws on a Myspace sweater and spends a few hours playing Guitar Hero with Earl Johnson and Steve Busch before we film his first livestream chat on Ustream but hosted from his Myspace blog. I watch after making him sing Ne-Yo cover songs live and thousands of fans flood the livechat, I realize how big of a star this kid will be. A mere year later, we are standing on the red carpet together at his first GRAMMY Awards appearance. We are both kind of in a state of bliss of how we even got invited to the show.

Jay Z: All of the lights. (2010)

We produce a Jay Z show in NYC (thanks to Chip Kanne) sponsored by DJ Hero the day before his 2 sold out Madison Square Garden shows in a small 500 person theater. During his performance towards the end, there is a major power outage and all of the lights turn off including the sound board. Fans cheer with the dramatic part of the show which they think is choreographed until the lights don’t turn back on. Fans start to boo and want to leave after 15 minutes of no lights or sound. Backstage we are running around trying to figure out what happened and try to prevent Jay Z from leaving. Magically as he begins to head out the door, the lights are restored, I hand him his microphone and he turns around and heads back to the stage to end the evening with some of his greatest including the ever so fitting “Encore.” Did we want more? Yes, we wanted more. Thank God for all of the lights, all of the lights… 😉 Fans that could never afford to pay the high fees to watch Jay perform win the free opportunity to watch him perform in the intimate setting. I’m in awe of the fans that we interview waiting patiently for hours in the street which include those that have Jay Z tattooed on their arms & named their kids after Mr. Carter. A great filipino DJ Neil Armstrong opens the memorable night who I don’t reunite with until 2013 at Pow Wow Hawaii.

T.I.’s going away to jail party f. Kanye & Rihanna in 2008

Hands down one of the best of hundreds of shows we produce for Myspace. T.I.’s probation officer accepts my letter request to keep him out past 11pm for this show. In true Myspace Release fashion, T.I. calls on his top friends to join him to perform on stage which included DJ Drama, Kanye West and Rihanna. I give T.I. a “Myspace Double Platinum” plaque for being the first artist to reach over 2M friends on the site and in true southern gentleman fashion shows his deep appreciation for the support. It seems like 80% of the crowd are friends from Walnut, CA while Kanye West premieres “Heartless” from his new album, “808s and Heartbreaks.” A few weeks later after his CNN interview from the LA Key Club show airs, T.I. goes to jail as planned, making this his last performance before his incarceration.

Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) in the 808 in 2008

My favorite rapper of all time joins me in Hawaii not only for some great sushi, but a sold out performance co-produced by good friends, Chris Nakano and Dig Lifestyles. The heavy rain causes streets to flood around the venue but excited fans don’t let the nearly monsoon lose their chance to watch the front man of A Tribe Called Quest perform for the first time on the islands. Dressed in a bright yellow rain coat and colorful lei, The Abstract Poet takes the stage and instead of the typical event producer side stage watch, I jump into the middle of the packed crowd to recite almost every song which included new songs from his new album, “The Renaissance” and ATCQ classics in the middle of the crowd. Amazed not only that we were in Honolulu and experiencing this, but within seconds I’m back to being a big fan of music. It’s funny that once your favorite artists take the stage, no matter if you are 12 years old or in your late twenties, you can become an instant super fan all over again. Tribe is why I wanted to work in music and why I “fell in love with hip hop” in the first place.

Bruno Mars and his guitar in 2009

Jona Caberto is in town from Chicago and we discuss how a young emerging Filipino/Puerto Rican songwriter from Hawaii is one of the best voices we have heard in a long time. Thanks to Brian Dackowski, we get him to visit the office and he discusses his songwriting work with artists which included some that he met via Myspace including B.o.B, Travie McCoy & Far East Movement. The Far East Movement discover his music because of being in everyone’s Top 8 including the producers, the Stereotypes. Their career catapults as Bruno helps write songs off their first album including the hit single, “Rocketeer.” and my longtime friends FM begin to travel the world and up the Billboard charts.

Have you met Kendrick Lamar? (2011)

Shira Lazar who co-hosted the CBS GRAMMYS with me discusses her daily livesreamed What’s Trending show on CBS at the time (now on YouTube) asks if I know of any artists that should be featured. I suggest and we book guest appearances by Big Sean, The Game, Jasmine Villegas, Sean Kingston, Sage the Gemini and more follow but the most memorable appearance is by a young talented rapper we loved from Compton, Kendrick Lamar. Earl Johnson and the TDE family bring K.Dot to perform “Hiii Power” and this marks his first national live-streamed performance. One year later, he releases the classic Good Kid, MAAD City album and catapults to easily the #1 most requested rapper in the world. Fast forward to August 1, 2013, Myspace helps to amplify 50 shows in 50 cities simultaneously across the country. I fly to Detroit and it’s amazing to see how Kendrick has grown since that first appearance. The beauty of it all? Kendrick still has the exact same TDE team around him which includes but not limited to Dave Free, Punch, Ali the Engineer, producer Sounwave and Ret One. In added pride, Mike Green, our Walnut High School friend also apart of his team are featured in a XXL Magazine cover story together a few months later.

Pitbull, Mr. 305 transforms to Mr. Worldwide

Thanks to Semp & 305 Magazine cover interview, a young Pitbull and I spend time in a small region of Miami known as Little Havana. He discusses his plan for world domination and I can’t question his confidence that was supported by his rabid Myspace following and initial support by Lil Jon, who first mentioned Pitbull to me. I can’t escape from him everywhere in the next following years, his “Myspace” and Cuban “Rose-leeeeeen” call outs in his songs always make us laugh whether we hear them on the radio, while dancing in the clubs or watching him on a televised awards show or Myspace live-streamed Superbowl pre-party performance.

Graduation Day! Class of 2013

If I continued to write out every meaningful memory this would blog would become a novel so I’ll stop there. 😉 These last 9 years have been nothing short of amazing. When I first started with the company as a consultant, I didn’t imagine being with the site for more than 2 years, at the time, dot coms were frequently being created and quickly dissolved in a matter of months and I loved traveling to DJ too much that I couldn’t imagine being in an office all day. But, obviously I fell in love with what we were doing that I joined the team full time because there was something different about Myspace that made it more than just a typical job, not only what you saw when you visited the site online, but when you walked around the vibrant office. Myspace was your first friend that supported who YOU really were, your chance to explore and showcase your 5 to 9, whether or not you had a 9 to 5. Myspace was literally and figuratively your 24/7 supportive creative friend that made you feel like you could do anything you wanted to.

In the Myspace building you will find some of the funniest, sweetest, craziest, smartest and most talented people in the world. I thank everyone for the opportunity to work with you and travel across the globe working on launches of Myspace Latino, Mexico and UK with the incredible opportunity to produce over 200+ of the most memorable concerts, tours and events for our users/fans, a majority of them alongside my best friend and production partner, Randy Nangpi.

I now end my time as a full time employee with admiration, love and support for the current team that will continue to build and protect what we have built over the years and excited to continue to work with them on future initiatives with the artists I will work with in the near future. For the Myspace alumni across the world, I join you now in graduating from my memorable time at the company. After years of breathing, sleeping & eating Myspace, I’m looking forward to what’s next to come and work with all of you in the next decades of my career. Although I leave with eyes full of sad and happy tears, it’s time for me to discover and amplify my space outside the doors of Myspace. (Pun intended 😉 Forever I’ll be a cheerleader for the space and the team, even if I’m not in uniform, but standing from the sidelines.

#MyspaceIsDead #LongLiveMyspace

p.s. Check out my 9 years of AMAZING Co-Workers photo mix HERE.