The School Uniform Reinvented

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A new take on the stuffy old school uniforms for #BTS!

  1. Nautica Boys’ Double Breasted Shawl Collar Cardigan in Coal Heather  2. Boys’ Polo Shirt – Cat & Jack™ in Red 3. Boys’ Woven Cord Belt in Navy  4. Herschel Supply Co. Settlement Backpack in Woodland Camo/Navy/Red 5. Boys’ Pull-On Pant Cat & Jack™ in Blue 6. Stride Rite Made 2 Play Gannon Boot in Brown

School Clothes Planning

I am a planner.  I plan everything.  Right down to the most minute detail…it’s actually kind of OCD ridiculous!  In my planning process, I also research and try to create themes, etc.  So about a year and a half before my eldest started Kindergarten, I started planning.  I asked myself questions like “Am I going to red-shirt him since his birthday is so close to the cutoff?” and “Are we going to settle for the school by our house or are we going to appeal for a spot in a ‘better’ school?” and “What is he going to wear?”  Seriously.

As I researched the local schools, it quickly came to my attention that “uniforms” are common in this area.  I am not used to that at all because where I grew up we were able to wear whatever we wanted as long as it wasn’t provocative or otherwise deemed inappropriate.  In fact, I have very fond memories of expressing my individuality through the style of clothes I chose to wear.  So imagine my dismay upon learning of the uniform requirements that my own child would face.  That was one of the factors that led me to initially attempt an out of district transfer request.  That did not pan out, but I will save that story for another day.  Ultimately we resigned ourselves to being relegated to the ranks of those that wear uniforms.  And not the cute hoity-toity custom private school uniforms.  No, the dress code is polo shirts and solid khaki and/or navy slacks.  Uck.

Challenge Accepted!

I decided to make the uniform situation work for us by thinking outside the box.  Sure, we could have simply ordered the standard outfits from the catalog the school provides or gone the easy route with French Toast everything.  But no, that is not our style. Oh, and did I mention how I detest pique polo shirts?  I think they are the worst, particularly as part of a sloppily put together school uniform.  God forbid the pique polo and standard issue slacks are ill fitting…I just cannot bear the thought!  But what’s the alternative?  Think J.Crew, Mini Boden, Hanna Andersson, Tea Collection, etc.  However, our budget doesn’t support that kind of shopping for the everyday essentials.  We’re more the Gymboree, Kohls & Old Navy set.  But really we pretty much shop at Target and Amazon for just about everything these days!  So that is where this shopping trip will take us today!

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August Goals & {Nonexistent} Income Report

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It's cool to see a post like this from someone just starting out before they are actually making anything! I love to watch the progression!

 

Life & Goals

Wow, life has been CHAOTIC lately!  In general, things have been crazy since MR* and I both work full time, I am a full-time MBA student, have a home to run, a wild six-year-old to wrangle and a wily infant to nurture.  Now I’ve added this blog to the mix and I think I need about 8 extra hours each day to manage everything properly!  Then add in a 3-week visit from my sister & her hubby from Russia.  The visit ended with a bang as much of the family ended up with a wicked case of stomach flu…yikes!  All while I was working on my first brand ambassadorship for one of my all time favorite brands!  Needless to say, I am super behind in school and my house looks like a tornado just blew through!  So I realize that I need to sit myself down and focus!

How am I going to do that?  Goal setting!  I recently stumbled across a 5-year plan that I prepared almost exactly five years before I found it again.  I had truly not looked at it since I wrote it up because my life is one wild and crazy time after another.  I had prepared it while at my former job and emailed it to myself on my personal email and that is where it sat.  Anyway, once I found it again I was amazed that I had literally done (or almost completed) every single thing on the list and they were not small feats.  I realized that the simple act of putting it down did something to my brain or to the quantum physics of my life that kept me on my desired path.  So I will be posting that soon along with my new 5-year plan and I challenge you to write one up yourself.  Feel free to share!

That being said, I realize that there is something useful about goal setting and maintaining a focus.  So I will be preparing monthly goals to go along with my five-year plan.  These goals will include professional, personal and blog related goals and you guys will hold me accountable…thanks in advance!

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5 Must Have Nursery Textiles for Baby

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5 Must Have Nursery Textiles for Baby

Nursery Time

One of my favorite things to do is getting ready for a new baby!  I love everything about it like the planning, registering, shopping, and organizing!  And when it comes time to shop I love discovering new shops and online stores that I’ve never visited before!  Of course when it comes to baby stuff we all know the old stand-bys like Babies’R’Us, Target, Buy Buy Baby, and Amazon, but I recently became aware of Kensho Home.  No, they won’t be able to help you with your diaper, stroller or baby monitor needs, but they do have lovely swaddling blankets, bedding, and towels!

Baby textiles are some of my favorite items to buy because they are so plush and soft, some are colorful while others are more subtle!  I always wish they made adult sized baby blankets for that very reason!  Anyway, below you will find a curation of some of Kensho Home’s most darling baby items.  And they continue to add to their impressive selection! Everything is machine washable, and to top it all off, shipping is FREE!  I hope you find something great for your new little one!

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15 Minute Quick Start Guide to Create A Blog

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Nice & simple...just like I like things! I think I'm finally going to get around to starting my blog!

 

You can’t get too far beyond the brainstorming phase without setting up your actual blog site, but how do you actually do that? I know, it seemed super complicated, daunting, scary, etc. to me too! However, you will be happy to hear that it is easy as pie! And this brief tutorial will hold your hand and walk you right through it!

First of all, I am making the assumption that you are choosing to create what’s called a self-hosted site, which simply means it will be thecoolestblogever.com as opposed to thecoolestblogever.wordpress.com. That’s what I recommend, both for aesthetics and relevance! I am also making the assumption that you are down with WordPress as opposed to Blogger. Boy, am I making a lot of assumptions, but bear with me! Again, I do recommend WordPress. Not 0nly is it the gold standard, but it’s just so easy to use! Plus you will be using a ton of plugins and WordPress has plugin functionality down to an easy to use science! Ok, are you ready? Let’s do this!
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A Tasty Treat for Lunch: Ezell’s Famous Chicken

Totally gonna try this fried chicken place next time I'm in Seattle!

I moved to Seattle, Washington almost 10 years ago and one of the first recommendations I overheard was that Ezell’s Chicken was the best.  You may have heard of Ezell’s by way of Oprah, as it is said to be her very favorite chicken which she would even have flown out to her in Chicago! You can also find photo’s of Ezell with Guy Fieri from the Packers vs. Seahawks episode of the Food Network’s “Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri” special episode TQ0201H on the Ezell’s Facebook page.  In other football news, Ezell’s was invited to cater to the fans in Detroit, MI (my home state) for the Super Bowl XL game between my lovely Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 {the year I moved from MI to WA}.  And finally, Esquire Magazine named Ezell’s “The Most Life Changing Fried Chicken in America” in 2012!  Some impressive stats!

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What I Want for My Sons: My Privilege

Sons Deserve Privilege

I’m at a loss.  I am at a loss for what to say, what to do, how to feel.  And I do…feel this loss, in a way that is unique to me.  These lost lives, lost innocence, a lost sense of how I would like to believe the world & society to be.  I so desperately WANT to believe that people are intrinsically good…at least deep down at their core.  That we’ve reached a collective “good place” where most people can happily coexist and thrive.

And I am wrong.  I’ve been shown over and over again that I am wrong.  Each time something like this happens my gut tells me to mourn this crazy exception to the rule, the outlier…this thing that is wildly out of the ordinary.  But I’ve slowly come to the realization that these tragedies are far from exceptional, far from atypical, far from isolated.  The only thing that’s “different” is the intensity of the light that’s beginning to shine.  Social media now acts as a global bullhorn drawing our attention to a few select incidents that cannot go unnoticed.  And then there are those that do not draw the same attention.  But they are there…occurring each and every day right before our very eyes, under our noses, in our backyards and all around us.  Yet we don’t even see it.

Privilege

What is that “we” really?  It’s me, people…like me, people unlike me, but with the same level of privilege.  The privilege that allows us to believe that things are on the right track, so much better than they were in our parent’s day.  The privilege that allows us to walk around in the world and not give thought or concern to where we may be going, how we may be perceived, or how a seemingly benign encounter may quickly escalate into a life threatening incident.

Ignorance is bliss, isn’t that what they say?  I can say that is true.  I’ve spent the majority of my 36 years blissfully walking along on my cloud thinking that all is right with the world.  I subscribed to all the old adages like “it will all work out”, “right always wins”, “good will triumph over evil”, etc.  I could go on and on.  And I did, I believed all of that.    It’s easy to believe when all of your needs are met as well as many, many of your wants.  When safety has never been a concern, when the police only represented protection, when your biggest concerns are true “first world problems.”

Please don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful for every opportunity that I have been afforded and hope that I’ve done my best to take little of it for granted.  I do feel so very lucky & blessed.  Yes, all very easy to say, but what does it mean?  Probably not much of anything if it weren’t for one thing.  I am a mother. (more…)

{FREE} Nanny Daily Sheet Printable

Free Nanny Day Sheet Printable

 

I created this printable Nanny Daily Sheet as a way to communicate daily details with our nanny.  I use it to document specifics on school, work, and lunch.  I also use it to leave notes on things I don’t want to forget to mention.  This works really well for us because the school schedule is so inconsistent.  As are our work obligations.

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My Path to Motherhood: A Love Story

Path To Motherhood

 

My path to motherhood, though not unlike some women, was not exactly what I would call typical.  I was never a huge “kid person”.  Some people grow up around younger siblings, cousins, and neighbors, so care giving becomes second nature to them.  In my case, my sister and I were only 19 months apart. We didn’t really have any little neighbors or cousins running around either.  So kids were always kind of foreign to me.

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#SharkWeek Themed Boys Swimwear

Shark Week Boys Swimwear

  1. Colorful Sunglasses (Item #140155183) 2. Shark Sun Hat (Item #140155755) 3. Shark Rashguard (Item #140153385) 4.  Shark Board Shorts (Item #140153376) 5.  Shark Swim Sandals (Item #140151134)

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10 Binge Worthy Shows for Your Maternity Leave Playlist

Maternity Playlist

Good Evening Mama!  It’s quite possible that it is 1 AM right now, you are sleep deprived, delirious and maybe feeling a little cranky or even helpless right now.  So I am going to ask you to take a deep breath, re-center yourself and exhale.  And change your mindset.  Stop thinking of this crazy newborn period as something to trudge through and embrace it, savor it, relish in it, drink it in!  It is such a short blip on the radar of life and it truly is such a special time when you & baby are 100% devoted to each other.  It really is lovely, even when it’s impossible.  When I changed my mindset about this with my second child everything changed.  I am working on a post specifically about embracing this time, but for now I give you this:

10 Binge Worthy Shows for Your Maternity Leave Playlist

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Last Day of Kindergarten

Last Day of K

 

My first born on his way to school for the last day of Kindergarten.  I’m handling this considerably better than the last day of preschool last year & Kindergarten Graduation on Monday (I was a mess).  I’m working on my end of year/Kindergarten graduation piece, so stay tuned!  Have a great summer kiddos!!

 

 

$5.00 off ONE Culturelle Kids Formula Product          $4.00 off TWO PULLUPS Training Pants or Goodnites

5-Ingredient Tomato & Cucumber Summer Salad

 

5-Ingredient Tomato & Cucumber Summer Salad

2-3 Whole – Roma Tomatoes

2 Whole – English Cucumbers

1/4 Cup – Miracle Whip

1/4 Tsp – Salt

1/8 Tsp – Pepper

 

  1. Cube tomatoes and cucumber and add to medium sized mixing bowl
  2. Slowly add Miracle Whip and stir until coated, use more or less to taste
  3. Sprinkle salt & pepper and stir, again using more or less to taste
  4. Transfer to serving bowl and enjoy at your next BBQ!!

Tip:  This week save 20% on cucumbers with Savingstar!

My Mom used to make this ah-mazing cucumber & tomato salad every summer when we were growing up.  It’s super simple with only 5 ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand!  Throw this together for a quick weekday side or make it this weekend for one of your first BBQ’s of the season!!

 

 

 

 

Baby Logi Babbles “Da-Da”!

In preparation for Father’s Day my little baby guy had just clearly babbled “Da-Da” and we quickly tried to capture it on video.  The moment passed, but he got in some good practice here!  He’s just gaining skills left & right…I can’t keep up…I’m not ready!

Birth Plan of a First Time Mom

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Birth Plan of a First Time Mom

This was the birth plan that we used when we were about to become first time parents. Now I read this and laugh! I can only imagine what the nurses thought of us when they read this! Probably “puh-leeze” {eye roll}!! What can I say? I was about to be a brand new mom and this was all completely foreign to me! I didn’t grow up around kids, babies or people who were having babies. This was the total unknown for me and I was bewildered! So I researched and identified all of the variables that I could possibly include on a birth plan and laid it out meticulously here. I really thought that the providers would read it and adhere to my wishes. I was so naïve! They don’t have time for all of this! Not to mention that a lot of the items I addressed were outdated and no longer common practice (at least not around here!) That being said, I think this gave me enough of an illusion of control that it gave me comfort. If you need that right now please feel free to take this template and modify it for your needs! I will share both the ridiculous things we did at the hospital that first time AND my updated, pared down birth plan that I prepared 6 years later…stay tuned if this one wasn’t quite the right fit!

***

Our Birth Plan: Baby Boy {Baby’s Last Name}

Mother-to-be: {Mother’s Name}    Father-to-be (COACH): {Partner’s Name}

Additional Support People: {Relationship #1}, {Name #1} & {Relationship #2}, {Name #2}

Due Date: {EDD}

Doctor’s Name: {DR/Midwife Name}    Hospital Name: {Hospital/Birth Center}

Objective: I, {Mother’s Name}, and my coach, {Partner’s Name}, are creating this birth plan prior to our labor in order to express our wishes clearly to our doctor & nurses at the hospital where I am delivering. This is our “best case scenario” plan and these are the items that we consider important in the birth of our unborn baby. We would like them to be followed as closely as possible whenever able. Deviations from this plan are welcome in the event that the safety of the baby and/or mother is at risk. We will be flexible, although we ask to be kept informed ahead of time during every aspect of our labor. We reserve the right to change our mind at any time. We also request the opportunity to discuss important decisions & changes privately if time allows. Thank you for your assistance in this process.

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Hey Good Lookin’…

How is your Wednesday going?  Here is how mine is going:

Double coffee kinda day...
Double coffee kinda day…

 

 

 

 

 

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Girlfriend’s Guide to Packing Your Hospital Bag:

Hospital Bag

The 45 Best Things I Took To The Hospital

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How I Increased My Milk Supply Overnight

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Increased Milk Supply

So many moms struggle with supply issues, particularly after going back to work.  It was the same for me.  I found myself “Google-ing” things like “Increase milk supply fast” or “Increased milk supply overnight” and ultimately came across a Pinterest post that caught my eye.  What I read changed the success of my pumping and really our nursing relationship as well.

I just gave birth to my beautiful boy, Logan, in December.  I am now the mother of two incredible boys!  And, of course, I wanted to give my little man the best start I could possibly give him.  Among other things, breastfeeding was a priority for me.

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{Recipe} Quick & Easy Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

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Week of 07/27/14 ~ 08/02/14 Brags

Rite Aid Freebies
Safeway 91% Savings
Target Paid less than $4 [There were 4 Bagel Bites, but I didn’t get the photo taken in time to prevent the immediate consumption of one of the boxes! 😉 ]

Last Chance! My Target Coupon Brag 07.25.2014

Target shopping trip 07/25/2014 bought $74. 71 worth of items and paid $22.35 OOP


Buy 5 Hunt’s Snack Pack Pudding, 4 pk $1.02, regular price
Buy Four Get One Free through 8/2
Final Price: $0.58 each, when you buy 5


Right Guard Xtreme Deodorant, 2.6 oz $3.34, regular price

Use $1.50/1 – Right Guard Xtreme Clear or Clinical Clear Product from RP 7/13
Final Price: Free


Buy 2 Tampax Radiant Tampons, 16 ct $3.99, regular price
Buy 1 Speed Stick Gear Deodorant, 2.6 oz $3.99, regular price
Buy 1 Right Guard Xtreme Deodorant, 2.6 oz $3.34, regular price

Use one $5.00/1 – Personal Care Purchase, $15.00 or more, Body Wash & Bar Soap, Deodorant, Hand & Body Lotion, Shave, Feminine Care, Oral Care, Target Coupon – (target.com)
And use one $2.00/1 – Speed Stick Gear Deodorant, Antiperspirant or Body Spray (coupons.com)
And use two $2.00/1  Tampax Pearl or Radiant Tampon, 16 ct or larger from PG 7/6
And use one $1.50/1  Right Guard Xtreme Clear or Clinical Clear Product from RP 7/13
And use one $1.00/1 – Target Store: Men’s Personal Care Products, Target Coupon (target.com)
And use one $2.00/1  Right Guard Antiperspirant, Deodorant or Body Wash, Target Coupon(target.com)
Final Price: Free, when you buy all 4

Buy 2 Purina Beyond dry cat food item at 9.99, Reg. Price
Buy 15 Purina Beyond wet cat food items at 5/$5 ($1 EA)
Buy 2 Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter at 7.99, Reg Price
Subtotal of $50.96
$15 Off Dog/Cat Purchase $50+ In-Ad Target Coupon or text PETS to 827438 (valid 7/20 – 7/26)
Coupon Valid on Food, Litter & Treats (excluding Rawhide)
You can also use this coupon online with the code PETS15 (valid 7/20 – 7/26)
2 – $2 off Purina Beyond dry dog or cat food item Target Coupon x8/9
-10% Off Purina Beyond Dry Cat Food Target Cartwheel x8/2 AND
2 – .75¢ off with purchase of six Purina Beyond wet cat food cans Target Coupon x8/9
-10% Off Purina Beyond Dry Cat Food Target Cartwheel x8/2
2 – $1 off Arm & Hammer cat litter Target Coupon x8/30 AND
2 – $3 off Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter Printable Coupon
Final Price: $20.63
Other Coupons you can use if you don’t have access to the others:
(Or $2/1 Purina Beyond Dry Dog or Cat Food 3 lb+ Target Coupon 7-13-14 SS x8/23)

(Or -$1/1 Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter 14 lb 6-1-14 SS x8/31)
(Or -$2/1 Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter 19 lb+ 6-1-14 SS x8/31)

Final Note: Pay with Target card for an additional 10% off! ($1.18 on this one)

SURVEY ALERT: Pinecone Research is Now Accepting New Registrants!

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PineCone Research conducts on-line interviews with consumers from all walks of life to obtain their opinions about new products. To become a panel member, all you need to do is complete the simple form above. This will only take a few minutes of your time. It’s easy and fun to see and evaluate new product ideas in the comfort of your own home.

You will earn points for each completed product survey, which can be exchanged for cash and other rewards. PLUS you will be automatically entered into a bi-weekly Sweepstakes to win additional cash prizes for your time.

Each interview usually takes 15-20 minutes of your time. Plus, you are free to leave the panel at any time should you choose to do so.

Registrants who complete the signup form online and align with the recruit target(s) and are eligible for membership consideration will immediately receive an email invitation containing a link, ID and password to complete the full registration process.

The link takes them to a brief “staging” survey (6 minutes or less) to gather some further information about that registrant and their household, and to gain agreement to the terms and conditions for panel membership.

Visit Pinecone and fill out a short questionnaire to see if you qualify. For those in the target demographic, earn as much as $3.00 per survey.

Remember, only one member of a household may qualify.Pinecone surveys are a proven method for earning a little extra cash. Receive earnings via check or PayPal. Pinecone also sends free items to sample and try out in exchange for your opinion!

ENDED ~ The 1st Tool You Should Invest in as a New Startup

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This is a great deal if you're looking for tips on growing your new business

** UPDATE: Oh pooh…you missed this year’s sale.  Don’t worry, you can still click the link to add yourself to the waitlist for next time!  **

As a fairly new blogger, I am involved in a lot of groups with not only other new bloggers but also tons of startup mompreneurs trying to get their businesses off the ground.  I love to see everyone’s entrepreneurial spirit buzzing with excitement, promise, and dreams for their future.  We are all looking for ways to close the door on the 9 to 5 to chase our dreams, attain financial freedom and be more present in the lives of our growing families.  There is no absence of drive or creativity, but sometimes we don’t know where to start.  That was the primary thing that held me back from starting, and becoming serious about, my blog sooner.  With blogging, as with other startup businesses, much of it is about building your brand.

Yes, I am telling you to treat your blog like a business {on one side anyway} and get serious about it!  But how do you do that?  Exactly…that is the question!  And I think I’ve got a pretty good answer for you here…

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coupon * coupon * coupon!

$2.00 off (1) Tide Detergent  Save $4.00 when you spend $15.00 on ANY Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Wet or Dry Cat Food.Expires 9/1/2016.Save $4.00.

COUPONS.COM

$1.00 off one Ripple Foods Bottle
$0.75 off ONE select V8 V Fusion and Energy
$1.00 off any 2 V8 Splash Products
$0.50 off one DANNON Light & Fit Regular 4-pack
$0.40 off any 3 Campbells Condensed Soup Products
$1.00 off any 2 Pace Picante Sauce or Salsa
$0.40 off any 3 SpaghettiOs pasta products
$0.50 off one Campbells, Pace or Prego Ready Meals
$1.00 off any 2 Prego Italian sauces
$0.50 off any 3 DANNON Light & Fit Regular SS Cups
$0.50 off any 3 Dannon Whole Milk SS Cups
$2.00 off (1) Tide Detergent

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It’s {COUPON} Time!! Print ‘Em While They’re Hot!

$1.00 off any TWO Lysol Disinfecting wipes $2.00 off (1) Tide Detergent $2.00 off ONE Gain Liquid Laundry Detergent$2.00 off one Gain Flings 23ct or larger $3.00 off 1 OxiClean HD Laundry Detergent $1.00 off any TWO CESAR single tray entrees$6.00 off ONE Duo Fusion Acid Reducer and Antacid $1.50 off any TWO Windex products $1.00 off any one Just Mayo Product$3.00 off ONE Simply Venus Disposable Razor Pack $1.00 off one Speed Stick Twin Packs Only $1.00 off 1 Tiny Toast cereal$0.50 off any ONE COTTONELLE Toilet Paper

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