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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

christmas stockings

A couple weeks ago I read about this amazing little Christmas stocking idea over on Kyla Roma's blog. The idea is that you and your special someone hang your Christmas stockings and set a limit for how much you're going to spend filling them. As you buy things, you wrap them up and add them to the stocking and watch it grow! No peeking! ;) I fell in love with this idea because going through my Christmas stocking has always been one of my favorite traditions since I was little. I just love finding all of the tiny little treasures that can be stuffed inside.

I decided I wanted this to be a part of mine and Charlie's developing traditions so I presented the idea to him and he agreed to go for it! We set the limit at 20 just as Kyla did because we always end up overspending on each others Christmas gifts so we didn't want to add an extra 50+ with the stockings. I was a little nervous about the limit at first but now I'm excited about the challenge of finding super cool things for super cheap. They're obviously going to be silly little gifts but those are the best kind!

I really want to make our stockings so that they are something special we can use for years to come so here is some inspiration I have been looking at!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

I really like the ones that look like Christmas sweaters so maybe I'll go in that direction. I also really like the simple linen and burlap ones with the lace or ruffled tops!

What do your Christmas stockings looks like? Will you be doing a similar challenge? I'll post a photo of my childhood stocking when we dig them out because it's definitely my favorite. :)

**tape strip from Pugly Pixel**

Sunday, November 27, 2011

family things

That's why I have been a little absent lately. My brother leaves for boot camp in about two weeks and we had his going away party last night. I haven't ever mentioned it on here before pretty much because I felt like if I didn't think about it, it wasn't going to happen. Around the same time I was deciding to go to grad school, he was researching the Navy's special forces. He finally got his SWCC contract a few months ago and can't wait to get started.

I'm excited for him since he is excited and it's what he really wants to do, but I'm obviously a little sad too. It only started hitting me this past month as we started preparing for the party and talking about our early Christmas since he leaves two weeks before the 25th. I think if I wasn't living at home right now it would seem a little easier because right now I see him pretty much everyday.

He's four years younger than me and we definitely fought a lot growing up. But when I want away to college something changed. I think it was a combination of us both getting a little older and having time apart that suddenly made us closer than ever. I feel like we're finally on the same team and get along really well and now he's leaving. It just sucks a little.

But anyway, enough sad stuff. The party was a lot of fun and we had sooo much food. I got to pulverize cookies in my food robot for dirt and sand - my brother's very specific dessert requests. :) We capped off the night with Christmas movies and wine.

Today we put up the Christmas tree and we'll decorate later. Unfortunately, because of all the prepping and thinking and spending time, I didn't reach my goal of finishing Christmas cards when I wanted to. There's definitely not enough time to get everything together now and make it worthwhile but I do have one design done for our own cards so I'll share that one with you later!

So that's a little update on my life and a quick instagram dump. ;) Hope your Christmas season is starting off well! What have you been doing to kick it off?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

crafty holiday

I've been collecting holiday craft ideas for a while and today I wanted to share some of my favorites! Some of these are things I'm holding to until I have my own home (such as the gorgeous tree skirt) and others are things I might whip up this year! It was totally unintentional, but after selecting ten items to show you, I realized they all have a sort of a natural or earthy feel, either in color scheme or materials. Crazy how your brain just does that sometimes without you really noticing until after the fact. :)

First, this stunning handmade tree skirt. Such non-typical colors for Christmas but I think that gives it a lot of class and style. Plus I love the ruffles.

And it would go great with these gorgeous ornaments!

Keeping with the ornament thing, these ornaments would be perfect for a bookworm's Christmas tree. Love. They remind me of ornaments my art class made in high school but we painted Christmas scenes over the paper. I'll have to post them when we dig em out. It was a fun craft!

And these, believe it or not, were made with spray paint and a stencil!

I've always wanted a fun advent calendar and this one is like a little seasonal work of art. It's actually from Pottery Barn but the blog I spotted it on made an excellent point that it could be easily duplicated with a little craftiness!

By now you probably know how much I like seasonal terrariums. ;) And these are no exception!

And here's a mini terrarium for your Christmas tree!

These snowflake inspired ornaments from Martha are amazing. I kind of would want to display them in these boxes just like the photo! The whole set up is stunning.

I think I have enough etching cream leftover from this project to attempt some pretty Christmas candle holders!

That's my little crafty roundup. Are you making any decorations this year?

Friday, November 18, 2011

cozy style

30 Days Hath November
Day 18: What I wore today

I think this should probably go under the category of one of those what I really wore today posts that people do. Not that I don't love it but it's far from glamorous or styled. The focus today was comfy and warm. And I am. So I win. ;)

hoodie // american apparel
cammie // american eagle
leggings // newport news
slipper boots // urban

Today I am hiding out at Charlie's place because there's a major siding and window overhaul going on back home and it is loud. Yesterday I decided to hide out in my room with a giant cup of coffee and some Christmas movies while I watched the photo frames shake off my walls. After taking the remaining ones down, I got back to work on sketching designs for Christmas cards. It was pretty productive and I had a lot of fun doing some hand lettering which I haven't done since college days.

It's amazing how quickly you can fall behind in the blog world though, amiright? I just wanted to stop by here and give this little update but now I'm off to try and catch up on all the reading and commenting I've fallen behind on!

Have a great weekend! :)

What's your cozy style?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wordless wednesday

The beach is so different in the fall. Everything seems so freshly abandoned. The overcast sky kind of emphasized the fall feeling.

Okay so it was a nearly wordless Wednesday. ;)

Have a great week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

pride + a movie

I have tons of schoolwork I'm trying to get done today so that I can have a fun and productive week/weekend so I'm going to keep it short and sweet today with a 30 days update! But first, I will let you in on why I'm trying to clear up some space for this week. I have a few exciting things in the works!

1. A new blog design. It's almost completely finished! I just have to move from the design phase to the make-it-a-functioning-website phase. Which is the hardest part of course. I hope to unveil it by the end of the month!

2. Christmas card designs for the grand opening of my shop. I have single cards and box card designs in progress. :)

3. Jewelry and ornaments for the shop! I lump these together because the completion date is uncertain so I can't make any guarantees of what will be available this Christmas. But there shall be cards! ;)

And now for some..

30 Days Hath November

Day 13. Something I'm proud of
Speaking of school and schoolwork, that is what I am proud of. I'm proud that I'm on track with my projected graduation date and that I've been more dedicated to grad school than undergrad. Let's be honest, as an undergrad you'll skip as many classes as you can get away with. ;) I never even have the urge to skip my current classes. Of course, there's some nights I'd rather do something else, but overall I feel like I get so much out of every class that I don't want to miss any. Yep, I'm a school nerd now. ;)

Day 14. A favorite movie
Christmas movies keep popping into my head this time of year, but my favorite movie overall is Wristcutters: A Love Story. It's a hilarious and beautiful movie that Charlie and I could watch over and over without getting tired. We often quote it and talk to each other like Eugene because we are easily amused. ;) I definitely recommend giving it a watch if you haven't seen it yet.

Now back to the books! I hope you all have a great and productive week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

three deserving blogs

30 Days Hath November

I'm catching up on three days of this today but if you pay attention to anything, please look at day 12. I was actually super excited for this prompt because I immediately had three deserving blogs in my head to list. I list them because they are daily reads of mine yet I'm not sure all of my particular bloggy friends know about them yet. Maybe I'm lame and you do, I'm sorry. But go look at day 12 anyway and humor me. ;)

Day 10. What I love about my job
Technically right now I don't have a job. But I guess you could say my job is being a grad student. I'm also trying to make a job out of my art as well. So what I love about those jobs is a.) learning from some ridiculously amazing people about my future profession, and b.) getting to develop the things I love into something that some other people may love to take into their homes. ;)

Day 11. Something I've been craving
Waffles. Plain and simple. I won't even go into too much detail about this because all I want right now is a waffle slathered in butter. X)

Day 12. Three blogs I can't get enough of
The first blog I ever commented on because I related to it so much was Mrs Priss. The lovely Morgan who writes that blog is a mamma and freaking hilarious lady who will never fail to keep you interested. Whether she's telling you how to make a beautiful yarn wreath or recanting the tale of how she once cried in a grocer's arms, she will never fail to leave you entertained. If you haven't read her blog yet, GO. Immediately.

The next blog I will tell you to read is The Wannabe Country Girl. She already has me wanting to raise chickens but that's not the half of it. Her recipes are to die for and she does exactly what I love.. she has step by step photos of every part of her recipes. That way, you'll know if something doesn't look quite right or if something's not fully blended or you didn't cook it long enough. I cannot stress the importance of pictures when cooking something new. If you're a foodie in training or just looking for a great recipe - go there. Please.

The third blog that I insist you go to is Posie Gets Cozy. If you are not familiar with Alicia, she and her husband have been seeking adoption for over a year. Throughout that year+, she has been flawlessly sewing and knitting clothes for her future daughter and it has been amazing to observe. I once wrote about her in a post and have since had an overwhelming amount of traffic sources from people trying to look up whether she has adopted her baby yet or not. The community support around this woman is amazing and it is clear to see why it exists. She and her husband are both beautiful people and you can't help but be on their side. The due date of their adoptive child was 11/11/11 so many of her readers are now eagerly awaiting an announcement. It's so amazing that you can feel so much for someone you have never meant but my heart and soul goes out to Alicia Paulson and her husband at this amazing time in their lives.

That is all. Have a great weekend!! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

butternut squash soup

This is the recipe for the butternut squash soup I made the other night. It was delicious and went perfectly with the big crusty, toasted slices of bread and salad that I made to go with it. I hope I can squeeze this recipe in a few more times during the cold weather. Ironically enough, the day I made it was the first day in a while that we had the windows open. Figures!

The butternut squash is a pretty awesome thing. It's pretty hard but not a rock like the spaghetti squash, which had to be microwaved for a few minutes before I could cut it. With a little persuading, I cut it in half, no problem.

Then just scoop out the guts, like you would a pumpkin. You can also roast the seeds just like pumpkin seeds!

Rub it with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

And in the oven it goes.

A little more soup magic and you have a delicious hearty meal perfect for warming up cold fingers. :)

I seriously thought there would be too much bread but it was the perfect accompaniment for dipping soup so everyone gobbled it up!

Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Duhlicious

1 butternut squash
1/2 cup cream
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F. Slice squash in half lengthwise, rub cut side with the tsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for about an hour or until squash is fork tender. Take it out of the oven and let it cool until you're able to handle it to scoop the flesh out.

In a large pot, heat the tbsp of olive oil. Saute onion and paprika until translucent and add celery, carrots, and water and bring to a simmer. Scoop the butternut squash out of the skin and add to the soup. Discard the skin. Add the bay leaves and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Lower the heat and temper the cream by adding a little hot soup to the cream and mix. Add the whole thing to the pot and stir. Continue to cook on low heat for five more minutes. Let the soup cool a little and either blend it up with an immersion blender or pour it into your food processor, a little at a time depending on the capacity of your robot. ;)

When it's blended up, serve with some crusty bread and a salad. I just sliced a round Italian loaf in half, spread a mixture of olive oil, garlic, and basil on top, and popped it under the broiler until it was toasty. This happens quickly so keep an eye on it!


What foods are you eating to keep warm?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

robot > processor

I mentioned on some form of social media, maybe here, maybe twitter, that I finally got a food processor! I've been feeling sort of held back in expanding my foodie knowledge since a surprising amount of recipes ask you to blend or pulverize things and I had nothing with these capabilities for the longest time.

A little research, a good sale, and a coupon later and I had a KitchenAid food processor en route to my kitchen. I couldn't be happier with it. It's easy to use, efficient, and quiet. Oh so quiet. I love that in an appliance. But before I even opened the box I was distracted by the translations on the side. Basically, in French, food processor is literally translated to culinary robot.

That is so much cooler than food processor! From now on, I shall call him my culinary robot. Think about the mental picture and I'm sure you'll agree with me. The picture in my head was so good that I had to share it with you so here are some quick and silly illustrations. Clearly I have too much time on my hands.

Would you rather say..


Much better.

The first thing I made with my culinary robot was butternut squash soup last night. It was delicious. I'll post the recipe for that later.

I can't wait to pulverize some almonds and try my hand at macaroons! I think a lot of good and tasty things are going to come from this investment.

Do you have a favorite kitchen appliance? Or one you'd like to invest in to enhance your foodie experience? :)

christmas purchase

30 Days Hath November
Day 8. The last item I purchased

Perfect timing for the start of the season! The other day I had to bribe myself to get my disaster of a room together with Christmas music and hot chocolate. That's right. I can be bought with items that make me feel cozy. ;) Anyway, it was very successful. I pulled all my boots to the front of the closet and put all the flats towards the back. I wrangled my unruly sweater pile that was sort of climbing off of its shelf and now I can actually see what I have. And I finally found a way to store my ever growing supply of crafty things.

During all of this, I stumbled upon an iTunes gift card from about three Christmases ago that I still had not spent. Since I was in the Christmas-y mood, I decided to grab the She and Him Christmas album. I really liked how Zooey did "Baby it's Cold Outside" in Elf so I'm hoping this album will be just as good!

I know a lot of people have been buzzing about it lately.. have you listened to it? Thoughts?

And quickly so I can finish this project..

Day 9. A close up of my day

You'll get to see what this is all about in a post later today. ;) I felt like being ridiculous so here's a close up of what I'm working on today.

Hope you're having a great week! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

pad + quill

One of these things is not like the other..

I'll give you a hint.. it's the cell phone case!

I wanted to do a mini review on my iPhone4 case because I think it's the bees knees. Not because anyone asked me to. Or paid me. Or gave me free things. Because they didn't. I just really dig this case. :)

A little back story.. I got my first iPhone a few days after the iPhone4s came out. I got the iPhone4 because the price dropped significantly and to be perfectly honest, I'm plenty capable of using Google and other apps to figure things out. I don't really need a little robot in my phone that I can ask questions instead for a couple hundred dollars more.

Anyway, I was/am super paranoid about breaking it since phones are getting more and more fragile these days, so I wanted a case that would offer protection but not be constructed of 3 inch thick rubber. I actually started my search with DODOcase because Charlie has a hardback book iPad case from them and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Problem: DODO doesn't make a case for iPhones.

Thus after a tiny bit of research I found Pad and Quill.

They have an etsy shop where they sell these hardback book cases for iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and more. I was worried at first that the cover and band would get annoying after a while but it's no big deal to just pop it open real quick! It's super sturdy and beautifully crafted by hand. I also feel like my phone is as safe as it could ever be since the screen is covered and protected when it's in my bag or sitting out.

It also has a space carved out for every opening and button on the phone so you never have to take it out of the case to charge it, take a photo, use head phones, or adjust the volume.

I could not be happier with this case and highly recommend it! It's beautiful, sturdy, protective, and definitely a big conversation piece! Oh and you won't look dumb holding a book to your head when you talk on the phone. Just bend the cover back and no one will even see it. Love love love. :)

And that's my two-bits.

But before I go, I leave you with a song for today.

30 Days Hath November

Day 7. A Song for the Day

Pennies from Heaven. Because Charlie and I have been listening to a lot of old timey stations on Pandora lately and this song always comes on. It never fails to make me sing and dance! Bonus: it's in the movie Elf so even though it's not a Christmas song it totally reminds me of Christmas. :) Enjoy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

3 years ago + a book

First, I want to say thank you thank you for the happy birthday wishes! :) I did have a great birthday, going out with some friends and having drinks, laughs, and a little dancing. Even the people who couldn't go out still want to celebrate at a later date, sort of extending the birth-day into a birth-month and I am a-okay with that. ;)

3o Days Hath November..

Day 5. Three Years Ago Today

(I kid you not when I say this is the only photo of myself I could find from fall 2008. My photos from that year seem to stop around February, when I had bleached blonde hair. I dyed my hair by May so I would've had dark hair like in this photo. Evidently this was not a year I wanted to remember.)

Upon counting back and realizing this was 2008 I kind of got a strange feeling. 2008 was a fairly crap year for me. Some of it was downright terrible and stressful, some of it was pretty good. To say that my life has vastly improved since then would be an understatement. But by November of that year, things were were certainly looking up.

A day before, I had just turned 21, which is always exciting. For me it was a little downplayed because I'm the second oldest of my friends and the next person in line to turn 21 didn't do so for a few months. So my roommate (who was a year older) and I went out and had a small celebration and I made my first purchase at a state store, where I did not get carded of course. Thinking about that also makes me feel weird because that roommate and I suffered from some irreconcilable differences and stopped talking to each other a few months before we moved out of our house. Awkward..

While thinking back to three years ago made me feel a little icky, it also made me extremely happy about where my life is at today. I have an amazing relationship, I only have friends who are a positive force in my life, and I have a new direction career-wise that is super exciting. I am a much happier me now than I was this time three years ago. :)

Day 6. A Book I am Reading

On a less serious note, I am currently reading Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon. If you read the summer reading post, you may remember that I read a book by her over the summer and absolutely loved it. I also mentioned that I love finding authors with more than one hit so I decided to read another one of her books since the last one had me up at night reading page after page, despite how creeped out I was. I just started this one but I have high hopes for a similarly shocking and enthralling experience.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011


That's how old I am today. Oh good gracious I am feeling old. I actually have a lot to do today to get ready for some festivities tonight so I'm just going to post day 4 of 30 Days Hath November today. Not just because I'm busy. But because I feel like the topic is totally appropriate for my birthday.

Day 4. A Friend I Adore

Honestly, my best friend in the whole wide world happens to be my guy but I talk about us a lot on here. ;) Today I wanted to introduce you to someone who has been my best friend since birth. My cousin Liz and I jokingly refer to ourselves as twins. We even have each other programmed into our phones as "Twin". :) We were actually supposed to be due a month apart but I was very late and she was a little early and we ended up being born exactly one week apart. Her birthday is next Friday, which just happens to be 11/11/11. Crazy.

Even though there's a river between us, she has been the closest thing I have ever had to a sister. We couldn't have been more opposite growing up though. She has a dark Italian complexion and I looked very German with my blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. She was really into soccer and softball while I was a dancer. She's now about 5'4" while I'm 5'10". It was funny though, when I dyed my hair brown at the end of high school, how much more we suddenly looked related. This is my favorite photo of us that my other cousin took where we look eerily similar. :)

Me + my "twin" circa 2006

Now that I've introduced you to that wonderful lady, I've got some cleaning to do! I'm going to crank up the Sinatra Pandora station and get movin'. ;)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 days hath november

I read about 30 Days Hath November on Angie's blog and it looked like fun so I thought I'd join in! It was started by Desiree of So Fawned so pop on over there to check out the list of challenges and link up if you want to join in! Much like Angie said, I usually crap out of these 30 days challenges after a while but I think I can do this one. I just like things like this that help us get to know each other better. Even random or quirky things! I'm just going to include each challenge at the bottom of my posts because they're just little snippets and shouldn't add too much reading, since I'm wordy enough as it is. I'm just looking out for you guys. ;)

But since I need to catch up, today's post is just going to be days 1-3. So here you go.

Day 1. A self portrait.

This is one of my most recent photos I've taken of myself since I haven't showered yet and have no motivation to go take a photo right now. ;)

Day 2. Three inspirational quotes.

“We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
- I've seen this attributed to Dr. Suess but most people list it as "unknown" so I can't say for sure who it is by. But it's genius.

"There's a time for daring and there's a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for."
-Dead Poets Society

“I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Day 3. Something I never leave the house without.

My phone. Must be connected to ALL THE THINGS.

That's all for now. Let me know if you're doing this too!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

november thoughts

  {snippets from last November's posts}

I cannot believe it is already November. My fall classes are almost over. I graduate in about a year. I turn 24 *gasp*. Christmas season is coming in full force via commercials and emails and I haven't even put away my bats and ghosts yet! There's a lot to do, a lot to prepare for, and a lot to celebrate. So in the spirit of a new month and an ending year, I have a few goals I'm setting for myself. There are only five but they are kind of big deal goals to me. Either because of the time they will take or because it's something new.

1. Begin working towards the flexibility I had when I was a dancer.
I officially started this today now that I'm back home from Florida and well rested. I'm trying to accomplish regaining my flexibility by doing a series of back stretches, hamstring stretches, and getting back into doing yoga regularly again. After the stretches today my legs feel like pain jelly. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Look forward to some amusing before photos at some point. They will be my motivation to get to the after. X)

2. Crochet something wearable for the cold weather.
I crocheted a hat last year but I want to crochet something like a sweater or leg warmers. Ideally it would be a sweater, but if that's too hard, leg warmers it is!

3. Make a squash soup with my food processor.
I just got a beautiful KitchenAid food processor that I can't wait to use. I want to spin some golden fall vegetables into a warm thick soup before they're gone!

4. Have an awesome birthday.
My birthday is this Friday and I have no idea what I'm going to do for it. As long as I'm around people I love I'll be happy. But good food should be involved. Most definitely. :)

5. Get Christmas items in the shop.
This one has been burdening me all year. I need to get on the season-ahead game because I tend to have a problem thinking about the next season so by the time I come up with ideas for the current one, it's too late start marketing and selling them. I think I'm on track now. I'm not stuck anymore or overly inspired so if get my butt in gear, I can do this.

I'll update on each one of these as I go along but that's a good summary I think.

What are your goals for this month, or even for the end of the year?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

post fest


I survived festing once again. When PBR is the only beverage in sight, most of the food is of the "fast" variety, and you're required to stand for hours at a time either watching a band or waiting to watch a band, it's easy to see why survival might be hard. Anyway, I won't go into too much detail but it was a good time. We stayed with Charlie's brother who lives in Gainesville while he goes to school and he showed us a good time outside of fest activities. For example, I got to hold a kinkajou! If you're like me and you wouldn't know what a kinkajou was unless it was hanging from your shirt, allow me to show you..

The absolute softest, fuzziest, thing I've ever held in my life. He was such a little climber! I had to keep plucking him from the back of my shirt and pull him back to the front, where he tried in vain to get a bite of my fest bracelets. I wanted to take him home with me so bad.

Speaking of fest bracelets, I had to get a photo of how ridiculous the accumulation was before we tore them all off..

I'm pretty sure we had more last year, but there were WAY too many people there this year since it was an anniversary show so it was very hard to get into different venues between shows. But that allowed us some time to do some other things so it ended up working out alright.

For one, we got to watch the Union/Dynamo playoffs at Stubbies and Steins, our favorite bar in Gainesville. We weren't too pleased with the outcome, but at least we got to watch it all go down. Stubbies has a huge variety of different beers and amazing German food. It's an awesome break from PBR and fast food.

As you can see, no crappy lite beers there! ;)

But anyway, the reason you are probably here right now. If you entered the giveaway, that is. I didn't get in until after 10pm last night and I did randomly generate a winner but I was way too tired to do a proper post. So here it is, without further ado, the winner of my very first giveaway!

Sarah B. of Yes Teacher! Congrats! I will send you an email later today to discuss the details so I can come up with a good Moleskine package for you. :)

Thank you so much to everyone who entered. You made my one year blogiversary a super happy one. Since I had so much fun with this, I'll definitely be doing more in the future. I'd say it was a good first experience. And thank you to all the other readers and friends who have come along over the past year. You are the main reason I keep my little piece of the internet up and running.

Happy November! Hope your month is starting off well! :)
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