October 17, 2018

London Drugs #LDBeauty: Fall/Winter 2018 Launches to Look Out For

Last week was an absolute whirlwind... not only did I get married (more on that to come), but just a few days before the wedding I also headed up to Whistler for the #LDBeauty event where we got to preview a ton of exciting beauty launches coming to London Drugs.


The event took place over two days, with a "trade show" (where we got to go around meet all the different vendors and learn about their products) followed by a dinner sponsored by Cover Girl on the first day and a Neostrata workshop on the second day. We came home with a ton of different products which I'm looking forward to trying and reviewing on the blog over the next while but in the mean time, I wanted to share a few of the launches I'm most excited about.

Do you remember when Juicy Couture launched its first eponymous fragrance back in 2006? The gorgeous glass bottle was everything. I bought it as soon as it came out but for some reason my body chemistry didn't really agree with the fragrance blend which was a major bummer. However, the 2018 Juicy Couture Oui is right up my alley. It's light and fruity with top notes of watermelon, acai berry, tea, and pear - yum! Also, I'm loving the 2000s throwback vibe... brings me right back to middle school/high school which was such a fun and carefree time.


I've posted about KISS products a number of times before (here, here, and here). The company is best known for its lashes and nail products, of which there are some very exciting new designs coming out including chrome nails! However, they're now moving into skincare with a line of face masks. Check out the 24K gold peel-off mask!


Skincare seemed to feature most prominently in the launches at #LDBeauty this year which I loved since I became pretty obsessed with my skin in the lead up to the wedding. I'm also in my 30s so keeping my skin in tip-top condition is now a major priority.

The Prevage Progressive Renewal Treatment is being touted as an at-home chemical peel that's safe to use and considerably cheaper than going to a dermatologist (I believe the price was around $243 for the box).


Retinol is also super big right now (or maybe it just piqued my interest the most since I have been loving the addition of retinol to my skincare routine). StriVectin S.T.A.R. Light™ Retinol Night Oil is a fast absorbing dry-finish oil that works overnight. The Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules, another night treatment, deliver potent doses of retinol through single-use capsules.


For those interested in more natural skincare, look out for Derma E which was a new-to-me brand. They offer a seriously impressive range of products to target whatever concern you might have. Even better, they're packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and botanicals so you can feel good about what you're putting on your skin.


I know it's only October but in the beauty world, Fall also means holiday launches! I often post about offerings from Burt's Bees (see here and here), and it looks like this year won't disappoint. If you're on the hunt for a beauty advent calendar, look no further than the NYX Sugar Trip Advent Calendar packed with 24 days of amazing products from lipsticks and glosses to blush and highlighter. It would make the ultimate present for someone... or even yourself!


London Drugs never ceases to amaze me with the amount of beauty and skincare products they sell. In fact, I feel like the brands they offer just keep getting better and better as each year passes. Plus, how convenient is it that the store is also a one-stop shop for food, home products, electronics, and everything else you might need? If you don't live in Western Canada, don't forget you can also shop online.

September 25, 2018

Wedding Hair & Makeup Trial: How To Prepare and What to Expect

There are lots of things to be excited about when you're planning a wedding but for a beauty blogger like me, coming up with my wedding look was one of my most anticipated. I'm obviously not a Kardashian so getting professional hair and makeup is a pretty rare occurrence, and it's always fun to see what you'll end up looking like when you hand over the reins to someone else. Since I just had my hair & makeup trial, I thought I'd share some of the things I learned!


1. Research, research, research

If you decide to go the professional route, a lot of research is involved in picking the right makeup artist/hair stylist for you. I knew that I wanted someone who could do both (two birds with one stone) and they had to be able to offer services for an entire bridal party plus my mom. I obtained a list of recommended HMUA from my wedding planner, did my own research for any additional ones I'd read good reviews about, and e-mailed them all for quotes. After comparing quotes, I narrowed down my choices and checked out their work on Instagram to see who might be a good fit. Some brides may want a more natural look or prefer someone who works with a particular ethnicity often (e.g. makeup for Asian features). I ended up choosing Jayna Marie Makeup + Hair because she's won lots of awards, had great reviews, and I liked her work.

2. Pinterest is your friend

Once I picked my wedding theme/decor and found my dress, I already had a pretty specific vision of how I wanted my hair and makeup to look. I very rarely wear my hair up so I knew I needed a style that would allow most/all of it to be down. I also love bold eye looks and neutral lips but wanted to play off of my dress and wedding accent colours in the makeup shades. My wedding theme is "west coast greenery" so I purchased a custom greenery comb from Oh! Dina Millinery and combed Pinterest for ideas on how to incorporate greenery into a hairstyle. I also decided that I wanted a gold based smokey eye and found some examples that I liked.

Sources: left // right

3. Bring everything to your trial

For my trial, I purposely wore white on top so I'd at least know how the hair and makeup looked against white clothing (when I got home I did change into something a little fancier so I could get the full effect). I also brought all my accessories with me: my greenery hair comb, the earrings I'm planning on wearing, and hair extensions to add volume to my thin hair.

4. Be flexible

After meeting Jayna and talking about my vision, I let her get to work. It's important to trust the professional! Jayna ended up changing the hairstyle slightly from what I originally asked for (everything to the side) because my hair isn't super long and it wouldn't have looked as good. She did show me how it would look that way and left it up to me to decide what I'll end up going with. She also really amped up the lashes (they are double layered and basically triple the length of my natural lashes) which was a pretty huge shock for me when I looked in the mirror for the first time... it's a lot of look but I kind of like it!

5. Check the wear time and take pictures

After you're all fancied up, it's important to test the wear time on your makeup. You want it to really last since your wedding day is long. A lot of people recommend having your trial on the day of your engagement shoot or for your bridal shower so you can really get your bang for your buck, which I think is a great idea. If you have your dress, try it on to get a preview of how you'll look on your wedding day or wear it to an alterations appointment. I didn't really have that luxury due to timing but I did make note of how shiny I got, anything I want to change, and will bring that feedback to Jayna. I also took pictures when I got home to see how the makeup looked outside of Jayna's fancy studio lights.


It's so crazy to think that my wedding is just a few weeks away... I hope this post was helpful for any other brides-to-be. Stay tuned for the final look!

September 11, 2018

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex

The Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair line is, I think, my favourite from the brand (the Intensive Recovery Ampoules are serious skincare saviours). I just love the idea of incredibly potent products that are meant to work their magic while we're sleeping so we can wake up looking more youthful and refreshed.

Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex is a new treatment for the eye area that helps repair the visible impact of lack of sleep, UV, pollution, and even blue light from all those screens we're constantly looking at. It's the first of its kind specifically targeting blue light pollution and I bet we'll be seeing a lot more products coming out with this in mind in the near future.


I was lucky enough to take home the Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex after a recent event (love the cute plastic globe it came in!) and have been putting it to the test ever since. It retails for $80 CAD which is quite pricey for an eye cream but a little goes a long way and you do get 15 mL in the container.

The texture is a lightweight GelCreme which feels luxurious on the skin and absorbs quickly. It doesn't leave a tacky finish either which can be annoying when you are trying to apply eye makeup on top. There is a slight perfumed scent, however, which may irritate sensitive eyes... I would just caution to be careful not actually get this too close to your eyes and concentrate just on the delicate skin around them.


Although I don't typically have bags unless I haven't been getting enough sleep, I have noticed that my undereye area does look brighter in general. Plus, it doesn't hurt to keep up with preventative measures! If you're in the market for a new eye cream/serum/treatment, definitely give this one a look.

September 6, 2018

90s Tommy Hilfiger

I remember back when I was in middle school and high school, flares and bell bottoms were all the rage and my mom/aunts telling me that they used to wear the exact same clothing. Well, I'm now old enough that trends are making their way back round again. Not gonna lie, it's a little weird!

For the recent I Love the 90s concert (featuring C&C Music Factory, All 4One, Young MC, and Salt N Pepa) I attended, I wanted to dress the part. Thankfully, my mom is the type of person who never gets rid of anything so she had this OG Tommy Hilfiger coordinates set that is actually from the 90s unworn and hanging in her closet. Funnily enough, I swear I've seen teenagers wearing this exact outfit. Turns out I'm actually into it... in fact, I will definitely be wearing it again and not just as a pseudo-costume.

Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger / Leggings: Tommy Hilfiger / Shoes: Reebok x Sandro
Hoop Earrings: Leah Alexandra

September 1, 2018

My Vegas Bachelorette

Yikes, somehow I've let the entire summer pass with barely a blog post in sight... it has just been SO crazy this year planning our upcoming wedding. I do have a ton of things I want to write about so hopefully will be able to get a few reviews out soon. In the mean time, I thought I'd share a recap of my recent bachelorette trip to Las Vegas!


The trip was planned by my MOH and one of my bridesmaids and was a total surprise until the day of. I was told what days to book off work and given a packing list but the ultimate destination and the activities we were doing were totally unknown to me. I'm the type of person who reads movie spoilers and flips to the back of the book to find out the ending before I've even started reading so the fact that I was able to refrain from shaking the info out of my friends was quite a feat. Side note: I'm keeping my friends off the blog for their privacy so the pictures in this post make it look like I was in Vegas by myself... I promise I wasn't alone!

My MOH got me a super cute Hello Kitty hat to wear (see below) -- when in doubt get me anything Hello Kitty because I am obsessed with her, haha. I was also excited to use my new Away Luggage, which ended up being the perfect companion for this 3-4 day trip (it's the Carry-On in white).


When I arrived at the airport, my friends were already there and on their phones they were playing a Backstreet Boys song... because we were going to the BSB concert that night!! Total dream come true. I had the best time singing along to all their classics and reliving my teenage years.


The next day we went to a pool party which is something I've always wanted to do in Vegas. It was super fun chilling at the pool, listening to the DJ, stuffing our faces with appies, and drinking cocktails. It also gave me the perfect opportunity to wear this "BRIDE" bikini that I've had for months.


Later that night we headed to the Strip for dinner at the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill located in Caesar's Palace before we hit the club. I'm way too old to be clubbing but the clubs in Vegas are unlike anything back home (thousands of people, multiple rooms) that it really was something we all wanted to check out. We went to Hakkasan where Zedd was playing.


We didn't get to bed until 3 a.m. so a delicious brunch was in order the next morning. We had made reservations at Mon Ami Gabi, which is in the Paris Hotel. Afterwards, we decided to check out some of the other hotels on the Strip including The Venetian with its infamous indoor canal and gondola rides.


We ended off our last night in Vegas at our hotel, the SLS Las Vegas. It is a super cute boutique hotel at the north end of the Strip which meant it was much quieter and nicer to come home to. It also has its own monorail station so it's convenient to get around. If you are heading to Vegas, I would definitely recommend it!

Dinner that night was our favourite of the trip: Mediterranean tapas at Cleo. The food was sooooo good. We also hit the casino for a bit of "gambling" (in quotes because none of us are high rollers and won 60 cents only to lose it again).


It was tough heading back to Vancouver after such an amazing weekend with my friends. It's a lot rarer to get to go on girl trips like this now that we're all older and have so-called "adult responsibilities". I seriously cannot thank them enough for treating me to such a great time!

July 3, 2018

EcoTools Facial Mask Mates

As an avid masker, I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy my "pamper time" and recently purchased a facial mask brush from Origins (you may recall it was on my Sephora VIB Sale Wishlist). At $20 CAD, however, the price for the Origins brush is a little steep... especially when you can get the even more affordable EcoTools Facial Mask Mates set for less than $10.


The set contains a mask applicator brush for easy application of any cream, gel, or clay mask. Using a brush rather than your fingers makes the whole process mess-free and also allows you to conserve product because you can control how much you're layering on your face.

Once ready to remove the mask, you can then use one of the three mask remover sponges included in the set. I usually use a wash cloth but a sponge is a great way to do it too. EcoTools recommends another use for them as well: with your cleanser as part of your everyday skincare routine to remove dirt, oil, and makeup.


In case you were wondering how the two compare, the Ecotools mask applicator brush is a pretty decent alternative to the more expensive Origins brush. Both have synthetic bristles and are similar in shape (Origins is a little wider but they are about the same level of density). The Origins brush does feel a bit weightier and more substantial but both get the job done just the same.

If you have to pick, the EcoTools set is a no-brainer! It's definitely made my masking routine even more enjoyable and is a great buy that you can find at your local drugstore (London Drugs, Rexall, or Pharma Plus, to name a few).

June 28, 2018

Revlonissimo Color Sublime: Ammonia-Free Hair Colour in Three Stimulating Scents

My hair had been in dire need of a touch-up so it was most fortuitous that I was offered an appointment to try the new Revlonissimo Color Sublime a few weeks ago. A salon-exclusive treatment, this line of Revlon Professional hair colour is ammonia-free and offers something never-before-seen (or smelled): customizable fragrance!


Getting my hair done is always a bit of a treat... the head massage, the blowdry... it's an experience that you really want to indulge in. With Color Sublime, you can choose from three different fragrances, depending on how you're feeling. Sunset Mood is a tropical affair with notes of orange, mandarin, peach, apricot, rose, and musk. Sweet Gourmet is reminiscent of baked goods with notes of lily, jasmine, chocolate, cocoa butter, vanilla, and musk. Finally, Zen Moment transports you to the spa with notes of orange, lemon, rosemary, clove, tangerine, lily, freesia, wood, and musk.

For my colour session, I chose Sweet Gourmet because I felt like something homey and comforting. Plus, I might have been a bit hungry since it smelled exactly like fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Yum!! It was nice to breathe it in and not have to worry about huffing damaging fumes. Since Color Sublime is ammonia-free, you're also getting a treatment that is more gentle on your hair but still rich and vibrant. The line is available in 51 shades and can lighten up to 3 levels.


I personally have been going darker these days (especially after my time as a blonde) and was super happy with how rich my colour turned out. My hair also felt incredibly soft and it was fun to have that added bonus of a special fragrance chosen by me (note: the fragrance is present during the treatment but not really once it's washed and conditioned for obvious reasons).

Thank you to Revlon Professional and Pink Lime Salon & Spa in Yaletown for this fun experience!

May 28, 2018

Carbon Coco Ultimate Carbon Kit: Teeth Whitening with Activated Charcoal

With the sheer amount of photos that will inevitably be taken, weddings are always a good excuse to work on your appearance, from hitting the gym more often to growing your hair longer for a fancy hairstyle (both of which I've been doing myself). Another thing I'm working on: teeth whitening thanks to Carbon Coco!

A while back, the company sent over their Ultimate Carbon Kit for me to try out. The star of the kit is Carbon Coco's Activated Charcoal Tooth Polish. A finely milled black powder, it's an oxidized version of charcoal with a hint of bentonite clay and lemon myrtle that supposedly whitens and polishes teeth without any chemicals or bad-for-you ingredients.


To use, you wet the toothbrush (conveniently made with dark bristles to avoid staining) and dip it in the powder. Brush in small circles for 2-3 minutes, spit out and rinse. The powder is odourless and tasteless but the sensation is a bit weird at first. You can feel the powder on your teeth, but it's not gritty and shouldn't cause any sensitivity.

The powder is followed up with the Activated Charcoal Toothpaste, which is also black in colour but foams up. I don't usually like spearmint flavours but this toothpaste was actually quite refreshing once I got past the strangeness of my teeth looking black while I brushed. Thankfully it does all rinse clear. The toothpaste acts as a protectant from staining to maintain your pearly whites.


Pretty easy to use, right? The main caveat I would give to anyone interested in trying these products is that they can get messy if you're not careful. The first time I tried the Tooth Polish, I accidentally used too much and got black powder all over my bathroom sink and counter. You only need to use a tiny bit of powder so once I got the hang of it, the mess factor was no longer an issue.

As for the whitening capabilities, my teeth are already pretty white but I have noticed they do seem brighter. The results are great for only 7-14 days of use (the recommended course).

Overall, I definitely prefer the Carbon Coco system over other more conventional at-home whitening products like Crest White Strips. I love not having to worry about harsh chemicals and potential tooth sensitivity, plus I need to brush my teeth anyway so it doesn't add much extra time to my night time routine.

The Ultimate Carbon Kit is super reasonably priced (on sale now for $59.95)... just make sure you factor in shipping time from Australia since it does take a while to get to North America.

May 8, 2018

CLEAN Fresh Linens

Sometimes there really is nothing better than the scent of fresh linens and no company that does simple, nostalgic fragrances better than CLEAN. The aptly named Fresh Linens is new for Spring 2018, made with top notes of Clean Sheet Accord, Asian Pear, and Clementine, mid notes of Rain Lily, Lady Orchid, Blonde Woods, and base notes of Skin Musk, Sandalwood, and Smooth Amber.

Perfumer Claude Dir explains:

"Inspired by the softness of fresh cotton linens on a sunny weekend morning, this fragrance evokes memories of lying wrapped in bed for hours, feeling the warm sun shine through your window and a light breeze tickle your skin as you rest, relax, and daydream.

When creating Fresh Linens, I was trying to capture that perfect moment when you have just changed the sheets on your bed and you slip in post-shower. The bed feels extra cool and crisp."


Housed in CLEAN's standard rectangular glass bottle, this time made in a matte yellow, Fresh Linens is a crisp unisex scent with a bite of citrus (although clementine is the only citrus note featured, it smells a bit lemon-y to me). I can see it being perfect for the warmer weather when you want to wear something fresh and light. As with all of CLEAN's perfumes, you can also layer it with any number of other CLEAN offerings, such as the infamous Skin or Warm Cotton.

Find it at Sephora for $95 CAD (60 mL).

May 3, 2018

Engagement Shoot Portraits

With our wedding date slowly creeping up, my fiancé and I had our engagement shoot with our amazing photographer, Sara Rogers, about a week ago. We picked Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver as the location since we often spend time there if we miss the ferry when we are heading up to the cabin in the summer.

Being the over-prepared type of person that I am, I actually had my outfit ready for months in advance. I think I ordered this dress last Fall in anticipation for our shoot and I've got to say, it was totally worth it... the photos turned out better than we could have imagined and we can't wait to have some printed and framed for our home. Sara also took a few portrait shots of me which means I can now share the look with you!

Dress: Love Verity / Boots: Sam Edelman (here)

April 13, 2018

Sephora VIB Sale Wishlist

Today marks the first day of the VIB Rouge Sale at Sephora (15% off everything) and next Friday, the sale will open up to to VIBs (15% off everything) and BIs (10% off everything). I've been eagerly awaiting this sale since I've got quite a few items on my wishlist.

My skin has been less than stellar so I've become super obsessed with revamping my skincare routine. I'm especially looking forward to trying out the much-talked-about line, Drunk Elephant. The Littles Kit seems like the perfect way to try out their most popular products. I've also heard great things about the Kate Somerville EradiKate Foam-Activated Mask so am planning on popping that into my shopping bag as well.

Since GLAMGLOW masks are quite pricey, I'll be picking up the GLAMGLOW Let It Glow! Little Sexy Trio. To apply them (and my other face masks since I do love a good mask session), I also want the Origins Facial Mask Brush. I presently just use my fingers which gets messy.

I don't need any new makeup but I will be stocking up on my must-haves: Anastasia Brow Wiz and Kat Von D Ink Liner. I go through these every few months so it makes sense to nab a few extras now at a savings.

Lastly, I have loved Victor & Rolf BONBON for the longest time but never purchased it since I don't wear fragrances on a daily basis. The Victor & Rolf BONBON Travel Spray seems like the perfect way to get my fix of this sweet scent without having to invest in a full-size bottle.

April 3, 2018

FOTD: Revlon Photoready Insta-Filter Foundation & Exactify Liquid Liner

You may have seen the ads and articles promoting the graphic eyeliner trend as the hot new makeup look of the season. I'm personally unsure about it off-the-runway, but if you're wanting to try it out for yourself, Revlon's new Exactify Wheel Tip Liquid Liner is aimed at making it easy as pie. The applicator reminds me of a tiny pizza cutter and proved difficult to work with for my standard thick cat eye (would be good if you're making a thin line that you don't need to build up). The formula applies super wet so you have to make sure not to blink and get it everywhere but when it dries, it does become smudge-proof. I'm not sold on this liner but it certainly has a specific target demographic.


In addition to the liner, Revlon sent over some products to help me achieve a "Minimalist Graphic Goddess" FOTD. The focus is on simplicity -- effortless skin with an accentuated graphic glaze.

As a base, I used the new Revlon Photoready Insta-Filter Foundation which comes in a sponge tip applicator. I hate sponge tip applicators... there's really no way of keeping them clean when they are attached to the product and overall it just seems unsanitary. The sponge does apply the product really well since it's a bit like a Beauty Blender but, ugh, how am I supposed to clean it?? It's a shame too because I really like this foundation. It's not too heavy, coverage is nice, and the finish really does give the skin a soft filter effect.

I filled in my brows with Anastasia Brow Wiz and then topped them with the ColorStay Brow Mousse. If you have sparse brows like I do, there's no way of using this brow mousse alone because it won't fill them in. The applicator is also super finicky... you twist the base of the brush to dispense the mousse (it gets pushed through the brush tip) but you have to be careful not to dispense too much or you'll end up with globs of product.

On my lashes, I'm wearing the Mega Multiplier Mascara. I've heard this mascara is pretty hit or miss with some people loving it and others really hating it. I'm neutral; it worked fine for me and I do like the brush.


On my lips, I'm wearing Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink in the Afternoon. Aside from the foundation (minus the sponge applicator), this was my favourite product. You can't go wrong with a good lipstick and I like both the colour and formula of this one. The Super Lustrous Lipstick is classic Revlon and there's good reason for it.

Lastly, gotta have a mani to match! I'm wearing the Nail Enamel in Copper Penny which was an easy two-coater.

Overall, it's nice that Revlon is trying to innovate with their products and offer more as a drugstore line but, for the most part, the innovations were a big fail to me (built-in sponge tip foundation applicator, wheel tip liner, twisty brush brow mousse). However, the product formulations themselves are good for the most part and you can't go wrong with classic Revlon in terms of quality and price.

March 28, 2018

Easter Nails with CND Chic Shock

With Easter coming up this weekend, this manicure featuring the CND Spring 2018 Chic Shock Collection could not be more appropriate. Thanks to Hazuki at Onyx Aesthetics for giving me such  cute Spring-ready nails!


The Chic Shock Collection adds four new creamy opaque shades to CND's lineup: Jellied (pastel yellow), Candied (pastel pink), Taffy (pastel blue-green), and Gummi (pastel purple). All four are available in Shellac and Vinylux, CND's long wear polish line. I love Vinylux because it truly does last a long time, making it great for short vacations or special event days when you really don't want to be dealing with an accidental chip. The formula has also been revamped this year, thanks to the addition of vitamin E, keratin, and jojoba oil for that extra bit of goodness. Plus, the brush is now wider and curved for easier application.

Hope you all have a great Easter long weekend! Thanks to this mani, I'm kind of craving some Cadbury Mini Eggs... anyone else?

March 20, 2018

One Week in Oahu

Aloha! It's been a while since my last post... things have been busy with wedding planning and also an incredibly short trip to Hawaii for some sunshine and warmth. I have been to the Big Island and Kauai before, but this was my first time in Oahu.

The Hawaiian islands are so diverse; Oahu being the most populous with a "big city" vibe. Nonetheless there are still some quiet beaches like Lanikai Beach in the east.


We wanted to do a mix of culture and history with beach and relaxation. For one of our culture days, we headed over to the Polynesian Cultural Center which ended up being a ton of fun. We learned about all the different Polynesian cultures (not just Hawaiian), went to a luau, saw a great live show, and even got to do some rowing.


Pearl Harbor was #1 on my fiance's to-do list so we went on a full tour, which included the USS Arizona Memorial. Being Canadian, I only knew the basics about what happened that fateful day of December 7, 1941 beforehand so I really learned a lot through our visit.


We also explored the USS Missouri, a real battleship that has been decommissioned and is now available to the public.


A trip to Oahu would not have been complete without many strolls along Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. It's got a spectacular view of Diamond Head.


Wanting to stay active even though we only had a few days on the island, we made sure to do a hike. The Lanikai Pill Box Hike was super short and easy with incredible views. Truly, a great reward for little effort!


Kailua Beach was just down the road from the hike so we made sure to stop off there as well for a quick dip in the ocean.


And now we're back to our regular lives! This trip was much too short but we are looking forward to returning later this year as part of our honeymoon. In the meantime, I'll just be dreaming about those palm trees and gorgeous sunsets.

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