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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Hair Makeover - Ombre, Colour Investment Advice and Photos!

 I love a hair makeover – new colour, new cut – to signal the end or the start of something. I just finished up a work contract and I’m approaching more teaching, which I love. Rather than a new Porsche or a trip to Ibiza, I invested in my hair instead.
From dark brown with a bit of copper through the ends, I went ombre – or lighter at the ends with balayage technique. Because red is like a clingy boyfriend you just CAN’T GET RID OF, it took two appointments to tone up the light ends and get rid of the redness. Because hair appointments aren’t cheap and there’s so many options, I want to drill down to some haircare basics that will see your colour last and hopefully you can also see a big improvement in strength and softness.
1.    
   Olaplex: I had this treatment in-salon and also have the at-home conditioning treatment. It is a new system designed to protect colour, strengthen strands that have been highly processed, and create softness and shine. I definitely notice my hair feels softer and easier to style after I’ve used it. It’s early days still!

2.  Protein, silica and vitamins: Your hair is made up
of keratin protein. Just like your skin, muscle and nails it requires protein and essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids to build and maintain lustre and strength. I eat lots of lean protein in the form of meat and fish, as well as taking a supergreens supplement every day for multivitamins and I also take a daily silica supplement. I definitely notice my nails get longer when I’m taking silica. By the way, the Q Silica spot gel is freaking amazing. If I need a spot gone overnight, it’s my new go-to.

3. Colour and damaged hair specific products: Depending on the shade of your hair, you may need a blue or red-based toner to maintain the colour.  I use the L’Oreal Vitamino range of shampoo, conditioner and also a new CC cream. Yes, CC cream for the hair! It is Color Corrector which means it ensures the integrity of your colour – no brassiness creeps in. Especially necessary if you are a swimming pool user...chlorine is NOT your friend. The range is available in salons, online or at Hairhouse Warehouse 

4. Non-damaging styling products: Remember the scrunchie? I learned how to sew them and use to pump out neon coloured scrunchies while watching Beverly Hills 90210. The following are absolutely mandatory for being gentle on fragile, post-colour hair.
  • Brushology Detangling Comb
  • Black Mini Scrunchies
  • Bobby Pins in Travel Case


Friday, 26 June 2015

Conflict Between loving the Superficial and Leading a Meaningful Life

It might be hard to believe considering how often I write about skin and makeup, but I do feel a true conflict over
a) my deep passion for yoga, health and a meaningful, creative life AND
b) my ecstasy over discovering an incredible lipstick shade

Does one mean the other shrinks in importance or value? I hope not. The way I choose to see it is that I lead a blessed enough life that I can find the joy and thrill in something as simple as lipstick and nailpolish. I also go crazy for an amazing editorial in Italian Vogue. 
That said, I'm thoroughly enjoying Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathan (out through Hachette)and read biographies and autobiographies of powerful, spirited and creative women like Judy Cassab, Peggy Guggenheim and Coco Chanel.
I am a complete set of contradictions and it does bring me great angst, but so many things bring me great joy and without doing any harm to anyone, so I am trying to find peace in that!

Now that I've come clean on my contradictions and conflict over my love of the superficial, I have to share the things that are thrilling me the most. And look, makeup is an artform. It's creative expression, endless variations on texture, colour and application. It's playing with crayons or painting watercolours made into a daily ritual. Even the Egyptians were poisoning themselves just to have a kohl-rimmed eye. It's ancient. There's culture and tradition in it. 

If it brings you joy, and it harms nobody, indulge with me...

Urban Decay Naked Skin is vegan, weightless, perfect coverage foundation from the cult beauty brand that is best known for their nude eye palette range. I am all about perfect skin and foundation that conceals without looking obvious, and definitely survives a yoga class and a full day or running around without resulting in blemishes. This ticks all my boxes. Exclusive to Mecca Maxima. Check out their Top 10 UD Obsessions!

Dior Secret Garden IV is the amazing campaign featuring Rihanna. The mini-film is incredible (view it!) Look, I won't be jetting off to Paris or investing in a Dior handbag anytime soon, BUT I discovered the products that were used to achieve that French Film Star bombshell lip and that's romantic enough for me. She is wearing the Rouge Dior lipstick shade #941 Cannage and the Lip Liner Thrilling Plum #943 (Rouge Dior Couture @ Myer)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

10 Minute Booty Barre Workout

I love Tracey Mallett. An ex-dancer who has a whole range of barre DVDs and online training videos, she does fun and TOUGH workouts. You don't need to do an hour - you can feel a burn through the abs and thighs in this 10 minute workout. Maybe you do it once in the morning then again in the evening. Just an idea. Did you do it? Do you love it? Come and tell me on Facebook!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Going Green for Protein & Cleansing & Superfoods Affair

No, I'm not about to set up home in the tree tops, scaling up and down the trunk by rope and sending communications via pigeon.

I'm just going to green-ify my insides and refresh, rejuvenate, re-energise.

I'm not into a cleanse or a detox. I don't believe the body is "toxic", only some of our habits. You can't outrun or disguise bad habits but you can gradually try to build and establish good ones.

The more good habits, the better. Some naughtiness and indulgence is absolutely necessary for the spirit so don't become a total puritan!

After indulging my coffee habit to the point of 8 hardcore black coffees a day, I know I need to face the horrible sleep deprivation and wonky appetite I've dealt myself. I'm going green.

I've stocked up on green tea and can't wait until Forest Superfoods starts stocking matcha green tea. Soon, I'm promised.
In the meantime, I've ordered moringa powder and aloe vera juice. There's every sort of green and raw, natural supplement you could want or need and they are super friendly. I had questions and mere minutes after sending an email, bam! Responses. 

Moringa contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It's commonly used in Africa and India as a treatment to restore nourishment where vitamins and minerals are sorely lacking. The leaves, when dried and powdered, can be used as a condiment or added to your daily juice/smoothie. 
It is also recommended for iron deficiency, arthritis and rheumatism (joint pain), heaches, fluid retention and to boost the immune system after an infection.
Or just too much coffee.


My nan once snapped off the sharp blade of an aloe vera plant and told me the juice would nourish my skin and clear up spots. Since this same woman taught me that boston bun is the best frigging sweet thing on earth and buying fish and chips then wrapping it in your own newspaper like you prepared it yourself, I totally trusted her. Not only was she correct that aloe vera is nourishing and cleansing when applied to the skin, it is also a great tonic to drink. Hugely popular in herbal medicines, it contains many vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6. Aloe Vera is also one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12. Some of the 20 minerals found in Aloe vera include: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese.
PLUS it aids in digestion and stomach pain. Again, coffee havoc.

Aloe Vera juice from Forest Super Foodshttp://forestsuperfoods.com.au/

Thanks nan.




Monday, 15 June 2015

Caffeine Buzz for Ultimate Performance....of your skincare


Coffee is a natural stimulant and a powerful antioxidant. This not only makes it the perfect pre-workout, pre-work kickstart, but also a wicked tonic for your skin and hair.
So, make an espresso and read on because caffeine will perk up your body and your complexion.
Caffeine constricts small blood vessels and reduces inflammation, making it perfect for minimising dark circles and fluid build-up under the eyes. 
Try Swisse Argan Anti-Aging Eye Cream (argan oil, vitamin K2 & caffeine). 
Keep in mind, eye creams offer temporary benefits so you need to question your diet and lifestyle for those dark circles and bags!

Those tightening and fluid-fighting agents will also do wonders for your skin. The Body Shop has a range that uses all natural ingredients – including caffeine – to nourish, firm and rejuvenate skin. Considering the nasty winter weather here, this is a shower must have for me.

With caffeine plus grapefruit and lemon essential oils, this also has an attached massage head for a super luxe at-home massage. Genius! Spa Fit Firming & Toning Gel-Cream Massager.
If you’re a self-tanner like me, you’ll need to regularly exfoliate to make sure you’re not looking flaky (you know what I’m talking about) – so you can either go the luxe version from Body Shop (zesty citrus scrub 100% natural-origin citrus ingredients) OR add your used coffee grinds to your existing bath or shower gel and not only reduce, reuse, recycle but glow with a natural “I am a DIY Skincare Master” knowledge!

Get along to my Facebook page to let me know if you use a caffeine spiked product that you love!




Sunday, 7 June 2015

Yoga Teacher Training Finally!

Now that my hip has healed enough that I am doing dancer's pose and getting through BodyPump and Power Yoga classes with zest, I can see more clearly what I want to be doing with my life.

I want to write, draw, create and share my discoveries and ideas with you and with curious people.

I also want to motivate and share the knowledge that our bodies can heal and recover and accomplish movements and sensations that are life changing, or at least, strengthening.

For me, having tried many fitness and lifestyle trends and styles over the past 16 years, I know what works for me right now. I love a strong, challenging vinyasa yoga class. Sometimes referred to as Power Yoga. I also love barre training. It feels like I'm using
every
single
muscle

but also opening between my bones and stretching muscles that have been twisting into knots overnight or at the office. It feels graceful, elegant, as if I'm connecting with my inner ballerina.

A man came up to me at the gym yesterday where I was going through some barre moves to use in class and asked if I was a gymnast or a ballerina. I told him no and he marvelled at how "strong" I was. This is true! He was holding a cane and had been struggling with knee problems for 10 years. He said the trainer at the gym had him doing squats. When he showed me, his technique was jarring, awkward and he looked pained. It felt wonderful to be able to tell him I'd had a hip replacement and squats were a major part of my rehabilitation but they have to be adapted for our bodies at the stage they're in. So we went through technique.

It was a small part of my day - maybe 10 minutes - but it felt fabulous for hours. I sometimes take for granted having a strong sense of body awareness and how to align and stretch and move in the safest, most effective way to train and strengthen. It matters in moments when I can heal myself or guide others to use their bodies in the most meaningful way.

My Yoga Teacher Training starts in Februrary and I can't wait. I read Christy Turlington's "Living Yoga" about 6 years ago and it was life altering for me. I started the book because of the pretty pictures, but was incredibly inspired and moved by Christy's story of discovering holistic health (becoming an anti-smoking advocate), setting up a charity for mothers, and studying religion and spirituality at university. She fully immersed herself in the history and philosophy of yoga and there is so much to learn and to experience on and off the mat. I hadn't realised until that point.

I'm most looking forward to becoming a yoga student for life. To accepting and embracing that I will never master it and know everything and be guru-like, but that my passion and love for yoga will motivate the yogis who do my class to investigate ideas and movements that are new and interesting to them. Or just to get into a pose they hadn't believed was possible!

Talking of being able to do that, I know that a 9 - 5 office job is not possible for me at this point, if ever. I love moving. I love instructing. I love the energy of being in a class and both instructing and learning so much about bodies, movement, rhythm and how to motivate and coach. Every class has its own rhythm and energy. I am thrilled to now have more classes at Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre, very close to where I grew up. I am also hoping to add to my schedule of barre classes this year while also (hopefully!) getting some writing and content editing work so that I can have the ideal mix of writing, editing, sculpting, toning and instructing.

If you're interested in doing yoga or barre classes, or you're already doing them and you have a place you'd recommend, come and tell me about it on Facebook!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Organic, Natural Skincare and Ingredients that Cleanse and Nourish Skin



If I told you to stock up on chia seeds, blueberries, acai berries, papaya, pink grapefruit, you'd think I was giving you a list for the kitchen.
In fact, I'm giving you the essential nutrient rich ingredients for a skin regime that will bolster your natural cell turnover, collagen levels and give you a radiant complexion.

As a teenager, I had to courses of Accutane because of vicious acne. I am so careful and fussy about WHAT I use on my skin and having a routine. Every morning, my first move is to cleanse and if I've got time, apply a masque (Dermalogica Power Recovery is unbeatable). Drink coffee, remove masque. Toner (Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Toner is alcohol free so non drying).
Then the makeup, of course!
In the evening, same deal but I might exfoliate instead of the masque to make sure every speck of makeup and dust is out, out, out! I apply body moisturiser (wake up smelling like a blueberry smoothie AND shimmering!) before bed and also Eminence Pink Grapefruit serum to blitz any spots! I also use overnight repair time to apply a rich moisturiser OR a peel depending on whether my skin is dry or there's a spot developing. So it's either Eminence Firm Skin Acai Moisturiser or Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum.

I recognise that Eminence and Kiehl's are not budget buys - they're skinvestment purchases. So, if you're more dash than cash right now, there is an awesome range called Goodness out newly that is all about chia seeds! These babies are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and natural certified organic goodness for your skin. There's a whole range, but I'm loving the cleanser and moisturiser.

These are the particular products I use, but there's a mega range of all natural serums, cleansers, masques and more that will suit your particular needs...check out:
Eminence Organics, Kiehl's and Goodness.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

5 Best Self Tan Must Haves for Golden Skin Status

Remember the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Remember Twisties? You don't want to look like you just rolled around in their chemical cheesy powder.

You want to look bronzed, beach ready, naturally like you've stepped off the sand in Ibiza. There's so many products out there. Here's my tried, tested and best.

Fake Bake Flawless: I was first introduced to this by a friend from the UK who said she would never trust ANYTHING else! She was right. The professional-level mitt included in the kit is fantastic. Applies evenly and you can see the colour it will be straight away.

St Tropez Dark Spray/Mousse: streak free. No nasty chemical smell. Works overnight. Kate Moss fronts the campaign. This is a long time fashion editor favourite. Totally reliable.

J Bronze Medium Tanning Mousse: Jennifer Hawkins knows her stilettos. She also knows her self tanning products, fortunately! She does a killer range of gold-packaged self tanning cream, mousse and specific face formula. Totally dependable for next morning bronzed body.

PureTan Spray/Mousse: Need to be bronzed NOW? PureTAN is the salon-level range that is all the rage for gym bunnies. If you are new to self tan, try the Gradual Tanning lotion with SPF to build up over a few days with daily application.

Mecca Cosmetica Sunless Goddess Tanning Lotion: If you haven't used self tan before and you want a really natural, long lasting glow, this is it. So easy to apply and so natural looking. If you're a bronzed goddess of many years, this is also a great top up that is nourishing and gentle on skin.

Monday, 1 June 2015

All Australian Activewear Shop Online

 
As we all know by now, I am obsessed with all things activewear. I could talk yoga leggings for hours. Don't get me started! I like a great fit, strategic pockets, fantastic colours and prints, and long lasting fabric and colour.
No oodles of zips or bizarre lace inserts, major brand logos plastered all over my clothing, and no need to mortgage the house to afford an outfit.

The wonderful and very savvy Julie from Be Activewear started her online store to "create a place where women could come to one place and find affordable, fashionable activewear and compression clothing," she says. "This would allow them to not only feel great working out, but to spend the rest of the day in their outfit without spending a fortune on it!"

Be Activewear offers a library of exercises as well as articles on healthy eating and maintaining a fit lifestyle for women. Proudly Australian owned, stocking Australian brands.

My recent additions to the activewear wardrobe include Ellebie Coral Jacket, Purple Full Length Leggings and Navy Frill Tights. I've also nabbed a Mandy BR Neon Orange XLong Tank!

EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR CORE INTEGRITY WITH CAT READERS


Sunday, 31 May 2015

Makeup Mecca Cult Brand Discovery

One of my favourite discoveries in Barcelona and Spain was Sephora. It's the supermarket of major makeup and skincare brands. I spent hours there!
While we don't have Sephora in Melbourne - fortunately we have a beauty, body and skincare mecca that rivals Sephora for incredible range, knowledgeable staff and cult brands.
Being a 90s teenager, I became obsessed with Urban Decay when it first came out. Goth, punk and glitter colours and a cult-like following in America had me sold. It didn't stay long on the shelves at Myer though - the world wasn't ready! HOWEVER. It has made a comeback, brighter Naked palette as well as Heavy Metal (glitter eyes), which is to die for! Naked Skin is also raved about by makeup gurus as the cover-up that makes skin flawless. My next trial!
and better, with the
Mecca is also home to Nars, Kiehls, Too Faced (OBSESSED with Melted lipstain!) and their own home range of Mecca products. I've used the self-tanner for face and body and love it.
Find your local store or shop online at Mecca.com.au
I can't talk cult makeup without talking MAC. So my latest obsession is the Strobe Cream (hello glistening cheekbones and brow!), Flat Out Fabulous lipstick, Snob (so perfect for Paris!) and the glittery, glistening Englightenment pressed pigment for eyes. If you're not already, you MUST follow MAC on Instagram. Incredible.
Pictured is Girl Trouble nail lacquer. Isn't it incredible? Partnered with the Enlightenment glittery eye, it is going to make you into a shimmering superstar. Whether you're the CEO or the checkout chick, you can be a super shining superbabe.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Yoga, Blood Oranges and Fuschia Pink Lipstick in Barcelona

Yoga isn't yoga for Barcelona natives. It's "Joe - Ga" so if you get confused looks when enquiring about a studio...that little difference makes everything clearer!
I was literally walking, mapless, through the alleys of Barcelona when I saw a curly-haired, tanned, super stylish hipster Spanish girl about to enter her (enviably city central) apartment and I tapped her tattooed shoulder and asked if she knew of a nearby yoga studio. She was hugely generous in recommending Yoga Studio and going through directions 3 times for me. Located through a hidden side door inside a children's shoe store, I would never have found it without her help!
The classes were extraordinarily cheap, especially for Europe! Just 12 Euros for 3 classes a week. Perfect for the short term traveller. The classes are entirely in Spanish, but I kept up in the three 1.5 hour classes I did without an iota of  Spanish literacy. I loved it. We started each class with the Om, then a rejuvenating vinyasa flow and strength moves, followed by meditation. I met some wonderful women and I hope to remain in touch with all of them. I highly recommend doing yoga there and if you can, attending Maria, Beatriz and Reitxu's classes. They are incredible instructors who provide excellent instruction and assistance with alignment and technique. They're also beautiful people with a quick laugh and generous spirit.
Yoga Studio
Pza. Universitat, 4 - 1º - 2ª
T. 934512928
Website: http://www.yogastudio.es/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yoga-Studio-Barcelona/

Bonus! If you love raw food or you have a curiosity for it, Reitxu has a mouth-watering blog at http://rawtxukitchen.com/

Also, before the LONG LONG flight, I shopped Kiehl's at Mecca Maxima for the skin perfecting toners and super hydrating serum. Don't skimp on quality skin products when you're spending 20 hours in a tiny, compressed air space. My pick? Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner and Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate

Get the Barcelona Look

Lipstick: Flat Out Fabulous by MAC
Skin: St Tropez Self Tan Dark Mousse and MAC Strobe Cream for highlighting brow, cheekbones and cupid's bow (instant GLOW!)
Fragrance: Orange & Bergamot Aroma Reed Diffuser by Molton Brown and the enormously tropical and summery Frangipani by Demeter (available at MU in Australia)
Drink: Organic Birch Juice (it's the new coconut water!) by Weleda
Eat: From the fresh food market! Fruit salad with tiny plastic fork will make you right at home.

Yoga pants: Ellebie purple tights (available at Be Activewear)
Yoga top: Mandy neon orange tank (available at Be Activewear)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Seasonal Skin - Weather Proof Your Face

Thanks for the not-so-warm welcome back Melbourne. I really do love this city, but it's a far cry from the sunny mornings of Barcelona and Paris, and my shivering limbs confirm this. While a good yoga session fixes my seasonal blues and a bit of hot yoga flow does wonders for a winter
workout, its my skin that needs extra nurturing. My ever-reliable favourite Dermalogica is my source of skincare and I'm updating my makeup with the new collection from MAC - you will want to the second you see the campaign too. It's crazily, madly MAC-ly addictive. I saw it first in the Paris MAC store, and it's just released in Australia. You will want it, I warn you. All of it!

Skin for the Shivery Season:

I have been using the Multivitamin Range for about 3 years since I discovered it via a facial in High Street, Northcote. It is brilliant on my early 30s skin, but also highly concentrated with vitamins and anti-ageing hyaluronic acid and peptides for 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. My beauty cabinet is always home to the MultiVitamin Power Serum and MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque (Best Quick Fix Ever). I have just introduced the AGE Smart MultiVitamin Thermafoliant for ultimate squeaky clean pores.
For the body? I'm a lavender scented oasis post workout shower, using Stress Relief Treatment Oil.
All products available at select salons and Dermalogica online.


Wash And Dry

The name Val Garland gets makeup artists very excited and if you love fashion photography and Vogue magazine as much as I do, you'll know the photographer Miles Aldridge is an icon. So the fact they are BOTH behind this latest MAC campaign should speak volumes on quality and superiority.  The Wash and Dry collection includes shimmery highlight beauty powders, highly pigmented colours from nude through to fiery reds as well as blushes and nail lacquers in the collectible and covetable colours MAC is famous for. I am blowing bubbles for Washteria nail lacquer!
All products available from JUNE 1 2015 at MAC counters and MAC online.
Follow Val Garland and MAC Cosmetics on Instagram for inspiration.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Purple Lilac Mauve - Be A Rebel Flower

Rihanna wore a particular purple lip gloss a week ago and it sold out almost INSTANTLY! Purple lips are not easy to pull off, but with some prep and playing down the rest of your makeup look, it can be seductive, sweet or even...subtle.
Maybelline Orchid Ecstasy
Firstly, apply a base lip liner colour to ensure your deeper purple colour doesn't bleed and to give it some hold. My go-to is Napoleon Mauve Minx (David Jones) because it has a hint of lilac but is very pink-based and can safely go just beyond the lip line.

Then it gets fun. There are so many amazing purple shades to choose from but here are my favourites.
NYX in Power and Immortal from the Wicked range. SUPER cheap and super high quality. The chain store buy that makeup artists love. Trust me, I've asked! Find it at Target for under $10.

Maybelline Rebel Flower range is all about purples: mauve, lilac, orchid, royal purple...oh it's heaven! My picks are Orchid Ecstasy for a bolder purple, or the sweeter, pinky Lilac Blush. Available at Priceline.

Keep your eyes shimmery or matte but pick shades of pale beige, coral, gold, copper or peach. My favourites, and my daily obsession is shu uemura. Their pressed shadow refills are compact, collectible and I double the pale coral shade as both an eye and blusher colour. Cost per usage believers, unite. Find the whole colour range at David Jones!

I'm also new to the Napoleon Radiant Reflections Eye Color but totally loving it for some gloss and glimmer. Again, David Jones is your go to.

Finally, sweep on something illuminating on the cheeks like Laura Mercier Pink Shimmer Bloc (so luxe, so lovely). Online or in store at David Jones, go for a blushy-lilac chic shade on the nails like Essie Go Ginza (Priceline) and go break some hearts.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Yoga Wear New Prints Colours Shades & Designs

Two of my fave brands from the US both offer EASY, AFFORDABLE shipping to Australia and internationally, so don't think you can't get these fabulous fit bits on your fit bits.
Both Mika Yoga Wear and Om Shanti Clothing make clothing for yoga girls who are serious about yoga. Their yoga pants are built to move and to last.

They're also made to look amazing, feel amazing and stand out from the humdrum, boring yawn of black and the mega sportsmarket brands everyone else is wearing.

Mika Yoga Wear has just released the awesome Kaya Legging (High Waisted!)  in new prints. Check out their gorgeous campaign shot in the beautiful desert wilderness. I've got the neon green Kaya Legging full length leggings, the Blackberry capris and the beautiful Bluebee Print Ella Top.


Go to www.mikayogawear.com



Om Shanti Clothing is a totally new discovery for me and it is ROCKING MY WORLD! The high cut waist, the amazing fabric, but most of all...the knockout prints. Whether you love florals, animal print, galactic cosmic wonderlands or geometric designs, there is something to suit. I have the Pink Galaxy Aztec Cluster Power Leggings and the Navy Floral Power Pants. They are getting so many compliments! You must discover this brand. Super, super affordable to ship to Australia.
https://www.omshanticlothing.com/


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