Monday, January 24, 2022

Happy Lunar New Year!

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 Happy Monday, ladies! We just came home this morning at 1:00 a.m. from an out of state competition. I am pretty exhausted right now but we are so proud of Madelyn. 2 competitions down, 3 more to go. Sharing my new Vietnamese ao dai that I got this year. Years ago, it wasn't easy to find a Vietnamese ao dai in the U.S or maybe I didn't know where to look. I think 3 years ago, a random search led me to Etsy and I've been purchasing all my dresses from Etsy (my dress in 2020 and 2021). Prices are pretty reasonable and everything I purchased so far fit amazing. This year I decided to go with this design and I love it. It's classic but different than the typically red and yellow color palette. I plan to wear this to church to celebrate Lunar New Year this weekend. I also made a bunch of Vietnamese mung bean cakes and banana cakes to share with friends and family. Thank goodness, I only have to do it once a year because they're so time consuming. I spent 2 days on these cakes but I enjoyed doing it. I've shared the recipe and how to make them here. If you celebrate Chinese/Lunar New Year, hope this new year brings you good fortune, peace and prosperity. Outfit details: Vietnamese dress | Chanel earrings *exact pair*
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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Unboxing my latest bag :: Chanel Cruise 2022 Collection

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{I filmed a little unboxing video just for fun}
In my previous post, I mentioned that I got a Chanel bag for Christmas. Today, I am thrilled to share what was in the box. Are you ready? I got a Chanel 19 bag!!! It was a very exciting moment for me because I haven't bought a brand-new Chanel bag since 2016The bag was released in March 2019 (in honor of the great Karl Lagerfeld). I wasn't a fan at first mainly because of the multi-tone chain strap. I found it a bit strange. I kept seeing it more and more on social media and you know how that goes. The more I see it, the more I like it. One of the reasons why I like it because it gives off a casual vibe. The bag has a soft and relaxed silhouette which is different from my other Chanel bags. My other Chanel bags have a very structure base and are somewhat formal. I rarely have a special occasion to wear them (especially now when I go absolutely nowhere). I was serious about getting this bag last year (before the price increase). I told myself that I will only buy the bag if right color/hardware combination comes along. My SA texted me this picture last year. She had the bag in a size small, grey lambskin with the gold turnlock. If you've been with me for a while, you know I am a silver girl through and through. I don't dislike the gold hardware. I just prefer silver over gold. It's understated yet modern and fits my style better. After much consideration, I decided to pass on the bag. Fast forward 6 months later, my SA texted me the exact bag but this time, it has the silver turnlock! My heart skipped a beat when I saw the bag. I texted my husband and the rest is history. This is exactly what I wanted. This is my one and only grey bag. The lambskin is buttery soft and so comfortable to wear. The strap length is perfect for me when worn crossbody. I love the chain top handle so much. Such a chic way to carry a bag. The multi-tone strap making metal mixing a breeze. My strap has a mix of shiny gold, matte gold and silver. The Chanel 19 was $5100 before the last price increase. The price has jumped to $5700 since 07/21. That is a whopping 12%. Crazy, isn't it? Speaking of that, Chanel had THREE price increases in 2021! This is my most expensive Chanel bag and it will be my last one lol The price is hard to swallow but you know what? I wholeheartedly believe that if you work hard, you should treat yourself every now and then.
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This bag is from their Cruise 2022 collection. If you are a Chanel lover, I am sure you're already aware of Chanel's new method of authenticating their handbags and wallets. As of April 2021, Chanel bags no longer have tickers and authenticity cards. Instead, each bag will have a microchip embedded inside a metal block. Bags from the 21A collection and beyond will be microchipped. The microchip data can only be accessed with proprietary machines by Chanel SAs at the boutiques. This will help differentiate the fakes from the authentic ones. There you have it! What do you think of the Chanel 19? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comment section. Can't wait to take her out for a spin =) Hubby also got me this Canada Goose beanie. I asked for this puffer vest but he said it looks like a trash bag so he got me the beanie instead =) lol Gotta love his honesty.
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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Reflecting and Goal Setting

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I hope you all had wonderful holidays! Yesterday was my first day back to work and let me tell you, it was rough. Thankfully, I am still working from home 100% so I don't have to deal with the morning commute. The girls were back to school yesterday as well. I throughly enjoy having a quiet house to myself. At the beginning of each year, I like to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. Hubby and I worked around the clock (and we still are working around the clock) to financially secure the girls' future. We are busier than ever. It is not something I am proud of but hopefully, we'll be able to slow down a bit this year and spend more time with the kids. Let's take a look back at 2021. I shared last year's goals in this post. Outfit details: Express matching set | Rolex watch | VCA necklace | Cartier bracelet | Gucci Marmont bag

  • A family trip to Japan didn't happen for apparent reason. We're still putting $$ aside for the trip. As soon as the country is open for tourism again, you bet we'll hop on a plane to Japan.
  • I got LASIK enhancement done last September. I am very thankful that the procedure went well and my vision has improved significantly since then.
  • Madelyn started her dental journey last March. She wore the expander for 6 months then started wearing braces for another 6 months. She's scheduled to get the braces off at the end of February. The difference is night and day.
  • Madelyn's bedroom is finished. I just need to find time to take pictures and share the end result with you. 
  • I throughly enjoyed my garden beds last summer. Can't wait to grow more vegetables this year.
  • We also replaced the builder-grade chandelier with this gorgeous one. I'll share photos in a future post.
  • Courtney got her 1st car last September. It's a 2022 Honda Civic
  • Replacing the carper/floors for the house: This was the only item on the list that we didn't get to but it will be the first thing we tackle this year.
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All in all, 2021 was a great year for us. Here are some of our year's highlights:

  • Courtney is becoming more independent. She has a job, she has her own car, she involves in other activies in prepping for her upcoming college admissions process. As mentioned in this post, we hired a college planning consultant to help guiding her through the entire process. It's going really well. I'll do a recap soon
  • Madelyn is still keeping up with her competitive gymnastics. She practices between 12 - 15 hours per week. We are so proud of her dedication and hard work. She'll be competing for the next 5 weeks starting this weekend. Keeping my fingers crossed that there won't be any breaking bones =)
  • I got promoted in March. It was something I worked really hard for and I couldn't be happier. My team members have diverse backgrounds and different skills but work flawlessly together. They make my job easy =) 
  • It is very clear that our country is still crisis but I am glad we were able to pull off 2 trips last year. The first one to Cabo San Lucas and the second one to Asheville, NC
  • I went camping for the first time. Honestly, it's not my thing but I did enjoy being around our dear friends. The kids definitely had a blast.
  • Was able to purchase our concert tickets to see Adele in London. I checked her concert tickets in Vegas and prices are outrageous. I truly hope we'll be able to make it to London later this year. At this point, it's hard to say.
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Plans for 2022: If you've been with me for awhile, then you know I love setting goals. I've been doing it for years. Goal setting is the first step towards planning for the future. It can be an effective way to help yourself grow. Below are my goals/plans for 2022:
  • Replacing flooring around the house: As mentioned above, this is something we didn't get to in 2021. I will be calling different contractors this week to get started on this.
  • Meeting with our financial advisor to go over last year's numbers, assess our current financial situation and set future goals. This is something we do twice a year.
  • We are planning a trip out West with a family friend for Spring Break. Our itinerary emphasized national parks and monuments (Grand Canyon, Zion, Antelope Canyon, Moab). I can't wait. It's going to be so much fun exploring these beautiful landmarks.
  • Our trip to London: We have nothing planned as of right now except the concert tickets. However, I am going to start putting some $$ aside to fund my shopping trip while I am in London. We might even take a train to go to Paris =)
  • Besides those 2 trips, I think we might need to travel quite a bit this summer to visit different colleges with Courtney. She is still researching options but SDSU and UC Santa Barbara are the top 2 choices right now.
  • Last goal I set for 2022 is owning a rental property: This is a big one! Hubby and I have been working really hard on it. I feel like we're ready to pull the trigger but unfortunately, Covid hits and right now is not the best time to invest in real estate. If you have a house to sell, that's a different story. Housing market is absolutely insane right now. Will real estate ever be normal again? I don't know. If we are going to wait another year, it probably makes sense to wait and see how the college admissions process pans out for Courtney. I hope she'll get a full ride so I'll have more money to invest (lol).
Another year has come and gone. I truly am looking forward to 2022 with new opportunities, new challenges, new goals as well as more travel adventures with the kids. If you're still here, THANK YOU! Wishing you all the best for 2022!
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Monday, December 27, 2021

Our Christmas Day

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Hope everyone had a great Christmas! Mine was chaotic but wonderful. Hubby is back to the office today. The girls are still sleeping. I am enjoying some quiet time with my Starbucks Caramel Brûlé Latte at the moment. It's been so nice not having to get up for an early 8:30 meeting. I am savouring the last few days of 2021. Wanted to do a recap of our Christmas Day. This year, it was just by parents and my brother's family. We did lunch instead of dinner because my brother and his family flew out to California for a quick getaway on Christmas Day. As always, we had Asian food (hot pot) and traditional holiday dishes (rack of pork and green beans casserole). Everything was delicious. The kids had so much fun opening their gifts. After my brother left for California, a friend stopped by. We had hot pot again, watched a basketball game and chilled for the rest of the evening. It was relaxing, uneventful and just what I needed. I shared what I got for my family here, you can check it out if interested. My brother and I got my Mom an iPad Pro. Hers is super old. It was time to upgrade. My brother and I also shared the cost and got my Dad a new laptop. Again, his is super old and slow. He's been helping out with stuff for church so he would need a decent working laptop. This year, we focused on what they really need instead of a bunch of things that they don't necessarily need like clothes and cosmetics items. My brother got my SIL a really cute Saint Laurent bag
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As for my presents, I am definitely spoiled this year. I got a new Chanel bag!!! This was such a big moment for me as I haven't purchased a Chanel bag since 2016. The bag definitely deserves its own post. I'll go into details in a later post. Madelyn gave me a painting. It was so sweet. She painted one for me and one for hubby. We will treasure these paintings forever. Courtney got me a new jar of the Tatcha water cream. We were in the bathroom getting ready for church. I was putting on the moisturizer. I told Courtney that this jar lasted me a whole year. I am running out of this so we can run to Sephora tomorrow if she wanted. She said "I'll get you a new jar for Christmas, Mom" It was so sweet of her. She is working and making $$ but $70 is still a lot for a 16 year old to spend on one gift. My in-laws gave hubby and I some cash to spend =) Hubby upgraded my phone to an iPhone 13. He also got me a small gift which I will share in a later post.
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All in all, Christmas was magical. My family makes me feel loved and special everyday, not just during the holiday season. Those feelings cannot be bought and I will forever be grateful for them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Happy Holidays

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Last Friday was my last working day of 2021! I am on PTO for the rest of the year. Hubby and I are working around the clock this year so I am very excited to have some downtime. I plan to do lots of holiday activites with the kids, go see Christmas movies, catch up with my girlfriends, do some last-minute shopping and lots of baking. I wore this outfit to church last weekend to celebrate Christmas and I loved it. I don't typically wear things this loud but it's the festive season so why not have fun with fashion? If I don't see you again this week, wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Outfit details: Vici bodysuit | HM skirt | Chanel WOC | VCA necklace and earrings

Monday, December 13, 2021

What I got for my family this Christmas

Happy Monday, ladies! Hope you all had a great weekend. Our weekend was busy as always. I don't recall ever being as busy as we are now! I typically have all the presents wrapped and Christmas cards sent out by the 2nd week of Dec but this year, I just started last weekend =( Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and I am sure you will all agree with me. Today, I wanted to share what I got for my family. Some were wrapped and some are still on the way. If I don't have the item with me, I'll insert a stock photo. If you're still looking for ideas, I hope you find this post helpful.

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For my husband: 

  • We got a couple of big ticket items for him this year. He is a cinephile. He watches 2,3 movies per week when the kids go to bed. It's his wind down time after a long day at work. This year, he asked for a new TV. Our TV is about 7 years old. We went to Best Buy on Black Friday and got a Sony OLED 77" TV. Let me tell you - OLED technology delivers impressive picture quality. He's a very happy camper =)
  • A couple of years ago, he had a gym membership. The gym has a rowing machine that he really loves. Then Covid hits, he canceled his membership and never went back. He really misses rowing. He did some research and found the exact same rowing machine. I want him to enjoy working out at home so I went ahead and got the machine for him for Christmas. Now, he can row and watch movies on his new TV at the same time lol. 
  • To go with the whole movie watching theme, I just picked up this new Apple Airpods Max for him. This will go under the tree. I've heard amazing reviews about this new product and hope it'll live up to the hype.
  • Last but not least, I also got him this jacket. It will go under the tree as well. KUHL is one of his favorite clothing brands. It is an American outdoor clothing brand with a deep focus on mountain wear. Their products are made to last.

The kids make their Christmas wish lists every year. We've been doing that for almost a decade. We'll pick a few things from their lists to make sure they get what they really wanted. Then we'll get one or two big ticket items as a surprise. Works really well for us. Save us time, money and headaches later.

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For Courtney:
  • Burberry HER perfume: This is her "signature" scent. The first bottle ran out so she asked for another bottle. Sephora offers 20% off full-size fragrances today.
  • Grande Cosmetics Lash & Brow serum set: You have to see her lashes to believe this stuff actually works. This is also a repurchase. I bought her the same set last year and we were amazed to see how well it works! 
  • Brown hightop Converse: These are hard to find. I managed to find a pair last week in her size but small sizes are unavailable at the moment.
  • The flower hoodie: I also got this for Courtney but it won't be arrived on time for Christmas
  • HEAD tennis racquet: This is a big ticket item that we got for Courtney. She has been playing tennis and competing in tournaments since last year. I thought it's time to get her a better racquet. Hubby spent hours making sure we get the correct size for her since we don't know much about tennis. Decided to go with this one (black and white of course). She'll be thrilled to have a new racquet to play this coming season.
  • New York Yankees Cap: She lives in black and white clothes
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For Madelyn: She mostly asked for art supplies.

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You probably are wondering what's on my Christmas list this year? Honestly, nothing! Life is wonderful. I am happy and content with my life. I got a Cartier bracelet for my birthday and a new camera this year so there is nothing that I really wanted at the moment. I don't want to spend $$ just to spend $$. We have big goals for 2022 and I want to focus on those. However, if someone wanted to buy me a Christmas present, the Manolo Blaknik Hangisi pumps are high on my list (on sale now) and the Canada Goose vest. Christmas is only 2 weeks away. We'll see what will be under my tree this year =)




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Friday, December 3, 2021

Holiday Outfit Ideas

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I've ordered a bunch of dresses last month in preparation for a few Christmas parties that I plan to attend this holiday season. Finding the perfect special occasion dress for my petite frame isn't always an easy task. I gave myself plenty of time but after a few weeks of looking, I didn't really find a dress that I really love. I wanted to share what I got (and returned) just in case you're interested. I was looking for dresses that are not black. I wanted to find something fun, a bit out there but at the same time, appropriate and classy for a company Christmas party. I ordered a total of 5 dresses and wanted to share my personal opinions.
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First up is this NBD teal dress: I've been eyeing this dress since last year. I wanted to get it last Christmas but since we didn't have anywhere to go, I didn't want to spend $$ on something that I know I won't be able to wear. This year, as soon as I heard the company is going to have a Christmas party, I immediately ordered this dress. The color is absolutely beautiful. The material is thick and well-made. The style is totally me. However, the fit just simply did not work for my petite frame. The top part of the dress is very roomy and has a lot of extra fabric. I had to keep adjusting the shoulder pads in order for them to stay on my shoulders. I got a size XXS (which is the smallest size available). If the top part of the dress is smaller, it would be the perfect dress for me. As much as I love the dress, I had to send it back. Styled with: Jimmy Choo pumps
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I didn't take pictures of the next 3 dresses but I wanted to share my thoughts regardless
Line & Dot sparkly dress: This was a hard pass - The material is so cheap and itchy. The color washes me out. I do not recommend this dress whatsoever.
Majorelle mini dress: This was a hard pass as well. The fabric was ok. Definitely not worth the price tag. The style is too clubby for my liking and it's short. I love short dresses but this dress is super short.
Sabina Musayev burgundy dress: I love the color. I always have a soft spot for burgundy. The material is ok. There were some loose threads but I can get past it. I love the top part of the dress. It's classy yet sexy at the same time. However, the bottom part of the dress fit really strange on me. The ruffles do not lay perfectly flat. The dress looks a bit childish in person.
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Last but not least, Song of Style blue dress: This is the winner. I am not 100% in love with it but it fits me the best. The color is not exactly what I had in mind for a Christmas party but I am ok with it (as long as it is not black). The dress fits me really well and I feel good wearing it. I wore it to my company Christmas party last night and got a lot of compliments. Definitely stood out amongst a sea of dresses last night. Please keep in mind that if you're taller than 5'2", I would not recommend this dress. It's borderline too short for me. Material is just ok. That's one thing I notice about dresses from Revolve. None of the dresses I ordered is really worth the $150- $250 price tag. This dress is almost $300 and it's definitely not worth that much. I am going to re-wear it to other Christmas parties to make it worthwhile =). Styled with: Rolex watch | VCA necklace | Cartier bracelet
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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Perfect Prime Rib Roast Recipe

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. I've been running around like a mad woman trying to get everything ready for the holiday. We have relatives from out of town staying with us for Thanksgiving. I've been buying new sheets, towels, dining plates, cleaning the house, grocery shopping. The list goes on but we are almost there. Hubby and I went to Trader Joe's yesterday to get a fresh turkey. We're doing turkey for the first time this year instead of ham and/or prime rib. Today, I am sharing how you can get a perfectly cooked prime rib. I've done this many times in the past. The math is fool-proof.
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What you need:
  • 1 (8- 10 pound) standing rib roast. Make sure your roast has been sitting room temp for at least 4 hours
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Prime seasonings
  • Rosemary
  • 3 sticks softened butter. You can also use spreadable butter
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Method:
  • Cut shallow slits all over roast and insert garlic slivers into slits
  • Mix softened butter with chopped fresh rosemary
  • Coat all sides of the meat with butter
  • Generously coated the rib with prime seasonings
  • Place the roast fat-side-up in a roasting pan
  • To calculate your cooking time, multiply the exact weight of the roast by 5. For example: For a 10 pound roast: 10 x 5 = 50. Cooking time is 50 minutes at 500 degrees F
  • Once the cooking time is up, turn off the open and wait 2 hours before opening the oven door. DO NOT OPEN the oven while cooking.
  • This method is 100% guaranteed to get you an amazing prime rib.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Monthly Recap :: October

October was a busy but fun month for us. We did so many great things with friends and the kids.

Highlights of the month:

  • I went camping for the first time! We went camping with 5 other families and it was so much fun. Honestly, the idea of sleeping in a tent at night did not sound very appealing to me but it turned out enjoyable. The kids played together while the adults catching up. Everyone had a great time and we already planned the next camping trip.

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  • Our Fall trip to Asheville, NC - You can read more about it here
  • Our annual trip to the pumpkin show. They didn't have it last year due to Covid so we were excited to be back this year. We've been going to this festive event for years and we enjoy it every year. It's one of our family traditions. Outfit details: BlankNYC leather jacket | Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 bag
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  • Halloween: I had an idea of what I wanted to be this year but we seriously couldn't find time to make costumes. The only thing we were able to do was Courtney's angle wings. Took us (mainly my husband) the entire weekend but she loved the way the wings turned out. Madelyn went trick or treating with her friends. They were ghostbusters and Finn was a handsome ghost =)

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  • I save the best highlight for last - We got tickets to Adele's concert next year! WE ARE GOING TO LONDON NEXT SUMMER TO SEE ADELE! I know it's still a long way away but I can't contain my excitement. Not going to lie, it's going to be a very expensive trip but seeing Adele in person is absolutely worth it. I truly love her voice.

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What I am looking forward for in November:

  • My Dad's birthday: He's going to be 81 years old! I am so thankful that my parents are healthy and we are excited to celebrate the holidays together. 
  • Speaking of thankful, I am looking foward to Thanksgiving. My brother in laws and his girlfriend are coming to visit us for Thanksgiving. We are meeting her for the first time. I am looking to get her a small welcome gift. They're from FL so they are not used to the cold weather. I am thinking about getting her a cashmere scarf but let me know if you have any other ideas. Other than that, I am just looking forward to some downtime in general.

Purchases of the month:

Canon6DMark2

For our anniversary, hubby did upgrade my camera. I used to have a Canon 6D. It has served me well. We traded the 6D and got the 6D Mark II. I am still playing with the settings but so far so good. Another purchase last month was these amazing leather pants (currently on sale). I've been wearing them non-stop (on me here). I bought several dresses for the upcoming holiday parties. I haven't decided which ones I am going to keep yet but I will review them next week just in case you're interested.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The best leather pants for petites

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Finally - an outfit post! Hubby took Madelyn to a friend's house to watch the Ohio State vs. Nebraska game yesterday so I had time to snap a few outfit photos. I've been looking for a pair of leather pants for what seemed like eternity. I used to have a pair from Zara but I do not wear them anymore since they're low waisted. I picked up this pair from Express a couple of weeks ago and I am so in love. They're super highwaisted (which I like), the leather is buttery soft and most importantly, the inseam is absolutely perfect for my height. The faux leather looks expensive, is not shiny whatsoever and the lining is so comfortable to wear. You don't have to dress these pants up. I have worn these with an oversized sweatshirt and a pair of sneakers and they look just as fabulous. I am so happy that I've found my perfect leather pants. Outfit details: Express pants *size 00R* | Express sweater | Rolex watch | Christian Louboutin shoes | Chanel earrings | Chanel belt *exact one*
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