Three Weekend Successes

1. I spent less than $20 on extraneous expenditures over the entire weekend.

2. I did a Pilates class on Saturday (hello SORE), and played touch football on Sunday.

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3. We had a football/Dexter premiere watching party and I stayed on top of cleaning throughout the event so that I wouldn’t have a wreck of a home after it was all over.

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What three successes have you had lately?

Whirleyball and Other Weekend Plans

What a week!

Work has been crazy, my social calendar has been packed, and my budget is undergoing a complete overhaul. It has been nutso all around. I’m ready to do some serious unwinding this weekend in the form of going to the movies tonight, playing whirleyball on Saturday, and spending time with my boyfriend and family. I’m also running a 5k on Saturday morning. Just for fun. No pressure. I’m sure it will go fine.

Oh wait, what’s whirleyball, you ask? It’s fun, that’s what. It can also be described as bumper cars-meets-lacrosse-meets basketball. Yeah, roll that up and smoke it. (or “Run and tell that” if you are Antoine Dotston).

Whirley ball is a hodge podge of fun. For New Year’s Eve I organized a group of us to go play Whirleyball. (No one felt like getting dressed up and blowing a ton of money on a hotel, dinner, and booze like we had done the year before)

I don’t know these people, but there’s a pic I snapped so you have a good idea of what we are working with here. My new friend Kellye is turning 24 (25?) this weekend, and among other things that day, that is one of the planned activities. Yeah!!

Other plans include an obligatory trip to the dog park so my sweet pup can stretch his legs, and a little fall cooking/baking sesh. Stay tuned. I also need to show off my fall decorating creations around the apartment. I am so proud of this project!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Sorry for the not-so-often posting this week. I haven’t felt very inspired.

Summary (to be included on all “Local” posts)

Event: Whirleyball for a friend’s birthday

Place: WhirlyBall & LaserWhirld Plano
3115 West Parker Road
Plano, TX 75023

Date: Saturday, September 18th, 9:45 PM

Frequency: Open Daily

Who can attend: Ages 9 and up and over 4 feet tall

Cost: $25 for two people as part of group on Saturday night. We both played an hour of Whirley ball, and he did one game of lasertag while I napped on the floor (I had a long day and it was nearly midnight by this point, okay?! :))

Whirlyball for 10 or more people Price
1 Hour / 1 Court – For 10 or more people. $149.50
1/2 Hour/ 1 Court – For 10 or more people. $74.75
Whirlyball for 6 to 9 people
A minimum of 6 is need to play the game
 
1 person per 1 hour $14.95
1 person per 1/2 hour $7.48
1 person / 1 game (15 minutes) $4.62

Recap Extravaganza

First off, yesterday was the Jewish new year holiday, Rosh Hashanah, so I was away from the computer and didn’t blog because of it. I wasn’t able to attend temple on this holiday last year so I am so glad I was able to this year.

That Wife Meetup

Remember when I went to my first blogger meetup? The wonderful Jenna from That Wife blogged about it not too long ago. She snapped some WONDERFUL pictures (well, duh, she’s a photographer for a living!) but I thought I would share some anyway. All of the following photos in this section are courtesy of her and her skills.

Me and T1! Ehh how exciting. I’m a super blogger nerd, officially. :)

Jenna, me, and Amy!

Be sure to check The Soda Gallery out if you are ever in the area. What a super cool place.

Summary (to be included on all “Local” posts)

Event: The Soda Gallery

Place: 408 North Bishop Avenue #101
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 946-7632

Date: Tuesday, August 17th at 6:30 PM

Frequency: I went once for the meetup but here are their hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 11:00am – 9:00pm
Sunday 11:00am – 4:00pm

Who can attend: Anyone. But this meetup was for readers of Jenna’s blog, and Jenna.

Cost: $10 for a pack of four sodas. But weren’t pressured at ALL to buy anything, but I wanted to get a few to sample. You can mix and match your own 4+ pack, or just buy one individually.

3 Year Anniversary Celebration

Normally, we aren’t big into huge grandiose celebrations, but this two-day festival of all things Bradley and Rachel love was an exceptional time. And three years is a big deal people! At least it was to us. We wanted to do something special.

My first gift was a couples massage in Frisco. We went to Siena Massage and was greeted by their friendly staff and offered our choice of beverage. I had a bellini (cranberry juice and champagne) and he had a glass of chardonnay. Then we went to get out massages. Pure bliss I tell you. If you’ve never gotten a massage I highly recommend it. This place was very affordable, and I actually got the inspiration via my favorite e-mail coupon site, Groupon. Everyday they e-mail you the daily deal and they ROCK. This deal was two hour-long massages for $70. That is a STEAL in this area. I tipped big so I could quit feeling like I robbed the poor place! :) Even without the coupon, they offer really great deals. I already want to go back.

After the massage we picked up some wine and beer and went home to cook ourselves a fancy dinner. I rarely drink, but this was a special occasion and called for it. It also called for the Bellini I drank earlier. Yes, yes it did.

So, let’s check out the eats.

So, we have the star of the evening, honey-soy glazed salmon, fettucine alfredo, green beans with soy sauce, and a couple of salads. And some baclava for dessert. Mmmmh! The Boyfriend always makes a delicious mayo/sirracha sauce when we eat fish, so you see that on the table as well. (It was probably one of our first meals eaten at our dining room table just the two of us. I know. I’m embarrassed even saying it. We always ALWAYS eat on the couch in front of the tv.)

I also gave him his gift. I got him a glass business card holder for his office that I got engraved with his name and position at his company.

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Next up? Thursday.

We went to dinner at Jorge’s Tex-Mex in the downtown art’s district. Thursday nights the art museum(s) stay open until 9 PM so the plan was to get some eats, and then check out the museums. Jorge’s was delicious! I had the veggie enchiladas and we split a margarita. Woo I’m just realizing how much alcohol I’ve had in the last few days. It is very rare, so I’m not too worried about it.

The outdoor sculpture museum had locked doors when we arrived at around 7 PM even though they were supposed to be open until 9 PM. We don’t know what happened there. Luckily the huge Dallas Museum of Art was open. One of the temporary exhibits was a cozy living room where you could make postcards (!!!) and create shadow puppets (!!!). See me hard at work drawing below.

After dinner we walked past some of the theatres and found this really cool pond that is actually shallow.

The Dallas Museum of Art is an extensive collection. By the time we left I felt like I had seen art from every corner of the globe. And we didn’t even see the whole place! Our feet got tired before we had a chance to see every part of the museum. It was pretty quiet in a majority of the areas of the museum which made for a super romantic date. Three cheers for The Boyfriend’s wonderful plans.

He also surprised me when we arrived with a whole loot of fall decorations for the apartment. Home decor? The man knows me too well.

Well this post is sufficiently 10 miles long, and I gotta scoot! Happy weekend!

Summary (to be included on all “Local” posts)

Event: 3 Year Anniversary Celebration

Place:
1. Siena Massage in Frisco, Texas
2. Jorge’s Tex Mex Restaurant
3. Downtown Arts District

Date: Wednesday September 8 – Thursday September 9

Frequency: Once for anniversary, but would like to go to all three places again.

Who can attend: It was just us two for our anniversary

Cost: $90 for couple’s massage ($70 plus $20 tip), ~$40 for dinner ingredients on Wednesday, ~$30 for dinner on Thursday, $20 for two tickets to Dallas Museum of Art, plus more for gifts (~$60+). This was definitely a splurge.

August Goals and Home Decorating Project

Can you believe it is August already? Tomorrow just happens to be my birthday. :) I’ll do a recap tomorrow of my fabulous cowboy birthday party that took place on Saturday. It was a blast!

July Goals Recap

1. Re-Organize/Re-Decorate My Apartment

Verdict: Goal Met!

See post here and another project at the end of this post. I also did a lot of tidying up in various room and cabinets. My mom also gave me a whole new Tupperware set to replace my mismatched melted plastic ones that belong in the recycling bin.

2. Run Faster

Verdict: Goal sort-of met

I did incorporate a few speed sessions this month, but the overall frequency in my running dropped significantly. I decided not to run a race on August 6th, and combining that with the daily temperatures over 100 degrees have really made running totally unpleasant. This week begins training for a 5 mile race I have in September so hopefully that will help with my motivation, and the weather will hopefully begin to cool down soon!

3. Improve the Blog

Verdict: Goal met?

I haven’t done too much to change things around here, but I like where it is at. I’m proud that I’ve committed to posting Monday-Friday each week. I try to make sure I have interesting posts for you guys. This goal will probably be on-going, but I do like the direction it is going in. I like that I am free to post about anything that I want, and am not forced into a niche for now. Any suggestions are always welcome!

4. Enjoy the summer

Verdict: Goal Met!

July was filled with lots of activities. We spent lots of weekends by the pool, grilling, celebrating Independence day, happy (and Yappy) hours. Can’t wait to continue this through August!

August Goals

1. Commit to my training program

Like I said earlier, this week begins an 8 week training program for a 5 mile race I have scheduled on September 25th. That will be a PDR so I have a lot of work to do. My training schedule is located here, and I used a Hal-Higdon 8k program to put it together. This will be my first specific training schedule that I’ve ever done, and I really want to stick to it.

2. Cook one new recipe a week and post it on the blog

I want to share some good and easy eats with you guys!

3. Save money

The boyfriend and I are taking his parents to Las Vegas (all of us will be going for the first time) and I want to make sure I have lots of spending money to enjoy myself with. I always seem to be the best saver when I have something specific to save for, like a trip.

Setting these monthly goals always help keep me accountable! I love them.

Home Decorating Project

Last week we wound up doing another redecorating project. The Boyfriend’s office were going to be throwing away a huge stack of photography prints so he decided to rescue them and bring them home to see if we could use them to redecorate. They worked out perfectly! Here are a couple of examples of what we were working with:

We had some frames throughout the house that had pictures of friends and family in them. I decided I wanted the walls to display more art in the hopes of making the place look a little more mature, and less college dorm room (pictures of family and friends are going into albums).

Here are what the frames looked like before:

The frame in the first picture made for a super easy project. All we had to do was cut the chosen poster out in the size of the frame, and then lay the white piece over it to break it up into smaller pictures. The second frame was a little more challenging (but still super easy) because we had to cut out each individual frame piece and make sure everything still lined up.

And here they are!

The project was easy and free. Can’t get much better than that!!

What are your goals for this month?

How to be a Good Hostess

Since The Boyfriend and I have planned a birthday party for my 23rd birthday this weekend, I thought I’d share some tips about being a good hostess. Planning and hosting parties is something that brings me a TON of joy. I absolutely love doing it!!

Here are some tips for your next party with examples of how we are encorporating these tips for our party on Saturday:

1. Prepare as much as you can in advance. You are there to host, but the guests are there to spend time with you! If you are stuck in the kitchen the whole time, it will be hard to keep them entertained and keep their drinks filled. It always helps to have a co-host (i.e. The Boyfriend/Grill Master) who can help entertain guests or help with the food.

The boyfriend and I are doing all of the grocery shopping for the party tonight. We are going to start marinating the meat that we plan on grilling (for the meat eaters), and I’m putting together this pasta salad so it will be ready to go tomorrow.

2. Spruce up your place! I believe a clean home makes people more comfortable. Put away stacks of paper, vaccuum/mop, dust, wipe down counters. Light a candle or two. Set out extra chairs and move any furniture around to make for easier socializing.

I did most of the set up for the party last night since I have a busy schedule until right up until the party. I added a leaf into our dining room table and pushed it up against the wall so we can serve our menu buffet style. I also hung up a bunch of cowboy rustic posters and other decorations because our party is a Hoedown theme. I also put tied paisley blue bandanas around the chairs and laid them on top of the back of the couches for some more decoration. After watering the plants on my balcony(it is looking like a jungle out there! I’ll have to do a post on that soon), I went ahead and trimmed off all the dead leaves and swept the balcony so it looked neat. I’ll share what decorations I bought at the end of this post. Additionally, I sprinkle the carpet with odor deoderizer before vaccuming to pick up any pet odor that has remained. After potty-training a puppy, our carpets have definitely seen better days. Now, he is 99% trained. Thank the good man upstairs!

3. Provide a variety of beverages. I like to have a few different kinds of soda, juice, bottled water, tea, beer, wine, mixer (or margarita mix) and maybe one or two types of liquor. That keeps your options open. Plastic cups and straws make for easy clean-up, less mess, and no chance of broken glassware. Depending on the formality of your party (ours are almost always very casual) you can opt for real glasses, too. We also make sure to keep on hand a lot of koozies for the beer drinkers.

We’ll be picking up drinks tonight. I plan to get a Crystal Light mix-in to make a quick lemonade and am serving it in a floral ceramic pitcher that seems cowboy-rustic to me. I got it at an estate sale for $3. Total score!

4. Set the mood with some music. Make bathrooms easy to locate and clean. I like to leave out a neat stack of clean hand towels for people to use.

The boyfriend’s i-pod is arguably the perfect party mix. A specific playlist isn’t necessary. He likes music that is fun to listen to, and something you would always recognize from movies, pop culture, or tv. We always get compliments on our music choices when we throw parties. We use an i-pod dock that he picked up at an electronic’s store for aroud $50. We also have music channels On Demand through our television provider. When we want specific themed music (like during Christmas) we will use one of those channels instead of the i-pod.

5. Have fun!

Don’t have to tell us twice!

Happy Birthday Hoedown

Yes, I am planning a cowboy themed party for my 23rd birthday. I had accepted the fact that it was going to be corny and that was 100% okay. However, as I started decorating last night, it started to pull together really nicely and while the cowboy hoedown theme is there, it sort of came out Cowboy-chic. Is that possible? I like to think so. The boyfriend came home from the office with a huge stack of professional photography posters (that were otherwise going in the trash) this week and we have been using them in all kinds of ways. We cut some up and replaced some of the frames we have hanging up. Also, a few of them fit perfectly into our cowboy theme (think artsy-edgy prints of a herd of sheep for example) so I went ahead and put a few of those up around the apartment on the doors. I think it looks really nice; decorative yet tasteful.

As for the other decorations, I turned to my favorite party supply website, Shindigz. They have everything. The prices are great, the shipping is quick, and the products are great quality. Here’s some of the things I picked up.

A Red Gingham Round Table Cloth

Western Sign Cutouts (I wish it was 8 one-sided cutouts instead of 4 two sided)

Cactus and Boots Electric String Lights (these are going to go on the dining room table around the chip bowls)

Wild West Confetti (hopefully these won’t leave a huge mess everywhere)

A Package of 12 Blue Paisley Bandanas

Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!

Do you like to plan and host parties? What was the best themed party you ever went to?

Simple Ways to Get Organized

Happy Monday! (okay maybe not)

As you know, one of my monthly goals has been to get my apartment a little more organized. I blogged about my living room transformation not too long ago. I’ve also been doing little odds and ends around the place as I get some free time. This past weekend I dropped off a bunch of gently used clothing and shoes at Goodwill and dumped a bunch of old papers and used textbooks into the recycling bin at the library.

Local libraries are a great spot if you need a big recycling bin to dump things. They also take magazines for donation to the library itself. Cool huh? Speaking of, the boyfriend and I are getting our library cards this week. We’ve been living in the area for over a year, and have visited the library a lot to make donations and whatnot, but never actually got a library card.

A few months ago, I came across this great article called 7 Simple Ways to get Organized. It gives you one thing to do each day of the week to organize your life.

Monday: Organize your inbox and from now on be diligent about sorting new e-mails into their appropriate folders.

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Tuesday: Tackle those cabinets. Get rid of any huge bowls or platters you don’t use regularly, throw out anything expired, and move older canned goods to the front. Put flour, cereal, pasta into clear sealed containers to keep fresh.

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Wednesday: Calm the closet. Pair up shoes and tidy up floor. Keep it seasonal and move winter items to the back or to another storage area.

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Thursday: Organize the linen closet. Make separate groups for towels, bed linens, tablecloths, etc.

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Friday: Manage your medicine. Discard any old prescriptions and throw out any old cosmetics or lotions you haven’t used in 3 months. Put cotton swabs and cotton balls in clear glass containers and store away huge plastic bags that are used to re-stock the containers.

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Saturday: Draft your family for help. See if someone would be willing to tackle the dishes, fold some laundry, collect, discard, and replace bags for the trash bins throughout the house.

[Source] (What a silly picture, sorry guys)

Sunday: Plot out your future. Pick some books to read, trips to take, restaurants to try, etc.

You are done! Please check out that link for more detailed descriptions and lots of other ideas.

Happy organizing!

Living Room Redesign!

One of my goals this month is the redesign and redecorate my apartment.

This weekend I finally tackled the living room and got a few new accessories to combine with things I already owned to make a more cohesive looking entertainment center. I also neatened up the books and dvds a little so it would be nicer looking.

Miniature bookcase #1 before:

Miniature bookcase #2 before:

And here they are after! Not a huge change, but I like it.

All together now. (I was still moving things around so the boxes on top aren’t in their final position. And this pic still makes things look really “busy” which I hate. So I may be doing a little more after this)

I also picked up a little tray that matches the little boxes, and placed it on the end table on the other side of the room for a little cohesiveness.

Still a work in progress. But there ya go! I spent $57 at Hobby Lobby for all the little doo-dads that I picked up. I am usually a bit more thrifty than that, but it is what it is.

In other news, I’m sick. So, workouts have been non-existent and I feel horrible. Blech!

On Yard Work

I mowed a yard for the first time this weekend. It was deeply satisfying. The patterns in the grass, the hum of the mower, the breeze. Oh man. I felt like I had just taken a yoga class!! It was so relaxing.

I also used a weed eater and got rid of some weeds before the party on Saturday. Yard work is great for burning calories! Except when you use a riding lawnmower. But oh well.

The weekend at The Boyfriend’s parents was fabulous except I am now COVERED in mosquito bites. Gross!

Roland bonded with his brother.

And he hung out on the patio with me

And a ton of food was cooked, as per usual.

AND now I’m hungry.

June Goals: The Result and New Goals for July!

One June 1st I set some goals for myself. Time for the final verdict!

1. 1. Run a sub 38:34 5K on June 12th.

Verdict: Goal Met!

2. 2. Get at least 5 servings of fruits/vegetables DAILY.

Verdict: I really focused on keeping fresh/frozen/canned produce around at all times and think I met this goal most days. There was never a day when I had ZERO servings, so I think that is excellent. I don’t track my food anymore (since it was making me depressed and obsessive) so I can’t say that I know exactly what I took in every day, but I’ll go ahead an say goal mostly met!

3. Manage my time.

Verdict: Goal met. I have successfully balanced work, school, fitness, and social life. It looks like I’ll be pulling A’s in both of my summer classes! The only area of my life that has not been up to par has been social life. But now that my in-class class is over (and I just have to finish up my online class), I’ll be able to be a little more social!

4. Use my gym membership.

Verdict: Goal met! In the last 2 and a half weeks I attended the gym 5 times.

5. Organize my apartment.

Verdict: The drawers and closets still need a lot of work. Class is over on Thursday and after that it is on like Donkey Kong! Closets and drawers, prepare for battle! Goal postponed to July!!

July Goals

1. Re-Organize/Decorate my Apartment

I think the best plan of action is to choose one area per week and attack with full-force. I plan on hitting up the Salvation Army, TJ Maxx, and Ross for some good cheap home organizing tools and decorations. Here are the areas that need the most work:

Area 1: Assorted kitchen cabinets

Area 2: Bedroom closet

Area 3: Living room entertainment center

Area 4: Dining room shelving/wall decoration

(Now that the puppy is properly potty trained, the carpets are in need of a good deep cleaning. Hopefully this can fit in somewhere as well.)

2. Run Faster

I’ve been running for almost 6 months now. And thanks to a lack-luster attitude and just wanting to enjoy my runs instead of pushing myself until I cry, I’m still insanely slow and haven’t done much improving. Here are my 5k times in date order:

34:45

38:34

38:04

38:59

(race recap coming soon!)

So besides my random much faster first race (I must have drank some voodoo juice or something) my times have all been around 38+ minutes. At least I’m somewhat consistent. I have a race on August 6th. So, for July I’d like to start incorporating some speed work into my training schedule and run a faster 5k on August 6th. I’ll let you know the new schedule once I’ve put it together. That same week starts training for my 5 miler (yikes!) that I am running September 25th.

3. Improve the blog

I used to post lots of yummy recipes on here but haven’t been doing too much of it as of late. That must change! I’ve also been researching on ways to provide you lovely readers with just a better blog all around. Suggestions are always welcome so if you have any tips or anything you’d like to see on Fit Fun and Fabulous, please share!

4. Enjoy the summer

Between work, school, and wanting to use my gym membership, I haven’t done a lot of fun outdoor summer activities lately. Must improve upon that this month! I’d like to host a party, do some more cooking/grilling with The Boyfriend, enjoy the pool, and attend some summer local community events!

[Source]

What are your goals for July? Did you meet the goals you set for June?

My Friday Night Ritual

I like to keep a tidy home. It is almost impossible for me to relax if the house is a disaster. I can. not. stand it!

[Source]

However, my kitchen gets ALOT of use. We love to cook, and we do it alot. I love cooking a lot more than I love doing the dishes. There I said it.

Anyway, so combine working all the time, cooking, and not loving on the dirty dishes and by the weeks end, you have a pretty messy kitchen.

Additionally, we also have 2 pets that run around the house. They love knocking things over, yanking my dish towels off the rack to be drug around as chew toys, and general anti-potty training skills that my pup possesses, and by Friday night you wouldn’t have any idea that a woman lived here to liked to keep a tidy house.

Forgive me will ya? I make up for it in what I like to call Friday Night Ritual Home Cleansing – Rachel Style or FNRHCRS. That is its title from here on. I thought I’d take you on a tour of a regular FNRHCRS tonight!

Here’s what I do:

1. Sort laundry into colors, whites, delicates. Start laundry process in the laundry room by throwing first load into washing machine. Periodically throughout the evening transfer clothes to dryer, start new load, etc. Leave loads in the dryer for 18 cycles (or pile load after load on top of the dryer) because I hate folding and putting away.  

2. Bathrooms (2 total): Countertops get a wipe down and straightening up, replace hand towels, Windex mirrors if they are looking dirty, scrub toilet, shake out mats, vacuum floors, mop, light a candle, shut the door most of the way to keep pets out, but still able to check on lit candle regularly.

3. Straighten up the guest bedroom and make sure it doesn’t look like a storage shed, which is how we treat it whenever there are no guests staying over. Vacuum, lint roll the bed to remove cat hair, shut the door so the cat doesn’t shed all over the bed again immediately.

4. Pick up all the odds and ends in the living room/dining room/kitchen that have piled up throughout the week. Take all mail that needs to be dealt with and place in basket in 2nd bedroom, never to be seen again under piles and piles of unread mail. What?

5. Fluff the couch cushions, windex and wipe down the end tables, empty small trash cans and collect in one large trash bag.

6. Pile all of the dog toys into the corner of the room. Get bit by dog for moving his items, and then watch him drag all the toys back out in to the middle of the floor. Repeat.

7. Empty dishwasher<—-my least favorite chore, load dishwasher, wipe down kitchen counters. Sweep/mop kitchen floor. Replace dish towels. Watch dog rip dish towels down and drag around the apartment.

8. Pick up everything the dog has dragged around the apartment (dish towels, dog toys, and I’m sure he’s  pooped twice just to make sure all of my cleaning feels completely futile).

9. Make the bed in master bedroom, pick up everything the dog has dragged under the bed, clear off top of dresser that has everything I didn’t want the dog to be chewing on all week.

10. Spray pet stains and attempt to remove pet stains, sprinkle Arm and Hammer carpet freshener all over apartment, vacuum living room/dining room/master bedroom. Watch dog bark maniacaly at the vacuum cleaner. Watch cat peer at dog in disgust for being amused at something like a vacuum cleaner.

FNRHCRS Complete!

Relax. Or go out for the evening. (and ignore full dishwasher that needs to be emptied, and dryer full of clothing to be folded. That is for another day, friends.)

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