Sunday, December 26, 2010

NYX Eyeshadow Trio 01 - White Grey Black

Got to use the matt eyeshadow trio from my first NYX haul and I love it!

I needed a compact black eyeshadow since the Sleek Storm Palette is'nt handbag friendly. Sleek has the blackest of all the black eyeshadows I've tried and NYX is just as pigmented.

The grey and the white is poorly pigmented but it's forgivable because I use them sparingly for highlighting and contouring. All shadows have good staying power and there's a mirror in the compact for convenience.

In the photo I've used the black to line the outer corners of my eyes and blended with grey on the lids. White was applied to the brow bone and inner corners.

This compact trio is a high quality product for the price. Make sure to add this to your shopping list when buying NYX online!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lip Fusion Dupe-Lip Filler Express Gloss & Elegant Touch Nail Fortifying Spa

I had a Savers haul to stock up for my trip to Egypt.

Among the necessities were two impulse items. The first was Lip Filler Express Gloss, a Lip Fusion dupe. I have too many glosses but who cares for £1?

The packaging is similar to Lip Fusion and it's manufactured by Deborah Milano cosmetics. The gloss contains "hyaluronic filling spheres" which dilate by pushing towards the lip surface, hydrating and smoothes out the lips. It promises voluminous lips in 15 minutes.

The texture is similar Lip Fusion, thick and slightly sticky with a faint candy scent. As you can see in the pic, there is not much difference to size although my lips are shiner with less wrinkles. The gloss is shimmery which adds to the effect of plumper lips. There is a cooling tingle but it goes away after 15 mins. While it's ingredients differ to Lip Fusion, in my experience the results are exactly the same with a bargain price.

The second impulse buy is the Elegant Touch Fortifying Nail Spa for £2. My nails were ravaged when I had my gels removed. It was a shocking job. The manicurist did'nt leave the acetone on long enough and harshly scraped my nails. She wasn't even watching when she scratched my finger with the stick. Traces of gel remained but I was too scared to complain. Not going back to that Nails Inc (Debenhams Oxford St)!

The nail polish is a water based treatment with bamboo extract, avocado oil and sunflower seed oil. It's to regenerate weak and damaged nails with improved results in 3 days, so the packaging says. Leaves a translucent shiny finish and my nails feels stronger after two coats. I love it!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Calgary Thrift - Value Village/Savers

Hello from snowy Calgary! I'm here skiing and relaxing for a week and a bit.

I'm staying with my friend's lovely family. His Mom has an interest in thrifting and when she offered to take me to a thrift shop, I jumped at the opportunity.

She took me to Value Village, or "Value Vill-arge" (how the French might say!) It's known as Savers in the US. It is the biggest thrift shop I've ever seen, unlike those run by lil' old ladies back at home.

There were clothes as far as the eye can see. Off to the sides were shoes, bric-a-brac, books and kitchenware.

My friend's Mom took a wheeled shopping basket to drag her purchases around. They looked too big but I took one too and I'm glad because it filled up quickly.

The prices were not as cheap as I hoped but this was a commercially run thrift store. Tops and jeans start from 6 CAD and coats from 15 CAD. When I got to the books, I was in nostalgia heaven. Look what I found!

After an hour, I finally narrowed down my purchases. I bought a pair of Bluenotes boyfriend jeans (8 CAD), black furry coat (15 CAD), 5 Sweet Valley High books (4 CAD), and a Kitchen Aid frypan (4 CAD).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nails Inc 3 Week Manicure - Bio Sculpture Gel - Lilac

Just a quick post to show off my new lilac nails!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nubar 2010 Halographic Nail Lacquer

My first Nubar! Got it from Feel Unique for £6.80 with free shipping.

I lemminged this after seeing it in Affordable Treats. I missed out on halographic flakies with Gosh Rainbow and was glad it find a dupe.

Nubar 2010 is a lazy way of snazzing up any nail polish. Does'nt matter which colour but I think it looks best with dark cremes. It's formaldehyde, phthalate and toulene free. The handle is easy to control and the bottle looks like a professional product.

The flakies reflect red, green and gold highlights in a clear base. In this picture I'm wearing Rimmel Exotica with two layers of 2010 and a top coat. A Christmas-y combination for the season.

More combos to come so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Barry M Nail Paint Bright Purple

Got this when Superdrug had a 2 for £5 sale. I'm crazy for these deep fuschia purples because they suit any skin colour.

It took three coats to get it opaque and it dries super shiny. I'm not using top coat here. The colour is intense and it looks like vinyl. The photo does'nt do it justice!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Global Keratin Hair Taming Treatment - 2 Months On

It's officially two months and the treatment's still going strong.

My hair is a little kinkier than before but still low-frizz and shiny. As in my previous post, my hair did'nt take the GHD heat well so the ends are quite split now. (Half-because I have'nt had a trim yet.)

I'm using the Global Keratin shampoo with Juvexin religiously and a normal sodium sulfate free conditioner. I wash 2-3 times a week so I assume it helps to prolong the treatment.

At this rate I might not need a re-treatment for another 2 months!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Autumn Outfit Of The Day

Winter's around the corner and I want to capture autumn in all it's glory. How lovely is this season?

After brunch and a cuppa in front of a fireplace, my friend and I walked to Hampstead Heath. The heath is beautiful with the ground blanketed by floaty orange leaves.

This autumny outfit is made up of frugal finds (except the handbag of course).

Amanda Wakeley Tank Top
Banana Republic Waterfall Cardigan
Longchamp Tan Belt
Jigsaw Skirt
Evie Knit Cardigan
Pied A Terre Ankle Boots

Friday, November 5, 2010

Urban Decay Nail Polish - Trip

While having my prescription filled at Superdrug, I scavenged the bargain bin and found this reduced to 99p.

I fell in love with the color straight away. *Palpitates* Hot fuschia satin with lots of shine. The formula dries quickly. The brush stem is long and slender for precise application.

While the bottle is cute, the top is not easy to grip on to because it's short and tapered. That's my only complaint but everything else is a love!

ETA: I did the house work the next day and the polish chipped off in CHUNKS. OK not chunks but the tips have flaked right off. Won't be buying anymore of these nail polishes. Eek!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carvela Brogue Lace Up Booties and Vintage Silk Scarf

Brrrrrr...London is FREEEEEEEZING and it's only mid October.

For autumn, these charity shop finds came at the right time. Could not believe my luck when I found these spiffy stiletto booties. Brand new Carvela (from Kurt Geiger). The soles are pristine and the leather is showroom supple.

Wanting lace up booties since they were featured in The Devil Wears Prada. Finally I have them for £9.

The spotted scarf is sheer enough to float through air. It was retrieved from a pile of scarves as I ran my fingers over all of them to detect for silk. It was an easy acquisition for £2. You can never have too many silk scarves!

And how to tell the difference between a silk or convincing polyester scarf? Silk feels light for it's weight and thickness. If the edges have a rolled hem, it's silk. If it's folded, it's polyester.

I'll be trawling for more silk scarves to add to the collection.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nails Inc 3 Week Manicure - Bio Sculpture Gel

After noticing that my colleague's perfectly lacquered nails stayed glossy and chip free for weeks, she told me her secret. She had a 3 week manicure.

Hers was from Nails Inc. Also known as bio sculpture gel nails. You might have noticed the little UV boxes in nail salons-that's what sets the gel to make them hard and strong.

Gel nails are still fake but not as damaging as acrylics. The gel is porous so nails can breathe. A little buffing is needed to prime the nail but that's the extent of the damage.

They're are thinner than acrylics so it looks natural. And the colour won't chip because the gel itself is the colour. (The choices may be limited.)

I wanted to give them a try so I got a loyalty card from Nails Inc for £150. It includes 4 x 3 week manicures including removal. A great deal since the manicure on it's own is £50 and it's £20 to take them taken off.

The manicurist buffed my nails and applied a coat of clear, 2 coats of white for the tips and a final coat of clear. I had to stick my hand under the UV lamp between each layer. It was like my hands were in a solarium. Perhaps I should have worn sunscreen first?

Clear nail polish was applied to seal the gel. The white will eventually discolour so it was recommended to apply a fresh top coat every week.

I did'nt bother with this and by the third week, it was definitely time to take them off. There were tiny cracks on the whites and regrowth was noticeable.

The manicurist wrapped my nails with acetone soaked cotton wool using foil strips. After five minutes she scraped the nail beds clean. After a little buffing and a top coat, my nails were back to normal.

I'm taking a break for a few weeks but the next time I'll go for a proper colour. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 11, 2010

MAC Jade Dragon Nail Lacquer - Limited Edition

I still can't get over how cheap MAC cosmetics are in the UK compared to Oz. With a pro-discount, it works out cheaper than some drugstore nail polishes.

Jade Dragon is from the MAC's Nail Trend F/W 2010 Collection. It's the classiest green I've seen. It's the green from Scarlett O'Hara's velvet curtain dress, faintly speckled with teal shimmer. Elegant enough to be worn at work I reakon. The creme colour is true to a dark green jade.

Colourwise and outer packaging (especially the rubberised top), MAC aces mainstream nail polishes.

The main downside is that it's a bit streaky. The less strokes applied per coat, the better. The shimmer drags the colour when you go over it repeatedly when wet.

The brush is not brilliant or maybe I was unlucky. There was a stray bristle which sticks out from the rest so I had to trim it.

The polish dries matte, like China White Flying Dragon. But once you apply a generous topcoat-WOW!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Selfridges The Shoe Galleries & Repetto Ballet Flats

On a rainy Saturday I visited Selfridges to check out it's newest installment of The Shoe Galleries. It was packed with frenzied shoe fans and I did'nt have the patience to wonder about. As soon as I spotted the Repetto concession, I zeroed in.

Since trying on a pair of Repetto flats in Paris, I never forgot the suppleness of the leather and the comfort. Weeks later, I was still oogling these shoes on the internet.

Fortunately I found the colour I wanted, Rose Amour (fuschia) in the lushest pebbled leather. The shoes were £165, pricier than France (same price but in Euros.) They are come in an elegant and collapsable box.

Like with London/French Sole, you need to go up a size. I'm normally a size UK 3 or 36 Eur and Repetto size 37 fits. Repetto's are lined with cotton and are of finer quality than London/French Sole. The joy of Repetto flats is the fit because the leather is lush and moldable to your feet.

There is a complimentary photo booth in the Galleries where you can take photos with your new purchases. It's an embarrassingly cheesy concept but I'm keeping my photo as a momento of my first Repettos!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

London Fashion Weekend 2010

Here I am at London Fashion Weekend!

I was excited, hoping to get a true flavour the industry-only event of London Fashion Week. I thought hard about what to wear and if I was inadvertently channelling Betty Suarez.

But there was nothing to be worried about. If you come to London Fashion Weekend, nothing is exclusive and there's no real dress code. You pay for entry, the catwalk show and showbag. It's really a place for designers to showcase/flog their wares.

And the catwalk show? Brought to you by Special K. I'm not joking. They played sponsor's ads between each show and the hostess kept flogging brands like an infomercial. Why-oh-why do we have to pay to watch ads???

If you want to feel like Anna Wintour, you must have a front row seat. Otherwise when the first model swans out, everybody's Blackberry, iPhone and compact camera springs out, blocking your view.

Blatant advertising aside, the catwalk show was enjoyable and inspiring. Looks like 70s and 80s fashion is a trending theme for this autumn/winter season.

Designer sales were plentiful but not worth the hype. The prices are similar to sale prices in department stores. Advertised Sass & Bide clothing barely filled a rack. There was a oversupply of Juicy Couture tracksuits and a minute range of London Sole flats.

Some girls brought suitcases to carry their shopping but I only felt obliged to buy after an hour of browsing and walking up and down stairs.

Nothing caught my eye until I saw these mega-cute Les Nereides earrings!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Anthropologie Sleeping On Snow Cardigan Jacket

I nearly missed this cardigan as I walked out of the charity shop. It was haplessly lying in the window and one could have mistaken it for a throw rug.

It was raining so I waited undercover from the rain before a dash across the road. After a last minute glance, I realised it was'nt rug but an intriguing woolly cardigan!

So I returned inside for closer inspection. It's cropped, asymmetric and had a lot going on. Chunky wooden buttons, vintage tapestry patterns and rib knit finishings. Should I be repelled instead of fascinated?

It felt comfy and if I did'nt look like an old couch, it was casual chic. And since the gloominess of winter was approaching, I needed this cardigan jacket.

£9 was a good deal for an Anthropologie item so I threw caution to the autumn wind and bought it. I may eat my words later but bring on winter!

In the above gratuitous poser shot, I look like my sister who introduced me to Anthropologie. She loves this brand but she would think I'm wearing remnants of an old couch here. Too retro for her, but I love it!

As you can see, I'm still clutching onto the vintage leather bag bought from a few weeks ago. (And the LV Neverfull bought a few weeks before is gathering dust.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Converting to Gold Jewelry - Vintage Bracelets

Since I was teenager, I had an aversion to gold jewelry. I thought it looked dated and sallow against Asian skin. With the many variations of gold, I even thought it looked cheap.

Recently I bought the amethyst Caroline Najman bracelet from Lafayette Galleries in Paris. My friend and I stopped in our tracks when we saw the delicate gold chains with faceted semi-precious stones. Her designs are stunning and ever so pretty.

Her bracelets actually fits my bony wrists. A rare treat so I couldn't resist. And who said gold jewelry looks cheap? Pfffttt!!!

The vintage enamel and diamante snake cuff is from a charity shop. Even with a few missing stones, I think it still makes a statement.

And my most recent purchase is an engraved hinged bangle from the 60s. I bought it from a little old lady at Hampstead markets. Her vintage jewelry was divine and I had to buy something beautiful that no one else would be wearing.

Once I decided on a bangle, there was a small dilemma on silver or gold. The gold bug bite from Paris took effect and now I'm converting. More gold to come!

Just need some advice since I can't bear to take off my silver rings - is it OK to mix gold with silver?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Global Keratin Hair Taming Treatment Review - Real "After" Photos

The "after" photos of Brazilian treatments are most likely taken after GHD-ing the hair for ages. It's done in the final stage of treatment to set the keratin. Beware that those pictures won't necessarily depict the true results so don't be fooled!

The above pics were taken after I washed for the first time (4 days after the treatment). I used Global Keratin Balancing Shampoo with Juvexin and air dried my hair. This is to judge the treatment unaided by heat styling.

As you can see, there is a little frizz and my hair is slightly wavy. But take my word for it when I proclaim that it's far better than before I had the treatment. So you know, my natural hair is brittle, fine, frizzy and very wavy.

My hair is now the shiniest I've ever seen and oh-the-softness! I'm addictively touching my hair and telling friends to touch the back of my head. (Strange, I know.)

I shed more than usual after the first wash and noticed a little heat damage. Nothing too alarming though. When the hairdresser said there would be NO damage, I think it applies to people with thick hair only.

She said the treatment provides full heat protection but I wonder how can any product do that? A chicken basted with heat protectant is still going to cook at the temperature of a GHD.

Anyway I'll get off my soapbox now and contine stroking my new hair.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Global Keratin Straightening & Taming System with Juvexin

Just posted a new Youtube video!

Hope this treatment is the answer to unruly frizzy hair and worth the money. I paid £130 for the treatment including the Global Keratin shampoo. My hair is stick straight now but I can't wait see it after I've washed it for the first time.

Will post the results in 4 days...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MAC Cleanse Off Oil - Huille Demaquillante

I bought this when I ran out of DHC oil cleanser in New York. Actually it was trial satchet and I loved it so much, I looked everywhere for a substitute.

My search was initially hopeless because I couldn't even find Shu Umeura High Performance Oil in the stores. Not even in Sephora. Was horrified to hear it's been discontinued. (The stuff was so popular, how could they?) Let's hope it reincarnates soon.

It was midnight and I was STILL looking for an oil cleanser. Finally I bought this in the Times Square MAC store. Phew!

MAC's Cleanse Off Oil is a strong contender in the oil cleanser market. It's gentle on your skin and makes it feel soft. It even removes waterproof mascara without tugging or harsh rubbing.

This product is a little runnier than DHC and Shu. Once dispensed I have a quickly spread it around or it drips through my fingers. Has a light fruity scent. It won't sud like the other cleansing oils. Cleanse Off turns milky and rinses clean with warm water.

Contains olive, primrose and jojoba oils so it's mineral oil free.

I still need a foaming cleanser to feel squeaky clean. But this is better than using make up removing wipes/pads because there's little friction to cause lash loss.

My verdict? DHC oil is still my first preference because it's richer and foams. MAC is a close second because it's widely available and better value for money.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Barry M Nail Paint Mushroom

Also known as a close dupe for Chanel Particuliere. Barry M's Mushroom is a touch browner but just as gorgeous.

Mushroom is a classy neutral grey brown. It's a wonderfully creamy and pigmented formula. No streaks at all. Dries to a shiny finish with good lasting power.

Notice how my pointy fingernail is wonky shaped? I broke it while cycling. Cursing because I had a 3 week manicure booked at Nails Inc! Now I have to wait another week to even out the length of my nails.

Barry M products are currently on sale at Superdrug. I got two nail paints for £5 so indulge ladies!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rimmel Pro Maxi Brush Royal Rose

I wanted to try the Rimmel Pro line since I heard raves on their Maxi Brush. As you can see below, the brush is wider and flatter than normal. It's about 75mm at it's widest. I found that I only needed one slow stroke for each coat, except for my thumbnails where two is required.

Dark colours would benefit most from this feature as the Maxi Brush promises "mistake free application." Not impossible but certainly easier to apply an even coat.

Royal Rose is a delicately shimmery salmon pink. A fresh summer colour. It's sheer as even after three coats as pictured, I can still see nail whites. Took a while to dry but the shiny finish is worth it.

It says on the bottle "Professional Finish up to 10 days". Will edit this post later to report if that's true!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peekaboo Vintage Quilted Chain Handbag

Lovingly worn, patinaed and slouchy-the holy grail of a vintage leather bag. Caramelized tan so lusciously thick. Quilted and embellished with tiny studs. This bag is like poetry.

I almost fainted when I found it but the price tag said £65. It's most I've spent on a vintage bag. (The equivalent of 10 op shop bags!)

This bag was rebranded by Peekaboo Vintage, available at Topshop Oxford Circus. It had a minor repair in the lining but that's the only fault. Tried to find any excuse not to buy it but to no avail. The bag is vintage so I'd never see the same anywhere else.

So seriously now, no more window shopping because it will only lead to trouble!

Singer Featherweight 100 Sewing Machine - My New Toy

Pulling a random thread on my skirt resulted in me completely unravelling the hem. So rather than taking it to the tailors, I bought this itty bitty sewing machine.

It's extraordinarily compact, well constructed and the name "Featherweight" is fitting. I paid £45 for mine but if you're patient, you can get one cheaper from Ebay.

Professional repairs are not cheap in London and I only need to repair 5 garments to break even.

I had missed my sewing machine from home. When I was kid, I hand sewed a pair of ballet slippers from a pink gingham teatowel. I expected Mum to be cross when she found out but she recognised my hobby and bought a sewing machine.

We did'nt have much money to buy clothes so I made what I could'nt afford. I used it to make my school skirt, formal dress and hundreds of customised singlet tops for sale on Ebay. Not to mention all the countless repair jobs and trouser hemmings.

This sewing machine operates beautifully. Looking forward to continuing my love of sewing!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mango MNG Nautical Jacket & Amanda Wakeley Top

A quick post to share this Mango cropped jacket I bought for £10. It's lightweight and made from comfy cotton. Love the stripes and buttons featuring anchors.

The silver tank top is from Amanda Wakeley, a British designer. Made from slinky silk and only £4.90. Despite what it says on the label, I machine washed it and it turned matt. I don't mind since I can wear it during the day and it still feels luxe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Parisian Summer Weekend

Linking in a recent post from my livejournal blog, emmakins888. Hope you enjoy.

A Parisian Summer Weekend

Sephora La French Manicure Nail Polish

If I'm in a hurry, I use Sephora's La French Manicure which is a natural nail polish and whitening base in one. I suspect this is discontinued now but I've seen similar products in the market.

This has been labeled to give an "immediate french manicure effect" which means you don't need to apply white tips. It subtlety whitens your nails. The clear base has a slight blue tinge to offset yellowness and the natural nail polish adds creaminess to your nails.

The results are a very natural looking manicure but it does'nt replace a french mani from the beautician's. The brilliant thing about this product is the convenience as it's compact for traveling and it's two products in one.

Definitely a staple for the lazy like me!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MAC Gaga Viva Glam Lipstick

I finally bought the coveted Lady Gaga lipstick which was sold out for ages. This colour is bang on trend from the Viva Glam range. Every cent of it's selling price is donated in support of people living with HIV and AIDS.

The pale pink is gorgeous and it doesn't look lavender on me. When I first put it on though, it looked ridiculous. Pastey pink lipsticks look strange on pigmented lips. (Try saying that as a tongue twister!)

However if you apply with a light hand, you can wear it as an everyday lipstick. It also balances out heavy eye makeup. The colour intensity is buildable because the lipstick is sheer.

The texture is creamy and softly vanilla scented. But as with most pale colours, it's unforgiving on chapped lips. Make sure t0 exfoliate and apply lipbalm first.

I wear Gaga as a staple now. Go get it girls before it goes out of stock again!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Herman Brown Vintage Silk Scarf & Lucite Hairclip

I'm back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with two souvenirs, a hand painted silk scarf and a lucite hair clip. They're from the vintage clothing store Herman Brown.

The owner Anna Nicholson gave me some tips on how to wear large square scarves like this one:

1) folded over the diagonal and knotted at the back, cowl necked style.
2) folded over at 1.5 inches intervals from a side and knotted around the neck.
3) loosely rolled over the diagonal and knotted at the center of the decolletage.
4) crumpled over the diagonal and tied over a handbag handle.
5) Worn as a head scarf, belt or sarong.

I'm told that the lucite mother of pearl hair clip is from the 50s.

If you're after a unique accessory, do have a look in vintage shops. You will not see the same item anywhere else and it will be a classic.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More LV Neverfull Monogram PM Pics

To give the LV lovers out there a closer look at the Neverfull PM. And Pink Monkey says: "Oh hai!"

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Louis Vuitton Monogram Neverfull PM Review

You're probably thinking "what the..." when you're reading about LV on this blog but I confess that I splurged.

I went to Paris for the weekend to meet a dear girlfriend and an innocent day of shopping ended with as an uncontrollable spree. We visited the Champs Elysees LV store and when I saw this bag, there was nothing stopping my appetite to acquire pretty things.

The Neverfull models are relatively cheaper compared to other LV bags. I chose the PM because it sits well on my frame and does'nt engulf me. The larger bags (MM and GM) did'nt cost that much more.

Although the PM is the smallest size, it's roomy and the side straps can be loosened to expand the bag further. One initial complaint is that the shoulder straps are thin so they're a bit painful if you're carrying a full bag. I'm sure they'll eventually soften over time.

I keep bits and bobs in a clear plastic zip case so I don't need to scoop out the entire contents of the bag to find something.

Some people say that the bag is reversible but personally I would'nt do it. Seems counterintuitive when coated canvas is a lot more durable and stain resistant.

The cloth interior print is quaint. I like how it features the address of the store where I bought it from. The bag is the perfect souvenir!

Needless to say, no more handbags for a long long time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

French Sole Ballet Flats

My faithful flats are worn to death so I ordered two pairs from French Sole. I'm a hater of heels now.

French Sole (and their US counterpart, London Sole) are feet friendly because they're soft and light. I can imagine them moulding to my feet.

These are in the Simple style although the black ones are cut lower at the toe. The soles are thin so after I wear them once or twice (for extra grip), I'll get rubber ones put on.

For those who are reluctant to buy online without trying on first, the size guide is quite accurate. I'm normally 6 Aus, 3 UK and 36 Euro, and their 37 fits me fine.

The shoe boxes are so freaking cute. The ballet flats were on sale for £40 each and shipping was next-day.

Now I get to wear them in Paris this weekend. Love 'em!


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