Archive for the Uncategorized Category

How & Why To Buy On Amazon

Posted in amazon, online retailers, online shopping, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2017 by sorceressofthedark

So Amazon being the world’s largest flea market of sorts where you can find virtually  anything and I do mean anything, have you ever shopped for clothing and accessories there? I never used to shop for clothes and such online until recently and now I’m hooked at shopping at Amazon. Let me tell you why.

Amazon has a customer first policy. I have Prime Membership, which gives me two day shipping, along with loads of other special things, like tv shows, music, movies, audio channels, photo storage, books and special deals on merchandise. It costs me $10.99 monthly or $99 annually. I can share these benefits with my family. To me, the cost of free shipping on any Prime order more than pays for my membership.

If something I order doesn’t fit, I simply let Amazon know I want to return it, they create a label and I print it out. I box the item up in the same box it arrived to me. Luckily, I have a UPS drop-off 1/2 block away where I simply drop off the box. The same day I’m credited that dollar amount I paid for the item. How simple is that? If you don’t have a drop-off, you can have UPS come directly to your home. Again, simple. I’ve come to love online shopping like this from the comfort of my own home. I don’t have to go too far in the freezing winter or boiling summer. Perfect.

Sometimes, you can write a seller directly and let them know that an item isn’t to your liking. Just be polite about it and send them a photo or two if the item isn’t right. Explain to them why. I’d say 98% of the sellers responded favorably to any messages I’ve left whenever I’ve had a problem. And I’ve always left those that did positive feedback. For those 2% that were weird or nasty, their feedback reflected their attitudes.

It’s really like a search engine when you first go on the site. Just type in what you’re looking for. The results will come back. Start shopping around and compare, just as if you were shopping from store to store. Read the reviews left by others(very important).

If you’re buying clothing, read about the sizing and how others say the clothing fits. Asian-sized clothing does not fit like USA-sized clothing. You’ll have to learn how to use a tape measure to measure your clothing and compare its measurements against Asian sizing.

For example, Asian clothing is measured in centimeters, ours in inches. Take a blouse and measure it from shoulder to shoulder. Write down this number. That will be the “shoulder”. Measure where the bust would be from one side to the other and double it.  Do the same for the waist. After you write all these numbers down, do the same for a favorite pair of jeans(waist, hips, rise, length) and then dress pants. Now you’ll have your sizing numbers to compare. Then you read the reviews. If people are saying the clothing runs small and to upsize, then do that. Buy the item in a size 2 or 3 times larger. If you read the sellers measurements and compare, you’ll generally see that your measurements will fit into that “larger” size. If I’m a USA 12, in Asian size, that could be up to a 3 or 4x. Or it could be a 1x. You must read the measurements listed.

Its not difficult once you see the prices and fashions that might catch your eye. Some people tell me they wouldn’t bother to do all that “work” just to order clothing online, but to me, it’s so much easier than driving from store to store and town to town. Cheaper, too. And my style is different because I’m not buying from generic big box stores, but instead I’m purchasing from items online from an array of sellers.

It’s really that simple. I never knew it was. My kids shop Amazon all the time. Now I know why. I hope this tutorial helps.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.



What Jewelry Should I Buy On Amazon?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2016 by sorceressofthedark

Black Friday has descended upon us along with Cyber Monday. Sales emails are inundating our inboxes and strangling them. Black Friday ads have been attacking our brains as we search for the most lucrative buys available on merchandise for the holidays and items for ourselves. Sellers and big box stores make their most sales at this time of year and pocket their money. Or I should say, pocket our money. How have you spent your money?

Tight-fisted with yours?tightfistedmoney


Or easy-going? handovermoney

With the gift-giving season coming, thoughts of loved ones, sweethearts and those we want to please, it’s time to think of gifts that really do make someone smile. You can do that without spending a bundle so you can keep a smile on your face while also putting a smile on hers.

Jewelry always has been a wonderful gift. Naturally, women love gems, but I won’t go into the expensive diamonds and gemstones here. I’m talking about the wonderful world of beautiful costume jewelry that turns peoples heads. The stunning hand-crafted pieces, the eye-popping neck adornments, the fabulous earrings that are made of sustainable woods and natural dyes. These are pieces that don’t always break the bank, but they bring huge compliments because they are absolutely gorgeous.


This is UniteStone’s crystal pendant that arrives with three different colored stones that are inter-changeable. The stones are clear, a vibrant blue and a warm brown. The 20 inch snake chain is a rose gold metal and retails for $10.99 on Amazon.*


Creativelife sells this adorable 28 inch long vintage owl on a chain for $5.99 at Amazon.* It reminds me of the owls worn in the 1960’s and the 1970’s. It’s so retro!


Huan Xun has this tiny stainless steel owl that’s about 16 inches long. It’s one of my favorites. You can order it in stainless silver or with an overcoat of gold. It retails for $5.99 for gold and $9.99 for silver at Amazon.*


Nianpu offers this aromatherapy locket with five reusable pads. The locket comes on a 23 inch ball chain and is copper-colored. It retails for $15.68 at Amazon.*

If you’re looking for something different for a gift try shopping online. You never know what you’ll find.

I’ll be highlighting jewelry this month as unique gifts for your someone special. If it’s something I think is worth the price and looks great, I’ll tell you about it.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.



Mizon’s Gold Starfish Cream

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2016 by sorceressofthedark

mizonstarfishTo begin with, all the starfish that are in the little tubs of Mizon’s Starfish cream, are harvested in a humane way. There is an overpopulation of them and supposedly, the way they are culled from the ocean in no way creates any harm to them. Secondly, you know how if a starfish were to lose one of its appendages and it grows back? Well, that’s the theory of this cream. Your skin will regenerate new cells. It’s touted as a miracle cream and many women absolutely adore it.

I’ve used it on and off for the last six months and I’m still on the fence about it. I do know that there are different canisters of it. There is the gold top tub and the tub that’s marked the “Mizon Returning Starfish Cream” , which is the original. Apparently, the original had more starfish in it. Therein may lie the problem for me.

I find the cream somewhat moisturizing but not heavily. I can use it in the summertime when it’s hot outside without worrying about my face looking oily. I do have dry skin that needs a lot of hydration. Come winter, I need to add my oil concoction drops to any moisturizer before I moisturize my face.

As with any cream, I want results. I just didn’t see any that I could say would benefit my skin. Maybe I didn’t use it long enough, (altho I think over a 6-month period that’s long enough) but I also know that when I’ve administered product within a two week period I’ve often begun to see results, albeit small ones, but enough that made me want to go on with a product. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t been so hyped about this one.

It might be better for younger skin that isn’t looking for too much right now because it’s near perfect and doesn’t need that much in the way of correction. For mature skin, this isn’t suiting my needs.

If you’re seriously looking for K-Beauty for mature skin, I believe there are better products aimed directly for concerns that women deal with as their skin ages. Mizon’s Starfish Cream might be great for skin that doesn’t need plumping or doesn’t have wrinkles yet and just needs some basic moisture. I just don’t think it belongs in my arsenal.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

Target Beauty Boxes

Posted in budget beauty, budget shopping, subscription boxes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 4, 2016 by sorceressofthedark

Beauty boxes. Subscriptions Boxes. That’s how I started this blog six years ago. Talking about them. And now I’m actually subscribing to two of them. How in the world did this happen to me? Lol….at least it’s only two….

I’m sitting here writing about the much-loved, much-waited-for, desperately-wanting-spoilers for Target box. It’s usually shipped on the first Monday of the month. Doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, it still goes live and it’s still  purchased somewhere around 2 to 3 a.m. on the first Monday of every month. And people in America sit up and wait for that Target site to go live so they can order that box.

The key is that spoilers are usually released a few days earlier so we know what we’re ordering ahead of time. So the excitement builds, we wait for the site to open, and bam! we go to and hit purchase. (This link is for the June 2016 beauty box, btw.) If the site goes live for July, it may show.

Why are subscription boxes so popular? Are they good for your wallet? I’ve contained myself to only subscribed to two. In this post I’ll talk about Target’s beauty box. When you pay a certain dollar amount for an amount of goods and receive an amount of goods that exceeds what you’ve paid, than yes, that’s good for your wallet. But it’s only good if you’re going to use those goods. If you’re not happy with what’s in that box, than it’s only going to go to waste. If you have a choice to purchase each month and say yes or no without the company always taking your money, then it’s a good subscription box. If you are stuck in a subscription plan that always takes your money monthly regardless of your wanting to purchase from their stock,  then no, it’s not to your benefit.

So here’s the thing, consumers. Many people do subscribe to subscriptions boxes, happily. Many subscriptions box companies are safe companies with good plans. Others are not.

Some sub boxes show you what you will get ahead of time  and others like to surprise you. Some subscription companies want you to sign up for their companies for the long haul (6 or 12 month plans) where they will take money out of your card whether or not you choose to receive merchandise each month or like the merchandise for that particular month. If you don’t like the merchandise being offered by a certain subscription plan, some don’t offer refunds or returns. It’s yours to keep, simple as that.

Other subscription plans are on a month-by-month basis. Some keep your credit card on file and others will not keep your credit card on file. In today’s world of hacking, there’s a lot to consider.

Target’s subscription box is on a month-to-month basis. They don’t keep your credit card on file. You can choose to put your credit card on file if you’d like. They sometimes offer additional beauty boxes each month, depending on the holiday, such as Father’s Day, Christmas and such. They do send out spoilers so you are aware of what is being offered ahead of time and you can judge if the box is worth the money to you. I’ve always found Target’s boxes well over  the dollar amount I’ve spent on them. And having a choice is all I’ve ever asked.


Target Women’s Beauty Box June included: Pantene Expert Intense Hydration Shampoo, Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Creme Rinse, Pixi Mesmerizing Mineral Duo, Laneige Water Bank Serum, S.W. Basics Exfoliant, L’Oreal Paris True Match Cushion, L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Volume Filler Cream, Soap & Glory Righteous Glory Body Butter, Yes To Cucumbers 10-Count Facial Wipes, CoTZ Face SPF 40, and e.l.f. Lip Kiss Balm.

Cost of the Target Women’s Beauty Box was $10, I received a coupon for $3 off a purchase of a beauty purchase of $15 of more and the total value of the box was about $29.00. I loved the shampoo and the creme rinse. The Water Bank serum I’m putting away till fall, as I still have a serum I’m currently using. The Pixi are frosted shades which I don’t use, so those are give-aways for the holidays. I like the exfoliant, use them all the time. The Cushion was good to try, I did a about a week’s worth out of the sample. The Body Butter is a foil pack which I don’t particular like for the packaging, but they’re good for traveling. I’ll use the facial wipes, always love them when I’m too tired to wash my face properly. (being honest.) The CoTZ is a tiny trial size, and that’s good to have in my purse for when I didn’t realize I’d need a sunscreen. I’ve used the e.l.f. Lip Balm many times already and loved it. This box has exceeded my expectations for the cost!


Target Men’s Beauty Box included: Nautica Life Cologne, got2B Spiking Glue, Marlowe No. 142 Men’s Shave Gel, Axe White Label Night Body Wash, Old Spice Hardest Working Deodorant, Dove Men + Care Complete Care 2-In-1 Shampoo, Nivea Men Creme, Schick Hydro Men’s Razor, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar, Remington Beard Boss Oil or Balla Body Powder. My box had the Balla Body Powder. All in all the Target men’s box totaled about $17.00 in product value and again, was well worth it for the initial cost of $5.00. This box also came with a coupon of $3.00 off specific beauty care.

The shaver is an excellent shaver to use. The got2B spiking Glue I’d never used, and now I’m in love with this product. Believe it or not, I love the Old Spice. I love CeraVe and I’ve used the soap. My son will get the shampoo, shave gel, Nivea and body powder in his Christmas stocking, as they’re perfect stocking stuffers. For $5.00, another winner from Target!

During any given month, Target usually offers some type of special on products in their stores that where if you purchase 4 items, you’ll get a Target $5.00 gift card. These products range in any department, household, cosmetic, soaps, suncare, it can be whatever Target chooses. If you shop wisely and buy products that you need, you can manage to use the coupons that you get with these boxes sometimes to purchase the 4 items to reduce that cost, then get the $5.00 Target gift card back for free. Use that gift card to discount purchase the Target beauty box for half-price! It’s only $10 now so cutting that cost by $5 would be only $5.

Example of what I bought:

Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Shine Shampoo: $4.99

Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Shine Conditioner $4.99

Tresemme Perfectly Undone Sea Salt Spray $5.49

Dove Advanced Care Deodorant $4.89

Total: $20.36-$3.00 coupon from Target Beauty Box=$17.36 plus I then received a $5.00 Target Gift Card to use for anything I’d like. I didn’t buy anything I won’t use, I’m not familiar with or I don’t currently need. Just shopping wisely,  trying to stretch my dollars and have fun all at the same time!

Now if Target will only release their July spoilers…..



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.


got2B glued Styling Spiking Glue

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 4, 2016 by sorceressofthedark

Fullscreen capture 742016 42417 AMGlue is the word for this stuff and I really don’t know how I didn’t know about it. I received it in my June Target subscription box recently, and I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to try it. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play around with it, it’s definitely become a staple in my hair products bowl. For the record, I have fine hair,bleached, a little past chin length with some layers that needs something to give it oomph to keep whatever style I’ve decided on for the day.
After I shampoo, I’ll put in some oils or a styling creme for shine, then if I want to either use a beachy wave product or set my hair with rollers, I’ll put some Got2B on my palms (not much, use too much and you’ll have very hard hair), and run my palms through my strands after I use the salt spray or before I put each roller in.
For the rollers, I use the kind that don’t need pins, kind of like velcro, (I get them at the dollar store), Before I set my hair, I’ll run some drops of oil like argan, Pantene, Fekkai or Chi or a mix first through my damp hair. Then I’ll put some styling creme that adds shine from the mid to the ends. I’ll dry my hair. Then I’ll put it up in the large size rollers. But before I do, I’ll put a few dollops of Got2B on my palms, rub them together and for each section, run my fingers through each section of hair that’s going to be rolled up. Not too much or it’s going to be too hard. I continue on, putting on make-up, getting dressed, take the rollers out, and the set is unbelievable. This product adds more fullness, more stability, lets the style stay forever. There’s no frizz anymore. I can go another day if I want with minor adjustments the next day.
Who can ask for more? It’s well worth it for how little it costs. I haven’t noticed any damage to my hair, that’s a big plus, too. A little goes a long way, so it’s cost-effective. If you want a wet-look in the summer, it’s great. So many ways to use it, I love this product! Got2bGlued Styling Spiking Glue by Schwarzkopf can be found in Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Ulta, and many others stores and also online for under $5.00.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

What Perfume Should I Get?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 3, 2016 by sorceressofthedark

So many perfumes to choose from. Walk into a department store and the fragrance consultants will stampede you with their well-known designer fragrances. Chanel, Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent, Elie Saab, Tom Ford, Valentino, Viktor & Rolf, Jo Malone, Tory Burch, Dior, Prada, Narciso Rodriguez, Burberry, Kate Spade, Bvlgari…the list is endless and if you’re not aware of the juice inside that bottle, well, each representative of their line will tell you that their perfume is the best-sellingthe most-popular, the favorite of all the IT girls and your headache begins.

So now you walk into an actual perfume store  in the mall, you know, one of those shops that only carries perfumes, some that you may have heard of and some that you can’t even pronounce. The owner or sales assistants may let you dicker a bit with price, but not much. The prices are outstandingly high, but, as the SA’s tell you, that’s because they only carry the one or two of the very best of the very best out there for you to choose from. And that’s where you think, in whose opinion is the very best? Because if that’s all they really carried, wouldn’t there be armed guards at the door?

Okay, so now where to go? Wait, someone told you that perfumes made by cosmetic companies are always good, right? After all, if you’ve worn those cosmetics for years and liked them, then the perfumes they produce must be quality too. That makes sense…or does it? Not really, perfumes are just another money-maker as an aside for the company. Just because you like how their cosmetics perform on your face does not equal how their perfumes will interact with your bodies chemistry.

Back to Square One. How about Drugstore Perfumes? Dare you walk inside a cheaper store and actually look at what they carry? Would any of those inexpensive bottles be any good? Some of those inexpensive perfumes have been around for decades and there’s a reason why. Because they are good.  Pleasing to the nose, pleasing to the pocketbook and a no-hassle purchase. That’s what Drugstore Perfumes are all about.

You’ve heard about Celebrity Perfumes. So many of your friends wear them, so why not you? There are many testers available at local stores, so give them a spritz. You might like them. Some are inexpensive, some are not. Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, Alexis and Krystle from the tv show Dynasty started this craze years ago. There are quite a few decent ones on the market to sample.

Niche perfumes. What exactly are these? And why are they so expensive? Niche houses don’t necessarily advertise their products. You can’t find them in department stores. They usually have only one perfumer. They don’t market to the masses, so their perfumes will cater to singular scents rather than a broader appeal. For example, instead of the ever-popular “fruity”, a niche house would market perfumes that would address a scent that might smell like “fire” or “thunder” or  “rain”. You can buy them usually on their own website and occasionally through a store that they will allow to market their product. They are very different perfumes than the standard fare, but that doesn’t mean they are of better or lesser quality.

Vintages are always an option. You’ll see these in thrift shops and online on auction shops. Beware, some of them might have turned and buying them are usually for the saavy perfume buyer. Once you’ve become well-acquainted with perfumes, this is an area that all perfume lovers should explore.

The best way to find your perfume is to read about perfumes. There are a number of sites online that talk about perfume. Online readers that belong to the sites offer their own opinions on various scents. That’s where you can begin to get ideas about different perfumes and what might pique your interest.

You can follow different blogs about perfume to read the reviews on different perfumes. Learn what each perfume brings to the table. As you read about each perfume, take a few notes and then go sample that perfume at a local store. See if you agree with the reviewer. You’ll find yourself learning more and more and becoming acquainted with perfumery. Before you realize it, you’ll start to find favorites within the perfume world.

A few Perfume sites online that give valuable information are (in alphabetical order): Basenotes; Fragrantica;  Parfumo. Google for more.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.



The Isle Of Perfume.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 17, 2016 by sorceressofthedark

Fullscreen capture 2172016 121311 AMWhere do perfume-holics live? Or go to when they want to de-stress, relax and spray with abandon? They go to the The Isle of Perfume, a little known stretch of land on an undisclosed continent, whispered about only in closed circles, location known only by word-of-mouth.

The cost to visit is very little, actually, all you need is your time and your hobby. As with any society, there are some basic rules. Although the idea of a sweet-smelling utopia with fragrant unicorns might be a wonderful dream, any society worth it’s weight in gold must be regulated in some way to keep its inhabitants happy.

Our policies are rather simple here, on the IoP. You must be versed in perfumery. If asked what your favorite notes are, a blank stare would never suffice. Although there really isn’t a right answer, an inhabitant might respond with  “I love vanilla, patchouli, tonka bean and oak moss for the winter months when it’s cold. But they could be rather cloying once the warmer weather hits. That’s when I’ll bring out some lighter, sweeter notes, like honey or raspberry into the mix. Summertime I’ll go very light with coconut added in.” Totally confused? Not if you’re a member of The Isle of Perfume. We know what we mean.

Our heaven is talking, living, breathing perfumes. And we don’t  use the word addiction about it, either. This is our hobby, our passion. We all collect perfumes in different manners. Some collect by the bottle, some collect by the sample, some by the decant. It really doesn’t matter, as long as we collect to sniff different scents each day. That’s what we do.

Fullscreen capture 2172016 123814 AM

We explore scents. We document them. We keep our Journals. Kind of like a library of information about our perfumes and what we have experienced about each and every one of them. To others, this might seem like a mania, a psychosis of sorts. But it’s not at all. There are some that collect stamps or cds(music in any form), motorcycles, cars…you name it, there are collectors of all sorts. And some, other very expensive hobbies.

Ours is the same. I suppose it’s just that with the internet it’s considered relatively “new” to some that have never heard of others interested in perfume that would go so far to collect the juice, keep it protected, documented, showcase it at times and talk about it with similar interested persons around the world. It’s a hobby that’s really not new. There have been fragrance consultants for decades.

When I was a teen-ager, I met my first one who introduced me to perfumes in my hometown. I later went on to become a fragrance consultant and also, for those of you who are familiar with the term , a fragrance model. Because of that type of employment, I was lucky enough to be able to start my collection of perfume. That was a few decades ago and now with the internet, younger generations are beginning to love perfume and enjoy this hobby.

So why is perfume considered a unique hobby ? A ridiculous hobby? A wasteful hobby to some? What gives anyone the right to determine what is wasteful or what is pleasurable? No one should be judgemental about anyone else’s pleasure unless it is hurting someone.

For some, a handful of perfumes, perhaps 3 or 4 bottles suffice. For true perfume hobbyists, or curators, that number can exceed anywhere from 100 to 1000 or more.

Explaining my hobby to a sales associate at a fragrance counter can be taxing. When they spritz a perfume on a strip of paper and want me to smell it without asking first, I usually respond with, “Thanks, I have that…”, and then they’ll suggest another, and I’ll have to say, “Thanks, have that too…”. They could go on and on, with me responding that I have this one or that one, or that I don’t have that one because I find it too linear or the longevity is just too poor, but I try to stop them.

If I use certain terms with them, and they catch the idea that I do have a few more bottles than the average person, they might ask just how many do I own. When I tell them, the reaction is usually the same. Eyes open wide, mouth drops open, and then the questions begin. Why, why and more whys.

Sometimes a sales associate wants to know more about perfume and I get hammered about the intricacies of perfume, which is great. I love talking perfume and if I have an interested audience, ask away. But the point is, why ask why?

Perfume is an ethereal experience. It lifts spirits. Using essential oils to ward off sickness has helped people through the ages, so why has using perfume to lift spirits not been recognized in the same way? Perfume has essential oils in it, also. Many people derive the same experience, the same beneficial emotional properties that others do from essential oils. It can lift one from depressive moods, help you to sleep better, put you in a better mood, make you feel sexy, give you strength and a whole host of other emotions.

Fullscreen capture 2172016 123319 AM

If a person takes the time to carefully build their collection, researching their purchases, buying their perfume bottles to suit their needs, storing them properly so the collection so it  will last, documenting the bottles in some sort of journal or spreadsheet, it’s a definitive hobby. It becomes a stress-reliever. It helps them to relax. Working with their hobby makes them a better person because it eases their emotions and relaxes them. Perfumes takes them away just as any other hobby takes another away to their special place.

The internet has now drawn attention to perfume as much as any other commodity because of online-buying and marketing. Because our society is based on smartphones we are inundated with ads and apps from sites like Ebay and Pinterest that are gateways to ideas on how to build our collections, no matter what they might be. And should that collection be perfumes, well then, I’ll just take my breaks on the Isle of Perfume, my idea of Heaven.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.


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