tech-section

Category : Tech

best fitness apps
Fitness apps keep goal setting fun

Health goals are easier to meet if you use tools to track your progress. Fitness apps make it possible to keep your fitness at your fingertips. Meals, workouts and even sleep can be tracked, logged and referenced while you’re on the move this summer.

fitness apps

My Fitness Pal

Tracking what you eat has never been so simple. With an extensive database of food, plus the ability to scan package bar codes for nutrition information, My Fitness Pal is an easy, user-friendly way to track your food intake. Though the app bases its overall input on calories, it also tracks carbs, fat, protein, sodium, and sugar, so you can tailor your diet to specific health goals and plans. Your account can be used on the website or the app, so you can track everywhere — there’s even an option to input recipes directly from a URL, making it much easier to gauge homemade dishes. (Available for iOS and Android devices, free)

fitness apps

Couch to 5K

Beginning runners, or those who want to be beginning runnings, will love the Couch to 5K app. One of the most iconic programs for building fitness from sedentary to 5K ready, the app has features that help runners follow the program. The program takes beginners to the finish line of a 5K in 20-30 minutes a day, 3 days a week, for nine weeks. (iTunes store, $2)

fitness apps

Sleep Cycle

Sleep is an underrated — but crucial — fitness component. Too little sleep will encourage your body to secrete hormones that make it more difficult to lose weight — not to mention how much more difficult it is to get up in the morning for your workout if you’re always exhausted. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app works in two ways. It analyzes sleep patterns, which can help you determine if your sleep is being interrupted during the night, even if you’re not fully waking. By analyzing your sleep cycle, it determines the ideal take to wake you — during a 30 minute, pre-determined window so you don’t miss your morning meeting. Waking at the right point during your sleep cycle will help you feel more alert and more ready to tackle your fitness plan. (iTunes store, $1)

fitness apps

RunKeeper

RunKeeper is a powerhouse of a fitness app. It’s a GPS tracker, activity logger and personal trainer. RunKeeper integrates with your phone’s music to play in-app, so you can continue to receive real-time training updates about pace and timing. The app collects a bunch of data from your runs — and other activities like cycling and walking. You can also log workouts after the fact, follow training plans or design your own. Any level of fitness will benefit from this user-friendly, data-happy app. (iTunes store, free)

fitness apps
Hot5 Fitness

Toning up can happen at home, not just at the gym. Hot5 Fitness is a library of quick, effective toning workouts that you can customize to what you need from a fitness app. You can do a 5-minute workout every morning to work your abs or a 45-minute yoga routine to increase flexibility. All workouts are synchronized to music that will motivate you — and you can even have friendly competitions within the app to push you even harder. (iTunes store, free)

fitness apps
Gym Pact

If competition keeps you on your toes, Pact: Earn Cash for Living Healthy is the app for you. The app itself is free, and the premise is that a group of people pledges a certain amount of money toward a goal each week. If every person hits their goal, everyone gets her money back. Unmet goals means forfeiting your pledge, with the money split between the people who did meet their goals. (iTunes store, free)

Do you have a favorite fitness app?

 

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iphone, tech etiquette

Handing over a smartphone to your tween is like driving down a country road at night with no lights. You have no idea what might lurk around the corner, so you start out slow and keep a watchful eye.

Not just rules, but smartphone manners

But eventually her curiosity widens – and so does her network. Your once-present tween is suddenly amped up on apps, poking around on Pinterest and fiddling with Facebook way more than the two of you agreed. With all the swooshing, beeping and flashing going on it’s now more difficult than ever to get your tween to look at you when talking. One reason could be because when you initially handed over the smartphone, you talked more about minutes than manners. You need to have the discussion about smartphone manners. Sure, you need to know how long your tween is talking on the phone and what she’s slinging on Instagram. But equally important is her smartphone etiquette. Because when it comes right down to it, the best cell phone plan comes from mom.

Protect the playdate

Bringing a phone to a friend’s house should not be automatic. If one person dashes to the phone every time it dings, it sends the message that someone else is more important. Teach your tween to focus on the face in front of them – not the friend on Face Time – when visiting with peers.

Ditch it when dining

Insist that your tween keep her smartphone in the car when eating out. Set the expectation that meals are a time to connect and unwind – without any digital distractions. And make sure your own smartphone is tucked inside your purse, not resting on the table.

Lead by example

Let your tween see you engaged in real time. Yes, your son’s double-header baseball game can be l-o-n-g. But if you whip out your phone at the first sign of boredom, your tween will, too. Teach her that being present in public is important when it comes to others’ feeling (ahem, her brother) and her own safety.

Turn it off

Give your tween examples of when the phone should go silent. According to parenting educator and author Jan Faull, cell phones are off limits in places like the library, a waiting room and theater. Tell your tween that carrying on a phone conversation while others are within 10 feet is disrespectful, and can make people feel invisible and alienated.

Converse with class

Role play on how your tween should make a phone call with her smartphone – especially when calling a friend’s home line. Saying, “Hi, Mrs. Smith, this is Kate. May I please speak with Sophie?” goes much further with parents than “Is Sophie there?” Never make someone – especially a friend’s parent – go on an archeological dig to find out information about why you’re calling.

Now it’s your turn. How have you taught your tween to keep her tweets in the wings and her manners front and center?

Lisa FinnSouthern California-born and raised Lisa Finn has more than 15 years of experience writing for print and online. Her writing can be found on the pages of L.A. Parent, Bikini.com, ModernMom, California Apparel News and Spa magazine. She primarily writes beauty, fashion and lifestyle articles, but also writes copy for mompreneurs who need help with their editorial needs. Her ghostwriting clients make regular appearances on shows such as The Doctors, Today, HGTV and CNN. She lives with her husband, three children under 11 years old, and a big, fluffy Labradoodle who keeps her company while she writes. Connect with Lisa at ww.lisafinn.net or on Twitter @LisaFinn17.

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FASHION-AND-BEAUTY-WEBSITES.jpg In a cluttered sea of fashion and beauty blogs, here are the absolute best websites for up-to-the-minute fashion and beauty news, outfit inspo, tutorials, shopping recs and more. Bookmark these pages and heed their editors’ advice and you will be the savviest style maven in the land.

FASHION

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who what wear

photo credit: Ring My Bell

WhoWhatWear.com While other fashion websites report on designers and collections, WhoWhatWear has the 4-1-1 on trends and looks worn by favorite fashion bloggers, celebs and chic chicks on the street. Too busy to keep up with all of your fav #OOTD bloggers on Instagram and their blogs? Head to WhoWhatWear and catch their daily slideshows of au courant ways of putting together outfits. The site’s speciality is bringing the reader real fashion inspo for putting together on-point looks from items in your own closet. Favorite articles: 13 Bloggers with the Best Minimal Style, 50 Inspiring Street Style Looks to Try for Summer, The Secret to Looking Taller Without Wearing Heels download

the cut

photo credit: Ohh Couture

TheCut.com

New York Magazine’s online style section has grown beyond the masthead to become one of the most important fashion websites. TheCut is a mashup of interviews with designers, slideshows of bloggers and the fantastically chic and industry news that is actually interesting. Favorite articles: 35 Extraordinary Details from the Fall Runways, Jenna Lyons Doesn’t Care What You Wear to Work, Paris Street Style

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chictopia

photo credit: Konichiwear.com

Chictopia.com

If you are a fashion blogger, this is the social media platform for you. Upload your photos and they could be viewed in the Chictopia style galleries, which are viewed by fashion-obsessed eyes everywhere, including editors. If you simply love looking at others’ daily looks for inspo, you will find all the #ootd peeps all in one place. Favorite features: Top Style Galleries of the Week, Most Discussed Style Pics, Chictopia Blog

BEAUTY

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Violet Grey

The word “curated” is a bit overplayed, but the word works perfectly for VioletGrey. Billing itself “The industry’s beauty edit,” the site is half style mag, half luxury shop. Each month VioletGrey publishes an unconventional interview and photo spread of an intriguing female celebrity (recents include Vanessa Paradis and January Jones). The site also features beauty tutorials and carefully curated (there’s that word again!) lists of only the very best, innovative products and you can shop directly from the VioletGrey shelves. Favorite articles: 29 Summer Essentials, 10 Beauty Travel Musts, Julie Delpy interview download (1)

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photo credit: Katja Rahlwes

IntoTheGloss.com

The leading multi-editor beauty website has built its massive following by publishing online content that is as professional and high gloss as the stuff you will find in print. Into the Gloss provides the very best reviews of new hair, body, makeup and nail products, often with high-end photo shoots accompanying. However, the site loads new content several times a day, and also provide top-rate interviews with style leaders and celebs. Favorite features: Emily’s Essentials, Interviews, Hair section

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thandiekay

photo credit: ThandieKay

ThandieKay

Founded by actor Thandie Newton and makeup artist Kay Montano, ThandieKay is a beauty blog that celebrates diverse women, an array of cultures and unique beauty. Newton told Refinery29, “We hope that when you log on to ThandieKay you’ll very quickly know that however you look and whoever you are, you’re invited to the party.” Favorite articles: The Low Down on Natural Beauty Products, Anika and Thandie Talk Braiding Botox Relaxers and Zits, Tutorials section 

What are YOUR favorite fashion and style sites? Share so we can surf!

Intro image photo credit: Jerine Lay via a Creative Commons license 

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Beach Ready Tech Accessories

Summer is here, hooray!  New beach bag, check. New wedges, check. New swimsuit, check. But let’s not forget about the things that can never leave our sight for even a moment, no not the kids! Your iphone and ipad, duh. Finding stylish iphone cases and cute ipad cases is not that difficult anymore, thanks to Kate Spade and Lily Pulitzer. Both of their latest summer collections of tech accessories are sure to go perfectly with your summer mani & pedi.

I honestly think I could changing my iphone and ipad case just as much as my manicure and pedicure.  It’s fun to change it up and switch your tech accessories with each new season.  Who knew that being so geek could be so chic.  I like to think that a new stylish laptop case will help me want to open it up and actually get some work done.

1. Kate Spade ipad Mini Folio Beach Stripe $65
2. Nasty Gal Sweet Berry iphone case $20
3. Lily Pulitzer Phone Wristlet $58
4. Kate Spade Toucan ipad Air case $85
5. Kate Spade Toucan iphone 5/5s case $40
6. Lily Pulitzer Lobster Phone Case $32
7. Casetify Rainbow Triangles $40
8. Lily Pulitzer Ipad Tech Case $78
9.  Large Envelope Clutch $45
10. Marc by Marc Jacobs Canvas Paradise Print 13′ Laptop Case $138

Do you change your phone case with each season? (You can tell us, we won’t judge)
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If you’re a Mom you probably like to shop, but you also like to save money!  Summer is just around the corner and I know I am excited to shop some of the latest summer trends not only for myself but for my kids and husband too!  Shopping for summer does not have to break the bank, in fact you should not be paying full price for anything anymore!  I trust you are savvier than that;)  If you shop at retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s and Bloomingdales then you should really look at PromotionalCodes.com they are the online place to score coupon codes for all your favorite retailers!

Now, I would not call myself a a couponing queen at all, but I certainly enjoy saving money just like anyone else and it seems silly not to simply download a coupon to save some money.  The way I see it, that money can be spent on summer travel!

To help celebrate the start of summer we are hosting a fun giveaway with our friends over at MomsLA.com.  One lucky winner will get this fabulous bag full of goodies! Valued at $623.99

Spring into Summer PRIZE Package

Here Comes Summer  Giveaway

Dell – Venue 8 Pro Black 32 GB Tablet ($299.99) 

Take the full power of Windows 8.1 and Office Home & Student 2013 wherever you go with an 8” HD screen, a quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor and dual cameras. Great for summer beach reading!

House of Harlow 1960 – Sunglasses ($125)

House of Harlow 1960 has evolved into offering full-fledged collections, including ready-to-wear, jewelry, eyewear, footwear, and handbags. Since its inception, the brand has received rave reviews and a tremendous celebrity following.

Vera Bradley – Pleated Tote ($68)

This VeraBradley pleated tote in plum crazy is full of summer essentials!

1 GlossyBox – ($21)

GLOSSYBOX is the perfect beauty surprise – for friends, loved ones, even yourself! You’ll get a beautifully wrapped box containing five deluxe-sized beauty products delivered directly to your doorstep.

Total Beauty Mother’s Day Collection- $110

The Mother’s Day Collection by TotalBeauty.com – a range of luxe skin care andbody essentials to experience spa-quality treatments in the comfort of yourhome. And the best part? They won’t wither away once you’re back to the real world.

Enter the Spring into Summer Giveaway

Please enter through the rafflecopter widget below.

*This post is part of a sponsored campaign with PromotionalCodes.com and MomsLA.com

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Tech & Nails

With phone cases and nail art currently being the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to show your personal sense of style and incorporate the latest trends into your life, what better way to show off your chic-ness by matching your nails and your phone case? I personally am not a fan of things that are too matchy-matchy, but phone cases to match your nails can be a subtle yet fun way to tie a look together.

Spring is a great season to showcase your nails because of the beautiful and cheery colours. Add in a pretty pastel or vibrantly-hued phone case and you’ll have a nice punch of colour to add to your spring wardrobe. Get your nails in tip top shape and check out some of these fun pairings!

Navy blue nails and case

     Nails: “Autum Nights” by China Glaze Phone case from Etsy shop Hello Nutcase

Fuscia case and nails

                                         Nails: “Flora” by Julep Phone case from DANNIJO

Turquoise and chevron nails and case

             Nails: “Turquoise and Caicos” by Essie and Jamberry wrap in Mint Chevron.
Phone case from Amazon

Purple nails and case

   Nails: “”You’re Such a Budapest” by O.P.I.  Phone case from Boticca

Ikat and lime green nails and case

Nails: “Jaded Jack” by butterLONDON  Phone case from society6

black and glitter nails and phone case
                                 Nails: “Boom Pow” Nail Lacquer by Deborah Lippman
                                 Phone case is Juicy Couture from Amazon
Watermelon nails and phone case

                                       Nails: “Tart Deco” by Essie  Phone case from society6

Black and white nails and phone

                                    Nails “Bullock Bold” by Julep  Phone case from ASOS

What does your phone case and nails say about you?
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The season for gift giving

Late spring and early summer are prime gift-giving seasons. Besides December holidays, the end of the school year and beginning of summer put the most stress on gift-givers. From teacher appreciation gifts to graduation presents to wedding gifts, May, June and July calendars fill up with events, parties and end-of-the-year good-byes that involve gifts.

HipChip

HipChip simplifies group gifts

Group gifts let parents and friends simplify the gift-giving season — at least a little. Moms juggling multiple teachers and coaches can keep all their gift lists in one app, and HipChip is the ideal app for gift-giving a variety of different gifts.

Group gifts usually start with an email. A class mom takes the initiative to send out an email or chats with other moms at drop off. A mother or aunt shoots off a Facebook message to other family members about contributing money for a large wedding gift. Conversations volley back and forth about whether to give a gift or gift card, and then there are discussions about the amount for the gift card or to which store it should be given.

Of course there are awkward pauses about money.

Some moms have a single child in school and are ready to contribute a significant amount of money, where a mom with twins in first grade plus two other children might want to contribute a smaller amount but doesn’t want to feel she’s being unfair. HipChip smooths out the kinks in group gift giving.

HipChip

How HipChip works

With HipChip, all you really need to do is figure out who you want to invite to your gift pool. Once you input the email addresses for the group gift invitation, HipChip contacts your friends and even sends a reminder as your “close” date nears.

The organizer can see who has seen the invitation and who has donated, which can be helpful when you aren’t sure if you have the right email for people in your child’s classes or on your child’s sports team. One fantastic thing about HipChip is that only the organizer knows who’s contributed to the gift and how much has been contributed, which can eliminate some of the gift-giving pressure.

HipChip

What HipChip offers

In addition to HipChip’s ease of use, the app offers a truly wide variety of gift card options. From restaurants and retail stores to spas and charitable contributions, gift givers will find forty — and counting — options for their gifts. Once a gift pool has been established, the money can be used on one card or split up to five different ways. HipChip is truly an app that will work for any gift-giving occasion on your calendar this year.

A gift from HipChip

HipChip is offering Savvy Sassy Readers $10 off their first group gift of $50 or more. The exclusive deal is just in time for end-of-the-year teacher appreciation gifts. Start your group gift now — the link automatically takes $10 off your group gift.

Do you participate in group gift giving or prefer to give your own gift?
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tech accessories

Not only have stylish tech accessories become a personal style statement but they’re now seeing seasonal trends of their own. From pastels, to gold and glittery phones, the more unique and attention grabbing the better! Dare we say they are as important as the shoes on your feet!? {gasp!}

Fashion designers like Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenburg and Lily Pulitzer all have a line of fashionable tech accessories that will make you want to change your case every few weeks. That is probably the goal, for us to buy a new phone case or iPad cover with the changing of each season. Buying a new handbag? Why not add a new matching cover for your phone!?

Tech Wristlets

Not only are there phone cases, but now there are clutch purses designed specifically with your phone in mind. I personally love the Juicy Couture Larchmont Tech Wristlet. These wide wrislets will hold all your credit cards, cash, phone and even a lipgloss. These tech wristlets are not just for an evening out either — they are perfect for the day and running errands as a mom. It’s easy to throw a tech wristlet that has all your essentials into a diaper bag or change handbags quickly.

Tech cases have become much more than a safe place to protect your expensive tech, they are a personal style statement that lets you express to the world who you are.

What do your tech accessories say about you!?
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LaptopBags

Don’t leave home without a stylish laptop bag

Work-at-home moms do some of their best work away from home. Whether you find your creative zen in a local coffee shop or the local library, with your kids playing and reading nearby, a protective laptop bag will help protect your computer — and all of the files stored there. Find a bag that works with your style, and you can carry your computer without worry.

More than a protective case

You can protect your tech at home with fabulous products — we found twelve we love — but that doesn’t always help when you need to get out of the house quickly. Laptop covers or sleeves are perfect for around the house, but a dedicated laptop bag really makes a difference if you plan on working outside the home, whether it’s for a full-time position or an afternoon in another location. Your everyday bag probably doesn’t have room for your sleeved laptop unless you juggle the contents — pull out the makeup bag and errant water bottles, add laptop and your favorite highlighters.

Why a fashionable laptop bag is worth the investment

You may have a shelf full of totes, but investing in a laptop bag is a smart move for your tech. Keeping your laptop protected is important, and laptop bags are designed to pad your computer from the jostles, bumps and bangs that occur when you’re standing in line or dropping your bag against the legs of your chair. Stylish laptop bags are available for any budget, and savvy moms know there’s something empowering about feeling proud of the way you look when you walk into the room. We’ve rounded up seven chic laptop bags in a variety of styles and price points.

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melissa-beth-slim-tote
festa-lesportsac-laptop-bag
vera-bradley-laptop-case
michael-kors-jet-set-travel-tote
quality-covers-laptop-bag
w-series-lake-forest-laptop-case
marc-jacobs-gamma-ray

Slim Tote (Melissa Beth, $129)

LeSportsac Laptop Bag (Zappos, $56)

Vera Bradley Neoprene Laptop Case (Zappos, $54)

Jet Set Travel Tote – MICHAEL (Michael Kors, $300)

Customizable Laptop Bag (Etsy, QUALITYCovers, $38)

Lake Forest Laptop Case – McKlein USA (EBags, $117)

Gamma Ray Computer Commuter – Marc by Marc Jacobs (Nordstrom, $118)

Keep your laptop bag work-ready

If you leave the house for work more than a couple times a week, it makes sense to keep your laptop bag packed and ready to go. Think about what you really need when you’re going to work on your latest projects, and pack accordingly.

Keep these in your bag:

  • Slim notebook for ideas
  • Two or three of your favorite pens
  • Handful of your business cards
  • Chapstick
  • Hand sanitizer

Add to bag immediately before leaving the house:

  • Wallet
  • Small water bottle
  • Phone
  • Laptop
Do you work better in your office — home or corporate — or in a more public place?
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pinterest t-shirtDear Sassy:

It was over a month ago, but I still have a Valentine’s Day craft hangover because of the Despicable Me 2 Twinkie Valentines I had to make for my twins’ preschool class. The girls saw the blog photo over my shoulder as I was looking on Pinterest and I was suckered into being that mom who staples little overalls to each Twinkie to make it perfect. I even bought a hot glue gun. This is so not me, and I hated it. But all those sweet crafts and perfect party decorations people post on Pinterest are starting to make me feel terrible for not wanting to do those things for my kids. Doesn’t anyone just buy stuff anymore?

Dear Anticraft Mom:

Yes. Yes they do. In fact, lots of moms do. Especially because they have busy lives and no time to sit hunched over with a pastry bag and a Cricut paper cutter getting everything just right.

But there are plenty of people who do these things, and instead of letting them make you feel inadequate as a mother – as a person – think of Pinterest as a stack of magazines. Millions and millions of them. When you flip through, say, Real Simple and you see a cute craft for kids’ lunchboxes, do you then scramble to your kitchen and start cutting hearts out of whole grain bread for an adorable PB&J?

No. No you don’t.

(Well, some of you do, but this post is not for you. It’s for you to link and send to your friends who often express jealousy and thinly-veiled rage.)

You might dog-ear that page, or rip it out and pin it on your bulletin board, or let it get lost in a pile of other magazine pages you’ve torn out to save recipes or gardening ideas or a picture of a celebrity hairstyle you might want to try. And then you forget all about it.

With Pinterest, these torn out magazine pages are IN YOUR FACE with relentless cheerful pressure. The bombardment of just-so images can be overwhelming and make you want to curl up in a ball in the corner of the room eating M&M’s (the store-bought kind, not lovingly individually-piped preservative-free homemade chocolate covered candies) or at least running to the drugstore at 9:30 the night before Valentine’s Day to purchase the last 2 boxes of lame cards with Spongebob on them.

But you know what? That’s okay, too.

Parenting is such a stressful job all around. There’s absolutely no reason for you to pile more pressure on top of what you already feel. When you start to feel like a shitty mom because someone posted an edible Bunny Food recipe and you can barely remember the date of Easter, click away, my friend. Click away.

bunny food

(Incidentally, clicking away is the best antidote for most of the ills caused by the internet.)

Pinterest will be there — and it will be billions of pins stronger, like a boil that has swelled during the night — when you’ve regained your sensibilities and you’re ready to poke around again for some ideas for how to decorate your child’s playroom.

Side rant: must we keep using the phrase “bucket list,” even with activities for young children?

summer bucket list

I mean, imagine that conversation.

“Look, kids, I printed out this colorful Summer Bucket List from a blog I found on Pinterest!”

“Mom, what’s a bucket list?”

“It’s a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.”

“What’s kick the bucket?”

“It means DIE.”

(Children are horrified, speechless for a moment.)

“Are we going to die at the end of the summer?”

“No, honey, it’s just an expression.”

(Kids walk away, not believing you, convinced they will die before Labor Day.)

The moral of the story? Be careful what you pin!

Send in your problem for Sassy to solve, whether it’s a parenting question, relationship dilemma, or a snafu with social etiquette and it may get answered in a future column. Sassy is here to help! Submit your question for Ask Sassy here! (Or just email me, darling. We can keep it between us. [email protected]) You can also follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page, where I share pro tips on life every week.

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