Tips For a Healthy Bride

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, nature is beautiful and……full of pollen and cedar. There’s nothing like being sick on your wedding day to bring down your mood! That’s why it’s important to start allergy prevention and take care of yourself well before your wedding day gets here. Of course, you can always take a prescription or over the counter allergy medication once you start feeling under the weather, but I think healthy and organic prevention is the best way to go! After all, you want to build a strong immune system, not weaken it with chemicals. The Texas hill country is full of allergens; we’ve got cedar, oak, ragweed, junipers, ash, elm,  and many more.

3lbJarHoney_pinkPhoto Credit: Fains Honey

Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and pick up some locally made honey — meaning within 50 miles of your location. If you take a spoonful each day, it will help acclimate your body to the pollen in the area and will hopefully lessen its effect on you. It’s very important that it be local honey, the closer the better, or it won’t help much at all.

noni_fruitPhoto Credit: Noni.org

I recently discovered the amazing properties of a Hawaiian fruit, Noni. It’s a tropical fruit that’s been used for years to help the body resist infections and enviro-toxins. Noni can be taken as a juice, pill capsule or in its natural form, eaten as a fruit. Warning! Noni has an unpleasant smell that some people find unbearable. I’ve found that the pill capsules don’t have the weird flavor that you’ll get when drinking the juice or eating the fruit.

neti_pot_sinucleansePhoto Credit: SinuCleanse

Neti pots are not my favorite items to combat allergies with (I hate the feeling of having liquid in my nose — like a really big wave at the beach!), but everyone I know who uses one says it works wonders for them. It looks like a tea kettle or magic lamp, and works like nasal spray by using salt water to flush your sinuses and keep them clear. Recommended use is two times a day, especially after spending a lot of time outdoors (like floating the river).

omega-3-fatty-acidPhoto Credit: Psych Central

Omega-3 fatty acids are your best friend for a lot of reasons, one of which is allergy symptom relief. Omega-3s can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and grass-fed meat and eggs. Some added benefits are lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, therapeutic for children with ADHD and autism, prevents and reverses insulin resistance, and is absolutely wonderful for your skin. You can find them in capsules at the grocery store and health food stores if you don’t eat enough of it in its natural form.

crib_mattressPhoto Credit: Greenopedia

Believe it or not, your mattress could have something to do with your bad allergies! The best thing to do is find a high-quality, allergy-free cover or mattress. Wash all of your bedding with hot water at least once a week during allergy season to keep it fresh and irritant free. Check the tags of your mattresses; unless stated otherwise, most mattresses and sheets are sprayed with pesticides.

product_oil_of_oreganoPhoto Credit: Home Remedies Web

Oil of Oregano can be found in capsule form and is good for respiratory issues such as cough, asthma or allergies. It comes from the leaf of a plant called Oregano; the oil is also good for menstrual cramps, UTIs, headaches, and heart conditions. You can relieve stuffiness by putting a few drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vapourizer. To relieve a sore throat, drink a few drops of the oil with some water or juice.

-Nikki

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Rain, Rain Go Away?

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So the weather decided to rain on your parade, I mean, wedding. This shouldn’t mean you need to change your date or location if you’re having an outdoor wedding. Below are some ways that can help you prepare yourself, the wedding party and your guests for any potential rain!

umbrellasPhoto found at Wedding Wonderland

Umbrellas, galore! Have several vases, buckets or your choice of container full of umbrellas near the entrances to the aisles for the ceremony for your guests. You can choose specific colors to go with your color scheme but it could be fun to see how different colors turn out in pictures later. Consider getting matching or complementing colors for your wedding party, keeping in mind the wedding party pictures and how the colors will come together later, too. You can find umbrellas for various prices, colors, and sizes on websites like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon.

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Here’s a cute umbrella for the bride and groom to share! You can purchase this heart-shaped umbrella at www.unique-vintage.com for $37 plus tax/shipping.

rainbootsPhoto found at Brides of North Texas

Rainboots are another important item but could be more difficult to provide for all of your guests because of their price. If you don’t have room in your budget for all of your guests, then provide rainboots for the wedding party and make sure to inform your guests to bring their own if they’d like. If it is in your budget, you can find a variety of rainboots for different prices at websites like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon.

photoPhoto found at LN Photography
photo3Photo found at Bridal Guide

No need to worry about the rain ruining your pictures! Talk to your photographer about any ideas he/she or you might have for using the rain in your photos. You can take traditional photos inside but why not use what Mother Nature has given you? There are tons of ways to use your umbrellas, rain boots and the natural landscape of your wedding location. Look for large puddles, have some fun and don’t be afraid to get your hair a little wet (well, depending on your hairstyle and how well it holds)!

quotePhoto found on Pinterest

You should also have a few necessities like large beach towels and clear plastic tarps to keep seats and the dance floor relatively dry. The plastic tarps can be used to cover floral arrangements, food or if your venue has a breezeway (we do here at Lotus Ranch) then you can use it to cover one open side to block wind and rain from entering the breezeway. And I leave you with this quote :) when you feel stressed out, just remember that it will be okay and you can still have fun in the rain!

-Nikki

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Spring Weddings

Spring Bouquet

Spring is a popular time for a wedding and one of my favorites for Texas weddings. It’s not too cold, not too hot and usually, most of the wildflowers are in full bloom. Consider this if you’re looking for an outdoor venue, but also be prepared for any unexpected rain showers as the weather can’t be predicted that far in advance.

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You have so many color options to play with when planning a spring wedding! Pastels and brighter shades in almost every color, but I would stay away from using too many shades of green; especially if you are getting married outdoors. There should be plenty of natural green around you in the springtime. When using pastel colors, you can even choose a bolder, darker color for an accent. When using bright colors, stick to one or two bright colors with a light contrast (white, unless you prefer something more non-traditional).

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For your centerpieces: flowers, flowers and more flowers! It’s okay to use a lot of flowers but try to break it up visually with props. You can use vases, rustic wood decorations, umbrellas, baskets, perfume bottles (filled with water) or even bird cages.

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You can match your groomsmen to your bridesmaids by ordering bowties of the same color as the bridesmaid dresses, or pastel pants that complement the bridesmaid colors. Feel free to go fun and crazy with prints and patterns! If you choose the pastel route then try to stick to nude or white shoes, and if you choose the bright colors then wear nude or black shoes. Also, try to find shoes in the same color as the bridesmaid dresses so you can match your girls! For your wedding dress, ruffles and lace designs are very in fashion for the springtime.

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Floral decorated cakes are almost a must for a spring wedding or you can add a subtle touch with lace detailing. Wine, tea, lemonade, popcorn, fruit pie pops, macaroons, fruit and cheese are all great snacks for a spring wedding. Depending on how early or late in the spring your wedding is, an ice cream cone/sundae bar might be a welcome refreshment for your guests!

Some flowers that are available in spring include: tulips, daisies, peonies, lilacs, anemones, daffodils, orchids, forgetmenots, pansies and sweet peas. Baby’s breath is always available and even if you don’t think you want them in your wedding, I would recommend ordering some anyway, just in case. They’re great for filling spaces in bouquets, table centerpieces and along the aisles.

-Nikki

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The Wedding Send Off

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Congratulations! You’re married and now that you’ve eaten, talked and danced the night away, all that’s left is the bride and groom send off. The old traditional send off with rice is rarely used anymore because most venues don’t allow it. There are plenty of fun alternatives, however, that are sure to be even better than rice! Make sure and confirm with your venue that whatever item you end up using is allowed there.

Sparklers

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The most common send off at weddings these days are sparklers. I recommend filling some pots with dirt and placing them on either side of where you want the guests to line up for the send off. Place long sparklers in the pots so that guests, especially children, won’t be too close to the end of the sparkler. These are great for creating an arch for the bride and groom to walk through as guests are lined up on either side. Shorter sparklers are better if you would prefer taking pictures of words and designs you make with the sparklers.

Balloons

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LED light balloons are a great idea for a send off! You can place them wherever you want and you don’t have to worry about them not showing up in pictures at night. They create the perfect glow to see the bride and groom off on their new life together. They can be purchased at many online stores as well as your local party store and come in a variety of colors. Tie the balloons to chairs or hand them out to guests to hold!

Noise Makers

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Any children in attendance will love this idea, the adults maybe/maybe not! It is, however, only going to last for a few minutes so it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s a celebration, it should sound like one, too! Buy them online, in your local party store, or make your own with glass bottles and knick knacks.

Confetti

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This will make a mess, a huge mess! But who doesn’t love confetti? You can buy already made confetti poppers or you can make your own with recycled colored paper. Again, make sure your wedding venue is okay with your guests using these because they will get everywhere.

Paper Lanterns

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Paper lanterns have grown in popularity over the last few years, although they have been traditional for some families for many years. They give a magical glow to your send off and guests of all ages will enjoy lighting and sending off their own lantern.

Bubbles

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Bubbles are the new rice! Bubbles, bubbles everywhere at almost any wedding you’ll attend. They’re fun, small, inexpensive and everyone knows how to use them. The best part? Absolutely no clean up! Shop around for different types of bubble containers and decide if you want to go small and traditional or big and colorful.

Red Carpet

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Want to feel glamorous? Have your guests line up on either side of a red carpet and take pictures of you and your groom with the flash on. Disposable cameras are inexpensive and polaroid cameras are more expensive but can give an instant photo. Consider leaving in a limo as well and you and your groom are sure to feel like celebrities!

-Nikki

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My Life As A Bride

I recently went to an appointment with a florist and we picked Whim Florals to create our vision for the wedding.  Whim is known for their rentals and they have recently added florals to their services.  They don’t have many pictures of events through Whim yet, but the head florist has many years of experience and does amazing work.  She took her time going through everything with me and took me around the site to show me all the vases I could pick to use.  Kari has been very prompt and helpful and I am excited to work with her.  She sent me my contract with a powerpoint that she made up with the flowers we decided on and an excel sheet to break everything down for me.  I found this to be very helpful especially so I could explain things to my mom and fiancé.  The flowers that I picked are very bright and spring colors.  I couldn’t decide on more white or neutral colors or spring colors so I picked all of the above.  Don’t be scared to mix things up.  My ceremony will be very classic with neutral colors, then the cocktail hour will spice things up a bit by adding more color. The reception area will have plenty of spring colors and less whites.  The ranch where I am getting married has three sections that we will be using so each section will have a different vibe to it.  I am very excited to see it all come together.

Bouquet (no Mason Jar)

Last week I went to a meeting for my rentals and found the perfect table settings.  I had been searching for a while for the perfect gold plates, but had very little luck.  I finally decided to scratch the chargers because gold plates on the gold charger made the plates look cheap and tool the beauty of the plates away.  I didn’t realize how many linens were going to be needed for the wedding.  Linens will ultimately take half, if not more, of my rentals budget.  I picked a satin linen for the tables.  I have seen bits and pieces of everything and I am ready to see it all together.  My wedding planner calls the theme of my wedding a modern Marie Antoinette.  My original vision was completely different, but it changed along the way and I am much happier with the classic feel that I picked over the vintage image I was going for.  Don’t be afraid to evolve with your wedding.  I know some brides have a very specific look and feel of what they want for their wedding, but sometimes it is nice to see where the process takes you.

I have officially picked out all of my big things that I need for my wedding.  All I have left are invitations and details.  Where do I even begin with invitations?  I decided that since several of my family members from Mexico City will be attending I want to make them feel special so I will be picking out invitations and making theirs in Spanish and send it to them in advance since they are traveling from another country.  I have several other little ideas in my head for the wedding I just need to see how they will play in to our wedding.  We are ordering wedding favors from Mexico and also making some favors.  I am excited about both of them (you can tell I am excited about pretty much anything wedding related)! I have about 4 months left until I get married.  Adam and I could not be happier with how things have come together so smoothly.  A huge thank you to Kayleigh, our venue, and all the vendors that have been wonderful to us throughout the process.

*Betsy Villanueva

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How To: Include Your Children

A wedding is focused on the bride and the groom but what about when one or both have children? A wedding is about uniting two families into one, so it only makes sense to include the children in your celebration. Discuss with your fiance how involved you want the children to be and include them in your planning process. They will feel special and this could provide a great opportunity to form a closer relationship with your spouse’s children if you haven’t already done so. After you decide what role you would like the children to play, ask them if they are comfortable and if they have any opinions. It is still your decision in the end, but asking their opinion will show you value what they have to say.

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If you have younger children, they could be your flower girl or ring bearer. There is no rule about what age they should be, but you typically see children between the ages of 3 and 8 in this role. Younger girls usually enjoy throwing the flower petals down the aisle more than those who are in high school and older. A younger boy as the ring bearer makes for an adorable photo shoot after the ceremony with the groom. An older child could just as easily fill these roles also. They might remember the ceremony and recognize their importance in it more than a younger child would.

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The unity sand ceremony is a tradition with three vases at the altar, two filled with different colors of sand and one empty. After the bride and groom exchange rings and vows, they each take their respective containers of sand and pour them together into the empty vase. The unity sand ceremony symbolizes the joining of two different people, or families, into one. To include your children, there should be a container filled with different colored sand for each child. After you and your fiance pour your sand together, have each child pour theirs as well.

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You can put the children in charge of, or just to help with, the wedding guest favors. A common favor at weddings is bubbles, which almost every child loves. Others include coloring books for kids, mini engraved candles, or tiny bells. If it’s in your budget, consider letting each child contribute one small favor to a goodie bag. That way, each guest will go home with a piece from each member of your new family.

brideandchild

Include the children in your before and after wedding shoot. Before the wedding means your engagement photos; this way you can let all of your friends and family know that it isn’t just about you and your fiance, but a whole new family. The photos you take after your wedding could be perfect for your new house together. Younger children don’t always have the same attention span as an adult so don’t plan for them to be in a lot of pictures. Talk with your photographer before hand about taking the photos with the children first, so that they can relax and have fun while you finish your photo shoot.

Other roles include letting the children pass out programs before the ceremony or pass out the wedding favors instead of placing them on the tables. Also, when reciting your vows, have you and your fiance add a verse or two at the end to include promises to your children. You may also buy an item for each child to symbolize your joining as a family. This item does not need to be expensive, it could be a plastic ring for play or matching bracelets. As long as it holds meaning for you as a family and shows the children they are welcome and loved.

-Nikki

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My Life As A Bride- Wedding Gown Edition

What can be more important to the bride than the cake, vendor choices, and venue?  Her wedding dress, of course!  It is the last dress she will be wearing as a single woman and the first dress she will be wearing as a newlywed.  Not to mention, all eyes are on the bride as she walks down the aisle to happily ever after.  People will talk about the dress during the wedding and after the wedding.  Guests will discuss how they feel about the dress, how it fit the bride, was the style pretty or ugly, etc.  What is most important is how you, as the bride, feel in the wedding gown.  What do you want to look like on your wedding day? A princess? A sexy bride? Traditional bride?  Some brides want the dress to fit in with their wedding theme.  I have yet to decide what I want to look like on my wedding day.  A consultant asked me an interesting question when i was shopping for a wedding dress; “What do you want to see when you look back at your pictures?  What do you want your kids to see when they look at your pictures?”  I guess I had never through of that.  It did not help me narrow my choices, but it could help you narrow yours.

I went in to my appointments with an open mind.  Dresses that you would normally rule out can actually be the best dress for you.  It all depends on how it looks on you, not on the hanger.  You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.  I know I was with certain dresses that I would not have picked when it was hanging.  I have visited 7 bridal shops throughout Austin and Houston.  I have yet to find my dress (I will get into that later).  Most of the bridal consultants were very nice and pleasant to work with.  None of them gave much of an input, which can be good and bad.  When I would ask them for opinions they would say I like them all or they all look great.  This just makes it more difficult to decide.  I have been going to the appointments with my mother.  I feel like this is one of those moments you need to have with your mom.  It can be emotional and even difficult to try to find the perfect dress for your wedding day, but the person that will never fail to get you through the tough moments is your mother.  She will be honest with you.  I know some people may take large groups of friends or family members to dress shop, but I think that it would confuse me even more to hear so many opinions.

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Wedding dresses are beautiful to begin with, so the issue I am having is trying to find the dress that I can’t stop thinking about.  The dress that makes me glow and excited.  I haven’t been wowed by any dresses so far.  Maybe there really isn’t a big moment for everyone when they pick a wedding dress.  I am not looking for the big moment, I am looking for the big dress, the one that impresses me.  I know, I know, 7 wedding dress shops is a bit much, but I am not willing to settle on a dress.  I am in it for the long hall so I only plan on wearing a white extravagant gown once in my lifetime.  Am I putting too much emphasis on the wedding gown?  That is a possibility.  Hopefully I find my wedding gown soon.  I am on a time crunch.  Ladies, keep in mind that dresses take about 4-6 months to be made and it can take even longer than that.  Allow yourselves enough time for the dress to come in and to make alterations.  I will already be paying rush fees because I am 6 months away from my wedding date.  I suggest you find a dress 8 months before your wedding date, just to be on the safe side.  Also, pick a dress that fits your body type.  Not having a wedding gown this late in the game is a bit of a hiccup, but I am determined to find one soon.

 

*Betsy Villanueva

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Rehearsal Dinner

rehearsal invite

Before the big day comes the wedding rehearsal and dinner. This is the perfect time for you wedding party to get to know each other better, if they don’t already. It is also your chance to see how the procession will go and to see if you need to make any minor changes. To keep your changes to a minimum and save stress, try to make sure you have these important things taken care of ahead of time.

 rehearsal invite

Send out your rehearsal dinner invitations a few days after you send the wedding invitations. The invitations do not have to be extravagant, they can be simple or an understated version of your wedding invitations. If you have a small bridal party it’s alright to let them know by word of mouth.

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The wedding rehearsal dress is usually a white cocktail dress. This is a beautiful rehearsal dress from Nordstrom’s for a fancy cocktail dinner.

champagne bar

You don’t need to go all out with food and a bar for the rehearsal dinner like you will be for your wedding. A simple champagne bar with fruit will go nicely with a cocktail dinner.

rehearsal dress

If your rehearsal is a more laid-back theme then you might consider wearing something similar to this dress from Beauxx with flats for a classy and casual look.

barbecue

For a more casual rehearsal dinner, try a barbecue or a picnic outside instead of an indoor fancy dinner. Your bridal party might find it easier to get to know each other at a casual event rather than sitting in designated spots at one big table.

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If you want to have a barbecue or picnic, you might also want to consider wearing a non-traditional dress. A white dress is going to show any and all stains, so if you’re clumsy or prone to spilling things, choose a colored dress like this one from Nordstrom’s.

cookie

 For cute snacks, serve your wedding party cookies that match the theme of your wedding cake. Most bakeries will give you a special discount if you order all of your treats from the same place, so consider that when you go looking for a cake.

To make sure the wedding rehearsal runs smoothly and quickly, ask anyone not required to be at the rehearsal to please meet you at the dinner. You only need the wedding party, officiate, and any singers or readers to be at the wedding rehearsal. Doing this will ensure that you can make sure the ceremony the next day will go as planned, and you can get on to your rehearsal dinner and mingle with your guests there.

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How To: Take Wedding Party Pictures

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Whether you have an even or an odd number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, it will be difficult to get the perfect picture every time.

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An even number means that you and your hubby can be in the direct middle of the wedding party. The eye is automatically drawn to the center of the photograph.

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An odd number does not have to mean that you and your hubby are not the center of attention. Your wedding dress will draw the eye towards you, and a good photographer will use props or different poses to put more attention on the bride and groom.

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When taking pictures with your bridesmaids, be sure to get a photo of just you and the maid of honor, as well as all of you together.

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After the bride and bridesmaids, and groom and groomsmen pictures are taken, switch with your fiance. Have your hubby take pictures with the bridesmaids and you take pictures with the groomsmen. These will make for some hilarious photos if you use silly props!

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Also have your bridesmaids and groomsmen take photos without the bride and groom. They can enjoy a little photo shoot of their own while you and your fiance take bride and groom pictures.

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How To: Have a Texas Summer Wedding

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Summer weddings have always been popular, mainly because you think an outdoor wedding will be breezy and beautiful. In Texas, this is only half true sometimes! You can still have your dream outdoor summer wedding, though. There are a few simple things you can do to make your wedding a little less hot and a lot more enjoyable.

outside

If you are set on having an outdoor ceremony, try compromising with an indoor reception.

inside

You and your guests will be a lot happier if you are not out in the heat the whole time. Lotus Ranch in Wimberly, Tx is a venue that offers this capability.

wedding fan

Provide paper fans for your guests to keep cool during the ceremony. You can incorporate your wedding program on the fans for an additional fee and your guests can take them home as a souvenir of your special day. They can come in all sizes, shapes, and colors to match your theme.

drinks

Make sure that you have plenty of cold, non-alcoholic refreshments to keep guests hydrated. Lemonade and tea are the most popular non-alcoholic beverages for summer but milk and cookie bars are growing in popularity, as well. And, of course, always have water available, too.

dress

If you are thinking of having darker colored bridesmaid dresses, you might want to reconsider. If they are long, think about choosing a lighter shade of the same color. If you really love the color you have chosen then consider having the dresses short instead of long. Ultimately it’s your wedding, but you also want it to be memorable and enjoyable for your guests, too.

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