Monday, July 25, 2011

Let's Do...A Book Review: The Constant Princess

Hello, dear readers,

It's been a bit of a while since my last book review. Considering my monumental goals for summer reading, I can't say I've actually made a huge dent. Just being honest. I'd really like to read more; truly, I would. The problem is that I'm so tired after work that it's easier to just paint my nails, read a magazine, or watch a video before working out showering and going to sleep. That's my general routine on the evenings during which I don't see my friends.

I've only fully read four books since May, which is really quite sad. Part of the problem is I always have five or six books going, so it takes forever to finish one of them. Such is my current situation.

I'm into The Other Woman, by Jane Green, at the moment. Green is my favorite adult chick lit author, and I'll be done soon with another book review up and running.

I suppose I should get into the review of the book I've actually just finished: The Constant Princess, by Philippa Gregory.

This is the prequel to The Other Boleyn Girl, reviewed here, which was actually written afterwards, I believe. This novel tells the story of Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII.

Here's what the website has to say:

Splendid and sumptuous historical novel from this internationally bestselling author, telling of the early life of Katherine of Aragon.
We think of her as the barren wife of a notorious king; but behind this legacy lies a fascinating story. Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both rulers and warriors. Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land. Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse.

Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows ever more bearable. But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry.
His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is strong. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.
Philippa Gregory proves yet again that behind the apparently familiar face of history lies an astonishing story: of women warriors influencing the future of Europe, of revered heroes making deep mistakes, and of an untold love story which changes the fate of a nation.

I knew very little about Katherine of Aragon going into this book, and I came out knowing her better and understanding her as more than the quiet, strong-willed queen that appeared in The Other Boleyn Girl.

In this novel, she's fearless and extremely determined, convinced she has God's "especial favor," and almost annoying at times in her conviction. This novel is written alternatively in first and third person. The sections in italics are written in first person, and I found them immensely more interesting to read than the third person sections.

Much more is known about Katherine of Aragon than of Mary Boleyn, so the only real fiction is the personality given to Katherine and the hypothesis that she must certainly have lied about never consummating her marriage to Arthur, her first husband. I suppose their relationship is fictionalized greatly as well, but I felt like that was just another facet of the issue of consummation. By now, most historians agree the marriage was consummated.

Katherine is born Infanta of Spain and Princess of Wales, betrothed to Arthur since birth. Initially she hates him, and he her, but they slowly but surely become passionate in their love for each other. Arthur tragically falls ill at a young age, somewhere around a year after his marriage to Katherine, and he makes Katherine promise to marry his brother Henry and to name their children Mary and Arthur.

And then Katherine waits. For seven years, precisely. I felt like I was reading the book for seven years until she finally became princess of England, and, subsequently, queen. It went much faster once she became princess and queen. Even after marrying Henry, she had to wait longer and longer until King Henry VII died.

I was unaware before reading this book that King Henry VII, father of her infamous second husband, actually proposed to Katherine and took his revenge by making her wait when she instead agreed to marry his son.

I suppose it was only fitting that it felt like seven years reading this novel, as I suppose that's what Katherine went through, but I didn't find it as immensely enjoyable as The Other Boleyn Girl. The writing was rather repetitive, and I think it was clear enough from the beginning why the novel is called The Constant Princess. It really wasn't necessary for the word "constant" to appear 7,000,212,323 times. Seriously.

The writing in this book was not as interesting, though I could see that it was consistent with the tone of the novel. I just don't think the language needed to be that redundant, and it was a little bit of a sluggish read.

Am I glad I read it? Yes. Do I think it's a good way to get a historical account of Katherine with her personality injected into it? Yes. Is it my favorite historical fiction novel? No. And it was really hard to get to at times. We can only read so much about waiting without being bored to tears.

Philippa's writing was much better in the first person sections, as I mentioned before, and this is where I think she excels. The characters in her books are so much more personal and vivid in these sections than in third person.

I will continue to read the rest of the Tudor history, as documented and fictionalized by Gregory, but so far I prefer The Other Boleyn Girl. I still do recommend this if you'd like to get a full picture of the Tudor history, but I'd advise reading it first so you can fully appreciate the improvements in writing and storytelling in The Other Boleyn Girl.

I hope you got something out of this review, longwinded as usual.

Hope you're having a lovely day/evening!


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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Would You Rather: Beauty Edition, The Sequel

Dear wonderful readers, 

It seems that as soon as I caught the train for the last Would You Rather: Beauty Edition, someone came up with a new one. Well this blog can't lag that far behind as long as I'm in charge! If you've been reading my blog, or happened to stop by more than once, you'll know I do an obscene amount of surveys/tags. This particular one is going around YouTube currently, and I find tags extremely fun and easy to do, as well as easy to read/watch them on other people's blogs/channels. Naturally, I must complete the tag as well.

Here it is, once again:

1. Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, and lipglosses or lose all of your palettes and eyeshadows?
This is the easiest question ever. It's not fair, really, how easy it is. I own a grand total of one eyeshadow palette, and a few odd eyeshadows that I never wear. I'm a lipstick girl all around, hence the blog title, and I couldn't live without those, nor without lipglosses. I'd much rather lose the palette.

Would you rather chop off all your hair or never be able to cut it again?
I guess if I chopped off all my hair, it would grow back, but my face is not cut out for a lack of hair, nor does my hair grow fast enough to make it okay. I guess I'd rather never be able to cut it. I could always trim off split ends, but if it was physically "uncuttable," I suppose it would be strong enough to not have split ends.

Would you rather have a coral cheek or a pink cheek?
A pink cheek. I have a feeling I could pull it off better since I'm so pale.

If you had $1000 to spend, Would you rather buy clothes or makeup?
This one is debatably the hardest question for me. I honestly don't spend much on makeup, nor do I think I'll need to, despite my love for lipstick and concealer. I think I'd really like to redo my wardrobe and amp up my style, so clothes win this one with utmost certainty.

Would you rather apply lipstick as eyeliner, or eyeliner as lipstick?
Eyeliner as lipstick. I'm rubbish at applying eyeliner and never wear it anyway, but there are eyeliners that are pink and red, so I could use that as lipstick.

Would you rather only shop at MAC or Sephora?
This was in another tag, I believe, and I would choose Ulta because it's a cheaper version of Sephora. If I have to choose between these two, it will be Sephora for the variety of brands and products.

Would you rather only use one eyeshadow color or one lip color for the rest of your life?
This tag is almost unfairly too easy for me. One eyeshadow color, of course. I don't wear any, anyway. 

Would you rather wear winter clothes in summer or summer clothes in winter?
Summer clothes in winter. I do it anyway, because I don't own more than a few sweaters/long sleeved shirts. I live in tanks or short sleeved shirts with cardigans, paired with jeans anyway. Or I'd wear dresses with cardigans. I think I'm allergic to winter clothes.

Would you rather dark nails or bright nails all year round?
Bright, without a doubt. I rarely wear dark nails as it is.

Would you rather give up your favorite lip product or your favorite eye product?
Seriously? You'd think I wrote this tag. Definitely my favorite eye product. [Shhh, don't tell anyone I don't have a favorite eye product!]

Would you rather only be able to wear your hair in a pony tail or a messy bun?
Probably a messy bun, because that's what I tend to do when it's not down.

Would your rather never being able to paint your nails again or never use lipgloss?
I have actually gone a year or so without painting my nails, but I've gone just as long without lipgloss. My love for nail polish is a much longer love, and I think as long as I have lipstick, I could live without gloss.

Would you rather shave your eyebrows and have none at all? or sharpie them in everyday?
I need eyebrows or my face would look crazy, so nasty as it sounds it would have to be sharpie.

Would you rather live without makeup or nail polish?
I'd probably have to live without polish than without any makeup, especially because when I break out, I feel like it's unprofessional not to use makeup to cover it up at work.

So there's the other Beauty Edition tag. Again, please do this tag if you want to, absolutely anyone. I hope you are amused as I am at the questions, as well as how darn easy they were for me to answer.

I'll be talking to you soon!


Image from

Up and Coming

Hello, dear readers,

I feel like I haven't posted nearly as much as I planned to this summer, and I do apologize for that. The problem with summer is that in between working an 8:30 to 5:00 job Monday through Friday, and trying to spend time with friends and family, I'm resorting to extreme laziness/attempted relaxation and quality alone time. This, however, does not seem to include blogging, though it really should. I quite enjoy blogging, but am often too tired to actually write anything of any sort of quality.

I started this blog first and foremost as a personal outlet for whatever I happened to want to write about, but I also genuinely enjoy it and truly appreciate those of you who take the time to regularly read it, or just stumble on it by random happenstance. So, in order to make sure that more posts happen in the near future, I'm writing a list. Publicly. For all of you to read.

Here are a few upcoming posts that I promise will occur. I just can't promise how soon:

-Mini review of The Constant Princess, by Philippa Gregory.
-Mini review on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II/Growing up with the series
-Reviews on the ELF Hypershine lipglosses, won in a giveaway by the ever-so-kind and funky Lyuba
-Possibly just other reviews in general, as I come up with ideas. I certainly always have lip products to review, but I'm sure I can think of something.
-Skincare update
-Yet another Would You Rather makeup tag

These posts will most likely not go in order, and it seems surprisingly ambitious a task to complete, but I feel like it's worth it and it provides me with the motivation necessary to get these posts out to you. I love to write anyway, and it thrills me that even a small group of people regularly enjoy my writing. You have no idea how exciting it is that someone wants to read what I have to say. Really. I also realized that "really" and "however" may just be my most used words in this blog. Really. Had to throw that one in.

Look forward to upcoming posts, and I hope the weather's lovely where you are!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Would You Rather: Beauty Edition

Once again, the wonderful tradition of tags continues right here on this blog, this time taken once more from In case you forgot to read the title, this is another "Would You Rather" tag. If you so desire, you can find my first of these two tags right here. That one focuses specifically on makeup, whereas this is beauty in general.

Here we go!

1. Would you rather walk around all day with you skirt tucked in your underwear or be seen wearing a really see through dress? 
If my skirt was tucked into my underwear all day and I didn't know, that would be a horrible embarrassment, but I think I'd realize a dress was see-through before I left the house. In that case, I could easily wear something under it. I'll have to go with the latter.

2. Would you rather go to a party and not realize until the end of the night that you have lipstick on your teeth or that your fake lashes are coming unglued?
I don't wear fake lashes anyway, and I feel like it would be more embarrassing to have them coming unglued than to have lipstick on my teeth. I've gotten it on my teeth once, and a friend was kind enough to tell me. In any case, I feel like lipstick is still considered a classic idea of makeup whereas false lashes are somewhat novel and frowned upon around the people I associate with, so the idea of having false lashes would be more embarrassing in general. Make any sense?

3. Would you rather forget to put mascara on one eye or forget blush on one side of your face?
I'd easily rather forget to put mascara on one eye than blush on one side of my face. I don't actually wear either product, but when I wear mascara at random no one can tell it's on. It wouldn't be nearly as dramatic as blush on one side of my face, because I'm so pale. That would stand out like a water fountain in the Sahara Desert.

4. Would you rather wear lipstick/lipliner combo or frosty blue eyeshadow?
I can confess that I wore frosty blue eyeshadow for my Bat Mitzvah back at age 13, and it didn't look half bad for the [lack of] skill I had at the time. It's funny to think I used to be very into eyeshadow/eye glitter [please don't remind me of that phase]. If the lipstick and lipliner match, I guess I'd choose that, but if it is dark lip liner and lighter lipstick, I'd stick to the frosty shadow.

5. Would you rather wear foundation that is two shades too light or go way overboard on bronzer?
This is a no brainer. Definitely foundation that's two shades too light. I don't actually think foundation exists that's two shades lighter than my skin. Easy answer.

6. Would you rather drink an entire bottle of ketchup or run into the guy who broke your heart on a bad hair day when your skin is freaking out?
I have a very sensitive stomach, so I cannot physically drink a bottle of ketchup. Also, if the guy broke my heart, than he doesn't deserve to see me looking my best, and I'll eventually have to get over him. 

7. Would you rather be able to date any celeb you wanted or wake up with perfect red carpet-worthy hair?
We all know many celebrity relationships last approximately five minutes in real world time, and I'd much rather have perfect hair every day. I do like my hair, but it is quite far from red carpet-worthy or perfect. It would make me feel so glamorous to have perfect hair.

8. Would you rather your armpits smell musky or like delicious lasagna?
Both options are equally revolting, but I guess lasagna is a good smell, so people would think I ate it all the time and started smelling like it. If I absolutely have to pick, lasagna it is.

9. Would you rather give up your makeup or cell phone for one year?
This is tough. I mean, I rarely actually pick up my phone, but I use it a lot when I'm at school. Sometimes, though, I'd rather go without it. Makeup is just too much fun. For practicality, I suppose I'd go without makeup, but in all honesty I'd rather go without my cell phone. I can borrow someone else's.

10. Would you rather run into a cute guy you like with food all in your grill or no makeup at all?
I'd definitely rather have no makeup on at all, because I don't mind going without it every once in a while. Food all in my grill is just embarrassing.

I hope you enjoyed this tag, and please feel free to do it if you'd like! I love reading them.


Image from

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spellbound: Practical Magic

If you don't know why the title of this post has magical connotations, you either don't live in the U.S. or you've had your head in a toilet for the past ten years.

Indeed, I am referring to the LAST HARRY POTTER FILM. I'm so excited and upset at the same time. This marks the end of an era [please excuse the cliché] for thousands of teens and twenty-somethings that grew up with the books and movies. Granted, I'm still reading the series in Spanish, but the movie journey will be over, and that's devastating as much as it is overwhelmingly fantastic.

Naturally, as a lover of all things beauty, I've become accustomed to painting my nails Harry Potter-themed for each movie. It's been all variations on red and gold, complete with half-and-half red and gold, half-and-half red and gold in a lightning bolt form, red with a gold lightning bold, red with gold glitter. I think you get the picture.

I wanted to go all out for this one, so I actually bought a black and a bronze polish so that I could do a different house on each finger [my brother's idea; he thought he was joking, but little did he know...] and the Hogwarts crest on my thumbs. My friends came over last night and we all painted our nails, though I had done half the work before they came in order to prevent disasters later on.

With some pictures better than the others, here is the result:

For those of you who are completely bonkers and don't know the house colors, it's [L-R] Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Gryffindor. You can see half the house crest on my thumb and half the "H."
My right hand view! A bit harder to see.

I think you can see the "H" most clearly here. It was the only aspect created with a nail brush.

A somewhat failed attempt to capture my Hogwarts-crest inspired thumbnail. 

Left hand!

Right hand!

Call me crazy, but I adore this nail look! If you'd like to know which [nine] polishes I used, let me know and I can do that in a separate post. 

It is now midnight! Exactly 24 hours until I get to see the final installment in the series. Approximately 21.5 hours until I'm standing in line!

Has anyone in the UK seen this film? I'm guessing it came out first there. Then again, don't tell me anything!

UPDATE: According to the lovely Lyuba, this actually comes out in the U.S. first.

Who's seeing this in the U.S. tomorrow?

To magical whimsies and fanciful nails, and, obviously, Harry Potter!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Outfit On The Road

Hello, dear readers,

As ever, I'm a bit all over the place with my blogging schedule, so these pictures were actually meant for Tuesday, July 5th. I wanted to show you the outfit I wore on the way home from Iowa after the Fourth of July weekend, which also happened to be the day we went to the Amana Colonies in Iowa.

The Amana Colonies consists of houses as well as several craft stores, furniture stores, chocolate shops, and traditional American restaurants. Many of the goods, in fact most of them, are Amish-made. It's a historic site and a very charming town in the country. I've been to the Colonies twice before this time, and I'm not entirely sure of the reasons why. I know my sister got a bedside table there on one trip, and I'm almost positive our dining room set came from here. If not, it was from another Amish area.

This time we went to get my brother a bedside table, which I am quite proud to say that I found for him. We ate at the Colony Inn, where absolutely nothing on the menu appealed to me besides their mashed potatoes. I don't even like mashed potatoes, but theirs are amazing. I was well aware that this is a very meat-and-potatoes type of place, but my mom really wanted to eat there, so there you go. It was a specially ordered grilled cheese sandwich for me [thrilling, I know!] because I'm not a meat-and-potatoes type of gal.

This outfit wouldn't exactly be appropriate for the Amish women themselves, but for me it was super comfy and cute. I'm wearing absolutely no makeup in these pictures either.

Here are some outdoor shots and some "I'm-in-the-bathroom-at-a-rest-stop-trying-to-quickly-take-a-picture-and-leave-shots."

Dress/Tunic: Forever 21                      
Leggings:Forever 21                            
Shoes: Chocolat Blu from Jubilee      
Purse: Lesportsac                                    
Sunglasses: Studio 35 from Walgreens

Better view of the crochet detail on the dress/tunic [I really can't tell! Tragic.]
and the purse, coupled with weird facial expression.                                                                                                                 

Another awkward bathroom shot.

Back in time to Amana [the bathroom pics were          
taken later], where my arms are cut off due                  
to the fact that I'm not posting pictures of my family.  
 Only my mom actually knows about this blog as of yet.                                       
Fun fact: The rest stop on the way home was actually a tourist information center that had been closed down due to lack of funding. Only the bathrooms were open, which is quite sad.

I hope you enjoyed this mini trip into Iowa country, and the fantastic bathroom of the underfunded rest stop. 

Hope you have a wonderful night/are having a great day, wherever you are!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Work it Out[fit] of the [Yester]Day

Yes, dear readers,

That's the most creative post I could come up with. On a regular basis, my outfits are anything but exciting. I'm a jeans or shorts and tops girl through and through, but that doesn't work at my job. I've turned to dresses and skirts, and I find that I really like the simplicity of the outfits.

I thought I'd share with you yesterday's outfits, with pictures taken from an actual camera this time. Please excuse the lighting and awkward poses; I'm most definitely not a pro at either of the two.

Dress: Forever 21                        
 Shoes: Chocolat Blu from Jubilee
Purse: LeSportsac, Ebay              
Here's a closer look at the necklace which is entirely invisible in the previous photograph, as well as my lipstick.

Necklace, Avon                                                    
Lipstick: L'Oreal Colour Riche Tropical Coral

You may recall that this dress, lipstick, and necklace are also shown in my Summer Besties post. If you haven't seen it, head on over!

The only problem I have with this dress is that the neckline is a bit higher than I'd like. Seeing as I have a rather large bust for my size, the neckline emphasizes that. Besides that, I think it's really comfortable and easy to throw on!

I hope you enjoyed this quick post.

To simply pretty outfits!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Bad Episode of Skincare Chronicles: Part 1

Hello, dear readers,

If you happened to glance upon my silly little post here, you might remember that I mentioned a complete remake of my skincare routine due to a little trip to a product-happy [or so it seems] dermatologist. Lovely young lady that she is [as if I'm not younger than she], it seems that the products she gave me managed to make my skin worse.

I'll go into more detail about what exactly she prescribed me at a later date [aka not 2 in the morning. I really should learn to sleep. Really.], but essentially I faithfully used the products for a full three weeks at least. What happened when I did that, you ask?

Why, breakouts happened. First of all, I don't think you should change more than one product in your routine each month because you won't be able to tell which product is affecting you positively and which is ruining your skin. Since I'd have to experiment slowly with taking out one product at a time if I wanted to see which product was breaking me out, I decided I'd rather not wait.

Instead, I'm currently back on my old skincare routine, which can be read here. The only difference is that I now use the Tretinoin every other night.

That's all for tonight, folks.

Sleep well if it's night time, and have a nice rest of your day if you've got hours to go!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Besties!

Hello, dear readers,

Tonight [well technically this morning] I've decided to do a tag [I hope no one's heart stops from shock] that's been going around for at least the past month on YouTube. This is, as you may have guessed from the title, the "Summer Besties" tag.

There are ten categories, and you're supposed to pick your favorite summer item for each category. Of course, this means I'll probably cheat for some and not have anything for others.

Here we go!

1. Lip product: I'm a lipstick girl through and through, and I've been rotating between a few lately. However, if I had to pick one perfect summer lipstick, it will have to be L'Oreal Colour Riche in Tropical Coral.
For lack of a better description, this is perfect for summer because it is a nice coral, but it's only a few shades more pigmented and brighter than my natural lips. If you want some more detail, I wrote a post on it when I first started the blog, so you can head on over here.

2. Blush: I hate to disappoint, but I actually never wear blush. The last time I wore it was probably in my elementary school days in day camp plays for stage makeup. Obviously I'm no connoisseur here, though I do own an unopened Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips blush that I won in a contest.

3. Nail Polish: Due to the fact that I've already worn this twice within a month, I have to go with China Glaze For Audrey. 

I'm not 100% sure if this is an exact match to Tiffany Blue, but I absolutely love it. For more information on this product and why I'm not a fan of the brand, read my post here.

4. Liquid Face Product: It's definitely tinted moisturizer here. I do own two different brands, but for now I'd have to say that my favorite is CoverGirl Aqua Smoothers Tinted Moisture in 805 Fair to Light.

This still needs a powder to set it, but it's nice to even out the skin and give a very sheer tint to it. Once again, you can read a review here. [Self promotion is the key to happiness! Don't quote me on this. Mostly because it's just not true.]

5. Powder Face Product: Because I only use one, this award goes to... Physician's Formula Powder Palette® Multi-Colored Face Powder in Translucent.

This came with a powder puff, so I swapped that out for a brush that came in the green version of this palette [DON'T BUY THE GREEN ONE. Unless you'd like to look like Elphaba, otherwise known as the Wicked Witch of the West.]. It helps to keep my makeup in place throughout the day and mattifies it, at least temporarily. I've never fully reviewed this product, but I did mention it on my post about faking a flawless face.

6. Hair Product: If we're talking specifically summer, then I suppose my must-have for summer is leave-in conditioner. The one I'm using now is V05 Detangle and Shine Restoring leave-in conditioner.

I've been having trouble finding this product, but I actually quite enjoy it. If you want to know exactly how I use it, take a gander over at this page. Basically I spray this in after drying with a T-shirt, and then I scrunch. Sometimes I don't even need the shine serum after!

7. Eye Product: I don't actually wear eye products. I do put concealer on my eyelids to even out the lid color, but no true eye products.

8. Self Tanner/Tanning Product: As my brother says, "There's Snow White and then there's Snow Whiter." I happen to be both. He refers to the fact that I'm so pale as the "Snow White," and that once you notice that I actually have a watch tan and shoe tans, you see that my color during the rest of the year is "Snow Whiter." I don't use tanning products, needless to say, so I thought I'd mention my favorite sunscreen. It's Neutrogena Sensitive Skin sunblock lotion.

The reason I love this so much is that it's a mineral sunblock with both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This means it's great for sensitive skin as it is a physical protectant against the sun's rays. I also like the Pure and Free baby sunblock, which has the exact same formulation. They are both waterproof, hypoallergenic, fragrance free, etc. Read the label!

9. Fashion Accessory: Ballet flats and cute necklaces. End of story.

Though I'd love to, I don't own any of these.

I actually own this one.
I own this one, too! Both are from Avon, I believe.
I live in ballet flats for as long as I can throughout the year, but especially in the summer. I hate flip flops, and don't own a decent pair of sandals. As for jewelry, I get more into gold in the summer, and I love charms, keys, and the nautical theme.

10. Clothing Piece: Dresses and skirts!
I promise this dress is actually cute. I own it!

I own this as well and it's so cute.
That about rounds up everything. It's time for me to get some sleep. It's getting late!

I'd love to hear what your summer besties are, if you haven't already shared.

To lazy summer days.


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