American Blogger? More Like AmeriCAN'T Blogger. That Made No Sense.

Here is the deal, there is this new documentary that is causing kind of an uproar among bloggers.
The movie is called American Blogger.
And the trailer.
Its just.
Here, you decide for yourself.

If the actual video doesn't pull up, go here to see it.
I will wait.

What did you think?
There's a lot of owls, bright colors and just TREND in this trailer.

First off, they have ALWAYS wanted an airstream trailer?

This is the problem.
This movie was given the complete wrong title.
To call it "American Blogger" is like calling "The Godfather", "This Movie is About Every Mob Member Who Ever Lived".
"Like Ever".
Is The Godfather even about the Mob?
I know.

There isn't much diversity in the group that they picked to be in this movie.
Most are about 22-30 years old.
No men, no ethnic group except for one African American woman.
And lots and lots of trendy clothing.
And really pretty homes.

Now, I am a DIY blogger who loves a pretty home.
But I don't really follow DIY blogs.
Especially ones that create an almost too perfect scenario.
Because life is REAL.
I don't have time to go to Home Goods once a week to get those perfect salmon color pillows.
Then come home and document it with my Canon Rebel. 

I also don't want to judge the bloggers chosen to do this movie.
Ok, I guess I just did.
I'm sorry. 
I am sure they are all nice people.
And I can guarantee that most of them had no idea that they would be portrayed so perfectly.
I can also guarantee that they fart, poop, belch the alphabet (OK that might just be me) and wear stained tee shirts that say I'm With Stupid on most days.
And quite honestly I do get tired of the Lets Pick on the Mom with A Clean House groupthink that goes around with situations like this.

But honestly, even I of the House of Neat Freak was shaking my head when I saw how this filmmaker portrayed those women.

If the filmmaker had called it "Traveling Cross Country To Visit 51 of My Wife's Closest Friends", we wouldn't be having this conversation.
So of course, bloggers every where are kind of mad.
OK maybe not mad.
OK mad.
I am not mad, however.
I think its funny.
I do.

AND I think that Mr. Wiegand just made bloggers a whole heck of a lot more popular.
So thank you Mr. Wiegand.
Why am I calling you Mr?
I am like, 30 years older than you.
And I still don't have an airstream trailer.

So when my friend and hopefully someday co-writer at SNL, Erin, texted me on a Tuesday afternoon while I was sitting at the bus stop with a cool proposition, I was in.

Here, my friends, is Erin's directorial debut and our movie trailer debut.
Because blogging is more than chevron and bright colors.
It's really about SEO, HTML and social media shares.
And lots and lots of booze.

I added this in manually through my photo share option.
If you can't see it, you can  go here to see it.
It's good.
And leave a comment or share if you like it too.

Or better yet, go to Erin's blog to read her post and see the video there as well.

Rock that Chevron.
Rock that clean house.
Rock that pop of color.
Just be very suspicious if a traveling documentary filmmaker is on your doorstep.
Unless it's Erin.
Or me.
No, still be suspicious. 


Netflix Is Taking Me Back. AND Giving You A Subscription. TUBULAR.

I loved the 80s.
And the 90s for that matter.
Even though I was working full time and being an official adult most of the 90s.
It takes me back to a time when I could throw down jams.
While wearing leg warmers.
And drinking Crystal Pepsi.

Me in 1987. Just wait, the hair gets bigger in the 90s.

So when I saw that Netflix added some totally gnarly movies and TV shows to its April lineup?
I totally had a cow.
Because that is like wicked gnarly to the max.
Fer sure.

Inviting my girls into the time period that my hubs and I grew up and did most of the best television and movie watching, like ever, is kind of exciting.
And realitysmackingyouintheface inducing.
Oh yeah?
22 years ago Saved By The Bell....ENDED.

Let that sink in.

Told ya. 1992. BIGGER.
 One title that is my 14 year old daughter's favorite from the 80's is Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
She has been watching that with us since she was 5.
Ear muffs during the airport scene.

This summer, I plan to have a John Hughes movie night with her and her friends.
I want to introduce them to the likes of Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club and the list goes on and on.

My six year old loves classics like the Smurfs, Curious George and Strawberry Shortcake.
I totally missed the bus on Strawberry Shortcake.
It came out when I was in the transitional phase of being "too cool" for cartoons.
Then secretly binge watching them when no one was looking.

Now that you have been patiently wading through my tubular vocab, you will be rewarded.
I know you totally want a free three month subscription to Netflix!!!!

Enter below to win a three month subscription code to Netflix so you can binge watch Strawberry Shortcake too!
Or House of Cards.
Yes, that sounds better.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends a week from today!
And while you are waiting to see if you win, head over to Netflix to check out some more totally awesome throwback titles such as:

For the older crowd:

Saved by the Bell
The Babysitters Club
Family Ties
Jem and the Holograms
The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew
SpiderMan and His Amazing Friends

For the littles:

Winnie the Pooh
Care Bears Movie
The Smurfs and the Magic Flute
Strawberry Shortcake
Curious George
Sesame Street Classics

I am a new member of the Netflix Stream Team! Meaning, for the next year, once a month I will be writing posts about how my family is using our Netflix. They provided me with a Roku and a voucher for my Netflix account.


"The 4 1 1 On The ATL". That Means "The Details On Atlanta" For Those Less Hip. AKA- Me.

Over spring break, our little family got to go south to visit my parents.
They live in Chattanooga and that area is lovely but since we have done the whole Chattanooga thing before, my mom thought it would be fun to explore the Atlanta area which is only two hours from their home.
And apparently, always 10 degrees warmer.
Good to know.

This picture was taken just south of Nashville.
People of the Midwest understand a picture like this.
The last week of March.
Notice anything.....different?
Green to the grass.

Get used to the grass pictures.
This is my foot on my parents lawn.
By the way, my dad has already mowed his lawn.

OK so I called out Atlanta on Face book about this sign.
I know this winter was rough on most of the country.
Except for California.
And Arizona.
And maybe Nevada.
But the rest of the country did experience the result of said polar vortex.
But can we in the upper Midwest get a gold medal for the MOST of all the POLAR VORTICES??
Because 10  degrees up here isn't "polar".
Its called "February".

 Mom suggested we visit the Varsity restaurant while in Atlanta.
There are several locations and we were going to do the original location but ended up at the Kennesaw location.
This is what I have learned in life.
When there is a restaurant that has been around for generations, order what they are famous for.
What put them on the map.
For The Varsity, it is the chili slaw dog.
Or a chili dog.
Or a slaw dog no chili.
Basically the dog.
And the onion rings.
The fries were OK but the onion rings were Omazing.
See what I did there?

 This you need to know.
I am not a chili dog kind of gal.
This is what I like on my dog: mustard and onion.
A pickle on a good day.
I do not like the "Chicago dog".
I HATE poppy seeds.
So I like a very simplistic hot dog.
But I wanted to try what they are famous for because if the whole "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality.
So I ordered the chili slaw dog with mustard.
I don't remember ordering the mustard or if it comes that way.

The first bite?

Second bite?

Third bite?

This was the best dog I have ever had.
I wished I had ordered two, they even had that option but I only ordered one.

Beautiful Atlanta.
And the weather?
This day was actually colder than normal.
It was 65.

Look at the trees!!!
They have those strange flowery things on the ends of the branches!

When I get excited about weather, I take body pictures.
Like my bare arm.
End of March.

I wanted to soak every single moment in.
I kept inhaling like I was smoking something the whole time I was outside
I smelled all the smells.....fresh cut grass, cedar mulch......oh my sweet tarts.....it was so special.
So. so special.
I go back to that whenever Paul Konrad tells us its gonna be a colder than normal April.

The World of Coca Cola.
I don't want to say anything bad about this place.
Because a year ago, Coca Cola paid for this amazing blogging experience in Chicago.
I feel a little loyalty to them.
But I also feel the need to be real.
Because I feel more loyalty to YOU. 

The people are awesome.
Well, I have a feeling that might be a south thing rather than just a Coca Cola thing but the staff was really nice and helpful.
The place is really nice but the exhibits were very overwhelmingly claustrophobia inducing.
It was over priced as most museums are but it was a fun experience.
The most favorite part was the end where you can taste test different coca cola products from around the world.

This is where they keep the "secret recipe" of Coca Cola.
I think that it is holding "the secret infrastructure traffic plan" for Atlanta.
There needs to be something done.

Picture of the beautiful Tennessee mountains.
That took me down.
Apparently having root canal surgery a week before heading to higher altitudes isn't advisable,
I was in excruciating pain for three days while here.
But it was worth it.

For seeing my parents.
And the smell of fresh cut grass alone.


Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner. Except When Baby Holds Magazines. Then It's Ok.

When my girls were babies, they slept in cribs.
Scratch that.
When my Ellie was a baby, she slept in a crib.
My Annie slept in her crib for five hours.
On night one.
Then she slept with me on the floor of her room, next to her crib.
Until we inched all the way to the couch, back and into my bed.

Her crib was never used.
Oh wait, yes it was.
It was used for trampoline jumping contests during play dates with her little toddler friends.
But for sleeping?

When I was pregnant with my youngest, my friend and neighbor and her family were being transferred to Virginia with the military so they gave us their crib and dressers for free.
Which made me so happy since I thought I would be going through the same "no baby sleep in crib" scenario with my next child.
I had grand plans but I am weak when it comes to a baby crying.
Because baby crying. 

Ellie slept in that crib from week two until she was four.
I stood strong.
And yes, I know, she was in there a little long.
For many reasons but I wasn't ready for her to give up the crib.
Maybe because this was the last baby for me, maybe because she never once crawled out of that crib, maybe it was the security for her, maybe because I was so proud of how strong I stood.
Anyway, we finally got her into a big girl bed and I said to the hubs, "don't throw the crib to the curb, I am not ready yet".
Not ready yet meaning not ready to say goodbye to the crib.
I was done with the whole baby making thing.
Because baby crying.

So the crib sat in our basement storage room from March of 2012 until a few weeks ago.

I have seen lots of ideas to salvage cribs and crib rails on Pinterest into benches, jewelry holders even craft room organizers.
Cool ideas, really all while preserving the environment.
But nothing struck me.
Until I was thinking about my love of ladders one day.

Not aluminum ladders but those old wooden ladders.
I have always wanted one or two in my home to hold blankets or magazines.
But didn't want to go through the execution of placing one in my home until the past two years for fear my then toddler would climb said ladder.
And she would have climbed the crap out of that ladder.

This has a point.
I promise.

So while thinking about my love of ladders, I had a brainstorm moment.
An A- HAAAAAA moment, if you will.
I have a "ladder"!!!!
Its been sitting in my basement for two years!!!!!


Totally said like Chandler Bing.
My internal voice is Chandler Bing, F Y I.
Now you can't get his voice out of your head.
Can you?

Here is the "ladder" aka "crib rail":

Doesn't everyone have a giant sombrero in their basement?

Yes but do they proudly hang it on a door??
There is an amazing story that goes along with it.
Not enough of a story to write a whole blog post.
Lets just say that there are three other people on this planet who have this same exact sombrero.
And we may have ALL worn them at the exact same time.
In front of 1000s of strangers.
That's all I will say.

And here is the wonderful after:

I spray painted it off white... Valspar Hotel Vanilla to be exact and gave it two coats.
Then took sandpaper to it because I wanted it to look like an old wooden ladder.

Then propped it up in my favorite reading corner.

And put some reading material on the rungs.

Baby is indeed in a corner.

Oh yes.
I went there.

 I love this so much.
I look at this and remember that this was once used to hold my youngest when she was a baby.
And now it holds Chicago's 20 best restaurants and Rachel Rays favorite recipes.

Baby likes being in a corner, by the way.
Its a lot better gig than holding a screaming child with a dirty diaper.


My Weight Watchers Must Haves. Brownies. YOU CAN STILL HAVE BROWNIES. Annnnd a Weight Update.

My jeans are loose.
The ones that used to be tight after you wash them?
Then you reason that it's because you just washed them so of course they are tight!
I mean, who has jeans that fit absolutely perfect just out of the wash?
But then they don't get any looser.
Even after you wear them for two days.
THOSE jeans are loose.
Like, I have to wear a belt.
On like the fourth hole.

I am not a believer kind of person.
I see people who lose weight on TV and think, pshaw, yeah if I had a trainer and chef I could be a size whatever too.
I am a negative Nelly by nature, I hate that I am but I am.
Negative Nelly is harsh, maybe more of a doubter.
NOT a doubting Thomas more like a doubting Susie because who can't trust a Susie?
Anyhoo, I don't always believe "the hype".
Suuuuure you can lose twenty pounds on a weight loss program in two months.
And I have some amazing land to sell you three miles east of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
That's Lake Michigan for those who don't live here.

When I started on Weight Watchers back in January, I was a little skeptical.
I knew it was a good program and that I would indeed lose some weight but I didn't think it would be life changing.

It is life changing.
I said it.

Example:Last month on Fat Tuesday I had a breakthrough.
Fat Tuesday in Chicago means Paczki Tuesday.
A polish treat that is basically a cream filled donut.
I don't turn donuts down.
Like ever.
I wanted to get one but instead went to the gym and had a salad for lunch.
So on the day after Fat Tuesday, I was in Jewel and saw three packages left of Paczki's.
They looked awfully lonely.
There were six in each package.
I looked at the hubs and said, Nope.
Yes, I know the girls would eat them too but I couldn't do it.
Old me would have bought TWO packages, ate one for a snack that day, one for dessert that night and one for breakfast the next morning.
It's like I don't even know who I am anymore. 

I have lost 18.2 pounds so far!!!!
OK let me brag a little, because when you lose weight, any amount of weight you deserve to brag a little.
I went to the doctor a few weeks ago for a check up and told the nurse that I wanted to take my boots off to weigh in.
SIDE NOTE- normally I weigh in naked, so trust me, I wanted to strip right there but know that boots off weigh in is more socially acceptable than birthday suit weigh in.
I also told her I didn't want to know because the day before I cheated.
Not cheated myself just ate some good food.
Think pie.
And Portillo's.

When we got into the exam room the nurse said, "are you sure you don't want to know your weight?".
I laughed and she said " because you are 15 pounds lighter than you were three months ago!"
I told her how I lost it and she said, NO LIE, "that is what your doctor recommends as a weight loss program".
There ya go Weight Watchers
How about that for an endorsement.

THEN I went to the bank a few weeks ago and I was bundled up like Randy from A Christmas Story.
"Like a tick about to explode" because Polar Vortex.
And my friend and fave teller said, "OMG Kari, have you lost weight??"

It is working.
I am losing.
And I am not hungry.
I feel great.

I am not trying to sell you on anything.
Because I am not getting paid by WW other than getting this trial for free.
But I need you to know this, I will be doing WW for the rest of my life.
My struggle with keeping healthy and thinner have been long and hard.
Never has it been easy since giving birth to my two girls.
The only way I was able to keep thin was by smoking when I was younger and in between my girls births,
I never smoked while preggo in fact I quit a year before even getting pregnant with both of them.
But when I wasn't preggo I was smoking until I quit for good in 2007.
And since then, STRUGGLE.

Since on Weight Watchers I have some fun secrets and favorite recipes to help me get through.
Because even though I am not hungry on most days, it is the realization that I can't eat whatever I want that does get me down at times.
But its all good, I have some help for you.

Write on yo cans.
That isn't a reference to anything dirty.
Write the points on everything in your house.
There is a points calculator in the app you get with your membership and it will be your bestie.
When I want to eat something, the math is done for me.
I get the Sharpie out when I am putting away groceries.

Redi Whip will become your BFF.


Or put it on these brownies.
Four points for a large piece.
Secret ingredient?
Black. Beans.
OK, I was SKEP to the TICAL about these.
I had heard about black bean brownies for years and was like, Um. No.
Give it a chance.
But here are some tips.
Don't use Target brand black beans (sorry Target, they taste AWFUL).
I use Wal Mart brand black beans or brand name just the Target brand taste awful.
Don't come sue me Target, I am broke.

I use the blue Pillsbury boxed brownie mix.
And that is all you need.
Drain and rinse the black beans; put bean back in can, fill can with beans in it to top with tap water.
Add to blender and blend til smooth.
Mix with brownie mix and bake as directed on package.

Tastes like Portillo's chocolate cake.
That is good if you have never had Portillo's chocolate cake.
Oh and put that zero point RediWhip on top of it.

Speaking of sweet treats, here is another cheat I love.
Diet Swiss Miss hot chocolate is one point when you add water.
(If you were to use milk, it would be more. So don't use milk.)
Top with the zero point whipped cream and you have a one point sweet treat.
This is my Saturday afternoon salvation because I usually treat the girls to lunch out on Saturday and "lunch out" is code for "diet out".
Kind of like "Seacrest Out".
So this gives me a lift without adding extra points to my day.
Because I like to save ALL OF MY CHEAT POINTS for Sunday.
I know, I am doin' it wrong.
But I am still losing so I am OK with that.

This is "mashed potatoes".
I say "mashed potatoes" because there aren't any "potatoes" in this.
It is cauliflower.
And it is amazing.
Tastes like mashed tots only better.
AND better for you.
AND low in points.
I topped it with 0 point Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon seasoning and 0 point spray butter.
O M G.

No these aren't apples.
Its a bad picture.
But it is a delicious dish.
Think cucumbers, red onion, tomato (I forgot to add) and buffalo sauce.
0 points.
I served this as a side dish with the potatoes and a Weight Watchers shrimp recipe and it was amazing. 
It tastes like buffalo chicken.
Without the chicken.
In fact, I am under the belief that if you put buffalo sauce on ANYTHING, it will taste like buffalo wings.

Thank you Weight Watchers.
For making me fall in love with eating healthy again.
For making it easy and dare I say, fun??
I love how I look, how I feel and I know I will want to do this forever.
Thank. You.

Disclosure- A subscription to Weight Watchers Online was provided to me for free by Weight Watchers. People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.


Mrs. Pierce

The world lost an amazing soul last week.
My high school English teacher passed away on March 19th.
This isn't the first teacher to pass away since I have become an adult.
But it was the first one that made me cry.
Even though I haven't seen or talked to her since 1987.

Mrs. Pierce was one of those great teachers.
You know the ones.
They stick out in your memory, you can hear their raspy voice, see her in her floral dress as she walks around the room to check on your work.
I learned to love writing from her.

In 1987 I was having a bad year.
Think baaaad.
Rebel streak.
WRONG crowd.
All my teen years up until this particular year, I had been an average student but my friends were all honor students, straight As, groomed for greatness with their early scholarship offers and college visits.
I was just barely making the cut.

So during the 1986-1987 school year I sat next to the girl, in Mrs. Pierce's class, who would open my eyes to a world that was quite different than what I had been accustomed to.
Think skip class, the principal's office was on a first name basis, smoked during lunch break right outside the teachers lounge rebel, bad a@$ girl.
And I was enthralled with all of it.

I was exposed to drugs.
Heavy drugs.
I saw pills, I saw people tripping on acid, I saw marijuana.
I touched none of it.
I watched as my "friends" would go into drug dealers homes while I would wait in the car.
In the dark.

I would ride in cars who's driver's were high and completely buzzed.
I would sip Budweiser to look cool and back wash it into the can because BEER.
I got drunk for the first time on four orange White Mountain wine coolers in the back of "Muffin Head's" I SWEAR ON MY LIFE THAT WAS HIS NICK NAME Cutlass Supreme.
I also threw it all up over the picnic tables at the McDonald's I ended up working at months later.

This rebel streak lasted only four months but I am sure it seemed like an eternity to my parents who fought with me, cried and prayed for me and at one point carried me back into the house over a shoulder while I was kicking and screaming.
I know.
I love you mom and dad.
I am so sorry.
And the karma that is coming my way scares the crap out of me.

Mrs. Pierce had a front row seat to the collision of the century.
From stirrup pants and long sweaters and spiral permed hair.
To black jeans, Ozzy Osbourne tee shirts, chopped off hair and knee high moccasins.
I know.
I love you mom and dad.
I am so sorry.

It was late spring 1987 (near the end of my hot mess streak) when Mrs. Pierce came to me with one of my papers in her hand.

 She said to me something to the effect of " I cannot wait to read the book you someday write".
And it stopped me in my tracks.

My English teacher just told me I could be a writer.


Don't writers have to be good at school?
Don't writers have to use big words?
Don't writers have to be smart??

Mrs. Pierce was the only tangible thing I remember about my junior year in high school.
Well, except for getting stuck in the bathroom stall at prom later that month.
But it was the take away from my high school career.
My 11th grade teacher believes in me.

Even with my Ozzy tee shirt and ripped jeans.
Even with a look of confusion on my 17 year old face.
Even with my rebellious spirit.
She saw who I would once become through all of that.
THAT is a good teacher.

She is the teacher who I talk about in my About Me page at the top of my blog who is "rolling her eyes".
And she is the teacher who, among others, I will dedicate my first someday book to.

Thank you Mrs Pierce for believing in me and encouraging me.

Here is the piece I saved from her class in 11th grade.
It is the only paper I saved from my entire schooling.

I can vaguely remember my kindergarten to 6th grade years at my elementary schools. But one thing I can remember is the teachers not granting freedom to us kids. We had to do exactly what was expected of us or we would get into "trouble". Trouble usually meant not getting to have our "breaks" or having to stay in during recess. Now, if we get into trouble, it either means detention or suspension from school. 
The teaching methods are a lot different also. We do harder subjects and we learn how to apply them to our society. Teachers now help us to understand why reading, writing, speech, mathematics and science are important for us in the future. All that was important in our younger years was that we could learn how to do all of those subjects. We didn't or rarely had to worry about homework. We'd go out and play with our friends and not have to worry about things like tests, finals, bad grade cards, detentions, notes from the main office and the guidance office.
When we were younger, we didn't have "cliques", such as the "popular" group or the "hoods" or the "nerds". We didn't cut down on people because they couldn't dress nicely or weren't as rich. We all played together and it didn't matter. We were good friends and that's all that mattered. Sometimes I wish I were a kid again. 
I didn't have as many problems and I know we all had more friends.


Why I Hate Getting My Picture Taken

I don't take a good picture.

The pictures in which I look pretty good are random coincidences.
Like snow rollers or crop circles.
I come by it honestly.
My gramma, God rest her beautiful soul, rarely took a good picture in her entire life.

This is probably the best picture I have ever taken. I am 42 in this picture. 42 years for a good picture. Also? I HAD TO TAKE 123 BAD PICTURES TO GET THIS ONE GOOD PICTURE. I wish I were lying.

This is why most likely my children will forget what I look like when I am dead.
Because there is very little photographic proof of how bad a picture I take.
I see all these cute selfies with moms and their offspring everywhere.
Me + a good selfie is like Oprah Winfrey at a Dollar Tree.
Never the two shall meet.

The beginning of the bad picture curse. Sophomore year, 1985. Can you say EYELINER.

I have a crooked smile.
It is one of my imperfections.
I am OK with it on a daily basis.
But when it is time for me to smile at the birdy?
I overcompensate for it.

In fairness to myself, we weren't ready. But even my mom looks great candidly. It was HER mom that passed this gene on to me. It must skip a generation. 

I make a better impression in person.
I promise.


You know those romantic pictures of couples trying to take a selfie on the beach?
I have no idea what you are talking about.
It looks like I don't even know the man kissing me.
Because overcompensating for crooked smile.

Normal people look whimsical in a selfie on a beautiful summer day with a bestie.
I look like I am in pain.

A lot of the time, I just give up.
And take pictures of my knees.
Here are my knees having a great time at a Zac Brown concert.

Or of my feet.
Here they are relaxing in New York City.

And again in NYC.

A potentially great picture ruined by my tan lines.
And my cheesy, overcompensating smile. 


Or I am upstaged by my boobs.
I don't have large boobs.
My bra must have been workin' overtime this night.

Or my bifocals AND my boobs.
Of course the hubs looks kind of tipsy so who knows, maybe it was that kind of night.

Or my hair.

You know that "beach hair" every one on Pinterest is trying to get?
This is mine.
My husband apparently doesn't like it either.

I cannot take a candid or action shot to save my life.
Marianne looks amazing.
I look like I am her grandmother.

Yes I am wearing a snuggie.
On my birthday.


Until I had my first professional head shot taken last weekend.
For my Listen To Your Mother experience.

courtesy of Balee Images

I want her to follow me around everywhere I go.
I wish I could have her take all my selfies.
Well, then I guess they wouldn't be selfies by definition.
You get the picture.
See what I did there?

I am a person who can appreciate a good hair/makeup/face/boob/ouftit picture.
And cherish it.
Now my kids will know what I looked like.


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