Wednesday, April 16

Soccer Portrait

I don't know if its the teasing of spring in the air, the ramping up of wedding plans or just my own laziness, but I haven't been very productive lately when it comes to blog stuff. I haven't taken an outfit photo in weeks and that's probably because I just haven't been inspired by my wardrobe lately. I'm blaming poor Nick because in retaliation against my laziness he threw all of the still clean clothes I own that were sitting on the dresser into the laundry basket. He claims he thought they were dirty and I responded, if they were dirty they would have been on the floor not the dresser. Just a snap shot of real life people.

Anyway, now all of my clothes are in the laundry basket mocking me as I slowly launder the giant backlog of dirties. In the meantime, I have no clean clothes and can't find anything interesting to wear. My uniform has inexplicably become jeans for the first time since college. I'm wearing jeans and a baggy sweatshirt every day which fits very well into a life filled with dog parks and muddy evening walks.

I took these picks at the dogpark on the weekend, we were trying a new place. Lacombe Lake Dog Park in St. Albert. Very different from the winding trail and lush landscape of Hermitage Dog Park, it was more a big giant open space for all of the dogs to mingle and run around. Lola and her sister loved it! We found this little ball in the grass left behind from some other pup and the girls had a blast chasing after it. They made some friends and tired themselves out. We're excited to have a nice park just a little closer to us.

I call these pics Lolas soccer portraits, you know the kind. I thought it was so cute the way she just set her little paw over it. ;) Spoiler, there's no green grass like this in Edmonton yet, but the tan colour of her fur was blending into the dead of last years grass so I did some colour correction. Haha.

Tuesday, April 8

My Puppy Cheat Sheet: Puppy Supplies

First of all, straight up, no two puppies are the same and not everything that works for one puppy will work for another. I read a lot of books and other materials before we brought Lola home, and I have been a faithful viewer of At the End of My Leash, Barking Mad, and The Dog Whisperer since I can remember. I didn't use all of one trainers tips or all of anothers, but I chose a mixture of techniques, tips and tricks that worked for our lifestyle and Lolas personality. I would definitely recommend proper socialization and professional training (if you join a group training class you can roll these two essentials into one) for all puppies. 
When we brought Lola home she was 14 weeks old, a little bit older then the typical 8 weeks when most puppies are adopted. This worked very well in our favour, since Lola's bladder development, training and socialization had all progressed further then we were expecting.

The reason most puppies are adopted at 8 weeks is that they are going through the first 'fear period' which makes it easier for them to bond with their new families. Personally, I feel that if you can adopt a slightly older puppy you will find they take to their crate better, they miss their litter-mates less (which means less crying and less separation anxiety), they're easier to housebreak, and at least in Lolas case, she bonded with us no problem!

I remember all the information out there was a little overwhelming, and I was very careful with everything we purchased and taught to Lola, so I thought I would share some of that info now that we're over six months in and I've gotten a feel for what works and what doesn't! 
Lolas crate all set up waiting for our puppy to arrive.
 First Day Supplies:
  • Pee pads. We didn't actually use ours since Lola had never used them before, was a little older, had less accidents then we were expecting, and also thought pee pads were chew toys and blankets. That being said, you can buy a very small box like we did and see if your puppy takes to them. 
  • A crate. We knew we were going to be crate training Lola so we purchased a medium sized hard sided crate labeled as the correct size for an adult Border Collie. We weren't exactly sure how large Lola would grow, but we didn't want to have to purchase more then one crate since they're fairly expensive.  At the beginning we divided her crate with a folded cardboard box so that she wouldn't have enough room to soil and still be comfortable. After a few weeks she began to chew the cardboard so we removed it. She's never had an issue with soiling in her crate, but as I mentioned before she had great bladder control at three months and for a younger puppy I would recommend purchasing a divider, or starting with a smaller size. Dividers only seem to come for wire crates so if you think you'll need to do this I might recommend purchasing a wire crate instead. That said, our Kong crate has been great for traveling, we can easily make Lola comfortable and safe in the car by putting her crate in the back seat. It also gives her a safe and familiar place to take a nap or have some quiet time while visiting friends homes, or staying overnight with a friend or relative. I believe wire crates are more difficult to transport and don't offer the same den atmosphere.  For those of you who have other pets, I would recommend setting up the crate several days or even weeks before the arrival of your pup. This worked well for us as Tommy had a chance to investigate and when Lola did arrive, her things already had his scent on them. 
  • Baby or pet gates. Cesar Millan teaches not to let your puppy have full run of the house right away, as it can be overwhelming for them and lead to bad behavior, as well as open your whole house up to messes! We started with Lola just in the kitchen. Our dog trainer says you should never let your dog in the kitchen, but it was the only room in our house that was central enough to give the puppy access to the family, but easy to cordon off with gates. We added a gate to each entry point. These can be expensive, but I wouldn't advise investing in anything fancy. We bought the cheapest one available and it works just fine.  We still use our gates if we leave Lola alone in the house, and in the morning if we're sleeping in.
  • Depending on what season you're adopting your puppy I would recommend being prepared with some puppy shampoo. This Spring Lola has needed a bath almost every day. We only shampoo once a month, and when we do we like Burts Bees tearless two-in-one.
  • A collar. It's important for pups to get used to wearing a collar early on. If they haven't been wearing one at the breaders or shelter, it's good practice to start them right away. Lola scratched at hers for awhile but now she doesn't seem to notice it. Training seems to involve a lot of tugging on said collar, so get one that is wide enough it won't hurt their little throats. Lola's was probably a little thin by our trainers standards so we recently upgraded to a thicker one.
  • A leash to go with that collar! 
  • And poop bags. This is pretty obvious. 
  • You will definitely, no matter how old or well behaved or partially trained, need some urine remover and stain cleaner. If urine stains aren't cleaned properly your dog will return to the scene of the crime and strike again! We like natures miracle.
  • A few toys. We purchased Lola a soft crinkle toy with chewable feet and a small Kong bone with holes on each end. This bone would become critical to her crate training! Her former home also sent her with a soft frog that had the scent of her littermates. 
  • Treats. To start her off we bought a couple packages of greenies and other larger, teeth cleaning chews that would take her a few minutes to chomp on, help keep her teeth clean, and help with her teething. I would also freeze her little Kong bone with some peanut butter or coconut oil in the ends to help with her soar teeth.
  • Training treats. It's never too early to start training, and training treats should be small, and few in calories since you'll be giving lots. We like Zukes Mini Naturals
  • Pet Insurance. This one might not be for everyone, I know that pets already cost a lot of money and not everyone can afford to pay for a yearly pet insurance policy, but I would highly recommend it and have got to say that for us, Pet Insurance is an absolute necessity. I'm a worrier. When Tommy was a kitten I used to worry that he would find the knife block and accidentally skewer himself while we were at work. I'm pretty sure that's not a thing. If you insure your puppy from the beginning of his life he will be protected against everything. Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, that means that if your puppy gets sick right after bringing him home not only are you going to pay out of pocket for that trip to the vet, if your puppy ever suffers the same illness you will pay again. We are insured through Pet Plan and Lolas policy costs $468. There are many options which might lower, or raise that cost. She came down with a tummy bug in January and we spent about $650 on vet bills including a trip to the emergency vet, special food and gut flora, tests and several follow up exams. After all that, we emailed her bills and medical history to Pet Plan and received a cheque in the mail for $350. That's a savings of almost half, and it pretty much paid for the yearly policy. Also, if she ever has that issue again we will be able to add to that claim, and get the entire amount back, having already paid the deductible. If you're on the fence or would like to look into other pet insurance options, I found this website to be incredibly helpful.
Our cardboard divider in Lolas crate.
Things we Didn't Purchase Right Away or At All:
  •  Food. This might seem strange, because puppies definitely need to eat, but most breeders or foster homes will send along a sample of the food the puppy has been eating. Puppys can get upset tummies if you change their food too quickly, so we waited until we knew what brand she was eating before we bought more. Lola was originally on Iams and we bought one bag of Iams and one bag of Blue Buffalo, the food we wanted her on, and then slowly mixed them until she was just eating Blue. 
  • Bowls. Also another weird one. If you're on a budget, you can skip fancy pet bowls and just use your normal cereal ones. As Lola gets bigger I realize we might need to purchase elevated bowls, but in the meantime these work great. After a few uses I just toss them in the dishwasher and give her a clean one. When we were using pet bowls I would forget to keep them clean, and Tommy developed cat acne from his old bowl. For water, both our pets share a replenishing water bowl like this one. The first month Lola was with us I didn't let her  have water all the time, but rather gave her water at scheduled times to help with housebreaking. This worked OK because it was winter, but in the summer I would advise keeping a constant water source for your puppy, especially when playing outside.
  • Rawhide. I know a lot of people feed their pups rawhide, but the research I've done seems to indicate that they are non-digestable. First, rawhide builds up in your puppies tummies and is passed like sludge. This is not entirely harmful to them, but it can be hard to tell whether your pup is healthy if all of their poop looks sludgy and wet. Secondly, if a dog is taking very large bites of the rawhide it can form blockages in their tummies which can be very dangerous. Thirdly, many critics of rawhide believe it can contain vast amounts of chemicals and toxins caused by everything from the tanning process, to the hair removal process, to the very flavoring added to make it palatable to dogs (like bubblegum?). Lola had lots of wet poop at the beginning and problems with diarrhea (overshare?) so we decided not to give her rawhides. Instead, we discovered split antlers. Dogs scrape the marrow out of the antler and it keeps them very busy for long periods of time. I love that it's natural as well. Be careful though, only split antlers are good for puppies (you will be able to see the darker exposed marrow on one side) as they can crack their baby teeth on the bone. Once puppies teeth are all adult you can buy them full antlers and they will begin to eat the bone as well as the marrow. Experts advise that you stick to natural animal byproducts such as pig ears, hooves, and real bones (being larger then their jaw). 

Things You Can Buy With Your Puppy: 

I don't think I'm alone in this, but I love taking Lola to the pet store with us. In the beginning, since it was winter, we didn't have a lot of opportunities to socialize Lola or expose her to strange sounds and smells. Any outing she could tag along on became a special, treasured thing. It turns out puppies also love to pick out their own stuff! Consider:
  • A bed. To start, Lola just had her crate pad and a towel. I began to train her to go into her crate on command by saying "go to your bed" but when we started putting her crate in our bedroom, she needed to have a bed in the common area.  The first time, I just bought the bed I thought would fit our decor, but this time Lola came with us and tested all the little beds out herself! It was too funny to see her little opinions on each bed.
  • Chew toys. I find it very helpful to have Lola with me when picking out bones or chew toys so I can compare the size of the item to her mouth! It's good to know that you're avoiding choking hazards, and Lola loves sniffing out the perfect bone from the bin (actually, she's pretty easy going. All the bones are perfect for Lola). 
  • A harness. As I mentioned previously, we usually use Lola's crate in the back seat of the car to go from A to B, but it's still not the easiest solution. I'm very much about safety and car safety, and having been in a car accident previously I know I want Lola to be protected just like us when we're traveling in the car. Lola has this harness and a seat belt adapter for when she's traveling loose in the car. The lady at the pet store recommended this method instead of a fancier car harness because Lola was still growing. You don't have to get too picky with your harness, but look for something made of mesh or fabric and not straps. It should evenly distribute pressure over their chests in the event of a quick stop. The seat belt adapter we have is adjustable so you can set the amount of room they have to roam. We keep it short so that she won't fall off the seat accidentally. As a note, Lolas old partially eaten dog bed has a new home in the back seat of our car now. We buckle her into the middle seat and she curls up in her bed quite happily, the bolsters of the bed keep her from sliding around too much and she much prefers having something back there then sitting directly on the seat. The reason you might want your pup with you when you're shopping for a harness is pretty evident, it's easy to buy the wrong size! I would also categorize booties, or any other kind of novelty dog clothing item that might come in sizes small through extra large. If pup can't come with you, try and remember to measure them instead of guessing in store.
  • A brush. Lola's not a big fan of being brushed, she's pretty sure brushes are chew toys and isn't quite straight on why I won't let her have at it. That being said, I have been using two brushes I originally bought for Tommy (who, incidentally, also dislikes being brushed). I think it helps to pick out your brush with puppy in tow so that they can let you know their likes or dislikes. It's fairly overwhelming standing in front of a huge wall of brushes trying to figure out what your puppy might allow you to use on them. There are literally hundreds of kinds of brush! Bristles, soft or spiney or rubbery, slickers, wire, silicone, you name it! Your puppy might be able to give you some insight on what will work for them. 
Well, I hope this ridiculously long post might help some first time dog parents! If you have any questions, fire away, or if you think I missed something let me know! Next up I'll be sharing what worked for us as far as training and housebreaking.

PS. This was my brilliant excuse to post pictures of Lola as a little bity puppy. ;)

Monday, April 7

Wantable Intimates: March 2014

Well, the subscription box monsoon is dying down and I finally get to share my favorite.

This is my second Wantable Intimates box (see February's box here)  and again, I couldn't be more happy with its contents! I still love Wantables packaging, there's something special about seeing "packed especially for Kaitlyn Petry" and that adorable little band that makes me super excited.

Last month I didn't get any underwear and was a little disappointed (who doesn't love new underwear?) so I was happy to see a couple pairs this month!

First, Betsey Johnson sheer black panties, I was a little incredulous about these when I saw them since they're a bit more juvenile looking then I like, but they fit great and are very comfortable so I've decided I like them fine. ;)
Betsey Johnson sleep top with rhinestones. This pajama top is super super comfy, slinky and soft. Again, the rhinestones seem a bit silly to me, but I guess there's nothing wrong with sparkling while you sleep.
KIBYS thong. This is more like it. I love everything about this and it's super comfy and fits just right.
And lastly, some cute Sock it to Me knee socks in argyle. I don't love these, but they'll look pretty cute with boots so I'm not complaining. Haven't worn them yet. I do feel like the colours might be better for the fall.

I was very happy to receive a variety of things in this box that are very different then what I received last month. I've heard some complaints about getting the same sort of thing month to month but that certainly hasn't been my experience so far and I didn't even go in and change my preferences. I'm stocked about having some new PJ's and underwear for the spring season!

Friday, April 4

Bark Box: March

 SO, It's true, I'm pretty obsessed with ordering subscription boxes. Of course I'm also obsessed with purchasing things for my pets. In fact, I might go as far as to say that Bark Box is saving me money on impulse treat purchases whenever I walk past a pet store. I've been wanting to try a pet subscription box for awhile and I couldn't be more happy with Bark Box! As you can see, Tommy was a little jealous, but he got to play in the box afterwards so win-win.

The first thing Lola and I recieved was a bag of Baker's Best Wild Pacific treats. Come on, maple glazed salmon with blueberries? I would like some please. Despite sounding too yummy to feed to a dog, Lola loves these and they're the perfect size and have just enough crunch (I guess).

Next, wheat free Twistix dental chews! Lola loves these kinds of things and as of yesterday she's eaten this entire bag! We don't give her rawhide so I'm always looking for alternative chews and these worked very well. I have to say it was strange to open a bag of dog treats and have the scent of bananas waft out at me but she did seem to like them!

The last treat item in the box were these organic dog biscuits by Wagathas. The info card said that the staff at Wagathas eat these biscuits with their coffee in the morning because they're perfectly human safe. Of course I was curious so I took a nibble of one and I can confirm that they taste like slightly bland cookies. ;p Lola loves these too and there's a very generous amount of them so they'll last a long time! They're also, again, the perfect size for her mouth.

My favorite item from the box, and Lolas second favorite, is this Biggie Bone by Safe Made. All Safe Made products are oven safe, dishwasher safe and freezer safe which is kinda amazing! They even suggest baking treats directly inside the hollow bone! The bone is made to childrens toy standards so is safe even for children to stick in their mouths. ;) My favorite features are the ridges on the ends of the bone which clean puppys teeth as she chews. Lola loves this new bone and it's held up really well to her vigerous chewing!


The last item was this adorable bacon strip toy by Aussies Naturals. It's a Bark Box exclusive product and it's made of suede leather with bacon flavouring. This is probably lolas favorite item, but I was afraid she would destroy it so I've only been giving it to her for short periods at a time.


Overall I found this box to be very very fun and stuffed to the brim with great items. I'm glad there was a mixture of treats, dental chews and toys instead of being all treats. I haven't calculated the actual value of the box, but I know the Biggie Bone alone sells for almost twenty dollars so I definitely feel like the value is there.

I had so much fun with this box I immediately ordered a Meow Box so Tommy can have a good mail day too. ;) 

Thursday, April 3

Paper Flowers

For my wedding in July my dream plan is to make my own paper flowers for bouquets and decor. I've already purchased a lot of supplies, an e-course and a book on the process but lo and behold I've only succeeded in making one kinda gnarly flower so far. I'm hoping to get more practice in over the next week or so!

In honour of this endeavor I thought I would share some of my favorite paper flower tutorials with you.

First: Giant Paper Flower Pinatas
http://bloggingcornerblog.blogspot.ch/2013/07/giant-paper-peony-pinatas.html#_a5y_p=980337
 I think these are absolutely stunning and would be oh-so- whimsical and fun. They are, however, quite the daunting task to make...

Second: Giant Paper Roses another tutorial here.
http://greenweddingshoes.com/diy-giant-paper-rose-flower/
I am very much considering some giant paper roses as  bouquet option. Again, I love the whimsy, and hey, it's fairly easy and will last for forever!

Third: Paper Peonies or from coffee filters here.
http://www.freutcake.com/art-design/maker-monday/ji-kim-blooms-air/#comment-7888
 Paper peonies are my favorite paper flower I think, they can look very lifelike and beautiful.

And Fourth: Giant standing paper flowers
http://www.designsponge.com/2012/02/diy-project-giant-paper-flowers-from-ruche.html
I've been in love with this tutorial ever since I saw these amazing flowers in the Ruche lookbook years ago. Aren't they stunning?

So what do you think, would you have paper flowers at your wedding? 

Wednesday, April 2

Wedding Purchases

I've started taking pictures of everything I'm purchasing for the wedding. A way to keep track of items coming in and what I've purchased/still have to purchase. It's been a fun couple weeks seemingly purchasing something every day on Etsy or elsewhere. I finally feel like I'm making headway. I've been busy delegating as well, there's stances I have to be firm on (like not stretching our max guest list of 75) and others that I can delegate out and wipe my hands of (Mum didn't like my centerpiece plan so I'm happy to let her take that off my plate). I'm excited to start dress alterations soon, shop for groomsmen attire, and mail out invitations. They're all printed and I'm just waiting on the designer who is making our address cards and some people to get back to me with their mailing addresses.  Here's what I have so far (there's lots in the mail right now that are not pictured of course). 

Above, Sandgrens clogs that I still have to break in, a floral crown from WhichGoose on Etsy. Not 100% sure this is what I will wear on the day, but I might wear it at the rehearsal.

Below: Thrifted milk vases, various mercury glass votives in gold, green and blush from Anthropologie and Indigo. The large gold flower pot is Anthropologie. N and K gold letters from Indigo.
 
Various stationary purchases for making the invitations (cardstock Straight Home Paper Supply, self inking address stamp from Yellow Fish Paperie, Kraft Envelopes Squish and Chips, 'Please Deliver to' Stamp from Chatty Press, Washi Tape MooseArt), plus hand made branch pens (from Falling Opposite on Etsy) for guestbook.

Treat Yo Self poster (Paper Chat) for dessert table and monogram notebooks (Print Stitch and Paste) for vows.

Recently arrived: blush satin ribbon for wrapping bouquets, 25 yards of gold sequin ribbon, gold dipped pencils for reception activity, tons of custom ribbon (it says Kait & Nick and I Love You on it!) from The Lonely Heart on Etsy (turns out I'm a  sucker for ribbon?), gold paper straws, more gold ribbon, raffia ribbon for programs, and gold bakers twine. Whew!

Tuesday, April 1

Loose Button: Spring

This is my second Luxe box from Loose Button and I'm generally pretty happy with them. This box is no exception! I have to say, they consistently have some of the nicest packaging of all the boxes I've subscribed to!

The first couple items in the box seemed to be themed towards skin care which is nice for spring. There was Aveeno hand lotion, some nice little eye pads that can be frozen and placed on the eyes to reduce puffyness, and a very small sample of eye creme. I really am not a fan of samples this small, but eye cream usually goes pretty far. I do really love Kiehl's products.
Next, some nice shampoo and conditioner samples and a set of hair ties. You already know I'm obsessed with this kind of hair tie, I can usually be found wearing one on my wrist (in the nail polish photo below you'll catch a glimpse of one) these are springy and fun, so they'll look nice this summer! You might also know from past reviews I'm not a big fan of shampoo and conditioner samples since I've been sulfate free for a couple years and most samples don't fit those requirements. I'll probably use these for traveling, since I don't mind cheating a little on the road.
Next up, my deluxe  upgrade for this season was the Sothy's dark lip gloss and I've been wearing it pretty much every day since I received it! It's a great colour! I don't love how fast it wears off or the fact that all that colour is highly transferable, but I do love the moisturizing effect. The nail polish is also great, it's very long wearing and the application brush is nicely shaped to deliver an even coat in one swipe.


I had intended to cancel my Luxe box subscription to try something else, but they've recently changed their website to make doing so much more difficult. I hate moves like this, it makes me feel cheated. Of course now they require a phone call and I hate making phone calls so I'll probably leave it for a few more months (sneaky bastards must love people with social phobias).

Monday, March 31

The New Dog Bed Saga

Pictured: Her old dog bed, which we thought was the perfect size.
This saga begins with a trip to the pet store.

It was innocent in intent, get out of the house, bring the dog. We wanted her to have an experience being groomed, so she had her nails done and they gave her a thorough brushing to make up for the fact she doesn't like to be brushed at home. Looking pristine, we headed back through the aisles and were promptly distracted by the dog beds. 

Recently Lola had torn a large hole in her dog bed and she had been sleeping on a blanket in the interim. PetSmart had this lovely grey and yellow Kong bed we thought looked pretty tough so we decided to bring it home. It's awfully large, but when placed in front of her in the store she had taken to it immediately, showing us her down very proudly in its center.
The thing barely fit in the back seat of the car, in fact it took up the back seat in its entirety.  Surprising us with her enthusiasm she immediately jumped into the back seat, onto her bed and lay down. I attached her seat belt and as soon as the car started to move she fell asleep!

Once we returned home we were pleasantly surprised to find that the giant bed fits perfectly in between the kitchen cabinets at the back of our kitchen. The intent when we were remodeling this area was to create a breakfast nook with these cabinets and a few counter stools, well, then we got a dog and it became a space out of the way that we could put Lolas belongings. Now, it comfortably holds her bed.
 Lola was pretty thrilled. The bed is kinda like a giant pillow/mattress/cloud and she seems to love it. Of course it turns out someone else has also taken a liking to the new bed...

Turns out, it's big enough for two!
Let us not speak of this.
Seriously, every time Lola takes a nap Tommy comes over and naps with her now. Or Tommy will be in the bed and Lola will come over and flop on top of him. It's hilarious. Every time we catch them I have to take a picture, it kills me! I've also caught them wrestling on top of the bed a couple times, it's like two kids jumping on the bed. I die!

Perhaps this is a strange thing to blog about but I want to remember how funny this is for forever. ;p Have you seen the youtube video of cats stealing dog beds? I'm adding my own entry.


Thursday, March 27

Music: Brandi Carlile

The other day Nick and I are in the car on the way to our last puppy class and on the radio comes an advertisement for an upcoming concert at The Winspear Theater. How did I not know about this? I exclaimed, WE HAVE TO GET TICKETS IMMEDIATELY. And that's when I got on my phone and purchased tickets to see Brandi Carlile with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra next week.

Nick and I have been very privileged to have seen Brandi perform twice before at the Edmonton Folk Festival, and I unabashedly consider her my favorite live performer. Her concerts are my best experiences seeing live music, Brandi is just one of the most humble, sweet women and she is undeniably talented as well. I'll always remember the first time we saw her at the Folk Festival. Sarah Harmer, a bigger name for sure, had just performed before her. During Sarahs performance it had been raining and she had exclaimed several times that she was dry and we were wet and wasn't that funny.  Not really, thanks Sarah Harmer. Next, Brandi takes the stage and the mood changes drastically. Look at you all, you're absolutely beautiful. Wow. She exclaims, I am so blessed to be here. Thank you. That's just how she talks. She won over every single person in the crowd that day.

Anyway, if you're in Edmonton I highly suggest grabbing a ticket for the show.

Wednesday, March 26

Currently Pinning (2)

This Wedding
http://greenweddingshoes.com/dreamy-northern-california-farm-wedding-nelly-michael/

Or this one.  It's hard to believe this wedding took place in San Fran, it looks like Italy in the pics!

These rustic Macaroons displayed in the prettiest way imaginable

This glass of summer

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