B&B! Q&A: Michelle Casey and the Super Electric Fountain of Youth

14 Apr

Michelle Casey Okay, I’m juuuust a tiny bit excited to talk about my experience of the Viora Reaction Skin Tightening Frequency treatment, which I received at Aqua Beauty, Stillorgan, from the hands of the owner herself, Michelle Casey. The clinic was awarded the Guinot Crown Award for 2014, and has been a leader in the beauty field for fifteen years.

Originally from Galway, Michelle had worked in a family business from an early age, and says, ‘I was aware of all stresses that a business can bring and the enjoyment, too. My Grandmother used to always say, if you own half a counter, own it yourself! So I decided to move from Galway and open my beauty clinic, the first of its type in Ireland at that time and have never looked back.’

First, a few Qs with Michelle, then the verdict on the process (as if you couldn’t already tell how I feel about it, from the headline.)

After all this time, are you still excited to be in the beauty biz?
I look forward to going to work every day, meeting my super team and all my clients. I have a strong passion and absolutely love what I do. I am a people person and love looking after and making my clients feel good!

Has the business changed much in fifteen years? How do you keep everything on the cutting edge?
Absolutely. Clients are more demanding and want immediate results: Irish women and men are very cosmopolitan and travel a lot now. Men are more open and savvy.

I myself travel a lot, and listen to my clients as to the kind of results they are looking for and usually that’s what inspires me. I will then go and source the best available treatment — I did this even through the recession. It’s so important to stay ahead of the game and that’s what I love so much about owning my own business.

Tell us a bit about the procedure you offered to B&B?
It’s called the Viora Reaction Skin Tightening Radio Frequency treatment. My clients are blown away by the results, and by how straightforward the whole process is. It’s pain-free and there’s no downtime required. It can be used on face and on the body and to firm, sculpt and tighten the skin. It’s a fabulous treatment for jowls and sagging skin around the neck area and to contour the body.

What is so appealing about this particular treatment?
The fight against ageing will always be top of the list for women in particular. Your future will be written all over your face, so it’s so important to look after your skin now. Technology is so powerful today when it comes to non invasive anti-ageing treatments. This will go from strength to strength over the next few years. I’m really excited to be a part of that industry and bring these innovations to Ireland.

Any beauty tips for the readers?
My beauty tips are never go to bed with make-up on, and invest in a good cleansing routine. I adore DR Daniello Profound Advanced Performance Glycolic Cleanser, Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing cream and Guinot’s Instant Radiance Moisturising Mask. A course of customised facials are a fabulous investment that keeps on giving.

***

I really had no idea what to expect from this procedure. I’d had laser, and had rather memorably freaked out about it; at this stage in my career I hop up on treatment tables with a high degree of aplomb.

Michelle explained the process: using three different radio frequency channels, Viora stimulates collagen and elsatin production, the slowing down of which is what causes wrinkles and sagging skin. The applicator  looks like a laser thingie, and its tiny zaps of current, at the contact point,  felt like I imagine a staple gun feels — but, I also imagine, with far less pain. Michelle worked for 45 minutes on each side of my face. Here’s are pictures of that midpoint:
VIORA mid-treatment2
VIORA mid-treatment
I love the look of delighted shock in my eyes in the second one.

Once I knew what to expect — little blasts of very manageable heat at the contact point on my face — I almost fell asleep during the second half of my face. This is the end result:
VIORA after

I gotta say, four months later, I’m still seeing the benefit. A client is only permitted eight treatments per year, because otherwise the skin overstimulates, and there’s the possibility of an increase in wrinkleage and sagging. No thanks!

Had I needed to, I could have put on makeup straightaway: there was no redness, no pain, and absolutely no downtime.

Also: this works on cellulite, and I’ve seen evidence that it works on bingo wings! Need I say more?

***

Face €160: Course of 6 €800 (includes one free)
Neck €150: Course of 6 €750 (includes one free)
Face & Neck €290: Course of 6 €1450 (includes one free)
Cellulite 1 area from €120; 4-6 treatments are recommended

***

Aqua Beauty
No. 6 The Hill
Stillorgan, County Dublin
T 01 278 1616
W aquabeauty.ie

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Who Who Who? MeMeMe! UK Brand Now Available in Ireland

4 Apr

There is much to adore about UK brand Me Me Me, not the least of which are the low price points. I have yet to fully investigate the samples I received for review, but have to talk about Blush Me! immediately because my discovery of its extreme cleverness unspooled like a short film.

I remarked upon the shape of the box.
ME ME ME 01
Hmmmmmm. Seen this shape before.
ME ME ME 02
Thing is though, there really needs to be a —
ME ME ME 03
Yeah!

This is Rouge; there’s a Bronze, Coral and Pink as well. I’ve also got some Goddess Rocks which, once the tanning commences, will be given a full-fledged post of their own.

That price point? €10.99. Enough said.

***

If you haven’t already clicked through, have a browse at mememecosmetics.ie for the full range

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Garnier Ultimate Blends: What’s Your Antidote?

31 Mar

Argh, which is not as good as ‘what’s your poison?’ but I’m going to go with it. The recent launch of Garnier Ultimate Blends haircare line saw each of their distinctive elements translated into mocktails, as shown below.
01 ALLL THE DRINKS
Just as well that they were mock, as the fruity/nutty blends went down very, very easily. Below, The One With the Coconut, which I inhaled before you could say ‘Where’s the little umbrella!?!’
02 THE ONE WITH THE COCONUT
Here’s the one with the coconut, which was especially delicious. This matched up with The Sleek Restorer, the shampoo, conditioner and treatment for those among us who suffer from dry, frizzy hair. It’s got coconut oil in it, hence the mocktail, as well as cocoa butter, which is just as well it wasn’t an ingredient, at least in the drink.

There is something for every hair issue, way beyond the usual dry-normal-greasy troika. In addition to The Sleek Restorer, you may avail of:

>The Marvellous Transformer
with Argan and Camellia Oils for dry, lifeless hair
>The Silky Smoother
with Vanilla Milk and Papaya for mid-long hair with split ends
>The Colour Illuminator
with Moroccan Argan Oil and North American Cranberry for coloured hair
>The Nourishing Repairer
with European Avocado Oil and African Shea Butter for very dry, damaged hair
> The Shine Revitaliser
with Chinese Green Tea and Mediterranean Lemon for normal hair

We all got a fluff-up from the stylists…
03 STYLIN
04 FRONTWAYS

…and were sent on our way with some of the flavours to test. I’ve used The Silky Smoother and the Colour Illuminator. Both smell delish, and despite this being a value range, a little bit of everything goes a long way. The first time I used the Silky, it took me about half an hour to rinse out the suds, simply because I used way too much.

Both dry to a blinding shine — truth — but I’ve found that the Colour Illuminator gives better second day hair. The line comes with a 7 in 1 Dry Shampoo, which didn’t work for me, so I couldn’t use it to extend my coiff. The brunettes at the launch were thrilled because it doesn’t turn your hair white; I found it wasn’t dry enough on contact, and that my hair flopped after about an hour. I love the 1 Minute Treatments, though, and have found them to be very moisturising, and again: they smell fantastic and therefore: spendy.

But! See the prices below: the value is enormous, and the line extends to hair oils as well. Because I am spoiled, I can be a bit leery of using economy brands, especially on the highlights, as cheaper products can be pretty harsh. These felt great, and gave an posh finish, as fancy as any of the higher priced brands I’ve tried. They do seem to be erring on the side of dry hair, probably a result of all the heat we have been applying over the last number of years, but I wonder at the lack of a greasy hair formula. I suppose the dry shampoo is there for that, but I’d want something that goes — ha, ha — directly to the root of the problem in the cleansing process…

***

Garnier Ultimate Blends:
Shampoos and conditioners: €3.99
One minute treatments: €6.99
7 in 1 Dry Shampoo: €5.49
Hair oils: €10.99

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KEVIN.MURPHY is Australian For ‘G’Day Hair’

25 Mar

Have you seen Preen? It has installed its stylish salon self on Dame Street, slap bang in the middle of everything, and amongst its many appealing aspects, such as…

00 STYLISH SERVICE

Stylish service

… really pretty presentation of one’s cappucino and eensy cupcake…

02 STYLISH WASH

Stylish shampooing

… one of the most chilled shampoo rooms I’ve ever encountered, one that not only has massage chairs, but also wafts the scent of relaxing essential oils throughout…

01 STYLISH DISPLAY

Stylish display

… a design ethic that even embraces the way things are put on shelves…

03 STYLISH S&C

Style in bottles


… and the actual product that’s actually on the shelves. I would have been drawn to KEVIN.MURPHY simply down to the rectangular bottles — shallow packaging design groupie that I am — but what’s in it is as good as it looks, in style and substance.

What’s not in the Antipodean product is good, too. No parabens! No sulphates! Me, I love a good sulphate even though they are bad. I am of the mindset that suds = clean, and it’s correct as far as the dirt goes, but those foaming sulphates strip the natural oils out of the hair, the ones that keep your locks from drying out, and your scalp from getting all flaky. When I do use a sulphate-free shampoo, I always feel like my hair is still dirty even after the repeat after the rinse, and I go for a third round. Not an efficient use of time or product!

KEVIN won me over simply because I do feel like my hair is clean, despite the lack of bubbles. The first wash is fine, but the second really does the job, and I can feel the cleanliness. The conditioning rinse is fab, and I don’t think I’m using any more than I would of a sulphate-laden sort.

It is as though the products pictured have been tailor-made for my blonde, fine hair; you can check out the brand’s website for more information regarding your own type of tress. There’s some fab looking styling stuff as well!

Oh, and the result, thanks to my stylist Merilee?
04 STYLISH BLOW DRY

***

Preen Dublin is located at 52 Dame Street, right near the junction of Georges Street, but opposite, if ya get me. See preendublin.ie for prices, and ring 01 670 8080 for an appointment.

KEVIN.MURPHY: BLONDE.ANGEL.WASH is €25 and ANGEL.RINSE is €24.

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Mother’s Day 2014: Things That Spritz and Things That… Fits

24 Mar

Gift guides demonstrate the breadth of options one has when coming up to a big day like Mother’s Day {does anyone still call it Mothering Sunday, which sounds a little bit creepy?} or, they are prejudiced to the writer’s own preferences. This is a little bit of both. I like perfume, and I like things that are contained in other things, espesh when the container is ultimately useful in the future. I like all of these, and your mum may, too.

JO MALONE Rain & Angelica {€100} JO MALONEThis is one of four in the limited London Rain edition, hence the extra few bob in the price. The first hit of this is spectacular, truly infused with the freshness of rain. I pick up a little bit of pepper too, but that may just be my screwy nose (don’t ask me to talk about wine; I can tell if it’s red or white, that’s about the extent of it.) I just kept spraying it and spraying it on myself, because I kept missing the dry down — when I did get it, I was delighted for the wee blast of vetiver. This is lovely, but I will say it doesn’t have the staying power of some the classic JM scents.

Other scents in the collection include Wisteria & Violet, White Jasmine & Mint, and Black Cedarwood & Juniper, the last of which appeals as juniper = gin; also, the press materials claim that it has a ‘carnal touch of cumin’ in it, which — the mind reels.

LACOSTELACOSTE Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle {€60} This brand has always seemed preppy to me, which is mainly what they’re going for — that’s all in the way to say that sensual and little alligators haven’t exactly matched up in my mind. This is here to change yours: it’s got some amber notes in it, to darken things down a bit, and the bottle, as you can see, it designed to reflect the new tone.

It’s still sweet and yummy, though, and this dries down to a nougatine, vamilla-y vibe, so not too shocking a change. It’s definitely a touch more sophisticated — as in, less sporty — than the the original Eau de Lacoste for Women — but it doesn’t get completely down and dirty.

MUM'S DAY LUSH
LUSH Mum {€37.95} Talk about ‘what is says on the tin’! This container — yes, made of tin — is chock full of fun Lush stuff. Well, five seems like a ‘chock’ to me. There’s Dream Cream hand and body lotion, which is fab, and a trial-sized Gorgeous mosituriser for the face, along with four delicious bath additives, including a personal fave, the Secret Garden Bath Bomb. The tin is useful after mum uses everything up!

L'OCCITANE
L’OCCITANE The Exquisite Boudoir Collection {€17. with €40 purchase} I myself love a good coffret, and L’Occitane have packed this adorable, yet elegant box with five travel-sized products, including their glorious new scent, Neroli & Orchidee, in Eau de Toilette and body milk form. And you could even spend the €40 on mum — or on somebody else, ahem. You can now shop online at loccitane.ie, using the code VELVET, if you haven’t a boutique in your locality.

MUM'S DAY THE BODY SHOP
THE BODY SHOP Spritz & Moisture Basket {€22.95} Ah! A wee beach bag! Available in three ‘flavours’ — Satsuma, Shea, or Moringa — this contains a shower gel, an Eau de Toilette, and a sample of the brand’s famous body butter. Pictured is Satsuma, which I find to be refreshing and sexy, but the other two are equally good, depending on mum’s preference. Perfect to bring along on the big summer holidays.

FIT FLOPSFIT FLOPS The Skinny {€90} These also come in white, and look fab in either colour, I think it’s thanks to the cork-wraparound on the sole. White might go better with the above beach bag, but the red is so sporty and, I don’t know, yacht-y? Which may match nicely with the Lacoste perfume? If mum is an FF enthusiast, you won’t go wrong.

ROISIN CHOCOLATES ALDI
RÓISÍN’S Luxury Irish Chocolates {€9.99} From Aldi, these are delicious, and I can personally vouch for that, because I would never, ever recommend something without having tried it. Ever. So selfless! Anyway, this ‘fits’ because chocolates always work, for chocolate-loving mums, anyway.

***

I Used It All Up: Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate

21 Mar

NYR BEAUTY SLEEPI have been known to cut off the ends of tubes to get all the rest of a product out, and of course: any excuse to show the evidence of my disbelief that there was nothing left in that Stila compact.

I stopped myself short of smashing this bottle of Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate, but only just.

I have adored this from the first: it plumped up my complexion while I sleep, and its gorgeous smell also helped me drift off gently into the dreamtime. My head is rather bizzy, and it can take me ages to fall asleep sometimes — most times, to be honest. This helped loads with winding down my mind, and I’m guessing it’s down to the patchouli that’s in the mix, as one of the essential oil’s qualities is that of a sedative. {There’s clary sage and ylang ylang in there, too, also longtime faves of mine.}

One or two pumps routinely did the job, and in that phase of the night when the skin is most receptive, this got to work moisturising, and encouraging collagen production via the peptides that are part of its composition. In between all the other night treatments I’ve tested over the last six months — and many of them were very, very good — I always returned to this one. When I recently went to pump up some of its rejuvenating goodness, I just about had a heart attack when it failed to dispense.

I tried turning it upside down, which didn’t help so much, and found that laying it on its side worked better, for some reason. And then I just had to declare defeat, and resign myself to writing about it under the IUIAU umbrella.

So there it was, sitting on my desk, when I noticed —

NOT ALL GONE?!? NYR BEAUTY SLEEP
HANG ON. Okay, still not smashing it, but one or two good thumps may yield a few more beauty sleeps…

***

€36.69/£37/$64.90 < ouch, soz, America!

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Bronde. Dames: BRONDE!

20 Mar

This is thing, via L’Oréal Professional and their Marijel Mocha spectrum.

It is hottt.
Malena_Bronde_RVB
That’s Spanish model Malena Costa, who looks amazing.

One time, I got a balayage and I hated it. I would look in the mirror and want to cry from the lack of blonde. I am guessing I myself wouldn’t be terribs happy with this look, but I am also guessing that there are many among you who could kill this.

Have to go to the salon for this, as far as I can tell, but: so worth it. < Did not mean to do that!

***

BRONDE.

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O.M.Fibrology: In Word and Deed

14 Mar

L’Oréal Paris’ latest launch, Elvive Fibrology Thickening Haircare Range, is very science-y. It would have to be, I s’pose, to be able to back up claims that your can increase the follicular volume of fine hair just by washing it. So: there’s this thing? Called Sol-Gel Technology? They use it to fix cracked windscreens? {Windshields, to you Americans!} What it does is, it makes a liquid turn into a solid, and in the case of this product, there’s also these Fixollane molecules that bond with proteins in the hair shaft, and they stay and grow when the hair dries, making it thicker, and more able to hold a style.

OMGGGGG. Here, just look:
FIBROLOGY 02  day2
Did not style — as in, did not use any ‘big hair’ drying devices, did use any root-pumping-up product, no spray, nothing. Not much ‘fluffing’ either, just enough to drape it about the shoulders.
FIBROLOGY 01  day2
SRSLY.

I have a lot of time for the Elvive line in general, and here, I couldn’t be more impressed. There’s your standard FIBROLOGY BOOSTERS&C, as well as a Thickness Booster, which is a tube of serum that you mix in with the conditioner, or put directly on the hair before using the Intensive Texturising Mask. The tube is little bit fiddly, and there’s no way to balance it properly, tub-side, but you’ll get over it, as I did. It’s not for use everyday, and the tube contains about four applications, so save it for days when you need to guarantee good, big hair.

The scent is lovely, the texture of all the products is great, and there is a Double Serum styling product that can be used wet or dry; haven’t tried that, but I’m guessing it’s in the same line of country as all those new BB hair creams. {BB hair creams, you ask? Stay tuned!}

Second day hair — always an important consideration — is good, with the usual application of dry shampoo at the roots the evening before. The thickening of the follicles helps them stay that tiny bit less greasy, which for fine hair is always an ish.

All in all, a total scientific success, and I for one am happy to never have to think about the ‘why it works’ ever again — I’m quite satisfied with the ‘what it does’. It does good.

***

Shampoo (250mls) €5.84/£2.89
Conditioner (250mls) €5.84/£2.89
Thickness Booster €9.19/£5.99
Intensive Texturising Mask €8.49/£5.49
Double Serum €10.79/£6.99

***

Make Up Mathematics: Smashbox (bumble+bumble) + Davis Factor = WOW

11 Mar

Oh, hello, bus face!
01 46A AS USUAL
Here’s me, at the official start of my 2014, on 12 January. I’m on my way to get done by a squad of beauty experts, in Smock Alley in Dublin 2, thanks to Smashbox UK, bumble+bumble, and American photographer Davis Factor, who also happens to be the great-grandson of Max Factor, the actual Hollywood beauty legend. A legend in his own right, Davis and his brother Dean founded Smashbox Studios in LA, in 1990; our beloved line of cosmetics came along in 1996. Ooh, a twenty year anniversary is imminent!

I have only one snap of Smock Alley, because there was too much craic to be had. It looked amazing in there, like, NYC loft-style fabulousness, and I think I was either homesick for NY home {as I’d only been back a wet week to Ireland home} and/or the setting was so familiar to me — in my own personal NYC loft-style fabulousness {LOL— no so much} that I felt perfectly comfortable.
00 SMOCK ALLEY
Sure, and you wouldn’t know you were in Dublin a’tall.

The vibe was all Irish, or what I’ve come to equate with being an Irish beauty bird: we all know each other, if we don’t, we soon do, and everyone is cool and nice and, and, everything. I always feel so proud of us whenever we get together. *Sniffle*

Let’s get to it!
02 BUMBLE VOLUME
My hair came under the comb of KT from Sobe Brown, Cork, known for their expert use of bumble+bumble products. I haven’t been well acquainted with the brand, TBH. I tried their deeep hair mask years ago, and was impressed, but haven’t found a shampoo & conditioner duo that I like.

03 HAIR
I very much liked what KT did with my hair though, a style in which the Bb thickening hair spray figured largely. Lashed on the roots, it managed to lift the hair but stay light and non-sticky. Above, the moment I realised this very fact. Huh!

My cut and colour was thanks to Aileen Fennessey of Joseph Kramer Studio, Stillorgan — it is still receiving compliments, and the highlights are still going strong.

No sooner was I coiffed but I was whisked into the chair of Lori Taylor, the brand’s Global Pro Lead Artist. I apologised for being American; from California, I was certain Lori wasn’t expecting to have a Jersey Girl in front of her mirror. We did not let any coastal bias effect our time together, and had a great chat about all sorts. I was able to recommend an Irish single malt to bring home to her husband; she gave me a fab flicky, smokey look.
04 FLICKY!
Here’s the flicky! For me, the whole point of getting my make up done by a professional is having them do the things that I am crap at, like flicky eyeliner. I was the extreme opposite of disappointed.
05 SHADOWY!
And here’s the smokey! All the MUAs were availing of the excellence that is the Full Exposure Palette: with fourteen shades to take you from day to evening, from matte to sparkle, there is nothing that this can’t do. Well, okay, it won’t put it on you itself.
06 BLUSH!
Blushy! I haven’t been bothering with blush much these days, but was inspired to change that, by this. Lori used Halo Long Wear Blush, and when I say ‘used’, she barely tapped the brush into the miniscule bit she’d produced, using the grinder. It is serious pigment, and it really did wear long, too.
07 VOILA!
Lippy! Which is not actually lippy, but a secret thing — hang on — okay, looks like it’s not launched yet. Secret thing is still a secret. Check back in the summertime. Moving right along.

My time under the lights came up directly I was done with Lori {or rather, she was done with me…} I found it to be fun, throwing shapes in front of the seamless, and there was a wind machine. THERE WAS A WIND MACHINE: this is exactly what has been missing all my life! It is completely and utterly awesome and hilarious to be in front of a wind machine, getting your portrait taken. It went too fast!

I ended up hanging out, chatting with the PR team over from London, and then going out for cocktails with a couple of my blogger pals, and then swanning around the house trying to defer the dreaded hour when I’d have to take it all off.

Off I took it, because you should always, always take your make up off before you go to bed, right? Right!

***

Weeks went by, and we all checked in with one another: did you get your picture? We were to receive one portrait retouched, and printed properly, and a USB with all the frames from the shoot.

People started getting theirs, and I still hadn’t, and I lost the actual run of myself. When it did appear, it was all I could do not to open the envelope right then and there, with my teeth.
Susan Conely_1064
As chosen by Davis himself!

And as chosen by me:
SBX select 01 RT

SBX select 04 RT

SBX select 02 RT
Haaaaahahahahaha I love this last one, as I said to a pal on Facebook, it’s my ‘look of irritated compassion before I lower the boom.’ Watch out, mortals!

***

So, what’s the point of a post like this? Just showing off the fancy pictures of myself? If I didn’t routinely show unflattering snaps of my gob, I suppose you could draw that conclusion.

For me, it’s worth showing the entire experience of getting done up for the camera, how it changes step by step, to the end result, which is entirely different from any of the stops along the way. It’s like math — you show how everything adds up to the result — only it’s fun.

It’s also demonstrating how flattering a good face from a MUA is, and how well the Smashbox make up comes across digitally. The brand are so active when it comes to offering deals at their counters; maybe this will inspire you to give them a go the next time they have an event, especially if you haven’t tried them before.

I was surprised by the lack of colour, but damn, I would love to live in a B&W world!

***

Make up? Make-up? Makeup? I was making myself cray trying to decide. I went with what turns out to be house style, unbeknownst to the only person in the house. ‘Make up’ it is!

***

Your BFF + You + Smashbox = Glamourous Fun

4 Mar

Oh, so much to share about Smashbox this week, but must get this out there: the brand’s UK team, headed by Janine Bird, Smashbox’s National Makeup Coach, are in town at the weekend to do both you and your best pal.

Well, you know what I mean. Complimentary appointments are available now, for either Friday the 7th or Saturday the 8th, in which you and your friend get a full makeover, with helpful tips along the way, and then get to have a go in the super-fantastic photo booth. Now, what makes a photo booth super-fantastic? A perfectly balanced lighting set up, that’s what.

Any excuse:
00Smash_Boxphoto_grid

Fun! Also fun: hanging out with your bud, and then going out looking gorgeous. And also: quality time with your bestie, and also also, so much is made of, like, doing nice stuff with your significant other, how about doing a nice thing with a friend?

If any of Smashbox’s previous events are anything to go by, maybe go back in time to yesterday and book your appointment then. Failing that, call them now now NOW on {01} 805 0400!

***

Next up: another equation that adds up to glam, via Smashbox, later in the week!

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