August 28, 2012

August INs and OUTs

August was a sloooooowwww month for me. So glad it's over. I'm flying off this Friday to see my boyfriend in Singapore for the weekend. Yay! The end of August also marks half way through my 2 month shopping ban since I got back from Europe. So... I did cheat and got the Chanel fall makeup items mentioned in my last post, but apart from that, so far so good. *pats my own back*

Here are some randoms from my August:

- Embracing all things fall. From muted pastel nails to creamy pumpkin scented hand soap from Bath & Body Works. A little early but I can't wait for weather to turn cooler!

[OPI "My Very First Knockwurst" from the Germany Fall 2012 Collection]

- Purple Sweet Potatoes. Did you know that purple sweet potatoes have a much higher level of Vitamin A than the usual orangey kind? They are so yummy and satisfying, but are low in unhealthy sugars. Perfect compliment for a healthy meal. I steam them to retain most of its flavors, and have been having them as both a mid day snack and a dinner side dish.

[Pairing sweet potatoes with grilled chicken, mixed greens and corn. So good!]

- Productivity! Ticked off a few things on my to do list - completed a project I was working on since June, caught up with friends I've bee meaning to see in a long time, and learned a new Chinese recipe emphasizing on summer seasonal vegetables.

- Sugar Cravings. Kicking lazy days and sugar cravings in the butt. I have a major sweet tooth and get that really bad craving every now and then. I've come to realize that eating healthy has helped me a lot in keeping my sweet tooth under control.

- The Weather. What's with the uber sunny Mondays, yet uber gloomy/stormy weekends? This has got to stop!

[I take random snaps like the ones above using my iPhone. You can find more on my Instagram @rachhanne]

August 26, 2012

Chanel Fall 2012: Picks & Passes

Summer is definitely my favorite season of the year, but when it comes to fall I get all giddy about the months counting down to Christmas. Beach and sun and tan are all good but there is something about the chunky knits, boots and hot chocolates that feel so cozy and comforting as the year winds down.

Since my Euro trip in July I have put myself on a shopping ban till end of September, with the exception of necessities. I knooooow Chanel makeup is definitely most surely NOT a necessity but Thursday after work I caught eyes with their beautiful model staring at me...

The eyes the cheek the nails... All so puuuurty - polished and defined. I've been so good so far, doesn't hurt to take a look no? And of course, the day after I ended up going back to pick up 2 things that I couldn't resist. Faaaaaaaiiiiiil.

Well, every shopping ban needs a cheat day. 

So a glimpse of what I got. Ahhh the little black and white bag that makes a girl so happy!

[Oops. Hello camera reflection]

Nail Color in Vertigo
This is the shade the model is wearing in the campaign ad. Vertigo is a greyish black with plummy undertones in the sunlight. It has the most beautiful, subtle red shimmer at angles. This one is a bit out of my comfort zone but it looks so unique, so pretty and will be perfect on short manicured nails in the fall. 

Glossimer in Sweet Beige
I've heard wonderful things about Chanel's lipglosses for the longest time, but have always been loyal to MAC's Cremesheen glasses. I finally jumped on the bandwagon with Chanel's Sweet Beige. This is a warm nude pink with beautiful gold shimmer. I normally do not like glitter in my glosses but the gold in this gloss is so fine it looks pretty but not tacky.
I cannot stop wearing this! It's beautiful, moisturizing, the perfect amount of sticky such that it's long lasting. And on top of all that, it's natural looking enough to go with anything. 

I dare say this has replaced my long time favorite lipgloss - MAC's Cremesheen glass in Boy Bait.

Some items from the collection that I passed on:
Nail Color in Frenzy
I was also on the verge of getting Frenzy, a light taupe color that borderlines lavender. I'm always a sucker for neutral taupe shades like this but passed on that one as it wasn't as unique. Essie's Sand Tropez is a good dupe. Good dupe but still not exactly as pretty in my opinion... ahhh I'm still thinking about this one. [Update on Monday: I ended up going back to get this... Monday treat!]

Quadra Eye Shadow Quad in Premier Regard
I was very tempted to get this, because the brown in this quad is right up my alley - dark, plummy brown with just the right amount of subtle shimmer. But I decided this one was a no-go because the other shades just don't do it for me. The pink and pale gold are sheer and show up as mere glitter on the skin, and the black is a plain metallic black. I can't see how the extreme dark and light shades of this quad can work together easily.

Rouge Coco Shine in Parfait & Chic
Rouge Coco Shines are Chanel's version of the Revlon Lip Butters - a moisturizing, sheer, natural lip product that combines the function of a lip balm with a gloss. They're usually one of my favorite products at Chanel but these 2 in the fall collection as so sheer they just add glitter to my lips. Pass.

What are your fall makeup buys so far?

The Weekend Excursion

I had to get some materials for a recent project I've been working on lately, so my mom and I ventured into Sham Shui Po on Kowloon side of the city early Saturday morning. Sham Shui Po is an area filled with locally-owned small businesses (think vintage records, second hand watches and fabric of all sorts). This old school Hong Kong area attracts quite an eclectic crowd - elderly locals who live in the neighborhood, the weekend locals hunting for bargains, and a few exceptionally adventurous tourists here and there.

[Tip to visitors: Be prepared for the heat and crowds. Wear comfy clothes and flats!]

My favorite street of the area is Yu Chau Street, which is filled with fabric stores, buttons, beads, zippers, anything you would need to make your own garment/purse/bracelet/anything wearable. You can literally find every single possible thing you need to make an accessory from scratch. Look at that humongous shelf of beads!!! I picked out some to make my own bracelets - for a fraction of what they would cost me if I bought them anywhere else. I'll blog about the final product soon, I'm very happy with how they turned out!

Bead shopping was followed by a stroll down Ap Lei Street, the most hustly bustly area of Sham Shui Po. As you can see from the above pictures, you can literally find anything here. Like, anything. Alarm clocks, cutlery, pots & pans, shoes, bags, snacks, electric drills, light bulbs, fish tanks, old jewelry, second hand anything, vintage goods... like... anything. Really everything and anything. 

I had so much fun digging through baskets of old jade and pottery. It takes patience for one to find the gem amongst the second hand piles. It's really not your every day shopping, instead here it's more like treasure hunting. The morning flew by with all the "oooohs" and "ahhhhs" as I picked up old teapots and compasses wondering how long they've been around.

My favorite Saturdays are spent sleeping in and late afternoon brunches, but every now and then I'm up for an adventure like today. 

Hope you're all having a lovely and fulfilling weekend.

August 25, 2012

Friday Flavors

Left to right: Haute as Hello, Neo Whimsical, Allure, Ballet Slippers (all from Essie)

Snaps of my favorite Essie polishes. Don't they remind you of marshmallow & lollipops at a candy store?

I wrapped up the week with my besties, indulging in these lovely sweet treats at Haagen Dazs on Friday night. Perfect way to celebrate the end of a long week. 

PS. Am I the only one who can never spell "Haagen Dazs" right without Google?

August 22, 2012

Wishlist: Big Smokey Eyes & Spot Zapper

Happy Wednesday! I'm drooling over some eye products that I think will create the prettiest bronzed smokey eye this week, and 1 product that will (hopefully) zap the nasty spot or two.

1. Benefit "They're Real!" Mascara
Expensive but soooo hyped. I like the idea of its little tip with fibres to catch the lashes in the corner of your eye. Adds length but most importantly, this will help create the lovely fanned out lash effect. Hopefully it is as promising as it claims! Once I'm done with my MUFE Smokey Lash I will be giving this one a try. 

2. Tarte "Call of the Wild" Palette

This lovely palette is kind of Tarte's version of the Urban Decay Naked Palette - which I already own, both Naked 1 and 2... This one caught my eye because of 1. the lovely matte colors, and 2. the nice cooler neutrals. Excuses-of-a-beautyholic aside, this is actually really similar to UD's Naked Palette, and I do not need more neutral eyeshadows.... Girls with some extra bucks, please get this and let me know how it is! I'll live vicariously through you!

3. Lush "Grease Lightning"

Shocker alert - I've never tried any Lush products before. I know, I know... how could I have not jumped on this bandwagon? Lush has been HUGE in the beauty community for years now, but somehow the overly loud packaging and strong scent in stores have made me pass up on it in the past. Another reason is all the apartments I've lived in in the past few years do not have bathtubs, which meant I couldn't use any of their bath bombs... what they're most known for. But when I heard Michele1218 (one of my favorite Youtubers that I've been watching for a long time!) talk about Lush's Grease Lightning, I felt the need to look into this. 

I'm still in my usual blog-readin', makeupalley scrollin' phase of research that I do whenever I am pondering over a skincare product. But it seems like people either loveeee this or hate it. I do like what I'm hearing though - tea tree oil, grape seed oil, aloe vera... what's not to love? I'm probably going to give this one a try after I finish up my Origins Spot Treatment (which I reviewed here). Exciting stuff!

**UPDATE: Shopping ban fail. I snapped and got the Lush Grease Lightning today. Oopsies :D Desperate attempt to justify my purchase Review to come soon after I test this baby out a bit!**

August 20, 2012

Review: Maybelline Baby Lips

A lip balm is a must have for me, I get dried lips really easily and therefore always have one in my purse. Last week I left my current go-to lip balm in another purse (the Clarins Natural Lip Perfector, which is amazingness), leaving my lips chapstick-less for 2 days.

Finally I decided to slip into the drugstore over lunch to pick up a quick fix I've been wanting to try for a long time - the Maybelline Baby Lips. I've sniffed these in stores before and fell in love with the fruity scent. I was glad to find that there isn't much of a markup here in Asia - it was priced at HKD$25, which is around USD$3.

I chose the Berry scented Baby Lips, with the pink and blue packaging. I think this one is the cutest color combo available, and smells the yummiest too. I have not tried the other tinted/sparkly baby lips, so this review is only for the clear ones. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Baby Lips line sold in Asia is all clear, no sparkles no tints.)

The Good
- Smells amazing. I really can't get over how yummy it smells. It kind of smells like a kid's chapstick - fruity and candylicious. A bit like that lovely whiff of sugary sweetness you get from opening a pack of gummy bears. 
- Natural finish. If you like the natural lip look, this is the chapstick for you. It gives you a very natural looking plump lip without looking like you have lipgloss on.
- Cute packaging. Adorable packaging that makes me smile whenever I whip it out!

[Side Note: I noticed that the packaging is a bit different in Asia and North America. 
The Asian packaging has an old school chapstick packaging, while the North America packaging features colored tubes with font on a clear snap-on top. I wish the Asia ones looked cuter like the American design!]

[Left: US packaging, Right: Asia packaging]

The Bad
- Not long lasting. This really doesn't stay on long at all... I find myself constantly having to reapply. Think the duration of a chitchat or half a cup of tea.
- Only mildly moisturizing. This is more of a sheer glossy chapstick, and doesn't go on thick enough to penetrate and deeply moisturize your lips. I think this would work well under lipsticks, but if you're looking an actual lip moisturizer, skip this.

Final Verdict
This one is a let down for me. I still love how cute it looks sitting on my desk, but it's simply not as moisturizing as I like my chapsticks to be. Sometimes I feel like it just sits on my lips like a film of moisture that does not sink in. I'd probably want to give the tinted ones a try next time I am back in the US, but for now I will not be repurchasing the clear ones available here in Asia.

What are your newest lip balm finds?

August 19, 2012

Brunch by the Boardwalk

Top: Club Monaco, Shorts: Forever 21, Sandals: Zara, Bag: Chanel

Weave bracelets: H&M, Bead bracelet: Primark

Working in an office means 5 days a week of no sandals no flip flops no shorts. So by the time it's weekend I pretty much have had 5 days of plain staring at my lovely Zara leopard sandals that I'm sure are yearning to be worn out as well. So yay for Saturday! I finally got to wear these babies out for a day of sun and fun. I love the perfect subtle dose of animal print that spices up my simple tank and shorts lazy look. :)

I spent the afternoon with a bunch of girlfriends at a simple baby shower/brunch, Spanish style. We chatted over iced teas (no wine, baby friendly!), Spanish paella and tapas for hours. Afterwards we took a nice stroll down the Stanley boardwalk afterwards... we were happy to see the sun after a week of storm and rain.

For those who aren't familiar with Hong Kong, Stanley is a beautiful area by the sea that is popular among both tourists and locals. It is packed with couples, dogs and adorable children on weekends. Perfect spot for a nice walk, gelato or brunch. And did I mention it also has a nice beach? :)

Hope you're all having an amazing weekend!

August 16, 2012

Review: Origins Spot Remover

An important trip/date/event/meeting/anniversary/(insert important episode of your life here) is around the corner. You wake up the day before and... NOOOO! A nasty pimply spot waves hello. I hate the feeling of that occasional blemish that comes at the worst time. So I always have a good spot treatment at hand for these emergencies. My usual go-to is the Tea Tree Oil from the Body shop. But since I ran out and have been reading about this Origins Spot Remover on blogs a lot (Origins PR you did good), I decided to give it a try.

The Good
- Cooling. I love the cooling minty sensation this gel gives, really feels like it's working! The cooling also helps with redness and itchiness if any.
- Clear. Unlike many blemish creams, as you can see from the picture this spot remover is a clear gel consistency. Which means feel free to go dot generously on your face girls, your boyfriend/husband will not freak as you hop into bed ;)
- Good results. This is no miracle worker, but again nothing really is. It helps calm bumps and redness, and dries out blemishes well. I feel like it speeds up the healing process for any older blemishes as well.

The Bad
- Bad with makeup. What I loved about the Body Shop Tea Tree Oil is that its oil consistency blends well with concealer. The Origins Spot Remover applies on as a gel and dries off to a thin transparent film on the skin. With any type of makeup on top the layer is visible and looks like dry skin. Yuck. Good thing is that the layer easily peels off.

The Verdict
So far so good, I'm really enjoying this. Feels soothing on and helps clear blemishes. If you're in the market for a good spot treatment I'd recommend this one. Although it's not the most powerful one, I feel that it works well with sensitive skin - mild enough to not irritate but effective enough to do its job.

One more thing - this baby is TINY! Super tiny! Don't worry - a little goes a long way though. I've had it for 2 months now and it still looks like a full bottle.

August 15, 2012

In Penang: Maxi Dress at Sunset

Maxi Dress & Clutch: Forever 21

Hello random Tuesday in mid August! I'm reminiscing the sun and beach days of the summer while snuggling in bed with the AC on. There's something special about summer that makes everything seem extra romantic, extra dreamy. Like anything can happen. As summer is winding down, it's time to spend the final few weekends of warmth soaking up the sun, having brunch on the sidewalk, and sipping iced lattes with a good book. 

[Photos taken in Penang, Malaysia]

August 13, 2012

TAG: Liebster Blog Award

***WARNING: very wordy post ahead!***

I was awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Kathryn of Katblogsyeah. The Liebster award is given to new bloggers with under 200 followers. What does "Liebster" mean? Well, it's a German word meaning sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. :)

1) Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you & create 11 questions to be answered by those you have tagged.
3) Choose 11 bloggers and link them in your post.
4) Go on their page and tell them you have tagged them in the awards.
5) Remember, no tag-backs!

1) My favorite city in the world is Los Angeles. I used to live there and have never been that inspired by any other city. I miss it dearly and hope to move back to Cali later on in my life.
2) I love Mexican food. Tacos, nachos, quesadillas, guacamole, salsa... loveeeeees.
3) I make the best rice krispy treats.
4) I keep my diet mostly dairy and egg free. Chinese medicine claims that excess animal protein intake makes skin more breakout-prone and allergy-prone, so for health reasons (ahem.. beauty reasons) I stay away from them. I say "mostly" because I do make exceptions that are worth it - eggs at brunch, pizza and the occasional ice cream to name a few ;)
5) I am the least athletic person you'll ever meet.
6) My favorite guilty TV pleasure is "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Don't judge.
7) I have the biggest sweet tooth. Cupcakes, chocolates, ice cream... once I crave I must have!
8) I am a HUGE fan of "Friends." I've seen every episode at least 5 times if not 10.
9) As my blog name suggests I loveeee brunch. Best meal ever! Scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, orange juice... the idea of a relaxing meal after a morning of sleeping in makes me so happy.
10) I sleep a lot. Everyone around me knows I need my 8 hours of sleep every night... and more if allowed. I once slept through the alarm on a work day, and woke when my manager called me at 11 am. Sooooo embarrassing.
11) I am an avid tea drinker. Japanese green tea is my favorite!

1) Who is your favourite band/artist? Why?
My current favorites are Switchfoot, Taylor Swift and Jessie J. I know they are pretty different but they all create quality good music with meaningful lyrics.
2) Where do you shop most often?
Zara & H&M.
3) If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
My dream destination is Santorini, Greece.
4) What is one thing you regret not doing this year and why?
I regret failing at my new years resolution to exercise regularly. Every year this tops my resolution list but I never manage to make it happen.
5) Favourite nail colour?
Oooo this is a tough one. If I had to pick an all time favorite I think it'd have to be Big Apple Red from OPI. Classic red that looks great on fingers and toes.
6) How many pairs of shoes do you own? And which is your favourite/most worn?
I honestly don't know how many pairs of shoes I own... it's pretty bad! My current favorites are my leopard sandals from Zara, but my most worn are my Tory Burch Riva Flats. They're so worn out they're falling apart now.

[ via Google Images]

7) Have you been or are you going on holiday this year?
Yes I have been! I've mentioned this tons of times on this blog because I miss it too much - I was in London, Paris and Rome for 2 weeks in July. It was my first time ever in Europe and I'm in love with London now.
8) Autumn, spring, winter or summer?
Summer! I love Christmas but summertime means sun and beach and sea and tons of fun :) Plus my birthday is in June which makes it extra special.
9) Favourite film?
Again a tough one... I love "the Notebook," "Enchanted" and "500 Days of Summer."
10) Dresses or jeans?
I'm very much a dress kinda girl. Is it just me or does pulling on a pair of jeans never feel as comfy as a dress?
11) What languages can you speak?
English and Chinese. I'm fluent in Cantonese (the Chinese dialect spoken in Hong Kong) and conversational in Mandarin (the most common Chinese dialect throughout China).

1) Coffee or Tea? And Why?
2) If you could only eat 1 thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
3) Name your favorite TV show.
4) What is your ultimate one-and-only holy grail beauty product?
5) Current favorite song?
6) What's your favorite thing to wear on a relaxing weekend?
7) If you had $1000 to spurlge, what would you buy?
8) Dangly earrings, hoops or studs?
9) Share your best beauty/health tip with us.
10) What is your dream job?
11) It's a lovely Sunday and you're out to brunch. What do you order?

An-An Says
Jens Bright & Beautiful
Dollhouse Makeup & Beauty
One Heel Forward
Keyta Hawkins

August 12, 2012

Favorite Summer Scents

PINK Sweet & Flirty Body Mist
Marc Jacobs Daisy
Chanel Gardenia
Jo Malone Orange Blossom
DKNY Be Delicious in Fresh Blossoms

With a couple hours of free time this weekend, I decided to photograph 5 of my favorite scents for summer. I will now attempt to describe these scents to you. Pardon the lack of vocabulary diversity and descriptive terms while I try verbalizing these lovely smelllllsss...

PINK Sweet & Flirt Body Mist - part of a massive range of body mists, this "sweet & flirty" version is my favorite one. It smells sweet like candy but not in an annoying way. I can never get enough of this! This also comes in a mini size which is perfect for trips or in your purse for a few additional spritz during the day.

Marc Jacobs Daisy - this one is a classic for me. A perfect go-to for any special occasion, date night or festive season. To me this floral yet light scent perfectly accents a romantic summer night out at an alfreso dinner.

Chanel Gardenia - exactly as described, this is a Gardenia floral scent. Chanel has a range of perfumes that are only sold in specific Chanel boutiques, and this is specific one within that range is most popular because of its versatility. Being a little harder to get makes this perfume seem a little special, and I absolutely love the scent. Perfect for any day, any night, any season actually!

Jo Malone Orange Blossom - The newest addition to my perfume stash, I've already dedicated an entire post to raving about this baby. Currently wearing this on repeat every day.

DKNY Be Delicious in Fresh Blossoms - you know how our minds tend to associate scents with certain memories or episode in our lives? I wore this sweet candy floral scent during a summer break as a teen, while I had a crush on this one boy. Although I'm now all grown up and past it, till today this scent still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, sweet and tingly. Ahhh young sweet love. 

What are your favorite summer scents?

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!

August 10, 2012

Review: Laneige Water Sleeping Pack

This infamous Laneige sleep mask has been on my wishlist for a very long time. One boring summer day at work, I decided to read up on it. Everything sounded great. I love the idea of skincare that works while I sleep - beauty sleep... literally!

The idea of this product is simple - a gel consistency face mask that you slab on before bed, sleep with it on, and wash it off the next day to reveal plump, moisturized skin. I put this on after my usual night time skincare routine, using it about once or twice a week. It feels great on - cool and soothing. I've only had this for a summer but I have a feeling I'll be enjoying this during the summer more. Only because its gel-like consistency is light and refreshing for warmer months, plus its slighly cooling sensation makes it a nice treat after a hot day.

The Good
- Consistency. Feels great on, not too sticky, not too greasy. It just sinks in to a light layer of moisture on the face, kind of like right after a nice facial.
- Easy to Use. No one likes a mask that is complex and tough to put on/take off. This sleep mask is pretty much like a gel cream. All you do is slab it on and go to sleep. Nice and simple.
- Pricing. Compared to many higher end brands, this sleep pack is affordable. Depending on where you are the price may vary, but I got this in Hong Kong for $200 some HKD (about USD$25-30).

The Bad
- Not for dry skin. If you have very dry skin, this sleep mask won't be enough. It's like a little pick-me-up. After a night on, washing off the mask will reveal soft supple skin, but not overly hydrated. To me it's a nice refreshing shot of moisture for the skin, but nothing too deep into the skin.
- Packaging. The sleep mask is in a jar, so that means you'll be dipping your grubby fingers into the same product every time. Not the most sanitary packaging. However it does come with a spatula that helps keeping bacteria/germ contamination to the minimum. Still, I'd much prefer if it came in a tube.

Final Verdict
To be honest this is not holy grail product for me. My ultimate favorite face mask is still the Neutrogena Deep Hydrating Mask that I mentioned in my July INs and OUTs. However this is a nice soothing moisturizer for your skin, especially during the summer. I've never tried, but can imagine popping this in the fridge would make for an amaaazing skin relief after a long day out in the sun.

So in a nutshell - A must-try? No. A nice-treat? Yes.

[Ahhh the cool refreshing jar of goodness!]

Wishlist: Skincare & Bling

After spending recklessly in Europe, I have put myself on a 2 month shopping/spending ban till October. **bites lips painfully** But that did not stop me from adding items to my ever growing mental wishlist... it never hurts to look... right? :)

1. Kenneth Jay Lane Round Floating Stud Earrings (sold here)

I read about these on Sandra's blog and couldn't stop thinking of them. They're the perfect classic stud earring for every day wear! I can't get them off my mind now, my biggest obstacle so far for my shopping ban. Darn it you lovely sparkly beauties.

2. Dior Snow White Reveal UV Shield SPF 50 PA +++

The Dior Snow line was designed to suit Asian skin, but I've read a ton of reviews on this from girls of different backgrounds and they seem to all really enjoy this. This sunscreen is known to be non-greasy, non-sun tan lotiony smelling (in fact it smells quite nice), and also brightens up complexion a bit naturally as well. Sounds too perfect to NOT give it a try wouldn't you say? 

3. Origins Gin-zing Eye Cream

I've never had the habit of using an eye cream before. I tried a few here and there, but none have ever worked for me. I have the most sensitive skin and am have had the most horrible experiences - itchy skin, small bumps under my eyes, eye infections... you name it. 
I feel like finding the perfect eye cream has been like finding the perfect husband - the slightest thing has driven me away from my past few candidates. That being said at 24 years young, I do think it's time to get serious. Serious about the eye cream, not the husband... yet. ;)
At this age all I want is a hydrating eye cream that ideally can help brighten up my dark circles a bit.  I've heard many good things about this award winning origins eye cream, about how it brightens and is non-greasy. I've been enjoying my recent Origins purchases so far (their BB cream which I reviewed here, and their spot treatment which I mentioned in my June favorites), so hopefully this baby will end my search for the perfect eye cream too.

If any of you have some extra cash and are in the market for some good quality products, give these a try for me? :) I'll live vicariously through you!

Happy Friday!!!

[all images from Google Images]


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