Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Guest Post: The Perks of Christmas in Farmington


Hey everyone it's Carolyn here.  I just want to say a really huge thank you to my friend Allie for writing this post, I absolutely love it!  You can have a look at her blog here and I highly recommend you do because it's brilliant!

 
Carolyn x



Hey, people of Carolyn's Simple Life!  (Sidenote:  you all recently helped Carolyn reach over 100 followers on Bloglovin - woooooo!  Give yourself a high five.)  I'm Allie, and I usually do things like this over at Reckless, but today Carolyn's letting me take over and I am so excited about it! Carolyn's one of the lovely people I've met through blogging (thanks, Blogger!) and we've been excited about working on this project together for quite a while!

I'm from America and Carolyn is from Scotland, and as we excitedly started to talk about Christmas (this was over a month ago, so, yes, we're basically overgrown 6-year-olds when it comes to Christmas) we realized that we celebrate Christmas in pretty different ways. 

The basics are similar - twinkling lights covering every available surface and an overabundance of super delicious holiday foods, for example, are parts of Christmas on both sides of the pond.  Beyond that, though, there are a ton of really cool differences, so we're trading spaces today for a global Christmas experience.  Global.  How cool does that sound?  Anyway, you can check her post out here and keep reading for a taste of Christmas in Farmington, Michigan.

| America's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I always start getting excited for Christmas long before Thanksgiving, but it seems that the rest of the world officially starts celebrating on Thanksgiving Day.  In Detroit, there's a parade downtown (and Christmas lights!) that's named after Thanksgiving but is otherwise Christmas themed.  The marching bands play carols and the float people wear Santa hats, and the parade ends with Santa rolling down the street in his sleigh.




There's Santa!  Try to notice him and not my family's extraordinary ability to look a little uncomfortable when we're asked to take a picture together.

| Wayne County Light Fest

There's this long, winding road near where I live, and every year it decks 4.8 miles of itself in Christmas lights so that every family in the area can pile into their car and take a drive through.  We've gone every year ever since I can remember, and I like to think that I could probably drive through it with my eyes closed and accurately name each light display as we go by, but I still love it and get ready for an all-out protest when someone suggests that we skip it one year.  There's also an 8k night run through the lights at the beginning of November, which sounds like torture but actually isn't - it's really, really pretty, and you have constant excuses to stop and "take pictures."





| Ice Skating

There's ice skating everywhere!  If I want to be close to home, downtown Farmington sets up an ice rink for the winter complete with - you guessed it - Christmas lights and music.  It's adorable and two minutes away.  Downtown Detroit does its own thing, icing over Campus Martius and adding a huge Christmas tree to make it festive.  


 


| Frankenmuth & Bronner's

Frankenmuth, Michigan is home to Bronner's which claims to be the world's largest Christmas store.  I totally believe them - it's 5.5 football fields worth of anything and everything Christmas related.  I mean, it's insane - I'm pretty sure there's a life sized Darth Vader nutcracker in there.  It's open year round, available for whenever you need a Christmas fix, and it is the most festive thing I've ever seen in my life so I love it. 



Now that I'm done with exams, I've got a chance to finally sit back and enjoy all the Christmas things - in the last couple days, I've ice skated, consumed several steaming mugs of hot chocolate, and taken in twinkling lights in so many more forms than I previously thought were possible.  I'm off to wrap presents and bake cookies (I'm pretty good at procrastinating, oops!) and otherwise binge on Christmas spirit!  Merry Christmas to all of you - I hope you eat get exciting presents and spend time with your families and do all of the exciting Christmas things.  I really do.

Allie

P.S.  Because I'm a bad blogger and didn't actually take pictures of all of this, Google helped me out with a few of these.  If it's not mine, the photo's linked back to its original source! 
 



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Sunday, 14 December 2014

My Reading Habits Tag

 


Hey everyone!
 
I saw this tag over on Bethan Likes and thought I'd give it a go, seeing as I spend a lot of time with my nose stuck in a book or a notepad.
So, I hope you enjoy my Reading Habits tag.
 
 
Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
 
Preferably in my room or just anywhere that's quiet.

 
Where do you like to read? 
 
Again, my room or anywhere that's quiet so I can concentrate on what I'm reading.  If I have a day when I forget my earphones then I'll read on the bus instead of listening to music.


Bookmark or random piece of paper?
 
Most of the time it's just a random piece of paper, whatever I can find when I need to keep my place.  But I really hate folding corners on books, I never do it and it's one of my pet peeves.

 
Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/certain amount of pages?
 
I have to stop at the end of a paragraph.  I can never stop in the middle of a paragraph, I'm so bad with this that if someone talks to me while I'm reading then I make them wait till I've finished the paragraph or sentence I'm on!

 
Do you eat or drink while reading?
Sometimes, if I'm at home then I probably will have a hot chocolate and a digestive biscuit.  But any other time probably not.

 
One book at a time or several at once?
One book at a time!  But if I'm reading a series then I may read a different book when I'm in the middle of the series.  And after I've read a whole series then I'll just read whichever one I want after that, they don't have to be in order anymore.

 
Reading aloud or silently in your head?
 

Silently in my head, I'm not very good at reading out loud cause I jumble up my words.

 
Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I'm guilty of reading ahead a little but I can't skip pages (unless I've read the book before).

 
Break the spine or keep it like new?
 
Keep it like new.

 
Do you write in your books?
 
No, I like to keep my books how they are.



Who do you tag? 

Any fellow bookworms who are reading this, and if you do it then leave me the link in the comments and I'll give it a read.



 I hope you enjoyed my reading habits tag, let me know in the comments what some of your books are and I'll try and read them.

 
Carolyn
x


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Sunday, 7 December 2014

My Christmas Playlist 2014

Hey everyone!

 Photo Credit (x)
 
Last year I posted a Christmas Playlist (which you can read here) as well as a monthly playlist and I've decided to do the same this year.
This years playlist features quite a few of the same songs as last year with a few new songs thrown in as well.  I think this is because Christmas music doesn't really change, it's always the classics but that's something that I love about Christmas music.
There are only a few Christmas classics in my playlist but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

 
 
All Time Low - Fools Holiday
 
Michael Bublé - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
 
The Ready Set - I Don't Wanna Spend Another Christmas Without You
 
The Summer Set - This Christmas
 
Casting Crowns - Peace On Earth

Hazel Hayes & Dodie Clark - Silent Night

Train - Shake Up Christmas
 
The Pogues Ft. Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York
 
Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry
 
Gabriel Aplin - The Power of Love
 
Yellowcard - Christmas Lights
 
The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick

Jason Lancaster - All I Can Give You



Yes I know, the majority of these songs are from the 'Punk Goes Christmas' album but that's because it's my favourite Christmas album (alongside 'Instant Xmas Party).
To be honest the overall sound is definitely more pop punk than punk but I think that's kind of perfect considering it's a Christmas album.

Photo Credit (x) 
 My absolute favourite from this album has to be 'Fools Holiday' by All Time Low.  They're probably my favourite band on this album (with The Summer Set coming a close second) and I love this song so much.  It's a Christmas song but definitely still has that All Time Low sound to it, which is what I really, really love.
 
 
 Like I just said, The Summer Set are probably my second favourite band on this album.  They're music in general has a definite pop feel to it (although it is still punk) and 'This Christmas' is no different.  I really freaking love this song!  It's just so Christmas-y and happy but (like 'Fools Holiday') it still has that 'The Summer Set' sound and feel which I love, love, love!

 
Photo Credit (x)
One of my other favourite Christmas songs (not from 'Punk Goes Christmas') is 'Shake Up Christmas' by Train.  They're a band which I love and this song always puts me in a really excited, Christmas-y mood.  I highly recommend listening to this song, it's brilliant (I'm currently dancing away to it while typing this).


 
I hope you enjoyed my slightly hyper (I've had too much sugar today!) Christmas playlist.
Please let me know in the comments what your favourite song from my playlist is as well as some of your own favourite Christmas songs.

 
Carolyn
x
 

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Monday, 1 December 2014

The Christmas Tag 2014

 
Hey everyone!
 
I've seen this tag floating around  a few blogs such as The Musings Of Em and Milk Bubble Tea and I thought I would jump on the blogging bandwagon.  Also, I'm starting to feel very festive so I hope you like my Christmas tag!
 
 
1.  What is your favourite Christmas movie(s)?
 
Oh my goodness!  Where to start?  I absolutely love 'It's A Wonderful Life' and I actually got to see it in black in white at the cinema at Christmas time a few years ago.  It was such a lovely Christmas-y experience.
I also love 'Elf', 'National Lampoons Christmas Vacation' and 'Nativity' with Martin Freeman - they're some of my must watch films at Christmas time.

 
2.  Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

 Definitely on Christmas morning, I feel it's more exciting!

 
3.  Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

 Not really.  I have lots of great memories from lots of different Christmases!

 
4.  Favourite festive food?
 
This is probably just me but I love mini apple pies (especially from Mr Kipling) because I don't like Christmas mince pies so, when everyone else is munching on mince pies I treat myself to a mini apple pie.

 
5.  Favourite Christmas gift?

 I honestly can't decide, I'm lucky enough to have been given lots of lovely Christmas gifts that I can't chose just one!  Probably my Sony eReader, my camera or my All Time Low 'Don't Panic!' album.

 
6.  Favourite Christmas scent?

 I love 'Sweet Apple' from Yankee Candle although I'm not sure if it's really a 'Christmas scent' but I love it anyway.

 
 
7.  Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

 For the past few years I've really enjoyed helping out at a local Christmas Eve church service.  I really enjoy it and it always makes me really excited for Christmas the next day!

 
8.  What tops your tree?

 A very glittery gold star.

 
9.  As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
 
I went through a phase of really wanting a Nintendo DS.  I remember one Christmas I really thought I was going to get one but I didn't.  But then I got one for my Birthday instead so I'm not really sure if that counts.  Otherwise I can't really think of anything.

 
10.  What's the best part about Christmas for you?

There's so many amazing things!  I love Christmas lights and I love exploring the Winter Wonderland and European Market in Edinburgh.  I love spending time with family and friends.
I always love wandering around Edinburgh at Christmas and taking loads of photos, everything always looks so magical and breath-taking.
 
 

I'm tagging:

Esmee from Ezzlepops

Allie from Reckless

Nina from Niness

Marie from Rainbows & Unicorns

Leah and Rachel from Beyond The Velvet
 

I hope you enjoyed reading my Christmas Tag.  If you've done it then send me the link in the comments and I'll give it a read.  Or if you just want to answer some of the questions at random then tell me your answers in the comments, I'd love to hear from you all.
 
Carolyn
x
 

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Power Of Words

 Photo Credit (x)

Hey everyone!
 
 
If I'm being honest I wasn't going to actually write this post until a few minutes ago when I listened to the song 'Actors' by All Time Low for the first time.  When I listened to it I got this feeling that I love, but it's a feeling I haven't had in a long time and it reminded me why I love music so much.
I've also just finished reading the book 'Love Letters To The Dead' by Ava Dellaira, it's one of the most incredible books I've ever read and this definitely reminded me why I love writing as much as I do.
This also means that I have no idea where this post is going or if I'm even going to post this, I just know that I want to write something so I'm sorry if this post is awful.
 
 
Recently my heads been mega busy and I've had a lot going on.  Spending time with my family, talking/texting/emailing with my friends, blasting the music I love very loudly through my earphones and escaping to fictional worlds in books has helped keep me grounded, or at least to have some time to appreciate the things I love.
 
 
When I started this blog I didn't think anything would come of it, I thought I'd put up a few posts and then give because that's what I tend to do with most things.  But I stuck at it because it's a way of combining two thing I love so much; music and writing.
 

Photo Credit (x)
 
I think that words can be a powerful thing, whether they're in a book, on the back of a postcard, a poem, lyrics, an English essay, a blog post, an advert, a note you're passing to your friend in class, a letter, an email, it's an endless list.  We use words everyday but I feel that a lot of the time people forget how powerful words can actually be.
 
I love how with music the artists take these words and make them even more powerful by putting them into a song.
 
What I also love about music is how artists can take all these messed up feelings that I have and actually find the words that explain what they are.  Sometimes I listen to the music and have no idea what the lyrics are (if you're a Fall Out Boy fan you'll know what I mean - you're lying if you say you could make out all the lyrics the first time you listened to the 'Folie à Deux' album).  But I kind of love that because some musicians really have the ability to make you feel the words even if you don't know what they are yet.

 Photo (x)
 
I've recently been reminded how powerful words can be.  In one case it was when a poem caused me to cry.  In another case it was when a text message made me feel really appreciated.  And as you've already read in one case a song overwhelmed me with an emotion that I can't describe, and a book made me appreciate the people in my life a lot.
 
 
I think what I'm trying to get at is that I really love words and I really love how putting various sounds to these words creates music.  I also really love how words can make us feel certain ways, bring back memories and make us want to change the world in a good way. 

Photo Credit (x) 
 
There are words that I want to drown myself in and there are words that I want to share with the world.  There are words in books that have created new worlds and there are words that when blasting through speakers make me feel so alive.
There are words that I've said and that I've written that I wish I could erase from existence, because they were powerful in the wrong way and I regret them so much.  There are words that I want to share with everyone I love and there are words that I just want to keep as my own.  There are words that I want to write for myself and there are words that I wish I could say belonged to me originally.
 
The words we use are powerful and we need to remember this.  We need to remember to use our words, what we say, think and write, and use them for good.  We also need to remember that our words will always have an affect on someone else in one way or another, we need to try our best to make sure this affect is never negative.
 
Your words are powerful, use them wisely.
 
 
Carolyn
x
 

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Zoella Beauty | Blissful Mistful Fragranced Body Mist


Hey everyone.
 
This week I popped into Superdrug to buy a new fragrance.
I used to wear 'Love Etc.' by the Body Shop but they discontinued this line and I finished my last bottle of the 'Love Etc.' perfume last week.
So I decided to have a very long nosy around Superdrug to find a new fragrance.

I tried Marc Jacobs 'Daisy' (way too expensive for me but it smells amazing!) and Britney Spears 'Fantasy' which I also really liked.  But I was mostly excited about trying Zoe Suggs body mist from her 'Zoella Beauty' range and I fell in love with the scent, so that's what I decided to buy.

 
Just in case anyone doesn't know Zoe is a beauty blogger and vlogger and recently launched her own beauty line which I've been really excited to try out.

I really love this scent, it's quite summery but I love how it's a strong scent but not overpowering. 
I also love the design on the bottle, I think it's really pretty and I love the polka dots on the back of the bottle.
The only issue is that I feel the scent doesn't last for very long but apart from that I don't have any complaints about it as a product.

If you want to buy any of Zoe's products you can get them from Superdrug here or Feel Unique here.


Carolyn
 x


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Friday, 17 October 2014

Holiday Photos & Blog Updates

Hello everyone!

I recently went away for a few days to visit some family and friends and thought I'd tell you a little about it and share some of my photos as well (this post is pretty much just going to be photos).

We went for a walk at the beach and got to see some really amazing sunsets.  But unfortunately my camera battery ran out so I only got one photo (that's not very good) of the sunset.

 
 
 
 
I went to Wagamamas for the first time, which I really enjoyed and I'd love to go back soon - the food there is so amazing!



While I was away I got to meet up with my friend Esmee (who runs one of my favourite blogs: Ezzlepops.  I highly recommend you all having a nosy around her blog).  We went shopping, had lunch at Pizza Hut and had lots of really lovely chats.

(As you can see I forgot to take photos until we were halfway through our pizza!)

 

 
As per usual, I spent way too much time in both HMV and Waterstones.  I got 3 new books:
Where She Went by Gayle Foreman (which I've read already and loved)
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield (which I've started reading and so far I really like it)
Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira.

 
I also got my first Fall Out Boy album which is 'Folie à Deux'.  I've listened to the album already but I won't talk about it in detail because I'm going to write an album dissection post for it.  All I will tell you is that my first impressions of 'Folie à Deux' are good but I need to listen to it a bit more before I write about it.



Some more news is that the lovely Sneha Kadaba is running a series of posts here on my blog about the basics of makeup, you can check out the first post here.
I'm also putting together an Autumn photography post for Sneha's blog which I should hopefully have completed soon and I'll let you all know when it's up on Sneha's blog.


Another quick bit of information for you all is that I'm very busy at the moment between my job and college work, so I'm sorry if I'm a little delayed in getting posts to you all.


I hope you're all doing okay, I know that this time of year can be quite stressful for those of you applying for university and college. 

I'll see you all next week with my October Playlist.


Carolyn
x
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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Interview with Nikk Banos from Defy You Stars

https://www.facebook.com/DefyYouStarsBand
 
 
Hi everyone!
 
For quite a while now I've been listening to a band called Defy You Stars.  I first heard them last year and I thought they were really good, they were like Mayday Parade meets Sleeping With Sirens!  Since then I've loved listening to their music on YouTube.
 

The band initially started as a solo project for singer and guitarist Nikk Banos. 
After various lineup changes Nikk's friend Nikko Evans joined the band as the bass player and Patrick Milburn is now the drummer for Defy You Stars.


Since I love them so much I decided that I had to share this love with you guys (of course!) by getting you all an online interview with the bands frontman Nikk Banos. 
 
 
http://instagram.com/p/tjfqJGxkm8/?modal=true


1.  When was Defy You Stars formed?

"It was originally a solo project I started in like 2009 and in 2012 I met Patrick.  That's when things really started to take form"


2. How did you all come together as a band?

"I met Patrick in a previous band and Nikko and I have been close friends for a long time, like 8 years now.  We've been through a few line-up changes but it feels natural the way things are proceeding now"
 
 
3. How did you decide on the name Defy You Stars?
 
"I'm a big fan of literature. At the time, Romeo & Juliet struck a chord with me.  That's the simplified version of it" 
 
 
 
4. How long have you all been playing your instruments for?  Can any of you play any other instruments?
 
"I've played guitar for about 4 years,  I also play drums, bass, piano and, a few others.  I've sang for however long, I haven't been counting.  I think Patrick started playing drums when he was about 10 or 11.  Nikko was originally a drummer and actually only recently started playing bass"
 

https://www.facebook.com/DefyYouStarsBand


https://www.facebook.com/DefyYouStarsBand

 
5. Who are your main musical influences?
 
"Mine vary as time passes.  I go through various phases musically and emotionally.  I guess at the moment I take a lot of influence from The 1975, All Time Low, the second album from Sleeping With Sirens, Emarosa, Queen, Ed Sheeran, Pierce The Veil, and My Chemical Romance. 
Patrick loves You Me At Six, Blink 182, Mariana's Trench, and we both fan over 5 Seconds Of Summer, lol.
 Nikk listens to what I listen to basically.  Right now I think he has a thing for Letlive, The 1975, Pierce The Veil, and some other ones"
 
 
6. What have been some of your main inspirations when writing music?
 
"It really depends on my day but generally painting a picture: other music/artists, books and literature, people I meet and talk to, my own experiences.  I'm gonna get more into that after the record is down so people know what I'm talking about haha"
 
 
 
7. You guys are currently in the studio recording your upcoming album, how's that going for you?
 
"We actually hit the studio late September, we're gonna be picking off where we left off a few months ago.  Since we've started the line-up has changed 4 times, so we keep having to go back and retrack parts. 
This last time through should be a keeper though. 
I'm glad it has actually taken this long because we've dropped a lot of songs and written new ones we like more and we've evolved so much in the time we've had so far. 
I've worked with some different writers and we're definitely gonna try to make the best album we can with what we have"
 
 
Photo Credit (x)
 
8. You played the Vans Warped Tour in Denver this year, how was that for you guys?
 
"It was a total blast, the crowd was mental and we hope to do it more in the future.  I've been going to warped for 6 years so I definitely had a moment.  We all agree it was a milestone, but we plan on topping that soon!"
 
 
 
9. What's the best experience you've had since starting the band?
 
"We've just had certain shows where the crowd was epic.  We give the crowd as much energy as they give us and it goes back and forth.  There are small moments here and there when you make eye contact with someone crying or something and you know they get it. 
People tell us we've saved their lives and they drive hours to see us and we could not be more grateful. 
The fans surprise us endlessly with love and compassion and spunk"
 
 
 
10. Nikk, you've performed on stage with All Time Low and You Me At Six, what was that like for you?
 
"It was brilliant, haha.  I'm so used to answering these questions.  It put a fire in my gut which has since then made me unusually and relentlessly motivated. 
The band has met so many people since those experiences and it was wild to share the stage with bands that have changed my life"
 
 
 
11. How would you explain your music to someone who has never listened to you guys before?
 
"I couldn't explain it if I tried.  We're a bunch of guys that listen to a huge range of music, so we write with influence from all styles. If you like rock, indie, pop, pop punk, post hardcore, alternative, acoustic, or anything that is self expression, then I think you'll fit right in. 
We don't scream a lot cause we aren't angry all the time but we have screams here and there because life can piss us off sometimes.  Give us 10 minutes of your time, hopefully we don't disappoint!"
 

Photo Credit (x) (x)

 
12. If you guys could collaborate with any musicians who would it be and why?
 
"Tyler Carter, Matty Healy, Alex Gaskarth, Dan Korneff (producer), Kellin Quinn, Freddie Mercury, Vic Fuentes.  All simply because we admire their work and they are cool dudes"
 
 
 
13. What 5 bands would you love to tour with?
 
"It's nearly impossible to pick just five! 
If I had to probably All Time Low, Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil, The 1975 and 5 Seconds Of Summer"
 
 
 
14. Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance?
 
"I say My Chemical Romance.  Patrick would say Fall Out Boy.  I don't know what Nikko would say. I've seen them both live and both blow my mind"
 
 
 
15. What was the inspiration behind your most recent single 'Eventually'?
 
"I had a friend who struggled with self harm, and I also at one time in my formative years did as well.  I guess it was a mixture of that and just a period in my life in which I got really motivational right after being depressed and I was crossed with a lot of people and just wanted to create hope where I had struggled to find any, for myself and for others. 
It was kind of the story of my life and when I wrote the chorus I gave myself chills"
 
 
 
16. Do you guys have any plans for shows in other countries?
 
"We really want to go but there are no plans as of yet.  We are currently just fixating on this record and making sure there are people in other countries that want to see us"
 
 
 
17. What can we be expecting from you guys in the near future?
 
"An album with new and old songs and a tour (or two or three). That's all I'm capable of revealing as of now"
 

https://www.facebook.com/DefyYouStarsBand
 

An upcoming album, performing at the Vans Warped Tour and hopefully a tour in the near future.
 Defy You Stars are definitely a band to listen too, they're incredible!


What I personally love about them is that although they have a typical punk rock sound, they're unique in the fact that they're not too heavy.  They remind me of Pierce The Veil but with less scream, particularly since Nikk has a very unique voice, like Pierce The Veil's lead singer Vic Fuentes. 
A particular Defy You Stars favourite of mine is the acoustic version of their song Rest.
I also have a lot of love for their song Stars, which features Rikki Luke Carter.





Defy you Stars are like a younger Sleeping With Sirens and I really hope that I'm lucky enough to see them live one day as I'm pretty sure that it would be an incredible experience.

I want to say a massive thank you to all the guys in Defy You Stars for allowing me the opportunity to interview them for my blog.
I honestly can't wait to hear their upcoming album as well as watch them progress in the music industry, they deserve to go far. 

Where to find Defy You Stars:

Twitter
YouTube
Instagram
Facebook
Website
Google+



I hope you all enjoyed the interview, be sure to follow the guys and what they're up too as they have a lot of exciting things happening soon.

Carolyn
x
 
 
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