Monday, June 29, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: June 2015

I went on a shopping spree this month, as I struggle to resist good deals.  But was also a decent month for resale of my clothing, including both Poshmark and thredUP this time.  I think what most impressed me is that despite getting a ton of stuff, I got good deals and it all evened out!

  1. Fabletics Andreas Canyon (paid $60):  I order the tank top in navy and the jogger pants in black.  Jogger pants are my favorite loungewear, and I don't have a navy tank top for working out, so I caved in to get these.  Probably didn't NEED this stuff, but it looked cute so I went for it.  I think I'm pretty much done with Fabletics for now, so I plan to redeem my reward points and then opt out now that I have a ton of workout wear.
  2. eShakti Shawl Collar Gingham Dress (originally $70, paid $42):  I ordered three dresses from eShakti during a B2G1 sale, plus a discount code, and I ended up keeping two.  (When you include shipping, I basically got 40% off each dress.)  I love this Gingham Dress; it will be a staple this summer and it is so easy to wear.  It makes me feel like a fancy picnic-goer, and you know I love gingham.  So many compliments on this one, I know it was the right one for me!
  3. eShakti Havana Dress in Black (originally $70, paid $42): This dress just looked like my next LBD.  I figured it would be great for an occasion, and I love the fit!  Classic enough to hang on to for a while, as my other LBDs are all a few years old.
  4. eShakti Pleated Polka Dot Knit Dress (originally $74, paid $20 with sale/discount/giftcard): I know, what is with all the eShakti?!  Well, after my B2G1 order, eShakti reached out to me with a blogging opportunity that yielded me a $75 giftcard.  That stacked with a sale, discount code, and shipping meant I spent $40 on two dresses.  I decided to try a knit dress because I'd never tried those with eShakti before.  Super soft and comfortable, a classic dress for my closet.
  5. eShakti Poppy Fields Shirt Dress (originally $90, paid $20 with sale/discount/giftcard):   I fell in love with the print on this dress, and I hoped it would work for me... and it did!  I also love the belt it came with.
  6. Worthington Pencil Skirts in Black and Red (originally $36 each, paid $20 each):  Basics, because you need these colors!  I have so many print tops from Stitch Fix and other things, summer is for skirts.
  7. Worthington Sateen Pencil Skirts in White and Rich Royal (originally $36 each, paid $14 each):  Again, basic colors.  I think with the exception of a mustard-colored pencil skirt I still wish I had, or maybe Kelly green, I used this JCPenney sale to get a ton of skirts that will work in combination with things I already have in my closet.

Woof, did I get enough pencil skirts?  Sissy always accuses me of liking something and then getting it in every color.  But I got rid of all my maxi and pencil skirts last year because they were cheap knits/ponte and not holding up well, and I missed the pencil skirt look a lot.  I hope it helps me step up my work wardrobe this summer.

I also had one of my workout tank tops wash poorly from last month, so the Look Human awesome customer service folks refunded that purchase.  I've subtracted it from this month since I counted it last month.

$252 spent - $135 sold - $23 refunds = $94 total spent
$256 savings

Total 2015 Net Spending: Q1 $616 + Q2 $354 = $970

Remember when I used to stick to a $500/quarter budget, with subtractions for sales?  Looks like I'm technically still on track if you average out the past two quarters, despite no strict budget goal to hit..

Don't forget to check out the rest of Franish's budgeting bloggers!

As a bonus, here's an Instagram pic of me wearing the gingham dress at brunch, and the black dress at my cousin's wedding:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Favorites, v.16

I'm back with my favorite things on the Internet this week!  If I had to pick a theme for what I loved this week, it was mostly stories of human goodness and girl power!

A boy left his Hobbes toy (where can I get one?!) and the airport employees took him on an adventure while he waited to be reunited.

Going without a hijab covering your hair is still illegal in Iran, and these brave women are using social media to protest and express themselves regardless!  Wow!

Megan Sullivan got a cancer diagnosis that inspired her to see the 7 Wonders of the World in 13 days... she no longer has cancer, but she still has a YOLO attitude that surely changed her life.

Performance art is not my favorite thing, but when I read about how Marina Abramović and Ulay ended their relationship/partnership, then were reunited 22 years later in an extremely moving moment during her MoMA performance, it made me cry!  Silence can be so powerful.

I really love how this Korean artist "Puuung" has illustrated what real, everyday love looks like.  And there are cats!

There are three reasons I don't love yoga: I have to be quiet, it makes me pass gas, and I don't like feeling like the biggest girl in the room with all the skinny-mini-Lululemon clones.    What I do love is how I feel after forcing myself to do yoga, and Jessamyn Stanley's honest posts fighting yoga stereotypes made me think about my own hang-ups about yoga.

+  I travel a LOT, and this article on 9 Ways To Be A Decent Human Being On Your Next Flight is a must-read, especially if you don't fly a lot.  Seriously, I'm typing part of this post from an airport.

+  I'm really loving Fran's "building a cohesive wardrobe" series so far.  I know I need to go through mine and make some decisions for sure... but I probably don't want to know how many things I have in there!

+  Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Tim Hunt made sexist remarks during a conference, and women scientists took to social media to show how "distractingly sexy" they are doing their awesome work in STEM.  It's an amazing rebuttal!

+  A teenager started an anonymous Instagram account and wrote nice things about every single one of his classmates.  It'll make you cry!

+  This women's underwear could replace tampons and change the world!  Seriously!  I don't know how it works, but it's awesome.

+  This ATM gave its loyal customers more than cash...  it gave them thoughtful gifts and a lot of love.

+  Sheryl Sandberg's post about life after her husband's death had tears running down my face.  I hope she kicked the sh*t out of Option B!

+  I think this is one of my favorite responses to the "Angry Facebook Veterans" and their supporters hating on Caitlyn Jenner as a hero... written by a Marine with a transgender brother.  You can be a hero without wearing a uniform!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Biscuit Love Brunch

You may remember me blogging about the Biscuit Love truck that used to frequent the Franklin Farmer's Market last year.  Now, Karl and Sarah Worley have taken their biscuits (and more) to a brick-and-mortar Biscuit Love restaurant in the Gulch (next to Bar Louie) with a line out the door!  It opened last fall, but it took me that long to get up to Nashville (vs. rolling out of bed to the Farmer's Market down the street) to brave the lines to give the place a try.  Luckily, my friend Anna was in town so it gave us an excuse to head north for brunch, my favorite meal of the day.

Like any Nashville hot spot, there's a line.  We expected as much on Sunday morning, especially given it was CMA Fest weekend!  We arrived around 10am I believe, and we were a little nervous about the number of people ahead of us.  We were able to browse menus while we waited, as you stay in line as you move inside (and order at the counter) before receiving a number and being loosely directed towards available tables.

Me and Anna... Dan is camera shy LOL.  Also, new dress!

I feel like we didn't have to wait long at all, because a lot of the groups were large and being a party of three we were ushered forward as tables opened up.  The bar is first-come, first-served I believe, but be sure to ask a hostess/server checking on the line!

Once we'd ordered, we were served quite quickly!  Anna had a Bloody Mary and Dan had a craft beer.  I needed caffeine so I had a delicious Arnold Palmer.  Anna treated us to my favorite part of the meal...  BONUTS.  Fried biscuit dough (AMAZING) with sugar, lemon mascarpone, and blueberry compote.  I seriously think that when I come back, I will make this my main meal, so I can have them all for myself.  My. new. favorite. thing.

Bonuts at Biscuit Love

I had a lot of trouble making up my mind for my main dish, because the menu at the restaurant is much more extensive than the truck's used to be.  I decided that for my first visit, I needed to go with my old truck standby, the SEC: biscuit, smoked sausage, egg, and aged cheddar.  I had the egg scrambled because I was in the midst of sensory overload when I ordered; I usually prefer the egg fried.  But it was delicious nonetheless!  Even better than the truck days, honestly... although I wonder if it's because I was eating it in air conditioning at a table with real silverware vs. plastic fork at the market.  I also ordered sides of the "chronic" bacon which was sticky and sweet, and the potatoes.  The potatoes I wish were a bit crispier, but the bacon was fab.  Bacon purists might prefer the normal bacon, but I love a little sweetness with the salt.

You guys, do yourself a favor and hit up Biscuit Love...  I'm so glad I could take my friend Anna (and Dan, too!) to brunch there, and to meet Karl.  I'm so happy for the Worleys and this new adventure, and hoping they put another location in Franklin someday!

Click to add a blog post for Biscuit Love Brunch on Zomato

Monday, June 15, 2015

Los Angeles, Part III

On my last day or so in Los Angeles, we had another celebration... my grandfather's 90th birthday party!  It was held at a Chinese restaurant, so once again I continued my eating trip around "the world" in Los Angeles.  And of course, there was cake!  (We had a delicious breakfast too, at The Farm of Beverly Hills location near the Staples Center.)

From there, I had two more wishlist things to do in Koreatown: shop for cute things I don't need, and visit the Korean sauna.  So we made a little shopping stop at Daiso for stickers and paper and cute things, all at $1.50 each.  After shopping, we relaxed and bathed at the wonderful sauna, and I felt like a whole new woman!

That night, we ate at my grandparents' apartment, where I got even more Korean BBQ which I loved.  And since it was our last night all together, my sister, her boyfriend, my uncle/aunt/mom, all insisted that we go out!  We headed to a Koreatown staple, Dan Sung Sa, a dive bar that used to be a Korean-centric hangout but now is popular with a ton of people.  They have meat skewers for $1.99 and all kind of things, and I could see a lot of folks slamming back on some soju!

My uncle taught us to make a simple drink with Korean beer, soju, and a little lemon juice.  It was light-tasting and hit you quickly later with the liquor!  We also ordered some late-night snacks, including pork belly.  I wanted to order some Spam, but the kitchen was out...  and then, in true Korean fashion, the bar sent someone out to buy me some and brought it to the table with an egg.  Delicious.  According to my uncle, the things they were serving were all about nostalgia and what life was like in the "old days" in Korea.  I could definitely feel that vibe while we were there... and we stayed out until midnight, which is 2 a.m. in Nashville!  Woof.

I saved the best for last, you guys.  I really wanted some California Donuts.  (Coincidentally, Anthony Bourdain has been to both Dan Sung Sa and California Donuts, which despite my fangirling was new knowledge to me.)  Anyways, we tried TWICE but each time the line was insane despite the place being open 24/7.  So I just gave up.  Well, on our last morning in LA, I got a text that my mom/aunt/uncle had gotten up early and were bringing donuts.  HOLY COW.  Never tell a Korean person what you want, because they will move mountains to make it happen for you.  I'm very loved.

I even got to take some home!  Despite the crazy donut combos, my favorite was the pink classic donut Homer Simpson-style.  It was just perfect, and I would eat one every day if it wasn't impossible and terrible for me.

So yeah, my trip to Los Angeles was memorable and fun.  It was also exhausting, and there was some family drama happening as usual, but I never regret a trip to visit with my family.  They love me, I love them, and I'm blessed to have them!

Even though I gained like four pounds.  Meh.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Los Angeles, Part II

My second day in Los Angeles was all about family, especially my cousin CH who graduated from high school!!!  It was so interesting to see what a high school graduation is like these days...  Hint: they have a designated #hashtag for the event!  I ran around taking photos and had a blast.  SO proud of the graduate.

After the ceremony, we met up with my grandparents and we had an Italian meal at Trastavere in Hollywood.  It was weird eating a non-Korean meal with this side of my family, but the fresh pasta did not disappoint.  Sissy even ordered seconds!  We also took some photos with the Hollywood sign in the background.  You can barely make it out, but it was good to have a family reunion of sorts in such a cool place.

Once we headed back to Koreatown, I had to get more boba.  This time, I hit up It's Boba Time, and when I IGed a pic it ended up on their screens at the second location I hit up!  I didn't like what I got this time as much as the caramel drink at Tea Pop, and the franchises seem a little inconsistent in terms of offering, but tasty nonetheless and refreshing as the temperature rose.

It's Boba Time

And then, FINALLY, at the end of the day, I got my hands on some kalbi...  We had a great family dinner at BCD Tofu House in Koreatown, and the fact that the place is open 24 hours made me want to eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  YUM YUM YUM.  Delicious.  I wish the portions were bigger (I prefer all-you-can-eat) but we wanted to go someplace that had something for everyone, and everyone likes something different in a big group.

Family dinners like this are cacophonous, but in the best way.  It allows us to catch up, eat, and love on each other.  I don't know if it is just Korean culture or my family, but we don't ask, "Hello, how are you?" We say, "Hello, have you eaten?"  My second day in LA was as delicious as my first, and it was nonstop for sure.  We also went out after dinner for my family's favorite Korean ice cream dessert, patbingsu, at a quirky place called Cafe Scent that is like a combination coffee and flower design shop.

It's so nice to spend time with family that I don't get to see very often.  It makes it all the more special!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Los Angeles, Part I

I recently returned from a long weekend trip to Los Angeles, a city that I've been visiting for nearly as long as I can remember!  At some point in my childhood, my Korean family started to gather in the city after departing Queens, NY (my uncle in the early 90s, my grandparents a year or so before 9/11) because there is a healthy Koreatown in LA.  So when my lil bro (cousin) was graduating from high school, and my grandfather was celebrating his 90th birthday, I had to make the trip to Cali.

For the first day or so, I was blessed to find a home-away-from-home with my friends SH and JH.  SH and I knew each other from college, and JH have forged a long-standing relationship on social media where we share a lot of mutual friends.  Getting to spend time with her was so natural... it's like we've known each other for ages!  They're both brilliant people and I was so lucky to get some time with them.  We kicked off our first night with pizza at Grimaldi's, which definitely tasted delicious after my long flight.  Then the next day, JH and I went out for a walk around the Hollywood reservoir for a great view of the sign!

 JH is the perfect hostess, and she knew that I love foodie fun.  So when she heard I had Seoul Sausage Company on my wishlist, we headed to Studio City where a number of food trucks were parked for lunch.  OMG!  I pretended I was a network executive and loaded up on Korean fusion foods.

Seoul Sausage Company and Slanging Corea

 JH ordered the Galbi Poutine from Seoul Sausage Co., 8 hr. braised short ribs served on top of twice fried french fries with cheese, kimchi pickled onions and avocado lime crema.  It was amazing!  I ordered the OG (Kalbi) Quesadilla from Slanging Corea, which was tasty too!  But my favorite dish was the Flaming Ball from Seoul Sausage Co.

Flaming Ball

The Flaming Ball is a cheesy kimchi fried rice ball with spicy pork served with their DMZ sauce, a garlic jalapeno kimchi sriracha aioli.  AMAZING!!!

After lunch, we headed to Tea Pop for some boba.  I had my own idea that I didn't like boba, because of a non-yummy bubble tea I once had.  But this visit to Tea Pop sent me on a boba train the entire weekend, drinking milk tea with boba every chance I could get it!  Even more awesome, they spelled our names right.  I had the Salted Caramel and it was so refreshing.

I was eating the same number of meals/snacks as a hobbit, so JH insisted we stop at Porto's for some Cuban pastries, both savory and sweet.  We shared little bites of every pastry, like a tasting, so we wouldn't spoil our dinner.  We had meat pie, croquettes, a potato ball, and a sweet pastry.

Dinner was EPIC.  Since JH is Taiwanese, and I'd never officially had Taiwanese food, I was treated to a feast for dinner at Din Tai Fung.  She ordered everything, so I didn't have to do any work at all!  We had Pork XiaoLongBao steamed dumplings, Noodles with Minced Pork Sauce, Vegetables and Pork Wontons with Spicy Sauce, Tofu Puff and Glass Noodle Soup, Pork Sticky Rice, and Sweet Taro Buns for dessert.  OMG.

I wasn't well-versed in eating these broth-filled bao, and I definitely party-fouled and squirted juice all down the front of my dress.  But I kept eating!  They were probably my favorite dish of the night.

But in truth, I loved EVERYTHING and ate EVERYTHING.  The pork sticky rice was the most surprising to me; I couldn't figure out what made it so sticky, and it was soooo good!  I can't even describe the tacky consistency, and I'd love to have it again someday.  Taiwanese food is delicious.

I must say I was glad I packed forgiving dresses for the trip, because a waistband would have held me back.  Let's just say I undid ANY weight loss/fitness progress I'd made over the four full days of eating I spent in LA.  I'm so glad JH was able to take me to so many incredible places during my first full day in town!!!

P.S.  When we were headed to Porto's I saw that we were *right next to Pinup Girl Boutique*!  I went inside and tried on a skirt.  So cool to see the flagship store in person, completely by accident.  And now I know my size in their clothing!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Why I Joined the Daughters of the American Revolution

This site is not an official NSDAR Web site, and the content contained herein does not necessarily represent the position of the NSDAR. The President General is the official spokesperson on issues that have not been addressed as policy of NSDAR.

Outside of work and grad school, I spend a good deal of my free time attending Daughters of the American Revolution events or working on DAR committee projects.  And yet I noticed recently that I have only *one* other post on this blog about DAR, from last year's state conference concerning paging.  I talked a little bit about membership, but not a lot.  The National Society website has tons of great information, but I wanted to share my personal experience and reasons for being an active member in this non-profit organization, as well as suggest ways you can take steps towards membership.

My DAR BFF and me

When I tell people I am a member of DAR, I often get a puzzled look, because there are SO many misconceptions about the organization.  People are surprised for the following reasons:  One, I'm visibly of Asian descent.  Two, I'm a socially liberal and independent woman.  Three, I'm on the younger side, at 30 years old.  I'm quick to address these perplexed folks!  I have discovered at least one Revolutionary Patriot on my father's side, with a couple more potentially in the works, so the fact that my mother is an immigrant just makes me all the more "American" and unique!  I also love that DAR attends naturalization ceremonies for people like my mother, to welcome them as newly-minted Americans.  Secondly, the DAR gets a bad rap based on some events that occurred decades ago.  And while not *every* lady in the DAR is necessarily the best ambassador or spokeswoman for the organization, as a whole I've found these women to be generous, patriotic, passionate, and diverse in experience.  Lastly, DAR isn't just for grey-haired wealthy ladies like the ones portrayed on Gilmore Girls.  It's an organization that supports endeavors in patriotism, education, and historic preservation.  It maintains one of the best genealogical libraries in the country in D.C.  It is HUGE in its reach, with over 177,000 members currently serving!  And it's FUN.  This year, at our state conference, the Juniors (under 35 members) put on a "decades" fashion show in celebration of the DAR's 125th anniversary.

I represented the 1960s.

But aside from the great networking and the opportunity to serve, I truly love the FRIENDSHIPS I've made in
DAR.  I've found ladies to be friends with across the state of Tennessee, and hopefully after Continental Congress in D.C. later this month, I'll have friends across the country!

I have hidden the faces of the under-18 pages for their privacy.

I was honored this year at our TN State Conference to serve as a Personal Page to our State Regent, the head of DAR for the state.  It was an incredible experience and opportunity to learn more about leadership in the organization.  Paging continues to be one of the most rewarding ways for Juniors to serve in DAR, because you get to see the inner workings of it all and commit yourself to (and envision!) being a part of its future.

So in case you were curious why I buy so much white clothing or why I commit to serving the DAR at the local level and beyond, now you know!  If you're interested in joining and think you have a Revolutionary ancestor, I strongly encourage you to visit a local chapter in your area.  That's all it takes to get started!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

eShakti: New Themes, Jumpsuits, and more!

Disclosure:  I am a longtime eShakti fan, knowledgeable about their quality/offering, with a number of pieces I have purchased on my own; I have received a gift card, as well as a discount code for my readers, for reviewing eShakti's latest product lines.

When eShakti recently reached out to me about checking out their new thematic lines and products, I'd just placed an order to try a few more of their dresses.  If you've followed my blog for a while, you know I love their dresses and even did my engagement photos in one of them!  Here's a peek at what's new with their website update.

Jumpsuit / Shorts / Pants / Jumpsuit

First off, eShakti was always a go-to for me for dresses and skirts... but now they offer jumpsuits and shorts and pants, all customizable!  I've tried on a few jumpsuits but nothing fit quite right.  I'm eager to try what eShakti has to offer, knowing I can give measurements to help them fit me with the right items.

Secondly, eShakti has themes that help you find the style you're looking for.  I typically gravitated towards their Retro Modern collections in the past.  Now, they also offer Bohemian and Contemporary!  Here are a few of my favorite looks, two Bohemian and two Contemporary:

Dress / Maxi Dress / Dress / Jogger Pants

Thirdly and lastly, eShakti continues to offer Buy/Get deals and big sales that ensure you get a great value for your money.  I've returned an item to them in the past (note: custom items are different on returns!) and customer service has been smooth sailing for me.  I had one dress that I struggled to get on/off because side zippers don't always agree with me, but they refunded my money and I was good to go, well worth the price for what I got/kept.

And now, you can try eShakti and get a $35 giftcard when you sign up using my referral code below!  Why not get something pretty and new for a great price?  And everything is customizable!

GC CODE: AUBREYADVENTURES35Valid till 06/21/2015
Enter this code in the 'Gift Coupon / Referral Code' box at checkout
Only one gift coupon can be used in an order
Not valid on previous purchases / purchase of gift cards.
This gift coupon cannot be transferred, re-issued or exchanged for cash.

Disclosure:  I am a longtime eShakti fan, knowledgeable about their quality/offering, with a number of pieces I have purchased on my own; I have received a gift card, as well as a discount code for my readers, for reviewing eShakti's latest product lines.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Dan and I woke up hungry on a lazy Sunday and decided to find some brunch.  Since it was a happy Sunday with no work or school for either of us, we ventured to a restaurant I'd noticed on Yelp: Circa.  It had rave reviews on Yelp, and a $15 brunch buffet, so why not?  It was a beautiful drive into the country for us on a nice day.

What shocked me about Circa was that it wasn't jam-packed on a Sunday.  It was small-town busy, but I'm used to 60-90 minute brunch waits at the trendy Franklin spots.  In fact, we enjoyed this place so much I was hesitant to review it for fear the secret would get out!  We were seated immediately, on the adorable porch no less.  Perfection.

The buffet had salad, fresh fruit, parfait, typical Southern brunch foods (Eggs Benedict, scrambled, potatoes, has brown casserole, bacon and meats, biscuits and gravy), chicken tenders, mac 'n' cheese, and other lunch-type foods.  And DESSERT!  I, of course, kicked off with a $6 mimosa.

I had a plate and a half of food, determined to try lots of things.  I found it to be delicious.  Dan wasn't in love with the pancakes (he likes the unique ones at First Watch) but I felt like it was the best Southern brunch I'd had in ages.  It tasted fresh and homemade.  I thought the bacon was thick and well-crisped, and the biscuits were awesome.  The mac 'n' cheese and hash brown casserole weren't as good as some other local places, but I was extremely satisfied with everything I ate!

I also had some of the owner's homemade blackberry jam on the biscuits, as well as the poundcake with BLUEBERRY FROSTING.  Wowza!  And seriously, $15 for all-you-can-eat?  Heavens.  They also had craft cocktails, which were on the pricey side but on par with downtown Franklin pricing.

And you can't beat this view from the nearby train tracks, right?

Click to add a blog post for Circa on Zomato

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Favorites, v.15

I'm back with more Friday internet favorites!  Here's what I'm loving on the web this week.

OMG SQUEE adorable orphaned baby bats get a second chance in Australia.

I know a number of these women (privileged to have gone to school or served with them!) and love that this story is getting some attention.  I learned quickly there are no "front lines" in a combat zone anymore, and the women serving overseas are doing some incredible work that most people don't even know about.

Fabletics is really stepping up their outfit game for workout and loungewear!  It's been a while since I got something new from them, and now I'm really pumped about the direction they're going!

+  One of my college professors wrote this great piece called, "How Being a Military Mom Affects My Relationship With My Daughter" and it's awesome and honest.

+  I'm not into the Kardashians... except for Kourtney and Khloe.  Want to know why?  Check out 32 Times Kourtney Was The Most Underrated Kardashian.

+  Seeing this 102-year-old woman view herself dancing on film for the first time made me cry!

Flashback:  Three years ago I was in Los Angeles visiting my family, and now I'm posting this from LA again almost to the date from that visit.

***My cousin Suzy just started a wellness arts program called Mindful Arts for youth in NYC, integrating yoga, mixed media, and mindfulness. Through enriching learning experiences, we engage youth with creative resources in self-care, supporting their connection to themselves and the world around them.  They're working hard to raise $3000 to fund their Urban Retreat program this coming August.  Check out their GoFundMe page!***

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