Sunday, February 27, 2011

Belle's Library~Alice's Adventures in Insomnia

An interesting find to hold you all over while I get moved in to my new home! This is an interesting little story based on Alice and rhymes. It is written mostly in Japanese with some English thrown in, but mostly it is fun to browse for the artwork and the music!

P.S. This is a scheduled post :P I didn't really want to abandon you all for a week!

It may take a bit for the storybook to load, depending on your internet speed, because it is a "flippable" book where each flip is actually animated. The little record players available with each chapter will play a suitable song and is quite enjoyable, really!

The link to Alice's Adventures in Insomnia! Enjoy! And let me know what you think in the comments :)
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review~My Beauty Diary Pearl Powder Mask

Doll-like porcelain skin; such is the goal for many a Lolita. Whether it is achieved through skincare, makeup, or even photoshop (for those pimples that come the morning of a meetup!) flawless skin is an unmistakable sign of beauty and good health. Personally, I am no good at photoshop or makeup, so skincare it is! Not to mention the fact that it is healthier and the longest-lasting ;D Today I am going to share a product I tried and how it worked for me!

Masking is super popular in Asia. Masks are available in so many type to solve any skin condition you can think of! There are moisturizing, whitening, brightening, anti-wrinkle, lifting, firming, radiance-boosting, etc. masks.

In Taiwan, there is a brand called 我的美麗日記 or My Beauty Diary which is very famous and popular. They even recently teamed up with Hello Kitty to make a strawberry mask! I bought a 10-pc. box of Pearl Powder Mask to try it out for myself!


Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

Basic Stats:
* Pearl Powder Mask

* Purpose: Whitening and hydrating

* Skin Type: All skin types

* Pack Size - 10 pcs

Description:
A pre-soaked and pre-cut facial mask drenched with amino acids and trace elements that effortlessly penetrate the skin’s layers to create a fairer and more luminous complexion. Vitamin B and seaweed nourish the skin, making it velvety smooth with improved elasticity. Regular use whitens, hydrates and restores skin’s youthful radiance. Recommended for dull and damaged skin. By My Beauty Diary.

I usually use masks after showering and washing my face with cleanser because the pores are more open after a hot shower and my face is clean! So please excuse the wet hair in the following photos ;)

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First problem I encountered was the mask shape. I circled the problem areas in this photo. As you can see, it does not rest fully on the nose bridge area. The portion of the mask between the bottom of the nose and the upper lip is also far too wide! It actually covers my upper lip O_o

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My solution? Cut the mask! By making a small snip in the eye circle, extending the nose area cut, and trimming off a portion of the mouth area, the mask now covers fully where it should, and not where it shouldn't.

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Clickable thumbnail to show the sides of the mask.

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Clickable thumbnail of the mask post-usage to show its shape. The original mask only has the two bottom cuts at the outer edge of the mask, and the bottom portion of the nose cut.

Overall Impression:
I liked this mask because it really felt hydrating and moisturizing! I would use it at night and in the morning my face still felt really soft and elastic. I can't really say if the whitening worked for me because I am already fairer than average Asian skin.
This mask needs to sit for 20-30 minutes, which is longer than the usual 10 minutes by most other masks. It doesn't bother me though, because I do it at night and I like it!

Essence: ♥♥♥♥♥ A lot of essence in this mask! Use the leftover essence on your neck, arms, and legs.
Mask Shape:♥♥♥ Requires a bit of trimming for each use. The upper lip part bothers me the most!
Results: ♥♥♥♥ Wonderfully hydrating, but no results for the whitening promise, though it may be more obvious on darker skin.
Price: ♥♥♥♥ About average price. I bought my box on sale so it was cheaper :)
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pause

I will be most likely unable to update for a week or so... because I am moving!!! Hopefully it will all go smoothly and I will be able to start a new series on home decor (or at least room decor) and start with sewing tutorials again as soon as I get set up.

So look forward to Aurora's Chateau series about house and home styling (hey, if you're going to be in the same room for 100 years in enchanted sleep, it better be a really awesome room!)

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

I'll finish this off with the results of my February Challenge. It is 4 days early, but as I start packing I don't think I will be able to do any new coords... only three were completed! 囧rz


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The themes I was going for were:
1) A more "mature" but cute look with a blazer and makeup
2) A casual schoolgirl look with black as the contrasting color
3) My first try at something Ero! This is taken with a webcam, so sorry for the poor quality! I created bustles with safety pins and removable bows which were pinned to D-rings on the corset from Scoundrelle's Keep (this is a Charlotte Cincher)

Not a very successful challenge, but it was still fun, especially the Ero coord :) I didn't wear it out of the house, but I liked trying something new!
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sparkle Stitches~Ruffle Skirt with Zip

Today I am going to show you how to make a basic zip-closure skirt. The tab with hook-and-eye closure is optional and can be substituted with a button-and-buttonhole, snaps, velcro, whatever.

It is a bit image-heavy so I have reduced all the photos to clickable thumbnails. Click on them for full-size detail if you need to!

Materials:
~2yd fabric
Fusible interfacing for waistband
1 invisible zipper
1 set of skirt hook and eye

Directions:
Step One:
Cut out your pieces. The skirt body should be 2x your hip or so. The ruffle should be 2x the hem of your skirt. Pin and sew your ruffle pieces into a big loop
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Step Two:
Press open all your seam allowances
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Step Three:
Overlock the hem, press up, and sew
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Step Four:
Sew your skirt panels into a tube, leaving the zip opening unsewn. Gather your ruffle to the hem of your skirt and stitch.
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Step Five:
Finish the inside edge with an overlock
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Step Six (optional):
Topstitch the ruffle to help it lay flatter
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Now for the zip!

Step Seven:
Iron the coils of your zipper flat. You should be able to see the two rows of stitching when it is ironed flat
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Two rows of stitching:
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Step Eight:
Align with the seam allowance at your skirt opening, pin, and sew
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Invisible zippers from most craft stores in the U.S. actually come with instructions :P I don't have an invisible zipper foot (they are pretty nifty!) so I can't show you the proper way to do it ^^;
Here is me using a regular zipper foot though:
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You just have to be careful not to stitch too close to the coils, or the zip will be difficult to close!

When you are done, it should look like this:
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Now comes the waistband!

Step Nine:
Cut your waistband WxL from fashion fabric where W=2x finished width +seam allowance and L=finished length (your waist size)+ tab (about 1") + seam allowance
Cut your waistband interfacing WxL where W = 2x finished width and L=finished length (waist size + tab). Do NOT add seam allowance to the interfacing!
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Step Ten:
Fuse your interfacing to the waistband
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Step Eleven:
Press up your seam allowances
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Step Twelve:
Gather your skirt to ONE seam allowance of your waistband and stitch
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Step Thirteen:
Now comes finishing the ends of the waistband. I did one end of mine before gathering because it is easier to show what is going on, but it is better to do it after gathering for a neater finish.
First, turn the waistband right sides facing together and stitch
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Trim the corners and seam allowance if necessary
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And turn right side out

Here is it being shown after gathering:
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Haha I was watching Dead or Alive (the movie) on my lappy... SUCH an awful interpretation of the video game, but I still like to watch it on occasion. Moving on...

After trimming and turning to the right side (and topstitching):
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Step Fourteen:
Topstitch the waistband to finish it off. Now just sew on your hook and eye closure to the tab and you are finished!!

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Any questions or comments are of course welcome in the comment section! I hope this was clear and helpful to everybody :)
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Sparkle Stitches~Gathering

Gathering is an essential skill in Lolita fashion, and is also required for the next sewing tutorial so I am double-posting ;D Two tutorials in a row!
LO娘想做衣服一定要學會抽細折!

If you are already familiar with gathering, just skip to the next post for the skirt tutorial.

Gathering is very simple, albeit a little time-consuming.
抽細折很簡單,但蠻費時間的。

Step One:
Lengthen the stitch length on your machine to the longest stitch
將縫衣機的針跡長度調到最長
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Step Two:
Stitch WITHIN your seam allowance, and do NOT backtack at either end. Usually 1/4" from the raw edge is a good distance. Do two rows of stitching for smoother gathers. High-end clothiers will even do 3 rows of gathering stitches; one in the seam allowance, one on the stitching line, and one even lower than the stitching line which then has to be ripped out. No wonder high-end clothes cost so much...
在縫分內縫一條線。 頭尾不要打結。 離布邊1/4"(2分)就夠。 縫兩條線能抽的比較潠。
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Step Three:
Separate out your top thread and bobbin thread. Here, I have used black for my bobbin thread to show the difference
上下線分開。 我的下線用了黑色。
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Step Four:
Pull on the bobbin thread only and slide the fabric along the thread. It will bunch up and form gathers. Gather it to your desired length and pin in place
卿卿的一邊拉下線一邊將布料網下滑。抽到想要的長度後用針固定住
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It may take some practice, but after a few tries it becomes pretty easy. Just be careful not to pull to hard or fast because it is very frustrating to have a thread break in the middle of gathering! Which is another reason 2 rows of stitching is nice ;) If all else fails, make elastic-waist skirts just like the Ribbon Bustle Skirt ;D
多練習後會比較簡單! 小心別拉太快或太用力。 抽到一半緞線會很想抓狂喔!

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Belle's Library~Dokuhime, Poison Princess

"It starts with poisonous herbs under the cradle. Then under the sheets. And inside the clothes. Even mixed in the milk that they feed the newborn. This way the child gradually gets used to poisons and becomes the perfect assassination tool - the “Poison Princess” whose every kiss, tear and even touch bring death. Her only chance of survival is to fulfill her duty as an assassin and find a way to live on in the enemy land she is sent to… if her heart is strong enough."
~Dokuhime

Previously I recommended Deka Wanko as a Lolita manga series. It is silly, sweet, and cute. Today I have a completely different type of Lolita manga to recommend. Dokuhime, also known as La Princesse de Poison or Poison Princess, is dark, slightly twisted, and quite Gothic. The Poison Princesses wear beautiful frilly dresses, but are actually assassins meant to kill with the poison in their bodies.

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Scan of the front cover of Vol.1
Shikka, the servant, and Lycoris, the second Poison Princess we meet. Her story goes much more in depth than the first Poison Princess, which I think was just an introduction to how the Poison Princess assassination is supposed to work.

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Artwork of Lycoris and Belladonna, the first Poison Princess

I don't want to give away any plotlines or too much of the stories, but the setting is in a medieval-ish world (so no hi-tech stuff) with different kingdoms and rulers. One such kingdom raises orphans as Poison Princesses (described in the quote above) to use as assassins against opposing kingdoms. It is really quite interesting. Lycoris fails to assassinate her victim and instead finds some really strange deceptions going on in that kingdom while she is being held prisoner. There are also little side stories that tell the background of other characters such as the 3 princes in the kingdom Lycoris was sent to destroy. OK, I think I said enough already ;)

Read scanlations here! It is only done through Chapter 13 right now, and I can't wait for the next chapter!!

I am pretty sure that the concept of Poison Princesses would not work in real life. It might make them build up a tolerance to many poisons, but I don't think that the girls would actually become poisonous. In the manga, their touch, their blood, their tears, etc. are all toxic. That is stretching it a bit far!

If you read this series, let me know what you think!
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Working Hard? Or Hardly Working?

Maybe a bit of both for me this weekend ;) The gloomy weather tends to make me so lazy! It has been raining all weekend and Rick finally responded to the message I sent him on the 15th. So, I am now single ^///^ but we are still friends :D The long distance thing and the fact that he is too busy to pay me much attention just did not work out :(

After a bit of moping around, I got around to doing some sewing. Do you know what that means? There will be a sewing tutorial coming up next week! Yay!


First, I finished this mermaid JSK I am going to post for sale:
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This lace was quite expensive, but really gorgeous! The print of the fabric is also very lovely :D

Today I made a simple Cinderella-print skirt, which I will make a tutorial on.
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I am thinking of making accessories to go with this. It is very simple so can be dressed up or down. Some black detachable bows would be nice I think...

For a whole weekend, this is very little work done, but I suppose I am just a lazy type of girl...

What do you usually do on the weekends or in your spare time? Ever since I moved to Taiwan, I have had a lot of free time and don't really know what to do with myself @__@ In MN I used to go on really wacky adventures with my best friends, but here I don't really know what to do any more :P I've already visited pretty much all the shopping areas, and can't afford to eat out too much (which is what I want to do every time I pass a cute cafe!) I suppose I should take this time to really work on my sewing, right?
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sparkle Stitches~ Rose Hair Corsage

After wearing Lolita for almost 4 years, I am still disappointingly inept at accessorizing. I usually forget about my hair/headwear, but headwear can really make or break an outfit. After I made this rose hair corsage on a whim, I wore it with my BABY OP to the last meetup and I really feel like it made the whole outfit look better.

This rose is not too difficult to make, though a bit time-consuming if you are finicky about petal placement, like I was ^^; It is all hand-sewn, so you can do this while watching TV or a movie or sitting on the bus, in the car, etc.


Materials:
1 Long strip of fabric. I used a 4"X40" piece and just cut off the extra when I decided the rose was big enough
Needle
Thread

Directions:
1) Iron your strip of fabric like a bias strip binding by ironing it in half lengthwise, then bringing the raw edges in to the center fold and ironing again. Anchor your thread at one end.
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2) Start rolling the end like a jellyroll to create the center of your rose. Stitch as you go to hold it in place
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3) Twist the long strip in the direction shown in the photo. Keep rolling and stitching. After a couple twist-and-rolls, the rose will start to take shape (in the beginning it just sort of looks like a roll)
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4) As your rose gets bigger, make sure the petals don't all line up exactly, or it will look like a strange blob instead of a rose. Try to line the twists up in between the previous circle. Stitch along the bottom to keep them in place as the rose layers gets thicker.
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5) When you decide your rose is big enough, tuck the end of the strip on the bottom and stitch in place. Trim the bottom of the rose flat if you need to (the center of mine was sticking out). Cut a circle of felt and use it to cover the bottom of the rose. Attach to your headwear of choice such as a comb, a ribbon, a headband, a brooch pin, alligator clips etc.
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6) OPTIONAL: To make leaves, cut two leaf shapes from scrap fabric and stitch together, leaving the base open. Turn it right-side out. Stitch the center vein with either a running stitch or a fancy embroidering stitch if you happen to know any ;) Tuck the base of the leaf under your rose before attaching it to the felt base

It was quite difficult to take photos and hold the rose with both hands at the same time, so I hope this tutorial is relatively understand-able :) Feel free to ask for any clarification in the comments! And let me know if you make a rose, too :) They are useful for spicing up and outfit whether you attach it to your hair, on your clothes, on your bag, or even on your shoes!

Other variation ideas to try:
*Instead of folding over the raw edges, leave them showing for a distressed look
*Sew pearls onto your finished rose like dewdrops
*Glue rhinestones onto your rose like bling-bling dewdrops
*Try different types of material like velvet, leather (use glue instead of sewing), etc.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Pose! Number 3

There are fewer poses for number 3 - only 2. It is still nice for changing up the usual poses, though!

If you have any of your own variations for number 3, please comment below so I can add it to the post :)


"I Spy"
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Making a circle with the thumb and forefinger, put it over your eye to make a playful "I see you!" pose. This pose works well for face shots or just for fun :P

"OK!"
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Another popular pose, simply make an OK sign by your face. It is sweet and casual, so try it out!
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Lantern Festival! Plus some fangirl ramblings

Today is the last day of Lunar New Year, also know as the Lantern Festival (not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival in August which is sometimes called Lantern Festival in other countries). In Chinese, it is written as 元宵節.

Traditionally, today is a day for lighting lanterns and firecrackers and eating glutinous rice dumplings(湯圓), a sweet dessert. My favorite type has black sesame filling!


Last year I posted a recipe for making glutinous rice dumplings at home, but I did not have many followers back then, so here is a link to my Tang Yuan Recipe on this blog. My photography skills were quite lacking, too...

The ingredients list is here:
OUTER
1.5 16-oz. bags of glutinous rice flour
water
food coloring (optional)

INNER
4 pk. Instant Black Sesame Dessert
2 TBS Vegetable Shortening

If you try making this at home, post photos in the comments and let me know how they turned out! I am going to go watch The Green Hornet with my mom today and eat 湯圓 at night.

And this is totally off-topic, but have you watched The Green Hornet? Chinese celebrity Jay Chou stars in the movie as the awesome sidekick! I am a big fan of his music, though his acting in Chinese movies has been quite... not so great... but he is popular and does what he likes, which I think is good!

He acted and directed in a superhero series called Pandamen (the outfit is cute!!) but it was not successful. Now he hosts a variety TV show, but honestly, his best skill is writing, composing, and singing. His songs are always positive despite his "cool bad boy" outer appearance.

One last fun fact: on the news Jay Chou was interviewed about his role in The Green Hornet where he apparently learned and delivered all his lines phonetically. He did not actually bother to learn English at all ^^; That is the type of guy he is - doing what he wants and just rolling with it!

To conclude this random post, here's a daily snap:
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I will be showing you how to make the rose hair corsage I am wearing :) It is a hand-sewn project, so those of you without sewing machines can make one, too!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Idol Interviews, Lifestyles, and Misako Aoki's Makeup

Models are often our Lolita idols because they can portray the perfect dolly look Lolitas strive to achieve. It is fun to hear something about their personal thoughts and lives.

Here are two videos to share. One video is for Sweet and one is for Gothic!

Interview with Midori, Misako, and Akira about how they became models. It also shows a makeup tutorial from the makeup artist who does their make for photoshoots!

Misako is so cute when she is talking about her life as just nursing and clothes!

Next is an interview of some Gothic and some Sweet Lolitas along with Kokusyoku Sumire. It shows the inside of Moi-Meme-Moitie shop and has a brief interview with Mana-sama. Or at least as much of an interview as he ever gives, seeing as how he does not speak in public...

These girls really bring Gothic and Lolita style into their lives completely. I think that it is wonderful to be surrounded by things you love at all times!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meetup Report and Giveaway Winner!

On Sunday some local got together and we went to a different Rose House than the one we went to in October. This one is better because it is owned by the original owner so the food tasted better :P


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Rose House Front and insides

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Inside, where the food comes out; Our seating area; two menu shots; a photo of roses from a TaoBao shop that we are planning on making a group order for. Taiwanese Lolitas are pro at organizing group orders!! It as pretty insane! They get large orders for the same item and then get discounts on the item, have everything sent to a warehouse in Shanghai, and then get everything shipped together to save on shipping. I need to learn this magical skill

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My salad with rose dressing; My rose milk tea; My fruity dessert!
Rose is my new favorite flavor *u*

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Shoe shot! I took my shoes off because they are too ugly... I need to buy new shoes!; Print shot!

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My face of the day~ I just wore my BABY Gingham Ribbon Rose OP and the hair corsage I made

Now, the real reason you are all reading this post is to see the winner, right?
According to Random.org, the winner is comment number 2!
So congratulations to Heather! I have emailed you and will mail out your prize as soon as I receive your address :)

Thank you to ALL my readers for reading and commenting. I love to meet new people with common interests :D
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