Fashion Crazed Foodie

The Tasty Travels of the Swanky Budgeteer.



Let's talk Street Style. I define the Street Style movement as the materialization of an eclectic display of juxtapose styles. Street style savants are lauded for their intuitive, inventive knack for executing this movement by replacing runway, designer-driven trends with a more personalized, atypical aesthetic. I love pairing my casual and edgy pieces (think vintage graphic tees & distressed jeans) with frilly, super-femme accoutrements, like dresses over jeans, sneakers with skirts and other unexpected combos.




My street style staples are tattered rocker tees, graphic tees, dramatic ruffles, feathery clutches, palazzo pants, oversized blazers, pattern play, and EXAGGERATED EVERYTHING. Most of my street style favorites are pieces I've collected over time from thrift stores. J.Crew is a great source for graphic tees and Urban Outfitters is my go-to for rocker tees. Layering is an essential element of the street style trend, so I always top my look off with an oversized, lightly-structured blazer, or a long, flowy kimono. Zara and Nordstrom are always great for the latter.

J.Crew graphic tee
Urban Outfitters Tupac Tee


Have fun accessorizing your street style looks with feathered accents, statement sunnies, hints of fur, and unexpected pops of color. Finish the look with embellished shoes, layered necklaces, thin, stacked bangles, and hats.


Images found on Edited.com






A new member of the Marriott dynasty, Lido House defines luxe beach house vibes with a timeless, nautical twist. 

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Lido House Hotel, picture courtesy of Marriott Hotels


Back in September, Calvin and I ventured off to our favorite state for a four-day vacation. Our visits to the Golden State are always memorable; fun-filled and jam-packed with adventure. This particular visit was no different- we enjoyed every single moment of this trip. While we sometimes stay in San Diego or Newport Beach when we visit California, and drive back and forth to Los Angeles, for this particular trip, we split our time between the  W West Beverly Hills, (which I loved, btw) and for the last leg of our stay, we migrated to Newport Beaches' newest hotel, Lido House. Our stay here felt like a dream! Cue the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations!"

FashionCrazedFoodie Marriott Hotels

Lido House is a luxury boutique hotel, recognized as one of the Marriot's exclusive Autograph Collection; selected for its exceptional design and overall beauty of the property. The resort's nautical theme is reminiscent of Martha's Vineyard, with hardwood flooring and an overall coastal, beach house vibe. The property is relatively small, (which I prefer when it comes to hotels) with only 130 guestrooms, eight suites, and five private cottages. The hotel staff was extraordinarily hospitable for the entirety of our stay. Unfortunately, our room was not ready when we arrived, but the hotel manager made up for it by gifting us an allowance for the rooftop bar, Topside.


Fashion Crazed Foodie
Lido House Guest Room, photo courtesy of Marriott Hotels

Amenities

We kicked off our stay on the Lido House Roof Deck, Top Side. Top Side, a sophisticated space with a breath-taking view of the entire property is Newport Beach's only rooftop bar. Upon exiting the elevator to Top Side, I was immediately smitten by the beauty and the coastal ambiance; from the upbeat music, well-dressed patrons, and exceptionally friendly and accommodating bartenders. It was pretty packed, but we were still able to find seats with a bird's eye view of the saltwater pool. We considered dining at Lido House's signature restaurant,  Mayor's Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen, but we later decided to eat at Nobu. The next morning, we grabbed lattes from Crew Coffee + Creamerie 



There is a resort fee, included in the price of the room, which allows for the use of bikes (so fun), the beach shuttle, surfboard rental, internet/wi-fi and more. 

Fashion Crazed Foodie Visits Newport Beach, California
You had me at liquored-up popsicle + spiced rim

Our Room

 Our guestroom, located on the second floor, boasted a view of the front drive, with large balcony windows, that allowed for direct sunlight. The room, equip with crisp, white built-in shelving had ample space for our luggage and was a continuation the nautical, beach house vibes throughout the rest of the property. The queen-size bed was ultra-cushiony; decorated with striped pillows and a super soft comforter. The restroom was large, with picturesque tile throughout and a sumptuous, glass-framed shower.

Lido House's Nautical Room Decor
Lido House's room decor maintains the nautical theme.

Treat Yourself

If you're planning a visit to Newport Beach, California, you should totally stay at Lido House. The property is stunning; teeming with awe-inspiring views and Instagrammable photo ops.The timeless, nautical concept corresponds with the coastal wave that defines Newport Beach.The staff is inviting, pleasantly conversational and their friendly disposition defines hospitality! I'll return again and again on the hospitality, alone.

Actually, if you aren't planning a visit to Newport Beach, California, I'd recommend that you go, ASAP! Calvin and I LOVE Newport Beach, so much so that we treated our children to a Christmas vacation there, in 2017. Calvin and I visited Newport Beach four times in 2018 and we're returning again in two weeks. It's safe to say that I'm secretly plotting a move to Newport Beach.

Fashion Crazed Foodie Marriott Hotels
Throwback: Our family Christmas Vacay 2017 in Newport Beach, Califronia 


Fashion Crazed Foodie Marriott Hotel

Fashion Crazed Foodie Marriott Hotels
View from the Top Side Bar




Fashion Crazed Foodie Marriott Hotel




Fashion Crazed Foodie Marriott Hotel
#wiw: Free People's Just Float On Flares & The Bohemnian's Closet Custom Camo Jacket











Why the lifestyle trend à la mode may not work for everyone-including me.

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Minimalism is in vogue, thanks to societal trends, such as binge-worthy documentaries dedicated to clutter-free living; hodgepodge handling, and indubitably, the widely-celebrated matron of organization, Marie Kondo. Kondo’s fan favorite book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is tantamount to a sacred, self-help doctrine for her cult-ish congregation. According to the Kondo gospel, intentionally existing with less is living more. 


Marie Kondo loves mess almost as much as JoAnne the Scammer. 
Contrary to the now-trending, “look at me, purposely dwindling my shoe collection down to two pairs,  impulsively posting it on social media for likes” gaucheness, I thrive in my own organized chaos. I’m being totally honest here-the idea of minimalism seems boring. Swapping my style stockpile and other prized possessions for clean lines and scanty space means fewer options when it comes to styling my daily looks, and would lead to bare-bones beauty routines for selfie-ready skin and *gasp*  lackluster blogger photo-ops.


Happiness=(+ time x space x experiences)-less stuff 


Much like many other Xennials (let’s hear it for the early 80’s babies living on the cusp) and Millennials, I am attached to my belongings. Contrary to antiquated Baby-Boomer beliefs, I do not feel the need to dedicate my Saturday mornings to ritualistic cleaning, organizing and frantically minimizing. Saturday mornings are reserved for artisanal coffee, avocado toast, Pilates classes and perusing social media for insta-worthy foodie spots.

FashionCrazedFoodie
#foodie

All of my things have sentimental value. You know-the more the merrier! I’m not a hoarder, nor am I (in my mother’s words) a pack rat. I am a collector. A sentimental individual. A faithful fashionista, who just so happens to love and accumulate apparel and accessories to the point of paying for additional storage space to house my extensive collection. Yes, I’m that girl and so are many others, and that’s okay. Clutter of any kind is chaotic and sparse spaces are good. To me, clutter sparks creativity and sparse spaces are cold, uninviting and give the expectation of perfection-or am I just projecting?

 My children’s drawings? Joy! My expansive denim collection? Damn delightful!
The abundance of bric-a-brac amassed from our travels? Euphoria!
 My abounding collection of stemless wine glasses and novelty mugs plastered with of-the-moment sayings like, '#NamaSLAY,' 'Wife of the party' 'Wine Not' 'Let’s be MER-mazing' all provoke a healthy dose of maximalist-fueled happiness. 

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credit: Artem Bali, Pexels

According to statistical data reported by the LA Times, “The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.” *Blinks, guiltily.* But wait, there’s more! In a jaw-dropping article, The Wall Street Journal quotes, “Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods-in other words, items they don’t need. Again, guilty. Do these staggering stats inspire me to adorn my denim jacket (the one I’ve kept since high school) with an enamel pin and join the #TeamMinimalism tribe? Not at all.





Thankfully, there are actual studies that justify minimalism’s often misunderstood step-sister, maximalism; citing successful, non-minimalist creatives, from Mark Twain to Mark Zuckerburg. According to scientific research, messy, disorganized people are more creative, out-of the-box thinkers, and are more productive. Jennifer McCartney, author of the less-perfect paradoxical book, The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place, encourages readers to embrace their messy, disorganized lives by writing, "When you are messy, everything else in your life will fall into place." *Raises hand in agreeance.* While I can admit that for some, the concept of minimalism may be beneficial to a degree, I’m not completely sold on the ideology. Why? This newly-standardized way of life is somewhat problematic in my opinion, as it perpetuates perfectionism, which for many-me included, is impracticable. I don’t think I’ll ever be a card-carrying member of the minimalism tribe. In short, a minimalist existence is not enough me-period. (Literally)


#FreeJT, btw!





My stay at the historic, Art Deco hotel in Uptown Dallas
Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh

My husband and I visited Dallas for the weekend, and in true spoil-Syretta fashion, my husband searched high and low for the ideal, 4-5 star hotel. He knows my requirements; a posh pool, no sliding doors, an overall swanky aesthetic, lush, spacious rooms, private lobby, and top notch shopping and dining close by. Nothing less for ya girl.

Calvin told me that he'd been eyeing the Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh, a Starwood hotel, that also happens to be a four- diamond property. Looking at the photo galleries online, we were both underwhelmed with the hotel's pool, but we were immediately drawn to the overall vintage-lux look of the hotel. The historic, 1923 Art Deco building boasted timeless elegance, with contemporary modern allure, and the website promised "exemplary customer service"- I was sold. We'll revisit the customer service later in this post.

My stay at the historic, Art Deco hotel, located in uptown Dallas
Grand archways in the hotel lobby

My stay at the historic, Art Deco hotel in Uptown Dallas
The hotel's stunning Art Deco theme is apparent throughout the property

Our Stay

Upon arrival, I instantly fell in love with the location, as the Le Meridian, Stoneleigh is anchored in the center of Dallas' popular Uptown district; an area known for posh dining, high-end shopping, and upscale night offerings. The hotel's interior was no different from the pictures, staying true to it's stunning, retro-chic aesthetic throughout. The smallish lobby housed The Bar at Perle on Maple, while the hotel's restaurant, Perle on Maple is tucked into a hallway, right off the lobby.



Perle on Maple
Perle on Maple, Le Meridien Stoneleigh's dining room

Perle on Maple


Our mid-sized room was bright and alluring, thanks to the copious windows and the vibrant, hexagon-patterned wallpaper. The intricately tiled bathroom fit the bill of the Deco theme, with its bold, geometric craftsmanship. The king-sized bed was inviting, and super comfortable-and thankfully, not overloaded with decorative pillows. The closet was gigantic-literally large enough to be another room, and had plenty of hangers.

We heard what sounded like a party through the windows, and noticed that there was a live band playing at the pool. One look at the pool, and we were thrilled to see that the pictures online do it no justice, whatsoever. The long, rectangular pool was lined with cabanas on one side, and artificial turf on the other. We spent Sunday morning (and afternoon) at the pool, in our very own cabana, first sipping coffee, and as the morning progressed, chugging mimosas from the bar.

Guest room with hexagon-patterned wall paper and a plush king bed
The hexagonal-patterned lends a pop of color to the room


Hospitality 

I must point out the lack of hospitality from the staff, which is extremely important to me, and even more so, to Calvin-a hospitality veteran. Other than our initial exchange during check-in, the staff NEVER acknowledged us. We were never greeted when entering or leaving the lobby, even though there were always multiple attendants at the front desk. Immensely disappointing!

 There were times when it was clear that we were looking for assistance, yet nobody every offered to help. On Sunday morning, I was fixing myself a cup of coffee at the bar, and the bartender never greeted me, nor acknowledged my presence for the entire 2 minutes that I was there, even though we were less than three feet away from one another. Another hotel guest approached the bar for coffee, and warmly greeted me with a "Good Morning," and small talk, which I appreciated. Nobody wants to feel invisible, which is what I was starting to feel like, after being ignored by the staff for our entire stay. My only exchange with the staff was with a very kind, smiling older man working the pool Sunday morning, who went out of his way to answer my question. If it weren't for him, I'd almost believe that the staff was trained to ignore the guests.

All in all, Calvin and I enjoyed our stay at the Le Meridien Stoneleigh, and we would most likely stay again. I give this hotel 4 out of 5 stars, subtracting a star for the non-existent hospitality.

Smizing in the shadow of our cabana. #DestinationUnlocked

Sunday Funday at the pool


Mimosas by the pool
Enjoying Sunday morning mimosas poolside. 


Sunglasses and mimosas poolside for the Starwood Preferred Guest
Sunnies and mimosas on Sunday morning for the Starwood Preferred Guest, Fashion Crazed Foodie


The Bar at Perle on Maple
The Bar at Perle on Maple Lobby 

The Bar at Perle on Maple
The Bar at Perle on Maple: Notice the sleek metallic finishes
The Art-Deco theme is evident throughout the historic, 1920- built hotel. Check out the bathroom tile. 


Going to the chapel as a bride or guest, with Weddington Way, you're sure to be best dressed! 

FashionCrazedFoodie
#WeddingtonWay

Weddington Way is the newest addition to the Gap Inc. family. A fresh, millennial-centric wedding collection with off-the-rack offerings; from bridesmaids dresses to shawls, jewelry, belts and bow ties for the groom's squad. Because Weddington Way designs and produces their own in-house, the often stressful bridesmaid dress hunt is now easier than ever. Here's the best part: no dress in this exclusive line is priced over $225! Where was Weddington Way when I got married 14 years ago?! 

The assortment of dresses range from short to long, and are available in a stylish variance of colorways, necklines, shapes and fabrications (including full sequin dresses)! The process is super easy, as any interested bride-to-be can book appointments at Weddington Way, and mix and match styles and colors on their assortment of RTW designs. I, for one can never have enough wedding guest dresses, and with wedding season upon us, I'd even suggest shopping the Weddington Way collection for dresses! The line even includes dresses that I'd consider perfect for mother of the bride dresses. You don't have to be a bride to shop 

I honestly love every dress in the collection, but the dresses with tulle and pearl detail were my absolute faves. Visit Weddington Way Houston , located inside of the Highland Village Banana Republic at 
3922 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77027
Mon.-Sat: 10am-8pm
Sun: 11am-7pm


Fashion Crazed Foodie

 Noa and I attended the Weddington Way First Look in Houston, at the Banana Republic location in Highland Village. The event was fun-filled; plenty of champs, light bites, and pretty swatches.

Fashion Crazed Foodie
Noa, enjoying the benefits of being my assistant for the night

Fashion Crazed Foodie
A stylish assortment of swatches, sure to please any bride-to-be.


Fashion Crazed Foodie
For the guys...


Fashion Crazed Foodie
Truueeee!

The Great

I started this blog a little over 10 years ago. At the time, it was called Old Skool New, and I used it as a platform to showcase my love of vintage fashion, old school music and all things remininiscent of the good ol' days. While I was attending school to obtain my Fashion Merchandising degree, I decided to shift my focus to fashion and food, which prompted me to change the name to FashionCrazedFoodie.


Through years of fun and hard work, I've converted my words into partnerships with national publications, trips, countless press passes and cash! Make no mistake, I've had my share of rejection, I've heard "no" more times than I can count,  I don't share every single "win" on Instagram these days, and some of you may have never even read my blog, but that doesn't negate my blessings. I am grateful and overjoyed that my hobby is also my hustle! 


The Ugly Truth

My journey has not been all press passes and bottle popping. I don't always receive the support I'd once expected from some of my family and friends. I've been rejected and ignored, and heard the word "no" way more than "yes, and I've made my share of mistakes. I sometimes go months without blogging, depending on what's going on in my life, but I always return, because this is my passion and my purpose.

The Good


I encourage all of you to walk in your purpose; do what brings you joy, no matter how silly it may seem to you, or the doubters in your life. Hard work often goes unrewarded, and but that's okay-the joy it brings is indescribable!
I want to know: What is your purpose? What is your passion? 







FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2018 ESSENCE FESTIVAL INITIAL LINE-UP ANNOUNCED
JULY 5-8 IN NEW ORLEANS

NIGHTLY CONCERT SERIES SPOTLIGHTS WOMEN—WITH ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCES BY
JANET JACKSON, MARY J. BLIGE, FANTASIA, XSCAPE, H.E.R.,
THE ROOTS FEATURING ERYKAH BADU, JILL SCOTT AND SNOOP DOGG

PLUS MIGUEL, DANIEL CAESAR, IDRIS ELBA AND MORE

GRAB YOUR SQUAD AND PLAN YOUR TRIP!

January 25, 2018 (New York, NY)—ESSENCE wants you to grab your squad and plan your trip as it announces its exhilarating initial talent line-up for the 2018 ESSENCE Festival, taking place July 5-8 in New Orleans. The nightly concert series keeps the spotlight on womenfeaturing electrifying headline performances from Janet Jackson; Mary J. Blige; a headline set featuring Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, with special guests Snoop Dogg and many others in a special curation by The Roots; Xscape; Fantasia and Miguel*Additional acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

This year’s Festival will feature chart-topping names and inspiring experiences across four days of music, culture, empowerment and entertainment. The electric nighttime concerts will feature more than 40 acts and will take place across five stages at the Louisiana Superdome—including the Festival’s renowned Mainstage and four intimate Superlounges. For the first-time, the Festival will also feature an ESSENCE Superlounge with a unique DJ-curated experience—with offerings by actor/DJ Idris Elba, MC Lyte and more. Also, for the first-time, the Festival welcomes an interactive music experience with The Read’s Kid Fury and Crissle hosting a Superlounge.

*Artists scheduled to perform at the nightly ESSENCE Festival concerts over Fourth of July weekend at the Louisiana Superdome include: Janet Jackson; Mary J. Blige; Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, along with Snoop Dogg and more in a special curation by The Roots; 112;Daniel Caesar; D-Nice; Doug E. Fresh’s Legends of Hip-Hop Show featuring Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee and more; DVSN; Fantasia; H.E.R.; Idris Elba; Kelela; Kelly Price’s For The Love of R&B featuring Dave Hollister and Vaughn Willis; Kevin Ross; MAJOR.; Mali Music; Marsha Ambrosius; MC Lyte; Miguel; Mykia Jovan; Ro James; Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Experiencefeaturing Wreckx-n-Effect, Blackstreet and Guy; The Read’s Kid Fury and Crissle; VICTORY, Xscape and many more to be announced soon. Mainstage host: Roy Wood, Jr.

“In 2018, women are at the forefront of a seismic shift reverberating across the cultural landscape, and this movement comes to life for our community at the ESSENCE Festival,” said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications. “Some of the most iconic female artists and powerhouse performers of this generation—Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia and others—embrace ESSENCE and the Festival as a sacred space to entertain, inspire, revel in culture and be renewed.”

Weekend ticket packages are on sale now with prices starting at $150. For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE Festival® visit EssenceFestival.com.

Join the Festival community: Follow us on Twitter@essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of Festival on Facebook.The 2018 ESSENCE Festival® is presented by Coca-Cola®State Farm is a major sponsor. ESSENCEFestival is executive produced by Essence Communications Inc., and produced by Solomon Group with the ESSENCE® Empowerment Experience executive produced by GeChar.

*Artists subject to change.

FOR PRESS CREDENTIAL INQUIRIES: Please e-mail festivalpress@essence.com.

About Essence Communications Inc.
Essence Communications is the number one media company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 16 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content.  With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in MusicBlack Women in HollywoodStreet Style and the ESSENCE Festival.  Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of women of color.

CONTACT:
Sheila Harris, ESSENCE

###

Fashion Crazed Foodie


Yay! We're finally in the home stretch of winter. Some of us (Houston) are slowly, but surely easing out of frigid temps, gloomy skies, and #Snowmegeddon2018. Before you call your personal shopper and/or wardrobe stylist (*ahem*contact me for rates) over to purge your closets of your tried and true winter wardrobe, sort through your clothing and accessories for colorfast pieces to brighten up your look. Bright colors are no longer just reserved for spring.


Fashion Crazed Foodie
It's time to liven up muted winter tones..

Ease your wardrobe out of the usual drab cold-weather colors and into warmer temperatures by updating the muted tones; the greys, the blacks  (black is too chic to ever part with) the wines and the beiges with pops of color. The easiest way to do this is by incorporating chromatic accessories into your daily looks.

Fashion Crazed Foodie
Brighten things up!


Hats and Turbans

Lets start at the top with hats and turbans. No longer considered just 'bad hair day savers,' turbans and hats are both easy accessories, and on-trend styling solutions. Moral of the story: Add color to your winter wardrobe by topping off your #ootd with a hat or turban.

FashionCrazedFoodie
Top off your look with a brilliant headpiece.


Sunglasses

FashionCrazedFoodie
OMG-worthy sunnies in splashy colors can instantly upgrade any look. 

I call them #sunnies, and I don't leave home without them! Sunnies are multi-functional accessories-they block the sun, and they have the power to INSTANTLY upgrade any look. Gone are the days when we only had black or tortoise shell sunnies to choose from. Today's sunglasses are prismatic, super stylish and can effortlessly add a pop of color to your winter wardrobe. Shop my favorite splashy sunnies at TheBohemiansCloset.com .


FashionCrazedFoodie
The Venice Sunnies add color and texture! 
Fashion Crazed Foodie


Layering Pieces

Fashion Crazed Foodie
Chromatic coats for layering


Coats, carves, kimonos, tights and even socks are must-have layering pieces, and in my opinion, the easiest pieces to use when adding a pop of color to your look. Pair socks and tights with heels for an on-trend slay!

Fashion Crazed Foodie
Layering essentials: Scarves, socks & kimonos.

Handbags

Who doesn't love a good handbag?! The addition of a vibrant handbag is one of the most simple solutions to adding color to your winter wardrobe. Handbags come in a kaliedescopic variance of hues, shapes and sizes, so the style possibilities are endless. While clutches are ALWAYS in, mini backpacks, hobo bags and crossbody styles are the au courant picks. 

I am anti matchy-matchy, so I love to have fun with my looks by selecting handbags in colors that stylishly contrast the colors in my #ootd. Sometimes, I decide what color handbag to carry by looking at the color wheel and picking a bag in the color that is directly accross from the most prominent color in my outfit. For example, I love pairing purple and yellow! 

FashionCrazedFoodie
Use handbags to add color to your winter wardrobe


Jewelry

Remember when our jewelry selection was mostly basics, like silver and gold hoops, or CZ studs? Thankfully, we are out of the basics and into bold jewelry looks-from vibrant earrings, gaudy statement necklaces, splashy bangles-I have no stopping point when it comes to layering on my jewelry. It's the hippie in me! A word of advice: Do not wear matching jewelry sets, it's so Palais Royal. 

Fashion Crazed Foodie
Use kaleidoscopic baubles to add color to your ensemble. 

Fashion Crazed Foodie
Brilliant earrings. 


Shoes

Fashion Crazed Foodie
Showcase your shoes! 

Again, remember when everyone mostly wore brown and black shoes? Those days are loooong gone, girl, much like microwave ponytails and sock buns. Boots, stilettos, and sneakers alike pack a super charged, prismatic punch-perfect for adding color to your winter wardrobe. Gucci is currently leading the pack with their colorful assortment of shoes, including metallics, rainbows, and ostentatious embellishments. 
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