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12 Activities to Get You in the Christmas Spirit!

Can you believe that Christmas is only about a week away? If you’re anything like me, you’re saying, “No way!” It just doesn’t feel like Christmas! Thanksgiving bumped up to December this year, leaving Christmas cards arriving later than usual, less lights going up on houses, and a mad scramble to get gifts. We had no time to recover from Thanksgiving! So if you are feeling like me and need to get into the festive holiday mood pronto, follow this simple holiday to do list!

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1) Bake cookies. There’s nothing to get you in the mood for Christmas like baking cookies for Santa and decorating them. Grab some friends or your family and insist on baking together, with uninterrupted (i.e. no cell phones!) bonding time. Cooking can inspire conversation and is a great opportunity to get some laughs and just have a great time. Invest in some fun cookie cutters, and use this recipe for simple and buttery sugar cookies.

2) Listen to Christmas music. It may be a great idea to combine our first suggestion to this one, because cooking to music makes the food taste better in my opinion. Even if you don’t have time or just happen to forget to turn it on at home, be sure to tune in to your local Christmas radio station.

3) Sing. Some people think singing out loud is silly, but that often goes out the window when it comes to holiday songs. Everyone can join in because they often know the words, and you may be surprised when your friends or family join in with you. Just let go and have fun, that’s what the holidays are about. To quote the movie “Elf,” “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

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4) Wrap presents. There’s something therapeutic about methodically wrapping gifts and making them look beautiful. Many rush the process, so I suggest putting an hour or two aside to wrap presents especially. Just enjoy it, don’t let it be the aggravating thing that is making you late for a party.

5) Watch the classic Christmas movies. There are tons of cheesy Christmas movies around nowadays, some only made for TV. Though they may be wonderful, it’s the time of year to pull out your family’s old fall-backs and let the happy memories from over the years wash over you. You know, those ones you’d watch every year while opening presents. Be sure to gather blankets, get a cup of hot chocolate, and cozy up!

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6) Make an ornament. When we were kids, we’d often make ornaments in school or an event, but as adults, we rarely make one. You may rely on your kids to make these little handmade treasures, but it can put you in a really festive mood to make one! Check out these easy recommendations from Buzzfeed.

7) Go through old photos. This is the perfect time of year to look back and reminisce about trips you took and things you did over the year and beyond. Look at old baby pictures, birthday moments, and silly memories.

8) Make snowflakes. Remember in school when you’d spend hours cutting up a folded piece of paper, anticipating what it would look like when you were done? Do it again! All it requires is a square piece of white paper and scissors. Simply fold the paper in half (into a triangle) and then again (it should still be a triangle). Then cut fun shapes! Avoid cutting completely down the folded edges, as this will cause your snowflake to fall apart.

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9) Go for a drive around your neighborhood at night. Seeing your neighbor’s homes all lit up is so much fun, especially as you snake your way slowly through the twinkling lights. Be sure to bring some hot cocoa and turn on some of that Christmas music!

10) Enjoy a fire in a fireplace. I know this may be tricky if you don’t have a fireplace, but it’s so nice to get cozy next to a fire and smell the wood burning. If you don’t have a hearth of your own, see if a friend or family will open their home to you. In return, be sure to provide the egg nog/hot chocolate and candy canes to thank your hosts!

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11) Go out and shop. I know most people do shopping online now, but there really is something fun and festive about going somewhere and actually walking through the shops. Christmas music is playing, sales people are especially nice and attentive, and people are generally nicer than usual (though occasionally some may be a little stressed). Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s invigorating to go out and enjoy window shopping.

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12) Give back. See if there’s anywhere near you to volunteer, like at a Senior Center or Homeless Shelter. If you can’t donate your time, then donate a gift or toy to a local drive. Look up online where you can find a station in your area. The mall often has a giving tree with gift tags and suggestions for gifts for children and seniors in need.

As always, SteerList is here to help you from getting into the Christmas spirit to picking up New Year’s Eve party supplies. Get last minute gifts and don’t forget to pick up the fruitcake, all while getting your weekly groceries and remembering to fill everyday prescriptions. SteerList is the ultimate to do list and reminder app… and you don’t need to check it twice!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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5 Ways to Instantly De-Stress During the Holidays

For some, the holidays are an exhilarating mix of adrenaline and shopping. Some feel that it’s a type of marathon they’ve been training for all year, and meet it with a wild exuberance that is both hypnotizing and slightly terrifying. For most, however, the joys of the season can quickly become mixed with extreme stress. The noises, the parking, the crowds can all lend a lot to a very tense time of year. On top of the shopping situations, you can also have to deal with family drama, burned baking attempts, and bills. SteerList wants you to add the following things to your to do list so you can unwind ASAP.

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1) Stop and breathe. It sounds obvious, but because breathing is second nature, you may not realize when you’re allowing yourself to get worked up to the point of hyperventilating. When you start to feel your heart beat start to rise, take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. I recommend a count to five for each to regulate it, but you may have to adjust that for your personal comfort level. It should feel calming, not like you’re suffocating! Repeat three or four times.

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2) Close your eyes. For most, our eyes are the way we take in information, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed, shut out all the things that may be sending you into a panic. Super long line at the mall? Don’t have a meltdown, simply shut your eyes for a little bit and let yourself calm down without the stimulation.

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3) Run yourself a bubble bath or take a long shower. There’s something about bathing that makes us stop and do nothing but relax… mostly because we’re surrounded by water. Unwrapped presents can’t bother you and bills simply have to wait. Lean back in your tub or let the hot water cascade down your back, and just let your problems float away with the steam.

4) Stress means tensing up without even realizing it. If you’re standing in line and you realize your shoulders are up to your ears, let them fall. Take time to roll your neck and shoulders, and shake out your arms and legs.

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5) Take a walk. Walks have been proven to help people clear their minds, relax, and let themselves be distracted by nature. Sometimes our holiday drama can just build and build in our minds, but as soon as we step outside, we see a world outside ourselves. Problems will seem smaller and solutions become more obvious when you give you allow yourself time to decompress.

Adding these tips to your free SteerList app are crucial for your sanity this holiday season. If you’re going somewhere you know will be stressful, add a tip or two among your regular list of things you need to do. In addition, you eliminate the stress of forgetting or needing to remember things from the store, SteerList is here to make the holidays easy with our location-based app that reminds you of what you need to do as you go!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Gluten Free, Vegan, or Vegetarian Guests for Thanksgiving? Easy.

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Thanksgiving is coming up, which means you’re probably already starting to think ahead to your menu and the delicious food you’re going to make. However, finding out that your son’s new girlfriend is vegetarian or the neighbors have a gluten-free diet can send you into a panic, frantically redoing the whole menu and cursing the diet Gods for sending these people to your dinner table.

Take a deep breath. It’s not as scary as you think.

As a vegetarian, I can say that most people with special dietary needs understand that it’s not all about them, but do appreciate being thought of. Even though you may have encountered one or two cranky ones on a dinner where there was nothing for them to eat (Can you really blame someone who’s really hungry and can’t eat anything?), the average person understands that you wouldn’t go to a dinner expecting the whole thing to be catered just to him or her. The secret is in the sides.

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Vegetarians:

You don’t have to throw out a turkey just because a vegetarian is coming. Even though I’ve encountered those fabled “preachy vegetarians” who may make a comment or two, most understand that a turkey is part of the tradition. You don’t have to exchange a turkey for a tofurkey, though if you pick up some Hickory Smoked Tofurkey sandwich meat (available at most chain grocery stores, pictured above draped on a paper turkey to give an authentic effect) or some Morning Star Farms products (just heat and serve), it could be very appreciated. On the whole, most Thanksgiving sides are vegetarian or could be vegetarian with a few tweaks. Vegetables like string beans are easy, and you can moisten mashed potatoes with milk instead of chicken stock (if that’s how you usually do it). On the note of beef or chicken stock, simply substitute vegetable stock if applicable. If you want to score points though, you could make (or buy) a vegetarian “main dish.” Quiche or an egg puff is good because it includes protein (eggs, cheese), or a vegetable pot pie could work too.

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Vegans:

There is a difference between vegetarians and vegans. Vegetarians don’t eat meat (though some eat fish, that’s a personal choice that you can clarify by simply asking your vegetarian guest before the meal) and vegans don’t eat any meat or animal bi-products. This means no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no butter. Stock up on vegetable sides and prepare them mindfully. It’s especially good to make something that contains beans or peanut butter because that will be the main protein.  Vegan desserts are sometimes hard because they often require substitutions, but here’s a fun trick: Soda cake. Simply pick up a package of cake mix (read the ingredients to make sure, but most are vegan, Duncan Hines recommended) and a can of soda (take one or two sips for 10 oz.). The soda replaces the eggs and oil in the recipe! Just mix and bake according to the instructions. Warning: Cake can come out sticky!

Gluten-Free 101:

I’m not very familiar with the gluten free diet, but this article from Mayo Clinic breaks it down nicely. On the whole, meat is gluten free, though it may vary depending on what you add to it. A traditional turkey should be fine, but if you want to do anything fancy or just want to play it safe, simply take a cut and cook it separately for your gluten free friend’s needs. Vegetables are usually good to count on.  From what I understand, the toughest part of a gluten-free diet is bread and dessert. Huffington Post has a great article that lists the best gluten-free breads that you can order or get from a specialty store, and this recipe for a twist on a flourless chocolate cake looks so good, people who can eat gluten may even want to try it!

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As a final note, adding some “vegetarian” or “gluten free” place cards in front of special dishes will also be a good idea so there are no surprises. Also, be sure that the guests with special diets get the first chance at the dishes meant especially for them. Keep in mind, and note to your party, that where there may be eight dishes total, there may only be three or four that guests with certain diets can eat. I’ve been to a lot of parties where there was a vegetarian dish, but other people had eaten it all! Just be considerate, and your guests will be thankful for the effort.

Use SteerList as your grocery list app so you don’t forget to pick something up from the grocery store. You can also use it to remember notes (like that list of things not gluten free) or save tips to it.

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steerList

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteerList

Make a Trip to the Art Museum More Engaging!

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With rainy days becoming a regular occurrence, it’s time to surrender and start moving out activities indoors. One of my favorite rainy day activities is to go to an art museum. There’s something quiet and ethereal about walking into a museum, everything is hushed and everyone walks around in awe almost like walking into a church. Of course, going to a museum can be a different task when going with a child. Here are a few quick ideas to program to your free SteerList app to keep the kids engaged on a trip to the museum.

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1) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Have your child mimic the pose featured in a portrait (at a fair distance) then ask them questions. Ask them if it’s hard to hold the pose, or how they would have positioned the model differently if they were painting or sculpting the piece of art themselves. If you’re allowed to take pictures, you can take one or two to show off later. Just remember to remain respectful even if a pose is especially silly.

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2) Get inspired. At our local museum, they include art packs that anyone visiting can pick up and use to their heart’s content. The kits have colored pencils, paper, sketching pencils, and an eraser. You can just bring a notebook with a pencil (that has an eraser attached to the end) if you’d rather go simple. I’d recommend a “put everything down before you stand up” rule, or “Hand everything to mommy before you go near the art.” Don’t want any temptations to “add” to the existing art or room for accidents. Like checking the photo policy, it is probably good to ask at the desk if it’s okay to sketch in the galleries. Most museums allow it, but it’s always good to double check.

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 3) Invent games that will encourage kids to take a second look at a piece. Kids can sometimes have a look-and-go policy. Playing a game like “I Spy” can force a kid to stop and really explore every inch of a piece of art with their eyes. They may notice things they didn’t see the first time, or just learn to go a little slower and to fully enjoy the piece. (Can you spot the one lily pad that’s floating on its own in the Monet above?)

All of these things add a little fun to a trip to the museum for a little one, but it also teaches a lot about art appreciation and the concept of art being thought provoking. Always ask a lot of questions, try to lead to a discussion.

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Stay Warm With Our Cozy Etsy Finds

The temperature is slowly going down and, if you’re quiet, you can almost hear the home thermostats all quickly being clicked up in unison. Unfortunately, you can’t change the temperature outside, so the minute you open the door to your warm cocoon of a house, the bitter wind comes in and blows that warm feeling off your cheeks. It’s time to bundle up. But just because you’re forced to wear sweaters and jackets, it doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice fashion!

Unisex Scarves

This grey cowl neck/infinity scarf from HandmadeABM is great for a guy or girl. Thick and comfy, with buttons to add a little flair, this style makes a classic color more modern.

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This yellow plaid scarf sold by Merrysewingnfabric is made from soft flannel so you feel like you’re in your pajamas all day! The pop of color adds a great punch of personality to brighten up your look and your day!

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Screen Printed

Screen printed scarves are like jewelry or art. If you’re bummed about having to wear a jacket over your perfectly planned outfit, wear a cute scarf like this navy blue one with gold feathers printed on it. It may not be thick, but the thinner fabric will still keep the chill off your neck. If this particular look isn’t you, SoKoDesigns offers more in their store!

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If you want something a little more clean and chic, try out this great bird silhouette scarf. A little whimsical, but still professional, this scarf from ASlideDesign is a great balance of work and play.

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Young and Fun Scarves

If you’re looking for a gift for someone young or just young at heart, these funky and slightly geeky scarves add a splash of bold fun to a winter outfit. I personally LOVE this purple tentacle scarf from Creeplings. Unfortunately, the seller is marked as “On Vacation,” but hopefully he/she will be back soon!

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This Nyan Cat scarf is inspired by the viral phenomenon that is Nyan Cat. If you don’t know what that is, here’s the video that made it famous.

With that in mind, this scarf from seller EinavIzack is perfect for any internet fanatic!

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Gloves

These fingerless gloves by lilyogini are a little rustic, but in a walk-in-the-woods-come-home-sit-by-the-fireplace way. They are both cute and functional, with thick knitted yarn and no cumbersome finger coverings, they are too adorable to pass up.

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These grey fingerless gloves would go well with that scarf we featured earlier. These fingerless gloves from YarnBlossomBoutique are a clean grey with black button detail. They look both cozy and stylish.

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If you like having gloves with fingers, check out these great studded leather gloves from Eastworkshop. A blend of hard and soft, the leather is balanced with a girly bow detail. These are definitely a statement piece for any outfit.

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Hats

This burgundy red flowered hat from AnnasFashionJewelry is super cute and is in the Oxblood red family (the big color of the season). The color is really what makes this chapeau such a great winter accessory.

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Last but not least, this bright yellow hat from SENNURSASA is a sunny reminder of spring and summer. The flapper style is also fresh and different, making this flattering hat a definite head-turner.

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Finally, if you’re no stranger to knitting needles and are inspired to make your own gifts or accessories this year, check out the Nice and Knit blog for ideas and patterns! We highly recommend checking them out!

The free SteerList app is here to help you remember everything you need to keep you warm this season!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Turn a Gloomy Grey Day into a Fun Day!

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Rainy days. They come when you least expect them, blowing in even when the weather man said that it would be dry all day. Rain ruins plans, your hair, and—without the proper footwear—you can forget about warm, dry toes. Don’t even get me started on snow. So, though you may be looking forward to the holiday season, you may find yourself getting a little bit of the fall/winter blahs. Here are some seriously fun activities to brighten up even the greyest and most depressing of days.

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1) Treat yourself to an extra special warm beverage. You know that one uber naughty drink that you’re not allowed to have on a regular basis because it’s like a dessert in a cup? Turn a lame day like a special one by allowing yourself to have a little decadent treat.

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2) Build a nest. A nest can vary from a full-blown fort to a simple fortress of solitude. If you have kids, building a fort is always the right idea on a rainy day when they can’t go outside. If you don’t have kids (or maybe they’re at school), make yourself a super cozy spot in your favorite place. Whether that’s your couch or your bed, make it as comfy as possible, with blankets and pillows. Stock up on things you love, such as books or magazines, maybe a few of your favorite movies or some guilty-pleasure reality shows you have recorded and just waiting to be watched.

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(Photo courtesy of http://www.retailmenot.com/blog/cheap-diy-dorm-decor.html)

3) Take your time stuck indoors to relax and enjoy an art project. Who decides what age we stop doing art projects? Elementary school was all about the noodle necklaces and finger paint, then we move up to middle school where we’re lucky to do a diorama of some sort, and then by high school it’s all just educational posters and power points. You don’t have to be a Picasso to find some great craft ideas for adults and kids, some with items you might have around the house. Check out Pinterest for ideas, such as this great magazine strip art that we found. It looks professional, but is actually really simple.

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4) Bake something or try a new recipe! A rainy day can make you feel a little bit like a bump on a log or antsy because you’re not getting what you wanted to do done. If you enjoy feeling accomplished and like you got something done, then break out a recipe you’ve been meaning to try. Baking will also keep you nice and warm, what with the time spent in front of the stove/oven.

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These are just a few ideas to turn your cold and gloomy days into a fun-filled excuse to stay indoors. With any projects, be sure to use SteerList, the free app that helps you get things done. We’re a grocery list app (for that new recipe you’re going to try) and a regular to do list app. Whatever you want to call us, we’re here to get it done!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steerList

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteerList

No Halloween Decorations? No Problem!

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Maybe Halloween snuck up on you and all the decorations are picked over or basically gone now. Maybe you hate the DIY movement with a fiery passion because you weren’t blessed with the crafty gene. It’s okay, we get it. You don’t need to join a support group for the artfully impaired! Luckily, the Halloween spirit can be achieved with just some lighting and great sound effects, and it won’t take more than a few clicks on your computer or a quick download. SteerList has gathered the best and most memorable Halloween music for you to play, no scissors or glue stick required. Just add speakers/ a CD player and press play!

1) These “Fright Night” scary sound effects instantly turn your house into a haunted mansion. Full of creaky doors and spooky voices, this is definitely a perfect way to set the mood if you’re into the chilling fun of a theatrical show.

2) “The Monster Mash”! A classic, this song is a hit with the kids and adults. A little silly, upbeat, and full of vintage charm, it’s perfect for a more festive sound. Fun fact: The BBC banned this song from being played on the airwaves in 1962 because they deemed it “too morbid”!

3) If you’re a kid at heart, then go with “This is Halloween” from the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This song allows you to hear the voices of several monsters as you travel through Halloween town. The upbeat tune balances the creepy voices, and will probably not scare kids too much because most have seen this kid-friendly movie.

4) This song by “The Pierces” was really popular with TV shows not too long ago. “Secret” is dangerously catchy, and its lullaby rhythm gently calms you while also adding an air of unease when you listen to the words. Always remember: “Two can keep a secret when one of them is dead.” This is a great Halloween song, and it’s lesser-known, so it’s not cliche.

5) THE THEME SONG FROM GHOSTBUSTERS! A cult classic, this song makes people happy from the first “Who you gonna call?” Not really scary at all, this totally 80s-tastic song playing on your porch will have people shouting “GHOST BUSTERS!” all night!

6) Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is the epitome of a Halloween classic. Full of creepy sound effects AND a killer song, don’t be surprised if you look out your window and see a flash mob outside doing the choreography!

7) “I Put a Spell on You.” This slow and spellbinding song is also great for a less cliche choice. It’s also less “dance party” and more “hypnotizing.”

8) “Disturbia” by Rihanna is a more modern song for a younger crowd. It’s a fun party song, and less frightening, more… what’s the word… disturbing!

9) “Man with the Hex” by the Atomic Fireballs. This song has a great, bouncy swing style to it, you won’t mind hearing it on repeat all night because you’ll be dancing and jumping along!

If you need to grab anything from the store at the last minute (candy, pumpkins, etc.) make sure to download SteerList. grocery list app, to do list app, and location based app. We’re all of the above, and we’ll help you get it done!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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