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Wilton Bake Even I've been taking Wilton Cake Decorating Classes at Michaels this month. My sweet hubby signed me up for them as a Christmas present. I've really been enjoying the classes and all the tips and techniques that I've been learning. Well, of all the things that I've had to buy for the class I am by far impressed the most with my Wilton Bake Even Strips. The pack comes with two strips that fit around a 8 or 9 inch pan and they can be both pinned together to fit a 9X13 pan also.

Simply put, the Wilton Bake Even Strips are shiny pieces of fabric that you soak in water then pin around the cake pan. As a cake bakes they typically cook faster closer to the edge, baking on the edges first and causing the cake to rise in the middle. The result is a cake with a bump in the center. It doesn't affect the taste but it does affect how it looks. With the Bake Even Strips you dip these strips in water, then strap them around the cake pan so that the baking temperature is more even and the cake bakes more evenly across the top. The result is a more even -bakery looking cake, so when you frost them they look much smoother and even. And that makes you feel like you are starting to become a better baker.

I'm linking up over at The Diaper Diaries for Things I love Thursday.


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Categories: Review,

Lulee's LolliesCLOSED: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winner Jonelle.
YOU CAN VIEW OUR LIST OF GIVEAWAY WINNERS HERE.

Have you heard about cake pops? They are the latest yummy craze, simple, cute and fun. It seems likes everyone wants in on the fun of cake pops. Even Starbucks is selling them now!

Well, I found a great local company, Lulee's Lollies that makes cake pops. I was so excited when they gave me a dozen for my birthday. They are the perfect dessert for me and my hubby after the kids are in bed, or when I just need a little treat during the day. I FOOLISHLY shared one of my Lollies with my boys the other day and now whenever I take one out they both think they need to "help me" eat it.  Understandably so though because each Lollie is a couple bites of soft, cakey goodness covered in milk or white chocolate coating. The cake inside is dark, moist and sweet while the smooth chocolate coating simply melts in your mouth. Plus they are so cute because they look like little lollipops on a stick and Lulee's Lollies even can create fun custom-made shapes. They individually wrap each Lollie so that they stay fresh and each Lollie can be kept on the counter for one week, in the fridge for 1 month and they can even be frozen for up to 4 months and saved later for a rainy day.

Lulee's Lollies

Lulee's Lollies are perfect party favors for birthday, baby showers, or even for weddings. A dozen Signature lollies are $18 and come in a variety of flavors including: carrot cake, butter pecan, red velvet, peanut butter chocolate, key lime and a few other flavors. Custom lollies are $30 for a dozen and can be made into custom designed shapes. You can check out a few of their Lollies on their site or Facebook page. Here's a tip for all of you.. during March they will be sending 25 people who have "liked" them on Facebook a free 4 Lollie Sample box. All you have to do is be the first 25 to respond when we post about it.

So, here comes the fun part for you foodies out there. Lulee's Lollies is generously offering a dozen of Signature lollies for one of our lucky readers. That's right! You can enjoy the yummy goodness of Lulee's Lollies just like I did.

Main entry: Check out their selection of Lollies and then leave us a comment telling us what you like OR would like for them to create.

Want more chances to win these delicious Lulee's Lollies? Well, here are some more ways you can enter, just be sure to leave a comment for each additional entry requirement that you fulfill. Just think, the more effort that you put in the more chances you have of winning.

- Follow/Like Lulee's Lollies on Facebook and feel free to tell them what Lollie you'd like to win.

- Follow Deals For Dayton on Facebook, if you already do just leave leave that in your comment.

- Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter. If you already do just leave leave that in your comment.

This contest ends Friday, March 25, at midnight EST. We will use Random.org to pick our winner.

Disclosure: Lulee's Lollies provided me with my birthday lollies mentioned above. But this post and opinions are my own and not paid for or influenced by the item provided


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Categories: Food, Giveaway, Review,

GoodwillI love how I can head to almost any thrift store in the Dayton area and find something good. It might take a bit of work to find a real gem, but you NEVER know what you might find. I typically shop there to find stuff for my boys, they grow out of clothes so quickly when they are little and I can usually find clothes that is gently worn or even the latest toy that they are into we can find it slightly played with. Our Things I Love Thursday this week is a guest post by one of our readers-Amy Moller.  Amy and I both share a love of thrifting and she wanted to share one of her favorite locations with us.

Goodwill: 950 Centerville Miamisburg Rd.

Pros: Good selection of used computers and lots of clearance Target dollar section items. There is a decent selection of clothes, shoes, purses: I can find name brands (NY&CO., Express, Anne Klein, Polo, etc) in really good shape and not outdated, Nice men's/women/s dressing rooms (very private), very clean and organized. It is just down the street from a huge Salvation Army, and they also have medical scrubs, pants that appear to be new for about $8, and other new items that are possibly overstocked or out of season.

Things I Love ThursdayEvery Wednesday they offer 10% off to anyone 55 years and up

An interesting tidbit: 86 cents from every dollar goes to Goodwill Industries.

Cons: the selection of boys clothes isn't very big. If you're looking for women's clothes, this is a great store and even a fairly large selection for men. Also, they do not have much as far as electronics and furniture.

I'm linking up over at The Diaper Diaries for Things I love Thursday.


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Categories: Review, Stores,

MacTown

CLOSED: This Giveaway is now closed, but you can still read about all that MacTown has to offer.
iPhone case winners: Dedra- Animal iPhone case, Leah- Kermit iPhone case
iPad case winners: Tricia- Animal iPad case, Erinne-Mickey iPad case
YOU CAN VIEW OUR LIST OF GIVEAWAY WINNERS HERE.

Living in Dayton is great, we have museums, parks, restaurants and tons of shopping. One downside is that the closest official Apple Store is Cincinnati, which is why I'm so thankful for MacTown. Not only is MacTown an authorized Apple retailer but they have two locations. One location is at the Greene on Holly Drive and one is near the Dayton Mall on Kingsridge Drive. Just like the Apple store MacTown offers custom Mac training. They have two different programs, called Sessions and Free Product Seminars. Here are a few of their Free product seminars:

Mac 101: Safari 5, Preview, Mail, iweb, iSync, Mac App Store

iWork- Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, Garage Band, iMovie, iWeb, iDVD

While there is an annual Sessions membership of $99 per year. This entitles you to 1 hour in classroom sessions and a personalized 30 minute One-on-One training for your specific interests and training need once a week. Here are a few of their 1 hour sessions:

Mac- switching from Windows

Mail & Address Book

iTunes & iPod management

Another thing that I like about MacTown is that they offer all customers a 1% discount for cash payments on in-store purchases of all kinds. I know 1% isn't a ton, but when you are spending a lot of money on a new computer every little bit can really help. Both locations offer a wide variety of Apple products including games, bags, iPad, iPhone and iPod accessories galore, besides the basics like Macs, iPods, iPads and other hardware items. They offer kid sturdy covers, children games, and covers for your iPhone or iPad that your kids will love. To showcase some of the great products that they carry MacTown has partnered with us for a giveaway!

We are giving away two iPhone covers: Kermit and Animal. And two iPad covers: Mickey and Animal. You can enter to 4 times.

Mandatory Entry:

1. Post a comment about your favorite Apple product AND tell us which cover/covers you would like to win.

Please be sure to tell us which items you would like if you win.

Extra Entries:

2. Become an MacTown Facebook fan. Feel free and comment on the Wall about your favorite Apple product. Then be sure to leave us a comment back here letting us know that you did.

3. Follow @TweetMacTown and tweet this message: "Twitterers & Mac Lovers! Win a Disney iPhone 4 or iPad case from @TweetMacTown & @DealsForDayton. Enter at http://bit.ly/fjQlWt." Then be sure to leave us a comment back here letting us know that you did.

4. Become a Deals For Dayton Facebook fan. Then be sure to leave us a comment back here letting us know that you did.

This contest ends Sunday, March 20, 2011  at midnight EST. We will use Random.org to pick our winner.

Disclosure: MacTown provided me with compensation for this post. But this post and opinions are my own and not paid for or influenced by the item provided

Animal iPhone cover Kermit iPhone caseMickey Mouse iPadAnimal iPad cover


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Categories: Giveaway, Review,

I really like living in Ohio, I know the weather can get cold and it's not a tropical location but there are lots of things to do and tons of great local businesses. One of the local places that our family loves to shop at is Trader Joe's. I love how when you find someone else that shops there it's like finding a kindred spirit. Then you both proceed to list what you buy there and why it's good. I always find it funny that every thing that anyone else has on their "must buy at Trader Joe's list" is the "best stuff." Because let's be honest, almost everything there is pretty great. But do you know what? Not only do I love Trader Joe's, but my kids do too. There is rarely any complaining about going to the grocery store when I say that we have to go there that day. So here are my favorite things about Trader Joe's, I'm not going to list all my food I like there because that is a pretty long list so I'll just stick to basics. The things that in my mind make Trader Joe's one of the Things That I Love this Thursday.

Trader Joes Stroopy1. Stroopy the Cow- I don't know who came up with this idea, but it's GENIUS! There is a plush cow that floats around the store, maybe you have seen it and didn't realize what he was doing hanging around the store. Well, did you know that Stroopy the Cow is a scavenger hunt for your kids? That's right!  Once you walk in the door tell the kiddos to keep their eyes peeled for Stroopy the Cow. So while you are on a shopping trip, your kids are on a hunt for Stroopy. When you checkout be sure to have your kids tell the person at the register where Stroopy was and they will score a prize- an organic sucker to be exact. There have been a few times that we've not found Stroopy the Cow, and we have still gotten a sucker just because they are nice there like that.

2. Sample Station- There is almost always some fun new sample to try. Whether it's meatballs or the latest and greatest cheese there is usually some tasty morsel awaiting you towards the back of the store. They also offer free coffee if you are caffeine inclined.

Cookie3. Cookies- So back at the Sample Station sometimes there is a "weird" sample and my boys don't want it. But guess what?! They have Cat Cookies for the kids. All they have to do is ask and whoever is back there will give them a sample cup full of cute cat shaped cookies.

4. Try It Now- Here is the "secret" about the Sample Station... Have you ever seen something at Trader Joe's and thought, "hmm, I wonder if this is any good." Well, all you have to do is take it over to the Sample Station and they will open it for you and let you try it right there! Then if you do like it they won't make you take the opened one, they tell you to get a new one and they will use the open one for samples. It's that AWESOME!?!

Trader Joes Sticker5. Stickers- The registers always have stickers, they are cute Trader Joe's stickers for the kids and you might even get lucky and make it home without them being stuck on you. (Don't you hate that, when you are running errands all day and somehow you ended up with a sticker on you sometime during the day. Then at the end of the you realize that it's on you.. and no one said a thing about the sticker on your butt.. Never happened to you? Me either..)

6. Friendly Staff- All of their staff is helpful, friendly and polite- every time we have been there. The kid-friendly staff is wonderful, it's nice that when we walk around and my littlest boy says "hi" to every passing employee that they stop and pay attention to him. He loves it and it's heartwarming to see how authentically nice they all are.

7. Return policy- There have been those few times that I bought something that we don't enjoy- like that time that I bought Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup... NO SALT... ugh. All you have to do is bring back the item, even if it's opened, and they will refund your money. It's nice to know that I can take a "risk" at Trader Joe's and not be stuck with some weird No Salt soup that I accidentally bought.

Trader Joes8. No Artificial Things- I've been trying to be more careful with what I feed my family lately and was pretty excited when I learned that everything with the Trader Joe's label has NO artificial flavors, colors or GMO's (genetically modified organisms).

Have you ever been to Trader Joe's? What are some of your favorite things about them? Or more importantly what are some of your favorite things to buy there? What should I try next time I'm there- because I'm always up for trying new stuff from Trader Joes. And look at that cutie with his stickers and sucker!

This post is linked at Things I Love Thursday on TheDiaperDiaries.net.


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Categories: Kids, Review, Stores,

SlapHint- This is a great gift for anyone on your Valentine's Day list that has an iPod Nano

Remember how I told you about my trip to Blissdom and all the amazing bloggers I met? Well, one of these amazing women that I met was Jill from Diaper Diaries. She does a weekly post called Things I Love Thursday and I'm going to start joining in on the fun. So in keeping with my resolution to post different things, I decided to write about something fun that I got from Griffin Tech the other day.

I came home this week and sitting on my porch was a package. I love getting mail and a package outside is even more exciting, but guess what I got?! I got a SLAP on my wrist!! Now no one actually slapped me on the wrist, but I got a purple Griffin Slap iPod Nano band for my wrist. For those of you like me that loved your slap bracelets in the 80's then you might need one of these too. The Griffin Slap is the awesomeness of my dear slap bracelet just all grown up. Honestly it's genius: it is a metal slap bracelet wrapped with cushy silicone. It has a silicone frame that holds your iPod and an open port for your headphone, and covers your dock connector port so that it doesn't get debris in it. 

Pros- It's a great protective silicone case for your iPod nano, plus a cool watch band/ slap bracelet. I love how cute it is. Right now the big thing is statement watches and the Slap fits that fashion statement perfectly. The only part of the nano that is exposed is the screen and the rest is nicely protected. And having two boys that's a good thing! Since it's made with silicone it easily can adjust to your wrist and it grips to itself so that it stays at the size you need instead of gradually getting tighter. I wore it to the store today and completely forgot that I was wearing it because it was so comfortable. I also plugged in my headphones in and I was pleasantly surprised that my headphones didn't feel like they were pulling out of my ears the whole time. I also think that compared to clipping my nano onto a pocket or shirt the watch band feels much more secure and stylish.

Things I Love ThursdayCons- Well, I'm left handed and the headphone jack is on the inside instead of the outside of my wrist. This does make it a little inconvenient, but nothing too terrible in my opinion. Since it's winter I was wearing a coat and it was a bit hard to put my jacket on with my Slap on. It got a little stuck and I had to make sure that I didn't pull it open when I was putting my jacket on and off. But when it's springtime that won't be an issue. The only other downside I found was that you have to be careful when you wash your hands and you can't wear it when you are doing dishes or else you can ruin your iPod (but really shouldn't that be common sense- don't let your iPod get wet).

Griffin SlapOverall I think it's SO cute and fun and since my Slap is purple I don't have to worry about my husband or boys trying to take it. :) Plus let's be honest, I really like playing with the band- Slap on, Slap off. It comes in all these fun colors and if you already have a nano then $24.99 for the band isn't a bad deal! If you are a fan of Griffin products like me you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter and they even launched a new site called Griffin Deals that has a daily deal on one of their products. Even if you haven't heard of them before, you have probably seen their products before and not realized it, the new Griffin Deals site is pretty awesome for scoring their products at a discount.

Disclosure: Griffin Tech provided me with my Slap watch band mentioned above. But this post and opinions are my own and not paid for or influenced by the item provided. To read their reviewer policy be sure to check out http://bit.ly/griffinreview.


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Categories: Review,

252 StaffTuesday evening I spent some quality with Tricia and the amazing staff of 252 West Salon in Centerville. We got to enjoy a few blissfully relaxing hours being pampered at 252 West in preparation for Blissdom next week. Come on what woman doesn't love a little "me" time?

The salon and spa is in a beautiful building with a very quiet and contemporary vibe. 252 West has been in their current location for about 2 years and it's a great building with GIANT floor to ceiling windows in the salon area, which lets the sun flood the room with natural light. I always hate when I go to a salon and their florescent lighting makes me look awful the whole time that I sit there critiquing myself in the mirror while my hair gets done. This is NOT the issue at 252 West, the natural sunlight filling the room makes you look b-e-a-utiful!

Ok, now down to the services they offer. I had the pleasure to experience and enjoy a few of the services that 252 West has to offer. First, I was ushered downstairs with Wendy to get my facial and brow wax. I got to relax in a nice, soft, warm bed with a snuggly blanket on me as my brows "shaped up" to their fullest potential. Then came the relaxing facial. I've never had a facial before, and it was definitely something that I would consider doing again! A warm towel was draped across my shoulders and then on my face. After my face was exfoliated came the face, arm and hand massage. As odd as a face massage sounds it was so relaxing! Next came my manicure with Brianna. Which involved another glorious hand massage, my hands being put in a little heating pad and then the polish. With my nicely manicured nails I headed back upstairs for my haircut and color with Samantha. I wasn't sure yet what color I wanted for my hair and Samantha was very helpful offering suggestions and options. So after deciding on a dark brown (adventurous I know, since I have brown hair) with red highlights she colored my hair. 252 ResultsNow typically the next step which is getting your hair washed isn't anything to write home about... but this time it was. The chairs in the room were not just any old salon chairs where you lay there and stare at the ceiling as they wash your hair. OH NO, these chairs were shiatsu massage chairs, I could not believe it when my chair started to recline and then I relaxed to a massage while my hair got washed. Samantha clipped, snipped and trimmed up my hair and although I didn't do anything drastic I was really happy with what she did. Finally came a little one on one time with Josh their makeup artist. He did a beautiful job and showed me the best way to apply my eye makeup. I had no idea that the key is lots of different types of brushes and blending. At the end of the night I felt gorgeous! What do you think?!

252 FinalIt was truly a evening of pampering and relaxing. I really enjoyed how relaxed every step was, I never felt like they were just trying to rush though what we were doing, instead they did the job with careful diligence. The staff was so attentive and knowledgeable in their areas, paying attention to details, refilling my drink and answering my numerous questions. I had an lovely time and would recommend it to anyone looking to get a little salon or spa time in. I'm also really excited to have an EXCLUSIVE coupon for $10 towards your FIRST Salon or Spa Service at 252 West for all our readers. So go and enjoy a little relaxing time of your own, print off your coupon and head to 252 West today! Want to see more pics of my makeover? Be sure to "like" 252 West on Facebook and check out all the pictures of me and Tricia! While you are there be sure to tell them what you think of my new look.

Disclosure: 252 West Salon provided me with all the salon services mentioned above. But this post and opinions are my own and not paid for or influenced by the services provided.


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Categories: Coupon, Review,

252 West Salon and SpaI love being a mom. I love spending time with my two boys, playing with them, taking them to all the fun things I can, and I love watching them grow up. Although like every other mom, sometimes I just need some time to myself. At the end of some days I just want peace and quiet! No little people crying because someone took their toy, no one crying to be carried around, and no one asking me for ANOTHER snack. Now don't get me wrong there are moments during the day that I get time alone, naptime specifically. But do you know what one of my favorite times alone is? It's those few times a year that I get to go and get my haircut. Someone pampering me for a bit, and giving me a quiet moment to read a cheesy magazine, that is what I enjoy! I sometimes feel like I get so busy being a mom that when I happen to pass a mirror I seriously feel like I look so blah and I need some serious help! It's so hard sometimes to just take that time for myself to get a haircut, although I always feel so much better about how I look after I do. It's just making the time to schedule that appointment that is so hard for me.

Well, thankfully 252 West Salon in Centerville is helping me and my friend Tricia out tomorrow! We are headed to Blissdom next week in Nashville to learn a few of the finer points of blogging but before we go we are lucky enough to enjoy a few moments of bliss here in town of our own. 252 West is giving us beauty treatments, a few hours of relaxation, and help with that "blah mom" look that we all deal with at times!  But here is the tricky thing for me. Since I don't have the time to be up on all the trendiest hairstyles I don't know what to do with my hair! I love my length, I look RIDICULOUS with bangs, and with my skin tone blond or red hair would just make me look silly, but other than that I don't really care what happens to it when I get it cut or colored. So what do you think I should do with my hair? Any tips or suggestions? I need some help, give me some of your hairstyle ideas so I don't look like a tired, blah mom for Blissdom next week.

before

And as a thank you to my readers for helping me out... here is a coupon for you so that you can enjoy some moments of bliss of your own! 252 West Salon and MedSpa wants you to be able to relax and enjoy some "me time" also so they have generously offered an EXCLUSIVE coupon for $10 towards your FIRST Salon or Spa Service at 252 West Salon & MedSpa. So give me your ideas! And be sure to come back later this week to see how it all turned out!

But no matter what, I still get to come home to my sweet little boys (and loving hubby) that love me no matter how I look or feel. And that is worth more than anything!


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Categories: Review,

NinjagoTHIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED: CONGRATS BECKY D
YOU CAN VIEW OUR LIST OF GIVEAWAY WINNERS HERE.

About a month ago we went to Toys R Us and learned that they have new exciting LEGO sets called Ninjago coming out to Toys R Us on January 1, 2011. I've got to admit I was pretty impressed with these new LEGO sets. They are a LEGO game and a set all in one. They seemed a lot like spinning game behind Beyblade spinners, but the fun and creativity of LEGO. The legend tells of how the First Spinjitzu Master created the world of Ninjago using the mystical powers of Fire, Earth, Ice and Lightning. There are now four young ninjas that must be trained in the ways of Spinjitzu to help save the world from Lord Garmadon and his evil Skeleton Warriors.

Ok, so onto the giveaway!! We are giving away a 11 piece set that builds a Ninjago sword display, a Ninjago sticker and black Ninjago headwrap. Plus we have an exclusive coupon to receive a limited edition Ninjago Battle Card with any Ninjago purchase between 1/2/11- 1/29/11. (Toys R Us will also be running this offer If you spend $30 or more in LEGO Ninjago during the month of January at Toys R Us, you can also receive the limited edition Ninjago Battle card and a card album.)

So how do you enter? You can get up to 3 entries. And you KNOW you want to win this because who DOESN'T want FREE LEGOs?!

- Leave a comment about this giveaway

- Leave a comment somewhere else on the blog, then come back and leave a comment here telling us you did

- Follow us on Facebook then leave a comment telling us

This giveaway ends Sunday, January 2 at 9pm EST. We will use Random.org to choose our winner. This giveaway is for local readers.


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Categories: Giveaway, Review, Stores, Toy,

Dayton Art Institute: Free Fun for the Family

A few weeks ago, I was invited to be a part of a Social Media preview for the Dayton Art Institute’s new exhibit, “Modern Masters.” I was thrilled to get the invitation because I love art, and haven’t been to anything like that since I had kids!

As I arrived we were free to walk around the museum until our tour started. As I walked around, I thought to myself, “why haven’t I been here in so long?!” It's free! It is gorgeous! It's FUN! There is even an area dedicated to children called “The Experiencenter.” The Experiencenter is soooooo cool! You have to take your kids there! (And with this summer heat, it is air conditioned and free, so GO!) The other areas of the museum are amazing, too. It is full of lessons on history, culture, and art. A great spot for the family that is often forgotten about!

After walking through the main part of the museum, we traveled to the “Modern Masters” exhibit. It is a beautiful display of 43 pieces from 31 artists. The artists are from the 1950s and on loan from The Smithsonian. The works have never been grouped together before, and are an amazing testament to our nations history. Because of the invention and popularization of the camera, many of the artists from this era explored other ways to express themselves in abstract art. It was gorgeous!

To add to the exhibit, there are interactive features included. On Thursdays and Saturdays, you have the opportunity to sit and create your own work, inspired by the art around you. Materials are provided, and there is space to hang your art at the end of the exhibit. (What a fun thing for the kids to do!) There are also QR Codes provided by Scan Dayton that take you to sound clips and websites on your smart phone that enhance your experience. It's a lot of fun. (Don't know about Scan Dayton? Check out our previous post)

The Modern Masters exhibit is on view until October 10. Admission is $10 per adult, children 7-18 are $6, seniors/ students, $8. Active duty military and their immediate family is free admission. Also, there are 2 FREE days on Aug. 19 and Sept. 16.

My favorite piece in the collection was by Robert Motherwell, and it was called “Figure in Black.” But my favorite artist is Monet (and there is a Monet in the Dayton Art Institute!) Who is your favorite artist?

-Celia

 


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Categories: Permanent Events, Free, Review,

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