Style Tips

Learning to Embrace YOU™ (Your Own Uniqueness)

Learning to Embrace YOU™ (Your Own Uniqueness)

Learning to Embrace YOU™ (Your Own Uniqueness)

I’ve heard my personal style described as everything from conservative and refined to sometimes relaxed and effortless. The irony is; when asked, I really can’t tell you what my personal style is.  I just know what I like. And, I think that’s true for lots of people.

If there’s one thing all humans share, it’s that we like to look at pretty things. Even those people who claim they don’t know anything about what it takes to put together a great looking outfit can look at another person and tell almost instantly if the clothes they’re wearing look good on them.

Here’s the best thing about personal style. It can be whatever we want it to be. It doesn’t matter if it’s masculine or feminine; or natural or enhanced. It can even be refined or effortless. The point is: you are your style. It’s about self-expression, exploration and transformation. Most importantly, style is about understanding who you are and embracing it.

Believe it or not, picking clothes that make you feel more confident, more relaxed … more like you, isn’t difficult to do. The process always begins with one key question: What was the last thing you wore that made you feel really, REALLY great? The answer will get you that much closer to learning to Embrace YOU ™ (Your Own Uniqueness) and loving the way you look regardless of the situation.

To help you get started, I’ve put together this list of seven easy to follow guidelines to help you choose the right clothes for you every time. Download it here:

BONUS: Download my easy-to-follow guidelines for dressing better and feeling more confident in your clothes!

5 things you should do before your next photo shoot

5 things you should do before your next photo shoot

5 things you should do before your next photo shoot

Every time I see this photo, it drives me a little crazy. A few months ago, I was offered an amazing opportunity to work with Stacy Pierce Photography. She wanted a few lifestyle photos to add to her portfolio and I wanted more professional looking shots for some upcoming blog posts I had planned.

It was supposed to be a win-win!

I remember the photo shoot like it was yesterday. It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in springtime. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot. The location – a tranquil, tree-filled park that seemed like it had been dropped smack-dab in the middle of a bustling town square – was nothing short of perfect. I was so excited.

I arrived with three outfits:

  • The one I’d chosen to wear to church services earlier in the day, and was still wearing.
  • The one that most represented the way I dress on a daily basis.
  • And, the one I’d bought at the last minute and neglected to try on beforehand. (I know, I deserve major side-eye for that one! The fit of the shirt was so bad that I won’t even post that photo).

Before I go any further, let me make one thing crystal clear: I love, love, love my photos! Stacy is an incredibly gifted photographer and she was so much fun to work with.

So what was the problem? In a word: me.

I had not planned properly for my photo shoot. So, only one of the three outfits that we shot that day – the one most representative of my everyday look – was actually appropriate for use on my blog. I had blown an awesome opportunity to get some professional photos and I felt awful about it.

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Of the three looks I brought to my photo shoot, I felt like this one best represented what my blog is all about: super-stylish looks that are very easy to replicate.

When I look back on that day, I realize that I made some huge mistakes. Improper planning was just one of them. If you’re working to build a brand, regardless of whether its a style blog, consulting or business services, or basket weaving, then you should know that image is everything. And, it starts with the way that people view you.

I didn’t take the time to think through the impression that I wanted to leave with people. Believe it or not, your clothing choices can speak volumes about the type of person you are. I think fashion designer Miuccia Prada said it best, “Fashion is instant language.” Because the looks I chose were inconsistent, my message was unclear.

My greatest takeaway, and one to keep in mind for every photo shoot going forward, is to dress with intention. Your style of dress can be a powerful extension of your personal brand. It can either diminish or bolster your authority, your trustworthiness and even your authenticity in the eyes of the people you want to impress the most.

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The church fit. I loved everything about this look, but it was way too specific for the purposes of my photo shoot. A pencil skirt in blue, pink, yellow or green would have given me the pop of color I was after, while helping me stay true to my mission of providing easy DIY style solutions.

My goal that day was to come away with photos that embodied the SisterLadyGirl promise of providing DIY personal image strategies for busy boss ladies. That’s why I chose the look featuring the jeans and the blazer. It’s stylish and very easy for anybody to replicate.

The truth is I let my excitement about the photo shoot get the best of me. It caused me to lose site of my end goal. To help you avoid the same mistakes I made and get picture perfect results, here are five things you should do before your next photo shoot.

  • Create a vision board: Having a visual representation of your style can be really powerful. You can include anything you want on it such as art, fashion photos, pictures of yourself, colors or just about anything that truly moves you. It might also be helpful to choose images that convey a mood or word, rather than an outfit you just want to copy (even though that’s fine too).
  • Have your makeup done by a professional: You’ve heard the saying about putting your best face forward? That’s never been more true than during a professional photo shoot. Lucky for me, the photographer had me covered on this one. But it wasn’t something I’d given any thought to. But I will from now on.
  • Have your hair done: Ditto on everything above, with the exception of having professional help. Not everyone needs it. The biggest thing here is to look like yourself. You certainly don’t want someone to tell you that they don’t recognize you in your pictures. Your trust factor will plummet. Where hair is concerned, I’ve always found that a little polish goes a long way.
  • Pay attention to the details: When people see your photos, they’re creating their own internal narrative about you. You can help them gain some additional insight into who you are, and in some cases, find common ground. Don’t overlook the potential that small things like jewelry or even nail color have to help you make a powerful connection.
  • Think through how you will use your photos: Are your photos for personal use or will they be used to build your brand? Your choices should be functional and well-suited to the situation. If you need to move things around, now’s the time to do that. Let the ideas percolate and stay open to the possibilities.

5 summer style tips to help beat back the heat

5 summer style tips to help beat back the heat

5 summer style tips to help beat back the heat

Baby, it’s hot outside!

No. Allow me to amend that because “hot” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I think the words “sweltering,” “oppressive” and maybe even “scorching” all come close.

But they still fall short of being truly descriptive of the heat we’ve had to endure this summer. We are in the middle of a bona-fide heat wave, folks! And, nobody – regardless of where they live – appears to be immune from it.

So, how do you stay stylish while beating back the heat? Here are five summer style tips for you to consider:

  1. Simplify your accessories: Statement pieces are not your friend during this time of year. So, bypass the chunky necklaces and wrist cuffs. Depending on the type of material they’re made of, heat can get trapped and make it even more uncomfortable if you’re outside for longer periods.
  2. Go sleeveless: Sleeveless shirts are perfectly acceptable in just about any situation, even in an office environment. However, if you’re not a fan of this look, you have options that could include tops with cap sleeves or one with a touch of detail or tasteful embellishment to increase the polish factor.
  3. Lighten things up: Perspiration is inevitable, but you can minimize the chances of having stains show through clothing by choosing lighter hues like white, tan and grey and fabrics such as cotton and linen that breathe.
  4. Choose a cardigan over a jacket: A simple cardigan is a great alternative to a jacket. Although they tend to be more casual and lightweight, they still offer a structured look that is similar to the standard jacket.
  5. Wear a dress: When in doubt, reach for your favorite wrap or shirtdress, both of which tend to be flattering on most body types. A nice fuss-free material like jersey will make getting dressed in the morning a no-brainer.

Do you have any other summer style tips you’d like to share? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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3 shoe tricks you can use to take your outfit from boring to banging

3 shoe tricks you can use to take your outfit from boring to banging

3 shoe tricks you can use to take your outfit from boring to banging

What’s the one concern I hear most often from women when it comes to experimenting with style and fashion?

It’s the belief that they don’t have personal style.

Believe me when I tell you that this is soooo not true! Sure, it’s incredibly discouraging to stare into that closet full of clothes and still have absolutely nothing to wear. I feel you.

Fortunately, creating a killer ensemble isn’t all that difficult. In fact, to find inspiration, just look down.

That’s right, my burgeoning fashionista. The only thing you need to give even the most basic outfit a major facelift is a fabulous shoe.

Maybe you’re more comfortable in a sneaker or a flat? Or, you could be the kind of girl who likes her heels so high that they scrape the sky? It doesn’t really matter.

Personal style is about intuition.  And, nobody on the planet knows you better than you, right?

So, how do you go about picking the perfect shoe to elevate your outfit? Here are three tricks you can use to help:

1) Get Focused

Shoes to elevate your outfit

Ask yourself if your shoes are visually interesting enough to serve as the focal point of your outfit. If you’re working with an ensemble that’s a little short on optical elements such as patterns, colors and textures, consider footwear that will fit that interesting, bold or complex bill for you. Think leopard prints, textured leathers or metallics.

2) Play with Color 

Shoes to elevate your outfit

Will the shoes you select actually complement another element of your overall outfit? If you’re wearing a fairly monochromatic ensemble, for example, and you have a necklace with a pop of color, you may consider wearing a pair of shoes in a similar shade to add to the overall cohesiveness of your look.

3) Create Contrast

Shoes to elevate your outfit

Photo: Stacy Pierce Photography

One of the most popular, and frankly, most appealing examples of how to achieve contrast is to pair some killer stilettos with ripped boyfriend jeans. It’s simply fashion magic and one of my favorite looks. Bonus tip:  It’s super easy to replicate.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to trusting your gut and knowing what shoe will feel most comfortable to you. So, take a look at the shoes that you have in your closet. Think through which pairs will help you elevate your outfit, then strut your stuff, honey!

I’d love to know if you found these tricks helpful. Let me know in the comments below.

How to make more money at work

How to make more money at work

How to make more money at work

According to a recent study, good looks can equate to good money in the workplace. For many people – translation: your supervisor, coworkers, potential clients and business partners – appearance equates to performance. A sharp dresser, for instance, can be perceived as quick-witted and focused, whereas, someone who is shabbily dressed can be seen as having a poor work ethic.

In fact, when it comes to the qualities that people most often associate with professionalism, a person’s appearance ranks second only to good communication skills.  For women in particular, the more pleasing you are to the eye, the greater your chances are of advancing professionally and in turn, making more money.

Sounds crazy? Well, you won’t get any arguments from me on that one. Maybe it teeters on the edge of being sexist? I’m going to say … mmm, probably, yes. But, if you’re a professional woman like me who knows that if you look good, you feel good then you will do good, you might want to put away that side-eye for a quick moment and read on.

I’m not much different from most people who will read this post. I am a natural born skeptic.  Then, I remembered my own story. It was only a few years ago that I started a new job and quickly became known for two things: my curly hair and the way I dressed. There wasn’t a single week that went by that someone didn’t either comment or compliment.  After a year, I was promoted, and a little less than three years after that, I had nearly doubled my starting salary.

Do I believe that all this happened because of the way I look? Heck no!  I’m a hard worker with an incredibly keen work ethic. But, here’s what I do believe: perception is reality. And, going in, I knew I wanted to make an impact and stand out as a leader. So, that was the image I began to cultivate.  In other words, I dressed for the role I wanted to play even though I didn’t have it at that point.

So, what the heck does all this have to do with you, exactly? Simply put, the way you look matters. I know. It’s downright depressing to think that in spite of the countless accomplishments women have made in virtually every field, our overall success is still tied to how attractive other people think we are.

But, the truth of the matter is, people do and will draw conclusions about you based solely on what you look like. Take Hillary Clinton for example. Despite your personal feelings about her, there’s no denying that she is shaping American history as the first woman ever to win a major party’s nomination for president!

As amazing as that is, at least publicly, few women have been ridiculed for their looks as much as Mrs. Clinton has. She’s gone from the studious looking law student, to the somewhat frumpy First Lady, then the no-nonsense Senator and Secretary of State and finally, the more authoritative yet approachable presidential candidate.

Over time, her image has evolved. Why? Because she wants to be our Commander in Chief, and she is dressing for the role she wants to play. If her story — and even mine –doesn’t serve as proof about the power of personal image, then I don’t know what does.

Now that you have this knowledge, I want to help you make it work to your advantage. Do a quick favor for me and envision what success looks like for you. Is it a promotion at work? Maybe you’ve finally decided to launch that new project you’ve been thinking about for so long? Or, perhaps you’ve figured out how to make your side hustle your main hustle? Once you’ve settled on your vision – whatever it may be – I want you to ask yourself this question:  Am I dressed for the role I want to play?

If you’re having a hard time answering the question definitively, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Lots of women can’t. Not because they don’t know or don’t have the resources to create a killer style aesthetic.

It’s that they simply don’t have the right information. Unfortunately, the road to personal style success can be hard to navigate given the many obstacles (aka distractions) there are to get through:

  • Adapting the latest fashion trends to fit your own lifestyle
  • Learning the art of business casual
  • Understanding how to dress your body, especially if you’re a member of the B&B (Boobs & Butt) crew

Believe me … Been there! Done that!

But, discovering your inner style star shouldn’t feel like work. It should feel natural. After all, there’s nobody in this world quite like you. You’re unique, so embrace it. Because of all the options we have, the concept of personal style can become overwhelming pretty quickly. To overcome it, I find it’s sometimes easier to focus on what NOT to do. Some personal style tips might include:

  1. Being overly provocative: Personal style is just that, it’s personal. So, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with showing your personality in the clothes you choose. But remember, there’s a time and place for everything and when it comes to winning over people in the workplace or wowing a potential client, you have to be careful that the message your outfit is conveying doesn’t alienate the people you want to impress the most.
  2. Wearing clothes that are considered inappropriate: Fashion designer Miuccia Prada once said, “Fashion is instant language.”  Are the tight pants, blouse that shows too much cleavage or the sky-high heels you’re wearing telling your colleagues or clients that you lack good judgment? These days, what is and is not appropriate appears to be up for interpretation, but generally speaking, being in tune with your environment is an excellent place to start. For example, if you have a meeting in a law office – many of which still adhere to a pretty conservative dress code— you probably wouldn’t want to show up in khaki’s and a polo shirt.
  3. Failing to dress with intention: Your style of dress can serve as a powerful extension of your personal brand. What you put on your body in the morning can either reinforce or diminish your skills in the eyes of employers, co-workers and potential clients. So, the lesson here is twofold: choose wisely and dress for the job you want (assuming you don’t already have it, rock star!).

Let me know what you think. Tell me in the comments if you think appearance plays a part in how much money you make.

Stuck in a style rut? Here are 5 easy things you can do right now to break free

Stuck in a style rut? Here are 5 easy things you can do right now to break free

Stuck in a style rut? Here are 5 easy things you can do right now to break free

I have a confession to make. I watch ratchet T.V. and I like it! In fact, one of my favorite guilty pleasures is the Real Housewives of Atlanta. This past season was especially fun for me because former child star Kim Fields was added to the cast.

Okay … soooo … I have another confession. When I was a kid, I was a Tootie groupie! I even wrote a fan letter (my first and only) telling her how great I thought she was.  Do you know she never wrote back?!! I admit it. My little pre-pubescent feelings were hurt.  But I’ll save the details of that confession for another day.

Anyway, during one of the season’s early episodes, Kim and co-star Phaedra Parks met for a play date with their kids. While chatting, Kim revealed that she sometimes struggled with the demands of being a full-time working professional, mom and wife. She talked about how she had “lost Kim.”

Kim went on to say that so much of her time and energy had been spent on being a “superwoman,” that she no longer knew how to feel good about the way she looked. She had become stuck in a style rut.

Now, I know the majority of situations we see on “reality” television are actually scripted, but this particular scene really resonated with me because Kim’s confession sounded so very familiar. It seems whenever I post about personal style, I get the inevitable comments from women who tell me that it’s just not a priority for them because they’re so busy living life.

No judgment here, but I’m a huge believer in the notion that people make time for the things that are important to them. So, I have to wonder if those ladies who say they’re too busy to think about anything beyond a t-shirt and jeans aren’t actually using it as an excuse because they really don’t understand the true meaning of personal style.

Regardless of which category you find yourself in, you may be surprised to learn that developing a style that’s all your own really isn’t all that hard. In fact, a great sense of style starts with something each and every person on the planet already has. It’s called an imagination. And, the only requirement is a higher degree of open-mindedness.

Depending on where you fall on the style spectrum, getting started may be easier for some than it is for others. So, to help, I’ve put together a list of five easy things you can do right now to help you break free if you’re stuck in a style rut:

  1. Pay more attention to your surroundings. From the colors in the sky, to the leaves on the ground, and everything in between; inspiration – quite literally – is all around you. Ask yourself what resonates with you the most: colors, textures, shapes, etc. Use this knowledge to trigger your creativity.
  1. The next time you see someone with a great sense of style, ask yourself what it is about their look you like so much and what elements you might be able to replicate or incorporate into your own wardrobe.
  1. Take note of the things that “speak” to you. Your inspiration might be an image from a blog, your favorite magazine or social media site. Use this as an opportunity to free your mind and think beyond the boundaries of your normal “comfort zone.”
  1. Make a list of every outfit you wore last week. What elements of each ensemble would you change or tweak to upgrade the look?

5.  If all of your clothes were lost as a result of a fire, flood, tornado  or   whatever, what 10 items would you replace first?

See what I mean about using your imagination? Let me know what you think about my short list by leaving a comment below.

Gain maximum style with minimal effort: How to create a signature look that reflects who you are inside and out

Gain maximum style with minimal effort: How to create a signature look that reflects who you are inside and out

Gain maximum style with minimal effort: How to create a signature look that reflects who you are inside and out

A few days ago, a colleague approached me in the hallway and said, “You always look so put together!” I smiled politely and thanked her for her kind words. In my head, though, I was doing the dab like Cam Newton because that is EXACTLY the impression I want people to have of me!

You may be asking yourself, Why does the way I dress even matter? Well, believe it or not, what you wear gives other people insight into who you are. In fact, numerous studies have shown that appearance very much shapes other people’s perceptions of not only you as a person, but your financial success, intelligence, honesty and whether or not you’re suitable enough to hire or promote. So, when you think about it in those terms, what others believe about you really does matter.

So, the key question becomes: what do you want people to know about you?

Click Here to Download The Checklist!

For the most part, when people look at me, I think they see a self-assured, polished and composed career woman.  How do I know this? Because they give me unsolicited positive feedback just like my colleague gave me, on an almost daily basis.

So, why am I telling you this? Certainly not to brag or cause envy. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I’m telling you this because being a stylish standout isn’t as difficult or as time-consuming as you might think.  And, if I can do it, anyone can.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been exploring the concept of signature style in posts like this and this. And, I was surprised to see that a lot of the women who commented had one of two main concerns: How to define their signature style and how to create a wardrobe that is simultaneously chic and comfortable.

Now, I’m not the edgiest style blogger on the block. But here’s the thing: I never claimed to be. In fact, when it comes to fashion sense, I am the antithesis of cutting-edge. As a busy professional, wife, mom and homemaker, I don’t want to think too hard about getting dressed in the morning, but I still want to look like I made the effort.

So, what’s my secret? Simple … I just know what I like. And, if you remember nothing else, remember this: At the heart of signature style is Y-O-U, so the style staples you select (those benchmark items that make you feel your most inspired, your most beautiful and your most confident) should reflect the type of person you are and the lifestyle you live.

So, who are you?

Well, I’ve created this checklist to put you on the path to uncovering your signature style! It includes examples of wardrobe staples that will help you understand, evaluate, clarify and edit your own personal style.

Click Here to Download The Checklist!

Size does matter and here’s the reason why

Size does matter and here’s the reason why

Size does matter and here’s the reason why

(The top photo was taken before a proper bra fitting and the bottom photo was taken after.)

I have officially entered the stage in life that I like to refer to as the “annual visitation” phase. If you’re over the age of 40, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. For what equates to roughly two weeks of my life every year, I spend an inordinate amount of time coordinating appointments to get voluntarily poked and prodded by a variety of physicians specializing in a variety of fields.

During one of my most recent p-n-p sessions, my OB/gyn told me that the density of my breasts had started to change.

Say whaaaaaaat?

After noting the look of sheer horror on my face, she quickly went on to explain that breast density – a relatively normal phenomenon for most mature women – can be caused by a number of factors, including fluctuating estrogen and weight levels, as well as age.

A woman’s breasts are made up of fat, glands, lobes, ducts and other breast tissue which is supported by a network of ligaments contributing to perk and lift. Over time, those ligaments lose some of their elasticity, causing “the girls” to soften and sag.

Aging is inevitable and we can’t fight its effects any more than we can those of gravity. What we can do to combat the signs of aging, though, is update our wardrobe to include a few properly fitted bras that will give the illusion of having those perky, firm breasts we all remember so fondly from our 20s.

So, what does it mean to have a bra that’s properly fitted? Start with this checklist.

  1. Make sure you’re wearing the right size – A lot of women believe incorrectly that it’s the bra cup that provides the most support. In reality, it’s the band. If it’s too loose, the weight of the breasts will drag down the front. To avoid this very common mistake, have your measurements taken by a professional bra fitter or refer to the guide below to determine your perfect bra size.

Style Tip: Wearing a bra with a properly fitted band can eliminate “back fat,” and give you a smoother, more figure-flattering sillouette.

  1. Replace your bra on a regular basis – The useful life expectancy of most bras will run out at around 6-9 months. That’s an approximation, of course, depending on care and storage. But, the more you wear and wash your pieces, the more the elastic will stretch and the overall support will be lost. So, be sure to rotate wear among your bras to prolong the life.

Style Tip: To extend the life of your bra, be sure that it fits snugly (but not too snugly) on the loosest hook. Over time, your bra will stretch and as it does, you’ll be able to fit it on the tighter hooks, which, in effect will help prolong the life of the bra.

  1. Ensure proper care and storage for your bras – Always, I repeat, ALWAYS air dry your bra after washing it. The heat from a dryer can damage the memory of plastic underwire and elastic bands, causing your bra to lose support.

Style Tip: Rather than stuffing your bras into a lingerie drawer that’s probably already filled to the brim (guilty!) try placing your bra on a hanger in your closet. That way, you can ensure the integrity of the bra’s structure, which is especially important for molded/padded bras, which can dimple or pucker if the cup gets inverted in the drawer.

So, give your tatas the TLC they deserve and check out the guide below to help you determine your perfect bra size. It’s the first step toward achieving that sexy silhouette you’ve been looking for. And, don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter below to get more style tips and advice.

Oh, and P.S. –  Be sure to have your breasts examined by a professional on a regular basis (in addition to your own self-examinations) because the more dense the tissue in your breasts, the more difficult it can be to detect a lump. Early detection is one of the best weapons we have to fight breast cancer.

Xoxo

Quin

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Make sure you’re wearing your bra and wrap a tape measure firmly around your torso. Be sure that the tape measure falls directly underneath your breasts to get the correct band size.

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Still wearing your bra, pull the tape measure firmly around the largest part of your bust to find your cup size.

 

 

6 questions to help you define your signature style

6 questions to help you define your signature style

6 questions to help you define your signature style

When you think about your style – particularly those things that define your signature look – what three words come to mind? Quick … take a moment to jot them down.

Maybe you described your fashion sense as bold, authentic and confident. Or, perhaps you think of yourself as elegant, casual and effortless.

No matter which words you chose, give yourself a huge pat on the back! You’ve just established your style identity. Simply put, it’s a self-described list of qualities that you believe makes you unique or distinct. And, it’s the first step in helping you determine what will ultimately become your signature style.

Now, take another look at your list of words, then think about your favorite “go-to” outfit. Are the clothes a reflection of the words you selected? Odds are they aren’t.

That’s because our style identity is based largely on how we see ourselves, not necessarily on how others see us.

Signature style is designed to give others insight into who you are. And, when you think about the fact that first impressions are lasting, the million dollar question becomes:  What do you want people to know about you?

That’s why the words you choose are important. They’re what helps you understand that thing that makes you different. What makes you stand out. What makes you uniquely you. Essentially, it’s your brand.

As you start to work through the process, here are some questions to consider:

1) What’s your motivation for creating a signature look?

2) What would you like it to do for you?

3) What about your style/look makes you feel confident?

4) What about your style/look makes you feel insecure?

5) Think of your favorite style maven. What is it about that person’s style that inspires you?

6) When people look at you, how do you want them to think of you?

These are just a few of the questions that will help you get focused and find your style identity. I’d love to hear about your process. Leave a comment below and tell me about the words you chose and if the questions I asked made you think differently about your personal style.

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