NOT LETTING AGE DEFINE MY LIFE OR STYLE

Pattern Mixing | Checks & Floral | Joggers & Jacket | Black, Grey, Turquoise & Snakeskin

Do you enjoy pattern mixing or are you so confused by it, you're not even sure how and where to start? 

Get it right and it can look like you've effortlessly walked off a catwalk.
Get it wrong and it can look like you've gone amok in a charity shop, blindfolded.

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Although I love colour and print, I've not done many full on pattern mixing outfits on the blog to date. My pattern mixing has gravitated more to the gentler, subtler end of the spectrum; usually a couple of accessories mixed with one, key outfit piece.

However, I plan to do more and my pattern mixing snakeskin & lace post a couple of weeks ago kick started this in style.  I see many bloggers pairing florals and stripes but with today's outfit, I've ramped up the ante.  Using two key pieces, I've mixed florals and checks for a more distinctive look.

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Where did I start?

I took a rather unusual approach when putting this all together but one which I do know well, to show that it is possible to use skills you have in one area to assist in a totally different one.  Step forward my knowledge of anatomy and the principles of Pilates!

Now before you think,

'Are you kidding me?  The study of anatomy can be applied to styling?  Have you been drinking too many vodka tonics?'.

Bear with me.  I promise it won't be an anatomy lecture!

The shoulder and hip joint in the human body share many similarities.  They are both ball and socket joints, are cup shaped, are the space holders for our limbs, and allow a high range of movement, more so than any other joints in the body.

Neat, huh?

They each have distinguishing features.  The hip joint is mainly but not exclusively, a load-bearing joint, requiring a high degree of stability whilst the shoulder joint requires incredible mobility for the work we ask it to do and has a shallower socket than the hip.  Of course, there's a lot more to it than just this but I did promise this wasn't going to be an anatomy lecture!

If both joints are healthy and fully functioning, they allow the body to perform many complex tasks on a daily basis in a harmonious way, thus minimising unnecessary movement or pull on other body parts.

With this knowledge in mind, I transferred it to creating an outfit.  I just needed to choose two key main pieces, similar in shape and style, each having their own characteristics that allows them stand out as individual pieces, but without pulling focus from the overall look.

We're aiming for visual harmony, not visual discord!

I settled on a pair of joggers that have a strong check - a solid pattern to ground the outfit.

Rather like the hip joint.

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

For the upper half, a light weight Summer jacket with a beautiful, swirling, interconnecting floral motif.

Kinda like my shoulder joint.

Wallis Petite Floral blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Joggers have definitely grown in popularity.  Only a few years ago they were considered just leisure wear, now they're mainstream garments; albeit still on the informal end of the trouser spectrum when compared with tailored trousers.

The jacket has no button fastening and is only semi-lined.  Less formal blazer, more kimono in feel.

Not only do the joggers and the jacket share common style qualities, the prints of each are in proportion and we've cascading shades of grey right down through the outfit.  The floral motif in particular, looks like it's been sketched in graphite by hand.

Just as each joint in the body is unique, here the joggers and the jacket stand alone as statement pieces.  Yet their similarities mean they're harmonious when paired together, without one pulling more focus than the other.

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

How to integrate these two pieces.  

We talk alot in Pilates about integration; specifically movement integration.  Aiming for the body to work as a whole, organised unit, from the centre to the periphery.  A major part of the support system to do that is the breath.  I teach clients to breathe down through the column of the body, creating space for the diaphragm to contract and expand three dimensionally.

Clearly, I needed to introduce a column of one colour that would link both pieces whilst giving each space to breath.  Turquoise so suits my colouring and being such a vibrant colour it stops the outfit looking too monochrome.  Whether it's also an excuse to wear my turquoise wedge sandals, I shall leave entirely up to you to decide!

In reality any bold saturation of colour would look wonderful as a integrating piece - think cobalt blue, hot pink, citrus orange, pillar box red.

Overall structure in place, I moved onto the finishing touches.  I could've added another colour with my bag but instead played around more with the pattern mixing - I mean why stop at two?

Let's bring in some snakeskin!  Spices up the floral, holds its own against the checks.

You'll notice I'm even mixing my jewellery!  I've truly thrown the pattern mixing kitchen sink at this one, I tell ya!  I've never been worried about matching my jewellery.  I wear what feels right to me and what amuses me at any given moment; hence a silver necklace and a coloured bracelet.

Even these two pieces share similarities if you look close enough. Both are geometric shapes - triangles and ovals.

Dear lord, pass me another vodka tonic.  I'm on fire here.

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Wallis Floral Blazer and New Look Silver Necklace | Petite Silver Vixen

Beginners Pattern Mixing Tips

- Choose two key pieces - one lower body, one upper body.
- Find common ground between them - colour, proportion, style (casual or formal).
- If you choose two upper body pieces. you can either keep the prints proportionally the same or have one big print and one small.
- Opposites attract.  Contrasting prints make playful companions e.g.

                           spots and stripes
                           stripes and florals
                           florals and checks
                           abstract and spots

- Choose a linking piece.  It can be a plain top or blouse or even a block of texture like lace or embroidery.
- You can even bring in a 3rd, smaller print with your accessories - footwear, bag, jewellery, scarf.
- If you do, create a cohesive look by finding a similarity to either the main prints or your linking piece.  Here the snakeskin is similar in shade to the two main prints.  I've kept the linking colour to the cami, shoes and bracelet.

Pattern Mixing Florals and Checks with ASOS joggers and Wallis blazer | Petite Silver Vixen

Wallis Petite Jacket SS16.  Sold out now.  Wallis Black Floral Blazer
ASOS Petite Joggers SS16 Sold out now. Boohoo Bohemian Print Joggers   Miss Selfridge Petite Tile Print Joggers or currently on sale these Wallis Petite Paisley Print Joggers.
Monsoon Turquoise Cami (old)
Vera Wang Clutch (e-bay, old)
New Look Necklace & Wedges (old)
Turquoise Bracelet (old)

Checks and Floral Footnote

I problem solved my way through the pattern mixing maze by taking lessons learned in two disciplines - anatomy and Pilates - and applying them to styling.  Not such a gulf as you maybe first thought!  

It's a skill we probably do more often than we give ourselves credit for in real life.  It's certainly one that high achievers, influencers and experts in all walks of life learn to hone.  Art can learn from science and science can inform art.  

Where and how do you transfer your skills?  Do you have a unique approach to pattern mixing?

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Linking with  Fine What Ever / Not Dressed As Lamb / Confident Twosday / Garay Treasures /  Turning Head's Tuesday  /  Style Me Wednesday / ColorandGrace / High Latitude Style   / Happiness At Midlife / JerseyGirlTexanHeart  / Eleganceandmommyhood  / A Labour of Life / Fashion Should Be Fun /  A Pocketful Of Polkadots / Jeans And A Teacup / Nancy's Fashion Style /

Seasonal Skinny Wk 34: Awesome Accessories | Leopard Print, Denim Shirt & Straw Clutch

As the American financier and philanthropist, Sanford I. Weill said,

'Details create the big picture.'



This is so true in life - from performing any kind of task, to planning for an event.

Take away the details and what do you have?

Merely an idea, a framework, but something not fully realised.

Of course we all need to have the initial idea, otherwise nothing is created.  But from there, the details build, the details bring it to life; the details are the stepping stones to understanding.

As a Pilates teacher, I deal with detail day in and day out.  I have too.  I could wax lyrical to my clients about big ideas involved in movement, such as neuro-muscular pathways, fascial connections, integration of bodily systems - big global information.  Fabulous, mind blowing stuff.  Do you have a spare hour or three ...

... but I'll rein myself in!

If that's all I gave, all the big global information and didn't initially tell them with simple cues the detail of what they need to do to move, they'd get so confused they probably wouldn't move at all.  Or if they did, they'd be thinking 'I'm not sure what the heck I'm supposed to be doing here', especially if I was just asking them to breathe!

Big picture stuff is needed and yes, at the right moments I do expound on those ideas I've mentioned, to my clients. And even if I don't, I have to understand the underlying theories of what I teach. But most of the time they just need very specific, small details, layered as we go through the number of repetitions.

left, right, up, down, direction, push, pull, softer, lengthen, eyes, feet, breathe, release, SMILE!

These kinds of details go into making the bigger picture of whatever movement or exercise we're doing, whether that's The Hundreds, Corkscrew or Swimming.  Without the little detail, without the one or two important cues that so often gives a client that 'light bulb' moment, they wouldn't get the bigger picture at all.




How exactly does this relate to my outfit?

I had the grand idea to team my denim shirt with my red skinny jeans, with a cami top underneath and some swanky footwear, which ones, well, didn't matter at the initial stage.  I just knew they would be swanky!  Once everything was assembled I could have stopped there and just presented a 'big picture' of a very serviceable outfit - nothing wrong with it - but still just a serviceable outfit of jeans, shirt and cami. 

However, this is a style challenge and serviceable and style challenge do not happy bed fellows make!

Instead, by adding little details and textures, I've made the outfit come to life.  End result is a far more interesting picture.

An upturned collar.

Rolled up sleeves.

Now we're getting somewhere.


Let's add some awesome accessories.

A necklace?  No... how about something different ...  a scarf, or even better, a leopard print tie scarf?


Yes, and then we could top and tail with leopard print by wearing our leopard print ankle booties!


Add a bracelet from Lizzie O, I was given earlier this year when I attended the 30-40+ Blogger Meet in London.

Pair it with a straw clutch for another texture.


Now we're rockin'!


My accessories collection has grown exponentially in the last few years - no more so than since I started blogging!  At this rate, my whole house will be brimming with accessories and Tall Brown Fox and I will be squeezed into the corner of our kitchen, with only enough room to open the fridge door!

Luckily...

- accessories don't take up any where near the room clothes do.  Thank goodness because I want to be able to move about my house easily!
- they don't have to be expensive.  Some of my favourites are thrifted, second hand or sale items.  My clutch and leopard print tie were £10 and £2 respectively in the sale!
- they can elevate an outfit from ordinary to extra-ordinary.

I have a penchant for animal print accessories because they're easy ways of adding texture and print to a colour block outfit as I did in my Hot Pink Sundae post from a few months ago.

I've even mixed different accessory prints together, such as in last year's Leopard Print Accents post where I patterned mixed 4 different leopard prints with two plaid ones.


The leopard tie scarf has already made an appearance in the Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge back in November, in my Oversized Tartan Shirt post so it was fun to bring it out again but this time to liven up a colour block outfit.


Dorothy Perkins Petite Skinny Jeans (old)
Next Denim Shirt (ancient) MOTO Fitted Denim Shirt
New Look Leopard Print Scarf (old)  Leopard Print Skinny Scarf
Joy the Store Straw Clutch (old) ASOS Straw Chevron Detail Clutch
Boots Mary Portas for Clarks (old).  Kaleidoscope Leopard Print with contrast heel

Awesome Accessories Footnote

So there you have it.  Details create the big picture.  It's quite a skill as a teacher to layer detail, to know when and how to impart information succintly to avoid overloading your client.  And co-ordinating and layering accessories requires a deft hand; get it right and a light sprinkling of awesome accessories elevates even the most run of the mill outfits.

What awesome accessories do you like to use?

Want to know more about my challenge?  Read the story behind my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge.


Healthy at 50 | Getting Back in the Saddle


I'm not ashamed to admit that this year my weight has crept up and I'm about 8-9 pounds heavier than I usually am and I'm certainly feeling it and I ain't happy about it.

Being short and short waisted, it feels more like 8-9 stone than pounds.  Some of my clothes now make me feel like I've been shrunk wrapped by clingfilm - a bizarre and somewhat uncomfortable feeling, not be recommended.

Why has this happened, I pondered recently?  Well, it's been a combination of things.  Not having a kitchen for nearly 2 months earlier this year meant eating properly was a challenge and we also had a total, unashamed blow out on holiday in Copenhagen at the end of May.  My stress levels have increased undoubtedly, especially recently with my parents having so many health concerns and stress has a HUGE impact on weight.

On top of that, this year the menopause has kicked in, bringing with it the delights of increased appetite, a slower metabolism and joy of joys, a thickening waist.  It's a bastard that menopause!

And it doesn't help that I love food; 'foodie' is stamped throughout my DNA!

Many women hitting 50 find their weight quietly increases and it's often due to a number of factors some of which are menopause related, some not.

And I think it's fair to say, that this is definitely the case with me.

But Petite Vix, surely as a Pilates teacher you're fit and you must work out?  Well yes, I do! The irony is though, as many fitness / movement professionals will tell, is that you spend so much time teaching other people to stay fit and well, you don't have quite as much time to do it for yourself!

It's not as if I'm unfit - far from it and I am strong.  I wouldn't have been able to pass my studio Pilates certificate 18 months ago if I wasn't!  I had to be strong to be able to demonstrate the advance repertoire on the apparatus.  But if I want to get back to where I was 18 months ago a few things need to change.

I need to eat better and healthier and move more 
are certainly two.

The question is, how am I going to achieve this?

I'm not remotely interested in fad diets or extreme fitness plans.
I'm not remotely interested in joining a gym.

Do you find that last one shocking coming from someone who works in the fitness industry?

You see I'm not a gym bunny - never have been, never will be.  They're just not the right environment for me. I hate the loud music, I don't enjoy using gym equipment.

I'd rather do an hour's dance class than do a 30 minute workout at the gym.
I'd rather do a 3 hour cycle ride in the fresh air, even in the rain and cold than do a 30 minute workout at the gym.
I'd rather do a 2 hour kick ass Reformer class with one of my Pilates mentors than do a 30 minute workout at the gym.
I'd rather do anything than do a 30 minute workout at the gym!

I think you're getting the picture, right?

The key is to do physical activities you enjoy.  

I mean if you hate the gym, what's the point of joining one?  You'll only set yourself up to fail.  

But I do enjoy being on two wheels.  In fact I'm very happy on two wheels.  Far happier than running on two feet - unless it's running for a bus, or a train, or running away from a woolly mammoth, then it's just about bearable and necessary to do.

A few years ago, Tall Brown Fox and I went on a cycling holiday in Provence.  I conquered many hills.  It's far hillier in the South of France than you can imagine.


And here I am cycling across Sydney Harbour Bridge on my honeymoon.  Yes, indeed, hold onto your helmets; it was buttock clenchingly HIGH up there!  

And I'm not good with heights, even on a bridge with high fencing and barbed wire on the top.  But I conquered it.


Tall Brown Fox and I realised that the last time we did any kind of cycling was on holiday last May - I mean LAST MAY for pity's sake!  That's far, far, far too long.  Did I say far, far, far too long? Good, because that's really far, far, far too long!

We visited Ile de Porquerolles, off the coast of the South of France.  We hired bikes for the day and zoomed around every nook and cranny of the island, finding wonderful coves, small beaches and stunning views.

Sadly, none of the boats behind me are mine.


Clearly, I needed to get back on me bike.  Pump the heart, move my legs.  With that in mind, Tall Brown Fox and I decided to get on both our bikes, get back in the saddle!

Time for a bike ride at the weekend and that's just what we did.

A little bike maintenance was required before we started.  Never a bad idea to check your brakes and as Tall Brown Fox had put new tyres on for me the day before, we wanted to make sure everything worked smoothly.



I put my new gel saddle cover on for extra comfort which I prophetically bought a couple of weeks ago for a bargain.  Although it's been a while, I can still remember what it feels like to be saddle sore!

It's not pleasant!


I put on my cycling shorts which hurrah, hurrah still fitted me!

Lots of handy pockets for bike lock keys, front door keys, phone and some cash.



Helmet on,
Cycle gloves on,
Sunnies on and 
We were ready to RIDE!


We did a 20 minute ride to a big, local park, did a few laps around the park, dodged kids on scooters, dodged toddlers on tricycles, dodged runners panting and running dogs yapping.

No man, child or beast was injured in this bike ride.

We had a pit stop for a cup of tea and then it was back on the bikes for the 20 minute ride home.


And the benefits of getting the wheels out, beyond exercising for my physical health, were many and not just confined to

absorbing the wonderful views across parkland,
breathing in fresh air,
appreciating a big blue sky above you,
feeling the wind in your hair and on your skin,
revelling in the sense of freedom.


And more often than not, you stumble across interesting sights such as this fungi covered tree trunk. 
 

Back home after our ride.  Feeling VICTORIOUS!

Endorphins racing around my body faster than Mo Farrah in his sprint finish to win the 10k gold in Rio.

You may now play me the British National Anthem.


Back in the Saddle Footnote

I've always been an active person, even when I was a kid when I swam like a fish, pirouetted like a mini Margot Fonteyn in ballet lessons and tapped like a female Fred Astaire in tap class.  I climbed trees, spent hours kicking a football around with my siblings, zoomed around the neighbour on my bike and the only time I really sat down was either to read or eat!

I'm a huge believer in exercise being fun.  
Because the likelihood of you sticking at it go through the roof.  Statistical fact!
And you don't have to take part in conventional exercise either!

Of course, one bike ride ain't gonna change the world or my shape, and losing weight is more about diet (please note, NOT dieting) than exercise but getting my cycling mojo back is going to help, plus it'll keep my heart healthy and boost my mental well being.  Win, win, I say.

Although I won't be entering the Tour de France any time soon - besides yellow isn't necessarily a great colour on me - I'll definitely be spinning my wheels again on a regular basis!

Are you going to get on your bike - real or metaphorical?  What exercise keeps you moving and happy???

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Happy Feet & Links à la Mode 11th August

Sometimes a pair of shoes can take you further in more ways than just literal steps!

It's been something of a week of feet and statement shoes.  Plus with the Olympics 2016 in Rio well underway now, I'm giving myself a blogging gold medal.  Why?  Well, I attained my goal of blogging every day last week!

Monday saw me showcase a fierce pair of snakeskin, 3 bar shoes.



It was white brogues on Tuesday.


On Thursday I stepped into some snazzy navy sandals.



And today I finally got round to trying out a nail colour other than hot pink for my tootsies!

What do you think?  I rather like it.


And if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me in my fetching camo trainers, as I took my feet out for a Sunday afternoon spin on the bike.

My ride wasn't quite as fast and furious as our World Record breaking Team GB Women's Team Pursuit Cyclists.  Congrats to Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Laura Trott for winning gold!


It's been a couple of months since I submitted a post to the weekly round up feature on Independent Fashion Bloggers, so I was doing a fair old jig on Thursday when my Mixing Snakeskin and Lace post was chosen, showcasing my new fierce yet feminine snakeskin shoes.

Thanks to Lisa Walker for including my post in the weekly round up Links à la Mode.


On to the links...

I particularly liked We Are Ready Made's post on the exhibition at Moderna Museet, not least because it's in a city I've visited and loved - Stockholm.

There's amazing photography in the post: do check it out, especially if like me you LOVE polka dots.  You'll be in for a treat!

All the links are below, so why not dive in and discover some new blogs!


Lisa Walker writes: For those of you who thumb your nose at the traditional vacation seasons, check out posts on traveling to Stockholm and Japan, or if you can travel soon, you can see Japanese art in Stockholm. I love a good two for one. And this week’s round up would not be complete if it didn’t include at least one Olympic post, and it is so right on about the fashion too.
Links à la Mode, August 11th
SPONSOR: Amazon's Shopbop Opening Ceremony, Lisa Marie Fernandez Activewear, Vince Sneakers, Flannel Australia, TSE Cashmere, Tatras, Cropped Denim, Bralettes, Boho Necklaces, Men's MKI

What I Wore to My First Festival | Graphic Tee, Checked Shirt & Polka Dots | Love Supreme 2016 Part 1

Are you a festival goer?
Are you a Love Box and Wireless pro?
Have you got Coachella on your festival belt notch?
Do you have a decade of Glastonbury visits under your belt like one of my sisters-in-law has?

Yes really.  She's been 10 straight years in a row, diehard that she is!

I, on the other hand, had reached the grand age of 50 without ever having been to one!  Although I'm a huge music lover, I'm not into big crowds, I leave muddy fields to cows and the idea of camping brings me out in hives.  I'm a gal who likes her creature comforts; clean sheets at the end of the day and a fully flushing loo!

However, being something of a jazz fanatic, I've wanted to go to the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, since its inaugural year in 2013.  As part of my 50th birthday present, Tall Brown Fox surprised me with tickets!  He's a grand man, that chap!



Festival dressing is dependent on 4 things.  Amend that!  PRACTICAL festival dressing in the UK is dependent on 4 things;

- Weather on the days leading up to the festival.  Monsoon weather = MUD!
- Weather / temperature on the day.
- Mode of travel to site.
- Length of stay at festival.

I can't tell you how much I'm so over the boho, hippy chick festival look.  To be fair I was never really in to it.  If it's been done a thousand times, it's been done to death!  Besides, July in the UK, when the festival was held, can either be as scorching as a pizza oven or wetter than a swimming pool.

There was no way you were going to find me wafting around a field with a plastic flower ring in my hair.


My main priorities for my outfit choice were comfort, practicality and fun!  After all, I was going to a music festival, not a fashion parade.  We were only there for one day of the weekend long festival and although we drove to it, once inside the site, we wanted to travel light, meaning not being burdened down by back packs and excess stuff.

COMFORT
- Clothes you can move in and don't mind being in for a good 12 hours.
- Black lycra leggings - plenty of give and stretch for dancing (and er...  attempting to climb flag poles).  Cooler than jeans but warmer than shorts.

PRACTICALITY
The lady we saw wearing high heeled sandals - I kid you not - clearly had not received the memo!

- As the site is a field, mud is a given so clothes and footwear I didn't mind getting dirty, wet or accidental food stains on.
- Layers for sun protection.
- Layers for when the temperature drops in the evening.
- Lightweight, waterproof, breathable jacket in case of showers.  The day before, it had teemed down, drenching festival goers.

FUN
- A graphic tee - always a good choice and I had an eye-catching one up my sleeve.  My silver metallic leopard tee!
- Pattern mixing - it's a raucous array of patterns here.  Graphics, checks, polka dots and camo!  Heck, I'm even doing double polka dots with my wellies and waterproof jacket!

Who wants to wear boring black wellies when you can strut around in 
multi-coloured, polka dot ones instead?


I wasn't the only one with fun wellies.

Aren't these doggie ones adorable?


No, I've no idea why I tried to climb a flagpole either, other than to have fun!

Told you the leggings were a good choice!  Plenty of give and stretch, you see?


Whilst Tall Brown Fox opted for a beverage of black coffee, he kindly treated me to a glass of champagne.

Why slum it when you can kick back and listen to first class music with a first class drink!


Here I am glowing in the glow of the late afternoon sun!

I look more like a lobster in this photo than I actually did.  Still, my companion, the leopard, rather liked basking in the warmth of it all.  Especially when a fellow festival goer complimented me on my tee.

I'm just one cool cat really.


Thankfully, the sun shone all day and the only time I needed my jacket was in the evening as an extra, windproof layer over my fleece that I had stashed in the car as a standby.  It's amazing how quickly the temperature drops once the sun has set.  When there's an open field, the wind will blow.

Where I lead, many will follow.  Don't be surprised if next year, everyone's wearing double dots.  
You saw it here FIRST folks!


Festival Footnote

At these events it's all about feeling good and enjoying the sights and sounds.  And my, our cup runneth over with wonderful sounds from bands and musicians I'd never heard of, to more established acts like Melody Gardot, Caro Emerald, The Average White, Band, Kelis and Burt Bacharach to name but a few.

And one of the many highlights of the day was when Avery Sunshine signed my copy of her album after her storming set and she graciously posed for a snap of us together.

Doesn't she look fabulous in that black top?


Have you been to many music festivals?  If so which ones?

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