Monday, April 21, 2014

Back Porch Survival Kit For The Guys

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Scandinavian Tobacco Group Lane, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CuberoLuxury http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

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What this could really be called is "how to keep the guys outside and not interrupting you every five seconds so you can have girl time" Kits but that just didn't seem to have the same ring to it.


Everyone knows the situation: You have a few couples over for dinner and then afterwards the girls want to stay inside drinking wine and gossiping while the men head outside for cigars and a drink. But inevitably, the sliding glass door will open and someone's husband will ask for ice a snack or another dessert. And sure enough, girl time gets interrupted over and over again.


So for our next get together, I assembled some man kits which will hopefully keep the men out on the back porch around the fire pit for a least a little bit so we ladies can have some quality talk time with our wine.


I went to Walmart and grabbed a variety of Cubero Cigars. The size, packaging and variety of blends gave me the perfect selection to include to make sure that everyone has something to make them happy. I also grabbed some smoked almonds and dark chocolate. I swung by the liquor store and grabbed a few mini bottles of whisky to complete my man essentials.


After our next dinner, all I have to do is put some ice in some little tubs, add a small plastic cup and my Cubero Cigars and other items. This way the guys can enjoy their evening outside on the back porch and have everything they might need right at their fingertips.

This means happy husbands and happy wives since we won't be jumping up every five seconds to bring them ice, a drink or a snack.

I am not a doctor or a healthcare professional. Please be sure to enjoy everything show in this post responsibly and in moderation, and that includes the dark chocolate : ) 



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{Skinny} Root Beer Float Trifles

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV


It is said that nothing is certain but death and taxes and if you live in South Florida, you can probably add swim suit season to that list. Every year without fail the warm weather sneaks up on us and next thing you know it's daytime highs of 90 degrees and sunny and the beach and pool become a regular weekend event.


Warmer weather also means that after a day out in the hot sun all I want is a cold bubbly drink or a cool refreshing treat. And with swim suit season looming on the horizon, I am trying to find a way to have my cake (or soda, or ice cream) and eat it too. Have I used up my cliche quota for this post yet?

One of the ways you can swap out a high calorie beverage for a lower calorie one is by checking out the new line of TEN Sodas. With ten calorie per serving versions of 7-Up, Sunkist, Canada Dry & A&W Root Beer you will be sure to find something to satisfies your soda craving without making you sacrifice flavor.


Seeing the A&W TEN on the shelves during a recent trip to Walmart finally gave me the push I needed to try out one of those cake recipes you see on Pinterest where the recipe is touted as being as easy as mixing a can of low calorie soda with a box of cake mix. I feel like I have pinned some version of that dessert at least a hundred times in the last year but I have never had the motivation to actual make it.


While at Walmart,  I grabbed a box of German Chocolate cake mix, some fat free Cool Whip and a box of sugar free Jell-O pudding mix and headed home to put Pinterest to the test. The cake turned out amazing, I was prepared for it to be not as good as regular cake but really it was fantastic.


Since I was hoping to make this a treat that I could use to replace the desire for ice cream after a hot day, I decided to jazz up the cake a little bit. I mixed the box of sugar free pudding mix into the fat free Cool Whip to make my own lighter version of icing and then layered it with pieces of cake and sprinkles to make my  own version of a root beer float trifle.


Stored in the fridge these are the perfect little treat for the end of the day and a while they aren't completely calorie free, they definitely have a lot less sugar and fat than your typical frozen treat. With only four 1 inch squares of cake and a little whipped topping each, they can satisfy your sweet tooth without filling you up.

I am now imaging all kinds of versions of this dessert. Sunkist TEN Creamsicle Trifles anyone?

Skinny Root Beer Float Trifles

  • 1 box of German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 12 oz of A&W TEN Root Beer
  • 1 tub of fat free Cool Whip
  • 1 box of sugar free Jell-O vanilla pudding mix
  • Cherries and chocolate sprinkles for garnishing, optional

1.) Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the soda and the cake mix.

2.) Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

3.) While the cake is baking, stir the pudding mix into the Cool Whip and set aside.

4.) Once the cake has cooled, cut into one inch squares.

5.) Press or crumble two squares into the bottom of each cup.

6.) Using a spoon or a piping bag, add a small layer of the Cool Whip pudding mixture, add in a few sprinkles if desired.

7) Add two more squares of crumbled cake, top with Cool Whip pudding mixture and add a cherry and sprinkles.

8) Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy when ever you need a cool, refreshing treat.

Want to try the TEN line of sodas for yourself? Head on over to Walmart.com and print a coupon for up to $1.50 off your purchase of  TWO 2 Liter bottles or TWO 4-pack cans of 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Canada Dry TEN, RC TEN or Sunkist TEN soda. (Offer available while supplies last, from 3/27-4/17) You can also visit DPSG on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about the TEN line of sodas.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Saved 74% at Publix- Spent $21 for $81 Worth


After a relaxing week of Spring Break and a few days at Disney World I am back to work and reality this week. And reality means needing groceries. So I hit up Publix on Tuesday to grab a few things we were low on (clearly yogurt) and a few super deals to hold us off until I shop the new ad this weekend.

I was a little disorganized this week so I probably missed out a few good deals due to the fact that I just couldn't get all my coupons together. My store was also out of a couple of the super deals so I had to skip them.

I used my two $5/$30 Winn Dixie coupons as usual which really helped bring my total down. I had gift cards from blog promos for the whole total out of pocket so I was happy not to need any of my weekly grocery cash budget. I have a HUGE list for this weekend so hopefully everything lines up right and I can get it all.

Breakdown of Tuesday's Publix trip:
Total retail value: $81.37
Total spent: $21.18
Total saved: $60.19
Percent saved: 74%

What I got with coupon/sale match ups:

  • Bag of Publix salad, retails for $3.09, on sale for $2.00
    • Used a $2 off Publix produce WYB any 2 Ziploc bags Green Ad. Flyer coupon
    • Made it FREE
  • 1 bottle of Seventh Generation Dish Soap, retails for $3.38, on sale for $2.71
  • 2 boxes of Ziploc bags, retails for $2.39 each, on sale for $2.00 each
    • Used a .75/2 coupon from the 3/16 SS
    • Made them $1.62 each (plus I got FREE salad with the $2 off produce coupon)
  • 2 Friendship Sour Creams, retails for $2.35 each, on sale BOGO ($1.18 each)
  • 3 Dannon Okios Green Yogurts, retails for $1.20 each
  • 1 jar of California Sundried Tomatoes, retails for $6.99, on sale for $3.99 
  • 2 bags of Ricework Crisps, retails for $2.89 each, on sale for $1.44 each
  • 1 bottle of California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil, retails for $8.99, on sale for $4.49
  • 1 package of Mission Tortillas, retails for $2.19, on sale for $1.50
  • 1 dozen Publix eggs, retails for $2.29
  • 6 Muller Greek Yogurts, retails for $1.25 each, on sale for $1 each
    • Used two $1/3 blinkie coupons found in store
    • Used one $2/5 coupon from the 3/2 RP
    • Made them .50 cents each
  • 2 boxes of Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, retails for $3.69 each, on sale for $2.50 each
  • 2 packages of Philly Creme Cheese, retails for $2.94 each, on sale for $1.50 each
  • 1 four pack of Starkist Tuna, retails for $6.55, on sale for $3.99
  • 1 box of Alka-Seltzer Cold & Flu, retails for $5.29, on sale for $4.99
    • Used a $2 off coupon from the 3/16 SS
    • Made it $2.99
  • Bag of matchstick carrots, $1.89

How did you do this week? Comment with your best deals or leave a link to your shopping posts!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Baked Cadbury Egg Donuts

Light and fluffy chocolate donuts made from boxed muffin mix topped with white chocolate candy coating and crushed Cadbury Mini Eggs for an easy and beautiful holiday breakfast treat. 


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With only two weeks until Easter, I would usually be done posting holiday recipes. But these were too good not to share. These donut have been in my head since December when I made these Peppermint Bark Donuts. They were so easy and so good that I started imagining all of the different possible topping combinations that could be used on them. And the first thing that came to mind? Cadbury Eggs.


When it comes to Easter candy, I have a constant internal battle going on between Cadbury Cream Eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs. The Creme Egg is perfect for when you want one really decadent treat to satisfy a craving. But the Mini Eggs? Those guys are for when you want to snack on something sweet and crunchy while watching Grey's Anatomy on the couch in your pj's. One intense dessert vs. a handful of chocolatey bites. How to choose?


Luckily, logistics chose for me in this dessert. While I am sure Cadbury Creme Eggs would be over the top good on these donuts, I don't know how pretty they would look. And since everyone knows that cuteness is at least as important as taste (maybe even more important) when it comes to holiday treats the Mini Eggs won.


I am obsessed with how easy this recipe is. I used boxed chocolate muffin mix and baked it in my Wilton Donut Pans . I dipped the tops in Candiquik and then pressed them crushed Cadbury Eggs. The whole dozen was ready in 45 minutes start to finish (and that includes 12 minutes of baking time.


These donuts would be perfect for an Easter brunch, class party and the look adorable on a white cake plate as a center piece. I love that you can switch it up by using different batters (boxed or homemade) and I am already thinking of all the different Easter candies I might use next time around. Reese Pieces Eggs anyone?


Baked Cadbury Egg Donuts
  • 1 box of Chocolate Muffin Mix and the ingredients called for on the box
  • 1 package of white chocolate Candiquik
  • 1 cup of Cadbury Mini Egg crushed
1.) Following the instructions on the box, prepare the muffin mix batter. 

2.) Using a pastry bag without a tip or a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off and fill a donut pan with the muffin batter.

 3.) Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

4.) Melt Candiquik according to the directions on package and dip the top of each donut into the melted topping.

 5.) Crush Cadbury Eggs and put them on a plate. Press freshly dipped donuts into the crushed candy canes and place on a cooling rack to dry. 

6.) Store in an airtight container and enjoy! 


Monday, March 31, 2014

Theme Park Health & Wellness Kit {Staying Pain & Allergy Free On Vacation}

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its client #WellAtWalgreens . All health related suggestions and opinions expressed in this post are all my own. 



Last week we spent part of my Spring Break at Disney World. We took advantage of the Florida Residents' Three Day Pass and to make sure we got the most out of our money, we pretty much spent 12+ hours a day in each park. Since we didn't plan on leaving the parks during the day, I wanted to make sure that we had everything we needed on hand to relieve pain and allergy issues so we didn't get stuck without necessities and so we also didn't end up having to pay high theme park prices for health and wellness items.


The week before our trip, I got a list together and headed to Walgreens to put together a Health & Wellness Kit to keep in our backpack for our days in the parks. During the month of March, Well at Walgreens products are buy one get one 50% off which was nice because between the promotion and my Balance Rewards card I was able to get what I needed without spending too much. I also love that from February 1, 2011 through December 31, 2014, 1¢ from the purchase of every Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness product, up to $3 million a year, will go towards bringing preventative wellness services to local communities through the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment®.


My Walgreens had a huge selection of Well at Walgreens products as well as tons of other things that I would consider a "necessity" for surviving three full days of theme parks.

Here is what I included in our Theme Park Health & Wellness Survival Kit:
  • Walgreens Pain Reliever Extra Strength Quick Gels 100 ct: Whether it's for a headache or backache from standing in line for hours, pain reliever was a must for us. It was nice to have it on hand for the day but we really ended up needed it at night after a full day of walking and standing. 
  • Sunscreen: Even though it was nice and cool during our days in the parks, the Florida sun can burn you even on a cloudy day. It was nice to have a travel sized face sunscreen to reapply as needed throughout the day. 
  • Wal-Dryl Allergy Relief: Not only is this great for possible bug bites and general allergies, but I also have some pretty serious food allergies. I always keep this on me when we travel and when eating in new restaurants it is imperative that I have this just in case I accidentally try something without knowing what is in it. 
  • Hand Sanitizer: Thousands of people in the same place touching everything. Clearly this was very needed. We were very happy to have it when we grabbed a Mickey pretzel from a kiosk after hanging on for dear life to the dirty handrail on Splash Mountain. 
  • Walgreens Acid Controller Complete: Disney in general has some great food and dining options and that can sometimes lead to a little bit of overindulging. These were great to have on hand especially after our day at Epcot where we spent a few hours sampling small plates from around the world. 
  • Large Fabric Bandages: Theme parks mean tons of walking. These were the perfect size for the backs of our heels to keep our shoes from rubbing and creating blisters. 
  • Chapstick: Sun, wind and fast paced theme park rides meant we were constantly looking for lip balm for our chapped lips. 
  • Hairties: Many people may not consider these a necessity but when you have as much hair as I do, I consider it an emergency to be without something to keep my hair back.
  • Gum: Because who wants to have bad breath when meeting a Disney princess? 

To be honest, I was actually surprised how many times we reached for this kit over the course of three days. Justin actually started to tease me because everytime he would ask for something I would respond with "its in the kit". What do you keep in your travel kit? Anything you can't live without that I should add for next time?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies {With Philadelphia Blueberry Cream Cheese}

 I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #SpreadTheFlavor





I think it is safe to say that Spring has officially sprung here in South Florida. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and fresh flowers and fruit are everywhere. With all the amazing spring produce in stores, I was inspired to whip up some amazing Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies made with fresh blueberries and Philadelphia Blueberry Cream Cheese.


These cookies are the spring time version of a family favorite: my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies that I usually make in the fall. When I saw Philadelphia's Blueberry Cream Cheese made with more real fruit at Walmart this past week, I knew it was time for those cookies to be reborn with a fresher take.


You can eat these by themselves or you can sandwich some Cool Whip mixed with fresh blueberries in between them for a fun and refreshing treat after a day outside enjoying the warmer weather. I love that I could incorporate some fruit into a cookie recipe because I always feel a dessert with fruit in it is a little bit better for you than one without.


Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies
  • 10 tablespoons of butter
  • 8oz. of Philadelphia Blueberry Cream Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • Optional: Lite Cool Whip and additional berries
1.) Beat together butter, cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

2.) Mix together the rest of the dry ingredients (except blueberries).

3.) Slowly add and beat in dry ingredients mixing only until fully incorporated. 

4.) Stir in cup of blueberries.

5.) Using a rounded cookie scoop, place scoops of dough onto a lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

6.) For a fun twist, spread Lite Cool Whip mixed with fresh blueberries between to cookies. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

20+ Easter Desserts



Easter is only three weeks away! Here are over 20 delicious Easter desserts to help you and your family celebrate in the weeks to come!



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Greek Yogurt Chicken Alfredo Pasta {A Lightened Up Weeknight Dinner Recipe}

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

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Even with all the cooking I do, I still struggle with weeknight dinner recipes. I am always faced with the dilemma of choosing between something easy (and usually not so healthy) and something that is better for me but usually requires a little more work. This Chicken Alfredo pasta is the perfect compromise.


It tastes like something sinful but it has no cream, no butter and no cream cheese. It tastes like something you would be cheating with but only takes minutes to make. In my opinion that makes it the ideal Tuesday night dinner option. I love feeling like I am indulging myself without having to go crazy in the kitchen or feel like I am. The Greek yogurt gives it that creamy taste without all the fat and made it super filling too.


One of the key's to making this recipe taste so buttery without using actual butter is that I used Star Butter Flavored Olive Oil to saute my garlic and start my sauce. I could really taste the butter flavor throughout the whole dish even though I only used a tablespoon for the whole recipe. I always make sure that I grab a bottle when I am in Walmart since you can only find this flavor of Star Oil there.


I love that you can prep parts of this recipe ahead of time as well. I baked up my chicken right when I got home and then sliced it up and stuck it in the fridge. You can also boil your pasta ahead of time and toss it in a little Star Oil to keep it from sticking while you make your sauce. You could easily switch this recipe up by adding bacon or instead of chicken. I am not ashamed to admit that I ate it for dinner on Monday and for lunch the next day too.


I was happy to see that Chicken was on sale at Publix this week so I grabbed some fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts on my way home from work on Monday as well as a few other things I need for the recipe. I also grabbed a can of bread stick dough so I could make a batch of these Quick & Easy Garlic Knots to pair with our pasta. We added a side salad to our pasta and knots and it felt like we were eating dinner at an Italian restaurant instead of at our kitchen table with House  Hunters on in the background.


Greek Yogurt Chicken Alfredo Pasta
  • 1 tablespoon Star Butter Flavored Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg (can be adjust to personal tastes)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (you can use reduced fat if you prefer)
  • 1 cup of fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 pound of linguine pasta
  • 1 pound of chicken
1.) Before starting your sauce, cook your pasta as directed on the package, strain, toss in a little bit of oil to keep from sticking and set aside. 

2.) While the pasta is cooking, bake or grill your chicken in whatever way you prefer. I found that having it cooked and sliced ahead of time was easiest. 

3.) In a large sauce pan, heat Star Butter Flavored Olive Oil and saute garlic in it for about 2 minutes. 

4.) Stir in corn starch and nutmeg to make a rue. 

5.) On medium heat, whisk in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. 

6.) Stir in frozen peas and carrots and bring sauce back up to a simmer.

7.) Lower the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted. 

8.) Right before serving, stir in the Greek yogurt and then toss the pasta and cooked chicken into the sauce. 

9.) Best served right warm right after mixing in the yogurt. You can store left overs in the fridge and use a little oil or a little chicken broth to thin it out when reheating. Enjoy! 


Check out my Quick & Easy Garlic Knots recipe using Star Butter Flavored Olive Oil:


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saved 84% at Publix- Spent $15 for $96 Worth

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I had an amazing trip to Publix earlier this week. It was the first time in a long time that I have felt like I got alot of great deals for a wide variety of things. I even got really cheap produce. I was very excited to hear that my Publix now will NOT require me to separate my transactions to use multiple $X/$XX coupons so I was able to do one big transaction and use two $5/$50 Winn Dixie coupons

I also had a $25 from working with General Mills and Platefull Co-Op, so I didn't spend a dime out of pocket this week. We will probably spend about $10 at the local produce stand but that still gives us plenty of extra grocery cash to save towards our upcoming Spring Break trip to Disney.

Breakdown of Saturday's Publix trip:
Total retail value: $95.72
Total after sales, coupons and cashback: $15.59
Total saved: $80.13
Percent saved: 84%

What I got with sale/coupon match ups:
  • 1 pint of Strawberries, retails for $5.09, on sale for $1.67
    • Used a $1 off fresh fruit Target home mailer coupon
    • Earned .50 cents cash back from Checkout 51
    • Made them .17 cents!
  • 2 bags of Halls Cough Drops, retails for $1.99 a bag, on sale BOGO (.99 cents a bag)
    • Used two .55 cents off peelie coupons found on product
    • Earned $1 back from Checkout 51
    • Made them FREE plus an .11 cents moneymaker
  • 1 bag of Publix baby carrots, retails for $1.79, on sale for $1.25
    • Used a $1 off fresh veggies coupon from a Target home mailer
    • Made them .25 cents!
  • 2 Suave Natural Infusions Products, retails for $3.49 each
  • 1 Colgate Optics Toothpaste, retails for $4.39, on sale for $3.00
  • 1 half gallon of Almond Breeze Almond Milk, retails for $3.35, on sale for $2.50
  • 6 Pillsbury products, retails for $1.79- $1.59, on sale for $1 each
    • Used a .40/3 coupon from the 1/26 SS
    • Used a .50/3 Publix digital man. coupon
    • Used two .$1/3 Publix in store display coupons
    • Made them .51 cents each
  • 2 Pop Secret Popcorns, retails for $5.45 each, on sale BOGO ($2.72 each)
  • 1 can of Planters Peanuts, retails for $3.51, on sale for $2.00
  • 5 Yoplait Greek Yogurts, retails for $1.20 each, on sale for $1
    • Used two FREE Blended Green Yogurt WYB Yoplait Greek 100 Publix coupon, (-$2)
    • Used a $1/5 Publix digital coupon
    • Made them .40 cents each
  • 2 Hawaiian Tropics Sunscreen Sprays, retails for $7.99 each, on sale for $3.99 each
  • 2 Speed Stick Deodorants, retails for $2.79 each, on sale BOGO ($1.39 each)
    • Used two $1 off coupons from the 3/9 SS
    • Made them .39 cents each
  • 2 boxes of Lance Crackers, retails for $3.19, on sale for $2.00 each
  • 2 packages of Mission tortillas, retails for $2.79, on sale BOGO made them $1.40 each 
  • 1 bag of Publix salad, retails for $3.09, on sale for $2.50
  • 1 dozen Publix eggs, retails for $2.29
    • Used a .50 cents off eggs coupon from a Target home mailer
    • Made them $1.79




Also this week at Publix make sure to grab a copy of the weekly sale ad (in stores through Wednesday) and take advantage of some of the amazing coupons. These March Savings coupons make for some pretty cheap meal options. Here is what you will find:

Look for coupons and details in the Publix® weekly ad, 3/12/14 – 3/19/14 (in-store start dates may vary in certain markets). Coupons valid 3/12 – 3/26.
  • Save $1 on Publix® Deli Chicken with the purchase of Betty Crocker® Potatoes (3.7 – 6.6oz)
  • Save $2 on Publix® Fresh Fruit with the purchase of one box of Oatmeal Crisp® Raisin, Oatmeal Crisp® Almond, or Basic 4® (16-18oz)
  • Save $2 on Publix® Ground Meat (any size package) with the purchase of two (2) LAY’S® Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips (7-8.5oz)
  • 2 for $6 Propel items (6pk 500 ml)
  • 2 for $4 Betty Crocker® Helper® Ultimate Skillet Dinner
  • Save $3 on Publix® Fresh Fruit with the purchase of two Quaker® Instant Oatmeal
  • Save $2 on a Publix® Bakery item with the purchase of any Breyers® product (48oz)
  • Save $3 on Publix® Shrimp or Chicken with the purchase of three Knorr® Sides
  • Save $1 on Publix® Produce Potatoes with the purchase of one Lipton® Recipe Secrets®
I am loving the coupon for $3 off fruit when you buy Quaker Oatmeal and the one for $2 off meat when you buy Lays Kettle Chips. What coupons are you most excited about?


Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

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