71 Books in 2017

I haven’t written here in forever and a day but did want to share my 2017 reads for all my reader friends.

My goal for the year was to read 50 books; I ended up finishing 71! I honestly don’t know when I find the time to read. Some books I fly through in a day (on the weekends, of course. And I read a lot of Young Adult–those tend to be super easy) and some books, it takes me several weeks.

My 2018 goal is to read 75 books. Fingers crossed! I also want to join a book club. Half the fun of reading a good book is being able to talk/share it with others. And I’d like to do a better job of updating my Goodreads account.

Here are my favorites for the year:

 

And here are all 71 books:

The Things We Bury by Allen Eskins

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

The Widow by Fiona Barton

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout

The Book of Joy: Finding Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Never Never by Colleen Hoover

Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover

Never Never Part 3 by Colleen Hoover

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

First & Then by Emma Mills

Steering the Stars by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman

The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino

Chasing Polaris by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell

Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Who Do you Love by Jennifer Weiner

When Life Happened by Jewel E ann

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

The Ex by Alafair Burke

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

Nowhere but Here Renee Carlino

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

The Dry by Jane Harper

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

I see London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer Armentrout

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

By Your Side by Kasie West

The One that Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Best Day Ever by Kaira Roud

The One that Got Away by Bethany Chase

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

 

 

 

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Pinterest Dreams

The move-in date to our new apartment is still several weeks away but that definitely hasn’t stopped me from beginning the decorating process. We aren’t starting from scratch whatsoever as I have most of my decor from my Phoenix apartment hiding in my parent’s house or in storage, yet I find myself still pinterest-ing (yes, a verb). In my next life I plan to be an interior decorator. These home decor images are all of the heart eye emojis.

Kitchen // I LOVE the maps as wallpaper (so much so that each of these are pinned more than once…). I also love a kitchen with white cabinets, subway tile, and open shelving. And something you’ll probably see in all of these pictures– I love a good pop of color.

 

 

 

Living Room // I am a huge fan of gallery walls and (again) pops of color. I love how everything in these rooms isn’t too matchy-matchy and blends just enough.

 

 

 

Books // In moving back to California, I got rid of so many of my books because I didn’t want to have to transport them. I kept my favorites of course and due to my Kindle being so much more convenient (and cheaper!), I’m not really buying any new books but hopefully some day the collection will grow enough to be able to fill up a space like the ones below.

 

 

Perhaps I’ll share the pins for other rooms (bathroom, outdoor space, etc) in another post but they would pretty much be along this same theme! Color and pattern mixing galore!

On My Radar

HAPPY LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL! Yes, that deserves ALL CAPS! Besides it being almost summer break, here are some other things I’m currently loving:

Scandal // I am finally getting back into Scandal. I watched religiously but got really tired of the Olivia/Fitz back and forth drama so I stopped watching. One of my co-workers encouraged me to jump back on board and it only took a few minutes to suck me back in. If you haven’t watched, you can start from the very beginning on Netflix. It has several seasons so it is intimidating but I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll fly through.

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Our new home // Michael was back in town for a short 36 hours or so and in that time, we signed a lease! We are both currently month to month and had the end of July as our goal for moving into a new place. We toured a couple options and got scared by the prices in others (parking for an extra $350 a month?!), but we found a place that we loved and signed the lease! Neither of us thought we would be signing anything but the dates lined up perfectly. I am already decorating our new place in my head (and trying to find a place for Michael’s Steph Curry poster 😉 ).

This Target ad // Target is already my favorite store… you can literally be trapped in there for a month (or longer) and you’d survive. It has everything. I was super happy to see this sweet girl featured as a model in this week’s ad! I know Target is known for featuring models with disabilities but I had yet to see any of those ads. I hope that it eventually becomes the norm. It’s discouraging to me that part of my post is about how cool it is to see when really, it should just be expected and something I don’t have to point out. But anyways, go Target!

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The Forever Summer // Well, the time has come. I have four books that I’ve had on hold forever and they’ve all become available to me AT THE SAME TIME! Thankfully, due to how good my current book is, I should be getting started on the next one fairly soon. I’ll review it more fully in my book review at the end of the month but if you’re in search of a good summer beach read, The Forever Summer is it. Each of the characters is likable, the setting is perfect (Cape Cod), and there is just enough drama/twists that make me keep reading.
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Roomie Visit! // So you’ll be hearing about this in a whole other post but Whitney is here on Saturday! We have a very long to-do list (with some relax time to veg with some good television). On our list: the beach, Disneyland, taping of The Ellen Show, happy hour at Sur and Pump (they are filming. Maybe this will be the visit we finally see our fave train wrecks!), hiking, and potentially seeing Jimmy Kimmel. We also have some food (fro yo) that is high up on our priority list. This is definitely the perfect way to dive right into summer! The picture below is during the last LA visit (sorry that my arm wasn’t long enough to get us all in, Steph).

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What’s Up Wednesday

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I’m linking up again this month with Mix and Match Mama for What’s Up Wednesday. This month hasn’t been too exciting but let me tell you, I am SO looking forward to summer break.

What I’m eating this week:

I’m definitely not eating anything too excited (as always) but I will say again that I can’t wait to get into a new apartment so I can cook (and bake!) at my heart’s desire. I think I will also be investing in a crockpot that should come in handy when I’m really lazy and want an easy meal to prep. That sounds like a Pinterest board waiting to happen!

What I’m reminiscing about:

Every Memorial Day weekend reminds me of watching the Indy 500 with my grandpa when I was younger. When Erin was in the hospital, my younger sister and I spent lots of weekends at my grandparent’s house and one weekend was over Memorial Day. This was maybe at the end of 5th grade. I wanted to be an IndyCar driver (only in the Indy 500 though) and even did a History Day project in 6th grade on the impact of the fuel changes. Whaaaat? Up until perhaps the end of high school, I continued to spend Memorial Day Eve at my grandparents and watched the race with my grandpa (complete with a wonderful breakfast of french toast!) the next morning. I may not watch anymore, but the race and Memorial Day weekend will always be special 🙂

What I’m loving:

I’m still loving the weather… it’s been in the 70/80s lately (with cooler mornings). Mom and I went on a hike to Mt Hollywood over the weekend and the weather was perfect. It’s nice to be able to plan things and count on the weather to be nice.

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What I’ve been up to:

The typical daily grind. The end of the school year is exhausting; I’ve been staying after school at least once or twice per week to tutor kids and allow them to get caught up on assignments. That makes for really long days and with all of the events of the end of the school year, I am thankful summer is right around the corner.

What I’m dreading:

Packing. I absolutely hate packing. I have a couple trips coming up in the next several weeks so I am definitely dreading the packing (and unpacking). Michael and I are also looking at apartments with a flexible moving date sometime in July. Bring on the boxes and packing tape!

What I’m working on:

Finding the perfect apartment. I do not like my currently living situation AT ALL. In fact, Michael is out of town for a big length of time in the coming weeks for work, so I stole his keys so that I could stay there some days. We are looking to move by the end of July and I compromised with moving downtown. I really like downtown and although I don’t want to be there longterm, it’s an easy place to be for now. My commute won’t be any worse than it is now and I’ll be happy to be able to walk to more things than I am able to now.

What I’m excited about:

SUMMER! My summer filled up quickly. Along with teaching summer school and attending professional development, I’ll be traveling to Washington D.C. and Boise and then hosting my bestie when she visits (and let’s be honest, that’s like a vacay for me, too). I currently have a to-do list going on my phone for all the Washington sites I want to visit. I’ve been twice but not since high school and I absolutely LOVE all things history so I can’t wait. Whitney and I plan to do Disneyland while she’s here and probably some other typical California activities like the beach. Oh! And we are going to go see a taping of The Ellen Show! One of our favorite artists (Joshua Radin) is playing in Boise which led to me booking a flight because that weekend also worked out perfectly for a visit!

What I’m watching/reading:

The Bachelorette is back! Michael and I also finished watching the new Master of None season on Netflix. There was a lot of time between seasons but we waited patiently for Season 2, and it didn’t disappoint. At first I didn’t like it as much as Season 1, but when we got to the last episode, I didn’t want it to end! Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another two years for the next season. I also started The Keepers on Netflix and oh boy, it is super intense and super disturbing.

As for reading… I read A TON this month. My May book review will be posted soon and thanks to state testing, I was able to get in some solid reading hours.

What I’m listening to:

I am really enjoying A R I Z O N A’s album. I don’t even know what the music would be classified as. EDM? Hopefully not because I am not into that AT ALL. Techno? That either. I really have no idea. But I’m loving it and it’s perfect summer music.

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What I’m wearing:

I love espadrilles and am so happy they are still in style! I bought this Sam Eldeman pair for my mama for Mother’s Day and they are currently on sale at Nordstrom! Debating buying myself a pair (hey, I made it through another school year! I deserve a reward!)

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What I’m doing this weekend:

Michael and I are going to look at some apartments on Saturday. We had Book of Mormon tickets but Michael is going to be out of town for work (darn NBA Finals) so we had to swap them for a different day.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

ALL THINGS SUMMER BREAK!!

What else is new:

I think I’ve covered it all!

April Book Review

This month’s reading included a ton of young adult contemporary novels as well as a couple “thrillers.” I was able to read 8 books this month which brings my yearly total to 18. Here are the books that I read this month. And as always, if you have any suggestions for me, be sure to leave a comment!

Unknown-1Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

This may be the one of the best books I’ve read so far this year*. And the best part is this author has a TON of other books for me to dig into! This book follows Lindsay who left her abusive husband years earlier. Fast forward ten years later when her ex-hubby, Andrews, gets out of jail (serving time for reckless driving and killing the other driver) and weird things start happening. They suspect it is Andrew trying to make her pay for leaving him years ago. The book kept me hooked the entire time and I’ll definitely be checking out other books by this author.

 

Never Never by Colleen HooverUnknown

Yupp, I read another Colleen Hoover book! This one she wrote with Tarryn Fisher. It was a super short read (one of the reasons why I wanted to read it) and was somewhat enjoyable. The book is told by alternating narrators, Silas and Charlie, who “wake up” in the middle of their day having no idea who they are or where they are. Helping each other, they both try to figure out who they are and why their memory got erased. It was a quick read and was decent enough. I didn’t connect to the characters like I have in other Colleen Hoover books but if you’re looking for a super quick read, this may be a winner.

24422492Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover

The first book left on a cliffhanger (or really, it just ended) so of course I needed to read the second book. It picks right up where the first left off and you come to find out that Silas and Charlie’s memories are erased every 48 hours. They have been writing down notes for their “new” selves to remember and try to figure out what is happening to them. I finished this one in about 2 hours. Still enjoyable but still not connecting to the characters like I usually do. Yet right after I finished this book, I downloaded the third…

 

Never Never Part 3 by Colleen HooverB01A2COA88.MZZZZZZZ

…and finished it in about 2 hours as well. These weren’t the best books I’ve very read whatsoever. The whole premise was weird and even in book three, I still cared very little about the characters. If you like Colleen Hoover, I’d say check these ones out. Or if you’re in the mood for a super quick, easy read. Otherwise I’d say spend your reading time on something a wee bit better.

 

 

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Unknown*I thought Never Let You Go was the best book I’ve read so far this year until I finished this one. The book starts with Will and Iris celebrating their seventh anniversary. The next morning, Will gets on a flight to Orlando. Fast forward a few hours later when Iris learns of a plane crash and finds out Will was on board. The kicker? The plane was headed to Seattle, not Orlando. Iris’ life begins to unravel when she realizes how little she knows about her husband and how he had been lying to her for years. There were tons of twists and turns and I gasped out loud at least twice. I also stayed up until 1030 to finish it and if you know me, something has to be really good for me to stay up past by bedtime. I am hoping this author has more books!

 

First & Then by Emma Mills

{84C2BFC3-6FBC-49DE-83DA-01DF25C289BF}Img400The old saying goes, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” Oops. I did with this one. The cover of this book is BEAUTIFUL! I saw it at Barnes and Noble forever ago, took a picture of it, and added it to my E-libary wish list. It took a couple of chapters to get into but I ended up enjoying it. Devon’s family takes in her cousin Foster after his father dies and his mother is unable to care for him. He is different and Devon is extremely protective and worried he won’t fit in. Foster ends up finding his place on the football team of all places and Devon continues to figure out her new life, with her new cousin and new relationships. Overall, an easy read. Somewhat predictable but really, aren’t all YA books?

Steering the Stars by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

51+kqM9m-HL._SY300_This book was super cute! It follows two best friends, Hannah and Caroline, and is told from their points of view in alternating chapters. Hannah is a writer and gets an opportunity to spend a year abroad in London at a prestigious school where she can work on her craft. That leaves Caroline in Oklahoma, where she has to navigate her junior year without her best friend. I really enjoyed both characters, as well as all the secondary characters. I read this one in less than 24 hours… because it was super easy and also because I enjoyed it. I sometimes am disappointed when books end because I want to stay with the characters a little longer and find out what happens, and this is one of those books. I would love for there to be a sequel.

 

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

{4EC78560-15E3-4EF2-8432-047F1705B873}Img400Okay, so I only read about 25% of this book in April. I had checked it out several weeks ago but in the middle of reading it, my loan period ended so it was deleted from my Kindle. There was no way I was going to buy the book when I was almost done with it, so back on the waiting list I went. Jessie moves to Los Angeles after her mother dies and her dad meets someone new. LA is totally different from her life in Chicago and the book follows her trying to navigate her new surroundings. Insert SN, an anonymous boy who begins emailing (and then texting) Jessie. There are several people who you think could be SN, but you don’t find out until the very last chapter. This one was a typical YA book, so of course I enjoyed it.

I am currently in the middle of Cancel the Wedding. You’ll have to come back next month for that review. Happy reading!

What’s Up Wednesday

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I am linking up again with Mix and Match Mama for What’s Up Wednesday. I haven’t been posting a whole lot lately so this post falls at a perfect time to cover all the bases of what I’ve been up to.

What I’m eating this week:

I am never eating anything too special. I don’t really cook full-on meals because of my current kitchen situation. Let’s just say that I am excited for a new apartment in July. Until then, it’s pretty easy meals. I did want to share two of my favorite Los Angeles restaurants so if you’re in the area, check them out!

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Home: There are two locations but I prefer the one in Los Feliz simply because of the outside seating area. It’s whimsical! I’ve only eaten here for brunch and but they have lunch/dinner options, too. Come early because it gets crowded!

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Panini Cafe: This is Michael’s favorite (thanks Kelley for the recommendation) and I’ve started to love it too for their breakfast options. I always get a breakfast wrap with fruit. Very filling and very yummy! The patio area at all locations are great for people watching, too.

What I’m reminiscing about:

It’s weird to think that I’ve almost been back in California for a year. I don’t know at what point I’ll stop describing me living here as being “back.” This time last year though I was finishing up the school year and packing up my apartment. I hate to admit that I was mentally checked out at work, but I definitely was. I was just counting down the days until I was done with my old school and was back home. Fast forward about 365 days later, and I am oh so much happier in every single way.

What I’m loving:

I am loving the spring weather! I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. Michael and I went hiking last weekend and checked out the LA Times Festival of Books at USC, where we ate lunch and read outside for a bit. My new school is all indoors so I don’t get to enjoy the weather during the day, but make sure to do a wog (walk/jog because let’s be honest, I don’t run) a few days a week after work. The picture below is the view on one of my walks this week. I love finding hidden gems like this one. The time change also helps and I love that it stays lighter later. Ask me in about 3 months if I’m loving the weather and I’ll probably say it’s too hot. I am enjoying it for now though!

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What I’ve been up to:

Most days seem like Groundhogs Day: wake up, traffic, work, traffic, work out, make dinner, watch tv, read, sleep, and repeat. With the events (aka stress) of the last month or so though, I will take Groundhogs Day!

What I’m dreading:

I don’t really think there is anything that I’m really dreading at the moment.

What I’m working on:

I am working on some (potential) travel plans! I have a few trips coming up (roomies, we need to start planning for our next Roomie Weekend) and I think I can talk Michael into a weekend trip to somewhere like Santa Barbara or San Diego. I’m also hoping to take a bigger trip over Winter Break. I have three weeks off so it would be the perfect time. I am throwing out ideas to Michael and the latest thought was Costa Rica. I went in high school and loved it. I remember it being really affordable too, and I’m not against traveling to places I’ve already been. I’ll probably look into some other Central/South America destinations. Europe is at the very top of my list, but I’ll save that until I have plentyyyy of time to see it all.

What I’m excited about:

SUMMER! With Spring Break behind me, I am now looking forward to summer. We have 7 weeks off, but I will be doing summer school for a majority of it so 7 weeks off turns into 3 weeks off. I know I shouldn’t complain; teachers get time off/holidays off/breaks during the year, but teaching is a hard gig and I look forward to my time off! But I also can’t complain about summer school either– I basically make a full days pay for only half a days work. My three weeks off will be spent relaxing, traveling to Washington D.C., and hanging with my bestie when she visits. Whitney hasn’t booked her flight yet, but it’s been discussed so I am counting it as a done deal 🙂

What I’m watching/reading:

I am, of course, watching my usual shows. Pretty Little Liars started back up again and I am anxious to see how it ends. Married at First Sight is back on and The Bachelorette is also back next month! And not long after that, Bachelor in Paradise!

During break, I binged on 13 Reasons Why. I thought it was really well done and definitely worth a watch. It’s way heavier than I thought it would be though. I read the book years ago and definitely didn’t remember most of what happened. Some of the scenes are really graphic and I wanted it to have a happy ending (spoiler: it doesn’t) but still enjoyed it and found myself rooting for (some of) the characters even though I knew how it would end. If you need a new show, check it out. And then find something happy to watch after!

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As for reading, I am currently one book 9 for April with Cancel the Wedding. Not sure if I will be done with it by the time by April Book Review post is up, but at the speed I read, it’s pretty likely.

What I’m listening to:

I heard two really good songs while watching 13 Reasons Why:

The Only Boy Awake by Meadows

The Night We Met by Lord Huron

And I also heard this one during the movie, Gifted (highly recommend!). I know it’s old but I’d never heard it before:

The Wind by Cat Stevens (the video I found for this one is super weird…)

What I’m wearing:

If you are a reader like me and want to share your love of books, check out these t-shirts from Book Shelf Tees. I found the online store via Instagram and fell in love with the adorable prints. I’ve ordered one shirt and have sent another as a gift. And you’re in luck because right now, everything in the shop is 20% off with the code MOTHERSDAY.

What I’m doing this weekend:

I will be enjoying an after-work hike and happy hour with co-workers on Friday followed by spin class the next morning. On Sunday, Michael and I will go out to Corona for a birthday lunch for my grandma and to meet a new member of the family (stay tuned for that post soon!). I’m not sure what the plans are for Saturday. We haven’t been to Disneyland for awhile so that will probably happen soon and we also have a Groupon for The Museum of Tolerance that we need to use at some point. And of course, some work because lesson plans and grading never seem to end.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

There are no special plans for May yet, but it’s just that much closer to summer!

What else is new:

That’s about it!

Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day! If you know me in real life or have just been reading my blog, it should come as no secret that I love to read. When someone asks me what my hobbies are, reading is always the first response. It’s always been like this. I remember in high school, freshman year, a new friend was walking with me to class and asked what I did for fun. My response? I like to read. Right after I said it I realized it probably made me sound like the biggest nerd and thought maybe I should have come up with a better answer. Fifteen years later, I’m no longer concerned with being a book-nerd.

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I think I love reading so much because of all the people you get to meet and the places you get to go, too. I realize it sounds really cheesy but characters as people I get to meet. I connect with some, don’t connect with others, experience happiness, tragedy, and all other things with them. And the settings of each of these books are places that I get to travel to and live in for hours, days, weeks… however long I am with these characters. I never understood when people say that they don’t like to read. It makes me sad that they are missing out on meeting so many wonderful (or maybe horrible) people and experiencing life in all kids of settings.

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Yesterday, Michael and I spent the afternoon at the LA Times Festival of Books. It was different than what I expected, but still really cool to see hundreds (I am bad at estimating) of booths and thousands of people there with one thing in common– books!

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If this wasn’t $15, it would have come home with me!

 

 

And now its Sunday afternoon and the work week is looming. It was a really low-key and enjoyable weekend… we caught up on Survivor, I read a whole lot, we both did work, and today was spent outside again, hiking to Griffith Observatory. Hope y’all have a wonderful week and the countdown towards next weekend starts… now!

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