Is it okay to ask who will be at an event?

Quite often I get questions about etiquette from friends and family and this summer has been no different. With all the cookouts happening this time of the year, I’ve gotten many questions that I thought were worth sharing in case they might help others out.  Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing some of these etiquette conundrums with y’all.

First up, I was recently asked by a friend who was attending one of my events if it was rude to ask who else would be coming to an event. To set the scenario up, this friend had already rsvp’ed that she and her family were attending the event when she asked me the question.

Here is my answer:  Yes it is rude and no it isn’t.  It really depends on when you ask the question. If you ask before the event, yes it is wrong.  I’m a hard core introvert and when I go somewhere, I LOVE to know who will be there so I can plan my escape socializing game plan if necessary so I understand the desire to know who will be at an event.  However, this isn’t always possible.  Asking before the event  indicates that you might be basing your decision to attend solely on who else is there or not there.  This can be hurtful to the host as well as those who might be attending a party you decide to decline the invite for.  Also, asking before the event indicates that you are trying to decide if the event is worthy of your presence and let’s be honest, that is self-centered and inconsiderate of the host who cared enough to invite you and their other invited guests.

I get it, you want to know who you can hang out with. If you can find out quietly by doing some investigating on your own, then by all means, go for it!  Maybe the host set up a Facebook event or sent online invites and you can see who else was invited.  However, if you can’t be discreet about it, decide on other merits and remember that we often get out of an event what we put into it.  If you want a good time, attend and be a part of the good time.

On the other hand, it is not rude to ask who will be at an event if you’ve already accepted the invitation.  There could be many reasons why you might ask who will be at an event; you might want to carpool with one of the other guests or you want to avoid talking about the event to someone who might not have been invited which could also be insensitive and cause a stir.  Nothing is worse than talking to someone about a party they were intentionally left out of (which is totally at the discretion of the host, by the way) only to realize they’re not on the guest list.

So go forth and enjoy all the great bbq summer has to offer with your friends and build great memories.  Just remember to always be kind and considerate while doing it.

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Favorite Goal Planning & Organizing Tools

2013 Shay Cochrane

I know it’s February  but it’s never too late to get started on a strategic plan for accomplishing your goals.  I’ve been asked many times about the tools I use to set goals and stay organized so I’m sharing them today in hopes they might help you.

Being a wife, mom to three kids (two in school), working part-time, running two family businesses, and volunteering can be chaotic at times to say the least.  In order to keep it all together, I have to stay organized, focused and determined. Although I don’t always hit the mark, my batting average would be a LOT lower were it not for the tools I use to set goals and keep me organized. The tools below are the my favorites for my life.  There are many tools out there so I encourage you to do your research and determine which fit your life the best.

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  1.   A time map– As a mom with a lot of intricate details and events to remember for my entire family, it’s pretty easy to blank out and forget something.  A time map is a tool I use to help me visualize my days  and know where I have the all allusive, free time.  This tool seriously helped me figure out where I was wasting my time and schedule my days more efficiently.  One of my favorite quotes from John Maxwell says “The secret of your success is found in your daily routine”.   Below is an example of the first time map I created.  I started with this and tweaked it as my family needs and schedule changed. Time map
  2. Powersheets- Powersheets are the brainchild of Lara Casey, editor of Southern Weddings magazine.  Lara created the powersheets to help women “uncover purpose-filled goals and strategically plan action steps to make what matters happen.” What I like most about the power sheets is that they allow you to put everything out there and walk you through each step to make great things happen.  They are simple and step by step.  They usually sell out but her shop recently re-stocked so if your interested in them, head on over there by clicking here.
  3. Day Designer– The Day Designer planner is the bread and butter of how I stay organized.  I’m in my 4th year using this planner and I can’t say enough good things about it.  Not only is it beautiful and well-made, it is a great tool for staying organized while also being mindful of your overall goals.  The layout includes priority “to-do’s,” expenses, meal planning and the all-important “don’t forget” items. Whitney English, the creator of the Day Designer, includes daily motivational quotes and gives you a place for gratitude which further allows you to focus on not just your schedule but also your health and well-being.  There are three versions of Day Designer available on the website; the flagship, full-size which is what I’ve always used, the mini, a smaller version of the flagship, and the recently released A5, a ring bound planner.  You can download  free daily and monthly planning pages on the Day Designer website to try out as well as access many other free downloads.  Whitney also partners with Blue Sky Planners to offer planners for those who are more cost-conscious.  Weekly and monthly planners can be found on the Blue Sky website while the daily version, much like the flagship is offered yearly at Target, usually in July.  The Target line also features and academic calendar planner. For more pictures and information not the Day Designer click the link found in the sidebar.   Disclosure: While I am a Day Designer affiliate, the opinion offered in this post are fully my own.
  4. A Well-Designed Year–    AWDY is another creation of Whitney English, the creator of the Day Designer.  I like to think that A Well Designed Year is a deeper version of the Powersheets.  It is a “Life Planning System” that helps you delve deep into your life by focusing on three areas (from the website):
    1.  Defining your Core: We start with discovering who you are, so you can focus on maximizing your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses. This process empowers you to honor your values, recognize areas in need of improvement, and utilize your passions as fuel for your journey.
    2. Heart Goals: We help you set focused, balanced goals in a way that’s totally different from the traditional goal-setting methods you’ve likely tried before. This revolutionary system will be eye-opening and life-transforming.
    3. Alignment & Action: Finally, we help you fine-tune your goals to ensure that what you’re aiming for is in line with who you are. Your to-do list means nothing if you lose yourself in the process of accomplishing what’s on it. We’ll help you keep your character and natural bent in mind when goal-setting.
  5. 2Do App– For several years I used an electronic calendar to stay organized.  While I like the functionality of an electronic calendar, I missed being able to write and check off my to-do list.  After moving to the Day Designer, I realized I still liked the convenience of having something electronic for quick access to certain things such as my grocery list. I use the 2Do app in conjunction with my Day Designer to jot down quick lists such as groceries, or to-dos I don’t want to forget. It syncs across all of my Apple devices so the information is available pretty much whenever I want to access it.  I periodically transfer the information from 2Do to my Day Designer which is my central planning tool.

I hope you find some of these tools useful.  Feel free to ask questions comment letting me know your favorite organizing and goal planning tool(s).

 

Woodland Baby Shower

This summer I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for my friend Morgan.  Morgan was once a nanny for our boys and we became really good friends during that time so I was over-the-hill-excited when she told me she was pregnant! I immediately declared “I’m giving you a baby shower!”

Morgan’s favorite store is Anthropologie so that’s where the ideas started to flow from.  I wanted an event that was intimate, full of color, rustic and somewhat eclectic; all of which I think of when I think of Anthro so I eventually settled on a woodland chic theme with a dose of monogram for good measure.

As fortune would have it, I had the cutest white, wood grain invitation pouches I had accidentally ordered that provided the perfect foundation for the invitations.  The details make an event so I focused on making sure the mom-to-be felt loved and each guest felt they were a part of something special.

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The mom-to-be and her mother-in-law entering the shower.

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I didn’t necessarily want to play a traditional party game so I created a game called “Who’s that Baby” and had each guest who wanted to participate send me a baby picture of herself. Each participant’s name was put on the list on the right with a blank.  The guest who guessed the most correct matches won the prize. A special shout to anybody who can figure out which baby I am!

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Aren’t these vintage schoolhouse chairs lovely?

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 Brunch was on the menu for the day. Besides a yogurt bar and fruit, quiche, southern ham biscuits, and homemade lemon, pound cake cupcakes were also served.

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Perhaps one of my most favorite elements of the day was the guest book.  Instead of a traditional guestbook, I opted to go with a photo guest book based on the three words concept originated by Good Morning America.  Guests were asked to give words of wisdom or thoughts for Morgan using just three words.  Below is a sample of some of the photos we captured.

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I’ll end with a picture of Morgan and me.  To say it was a pleasure throwing this baby shower would be an understatement.  I now get the pleasure of cuddling and playing with sweet, Baby B also.

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Scotty Russell- Hand lettering workshop

It’s my pleasure to introduce all of my readers to the Lettered with Love, hand lettering workshop instructor, Scotty Russell of The Perspective Collective. Scotty took some time to answer a few questions about his life as an artist and tell us a bit about what we can expect from the workshop experience.  BE SURE TO READ ALL THE WAY DOWN FOR A LITTLE SOMETHING SPECIAL!

CYP_final_squareTell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Waterloo native and have been drawing for well over 20 years. Art has always been a way for me to express myself and I have a passion for creating and teaching others.

I label myself as an illustrative lettering artist as I combine detailed illustrations along with hand lettering. It helps give my work that extra depth and provides a narrative to the viewer that solely illustrations or lettering can’t always deliver.

How did you first become an artist and get involved with hand lettering.

I can remember drawing way back to kindergarten — I was quite a wizard with the crayons. 🙂 I was constantly trying to draw my name and other peoples names in different styles growing up so I guess you could say I was doing hand lettering early in my life.

I officially became obsessed with it late 2013 and early 2014 and devoted a lot of focus to studying and deliberate practice. I rekindled my love for working with my hands and started to drift away from doing everything digitally. Hand lettering allows you to appreciate that human imperfection that a computer can’t give you.

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Many people see hand lettering and think calligraphy but the two are not the same. Can you tell us the difference(s)?

Calligraphy is the art of writing while hand lettering is the art of drawing lettering. Calligraphy is a single pass of the pen/tool to write as a form of art. It is more perceived as decorative handwriting.

Hand lettering is much more focused in the drawing process where you begin with sketching, revisions, inking and sometimes digitization depending on the final purpose of your work.

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Hand lettering is becoming more popular, why do you think there has been such a resurgence in this art form?

Everything is cyclical. Hand lettering is making its resurgence because everything had switched to the digital world causing you to lose that personalized human touch. With the rise of social media like Instagram and Pinterest, it was easily shared and consumed sparking a huge rise of popularity.

Businesses are more than ever are trying to find ways to stand out amongst competition and hiring a hand-lettered artist assures you have a customized, one of a kind piece to use within branding and advertising.

What can a participant in the Lettered with Love expect to learn?

If you’ve been interested in getting into hand lettering then this class is perfect for you. I really want to educate and present the basic process of how to take your sketches and turn them into a final piece to share with the world.

First we will go a little more in depth of what hand lettering is and how it differentiates from Calligraphy and Typography.

We will also be doing an overview of the basic tools you will be using throughout the class.

Next we will pick a desired word or short quote based not he theme and focus on making thumbnail sketches of the composition. We will stress the importance of starting off small and experimenting on the fly which is impossible to replicate on a computer.

We will cover the basics of using guides and building our thumbnails into larger, finessed compositions.

Once we finalize our base graphite drawing, we will explore the inking phase as we strive to get a polished piece that we can present or give as a gift.

The overall goal is to provide you with a final piece to share as well as build the necessary skills where you can succeed in hand lettering outside of the workshop.

Be sure to visit Scotty and check out more of his work and visit his inspiring blog.

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To celebrate the 2016 and the kick-off of our workshop series, I’m offering $25 off registrations to the hand lettering workshop through Monday! Just click here to register and enter the code hooray! to receive your discount.  As an added bonus, if  you and a friend register together, you get $30 off each of  your registrations.  Just email me at madelyn@madelynridgeway.com and I’ll send you the unique code for you and your co-registrant.

Lastly ……..drumroll please………………..  You have the opportunity to win a free seat to the workshop!  To enter, leave a comment telling one thing you’d like to create after learning to hand letter .  The contest ends Monday, January 11th at 9 pm cst. and the winner will be announced Tuesday, January 12th. If the winner has already registered, your registration fee will be refunded to you.

(limit one coupon code per registration)

Hand Lettering Workshop

I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself!  Way back when, I announced a plan to offer creative workshops featuring great artist and craftsman from Iowa and the Midwest.  I’m happy to announce that I’ve partnered with Scotty Russell of The Perspective Collective to offer the first workshop in this venture;

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Click for more information & to register

If you’re a creative person who wants to expand your creative knowledge and learn to turn your everyday, personal handwriting into beautiful, hand-lettered art, this class is for you.   You’ll also have the opportunity to network with other creatives from around the Cedar Valley & Iowa.

Join me later this week when I’ll be interviewing Scotty Russell, the workshop instructor, as he gives us a look into the world of hand lettering.

I’d love to see you there!

Giving is Good!

 

It’s been on my heart for a while now to do something big. I mean REALLY BIG! So because Christmas is coming and I really feel the need to give to others and because we could really use more good in our world right now, I’m giving away FREE STUFF!

Starting today through Saturday, I’m giving away 5 prints per day from the shop.  Yes, FIVE! So here’s the deal, because I want to give others the opportunity to spread some love and good cheer, you can give the print away or choose to keep it for yourself if you win.  To enter leave a comment below telling me who you would like to gift the print to and why they deserve something special, sign-up for the Love Letter newsletter here, and/or share this graphic on Facebook, Instagram or twitter.  Leave a comment below letting me know you shared it or signed up and you’ll be entered.  The more you share, the more entries you get.

My hope is to spread a little more love around. Now go share!!

What are your event colors saying?

color-meaningsThe colors you use when hosting your event can say a lot about not only the event but who you are as a person. Should your guest come expecting a lively, exciting party, a sophisticated and passionate event or a calm and relaxing, vintage-inspired affair?  The tone of your event is set with each component of the event starting with any  correspondence you send and the colors you use.

Today I want to delve into what the colors you use for your event say about you and your event. It’s sometimes thought that a person’s choice of colors for their event tends to be a subconscious reflection of their personality. Today let’s take a look at the colors red and yellow.

RED– The color red is a strong, energetic color that evokes passion, energy, and demands attention. Events that feature red are usually those where the hosts want to make a bold statement.  Red can be very versatile, though, with brighter versions being more energetic and darker shades being more powerful and elegant.red wedding

Keep in mind that red can mean different things to different people.  Outside the western world, red has different associations. For example, in China, red is the color of prosperity and happiness. It can also be used to attract good luck. In other eastern cultures, red is worn by brides on their wedding days. In South Africa, however, red is the color of mourning.

If you’re looking to use red as a main color in your event, what you pair it with can  contribute to creating a cohesive look that expresses who you are and what you want your guests to feel while attending your event.

Red flowers symbolize courage, respect, constancy, admiration and,  desire.

Red events, especially in weddings create a warm and stimulation moodRed is energizing. It excites the emotions and can evoke feelings of passion and excitement. But beware….The color red can stimulate the appetite, often being used in restaurants for this purpose.  You might make some of your guests REALLY hungry!

YELLOW– like the sun, denotes positivity and optimism. A yellow event brings joy and happiness to your guests

yellow eventExuding warmth and vitality and usually possessing a great sense of humor, people who love yellow are usually cheerful and optimistic. They tend to look forward to the future and are intellectual, creative and idealistic.

A yellow event creates a warm, welcoming, cheerful and happy mood which can often lift up the spirits of your guests.  You’ll often find yellow being used for events that celebrate new beginnings like baby showers.

Variations of yellow include; citrine, golden (lemon) yellow, cream and a darker, deeper yellow.

Yellow events tend to yell “let’s have some fun and be happy!” while Yellow flowers represent trust, compassion, respect, sympathy and warmth.

What about you?  What feelings or thoughts to the colors red and yellow evoke for you?

Dare to be you

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been unusually quiet around here lately and I apologize for that.  Life forced me to take a much-needed break from many things I’d been focused on and this blog just happened to be one of them.  It wasn’t intentional but it happened.  It started off with a surprise pregnancy and horrible morning sickness, add in two toddlers, commitments made to my previous job, a bunch of bumps in the road and a whole lot of distractions and you have the recipe for my extended absence.

This forced absence has caused me to do some real housecleaning in my heart, y’all.  It’s made me re-access everything I thought I knew and wanted for my life.  Am I really cut out for a life as a wife, mom, entrepreneur, active church volunteer and all-around encourager or is it better for me to drop everything and just be focused on one or two things? Do I postpone pursuing my dreams because life has gotten tough or do I push through because that’s what makes for a great success story?  These are all things I’ve been asking myself lately.

Thankfully, I finally feel like I’m traveling to the other side of the crisis and while I can’t confess that I’ve got it all figured out, I can say that I have a clearer path on how to proceed.  In the word of Dory from Finding Nemo I’m going to “just keep swimming”.

Today I want to share something that’s been stirring in my heart for a while now. Believe it or not, this post was actually written back in July! I haven’t had the nerve to post it until now. It seems like I’m back at the same place I was six months ago because this posts still rings true for me today. Through everything I’ve been wrestling with internally I realized that a lot of my uneasiness about my place in life was based on other people’s comments, looks, unspoken words, etc. You get the point…

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Here is what I’m learning. WE CANNOT ALLOW OUR DECISION TO BE BASED ON OTHER’S OPINIONS OF US.  Since each person has their own opinion, whose opinion will you use to make your decision? Do you see how this can lead you into a vicious cycle? I know firsthand about this because for far too long, I’ve been caught in this cycle.  To a certain extent, I still get on the roller coaster from time to time until I make a conscious effort that other’s opinions are their opinions and I refuse to live my life by their expectations.  It really is a daily battle.

The question is this: do we want to live a fragile life built around other’s expectations, experiences, and information (or lack thereof).  A life that can and will change when someone else comes along with a better argument about the way you should live your life and what you should be doing. Or would you rather live a flourishing life built around the Creator’s intricately, tailored plan just for you, your gifts and your experiences?  Which sounds better?

I’ll give you a very specific and personal example from my own struggles.  Several years ago I read a book called Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America.  A summary of the book from Amazon reads:

Shifting reveals that a large number of African-American women feel pressure to compromise their true selves as they navigate their lives. Black women “shift” by altering the expectations they have for themselves or their outer appearance. They modify their speech. They shift “White” as they head to work in the morning and “Black” as they come back home each night. They shift inward, internalizing the searing pain of the negative stereotypes that they encounter daily. And sometimes they shift by fighting.

I read the book and cried as I saw the double life I felt I lead was finally exposed on paper.  I never felt any of my work colleagues truly new me because there was always this other side of me I was afraid to reveal because of what they might think if they were shown my “other side”. I was often asked to represent the “Black voice” about current music and trends when I actually listened to NPR and have always been a huge Martha Stewart fan!  How was I to know what Jay-Z and Kanye’s music meant to a new generation of young Black people?

This is not just a Black woman thing.  It’s a human nature thing. I’m still faced with making the shift only now the groups are different; now it’s my Christian friends or my white friends or my friends who haven’t had many of the same experiences I have.  If I show them all of me, will they accept me or will they shun me for the little piece of me that isn’t like them and doesn’t fit into their idea of what “right” is.  Here’s the thing I know to be sure, It’s miserable to live trying to please everybody else and suppressing who you really are to appease others yet I see many people do it all the time.  I speak from experience when I say that living this way can lead you to a place where you’ve tried to please others for so long that you no longer know who you are.  I’ve been there and you can rebound from it but take my advise and don’t let yourself get to that point.

So here’s the biter of all this; it’s easy to see your side of this coin and say I won’t live my life based around someone else’s expectations yet it’s not so easy when we see others doing things we couldn’t necessarily see ourselves doing for our lives.  “I can’t believe she wants to stay at home with those kids all day”.  “What kind of mother works? Her children need her at home!”  We have to learn to give each other grace as women, as mothers, as Christians, as humans.  We all miss it and all too often we’re hard enough on ourselves without the added weight of other’s opinions.

What I’m saying is this; Let’s all strive to live our lives based on the person you were created to be and celebrate the unique gifts and individual bent God has given you. Let’s seek to see the good in each person we’re in contact with. Although different, we all have a story to tell.  That story just might surprise and help you if you’re open to hearing it.

I struggled with even putting this out for people to critique however as I’ve so often learned, if I’m struggling with it, there are others struggling with it.  Maybe this might help someone else. It certainly is serving as a pep talk to me!

In Love,

Madelyn

A new venture

Happy Friday!

I’m so excited to share two new offerings I’ve been working on for several months behind the scenes that will be debuting soon!  These new ventures are things near and dear to my heart and are at the core of who I am and what Madelyn Ridgeway Events is about.  Without further ado……….

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MADELYN RIDGEWAY LEARNING

MRE Learning blends my past as a facilitator and community specialist with my love of planning events, encouraging others and supporting the development of strong relationships.  It’s who I am at my core and what Madelyn Ridgeway Events stands for.  Offerings for the learning sessions will include all sorts of creative classes taught by some of the most creative minds in Iowa and the Midwest!  We’ll have sewing, photography, painting,  calligraphy and floral design classes (just to name a few) that you and your girlfriends can spend the day enjoying.  It will also feature exclusive events for couples and families that provide new, fun and innovative opportunities for learning and socializing in the Cedar Valley.

MADELYN RIDGEWAY CREATIVE

Many people don’t know this but for as long as I can remember, I’ve had an affection for pretty paper and stationery; my extensive collection of wrapping paper and notecards are a testament to that affection! For years now, I’ve designed custom stationery and products at the request of clients for events but never for general sell.

MRE Creative is a collection of prints, notecards and helpful mommy items that feature fun and encouraging words. The goals of each of item is to give you a way of encouraging others or yourself and to make make your life a little easier, something I’m sure we all can use.  I’ve been busy working to design each piece so each is near and dear to my heart.  I know you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.   There may even be a few Christmas card options for those of you who like thoughtful and fun family photo cards for the holidays!

Here are a few sample few pieces from the 2014-15 line.

coming-soonWant to earn a sweet discount and help me out in 3 easy steps?

1) Click here and sign-up for our newsletter. In about a week you’ll receive the inaugural edition of LOVE NOTES,  the monthly newsletter of behind-the-scenes happenings and special tips from Madelyn Ridgeway Events.

2) Take a short survey to tell us your thoughts.

3) Stalk your inbox for a coupon code on your first MRE Creative or Learning purchase!

Doesn’t that sound easy?  Not to mention you’ve done a good deed for the day and made me one happy girl!

So tell me, what are you most excited about from the announcement?

An update from me

Hello! It’s been radio silence around here since I’ve been busy with a few things, mainly bringing a beautiful little life into the world.  I’m so proud to introduce to you Jacoby Christian Ridgeway.  Born Sunday, August 17 weighing in at 8lbs and a cool 21 inches long.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 8.46.03 PMTo say I’m in love is an understatement.  My heart expanded exponentially the moment I laid eyes on this little guy and it continues to stretch everyday as I get to know him more.  To be honest, that’s been my job the past few months, taking care of and getting to know Coby and leading my family transition into a new stage of our lives.  You see, two days after Jacoby made his appearance, Solomon, my oldest son, started kindergarten. Talk about a transition period! We’ve FINALLY settled into a routine which is allowing me to get back into the swing of things with Madelyn Ridgeway Events.    You’ll see more blog posts and some exciting new things coming soon.  I can’t wait to share with y’all what’s been going on behind the scenes.  Some things that are near and dear to my heart that I can’t wait to share.  Check back in Friday for the announcement!

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few more Coby pictures and a few of my little family from a recent photoshoot with our family photographer, Darcy, of At Play Photo.  Darcy has been photographing our kids and family since 2009 when Solomon was first born.  If you’re looking for an off -the- charts photographer, give her a call!

 

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