Over the Weekend, Merry and Bright

Over the Weekend I finished up my holiday vacation at home in Tennessee. I spent a week back in my hometown, celebrating Christmas with family and friends. It was a quick trip, but a packed few days. Between concerts, Christmas Eve dinner, lunches with old friends and various Church events, I needed versatile clothing pieces since I was packing lightly (had to save room for all the new goodies I was bringing back, duhh). I practically lived in this LOFT skirt (sold out online but available in some stores) over the holidays. I paired it with several different tops, but my go to was definitely a plain black tee and my favorite new black booties (they're sold out online, but you can find them in store or I've linked to the tall boot option here). It was the perfect outfit for celebrating the holidays!

I hope you all had a wonderful few days enjoying the holidays. Whether you headed home or family came to you, I hope your Christmas was merry and bright!

Outfit details: Top // Skirt (out of stock)// Necklace // Bracelet // Boots
Photos by Zack Royster

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Tender Tennessee Christmas

Over the Weekend I traveled back to my home state for a tender Tennessee Christmas. I'm so excited to spend the holidays at home with family and friends. To make sure I fully enjoy the few days that I have off from work and back in Tennessee, I'll be taking a few days off from blogging. So be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for lots of peeks into how my family celebrates Christmas and the holidays! I'll be back bright and early next Monday for an all new Over the Weekend + looking ahead to the New Year!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas or happy holidays for whatever you may celebrate! XOXO

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Thursday's 10 Thoughts

Last week I started a new series on the blog, Thursday's 10 Thoughts, and y'all really liked it! So I'm bringing it back for another week. I just thought y'all might like to see what's on my mind this week!

Ever gone to dinner with someone and spent more time on your phones than actually talking? No, this wasn't a bad date... it was a fun girls night with my good friend and fellow blogger, Meaghan. Last week Meaghan and I were invited to checkout Rialto in Georgetown. Between the delicious mussels (I seriously love mussels), baked smoked mozzarella wrapped in smoked pancetta, to the lamb chops and seafood pasta for dinner, to the mouth watering Tiramisu... I definitely didn't want the dinner to end. If you're in the DC area, I highly recommend checking out this little piece of Italy in the heart of one of my favorite parts of the city.

I'm seriously obsessed with my new iPhone 6. I found the perfect duel-functioning case, that's very chic and practical.

Every single one... I want every single one of these things Santa. So do all my single mid-20s friends #kthanks

I never thought I'd be into a patterned pant, but I cannot stop wearing these bad boys. They're so comfortable and the heavy fabric makes them work appropriate too!

Yep, these are exactly the kind of thoughts that run through my head when I take a "visit" to my local Target.

So I fully know this is a HUGE splurge on a bag, but my friend Alicia recently took the plunge and it makes me quite jealous every time I see her with it. It even has a compartment for my iPad. I mean heyyy Santa, I've been good this year!! #prettyplease

I'm pretty sure even Clark Griswold would have appreciated this view of his Christmas lights.

Looking for a last minute gift for him? Snag one of my favorite things for men and use code 'freeship' at checkout to get free priority shipping this week, just in time to get it under the tree!

I thought last year's Christmas Jammies video was absolutely adorable... and so did most of America. If you missed it or their Thanksgiving rendition, then you'll wanna see the Christmas Jammies sequel.

Thanks for y'alls help and suggestions when it came to picking out a fun New Year's Eve dress from Rent the Runway. This one was definitely y'alls (and my) favorite. Still looking for a dress yourself? Use code HAPPY2015 to get 20% off your order of $50+ between now and 12/21.

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Blogger's Favorite Things Christmas Party

A few months ago I decided that I wanted to host a holiday party for some of the good friends I've made along the way through blogging. I've met so many amazing people, both bloggers and businesses, so I wanted to find a way to thank the friends I've made and support the businesses I've connected with. Hosting a fun party was just the way!

I've talked a lot on the blog about my 'favorite things,' so why not put together a Blogger's Favorite Things party?! We all have them! So I partnered with a local stationery shop, The Dandelion Patch, to create an invite I could mail to guests (c/o). I love getting pretty things in the mail, so I chose to do a paper invite rather than an e-vite or email. The girls at The Dandelion Patch really understood my vision for the invite, helping to incorporate my idea to play off the popular Sound of Music song. The poem can be sung to the tune of "favorite things," and the invite was placed inside what looked like a brown paper package and was even tied up with string! To top it off, they did everyone's names and addresses in the most gorgeous calligraphy print!

When it came to the actual setup of the party, I wanted to feature some of my favorite entertaining traditions... a hot chocolate bar, meat and cheese tray, grab bags and gorgeous flowers. Since my apartment is small, I used what I already had for the setup. I turned my bar cart into the hot chocolate bar, used my kitchen counter for the food setup, and the apartment entry way to hold the take home bags and flowers.

A good beverage is always key to any party, and it doesn't always have to be alcoholic! With the cold outside, and it being Christmas time, I decided to incorporate a hot chocolate bar. I transformed my Society Social bar cart into a hot chocolate bar, again making everything simple and easy. Instead of making homemade hot chocolate, I found Swiss Miss K-cups and had everyone make their individual hot chocolates in the Keurig. I preferred this idea because not everyone is going to want to have a cup right away. So to ensure they have a nice, warm cup, I chose to do individual servings. The ladies could top off their hot chocolate with Christmas tree marshmallows and candy canes. My friend Ali at OhLaLaAli contributed the most precious FaLaLa Latte coffee sleeves for the girls to wrap around their cups! These were seriously a HUGE hit (c/o).

What's a party without food?! No party at all! I am all about easy and simple. When it comes to hosting a party, I don't want to spend my entire evening in the kitchen. I want to enjoy the party, just as much as the guests. Preparation is the key to a stress free event! So I chose food items that could easily be prepped ahead of time. I served a meat and cheese tray, crackers and jam, veggie cups and fruit, Texas Caviar (or just a fancy way of saying, salsa), and bacon wrapped cocktail weenies with dark brown sugar. I prepped all of this earlier in the day, and stored on trays in the fridge. I just popped the bacon weenies in the oven 30min. before guests arrived.

The desserts were even easier to prepare... I made them the day before! I featured some of my favorites, Oreo Balls, Turtles and Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies. I also mixed up some ice water to serve for those who didn't want hot chocolate. To fancy it up a bit, I just added fresh rosemary and cranberries.

The decor was my favorite part. I used gold, with accents of cream and green. I found some fresh pine needles at my local Harris Teeter that I placed throughout the decor to add a winter-y feel and a Christmas-y scent to the apartment. My friends at UrbanStems provided several of their winter bouquets for me to put throughout the apartment as well (c/o). So the setup was pretty much taken care of thanks to the fresh flowers and pine!

To pull in the 'blogger's favorite things', each blogger brought one of her favorite things under $30. We had everything from the Kate Spade 2015 planner, to candles and jewelry. We then played the white elephant game. It was so much fun once people stopped being nice and started stealing gifts, ha! Really made the game fun, and I loved learning about each of the blogger's favorite things!

I never want my guests to leave empty handed, so I put together a mini gift bag filled with my Christmas candy, promos from UrbanStems and coffee sleeves from OhLaLaAli. UrbanStems also provided single stem roses for each of the guests to take home. How thoughtful?!

I really love how the decor, food, hot chocolate bar and flowers came together! My guests really enjoyed the evening, and all left with some fabulous goodies.

Special thanks to UrbanStems, The Dandelion Patch, and OhLaLaAli for collaborating on my Blogger's Favorite Things Christmas Party. I appreciate you supporting the brands that keep Primp & Proper going. Be sure to checkout their websites to find out all of the services and products they offer.


Chocolate Christmas Turtles

Growing up, one of my favorite things about Christmas at home was the mass amounts of Christmas candies and desserts that my mother would make. We have this long hutch in our dining room that my mother would fill to the brim with tins. In each tin would be a different candy or cookie, all homemade (never store bought). Everything from molasses cookies, to fudge, to peanut butter balls and my father's favorite, turtles. These delicious sweets are very similar to Goo Goo Clusters, but are a much simpler version. I served these and some other treats at my Blogger's Favorite Things party I hosted this past Sunday -- more to come on that tomorrow!

Chocolate Christmas Turtles

  • One package of Kraft caramels
  • 3 cups of pecan halves 
  • Half a bag of Gheradelli dark chocolate baker's chips (or your favorite brand of baking chips)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Wax paper
  • Butter or cooking spray
  • Microwave safe melting dish

Cover your baking sheet with wax paper and grease with either a heavy coat of butter or your preferred cooking spray. Unwrap the caramels and put into a microwave safe melting dish. I personally love this one. Add 2 Tablespoons of your whipping cream. Melt caramel in 30 second increments till it has a soupy like texture. This is where you have to work quickly. Once melted, add your pecans and with a large spoon, mix the two together. Once all of the pecans are coated with caramel, take two spoons to scoop out a heaping tablespoon onto your baking sheet. Work quickly because the caramel hardens fast. Once done, you can either let sit to harden or place in the freezer for 30 minutes. **I also recommend cleaning your microwave dish as quickly as possible. Once the caramel hardens completely, it can be extremely hard to clean.

Next, pour half of the bag of your baking chips into the microwave safe melting dish and melt in 30 second increments. Take the clusters out of the freezer and one by one drop them into the chocolate. With two spoons, fully cover each cluster and drop back onto the greased wax paper.

Repeat process till all of the clusters have been covered in chocolate. Have chocolate left over? Drizzle the remainder over the tops of the candies or double dip them!

Let sit for an hour or two before putting into a tin. This will make anywhere from 12 - 25 clusters, depending on how big you make them.

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Introducing Primp & Proper

Wow, what a crazy few months this has been! Ever since making the decision to fully commit to blogging and rebrand my site, it has been a whirlwind of trying to divide my time between the rebrand and actually keeping up with posts! I'm so excited that the day has come to share with y'all the amazing work Tammy has done. I explained in last Friday's post why I ultimately decided to do the rebrand/name change, but I'm sure you're wondering how I came up with Primp & Proper.

Primp & Proper is a play on words to the Southern saying, prim and proper. To break it down, 'primp' refers to the style aspect of the blog (guys... primp means 'to get ready'). And 'proper' refers to lifestyle type posts. You'll see a little bit of both on this site, along with everything in between!

I hope y'all will checkout all the new features the blog has to offer. You can learn more about me, checkout the press and elsewhere page, see what I hope to accomplish before turning 25, and more! Some of my favorite features are the Instagram slideshow to your left and the 'where I shop' links below that. The links will take you straight to some of my favorite stores... easy to shop, right? Let me know what you think about the new site by commenting below or tagging me @KristynAlysse on social media!

Now for the THANK YOUs...

Over the past few months I've been working with my friend Tammy from A Loyal Love, to redesign my site. Tammy has been absolutely AMAZING to work with and I HIGHLY recommend her if you're ever looking to create a blog or website, or redesign your current blog. It was such a pleasure working with Tammy! She truly wants to make your site the best it can be, is very timely on her email responses, and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to coding and graphic design. It was great for me, because I honestly didn't have too much in mind design wise of what I wanted. So Tammy offered some wonderful suggestions when it came to the design and layout of Primp & Proper. Be sure to checkout A Loyal Love and show Tammy some love as well!

I also want to thank EACH and EVERY ONE of you, my readers! A blog rebrand and redesign wouldn't even be possible without those who read it. Over the past year I've gone from having a small following of just my family (thanks Mom!), to having readers from all over the world. It's truly a pleasure to have y'all stop by my site, follow me on social media, and show your support along the way.

Oh, and I couldn't do a rebrand without a little something for y'all too! So I teamed up with some of my DC blogger besties to giveaway $150 to Nordstrom!! So gents, you can enter too! Check back tomorrow to enter!
Thanks so much for stopping by, xoxo

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Out With the Old, In With the New

So I've been hinting over the past few months and weeks that big changes were in store for me and my blog. I started First Impressions back in January, having no earthly idea where it would take me. My original intent for blogging was to keep up with my writing as a journalism major and to offer advice to those who wanted it on the post grad life. Over time though, what I enjoyed writing about and what y'all like to read about, quickly shifted.
The first few months of blogging were merely for fun, writing about anything and everything. Let's be honest... I cringe at the sight of some of my first posts. While I'm no where even close to making it big or even becoming a professional blogger, I have definitely seen improvement and growth over time. And because of that, I realized it was time to make the ultimate decision... either quit blogging and pat myself on the back for giving it the ole college try, or really poor my heart and soul into it. The main thing I've come to find is that blogging is pretty much a second full-time job. My days, nights and weekends are consumed with post preparation, editing photos, scheduling social media and interacting with my DC community. So I thought a lot about what I was getting out of blogging and where I ultimately wanted my little ole site to go. 

After a lot of thought, time reviewing other bloggers' stories, talking with friends, and making goal lists, I decided that blogging was something I thoroughly enjoyed and wasn't ready to give up! However, the one thing I was ready to give up was my old blog name. First Impressions came about as referring to the post grad life, and how impressions (good or bad) are very important. The name just doesn't fit me anymore or what I love to write about. And if my blog is going to get a new name, you better believe it's going to get a fancy new site!

So I ditched the old name, old layout, hired a fabulous new site designer, bought my own web domain and with the help of some great blogger friends, a new project was born!! Today will be the last post for First Impressions, as the new site and blog will be revealed on Monday (don't worry, you'll still be able to access all of my old posts and content)!! The site will be getting a fresh face lift, looking more professional and clean. My friend Tammy of A Loyal Love has done an amazing job, and I cannot wait for y'all to see the new and improved blog!! 

You're probably like, "seriously Kristyn... you can't make me read all of this and not even give me the slightest peek into the new site!" I'm definitely not a person who likes to disappoint, so today I'm revealing the new name of my blog... (drum roll please)

YAY!!! I'm so excited to share with y'all more about the name Primp & Proper, and to reveal the entire blog site to y'all on Monday! Now before you go running off, the type of content and what I write about will be very similar to what I've been doing. Just bigger and better. I'll explain more on Monday, but for now I hope y'all will continue to follow me on this journey and I THANK EACH AND EVERY ONE of you for your constant support and love. Oh, and if the excitement for the reveal isn't big enough... there's a HUGE giveaway coming next week too! #sostaytuned

Have a great weekend friends, xoxo

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Cyber Monday Deals

If you didn't get your holiday shopping fix on Black Friday or from the amazing weekend sales, then get your wallets ready for today's steals and online deals. To help you navigate the Cyber Monday sales even quicker, I've put together an easy list of some of the best deals online. To make it even easier, and because I'm OCD about organization, the list is in alphabetical order. #yourewelcome

Happy shopping my friends! Oh, and if you need some gift ideas… be sure to checkout my Holiday Gift Guide for Him + Holiday Gift Guide for Her

Ann Taylor // 50% off your entire purchase with code CYBER50

Anthropologie // Free shipping on all orders + 20% off all sale items with code EXTRAJOLLY

ASOS // 30% off entire site with code ILOVEMONDAYS

Banana Republic // 40% off your entire purchase with code CYBER at checkout.

BaubleBar // 20% off entire site with code CYBER20

Bloomingdale's // Take 25% off a great selection of regular priced items and sale… for a savings of up to 45 - 60% off!

Brooks Brothers // Save 30% on all fall sweaters and take an additional 10% off online exclusives. 

Dagne Dover // 20% off your entire purchase!!

Forever 21 // 20% off when you spend $60+ with code CYBER20 or 30% off a purchase of $100 or more with code CYBER30.

Gilt City // FREE shipping on all orders with code GOLDSTANDARD

Groupon // Up to 80% off 100s of door busters

J.Crew Factory // 50% off everything + an extra 10% off and free shipping with code YOUVEGOTSALE

Kate Spade NY // 30% off the ENTIRE site with code CYBER30 at checkout.

Living Social // Get an extra 25% off with code CYBERSALE

LOFT // 50% off your entire purchase with code MONDAY

LuLu's // Take an extra 40% off all sale items with code MONDAY40 + Free shipping on all orders

Nine West // Up to 50% off shoes, boots and handbags + take an additional 20% off orders of $125 or more.

Nordstrom // Major markdowns and earn extra Nordstrom Rewards points

Piperlime // 30% off sitewide + extra 40% off sale items. Use code CYBERSALE at checkout.

Rent the Runway // $40 off a rental of $100+ with code CM4014 at checkout.

Saks OFF 5TH // Take an extra 40-50% off sitewide with code CLICKTOIT

Saturday, by Kate Spade // 30% off everything with code OHWOW at checkout

Target // Cyber Week… deals on TVs, clothing, home decor, kitchen appliances and more!

Tuckernuck // 15% off sitewide with code SHOP15, 20% off orders of $150 or more with code SHOP20, 25% off orders of $500 or more with code SHOP25, and 30% off + free gift on orders of $1000 or more with code SHOP30. + FREE shipping on all orders!

Victoria's Secret // Free shipping on orders over $50 + $20 off your purchase of $125 or more with codes SHIP50FREE and 20OFF125. Plus receive 2 FREE secret reward cards with a $10 purchase, worth $10, $50, $100 or $500 your purchase with code SECRETBONUS. 

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Holiday Gift Guide: For Her

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

Ice Bucket // Cocktail Napkins // Champagne Flutes
Buffalo Plaid Scarf // Bauble Necklace // Wool Shawl // Scarf // Belt
T. Swift Album // Friends Box Set // Planner // Sex and the City Box Set
Naked Palette // Jewelry Organizer // Cuff // Coffee Mug // Blanket // Pajamas

On Wednesday I featured items in a Holiday Gift Guide for Him, so today it's all about the ladies. The best part is? All of these gifts are under $100! So they're perfect for your friends or guys, for your gal pal. Only a few more days till the holiday shopping frenzy begins, so make sure you add these items to your gift list! Don't forget to enter the Black Friday Giveaway too! Who doesn't love a little extra cash in the wallet? I know I do!

Happy Friday friends, xoxo

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Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

Gift Guide for Him

Today's post is the first of several "holiday gift guides" that will be featured on the blog over the next week or so. As we gear up for Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday, it's good to go ahead and get an idea of what's out there... to be thinking about the types of gifts you're going to give this holiday season. Today is all about gifts for him. Whether that is your father, brother, husband or best friend, you'll find a little bit of everything in this gift guide.

When it comes to finding the perfect gift for him, there is never one perfect option. For me, finding the right gift for my father or brother (still working on the beau part), is about practicality. Things they'll really use and items that'll stay in trend for years to come. So for this year's gift guide for him I decided to feature just that. Everything from brand name companies, to homegrown startups.

To highlight two companies featured above, Bull & Moose // Stubble and 'Stache, both are DC based companies who donate part of their proceeds to organizations that support our troops and veterans. If you're an avid follower of the blog, you know how much I LOVE businesses that give back. Pick up a velvet bow tie for your beau's New Years attire (proudly sponsors Got Your Six) or purchase a beard care kit from Stubble and 'Stache for your father (a portion of sales goes to help our wounded warriors).

Some of my other favorite gifts for him are sunglasses, practical items like collar stays or cufflinks, and watches. Does your man have a problem with arriving to that date on time? Or is your brother always the last to show up to a family function? Shinola, based out of Detroit, offers genuine leather watches that are def on trend. Not sure what your "him's" style is? Than a great subscription service is the Trunk Club. Think Stitch Fix, but for men. A personal stylist hand chooses items for him, sending them straight to his home to try on. No shopping, no stores, free shipping. If your him is more of a traveler, the perfect "manly" tote bag can be found in Waiting on Martha's shop. For an added Southern touch, get the thing monogrammed. 

Looking for some great gifts on the cheaper side? You can still get them some great staple items like button downs, house slippers or colorful socks from Nice Laundry (George H.W. Bush would be proud). All of the items featured in this year's Gift Guide for Him are perfect for any type of man, at every age. 

P.S. -- Want to win some extra cash just in time for the holiday shopping frenzy next week? Then don't forget to enter the Black Friday Giveaway going on (ends 11/25). You could even put the $50 towards one of the items featured in today's post, just saying.

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Over the Weekend, Edgy Preppy

Over the Weekend the temps in Washington, D.C. drastically dropped. So long fall, it was nice knowing you. With the cooler temps, it means finding the perfect "going out" outfit can be challenging. For me, staying warm is the most important. Nobody has time for skimpy dresses and stilettos when it's 20 degrees outside. I would say my style is super preppy, most of the time, but I love to mix it up a bit. The leather pants add a fun edge to my outfit and are perfect for a night on the town. To keep in line with my preppy side, I threw on a J.Crew puffer vest (as an added bonus it keeps me warm in lieu of a jacket or heavy coat). I found the PERFECT catch all blouse from Ann Taylor. I've worn it to work, brunch, to run errands and out. Even better? It's 40% off right now!

For me, dressing in the winter in DC is about staying true to my style, keeping warm, but making sure I look chic while doing it. When it comes to my wardrobe as well, I love versatility. All of the pieces in this outfit can be mixed and matched for any occasion.

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Over the Weekend, Supper Club

One of the hardest things about juggling a full-time job, full-time blog and all the activities associated with both, is finding time to catch up with friends and finding a night that is convenient for everyone. We all live extremely hectic lives, between work and other activities, that it can be hard to nail down a night for us to all meet. That's when a good friend of mine, Laura, mentioned that we should start a supper club. Choose one night a month where we all will do our best to save that date on our calendars so we can get together for an evening of food, fun and friend time! I've heard of other groups of friends who do something similar, whether that be a night out on the town, wine night or a monthly happy hour. We decided to do potluck dinners the first Sunday of every month, each taking turns hosting supper club at our homes or apartments. The hosts will choose a theme and provide the main dish, while the guests will each bring a side dish, drink or dessert to contribute. We had our first supper club last night and it was an absolute blast. I loved getting to see everyone, enjoy some delicious flank steak and sides, but most of all I loved that everyone was able to attend (especially Laura's dog, Nellie)!

I cannot wait till next month's supper club. My roommate Liz and I will be hosting everyone at our apartment for a Christmas themed supper club. Are you apart of a supper club? If not, it's so easy to start your own. Just grab a group of friends, decide on the dates for each month, create an email chain or google doc to determine what everyone is bringing, and then meet up for a fun girls night! It's super easy and a great way to keep in touch throughout our busy and hectic schedules. 

Happy Monday y'all. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!


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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bread Recipe
This recipe will make either 4 dozen cupcakes OR a dozen cupcakes and three loafs of pumpkin bread
Recipe for icing provided as well

So I will fully and willingly disclaim that this recipe is 100% not my own, but that of the cooking queen herself, Ms. Paula Deen. I'm simply sharing this recipe with y'all for two reasons. The first being that it's National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. Since I am no master at cheesecake, I decided what better way to celebrate than by baking some scrumptious pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes. Close enough right? The second reason being that this is literally the BEST recipe for pumpkin anything that I have ever come across. Last fall my good friend Ashton shared this recipe for pumpkin bars with me. I'm not a "cake" or "bar" person, so I decided to see if I could develop it into a cupcake, bread or loaf recipe. To my surprise, this recipe adapts to all three!! Between last fall and this, I have made this recipe numerous ways and many of times. This is the most versatile recipe I've found, you just have to adjust the cooking times. Paula Deen's recipe has made quite the impression on me and my friends, and I know it will on you too.

So grab all the necessities and bake till your heart's content. After all, it is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. If you can find a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, make sure you enjoy that too.

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