have courage & be kind

no matter what circumstance, let your courage be unshakable.

a large part of growing up is finding your voice.

Never forget that your heart matters, your opinions are valued and even if you feel forgotten, you’re not. Don’t abandon your beliefs just because others have abandoned theirs, don’t silence your voice just because they aren’t popular words and never conform yourself to the situation you’re put in. You were beautifully and wonderfully made, designed for a purpose, and God is cheering you on, wanting you to embody who he created you to be. So please, don’t forget your worth and be courageous even when it’s hard.

lately I’ve been lucky to work with some very talented friends who are actively pursuing their passions (photography & videography). And let me tell ya, it’s inspiring. It reminds me to do what I love and to do it well.

This was a fun little fall photo shoot I did with my friend TJ (@tylerdooghan) right in our backyard (literally, lol). I am so in awe of his creativity and absolutely loved how these turned out. Color tones, artsiness, uniqueness… so good.

I know how easy it is to see a picture of yourself and immediately criticize each aspect… but I challenge you to take a close up picture (or have someone take one) of yourself and admire your beauty.

Trust me, when I had bad active acne, I was my own biggest critic. I would stare at a photo of my face and literally hate so many things about it. But let me be the first to tell you, that is so unhealthy and unproductive. It would just lead me to further unhappiness.

You are beautiful, so do not believe differently. Don’t believe the lie that skin or any other superficial issue defines you, because it doesn’t. You are defined by your heart and your actions. So be courageous💛 and love yo self, you deserve it sista

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November in a Nutshell

img_4874I will start by saying that this month has brought an abundance of blessings.

When you’re caught in a blustering rain storm without a rain jacket, it’s hard to remember to be grateful for anything really; not because you are ungrateful, but simply because your mind is occupied with so many different things that a rainstorm might invoke.

To me, life resembles a rainstorm more often than we might like to admit. Ever since the beginning of the school year, my life has been nothing less than chaotic. Wake up early, go to school, work, pick up kids, earn money, be creative, take photos, do homework, drive to the mountains, run errands, cook, bake, blog and the list goes on. I feel as if I’ve barely had one moment to breathe during the past two and a half months.

I wanted to share my heart today as a reminder to be thankful, even when your life might resemble a rainstorm that caught you off guard. And I thought it was only fitting since Thanksgiving (probably my second favorite holiday) is in a few days, and what better way to celebrate such a wonderful time than to exclaim your thankfulness.


To start off with the small stuff…

I’m thankful for health. I have not gotten sick throughout the chilly months yet, and I wish for it to stay that way. Now that I mention it, I can’t even remember the last time I got sick so I guess I’m doing something right.

My hair has finally noticeably grown out from the last time I chopped it, which was now two whole years ago. I’m very happy with how healthy, long and shiny it is.

I only have about three weeks left of school before Christmas break. I am a senior in high school, but I’m also enrolled in my local community college where I am taking Biology (one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken) and I currently have a B which I have worked very hard for.

I get the opportunity to work with Kindergartners two days a week as a part of my high school elective credits, and they bless me so incredibly. My heart is always warmed by their unique and quirky personalities; they are too funny and adorable. Yes, sometimes it can be tiresome having to constantly reprimand them, but at the end of the day, they lift my spirit more than anything else.

All my life, my family has supported me, but now more than ever I feel extremely blessed by them. Recently, I have become closer with a couple of my cousins. I am starting to realize how important family is, because they really are the only ones who will be there for you no matter what.


And now onto the bigger picture of thankfulness…

I am thankful for a loving God who carefully designed me and gifted me with a creative heart. All along I have known of my innate desire to create things, but at the point I’m at in my life, I am beginning to pursue my creative nature more than ever before. I want to capture feelings, memories and moments; whether it be through writing, through a camera lens or through paint smeared on a white canvas. I have a fire burning inside of me to make beautiful things, and to share them with the world.

With all of that being said, I have some exciting stuff planned for the near future.

My sister and I will be purchasing a Cannon 70D within the next two or three weeks, which we will use to photograph and video each fleeting moment. I am hoping to delve into videography (and maybe vlogging) on my youtube channel once I get the hang of the new camera. I can’t wait to capture this beautiful life; people, places and things with a new perspective. Not to mention, I will be able to create so much better and more content for my blog, especially food recipes. Stay tuned!

I am tossing around the idea of starting some type of “project”. I don’t know why I am so intrigued by such an endeavor, but I think it has to do with the thought of continuously creating something that all comes together in the end to form something unique and (hopefully) beautiful. Not too long ago, I started reading the book “The Happiness Project”, written by Gretchen Rubin. Basically, she summarizes her happiness journey in which she spent one year pursuing. Each month, she set goals for herself which ideally helped her achieve happiness; things like, lighten up, enjoy now, give proofs of love, or make time for friends. Two months later and I still haven’t finished the book… whoops. But, from what I’ve read, which is almost all of it, I can say that just reading it made me feel happier. I loved the fact that she took one whole year to focus on and practice things that improved her mood and overall attitude, she didn’t just give up after January.

Another person who inspired my desire to start my own project was a friend of mine named Keeli. Man, let me tell you, this girl is such a gem, and I couldn’t be more thankful that God connected us through blogging recently. Just a few weeks ago she started something that I’m going to call the “I am” project. What she wants to do is photograph people, portrait style, and with each new picture, she has them write a sentence or short phrase about something that they are, whether it’s true now, or they want it to be true in the future. I had the opportunity to participate in her project and I wrote my own “I am” statement. I think it is such a wonderful idea, it’s creative and connects people that might not think to spend time together otherwise.

Keeli has a blog too, which you should go show her some love–>Sip Seek Serve

Click here to see the portrait she took of me and read my “I am” statement–>Keeli’s Instagram

And lastly, I am so incredibly thankful for this blog. I am able to share any and every random thought that pops into my head with people that may actually enjoy my writing. It is a dream of mine to be able to look at my blog and see my creative dreams become reality, and for that reason, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my writing space. But for now, I’m content with the progress I have made over the last two years, and I am very proud of myself for sticking with blogging for so long.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I want to know what you are most thankful for in your life. Is it a person? A book? A place? An opportunity?  Let me know in the comments!


My sweet friend Miranda took the beautiful photos pictured in this post. Follow her on Instagramimg_4915img_4995img_5075

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Read my previous post: Fall Favorites

Comparing Confidence

I was thinking back to my young (and naive) middle school self. A girl who was courageous and who was unafraid to launch herself into any new relationship, opportunity, project or period of life. Of course I was burned a number of times because of this, but I also gained and learned so much about myself, others and the world during those years.

I was fearless. I flirted with boys, I wore crazy unique outfits (that didn’t always make the impression I was going for), I shared my heart with anyone who would listen, I laughed, but I also cried about everything. I was full of emotion and you could almost always count on me speaking my mind without holding back even a little.

I think growing up means losing many of the qualities I just explained, it’s just the way life goes. And boy am I thankful that I don’t cry about every little thing, or exploit myself to the world or wear wacky clothes anymore, but I do miss my unshakeable confidence.

I was never intimidated by boys, I was outgoing and talkative around everyone; whether I knew them or not, I never experienced anxiety around large groups of people, and I never deemed myself unworthy just because society said so. And to be honest, the reason I acted so bold and sure of myself, was because I thought I was the shit. Little Maddie had a big ego and I’ll admit it, but hey, at least it taught me confidence. lol.

Now I’m at the age in which, as a child, I thought was “so old” and far off. And when I take a step back and look at who I am today compared to then, I feel as if society has somehow managed to change me. I am not always confident in myself; in my judgement, my relationships, my accomplishments, my decisions. I am unconfident. I let the world tell me what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I let the world tell me who I should like, how I should feel and worst of all; at times I let the world, or certain individuals, determine my worth.

And that is not okay.dsc_0178

To be confident in yourself.

Don’t let the world, or society, tell you what you have to be 0r how you have to act. Be you in everything you pursue.

While I was talking with my best friend tonight, I came to a realization that my happiness should not be dependent on any relationship. I don’t want to feel weighed-down, or distressed, because I feel unworthy.

We are children of a gracious God who always calls us worthy. Worthy of giving and receiving love. And I think it’s time we started treating ourselves that way.

What do you think?


Top: thrifted, Jeans: Rag & Bone, Jacket: Vintage Levi’s, Socks: local store, Boots: Havanna Joe (thrifted), Necklace: Forever 21, Glasses: Urban Outfitters

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Embracing Yourself (a rant, by Maddie)

As children, the iconic question that never seems to disappear (and only becomes asked more frequently as one gets older) is, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Thinking back, all the times I remember people asking me these simple ten words, I gave them an off-the-top-of-my-head answer and didn’t give it much more thought. But now I’m sixteen, a senior in high school (yes, I am quite young for my grade), and as the question seems to be the only topic of conversation nowadays, I can’t seem to just keep brushing it off.

What do I want to be? Well, I can easily answer with a stream of professions… a writer, a film maker, a story teller, a fashion designer, a cook, a nutritionist, a physical therapist, a personal trainer, a professional surfer, a beach bum, a professional outdoors woman and the list goes on. But if I had to choose one thing I wanted to become when I grow up, well, that’s where I’m stuck.

I have friends applying to colleges, friends who have known what they want to do since the forth grade… but me? I’m just trying to make it through my final year of high school the best I can.

I want to pose a question to you. When someone is a senior in high school do they really have to know what they want to do for the rest of their life? Because if you ask me, that just seems daunting, the same way thinking of eternity gives me the eebey geebeys. Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t think I, or any other 16, 17, or 18 year old has to have it all figured out.

I think now’s the time to embrace ourselves and cherish every moment we have with the ones we love. We shouldn’t be spending our time and energy getting stressed out over our next essay, exam or the boy who “supposedly” thinks your hot.

At this time in my life, I have decided to stop playing soccer (because I stopped loving it), to work hard to complete my associates degree by the time I graduate from high school, to spend my time working and making money so I don’t have to rely soley on my parents for my wants and needs, and to strengthen old bonds and make time to create new connections with the right people.

I know that I have different priorities than lots of other teenagers, but I’m okay with that and I’m ready to embrace this short time I have left before I am an adult who has real worries and responsibilities. I want to stop wishing for a boyfriend, and start praying that God will prepare me to be the best wife. I want to stop procrastinating my homework. I want to make time for the people who are important to me. To show love by action, and not just words. All of these things are possible, and I suggest you think of ways you could better yourself, because it really affects one’s happiness.

Let’s stop asking “what do you want to be when you grow up” and instead, think of all the things we can be now so that when we’re grown up and get asked “what are you?”, we can answer confidently, “happy.”

As always, thank you for sticking with me through my rant if you made it this far. I wish you the best of luck in school, work, or play, whichever it may be for you. Love all. Love Madeline. xoxo

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Read my previous post:  Summer Travels: Panama



Recipe// Mid-Sunday Treat

 Happy Sunday!

Today has been a great day, I was able to finish my chores around the house, get in an exercise and make this flippin’ delicious post-workout treat! 

Want to know how to make this customizable “acai bowl”? 

Here’s how…

What you’ll need:

  • A handful of spinach or kale
  • 1 cup of frozen berries (I chose a cherry mixture)
  • Half of a frozen banana 
  • A few splashes of almond milk (enough to make it blendable, but we still want it to be thick)

Simply put all of those ingredients into your blender, and blend until creamy and thick, almost like soft serve. 

Next, put the smoothie mixture into a bowl and top with your favorite things! I used strawberries, hazelnuts, pecans, gluten free granola, chia seeds and a couple spoonfuls of almond butter. 

Finally, arrange it to be Instagram-worthy, snap a few pics, and enjoy! Let me tell you, this was delicious and full of antioxidants, fiber and nutrients that are perfect fuel for the body, especially after a strenuous workout.   
I hope you enjoyed this quick, easy and healthy recipe! If you try it out please send me a picture on my Twitter @mangopapaya27 or my Instagram @moody.madeline❤️ 

Love all. Love Madeline. Xoxo. 

The Happiness Project no.2 // Health & Happiness Tips

Dear blogging friends,

Ever feel like some days aren’t as productive, fun, positive, nutritious or heart-warming as others? Well don’t worry, I know the feeling! And I am here to give you a few helpful tips on how to turn those gloomy days into ones that are sure to have you smiling from the inside out. The Happiness Project no. 2 presents….. Health & Happiness tips.

After writing my first post in The Happiness Project last week (read it here), I did a lot of praying, cleansing, thinking and trusting (all with a few tears involved). Now I can say that I have come to terms with the season my life is in, a season of silence. A season of seeking. And a season of trusting in God.

Although I have never struggled in the past with having moments of uncertainty, or days where my mind gets quickly exhausted, I am now learning to work through the season God has graciously gifted to me. I will admit, I have a lot on my plate; with a college math class, high school work, working on the weekends, and still trying to balance a social life and make time for myself and God. But, just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean I am supposed to give up or be discouraged. I believe I am exactly where God wants me right now, and I decided to accept the challenge of finding happiness in the season that I am in; that seems lonely and dark.

Please keep in mind, these tips are simple, everyday changes that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and make a world of difference! Also, I’m sorry for the multitude of  liquids that I’ve written about, but they truly have wonderful health benefits.

Tip #1

Start your day off with a glass of lemon infused ice water

It helps hydrate your body first thing in the morning, rejuvenates your digestive tract, cleanses your liver, promotes clearer and brighter skin due to the Vitamin C, and is great for natural weight loss. Plus, it tastes yummy!

Tip #2

Open your blinds and live in natural light

Natural daylight is proven to make you happier and more energized, not to mention it makes for great photo lighting.

Tip #3

Light a candle

Whenever I light a scented candle, especially aromatherapy candles, I am instantly revitalized by the smell they leave lingering, and my mood is affected.

Tip #4

Drink a smoothie

On this day, I blended up banana, tangerine, frozen strawberries, blueberries, kale, chia seeds, almond butter, natural protein powder and almond milk for a delicious breakfast. Smoothies (depending on their ingredients) are packed with wholesome ingredients that are meant to boost your digestion, metabolism and overall well-being and health. I love drinking them in the morning for the perfect jam-packed energy drink.

Tip #5

Be productive- clean your room

I always feel better about my day once I can do something productive that I can physically see. When my room is clean, my life seems more put-together!

Tip #6

Drink some green juice

Green juice is another great liquid that is filled with fortifying nutrients and vitamins that cleanse the body from the inside out. On this day I juiced carrots, celery, baby kale and regular kale, an apple, two tangerines, half of a lemon and a piece of ginger.

Tip #7

Get creative!

Who cares if your art isn’t good enough to go in a gallery, just paint, draw or doodle your heart out for your own enjoyment. It is a great stress reliever when you have an extra moment in your day. I am currently working on bible journaling, and this is my first watercolor page I experimented on. Not the best, but I like the authentic look it has.


Tip #8

Sip some tea

loovvveeee me some good tea, and on top of the yummy taste it also has many health benefits. On this day, I was sipping on classic green tea, which is great for clear skin, a healthy digestive tract and a sharp mind.


Tip #9

Take time to get ready in the morning

I love having plenty of time in the morning to get ready for the day. It makes me feel put-together and gives me a great foundation for the rest of my day. Take time for yourself, listen to good music, and find time to feel truly beautiful each day.

What was your favorite tip that I mentioned? And how are you liking The Happiness Project?

Thank you for reading, I appreciate all of the support always! I hope you have a great week, and stay positive.

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New Year’s Eve Look # 1 // 12.27.15

Dear lovely blogging friends,

With the gloom of post-Christmas feelings upon us, I felt it was only necessary to shake the blues with a fun and elegant New Year’s Eve party look. Throughout the week I  will be doing a few more outfits that are perfect for a dazzling party, and this is the fist; a floral slitted maxi skirt, paired with a maroon crop top, suede booties, and a faux leather jacket.

Although the glam factor is not completely over-the-top (as are some NYE looks), I think it still has a nice sense of elegance and modesty.

I decided to keep my hair and makeup relatively neutral except for the pop of color on the lips, which matched my shirt very well.

shirt- American Eagle

Skirt- Forever 21

Jacket- Target

Booties- Tj Maxx

Necklace- Macy’s

How was your Christmas? And what will be your new year’s resolution? Let me know!

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy my first look in my NYE series,  please stay tuned for more posts this week! Subscribe if you haven’t and please give this post a like if you liked it!

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Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide + DIY Gift Wrap// 12.17.15

Hey guys!

Still searching for any last minute gift ideas?

I got your back…

1. Cookie mix in a jar

This gift idea is extremely simple, inexpensive and great looking! Here is the recipe I followed if you would like to make it yourself: Cookie recipe             (p.s. Please keep in mind I did substitute the chocolate chips for festive red and green m&ms).

And I purchased my reindeer 1-quart jars at my local Walmart which worked out perfectly.

2. Billion dollar brow sets

What better gift would encompass the  major fad of 2015? Brows on fleek, aka bold brows… And Billion Dollar Brows knew what they were doing this holiday season with their best sellers kit ($42) and 60 seconds to beautiful brows duo ($24). I am in love! If you’ve never heard of this fabulous brand, you’re missing out. bdb first began as a primarily salon brow product company, but more recently has expanded their amazing products to the daily makeup enthusiast. They carry their “universal” brow shade, taupe, in both powder and pencil form which is sure to compliment a wide range of hair colors. The best sellers kit comes equipped with the twist-up brow pencil-spoolie combo, clear brow gel, an angled synthetic brow brush, and a duo highlighter/concealer chubbie pencil, perfect for highlighting the brow bone. They are on wonderful sales for a limited time during the holidays and I would recommend picking yours up while they last!

Get your hands on one–> bdb

3. Camera strap

My mom made this vintage leather belt camera strap, she runs the etsy shop Vintage Urban Renewal. Unfortunately, she isn’t quite ready to sell these to the public, but none-the-less, when she is anyone who is lucky enough to get their hands on one of these handcrafted babies will LOVE it. She also sells loads of adorable vintage clothing: Vintage Urban Renewal

Because hers isn’t available yet, here’s another one that is nice Leather camera strap

4. Tea 

Here I am, once again, talking about Blend Bee. Want to know why? Because they are the best loose leaf tea company I have yet to find! You can make your own tea blend or simply buy their good-for-the-soul pre made beneficial blends, such as the Pure Glow blend which is my favorite. It tastes wonderful, and does wonders on your skin, hair and body. It would be a perfect gift, or something nice to treat yourself with.

Want to buy some Pure Glow tea for yourself or as a gift? –> Pure glow

Or simply shop their SALE–> Sale tea

And now the fun part! 

I created this short and simple (time lapse) video that shows you a step by step process of how to make your own wrapping paper out of plain paper & how to wrap your present in it! Please keep in mind you can substitute the colors, saying, or anything you want, this is just my take on it.  I hope you enjoy.

Well that’s all for today. I hope you liked my small gift guide and little DIY, if you try it out please be sure to send me a picture!

Love all. Love Madeline. 💛

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Christmas Gift Guide// 12.10.15

Are you desperately searching for partially-last minute Christmas gifts?

Well this is the perfect gift guide for you! I put together a few things your friends and family members will be sure to love, many are creative and perfect to express your gratefulness towards them. Just keep in mind that in no way do you need to make or buy these exact gift, but they should be helpful inspiration for your own gift giving. Hope you enjoy!

1.  Loose Leaf Tea

If you have any tea lovers in your life, they’ll be sure to adore Blend Bee’s loose leaf tea blends. They have countless choices: make-your-own blends, beneficial teas, or simply fantastic tasting blends! For a brief description of their beneficial teas, here I have the Pure Glow blend which is formulated to clear your delicate skin from the inside out with hibiscus, rose hips and chamomile (just to name a few). It is also caffeine-free, and I enjoy sipping it before bed. Plus it tastes amazing!

Want to buy some Pure Glow tea for yourself or as a gift? –> https://blendbee.com/shop/popular-blends/benefit-blends/pure-glow/ref/30

Or their Nightea Night tea? –> https://blendbee.com/shop/popular-blends/nightea-night/ref/30

Or simply shop their SALE–> https://blendbee.com/category/on-sale/ref/30

Price: $2.50-$24.99

2. Succulents/terrariums 

Maybe it’s just me, but I think succulents are all the rage nowadays! So, what’s a better gift than a small, pretty (mostly-effortless) plant?

This gift is both simple and meaningful. I went to my local Wal-Mart, found a few cute succulents, and I plan to place them into mason jars with pebbles and potting soil to create what’s called a terrarium. One of the best things about these plants is that they are easy to maintain; only requiring a few squirts of water per week, and indirect sunlight. Plus they are very inexpensive to create!

Price: $2.99-$3.99 each

3. Personalization


If there’s one thing I know anyone I’m buying a gift for will love, it is personalized items. The first one are these absolutely beautiful mugs that are handcrafted by a lovely lady who lives in my town, and sells her pottery here—> http://www.potterybyalexapland.com/ each item is crafted with care and she even made these few mugs for me that I’m giving to my mom, sister and grandma, which are customized to my liking. I asked her to stamp into them personalized bible verses that I feel will resonate with my family members, and needless to say, they came out amazing! 

Price: $20 each

Snapfish (photos)

The second gift is basically anything from Snapfish. I love the quality and creativity of their customizable photograph-related items- and for a few of my friends and family I decided to create my own photo with a custom overlay, blow it up to the size of a normal piece of paper (8×10) and have snapfish print it out for me. At Ross I found several nice picture frames of the same size which I will use to display the works of art.  I am very happy with how the phtos came out, and cannot wait to see the finished products all assembled!

Price: $8.97 (regular price) $5.08 (discounted price) 


Shop Snapfish here–> http://www.snapfish.com/photo-gift/home?baseUrl=true
4. Water-proof Speaker

This one is very self-explanatory, yet handy in many instances. I only paid $10 for this off of Amazon, it is equipped with a suction cup and it works through Bluetooth connection. Someone can listen to their favorite talk radio station, musician, or audio book while taking a shower or bath. How great is that?!? 

Want to buy this?–> http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00IGUUYTI/ref=pd_aw_sim_422_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=414rfYPwzvL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL100_SR100%2C100_&refRID=071K8MGZZWVA5185BWCR

Price: $10 (on sale) $20 (regular price) 

5. Journaling Bible

Here is my numbers efforts idea for a gift- a journaling bible. I am planning on giving this one to my sister; it is real lather, imprinted with leaves, and has side margins for journaling your thoughts. I have always wanted one of these (and hopefully I’m getting one this year) for an easier way to store my thoughts and read the word in one book. I ordered it from an Etsy store called Move the Mountains and I adore the finished product—> https://www.etsy.com/listing/251898684/journaling-bible-bible-journaling-kit


Price: $42

Well y’all,  that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed my small, but easy and creative Christmas gift guide. If you decide to recreate any of these things, please send me a picture to any my social media sites so I can like and comment on them.

Love all. Love Madeline. Xoxo. 

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Room Inspiration // 9.4.15

Last month I took a look around my room, and thought to myself, ‘wow, I need to spice things up in here!’

Do you ever feel like that?

Well, after some internet searching, I found a crafty piece of artwork that caught my eye. I was inspired by a tumblr picture of dangling photographs tied on by strings to a hanging branch, displayed on a wall. The great thing about this wall art is that it’s very inexpensive and extremely easy to make.

I walked out my back door, found a worthy fallen branch, attached my favorite photos to it with earth-toned yarn, and hung it above my bed. Simple as that. It looks modern, and it’s a great way to display some of your favorite moments; whether they be from instagram or off of your camera. branch3

I now feel like my room fits my personality better, and gives me inspiration each time I glance at my decorated wall. I even added a couple bible verses that help remind me to be thankful for every moment in the day.

What inspires you? What diy room decorations would you like to see me post?

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