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Harold’s Doughnuts

by Katie on April 4, 2015

I have been ALL ABOUT the doughnuts lately. Especially the doughy, cakey kind. With white frosting and colorful sprinkles on top, of course!

While heading to St. Louis for Easter, we stopped in Columbia with the sole purpose of finding doughnuts, though we told ourselves it was to drive around campus and be nostalgic. 😉 We “stumbled upon” (after googling on our phones) a nice little doughnut stop – Harold’s Doughnuts.

Donut stop on the way to St. Louis! The Red Velvet didn't taste anything like red velvet, but it was cakey and delicious.

We got a big ole’ box for completely reasonable price. My favorites (because yes, we sampled many) were the, you guessed it, the plain cake doughnut with [homemade!] sprinkles and the Red Velvet. I thought it tasted nothing like red velvet, but that was more than fine by me – it was absolutely delicious.

We will definitely be back!

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Date Night

by Katie on February 6, 2015

Preeetty sure we attend events at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts just to walk around the gorgeous building.

Date night with @laughridge. :)

Oh, and, I guess the performances are ok too. 😉

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Old Bricks

by Katie on November 30, 2014

I simply cannot resit them. Spotted in St. Charles, Missouri. *swoon*

Can't resist old bricks.

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I had the most lovely Saturday morning – a trip to the Historic Garment District Museum in downtown Kansas City followed by stop at the Kansas City Public Library to see, “Apron Strings: Ties to Our Past“, a special exhibit on aprons. One last stop in the West Bottoms to get some much “needed” fabric at Modern Makers closed out the morning. What a day!

Our trip the the Garment District Museum was fascinating. I had no idea that Kansas City was home to 75 garment manufacturers back in the day! Our tour guide, Ann Brownfield, was the woman responsible for creating the museum and curating its contents. Turns out, she was actually a designer for one of the local manufacturers back in the day, so she had a unique perspective to offer. It was so great to have the opportunity to hear her speak!

Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City Sign

Here are a few interesting tidbits I picked up:

Every morning, people would ride in on buses and walk to their places of work (factories). No one had cars, though if they had, there would have been no place to park them – there were no parking lots in the area!

While Kansas City was big on garments, St. Louis was all about shoes. While there were wholesalers in the KC area, you wouldn’t find many, if any, shoe manufacturers here. You could, however, find many milliners (hatmakers).

Hats on Display at the Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City

TWA, the airline based in Kansas City (long ago – it’s not even a company any more), had their stewardess uniforms made by one of the Kansas City manufactures. The museum has two of the suit uniforms on display – one designed by Oleg Cassini and another designed by Valentino!

Vintage TWA Stewardess Uniform

Our tour guide and former designer shared a bit about her time working with the manufacturers. On fabric buying trips, she’d buy three-yard cuts that she’d bring back to her design team (made up of production people and her bosses). Knowing she often worked with wools and heavier materials (as she worked for a company that made suits and coats), we asked what she typically paid per yard. $1.00! One dollar per yard. I’m still trying to get over it. 😉 She also spent a lot of time picking out and ordering buttons. Must have been rough, right?

Vintage buttons on display at the Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City

Nelly Don could be spotted all over the museum. This sparked a whole new interest in entrepreneurial women in Kansas City, but that’s a post for another day!

It’s not a huge place, but the museum was very informative and just wonderful to see. I’d recommend paying it a visit if you’re interested in fashion, vintage fashion, garments, textiles, manufacturing, or Kansas City in general. Visit the website for more information.

Our next stop was the downtown Kansas City Public Library, which is in THE more gorgeous building. While we were there for the special apron exhibit, I would have been perfectly happy just sitting there for hours staring at the ceiling and the light fixtures that hung from it. And maybe picking up a book or two. 😉 But I digress.

“Featuring aprons from as early as 1900, the exhibit chronicles changing attitudes toward women and domestic work and presents aprons as vehicles for self-expression.” It was an interesting glimpse into the past. I originally went to admire and appreciate the textiles, but it really did make me think (mostly about how thankful I am to have the opportunity to work outside the home if that’s what I wish to do)!

After the aprons, my MIL and I headed to the West Bottoms. While we went for Modern Makers, we wondered our way through a few antique shops before dropping some serious cash at the great new fabric shop. 😉 My findings:

Playful Little Paper-Pieced Projects

Fabric from Modern Makers

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A Day in LA

by Katie on June 15, 2014

When the hubbs and I were thinking about moving to California, we talked about living in either Los Angeles or San Diego. It was a pretty easy choice in the end – we had family in San Diego, it was more “us” than LA, and well, apparently traffic wasn’t as terrible in America’s Finest City. 😉 But! There were so many things about LA that we loved that we’ve visited often in the last 3.5ish years. Today was the last trip for a while (since the drive from Kansas City likely wouldn’t be quite as pleasant 😉 ).

LA Garment District Buildings

We stopped first at my favorite spot – the LA Fashion District. The district has different areas for different goods. The best, in my humble opinion, are the streets lined with FABRIC SHOPS! The shops primarily offer material meant for garments, and home dec fabrics are a close second (followed by trims and other goodies of that nature). And here and there, you can find pockets of cottons perfect for quilting. During my first trip there in college with Brandon’s family, I acquired so much fabric (I was into kints at the time) that I had to borrow a second suit case to get it all home!

My most favorite spot within my most favorite spot – Michael Levine. It’s really three stores – a main cotton/apparel fabrics and trims/notions, home dec, and then “The Loft”, which offers fabrics by the pound. Yes, by the POUND people!!! I always seem to come home with a lot of shirting fabrics when The Loft is open…alas, today it was not. Probably a blessing in disguise…as I have yet to actually use those fabrics to make shirts. 😉

Michael Levine Fabrics

I managed to decide on a few Kokka/Echino fabrics, and a cut of Dear Stella‘s Woodwinked Mushrooms, and another of Sarah Jane‘s Wee Wonder Naturewalk in Grass. I’ve made my stash very happy today, indeed.

After the fabric, we found our way to The Last Bookstore. It’s THE coolest bookstore I have ever had the opportunity to visit. I encourage (nay, demand!) you to visit if you’re ever in LA. Most of the books are used, meaning they have unbeatable prices. There’s a whole level just for $1.00 books! ONE DOLLAR BOOKS!! The dollar books are arranged in “the labyrinth”, which is quite possibly the best place in which I have ever been lost. There’s also an Artists’ Nook, where a few artists are able to vend their pieces. This place couldn’t possibly have more character.

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore

Before we left, we had to get our “housing fix” so we HAD to pay a visit to H.D. Buttercup. With a name like that, you might not expect to find wondrous treasures of the home furnishings variety inside, but oh, what treasures you do discover! Fabulous furniture on top of (literally, in some cases) fabulous furniture, basically as far as the eye can see. The kind that makes you drool. And want to redo you ENTIRE dwelling. And then do it over again just to live with even more great furniture!

H.D. Buttercup

I was too distracted by all of the prettiness that I didn’t get any pictures of the inside….so you’ll just have to visit so you can see it for yourself! :)

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Awesome Customer Experience – Tea Forté

by Katie on February 2, 2014

I put a lot of weight in the “customer experience”. Sure, sometimes it doesn’t make much of a difference – if you want a candy bar and you’re too lazy to go anywhere but the CVS a block away, most likely, you’re going to go there no matter what. BUT! When a business goes above and beyond to make your experience with them is a good one, or a GREAT one, it stands out. That extra mile, for me, usually means the difference between indifference and extreme loyalty.

As a person who “works in marketing”, I consider it my duty to spread words of LOVE about a company who seems to be doing things right (at least when it comes to customer experience)! This post, my friends, is full of love for a company for which I will be forever faithful – Tea Forté.

I’ve loved tea for a while. Am I an expert? No. Do I drink a lot of it? Yes. Last November, the hubby and I took a trip to India where we saw how ingrained tea was in the culture. Of course, their tea of choice is chai (YUM!). Seeing the industry around this one single drink (and after vising various tea shops and rooms) sparked a, dare I say, new passion for me. I came home excited to learn about the history of this historic beverage, and the culture that surrounded it.

Over Christmas, I received a bunch of tea related presents from various members of my family (though I don’t think it was planned ;)). One of the gifts was a Pugg Ceramic Teapot from Tea Forté (thanks Grandma and Pa O!). I’ve used it almost every day since. It was perfect – the infuser was perfect for all my loose leaf teas, and the metal lid, which kept my tea warmer longer, popped off for easier cleaning. It was true love.

Pugg

And then one horrible afternoon, I realized the infuser had gone missing! I destroyed the kitchen looking for it (Brandon helped), but nothing! We came to the conclusion that the kitchen elves must have sneaked in and carried it away (though we were probably both silently blaming the other for accidentally tossing it). But, this is where the story starts to gets good.

Sad but not hopeless, I hopped onto www.TeaForte.com and searched for a replacement infuser for my beloved Pugg. Surely they would have a simple replacement I could pick up for a few bucks! After a few minute of looking and not finding what I was looking for, I thought I’d email the customer service address to see if perhaps I had missed it on the website. Not expecting much, other than perhaps an email reply a week or two later, I explained what had happened and clicked “send”, then devised a way to use my pretty pot without its infuser.

A day later, an email appeared in my inbox. It was none other than Colby, a Customer Experience representative from Tea Forté! A reply in 24 hours? I think I really like you. But what did Colby say in this email of his? That if I would provide my mailing address, he would send me a replacement for free. FOR FREE. No hoops to jump through, no payment to make, no shipping to pay! You have won me over for life. Sure, the infuser probably cost pennies to make and a few dollars more to ship, but the small gesture means a whole lot more to me. It fills me up with warm fuzzies just thinking about it (just like a nice hot cup of tea)! So I am going forth and proclaiming my love for Tea Forté! THANK YOU!

While I am always in favor of shopping small and local, I can’t help but to fall in love with a company, no matter its size, that treats me right.

Thanks Colby, and Tea Forté, for being awesome!

And since, you know, Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d share a few of the items on my wishlist (ahem, Brandon, hope you’re reading ;)).

Tea-Forte-Wishlist
1. Kati Tea Brewing System in Birch Forest (it even has my name on it! 😉 | 2. Tangerine Rosemary White Loose Leaf Tea Canister | 3. Diva Glass Teapot and Infuser | 4. Chamomile Citron Herbal Loose Leaf Tea Pouch

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bon bon atelier

by Katie on July 11, 2012

Sisters Betsy and Emily run a beyond lovely little shop in Kansas City. Though I had driven by or been in the area many times over the last, oh, 24 years, I had never actually gone in! Shame on me!

When I was in town for Quilt Market, I made a point to stop in. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to spend as much time (or money) in there as I would have liked. So, in an order to spend more time there, in spirit, I thought I’d share this little slice of crafty cuteness with all of you! If you’re in Kansas City and have any interest in crafts, sewing, and/or handmade goodness, you simply must stop by!

I pestered Betsy for details about their story. Read what she had to say below! :)

In 2005 my sister and I got the bug to open our own store. We had grown up being involved with a retail store and tea room that my mom had opened, so it was kind of ingrained in us. In 2006 we opened bon bon atelier. With my degree and interest in fashion and my sister being a jewelry designer we originally opened the store to showcase locally made accessories, clothing and gift items. On the side my sister Emily knitted and I sewed. A lot. And we were having a heck of a time finding the fabric and yarn that we wanted in our area. So bon bon dropped it’s clothing and accessories and brought in fabric and yarn.

I had worked at Liberty of London some years before and fell in Love with their fabric. They were one of the first lines we brought in. We also added Kokka, Westminster, Free Spirit, Cloud 9 and so on. In the yarn department Emily has been piling us up with Cascade, Lorna’s Laces and Sweet Georgia. And of course we stocked up on patterns and books and notions. We also teach sewing and knitting classes for beginner to advanced levels.

We think it’s important to support our local artists and economy so we still carry handmade gift items such as jewelry, bath fizzies and even dishware! We also host a craft fair every summer, the Ric Rac Roundup. It has all Kansas City designers and is a much anticipated event every summer.

We are so happy to find ourselves a fabric and yarn store, nothing makes us more excited than getting new patterns, prints and colors. We also love the community of crafters that has sprung up around the shop. Knowing that there other people in this world with a project list as long as ours, a stash of fabric as large (or larger) than ours and more tubs of yarn that we have makes us feel a little saner!

Thanks so much, Betsy and Emily! Find bon bon atelier at 314 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO (and check out their website, blog, and Facebook page)!

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A Day In The Life in France

by Katie on June 28, 2012

I have another guest post today! So excited to share with you one girl’s experience of living in France (as a native Canadian). I mean really, what girl doesn’t dream of at least visiting France once in her lifetime? It’s an incredible place. Meet Laura, from YummyLaura! Here is what it’s like for her on any given day in le France! 😉

I dreamed of moving to France for 10 years. When the day finally arrived where this dream was to become my reality I was thrilled. I longed for warm spring days, sitting on patios of cafes, drinking coffee while the sun shined on my face and the roses bloomed behind me. I couldn’t wait to go to the outdoor markets everyday with my pretty dresses and heels with mon petit panier sous mon bras (my little basket under my arm), or run into the bakery every morning to pick up some fresh croissants for breakfast.

I have now lived here for 10 months and what I can definitively say about it is that it is not that different from back home in Canada. Yes there are major lifestyle differences but ultimately I’ve learned that I am me and with that, my wardrobe and my tastes and what I love to do and how I love to spend my time has not changed. The students here need to study, the workers need to work and my French reality is pretty cool even if those dreamy images are only part of it once in a while.

My typical day in France looks like this…

I wake up and eat the delicious brioche that Max’s maman prepared the night before with some tea.

I do some house chores that need to be done. You know, like clean my room or bathroom if it needs to be cleaned, maybe iron or do laundry…the usual. At this time I also get any of the projects done that I had planned for the day. Maybe this means that I alter the shirt that has needed it for a month but usually it means that I am preparing something for lunch and taking pictures of it for my blog. Nothing too French here, just blogger things.

A wonderful thing about France is long lunch breaks for all. Max has an hour and a half at lunch and he comes home, looking handsome in his suit and his father, him and I enjoy the lunch I prepared. Or if I’m lucky, we go out to a tres French restaurant to enjoy a …hamburger. Pronounced, hombairgair. Of course, wine is always part of these meals whether at home or away.

I walk Max back to work afterwards. Check out what I see on my way to drop him off! This is 800 years old and Joan of Arc even stepped foot inside!

The late afternoon is usually when I blog/edit photos/check emails/bug Max’s dad two thousand times/drink 17 cups of tea/snack on chocolate/you get the point.

On the sunny days, which are very few here in Champagne (the rain helps the Champagne grapes grow just so) I may even explore the town. I just moved to Champagne from Northern France so I have much to discover since I lack a job which occupied my time up North. I love the challenge of wanting to find something (fabric, natural health food store, etc.) and walking around the entire city to find it. The best part of these walks is the fact that I am walking beside roman buildings and beautiful gardens. French cities are for the most part kept well and they pride themselves on their city’s flowers.

At night, we eat dinner together as a family most of the time and always have dessert. This is something I nearly never had back home. Dessert, I mean.

After dinner is my favourite time in France. It may be just the city I am in, or the people I know, but there is always something great going on in the town that I find out about. People here love to enjoy their time, their music, and their friends and you can really see this if you walk in the city in the late evening. Max and I may just grab a beer or I may end up at a concert with Max’s maman. It’s always a surprise but always quality time.

Joan Baez in Concert

On the first day of summer every French city has a music festival where there are hundreds of musicians on the streets playing at every corner. Unfortunately it was cancelled this year due to weather but the spirit was still there so all of the bars and restaurants blasted their music and there were hundreds of people around. I am not used to this type of pleasure culture back home.

The biggest differences that I find here, among the people I am with, is their enjoyment of food and alcohol. It is really a social and pleasurable experience that is focussed upon. The other one is the culture, whether it is in the architecture, the museums (which are free once a month for all), the music or the incredible history that these cities have.

You can also see how similar my life is. Really we aren’t different people living in different countries with different citizenships. Yes there are differences but we are all just people wanting to live our own unique lives, no matter where that is.

And I do go to French bakeries every day!

Sounds like a dream! Thank you so much for sharing your current corner of this beautiful world with us, Laura!

If you haven’t already, stop by YummyLaura to check out her beyond-amazing recipes/tutorials. Your mouth will be watering about three seconds in (and her adorable outfits will make you wonder, “Why am I wearing jeans and a tshirt right now?!”

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I’m baaaaaaack!

by Katie on November 23, 2011

Well, I’ve been back for a few weeks now actually, and just haven’t sat down to bloggity blog!

But alas, here am I, with pictures!

Our trip was amazing. I was sick for most of it, and my loving husband took wonderful care of me so all that walking didn’t get to me too bad (though I won’t lie, I was BEAT by the end of the day, every single day)!

Each city was fabulous in its own way. We started in Paris, took a night train to Venice (and no, it was not nearly as awesome as I imagine the Hogwarts Express is, and there was certainly no Honeydukes Express trolley stocked with candy….I would have been all. over. that.), then another train ride to Roma.

Paris

Paris was just as I remember it! Cloudy and rainy and full of big, old, beautiful buildings. We got our use out of the Metro, felt inspired to be slightly more fashionable, and got lost while being caught in the rain. The rain was miserable at the time, but now when it sprinkles, the thought of it makes me smile. :)

The Eiffel Tower

Outside of Ladurée, where, when I tried to take a picture of the inside to share with you, this tiny, well dressed man popped up out of nowhere and yelled “NO PICTURE” at me. Normally I would have just walked out…but I really wanted one of the macaroon boxes (let’s be honest, I was only there for the packaging).

We did so much more in Paris – the Palais Garnier (the opera house), shopping (well, more like window shopping) at some of the many malls like the Galeries Lafayette, took a stroll through the Carnavalet Museum (which is dedicated to the history of Paris) and the Champs-Élysées, quietly walked through Notre Dame (which is celebrating it’s 850th [yes, that’s years] anniversary soon), ran through the Louvre (where I left my sunglasses *sadface* ), and spent some quality time on Île Saint-Louis (which I think is one of our absolute favorite spots on the planet :)).

Venice

Venice was so cool! We actually stayed on Lido, one of the islands that’s a bit farther away from the main islands. Our hotel was great though, so it made the half hour trip “into town” every morning worth it.

The city is just so unique! We hardly even scratched the surface. We walked down tons of tiny “roads”, which were more like sidewalks with buildings on both sides. Some were only a few feet wide! It was such a cool experience.

A cheesy honeymoon shot with beautiful buildings in the background. :)

This is a bit blurry, but I had to take a picture to show how narrow the walkways were! Plus I really love Brandon’s ensemble.

A quatrefoil. Duh. 😛 This huge, beautiful stonework quatrefoil was grouped with a few more in one of the courtyards of the Doge’s Palace. I wanted to lay in the center of it to accurately show my excitement for the picture, but figured that might get a few looks. Isn’t it just fabulous? LIOB!

A shot of some of the colorful houses on the island of Burano (which we visited after accidentally stopping at Murano where we bought some glass). It was very quiet while we were there, but I imagine that was just the weather/time of year (it was pretty chilly). It’s known for the brightly colored homes (thus the gazillions of pictures I took of random peoples’ homes…sorry guys!). I would have loved to have stayed here if it were warmer – can you imagine roaming the streets in the middle of the summer in a cute sundress and wedges?! YES!

We spent more of our time in Venice driving around in the vaporettos (water buses – the craziest mode of public transportation I’ve ever seen and the cheapest way to get around [oh, and check out this picture from some of the chairs…bwahahaha!]), getting lost, eating delicious food, and seeing an opera. Well, we more like listened to an opera. We had THE worst seats in the house (no, I mean really, we had to hang over the railing to see the stage and we could only see the tops of the performers’ heads), but honestly, we were really there just to sit down for a while. The theater’s interior was absolutely beautiful…and we got a REALLY great look at the ceiling, which we could touch from our seats. Not kidding. At the time it just seemed hot and uncomfortable, but it makes for one really great memory. :)

Rome

When we first got to Rome, the first thing I thought was “Man, this place is dirty.” And it was, though I guess many big cities are that way. I don’t know why, but I really didn’t expect all of the cool old things we’d be seeing to be plopped in the middle of not-nearly-as-old buildings, many which had been transformed into shopping districts (surprise, surprise).

My favorite thing about Rome was all the ancient stuff, like the ruins (more on these below), and learning more about its history. I honestly didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did!

The Colosseum (and thank you to Brandon for cutting off my double chin)! Super cool. Superduper old. The thought of what actually happened there makes me sick to my stomach, but I appreciate its historical value. We learned that much of the material in and around the building was ripped off and used for other buildings loooong long ago, after it was no longer an active venue but before someone realized “OMGosh, this is going to be really cool one day…perhaps we shouldn’t destroy it completely.” It would have been amazing to see it in all it’s glory back in the day!

We took this whilst standing in the Farnese Gardens, which are in Palatine Hill (which is next to the Roman Forum, which together make up a huge park of ancient ruins). This was probably my favorite spot in Rome. Everything was so well kept…and that’s really saying something for gardens that were planted in 1550. 😉 Such a perfect spot – pretty plants and beautiful architectural elements, and even more amazing views of Roma. I didn’t want to leave. The park itself was so amazing – go and plan to stay half a day. So much to see and learn! I’m actually looking for a book that goes into more detail about Palatine Hill and the Forum…any suggestions?

One of the many, many, MANY servings of gelato I had while in Italy. It’s pretty much the best snack (or, ahem, meal) ever. I always got mine in a cone, except for the one time I thought to take a picture of it. So. Good.

We did a bunch more in Rome too. Trekked through Vatican City and toured St. Peter’s Basilica (where the line was miserable, but thankfully worth the wait). Saw the Sistine Chapel (and the oh-so-famous “Creation of Adam” by the fab Michelangelo) after going through the most intense maze-of-a-museum (aka the Vatican Museums) I have ever been in (which I would have thoroughly enjoyed had I not been sick and tired, had it not been PACKED with fellow tourists, and had it not tricked us into believing that the chapel was just around the corner for the whole 1.5 hours we were walking through it. I adore art of all kinds, but I have my limits). We also checked out the Pantheon, practically ran by the Trevi Fountain (which is HUUUUGE and constantly surrounded by hoards of tourists…which made its hugeness really great for those of us who saw it from afar), and walked by the Spanish Steps and realized afterwards that they were the Spanish Steps, so we walked by them again for a photo op. I’m not sure how the mass of people chillin’ there wasn’t a dead giveaway the first time around…

Phew. I left so many details out! But this post is already long enough and has way too many pictures of me in it. If you want to check out all of our pictures (most of which aren’t actually all that great), head on over to flickr – they are posted there, but not really organized or labeled yet. I’ll get around to doing all of that one day… :)

Oh, and please excuse the Wikipedia links and any misspellings/typos you may have encountered along the way.

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The Honeymoon is Official!

by Katie on September 7, 2011

We are finally going on a honeymoon! 😛 We moved out to San Diego when most people take their honeymoons, so we decided to wait a year and take the big trip for our first anniversary. I could not be more excited!!

We’re making three stops – Paris, Venice, Rome. I’ve been to Paris before, but not any cities in Italy. If you have any travel tips and/or things to do and see in any of these cities, please do tell! I’d LOVE to hear about your experiences!!

Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

I. Can’t. WAIT!

P.S. Aren’t these pictures amazing? I can’t take credit for them – I found them in random places around the web, but on sketchy looking websites so I didn’t want to link to them.

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