Tuesday, January 26, 2016

February Beauty Wishlist

Woah, hold the phone. Can you believe January is already coming to an end?  It seems like we were all just rejoicing in the festive Christmas activities and now we are already one month into 2016.  Madness.  Now, I can write a whole blog post about how quick time is flying by; but that's not what this post is about.  Let's dive in, shall we?
One thing I wanted to do in 2016 was up my makeup game.  Because I'll be 100% honest...I don't put enough effort into my makeup.  However, that's not to say that everyone has to wear makeup. Trust me, I'm not saying that at all.  But I've always been interested in makeup and could spend hours watching makeup tutorials and wishing my makeup collection was as big as other girls'.  That being said, for a girl who is utterly obsessed with makeup, I'm definitely lacking a bit. 
Being February is my birthday month (February 5th to be exact!) I know I'll want to treat myself to some new beauty products to bring my makeup game from a level two to a level ten.  After hours of narrowing down my beauty wish list to just a few products so that this post wouldn't be miles long, I decided that these seven products were the ones I've been wanting for a while.
Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation: I have heard so many great reviews of this foundation and it's been on my wish list for a while.  Yes, it's a higher end product, but I'm starting to find that the foundation I had been using is a little too orange for my pale winter skin.  Plus, it's starting to look a bit cake-y on my face as I have more redness and spots to try to cover up.  I'm hoping that this foundation will be the answer to my wishes and provide me with optimal coverage without looking like I mistook foundation for my evening skin mask.
Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner: If you follow me on Snapchat (gabby_autumn) and/or Twitter (@gababoutlife) you'll have seen that I have finally mastered the perfect winged eyeliner.  Sure, it took about twenty tries and a lot of makeup wipes, but I am proud to say that I have finally mastered this art.  That being said, I was using a gel liner that was far too dried out so I think it's time to upgrade to a new and improved gel liner that will make me look like I've been doing winged eyeliner for years.
MAC Lipstick in Myth: Okay, the excitement for this product is far too real.  For years (yes, years) I have been searching high and low for a perfect nude lipstick that doesn't make me look like I am wearing concealer on my lips.  I've tried every brand and every shade of a "nude" lipstick; however, none of the lipsticks I've tried are that perfect shade of nude that I am looking for.  They were either too pink, too pale, or too shimmery for my liking.  I came across the MAC Myth lipstick in Sephora one day and cringed at the price.  There was no way I was paying that much money for a lipstick when I could go to Target and get a similar one for a fraction of the price.  But after trying at least ten different so-called "dupes" of this lipstick, I was ready to give up and give in.  I spent a good hour and a half searching reviews of this lipstick to see if it was worth the hype and price, and I was sold.  This baby will (hopefully!) be mine soon.
Benefit High Beam Highlighter: Okay, I know I'm a good few years behind on this one, but when you're only fourteen and you ask your mom to buy you a high end highlighter, she is going to look at you like you are insane. As I am approaching my 17th birthday, I think it's appropriate now to splurge with my own money on this higher end product.  I am such a huge fan of the way highlighter looks on the skin and now that I am finally starting to branch out more into the world of makeup, I think this old gem is worth a go.
NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray: For a while, I never understood the point of setting spray.  To me, it was a waste of money and I would always think to myself, "Okay, but isn't that going to make your face look shiny?"  Well, now I understand that it won't.  Hence the name, "Matte" Setting Spray.  After going back and forth between which setting spray I would add to my makeup collection, I decided to go with this one, which I found out about through the oh-so-stunning Carli Bybel. 
Benefit POREfessional Primer: Again, face primer was never really a product that made sense to me.  Now, I understand just how important face primer really is if you want long-lasting makeup.  This primer seems to be a hit among beauty gurus and bloggers, so I'll definitely be adding this one to my basket.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow: Now, I don't typically like to admit it, but my eyebrows are a mess.  Take one look at any of my previous posts and you'll be able to see what I'm talking about.  Nevertheless, I am admitting it to you all now because I want to be honest with you guys, even if it is a big insecurity of mine.  The evolution of eyebrows has completely changed and I love it...except for when you're own eyebrows don't want to cooperate. My eyebrows have a non-existent arch as they literally go straight across my face.  In the meanwhile, you have gorgeous girls with arches as high as mountains! If you're one of them, consider yourself lucky. To help combat my arch-less eyebrows, at the moment I am trying to grow them out a bit in hopes that I can go to a professional who can help me out.  Until that time comes, I'm hoping this brow gel can give my brows a helping hand.

February cannot come soon enough!  I'm really hoping these products will be worth the money and give my makeup routine a boost for the better.  If you would like to see reviews of these products after I purchase them, make sure to leave me a comment so I know if I should do them or not!  Thanks for reading!
Much love,
Gabriella xx

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Summer Dreaming, Scarves, and Snow Days

 If you know anything about me, you'll know I am not a fan of cold weather.  This can definitely be a pain, especially when I'm shivering while everyone else is trying to cool themselves down.  For some odd reason, I have an increased sensitivity to any temperature below fifty degrees. Weird, much?

So while I may be smiling like a kid on Christmas Day in these pictures, I was actually holding back tears.  Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration.  But, I can say that I had to keep running back inside the warmth of my house between shots. 
As I am writing up this post, the east coast is in the midst of a snow storm.  Now, I'm not talking flurries.  I'm talking state-of-emergency-don't-leave-your-homes kind of snow storm.  Definitely not my forte. 
Nevertheless, Mother Nature has a mind of her own and nothing I do or say can change the weather.  So in the meantime, I'll just imagine myself sitting on a beach on the Gold Coast of Australia.

Maybe it's my own fault for choosing to wear a dress in the middle of winter.  But I suppose it's my inner summer-loving self dreaming of warmth and sunshine that persuades me to throw on a sweater dress during the winter months. 
This is an outfit I definitely see myself wearing to an afternoon brunch with some friends or a trip to a coffee shop.  There's just something about this outfit that screams, "Even though it's not summer I still want to look good and not like I'm crying icicles on the inside." Okay, well maybe you hear something else...
If you are as daring (or crazy) like me and opt for a dress in the winter, the biggest tip I can give to stay warm is layering. I adore this tartan scarf from Forever 21 because it's warm and fluffy; exactly what I need for those chilly months. 
Temperatures like this would typically call for my marshmallow-like ski coat; however, they aren't always the most flattering.  That's why I love this camel coat because it's warm and stylish.  What more could you ask for?
Oh, and before you ask...I wasn't praying in the picture below haha. I had just finished blowing warm air into my hands.  I told you I was cold!

To cover up more skin, I paired this outfit with my latest obsession: knee-high boots.  If you're read my posts before, I'm sure you know that these are from Forever 21.  But honestly, where else would they be from? I told you, I am practically a walking Forever 21 advertisement!  For accessories, I went with a neutral handbag because I really wanted the focus of the outfit to be on the emerald green color from the sweater dress along with the pops of red in the scarf.  How stunning is this Celine look-a-like? 
And that's a wrap...literally!  I'm currently sat at my desk wrapped up in a furry blanket wondering when this snow will take a chill pill. 
Before I forget; I will be (hopefully!) purchasing my very own Olympus Pen E-PL7 after months of gawking at other lovely owners of this camera.  That being said, would you like a full review of the camera once I get it? If so, leave me a comment below or tweet me (@gababoutlife) if you'd want to see that!  Also, if you have any suggestions for blog posts you would like me to do, don't hesitate! Thanks for reading!
Much love,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Everyday Heatless Waves Tutorial

Ever since I cut my hair, I've been super careful to not put any heat on it.  Before chopping off a whopping seven inches (I just got chills!) of my locks, I had gone over two years without cutting my hair! I mean, it's no wonder I had split ends all throughout my hair from excess heat and washing my hair every single day. Therefore, in order to grow my hair back stronger and healthier, I want to minimize heat as much as possible.  However, this can be quite difficult for us girls with unmanageable natural hair.  That's why I came up with this simple, easy, overnight hair tutorial for effortless waves.  I've actually been doing this tutorial for over three years now back when I had long hair in eighth grade so it works on any length of hair! Let's get started, shall we?

You'll want to start out with damp hair; whether you've just got out of the shower and let it air dry a bit or just spray some water all over your hair.  I shower at night; so I let my hair dry a bit and then proceed on and just sleep on it overnight!

Next, you'll want to part your hair in two sections as if you were to put it in pigtails.  Starting with whatever side you please, take two strands of hair from the top/front of your head as shown above.

Wrap the two strands around one another away from your face. Once you've wrapped those two strands, pick up another piece of hair and add it to the section closest to your head.  This step can be seen in the last picture of this set where you'll see me pick up a strand of hair.

Once you've added and wrapped all the strands from that side of your head, simply continue the process of wrapping the two strands together, but you won't be picking up any more pieces of hair.  Once you've finished, secure the end of your hair with an elastic.

Go ahead and repeat this process on the other side of your head.  I included pictures of this side too as you can see what I am doing a bit easier.

Alright, now that both sides of your head are wrapped and secured with an elastic, twist the entire section until the hair is tight.  It is very important that you make the twist tight so that the waves come out properly. Once twisted completely, bring the section of hair up to your head and secure it with a clip/bobby pins.  Make sure the hair is secure so that the twist stays tight and it won't fall out if you sleep on it!

Now that both sides are twisted and secured, you'll probably resemble a version of Princess Leia.  If you're doing this at night, go ahead and hit the zzz's!  If not, let your hair stay like this until it has completely dried. Now, the rest is easy!  Simply wake up, untwist your hair, give it a shake, spray with hairspray, and voila!

This is my favorite way to style my hair without any heat; plus it's quick and simple!  Just wake up and you've got gorgeous waves!  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  Apologies for it being quite long but I wanted to make sure I explained each step properly so you guys can do this, too!  Thanks for reading!
Much love,
Gabriella xx

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Beginner's Makeup Collection

Ah, makeup. An undeniable guilty pleasure for the majority of the female population.  That being said, I know I can't be the only girl who gets overly excited when I get to take a peek inside other peoples' makeup collection, right? However, as a new makeup fanatic, I can't say my makeup collection is as impressive as other makeup goddesses. But, we all have to start somewhere, right?  In this post, I'll be sharing my current makeup collection as a newbie in hopes to guide others who are also starting out with makeup in the right direction.  All the products I mention are products I recommend using if you're a beginner in the world of makeup!

So, here's my baby makeup collection! She is about 5 months old and is growing at an exceptional rate. (Need to work on my jokes!) In the future, I really want to explore different makeup brands and branch away from my comfort zone of Maybelline and e.l.f products (Not saying I don't love these brands! I totally do!). I would really love to try out different brands such as L'Oréal, Benefit, Nars, and of course, MAC! Now, I've never owned a MAC makeup product, so that's definitely high on my to-purchase list.  But, enough rambling about what I want; because we all want things.  Rather, let's focus and appreciate what we have.

First up is face products.  I'm still trying to find what face products work best for me as I have very sensitive skin and many products make my skin break out. Nevertheless, here's my current face favorites:
  • Maybelline Fit Me
  • Rimmel Match Perfection
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder (My all-time favorite powder! Goodbye shiny face!)
  • Maybelline BB Cream (This makes me skin breakout *pouty face*)
  • Rimmel BB Cream (Not suitable for my pale winter skin)
  • Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
  • elf Bronzer
  • Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer (Again, too dark for my pale skin)
Next up: brushes. I'm a total beginner when it comes to brushes so I typically go for the most basic ones (which will be changing soon!) So for now, my brush collection is just your basics:
  • Powder brushes from elf
  • Foundation brushes
  • A knock-off Beauty Blender (Sorry, I don't have $20 to spend on a sponge haha)
  • An angled brush (used for my eyebrows)
  • Two blending brushes and two flat brushes for eyeshadow
When you're just starting out with makeup, it can be quite daunting to go into a store and see a wall filled of different makeup brushes for every use under the sun.  If you're just starting out like me, I recommend getting your basic brushes that I listed above.  This way, you'll be able to perform your basic techniques for your face and eyes without being too overwhelmed.

I'm quite ashamed at the fact that I have only three lip products (chap-stick doesn't really count).  Lipsticks are something I've always struggled to branch out and try. I never thought I could pull off a bright red or coral lipstick.  However, that's where confidence comes into play.  Confidence is something I've only struggled with in the past few years, so I'm determined to get my self-esteem back up as it's so important.  Confidence plays a role in everything from the way you carry yourself to the way you talk to other people. If you look down at the ground when passing other people, you send off negative vibes.  This is something I need to work on myself; so we're all in this together. Hey, if you want to wear a deep red or dark burgundy lipstick, do it! Here's my miniscule lipstick collection:
  • Chanel lip gloss in Levres Scintillantes-#164 (This was a gift. I could never afford anything Chanel!)
  • Wet n Wild in Dark Wine
  • L'Oréal in Jennifer's Nude
I think the perfect colors to start out with are nudes and a deep red because they are quite common colors so you feel like the whole world is staring at you!

My eye products consist of your typical mascaras, eyeliner, and brow products.  Here's what I currently have:
  • Maybelline the Colossal Volum Express
  • e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit (This is what I use everyday!)
  • e.l.f. Liquid Eyeliner (2016 goals include upping my winged eyeliner game!)
  • Avon waterproof mascara
  • e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner
  • Avon Darkest Black Eyeliner
  • Covergirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in #345

 Now, for the best part...eyeshadows! Since beginning to expand my makeup collection, I've fallen in love with different eyeshadow palettes.  I love the creativity you can put into your eyeshadow with different colors, which is a skill I'm still trying to master!
  • 21 Eyeshadow Palette from Forever 21 (Totally obsessed with these shades!)
  • Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow in Hushed Tints
  • e.l.f. Flawless Eyeshadow in Golden Goddess
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze
  • (The last palette has no label on it, sorry!)
I wanted to write this post as a guide to starting up your own makeup collection.  It can be very confusing and daunting when first starting out with makeup especially when you have girls who are absolute professionals at makeup with a whole room filled with products.  For beginners like me, I recommend starting off with your typical drugstore makeup brands such as Maybelline, e.l.f., and L'Oréal.  This way, you're not spending a paycheck's worth of money on one lipstick and mascara at Sephora!  If you follow my guide, you'll be able to perform the basics of makeup and be able to work your way up from there!  I'll keep you all updated on my growing makeup collection and if you'd like to see individual reviews on some of these products, leave a comment below!  Thank you for reading and I hope some of you found this guide helpful. 
Much love,
Gabriella xx

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Look Inside My Handbag

Here's a little unknown fact about me when I was little...I used to collect purses.  Yup, you read correctly.  For some reason, I was utterly obsessed with purses of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Walking around the mall with my mom, I would pinch her and say, "Mom, look at her purse! I like that one!"  Five minutes later, "Mom! That one's pretty, too!"  I remember dreaming of the day when I would be old enough to carry a big-girl purse with a wallet, sunglasses, makeup, and everything in-between.  Well, that time has finally come and after years of waiting to own the perfect handbag, I've finally found the one.

And nope, that's not a designer handbag. Surely, it looks very similar to the oh-so-famous Celine bag selling for a whopping $3000! *faints*
But it's not.  If you've been reading my blog, you can probably take one guess as to where this bag is from.  Yup, Forever 21.  And it definitely didn't cost me that much money.  For only $32, you can pick up this beauty and not completely break the bank.  Well, what are you waiting for?  Go treat yourself to this stunning handbag!

Alright, now it's time for the good stuff.  The three most used items in my handbag are my wallet (maybe that's not such a good thing) my planner, and my portable phone charger.  I picked up this gorgeous blush colored wallet from Charlotte Russe. My favorite thing about this wallet is that if I am running into a shop real quick and don't feel like taking my purse in, I can wrap this around my wrist and I'm good to go! My "Carpe That Diem" journal has been my best friend recently. Personally, I prefer to write things down on paper rather than on my phone so if a blog post idea pops up when I'm out, I can quick jot it down and don't have to worry about forgetting it.  I don't think I have to go into much detail about my portable phone charger because I'm pretty late to the game on that one!

Ah, makeup.  One of the best things a girl can have in her handbag. There's nothing like that wave of relief that you feel knowing you have concealer and powder in your bag when your acne acts up or you look like an oil machine. Here's a few makeup products I'm sure to keep in my bag at all times: a mirror, Maybelline Fit Me concealer, Rimmel Long Lasting Pressed Powder with a mini e.l.f. powder brush, Maybelline Brow Precise pencil, chap-stick, and L'Oréal nude lipstick in #370. If I've got these products in my bag, I can take on the world without having to worry about messing up my makeup!  Plus, how cute is that mini Kabuki brush?

Next up are my so-called "life essentials".  You know, the stuff your mom used to carry around in her purse for you in case something happened when you were out and about.  For me, these consist of: Band-Aid's, hair ties, a nail filer/clipper, tissues, oil-blotting sheets, and (sorry boys!) a pad.  You never know when you'll get sick of your hair in your face, your nails chip, or that time of the month comes too soon.  Hey, better safe than sorry!

And lastly, the final essentials in my purse are: scissors, gum, headphones, hand sanitizer, clothing tape, and... a sponge? That's right! That dirty thing right there (typical makeup explosion in my makeup bag) is something that's saved me quite a few times.  You know when you apply deodorant only to put on your shirt and it's all over the place? Not a problem when you've got one of these with you! It takes the deodorant stain right off your shirt like nothing ever happened. I'm not entirely sure as to where I got this from because it was quite some time ago, but you can get one on Amazon for super cheap!

And that's everything I keep in my handbag! (Well, minus the gum wrappers...but I don't think you guys want to see that!)  I hope you liked this post and be sure to let me know what you guys keep in your handbags!  I still have some room to fill in this bag, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks for reading and I hope you're all doing well!
Much love,
Gabriella xx

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Have Your Cookies and Eat Them, Too

Soft, chewy, and tasty, cookies are surely hard to resist.  I mean, how can you say no to a gooey chocolate chip cookie or a cinnamon-y snickerdoodle cookie?  And don't even get me started on Oreos...
However, if your trying to keep your body in check and fuel it with the best possible nutrient-dense foods, cookies don't necessarily make the cut.  But what if I told you that I have for you a healthy, protein-packed cookie that doesn't even count as a treat meal?  Would you jump for joy?  I certainly did!

This healthy protein cookie is the perfect alternative to you typical sugar-laden cookies.  Using protein powder, pumpkin puree, egg whites, and few other add-ins, this recipe is completely guilt free! Now, I'm not going to lie to you and say this tastes exactly like a regular cookie, but it's enough to settle that sweet tooth that we all try so hard to ignore. Well, now you can answer your sweet tooth's calls with this healthy cookie!  Alright, now you're probably saying to yourself, "Shut up and give us the recipe girl!" I totally understand. I would be that excited, too.
(*Note: The cookie "dough" more resembles that of a pancake batter as there is no flour, so I will be referencing it as "batter" instead. )

-1 scoop protein powder of your choice (I used Snickerdoodle from PEScience)
-3/4 cup pumpkin puree (about 55 grams)
-1.5 Tablespoon pudding mix (I used sugar free, fat free chocolate)
-1 egg white
-3 Tablespoons milk of choice (I used almond milk)
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-Sweetener of choice (I used Stevia)

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (about 175 degrees Celsius) and let that heat up whilst you make the cookie batter. Next, you're going to want to chuck everything into a bowl.  Okay, well maybe not chuck everything randomly.  You'll want to measure out everything above and add all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl first.  Then, add in all the wet ingredients (I find adding them in this order makes it easier to mix but whatever suits your fancy!).  Next, mix it all up. Oh, and if you are looking for a killer arm workout, this will definitely check that box.

I'm aware that the above pictures look very disgusting, but I assure you these cookies taste good once their finished!  Alright, next you'll want to scoop out the batter with a tablespoon and plop them on a non-stick baking pan.  This recipe makes about ten to twelve cookies if you make them the size of a golf ball, so if you want smaller or bigger cookies, then adjust accordingly!

Hopefully the oven should be preheated by now, so stick your cookie sheet into the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes are up, do the trick where you stick a toothpick in the cookie to make sure it's all baked properly! If not, stick them back in for five more minutes until they are done.

How good do those look?! And if you're like me and one cookie is never enough, this entire batch is  equivalent in energy (calories) to about two regular cookies!  Yup, you heard me right. Twelve healthy protein cookies versus two not-so-healthy regular cookies.  I don't know about you, but I'd much rather eat twelve cookies that provide me with protein and fiber rather than two regular cookies filled with unhealthy sugars and fats.  (Don't get me wrong, I totally enjoy regular cookies on special occasions because life is all about balance, am I right?!)

If you try out this recipe (which I totally recommend you do) be sure to tweet, Snapchat, or tag me on Instagram so I can see! This recipe was adapted by @kimhoeltje on Instagram and she has a bunch of healthy alternatives to all our favorite desserts/treats so definitely give her some love!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know what you think about my recipe posts and if you'd like to see something else! Thanks for reading!
Much love,
Gabriella xx

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Walk in My Shoes

You know that cliché of "a girl can never have too many shoes,"?  Well, I am a total believer in that saying. I feel that, as the strong, beautiful women we are, we have the right to own as many shoes that'll fit in our closets.  Sigh...okay, well maybe not that many pairs of shoes because we cannot forget about purses, dresses, makeup, food, jewelry..... (haha, well it's true!)
I think you get my point in that girls love shoes and if taxes and bills weren't a thing, we'd all probably own a lot more shoes than humanly possible.  That being said, I thought I'd give you all a peek into my shoe collection by picking out some of my favorite shoes that I own.  And coming from a girl who still has shoes from when she was thirteen (I'm sixteen now) it was quite the task to shovel through the numerous pairs of sneakers, flip-flops, and combat boots to find my favorites.  Alright, enough of the gabbing (ha, get it?) let's dive in!

Starting out with these babies, I picked up this pair of tan high-heeled chunky ankle boots from Forever 21 for seventeen dollars.  Yup, you heard me right! SEVENTEEN DOLLARS! Sorry, didn't mean to scream at you there but I am so excited about these shoes.  Thanks to the thick heel, these boots are super easy to walk in despite the 4.25inch heel height. Even better, they do wonders for my legs! I have looked high and low on Forever 21's website for a link to these boots, but as I bought them pre-Christmas, unfortunately, they might have been taken off already.

Next up are these over-the-knee heeled boots that have been featured in plenty of outfits already.  But what can I say? They are simply stunning. Also from Forever 21, these boots have been a staple in my wardrobe ever since I've taken them home and I sure am getting use out of them!

I don't think I'll ever get sick of talking about these beauties.  I've dreamt of owning these sneakers for a long time, and I finally saved up enough money over the summer to buy them.  For a pair of sneakers like these, both stylish and comfortable, they were worth every dollar out of my wallet. 

With a pointed-toe, tall heels, and suede, when I saw these (similar one's here) in Forever 21, I couldn't resist.  Sure, I have a lot of ankle booties, but I've never owned pointed-toe booties and my goodness do they look absolutely stunning.  There's just something about pointed-toed shoes that add that extra 'oomph' of chic sophistication.

I'll be the first to admit that these faux patent leather oxfords aren't everyone's cup of tea.  I've even been told that I look like I "belong in a ballroom with a matching tuxedo".  So. Not. Cool.  To each is their own, and I happen to adore these shoes. I like to rock these oxfords with skinny jeans and a collared-sweater to look oh-so classy.

To suit my fitness-obsessed side, I had to include my favorite gym sneakers.  My Nike's have been with me through a lot. Gym sessions, hill runs, and long summer walks, these sneakers are super comfortable and definitely a step up from my old running sneakers that looked like they belonged to an elementary school kid!
I feel so lucky to own such beautiful shoes and I am grateful to even have a pair of shoes to wear on my feet, let alone two shelves worth!  I hope you enjoyed having a look into my taste in shoes and let me know in the comments what posts you would like to see next! Any requests would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading.
Much love,
Gabriella xx
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