Gifts from Bend, OR

Live in Bend, Oregon and want to give a gift from Bend, Oregon? Follow my local gift giving series!

Green your coffee routine

Save 23 lbs of waste this year and start using a reusable coffee cup to keep you caffeinated.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Going natural with your hair products

I have for years been a big supporter of Dove hair products. It has worked well with my baby fine, stick straight hair as it did a good job of not drying it out and weighing it down but it was full of things I didn't want entering my body so I had some options ... go "no-poo"  by trying baking soda and vinegar or researching products and finding ones that would be right for me. After someone suggested I try Bubble and Bee's Pit Putty (I still haven't but it is on my B&B wish list) I started to read their blog and found some great information about why we should avoid some of the chemicals in mainstream shampoos.

I then started to read about their shampoos and it intrigued me:
Our products are a little bit different to use; it may take some getting used to. Instead of using a detergent shampoo (that strips your hair) and conditioner (that covers up the damage the shampoo did) we use a natural soap to clean and vinegar to balance hair's pH. The cleansing is so gentle you don't need conditioner, and the vinegar makes your hair exceptionally strong. Conventional shampoos and conditioners contain synthetic protiens and plasticizers that coat the hair. They have to do this to cover up the damage that the synthetic detergents in the shampoo do to your hair. Our shampoo doesn't strip the hair of its oils, only removes the excess. You'll actually go through a hair "detox" period, where the synthetic protiens will be removed and you'll be able to feel your hair for the first time without these synthetic coatings. It will become naturally soft and smooth, and, as new hair grows in, it won't suffer the damage of the conventional shampoos. Over time, your hair's appearance will grow shinier and be stronger.
When I was about to run out of shampoo, I ended up buying 365 Shampoo and Conditioner for my husband at Whole Foods as he wasn't exactly on board with going my route. As for the kiddo, he still doesn't quite understand "close your eyes while I wash your hair" so we continue to use California Baby on him. And then I took the plunge and bought the Bubble and Bee Organic Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo.

I was a little worried about the detox period but maybe I'm in the minority ... I didn't really notice a difference until after about two weeks later people started commenting on how my hair was really shiny and asked about the products I was using. As for conditioner, Bubble and Bee sends a bottle so you can do a vinegar wash. Sounds crazy but it actually works and really helps keep the hair shiny. I only do this about once a week.

I'm still up for trying just straight baking soda and vinegar but there is a side of me that is a little girly and wants some smelly (organic/natural) stuff.

Now, if Bubble and Bee could wash out my gray hair or prevent it somehow, I'd be trying to buy stock in this company.

P.S. I have no affiliation with any of the products/companies/organizations mentioned in this post.

(image courtesy of Bubble & Bee)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Goal #3 Use green/natural beauty products

Before I was pregnant with my son, I never questioned what was in my beauty products. I just took for granted that the products were safe since I thought the FDA looked at everything. Well, the FDA only screens about 20% of them. YIKES!

When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I jumped on forums and chat rooms to get the latest information on everything baby. It was there I first discovered I was putting a lot of toxins in my body. I vowed to start using natural deordorant, shampoo, soap -- you name it. And then, third trimester hit and I was too tired to even look at forms and chat rooms anymore.

Then this video popped up a few months ago and inspired me to go green, gradually

Why would I use something that causes cancer and messes with my reproductive system? Did you know that the average baby is born with only 200 chemicals in their body?

I started asking my friends via Facebook and Twitter and looking for new, safer items to use in our daily routines.I made a list of things to start seeking out that were considered "natural" or "organic."  My list included: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, baby shampoo, soap, lotion, facial cleanser and moisturizer.

If you're looking to make this switch but are stumped,  a good place to start is the EWG's Cosmetic Database or The Good Guide. At a suggestion from a friend, I also checked out Bubble and Bee's blog on chemicals to avoid. They've done a good job of outlining what you should be looking for (and yes, they do sell products).

One thing that had me worried -- would these products be as good as the products in our mainstream store aisle? My hair was the one I was particularly worried about considering I have baby fine, limp hair. Of course, I don't have to buy products, I can make some of my own which I still very well may do later on.

I spent a few hours gathering all the items I needed to stop using and switch out. It was a full box as you can see:

Next up: I'll talk about the products I tried. Note: I haven't talk about make-up yet. I'm subscribing to the 80/20 rule as No More Dirty Looks would call. it. I don't wear much make-up anyway (mascara, concealer and blush) so once I run out of the product I have, I will start my journey on replacing those products as well.

Do you have a favorite product? A favorite trick? A suggestion? I want to know. Leave a comment below.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I like gadgets

Have you seen my phone? No, it's not an iPhone. It's better than an iPhone -- it's an HTC EVO. Those that work with me joke that I can not be without my trusty cell phone. The bad thing about my phone ... it's a battery hog and I seem to be constantly charging the sucker.

Then I ran across the AT&T Zero Charger which switches off itself and also works for most USB devices. Since my phone charges by USB, I make be picking up one of these in my future.

(image via

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Powered by yogurt cups

I hate buying toothbrushes because I thought you couldn't recycle them. Recently at Trader Joes I discovered Preserve Toothbrushes powered by yogurt cups!

When I got home, I discovered when opening the packaging that not only can you recycle this toothbrush, they have other products you can buy and recycle like razors (another item I hate buying).

I hope my husband will be willing to try the razors. He's sorta set in his ways when it comes to shaving his face.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tips on line drying your clothes

Wondered what the best way to line dry your socks would be? Wanna know why your clothes line shouldn't be near trees? When should you use a hanger?

I learned some awesome tips on how to line dry our clothes from the Greenest Dollar.

(image via darrowassoc)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Practical ways to green your laundry

I love Practically Green! It sorta reminds me of foursquare for green folks because you earn badges and points and you can compare yourself to your friends. (I secretly hope they're making an Android app) It's also a great resource for ways to go green. I found these two awesome gems on laundry.

First they tackle why you should wash your clothes in warm water instead of hot. Another article I loved is four practical ways to green your laundry.

Yay Practically Green! You're making going green gradually a breeze for my family and I!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Goal #2 Line dry our clothes

Line drying your laundry in the city of Bend is a little controversial:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Enemy Within - Backyard Clothesline
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News
Good thing I don't live in her neighborhood or I wouldn't be able to start working on goal #2.

I must admit, I don't use Seventh Generation Laundry Products but I was intrigued by their challenge:
  • Use Seventh Generation 2X laundry care products. They’re specifically formulated to power out stains, dirt in cold water.
  • Wash your laundry in cold water.
  • Dry each load outside using free zero-emission sun power. (Live in the city? Just substitute a bathroom or balcony drying rack for a laundry line!
Why wash your clothes in cold water? It helps lower your energy bills when you replace hot or warm water
washes with cold water cycles. Some say the key to this is buying a detergent specially formulated for the cold water. I don't know if I believe that but my Kirkland Environmentally Friendly Detergent seems to be washing my clothes just fine.

Why dry your laundry outside? No brainer. Lower your energy bills and save money. And you thought all this going green was going to cost more? 

Don't have a big back yard like me (see photo to the left), no problem! Use your bathroom, garage or spend $20 and buy  a dryer rack like we did!

When I first proposed this to my husband, he was game and then we had to do it. It's pretty convenient to just put the clothes in the dryer from the washer. Now there is an extra step ... put them in the laundry basket and haul it to the back. Really, it's not that hard or a pain. And it is actually fun.

Each week, I do at least three loads of laundry so our goal is to line dry at least two of those loads a week. So far, we've been successful. 

What are your line drying tricks? Use anything specials? Have a favorite detergent? I welcome your comments and/or suggestions.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A quick list of bad stuff in your products

Nothin' But Blue Skies has this down and dirty post of what exactly natural and organic means on your beauty products. Scroll down and read what the synthetic ingredients are suspected to do to our bodies. Now, don't you want to go rub some Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a possible carcinogen all over your body? No thank you!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CSA tips

Since joining a CSA last year, I've come up with a few tips to making it last and not go bad.

Share: Our tote of veggies each week yields a lot of veggies for three people (well, two considering the toddler does not eat vegetables) to eat so we share with someone with cuts down the cost. Often, our CSA partner will go out of town. If I feel we can't eat the whole tote, I pawn it off on friends who gladly will take them off our hands.

Meal plan: We are notified each Monday what will be in our CSA on Wednesday when it gets picked up. Our standard Wednesday meal has always been from our CSA. Sometimes it's a veggie sauté with pasta or a beefed up salad. Since I grocery shop on Friday, I sit down on Thursday and figure out the meals for the rest of the week.

Freeze or dry: Often I can not find a way to use a bunch of herbs or green beans so I will freeze them. How do I freeze the herbs ... it's simple: in ice cube trays. Chop the herbs, put in the tray and fill with water. Right now I have mint, cilantro and chives tucked away in my freezer. If you have rosemary or thyme, it's best to dry them and store in herb jars.

I recently took two bunches of green beans and froze them as well. I blanched them, dried them with a towel and then froze them flat on a cookie sheet. After frozen, I put them in a bag in the freezer.

Ask your friends: If you don't have any idea what to do with a certain veggie, ask your friends. I often use Facebook to poll my friends on what to do. You'll get some amazing results from folks that have tried the veggies.

Need more tips? This website has several more that can help with your CSA!

(image via

Monday, August 16, 2010

Goal #1: Eat more local/seasonal/organic food

I was recently telling someone that I swear I didn't eat any vegetables other than corn, lettuce and potatoes until I moved to Bend. This shocked them!Why didn't I eat vegetables?

For starters, my mom would usually open up a can of veggies and throw it into pan and heat it up.We also ate a lot of iceberg lettuce. To this day, I can't buy that stuff. Just doesn't have any flavor. I despised peas and her famous stuff peppers -- I turned my nose up to. (this I regret as my mom passed away 14 years ago this June and well, my brothers and Dad swear they were delicious). Another reason, I lived alone. I had no one to cook for until I moved to Bend and had my husband to cook for. It was then I discovered the beauty of farmer's markets and began experimenting.

When I heard about community supported agriculture, I was intrigued but scared.  Could we eat a tote of veggies each week? What if there was something I didn't like in the tote? What if something goes to waste? Can we really eat ALL of those vegetables?

So we shared with our friends and went off on our CSA adventure. You can read the wrap up of our first year with our CSA on my personal blog. For $11 a week for 26 weeks, we were like kids in a candy store and in the end discovered we really did like eating vegetables seasonally.

Martha Stewart once said a healthy person eats fresh seasonal vegetables. How I discovered this was by subscribing and reading Everyday Food Magazine in print and online. My husband calls it "food porn." When it comes in the mail, I have to thumb through the pages over and over and then I tear out the recipes and categorize them in a binder (yes, I am a nerd).

I still go to the farmer's market as I'm addicted to heirloom tomatoes. I can't eat anything else during the summer. It has to be fresh heirloom tomatoes as store bought just don't have the flavor. And when berries and cherries are plentiful at the markets, I buy extra and freeze them and make jam.

So what do we need to work on? Buying locally produced organic beef, pork and poultry and buying organic when it is on the dirty dozen list. My friend Justin hooks us up on the eggs but I'm scratching my head on how to do the meat/poultry locally without chemicals and being corn fed.  We only eat red meat  and pork twice a month and chicken once a week. As for the dirty dozen list, my son loves strawberries so those are always organic. When we don't get our CSA, I need to be better about buying organic veggies and fruit.

I will admit, there still are veggies I don't really care for like kale or swiss chard but I have discovered so many veggies it's not enough for me to quit my CSA.  Beets, fennel and all squashes are surprisingly some of my favorite new veggies.

If you have any tips for me, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why I like Walmart even more

I'm not going to hide it. I like Wal-Mart. And I like Wal-Mart even more now that they've partnered with Seventh Generation. It's a move towards mainstream companies thinking green and about the future of Mother Earth.And when green product are on the shelves of Wal-Mart, they are in the hands of just about everyone.

Read more about this revolutionary partnership on Practically Green.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Homemade beauty routine -- can you do it?

When I was in my teens, I used a lot of products in my baby fine hair. My mother once suggested that that I use baking soda to remove the gunk (I was using a lot of Aqua Net to get 80s big hair). Anyway, it worked but I always went back  to using Suave (hey, it's what my mom would buy me).

One of my favorite go to websites, Simple Organic, just came out with a great guide, to alternatives to shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, facial cleanings. Check it out ...

Simple Organic's homemade beauty routines

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Safer Product Advice in Your Pocket

It used to be simple ... you pick a product in the store, go home and try it. Now that we're eliminating harmful toxins in our home, I'm turning more and more to safe products guides, like the ones you can download at Healthy Child, Healthy World.

They have guides on baby products, bug repellent, food and cosmetics and so much more. I'm downloading a few of these today and putting them next to my dirty dozen cheat sheet in my purse.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

The red container is the shaving cream my husband used to use. Notice anything strange in the ingredients? If there was one thing I would like to ask @oldspice it would be "do you really put propane on your face?"

I was so alarmed by this, I really thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I went to the natural food store and asked one of the male cashiers what shaving cream they use and bought it for my husband.

Go green by drinking beer? Sign me up.

Recently, I added 10 points to my Practically Green profile by drinking locally brewed beer. I wish I could say that is a tough choice for me but it's not. I often joke that since moving to Bend, Oregon that I have gained 30 pounds due to drinking the delicious craft brews produced locally.  I'm now considered a beer snob if someone tries to get me to drink a Coors Light and I refuse.

This article has great tips for going green while drinking a tasty brew. Here is a local overview of how Bendites can be green while enjoying their locally produced beer.

1) Drink organic ales. Locally, Deschutes Brewery produces Green Lakes Organic Ale (certified by Oregon Tilth). According to Deschutes Brewery this beer is the first beer brewed with Salmon-Safe certified hops grown so that surrounding streams are shaded, cool and run-off free, allowing migrating salmon to flourish.

2) Buy locally. As I covered above, I live in beer heaven. Spend a few days testing out the beers and fill out your Bend Ale Trail card. And when I hear the word "local" I think statewide too. So Ninkasi, Full Sail and Rouge Ales also count in my book.

3) Support green beer companies. When I took the Deschutes Brewery tour, I was happy to learn they use the grains to make bread for their pubs. That hamburger bun helped make the beer you're drinking

4) Drink Draught Drinking from a keg is more environmentally friendly, saving around 100 cans or bottles. I think my husband might get his keg wish after all.

5) Recycle, Reduce, Reuse Get your bottle deposit back or put them in your bin.Most corrugated packing is recyclable so make sure that makes it in your comingle bin. 

(image courtesy of

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

100 items ... could you do it?

I think I own 30 pairs of shoes but this woman in Portland, Oregon has streamlined her life down to only 100 items and only including three pairs of shoes! Wow.

If you could only keep 100 items? What would they be? I think this would be easy to do if children weren't involved. My son alone has more than 100 pieces to his Thomas the Train set!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer hair challenge ... are you game?

The lovely bloggers of No More Dirty Looks are challenging women all over the web to put down the product and blow dryer and go natural for one day this week until Friday. They also want to see it so if you do go natural, send in your photo.

And guess what I did today:
Yes, that is me -- no product, no blow dry style and I don't look all that bad. I guess I have it easy because I have short, stick straight hair. I recently switched my shampoo and conditioner to a more environmentally friendly, natural shampoo so I was excited to see how my hair held up when I didn't blow dry or use product. (more to come on this switch soon, I promise)

I usually blow dry my hair and apply pomade to tame fly aways. My hair did have a little static but none I couldn't handle.

So, will you join me on this challenge?

Round One: going green gradually goals

This journey would not be complete without setting goals and since I feel you can't go natural, green, organic or environmentally friendly overnight (well, you probably can but ...), it's best to start with a list and check back and see how we're doing.

I happened upon a website called Practically Green. You take their quiz and it gives you tips on being even greener! Our score came up that our family was "solidly green" but still had some work to do on improving. If I would have taken this quiz two months ago, I'm pretty sure I would have scored lower so we have made some strides since we started.

The one thing I really like is it easily helps you understand why your family should do the action you're not doing.

For example: Why is "Buy hormone-free dairy regularly" green?
Hormone-free dairy products avoid the use of the bovine growth hormones rBGH and rBST. The European Union, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand have banned use of the hormones over concerns related to both animal and human health. The Cancer Prevention Coalition and American Public Health Association have asked the US Government to ban manufacture and sale of these hormones due to concerns about it causing excess levels of IGF-1 which can in turn causes breast, colon, and prostate cancers and reduce resistance to other forms of cancer.
Hormone-free does not mean organic or that the cow had access to pasture so some of the nutritional and environmental benefits of organic milk are not necessarily the same for hormone-free milk.
They also help on where to buy and how to buy. AWESOME! Exactly the website I need to help me stay in check.

So, where does my family start? Here is our green list:

1) Eat more local and seasonal food
2) Line dry our clothes
3) Use green/natural beauty products (for mom, dad and toddler)
4) Carry and use our own shopping bags, using more reusable products
5) Learn to compost
6) Car pool, bike or walk more
7) Get smarter about recycling
8) Reduce the amount of energy our family uses
9) Buy green household cleaning products
10) Reduce our water usage

Over the next week, I'm going to focus on what each one of these goals means and where we'll head with them. If you're out there reading and have some advice, suggestion or comment, I would LOVE to hear them I couldn't do this with out the help of all the new sites, my friends on Facebook and fabulous folks I have found on Twitter.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Do it yourself pizza crust

Each week, my husband and I would stop at our local take and bake shop and pick up a pizza. I've always been intimidated by making pizza so I have always leave left it to the expert.

For Christmas, I asked for the The Pioneer Woman Cookbook and have been trying the recipes over the past year. I was so intrigued by her potato leek pizza that I decided to go all out and make the crust recipe in the book as I usually buy a box mix or pre-made crust. The verdict ...  I will never buy a box of crust or pre-made crust again.

I'm happy to say, we've been making a lot of veggie pizzas based on our weekly CSA. One week it was fennel and caramelized onions. Another week it was caprese pizza and tonight we had cheese pizza topped with arugula micro greens dressed in a lemon vinaigrette (something I made up). My husband and I were fighting over the last piece.


Basic Pizza Crust by Pioneer Woman 
makes 2 pizzas (I half the recipe and only make one)

1 teaspoon Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
1-½ cup Warm Water
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Olive Oil

Preparation Instructions
Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.

Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

When you are ready to make the pizza, grab HALF the pizza dough (recipe makes 2 crusts) and squeeze the dough toward the bottom to form a nice, tight, pulled ball. You can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Very lightly sprinkle some salt on the crust.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top your crust with your toppings of choice. Then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

Alternatives to Synthetic Air Fresheners

Want that citrus smell without all the yucky stuff? I recently ousted Oust and my Costco citrus surface cleaners! Eco-Novice, another new to being green blogger recently posted a great article on alternatives to synthetic air fresheners. Because who wants to spray and breath harmful chemicals? I don't see anyone raising their hands?

Friday, August 6, 2010

You know it's summer when ...

you pick up heirloom tomatoes and basil from the Farmer's Market! Aren't they pretty?

Make your own Greek Yogurt

Above is what I usually eat for breakfast: fruit (cantaloupe this week), Greek yogurt, almonds and sometimes a bit of honey. This mixture of yummy treats will fill me up until lunch time and I'm pretty sure it all has to do with the almond slivers. You would think I would get sick of this but I change up the fruit with the seasons. For a while, I was making rhubarb compote and eating that up but since it's not in season, I'm switching to melon. ANYWAY ...

Buying Greek Yogurt is expensive. The 8 oz packages go for something like $1.50 - $2 regular to organic fat free so to save some money, I strain regular 32 oz non-fat Organic plain yogurt (We buy Nancy's or Trader Joe's which usually costs around $2.99 a container) in the refrigerator for 24 hours until it's reduced by 1/3. You'll want to dump the excess liquid every couple of hours. After 24 hours, just put it back in the container and enjoy.

In the end, you'll get a thicker consistency and if you want yogurt cheese, you leave it in another 24 hours and then add herbs or use it plain. Along with eating it for breakfast, I also use Greek yogurt as a sour cream replacement so I don't have to buy a container of sour cream because I'm cheap like that.

And if I was really ambitious, I would make my own yogurt, but I'm not. This working mom just doesn't have the time.

Related links:
The health benefits of Greek Yogurt

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Loads of fun

I do about three loads of laundry a week. I know that doesn't seem like much but it's enough for me! Lucky for me, my husband does his own laundry. I ran across this wonderful laundry cheat sheet via SafeMama (one of my new go-to websites).

You can pick from their list of eco-friendly of laundry detergents or make your own! Switching our laundry detergent is on our list of products to switch out to more environmentally friendly products.Who knows, I might even make my own!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New rules on the way regarding sunscreen

Each morning while getting my son dressed for pre-school, I apply sunscreen all over his body (and I'll be honest, about once a week I forget to do this). A few months back when the EWG launched their online sunscreen guide I printed it out and went in search of something safe to apply daily to my toddler's skin. Some thought I was crazy but I was only being cautious. This was the sunscreen we were using in our household. Ouch! What a wake up call! In the end, we went with Dr. T's Supergoop and Tru-Kids. My son loves to help put the face stick on his face each morning because it has gotten so routine in our house.

There was news today that there were new rules for sunscreen in the works. Some of the proposed changes include:
  • Companies would test and rank UVA protection, not just UVB
  • SPF tops out at 50+.
  • Sun protection factor gets a new name
  • UVA and UVB get equal billing
  • No skin aging or skin cancer claims allowed
Read more about the proposed FDA changes here.

I've recently been wearing sunscreen daily on my face as I have what appears, according to the dermatologist PA, the start of an age spot. I have really nice skin so this was a shock for me. The joys of getting older

Monday, August 2, 2010

Three reusable bags ...

... tucked neatly in my purse! This is the only way I remember my bags and boy have they saved me from using hundreds of plastic bags at the grocery store and even when I'm out clothes shopping.

This post isn't about the joys of using your bag but a reminder via Simple Organic about why you should wash your bag.

Some of the highlights:

  • use a separate bag for raw meats and poultry
  • wash every time if you can
  • dry in the sun to kill bacteria
For more on washing your reusable shopping bags, click here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Benefits of Breastmilk Outweigh Any Risks | Healthy Child Healthy World

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was a little intimidated by breastfeeding. Historically, the women in my family did formula but after a little coaxing and support from my friends, my son was reaping this benefit. I am proud to say he went 9 months until he started to wean himself. If you're on the fence about breastfeeding, here is a great article on the benefits.

A real eye opener

Here is the video which opened my eyes to the yucky stuff in my make-up, shampoo and lotions. It was after this I began really looking hard at what products my family was using around the house.
Why the Beauty Industry Needs a Makeover: WATCH The Story of Cosmetics | Healthy Child Healthy World


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