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The Road to Success Lies in Overcoming Your Excuses!

Most of us have dreams, and many of us have big ones, but only a few of us actually see them through.



Ideas, brilliance and genius – they all mean nothing without the guts, passion and tenacity necessary to make your dream a reality. You need to want to ‘Be That Girl’ ! But often, people fall back on excuses and give up on trying to reach their goals.

Ditch the excuses and start thinking more positively!



Excuse Train


  Avoid blaming others.
Small-minded people are cranky and eager to point out others’ mistakes, in hopes of making others feel inadequate.  Don’t blame anyone, for any reason, ever. 

  Stop working on things that just don’t matter.
Not everything needs to be done in place of sleep. If you work for a boss, then you owe them solid time. You can’t cut that out. You can, however, cut out television time, meetings and anything else that gets in the way of achieving your goals. Replace entertainment with activity toward your goal.

•  Refuse to let yourself wallow in self-doubt. You’re alive to succeed!
Stop comparing your current problems to your last 9 failures. They are not the same and YOU are not the same. Your entire life has been practice for you to capture your destiny right now. Why would you doubt that? Go conquer.

•  Ask yourself, “What can I do better next time?” And then, do it next time.
If you spend a decade or two trying to be better, that’s exactly what will happen! Don’t spend your days worrying about the occasional mistake, as mistakes are a great way to learn about what not to do next time. Grab these stepping stones, move on and continue pushing forward to a better YOU!

•  Proactively take the time to do things that fuel your passion!
Living in the moment requires you to live at peak performance, and a huge part of mental fitness is physical fitness. A sparring or running partner is a great way to refresh physical competition. (Physical activity accelerates mental motivation!)

•  Make A Plan! Write It Down!  Make Yourself Accountable!
Writing things down makes us accountable! Take five minutes, write down what is important to you and where you’d like to be in one year – two years or five years!  Post your goals somewhere you will see them often and then, start believing!



Good Luck!  Our minds are tricky creatures and self doubt can creep in quickly– push those excuses out of your mind and tell yourself, YOU CAN!



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Fashion Should Be Fun! #FashionWeek #YVR

Fashion Week returned to Vancouver March 18th-25th, and I was lucky enough to attend for a few days with my niece Brooke and my daughter Trinity. Many observers looked on in awe and perhaps felt a bit overwhelmed… but on-lookers needn’t feel discouraged by the looks walking the catwalk. In fact, Fashion Week is the perfect time for people to get inspired!

I would like to inspire women to develop and nurture their own sense of style, even on a budget.  Styling workshops are hot commodities and after the cross-country ‘Release Your Inner Girl’ tour, I look  forward to seeing what the new trends are and helping women everywhere achieve their own ‘Top Model’ looks.

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Me and Nina Tan (Designs)


“There’s a tendency for some women to write off fashion events and dismiss what they’re seeing as a possibility for themselves, saying ‘oh, I could never pull that off’, or ‘I could never afford that, why even try?'” But, women shouldn’t be scared off by the runway. ” You don’t have to copy an entire look—just pull out parts that you like and integrate them into your own wardrobe.”

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Walking the Red Carpet at Fashion Week 2014, Vancouver BC


I really want women to feel excited by fashion trends, not intimidated. Remember, your shape is never a liability, but rather an asset waiting to be discovered!. It’s about learning how to accentuate the parts of your body that you love! “Don’t get bogged down worrying about those parts you don’t—and everyone has them, even models.”


What an exciting weekend!


PS- Go enter our giveaway for a set of Heys Packing Cubes!  All the details HERE



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Put on Your O’Connor Cap & Bring the Luck of the Irish To Your House this St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a widely celebrated day by all, Irish or not.  We put on our brightest Kelly greens, adorn ourselves with lucky charms and shamrocks, and perhaps we will even drink green beer!  St.Patrick’s Days of the past might have been spent at the pub, but life with children means you can up the ante and have a different kind of fun celebrating.


You will have plenty of Leprechaun Traps coming home from school (x3!), but someone will have to pretend that there has been Leprechaun activity on the days leading up to the event! (I’m talking about you!)  To bring about the magic, I’ve amassed a list of tips for turning the illusion into reality.

  •  Serve up a meal with mysterious ‘miniature’ green footprints on the plate.  An action figure shoe dipped in some green food colour mixed with icing works perfectly!  (To create the illusion elsewhere, use *washable* ink!)

  • The Leprechaun Traps will need tending to… so, overnight attach a bit of green velvet poking out from it, to give the illusion of an ill-fated escape attempt.  You and your kids can also have fun planning a special treat to bait the Leprechaun.

  • The Pot O’ Gold at the end of the rainbow just begs for a scavenger hunt.  On the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day (using foil-wrapped coin treasures), hide a chocolate coin attached to a clue where another coin may be found the next day… all leading up to a final jackpot on the big day!

  • A toque winding up in the fridge, stuffed animals suddenly dressed up and ready to go out, opened books– these are all harmless, mischievous pranks that make it seem like an impish visitor has been wreaking havoc on your house.

Spend a few minutes on Pinterest searching out goodies,  foods and crafts to help get the family into the swing of things.  A little bit of green food colouring qualifies food as ‘Irish’ on this occasion, but you’ll find that a few Irish staples are really super easy to make.  Irish soda bread, is not only one of the simplest, but it is also one of the tastiest!

Have fun with it!  It’s fun to be tricky!  ;)

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Pack It In Like A Pro! #TravelOrganized

In the past I’ve told you about my favourite travelling bags of all time– the EVOC line (available from  We have a serious love affair and I would never trade them for anything, but my packing organization doesn’t end with just the EVOC bag.  Inside, I have my goods sorted into ‘packing cubes’ made by Heys Canada (undies and socks in one, pants and skirts, jammies, accessories etc.), rolled for easy identification.  When I reach my destination, I simply unpack the cubes into drawers … and voila, organized genius!

Keeping organized on the road means that I can easily identify the laundry (use a pillow case!) and I’ll know which stuff belongs to which kid.

Look how easy it is to pack my bags:


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My favourite EVOC bag, the World Traveller, with my favourite packing cubes by Ecotex.


The kids cubes are fantastic! You will need two sets to pack exclusively with the kids set, as they aren’t huge.  If your children are ages 7/8 and up, they should just use a 5 piece set.




Maybe you’re like me and need to travel for business, for days at a time.  You’ll need ways to spruce up your limited attire, so I always use one of these jewellery organizers, to keep smaller items safe and stowed.





And the cherry-on-top is that these packing cubes are environmentally friendly, made from 18 recycled water bottles.  The 5 pack set is available in a wide variety of colours.


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One piece becomes two– for easy carry on!

Pro Packing Tip:

When travelling with kids, you’ll need to have something for them to do in the car or on the flight. To ‘Be That Mom’, be sure to have some granola bars and other light snacks on hand (beware of liquids!), a journal for your child to doodle or write in, a video game system or tablet, and a few new toys for a fun surprise along the way.  Travelling with children doesn’t need to be hard, but you do need to plan!  Store your carry-on items in one of the smaller packing cubes and keep in an accessible place.

 Watch the Pro Pack on CTV, March 13/14



Heys Canada has graciously offered up a 5 Pack Set of ‘Packing Cubes’ to one lucky ‘Be That Books’ follower!  This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, over the age of 18 only.  Ends Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 12:01 am MST. Winner has 48 hours to respond by email or another winner will be chosen.



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Good Luck!


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Asking the right questions.

“Where is the retainer?”


A week and a half ago, my oldest daughter Trinity lost her retainer. ~Sigh~ Despite our every attempt to locate the retainer,  it was still nowhere to be found.  Those of you who know me,  know that I keep a neat and sweet little house, with a place for everything. If it hasn’t been found in a week and a half, it’s not here… I’ve looked. Trinity only needs to wear her retainer at night, but she needs it nonetheless. So, I booked an appointment with our Orthodontist to get a replacement one, for a small fee of $300. The receptionist told me to call back if we happened to find the retainer before the appointment. Perhaps I took that as a challenge, but it meant I still had 5 days to find it!

That Sunday, my kids were watching cartoons, so I took some time to work. My latest project is the release of a book by an author named Eddie LeMoine. This book is in the serious editing phase and I am pulling it apart like a banshee!!  LeMoine’s book intrigued me right from start, “Bring About What You Think About” — Yep, it’s literally that simple. At least that’s what Eddie wants to convince you of  in his upcoming book.

I spent a good hour or two doing revisions. The content was focused on your thinking, having the reader ask themselves different questions to create better results in their lives.

Publishing Process: Eddie LeMoine's Book in Editing

Publishing Process: Eddie LeMoine’s Book in Editing


Interesting, but does it work? I decided to put it to the test. I needed to find the retainer. I had a deadline. If I thought that we could find it, we could. Right?

So, I asked the question. I pulled Ryan and my girls together for a ‘pow wow’, and I said “The question of the day is- Where is the Retainer? We need to find the retainer!“.  All 5 of us thought about the question, sending it out to the Universe, with the hope of a most benevolent reply!

Two hours later, Trinity screamed  “MOM!”, in a shrill voice that made me think she had hurt herself. She had found her retainer, in a closet… on the floor.

Coincidence? I don’t know. But I’ll probably try that method again. Ask the right question to get the right result.


Have a fun and inspiring day!


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D.I.Y Homemade Family Flag Project

Family Day fun that is sure to become a lifelong memory!


Supplies Needed:

(Be creative, and use whatever you can find at home. The kids can help you do a treasure hunt!)

  • 2 Pillowcases (or 1 Pillowcase and Fabric Scraps or old sheets from around the house)
  • Sewing Kit: Needle, Thread, Scissors, Straight Pins
  • Ruler
  • Fabric pencil, or pencil crayon that will show up on your fabric
  • Paper for stencils
  • Paints and Paintbrushes
  • Other decorative elements (You can add your family crest, use pre-cut letters, etc)
  • Spray glue or Fabric Glue
  • Something to hang the flag with (flagpole, wood stick, yarn, twine, etc)

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  1. Use one pillowcase as your flag, and the other pillowcase /fabric scraps / material will be used to decorate your flag. Contrasting colors will work best. I used a black pillowcase and an old red sheet. (The red sheet is bad Feng Shui for sleeping and besides, I never could learn how to fold a fitted sheet!)
  2. Using scrap paper,  trace and cut out templates for the shapes you would like to have on your flag (ie: Name letters, hearts, stars, etc).
  3. Pin the paper templates to your fabric scraps, and cut out your shapes.
    *Tip: if you cut your fabric piece to the same size as your pillowcase and then affix your templates to it, you will guarantee that all of your stuff will fit on the pillowcase flag.*
  4. Lay the shapes out on your “pillowcase flag”. Make sure everything fits and that it looks the way you like.
    *Tip: take a picture of your layout so you can recreate it after decorating.
  5. To create a space to thread a flag pole or rope through your flag, follow these next 3 steps:
    -Using a ruler, draw a line 1 inch down from the top of your pillow case all the way across using a fabric pencil, (or any pencil that will show up on your fabric).
    -Using a needle and thread, sew along the line you drew.
    -Cut open a slit on the side of the pillowcase that is not open.PicMonkey Collage2
  6. Decorate your fabric shapes. This is the fun part. Each member of the family can do one piece. We used paint and stencils to decorate ours. I also added a piece of ribbon for the bow on the heart.
  7. Once your shapes are dry, they are ready to to be glued onto your flag. (You may have to wait for a few hours, or overnight, if you are painting).
  8. Insert your flag onto a flag pole, wood piece or thread some twine through the top of your flag so you have some way of hanging it. I found a nice twig outside to use with mine, and I used twine to keep with that country feel.
  9. Proudly display your flag on a wall at home, or fly your family flag outdoors (perhaps at the cabin?)!

Hope you have a fun, family-filled day!



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Ten Habits To Check Off To A Better You!

I am a list maker.  I am not sure if it is the ‘act’ of the list making that I like, or whether it is the checking off of each item that gets me all worked up;  but, you will find me sorting my to-do’s by list daily.  This year I have decided to make myself a list that is more about me, and the ten habits I think I (and you) should take up more often this year.



1 – Continue to Learn! Take a new course and keep the brain active! Ie; Photography, Italian

2 – Wake Up Early. That saying, “The early bird catches the worm” is actually true.

3 – Do something that is out of your comfort zone.  Consistently challenge yourself by taking it one step further.
Ie; Take up Public Speaking with Toastmasters or Meet a new friend!

4 – Learn from people who inspire you.

5 – Start a journal.  Get to know yourself better.

6 – Show kindness to those around you… but, this goes without saying, right?

7 – Avoid negative people.  Nuff said.

8 – Acknowledge your flaws.  Acceptance is the first step in loving yourself.

9 – Let go of the past.  Live and love for today and tomorrow!

10 – Ask for feedback/help. Often.  We don’t always need to do it all.

Some of these things I am already doing,
but it is always good to have a reminder.


What 10 habits would you write down for yourself?





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Budgeting Gets You What You Want! #NewYear #BeOrganized

We often find it is time to reflect on the past, with the turning of the calendar at New Years.  What would we do differently?  What are some upcoming goals?  Some people choose to be healthier, to pay off debts or to even, save some money.  It is one thing to ‘talk the talk’, but to ‘walk the walk’ you MUST write it down!

Set Realistic Goals:

Making a plan that is too strict on paper isn’t going to help you in the long run.  It is nice to be frugal, but you do have to enjoy living just a bit.  Not setting realistic goals will only lead you to not sticking to the budget you’ve set.

The Small Stuff:

Do you pop into Starbucks for a Caramel Macchiato daily?  Even three times a week?  Do you eat lunch out every day?  These costs may seem tiny, but a tiny bit over a week times four weeks really adds up!  Bringing your own tea bags to work, making coffee at home and packing a lunch are sure fire ways to cut back on the expenses.

Go Old School:

Why is money so much harder to keep track of these days?  Likely, the cashless society we now live in.  Having chequing accounts with overdraft, access to credit and loans makes it hard for even adults to control themselves.  Teaching children about money these days is extra hard — “Just take the plastic card out of your wallet Mommy and pay for the groceries!”  If only things were that easy!

Since we may need to use cash only to teach our kids the value of a dollar, there is no reason why us adults cannot convert our spending dollars to the cash format.  Take this opportunity to help your children understand money, and leave yourself no chance to overspend.  For best organization, divvy cash up into jars with labels. When the money is done, it is done.

Buy In Bulk:

Anything that you use a lot of that can be bought in bulk (canned items, household supplies, boxed items, toiletries) without spoiling, always works out to be better in price than buying individually.

Auto Save: 

We all mean to save… we get some extra money from our pay cheque and yep, savings do not always happen. The best way to plan for saving and your future is to have automatic withdrawals.  This way, saving becomes something that happens without much thought;  however, you can always change it or cancel it for a period of time where you need more money.



Don’t look at budgeting as a way of limiting yourself,

look at it as an opportunity to save!





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4 Recipes to Get ‘er done right with Christmas this year!

Want an easy way to reduce stress this Christmas?

Combine your baking with gifting!

With my easy to follow steps, you can get your baking AND your Christmas giving done in just a few days! Plus you can add some serious FUN and deliciousness into your life as a family, no matter what your family looks like!


Click to Enlarge

Click here to download the pdf of this file for your printing enjoyment!

Christmas Baking Recipes and Grocery List

Only want the grocery list, click here to download.

Christmas Grocery List

Let’s do this!


Step 1. Print the grocery list and recipe’s. Look through your home and determine what you have now that is on the grocery list. (cross off those ones from your list-one less thing!)

Step 2. Plan shopping and baking day(s), write on calendar; commit and do.

Step 3. Get your groceries.

Step 4. Do your baking, like you said you would in step 2.

Step 5. Package your baking according to “eat immediately”,” giving as gift”, “freezing”, etc.


Tina’s Christmas Baking

Warning! 2 nutty recipes in this batch. Almonds and cashews. I’ll start working on a nut free one, but still try the gingerbread and the Peppermint Bark.

Recipes you’ll be making:

  • Gingerbread Dough-Men / Houses
  • Rosemary Cashews
  • Almond Bark
  • Peppermint Bark

Gingerbread Dough (For Men and Houses)

**(Make this recipe first, let dough sit in fridge wrapped until baking day)**

An “O’Connor family” tradition, this recipe makes the most delicious, soft gingerbread. Pairs well with M&M’s, but feel free to ice the Gingy-men also. Excellent for making gingerbread houses! This recipe makes A TON of cookies (6 to 8 dozen), depending what sizes you make, but we always end up making at least 2 to batches. These are a hit with most people, so good choice for bringing no matter where you go. Kids can do a lot to help, and have lots of fun with gingerbread, and so can you! Rolling, cutting, shaping, decorating, once you try this, you’ll be making it part of your tradition too!


1 Cup                     Melted Shortening

1 Cup                     White Sugar

2 Cup                     Molasses, Table

2                              Eggs, beaten

1 Cup                     Milk

7 Cups                   Flour

1 ½ Tbsp               Baking Soda

1 tsp each            Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon, Salt

In a large bowl, mix together shortening, sugar, molasses and eggs.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda and spices.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar blend, alternating in small amounts with small amounts of milk. Mix and form a ball of dough. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325 or 350 F. (Just see how your first few batches cook at 325, then decide…you’ll know).
Roll out on a floured surface to ¼” thick. Cut with cookie cutters, trace with gingerbread stencils and use a knife, or make your own shapes with your hands or other tools! Decorate with M&M’s (if desired, plus it is recommended!) and then bake firm but not too brown. Recipe always said 10 to 12 minutes, but I start checking at 8 minutes, and then decide. They get crunchier the longer they are cooked, so enjoy either way!dividerRosemary Cashews

Inspired by my Aunty Shelley, who gave me these, along with the recipe, one Christmas.  This ridiculously simple recipe is so delicious, and passes off as a very debonair appetizer.  Add the recipe on a card and wrap in a cute package, and you’ve got a classy gift.

1 lb                         Unsalted Cashews

2 tbsp                    Fresh Rosemary Leaves, minced

½ tsp                     Cayenne Pepper

2 tsp                      Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp                   Kosher Salt

1 Tbsp                   Butter, melted

Preheat oven to  350 F. Spread cashews on a baking sheet and toast in oven until warm, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and butter. Thoroughly toss the warm cashews with the spiced butter and serve!
Almond Bark- Need I say more.  Roasted almonds and Chocolate…together, plus it’s so easy.  Seriously easy. Although it is hard to keep around because it tastes so good!


2 Cups Almonds natural
2 Boxes  Baking Chocolate Squares (or chips), Dark, Milk, Semi, or White


Spread almonds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in 350 F oven for 5 minutes.


Melt chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, use any pot and find a metal or ceramic bowl that will fit nicely in the top of the pot you are using. Works like a charm. **Time Saver. If you are also making the peppermint bark, melt your chocolates from both recipes at the same time, and just divide in half between almonds.**


Pour melted chocolate over the thin layer of almonds on the cookie sheet. You can marble / swirl the dark and white by alternating each as you pour on the almonds.  Smooth the chocolate over so all the almonds are hiding!


Chill in fridge (or porch if you are in Canada at Christmas!) for 2 hours. Break into “bark-like” pieces and enjoy!


Peppermint Bark-Crushed up peppermint candy canes mixed into delectable chocolate. Just 10 minutes to whip up, this is an easy one to have around for hostess gifts, or as a nice after dinner offering with coffee and tea. Or just whenever you feel like a pick-me up.


1 Box Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed (unwrap, put into plastic bag and bang with rolling pin…so fun!)
2 Boxes  Baking Chocolate Squares (or chips), Dark, Milk, Semi, or White


Spread peppermints on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a thin layer.Melt chocolate in a double boiler. **Time Saver. If you are also making the peppermint bark, melt your chocolates from both recipes at the same time, and just divide in half between almonds.**


If you don’t have a double boiler, use any pot and find a metal or ceramic bowl that will fit nicely in the top of the pot you are using. Works like a charm. (**don’t use plastic**)


Pour melted chocolate over the thin layer of peppermints on the cookie sheet. You can marble / swirl the dark and white by alternating each as you pour over the mints.


Smooth the chocolate over so all the peppermints are covered.Chill in fridge for 2 hours. Break into “bark-like” pieces and enjoy!


Shopping List:

Printable Christmas Grocery List!


Fresh Rosemary Leaves (2 Tbsp)



Butter (1 Tbsp )

Eggs (2)

Milk (1 cup)



Parchment Paper

If following my gifting ideas, you will also need:

Blank Recipe Cards

Gingerbread house instructions or template

Baking Packaging-different sized boxes, clear bags,

Cookie Cutters (as gift)


Pantry / Baking Supplies

Cookie Cutters

2 Cups Almonds (unsalted)

4 Boxes Baking Chocolate, White and/or Dark or Milk (squares or chips, 16 oz)

1 lb (500 g) Unsalted Cashews

Candy Canes, box of 12

M & M’s chocolate

Decorations for Gingerbread men and houses (optional)-icing, jelly beans, marshmallows, pretzels, ju jubes

Cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp)

Brown Sugar (2 tsp)

Kosher Salt (1 Tbsp)

Shortening (1 cup)

Sugar (1 cup)

Molasses (2 Cups)

Flour (7Cups)

Baking Soda (1 ½ Tbsp)

Ginger (1 tsp)

Cloves (1 tsp)

Cinnamon (1 tsp)

Salt (1tsp)


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Click to Enlarge


Happy ‘Stress Free’ Holiday!


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My Calgary Moment Launching ‘Be That Mom’

‘Be That Mom’ launched at Steinway Pianos in Calgary in November of 2013. The setting for the evening was an extraordinary way to celebrate the new book and I was able to be surrounded by my family and friends. Other stops along this tour were filled with very memorable people, but truly being in my home town celebrating was a surreal feeling.

I have been trying to find the words for the evening…

I had fun.

I am thankful for those supporting me on this venture.

I am appreciative of love and advice.

Looking around the room at the beauty that is my circle (and a room full of glorious pianos!), I was speechless — and I mean, when am I ever speechless?  I felt completely blessed to be sharing in this moment with my family and friends.

I have poured over photos from the evening and poured over them some more.  The smiles are what I see first.




Thank you all so much for joining me on this adventure.  I have learned a lot and the one thing I know for certain, is that I absolutely love making women feel empowered!  We’re all cut from the same cloth and we need to stick together.

I have one last ‘Release Your Inner Girl’ stop coming up on Thursday, January 30th from 4 pm to 7 pm at My Filosophy in Edmonton.  Tickets are free, but you do need to register for the event.  I’ll even be doing a workshop on ‘Dressing for Success!’, ‘How to Walk the Walk’ and ‘Getting More of What You Want.’   I would love it if you joined us!

To register, click the button below.

Eventbrite - Release Your Inner Girl Party - Edmonton




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