Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint Review

Are you surprised that my search for a fun, new foundation continues?  Well, it has, and I have recently tested and reviewed the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint with SPF.  So what did I think?

 

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Let me start by saying I was so intrigued by the descriptions of this Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (I tested the color Groeland) product (matte, skin like, long lasting, packed with SPF), and I do LOVE Nars products – even at their elevated price ($44 for this product)!  In fact, one of my favorite foundations is the Nars Sheer Glow!  I also recently have started discovering their blushes and lipsticks but that is another posting.

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Quick backdrop for this review.  I have dry skin right now (due to my use of Retin A).  I have quite a bit of hyper pigmentation on my lower cheeks and easily get redness in patches on my face especially around my nose.  And, of course, I have fine lines and wrinkles…

Did it live up to my expectations?……….Ummm – sadly – no.  The greatest fail for this skin tint is that it never became one with my skin.  Instead, it just sat on top and looked like something on my face.  I tried numerous primers and no primer and various application methods all with different formulas of moisturizer – should one have to work that hard though?  The second greatest drawback for this skin tint was that it ITCHED my skin so much that I could not wait to wash it off!  Ugh…this was not a fun test and a less fun review.

I do not know what happened because I hear such wonderful glowing reviews from others.  Perhaps it is my sensitive skin?  For example, I cannot wear BareMinerals powder foundation as it makes my skin crawl and itch like crazy.  I have never before had itching from a liquid foundation (like) product however.  Even without the itch factor though the appearance it created was not flattering and just sat on my skin – no blending or marriages between my skin and the product at all.  I even experimented with different setting sprays to see if I could get it to work.  Nothing seemed to make it both look flattering or feel comfortable.  On top of it all, I am not thrilled to purchase a product that you have to stand on one foot, hold you hand at a 37 degree angle, and say “pretty please” ten times!

Any thoughts or recommendations?  What are your experiences with this product?  Sorry that I could not be more favorite to it. Regardless, I still LOVE Nars products!

If you want to see my video review and demo application, click below.

Marc Jacobs Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder

I have been hot and cold to contouring but mainly because it never worked for me. Another hypothesis (and a very viable one) is that I did not know how to do it well and have the right products. To end this turmoil and resulting muddy looking cheeks, I started on a quest – a quest to find the right contour for me and to learn how to apply it on MY face.

I have followed the craze of buying the multi-color palettes out there such as the Kat Von D Shade & Light contour palette, the Tarte Tartest Contour Palette, and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour palettes. I even ventured to trying the Nyx contour products. In the end, they all ended up not quite working as well as I had hoped OR only two of the colors in the palettes worked for me. Have you encountered this?

So…that is the history behind my pursuit of a contour palette. And, now, I ventured into a different quest. Contour palette – yes; but the focus here is on finding the compact that holds only the powders that I really like and work for me (sometimes those two goals are not mutually exclusive!).

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IMG_0837It is beautiful, isn’t it? The case feels so rich and wonderful and who does not love that little button to open it? The size is quite large but it is so thin – sort of reminds me of my 13” Mac Book Air! And the mirror inside is wonderful and large enough to actually use! The feel of the compact reflects the price tag though – at $49 it is pricy – but on par with the other palettes that I had purchased and not used all the products inside (well the Tarte one is rather nice all around!). Okay, so the compact is divine but that is not what I bought it for, right? How does it work and how are the powders?

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There are three different color options with this palette: Mirage Filter 40 – light gold/ light bronze; Dream Filter 20 – soft pink/ medium bronze; and Hi Fi Filter 60 – warm peach/ deep bronze. After consultation with the Sephora associate, I opted for the Dream Filter 20 with the subtle pink highlighter and medium bronze contour. This actually surprised me because I intended to purchase Mirage Filter; however, after trying them on we decided that the yellow toned highlight was aging on me! See, I told you I am not great at picking out the colors!

I was so excited to try this out on my own after seeing how wonderful the contour powder looked on my skin! And the powders were so smooth and blendable but still showed up on my skin without looking muddy. The real test though is whether I can make it look right as well and…it worked! I was so thrilled with the result of the contour! The highlight however works for me color-wise and helps sharpen up the color I apply under my cheeks (mega chisel look) but does not play well with my under eye area unfortunately. That is okay though as I am starting to shy away from applying anything to that delicate (and aging quickly) area.

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Overall, I am very happy with this palette and can definitely see me using it and ALL of it! The size worries me a bit though in regards to traveling but I will see what happens there and let you know. Although I am thrilled with the Marc Jacobs Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder, I do have the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder on its way to me…the search has not officially ended I guess..

Here is my video review so you can see it in action too!

Thanks for taking part in this quest! What is your favorite contour palette or compact?

Best of 2015!

Happy new year!!  As promised, here are the products that fall into the category of Best of 2015!  Did any of these make your lists?  If not, what products did you love across 2015?  So excited about 2016!!!

Miscellaneous Items:

 

Skin Care

Makeup:

What were your favorites across 2015???

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion

I am always on the look out for drug store beauty products and always on the look out for new foundations.  The effect of this is what I have here – a drug store foundation option – or not?  See what I think.

Yes, I test out a great deal of foundation.  One reason is that my skin keeps changing.  In part because of the seasons and in part because of the products I am using on my skin (Retin A has made my skin so dry!).  Regardless, I still love a good foundation!  Right now, I am starting to embrace a more glowy or dewy finish – but not too much or I will have flashbacks to my earlier years when my skin was SO oily!  I also want a nice level of coverage.  I do like the look of natural skin but not necessarily my natural skin.  On the other hand, I do not want a mask on my face nor do I want to feel the foundation on my skin.  Finally, it must last throughout the day and behave on my mature skin.  Not too much to ask, right?  I think you understand why I am always searching…

At present, my Holy Grail foundations are: Nars Sheer Glow, Make Up Forever Ultra HD, and Too Faced Born this Way.  (I have reviews on all of these and will link them once I get them uploaded.)  Yes, it is nice to have this line up but they do not all play well with my skin all year long. My Nars Sheer Glow works so well in hotter more humid weather as does my Make Up Forever Ultra HD.  Cooler (i.e., dryer skin days) weather aligns perfectly with my Too Faced Born this Way foundation.

So…how the L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion foundation work?

Pros:

  • Lovely finish!
  • Easy to use and blend especially with my Beauty Blender
  • Nice customizable coverage
  • Works well with mature skin (does not sit in my fine lines)
  • Nice packaging
  • Less pricey than my other foundations
  • Feels nice on skin
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Wearing the Lumi Cushion foundation

Cons:

  • It does not last – see photo of it wearing away from around my nose in just three hours.  This happened no matter what primer I used!
  • For the quantity of the product, it can be considered pricey

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As you can imagine, the lack of longevity in wearing power is a strong strike against this foundation and what a shame!  I really liked the finish, coverage, and all the extras.  I cannot use a foundation, however, that wears away to such a degree in just  few hours though.  Has anyone else found this as an issue?  If so, did you find a “fix” for it?  I would love to hear so I can move this product up into my “Like a Lot” drawer!

My search for foundations continues!

 

Tarte Timeless Beauty Essentials Review

Holidays and limited edition sets are starting to show up everywhere!  The Tarte Timeless Beauty Essentials is a beauty and is exclusive to Ulta.  I hope this helps you decide if you should add to your holiday shopping list (for giving or receiving!).  Click here to go to the link on Ulta for the Tarte Timeless Beauty Essentials.

The Tarte Timeless Beauty Essentials limited-edition set ($36) that is exclusive to Ulta includes:

  • Timeless Smoothing Primer (0.067 oz.) – Deluxe sample
  • Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Timeless (peach melon) (0.2 oz.) – Full size
  • Blush Brush
  • Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Angelic Nude (0.1 oz.) – Full size
  • Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara (0.16 oz.) – Deluxe sample

So what did I think?  This set of products from Tarte is amazing and so worth the money – actually it is a great value!

The Timeless Smoothing Primer really surprised me.  It has a thicker consistency (reminded me of the new Make Up For Ever primers and Benefit’s Porefessional) but applies easily.  My foundation glides right on top and the finish is matte but alive – if the makes sense.  I cannot say it makes my makeup last any longer than any other primer but I am on board with it!

I love Tarte blushes and this blush in Timeless one was no let down.  I love how well they apply and blend and they remain consistent throughout the day.  Timeless is a peachy-melon shade that will probably work well for anyone?  I love, love it!

The blush brush is not only beautiful – look at the design on the handle (!) – but it applies blush flawlessly.  It is somewhat soft but full bristled, which is perfect for me for applying blush.  I also adore how pretty it is!

I have had very limited experience with Tarte lipsticks but that will not last!  I love the feel of them!  The Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Angelic Nude that is part of this set is a beautiful pinky-nude color.  What I love the most, however, is the feel of it.  It is so moisturizing and glides on your lips!  I am not as fond of the cardboard lipstick tube but at least it is cute.  As for longevity – it last but not for a long, long time.  I do not mind this though because I love applying it!

Finally, the mascara…I have not had much luck with Tarte mascaras before.  That means, that I never thought they out-performed any of my other favorites, which typically are from the drug store (e.g., L’Oreal Butterfly mascara is amazing!).  I also prefer waterproof mascaras.  The Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement mascara from this kit is different.  I really like it!  It is a bit “wet” in consistency but between the product and the brush it does some magic!  I definitely will use this sample, but I am not sure yet if I will purchase a full size any time in the future.

So, big “thumbs up” to this limited edition set!  I love it and am so happy with each piece included in the limited edition collection.  I would highly recommend it as a gift or as a purchase for yourself.  Has anyone else tried it?  I would love to hear your thoughts!  What other kits are on your gift list?

Until next time, I will keep my eye out for other potential gift items!  If you want to see my video, please click below (and sub too!).  I have a new goal of getting to 500 subscribers!  Share as well!!

Hoping all is well!

 

 

Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette

It is hot and it is amazing! The NEW remix eye shadow palette by Kat Von D – Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life) Remix Eye Shadow Palette. An incredible assortment of 24 shadows (matte and shimmery) for $59. Click here for a link

This palette features 24 eye shadows in the following colors:

  • Muse (lilac purple),
  • Echo (purple glitter),
  • Dark Wave (deep navy),
  • Synth (electric blue),
  • Hyperballad (sea blue),
  • Lemmy (grass green),
  • Misfit (kelly green),
  • Vinyl (neon green),
  • Legend (golden yellow),
  • Fran (deep mustard yellow),
  • Analogue (burnt orange),
  • Harpsichord (metallic bronze),
  • Rewind (aubergine),
  • Destroyer (bright strawberry),
  • Swoon (fuchsia),
  • Love (shimmery rose),
  • Anthem (purple),
  • Vox (chocolate brown),
  • Moulder (butter yellow),
  • Noble (nude),
  • Skulls (iridescent pearl),
  • Black Metal (matte black),
  • Lyric (white pearl),
  • Strutter (taupe)

Beyond the beautiful colors, what do I think about the palette?  Well, it is amazing but may be a bit outside my comfort zone!  I love neutrals, browns, brick colors, and some plums (deep ones), but this has some colors that are probably not going to work for me.  I will definitely give it a try to use them however!  The shadows themselves are right on par with what you expect from Kat Von D – smooth, blendable, but with some fallout in the tray.  The pigment is perfect.  The one that did not transfer well was such a dark purple (Echo) that I was glad it did not layer too heavily!

On the down side, the packaging is heavy duty cardboard, so I am not sure about its durability.  It also is rather large and would never travel with me.  I also had a tough time finding a place to store it!

In the end, I will highly recommend this palette to anyone who likes to be creative and appreciates the colorful assortment offered!  The shadows are wonderful.

What do you all think? Will you be purchasing this palette? It is out of stock right now but should be back – fingers crossed! A holiday mix of vibrant colors and a few neutrals.

Here is my YouTube video where you can see the swatches and view one of my eye shadow looks created with the palette – very unlike me with purples!

Laura Mercier Colour to Go Portable Palette: Is it travel worthy?

 

Laura Mercier Colour to Go Portable Palette in Warm Neutrals. Is it travelworthy or just plain fun? See what I think and let me know what you think!

Although not available via typical beauty retail stores, which is why I hesitated in even reviewing it, this palette is amazing and keeps up to the expectations that I hold (very high ones) for any high end product and especially any Laura Mercier products.  What is included in this palette?  I LOVE this collection of shadows, blushes, contour, and lip gloss – although the lip gloss is the least exciting part.

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As you look at the palette, you may notice the accordion structure for the palette.  The bronzer and blush are housed in the bottom section while the eye shadows are offered in the top section.  A smallish mirror is included but it really is rather small and not something I would ever use unfortunately.  A lip gloss (clear color) cuts through both levels but is most easily accessed through the top (shadow) level.  The casing is study plastic and has yet to even sustain a scratch despite many trips that has taken with me!  Not only does this fit well in a travel case, it also is very purse friendly!  Overall dimension are 3.75 inches long by 2.25 inches wide.

As for the colors:

The bottom level of the “double decker” holds one matte medium bronzer and one blush (second skin cheek color) in Sweet Mandarin.

The top of the palette is devoted to eyes and includes a matte light color in Butter Cream, a luster (shimmery) brown/bronze color in Rosewood, a sateen shadow in Cocoa Brown, and a liner cake pan also great for tightlining in Chocolate Brown.  The lip gloss is a very sheer color called “Sweetheart”.

All the products have great depth and transfer beautifully to the skin.  There is some powder dispersion during application but it is very, very minimal and much less than some of my other favorite palettes such as any Kat Von D or Too Faced palettes.  Blending is also quite easy but they are not as “buttery” as some other products the best I can think of for having that “buttery” feeling is Make Up Geek products, right?  Longevity is nothing special but all the product stay true to their color throughout most of an 7 hour day.

So…what do I think?  I adore this palette and although it is limited in its color selections, it is perfect for short trips or trips where makeup is not a priority but wanted for evenings for example.  If I were planning to take this for a longer trip, I might tag along one more blush and another small eye shadow palette just for the sake of mixing things up a bit.  For the purse though – fabulous as it has all the basic essentials.  See my ratings below:

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As I mentioned earlier, this is not a product that is found in our typical makeup retail stores.  I found it on Ebay (and for a very nice price)!  But buyer beware as you never know the authenticity of the products you find on some of these outlets.  In short, here are some places where I recently found Laura Mercier Colour to Go Portable Palette in Natural Nudes:

* Amazon – http://amzn.to/1EL6zhp – $48

* Ebay also had several listings

* Bridgette’s Boutique – $39.50

* Also try used beauty products websites such as Poshmark  or Glambot

Final Look using Laura Mercier Colour to Go Portable Palette

If you are interested in watching my video review and a demonstration, here is my YouTube review (please subscribe too!).

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze and Glow Review

So the minute you see “Charlotte Tilbury” you may be thinking of the price tag associated with her products, but hopefully you also think of the quality of the products.  I thought of that too and this is the first of my high – high end purchases that I have made.  So is it worth it?  What do I think?

First, here the description of the Filmstar Bronze & Glow ($68) from the Charlotte Tilbury website:

This is a secret that silver screen sirens have kept to themselves for years – and once I share it – so will you! With FILMSTAR BRONZE & GLOW you can slim, sculpt, shorten, trim and highlight your features. It’s amazing what clever shading and highlighting tricks can do to your facial framework – it’s an illusion that I use all the time, particularly for red carpet scrutiny, and my clients can’t get enough of it. Take what you were born with and maximize your assets with FILMSTAR BRONZE & GLOW!

• The bronzer is the perfect universal blend of pearl and pigment to contour features and mimic a sun-kissed complexion.

• The highlighter is built up from a golden base that flatters any skin tone, and uses Light Flex Technology to capture light and radiate it out for a luminous complexion.

• Colour-rich pigments are rolled into elastomer pearls that smooth & buff the skin for excellent blendability & perfect color uniformity.

Another quote describes this pair of products as “fool proof.”  I have to admit that I often fall for these types of descriptions – beauty in a quick and easy step that cannot be messed up!  Now the question hangs in the air – is it fool proof?  Does it look as good as stated above?  Will I be sad about having spend this type of money on it?

First of all, it is lovely!  The packaging is gorgeous and feels very fancy.  It does not stop there either.  When you open the duo, you are treated to a beautiful pairing of colors!  Upon review, however, you may wonder if the colors will even work of you as they seem so light – granted I purchased the Light to Medium duo.  As you can see in the swatches below, the bronzer barely shows up at all on my arm, although my arm is quite a bit darker than my face.  The consistency of the powders are amazing – so soft and blendable!  They just glide on the skin!  No, they actually melt into your skin!  I can see how they say they are foolproof because they are definitely not harsh colors!

So do they pack the punch that you would expect from a high-high end product?  For me, yes they do because I really wanted an every day bronzer and highlighter that I can use and not have to think too much about in its application.  In other words, I wanted fool proof, and I got it!  This duo will definitely make it to my everyday makeup routine!  The bronzer is a soft color that does not produce harsh lines (on my skin) but seems to just become one with my skin.  The highlighter, on the other hand, glows but without harsh sparkles.  Definitely not a “I can see you” highlighter but a more subtle but definitely there highlighter. As you can see, this is a no-brainer duo.  You could almost use this in your sleep and not look odd or out of place, but I would not suggest applying any makeup product in your sleep!

Here are my ratings for it:

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Of course, price is a big piece of this “should I buy” decision!  I feel it is worth it as there are two products in one, and they are amazing products!  However, you may choose to skip this product if: 1) you are on tight budge; 2) you want a bigger impact from your bronzer and highlighter; or 3) your skin tone is well outside the range of mine or of the one that would work for the medium to dark version.

By the way, I have heard that the Charlotte Tilbury blushes are amazing…

So…let me know what you think!  Here is a video review and demo of the pair.  I hope you like it and find it informative!

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Kat Von D Shade+Light Eye palette Review

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I jumped the fence to the side of buying the Kat Von D Shade+Light Eye palette!  I have been deliberating about this purchase for a while and finally decided to buy it.  Not only was it expensive ($46) but it also seems so close to my Too Faced Natural Matte palette (click here for review of that palette), and I wanted to make sure there was not too much overlap.  I also really did not NEED this palette…but I finally decided that I WANTED it.  So how did it do after I played around with it?

First of all, the colors are divine and so rich both in pigmentation and in the ability to blend flawlessly.  This is a goIMG_0063od thing because they colors can be intense and not for the heavy handed unless you plan to blend a great deal!  There also is a bit (maybe a lot) of fallout, so be prepared.  As I was at Sephora (this palette is exclusive to Sephora), I asked for some feedback as I was also trying to decide between this palette and the Tartelette (also matte).  I definitely received some good advice.  The Sephora SA defined the different in very easy terms.  The Tartlette palette is softer colors that although pigmented do not hold the bang that the shadows in the Shade+Light palette.  If you want a softer eye, you may want to Tartelette palette, but if you want to create and sculpt, you will cherish the Shade+Light palette.  These were very wise words!

So what do I think?…Was the plunge to buy worth it?  Is this staying in my stash or being returned?

First, here are the color swatches and a bit about the palette. There are three quadrants to this palette: Warm, Neutral, and Cool.  In each quad, there is a base, contour, define, and highlight shade.

Neutral Quad

  • Laetus – creamy nude
  • Lazarus – cool taupe
  • Ludwin – peachy bronze.
  • Samael – dusty fawn

Cool Quad

  • Solas espresso brown.
  • Lucius – soft beige
  • Saleos – smoky brown
  • Shax – jet black

Warm Quad

  • Liberatus – pinkish ivory
  • Succubus – rich rust
  • Sytry – chocolate brown
  • Latinus – golden bisque

So what did I think?  I LOVE this palette!!  It is a wonderful collection of colors that lead to a great deal of creativity!  The colors transfer so well (but there is fall out) and blend beautifully!  No lingering color falling into my (not so) fine lines under my eyes and no creasing throughout the entire day – but I do always recommend some type of eye primer.  I like to use my Mac Paint Pot in Painterly.  Even without eye shadow primer, however, the colors applied well, blended easily, and lasted more than 8 hours without creasing or fading.

Here is my rating of the Kat Von D Shade+Light eye palette.  If you are on the fence about whether to buy this palette, I would recommend taking the plunge knowing that you can always return it if it does not live up to your expectations, but I think this is a high probability bet that you will keep it!

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Here are a few photos of me wearing the warm quad.

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Warm Quad

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Warm Quad

So what do you think?  If you want to see my video review and demo application, click below on the video (and subscribe too please!).  I would love to hear your feedback!

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Acne, Hyperpigmentation, Wrinkles – Oh My! My skin care routine to counter these villians!

My Skin Care Routine

I have a feeling that I am not the only one who deals with a range of issues keeping his or her complexion from being flawless (if that is even a worthy goal).  Over the years, I have battled most of the common skin issues including cystic acne that left awful scars and sometimes even craters in my skin.  On top of that medications the medications I was taking left my skin so sensitive to sun damage that even when my skin did clear up a bit, I had muddy looking patches on my cheeks from hyper pigmentation remnants.  Fast forward a few more years, and fine lines (aka wrinkles) started making their presence known.  Over the course of the past 20 years, I have been on antibiotics, creams, Retin A, Accutance (3 times!), and countless over the counter products!

Now that you know my dermatological history, where am I now?  Presently, I still deal with some cystic acne and take prescription meds for it (Spirolactane) and use Retin A every other day to counter the scarring that I get when those flair ups arise.  My skin care routine, however, focuses on the use a few products that in combination seem to work really well to address all my needs!

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Here is a list of what I am using:

In the Morning:

In the Evening:

  • Simple Micellar Facial Cleanser Water  – http://goo.gl/VkV4SN  – $6.99
  • Clarisonic Mia 2 – http://goo.gl/4tZHk8 – $149
  • I use Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar – http://goo.gl/Ykz7qT  – $2.66 for 4 bars with my Clarisonic!  It works so well!  Just wet the brush on the Clarisonic and with it turned off, rub the brush on the bar of soap to create a nice foam.  Love this combo!
  • Origins Starting Over Eye Cream – http://goo.gl/C0Lfa1 – $41
  • Clinique Take the Day Off eye makeup remover – http://goo.gl/qWTK1p – $19
  • If I am not using my Retin A (every other night), I use Paula’s Choice RESIST SUPER ANTIOXIDANT CONCENTRATE SERUM –  http://goo.gl/Bfv8Fv – $36
  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer – http://goo.gl/kL4bUi – $26

or

or

If needed for breakouts:

Does anyone use any of these products? Any thoughts or suggestions?

If you want to see my video describing this routine, click below.  Have great days everyone!!

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