• Baby Shower Themes

    3 tasteful baby shower themes for an event that will get everyone talking.

    Articles & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    The funny thing about baby showers is that they’re not actually for baby. It’s actually about you. So you might as well have fun planning since this just might be the last adult party you throw for a little while. What better way to have that last pre-baby bash than to give it a fun grown-up theme? With just a few little props, you can make a big impact.

    Below, the owners of event-design firm Poppies & Posies and prop shop The Trove give us 3 tasteful themes for the baby shower of your dreams.

    Tea Party Baby Shower1. TEA TIME
    What: We love tea time over here at the Poppies & Posies office, and there’s no better time to put on a proper low tea than to honor a mom-to-be. Antique cake stands, elegant china and yummy tea sandwiches create the perfect lady-like atmosphere to celebrate this exciting occasion.
    Props: An easy way to figure out what you’ll need for your tea party is to make a list of all of the items you plan on serving. Choose a few different cake stands in various heights and sizes, paired with a few serving trays to display your tea sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. Next, set the table for each of your guests. Use luncheon-sized plates paired with a fork, knife for spreading jams, and a spoon for sugar or honey. Each guest will need a water glass along with a tea cup and saucer for their tea. Colorful or patterned napkins are always a great way to punch up the table-scape. The same goes for a table runner or tablecloth. Lastly, you’ll want to find a bevy of fun tea pots. It’s especially nice to have enough on hand that each guest may have their own. This way everyone can enjoy the tea of their choice.
    Flowers: No party or tablescape is complete without a touch of flora. If your table is filling up from all of your fabulous props, add a sprig of something (not too fragrant) to each place setting. If you choose a delicate flower, place it in a petite bud vase beside each place setting to keep it fresh and lively throughout the entire event.
    Photography by Jen Huang Photography; Desserts by Lael Cakes; Props by The Trove.

    Mocktail Baby shower

    2. MOCKTAILS & COCKTAILS 
    What: It’s important to remember that although the mommy-to-be won’t be drinking, most of her guests would appreciate a yummy cocktail. Creating a baby shower focused around fun mocktails and cocktails will make for a fete that everyone will enjoy!
    Props: You’ll want to style a bar to display both the cocktail and mocktail options. Use a collection of decanters in various sizes and shapes to hold your boozy items. To make it easy on yourself, choose two to three fun cocktails for your guests to make themselves. People love to customize their own beverages so the DIY portion of this theme will be much appreciated. Use a large drink dispenser to hold your non-boozy items so that your guests can mix themselves a mocktail or cocktail easily. Along with your ingredients, put out an ice bucket (we love antique silver or glass), ice tongs, trays and unique glassware. Other fun items to spruce up the display are straws, signs to identify what you’re serving, and pretty bowls to display garnishes (think mint, berries, citrus slices).
    Flowers: One of our favorite garnishes for a cocktail bar are edible flowers. They look gorgeous and are fun to add to any drink, boozy or not. Offer your guests a variety to choose from so they can create their perfect combo.
    Photography by Jen Huang PhotographyProps by The Trove.

    Garden party baby shower

    3. GARDEN PARTY
    What: There’s nothing more enjoyable than a garden party. If it is not the season to host one outdoors where you live, then use props to transform your indoor space into a garden-like oasis.
    Props: We love using aged lanterns to set the scene for a garden party whether it’s taking place inside or out. Garden urns in a variety of finishes, sizes and shapes filled with plants from your local nursery will turn your space into the perfect setting. If you want to really go all out, strung cafe lights and a plethora of candlelight provide the perfect finishing touches to a fabulous fete.
    Flowers: No garden party is complete without flowers! If you’re not in the mood for arranging something, pot miniature rose bushes in aged terracotta pots and place them on each table. At the end of the evening, guests can take them as a favor. Everytime the mom-to-be sees her rose growing she’ll remember her wonderful shower.

    This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

  • Things We've Read: Week of May 16th, 2016

    Things We've Read | Nine Naturals

    The Mindful Child (NY Times): A study of 4th and 5th graders participating in a 4-month meditation program showed improvements in cognitive functions and better grades.

    In One Tweet, John Legend Perfectly Nails The Hypocrisy Of Mom-Shaming (Mic): "Funny there's no dad-shaming. When both of us go out to dinner, shame both of us so Chrissy doesn't have to take it all. We'll split it."

    This Dad Sent The Funniest Photoshopped Baby Photos To His Wife (Elite Daily): What happens when mom goes back to work

    The Most Whimsical Children's Rooms And Nurseries In Vogue (Vogue): More room and nursery envy.

    NEA's Lily Eskelsen Garcia On What Teachers Do (Campaign For America's Future): Teachers do more than just teach reading, writing, and math.

    In This City, Parents Must Now Pay Up If Their Child Is A Bully (Huff Post): A new approach to tackling the bullying that occurs off school grounds.

    Donating An Organ To My Son (NY Times): One mom's story of feeling the clash of her identities as a mom and a physician.

  • 7 Ab-Rehab Tips Following Delivery

    7 AB REHAB TIPS FOLLOWING DELIVERYWhile it may seem like you will never get your abdominal muscles back after pregnancy, your muscles are actually quite resilient! With the proper rehab, you can absolutely get your core back to its pre-pregnancy (or better!) state. The great news is you can begin your core rehabilitation process as soon as you feel comfortable following delivery, and it is most likely easier than you think.  The following 7 simple tips can help significantly speed up your recovery following delivery, and get you on the right path to safely and effectively rebuilding your core!

    1. Avoid any sort of crunching or twisting movements: These movements place excessive pressure on your already weak outer abdominal wall, which could potentially lead to Diastasis Recti (a separation of the outer abdominal muscle), or worsen it if you have it. So yes, this means absolutely NO sit-ups for quite a while!  Beyond this though, try to avoid these movements in your everyday life.  For example, sit up tall and avoid slouching.  If needed, place back support behind you when seated (i.e. using pillows or blankets) to keep you upright, yet comfortable.  This is especially important when feeding your baby given the sheer amount of time you spend in this position each day!  Another tip is to remember to roll to your side first when transitioning from lying down to sitting up (and vice versa).  Finally, if you need to bend over, do so by bending at the hips – pushing your butt backward and softening your knees to bend forward with a flat back.
    1. Re-connect with your “inner girdle”:To effectively rebuild your core, start by focusing on your largest and innermost abdominal muscle – your transverse abdominis (TVA). This muscle wraps around your entire mid-section from your spine to the front of your abs (like a girdle), and is responsible for basically “pulling everything in” (AKA giving you a lean, flat waistline!), and supporting and stabilizing your back.  One of the most effective ways to begin rebuilding this muscle is by performing these simple, but effective techniques of Belly Breathing and TVA Holds.  
    1. Kegels! Kegels! Kegels!The muscles of your pelvic floor form the “floor of your core” and are extremely weak after 9 months of pregnancy and any type of delivery (vaginal or C-section).  Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, bladder or rectal prolapse, and overall core instability.  Kegel exercises can be an excellent way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles – if, and only if, they are performed properly.  Learn the proper way to perform Kegels HERE, and try to perform several sets a day.  Performing one set each time you feed your baby will help you get in plenty per day!
    1. Consider wearing an abdominal splint:In most cultures outside the U.S., it is actually common practice to use an abdominal splint for the first 4-6 weeks following delivery. A splint wraps around your mid-section, and places the stretched out muscle tissue of your abdominal wall in the optimal position to promote fastest healing.  It also helps to support and protect your back while your core is still too weak to do so.  There are many manufacturers of abdominal splints.  We recommend ones from The Tummy Team because they have a variety of splints to fit different needs and body types, and are also a good blend of being appropriately supportive and comfortable.
    1. Squat on the pot!This one may sound funny, but it’s important!  Weak inner core muscles can lead to intestinal issues, which can lead to difficult bowel movements, which most likely leads to forceful and damaging belly-bulging “bearing down.”  If you are having any sort of constipation issue, try placing an 8-12” stool beneath your feet to place your body in more of a squatted position.  This position opens up your colon and allows for easier waste excretion.  The Squatty Potty® can be an excellent tool for this because it adjusts in height, blends in with your toilet, and pushes back under the toilet when not in use.
    1. Get checked for Diastasis Recti: Diastasis Recti is a common condition that occurs in about 30% of pregnancies in which the excessive outward pressure from your growing belly causes your rectus abdominis muscle (or “6 pack” muscle) to partially or completely separate at your body’s midline.  Diastasis Recti can lead to a number of complications, including low back pain, hip or pelvic pain, incontinence, bladder or rectal prolapse, and what looks like a “pooch” in your belly.  Everyone has a bit of a separation in the immediate aftermath of labor, but it should close for most women within 4 weeks following delivery.  So, it is best to wait for a few weeks to check.  Ask your doctor to check you at your postpartum visit.  If needed, you can also perform a self-check.  If you do have it, it is best to correct it as soon as possible to avoid further core damage or injury, and also avoid complications in future pregnancies.  Seek out a physical therapist who specializes in this.  PROnatal Fitness also offers PROnatal Ab-Rehab -- a one-on-one rehabilitation program designed to correct Diastasis and strengthen weak core muscles.
    1. Transition properly into core exercises once you are cleared:Once you are cleared by your physician to resume exercise, it is important to follow a proper core exercise progression.  Your core muscles need to be rebuilt from the inside out, beginning with the critical inner core muscles of your TVA and pelvic floor.  Try following the progression of these 7 Moves for a Stronger Core, making sure to master moves in one phase before moving onto the next.

    Brittany Citron is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and a pre/postnatal exercise specialist.  She is also the founder of PROnatal Fitness, which offers prenatal and postpartum group fitness classes, personal training, and Diastasis Recti rehabilitation -- all developed with input from experts in the fitness, medical, and healthcare fields.  Brittany lives in Manhattan with her husband and 3-year old son, and a little girl on the way!

    Medical Disclaimer:  The above information is for a healthy postpartum woman with no complications or risk factors.  This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to offer medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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  • Nine Naturals: Molly Sim's Supermomma Beauty Products

    Molly Sim

    "Since my career involves going to events and red carpets, I couldn’t take a beauty time-out when I became pregnant. If anything, I became an expert at what non-toxic and organic beauty products actually work."

    Thanks Molly Sims for including Nine Naturals' Citrus + Mint Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner on your list of "Beauty Products For The Supermomma-To-Be"!

  • Cravings Made Healthy: Cauliflower Fried Rice

    Swap your Chinese takeout for this deliciously healthy dish.
    cauliflower fried rice

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Pregnancy cravings. Most people have them in some form or another. Whether your want to eat pounds of pineapple (go ahead, it’s a great cervical ripener and can help make birth easier!), bowls and bowls of pasta, or a slice of chocolate cake the size of your head, chances are at some point over your 40 weeks you have had a strong hankering for something or other.

    When I’m pregnant, I crave anything and everything with and Asian flavor profile. Growing up in Manhattan on Chinese food, I have fond memories of my family gathered around white takeout containers of sesame noodles, moo shoo something or other, and various other greasy, heavy foods. Despite being an incredibly clean eater now, sometimes I still crave the comfort food of my youth.

    When I am too tired and pregnant at the end of the day to make an elaborate meal this Cauliflower Fried Rice is the perfect quick, satisfying dinner. I make the cauliflower rice in large batches and chop the vegetable in advance to save me time at night when I am worn out. When it’s time for dinner all I have to do is toss it all together and let it steam! Much healthier than Chinese takeout and ready in less than 15 minutes!

    Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

    Ingredients:

    • 1 head of cauliflower
    • ½ cup broccoli florets
    • ½ cup diced celery
    • 1/2 cup diced carrots
    • ½ cup diced pineapple
    • 2 scallions thinly sliced
    • 1/4 c nama shoyu
    • 2 T sesame oil

    Directions:

    1. Chop cauliflower into small florets and process in food processor until “rice like” consistency is achieved. This should only take a few seconds.
    2. Combine cauliflower “rice” with remaining ingredients and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes for flavor to develop.
    3. Place rice mixture in a steamer basket over boiling water and lightly steam until warm.

     

    This article is by Sara Jane Mercer, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

  • Nine Naturals, A Disco Daydream

    nine naturals-9

    Disco Daydream's Lauren Johnson featured Nine Naturals in a recent blog post on healthy skincare for the spring! She noted, "Spring is one of my favorite seasons! ...Luna is at the age where she wants to emulate everything I do, so when she sees me putting on sunscreen every morning (I've been a religious sunscreen user for years now) she always grabs the bottle and puts a bunch all over her face! I've always been leery about using chemical-laden products, but when I became a mother that feeling was even more intense and I went through a huge overhaul of all of my skincare products... Nine Naturals has made it so easy to make healthy skincare choices for myself and my little ones. I love that the next time Luna reaches for my sunscreen in the morning I don't have to worry!"

    Thanks Lauren for the review! We're working hard to keep our mamas informed and to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be.

  • Things We've Read: Week of May 9th, 2016

    Things We've Read | Nine Naturals

    The LinkedIn For Women Who Have Taken A Career Break (Fast Company): Creating a network to make it easier for moms to get back to work.

    The Privilege Of Maternity Leave: What The NICU Taught Me (Huff Post): "As I spent hour after hour watching my daughter’s every breath in the NICU, I thought about the babies whose families couldn’t visit."

    Raising A Child With Grit Can Mean Letting Her Quit (NY Times): "You can quit. But you can't quit on a hard day."

    13 Celebrity Moms Who Are Hilariously Real About Motherhood On Twitter (Huff Post): Thanks for all of these #truths!

    Do Children In France Have A Healthier Relationship With Alcohol? (NY Times): How children learn about wine and alcohol consumption sets the stage for drinking habits.

    The Problem With Mother's Day Cards (Refinery29): "Where is the greeting card that says, 'Mother, you taught me how to be a powerful woman. Mother, you taught me how to earn a living. Mother, you taught me how to speak up for myself and not back down." - Shonda Rhimes

    5 Female Celebrities Who Took A Powerful Stand For Their Post-Pregnancy Bodies (Mic): Promoting postpartum body positivity!

  • Nine Naturals Ingredient Story: Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil

    Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil

    At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be. Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story, featuring Grapeseed Oil, is part of an ongoing series featuring the natural, plant-based ingredients behind our high performance beauty products.

    Vitis Vinifera, also known as the common grape vine, is successfully grown in various climates around the world, including the U.S., France, and South Africa. Grapes, which are the largest fruit crop on the planet, have a powerhouse oil within their seeds that is revealed as a byproduct in the wine-making process. While it can be used in food preparation (as a cooking oil or salad dressing base), grapeseed oil can be directly applied to the skin to treat acne, scars, and wrinkles.

    The Science and Extraction of Grapeseed Oil

    Extracting oil from the diminutive seed is both a time consuming and time sensitive process. To ensure the highest quality (and taste, if being consumed), grapeseed oil must be produced within 48 hours of the grapes removal from the vine, so as to avoid the commencement of the fermentation process. To yield grapeseed oil, the grape seeds are separated from the stems and skins of the grapes and then mechanically processed through a machine (expeller press) where high pressure is applied to release the liquid treasure. Grapeseed oil, which has risen in popularity since the 1990s, contains four fatty acids—linoleic (70.6%), oleic (16.2%), palmitic (7.2%), and stearic (4.4%)—in addition to vitamins C, E, and D.  

    Grapeseed Oil's Benefits for Skin and Hair Care

    Grape seed oil is non-comedogenic, non-greasy, and easily absorbed, making it a suitable moisturizer for all skin types and ages. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and astringent properties, grapeseed oil attacks acne and residual scarring to leave your skin brightened and more balanced. Additionally, because it contains more linoleic acid than any other carrier oil, continued usage of grape seed oil will result in the restoration of firmness to your skin, thus reducing the look of fine lines.

    When massaged into the scalp, or applied as a hot oil treatment (either on its own or combined with other oils), grape seed oil can strengthen your locks and encourage new hair growth.

    Why Nine Naturals Loves Grape Seed Oil

    Grapeseed oil's skin supporting compounds make it a prime ingredient in our skincare line. Reap its full range of benefits in our Vanilla + Geranium Regenerative Belly Butter.

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  • Relieve Sacroiliac Joint Pain During Pregnancy - PROnatal Fitness

    nine naturals pronatal fitness pregnancy back pain 2It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that back pain is the #1 most frequent complaint during pregnancy.  What you may not realize, though, is that there are actually different types of back pain, and understanding what type of pain you have is the key to appropriately addressing it – and getting some relief!

    Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, one of two primary types of back pain during pregnancy, is actually a very common pregnancy pain that sometimes gets mistaken for lower back pain.  However, unlike the standard lower back pain, SI joint pain is felt lower – usually around the tailbone or upper gluteal muscles – and is typically felt only on one side.  Often the pain is worsened with long periods of walking or stair climbing, and can sometimes create a feeling of “getting stuck” when moving from a seated to standing position. In some cases, the pain can radiate into your buttocks, and even down your leg a bit.    

    What causes it: Your SI joint links your pelvis to your sacrum (the lowest part of your tailbone), and functions to help counteract the pull of your growing belly and resist that lower back arch. However, it's job is made much more difficult by a little hormone called relaxin -- a hormone that increases during pregnancy to basically “loosen up” all the ligaments in your hip and pelvic area to prepare your body for birth.  While this is certainly beneficial for delivery, it’s not so great for your SI joint because relaxin softens all the ligaments that hold it together -- making it weaker and less stable.  Add to this the fact that your growing belly continues to pull harder in the opposite direction, and you can see how easy it can be for the SI joint to give, stretch, and possibly become hypermobile -- which leads to pain.

    How to prevent or treat it: The following tips can help prevent and/or soothe SI joint pain:

    • Strengthen your inner abdominal, gluteal, and pelvic floor muscles!  This is really the most effective way to reduce SI joint pain.  These muscles help to stabilize your pelvic area (basically counteracting the de-stabilizing effect of relaxin).  So, the stronger these muscles are, the more stability you’ll have in your pelvic region, and therefore the less pressure you’ll place on your SI joint.  In addition to the Belly Breathing, TVA Holds, and Floor Bridges discussed above, incorporate proper Kegels for your pelvic floor.
    • Stay “symmetrical” when sitting and standing: It’s important to keep your pelvis in a stable and even position as much as possible, so avoid sitting with crossed legs and when standing, stand with weight evenly distributed on both feet.
    • Keep weight gain in check: Excess weight puts more strain on the SI joint.
    • Avoid aggravating movements: Pay attention to the actions and movements that cause pain, and try to avoid those movements. Moves that often aggravate pain are things like stair climbing, balancing on one leg (i.e. to put pants on), swinging legs out of bed or out of a car, lunges, running, or even long periods of walking.  Remember to try to keep your weight equally distributed and your pelvis in a stable position.  So, sit down on the bed to put your pants on, swing both legs out of bed (or the car) at the same time, and perform squats instead of lunges (just one more reason why squats are soooo good to do during pregnancy!

     

    Written by Brittany Citron, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and a pre/postnatal exercise specialist. She is also the founder of PROnatal Fitness,  which offers prenatal and postpartum group fitness classes, personal training, and Diastasis Recti rehabilitation — all developed with input from experts in the fitness, medical, and healthcare fields. Brittany lives in Manhattan with her husband and 3-year old son, and a little girl on the way!

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  • Baby Basics: Eczema

    Soothe your baby’s scratchy skin with these expert tips and product picks.

    baby eczema

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    There’s something almost addictive about that silky soft baby skin; just one little tickle on those gorgeous newborn rolls makes you forget about all that crying, pooping and sleep-deprivation. But if you’ve ever had eczema–or any seasonal allergies or asthma–then your little one may get it too, turning those silky baby cheeks (and arms, shins and legs) all itchy and raw.

    These cold winter months are the worst, says NYC dermatologist Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, when the weather strips skin of its naturally moisturizing enzymes. Harsh soaps and chemical-heavy products can make the uncomfortable skin condition even worse, no matter what the weather.

    “The single most important thing to do to help your baby’s skin is to moisturize,” says Dr. Mudgil, using mild, non-toxic products that are healthy for baby. And rather than skip the bath, skip the toweling off instead–slather baby up while she’s still nice and wet, and lock in those delicious drops of moisture all night long.

    From eczema-soothing skin care products, like Weleda’s new Baby Derma White Mallow line, to organic cotton layette that’s like second-skin, here’s the best picks for helping baby stay silky and soft.

    Weleda Baby Derma White Mallow 500x500

    Weleda Baby Derma White Mallow Collection
    This natural skincare brand was already our go-to for organic products for both mom and baby, but Weleda’s new 100% certified natural Baby Derma White Mallow collection now has our vote for eczema -- and the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. The recently launched White Mallow Diaper Rash cream is a great addition to the collection, which already included White Mallow Face Cream and White Mallow Body Lotion. Buy it here.

    Seventh Generation Diapers
    Seventh Generation Diapers
    After you treat baby’s skin to some Weleda White Mallow love, opt for a chlorine-free diaper that’s free of fragrances, inks and petroleum-based lotions. A pioneer in all things clean and green, we’re obsessed with Seventh Generation’s new Touch of Cloth diapers, which are as comfy as cloth, but still convenient and disposable. Buy it here.

    Crane smartDrop Humidifier
    Crane smartDrop Humidifier
    Moisture can come in many forms, and air is one of them. Give baby’s skin a little extra love by planting a humidifier in her nursery that does double duty for her skin while it’s clearing her congestion. This Crane smartDrop is not only easy on the eyes, it’s also super easy to use since it’s WiFi connected and can be controlled by an app. Buy it here.

    Tane Organics Romper
    Tane Organics Romper
    During those first few months, baby’s often covered from head to toe, so it’s worth giving a little thought to what he’s covered in. Invest in some organic cotton, like this smartly designed romper from Tane Organic. It’s not only soft and luxurious, but also free from bleaches, dyes, softeners, flame-retardants and other gross stuff you wouldn’t want on your body, let alone your baby’s. Steer clear from wool too, which can often irritate sensitive skin. Buy it here.

    Ecover Laundry DetergentEcover Laundry Detergent
    With optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances and too many chemicals to count, it’s no surprise that laundry detergent can be a biggie when it comes to skin irritation. Clean up your cleaning act by opting for a non-toxic and biodegradable version like this natural one from Ecover. Buy it here.

    giggle Changing Pad
    giggle Changing Pad
    Your baby will spend an awful lot of time in the nude on your changing table during those first few months. Pick a natural changing pad cover that won’t add to her skin irritation like this extra soft giggle version made from pure, certified 100% organic sherpa cotton. Buy it here.

    This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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