International Meals for Delivery in New York City to Quell Your #Wanderlust

Most of us are experiencing major wanderlust these days as the pandemic has prevented everyone from traveling as much as they would like. A creative way to explore other countries without even leaving your apartment is by delving into authentic cuisine. If you’re located in New York City, you probably know you’re surrounded by amazing international food options. Here are some restaurants with pickup and delivery options so you can sample the world’s many flavors and stay safe from COVID, too:

China: The Handpulled Noodle

There are few takeout options more comforting than Chinese food, but at The Handpulled Noodle, you’re bound to find some less-familiar options, too. This restaurant specializes in Northwest Chinese food, which is known for robust flavors and spices, hand-pulled noodles unique to the Xinjiang region, and Ding Ding noodles, a regional specialty kind of like gnocchi.

Japan: Sushi Noz

Chef Noz was born in Japan, where he studied the centuries-old Edomae sushi style. Sushi prepared this way uses rice traditionally flavored with vinegar and both aged and fresh fish. When you order for delivery, be sure to check out their sake selection, as well. Sushi from here is on the high-end side of the spectrum, so save this one for a night that you want to really splurge and treat yourself!

Ethiopia: Bunna Café

Ethiopian food traditionally consists of traditional injera bread eaten with an assortment of stews, curries, and meats. Bunna Café puts a plant-based spin on this cuisine and has both dinner and brunch menu items ready to delight your senses. If you love the food and want to try your hand at Ethiopian-style cooking, be sure to check out the coffee, tea, and spices they sell online.

South Africa: Kaia Wine Bar

Have you always wanted to see Cape Town? Then spend an evening unwinding with wines made in South Africa! And don’t worry, there’s plenty of delicious food to be paired with the extensive wine selection at Kaia. They offer appetizers like fishcakes and peri peri deviled eggs as well as main dishes inspired by Capetonian street food.

France: Boucherie

Sometimes when you’re looking for a wanderlusty culinary experience, you don’t need to break too far from traditional Western cooking styles. Boucherie hits the spot with classics like duck leg confit, red wine braised beef, and hot onion soup topped with gruyere. To make it all the more convenient, this French bistro has several locations around Manhattan.

Bolivia: Bolivian Llama Party

Maybe you can’t safely go hiking through the Andes Mountains anytime soon -that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yummy Bolivian food. This food stand is known for its meat-stew-filled pastry pockets called salteñas, but also makes hot honey fried chicken, desserts, and more.

Mexico: Tulcingo Del Valle

If you’re feeling a bit spicy, you’re going to need to turn up the heat with Mexican food. If you order online from Tulcingo Del Valle’s webpage, you’ll get free delivery. This restaurant has been striving for quality since day one, with handcrafted tacos, 100% fresh meat, and all-natural ingredients.

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One Day Getaways in the Bay Area for #TravelTuesday

Are you located in the Bay Area and need a little inspiration for a Travel Tuesday day trip? If so, here are some fun ideas located near both San Francisco and Oakland that will make you feel like you’ve had a little getaway.

Sausalito

Located just 27 minutes from San Francisco and 37 minutes from Oakland, Sausalito is a Marin County town that’s perfect for an escape. Located on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito combines small-town charm, nature, and stunning views with galleries, shopping, and gourmet food and wine worthy of a city. And fun fact: it’s been ranked the 3rd happiest seaside town in the country. For a perfect travel Tuesday, spend the day walking around the main street enjoying the whimsical and artsy shops, see if you can spot a sea lion while taking in the harbor views, and then go pay a visit to the town’s historical houseboat community.

Muir Woods National Monument

If you’re looking to get away from the city and escape into nature, take a trip to Muir Woods, which is run by the National Parks Service. This beautiful old-growth forest preserve is filled with towering coastal redwoods, lush ferns, and the biggest clover you’ve ever seen! While the main paths get a little crowded with tourists excited to see the 600-1200 year old trees, hiking paths leading away from the main parts of the monument are a great place to social distance. Whether you want to take a quick peek at the trees with your toddler or take a semi-challenging hike up hillsides, you can happily pass some time here. The park has a gift shop, restrooms, and ample parking, but you’ll need to be sure to reserve a timed entry ticket ahead of time.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Another natural wonder run by the National Parks service in the Bay Area is the Point Reyes National Seashore. This cape features lighthouses, coastal hikes, and beaches for you to explore on your day away from the bustle of San Francisco or Oakland. Keep your eyes out for Elk or Elephant seals while you’re exploring all the beauty this area has to offer! And while you’re here, make a stop at the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse. Built in 1870, the red-roofed building is very photogenic.

Napa Valley

California’s wine country is just an hour and 15 minutes north of Oakland, making it perfect for a day trip. There are hundreds of vineyards on the hillsides here for you to explore with wine tasting or a ride on the vintage locomotive and restaurant, Napa Valley Wine Train! Even if you aren’t a fan of wine -or are the designated driver for the day- Napa Valley has a lot to offer as a day trip location. The region also is known for gourmet food, such as you may find at the Oxbow Public Market. While you’re exploring the region’s food, drop in on hidden gems like Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Co and Kollar Chocolates.

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#Travelphotography Tips for Wintry Photos

It’s easy for your travel photos to look stunning on summer trips when the world is colorful and alive and everyone is feeling laid back and breezy. The winter is a different story. If you’re feeling a bit lost when it comes to making your travel photos from your winter trips really shine, read on for some handy tips.

Embrace the Moodiness

Winter is a visually moody time of year. With no leaves on the trees, forests look like a wall of grey. The grass is dead and brown. Less sunlight means more shadows. Since you can’t make a dark landscape like that be what it isn’t, embrace what you’re given and lean into it when you edit the photos. One tip is to cool the photo by adjusting the warmth down or playing with the color curves to make the blue and green tones more predominant. Another helpful step is to desaturate colors a bit. Finally, giving it a bit of a vintage film look with grain or vignette adds to the mood.

Be Prepared

It’s not always about aesthetics with winter photography. After all, if you can’t get the shot, you can’t begin to worry about what the shot looks like. So, when shooting winter photos, you must be prepared for winter weather. Did you know winter weather can affect your camera? For example, battery life gets shorter when temperatures are under freezing. Therefore, you’ll need to come prepared with extra batteries. You’ll also need to make sure you are able to withstand the cold. Aside from the obvious, like a warm coat, make sure you have gloves that keep your fingers warm enough and still allow you to use your camera, and that you protect extremities like your toes, ears, and nose, which quickly become painfully cold in low temperatures.

Wear a Bright Color

Winter landscapes have a definite quality of sameness to them. Think endless white snow reaching as far as the eye can see. To add visual interest, you want to shoot a subject that really pops against the greys or whites of your winter background. For example, if you’re shooting a person against a landscape, having them wear a bright color makes them stand out. Red and yellow are great colors for coats and parkas that add some life, and even whimsy, to your winter pictures.

Mind Wear You Walk

We’ve all heard of people tragically dying while trying to get a perfect travel photo by falling off a cliff. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings in any season, especially when you’re distracted by trying to frame a photo. But in the winter, this becomes even more complicated. Surfaces are often more slippery and when everything is blanketed with snow, it’s easier to step on a rock or in a hole and hurt yourself. You’ll also want to be careful of where you step for aesthetic reasons -no one wants to try to get a perfect picture of a fresh snowfall, and then realize they’ve made a bunch of tracks in the snow!

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Romantic Valentine’s Day #Hiking Ideas

Valentine’s Day is coming, but we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic. Many restaurants are shut down across the country and traditional ways of celebrating the holiday are a bit tricky. But if this year has taught us anything, it’s that we just have to get a little creative to still have fun and keep up traditions!

If a romantic candlelit dinner at a nice restaurant is your typical go-to to treat your special someone, you might be wondering what to do instead this year. A fresh idea that’s super social distancing friendly is going hiking as a couple! Read on to see why hiking can be romantic.

Summit a Peak

Challenging yourselves together as a couple and working together to get over a shared obstacle is a wonderful bonding experience that will bring you closer. And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy to work! Sure, if you’re both experienced mountain climbers, you’ll want a true mountaineering challenge. But even if you’ve never been on a hiking trail, you can find a way to bring some challenge -and fun- to the experience. Plenty of hikes are steep without needing to take all day to complete and without requiring any technical skills. Look around to see what trails like that you might have near you! The best feeling is when you reach the top, endorphins pumping, enjoy a beautiful view together, take a collective breath, and look at each other to say “We did it!”

Photo Shoot

Do you have enough photos together as a couple? If not, planning a day where you enjoy a photoshoot together is tons of fun, and you’ll have lovely pictures to look back on forever. A hiking trail is a great place to do your shoot, because you can get a variety of action shots, dreamy shots looking off into the distance, and that perfect one of the two of you in front of an awesome view that you can frame in your living room. You can keep it as simple as taking pictures of each other with a few self-timer selfies thrown in, or you can look into hiring a photographer to make the day extra special!

Picnic

There’s nothing more romantic than a picnic, and packing up a picnic in your backpack on a hike is a wonderful surprise for your special someone! You can even scout out the trail ahead of time to find the spot with the best view. Make it extra special by bringing candles and flowers or packing a romantic spread that includes things like chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne. Of course, this idea is more pleasant if you live in a warmer clime. But even if you’re hiking somewhere with snow and chilly temperatures, you can still have an awesome picnic. Just bring a waterproof tarp for under your picnic blanket, some cozy blankets to snuggle in together, and a thermos with a hot beverage!

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5 Romantic Spots for Valentine’s Day Dinner in Houston for #foodies

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching! If you’re planning a date for that special someone in your life, you’re going to want to find a nice romantic spot to eat dinner together. And if you’re both foodies, the cuisine has to be exceptional, too! We’ve rounded up 5 places in the Houston area that fit the bill!

The Fish

While the name might not sound like a romantic place to dine with your love, this midtown Houston institution has a warm and modern interior. The Fish is a restaurant and sushi bar, known for its extensive menu with many creative sushi roll options. On Valentine’s Day, your reservation comes with a free Prosecco rose and chocolate-covered strawberries! There’s a three-course Prix Fixe meal available for $35 per person, and the full menu will also be available.

Le Colonial

This famous Vietnamese restaurant is a gorgeous spot to bring your date. Le Colonial has decorated the inside like a lush oasis, with towering green plants, dark wood paneling, rattan chairs, and crisp white tablecloths. Foodies will delight in trying the authentic Vietnamese cuisine they serve. It is delicious and shareable -perfect for an intimate dinner for two. On Valentine’s Day, they’re offering a special Prix Fixe menu. You’ll get 3 courses for $85 per person.

The Annie Café and Bar

Sometimes Valentine’s Day calls for something a little extra fancy. When that’s the case, head to The Annie Café and Bar, an American restaurant with an impeccably decorated, airy interior and a gorgeous rooftop deck. They serve up high-end classics like lobster cocktail and ribeye steak. For Valentine’s Day, your Prix Fixe reservation includes a floral arrangement by John Friedman Flowers and a 3-course meal for $155.

Bloom & Bee

Bloom & Bee is one of those restaurants that makes it feel like Valentine’s Day all year long. Their enchanting décor features pink upholstered chairs, pastel accents, and floral themes everywhere. In fact, they self-describe their interior as “reminiscent of a lush garden filled with gorgeous blooms.” And of course, the food is fantastic. They focus on healthy dishes with locally-sourced ingredients, and they don’t skimp on taste. Any foodie is sure to love their creative meals. For Valentine’s Day, they’re serving up a romantically themed four-course dinner for two.

Ristorante Cavour

On a day that celebrates amore, where better to go than an Italian restaurant? Located in Hotel Granduca in the Uptown District, Ristorante Cavour has a serene décor scheme and specializes in traditional dishes from Northern Italy. You have a couple of different options to celebrate here with your special someone. The night before Valentine’s Day, you can come for a $155 per couple Prix-Fixe dinner for two while enjoying music on the patio. Or, on Valentine’s Day morning, come for brunch! They’re offering an a la carte menu between 11 am and 2 pm.

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#FamilyTravel Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe During the Pandemic

It’s 2021, people are beginning to get vaccinated, and many people are starting to tentatively begin to travel again. However, we are still very much in a pandemic. While there are many ways to have an awesome family travel experience, everything requires a little extra research and planning right now. To help with this, we’ve compiled some tips to help you keep your kids safe and healthy during family trips.

Outdoor Safety

We all know being outdoors is best, and so you’re going to want to gear your vacation activities around outdoor activities like nature walks and beach time. However, you need to make sure your kids understand that even outside, it’s very important to take precautions. Try to avoid letting them go on playground equipment, use public water fountains, or touch tactile exhibits at places like zoos and nature centers. While it remains unclear how long the virus can live on surfaces, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Instead, pack your own fun activities, like a frisbee or football, and plenty of water for everyone.

You’ll also want to instill in your kids the importance of staying six feet apart from others while outdoors. You can guide them while you’re walking together, but it’s also helpful for them to have a good idea of what six feet is. A fun trick is to visualize objects that are six feet long, which include the average dog leash, the height of a refrigerator, and the length of a cow. See what other fun ones you and your kids can come up with!

Mask Wearing

The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask, and you need to enforce this with your kids. That can be easier said than done with young children who don’t like wearing a mask, so the key is to try to make it fun. Ideas include grabbing a pack of markers and letting them decorate their mask, or making a special mask for their favorite doll or stuffed animal to wear.

For kids 2 and under who should not wear masks, you’ll want to make doubly sure you always keep them six feet away from people who live outside your household.

Sanitize

Frequent handwashing is key to everyone’s health and safety, so you’ll want to have your kids wash their hands every time you all return to your hotel. Supervise younger kids to help them make sure they’re washing their hands thoroughly and for the required time. You probably know by now that singing Happy Birthday twice is the right amount of time for handwashing, but other songs you can sing with your kids to mix things up are the chorus of Baby Shark, the chorus of Let it Go, or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star twice.

When you’re out and about all day enjoying your travels it’s harder to wash hands, so bring plenty of hand sanitizer for everyone. Older kids can have their own container of it, maybe on a cute lanyard attached to their backpack. Make sure to supervise younger kids when they’re applying sanitizer.

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Here’s Your Update on How Top #Airlines are Currently Handling Health and Safety

Last month we gave you an update that checked in on top airlines’ travel policies in response to the virus. This month, we’re adding a few more airlines to that list. Read on for more information.

United Airlines

·        Safety: Their United CleanPlus commitment policy has been implemented to put your health and safety first. They’re doing that by partnering with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to ensure strict cleaning protocols are in place. These include disinfecting all high-touch areas, providing you with antibacterial wipes upon boarding, and using electrostatic spray to clean the cabin between flights.

·        Flexibility: Change fees have been permanently eliminated for most Economy and Premium flights within the US and/or originating in the US.

·        Requirements: Face coverings are required on flights for all passengers over the age of 2 (of course, the crew will be wearing them, too). You’ll also need to acknowledge that you don’t have any COVID symptoms when you check in.

·        Other Things to Know: Snacks onboard are being served in an “all in one bag,” which includes a water bottle instead of a drink poured in a cup.        

Alaska Airlines

·        Safety: Strict cleaning protocols are in place, including 2 HEPA filters on every aircraft, cleaning aircraft with electrostatic disinfecting spray between flights, and handing everyone antibacterial wipes upon boarding. Alaska no longer blocks middle seats, as of January 7th, 2021.

·        Flexibility: Their Peace of Mind waiver gets rid of change and cancellation fees for flights booked through March 31. Beginning April 1, all change fees will be eliminated permanently.

·        Requirements: Face coverings are required on flights for all passengers over the age of 2 (of course, the crew will be wearing them, too). You’ll also need to complete a health agreement acknowledging that you don’t have any COVID symptoms when you check in.

·        Other Things to Know: You can make your experience as contact-free as possible by downloading the Alaska app.

JetBlue Airways

·        Safety: JetBlue is taking a multilayered approach to health and safety, with their Safety from the Ground Up policy. This includes temperature checks and paid sick leave for crew members, frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, and electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft between flights.

·        Flexibility: Their Peace of Mind waiver gets rid of change and cancellation fees for flights booked through March 31. Beginning April 1, all change fees will be eliminated permanently.

·        Requirements: Face coverings are required on flights for all passengers over the age of 2 (of course, the crew will be wearing them, too). You’ll also need to complete a health declaration form acknowledging that you don’t have any COVID symptoms during the check in process.

·        Other Things to Know: JetBlue has the most space between rows of any other airline in the United States. You’re encouraged to download the JetBlue App to make your check-in process as contactless as possible.

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Mardis Gras #Adventure Ideas that Aren’t in New Orleans

We all are expecting Mardis Gras to look a little different this year given the fact that we are still in a pandemic. If you’re looking to have an adventure and celebrate the season, but avoid the larger crowds in New Orleans, the good news is that several cities across the South have very nice celebrations. Read on to see!

Atlanta

Georgia’s capital is a wonderful Southern city to adventure to for Mardis Gras if you’re in the surrounding region. This year, they’re having a big block party to celebrate, and don’t worry, COVID-19 safety rules will be in place (make sure to bring your mask!). The Midtown Block Party will be held on February 26th and 27th, with tickets $30 per person. Your ticket includes a complimentary shot, beads, food, and access to live music, face painting, and a photo booth! Over 15 bars and restaurants will be participating and offering New Orleans themed foods and drinks. So, dress up, gather some beads and friends, and get ready for a Big Easy style adventure right in Atlanta.

Raleigh

You may not think of Raleigh, North Carolina when you think about Mardis Gras, but they have two fun events planned for this year. There’s a bar crawl on February 20th that’s known for extravagance: attendees are encouraged to wear “outrageous colorful costumes, masks, and a whole lot of beads” to escape their everyday life and be whoever they want for the night! Another fun option is the Mardis Gras party at Raleigh’s own Big Easy, The Big Easy NC. This New Orleans themed bar is serving up Cajun and Creole food, mixing up some hurricanes to wash it down, and providing live music from Mike Mixer. It’s all happening on February 16th, so make sure to mark your calendar!

Orlando

If you want a family-friendly way to celebrate Mardis Gras with your kids, the party happening at Universal Studios Orlando is the one for you! This shindig happens every year when Universal Studios transforms into a New Orleans style party, and this year is no exception, though of course, it will look a bit different. There can be no parades or concerts this year in order to promote social distancing and you will need to wear a mask at all times (except when eating or drinking). However, you’re still in for a load of fun. There will be a Mardis Gras themed scavenger hunt you can do with the kids and a Mardis Gras Tribute Store where you can do a little shopping. While there are no official concerts, music and street entertainment will be sprinkled throughout the park for you to enjoy while you stroll. And similarly, while there is no formal parade, the spectacular Mardis Gras floats will be on display! The big event of the season, running from February 6th to March 28th, is the International Flavors of Carnaval celebration, where you can sample traditional Carnaval foods from various countries.

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Social Distancing Friendly Sites in Washington, DC for Your #BucketList

Washington, DC has a plethora of amazing museums, Michelin Star restaurants, and more. With the pandemic right now, it’s not always possible to visit them. But luckily, the city is also teeming with monuments, public parks, and delightful pathways that are both appropriate for social distancing and completely worthy of being added to your bucket list.

Whether you’re about to visit DC for the first time and are looking for things to do or you live there and need a break from staying at home, check out these fun DC bucket list ideas!

National Mall

This National Park in the heart of Washington, DC includes famous monuments such as the MLK Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and more. Some, like the Washington Monument, are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still view, appreciate, and photograph the outside!

C&O Canal

Historic Georgetown makes for a lovely place to walk around any time of year. But while a lot of its shops may not be open at the moment, one thing you can still do is the Canal Walk. The 200-year-old C&O Canal and its accompanying towpath run for a mile through Georgetown. Walking here is a good jumping-off point for exploring the cute nooks and crannies of the larger neighborhood.

National Harbor

If you’re up for a little trip, head 20 minutes south to the National Harbor. The Waterfront District is located along the Potomac River and is a scenic, walkable area surrounded by shops, restaurants, and art installations. The National Harbor has reopened with a new cleanliness initiative called STARTS, which stands for Sanitizing, Touchpoints, Advanced Technology, Reinforced Social Distancing, Train & Educate, and Security. The waterfront shops and outlets are currently open, so mask up, and enjoy a day of shopping.

DC Neighborhood Heritage Trails

A walking tour around the city learning about DC’s rich cultural and historical heritage is a perfect way to spend a day. It’s fun to do with friends but is also an activity that’s well suited to completing on your own. There are several official self-guided walking tours throughout the city with different themes. In fact, there are 17 different tours to choose from! Each one is 1-2 miles long and features large placards along the way with photos and historical information. Maps and more information can be found here.

Bartholdi Park

Bartholdi Park, or the US Botanic Garden, was created in 1932 and is named for the sculptor of the famous fountain located in its middle. Currently, the Conservatory and gated gardens are closed to limit the spread of the virus, but the park and terraced gardens remain open for you to enjoy. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, and unlike many botanical gardens, visiting is completely free!

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How to Prepare for an Upcoming Trip Through #Heathrow Airport

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel policies are changing constantly and many people haven’t taken flown in a very long time. If you have any upcoming trips coming to, from, or through Heathrow Airport, you may be wondering what looks different since the last time you’ve flown. We’re delving into what travel through the airport looks like these days.

COVID Testing

While testing rules for entering countries varies depending on where you’re going, Heathrow has you covered for in-airport COVID testing. There’s a whole range of private test options that you pre-book ahead of time. These include different testing methods and tests with results that come back quickly (45 minutes) or tests that take longer (next day and 48 hours). All of them come at different price points.

You should also know that testing will allow you to reduce your quarantine period when entering the UK. Beginning November 24th of last year, it was announced that the self-isolation period for international arrivals to the UK would be reduced to 5 days, as long as you get a negative COVID test after that time period.

Convenience

You can now pre-order food and drinks at Heathrow airport from a variety of participating restaurants. This is welcome news for anyone hungry and stressed about making a flight while waiting in a security line or trying to make a quick connection, but it’s also wonderful in this new era of social distancing. Pre-ordering allows you to skip standing in a line with other people or engaging in an extended transaction with a cashier. All you have to do is download the Heathrow app, select the food you want, pay for it over your phone, and then go pick it up.

Safety Measures

There are many safety measures currently in place at Heathrow airport to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 between travelers. First of all, face coverings and social distancing are required throughout the airport. But the airport is going beyond the standard, with lots of ways to help you avoid contact during transactions. This includes contactless payments at shops and restaurants, automated water bottle filling stations, and plexiglass screens at check-in counters.

You’ll also be glad to know that Heathrow has very extensive cleaning procedures in place. Most surfaces you might touch within the airport have been covered with an antibacterial coating and elevator buttons have even been covered with self-cleaning covers! Trolley handles are being sanitized constantly by Hygiene Technicians, and they’re providing antibacterial wipes so you can give the handles an extra wipe down if you would like. Finally, UV light cleaning technology (which eliminates the bacteria of DNA and makes them harmless) is in place in restrooms and on escalator handrails.

Flexibility

Many airlines have enacted new flexible policies to help travelers feel comfortable booking flights in this new uncertain era. Heathrow has met the bar with its own flexible policies for onsite parking. You can feel fine about booking official Heathrow parking for your trip because even if your plans change, you can cancel your parking reservation up to 2 hours ahead with no cancellation fee.

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