"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Italian Riviera Wardrobe

Hermes Jungle Love
 On a complete impulse we've booked a trip to Italy with six of our best friends to celebrate one friend in particular, Laura The Blonde Sophia Loren.  Laura is turning 50 and was feeling a little mardy about it... solution sorted: mad trip to Italy!
Laura is actually Italian, unlike the rest of us.  So of course we relied on her for our destinations and itinerary, and in the end we'll be near Lucca for a few days followed by three days in the area known as the Italian Riviera, in particular the Cinque Terre.

So of course as usual I've been straight to the real business: what I am going to pack up to wear?

I do like to start with a coat (as I always wear one on the plane) and we will be there in May, it might be chilly (though I doubt it will be chilly by any Canadian standard).
This tweed coat is an older JCrew item, from 2007, and is a gorgeous shade of coral with metal stamped buttons.  It has three-quarter sleeves so it is rather a silly item, I could never wear this in any kind of weather at home, but for travel? Perfecto.
You can see it pairs well with the Hermes scarf I'll be bringing: blush pink, coral, ivory and bits of bright green in the scarf compliment the coral tweed.
Jcrew Pembroke Tweed Coat Collection 2007
 I'll be bringing this treasure of a cropped cardigan by Brora, another piece in coral as a basic warm layer:
Brora cashmere cropped cardigan in coral.
 My main frock for the trip? This really basic shape in ivory, so easy to wear, paired with the cardigan and suitable for sightseeing and dinners:
Dress from Betina Lou
 I sense an opportunity to bring some really special pieces that I wouldn't normally wear, like this JCrew silk chiffon blouse from 2007:

Silk chiffon blouse JCrew 2007
I'll wear it with jeans.
 I hate wearing jeans but the blouse demands it.  Never mind, it is a sensible choice to have some sturdy denim along:
The cursed skinny jeans!
Ugh I sort of hate them but these ones from Madewell are comfortable at least. 
 I have a really great tote bag from Tory Burch that is lovely for travel, large in size, nice pebbled leather, and it has an elephant on it.  It's clearly perfect:
Tory Burch Tote
 I guess I won't be able to wear heels climbing up and down all of those walled cities and whatnot, so these ballet flats will be my go-to for footwear:
 I definitely want to bring a party dress for the actual birthday night of my dear friend Laura.  How about this old frock from JCrew?  The Cherry Blossom silk frock:
JCrew Cherry Blossom Dress, silk, 2008.
 Have you been to Italy?  What would you pack up? Have you visited the Cinque Terre? Any ideas for birthday presents for Laura?
Cinque Terre

 Do tell,
xoxDani

44 comments:

  1. We went to Italy in September, and I adored it. Not to the Cinque Terre, but to the usual: Venice, Florence, Rome, having a fantastic art overload. It was very hot and I was glad I took sandals. In Rome it was 34c and I had to buy a cooler shirt. Love your wardrobe choices, mix and match, a little jungle theme, and the silk blossom dress is lovely.

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    1. Patricia that sounds like such a good holiday!
      We'll be in Florence for the day, in fact we're flying in and out of Florence and our rental house is not too far away. We have two cars rented for the 8 of us so we'll be tooting around everywhere. Thank you Patricia xx

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  2. What fun!
    I love the Tory Burch tote.
    I can't wait to see pictures.

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    1. Amie thank you!
      I bought that Tory Burch tote for a holiday we took to England/Scotalnd in 2014, it's great for travel.
      I'm planning to blog the trip so stay tuned xx

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  3. Such a pure and lovely coral color!
    I always check a weather app for local weather reports, just in case.
    Tip: to cool off and catch your breath if you're trudging around on an unseasonably hot day, slip into the nearest old church and sit down. Old stone walls keep the air cool and tranquil. Or maybe it's the angels....
    Tip: just about everyone from this side of the Atlantic speaks a little Italian. You don't agree? What did you have for supper after the movie? Um, pizza.... see? You won't go hungry.
    Tip: cover arms when visiting churches.
    Tip: bring your own tea.
    Tip: Cioppero is not a menu item, it means strike, as in "the museum is closed today because the workers have declared a strike in sympathy with....". So always have a back-up plan, as in sitting in a cafe and people-watching.
    Tip: everywhere you go you will find kind and generous and helpful people.
    Tip: terremoto means earthquake.

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    1. WFF the best tips ever!
      Hmmm I will be memorizing terremoto as an earthquake is a particular fear of mine. Hope we are spared. There's been so many in Italy lately? Bring my own tea, will do. I am fussy about tea and my latest love is a lavender tulsi, I'm sure I couldn't find it there so I'll pack some up.
      Laura speaks a good amount of Italian and so does her husband John. The rest of us know words like pasta and vino. ;)
      Thanks Fred! xx

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    2. These are great tips. As Wff said, you'll need a cardi for those church visits that you can put your tote. One item I loved for Italy was a linen skirt that just hit the tops of my knees and was cool for hot walking days and yet modest enough for churches.

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  4. Yes, we go every summer. I've been to Lucca - it's magical. I'd bring a pair of cute sneakers too. The ballet flats won't really be comfortable for a lot of walking on cobblestone streets, etc. Your wardrobe looks perfect and I love the color coral in Italy in particular.

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    1. KSL you might have saved my holiday because I don't even OWN any sneakers but I will get that sorted pronto. I wonder where I can find some cute ones, maybe Brora's gym sneakers. I was just thinking oh I guess I can't bring my heels, :)
      Apparently we're hiking all around the Cinque Terre too and I guess ballet flats wouldn't do well in that situation either, I'd be sliding down the hills!
      Thanks KSL xx

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    2. It's very rocky around there. Don't worry about "cute". Worry about comfort, stability, and a sole with some grip. I'm cracking up at the idea of you hiking in your ballet flats! Look at some of J. Crew's New Balance maybe?

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    3. KSL I will have a look at them,thank you! I really need to be more practical about shoes. I had a fall just after Christmas down a full set of stairs too, because I was running around in heels of course and carrying 900 things. You'd think I 'd learn. I'll try to find a good grippy shoe before my next Italian wardrobe update. Thanks xx

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  5. Lucca is so lovely. I always wear sandshoes for traipsing about that area but I wouldn't expect you to lower yourself! Your choices are perfect as usual, that J Crew coat is perfect, I'd pack a few sweaters too but then again I'm always cold with sore feet!

    Tabitha

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    1. TABS! How lovely to see you here my darling friend. I think I know what you mean by sand shoes, those really simple gym sneakers? I'm also always cold and it has to be really really hot for the heat to affect me at all. So I'll definitely pack more sweaters, thanks Tabs xx

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  6. Oh my gosh love it all! Dani how wonderful you only have to shop your closet to pull together such a gorgeous group of travel clothes. Love how they all go together and all are very pretty. This is a testament to buying unique and beautiful pieces and keeping them. You will be like Audrey in Roman Holiday!! Cannot wait to see your photos and please take a lot. I'm super excited for you.

    I have been to Italy in May and early June, and it was alternately warm and rainy, never too cool. You may be warmer as Cinque Terre is farther south. You may want to throw in a cute rain coat and also some cute sneakers and flat sandals that are comfy for walks. There are cobblestones everywhere and your feet take a beating. Scarves are great for extra warmth and a small umbrella too!

    Dani if you haven't been to Italy before you're going to love the people watching it's 20/10 as everyone has beautiful shoes, bags, clothes that fit to perfection and lovely bare faces! I couldn't take enough stealth pictures of everyone's outfits. The department stores are nice too... Oh you're going to have such a great time!! xoxo Kim

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    1. Kim, oh my gosh, hilarious, it did not even occur to me that it could rain. This is fantasy travel packing, thank goodness for my blog friends. I will pack a raincoat and a small travel umbrella. I was going to try for carry-on only but my friends are packing big suitcases and checking them so I might as well do that too.
      I've only been to Italy travelling through on a bus! It was in 2010 when we were trapped in Paris by the Icelandic Volcano. We were desperate to get back home to our kids and after a five day delay we took a bus to Rome so we could get a flight back to Toronto, they were running flights sporadically out of Rome as it was a bit further south.
      I definitely haven't seen the best of Italy, mostly service stations with disturbing sides of ham hanging everywhere and fairly grim toilets.
      I can't wait for the people watching, so excited. Thank you Kim! xx

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  7. How fun! Your wardrobe choices are beautiful: such lovely fresh colours. I agree on the shoes comment: I've done cobblestones in ballet flats and it was difficult. I love Italy but have yet to visit the coast. It's meant to be spectacular! What a wonderful time you'll have: the wine, the food, the weather. Can't wait to hear all about it. xo

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    1. Thank you Jen. I remember taking only ballet flats to Provence and on one of our outings we went to an old castle town, we had to climb a steep rocky hill and I was actually sliding down in my repetto flats! So funny. I had to climb it barefoot.
      One of these days I will become sensible I'm sure ;) xx

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  8. I second KSL on a pair of sneakers or something with a bit more padding than the ballet flat. May want to throw in a pencil skirt...you can wear with tshirts/sweaters/blouse...it is very adaptable for dressing up or down. You will have a wonderful time.

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    1. BB! That's a good idea re the skirt. I have a few I was thinking about, also they pack very easily so maybe I'll bring more than one.
      Thanks BB I'm really looking forward to this break with my friends, you'd love them they are hilarious.

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  9. Well, you'll have an absolutely lovely time to be sure (how could you not, it is, after all, Italy!). I've been several times to different parts of the country and I've enjoyed everything (except, perhaps, for the graffiti in the most inappropriate places - like stone monuments would you believe!).

    You must pack at least one item with an expandable waist, for the food there is delizioso!

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    1. CD excellent trip re the expandable waist! I'm thinking we probably won't go hungry;)
      Graffiti on monuments, that's a shame. Deciding which part of Italy to visit was a challenge because there are so many options, so many beautiful things to see. Thanks CD xx

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  10. It's so nice planning for a trip! I am sure you will look lovely regardless of what you pack frankly. That area is lovely but then again Italy is just dreamy. Prepare for pesto! I must say I think your friend will just love the memory of a group spending a special occasion with her but then again presents are hard no?x

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    1. Naomi I will prepare for pesto! Can't wait for the food, I'm hungry just thinking about it. I think Laura wouldn't want a present because it's a so fun that we're all going and she's so looking forward to it.
      I did have an idea that we could buy her something in Italy to help remember the holiday like a scarf maybe. But I'd also like to have something to give her (we arrive the day of her birthday).
      You're right it's so nice planning for a trip especially this time of year. xx

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  11. Hi Dani, I have been to Italy several times and I definitely second what Kim says about the people-watching. The first time I went to visit an old school friend who was living in Parma, I remember being so impressed by the commuters on the local bus, the women - and guys! - were wearing beautiful gold jewellery and lovely clothes. Oh, and I believe that there are lots of steps on the coastline at Cinque Terre - perhaps you might want to do appropriate exercises beforehand! :0)

    Also - thank you for mentioning Betina Lou; that took me down an internet rabbit hole and I discovered a stockist in Ottawa. This shop sells mostly Canadian designs and I saw some great jewellery - now that both our boys are 'going steady' I had great fun at Christmastime looking for earrings for the girls, so now I have some more gift ideas.

    I have a tip for something to buy in Italy - go to any drugstore and look for Roberts brand rosewater. It makes a lovely and refreshing skin toner. When we travelled to Italy by car from Budapest I brought back about 6 bottles! Here's the link on Amazon - it won't cost that much in Italy, maybe 12 euro?
    https://www.amazon.ca/Acqua-Distillata-Water-Manetti-Roberts/dp/B007NTFGAA

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  12. Here's another link with more Italian beauty products:
    http://elsabargainbeautyblog.dailymail.co.uk/2013/09/my-italian-beauty-secrets-for-under-10.html

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    1. Patricia I've been wondering about the different beauty products I might be able to source in Italy so thank you very much for the links! I will definitely buy some of that rosewater, sounds gorgeous. Would you like me to bring some back for you?
      Betina Lou designs and manufactures some really great clothing, all in Canada. I really love my ivory dress that I bought last summer, I bought my older daughter a black dress and she wears it constantly.
      So nice to find interesting jewelry for gifting, oh gosh are your boys partnered up? That's exciting, I bet they are lovely girls. My son's girlfriend loves clothes and jewelry too.
      It sounds like I might need to increase my hill walking before our trip! Oh gosh I cannot wait to see all of the gorgeous dressed-up stylish Italian people.
      Thanks Patricia xx

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    2. Oh Dani, that's so sweet, but no, you just get some for yourself. You will need your luggage space for any other souvenirs you pick up. By the way, on further investigation it looks like Roberts is very reasonably-priced, probably under 10 euro.

      I hope that you blog more about your preparations - reading posts like that is the next best thing to going myself!

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    3. Patricia I'd love to get some for you, if I'm checking a bag it's all on for souvenirs!
      Yes I will, for me too, I love reading posts like this and writing them too. The anticipation of a holiday, mine of someone else's, is always a bright spot. Thank you Trish xx

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    4. Oops Dani - I came across a review for the Roberts that said it contains a couple of preservatives that may cause allergic reactions, so be sure to try it out first before you stock up! I never had any problems with it, and the dose makes the poison so to speak, but just in case. Here's a link with info about the preservatives: http://orgs.dermis.net/content/e05eecdrg/e05news/e686/e706/index_ger.html

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  13. What a wonderful trip. I've heard great things about Lucca, and would like to go. I did spend a few days in Cinque Terra (Vernazza) before the floods in 2011. It's incredibly picturesque, but you definitely need good walking/hiking shoes to traverse the cobblestone paths, which can be steep. I was there in April, and aside from doing the circuit along the water, I was planning hike along the trails above the town, but I was buy myself and it was quite cool temperature-wise. Definitely layer and prepare for wet/cool weather if you are there in the spring.

    The food was wonderful--lots of seafood, which suits the local wine perfectly. And pesto is one of the regional specialties.

    Have a wonderful trip!
    Deane

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    1. Thank you Deane! So good to know the weather and conditions when you were there because we are also there late April, I don't want to miss out on any walking or sightseeing so I'll be sure to bring a raincoat and sneakers, and maybe even rubber boots.
      I'm so looking forward to the food, though with seafood prominent on menus I'll have to bring an epi-pen for my husband too, he's deathly allergic to seafood. So thanks for pointing out that aspect of the Cinque Terre, I'll be extra careful. (My husband is a bon vivant and not as careful as he should be about allergies.)
      Gosh I love pesto and this trip might have me growing extra basil in the garden this summer. Thank you xx

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  14. Thought of something else - take a few light shawls because your shoulders must be covered in churches - there are always vendors selling some, but you may want your own. Anna#25

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    1. Anna you know me well, I'll want my own ;) I'm hoping to find a new rosary as a souvenir of the churches, I think I'm going to the right place for that! Hope you're well Darling and your family too xx

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  15. Hi Dani, I am looking forward to hearing about your trip! If you have time before you go, read "Beautiful Ruins," by Jess Walter, set partly there on the Ligurian sea. To repeat what others have said, sneakers are a must for the steep areas around Cinque Terre. Longchamp has some cute leather sneakers with that spiffy Euro look--I picked up a pair in bright red on my trip last year.

    P.S. Alas, the Zebra Pegasus was a failure for me--I'd wanted a shocking pink but it was actually more of a Lilly shrimp pink and clashed with the cool tones in my wardrobe. I'll try again. I'm still searching eBay for Jungle Love in the brique colorway.

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    1. Hex thanks for the sneaker tip! And the book recommendation as well, I will look for that. I'm between books right now so I'll go to the library today to try to find it.
      Sorry your ZebPeg didn't work out but the colour need to be just right with your wardrobe or you'll never wear it. You'll find the right one! Jungle Love is one of my favourite patterns. Hope you're well xx

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    2. Most of their current offerings are pretty OTT. Last year I got these in plain red without texture or stripes, but I gotta say that these coral stripes would compliment your palette: http://us.longchamp.com/shoes/roseau-club/sneakers-7933say?sku=4170

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    3. Oh gosh Hex they fit in with my travel wardrobe perfectly. Thank you!
      Not often I see a sneaker with coral and pink? Beautiful. XX

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  16. Agree about the need for comfortable sneakers with good grip soles. Essential on the hill paths and over cobblestones. There's an excellent Italian brand called Geox - they do both men's and women's shoes, sandals and some clothes. The sneakers have small holes in the soles to wear in warm weather to allow your feet to breathe so they don't get all hot and sweaty (not sure how often you'd wear them later back in Canada though). But don't recall seeing any Geox shops in the Cinque Terre when we were there about five years ago. I did buy some good walking sandals in Monterosso and some scarves and jewellery. Late April should hopefully be fairly warm - but maybe some showers.
    We stayed in Monterosso but my fave place was Vernazza - so pretty down by the water - we had lunch at a little place (Gambero Rosso I think) by the tiny harbour. The lovely little church by the water was filled with flowers for a wedding later that afternoon. The easiest walk is the one beginning at the other end, in Riomaggiore. I think they call it the Lovers' Walk - there is even a a small bar part of the way along! Many of the other paths were closed at that time because of landslides. Also the sea can be quite rough and bathing can be risky - two tourists were drowned one day while we were there. One of the men was Japanese and on his honeymoon - he'd climbed up onto some rocks to take a photo of his wife on the beach - when a huge wave swept him away.
    Suggest you plan not to drive between the towns - the roads are truly scary - very narrow and winding with steep drop-offs, on a blind bend you're likely to suddenly meet a tractor and not be able to get past it. There's a little train that goes between the villages but in some the station is up high while the village is down below. The Cinque Terre is beautiful! The food also is wonderful - true about the seafood and pesto.
    Lucca is gorgeous and so very different - really quite flat in the town itself and so easy to explore. We loved the Villa Pfanner and gardens - parts of the movie "Portrait of a Lady" were filmed there. You can also walk along the top of the old walls.

    Have a great time! Best wishes, Pammie

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    1. Pammie thank you so much for all of the information and excellent tips! I'll have to mention the Lover's Walk to my friends, a bar along the way sounds like their style. From the photos I've seen Vernazza is already my favourite place, so picturesque. I believe we are staying closer to Riomaggiore, we had a heck of a time booking a place for our large group, ended up spending a bit more than we wanted to but it's only for two nights. Interesting about Lucca, I'll have to watch that movie again, I remember the beautiful scenery!
      Scary about the large waves drowning tourists, eeesh thanks for the words of warning.
      There is a Geox store here, I hadn't even thought of that brand though so thanks for the suggestion, I'll check it out this weekend.
      Thanks for the lovely comment Pammie xx

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  17. We stayed in the Hotel Villa Adriana in Monterosso. Just a couple of minutes walk from the water (it also has on-site parking). It was once a retirement home for retired nuns and priests (two separate buildings!) and has a faintly ecclesiastical air and charm. The rooms are simple with high ceilings - comfortable. At the time we were there they offered demi-pension arrangements with breakfast and a sit down dinner available. The food was fresh and delicious and mostly from locally sourced ingredients. Not high style, just simple meals and local wines. But this was a bit over five years ago - so can't vouch for now. Wasn't expensive.
    If you're going to Milan - there's a really great Geox shop there. Good luck with finding some comfortable walking sneakers!
    Yes, dreadful about the two men drowned. Both were from young honeymoon couples - so even sadder really. Everyone was very upset including the locals. If I remember correctly it was at Manarola I think - not sure I've spelled that correctly though. There was also a one-day train strike which meant we spent all of one day just in Monterosso, pleasant anyway. Best wishes, Pammie xx

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    1. Pammie thanks so much, your accommodations sound so lovely, I'll have to post the link for the place we were finally able to book, it looked like a former nunnery to me, great location, parking nearby but not treacherous, we're planning to park our rental cars for the duration of the Cinque Terre stay. Train strikes seem to be just the thing in Italy and France? A bit unheard of for us here in NA. I'm going to a Geox shop tomorrow with my daughter, I'll let you know how that works out. Thank you Pammie XX

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  18. I LIVED IN ITALY for THREE YEARS........NOT LONG ENOUGH!I being THE AMERICAN did not want to come HOME!GIFT for LAURA...............I would imagine YOU will SPY something as you WALK AND WALK...........look for ANGELA CAPUTI accessories they make WONDERFUL GLASS WEAR CHAINS.......if she wears glasses!!!Otherwise,A BEAUTIFUL ESPResso cup or CAPPUCCINO cup would be an IDEA TOKEN from YOUR TRIP!!!!!!!!!!XX
    I have SUBSCRIBED AGAIN!!!!!LETS SEE if I get the next post!

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    1. Contessa thank you so much I will look for those eye glass chains, how did you know that Laura's husband is an eye doctor? She does wear glasses so that might be such a nice gift.
      I hope you subscription works? I wish I had more control over my own blog but sometimes it seems it very scarily has a mind of its own, I don't like it!
      Thank you Dear Contessa for your lovely comment XX

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