Thursday, October 23, 2014

What is Mercury Retrograde? And why do hippies say things like that?!

I never really understood when people would say "OH NO - mercury's in retrograde!" until earlier this week. I got into a car accident on a major San Diego freeway, which of course ruined my day. The woman behind me didn't leave enough room and when cars started coming to a stop, she couldn't break fast enough and slammed into the back of me. Luckily, no one was badly hurt, but it just felt like the cherry on top of an extremely inconveniencing few weeks. I let myself wallow for a bit and started to count the sh*tty things that had occurred recently, as one does when wallowing. In the past three weeks, my husband had contracted a stomach parasite requiring multiple hospital visits, my dog got a gnarly eye infection equally a large vet bill, I got stung by a sting ray and tried to heal it naturally which led to bright purple left foot (#mermaidproblems) and finally.... this. 

While venting to a hippie friend about it, she just smiled and said, "yep, Mercury's in retrograde, that sounds about right." As silly as it might sound, that made me feel SO much better. I started to investigate what it's all about and actually learned a lot about the solar system. Added bonus: I came across some hilarious memes that needed to be shared with you guys. All in all, the whole process made me laugh and remember that this too shall pass. And the next time any non-believers try to doubt the retro, I'll have a whole list of fun facts to share with them. And you will too!




what is it actually? 
- a 3 week period of time that occurs 3 to 4 times each year
- the planet Mercury slows down, then stops, and appears to move backwards
- said to cause breakdowns in communication, technology, and life in general
- it's the worst time to start new projects or promote events, response will be slow
- travel delays are at an all time high; try not to plan any last minute trips
- if you absolutely have to travel, do so without expectations, be open to twist and turns
- communication is a hot mess during retrograde. when you speak, always be clear and kind 
- try extra hard not to take thing personally; understand people are not as careful with their words
- dive into home projects! retro is the perfect time to nestle down and enjoy your home

the good news?
this too shall pass! it's only a three week phase, this is the last one of the year


what you will want to do:
hide under the covers like this little guy


what you should do, instead:
stay open, breathe, let go of expectations


my sources >< astrology >< gala darling >< mystic mamma

Monday, October 20, 2014

the zen of marketing: less ego, more love

I'm happy to announce that next Tuesday, October 28th, I'll be leading a talk on HOLISTIC MARKETING at Bird Rock Yoga studio in Pacific Beach, San Diego. Are you a yoga teacher, health coach, nutritionist or healer of any kind? Learn how to create authentic marketing techniques for your spiritual-based business. overcome the fear of technology and learn how to leverage it to spread your message, build your class sizes, attract private clients and teach around the world!


Over the past four years, I've found myself trying a number of different things to making a living in the yoga/wellness world. I've taught yoga classes (on land and sea), taught other people how to teach these classes, created a yoga-inspired clothing line, built websites and social media platforms for fellow healers, been hired as a marketing consultant for a wellness brand ..... and a variety of other holistic side jobs. As a freelancer, you've gotta get creative, stay hungry and always try new things until you find the ones that stick. For the past year, my main source of work and income have come from teaching classes, freelance writing/consulting, managing 2 yoga studios and leading yoga retreats in Mexico. After trying what seems like a little bit of everything, I've finally found my groove and am ready to help those who are trying to build their spiritual-based business. In this 2 hour workshop, we'll cover everything from "how to write an OMmazing bio" to "your ego is not your amigo" - how to create content that is authentically from the heart and not ego-driven. If this sounds like what you need in your life and to help build your brand, please join us! 

investment: $20
Tuseday, October 28 from 7 - 9pm 
at Bird Rock Yoga ~ sign up here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My #1 Mermaid Must-Have

Friends, it's official - I have a new obsession. This pretty-in-pink inflatable paddleboard by ISLE has completely stolen my heart. Not only is she easy on the eyes, but better yet, this beautiful board has been constructed with such detailed intention and mindfulness. It's the perfect compliment to the busy lifestyle of the modern-day traveling yoga girl!


My friends over at ISLE Surf & SUP introduced me to the concept of inflatable paddleboards at the beginning of 2014 and these boards have been game changer in both my personal life and professionally as a SUP Yoga instructor and teacher-trainer. When I'm home in San Diego, I'm teaching multiple classes a week and need equipment that is easy for me to carry and transport around town. Two summers ago, I suffered a really bad shoulder and elbow injury from hauling around super heavy boards all day long. Luckily, these new inflatable stand-up paddle boards are so much lighter and easier to carry. It makes the whole paddle experience that much more enjoyable!


My absolute favorite feature of the new Women's Inflatable SUP is the side sling for your paddle so it's completely out of the way when you're trying to practice yoga out on the water. For the past few years, during my SUP Yoga classes, I always have to stop the flow and have my students re-adjust their paddles, placing them across the top of the board. More often than not, the paddle ends up in the water, sometimes drifting far away or straight-up sinking. When designing this new Women's inflatable SUP (or i-SUP), I insisted on creating some sort of bungee system along the rails of the board so that during the flow, your paddle would never interfere with your yoga practice. This small but mindful change has made a huge difference in my teaching, allowing me to focus on my students and the postures, versus fumbling around with equipment.



The new Women's iSUP runs 31 inches wide, which gives you plenty of surface area to practice your yoga poses. The average yoga mat runs about 24 inches wide so those extra 7 inches of space provide you a bit more room to find your balance and center yourself. While my intention was to create a board that was spacious enough to practice SUP Yoga, I also wanted to keep it challenging and make sure you were utilizing your muscles at all times to get a true workout on the water.

In addition to teaching yoga locally at home in San Diego, California, I also travel frequently to different parts of the world leading yoga retreats abroad. When traveling to far-flung places, it can be difficult to find good quality paddleboards, if any at all! The iSUP solves that problem by folding down into the size of a large backpack, allowing you to check it as a piece of personal luggage. Even the paddle breaks down into 3 small pieces! I'm taking a big group of girls down to Sayulita, Mexico next month for our MERMAID YOGIS retreat and aside from cute bikins and organic sunscreen, this board is the most important piece of luggage to pack! Imagine landing in paradise, blowing up your beautiful paddleboard and immediately getting to explore new island chains while dolphins swim past you. Talk about embracing your inner mermaid! No more dealing with renting boards when you arrive or paying exorbitant airline fees to ship your full-sized board. The inflatable paddleboard concept really makes traveling the world that much more zen and worry free.


The beautiful thing about the paddleboarding culture is that it's inclusive to people of all ages and walks of life. I was at a paddle festival this past weekend where I witnessed a woman in a wheelchair paddling on the open ocean. Where there's a will, there's a way! That's the inspiring mantra of the ocean-minded community and as you can see, paddling is also a very family-friendly experience. Children of all ages can hop onto the front of a SUP and get an up-close and personal experience with the sea. This adorable little mermaid hopped onto my board the other day and we had a blast exploring the ocean together. The iSUP is even spacious enough for some partner yoga poses and a double down-dog!




- quick facts -
length: 10' 4"
width: 31 inches
weight: 27 lbs
pricing: $699 
(includes ~ board, adjustable aluminum paddle, hand pump and free shipping)

special offer for all my readers! 
for the next 30 days, use promo code ZENGIRL for $100 OFF listed price *offer expires 11.12.14

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gossip Detox: Why Negative Words Won't Equal a Positive Life

Ever feel like you need a gossip detox? Just like that upset feeling you get in your tummy after you've stuffed your face with food that sounded good at the time, but you immediately regretted, gossip can leave us feeling empty, unsatisfied and just plain icky inside. We're all guilty of it. Many, many times I've found myself at a dinner table full of girls and our conversations consist solely of other people and our judgments on how they live their lives. At the time, it makes us feel more connected to our friends, like we share some kind of sacred bond. But what we all know deep down is that this kind of negative dialogue sends negative vibrations into the Universe and boomerangs that negative energy right back at us. The cosmic boomerang never fails to reveal the truth. When our conversations lack love, so do our lives. Negative, hurtful words (towards yourself and others) will never lead to a positive life. 

I recently came across this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that really got me thinking . . ."Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people"

[ photographed by horizon light photography for valleau apparel ]

This quote put a big mirror up to my face and had me asking myself -- What are YOU discussing?  These days, the focus of my everyday life is growing my yoga business and fulfilling my personal goals, which leaves very little time for mindless conversations. In the conversations that I do have that are non-project-related, it just doesn't make sense anymore to waste my time on petty gossip. If my goal is to increase the amount of love, joy and success in my life, why would I engage in a downward spiral of negative energy flow? One is propelling me forward, one is holding me back. Can you see the contradictions there???  My new intention lately has been to elevate all my conversations to the level in which everyone involved leaves feeling empowered and soul-satisfied.

Some people have the misconception that the yoga community is somehow immune to gossip. They think us yogis sit around all day talking about our upward-facing dogs and how quickly we're moving towards enlightenment. SO NOT TRUE! Well...kinda true, haha! I do spend an obscene amount of time dissecting the anatomy of yoga poses with fellow teacher friends and could talk all day long about that sweat lodge experience in Mexico. But, let's keep it real, people.

You can drink all the green juice you want and preach world peace all day long, but if you run your mouth around town spewing hurtful, malicious words about others, you'll never propel yourself forward in the direction of your dreams. Your best, most positive life is out there waiting for you. Why waste another minute? As Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his book, The Four Agreements, always be impeccable with your words. Use the power of your Word in the direction of TRUTH and LOVE. And maybe try a gossip detox .... you might just like how good it feels!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

tonight's aries full moon lunar eclipse - what's holding you back?

Tonight, we will experience a total lunar eclipse during the Aries Full Moon. This represents lots of changing, powerful energy in the air that can be harvested for reflection and used towards the betterment of yourself, if you so choose. 

There are 2 full lunar eclipses in 2014, the first one occurred on April 15th and the second is this one on Wednesday, October 8th. This eclipse happening now brings closure and a period of winding down as we transition in Mercury retrograde this fall. What events from the late spring (April 15th and on) are you ready to put behind you? How can you bring yourself full circle during this Aries Full Moon eclipse and graciously close out this phase in your life? According to NASA, here in California, we will be able to clearly see this total lunar eclipse between 3:25 and 4:25 AM and it will appear 5.3% larger than the one back in April.

My favorite moon reader, Rebekah Shaman explains the upcoming moon phase in this way: "The Aries full moon total eclipse will help us to see what internal processes are stopping us from shining bright. Aries is the fiery first sign of the zodiac, the youngest of the signs and the one that is the most impetuous, aggressive, superior, competitive and immature. This eclipsed moon can remove the veil so that we get to see this weakness within us and where it is not serving us." 

It just so happens that in conjunction with this eclipsed full moon, I'm also currently obsessed with the book "The 4 Agreements" and am using the month of October to present these special agreements, one each week, in my yoga classes. Yesterday commenced Week One and in all my classes, we are collectively moving through the first agreement, "Be Impeccable With Your Word". Spiritual teacher Don Miguel Ruiz describes this first agreement as the most important one you can ever make with yourself. It is through this agreement that you can change the course of your life and direct yourself towards freedom and liberation. 


Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

I agree that this is the most important "pact" you can ever make with yourself. So many times throughout the day, we find ourselves in situations where we are tempted to gossip about others. In our society, oftentimes we're even encouraged to spew negativity and hatred from our lips. Many, many times, since I was a child up until this very morning, I have found myself in groups of girls (sorry ladies -- we are definitely the biggest culprits of this!) where the only topic of conversation is about someone else and how they choose to live their lives. On a deeper level, gossiping or sometimes we call it "connecting" with our girlfriends feels good and like we are bonding with them on some profound level. But, at the end of the day, that's just not true. Listen carefully to how a personal speaks about other people to you. This is how they will speak about you to other people. Think about it: it's all fun and games gossiping about others until you are the one being gossiped about. 

This whole "be impeccable with your word" thing is actually two-fold: not only should you be mindful of the words you speak about other people, you should also be extremely mindful of the way you talk about yourself. When looking at yourself in the mirror, in photos, on a yoga mat, when you catch your reflection walking by a window....try starting with positive affirmations before the negative ones arise. Recognize your outer beauty AND start to appreciate and acknowledge the inner beauty you are developing over the years through new found wisdom and spiritual connection. The most important relationship we can ever have is with ourselves - choose your thoughts and your words wisely.

This all ties back into the current moon phase we are traveling through. This eclipsed Aries Full Moon invites us to notice what in our lives is holding us back from becoming the most vibrant, positive version of ourselves. To me, it all comes back to our thoughts, which manifest as our words. When we are being truly impeccable with our words, speaking with intention, we are kind to ourselves and those around us. We are not tempted to get caught up in petty gossip or trying to bring others down to make ourselves feel better. We surround ourselves with positive, uplifting people who engage in profound conversations and support the growth, nourishment and flourishing of others. As the ravishing Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” 

 What are you discussing?

Friday, October 3, 2014

find your tribe >< endless summer mermaid meetup

“Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World .... it is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that's where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.” - Paulo Coelho

We held our third #mermaidyogis meetup on Sunday, September 28th at La Jolla Shores beach in San Diego to create a space to bring together all the southern California participants in our month-long "mermaid yogis" challenge on instagram. Amelia Travis, Ayami Hiroshige, Rivka Reynoso and I hosted this end-of-summer gathering last weekend and even now, a few days later, I feel like I am still riding the wave of positive energy flow that was created. Something powerful happens with you gather like-minded souls and vibrate together as one . . . .




Here are more of my favorite pictures from our #mermaidyogis meetup. All images were captured by the talented photographer, Janalyn Yanover - aka Horizon Light Photography. Please credit @horizonlightphotography when sharing her images. Janalyn is available for private or group yoga photoshoots in San Diego and worldwide on yoga retreats. She will be joining Amelia and I in November on our Mermaid Yogis Retreat to Sayulita, Mexico. We can't wait to share those moments with you all!

Thank you "Farm to Fork" for providing us fresh, delicious cold-pressed green juice to keep us healthy and hydrated! If you are in the La Jolla area, check out their shop in Bird Rock! @farmtoforkjuice


click here to view the rest of the photos ... }

Saturday, September 27, 2014

MERMAID YOGIS RETREAT - NOVEMBER 2014 IN MEXICO!

Have you ever spent a week cultivating your own personal goals AND a sense of sisterhood with new goddess friends? A week exploring the wild jungle AND being healed by the sea? Diving deep into your yoga practice both on AND off the mat? If this is exactly what you're craving in your life at this very moment, then our upcoming MERMAID YOGIS retreat is just what your soul needs. Join STOKED YOGI (Amelia Travis), ZEN GIRL (Mandy Burstein) and professional photographer and waterwoman Janalyn Yanover NOVEMBER 8 - 15 in Sayulita, Mexico.

here's a little preview of our upcoming retreat: 
[if embedded video isn't working, click here instead to view it]

we can't wait to meet you!

  check out our retreat itinerary here.

 reserve your spot here

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Q + A with Kim Bauman, founder of The One Love Movement

I first crossed paths with local yoga teacher Kim Bauman at our first Mermaid Yogis meet-up in La Jolla Shores in June 2014. Even in a crowd of 100+ yogis, something special radiated from her. Back then, I couldn't quite put my finger on it. But, over the past few months, we've grown closer, and learning her story, I now understand that the light that shines brightly inside of her, the light that fuels her passion of giving back to her community, is actually connected to a dark past not visible on the surface. From growing up in an orphanage in Korea to coordinating what could be San Diego's biggest yoga/service event this upcoming Saturday, Kim sure has come a long way! I'm honored and proud to call her a friend. 

One of my favorite series that I feature on my blog is called "Zen Girl of the Month" where I interview inspiring yoga women with an important story to share. From @yoga_girl Rachel Brathen to San Diego sweetheart Sarah Clark to my best friend Marianna, who lost 100 pounds when she changed her thoughts and welcomed yoga into her life, I've witnessed some incredible stories which have reinforced my need to share them with the world. I've been a little busy lately mermaid-ing it up, but when I finally heard Kim's story, I knew this was one the world needed to hear. From a humble orphanage childhood to pioneering the karma yoga scene here in San Diego and making it "cool" for yogis to give back, Kim's going places and inspiring big things in people, and we're all just lucky to be along for the ride. Here's her story....

1)  Where did you grow up? What led you to call San Diego "home"?  I grew up in Wyoming and South Dakota. Yes - I may be the only Asian that you'll meet from there. Usually I'm everybody's first! Haha :)  I moved to San Diego from Los Angeles about 14 years ago, and I hated it (at first) because it wasn't L.A.  The only reason I moved to SD was because I came home from backpacking in Europe, was confused about my life and broke beyond measure. I had dear friends who are like my parents, they invited me to live with them to support me getting grounded. Now I can't imagine not living in San Diego, my heart is definitely here.

2) What did you do in your past life? What was your life and career like pre-yoga?  In my past life I was disconnected, I didn't know of anything outside my "Kim bubble", and to me a rough day was not having the outfit I wanted to go out in. I've grown leaps and bounds as a person, it took me traveling to an under-served country to “get” life outside of me. When I lived in LA, I used to work for a high-profile movie producer so I was swept away by the LA scene for sure, then when I moved to San Diego I was culture-shocked by the slower pace. I found yoga when I moved to San Diego and it saved me, yoga changed my life. 

3) What is "The One Love Movement" all about? Why did you create it? The One Love Movement is all about inspiring others to want to serve their heart in a way that fits them.  We all have our own cause and our own thing that tugs at our heart. For me it's under-privileged kids, for you it might be saving the whales, and no cause is better than the other, the intention is that we inspire a community that gives back through action. 

I created One Love back in 2011 when I did the “Off the Mat Into the World” Global SEVA Challenge. Off the Mat is an organization founded by 3 influential yogis and their mission is to create leaders.  The first One Love event was in 2011, we raised $21,000 in 6 months, then I took the trip of my life to Haiti with Off the Mat.  That was my first time being in an under-served community and seeing life outside of my bubble.  My world was rocked and I was humbled. I was completely inspired by the kids we met who had grown up in orphanages. I hit a wall and realized that could have been me.  I was once an orphan in Korea and I get to have the life I have from being adopted. That's when I knew that I wanted to touch as many kids as possible in this life. 

Kim with her mom, the amazing woman that adopted her as an orphan from Korea. #bestmomever
Kim's first time in an orphanage as an adult - realizing her purpose - to spread love and hope to desolate communities.

4)  Who do you love taking yoga class from - online or in person?  I love taking class from Taylor Harkness and I love following him. He is definitely my yoga crush. I love his spirit and he just makes me feel happy. My friends joke that I should be adopted a 2nd time by his family because my wish is to be his sister. Definitely someone I look up to who really is yoga -- off of his mat. Locally, my favorite teachers are Mandy Burstein ;), Sheri Colosimo, Beth O'Reilly, and Amy Opielowski.  All such beautiful soul teachers!

5) What's the scariest thing you've done in the last 30 days?  I used to be on the CorePower Yoga management team.  I recently left that career to pursue my dream of growing and creating a movement through One Love.  And now, I've never been happier!  I feel inspired, alive, and so blessed.  Magic is all around me, so much opportunity has fallen into my lap since creating space in life for my purpose. 

6) What advice do you have for others wanting to follow their hearts and create an "outside-the-box" job for themselves? Don't be afraid to dream.  Believe that you can have it all and you will.  The moment you let go, you see more and you give more because YOU become alive.  I live by these 2 quotes:  "If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin" - Ivan Turgenev and "You don't have to see the entire staircase to take the first step"  - Martin Luther King, Jr.

7) Where do you envision yourself in 5 years time? It's September 2019 - what are you up to, Kim?  I am married to a man and we are madly in love with each other. I am traveling the world teaching yoga and working in under-privileged communities. There is a One Love annual charity yoga event in all major cities and thousands of people crowd our events. In fact, we sell out months in advance. Oprah is a One Love ambassador. Collectively as ONE community, we raise $3 Million dollars each year to give back to organizations that take care of our under-privileged youth. We have steady and consistent sponsorship and our One Love clothing and product line is thriving, allowing The One Love Movement to be able to give out scholarships, to mentor leaders for change through our Serve Your Heart workshop, and our staff can fully commit to working for One Love because we can pay them salaries.  



8) What can people expect from the big event on September 13?  A lot of love and good vibes, and hearts touched. We have an amazing team of yoga teachers guiding everybody through a beautiful class that is intended to open hearts, minds, and inspire action towards change and giving back. Kids from the beneficiary organizations will be there.  Beneficiaries are: San Diego Youth Services, an organization that has been around for 50 years and has helped hundreds of thousands of families and kids who are under-privileged and impacted by homelessness.  We also support Outdoor Outreach, an organization that gets these under-served kids involved with outdoor activities, presenting opportunity to them that many of us only know as "a normal life".



For more info on the ONE LOVE Charity Yoga event and to buy your ticket, click here

Monday, September 8, 2014

Today's Pisces Full Moon - How to Ride this Wave of Ocean Energy

Another super Moon has arrived, which is the 3rd and final one of the year, stirring up more emotion and conflicted energy as we wrap up the carefree days of summer and travel into a new season. This particular Full Moon falls under Pisces, which is ruled by the water element. Pisces by nature are compassionate, creative, intuitive yet also highly sensitive people. Whether you are a Pisces yourself, or are just feeling the intensity of this particular moon, notice if you are overly emotional today. If so, that's OK. Use this time to journal, vision board, write lyrics, photo edit -- any creative outlet that helps you embrace this Piscean energy hovering around us for the next few days.

Here is a thought-provoking Full Moon reading I came across and wanted to share with you all. This reading was crafted by Kelley Rosano:

“The Pisces Moon is in a harmonious energy flow with Saturn and Pluto. This can open the door to greater abundance in your life…The abundant life includes love, joy and well-being…We also need to feel strong and effective. This requires self-mastery.  Be the captain of your ship. Be the master of your destiny. Your power lies in how you take care of you. You want to love your Self more than the need for other people’s approval. Otherwise, you are giving your power away to forces outside of you. 

“When you live from the outside, you can end up at the mercy of other people. Lost and confused. This is the dark side of Pisces. When you are empowered, you live from your authentic self, from the inside-out. You are proactive. You are empowered. You are using your resources wisely…” © Copyright 2014 ~ Kelley Rosano All Rights Reserved.



A great mantra to repeat over the next few days is "I am proactive, I am empowered, I am using my resources wisely." If this resonates with you, try saying to yourself (or even better, outloud!) while breathing deeply. This can be during your meditation practice, while stuck in traffic, while doing dishes -- wherever you find a moment of stillness, use that time to find your breathe and repeat this mantra. While most Full Moon Yoga is more grounding and restorative, this particular Pisces Full Moon brings up a lot of emotion, so instead of a typical heart-opening practice, I am opting to teach a more strength-building lunar flow in my classes this week. Some great postures procured from our September #mermaidyogis challenge for this particular Pisces full moon would be the following:

Utkatasana (chair pose - day 8); Anjaneyasana (high lunge - day 9); Tiger Pose (day 13); arm balances, like Koundinyasana (day 14); Titibhasana (firefly pose - day 19) and of course, general core-strength building exercises. Click here to view the full month of challenge poses.

Lastly, here is a great flow I found from international yoga teacher Anita Goa that incorporates all of these strength building elements that are needed under this Pisces moon. Ride the beautiful wave of this ocean-focused full moon and many blessings on your journey! XO

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ONE LOVE, ONE HEART - karma yoga community flow this Friday!

This Friday, I'll be teaching a special class at The Little Yoga Studio in the Banker's Hill area of downtown San Diego in support of The One Love Movement. My friend Kim Bauman founded this organization to help better the lives of local at-risk youth and create meaningful service projects for the yoga community and a platform from which yogis can give back.  

I'll lead a one hour ONE LOVE, ONE HEART flow that will help you tap into your soul and create deeper connections with those around you. This community flow is the "pre-party" in support of The One Love Movement's big yoga charity event on September 13There are only 20 mats available - please reserve your spot online here.


* This Karma Yoga class is donation-based, supporting The One Love Movement. Please bring your cash donation to class; pay what you wish to support their efforts to empower at-risk youth. RSVP here on the facebook event page to let us know you're coming!  XOXO, Mandy
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