“Best for Pets” Sweepstakes from Neato Robotics®


If you follow my blog on a regular basis you might recall the review I did for the Neato™ Robot Vacuum. In case you missed the post here is the link – Hate to vacuum? Let the Neato Robotic Vacuum do the work for you.

We have five cats and a dog (not to mention a couple of fish). I know a thing or two about pet hair and how it gets all over EVERYTHING – furniture, the carpet, clothing and more.

I do my best to keep my home clean. I am proud of the fact that you can’t smell that we have pets. I even have some real estate agents and neighbors tell me that you would never know we had pets with the exception of seeing my pets or their accessories (toys, cat tree, pet beds…).

I can keep the pet odor out of my home, but the pet hair is another story. No matter how much I clean the hair does tend to get everywhere. It either sticks to the carpet or it balls up and blows around the wood flooring. We refer to it as “tumbleweeds”. LOL!

Our Neato helps me out a lot – especially when I’m not at home. I can set the vacuum to go off during the day to vacuum up pet hair and other debris while I’m not at home or while I have other things I need to do.

This little powerhouse goes from room to room and sucks up all the loose pet hair.

I tend to use the Neato when I’m at home because due to the amount of pet hair I need to clean it out frequently so that it performs properly.

To give you an idea of just how well this vacuum cleans, check out these photos.


Please note that in this incident (above) I had just received the Neato and I didn’t know that I should empty the collection container frequently. Most people should be able to clean their whole home without emptying this out but if you have a lot of pets like we do you’ll need to clean it out a few times when you vacuum your whole home. We are used to doing this. We do this when we use our regular vacuum too.

Just look at all that hair! And I vacuum (regular vacuum) 2-3 times per week. I use our Neat on the days I don’t vacuum or simply don’t want to vacuum.

Neato robotic vacuums are super easy to use. You can schedule what day/time you want the vacuum to clean for you. Or you can have it vacuum whenever you want.

The vacuum makes its way from room to room. It knows where it’s already cleaned and once it’s done in one room it moves on to another room.

It’s smart enough to know when it needs to recharge and will make its way back to its charging dock. Once it recharges it continues vacuuming and picks up where it left off. Talk about a smart robot!

What I love about Neato is that it helps me keep on top of the pet hair. Even when I don’t have time to do a full cleaning the Neato helps keep the pet hair in check so it doesn’t get out of control.


Of course Neato is great for picking up other things on the floor and carpet including crumbs, kitty litter, people hair and dust.

If you have pets and would like more tips on what to do about pet shedding please visit the Neato Pet Shedding Solutions page.

For more information about Neato products, including their newest vacuums models BotVac 80 and 85, please visit Neato.com.

Neato Robotics have been recognized as being the “Best for Pets” (indoor dogs and cats) and busy, pet loving households like mine.

Publications such as PCMag.com, CNet, PetGuide.com and Daily Tekk recognize Neato vacuums as one of the best products around for dealing with pet hair.

Neato is hosting a “Best for Pets” Sweepstakes. You could win a Neato Robot Vacuum!

Entering is easy. You enter with your name and email address. You can get extra entries by tweeting about the contest, sharing on Facebook and more.

If you would like to enter the “Best for Pets” Sweepstakes please visit the official contest page.It’s so easy to enter. And if you win you’ll be glad you did especially when you see how well Neato vacuums help you deal with pet hair.

Will you be entering? I hope so!




Visit Neato for more information on why the Neato Robot Vacuum is best for pets! And be sure to enter our sweepstakes for a chance to win your own Neato Botvac™ Robot Vacuum!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Neato Robotics® Best for Pets Vacuums. The opinions and text are all mine.

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A fun new app for children – Little Luna – Big Talent


Children - Technology

It’s amazing how much technology has changed in just a few short years. When my kids were little we had cellphones but not smartphones. You could make phone calls on your cellphone but that was it. Kids could not play games on their parent’s phones back then.

These days there is a wonderful array of kid-friendly, parent-approved educational applications available that children can enjoy on their parents smartphone or a tablet.

I’m a bit jealous in a way. I wish we had these amazing things when I was younger. I would still opt to play outside or with my cousins, but on those rainy or snowy days when I was stuck inside I would have loved to have some fun games to play by myself.

There is a new app from Bastei Entertainment called Little Luna, Big Talent that is worth checking out.

Little Luna Big Talent App

Little Luna, Big Talent is an adorable, interactive game geared towards little ones (3-8). It’s about a little Bombardier Beetle named Luna.

I have never heard of a Bombardier Beetle before so I looked it up. These little beetles have an interesting defense mecchanisim – when they feel threatened their bodies products a noxious gas that they aim towards the predator. In a nutshell they omit a foul-smelling gas from their bodies to defend themselves against enemies. I’m guessing the smell must be pretty bad if it would make a predator flee.

So Little Luna is a beetle that has a foul smelling “gas”. Most parents might be grossed out by the idea, but let’s face it, kids LOVE farts. They find them funny. Admit it, chances are you thought they were funny too when you were little. We’re only human. Except in Luna’s case – she’s a Bombardier Beetle.

Check out this trailer for the Little Luna, Big Talent app from Bastei Entertainment.


I love the graphics. What you see in the trailer is just like what you see in the app.

I think Luna and her family are adorable. I know it sounds odd but I would love to see Little Luna books. I think her character and her family could make for a lot of darling children’s books.

The Little Luna – Big Talent application includes:

- Interactive storybook with games and more!

-Simple navigation for a smooth-running interface.

-Beautifully designed with delightful music to match.

-Timer for parents to monitor a child’s screen time.

-Designed for preschoolers and elementary school aged children.

-Narration in English, Mandarin Chinese, and German.

-No in-app purchases.

As a parent I appreciate that there are no “in-app” purchases. I just had a discussion with my son recently about that. He wanted to make an in-app purchase for a game he enjoys playing and I refuse to spend the extra money on it. I also worry about my kids accidentally clicking on in-app purchases and charge money to our card unknown to us. I wish they didn’t have in-app purchases. That is a feature I really like about this cute game.

As I mentioned before the illustrations/animations are adorable. Even if there are a lot of references to “farts” I didn’t mind. I still found the games to be really cute.

Bastei Entertainment Little Luna

Even though the games are geared towards little children, I found some of them fun as an adult.

There are several mini-games within the application that will keep your child entertained for a long time.

Even though this is considered a “storybook” it’s not one in the true sense of the word. There is no real story. You child can create their own story as they make their way around the app. It’s more about exploring Luna’s world then it is an actual story.

I like the parental control option too. You can control how long your child can play the game. I wouldn’t think this would be needed for very young children, but I guess some do need something like this set up so they don’t spend their entire day on the game.

I’m very impressed by the app. I love the graphics, music, ease of use and parental control. Plus it’s a fun app with a lot of things to see and do in Luna’s world which is sure to keep the little ones fully entertained.

Little Luna – Big Talent is available on iTunes for $2.99.

For more information about  Bastei Entertainment visit BasteiEntertainment.com.

What do you think about Little Luna – Big Talent? Does it look like a game your child or grandchild would enjoy? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Little Luna Big Talent


*I received a free code to download the game for review. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Great gift idea for Hello Kitty fans – Dancing Water Speakers!


Hello Kitty Water Speakers

Do you have a Hello Kitty fan in your life? Hello Kitty is not just for little ones. I know plenty of adults who absolutely adore that sweet little kitty.

My daughter loves Hello Kitty. She has a few Hello Kitty branded items such as plush toys and a bedside lamp.

One of the things my daughter has had on her “wish list” for the past year is water speakers. If you are not familiar with what water speakers are they are speakers, filled with water, that change colors and “dance” to the beat of the music being played through them.

I think it’s a super cool idea but once I started to price them I knew that it would be a long time before she could get a set. Water speakers are NOT cheap. Not only that most of the ones I looked into are rather large and there is very little available space in her room.

Thankfully I was sent to review something that is the best of both worlds – water speakers from Hello Kitty! They are appropriately called Hello Kitty Dancing Water Speakers. These speakers are USB powered which makes them very portable and easy to set up just about any where you go.

The Hello Kitty Dancing Water Speakers feature;

  • Multicolor LED lights that change color in response to the music being played
  • Speakers that can be powered by any USB port (a connection cable is included)
  • The ability to be used with just about any device with a headphone jack (smartphone, tablet, hand held gaming device)
  • 3W x 2 output power
  • 2.0 channel stereo speakers

Hello Kitty Speakers

Set up was a breeze. My daughter (17 1/2) set them up by herself. Within minutes she was up and running.

Once they are set up sit back and enjoy the colorful show.

I was rather impressed with how well these work. As far as speakers are concerned the music is crisp and clear and the volume works very well. We live in a condo so we don’t blast our music for obvious reasons.

I have some expensive stereo speakers and I was impressed with how well the sound quality is with these adorable speakers.

The “dancing water” and colorful lights are really cool. Now I can see why my daughter has been asking for water speakers. They are really cool and fun to watch. We purposely change the type of music we play through them just to see how the water/colors react to it. We’ve played heavy metal, pop, slow songs and even Vivaldi (classical). Watching them with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is awesome!

We get a lot of light during the day. It’s not easy to see the colorful lights that much with sunlight filling the room. For us it’s best to use these in the evening or at night if you want to catch the light show. If you just want to listen to the music then they are fine to use any time of day.

These are super cute speakers that would make an ideal gift for a young girl, teen or even an adult.

If you would like to check out other available Hello Kitty products visit www.SparkleBee.com. You can also find SparkleBee on Facebook and Twitter (@SparkleBee).

You can find these cute speakers at  www.ToysRUs.com and Target. You can find a great video that shows you how well they work on the Toys R Us product page.

What do you think about these fun speakers? Do you know anyone on your holiday shopping list that would enjoy these?

Sparkle Bee Logo


*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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SchoolZone’s Little Scholar Tablet Review & Giveaway (ends 11/16/14)



As a parent my children’s education is a priority to me. I want them to do well in school in hopes that they do well in college or wherever they go after they graduate. Education is important when it comes to having a successful life.

When my kids were little I always tried to sneak in a bit of education as often as possible. I always looked for educational toys and books that taught them things but without coming off as being strictly educational.

Let’s face it – educational things can often be boring for kids. However if it’s something fun to do kids don’t even realize that they are learning.

I like that there are a lot of fun educational toys on the market these days. It’s no wonder that so many little ones are so bright. I work with little kids and I’m often very impressed with how much they know.

Sadly many of the games the kids play on their tablets are not exactly educational. Some are even very violent and senseless. I understand that the kids think they are fun, but they are not exactly the types of thing we want the kids to play with.

I was sent to review a SchoolZone Little Scholar Tablet. I didn’t want to review it for my kids, since they are teens, but rather for the little ones I work with. Since it’s made by SchoolZone I knew it had to have an educational aspect to it.


If you are not familiar with the Little Scholar tablet here is some more information.

Little Scholar tablet from SchoolZone (leading educational kids publisher) is jam packed with 150 educational apps(including videos, songs and e-books), valued at nearly $400 worth of FREE content.  Little Scholar provides its users with lessons based on all of the “core curriculum” subjects for preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders, including math, reading, spelling, logic, creativity, and geography.  Parents can even use an App management tool to choose the apps, music, and e-books that are active on Little Scholar, so they can tailor the content to fit the learning needs of their children. Little Scholar was made for kids 3-7 and features an 8-inch screen and runs a Google Android™ 4.2.2 operating system.

The Little Scholar tablet was made especially for children. It has a touch screen display and is covered with a soft, rubber-like coating that protects it against bumps and falls.

Little Scholar is safe for our child (or grandchild) to use. You don’ have to worry about a child downloading anything or making additional app purchases. I’ve heard horror stories about kids racking up hundreds of dollars on smartphone apps because the make in app purchases (unbeknown to their parents). That can’t happen with Little Scholar. It’s perfectly safe to use.

You also don’t have to worry about annoying popup ads. There are no ads on Little Scholar.

The tablet is divided into different sections – Pre-K, K and 1st grade. Within each section are fun, educational games and other interactive things your child can choose from.


One of the many games – Memory Match

Memory Match Game

Some of the games are a bit challenging – even for me! LOL!


I’m an adult and many times I find myself playing with the tablet at work during “down time”. One of my favorite things to play is puzzles. Little Scholar has a puzzle section where you move the puzzle pieces with your finger and place them on the correct location. There is a timer and I always try to out beat my previous time.

I also like the coloring app. I find coloring to be very relaxing. We do have coloring books and crayons at work, but sometimes playing around with the app is all I need.

Some games are a little harder then they seem, such as the matching games. I play those as well and sometimes it takes me several times to get the missing piece. :-)

One of the pre-loaded things on this tablet are videos from Charlie & Company. It reminds me of the beloved children’s series Blues Clues in a way. There are plenty of fun songs, learning, animated critters and a dog name Charlie. Charlie is an adorable yellow Labrador retriever. The video series is colorful and the tunes are catchy.

By far one of my favorite features about the Little Scholar Tablet are the pre-loaded e-books. They are available at different reading levels on the tablet so your child can advance to higher level readers as their reading skills improve.

Each e-book is just like reading an actual book in print. Each one has adorable and colorful drawings to accompany each page of the story. Even beginning readers will have plenty of fun e-books to read. Off hand I don’t recall how many there are all together but it’s at least a few dozen.

There is even a camera on the Little Scholar.

If my kids were little I would get one of these for them in a heartbeat. I know they would have a good time just like the kids I work with. It’s the perfect tablet for children.

If you would like to learn more please visit www.SchoolZone.com/Little-Scholar-Tablet. You can also find the brand, School Zone, on social media. All links are found on their website.

You can purchase the table at Toys R Us.


School Zone has generously offered to give a lucky reader their own Little Scholar Tablet. Thank you School Zone!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you’d like to win this prize?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.


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Take control of your cellphone charges with Virgin Mobile Custom

“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Virgin Mobile. I received a sample device to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.


I have a love/hate relationship with cellphones. There are a lot of benefits to having one, but at the same time there is a “downside” to cellphones too.

I wish I had a cellphone when I was a young girl. I still remember when I received my very own phone and phone number (push button, corded phone back in the 80’s). It was a dream come true! Being able to chat with my friends any time and for as long as I wanted to was a wonderful thing.

If I had a cellphone when I was young I could have called my parents and let them know where I was or if I was running late. I was never home. I was always out playing in the woods or riding my bike into town to visit my friends. I’m sure my parents would have worried less about me if I could have checked in with them often.

One time I lost track of time and it was late. My mom was worried that I wasn’t home and called the Police! They were out looking for me. Oh boy, did I get grounded when I got home.

My husband and I agonized about getting our children cellphones when they were little. Due to an incident at summer camp one year we knew we had to get our kids their own phones in case of emergencies or if they needed to reach us. We started them off with pre-paid phones which was fine for our son (he rarely used the phone) but not so good for our daughter. Once she discovered texting she would blow through her pre-paid minutes in a matter of days – minutes that were supposed to last for an entire month.

We soon realized that having the kids on a pre-paid plan was costing us more money then we had hoped for. We ended up putting them both on our current phone plan. Even that ended up costing us A LOT of money. The texting along ran up our phone bill. We had to switch to a family plan which was OK for a while but now it’s costing us upwards of $300 a month! Time to look for a new phone service.

We have been researching other plans with other phone providers. Most don’t give YOU control of what want. They just have a few plans and you are at the mercy of them. I want something that puts ME in control so I can pay for a plan that suits ME, not a plan a phone company THINKS I want.

I was sent to review a phone from Virgin Mobile. They sent me the LG Realm LS5620 Smartphone to try out along with the Virgin Mobile Custom.


First of all I love the phone. It’s sleek, light weight and feels good in my hands.

I have been a long time iPhone/Apple user. The more I try other phones and Android devices that more I realize there are other great options available.

This phone is an Android phone. It comes pre-loaded with plenty of apps and more are available on the Android market. It’s also a touch screen device so you can easily swipe your finger across the screen to do what you want to do on the phone.

I’m looking for a case for this phone to protect it. I really like it.

The phone’s home page button changes colors when you are booting up the phone. That is a fun feature too.

The phone takes nice photos and videos (good quality). The sound quality when it comes to videos and listening to music is also really good. I’m very pleased with this phone.

I think my most favorite feature of this LG phone from Virgin Mobile is the Virgin Mobile Custom section that allows me to create my very own personalized plan that suits my needs and budget. Now I am no longer at the mercy of what a phone company offers me as far as a plan is concerned. With Virgin Mobile Custom I create MY plan MY way with features I want.

I love this idea. With our current plan we have minutes we never use (1,500 shared – we’re lucky if we use 100 a month) and some family members don’t text as much as others (me and my husband hardly do compared to our kids who do all the time).

Plans start at $6.98 for 20 minutes of talk time and 20 texts. There is no data plan for this price point.

The basic plan would be great for a child who only needs the phone for emergency purposes. Or maybe even an elderly person who has no interest in going online to surf the web or update their Facebook status via their phone.

Virgin Mobile Custom

From there you can build up to the areas that you need the most. Say for example you want to be able to make up to 250 minutes worth of phone calls per month (add $3.00), 500 texts (add $4.50) and 20 MB of data (add $1.40). The monthly bill then goes up to only $15.88. That is still a very reasonable monthly fee (especially compared to other plans). You also have the flexibility to change your plan whenever you see fit. So if you feel like you’ll need more data in the upcoming months you can add more data. If you feel like you need less texting or talk time you can adjust that accordingly too.

You can also set a budget and adjust the features accordingly to meet that budget. So if you only want to spend $30 a month you can tweak the options to meet that amount.

You can set up multiple accounts within a single account, meaning you could set up plans for your significant other and children all under one account. Parents can set limits to their kid’s accounts to0. That way you don’t have to worry about your child going over their limit and cost you more money at the end of the month. As a parent of teenagers I LOVE this idea. I also love that I can give my husband and I more data and less texting and give our kids more texting and less data. Since we rarely use the phones to talk I can give the kids the bare minimum and my husband and I can be allowed more minutes since we use the phones to make calls.

There is even an app you can download so you can do all of this at any time, from any where.


Best of all there is NO CONTRACT. You are not bound to a contract and are free to make changes or even switch service whenever you want. I wish all phone services were like that. We are currently stuck in a plan and would have to pay a hefty fee to cancel it.

You can rest assure that you are getting quality service too because Virgin Mobile uses Sprint’s Nationwide Network.

Honestly I cannot wait until our contract runs out. My husband and I are going to switch to Virgin Mobile as soon as we can so that we are not spending a small fortune every month for minutes, text and data that we don’t use. It’s such a waste of money.

You can find Virgin Mobile phones at your local Walmart store and at Walmart.com. I have seen them in stores but I didn’t know much about the Virgin Mobile service until now. I am grateful to Mom Central for the opportunity to learn more about Virgin Mobile and try the service out for myself.

With Virgin Mobile Custom you can make it yours.

For more information about Virgin Mobile and their Custom plans that you can create visit www.VirginMobileUSA.com/Custom. You can also check out the brand on Facebook and Twitter (@VirginMobileUSA). You can see what others have to say about Virgin Mobile with the hashtag #VirginMobileMom.



*I received a free phone sample and gift code for service to try out the phone service and plans. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Make learning FUN with ABC Mouse (giveaway ends 11/19/14)


ABC Mouse

Learning is an important part of life. We start learning the moment we are born. Some people say we can even learn while still in the womb (learn to recognize voices and music). I’m not sure about that but I do know that learns starts when we are newborns and ideally we never stop learning. I for one love to learn new things. I desperately want to go back to college and finish my Bachelors Degree and carry on to my Masters Degree.

I think my love of learning is why I love shows that are educating and challenge my mind. I know a little about a lot o things which is why I usually do well answering questions on Jeopardy.

As a mom I always wanted to ensure that my children were not only having fun, but learning too. I always looked for educational toys that were fun to play with. I also looked for workbooks that were more like “funbooks” then “workbooks”.

I am a firm believer that is you make learning fun children will learn better, faster and easier.

Today’s technology has opened up a whole new world for children to explore and learn from. When my kids were little we had computers but they were not exactly “kid friendly”. These days there is a plethora of apps and websites that children can go to not only to be entertained but also to learn from.

One site I’ve always heard about but never really checked out (only because my kids are older than the site’s demographics) is ABC Mouse. I have seen the commercials and have always been curious about it.


ABCmouse.com is the most comprehensive early education website available today for children ages 2–6. With over 5,000 interactive learning activities and 450 lessons, ABCmouse.com helps children master fundamentals in reading, math, beginning science, art, music, and more. Young learners can learn in a multitude of ways. They can read books, play games, paint pictures, listen to music, and even go on virtual field trips. Areas like our interactive zoo help children learn about different animals and watch lifelike animations. Our library is filled with classic tales that come to life and original stories that introduce important reading concepts.

ABC Mouse it THE online learning site for children ages 2-6. It’s nearly impossible for your child (or grandchild) to get bored with this site. In addition to the 450 lessons and over 5,000+ activities, ABC Mouse is constantly uploading new content for your child to explore.

There is a lot to see and do on ABC Mouse. Best of all your child is having so much fun exploring the site and playing that activities that they don’t even realize that they are learning. All they know is that they are having fun.

ABC Mouse touches upon everything from letter and number recognition all the way up to simple reading and math. There is a lot to see and do.

The site is very colorful and there is a lot going on. I don’t know how little ones stay focused enough to learn. I would think they would want to explore the site and play all the games and activities. LOL. I felt like a little kid on the site. I wanted to touch (click on) everything.


According to the ABC Mouse site…

Our Step-by-Step Learning Path guides children through each lesson, organizing all the site activities into an easy-to-follow curriculum designed by early childhood learning experts. Parents can also build custom lessons for their children using our unique Lesson Builder feature. They have total control over each aspect of their child’s experience on the site and can track their progress easily. Or, children can learn independently by exploring the site on their own and because every activity on ABCmouse.com has one or more specific educational objectives you can be sure your child will be learning no matter where they are on the site.

I am not an educator. I’m just a mom and from what I can see ABC Mouse looks like a lot of fun and very engaging. Personally I am not a big fan of kids being on computers, tablets or smartphones at such a young age but I understand that is the “norm” these days. I think some 2 and 3 year olds are more tech savvy then I am. Ha Ha.

The great thing about ABC Mouse is that there is no software to purchase or download. ABC Mouse is a subscription based program. You can subscribe for an entire year or month to month, whatever works best for you. You can also access ABC Mouse from any computer anywhere in the world, so you can take the learning and the fun on the go with you where ever you go.

For more information visit ABCMouse.com. The service is also available in Spanish. You can also check them out on Facebook.

ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse would like to give a lucky reader an ABC Mouse backpack filled with 12+ hardcover educational reading books, a cute DVD about the ABC’s and a gift code for a one year subscription to ABC Mouse. It’s similar to the picture (above) but minus the puzzle (the puzzle is not included – sorry).

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 19, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you’d like to win this prize?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I was not compensated for this post but I did receive a gift code to the site for the review. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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