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Of the Cheap Home Upgrades You Can Make, Designers Say These 36 Look the Most Impressive



I’ll admit it: I want my home to look like an aesthetic Instagram house. I see trendy interior design all day while I’m scrolling, and I spend a lot of time (maybe way too much time) researching how to make my house look like that without spending all of my paychecks at home decor stores. So, Bustle reached out to the experts — and I’ve put together a list of cheap home upgrades that designers say look seriously impressive.

Yes, I’ve finally found the answers — and all of these solutions will probably impress your guests (and yourself every day when you get home). What are these magical upgrades? Nichole Abbott, an interior designer at FLOOR360, fills us in on all the inexpensive ways to get that trendy neutral home of our dreams. Abbott suggests a set of cotton macrame wall hangings and plant holders for neutral texture. She also recommends the perfect trendy rattan accent with a three-pack of adorable rattan mini mirrors.

There are plenty of decor pieces on this list, but what about the finishing touches? Andra DelMonico, the lead interior designer for home design magazine Trendey, suggests upgrades for the small details such as baseboard paint for freshened-up trim and a stunning stick-on backsplash tile for the kitchen.

Go ahead and start looking through, because this list has all of the aesthetic and impressive upgrades you’ve been looking for (according to expert designers).

These Minimalist Glass Plant Holders That Sit Flat Against Your Wall

Mkono Wall Hanging Glass Planter (Set of 2)

Noel Gatts, an HGTV host and designer as well as the owner of beam & bloom interiors, loves adding greenery as a “final touch for any space.” She recommends these heavy-duty, heat-resistant glass planter by Mkono, which are perfect to use as terrariums, pots, or vases to add greenery (even on your wall). Gatts says, “Think outside of traditional confines, and you could use these to organize legos, loft pencils, or desk accessories on a cluttered surface.“

A Trendy Pendant Light That’s Doesn’t Require Hardwiring

Globe Plug-in Pendant Socket

Gatts also suggest the Globe Electric 15-foot plugin pendant, which is convenient if you can’t hardwire a decorative light (or if you just don’t feel like it). It’s complete with a trendy teal fabric cord that makes a retro statement and a gold-tone socket. If teal isn’t in your color scheme, it also comes in eight other options and designs.

This Alexa Compatible Lighbult With Vintage Style

Kasa Smart Amber Smart Light Bulb

For a well-designed smart lightbulb, Gatts recommends this one by Kasa Smart. This bulb in particular gives your home a warm glow while adding a touch of vintage style, and it has voice control through Alexa or Google Assistant. Plus, it’s dimmable, and there are over 1,000 five-star ratings with reviewers raving about it. One reviewer said it’s “great for giving that candlelight mood.”

A Set Of Faux Leather Pillow Covers That Work With Every Vibe

Two Queens Lane Faux Leather Pillow Cover (Set of 2)

Gatts recommends these faux-leather pillow covers, which she says will give your space “added warm neutral color and a versatile vibe.” Plus, they’re designed with a spot to tuck away the zipper and are available in two sizes: 18 by 18 inches as well as 20 by 20 inches.

This Neutral Throw Blanket To Add A “Soft Focal Point”

DII Woven Throw Blanket

Gatts suggests this machine-washable cotton woven throw blanket with fringe that can add texture to your space. It comes in neutral colors, including black, gray, tan, and off-white. Plus, Gatts says it “drapes with enough texture to add a soft focal point to any space.”

The Minimalist Vase Set With Three Shapes & Sizes To Style

Abbittar Ceramic Vase (Set of 3)

Priscilla Moiseoff, an interior designer and lead stylist at Walker Edison, suggests these neutral, minimalist ceramic vase by Abbittar. This set has three vases in varying sizes and shapes, which makes them simple to style. Moiseoff suggests using them as a centerpiece, or even as an addition to your sideboard or bookshelf.

A Set Of Neutral & Abstract Wall Art With Waterproof Frames

ArtbyHannah Abstract Wall Art Décor (4 Pack)

Moiseoff also recommends the ArtbyHannah abstract wall art that’s seriously inexpensive for a framed set. At $36, this wall art has four unique prints and is complete with moisture-proof and waterproof light wood frames measuring 12 by 12 inches. Plus, they have 4.9-star rating on Amazon.

This Geometric Outdoor Wall Sconce With An Automatic Light

Shine Hai Outdoor Wall Sconce

Kelly Marohl is the designer and owner of The Greenspring Home, and she recommends this rust-proof geometric outdoor wall sconce by SHINE HAI. It’s complete with glass panels and an automatic light, and Marohl says a new exterior light fixture is a “cheap home upgrade that will impress your guests.”

The Bold Geometric Wallpaper That’s Still Easy To Install & Style

NextWall Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Michelle Madison, event designer, award-winning journalist, and lifestyle expert, suggests the NextWall peel-and-stick vinyl wallpaper which can act as a bold and impressive wall accent. This damage-free wallpaper has a 2-D geometric design that looks like it’s 3-D, and the neutral white and gray makes it easy to style.

A Bronze-Tone Pendant Light With An Adjustable Cord

AXILAND Hanging Light

Andra DelMonico, the lead interior designer for home design magazine Trendey, suggests AXILAND’s bronze-tone iron pendant light. It has an adjustable cord length, so you can hang it over your kitchen island at the perfect height, and it comes in three colors. DelMonico says it’s especially impressive for your entryway. “A statement pendant on your front step can provide plenty of light, helping to make your home look more welcoming,” she says.

This 2-Step Floor Paint That’s Built To Handle Shoes & Spills

Rust-Oleum Floor Paint

DelMonico also recommends this two-step floor paint and says, “Painting the floor can brighten the room by using a lighter color.” This pack comes with white paint and a semi-gloss (along with five other colors). The duo aims to hold up against shoes and spills. Plus, DelMonica lets us in on a second-floor painting tip: “Consider painting a pattern that can create the illusion of the room being larger or longer,” she says.

The Peel & Stick Tile In Granite & Gold-Tone Metallic Styles

Art3d Backsplash Tile Peel and Stick (10-Sheet)

DelMonico recommends applying this peel-and-stick backsplash all the way up “to the ceiling above the stove.” It’ll have a luxurious impact, but it’s only $40 for 10 large sheets. It also comes in seven colors, including granite tones and options with gold-tone metallic accents.

This Chip-Resistant Baseboard Paint That’s Available In Over 30 Colors

Rust-Oleum Base Board Paint

DelMonico suggests this quick-drying baseboard paint and says, “Simply repainting the baseboards and other trim can make a big impact.” This indoor-outdoor chip-resistant shade comes in 31 additional colors — and over 21,000 customers have painted with it, giving it a collective 4.5-star rating.

A Vintage-Style Frame That Comes In Super Chic Colors

Weresin Vintage Frame

Stefan Bucur, the founder of Rhythm of the Home, as well as Maegan Bucur, the interior designer, writer, and editor in chief of the company, recommend this vintage-style frame. It comes in six colors — including a retro green — and you can hang it or place it on a tabletop. “This affordable frame can add a chic vibe to any room,” the duo says.

This Rug For High-Traffic Areas & Vintage Vibes

Artistic Weavers Bohemian Area Rug

The Bucurs also suggest this area rug by Artistic Weavers as an inexpensive and vintage-style accent piece. It’s designed to hold up in high traffic areas without any worries, and it comes in 16 colors. One reviewer raved, “This rug is great! Colors are bold and beautiful, and the quality is amazing, especially considering the price.”

These Glass Terrariums That Multiple Reviewers Swear By For Air Plants

Mkono Mini Glass Geometric Terrarium Container (Set of 3)

The Bucurs recommend these mini glass terrariums, which can help add some stylish greenery around your space. Each one has a unique geometric shape, and you can even fill them with live plants. One reviewer raved, “Adds such a beautiful detail to my indoor plant shelf. Looks great with my air plants and some pebbles!”

This Perfectly Neutral Macrame Wall Hanging Pack

Mkono Macrame Wall Hanging (3 Pack)

Nichole Abbott, an interior designer at FLOOR360, suggests this three-pack the Mkono macrame wall hangings that are only $16. They’re made of 100% cotton, each one is complete with a trendy woven pattern. Abbott says, “The color is neutral with an organic feel that introduces an element of texture.”

These Handmade & Beaded Macrame Plant Holders

Mkono Macrame Plant Hanger (Set of 2)

Abbott also recommends the Mkono macrame plant hangers. If tassels aren’t your thing, these are perfect because they’re tassel-free but still give you that woven-macrame look. They also have beaded accents and over 11,000 five-star ratings. One reviewer raved, “Very simple but sturdy. Love these hangers and may order more for my other windows.”

A Variety Pack Of Sunshine-Shaped Rattan Mini Mirrors

OYPIEP Rattan Wall Hanging Mirrors (3 Pack)

Abbott recommends these mini rattan mirrors by OYPIEP because they “will complete the look of a room that’s following the popular trend of incorporating rattan furniture and decor.” Plus, if you’re new to the trend, this variety pack is small and neutral. Plus, each one has a unique design, so you can test one out in every room.

This Removable Wallpaper With A Vintage Feather Design

Tempaper Removable Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Annie Elliott, the product and design manager at New Again Houses, suggests the Tempaper peel and stick wallpaper with a feather design. Elliott says, “You can change an entire space by adding an affordable peel-and-stick wallpaper to a small wall, nook, or bookshelf.” Plus, this wallpaper comes in six shades so that you can buy a few colors for different rooms or furniture.

These Throw Pillow Covers With Delicate Fringe & Over 12,500 Five-Star Ratings

MIULEE Boho Pillow Covers (Set of 2)

Elliott says adding a new throw pillow cover is a “simple but exciting change” and recommends this set of machine-washable throw pillow covers with delicate fringe details. They come in 25 colors as well as nine sizes, and one reviewer raved, “They really brighten to my room, and I love that I can simply unzip and toss in the washer or change it up when I get bored!”

A Runner Rug With A Distressed Pattern & Stain-Resistant Design

Loloi II Traditional Runner Rug

Elliott also suggests this stain- and fade-resistant runner rug that comes in 38 colors and is complete with a distressed style. It even comes in sizes for small spaces — and one reviewer raved, “Just like the photo. Great rug! Unrolled easy and without and crinkles or bends. Big enough for my large room.”

This Pack Of Gold-Tone Picture Frames That Are “Affordable & Incredibly Striking”

upsimples Picture Frame (Set of 5)

To grab all the frames you’ll need at once, Elliott also recommends this pack of gold-tone picture frames by upsimples. “All together, they’ll be simple, affordable, and incredibly striking,” Elliott says. Plus, they come in 16 colors, including wood tones if metallic doesn’t match your color scheme.

A Trendy Balloon Dog Decoration To Complete A Stack Of Books

MingHaoyu Balloon Dog Sculpture

Oshri Adri and Jillian Dahlman Bhatia, the co-founders and lead designers of Adri Dahlman Interiors, say this MingHaoyu balloon dog sculpture is “the perfect accessory to add on a stack of books.” It’s made of durable ceramic, and it’s super chic with its high-contrast white-and-gold-tone design. One reviewer raved, “I was pleasantly surprised with how sturdy this product is, I was expecting something very lightweight and it exceeded my expectations, especially for the price.”

This Chic Reed Essential Oil Diffuser With A Jasmine & Mint Scent

NEVAEHEART Reed Diffuser Set

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia also recommend the NEVAEHEART reed diffuser set that comes in nine scents. Plus, the packaging is super sleek with cream and black accents, and it even comes in a chic box. The duo says, “It makes the perfect decor on a bathroom vanity.” Some available scents include jasmine and mint, gardenia, and even Parisian garden.

The Handmade Wooden Decor Set That Adds An “Organic Touch”

Yalikop Wood Chain Link (2 Piece)

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia say, “Wood chains and beads offer an organic touch and texture to a space.” This handmade wood bead and sculpture set is made of natural pine wood, and the wood garland is complete with tassels. Plus, the sculpture has a super minimalist knot design, so it fits anywhere.

This Waterproof Resin Tray With A Marble Pattern

Luxspire Round Marble Tray

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia also suggest this marble-style resin tray that’s waterproof and super easy to clean. “This marble tray is not only beautiful but is great for storing several other items and accessories on a nightstand or bathroom vanity,” says Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia. It’s available in four colors and two sizes.

This Miniature Classic Sculpture That Adds Fun Color

Torre & Tagus Word Art Resin Decor

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia also recommend this classic love sculpture made of durable resin. It’s small enough to stack on other decor pieces or books — and they say, “We used this decor in a very colorfully styled console table in a neutral foyer.” Plus, this little piece is weighted, so it’s sturdy and shouldn’t fall over easily.

A Glossy & Ceramic Decor Piece That’s Shaped Like An Elephant

Quoowiit Animal Sculpture

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia recommend this ceramic elephant sculpture by Quoowiit. They say, “This accessory works really well when paired with taller items. We used it in an Indian family’s house as elephants are a symbol of royalty in their culture.” You can even choose your favorite animal, because it also comes in bird and rabbit options. It has a glossy black-and-gold-tone finish, and it’s even complete with nonslip pads on the bottom.

These Extendable Curtain Rods With Sleek End Caps & A Warm Gold Finish

Ivilon Drapery Window Curtain Rod

Chanel, an interior decorator and Latina lifestyle blogger of Coco on Fifth, suggests this curtain rod in a warm gold tone. It’s complete with sleek and modern end caps, and it comes in five sizes. One reviewer raved, “I’m not a fan of bright brassy gold, this is an aged gold color that fits right in with my vintage-loving heart.”

These Curtain Rings With Clips & Eight Finishes To Choose From

Ivilon Drapery Curtain Clip Rings (Set of 14)

To pair with your sleek gold-tone curtain rod, Chanel recommends these curtain rings with handy little clips. They come in eight colors and come in a pack of 14. One reviewer raved, “I bought these to hold up my very heavy velvet curtains with blackout lining. They work really well and are still holding strong!”

A Pack Of Colorful & Dimmable Smart Lightbulbs

SYLVANIA Wifi LED Smart Light Bulb

Devin Shaffer, the lead interior designer at Decorilla (an online interior design service), suggests new light bulbs — and these LED smart light bulbs are the ones to get. You can dim the lights and control the 16 million color options with your voice through Alexa and Google Home (or the phone app). Plus, they last for 15,000 hours.

These Stainless Steel Drawer Pulls In Over 20 Styles & Sizes

goldenwarm Brushed Brass Drawer Handles

Shaffer also recommends these super durable stainless steel drawer handle by goldenwarm, which have a brushed brass finish. They’ll help add a trendy metallic touch to your bathroom or kitchen and have over 1,500 five-star ratings. There are also over 20 sizes and styles, so they perfectly fit your cabinet.

These Dimmable Pendant Lights With An Industrial Vibe

DLLT Industrial Pendant Light Fixture

Shaffer also recommends the DLLT pendant lights that have an industrial vibe. (They also come in a two-pack for only $40.) The fixtures are dimmable, work with a bunch of different light bulb styles, and have a gold-tone finish on the inside. One reviewer raved, “It is beautiful in the kitchen. Provides a warm glow, projecting a welcoming atmosphere. Installation was easy.”

A Trendy & Neutral Terracotta Pot With An Organic Shape

Creative Co-Op Small Matte Taupe Terracotta Footed Planter

The founder, and CEO of DecorMatters virtual interior design Farris Wu, recommends Creative Co-Op’s small terracotta planter that has a trendy organic shape. Plus, this little pot features a neutral and matte finish to work with plenty of styles. One reviewer raved, “The perfect dupe for similar high-end pieces. I am so happy with mine and get compliments constantly.”

The Glass Storage Container With A Unique & Airtight Cork Top

MOLFUJ Glass Storage Container with Ball Cork

Wu also suggests this glass container by MOLFUJ, which has a unique, sphere-shape cork top that fits perfectly to keep out air. It comes in three sizes and is BPA-free. Plus, it’s designed to store food and is way more aesthetic than a standard plastic food container.

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Personal Care

Cassidy Timbrooks on ‘The Bachelor’ Isn’t the Villain You Think She Is



I knew Cassidy Timbrooks was going to be eliminated from The Bachelor the second she addressed a table full of children as “you small people.”

But it wasn’t until Clayton Echard learned she had a “friend with benefits” back home that her number came up. The Bachelor rescinded the rose he had already given her and predictably sent the 26-year-old executive assistant packing on Monday night’s episode.

In the eyes of the show, she had committed two cardinal sins: Not acting overjoyed to be around kids, and not putting her sex life on pause for a man she had never met.

That’s why her ride home from the mansion was more than just another early villain exit. The Bachelor is clearly trying to get back to basics this year — and by basics I mean American sexual politics circa 2002. The fact that Cassidy got the boot so swiftly shows how quickly the show is returning to its traditional roots. In an era of dating apps and delayed motherhood, ABC’s long-running reality dating franchise is recommitting in Clayton’s season to its core tenets: Love, marriage, and family — preferably before age 30.

In the eyes of the show, she had committed two cardinal sins: Not acting overjoyed to be around kids, and not putting her sex life on pause for a man she had never met.

Only against that backdrop would a woman like Cassidy strike anyone as an outlier. Outside of the show, she doesn’t exactly seem nefarious. Since the premiere aired, I have been following her on Instagram, where she’s been posting incredibly lucid and self-aware reflections about her time on The Bachelor, conceding in one of her Stories that she struggled to balance “confidence” with “considering other people’s takes.”

Indeed, like so many hated contestants before her, Cassidy appears to have been the victim of a selective edit and a mocking soundtrack. The unflattering edit began in earnest when she largely ignored the children at a birthday party group date to talk with the Bachelor instead. At one point, seated around a table sipping tea, she told a group of kids, “I spend as little time around you small people as possible, so forgive me…” and then immediately went on the back foot as they latched onto the comment.

I don’t blame the kids for taking offense. But any adult viewer who paid attention to her tone should have recognized the droll delivery. Was it an inartful thing to say? Sure. Children aren’t the right audience for wry humor, especially if you’re joking about avoiding them. But Cassidy didn’t deserve to be demonized as a kid hater, either.

“I knew I was giving villain, but I thought I was far more amusing and harmless,” she wrote in one of her post-show Instagram Stories, “and I think a lot of the hate is based in misogyny internalized and otherwise.”

She’s not wrong. Cassidy was punished, both in the edit and by a segment of the audience, for not going googly-eyed at the notion of spending an afternoon building a dollhouse. She certainly didn’t echo the enthusiasm of a fellow contestant who saw the kids from afar and exclaimed, “Oh my God! I’m so excited! I love children!” while running toward them.

The Bachelor is retreating to an extremely white, hyper-hetero comfort zone in which babies are the ultimate goal.

To be fair, that attitude is more in line with Clayton’s. In the first five minutes of the current season, the new Bachelor was twice moved to tears by the thought of raising a family. He introduced himself in the opening voiceover by saying, “I can’t wait to get married and have kids,” and later choked up while reading a letter from a child predicting that he will “have lots of kids.”

Clayton is nothing if not sincere, but there’s probably a reason the producers picked someone like him in the first place — and why they’re emphasizing childrearing so much this early. After years of controversy over racism in the franchise, culminating in the departure of ex-host Chris Harrison — and after more recent flirtations with progressive casting including the first same-sex engagement, a (gasp!) 39-year-old Bachelorette, and several leads of colorThe Bachelor is retreating to an extremely white, hyper-hetero comfort zone in which babies are the ultimate goal.

I used to wonder whether the horror novel I wrote satirizing Bachelor-style shows would be outdated by the time it comes out later this year, but if anything, this season has felt ripped out of time in the worst way.

Cassidy’s storyline especially has highlighted double standards that should be long dead by now. Clayton himself recently addressed viral TikToks about his dating history by saying that he “enjoyed [his] singleness” for “the last six years of my life.” This is the same Bachelor who confronted Cassidy on Monday night’s episode about allegedly “seeing someone up until the point that you came here,” as though she were beholden to him before then. Hookups for me but not for thee?

Presented in the weird logic of the show, you’d almost forget that Cassidy is one of 30 women Clayton dated simultaneously — and that, in season previews, the Bachelor will later admit to being “intimate” with two contestants. Somehow that behavior is more “for the right reasons” than having casual sex with someone before filming even began?

Cassidy may be off the air now, but her brief run was telling. This throwback edition of The Bachelor needed a villain, and the producers chose a confident woman with a history of casual dating who said “F*ck a dollhouse” on camera. It’s probably a bad sign when someone that refreshing doesn’t make it to the second rose ceremony.


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Another Day, Another Musk Tweet Pumps Dogecoin up 9%



Musk, who is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, said he would eat a Happy Meal on TV if Fast food giant McDonald’s starts accepting Dogecoin

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Everything You Need to Know About the UK Government’s COVID Inquiry



On May 12, 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an independent public inquiry into the government’s response to and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Established under the Inquiries Act 2005, the COVID Inquiry will examine the government’s “actions as rigorously and candidly as possible,” according to the Prime Minister, and will aim to “learn every lesson for the future.” It will do so by summoning the production of documents and witnesses to give evidence under oath in order to examine the government’s response to the pandemic.

Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett DBE will act as Chair of the inquiry, which is set to begin “sometime in spring 2022”. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about the COVID Inquiry and what we can expect from the process.

How Will The COVID Inquiry Work?

According to BBC News, the Chair of the Inquiry can call whoever they want to give evidence, “whether they are witnesses to an event or people with particular expertise.” As barristers’ chambers Doughty Street Chambers notes, witnesses to an event will be asked to give evidence of their experience or direct knowledge of what took place. They speak on behalf of an organisation, like the NHS or the police.

Evidence sessions will be given in public and under oath, per BBC News, and most sessions will be available to watch on TV and online. There’s no time limit to the inquiry either, and they can often take years due to the “huge amount of evidence that needs to be read.”

What Will Be Included In The COVID Inquiry?

The exact aims, issues, and remits included won’t be announced until closer to the start of the inquiry, but the Prime Minister has said his government would work closely with the devolved administrations and governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland before setting out what exactly will be included in the inquiry itself.

Shortly after announcing that an inquiry would take place, the Prime Minister told MPs that the inquiry would consider his government’s handling of the pandemic before the first lockdown in March 2020, per The Guardian. As for other issues, law firm BDB Pitmans suggests that the higher death rate in general, especially among ethnic minority groups, will be a major point of contention, as well as the government’s “procurement processes” of contracts awarded during the pandemic.

What Issues Have Been Raised Around The COVID Inquiry?

Undocumented Migrants

Following the publication of a report by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), it’s vital that the voices of undocumented migrants are properly heard during the COVID inquiry. The report found that the UK “lagged far behind other European countries” in protecting undocumented migrants during the pandemic.

Caitlin Boswell, author of the report and policy officer at JCWI, said in a statement that if the government “wants to learn lessons” from this inquiry and “fully recover from the pandemic”, it needs to “stop prioritising its anti-immigration agenda above saving lives.” An anti-immigration agenda which is more commonly known as the Hostile Environment.

The term “Hostile Environment” is used by many to describe a set of policies that are intended to block undocumented migrants from using public services like the NHS and the police, as well as making work and housing inaccessible; effectively making life as difficult as possible.

Boswell added that the government “must listen to migrants’ voices, including those who’ve lost status, and ensure that in the future, no-one has their life put at risk because of their immigration status.” Boswell concluded that in “doing so will not only protect the most marginalised, it will help protect all of us.”

People With Disabilities

Sense, a charity which focuses on complex disabilities, has also called for the government to take the experiences of disabled people and their families into account. As the charity notes, 6 out of 10 people in the UK who have died from COID are disabled, despite making up 22 per cent of the general population.

“Decision-makers did not engage with us, our needs were often overlooked and communications were largely inaccessible,” Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy for Disability Rights UK, explained. “Health bodies treated our lives as less valued, disabled people receiving social care were inadequately protected, some disabled children were denied education and support, and supermarkets failed to ensure that we could access food.”

There is yet to be a date announced or confirmed for the COVID Inquiry.

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