A Little Hair Help

Fusion Stylist

Hair extension questions answered. Trends explored before you commit to them. Products tested and reviewed.


Hair extension care and maintenance

With new hair comes a new routine. Hair extensions are an investment that must be taken care of in order to achieve the best look and to have that look last for as long as possible.

All of the extensions that I install are 100% human hair, no synthetic fibers. The hair is also called Remy hair which means that the cuticle is all aligned starting at the top of the hair shaft and continuing to the bottom. Cuticle alignment is crucial for a product to stay tangle free.

Products: The hair can be “treated just like your own hair” but there is a whole lot more to take care of. You can use very similar products to the ones normally used in hair but you will be looking at these products for different reasons. For example hair extensions tend to become dry over time because they don’t absorb the natural oils produced by your scalp. So moisture must be added to the extensions. The moisture can be added with moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioning treatments, and styling products. The hair extensions don’t react well to silicone products, so they should be avoided. Most extension companies have their own lines of cleaning and styling products but I don’t think they are necessary. Through trial and error you will learn what works best in your hair.

You will need an extension brush for daily maintenance. Extension brushes are typically paddle brushes with a round shape. The bristles on extension brushes can be looped which pulls the least amount on the hair, plastic bristles are also very soft and have a lot of give, boar bristled brushes provide more tension while distributing the oils through the extension hair. You can use any or all of these brushes.

Tangling: Before you get the hair wet, brush through the hair with an extension brush starting at the bottom and gently working your way up the hair. To keep the extensions tangle free you will want to sleep with your hair in one or two braids. The hair should be dry before you sleep on it.

When you are in the shower keep your hair smoothed down in its’ natural position. Don’t rough the hair up by lathering it or bunching it on top of your head. Your extensions will rarely need to be washed, mostly just conditioned. Your scalp is what needs to be washed.

After you exit the shower blot the water out of your hair with a towel or an old t-shirt. Use the towel or cloth to gently squeeze the water out of your hair. If there is any tangling while the hair is wet be patient and wait until your hair is 90-100% dry to untangle.

While blow-drying the hair keep the airflow aimed down in the proper direction of the hair. Don’t raise and rough up the hair cuticle by blow-drying in the opposite direction of growth. The extensions will add a minimum of 20 minutes to your normal getting ready routine.

Styling: Most extension clients wash their hair 2-3 times per week, no more. The inconvenience of drying time combined with the loss of moisture through constant shampooing and blow drying make a good excuse for getting your hair wet as little as possible.

A dry shampoo will be one of your most used products. The dry shampoo will eliminate any oil at your scalp while freshening up your extensions. Soon to come in Aveda is a dry conditioner, which will be so wonderful for adding moisture without the weight or wet styling. 

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Extension extravaganza

It's been all extensions these days! I have been ordering all sorts of extensions. There are so many  different colors and installation methods. If you are thinking about scheduling a consultation for extensions do it soon! My full time schedule is filling up quickly. 

I also registered for a extension class in Arizona. The class is in December which will be the perfect excuse to get out of Boise in the winter. I hope it's an incredible 2 day class. 

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Full time lease

I am so excited to announce that I am moving into a full time lease. The stars have aligned. Julia and Sophia are both in full time school now. My salon owner has purchased a new building; which she is moving into and suddenly there are simultaneously free space and time in my life. 

Starting in October I will be available at the salon on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I will also continue to work 1-2 Saturdays a month. Wednesday is the only day that I will take appointments after 2:00. 

As always I will continue to provide the best service in a comfortable, blissful environment. Let's start booking for the holiday season! 

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It's the most wonderful time of the year

Some say that about Christmas, but not me. I would prefer a fall day over having to purchase, wrap and clean up presents any day. Not only do we have incredible weather right now. We also have a bumper crop of fresh produce, a plethora of new recipes to experiment with and a family that is actually all in the same place at the same time to enjoy them. 

At the salon fall means something different. Now is the time to nourish, repair and heal your hair and skin. The summer has undoubtedly been rough on both the skin and hair. The UV damage may have done permanent damage to your skin, sorry but it's true. Your hair however is a little more forgiving. To repair the hair damage start by refreshing your color. I would recommend going a tad bit darker in order to steer away from the bleach. Between the summer salon visits and the sun I am sure that you have enough blonde in your hair. The next step would be a professional damage treatment or a professional dry treatment. I offer both at my salon. If your hair has some serious damage you should schedule another visit in a few weeks for a follow up treatment. After a good trim you should leave the salon with a nourishing shampoo and deep conditioner to use at home, weekly. 

For your skin I would recommend a skin care line specifically targeting sun damage. First thing is first though, wear sunscreen. Wear sunscreen every damn day. Preventive maintenance is well worth the money and time. Despite your best intentions though it is inevitable that some sun damage will happen.

Once it does you have a few choices. The most effective but also costly and somewhat terrifying is IPL, Intense puled light treatment. I only say that it is slightly terrifying because you really don't know how you skin is going to react to it. I have had fair to good results with my forehead area and bad results with my cheeks.  I'll write another post about IPL in the future which will cover all the details leading up to and post treatment.

The other option that you have is an effective skin care regiment. I have been using the AVEDA Tulasara system for the last 3 weeks and I have been loving it. It is a multi step system combining traditional face wash with dry brushing, oil massage, toner and concentrated treatments. The dry brush has been an amazing addition to my skin care system. If you are interested in trying the Tulasara system I would highly recommend purchasing the entire system, not just one piece of it.  

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Does this career make me look dumb?

 I have finally finished my career guidebook, Does this career make me look dumb? It took me 2 years as a part time project, also competing with my part time career in cosmetology, and my full time job of raising two girls. I have been in the cosmetology industry for 13 years, licensed for 11 of them. 

When I was considering cosmetology as a career I had a lot of questions. I wanted to know what my chances of being successful were in the industry. I wanted to know what mistakes people made along the way. I wanted to know what beauty school would be like on a day to day basis. I wanted to know how to build a business and be successful at it. This book is an attempt to guide anyone interested along that pretend path.

Spend a few hours with my guidebook and you will either want to enter beauty school or run the other direction. It could save potential students from making a financial mistake. It will assist those who decide to enter the world of cosmetology in making the right decisions for their personal path. 

Currently it is only available through amazon.com, it will be available in print within the next few months. 

 Does this career make me look dumb

If you read it and make a comment I will give you a free hair service!

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Hair can really drag you down. If you are yearning for a change, for things to be easier in your life why not start with your hair? You don't have to go drastically short. Even a good texturizing can lift the weight out of all the right places. 


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End of summer hair

What needs to be done? 

Bare minimum you need a haircut. Snip off all those dead ends and get rid of that summer singe.

A deep conditioning treatment is also recommended. You can go with a professional in-salon treatment which will use products that alter the structure of the hair. An in-salon treatment will have more immediate results on the hair. If you are the type of person who will neglect extra treatment at home because you don't have the time or energy for it then this is the treatment for you.

You can also purchase a take home treatment. A take home will have more sustained effect on your strands. If you're into super soft luxurious hair and extra time spent in the shower then this is best for you.

Some people choose both of those options, because spoiling your hair feels so good. 

If you are looking for a update to your blonde or a new hue to your brunette than now is the perfect time to do it. Most clients choose to go a little darker during the fall to mimic the effects of less sun in their hair. 

Let your stylist direct you.

Your hair care products can also start to change. I would switch from a Damage Remedy line to the Dry Remedy line. Since you probably won't be swimming as much or styling your hair for those late summer nights you can move away from the protein enhanced shampoo's and conditioner's. Wool and fleece hats are the next concern. These can leech moisture from your hair and also leave it feeling frizzy. Try extra moisture by using the Dry Remedy oil. You will only need a few drops. 


Amber Waves-Jennifer Bridges

Amber Waves-Jennifer Bridges

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Beaded Hair Extensions

I admit that I have been slow to convert. I have been fighting the bead craze. I can't fight it anymore. Beaded extensions have come a long way. They have further to go of course. The pre-tipped hair seems to still be wispy and wimpy at the ends. My clients feel that 3-4 strands of the beaded hair equals 1 of the fusion extensions. 

I am still searching for the ideal pre-tipped hair for beaded extensions. Does anyone have any suggestions? 

Why am I suddenly sold on the beaded extensions? I attended the International Beauty Show in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I was there specifically to look at extensions and talk with professionals about extension installation and removal. About one third of the convention was extensions. Of the 60 or so booths which were selling extensions I only came upon 1 that had fusion (glue) extensions available. The rest were tape-in, beaded, clip in or halo extensions. 

After returning from Las Vegas I ordered some hair and beads from a company that I have worked with many times and trust. I asked a trusting client if I could experiment on her hair with the beads. I installed them very quickly, about 5 minutes for a full back of head row. My client left the salon feeling like she had a lot less had ,but was willing to give it a try. 

One week later the client returned with a report for me. Bead verdict, positive, glowing in fact, except for one problem. She felt like she had no hair. Particularly when it was wet. So I removed the beads, 2 full rows out in less than 5 minutes! Oh my God! It was a miracle!!! After I removed them I petted my clients hair and said, there you go, those are all out now. 

"Are you kidding me?" said my shocked client "You find some more of that hair!"

So now I am on a mission to find the best, thickest, fullest pre-tipped strands I can find. 

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Balayage is booming at Blís Salon! We are switching clients from foils to hand painted highlights daily. 

What is the advantage? A beautiful pallet of colors, fantastic full grey coverage, bold visible highlights without the maintenance.

What is the process? Rather than selecting the portions of hair to be highlighted in a rigid, static manner, the hair is selected based on the movement and natural rhythm of the hair. Large pieces of hair are picked up and painted. This allows for a truly unique approach to each head of hair. 

This look can be as natural or bold as desired. Its perfect for someone who wants to experiment with highlights but doesn't want to deal with the grow out. 

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Sephora Airbrush set

Airbrush makeup is so awesome! Did you ever go into Sephora when they were doing their airbrush makeup systems and have them try it on you? I did. It was remarkable. Unfortunately it cost over $200 and then there was the cost of the refills. 

I was thankfully introduced to the airbrush brushes that are made by Sephora amongst other manufacturers. These brushes create a flawless makeup application. I mean seriously flawless. You have to have the right foundation consistency; a moisturizing liquid foundation is best (Urban Decay NAKED is my fave). 

To start I pump 2 pumps of foundation on the back of my hand. I dip the edge of the largest brush into a corner of the foundation, and start to move it across my face using circular sweeping motions. I keep going back to the foundation and placing it on my face until it is all gone. Keeping with the circular motions I blend the foundation in until it looks really natural and actually like my skin is perfect. Then I follow up with the next largest airbrush and gently swipe across the forehead, around the cheeks and at the hairline and neckline to make sure everything is blended. 

Next I squeeze a tiny amount of NARS Orgasm illuminator onto the back of my hand and grab the next size down of airbrush. Using the same circular sweeping motions I apply the illuminator across my cheekbones and onto my temples. 

Sephora airbrush Set

Sephora airbrush Set

NAKED skin foundation

NAKED skin foundation

NARS Orgasm

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Does this career make me look like an idiot? And thousands of other questions you can't articulate

Working title? Does it sound too mean? I think it's kind of catchy. 

I'm writing a book for cosmetologists, both potential and practicing cosmetologists. 

When I decided to go to cosmetology school this was a valid concern for me. I had already finished a Bachelors degree and it felt like a very major step backwards, even downwards. I had only been exposed to a handful of professionals in the world of cosmetology. These professionals showed me that a career in cosmetology could be classy, respectable, flashy. On the other hand I had personally encountered and avoided encounters with lots of trashy, disrespectful beauty industry "professionals". 

What guaranteed that I would be able to survive school without being dragged through the mud like all these other lame-o's? There wasn't a book to guide me though. There were no cliff notes. It felt like I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth at times.

Does this career make me look like an idiot? Will answer questions you didn't even know you should have. For example, Why is it that I can grasp Einsteins Theory of Relativity but I can't figure out how to cut a clients hair? Does hanging out with idiots make you dumber? What happens when I stop paying my student loans?

I'm sure you can hardly wait to get your hands on a copy. 


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Welcome to Bliss Salon! I feel so lucky to be back. Now that I am here. I'm not going anywhere for a long, long time! The salon is currently undergoing some changes both interior and exterior but I'll give you some sneak peaks. Of course you are always welcome to come on in. Bliss is located at 713 N Garden St Boise, ID 83706.  

Dryer Chairs
Studio 616 McCall, ID 
Bliss Salon

Bliss provides a wonderfully relaxing environment for you to enjoy. With complimentary parking, refreshing beverages and aromatherapy I guarantee that you will leave feeling and looking better than when you arrived. 

The best way to contact me is still on my cell phone 208.841.1090

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Cosmetology School

Are you considering cosmetology school? Are you looking for answers on what it will be like? Wondering what the next year of your life will entail? You may also be wondering what it will be like for you after school is over and you are ready to start your career. Surprisingly there are few books on this topic. I'm working to change that. I want to give students and potential students the opportunity to research their career before it ever begins.  

Capturing the true cosmetology school experience can obviously only be done by someone who has been through school, which I have. I am also a professional stylist with 7 years in the industry now. 

I will cover many topics including these

  • How to date a school
  • How to tour a school
  • How to choose a school
  • How to get the best deal on pricing
  • What is included in your kit
  • What your first few weeks will be like
  • What the next few months will be like
  • How to make the most of your time in school
  • Re-examine the fundamentals of hair cuts and color from a real world perspective
  • How to get past the drama
  • What you should and shouldn't worry about when preparing for your state examinations
  • How to find a job
  • How to build a clientele
  • How to be successful as a stylist
  • Book-keeping and taxes for stylists
  • Bigger and better opportunities
  • And much, much more

So I need feedback. What other topics are there questions on? What resources so far have you found to answer your questions? 

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Wedding Hair

'Tis wedding season again. Since styling hair often seems out of reach for most women on their own I compiled a short list of step by step how to's. You can either practice these looks on yourself, show them to a friend and enlist their help in achieving the look, or show them to the professional stylist who will be doing your hair. If there are any more tutorials you would like please let me know and I will do my best to find them.

Things to consider when choosing a style:

What will the weather be like? If it's going to be too hot you won't want your all of your hair down.

What neckline does my dress have? Perhaps a up-do would best complement your lovely collarbone

Will I be dancing so hard that my hair will fall out of place? Hopefully. Best tip: Create a small ponytail in the middle of an up-do and anchor all bobby pins into the base of the ponytail. It will hold!

How good do I want to look? Completely smashing, of course. But not more beautiful than the bride. In fact steer clear of bridal styles to avoid looking like an attention whore. Also don't look like a whore. That's an image that never impresses the hosts.

I'm getting off track...

If you have very thick or very fine hair keep in mind that the style will look different on you. Thick hair, choose a somewhat sleeker style to successfully pin back a large amount of hair, or wear your hair down, even half down. Thin hair, choose a looser style where we can create volume with large pieces.

If you see any styles you like, just click on the picture and it will link you to the step by step instructions for the style.

Reese Witherspoon, Step by step tutorial

Reese Witherspoon, Step by step tutorial

Aveda, Interlaced Fishtail Braids

Aveda, Interlaced Fishtail Braids

Jennifer Lawrence, Up-do Step by Step

Jennifer Lawrence, Up-do Step by Step

Topknot, step by step

Topknot, step by step

Emma Stone, Twisted up-do, step by step

Emma Stone, Twisted up-do, step by step

Emma Stone, Gentle waves, step by step

Emma Stone, Gentle waves, step by step

Taylor Swift, Loose Up-do, step by step

Taylor Swift, Loose Up-do, step by step

Scarlett Johansson retro, step by step

Scarlett Johansson retro, step by step

Lauren Conrad's Beauty Department is the video below. I really like her videos. They are to the point, beautifully filmed and always reliable. There are a lot of them. Be sure to check a few out for hair styling tips.

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Boutique Salons

There are specialty salons popping up all across the country. These salons are catering to specific needs that their clients may have and also highlighting the specific talents that a stylist or a team of stylists cares about the most. Unfortunately none of these boutique salons exist in Boise, ID yet, but I am sure it won't be long.

Blow-out Bar

This type of salon specializes in a finished look. They specialize obviously in the blow-out which is a blow dry style that leaves your hair very voluminous, shiny and sexy for a couple days or one hard night! Some Blow-out Bar Boutiques are also offering extensions, up-dos, conditioning treatments, or skin care services. 

The convenience offered is a quick style, easy to obtain appointments most days of the week and trendy amenities, such as iPads or iPods at each station and espresso. Sounds fun! Check out this Blow Dry Bar in Scottsdale, AZ called Primp and Blow 

Color Bar

This is a salon specializing only in color. Many color clients feel the same way about what they want in their color. They want it cheap, they want it fast, they want it perfect and they want it to last. Certain salons are now catering specifically to the color market. They want to offer technically advanced haircolor done quickly. What is there not to love about beautiful haircolor that is affordable and uncomplicated?

By offering only color these boutique color bars are able to speed up the process of an appointment which translates to a lower bill for the client. For complete ease of access clients may not even have to book an appointment, just drift in when the mood (or the gray) strikes them.

Here's an example of a color only salon in Toronto, Canada called Color Lab 12.

Braids, Buns and Pony's

These salons offer a new menu of affordable services specifically for a finished look. So what is on the menu? Typically you will find about 20-30 different braid, bun and ponytail options, including trendier options like the sock bun or the messy bun. Since these looks can usually be achieved in 15-20 minutes and require little product the price will be low. Stylist also offer tips on how to re-create a simpler version of this for an at home attempt or tools to take home to re-create the look (i.e. the sock in the sock bun). Products are going to be a key element of styling any of these looks so be prepared to shell out more $ on retail than on the actual style itself. 

Here's an example of a Braid, Bun and Pony Style Bar called Lukaro in Beverly Hills, CA

So which one would you be the most tempted to try?

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Trash it or Treasure it?

I've recently read about a new kind of girls get together called a Trash it or Treasure it party. I've known that they existed for clothing but I had never heard of one with a beauty theme. You can read more about it at Sunnie Brook Beauty Blog. There are some important guidelines listed to let attendees know how to tell if the products you're interested in bringing could be expired.

I would totally take part in this party! However, I would only be interested in products that you can individually dram out i.e. not something that you have to dip into the jar for. This would exclude makeup that is pressed into a compact (blush, powder). I would also have to exclude any eye makeup because I just think that is gross. I would be inclined to rule out nail polish too, although I am told that the formaldehyde in it kills any bacteria or fungus I just wouldn't want to take the chance.

It would be perfect for trying out shampoo, conditioner, lotion (face or body), hair styling products, beauty treatments (face masks), self-tanners, bronzers, face wash, makeup brush cleaners, makeup brushes...the list is long. 

Because who hasn't a purchased beauty product that they have instantly regretted or immediately disliked? I know it isn't just me.



Also, let's exclude toothpaste and dental floss. You know somebody would try to bring that.

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Favorite Sites

These are the sites that I check most days. Some give me inspiration, some give me comic relief, often they do both.

  • Cup of Jo- joannagoddard.blogspot.com - This site covers a variety of topics, motherhood, food, fashion, travel. The posts are short and frequently updated. The photography is amazing! There are lots of great links. She gives products away a few times a month. What I enjoy most about this site is that it's a great example of how to make money with a blog but still keep your blog relevant to the readers, not the sponsors. Always upbeat, always inspiring.
  • The Superficial, because you're ugly - thesuperficial.com - The tag line alone is enough to make me like this site. It's a online gossip magazine that is updated multiple times per day. Written from a male perspective bringing a fresh and smart mouthed commentary on the Hollywood elite. Filled with the things you wish you would have the courage to say if you ever met any of these celebrities. I will be eternally thankful for the posts on Jon Hamm (look it up).
  • Jezebel- Celebrity Style, Sex, Fashion for women without airbrushing - jezebel.com - A bold look at all things trending from a consistently female point of view. Jezebel provides a platform for writers who aren't afraid to express their opinions on just about anything, politics included.
  • Martha Stewart - marthastewart.com - A perennial favorite. I use this site for cross referencing and inspiration. Her iPad apps (Cocktails, Smoothies, Cookies, Scrapbooking) are so fun and easy to use and her iPad magazines (Everyday Food and Living) are hands down the best digital magazines, completely interactive and seasonally themed. Kudos to the staff at Martha Stewart Omnimedia for keeping ahead of of the current media trends. 

So check them out for yourselves. Let me know what you think. Tell me what sites inspire you.

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Hair color during pregnancy

Hair color during pregnancy

To color or not to color during pregnancy? My first bit of advice to Mom's to be is if you are uncomfortable with this procedure then you should probably not do it. My second bit of advice is highlights or lowlights. With highlights and/or lowlights we can change the color of your hair, cover grays, bring you back to your natural color...so many options. To apply any of these options I use foil. Each piece of colored hair is contained within a thin sheet of foil which keeps it off of the scalp. Since your hair is not a living organ the application of color within the foils does not enter your bloodstream. There is another risk; the fumes that are released during the processing of the color can be smelled at the shampoo bowl momentarily. Other stylists working within the salon could be preforming treatments such as a perm or straightening treatment which also release fumes. 

However I have performed many color applications on myself and my clients during pregnancy and I have never seen any adverse side effects. I have also never heard any complaints from clients during or after their pregnancy. I would never suggest that a client who hasn't been receiving color consistently start a new routine. Go with your instinct and you will never feel bad about it. 

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Keep it in the family

Have you ever been told by a professional who is rendering service to you that you need to use the entire family of products to achieve a synergistic effect? I have, quite a few times. Let me tell you why they are mistaken.

This is old news, sort of a sales pitch/wives tale invented by some marketing genius to get you to spend more with their company. Almost all of the different families of products contain somewhat similar ingredients and the are also manufactured by one of the few major manufacturing facilities that exist in the USA. Let me rephrase it this way, same general ingredients, same manufacturers, different labeling and packaging.

No all products don't contain the same ingredients for example, there are good ingredients and there are cheap ingredients. Companies like Suave and Pantene use cheaper, harsher and more abrasive ingredients in their products to produce their $3 shampoo. The results you get from these cheap ingredients can be dryer hair and skin, breakouts along your hairline, a waxy build-up in your hair (ehhhm Pantene) or severe drying of your skin. Companies like Alterna and Kevin.Murphy use more costly ingredients which results in a refined product. They tend to eliminate synthetic preservatives (parabens) and GMO (soy, corn) so your body and our environment doesn't have to pay they price. So if you use a Suave shampoo it will not make you Alterna conditioner any less effective, but trust me that Suave shampoo is making your color fade way faster and isn't benefiting the health of your hair and scalp at all. 

So when you are out choosing products just keep in mind what options are the most important to you. Is it cost? Is it the quality of the ingredients? Are you looking for a targeted result (stiff, soft, color protecting) Is it the design of the product (how it fits in your hand, stays upright in your shower, dispenses easily) Whatever decision you make know that your product is working despite the fact that you haven't purchased it's companion or two or three. I personally like to try 1 to 2 items in a line before I will commit to purchasing any more. Suit yourself.

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