1.18.2018

The Art of Living (& Dressing) Luxuriously

 
What is it about luxury that makes it so elusive?  Surely, we can identify it once we see it.  But to achieve the look ourselves, to embody it in our own way tends to be a feat.  Magazines, television, department stores, they're all virtually prodding us endlessly to try to achieve this "look of luxury" by buying a product.  As if it comes in physical form.  And after sampling whats offered, for most of us, whatever we buy never quite pulls it off.  And if it does, you better maintain it by buying more!  

Yes, luxury, it seems, is for those who can afford it...  
Naaah, I don't buy it.
Maybe luxury is so elusive because its active ingredient is a feeling exuded.  Not a look.  
And true luxury is not to be confused with glamour.
No - today, I'm discussing "Luxury"!  
What is it made up of fundamentally?  
How can you make it apart of your daily lifestyle?
Ok, so take away the Gucci bags, the expensive shades, the Louboutin heels, etc - I've seen women in jeans and a tee, without a stitch of makeup looking gloriously luxurious.  What gives?

What do they possess that everyone else is trying to copy?  
I've studied this concept of luxury probably longer than I've been aware.  And then I'm reminded of my upbringing:  My parents!

My parents always had champagne tastes and an incredible work ethic to buy that champagne.  But it's not about the money.  I realize they never did much traveling or extravagant vacations.  They decided to spend their energy and interests at home in their daily lifestyle.

My friends would always say my parents were so fancy.  But really... they just took more pride in the quality of their daily life, their personal time, and their daily leisure.  

And that right there embodies true luxury.
So going forward with this theory, let us do some dissecting, shall we?  Luxury is simply the art of maintaining:

QUALITY  -  TIME  -  LEISURE

These 3 components actually umbrella many aspects of life.  

  • Quality of the things you buy and the clothes you wear.  The life you lead and the friends you surround yourself with.
  • Time management for yourself to exercise, therapize, and learn new things.  Time to dedicate to others.  
  • Leisure to chill the fuck out.  Grab a coffee, go to the beach, have a 3-hour brunch with friends.  Because life is hectic and work can be intrusive of our space.
So basically, luxury is just a more mindful, self-possessed life?  
Ok, that's cool.  Wah wah.  Buuuuut since this like, a personal style blog, let's talk about how this relates to our closets!  
My theory as to how luxury pertains to personal style is this:

The key to looking and dressing luxuriously is simply mixing comfort with taste.
I guess that explains why you can't really buy it.

But knowing that just might make you a better shopper.  After lots of thought and fun research on this theory, I narrowed down looking like a million bucks to 5 Keys:

5 Essential Keys to Making Your Closet 
Look Like a Million Bucks:

1. Wear well-fitting clothes
Wear quality, well-made clothing.  Get it altered to fit you perfectly.  Fit is everything.

2.  Never Show Effort
Anything that looks hard to wear or time consuming probably is.  This includes makeup.  Effort is the baine of luxury!

3.  Be Comfortable Always
Why shouldn't you?  And when you're uncomfortable, it shows! And makes others around feel uncomfortable for you.  Comfort is luxury.  Never wear anything that makes you feel otherwise.

4.  Avoid Unecessary Layering
Layers can easily look bulky and messy.  And that is burdensome.  Avoid wearing more than 3 articles of clothing at a time.  Dress in the spirit of how you'd look stepping off a yacht.

5.  Dress Timeless  
Your outfit shouldn't have more than one trendy item.  A timeless style sets you apart from the trend chasers and makes you look self-possessed and confident.
Dressing and feeling like luxury is one of my goals for this year.  I just don't believe that luxury and leisure is for the weekend or worse, a couple times a year!

I didn't take much time off last year.  I did close out the first year of my business in 2017 so that would explain my lack of free time.  But when I did go on vacation, I was miserable the entire time.  Who wants to go on vacation only to feel stressed with work-separation anxiety?

You gotta learn to be leisure in your daily life - so that it's not completely foreign and shocking when you do engage in leisure, quality time.  I'm dedicating working on this for 2018.  And I've started with my wardrobe.  Because for me, clothing sets the tone.  My wardrobe, my Tiny Closet inspires my direction and mood.  And my direction is pampering!  And my mood is... you guessed it, luxury.

Thanks so much for visiting and reading!
Come back next Thursday for an all-new look and more ideas on living a better life in your clothes. 
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1.11.2018

Sexy, Luminous Skin: A Tiny Guide

Well, admittedly it's not that "Tiny".  But it's also not typical, so it's worth sharing!
If anything, this routine guarantees clean skin aaand...

Sexy, luminous skin is CLEAN skin!
Natural beauty is huge to me.  And even though I have a secret obsession with watching crazy awesome makeup tutorials (wow, such art!) and an even more secret obsession with beauty in general (vanity, thy name is Natalie, eek!), I definitely do not wear a lot of makeup and try my best to show my most natural, sexy, beautiful self.  Ok, well maybe we can skip 2017 (yeesh).  But in general, for better or for worse, I take beauty very seriously.  And what I've noticed is a hands-down show stopper?  Not highlighter, or lash extensions or full brows - it's Sexy, bright, youthful skin.  ...but I'll take those other things too please!

Anyway, without further ado, I'm going to jump right into my current routine in getting that show stopping skin/complexion and then I'll embellish on my own personal skincare experiences after.

 Fact: a lot of us are not fully cleaning our skin!  Giving us mysteriously dry, dull complexions.  Even if my routine aint your cup of tea, these steps should at least help in the quality-control department of your own skincare routine.

Morning & Night
Step 1.
With clean hands, take about a quarter-size amount of virgin coconut oil and massage it all over your face for a minute or so.  At night, do this even with all your makeup on.

Step 2.
Take a fresh dry face towel and drench it in very hot water.  Not luke warm or even warm - I'm saying Korean spa-grade hot water.
Fold it in half so you have a good thermal layer and press it firmly on your face.  Hold until it cools.  Then drench it again in hot water and repeat on another section of your face.  Do this like 4 times until all the oil is removed.  At night, yes, do this even with a full face of makeup on.


Step 3.
Wash face with a light exfoliating face soap (I use Obagi 360 Exfoliating Cleanser).

Step 4.
Rinse your face, splashing it about 30 times with very hot water.  Clean skin, people!!  This is where the luminosity happens.

Step 5.
Use another clean dry face towel to pat-dry your face.  No rubbing!  (I buy 24 white face towels from Costco)
Step 6.
Use a cotton ball/pad to apply toner (I use Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Toner).  The cotton should not have any dirt on it after wiping your face.

Step 7.
Apply 3-4 drops of an anti-aging serum or brightening serum directly on your face and massage in.  (I use Dr. Roebuck's Boost & Tighten Serum. It's liquid gold and is a huge boost in my skincare routine!  Talk about glowing, dewy skin.)
Step 8.
Smooth on half a pea size to a full pea size amount of exfoliating face moisturizer - depending on weather: more in cold weather, less in warm/hot weather  (I use Obagi -C Exfoliating Day Lotion). Wait a couple minutes to apply any light makeup.
Skincare has always been important to me.  Mainly because of my mother.  She set me on a rigorous routine at a very young age and I've been conscious of its importance ever since.  Fortunately, I will say I've never had a lot of issues with maintaining good skin and a good complexion - even throughout middle school and high school.  But I did notice when I moved to L.A. that my skin got pretty stinkin' nightmarish.

It took years to figure out, only because I was so used to having pretty low maintenance skin.  But I did finally solve the problem:

#1.  Dairy.  Turns out I was pretty allergic to it and didn't even know it.  It gave me incessant tiny rash-like bumps all over my face.  They weren't acne and no matter what I tried, they weren't going away.  Until I stopped consuming dairy.

#2.  Dirty, Moist Skin.   I found out my skin was super dirty.  I just wasn't cleaning it thoroughly enough.  And I was living in a very dirty, hot congested city so I was also sweating all the time.  Even light sweat can cause irritation on dirty skin.  My skin was dirty, sweaty and creating a lot of dead skin that wasn't getting properly exfoliated.

1. Nuetrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Toner   2. Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil  3. Obagi-C Rx System C-Exfoliating Day Lotion  4. Lush Dream Cream Hand & Body Lotion  5. Obagi 360 Exfoliating Cleanser  6. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel

Surprisingly it was a relatively fast turnaround to get back to a dewy bright complexion - about 2 months!  And I used the above products to get me started.  Most I still use daily.  Others I use from time to time.

I explained most of the products shown but the two I haven't talked about yet are still pretty important.  Just not a necessity for daily use.  

Dream Cream (#4) is a phenomenal product and made up of mainly oils, butters and oat milk.  It is for hand and body buuuut since it's made for sensitive skin, I found it's great at being a rich nighttime face cream as it's not heavy or aggressive.

Dr. Dennis Gross Daily Peel (#6) was amazing at safely removing months (yes, months) of dead skin that had accumulated from poor washing.  Wowza, it literally looked like a light was shining on me after using it once.  It's a 2-step daily peel that truly does what it says: exfoliates, smooths, firms and lifts.  Please and thank you!

I only use a pinch of the Dream Cream at night since my skin is very hydrated and naturally oily.  For super cold weather, I make sure to use it as a barrier.  And I only use Dr Gross Peel pads when I've been naughty and I've gone to bed with makeup on or I haven't pampered my skin in a while.


So there you have it, ladies, my slightly obsessive guide to sexy, luminous skin!  I used to go to the spa once a week for a good scrub, steam and pampering.  I stuck to it pretty well until I became busy with other important things.  But I often forget that how I look has a large affect on how I feel.  Perhaps you feel the same.

This year, I plan to focus a lot more on my personal pampering time and take it more seriously.  I think it will have a huge effect on my work and candidly speaking, my self esteem as well.  Anyway, I'll be sharing what comes of it!

As always, thanks so much for visiting and reading :)  See ya next Thursday where I discuss the art of living luxuriously, no matter your budget.
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1.04.2018

Coffee & Contemplation... & Shoes

A new day, a new year, a new leaf.

And a new post :)

I was away from the blog for a little while as the holidays approached.  It's still just me running things at the shop, which I actually prefer... but like anything you put your mind and heart to, it inevitably grows.  So I will be expanding my Tiny business and hopefully freeing up some of my own time.

Anyway, November and December were banner months for The Tiny Closet Shop.  And 2017 ended up leaving me proud with renewed excitement for the coming year.  And after the extreme retail sport that is the holidays, I thought I could finally celebrate the New Year by dressing up and going out (yay!) but come 10pm, Theo was quite literally pulling me away from my swatches and design notes and begging me to go out with him like I'd promised.  I thew on some Chucks, a pair of jeans and a tee, no time for makeup, and headed out.  *sigh* that wasn't the plan...
And that was pretty much the theme, last year.  Plans for special outings, special outfits, special moments, never going to plan.

I had bought shoes (yes, the shoes you see above that I'm wearing for the first time in bed) for that evening a couple months before hand, intent on having a glamorous New Year's Eve.  And even though I did have a nice time that night ringing in 2018 with my Theo and friends, I realized...

I need a new plan.
I need to get my groove back.
When was the last time I had a manicure?  When was the last time I wore my hair the way I wanted?  Or dressed up and taken myself out?  Took a bubble bath?  Or even a long shower?  2017 was a great one - I made fantastic strides forward but man, if it had a theme, it would definitely NOT have been any of the following: fun, leisure or me-time.  And I accept that.  Some years have a singular focus.  But this year...
Your girl's gonna get her groove back!

I want to feel fabulous again!  On the outside!  And I know I talk about feeling good on the inside and how integral it is to feeling fabulous on the outside and how it can bring out personal style and blah blah blah.  Let's talk surface.  

Glossy nails, brilliant lip colors, sexy shoes, short dresses, lash extensions, tight jeans, big hair - yaaasss bitch.

I've exercised  I've meditated, I've eaten well, I've gotten 8 hours of sleep, I've drank 6 glasses of water, I've read and mantra'd and prayed.  Now I just wanna play with makeup, dress up, stunt on my husband and buy that fancy lotion I've been eyeing that has mica in it.
Ok, ok, this is still The Tiny Closet.  Where everything has a place, no extra fluff and stuff and clean open space to maintain an absolutely beautiful and highly curated (by you!) closet.  And I am excited take on this life-concept with fresh perspective.  And share the adventure with you!

I am after all, a minimalist to.the.core.. But I'm going to get a little dressier, this year.  A little sexier and more indulgent in the pieces that I choose to make up my seasonal capsules.  Instead of using my lifestyle to influence my clothing choices completely.  This year, I'm going to let the clothing I love influence my lifestyle as well.  Just a bit.  
Still sticking with 15-20 pieces per season, let's turn it up a notch and get dreamier with our clothing!   Less pedestrian, more opulence!  Less utility, more extravagance!  The Tiny way :)

Follow along with me as I indulge in getting back to the fun, feminine, lavish side of clothing, style and maintaining a closet you love.
Thank you for visiting and reading.  Come back next Thursday for more!
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11.02.2017

My Fall Capsule

I have been waiting to reveal this!!   With the weather having been like mid July for the past couple months, I postponed showcasing my Fall pieces so that I could actually wear them and figure out what kind of look I wanted to have this season.  
Finally, overnight, Fall has descended upon Los Angeles as a silvery dark cold blanket.  Never mind last week, which was sunny and in the hundreds - it's Fall so get used it!

Let's get right into it: 
Look-links to click! top to bottom: brown platform sandals / patent heeled mules / open toe wedges

These few pairs of heels have been my go-tos since August.  The coppery brown sandals I wear pretty much year round because firstly, I'm in sunny, warm California and also because their color is gorgeous for Summer and Fall looks (sometimes even warmer Winter months).  The other mules go well with denim, leggings, midi dresses - you name it.  And they should because I got them for that reason actually - not for my wardrobe but for modeling with my clothing line.  Having no intentions to make them part of my Tiny Closet, I bought them to wear for fittings and product shoots.  None of them are even over $40!  They looked so good though, I just started wearing them to the shoots and then out leisurely.
This is actually a sneak preview of my new collection of basics coming up...soon.  The collection is called "Standard" and these particular designs were fundamental in creating my clothing line.  Anyway, I'm very excited to share these pieces with you.  For now, they are part of my Fall capsule this season specifically because I am testing the fabrics for performance and look.  So far I love them! And so will you.  On the subject though - I've found it very helpful to always have a set of fine tees.  White, heather gray and black are my set.  Excellent drape, great feel, and a feminine deep neckline for a light sexy, slouchy style.
Look-link!  cropped lace camisole

And a lace or silk camisole is super helpful.  A key piece in bringing a capsule together.

This midi skirt has been a keeper for years.  Definitely medium weight kid leather (the most exquisite kind!) with a silk lining, I only take this babe out for Fall & Winter.  I've noticed an article of leather does well in every seasonal capsule, whether it's pants, a skirt or a jacket.  If leather aligns with your ethics, or maybe vegan leather, the look is all-season and you can have fun with colors for each capsule!
Look-link!  one-shoulder knit midi dress / Available for preorder 11/9

My one-shoulder knit midi dress comes in handy pretty much all year.  I debuted this piece as regal Summer evening wear.  But I've found it's relevant and beautiful for Fall.  I plan to make this piece in a long sleeve to better fit the current season.  

My orange wrap dress from Summer also does very well for Fall here.  I'm thinking a scoop neck body suit underneath as an additional look for the season?  Could be fun.  A dress with an of-the-moment statement color or print always does well in a capsule.  Always!

Of course, I had to include my smoke black V-neck waterfall dress.  It seems to be perfect for any occasion!  I designed it and even I'm surprised by its capacity.  This piece became quite popular after I released it's first design as a Summer tunic (below).  The fabric is heavyweight so for me, it's definitely a Fall piece.  Layered with tights and an overcoat or statement sweater, it could also work as a light dress for Winter.

A Summer tunic turned every-day oversize top.  This long roomy tunic goes so well with my work clothes, it's almost as basic as a big white tee - I'm sure I'll bring this top with me through all of my capsules.  I am also releasing it in a mulled wine color next week sooooo.... maybe that will be my new Fall favorite?  It'll be nice to have options though :)

I love The Painter dress as it's called in my shop.  But the original dress I released last Spring looked better on me.  Also, I haven't had a chance to wear it much with the blistering heat.  The denim is heavy weight like a stiff pair or jeans so Fall/Winter months only.  It's got a great silhouette and damn sturdy!  And since Fall came to us literally overnight, I'll have more opportunities to sport this daily workhorse dress.

Be sure to check out all my "Look-Links" to see how I styled each of my Fall capsule pieces in past and present season.  And speaking of looking... 

New Winter pieces are arriving in the shop next week!!!! 
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10.16.2017

A Dress & Jeans

Restyling my closet has always been a high-energy sport for me.  And over the years, styling, mixing, repurposing has grown to being the forefront of fashion anyway.  Mixing high end luxury clothing with clearance sale fast fashion, mixing genres, mixing textures, seasons - it's the new expression of fashion.

And last week I played with an old mashup: a dress over jeans.  Honestly, I feel like any (yes, any) dress can be worn over jeans but it's got to be the right jeans for the right person.  And shoes are a biggie as well.  Technically speaking, someone of my height (a wee 5') shouldn't play with this method.  And uncharacteristically, I actually agree with this guideline...  
But not today.  These jeans are my most favorite denim ever so I'll find any excuse to wear them with anything else in my closet, let alone my Fall capsule.  And this wrap dress that I've named, "The Nomad" in my shop has become my new favorite piece so I also want every reason to wear it.  Voila.
It got pretty chilly for a few days last week and I thought this mix was a good idea.  But it was back to 96 degrees yesterday so I think I'll be mashing up quite a bit more throughout this season, at least until there's more consistent weather.  For those experiencing similar weather while trying to get into the classic Autumn spirit, stay tuned.  

And for those of you starting to feel the nip, I guess this post is for you!  
Because I would've been sweating like a lil piglet if I decided to wear this ensemble any other day.  It was fun while it lasted.

Want to shop this wrap dress?  Click here.
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10.09.2017

Lengthy Statements

I've been styling this white v-neck tunic all Summer long and now into Fall.  It's an upgrade from a big white tee - in fact, it's not even jersey.  It's a woven rayon with drape for days.  And I love draping it with everything!
So yeah, yeah you can wear this tunic with leggings and palazzo pants - predictable but looks fabulous nonetheless.  But I like to play with more atypical styles.  Styles that, while still completely accessible, they're a bit off the well beaten path.  This vintage (can you believe 80s is now considered vintage??!!) leather midi skirt is my fave and I'll have it for years more to come.  It was the first thing I thought of pairing after designing this tunic.
I initially thought having two long oversize pieces on my small 5 foot frame would be a distraction.  No one should notice your outfit before noticing you.  You and your look need to be an equal pair.  But when I put the two together, it balanced quite nicely.  No distraction from the wearer, very me and so very comfortable.
I chose to go silver for this style.  I never wear silver, having such warm tones but for one, this chain-link cuff was a dear gift from my husband and I haven't been able to fit it in years.  I tried it on randomly and boom, it fit like the day he got it for me...7 years ago.

Also, I've always loved these simple hammered silver earrings.  Topped it off with a sky blue Larimar ring (which was featured here two Summers ago) and my minimalist heart was pleased.
There's a handful of outfits I'll never tire of and this one was just added to the list.  Such a simple artful statement - and so effortless!  That's why it's fun to experiment with going against the rules.  I always do.  Because you never know just how wrong those silly "fashion rules" are if you don't try breaking them.  Wearing what you love and looking how you want to look always makes a statement anyhow.

Happy Monday :)
p.s. you can actually purchase this fabulous v-neck tunic at my shop!  Enjoy.


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10.02.2017

Effortless w/ Separates

I am so happy to be living in Theo's my All Saints drop crotch jeans again!  They have the.most.perfect slouch and crinkle-ness about them.  Boyish and rugged.  I mean after all, they are mens jeans so...they're more to play around with, style-wise.
That means, I love putting super simple feminine tops and separates with them.  And in the case of last Sunday morning, a white deep v-neck body suit, slim gold pendent necklace and an oversized draped wrap top was all I needed.  I've already worn this ensemble twice in a week and this is The Tiny Closet so I'll be sporting it again within another day or so.  This outfit is so darn simple and yet, an alternative styling to jeans and a tee.  It also still gives an effortless, leisure vibe that jeans and a tee would, which at my bottom line, is what I like to see in all of my clothing.  Why? 

Because if it looks like I thought too hard about it, the outfit is no longer a seamless form of self expression, it's just in the way.  It has to be effortless.  Because effortless is natural.  And we all want to be natural, and look natural for that matter.  So if I can't put it on and go, if I'm stopping in the mirror to mullllll then to me, it's not working.  It's not effortless.
I mention "effortless" because separates tend to be a little more work.  The coordination, the fit, the flattering of color and the way it moves etc - I tend to go for one-piece looks because of this.  But I've been playing a lot with separates lately and the goal of putting things together with minimal effort is a challenge I've been up for lately.  Maybe because I now have a bomb pair or bottoms to work with?  Perhaps.
 This week, I'll be attending the L.A. Textile Convention for Fall/Winter 2018, something I prepare for and look forward to all year.  Fashion Week is certainly fun to see but the Textile Convention that happens every Fall?  That's definitely more my speed.  I can't even tell you how excited I am.  I will try to record the experience but my focus first will be planning my collection for next A/W.  Hopefully I can share with you again come Thursday - I'm keeping my fingers crossed!  Til then, catch me on Instagram where I'll be sharing stories and posting.  Also visit The Tiny Closet Shop to view and shop my current Fall items!  New arrivals are coming later this week :)
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9.28.2017

Rugged Jeans & Fine Tees

I've been exploring more separates lately.  I took a break from the one-piece look, my most favorite look, and started getting into my jeans, bottoms and tops.  Probably because I've lost a good amount of weight and all of a sudden, pants have started to become appealing to wear again.  I've always loved a good one-and-done, you name it: jumpsuits, rompers, dresses,  if I can pop it on and go, I'll take it in every color - but specifically, Theo bought a pair of denim from All Saints years ago and back then, their designs in everything they did were so incredibly, meticulously, amazingly tailored, and these jeans included were just *sigh* the best damn boyfriend jeans a gal could dream of.
In fact, I wrote a post on the boyfriend look, solely inspired by these jeans.  And yes, 2012 was in fact the last time I was comfortably able to wear them since most recently.  Oh, life.
Anyway, as elated as I've been to be able to wear my most favorite jeans again, I am now equally excited about how I will style them this season!  And what tops shall I rock with these bad ass bottoms?  Whatdya know, I actually do have just the tops ready to pop on and go...
My first choice is this edgy cropped asymmetric top, The Studio Top.   Weighty for Fall, drapes like a dream with a very silk-like look and feel.  These jeans have a dropped crotch that was huge at the time, now not so much.  But harem pants and drop crotch styles are my forever loves so I didn't hesitate throwing a cropped top over the look.
Even now, when I'm not being deliberate about the tomboy/boyfriend style, wearing boyfriend jeans in general will always give an ultra casual (even rugged) look.  And for me, with my build and height, that combination can get a little too close to "frumpy town".  So I like to mold the look into being a bit edgier with a hint of sexy.  The top is a finer top - so it automatically upgrades the jeans to exuding urban, edgy vibes.  Complete with slim wedges is the hint of sexy that I'm looking for.
 
 Getting closer to a classic Tee style, my next go-to top option is a white deep V tunic, The Tourist.  The oversize tunic style matches the slouchiness of the jeans without being redundant overkill because it's light, slinky and not a tee.  It's a finer top that once again, graduates the boyfriend look to a bonfide Angelina Jolie girlfriend look. ha.
And these patent leather heels are dynamite!  Currently my most favorite shoes in my closet.  Surely a pair you will see in my upcoming post on my new Fall Capsule!
So there you have it, mixing rugged textures with finer threads works fabulously when working with classic separate duos like a jeans and tee.  I love these two ensembles and they'll indeed be my Fall uniform for leisure outings.

Come back on Monday where I'll be sharing more new ensembles from my almost-completed capsule!
Oh, and something really cool just arrived in The Shop todayyyy.  Go check it out!
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