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AUTUMNAL BACKYARD BASH

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Feast your eyes on the most glorious backyard bash there ever was. It’s full of love, celebration, great food, and amazing friends – it’s the absolute perfect evening in my book. You’ve met the gorgeous host, Caroline Brewer, but here she takes us through throwing her husband a surprise 30th birthday bash & it’s just about the best thing ever. Scroll down, get inspired, and thanks Caroline & Clark for sharing your evening with us! xoxo -LK


In my family, we place strong a emphasis on celebrations. We are always looking for an excuse to get together and throw a party, anticipate an upcoming milestone or speak love into each other’s lives, so when Clark’s big 3-0 approached, I knew I wanted to create something unforgettable.
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Instead of throwing a “big” party and inviting everyone we knew, I decided to invite 10 of our closest couple friends to a long sit down dinner in my parent’s beautiful backyard. I wanted it to be intimate and intentional. It was actually a surprise party, but in order to document the day, I surprised Clark before everyone arrived so he could take pictures. As he was photographing the table, he walked around to find each of the table placement cards and one by one he was able to see who was coming!
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It was a chilly night in late November so we set up several fire pits, had a whisky bar and s’mores on hand for later. One of our close friends is a talented chef here in Nashville and we hired him to come and prepare all of the food. With each course he came out and told us about the dish and how he had prepared it. The food was indescribably delicious!
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About halfway through the night, I asked for anyone who felt inclined to stand and speak a few words of encouragement into Clark’s life as he passed from his 20’s into his 30’s. In my family, this is a tradition for each birthday we celebrate so it was fun to incorporate our friends into it this year.
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I feel that everyone should have moment in their lives where close friends and family can speak about them openly, encouraging them and lifting them up. For me, these moments in life seem to be the ones I remember the most. After the speeches, friends and family stayed and celebrated late into the night. It turned into a perfect Fall night under the stars that we will never forget!

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Styling: Caroline Brewer | Invitations: Joya Rose | Food: Somoni Kigweba
Chair Rentals: 12th Table | Photography: Clark Brewer

DINNER WITH FRIENDS| BELEN AQUINO

DSC_0034Hello, hello! We are in for a big treat today. Belen Aquino, a Chicago-based photographer, and her family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard and they are taking us along with them to experience dinner on the Cape! In true New England fashion, they invited a bunch of friends over and settled in for a delicious clam bake….with an Italian twist. Scroll down to see the full story and delicious recipe. 
DSC_0041Hello! Belen here and I am so excited to share this delicious dinner. Our last night on Martha’s Vineyard we decided to do a clam boil and invite over a few friends and family. While my husband Drew and his cousin Armando took on making  the boil, I set about getting the table ready. Weekend and summer homes are never as well equipped as an everyday home. All the plates are mix and match, and there’s are never enough linens to go around. Clam boils are messy eating so I used last weeks paper to cover the picnic tables. DSC_0053Right before everybody arrived I snipped a few branches off the wild rose bushes that run along the property line and placed them down the center of the table. Sometimes, just using what’s on hand is the best way to go. And think outside the box. Who says you can’t use newspaper to cover the table? Talk about a conversation starter. Sitting outside enjoying the sunset and eating clams right out of the ocean, and chatting with some of my nearest and dearest was truly the best way to end a magical vacation. DSC_0081 DSC_0082

INGREDIENTS:

– 4 Gallons water

– 4 cups clam juice

– 1/2 pound unsalted butter

– 2 oz jar Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic (or more to taste)

– 6 medium yellow onions, quartered

– 8 stalks celery, cut into thirds

– All of the cloves of 4 heads garlic peeled and cleaned

– 2 lemons, halved

– 4 tablespoons kosher salt

– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked, cleaned, and cut into thirds

– 3 pounds new potatoes (we used a mix of red and golden)

– 4 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch lengths (We used Linguiça and a bourbon sausage.)

– 4 pounds steamer clams

– 4 pounds littleneck clams

– 2 sticks salted butter (melted)

– 2 loaves crusty French bread

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine the water and clam juice and butter in a 6-gallon pot.

2. Add the seafood magic, onions, celery, garlic, lemon, salt and black pepper. Add the sweet corn and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the sausage. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

3. While the boil is heating, clean the clams by scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing under cold running water. Fill the sink with cold water and swish clams back and forth to dislodge any sand and grit that may be caught in the necks. Rinse and repeat several times. If you’re buying clams from your local supermarket, you can probably skip this step.

4. When the potatoes are almost fork-tender, add the clams, increase the heat to high, cover, and cook until the shells pop open, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the liquid from the pot.

5. Serve the clam boil on paper bags or newspaper. Discard any clams that do not open.  Pass the melted butter and bread.

DSC_0115 DSC_0121Clam boils are the absolute best. They are messy, happy, and oh so delicious! We made some of our favorite sides to round out the meal. Pair it all with a few bottles of your favorite wine & voila – taste bud heaven. Feel free to spice things up, switch it around, this is your dinner party, so have fun with it. DSC_0126 DSC_0128 DSC_0152


Recipe adapted from  Emeril Lagasse, 2005

Photography & Copy by Belen Aquino

DINNER WITH FRIENDS | BRITTANY PIGORINI

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-7Hello & happy Tuesday! Brittany here and I am so excited to share our Dinner With Friends feature. As an event designer, my world is a beautiful place filled with lush, perfect imagery of ornate floral bouquets, styled vignettes, and more inspirational Pinterest boards than one could ever possibly imagine. Because these curated moments occupy my work life, I crave a more simplistic lifestyle and surroundings when I leave the office. I know many fellow creative folks can relate, as there’s always a tendency for comparisons, which can certainly lead us down a slippery slope.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-12birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-16My friend hosted a small backyard bash for new and old friends alike, where we could all mingle, enjoy a glass of sangria, and relax amongst a candlelit dinner. With a no-fuss menu of a summer quinoa salad and roasted veggies, it was a menu that could be prepped easily and allow her to focus on conversations, not slaving away in the kitchen.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-19birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-10birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-13Entertaining doesn’t need to be a huge production, and I think allowing guests to help out is the key to success. Rather than pretending you have it under control when you’re secretly drowning in a sea of failed recipes and wishing your home looked like a West Elm catalog, why not entrust in your friends to bring dessert, help set the table, or make a unique cocktail menu? You don’t need to do it all yourself!birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-23birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-18birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-2As the owner of a vintage rentals company, I was able to provide all of the tabletop goods and set the table quickly. Another friend is a talented calligrapher, so she easily whipped up a few name tags that were carefully placed to ensure people made new friends. Another guest owns a succulent and terrarium shop, so we of course incorporated her stunning creations as our centerpieces. Of course, we also were fortunate enough to have a photographer friend snap a few photos during the intimate occasion.

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-27birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-1birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-21With only an hour of preparation, the entire party was setup and guests were able to share a special evening together. That’s what entertaining is all about – conversation, laughter, and bringing people together. Trust me, nobody cares if your napkins aren’t perfectly pressed or if your yard needs to be mowed.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-28birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-30 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-39 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-37 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-35 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-34 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-32


Tabletop items and design: Birch & Brass | Calligraphy: Wondrous Whimsy | Hostess and Menu Planning: Modern Whimsy | Terrariums: Slavonk & Hortus Terraria | Event planning: The Daily Romantics | Photography: Chelsea Laine FrancisBRITTANY BUTTON

DINNER WITH FRIENDS | BRITTANY PIGORINI

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-7Hello & happy Tuesday! Brittany here and I am so excited to share our Dinner With Friends feature. As an event designer, my world is a beautiful place filled with lush, perfect imagery of ornate floral bouquets, styled vignettes, and more inspirational Pinterest boards than one could ever possibly imagine. Because these curated moments occupy my work life, I crave a more simplistic lifestyle and surroundings when I leave the office. I know many fellow creative folks can relate, as there’s always a tendency for comparisons, which can certainly lead us down a slippery slope.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-12birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-16My friend hosted a small backyard bash for new and old friends alike, where we could all mingle, enjoy a glass of sangria, and relax amongst a candlelit dinner. With a no-fuss menu of a summer quinoa salad and roasted veggies, it was a menu that could be prepped easily and allow her to focus on conversations, not slaving away in the kitchen.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-19birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-10birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-13Entertaining doesn’t need to be a huge production, and I think allowing guests to help out is the key to success. Rather than pretending you have it under control when you’re secretly drowning in a sea of failed recipes and wishing your home looked like a West Elm catalog, why not entrust in your friends to bring dessert, help set the table, or make a unique cocktail menu? You don’t need to do it all yourself!birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-23birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-18birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-2As the owner of a vintage rentals company, I was able to provide all of the tabletop goods and set the table quickly. Another friend is a talented calligrapher, so she easily whipped up a few name tags that were carefully placed to ensure people made new friends. Another guest owns a succulent and terrarium shop, so we of course incorporated her stunning creations as our centerpieces. Of course, we also were fortunate enough to have a photographer friend snap a few photos during the intimate occasion.

birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-27birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-1birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-21With only an hour of preparation, the entire party was setup and guests were able to share a special evening together. That’s what entertaining is all about – conversation, laughter, and bringing people together. Trust me, nobody cares if your napkins aren’t perfectly pressed or if your yard needs to be mowed.birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-28birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-30 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-39 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-37 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-35 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-34 birchandbrassdinnerLOWRES-32


Tabletop items and design: Birch & Brass | Calligraphy: Wondrous Whimsy | Hostess and Menu Planning: Modern Whimsy | Terrariums: Slavonk & Hortus Terraria | Event planning: The Daily Romantics | Photography: Chelsea Laine FrancisBRITTANY BUTTON

THE PERFECT SUMMER SLIDERS: THREE WAYS

sliders0003Hello, summer people! Hopefully your weekend was full of friends, good food, and lots of summer fun. We’ve been crushing these summer sliders are season long and thought it was high time we share out favorite combos with you. Get ready for the BAT (Bacon, Avocado, and Tomato), the Pulled Pork, and, of course, the Classic Slider! Mix, match, have a slider bar – go crazy!

sliders0002INGREDIENTS FOR PULLED PORK:

pulled pork (we’ve got the perfect recipe!)

– pickled radish

– spicy barbeque sauce

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INGREDIENTS FOR B(acon)-A(vocado)-T(omato):

– peppered bacon

– avocado

– heirloom tomato

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE CLASSIC SLIDER

-grilled ground beef patty

-cheddar cheese

-stone ground mustard

-iceberg lettuce

-red onion

-heirloom tomato

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TABLEMAKERS IN THE VINEYARD

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I know, I know, you’ve heard me say it before, but I just love a good dinner party. I mean it! There is something really magical when you put people together and let them connect over great food & amazing wine. This dinner party might top the list of favorites because, truthfully, how often do you get to dine in a culinary garden in the middle of a vineyard?

KJW0229We invited some of our favorite tastemakers in the bay area to our Tablemakers dinner at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens and it was nothing short of breathtaking.

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The evening began with a tour of the culinary gardens with Tucker. We wove in and out of the sensory garden, smelling various herbs and then sipping wine to see how the flavors translated. As we walked through the vineyard up the path, Randy explained the maturation process of a grape vine and painted an elegant picture for how wine is made. Just as he finished explaining the lineage & family heritage of the K-J vineyards, we rounded the corner on this…

KJW0227KJW0251The evening was pure magic.

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I have said it before & I will say it again, I love inviting people to dinner who don’t know each other. While, yes, of course, there is a chance they won’t get along and the whole evening goes south, the majority of the time that doesn’t happen. More often than not, things go off without a hitch. This night was absolutely one of those.

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In true Tablemakers form, the conversation was non-stop, the wine was perfectly paired, the food was divine, and the company was even better. It was one of those evenings where you kind of look down on the moment and say, “this is perfect.”

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The concept of Tablemakers – that entertaining doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be honest – is something very near and dear to my heart. Every time I host a party or have friends over for a drink, I think about the balance between perfect and honest. You want everything to be just so & adorably Instagram-able, but you want your guests to relax and have a good time. This dinner in the vineyard struck the perfect cord. The setting was breathtaking (HELLO, we are sitting in the middle of a freaking vineyard) and the preparations were sublime, but the atmosphere was relaxed, laid back, and incredibly conducive to friendship. It was perfect and honest and it left me totally inspired.
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I don’t know about you, but sadly, I don’t have a vineyard at home, but sitting amongst the grounds of the property really got me inspired to entertain outdoors this summer. You couldn’t ask for better ambiance than flickering lightning bugs or twinkling stars and there really isn’t anything better than a long, relaxing dinner outdoors.

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In partnership with Kendall-Jackson. All opinions are our own.

DINNER WITH FRIENDS | SAMANTHA THOMPSON

ftyXF_JVnJMQen0B-CINSJ0W4tSK3XN_5kCIuS-ZTScMeet my dear friend, Samantha Thompson. You might recognize her from our Well Dressed Creative feature or you might have her of her company – Standard Wax – mainly because we have a giant love affair with their candles and can’t get enough of them (seriously, get the White Tea & Thyme – it’s divine).

We started a new series called Dinner With Friends (you might remember #girlboss Candice kicking it off a few weeks ago). Think of this series as Tablemakers in practicum. We realize not everyone has a beautiful desert space to host their friends, or has access to exotic ingredients for unique recipes. But, that’s really not the point of all of this. At the end of the day our goal is to encourage you to invite people over. Impromptu dinner party, Bachelor watching party, it’s almost Friday and we had a shitty week party, whatever it is – gather up some folks and hang out!

That being said, we couldn’t think of anyone who exemplifies this better that Samantha. She is quick to host, always down for a dinner party, and doesn’t fret over a messy house – god love her, right? So dive in, scroll down, and check out what entertaining means to Sam and be inspired!

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What does entertaining mean to you?

It means bringing people together. I never have people over to cook, or make the house cute, or decorate a table. I do it so I can see my friends and family and spend meaningful time together.

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How do you like to make people feel welcome when they come over?

Food, drinks, music. That’s really all you need. I used to think a party had to have some sort of over-the-top theme or menu, but when it all boils down, people just want to spend time together. I also don’t like to be rushing around a kitchen when people come over. I try to do as much as I can so that when the first guest arrives, they aren’t shoved into a corner to sip a drink alone. They feel welcome because I’m genuinely excited to see them, instead of stressed about finishing an extravagant recipe.

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What is your favorite “go-to”?

A party game, a recipe, favorite cocktail, etc. Recently it’s sangria. It’s delicious, I usually have the ingredients lying around, and it can be ready within an hour!

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What makes you nervous about having people over?

Nothing! Are you supposed to be nervous? My house can be a mess and I can order takeout instead of cooking, but as long as my people are there I’m happy.

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Tell us about tonight? How did you plan?

How did you come up with the recipes, etc? I just wanted to spend a low-key night with some girlfriends over dinner and drinks. The catch? I was right in the middle of the “whole 30” diet (if you don’t know, it’s no processed foods, no added sugar, no dairy, etc etc etc). It sounds crazy, especially since I’m a vegetarian, but I was feeling so amazing I didn’t want to break the diet just for the party. I also didn’t want to eat a “special” meal while everyone else had something mouth-watering and full of cheese and butter. So, I decided to experiment and plan the whole menu around the whole30 diet, but not tell anyone and see if they noticed. But like I’ve said, I don’t want to be tired and stressed from cooking, I want to spend time with my friends! So, all of the food was from a local restaurant. Blasphemous? Maybe. But it’s how I roll, and I would never try to hide it. We had hummus and fresh tomatoes, grilled chicken with garlic potato puree, tahini cauliflower, mixed beans, sautéed mushrooms, and then I made lots of sangria. LOTS of sangria.

Y4BAmoF5_HsyO4-BQFXXZesLB-ilPBfeat1ASd-VWK4,QSC82wTwrOWOdijkctF3ND0dfPsyQMih7qQ3ONNTOF4Give us your favorite entertaining tip!

I own a candle company, so I might be a little partial, but I think candles add a sense of “togetherness” to any room or table. Before people come over, I light a few around the house, and always have a few on the table with some flowers. Everything instantly looks put together with about 5 minutes of prep time.

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Photography by Carlee Komar | Florals by Bask + Terra | Centerpiece Candles by Standard Waxlauren

MEMORIAL DAY ROOFTOP ENTERTAINING

Memorial Day Rooftop EntertainingMemorial Day means the start of summer and what better way to celebrate that with a rooftop dinner party with close friends? Set against the New York City skyline, I teamed up with chef and culinary instructor Clare Langan to create a beautiful, intimate evening with a few of our favorite people.  We focused on an easy, yet well-curated menu and simple decor.

Memorial Day Rooftop Entertaining

From Clare: Food was the focus at this styled dinner party for the couple who loves to cook together, craft homemade cocktails and entertain friends at home. An intimate rooftop gathering was just the thing to make the big city seem smaller.

As a chef and food stylist, I believe food should look as good as it tastes. The inspiration for the evening was the lush fruits of summer: deep, rich blackberries, juicy peaches, nectarines and apricots. Vintage peach and blackberry stamps greeted guests on our kraft and cream calligraphy paper goods. The sweetness carried over into the floral design, with branches of young blueberries, blush hyacinths, hydrangea and other super market finds.

A mix of vintage and modern pieces allowed each dish to shine. We loved the antique ‘berry bowls’ from Little Vintage Rentals. Each guest was gifted a bottle of Lemon Simple Syrup, delicious in cocktails or iced tea, to enjoy all summer long.

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Photographer: Becka Pillmore | Recipes & Food Styling: Clare Langan | Creative Direction & Floral Design: Lindsey Brunk | Production Assistant: Casey Evans | Calligraphy: Laurel Writes | Vintage tableware: Little Vintage Rentals lindseybrunk

ZESTY ORANGE AND MINT WATERMELON SALAD

Zesty Orange & Mint Watermelon Salad

Happy Monday, y’all! We’re kicking off the week with another delicious recipe from our Colorful Bridal Luncheon. This zesty orange and mint watermelon salad is full of bold flavors and gorgeous color, perfect for a summer party or trip to the lake. The flavors of the fruit are totally kicked up a notch thanks to the mint, and when the balsamic is added, pure bliss! Nothing we’ve ever made has tasted this much like summer and we can’t wait for y’all to try it!

Don’t forget to tag #LKMakes on Instagram & Twitter to show us how you nailed this recipe!

Zesty Orange & Mint Watermelon SaladINGREDIENTS:

– 1/4 of a small (6-pound) seedless watermelon, rind removed, flesh cut into cubes

– 1 large orange, peel and pith removed, flesh cut into cubes

– 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced

– 2 ounces feta cheese, thinly sliced (optional)

– 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

– 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

– Light drizzle with orange infused balsamic vinegar

– Coarse salt and ground pepper

Zesty Orange & Mint Watermelon SaladINSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut your fruit and orange slices into a square formation. This shape looks extra nice for presentation and is easy to pick up with a  toothpick!

2. On a serving platter, arrange watermelon, orange, red onion, feta cheese, and parsley.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve, have your guests be impressed, and enjoy!

 


Photography: Kristen Kilpatrick | Styling & Design: Lindsey Brunk
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PRICKLY PEAR TEQUILA FLOATS

Prickly Pear Grapefruit Float

A delicious cocktail recipe is always the best way to kick off the weekend, but we just might be outdoing ourselves with these Prickly Pear Tequila Floats!

Perfect for warm summer afternoons, the sorbet has the added bonus of keeping your cocktail chilled. No simple syrups, no exotic ingredients you’ll have to hunt down at a specialty store, and ready to sip in under 5 minutes. TGIF!

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INGREDIENTS

– 1 bottle Prickly Pear Italian Soda from Central Market
– 1 pint grapefruit sorbet
– 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila

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INSTRUCTIONS

Optional Prep-Ahead: Scoop and freeze small balls of grapefruit sorbet on a cookie sheet in the freezer 1″ cookie scoop or melon baller.

1. Place a small scoop of grapefruit sorbet into the bottom of each chilled glass.

2. Add a splash of tequila, then top with Prickly Pear Italian Soda. Keep things virgin by ditching the tequila, or make into big batch cocktails by combining all the ingredients into a blender before serving.

3. Garnish with grapefruit slices or a pretty paper straw if you’re feeling extra festive.

4. Enjoy!


Photography: Kristen Kilpatrick | Styling & Design: Lindsey Brunk

Glassware: Crate & Barrel | Colorful Serving Platters: CB2

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