1. November 25, 2014
    Get your gift swap on


    Just a friendly holiday PSA to chat about one of my favorite new things about the holidays: blogger gift swaps.

    Last year I participated in Ali’s city swap, and was matched up with a lovely lady from Portland. She sent along tasty delights — I’m still enjoying the amazing Seven Smith Teamaker tea she sent along, and dreaming about a certain chocolate. I sent along some locally printed gift enclosure cards, and a tea towel from Mirdinara to my recipient. Here, who you give to and who gives to you are different people. What makes Ali’s swap unique is that the gift you give must be local to where you’re living. Supporting local artisans, making new friends, learning about other cities, win win win. Anyways, this was something I signed up for on a whim, and it turned out to be such a lovely experience that I wanted to give you all a heads up if you wanted to hop on board. The deadline to join is tomorrow, Nov 26th!

    This year, on another whim—holiday time seriously puts me into whim-mode I guess—I signed up for the Goody Goody Gift Swap. The names on the exchangers list were too good to pass up, and I’m looking forward to getting a taste of a different swap this year.

    The deadlines for both swaps are fast approaching, so if you’re wanting to get in to a little extra holiday spirit, hurry up and get yourself signed up.

    Wishing you all safe travels if you’re heading out this week, and lots of love on Thanksgiving. I’ll be heading out west for a Cronkhite family Thanksgiving reunion on the farm. I’m so looking forward to taking a few days to unplug and relax with all of them.

    Pssst: I opened a Pinegate Road Etsy shop, just in time for the holidays! I’m still going to be doing some tweaks, but I wanted to get it up in time for holiday shopping. If you have a creative go-getter on your list, one of these limited edition handmade prints might be a perfect new treasure.

  2. August 11, 2014
    weapons of mass creation 2014

    weapons of mass creation featured designer 2014

    This weekend marks a pretty big milestone in my design career. I’ll be heading to the Weapons of Mass Creation festival here in Cleveland as a featured designer. Some of you may have seen a little bit of this stamping craze that I got in to last month, and that was all in preparation to take part in the National Poster Retrospecticus that will be held at the festival. Along with taking part in this event, I’ll be spending my weekend soaking in inspiration from speakers that will be traveling here to Cleveland from around the country. I had a major pinch-me moment when I saw Grace Bonney’s headshot pop up as one of the speakers at the festival. Gah. That’s stuff my design-girl dreams are made of.

    While I made the move here shortly before last year’s event, with my unpacking craze I wasn’t able to make it to the festival. I don’t know what to expect in it’s entirety, but I’m crazy excited to take part in an event that celebrates artists, designers, and creativity in this expansive way in my new hometown. Cleveland, I love you, honestly and truly. I was gushing to my coworkers last week about how there really couldn’t have been a better place for me to end up after graduation. It’s events like this that make me realize that the decision to move here was one of the better choices I’ve made in my life. There’s still a long way to go and a lot that I haven’t explored here, but after a year I can really say it’s feeling like home.

    If you’re around the area, or are making your way to Cleveland for the festival, be sure to reach out! Send me a tweet, and I’ll be happy to come say hello. It will be amazing to get to know the creative community here in a new way, and there’s no better way to experience some major inspiration than in-person events like this.

    Hope to see you this weekend!

    You can purchase tickets here.

  3. July 25, 2014
    IN REVIEW | april, may, & june 2014

    IN REVIEW | april, may, june 2014

    So, what have I been up to? Most of all, just trying to make life happy. Wholeheartedly.

    This year started off with some more big life transitions. Eaton came in to my life, and while I’m sure many of you have way bigger obstacles to overcome, single-puppy-momdom was incredibly difficult for me. It’s all in perspective and past experiences I suppose. I felt like almost nothing could get done in-between work and making sure that she had a happy healthy upbringing. Call me crazy puppy lady. I’ve finally got my lunch breaks back and we are sleeping through the night and past 7AM on weekends. Oh man, the sanity that has come back to me! At this same time, I took on the life-changing experience of working with Angela Hauck. Working with her and her team on both blog design, as well as my personal health journey has challenged me in more ways than I could have ever expected. This process has taught me just what I am able to take on while I walk this 8-5 + freelance career journey. I’ll be honest and say that it’s been tough. I failed myself more than I’d like to admit, and these past few weeks I’ve been transitioning in to more self-care and attention. That gung-ho “let’s do it!” attitude helped me get started, but maintaining my self-expectations didn’t go so well. Work, freelance, and fun came first for a while. Ice cream and fancy cocktails were had; workouts, not so much.

    One of the most fun things that has happened in the past couple months has been the start of a new relationship. I met Todd in March, and we’ve been exploring, dining, chatting, and fun-having ever since. I don’t want to be too gushy on a design blog, so I’ll leave it at that. Hah! It’s been amazing to see how my life has changed for the better since meeting him. It’s also been a couple months of figuring out how to live a life together. You know how that beginning stage of a relationship goes. All you want to do is have fun, right? Life catches up, and then you realize that those real-life-adult things need to start happening again. You’ve gained ten pounds and don’t remember what your tennis shoes looked like. Oh, and those pants. Too tight to even explain. Whoops! We’re getting it together now, I promise.

    Since March, I’ve been able to head to Pursue workshop, explore Cleveland in a whole new way with friends, figure out more of who I am as a designer and business owner, explore cooking with local produce, and really live up these warmer months. I don’t know if it has been the harsh winter we made our way through, or the new relationship that has me all giddy, but I’ve been loving this summer like no other. Things are busier, but they are also so much more worth while in lots of ways. Keep it coming, please and thank you!

    All in all, I feel for the first time in years I’m settling in to a regular pace of life. A pace that fills me up, challenges me, and makes me a happier personal all together. These past few months have been an amazing experience, and this time around these experiences needed to happen outside of this online space. That’s ok. For now, I’m working on me, I’m working on us, and I’m working on working on things. I needed this time away to get to this place, to focus on something other than what’s been for so long. It finally feels good to be back.

  4. February 17, 2014
    REFLECTION | on passing and faith

    a reflection on passing & faith | PINEGATE ROAD

    Last weekend a family I have grown up with and considered a second family the majority of my life, lost their son in a tragic way. The details are still hard for me to comprehend, but you can read a little about the incident here. I’d just like to first and foremost ask for all your thoughts, prayers, and love to be sent to the Hallmans during this time. I know blogging about this is a little out of context to what I normally share, but I have the feeling that David’s life and death is going to have a significant impact of how I go about the rest of my journey here on Earth. He was such a bright and fun-loving kid, and I can’t even begin to understand why he was taken at a time like this. I know that everyone involved in the situation has come out of it stronger, more thoughtful, and more appreciative of life than ever before.

    With this, I want to share a little part of myself that I’ve been keeping quiet about for the past couple years. This week has showed me the importance of saying what you feel when you have the time to do so, and it just seems right. Thanks for the courage David! This sounds all scandalous, but I promise you it’s not ;)

    I grew up in a Christian household, going to Christian and Catholic schools until graduating high school, and I had considered myself agnostic throughout all of these experiences. When I was making wrong choices at home, I was punished by going to youth group Saturday afternoons — I never felt like I fit in with the kids there, and I honestly never really gave them a chance. When I went off to Iowa, faith was something that I rarely thought of. I had these years of my life to explore on my own terms, I made some good decisions, and I made even more wrong choices. All-in-all, these choices led me to Savannah to pursue my masters degree, and this is where I started to feel a pull towards exploring a Christian faith on my own for the first time. I met a good friend who opened up to me about her faith in a way that I never thought was possible for myself. She was a passionate, artistic, caring, and fun. There was a part of me that envied her ability to trust in God, go to church, and still live this amazingly fun life full of her personal passions on her own terms. My background made me feel like I had to be one way, or the other. I could be Christian, and follow all the rules, or be agnostic and live the way I wanted to. Meeting her, and becoming her friend sparked a new interest in faith that I have held inside of me for the past couple years. Those close to me knew I was exploring a relationship with Jesus more recently, but I still felt a little weird talking about this is general. It just didn’t seem like me, you know? I was still living my life the way I always had, breaking ‘rules’, and going on my own path — but suddenly, I had a little guidance. I had my faith to lean on a little more, to help me through some of the tough times, and to rejoice with me when things were working out. I always thought I needed to have someone to talk to about for all the little things going on in my life. With this new found faith in Jesus, I feel like He has been taking over, guiding me to where I was meant to be next.

    I’m still the same old Kelsey, but I have a little more pep in my step, and I know that I have a wonderful support system behind me now. Serendipitously, I met Katie a couple months ago, and she has been re-inspiring me to live out my faith in an out-loud way. She does this so well, and is an inspiration to me in that sense. For the first time on my own accord, I went to church with her last Sunday. I’ve been struggling with feeling at home in a lot of ways in my life recently, and I can honestly say, I felt at home there that Sunday. Being back in my hometown this week, with so many close friends and family for the preceding events and funeral for David, was truly a lesson in life and faith in a way I can’t even begin to express. I’m so proud of how the Hallmans have been dealing with this tragedy, and how they have been leaning on their faith to make it through. It’s seriously inspiring, and I am forever changed by this experience. Even from the other side, David is using his gifts to share faith, love, and laughter. With these passing events, I thought it was about time to just throw this out there and be proud of my journey. Again, thank you for the courage David, love you buddy.


  5. February 3, 2014
    IN REVIEW | january 2014


    January was a pretty simple month for me. Lots of getting back to the basics and finding my personal balance. Eaton came into my life. While having a new puppy is all kinds of stressful, having her has also forced me to stay on a regular schedule. She wakes me up, well, dark and early at 4:45. That’s something I never thought I’d welcome, but my day has just shifted. At nine, I’m ready to get to bed, and I do. My fitness journey is off to a great start. Things aren’t going perfect, but that’s not what we’re aiming for. Balance is key. My mom said she could see my cheekbones again, and that was pretty much all I could ask for during this first month! I’m feeling good, and I’m still indulging. Hello queso and margarita night.

    I know some of you have asked me to share more details about what I’m doing for my fitness journey, so I thought these monthly recaps would be a great way to share about that. Right now, I skype with Ange every Sunday night, and we go over our plan for the week. We set attainable goals, and add them only when I’m ready to take more on. My first two weeks, I had four goals:

    ONE: Get eight hours of physical activity a week. I spent my lunches walking around my building in my work clothes and my headphones, which I just had to get over! Hah. One of Ange’s key phrases is “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” I’m trying to embrace that, because this is where the big long-term changes come from. I also spent my weekends taking longer walks around the river trails when I could get in some sunlight.

    TWO: Three high-intensity interval sessions a week. These are sessions that I can do outside on a trail, or at the gym on any cardio equipment. I go as hard as I can for one minute, and then have two minutes of low intensity, eight times. With a warm up, cool down, and stretch, these are about 45 minutes of work that have really been pushing me .

    THREE: Drink 3L of water/coffee/tea a day. At first I spent the majority of my days taking visits to the bathroom! It was crazy, but I never realized how dehydrated I was. I wasn’t even experiencing thirst because I’d deprived my body of the hydration it needed. After a couple days, I started to actually feel thirsty when I’d go an hour or two without a sip. I’ve been going through some medical things lately, and when I went to get my blood taken, I automatically told the nurse that I had bad veins. I’ve always had to get pricked a couple times, and I thought this was just how it was going to be for me. After one successful try, she just told me I was healthy and hydrated! You always hear how important water is, but to actually experience these benefits from doing it right was amazing.

    FOUR: Get five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Guys, I’m not on a diet! Instead, so many of my calories are being replaced with fruits and veggies just by trying to fit them in to my meals. I’ve been going crazy with green smoothies, and making salads for a meal or two a day. I snack on apples, and make avocado toast for meals. Switching from a deprivation mind-set to this anything-goes mind-set has really been helping me.

    After the first two weeks, we started adding in weight training. I am starting to see my arms in a whole new way — baby amounts of definition happening over here! I still have a long way to go, but I’m excited about the progress I’ve been making. At a much slower pace than I normally take this stuff, I’m able to take it in strides and not feel like I’m turning my life upside down all at once.

    Thaaat was pretty much my whole January. Simple living, huh? I’m really liking this new pace of life. I feel like I have a little control over how things are going, and when they go weird, I’m equipped to handle that too.

    Have any fun clean recipes that pack a bunch of fruits/veggies you want to send my way? I’d love some new things to try! Cheers to taking on February and making all your goals come true!

  6. January 24, 2014
    and then there was a puppy

    Eaton Phillips | a new addition | Pinegate Road

    If you’ve been anywhere near my instagram, I’m sure you’ve found out that this little bundle has arrived! I’m a ridiculously excited puppy mama. While I’m a tid bit sleep deprived from the bi-hourly ‘take me to the bathroom’ whines, it really has all been a labor of love. I went down to just outside of Columbus this past Friday to pick her up, and we made our trek back to Cleveland through some pretty crazy snow, a lot of crying, and bunches of puppy kisses. She’s adjusting pretty well, and is just a little snuggle bug. Although, she’s just like one of these guys with the snow. She just can’t. Shivery baby weighed in at 1lb, 7oz! I do feel like she’s growing in front of my eyes though. I took these pictures on Saturday, and the amount of fluff she’s grown since then is quite impressive.

    Eaton Phillips | new puppy | Pinegate Road

    So yeah, the weird name: The only place I have truly called home was on the corner of Pinegate and Eaton Roads — with Pinegate being the actual address. You would continue on to Eaton Road to head out to start the journey to wherever you were to head next. Getting a puppy was something I have been passionately waiting for for the past five years or so. I love that her name signifies this next step in my life and still has roots in looking back to my past. I didn’t realize until after I’d ordered a monogrammed puppy tote that Eaton was also the name of an upscale shopping center on the other side of Cleveland. Anyone from here probably thinks I’m nutso, but I’m so glad to have found a name that really resonates with something so cherished in my life.

    This is sure to be the first of many mentions of this little girl, and I’m happy to be able to show her off to you all.

    PS: she’s heading to her first photo shoot today! Cue the perks of working for a greeting card company and all the teddy bear outfits and mugs we’ll stuff her in to. Serious weirdo googly eyes happening over here.

    Hope you all have a lovely weekend! I’m going to spend some time soaking in this little girl and catching up on all the things I left to the wayside this past week. Yay laundry! Hah.

  7. January 14, 2014
    grateful for the here and now

    Wedding photography packaging for Amanda Lenhadt

    Hi everyone. A quick post today. There’s a couple things that have been happening this week, big and small, that just have me sincerely grateful to be where I am for now. Victoria’s post certainly got me in the mood to keep the here and the now in mind over the past few days, or like she says to bloom where you’re planted. In that spirit, I thought a little gratitude show and tell was in order.

    Above Amanda tagged me in this photo of her new packaging and it seriously made my day. She has such a great eye for that natural yet modern look that just has me crazy right now. It’s amazing to see the branding that we worked on together and how she expanded upon it with her own vision. It’s a magical feeling seeing a brand leave your hands and have it flourish out in the real world. Amanda’s clients are in for a treat, I think!

    This is going to sound silly, but for the past couple months I’ve been in a clothing funk. Each day, I’d throw on black jeans, a big sweater, and call it a day before heading to work—whatever I had to just cover up and kind of feel ok walking out of my apartment in. I hadn’t been feeling comfortable in my own skin, and it was something that affected how I went about each and every day. I’m one week in to my health transformation, and it’s refreshing too see again how healthier choices have affected my attitude. Today I woke up feeling great. For the first time in a long while I decided to dig into my closet, past the oversized sweaters and stretchy jeans, and put on a dress. Paired with tights and high heels, I was off to work with confidence and a happy spirit that I haven’t felt in months. Green smoothies man.

    I’m really grateful for where I am career-wise. Some great business things have been happening in and out of work. As a team, we’ve been working on a new brand and line of stationery cards for one of our big clients. Today, all the cards came up from getting comped, and wow! Seeing them in their full glittery glory is just amazing to me. Paper lovers unite: fingers crossed the client takes it! Outside of work, freelance life has been pretty hectic, but oh so rewarding. There are some dream projects I’ll be working on in the next couple months that I’m just floored by. I’m grateful that I get to balance working on little pieces and parts for one brand during the day, and that I get to help creatives and passionate people build out their brands by night. The best of both worlds, really.

    And lastly, on Friday I’ll pick up my pup! That just has me all kinds of crazy and happy. I’m seriously sitting here making googly eyes at my computer just thinking about it, hah. I’m glad I’m finally at a place in my life where I can take on this new responsibility and embrace it wholeheartedly.

    All in all, I’m in a pretty good place right now. Past that December hump, and just relishing in all the little things that are putting me in a good mood. I’m grateful for all of these moments, and it’s always nice to stop and appreciate the here and now in midst of the crazy.

    Now it’s your turn. What are you grateful for, right here, right now?

  8. January 6, 2014
    2014 GOAL | embrace editing

    2014 goal | embrace editing | PINEGATE ROAD

    Here’s a pleasant surprise: four of my five goals for 2013 were a slam-dunk! About midway through the year when I was engrossed in moving across the country, I kind of let this list slide from my mind. I was worried about what I would find there come this turn of the year. The only one that wasn’t a success was the health aspect — and that’s being handled. 2013 was a huge year for me, and in many ways, it was the year that is paving the way for the majority of my future goals. I graduated with my MFA from the school of my dreams, wrote a thesis on self-curation, rebranded Pinegate Road, attended Alt Summit, landed my dream job and moved closer to my hometown than I ever could have imagined ending up. It’s been full of transitions and hardships, but all-in-all it’s been a solid year of change for the better. I believe that all that happened this year is what is really making my 2014 goal a plausibility.

    Instead of listing out a series of goals, I thought that this year I would have one focus word that could relate to many aspects of my life. This year, I’m going to embrace editing. I’m settled in my apartment, I’m half a year through my job, and I know what I want to work towards in the next couple years in that aspect. I feel like heading to grad school in 2010 was a huge change in perspective for me. It completely turned around what I thought was possible in the design world and how I could go about approaching the future. There is so much opportunity out there, it’s all about editing down the possibilities to get at the core of what makes your journey the best one for you. We can’t do it all, and using time and experimentation to figure out what makes you the most happy is key. The first couple years, I took everything I could in. I played with every aesthetic, good and bad. I experimented with career possibilities through freelance projects and internships. I started this blog, and boy was the start of that rocky! I found out what made me happiest and where I thrived, and now I’m here. I live in a world where I get to play with lettering, where I make products that reach the world in a way that spreads gratitude and connection with others, and I get to experiment with all different kinds of design medium and unique people both in and out of work. I get to connect with you! While I’m where I’m meant to be for now, that doesn’t mean the future is clear to me. It’s still foggy, and I’m hoping that by embracing editing, I’ll be able to get even closer to that core of what I’m meant to do long-term.

    Editing for design: I’m at the very tip of discovering my personal aesthetic. Since the rebrand at the beginning of last year, and after attending Alt, I really focused on making this space representative of who I was as a designer. For the first time in my design career I feel happy about what I’m putting out into the world. I’m hoping to use the foundations of what I’ve learned about my design aesthetic on the blog and to integrate them into all the visual and organizational aspects of my life. A couple weeks ago I wrote down a few words that Pinegate Road embodies as a brand: modern classicism with a natural influence. I hope to continue editing my practice and my design to embody this and define what that means further. I don’t have to be everything.

    Editing for health: Like anything else in life, how we treat ourselves now in the health department will impact how we live in the future ten-fold. For some reason the prospects of getting a puppy—picking out food, figuring out an exercise and health schedule—started me thinking on how determined I was to help her have the best life possible, and how I seem to fail on that aspect in my own life. What?! I want to take this year to reprogram my lifestyle, and to create healthy habits that I can take into many years to come — for both me and my pup. I’m teamed up with an amazing fitness coach, and I’m determined to make this the year I finally get this down. No excuses!

    Editing for financial stability: Week one of the financial peace university is underway! While I’m ahead of the curve in many respects, I need to stop acting like a budget isn’t important and start editing my financial life. This year I start to hope setting the foundation to making home-ownership a reality for next year.

    Editing expectations: Last year I had the goal of learning to say no. This is kind of that. I slipped up a few times, but in general I stood my ground and was able to say no to things that just weren’t necessary in my life. I hope to continue to say no, and to keep space in my life for free afternoons and fun time and puppy snuggles. For as long as I can remember I’ve had this aching thing inside of me that made me join almost any kind of club or activity I was slightly nudged into. These served their purpose at the time, but now that I’m feeling that feeling to join things again, I need to really evaluate whether they will impact me in a positive manner down the road. When in school, I wanted to make sure that I had enough experience in any aspect to be able to move forward in any career. I wanted to taste test it all. I have, I did. I think I’m good. For now. Now I need to keep room open for opportunities that make me happy and work towards more defined goals than I had when I was in school.

    Well, that seems to be about it! Who knew one word could pack such a punch, huh? How about you — are you making goals or resolutions this year? Sending you lots of encouragement if so!


  9. January 1, 2014
    IN REVIEW | december 2013


    December was a pretty hard month for me. I’m an optimistic person by nature and I love to keep things in a positive tone. On the other side, I don’t want to leave out when things get a little shaky, to an extent. It’s never all sunshine, but I hate to dwell on negative things. With change, both positive and negative, come new beginnings. This year-end is really setting the stage for some pretty big changes in the future.

    William and I decided to end our relationship a couple weeks ago. The details aren’t meant for here, but it’s all been amicable. Sometimes, two people’s paths just aren’t made to last, you know? I’m glad he was in my life, and I’ll take all the lessons I’ve learned from this relationship in to my next. I guess that’s what dating really is all about — finding out what you truly need in a life-long cohort.

    Over Christmas, a coworker of mine passed away from a long battle with cancer. If you could or are capable, I know her family would appreciate all the thoughts and prayers sent her way. She had been on leave since before I started, but I did get to meet her at a few team get-togethers. While I didn’t know her very well personally, she was a big part of our team, and she will be very missed. Just around this same time, my grandmother was put into the hospital. We spent the majority of our time in Chicago prepping for her recovery and future well-being. Family stuff is hard, and navigating sick parents, daughters, and how to help them breeds a lot of stress. All seems to be positive on this aspect for now, and I’m so glad that my family and I were able to be there when this all was happening to do what we could.

    Surrounded by these hardships, some exciting things have been happening around here this month as well. I’ve paired up with a new client who will be helping me with my fitness and well-being this upcoming year. Through all the weirdness, thesis writing, moving, long-distance relationshiping this year, I let my health slide a little a lot and I’m ready to get back on it. I know how good it feels to be treating my body right, and I have no excuses now that things in my life are finally settling down. This time around I’ll take it in baby steps. My new client and I had a long talk a couple weeks ago, and she is such an inspiration. I can’t wait to let you in on more of the fun we have going on this year. She helped me feel empowered to make changes at my own pace and to still have fun with the process. Does anyone else do the thing where they make a goal or lifestyle change too quickly or make too many changes all at once and can’t keep up with it? I definitely have that issue, and it’s time to make this stick, one step at a time.

    On a pretty life-changing note, yesterday I put down a deposit for a new addition in the Pinegate Road household — a baby girl pup! She’ll be coming home with me in a couple weeks, and I’ll be using this week to puppy-proof my apartment and get up to speed on all there is to know before bringing her home. I’ve been wanting to get a little lady of my own since graduating high school, and after this move, I knew it was just the right timing for me. It was an amazing feeling to do this on the very last day of 2013! Tips and advice on bringing home a new puppy are appreciated, especially if you know about cockapoo puppies. This month I also was able to enjoy the snowy weather, and had lots of family time. We even made it to Alinea for dinner one night while in Chicago, which has been a dream restaurant venture of mine for years. Spending time to take all of this in and cherish each moment this month was well worth it.

    Cheers to wrapping up 2013 friends! Hoping you all had a year of learning experiences and have your goals all sorted out. I know I’m ready to make 2014 a solid year! As always, you can follow along on more of the moments here if you wish. I’ll be back in a few days with a reflection on my goals from last year and a list of new ones for this year. Planning seriously makes me giddy.

  10. December 21, 2013
    happy holidays

    Happy holidays from Pinegate Road

    Hi friends, wishing you all a happy holiday break and a merry new year. I’m off on a baby plane to South Dakota for Christmas, and then to spend some post-holiday time with extended family in the Chicago area. Crossing my fingers the weather cooperates for us all! It’s funny how this year, the biggest gift I’m being given is to spend some quality time with family. I really couldn’t ask for more, and I guess this kind of feeling is something I’m glad to have. Makes me feel a little more adult, hah.

    Some changes have been happening around here, and there are some pretty big plans being made for this year. I think 2014 is really going to be a turning point for me. I’ll be back in the new year with updates and plans and goals, and all that good stuff. Hope that you all get to relax and really experience soaking in those holiday moments. Cheers friends!

    As always, you can follow along on the traveling adventures as I make my way to the west.



















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