Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Lipstick and Letters "You are sick. I am sick. We are sick."

Mamie -

In the simplest of words, all I can say is:

GET AN AIDS TEST.


When?

When you suspected there might be a problem.

When you found out Julio had a problem.

When you were too scared to learn the truth.


DO NOT wait.
DO NOT be afraid.
DO NOT assume you are okay because you feel okay
.


You are sick.
I am sick.
We are sick.



But we may not be AS sick if we hadn't waited 8 years to see an answer.

Mamie, this is the only thing, the one thing, the only regret in my/our life. But it IS our life, or what is left of it. So come on honey, go in and take that test. Get help. Take care of yourself.


Please.

Be fearless, M (age 37)






Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fat Girl Fashion On a Budget: 5 Holiday Party Dresses Under $30



Everybody wants to look their best around the holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, the Solstice, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve or something entirely different, it always feels nice to show up to a work, social or family event in a new dress. But we all know money gets tight around the holiday season. Between gifts, entertaining or just because the cost of heating your home so you don't freeze is so high, nobody wants to spend a penny more on their wardrobe than they have to. Forget sacrificing style and comfort and check out our top five plus size picks for under $30.


1. According to Marie Claire, a combination of black and blue is just the thing for this winter's fashion. Big name designers like Caroline Herrera, DKNY and Marc Jacobs all mixed hues of navy and black in their runway shows. If you're not feeling the dark blue and black but still want to channel this trend, take a look at this pleated mock-chiffon frock in aqua and black. With short sleeves, a rounded neckline and a slimming center color block, this dress is sure to make you look and feel your best no matter what you're doing for the holidays. A removable fabric belt allows you to highlight your waist or wear it with extra ease, making this dress flattering for a number of body shapes. And how can you argue with $15? 





2. Every girl needs one reliable little black dress. At $25, this dress from Deb is the highest priced item on our list but well worth the splurge. You can wear it multiple times on multiple occasions, not just for the 2013 holiday season. The front is flat and nipped at the waist, ensuring that, no matter what your body shape, you look your absolute best this holiday season. This fit-and-flare A-line dress has a scoop neckline with a lace illusion back - a flesh-colored modesty panel ensures you can wear your favorite bra without worrying about it peeking through. A line of bows down the back will make you feel extra festive.


3. The Pantone color of the year for 2014 is "Radiant Orchid" - a light and flirty eye-popping purple. Ring in the new year and get a jump start on the trend with this strapless, empire waisted number from 10dollarmall.com. True to the source name, this attention-grabbing dress will run you a mere $10. This dress isn't for the faint of heart - it's got a purple faux-satin finish and a line of beading under the bust, drawing the eye to your assets. 




4. Looking for something a little more classic for your Christmas office party? This little number comes in red and brown and features a flattering shallow V-shaped neckline. The high-low hem keeps you on trend while the ample coverage ensures you feel like the vampy, grown up woman that you are. Pair it with a sassy little cardigan for a little more arm coverage or play up your bitchin' biceps and leave your arms bare. Flattering for body shapes that need a little more nipping at the waist (like the classic hourglass, which doesn't always look the best in empire waisted frocks), this dress is just the ticket, drawing the eye to the narrowest part of your body. This Ashley Stewart number will run you a hair under $20 from Amazon.com



5. If you're searching for modesty, you can't beat this patterned velour dress. Available in black, silver, or purple, this surplice-style dress has 3/4 sleeves and a hem that hits at the knee on most women (the dress is 42" long, so the extra tall might want to look elsewhere for a modest holiday dress!) The empire waist and a-line shape are super flattering on a variety of body shapes and sizes. At the $20 mark, this dress won't break your holiday budget.



Caitlin Seida has been writing since 2006, with her work appearing on various websites including Livestrong.com, TypeF.com, Salon.com, Dogster.com and The Daily Puppy. A Jill-of-All-Trades, she splits her workday as a writer, humane society advocate and on-call vet tech. What little free time she has goes into pinup modeling, advocating for self-acceptance, knitting and trying to maintain her haunted house (really!). You can find her on Facebook, on Twitter, and of course here on I Feel Delicious!


Dear Julia: Your Parents Still Care - They Just Don't Understand

Julia, love!

It's been a while since we've talked - years, in fact. I want you to know that I still think about you often. It's not that I've forgotten about you, it's just that looking back on you makes me feel so awkward and awful.

That whole decision about telling your parents you're bisexual? Stop worrying so much. They'll surprise you. You won't be kicked out, you won't be disowned. You won't even really be criticized. Your parents love and support you - even if they don't understand.

Your dad will shake his head and quietly excuse himself from the conversation - which is par for the course. Your dad never wants to discuss your love life. And that's fine. He loves you no matter what.

Your mom will act a little disappointed at first, and then convince herself it's just a phase. You know better. She'll be uncomfortable the first few times you bring your girlfriend around, but she'll come around.

Give her time to get used to the fact that her only daughter is not living the life SHE imagined for you. She saw a future for you that she herself wanted - a good husband, lots of kids, a house in suburbia. But that's just not you, sweetie. And that's okay - you didn't crumble her hopes and dreams for you, you just replaced the groom's tuxedo with a second wedding dress. She'll come around and eventually she'll love your girlfriend as much as you do.

All the other bullshit you go through - the taunts, the jeers, the harassment - they don't matter. Because you are one of the lucky few who has the support of your family. And that's all that really matters.

Hold your head up high,

Love,
Your future self.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lipstick and Letters: "You’re gonna binge and tweak and crash and freak."



Well Girl, I’m going to lay it on the line:

The summer of your 14th birthday you are going to be offered meth, and oh man, it’s a game changer for sure. You’re gonna snort from a friends pinky nail and within an hour you will feel amazing. You switched it up after that and you never looked at light bulbs the same way. That’s when you started having sex. And sex. And sex. With a lot of men. Women too. Then you’ll hang out on couches with springs popping into your back, with people who’ll look like sewer rats, and you’ll by lying to mama about where you’ve been and who you been with.  Girl, you’re gonna lose yourself. You’re gonna forget who you are. Damnit girl. You’re gonna binge and tweak and crash and freak. It’s gonna be hideous and by the time you’re 16 your skin will be f*cked up man and your hair will fall out in the front and your teeth are whack. At 16 you’ll look like an old lady. Older than mama. 

I got clean. It took a long freaking time, but I got clean. I am in school now. Went back and graduated. Doing the night school community college thing online but girl it’s something. It’s been 7 years since you first tried that crap. 7 long years. My skin is scarred but my soul is free of the devil that is meth.

So girl, when that boy offers you that crap, and your “BFF” tells you how great it is, what a rush it is, how high it is, don’t fall for the bullsh*t! Don’t girl! Say no. Walk away. Run as fast as you can but go. Go! GO!

Don’t make the same mistake as me. You have too much ahead of you. Don't let this slow your ass down.

Former Meth Head in Ohio, age 21

Lipstick and Letters: "She’s mean and hateful and absolutely perfection."



Dear Mary Mary who’s quite contrary –
You want to hit her, don’t you? You diary is full of ways you would
torture her if you could. But don’t. Do NOT do it. She is not worth all your anger. Don’t go into school tomorrow and punch her in the face.
Take the day off to calm down if you have to, because once you do that, you will set a chain of events in place that will eventually lead you to jail.
90 days in jail. Yes, she started it. She has been bullying you
since the 5th grade. She’s mean and hateful and absolutely perfection.
And she’s a bitch. You are better than her. So don’t hit her.
Don’t take the bait when she walks into the room tomorrow
singing “Mary Mary, she’s quite contrary, and everybody knows…
” because it’s just words. It’s just a stupid silly song.
Don’t run down the aisle and beat her senseless. It is YOU who will suffer. She will be the victim of your attack.
She will win! Don’t let her win! A year later, she will
come after you. She’s been plotting it. She literally wants you dead.
She will strike and miss.
You will hit back – making contact.
She will be the victim again and you will go to jail.
And it will take you years to get past that.
So please, please PLEASE don’t hit her tomorrow!
Don’t let her get to you! Smirk, smile, or pout.
I don’t care. Just do NOT react.
She is not worth it. Kid, you have to believe me on this!
~ Mary, age 19 ~

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lipstick and Letters: "You are good enough!"

Dear Becca on your18th Birthday,

It was so hard to pick an age to write to you at. You will go through a lot of rough stuff in your life. I wish I could write you a cheery letter about how everything will be better if you just do one thing different but I can't. What I can do is give you some advice to help you get through it. I know you feel hopeless now, but hold on.


First, your parents. Your mom loves you so much. When you are nervous about telling her things that you may discover about yourself, don't worry, she'll love you anyways.


Dad sucks and he's emotionally abusive. There's no getting around it. Just know that he's wrong. You do have value, and you do have worth. He doesn't control your life! He's also the reason you're frightened of the dark. In a few years, your uncle will admit that he thinks Dad molested you when you were really little. Thankfully, I still can't remember, so I'll never know for sure, but unfortunately the facts fit. I'm sorry to have to tell you.


Take your time to process, but eventually you have to forgive him. What dad did was very wrong, but you have to give it to God, or else it will eat at your soul until you do.


Speaking of which, God loves so very very much! I know what you were taught, but it's wrong. God loves all of us, no conditions. Nothing you can do will distance yourself from God because we don't work our way up to Him. He comes down to us. Don't ever let anyone tell you God doesn't love you!

When you first start college and you feel really lonely, stick it out. In a few weeks you will meet the best friends of your life. Trust them. Rely on them. They really do love you. They will be there for you in the hard times for the rest of your life.


If someone tries to sleep with you and you don't want to, FIGHT! If you say no and they don't respect that, feel free to punch, hit, etc and make them listen! Rape doesn't always start out with someone forcing you. Sometimes you might be kissing or touching each other and then when you tell him to stop, he doesn't. That counts as rape too. You were not asking for it just because you were being intimate.


Speaking of sexual matters, if you decide to have sex, it's okay. It doesn't make you a slut. I will suggest, however, that you only do it with someone you love. And eventually you're going to start to notice that women are attractive. That's okay too, I promise.


When it gets too tough, please please please, don't try to kill yourself. There are people who love you and you are worth living. You are smarter, stronger, and more faithful than you realize. I promise. Seek out a mental health specialist that you can trust (and don't be afraid to shop around until you find one you do trust—not all of them are good.) There's no shame in asking for help! And stop cutting yourself. You do not deserve to be punished! You are good enough! You are a child of God, and you have worth!


-Becca, Age 28

Lipstick and Letters: "crown you for your oddity"

Dear Jeanette,

All the taunts and bullying feel like no one will ever accept you, and all you want to do is "fit in" well don't try so hard to be liked, the boys will pretend till they get what they want, and then drop you like a bad habit, the girls will do the same, each taking a slice of your self esteem with them, don't give it away so easy, some day your little quirks will change the lives of many, and you will find a positive way of being yourself, and they will chant your name, and crown you for your oddity and love you just for being you, and don't wait 30 years to tell others how you feel, it leaves almost no time to fix things, and don't believe everything the doctors tell you, the body is a mystery and can do amazing things, you will be a mommy some day and although the losses of children before will never be healed, the look on your child's face when she makes into this world, will make you believe again...just always remember you are perfectly you, and that is an AWESOME thing to be!

Love,
Yourself

Lipstick and Letters: Borderline Personality Disorder and my former self


 
Dear me of November 1996

This is probably the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write because I am going to admit to something I have never told anyone – ever.

I’m the one who bullied the fat black kid in school way back in 1996.

I know that YOU have hidden it deep down. You’ve buried it and even tried to help the teachers and kids figure out who it was… who left those hateful notes in her locker, who put glue all over her books and book bag, who wrote the N word on that car her parents gave her because she felt too scared to ride the bus. It was me who toilet papered the tree that grew outside her living room window. It was me who crushed her lunch after I sprayed paint inside her locker and ruined her brand new fake rabbit coat. And it was me who wrote all those notes. All those letters telling her how horrible she was because she was a disgusting, black n-word.
 
You and I both know it started as a joke: a dare to glue her favorite book together. And it was funny. She got a new book, and she seemed okay with it, but she didn’t laugh along with us. I don’t know why, but that angered me. How dare SHE look down on me and my hilarious prank!

You had never been in trouble before. You were a wonderful student and were friends with most of the students. But for those 2 weeks you were something else. You were someone else. You were me.

I’m that person inside your head that always tries to get you to do the craziest of things. I’m the person inside you that wants to wreck havoc and destroy your world. I am your Borderline Personality Disorder and in about six years, we’ll finally meet at a local mental health clinic and there we will grow to understand each other.

Right now you’re fighting urges, MY urges. And you’re doing an amazing job keeping me locked away. You’re going to feel crazy at times, and sometimes your depression will nearly consume you. But you’ll keep all that in check too. You are the strongest woman I know!

All that you feel is real.  The thoughts of suicide, the wanting to run away, and the isolation you feel is all very, very real. But once we meet, your life will be so very much better. There is medication to help, but just knowing that this thing – this THING is someTHING – helps tremendously. And we’re not alone. There are a lot of us out in the universe. And for the most part, once we join our two selves together, we’re better. We may not be perfectly healed, but we’re better. And that’s a wonderful feeling.

So calm your nerves, read your books, keep me suppressed and journal your heart out. The next 6 years will fly by. 

Until then, I’ll bide my time ‘till it’s time for us to unite. 

Waiting…
Your other half, Kimmy

Lipstick and Letter - We've ALL met our own Mean Girl.

lipstick and letters, lipstick letters, lipstick & letters, terri jean, caitlin seida, athens ohio, glouster ohio, i feel delicious, feel delicious, cyber bully, cyberbullying, terrijean, ifeeldelicious, fat shaming
For the Lipstick and Letters Project

Dear Whitney: You're not his first victim...Speak up.


Dear Whitney At Age 16,
Don't take it personally - I know you think you're hot stuff right now. And you're right. This is the last big summer you have before you leave high school. But
I am telling you right now, you're worth more than you give yourself credit for.

This guy? He's bad news. He's not a bad guy, but he's got his own issues. It's not a bad thing to explore your sexuality, but this guy right here? 40+, balding, still living with his parents even though he's a CEO of a rather well known company?
Honey, where are your red flags and why are you IGNORING them?

I could tell you not to talk to him, I could tell you not to go out with him. I could tell you not to fool around with him. I could even tell you not to get in the car. But you won't listen - you're stubborn. And I know that all too well.

One of these nights he's going to do all the right things - take you out for a night on the town, get you all the alcohol you want, and then when you're just slowed down enough, he's going to ask for something you don't wanna give up. I'm not telling you who to sleep with or not sleep with, but when he starts begging you to forego condoms? Get out of the car and run. Because he's bad news from head to toe.

And then, instead of worrying about getting in trouble for what happened? For being somewhere you weren't supposed to be, for doing things you weren't supposed to be doing? Tell someone. Speak up. Because you're probably not the first girl he did this to, and you're almost definitely not the last. Get over the intimidation, get over the shame and say something to someone. Anyone.

Otherwise, it'll eat you alive for years, wondering which young thing he's got his paws on tonight and if you could have done anything to stop it. You'll never know if people would have listened or believed you - and you'll keep wondering that forever - because you didn't even try.

You'll have your share of experiences over the years - some you regret, some you wish you'd done differently. You'll explore your sexuality and some things you'll still be proud of later - some, not so much. But this is one instance where you need to understand: What he'll do is not your fault. You'll say no. He won't listen. What is your responsibility is to speak up. Maybe then you'll avoid the whole mess of mistrusting guys and that little drinking problem you have in college.

Like I said, I'm not trying to tell you how to run your life, Whit. I'm just trying to give you some advice from someone who has been there and done that and just now, almost 10 years later, is finally speaking up. To you.

I love you sweetie. Stay strong.
Whit - age 25

Lipstick and Letters: Don't be Afraid of Love

Hey kiddo,

 Please, give me a minute of your time...I'll make this short, I promise. I just want to let you know that you are going to be okay. It may seem like you are all alone right now and that may be true, but you will SURVIVE. You are only a kid, stop trying to grow up so fast. It seems like your parents will not let you do anything, but trust me when I say your mother knows best. She is just trying to protect you. A perfect example is what happened last night. She TOLD you not to be around those people, you SAW what they did to the girl before you. How easily they tossed her aside when you came along. Because you lived closer than her? No. Because you were younger and more impressionable. You are only thirteen. You should be worrying about your holiday concert next week and the centennial dance. You should not be sneaking away, LYING to your parents so that you can go see them. You were given all the warning signs, but you ignored them. I know WHY you did, but still..


 IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY. It's going to suck for a little while. There is going to be a million questions you are going to ask yourself. You will have nightmares that you refuse to talk about. You will suffer alone. The self mutilation will come back with a vengeance, but don't worry, that doesn't make you any less of a person. You will feel like EVERYONE has abandoned you, and it is sadly true. Most of your friends will not talk to you. Your relationships will be rocky. It is going to be a struggle, but do not worry. IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY. You are going to go through a point in your life where you cannot identify yourself sexually. Stop trying to. You are what is called pansexual. I know that sounds weird, but trust me it will all make sense one day.

 DON'T BE AFRAID OF LOVE. In a few years, you are going to be introduced to a girl who is A LOT like you. You are both curvy, wonderful young ladies with a twisted and painful past. TAKE A CHANCE ON HER. She never will abandon you, you two will become best friends that NO AMOUNT of time and distance will destroy, but take a chance on her before you two go off to college. Because it will be a LONG time before you see her again. She really likes you, yeah in THAT way, but you are both too shy to do anything about it. So here I am, telling you TAKE THAT CHANCE. You may not get married, though one day that will be legal, but you are going to live with a tinge of regret because of her. She will ALWAYS be your biggest "what if".

 Now I know I promised I would make this short, so I'm going to stop here. I guess the whole point of this was to let you know that it doesn't matter how low you've been, IT GETS BETTER.

 You ARE loved, 






Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The first project letter... from I Feel Delicious Publisher, Terri Jean



Your turn ladies.
 

This could be the most important letter you'll ever write!





 So how do you join us?
How can YOU make a difference?








Join the discussion over at our Facebook page! Give us a LIKE

Dead or Alive: Extreme Bikini Cosplay


By Tali’Belle Cosplay


Video games put a lot of emphasis on sex appeal, mostly for men using women, but sometimes it’s the other way around (Zevran Araini and Thane Krios are good examples of more sexualized males in video games, but there are others.) And you know what? This really isn’t a problem for me. Whatever, you wanna make a woman wear a skin tight cat suit that shows off a ton on cleavage while she guns down celestial beings or have a blue skinned space babe snap necks with her thigh high high heeled boots? That’s your business and as long as she’s still a good character with thought and energy put into her, I really don’t care. Hell, Sylvanas Windrunner and Jaina Proudmoore can have a drunken lesbian make out session in bikinis for all I care as long as they still command armies, cities, and respect while kicking ass. A sexy girl doesn’t have to be looked down upon and disrespected….


Harley Quinn and Catwoman cosplays at Comicon Chile. Copyright Javier Rosh, used under a CC License

Unless you’re in the cosplay community. So much whining of ‘Ohh this cosplayer wears such skimpy outfits!’ or ‘Ohh she’s an attention whore!’ Um….good theory, Sherlock, or maybe I could deduce a new one? Perhaps she’s going for accuracy based on a costume that really looks like that? Ladies and gents, let’s not pretend we all hate and disdain Dead or Alive or Soul Calibur or other fighting games with completely impractical outfits. They are a ton of fun and what small character development you get to see in game is fun, quirky, and diverse. But there is not a lot of variety in the nature of costumes. I could dress as Helena Douglass rather than Tina Armstrong, I could be Sophitia rather than Ivy, but there would still be a ton of cleavage and either skin tight painted on pants or a short skirt. Besides, cosplay should be about whom you love and what you feel comfortable in, not trying to cater to hypocritical slut shamers and prudes.


Soul Caliber Tira and Talim cosplay. Copyright megadem. Used under a CC License.
You know, I used to be firmly in the other camp. Cosplay shouldn’t be for attention! You’re dressing slutty! Whine whine whine, jealousy, jealousy, jealousy. But you know what? After being squarely called out on my bullshit, I took a step back and had a look. It’s not the cosplayers in skimpy costumes who are wrong, it’s the view society has that if a female dresses in something skimpy, she is dressing up for men and is an attention seeking slut. Now keeping this open ended, there may be some exceptions in the cosplay community, but this is not a piece to perpetuate slut shaming and calling people out, so if there is, here’s a bombshell: IT IS NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS. Can they afford/make the cosplay? Do they credit people who may have contributed? Are they happy and having a good time? If you answered yes to these questions, then shut your mouth, it’s not your business why they’re cosplaying in what outfit. Crawl back into your panel and try and find a way to enjoy a con that doesn’t involve picking on others.

Oh, but costumes that actually are skimpy aren’t the only problem. Oh no, slut shamers and jerks will make a completely ordinary costume into something overtly sexual even if it covers more than a hijab and burqa. Dressing as Sue Storm or Harley Quinn? Too tight! Ugh! All that slutty, slutty spandex! Hell, even when I dress as Tali, I still get the occasional: Oh, it’s hugging her body so tightly, she totally wants attention, she’s totally getting off on Talimancers looking at her. Or maybe I just really like and identify with this character.



 And of course, as mentioned before, if your body is anything less than perfect then a ‘skimpy’ or ‘tight’ costume can be used as an excuse to take you down a peg and call you out on things because how dare you have the self-confidence to dress as a character you enjoy without being a Barbie!? Actually, this is one of the reasons Dragon Con is now my home con and not Otakon. At Otakon, catty high school aged weeaboos had begun to reign supreme. Woe to any Yoko Litner over a hundred pounds, death be upon a Seras Victoria with thick thighs. I was a ‘fat cosplayer’ there because I have large hips and my belly isn’t perfectly flat. But at Dragon Con, there were lovely ladies of every size in outfits ranging from full armor to chain mail bikinis and no one batted an eyelash I heard maybe one catty comment all week, and that was craftsmanship related and they probably thought no one could hear them anyway. No one was mean to people. My boyfriend Robert and I even got thunderous applause at the costume contest despite my thighs and belly and his magnificent chest hair peeking out of his robe.





Yaya Han as Emma Frost, from the mistress's Facebook Page
But I digress. Are you conventionally attractive and in a skimpy costume? Don’t worry; the slutshaming nitpickers haven’t forgotten you. I’m going to gush about my idol, Yaya Han, again for a while. Yaya recently got a show on Sci Fi called Heroes of Cosplay. It was highly controversial and created a bit of a rift in the cosplay community, but as long as you accepted it as reality TV, it was honestly harmless and actually kind of fun to watch. Plus it helped my mom understand my hobby better, so Yaya, if you happen to be linked this or Google yourself and find this, thanks! You had a hand in helping me get a little extra help paying for costuming school and materials to start a small business!

But anyway, immediately some other cosplayers I used to idolize let out their claws and showed how ugly their egos can be when they tore into Yaya about tiny minute details that any cosplayer could overlook. ‘Her contacts for Fiora Nightraven are the wrong color!’ ‘Domino doesn’t use that weapon!’ ‘Emma Frost doesn’t wear pants like that!’ (Actually, yes she does sometimes and also Yaya outright said she wasn’t comfortable cosplaying in a thong, hence the pants.) The vitriol went on obsessively to the point where it was no longer a critique on controversial things in her show, it was tearing down a fellow cosplayer who is doing what she loves and working tirelessly to run a business, promote our hobby as normal and interesting, and still have a good time. Not to mention the age shaming. They said she was ‘aging’ because she’s over twenty-five. Now you tell me who’s making cosplay look bad. A cosplayer who dresses sexy or a cosplayer who talks cruelly about others?

The cosplay community is so quick to accuse each other of attention whoring and being a ‘fake geek’ (which I will address next week), and forget that skimpy costumes and sexy outfits come from a point of accuracy. It rings a mite hypocritical to say ‘I need my Asari tendrils to feel EXACTLY LIKE CARTILEGE SO IT’S ACCURATE!’ or ‘I need to use nothing but real Italian leather in my Zevran cosplay!’ and then throw a shit fit because you see an Arkham City Harley Quinn prancing around in a bra with her thong showing, or a Tiny Armstrong in a bikini.



 Tali'Belle is a fashion and costume design student with twelve years of cosplay experience. She operates Fleet and Flotilla: Dextro Couture and Salvage on Etsy. Her main cosplay is Tali'Zorah Vas Normandy and her current preferred convention is Dragon Con. You can keep up with her on DeviantArt  or Twitter. And of course, you can find her posts here on I Feel Delicious!


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