iPhone 5 Cases (aka) 5 Hot New Looks for Summer

Since summer is around the corner, let’s crank up the heat and find an iPhone 5 Case worth putting the sunscreen on for! (That’s #WhiteGirlProblems for “going outside”).

Pink Cocktail iPhone 5 Case (Victoria Secret) | New hot looks for summer that will keep your phone safe, on itsaLisa.com

Wake up your spirits with a Pink Drink iPhone 5 Case (found here on Victoria Secret)Because no one can say no to Drinking Pink Rabbits… You know what I mean? Here’s looking at you The National! #cheers 

Pineapple iPhone 5 Case with Sunglasses (PINK) | New hot looks for summer that will keep your phone safe, on itsaLisa.com

I’ve always wanted a Pineapple iPhone 5 Case. (Found here on Amazon). Nothing says summer more than a sweet juicy pineapple; especially when it’s wearing sunglasses.

Pineapple iPhone 5 Case (Asos) | New hot looks for summer that will keep your phone safe, on itsaLisa.com

While we’re in the market for pineapple, I also found this Silicone Pineapple iPhone 5 Case. (Found here on Asos). Their tropical vibe will always bring me back to my enchanting summer in Costa Rica. Pura Vida Baby!

Hello Sunshine iPhone 5 Case (Rifle Paper Co) | New hot looks for summer that will keep your phone safe, on itsaLisa.com ;)

A simple greeting can make or break a day, say Hello to the Sunshine and kiss the cold goodbye with this Gold Embellished iPhone 5 Case. (Found here on Rifle Paper Co).

Gold Glitter iPhone 5 Case (Etsy) | New hot looks for summer that will keep your phone safe, on itsaLisa.com

Or become one with the sun and sand with this Gold Glitter iPhone 5 Case (Found here on Etsy). It’s hand-made just for you, ya beach babe.

So now that you’re as stoked for summer as I am, which of these cases would YOU wear?…

…Walking around in our summertime clothes?…
…Nowhere to go when our bodies glow?…

And Queue music! *hit play* ((Summertime Clothes | Animal Collective))

Make these Delicious Spring Rolls from Scratch

Make your own Spring Rolls, follow this simple recipe for a healthy snack| itsaLisa.com

My father and I were craving some fresh and healthy food, and since we are a fan of shrimp and Vietnamese cuisine, spring rolls were the obvious choice! I used this recipe on foodnetwork.com because it looked simple and easy, it was:

Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe

You can click the link above for details – I don’t want to plagiarise. However, I will share some secrets I learned while making them! Read this guide before you get started:

these are the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little spring rolls | itsaLisa.com

  • Buying ingredients at your local H-mart or asian market will save you money. I wish I’d known this secret years ago, but it’s true… groceries are cheaper at the foreign grocer! If your town has one, I highly recommend stopping in.

An Easy Way to Make Spring Rolls | itsaLisa.com

  • Only soak 2 rice papers at a time in a plate of water. Soak them as you go: when you take one out put a new one in. This will give you enough time to make a spring roll while the new rice paper softens.

spring roll filling, lettuce carrots, and bean noodle | itsaLisa.com

  • Here is a mistake we made… The directions insisted we combine all the vegetables with the cooked bean thread noodles. – First off, we probably should have “finely shredded” the veggies a little better, and by better I mean we should have actually done it. - Second, the noodles just didn’t combine with the veggies well. One was raw and dry, the other sticky and lumpy, so I don’t know why that’s a good idea? - Anyways,  keep them separate and just grab a small portion of both to place inside the roll. A “good portion” will fit between your thumb and two fingers, no more than that or the roll won’t close.

Use this techniqe when rolling your spring roll to make it prettier | itsaLisa.com

  • To make your spring roll look prettier, roll it like this:
    • First place the filling at the bottom of the wrap, give it one roll.
    • Then lay out the mint leaves, cilantro, and shrimp
    • Wrap the sides in and roll it all the way up.

The best sauce you will ever taste - Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce | easy recipe on itsaLisa.com

  • This is the best peanut sauce you will ever taste! (Photo is of the ingredients before they were mixed together.) We had to use chunky peanut butter because that’s all we had, so it looked kiiiiiindof lumpy. But the taste was AMAZING. Luckily I had leftovers and I ate it with everything until, sadly, I ran out.  So my tip to you would be to make extra Thai Peanut Sauce and put it on everything. Examples include: apples, celery, PIZZA (seriously, try it), chips, sweet potato fries, spring rolls (duh), …

Homemade Spring Rolls | easy healthy recipe on itsaLisa.com

  • Lastly, here’s a serving suggestion. Aren’t they pretty!?

My Dad and I had a good time making them, it was worth the effort. He doesn’t think so, but he thinks all cooking should take 10 minutes or less. That’s how fast it’s done at the restaurant right? (WRONG). Whatever Dad, thanks for your help, I guess. (He secretly loved it).

Good luck on your own folks, I hope this helped! Once again, here’s the recipe from the Food Network. Please leave your thoughts in the comments… do YOU think it was worth it?

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Opinions Matter: Which Warby Parker Glasses Would You Choose?

Warby Parker Glasses #WarbyHomeTryOn | itsaLisa.com

If my optometrist told me just 5 years ago, that one day I would be able to select a few pairs of glasses to bring home as a trial run before I made my purchase, I would have been aghast! …“You mean I can actually wear these around to get opinions from family and friends? I have the privilege to try them on with different outfits to see if they’re a good fit?”

Warby Parker has made that dream a reality. On their site, WarbyParker.com, you can participate in their home try on program. Select 5 eyeglasses or sunglasses that you like and they will ship them to you for FREE for you to try on, see how you like them, a week later just return the glasses, also free of charge, and order your favorite pair (or multiple pairs!).  It gets better.  They also have a “buy a pair, give a pair” business model; for every pair of glasses that you order, they will also give a pair of glasses to someone in need.

I participated in this program and had a little too much fun trying on my 5 choice frames, as you can see in this video…

My Warby Parker Sunglasses and Eyeglasses Home Try On Selections:

To incorporate these frames into my wardrobe I started with a basic outfit: a black shirt and black jeans. Then I styled it with Warby Parker’s Glasses and my own accessories.

How to wear black all year long | itsaLisa.com

Outfit 1 // Black and Bohemian

 Black on black, with a cargo jacket (UNIQLO), leather boots (FRYE), a tasseled head scarf, and the Quimby, my favorite Warby Parker Sunglasses.

Wear Black | itsaLisa.com

Outfit 2 // Black and Bookish Blue

Black on black, merino wool sweater, infinity scarf, leather boots (DSW), and the Walker Eyeglasses from Warby Parker’s Spring Collection 2014.

Wear black all year long | itsaLisa.com

Outfit 3 // Black and Classy

Black on black, silk scarf headband, black wedge heels (DOLCE VITA), and Ripley Frames, my favorite Warby Parker Eyeglasses.

This whole thing is about getting opinions, right? Soooooo what do YOU think? Personally, I’m a fan of the Ripley for eyeglasses, and the Quimby for shades. The Walker glasses aren’t the most flattering for my brown eyes, but I think they would look absolutely stunning on someone whose iris’ express the recessive phenotype – the canton blue hue would make any blue, green, or hazel eyes pop!

You should definitely go to Warby Parker’s site and check out their collection for yourself.  They have plenty of styles to choose from for both men and women. Warby Parker also has excellent online engagement, so if you utilize the tag #WarbyHomeTryOn on the social networks listed below, then you can interact with their team for more styling advice.

Connect with Warby Parker on Social Media | WarbyParker.com

Warby Parker Frames | itsaLisa.com

Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

Let the Light (Blue) Shine!

Sky Blue, Light Blue, Robin’s Egg Blue… whatever color you want to call it, there is no denying that this color possesses a whimsical yet elegant beauty, and it has been popping up everywhere!

I’m not one to boast, but I typically have good judgment in trend forecasting, or “Zeitgei-dar” (Zeitgeist + radar), as I like to call it. If my calculations prove true, I believe a light blue might even be Pantone’s next choice for Color of the Year. We’ll see. For now, I’d like to pay a little homage to the color that has been waltzing through my daydreams…

Light Blue looks that embody whimsical elegance…

Light Blue Inspiration: Lupita's Oscar Gown | itsaLisa.com

Lupita’s Oscar Gown. A crowd favorite. Lupita has exceptional, taste and this Prada gown deserved its own Oscar. You go, girl!

Light Blue Inspiration: Gorgeous Colored Hair | itsaLisa.com

This girl’s blue hair. The subtle hue is absolutely stunning.  If my complexion wasn’t so dark, I would rock the same look. At least I would try to…

light blue inspiration: Interior Design | itsaLisa.com

This chic and modern space. The neutral palette and dark walls allow the light blue chairs to bring the room to life with a fresh pop of color. Buy your own Innit Chair here on Houzz.

Light Blue Inspiration: Nike Sneaker Wedges | itsaLisa.com

These Blue Nikes. The wedge of the high top plays between sporty and chic, and the blue adds an extra kick of style to make these shoes the ultimate spring must-have. Once I can confirm if these shoes are work-place-appropriate, they will be mine. Courtesy of Lady Foot Locker.

Light Blue Inspiration | itsaLisa.com

This girl’s street style. Read her blog, Pink Peonies, here. Excellent matching outfit my dear, and she styled it with a chic magenta Phillip Lim satchel for a magnificent color contrast! I love the doorway too; a painted doorway is so inviting, and an easy solution to makeover a space.

Light Blue Inspiration: Macarons | itsaLisa.com

These blue macarons. Macarons are my favorite treat because they embody the same whimsically chic traits that I admire so much in fashion and design. I wonder what these little blue guys taste like.

Light Blue Inspiration: nail polish | itsaLisa.com

Her light blue nails. Light blue nails are a way to add that fresh and fun color to everything you touch! Essie makes a great shade; get yours here.

1 dress

This blue evening gown. It’s not the real deal, but it comes close to Lupita’s gown. Found here on 1dress.co.uk, this dress would make a memorable prom gown, it also looks like a ball gown that could have been worn by Cinderella herself, if she were a millennial girl.

These are just a few pieces from my daydreams, you can see even more glamorous Light Blue finds that inspire me on my Pinterest board, Feeling Blue, showing here:

Enjoy, and feel free to follow me on Pinterest! Also, don’t forget to check back in a year from now and we’ll see if my Pantone predictions prove true. ;)

Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

Satisfy Your Cravings with this All-Natural Skinny Chocolate Smoothie Recipe (150 Calories)

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie Recipe, 150 calories! | itsaLisa.com

Want a satisfying treat that can fill you up without maxing out your daily caloric intake? This guilt-free smoothie is guaranteed to hit the spot. Just blend the following ingredients, pour into a glass, and enjoy the creamy chocolatey goodness…

Skinny Chocolate Banana Smoothie Recipe:

  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup ice

The sweetness of the banana offsets the bitterness of the cocoa powder, and the creaminess of the almond milk all whipped up makes the drink as enjoyable as any ordinary dairy-infused drink. For 1/3 the calories of a typical smoothie, and no added preservatives, this chocolate smoothie makes a perfect trade in for a snack that is worth having any hour of the day.

Check out more Healthy Smoothie Recipes here in my Smoothie Column

I input the ingredients to Livestrong’s calorie tracker so you can see how they add up: Calorie Counter: chocolate banana smoothie for only 150 calories on from My Plate / Livestrong | itsaLisa.com

Thanks for reading! Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on twitter / instagram / Pinterest

AMAZING Footage of Dolphins and Their Babies in The Wild

Some of you might be familiar with that whale watching video (found here) which went viral last week. It was filmed by the very same group that took me on my own spectacular whale watching adventure in Dana Point, Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari: DolphinSafari.com.

They took us on an exhilarating tour along Orange County’s coastline. First we followed a gray whale on its lonely migration north, then we found this pod of stampeding dolphins. It was too cool for words, so I made a short video instead. Can you spot the babies swimming with their mamas?

Help save the whales with Captain Dave through their charity organization: TheCareTakers.org.

Dolphins in the Wild | itsaLisa.comDolphins in the Wild | itsaLisa.comDolphins in the Wild | itsaLisa.comCaptain Dave's Dolphin Safari | itsaLisa.com

What to do in Portland if You Only Have One Weekend

Things to do in Portland... Portland Travel Guide, A Weekend in the City | itsaLisa.com

You’re on a mission to conquer Portland in one weekend? What a quest! The token “weird” city is brimming with quirks and culinary feats. It would be impossible to see it all, but since you’re here and you’re trying, follow along as I guide you through the town highlights, as well as some of my personal favorites.

How it works: For the purpose of this post, let’s pretend you’ll arrive in Portland Friday night and leave Sunday night. I’m going to describe what my ideal trip would look like in the given time frame. Use THIS GOOGLE MAP that I made just for you along with the written guide below for your ultimate PDX tour.

Guide to PDX | itsaLisa.com


FRIDAY: South East Portland

You’ve traveled all day and you’re starving! Where to first? Let’s start with food, then drinks. The layer titled “FRIDAY NIGHT. SE PDX” on my Google map will show you where to go. First stop is one of Portland’s hidden delicacies.

Le Bistro Montage, Portland Oregon | itsaLisa.com

Le Bistro Montage 301 SE Morrison St. Dine at this Cajun restaurant famous for their mac and cheese, but feel free to explore their wild seafood menu, you never know when your next chance to try alligator might be. Words of the wise, do not eat it all!!! Ask your waiter if you can take some to go; a surprise awaits. ;)

Now that you’re fed, time for some drinks. That’s the real reason you’re here, right? Let’s keep Friday night a quiet night. You have a big weekend ahead of you.

Rontoms 600 E Burnside St. Grab a drink and head out back to the large open patio and take in the laid back culture. Play ping-pong and mingle with the locals.

Maybe you’ve had a long day and this crowd is enough. Or maybe you’re just getting started and want to see more.  We will stay on the Northeast side tonight, so make your way up E Burnside St and follow along with this bar crawl. That is, if you’re up for it. The bars are going to get even better tomorrow so reserve your energy if needed. The following are all in walking distance from each other…

The Standard 14 NE 22ndPlay corn hole, America’s new favorite game, at The Standard (not to be confused with The Standard Hotel in LA or NYC). Sing Karaoke at the Chopsticks Express. Cheer on the Timbers (Portland’s one and only soccer team) or catch a live show up the street at Beulahland. Hop next door to Red Flag for Pinball and, dare I say, frozen Margaritas. Or mingle with more of your bearded locals at Laurelthirst Public House, did somebody say bluegrass?

Now that was a chill evening. You had a taste of the local nightlife, I think you’re are ready for a good night’s sleep, because tomorrow is jampacked with the touristing best!

SATURDAY: Everything Portland

Rise and shine my friends! Grab your Doc Marten’s and Northface, and get ready to hit the rain-soaked streets. I have divided today into three parts. 1) An introduction to the city, 2) afternoon options for you, and 3) a night out you will never forget.


Stumptown Coffee, Portland | itsaLisa.com

Stumptown 128 SW 3rd Ave.  Fuel up with Portland’s finest coffee. “The name, a nod to this beloved city’s historic logging legacy.” -Stumptowncoffee.com. Craft brewing is an art well-known to Oregon. Stumptown was the first.

(Park in this downtown region because I lead you in a full circle so you’ll be back at the car within a few hours.)

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland | itsaLisa.com

VOODOO Doughnut 22 SW 3rd Ave. While you’re sipping your coffee, head over to the sparkly line at Voodoo Donuts just next door. Checkout their menu here, my favorite is the ODB, your average doughnut covered in chocolate, Oreos AND peanut butter – YUM! With Voodoo and Stumptown in hand, you’re already a true tourist, err, I mean local.

Portland Saturday Market 2 SW Naito Pkwy. Now that you’re fueled with the blood of Portland, walk across the street to Saturday Market. Make sure you meander through the shops all the way to the waterfront. Enjoy the orchestra, the wind chimes, the weirdos, but most importantly, the Spoonman. No trip to Saturday Market is complete without trying on Spoon glasses, or purchasing a decorative-flatware-ring. Before you move on, snap a pic by the waterfront and enjoy the scenic view of Portland’s bridges. If you need to refuel I recommend trying an Elephant Ear or grabbing a bite at one of the snack huts lining the waterfront, but it’s not time for lunch just yet!

Powell’s City of Books 1005 W Burnside St. Next on the list, walk straight up Burnside and find yourself at the doorsteps of the biggest new and used bookstore in the world! *Helpful Hint: go with a purpose, have 1 or 2 books in mind and peruse the color coded aisles ’til your heart’s content.* If you’re not into books, meander across the street and peruse the aisles of trendy second-hand Portlander clothes at Buffalo Exchange while you wait. Woohoo, you’ve finally found the book you’ve been hoping for! All that hunting has made you hungry. Good thing Portland is overflowing with food options.

Portland Food Carts SW Alder St & 9th. For lunch on Saturday, enjoy the open air and stroll over to the biggest pod of food carts in Portland. A pod is a group of food carts that gather together to give you the best variety of food. I like to walk around the whole pod unit before settling down on one.  Use this map as a guide to all the carts, (zoom in on the crowded area on the NW side). Or download this Portland Food Cart mobile app.  Nowhere to sit? Walk to your next destination at Pioneer Courthouse Square just a few blocks down the street and enjoy a prime seat on the brick steps. Before you go, don’t forget to ask for extra napkins.

Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland Umbrella Man | itsaLisa.com

Pioneer Courthouse Square 701 SW 6th Ave. Known as “Portland’s living room,” this is where city festivals and events take place. It is also home to the famous glass Starbucks and the bronze umbrella man. Pose for a pic with him, and decide where to go next.


You have a few options for the rest of your afternoon! You won’t have time for everything, so choose wisely. I have them all listed below, whatever you can’t do today you might be able to squeeze in tomorrow. Plan on each item taking 2 hours.

Portland Walking Tour: 202 NW Davis St. (Their base is right off Pioneer Square, you’re already there!) The underground walking tour is your best bet, explore the infamous Shanghai tunnels and learn about Portland’s shady past. Check before you arrive, but the tours are typically 2 hours, starting at 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. on weekends; $20 a person.

Japanese Garden, Portland | itsaLisa.com

Japanese Garden 611 SW Kingston Ave. This place is gorgeous! Walk around for hours and enjoy the nature of both Japan and Portland mixed into one epic landscape.

OMSI 1945 SE Water Ave. Explore the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. This museum is a big hit for younger audiences; it provides a great way to learn and interact with the world around us. Engage with the latest exhibits, listed here.

Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Ave. Visit the exhibits for a taste of arts and culture, tucked into a quiet corner of rainy city life. Find a list of their current exhibits here.

PDX rogue

Beer Tasting Check out Rogue Brewery (1339 NW Flanders St. facts & menu) and Deschutes Brewery (210 NW 11th Ave. menu & on tapLocated just a couple of blocks away from each other, these are two of Portland’s most popular craft breweries. Ask for flights and take your palette on a taste test (here’s how) on a journey from light to dark with Portland’s finest liquid gold. Fun fact: is it you or your travel-mates’ birthday? Rogue will offer you a free pitcher – yes, pitcher – in any beer of your choice. Cheers!

Hike. Oregon is rich with hiking trails. Since you don’t have all day, choose from the hikes listed here under the “Portland Area” headline, and find what suits you. If I had to choose just one of the listed options I would choose the Mount Tabor Hike because it’s a volcano.


Now that you’ve explored our humble city, it’s time to grab some dinner before your big night out! If you haven’t gone yet you should hit up either Rogue or Deschutes Brewery (see above) for dinner, because craft beer is a Portland must. But, if you’re fixing for some award-winning feasts, a handful of Portland’s renowned eateries are as follows…

Pok Pok, Dining in Portland | itsaLisa.com

Le Pigeon 738 E Burnside St.  French cuisine. Stop trying to pronounce “foi grois” and eat it instead.

Little Bird 219 SW 6th Ave. Le Pigeon’s little sister, also French.

Pok Pok 3226 SE Division St.  Thai food like never before.

ROE 3113 SE Division St. Japanese cuisine, hidden from the public, reservation only, kind of a big deal.

Screen Door 2337 E Burnside St. Southern cuisine, farm to fork, chicken and waffles. Worth the wait.

Slappy Cakes 4246 SE Belmont St. DIY pancake house. They provide the batter and the fixings, and you get to grill your own flapjacks at the table.

Le Bistro Montage 301 SE Morrison St.  Cajun. If you didn’t already go on Friday than I highly recommend this location for today. Macaroni is bomb. Ask to take home leftovers.

SATURDAY NIGHT: The Nightlife Tour

Get ready for some Portland Nightlife at its finest. Unless you already have a local concert or festival ticket in hand, get fancy and prepare to hit the dance floor!

PDX night life

Old Town Chinatown, NW 3rd Ave. is the place to be for a wild night. Police block off the streets with barriers so you may walk freely from bar to bar nary a concern. Explore the different venues. Let your curiosity lead the way. Is it the music that guides you? The atmosphere? The long wait to get in? Every bar has its scene.

For a more unique experience try Darcelle’s and dance with world-famous female impersonators. My personal favorite venue happens to be the Barrel Room, home to a covered outdoor dance floor filled with farm tables, yes, farm tables – you’ll see. Enjoy your night and make lasting memories; Old Town Chinatown, like the rest of Portland, is one of a kind.

SUNDAY: Northwest Portland

Go ahead and sleep in. I’ve planned a nice and peaceful day for you. Or get up and at’em to hit all the stops you missed yesterday. Before you go, there are a few more must-dos on my agenda for you. I have saved the best for last. Follow my Google map under the layer titled “SUNDAY. NW PDX” for guidance.

Raspberry Macarons from Ken's Artisan Bakery, Portland | itsaLisa.com

Brix Tavern 1338 NW Hoyt St. Nourish yourself at my all time favorite spot for brunch. Brix has amazing drinks, amazing food (menu), and (if you’re up for it) they also have bottomless Mimosas on the weekends.  Enjoy doodling on the table with crayons while you wait. *Suggestion: try mapping out what actually happened last night …am I right??* The Brix Chips are amazing, think: gourmet nachos. This is breakfast, however, so perhaps try the eggs benedict instead.

After a morning well spent and stomachs well stuffed. Drive up NW Burnside into the Hillside to look out over the city among the finest real estate in all of Oregon. If you have time, check out Pittock Mansion or stroll through Pittock Acres Park. After taking in the breathtaking views head back down and explore Nob Hill. Window shop along the fine collection of boutiques on NW 23rd Street and enjoy your final hours in P-town. Here you’ll find even more coffee shops and bakeries, of course, my favorite is Ken’s Artisan Bakery, where delightful macarons are made fresh daily.

Today is your day to catch up on anything you might have missed on Saturday, but please oh please make this final destination a priority. Near the end of 23rd street you will come across the best ice cream you have ever had…

Salt & Straw, Portland's best ice cream | itsaLisa.com

Salt & Straw 838 NW 23rd Ave. “Portland’s farm-to-cone ice cream shop” and Voted “Best of the West” by Sunset Magazine. This shop puts care into every cone, you can try as many flavors as you’d like before you order, so be patient – it’s worth it!  The giant chalkboard wall behind the workers has every flavor and ingredient listed, so read carefully, you don’t want to miss a beat, or …beet. They’ve mastered the art of sweet and savory, with flavors like Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper, and Salted Caramel Cupcake.  This is truly the best ice cream you will ever have. Ever.

You did it!

Congrats, you have now experienced every layer the great city of Portland has to offer. You’ve tasted their craft brews, eaten their delicacies, you’ve walked the beautiful trails and partied with the locals. I hope you had an amazing time.

Now remember, Portland has approximately 1000 bars and 2000 coffee shops (just kidding I made those numbers up), but you have a lot of options! Don’t be afraid to do your own thing, too.  This is YOUR trip afterall. This agenda is merely my insider’s perspective, the tried and true suggestions that I’ve picked just for you. So go have fun, and tell me all about it in the comments below.

…Of course now that I have written out this fantastic agenda I am extremely nostalgic. So, um, do me a favor, if you ever meet someone from George Fox University while you’re up there, tell them Lisa says hi. :) Thanks!

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