• Plant Your Apartment Herb Garden

    Apr 16, 2018

    An herb garden is a perfect edible DIY project. It's amazing that it needs just a sliver of space to exist but will offer you months of fresh herbs to enhance your recipes. With both constant temperatures and consistent light (hopefully), indoor gardens have less to contend with than their outdoor counterparts, and can produce year-round results. To help you plant your own DIY herb garden, Timbercreek has a few tips.

    Start out Safe

    Where you locate your garden isn’t just a sun-question. Make sure it’s in a place people (including yourself) won’t bump into it, knock it over, or just take up valuable counter space. Outfit your garden in a spot that’ll be protected, so as not to get annihilated by a grocery bag, backpack, cat paw, or dish.

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    Structure

    The simplest option is loading up a number of individual pots with herbs. A better approach is the rectangular plastic or tin trough-type containers that hold a number of different plants together. With this, the soil benefits from the combined species and they can all be watered at once. Another possibility is a bookshelf-style garden with multiple levels holding different pots. They all work. The key here is being creative with your particular space.  

    Good Sun

    You’ll need to know how much sun your plants will need, and what they’ll get based on your windows and orientation. Most vegetables do best in 6+ hours of full sun. Some greens and herbs are happy with less. Surrounding buildings or trees can block the sun, and your orientation usually means there are very specific sun-soaked hours. Check to make sure you hit the minimum for the type of plants you want before you buy seedlings.

    Gearing Up

    You'll need the basic garden essentials:

    1. Pots: The size can vary depending on what you're growing, but make sure there's enough depth for roots to fully develop. Shoot for 8" in diameter.

    2. Soil: Generally easy to find at garden centers or hardware stores. Pick up a mix that's formulated for containers, not the garden soil variety.

    3. Plants: Farmers markets are a great local source for herb and vegetable seedlings. Again, hardware and garden stores normally have a decent selection as well.

    4. Extras: A trowel, watering can, mister (old windex bottle), and fertilizer. Learn more.

    Start with Seedlings

    No matter what you're growing, buy your herbs as seedlings, not seeds. Growing plants from scratch is actually way harder, especially with a small space and the average person’s time constraints. Go for established toddler herbs and veg from a farmers market or nursery. You'll get edible results much sooner and with less work. Learn more.

    Best for Beginners

    Basil is a great starter herb. It grows well, smells great, and tastes even better. It also lets you know right away if you’re watering enough - a good tell-tale for the rest of the garden. Other excellent starter herbs are chives, scallions, cilantro, mint (which grows like crazy, so be aware), as well as leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, arugula). Small tomatoes and hot peppers are good options too. Learn more.

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help you plant a killer indoor herb garden. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Spring 2018 Runway Trends We Love

    Apr 09, 2018

    Spring (and summer) 2018 fashion trends are bright, bold and beautiful. While Pantone’s ultraviolet is already a force in fashion, this season is all about rubber, ruching, lavender, rainbows, asymmetrical necklines, and shockingly the return of the fanny pack. To guide you through the hot new trends of the season, Timbercreek brings you a list of top fashion trends to check out for Spring 2018.

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    1. Bold floral prints

    Spring/Summer 2018 fashion is flush with bold prints that are both cool and inspiring. Florals are all the rage in oversized designs. Get the jump on Spring and pick up some standout prints. Read more here.

    2. Dark denim

    Denim is always present and always in style. And if the runways of Versace, Max Mara, Tibi, Tom Ford, Fendi, Adam Selman, Chloé, and Derek Lam are an indication, it's going to be everywhere this spring. Look for inky indigo washes and raw denim, in everything from skirts to jackets, even boots. Read more here.

    3. Lavender

    “Millennial pink” had its moment. The runways of Spring 2018 are pointing to the next big color thing: fifty shades of soft lavender. You'll see it on everything from sequined dresses to oversized knits and sharp suit sets. It looks great on everything.  Find out more.

    4. Plaid

    Plaid never goes out of style -- it just gets appropriated by one social group after another: hippies, punks, lumbersexuals, Dads, hipsters, and on and on. This season, to keep the look fresh, mix and match plaid with purple (pantone color of the year is ultraviolet), oversized earrings, and white boots. You can always contrast plaid with a bold bag as well. Learn more.

    5. Workout wear

    This season, performance athletic gear is colliding with fierce fashion on Paris runways. In a mix of style-meets-function, we’re seeing all manner of haute-inspired crop-top cut-offs, soccer jerseys, nylon zip-ups, old school sweatshirts, and flip-flops. Check it out.

    Timbercreek hopes our tips help you stay on trend this spring. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • How To Protect Your Skin This Summer

    Aug 08, 2017

    It’s time to get outside and soak up the sun. It’s also time to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Timbercreek wants to help you protect your skin this summer with these skincare tips.

    Exfoliate

    There is some debate about whether exfoliation during the summer is a good idea. It all depends on how active you are outdoors. If you are spending an extended period of time in the sun, playing sports or hanging out at the beach, you may want to hold off from exfoliating. Exfoliating once per week can help get rid of dead skin cells and help rejuvenate your skin.

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    Non-Toxic Sunscreen

    You need to protect yourself when spending time in the sun. Unfortunately, some sunscreens contain toxic ingredients, such as parabens. They are widely used as a preservative. While they do a great job to help protect the shelflife of products, they can also disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with proper hormone function. Studies indicate that some types of parabens may react with UVB rays when applied to the skin and lead to increased skin aging and DNA damage. Look for paraben-free sunscreen.

    Hydrate

    Severe dehydration has serious health consequences, but even mild dehydration can be damaging, so make hydration a habit. Always carry a water bottle and/or keep one at your desk. Studies show that people feel more alert immediately after drinking water. Drink whenever you get that hazy or frazzled feeling. Sip on a cup of herbal tea at night to both unwind and hydrate. You should also eat water-rich foods. A diet rich in whole foods such as fruit and veggies will increase your fluid intake automatically.

    Cover Up (hats, cover ups)

    The most effective way to protect your skin from the sun this summer is to keep it covered. A breathable, wide-brimmed hat is a good start. In addition to blocking UV rays, clothes can block some of the infrared rays that make you feel hot. You can choose fabrics like linen, or wear a light scarf or a breezy cover up.

    SPF Lipsticks & Moisturizers

    After you’ve applied non-toxic sunscreen, don’t overlook your lips. Your lips need sun protection, too. Look for lipsticks and lip balms with SPF. You can also save yourself some time and give yourself one less thing to remember by choosing a moisturizer that does double duty.

    Timbercreek wishes you a happy and healthy summer. Get out there and enjoy the sun in a safe way with these skincare tips. To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: Dogs in Hot Weather

    Aug 07, 2017

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    Many pet owners treat their furry friends like children. But while dogs are much more resilient and self-sustaining than human infants, many pet owners forget that for animals, heat can be a killer. Especially in Canada where we often contend with temperatures into the high 30s and even 40s. And unlike human babies, dogs don’t actually need to accompany owners everywhere. To protect your dog from the elements this summer, Timbercreek brings you a list of tips to keep your canine comfortable and healthy in the heat.

    Don’t Leave Them In The Car

    While the leave-the-windows-down mentality has merit when leaving pets in cars, the better idea is to not bring them at all. Leaving dogs in hot cars with searing sun and no airflow is pretty much like putting them in an oven. If you must, bring a small water bowl, park in the shade, leave windows down, or if wherever you go is pet-friendly, take them with you.

    Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

    Dog water consumption increases in the heat just like for humans -- but way more intensely for your pet because of that whole body-covered-with-fur thing. Dogs release heat through panting, and a small amount through their paws, which also increases the impact of airflow (or lack thereof, i.e. cars) in their immediate vicinity. Keep your pet’s water bowl full, put a second bowl in another location in your house/apartment in hot months, and bring one and a water bottle for the car when travelling.

    AC

    Though an eco and energy consideration, air conditioning is more than just a human luxury in summer months. Dogs benefit just a much or more so than we do from some climate control when the thermostat hits 35C. Even if just at night for a good sleep, switch on the AC to give your fur-covered friend a break from the heat.

    Fans

    If you don’t have AC, use a fan to cool your pet down in oppressive heat. Set it up near a window to generate airflow, and put one by your dog’s bed at night to offer some help to deal with the heat.

    Limit Exercise/Exertion

    While dogs need to go out regardless of the season or temperature, limiting their exertion in hot months is a great way to keep them from overheating. Walk your dog at low heat times of day - morning and evening - and if you have to play fetch, reduce the number of ball throws.

    Grooming

    Make sure your dog’s coat is appropriate for the season. For shedding breeds, coats maintain themselves, but a good, regular brushing helps remove that fluctuating under-layer. For fur-growing dogs, keep their coats trim and, where it doesn’t make them look overly rat-like, as short as possible.

    Timbercreek hopes this list helps keep your pet cool and healthy in the heat. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Minimalist Packing Tips For Camping

    Aug 01, 2017

    Whether you plan to paddle or hike, camping is a great opportunity to take in the beauty of earth, water, sun, and forrest. 2017 is a great time to camp because Canadian National Parks are free in honour of Canada’s 150th Birthday. While most people choose to camp in the golden months of summer, it’s just as enjoyable in the spring, fall, and even winter with the right gear. If you want to plan an epic camping adventure, but want to keep your gear to a minimum, this post is for you. From stoves to coolers, tents to layers, the variety of conditions and constant threat of dampness makes packing a tricky prospect regardless of the season. To help you get started, Timbercreek has compiled these minimalist packing tips.

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    Get Current Gear

    It’s sometimes surprising to realize the extent to which technology is applied to camping. Materials, weights, tensile strengths and sizes: it’s all tech influenced, and can seriously aid the packing process. Buying modern gear can be pricey but guarantees a lighter load and maximum functionality.

    Layers

    Packing layers of the right clothing items can reduce your clothing needs. Moisture wicking, lightweight materials pack warmth and functionality into a small package. Leave jeans and cotton shirts at home. Wool is bulky but keeps you warm even when wet. A thin toque will keep your head warm at night. Goretex coats are thin, water resistant, and maintain warmth.

    Stuff Sacks & Compression bags

    Compression bags and stuff sacks literally force things to be smaller. An otherwise bulky sleeping bag, and even tents, can be reduced in size by half or more when crushed in a compression bag.  

    Inflatables

    From thermarests to pillows, inflation is a must. Occupying almost zero space when they aren’t pumped full of air, inflatables are ideal for camping. You can find inflatable sleeping mats (and even full mattresses), pillows, chairs and/or cushions, swimming toys, and life preservers with ease - all of which lighten weight and provide creature comforts.

    Wineskins And Small Plastic Containers

    From water to wine, packing liquids is an age-old camping requirement and packing concern. Modern aluminum and lightweight steel water bottles are fairly common, and keep the weight to size ratio down. Putting bug spray, suntan lotion, liquid medicines, toothpaste, cooking oil, soap, and shampoo into flat plastic or even standard but smaller bottle containers also helps. But more importantly, when it comes to drinks, using modern plastic wineskins instead of bottles reduces size and weight by more than half. This allows for more refreshment in less space -- always a plus on long trips in the woods.

    Timbercreek hopes this article helps you minimize your packing for camping trips. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • 5 Easy Summer Meals We Love

    Jul 31, 2017

    Summer is a special time of year. It's the perfect time to relax with friends and family, enjoy the weather, and eat some delicious food. Since no one likes to work too hard in the summer heat, Timbercreek Communities presents 5 easy summer meals we love!

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    1. BBQ Chicken And Potato Salad

    Grilling good BBQ Chicken is all about the sauce. Don’t just squeeze it from a bottle. You can start with bottled ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, chili and hot pepper sauce -- but then add your own twist with sauteed garlic, butter, brown sugar, celery seed and salt. Nothing goes better with great BBQ chicken than a classic Potato Salad on the side.

    2. Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

    Sitting in the sunshine with a freshly prepared Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad is what summer is all about. It can be ready to serve in half an hour, with only 15 minutes of hands on time. Whip up the dressing by chopping garlic cloves and pureeing it with a cup of olive oil. Then it’s all about the anchovies! Add a little lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.

    3. Pho

    Making traditional Pho normally takes several hours, but this quick and easy version can be ready to serve in only 40 minutes! Combine beef stock and water with ginger, onion, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, sugar and fish sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Place the noodles and sliced beef fillet in a warmed bowl and pour the hot soup over top to cook the beef.

    4. Portobello Burgers

    You won't miss the meat once you bite into these Portobello Burgers! You can cook them in a pan indoors, or outside on the grill. Basting the burgers with a good marinade is crucial. Fortunately you can create a simple and tasty marinade with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and Montreal steak seasoning.

    5. Sushi Handrolls

    Sushi Handrolls are a satisfying summer meal that won’t leave you feeling overly full. They are great to serve at a summer get-together as you can prepare them in advance or simply lay out the ingredients and let your guests build their own! If you’ve never made them before, this recipe will show you how, step-by-step, with pictures! Remember to moisten the edge of the nori with water to seal the cone. Serve with shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and a little pickled ginger.

    Timbercreek hopes that these easy summer meals help you say bon appetit in the summer heat! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • Our New Sustainability Initiative: Bee Suites

    Jul 20, 2017
        

    There is something serious going on with the world’s bee population. Pollinator bees are endangered and Timbercreek Communities has launched an exciting new initiative to help solve the problem. Introducing - Bee Suites!

    The Issue

    Did you know that bees pollinate fruit, nut and vegetable crops that make up 90% of the world’s nutrition? That means that 1 in 3 bites of food we eat is made possible by the pollinators who spread the pollen that crops need to grow.

    Worldwide bee populations are currently in crisis. They are dying from exposure to pesticides and habitat loss. That’s why Timbercreek Communities has launched Bee Suites, a Canada-wide initiative to help save endangered pollinator bees and the environment. Inspired by the work of Sustainable TO with other bee habitats Timbercreek Communities felt this was a natural fit for our company as providing homes is what we do!

    About The Initiative

    For the Bee Suites program, Timbercreek Communities will build Bee Suites - new habitats for endangered pollinator bees and divert waste from landfills. We plan to build Bee Suites on our rooftops across Canada.

    So what are Bee Suites? Simply put, they are new homes for pollinator bees. They are built from the old debris (closet and cabinet doors, sinks, tubs etc.) created from renovating our residential suites. They are sustainable new homes for pollinator bees and they divert this waste from landfills.

    The Roll Out

    Our first Bee Suite is located at Broadview Mansions, on the roof of the small garage behind 569 Broadview. It was installed during the week of June 26th, 2017, see more here. We can’t wait for our little friends to find it!

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    What To Expect

    Worried about living close to a bee population? There’s no need. Pollinator bees are barely noticeable and keep themselves busy by collecting pollen. They are focused in their work and don’t sting people unless stepped on or pinched. In fact, only 50% of bees (females) have stingers.

    Help Timbercreek save the bees and the environment by showing your support for The Bee Suites initiative. If you have any questions or concerns about the program, please contact beesuites@timbercreek.com.

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  • How to Plan a Great Last Minute Summer Vacation

    Jul 18, 2017

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    Summertime makes planning a vacation painless. School is out, there are multiple long weekends to take advantage of and the weather is almost guaranteed. If you put off planning a vacation this year but have found some free time this summer, Timbercreek Communities has some tips for planning a great last minute vacation.

    Set Your Budget

    Pretty much everything about a vacation is determined by your budget. How long you can stay away, how far you can travel and what you can do once you get there are just a few of the things that depend on it. A last minute vacation is spontaneous by nature, but still requires some planning. Figure out how much you can afford to spend before you go. Keep in mind that hotter destinations, like the Caribbean, are in off-season during the summer making them much more affordable. You can even find some great deals on unsold cabins on cruises a week or two before departure.

    Determine Your Destination

    You may have a list of dream destinations on your travel bucket list but you should also keep an open mind about locations that present themselves while searching for last minute flights. It may not be what you originally had in mind, but spontaneity is key to any great last minute travel experience.

    Make the Time to Travel

    If you wait for the perfect time to travel, you may find yourself waiting your whole life. There may never be a perfect time, you have to make the time you have perfect. Research has shown that travel is good for you, so don’t put it off. Can you add a vacation day or two to a summer long weekend? Even if it’s only for a long weekend, it’s better than nothing. Don't stand in the way of your travel dreams.

    Know Where You Will Stay

    Don’t go overboard with the spontaneity. Picking up and leaving last minute can be a great feeling, but having nowhere to stay when you get there is not. Plus, they will probably ask you at customs where you are staying. If you are planning a longer vacation, book a hotel for the first few days at least. That will give you time to plan your next move once you get there.

    Go it Alone

    It can be hard for family members or a group of friends to be spontaneous at the same time. Don’t be afraid to go solo. Traveling alone lets you make the most of your time, doing only what you want to do. You can stay on the cheap in a hostel and meet new people, or sign up for a tour group if you don’t want to spend too much time by yourself.

    Timbercreek bids you bon voyage and hopes these tips help you make the most of your time off this summer. To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • How To Pick The Right Hat For Your Face

    Jul 11, 2017

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    Hats are great. They're fashionable, they block the sun, they hide bad hair, and they're cool. From baseball caps to golf visors, hats are a fun way to spice up an outfit or clean up not so polished look. The trick is finding a hat and hat style that suits your face shape (and head size). While obvious on paper, we've all had that mirror moment where that sweet looking hat you saw on someone else looks ridiculous on you. Why? It's not just the style; it's your face! Knowing your face shape (oval, round, wide, narrow) makes all the difference in choosing the right hat.  Timbercreek is here to help you pick the right hat for your face.

    Kangol

    Made famous by Samuel L Jackson and golfers the world over, the British driving cap, more commonly known as a 'Kangol' (for the brand's defining style and colors), is one of the most common and versatile hats to wear. Worn forward or back, and with an abyss of colors, patterns and trim accents, the kangol can go well with a huge array of outfits. Before you buy, the kangol is a tough sell for the wide faced and big headed -- both in terms of fit and look. Kangols are also often tough to find in bigger sizes, so keep that in mind as you consider the style. 

    Fedora

    With a range of styles to choose from, Fedoras have been iconic for years. They’ve appeared on characters as diverse as Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), and Johnny Depp. Even though they’re not magical they can immediately transform an outfit. While the thin “stingy” brimmed variety have enjoyed a comeback due to their cheap mass production, they often only fit smaller heads and suit round to oval faces. If it’s width and size you need, go for the larger, classic-brim model, or even a pork-pie hat. Learn more here.

    Baseball

    Good for nearly every face shape and head size, baseball caps are a great investment. While simple in design there’s a wealth of options: floppy, snapback, flat-brim, and stretchy, and equally as many size variations.  A word to the big and wide faced however: fitted wool MLB hat types tend to be slim pickings in bigger sizes. The 7 ¼  to 8-inch range can be hard to find. The floppy, curved peak styles also tend to not be very deep or wide, in other words: good for smaller head sizes and thinner, oval or round face types.

    Floppy

    The floppy brim hat style so hot right now. They tend to come in soft textured felt, wool, or straw varieties with big, wide brims that are fashionable and dramatic. These hats will add a little flair to any outfit. While they tend to most commonly be seen in muted earth tones, they can be found in more playful colors as well.  For fit, while coming in a range of sizes, the floppy is forgiving and moderately stretchable with wear.  As for face shape, this hat is very versatile and can accommodate almost every shape.  

    Cloche

    French for bell, the cloche takes after its namesake with a bell-like shape and harkens back to 1920s and 30s era Paris where it was invented. Typically made of felt, wool, or straw, the style is dramatic but also fun and playful.  For fit, the felt and wool options mold to the wearer, and the shape tends to go well on round and oval faces. It doesn’t hide much, putting more focus on the face than the floppy hat variety does. Most makers offer a full range of sizes, so lots of flexibility there.

    Tilley/Army

    While It's hard to pull off a tilley or army hat (wide brimmed, thick canvas gems) unless you're an Australian crocodile wrangler, or a Navy Seal, it can be done. While generally placed solidly in the "birder" category, a tilley in dark navy, camo, or a bright alternative primary color can transform the hat's doddy heritage into a funky fashionable accent. This style is made for wearing; they’re built like tanks and come in a wide range of sizes. For face suitability, it’s quite versatile - though whether it works on you is really more of a personality thing. You gotta own it when you rock a Tilley outside a of 5-day camping trip.

     

    Timbercreek hopes this article helps you find the right hat for your face! For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Fun & Cheap Summer Date Ideas

    Jul 10, 2017

    Whether you’re meeting someone new or celebrating an anniversary, great date ideas are always useful. Dating can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Timbercreek has some fun and cheap summer date ideas for you to enjoy with someone you love or someone new.

    iStock-596081514A Walk In The Park

    A stroll in the park is possibly the easiest and cheapest of all date ideas.  If the weather is working in your favour it can be a beautiful way to spend the day. Best of all, if you’re nervous you don’t have to look at each other constantly. Up the romance factor by bringing a blanket, some cups and something to drink. Sunset is a great time for your stroll.

    Wine Tasting Event

    In Ontario, the LCBO offers an affordable range of wine tasting events that range from $30 to $100. They also have beer and scotch tastings, as well as longer term 4 week courses. A wine or beer tasting is social, public, and gives you something to talk about with your date. The events are often held in the nice LCBO buildings (like Toronto’s Summerhill location).

    Brunch

    Meeting at night for the first time is often ill advised. A classic brunch out is a cheap and delicious date option not to be overlooked. Brunch is really popular in Canada so you’ll have no shortage of restaurant options to choose from. Check out the best places in Toronto for brunch here

    Happy Hour Drink(S)

    It’s hard to beat happy hour -- another inexpensive daytime date option to consider. Most pubs offer it and more and more craft beer bars are adding it to their rosters. Grab a seat and enjoy a $5 beer or a half price glass of wine with your date. Worst case scenario, you get a cheap drink out of it.

    Street Festival

    In summer, festivals and street events are great options for cheap dates. Many of these events in big cities are free and allow you to walk through a number of big city blocks that are closed to traffic. These fun events usually come with a ton of cheap or free food, beverages, and entertainment. There’s always lots to do and you won’t be locked into a full restaurant meal or long event.

    Jazz Show

    Live jazz, while not for everyone, is sophisticated, interesting, and fun to listen to and watch. Because it’s improvised you’ll get to hear something unique with every show. Going to a concert is a great date idea and takes the pressure off of making witty conversation. If the music is bad it also gives you something to commiserate over. Normally less than $20, a jazz show is a great way to spend a date.

    Coffee

    Who doesn’t like coffee? A coffee date is almost guaranteed to be cheap --  even at Starbucks where it’s only $4 for a latte. Best of all it gives you the option to sit and talk, or walk and talk. Coffee dates can be short and sweet, or be a starting point for a longer date. The best thing about them is their flexibility and low cost.

    Timbercreek hopes this list of cheap date ideas has inspired you to get out there. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website

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