Peaceful Living Travel: La Costa Spa

Peaceful Living Travel: La Costa Spa

The Spa at La Costa Resort is a classic lady that never loses her style. I have been treating myself to her loveliness for almost a decade, and will continue to do so every time I find myself in the San Diego, CA area! The timeless elegance, top-notch service, spa amenities and healthy bistro offerings are some of the best I have experienced.  

The Grounds

Whether you valet park or self-park, the walk through the beautiful grounds of the La Costa Resort is a wonderful start to your day (or days) of tranquility.

If you happen upon the resort during the springtime you will be greeted by the scent of the orange blossoms on the orange trees that line the streets and walkways of the resort. If your visit occurs at another time of year, that’s okay, because the fresh ocean air and often the scent of newly cut grass will enliven your senses!  

Make sure to take your time as you wander toward the spa. Take notice of the yellow lilies, the bright pink bougainvillea and the multi-colored begonias nestled among bright greens. Don’t forget to look up to take in the soaring palms against the almost ever-blue San Diego sky!

If time allows, I highly recommend stopping by the book and gift store at the Chopra Center, Deepak Chopra’s west coast hub for his Ayurvedic spa and learning centers.  

Treat yourself to one of the many uplifting books or a beautiful piece of clothing or jewelry. For me, it always seems to be the books that draw out my wallet.  Try out a classic like Deepak’s own Seven Laws of Spiritual Laws of Success (1994) or Wayne Dyer’s last inspirational work 10 Secrets for Success & Inner Peace (2016).

The Chopra Center does not have its own spa in which you can relax, but they offer many Ayurvedic services both in the center itself and at the Spa at La Costa. The one nice thing the Chopra Center does offer for the general public, as opposed to the people who are paying to be part of the Ayurvedic retreats or the educational offerings, are free meditation classes.

These are offered Tuesday through Friday from 7:45 – 8:15 AM & Monday through Friday from 6:00 – 6:30 PM, at the Chopra Center. (Call ahead to confirm these times).

After spending some time at the Chopra Center store head on across the courtyard to the Spa at La Costa itself.  You may want to spend some time sitting by one of the several, large fountains and allowing the sound of the water to deepen your sense of tranquility a little bit more.

The Spa

Upon entry to the spa interior, you are greeted by soft music and an abundance of beauty products, lovely clothing, and elegant jewelry.

If you have already spent some cash at the Chopra Center store you may want to skip by these tempting items and check-in at the desk with the genial employees.

For this visit, as with many others, I opted for a day pass instead of purchasing a service. As of this writing, the day pass is $65.00 US, and grants you use of the spa and all of its facilities from open to close.  This fee does not include any spa services, products or food.  I have never made a reservation for a day pass. However, on this visit, the front desk employee said that my companion and I just got the last two day passes – and it was early!

The funny thing was because it was a Tuesday it wasn’t very busy. I think the spa is restricting the number of day passes they are allowing so I now recommend making a reservation at least a day in advance, maybe longer if you are going on a weekend or during high season.

After check-in, another employee will come to the front to escort you to the spa. She will give you a tour of the facilities and take you to your locker. Each locker has a warm terry cloth robe in it for you to wear during your day at the spa. Spa sandals are available for your daily use as well. (I don’t like the feel of the spa sandals so I always wear my own).

At this point, let the serenity begin!

There are four main areas of the spa:

The women’s area, the men’s area, the outside pool and features and the spa bistro.  The women’s and men’s areas contain lockers, showers and restroom areas, relaxation rooms, indoor hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas.

The outside area boasts a cooling pool, a hot tub, a reflexology walking path and the most amazing water feature – Roman Showers! More on those in a moment…  

The bistro offers a wide variety of casual, healthy fare, as well as a variety of beverages including smoothies, wine, beer, and cocktails. You can eat at one of the tables in the bougainvillea surrounded courtyard. On cooler days you can even get toasty while eating by the outdoor fireplace.  On warm days, order your bistro food and beverage poolside and eat right in your comfy lounge chair!

A typical day at the spa

Allow me to take you on a personalized tour of a day at the Spa at La Costa! First and foremost, as I start my day I really try to take in the beauty of the spa itself. Again, the Spa at La Costa is a classic beauty. Spanish tile, lush greenery, and teak furniture add to the ambiance.

* I like to start my day with a dip in the indoor hot tub in the women’s area. Clothing is optional inside, so do not be surprised to see women both wearing and sans swimsuits.

*After starting my relaxation process in the hot tub I will either go into the steam room or right out to the outdoor pool.  I love the steam room at this spa! The cool shower in the middle of it is amazingly refreshing in the hot steam. I will often put a moisturizing mask on my face before going in. My skin turns out incredibly soft!

*I spend most of my day lounging by the pool. I love to read magazines or listen to books. I order lunch and cocktails or mocktails to be delivered to me poolside. Sometimes, if I’m with a group of friends, we’ll eat at the bistro tables, which is nice as well.

* I make it a priority to sit under the warm, strong waterfall of the Roman Showers at least twice during the day.  The strong pressure of the water in these outdoor showers is almost as good as a massage! I will lay a towel down on the stone bench, sit on it and let the waters massage my shoulders and then lay on my stomach and let the waters massage my back. It is deeply relaxing.

* I am not much of a dry sauna person, but the dry sauna at La Costa spa is very nice. It is spacious and has a window in the door so that natural sunlight comes in. I never feel stuffy or claustrophobic in it. I usually only go in there on chilly days. However, the spa has outlined a relaxing and rejuvenating experience they call “The Aguas de la Vida” – the waters of life – that includes the dry sauna. I will go in it if I am doing the Aguas de la Vida program for the day irrespective of the weather!

The spa treatments

When I treat myself to a spa treatment I like to indulge in the Ayurvedic multi-modality treatment the Chopra Center calls the Odyssey:

The Odyssey begins with Garshana, a dry glove massage that refreshes and stimulates the skin and lymphatic system. Next, your body will be covered in warm herbalized oil for the Abhyanga, with specialized friction strokes designed to move the oil deep into your tissues to loosen stored toxicity. The slow, penetrating strokes of Vishesh follow. The treatment ends with Marma therapy to awaken your inner energy, while personalized aromatherapy enlivens your senses.

~ The Chopra Center, La Costa

If I do not want to spend quite as much money as the Chopra Center treatments require, I will opt for a relaxation or coastal stone massage through the main La Costa Spa.  Both are lovely treatments and with the right therapist are deeply relaxing.  

One thing I do like to caution for any massage treatment anywhere, massage therapists like to chat. The La Costa spa is no exception to this. I almost always need to gently let the massage therapist know that I can relax more deeply if I am not engaged in conversation.  The Chopra Center therapists are trained to not only perform their treatments in silence but they also quietly let the guest know that an environment of silence is held during the treatments. I find this to be refreshing and relaxing.

Closing out a beautiful day

If I am feeling particularly indulgent I will close out my spa day at one of the resort’s restaurants on the grounds.  Both of the restaurants are quite good and they both possess a lovely ambience. The resort does have a tendency to change the names of the restaurants, but they remain in the same locations, so for my purposes I will call them the Golf Course View Restaurant and the Courtyard View Restaurant.

The Golf Course View Restaurant has a beautiful view of the La Costa Valley and the resort’s sprawling PGA golf course. The Courtyard View Restaurant has a small indoor seating area, but is mostly a patio seating restaurant. As long as it’s not raining (which of course it rarely does in Southern California) that works out well. Even if it is chilly they have fire pits and heat lanterns that keep diners nice and warm.

Chicken lettuce wraps at the spa bistro

Both restaurants have extensive wine lists in addition to featuring many of the local San Diego micro-breweries and full bars.  Finishing off a beautifully relaxing day with a delicious dinner and glass of an excellent California Pinot Noir is absolute bliss!

Your comments, recommendations and opinions about the Spa at La Costa are welcome! Please post below and add to the conversation!

For more information on the La Costa Resort & Spa or to make your reservations:

Omni Hotels Resort & Spa La Costa

2100 Costa Del Mar Road

Carlsbad, CA 29009

https://omnihotels.com/hotels/san-diego-la-costa

PHONE: 760-438-9111

CONCIERGE: 760-929-6378

Wishing You Peaceful Travels!

Jen

 

Stop Going to the Hardware Store for Milk

Stop Going to the Hardware Store for Milk

We communicate to be understood and to understand others.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Who among us has gone to another person looking for emotional support and found that person unresponsive?

As human beings, we long to be understood by others.  We have an innate need to have our emotional needs met by others. Being in an emotionally supportive community is one of the most surefire ways of reducing stress and living a longer, happier life.  

But sometimes, we turn to others for that emotional support and we find the support they offer lacking.

Sometimes we may even be subject to the other person (or people) tearing us down, doing the exact opposite of supporting us. And yet we can find ourselves returning time after time to that same person, or those same people, only to be ignored or torn down again.  

This begs the question of, “why?”  

Why would we return to a person who does not support us?

Truthfully because these people are often the people who are supposed to support us! Parents, spouses/ partners, family, and friends are all people with whom we are supposed to stand in a supportive community. And most often these are the people we can trust to be our emotional support system.

But, there are times when these people are just not available to fill our emotional wells.  And there are people who are NEVER available to fill our emotional wells.

So what do we do when the people who are supposed to be emotionally supporting us do not or can not?

The Metaphor of the Hardware Store

At one point a few years ago a very wise friend of mine (amazingly talented Kids & Teens Coach/ Tutor, Kimberly Keeth) shared a metaphor that helps us understand what to do when we are faced with this situation in our lives.  It goes like this:

When we need milk we go to grocery store.

When we need nails we go to the hardware store.

Emotionally, we sometimes get lost on our way to the grocery store though.

At these times of getting lost, we can find ourselves at the hardware store.

We find ourselves looking at nails when what we really need is milk.

The milk represents our emotional needs.  The different stores represent the people we associate with in life.

There are some people who are grocery stores. They are bright and airy and full of food that can nourish our bodies.  These are the people we want to go to for our emotional milk.

On the other hand, there are people who are hardware stores. There’s nothing wrong with a hardware store, it’s just not the right place to go to for milk. The hardware store does not have products that will nourish our bodies! The people who are hardware stores certainly have great products to offer the world, but they don’t have the products that will nourish our emotions.

What do you do when you live with the hardware store??

There are those of us who live with the person who represents our hardware store. I know this can be really hard.

You want (and need) your spouse or partner to be your emotional grocery store. But, sometimes he or she just can’t. Or, won’t. So what do we need to do?

The first thing we can try is to have a mindful conversation with the person to whom are turning to support us emotionally.

Remember, mindful communication keeps in mind the possible feelings and reactions of the other person. Mindful communication is thoughtful about both what we say and how we say it. Mindful communication does not make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or why the other person is not meeting our emotional needs.

And finally, mindful communication allows you to speak your truth with assurance, but not aggression.

We also need to find other people or other ways in which to take care of our own emotional needs. Stay tuned during the month of February. I will be posting two more blogs on this topic: How To Tell if Your People are Hardware Stores or Grocery Stores; And, How to Build Your Grocery Store Tribe.

In the meantime, be thinking about different ways you can take care of your own emotional needs!  Here’s a short list of examples:

  • Write in a journal
  • Talk to a friend
  • Go see a therapist
  • Meditate
  • Practice Mindful Movement – Yoga, Thai Chi, Chi Gong, slow walks or swims, etc.
  • Read uplifting books/ magazines/ blogs
  • Listen to helpful podcasts

There are many different ways you can nurture your emotional needs. Add to this list, or create one that is uniquely yours.  Post your ideas in the comments or on @peacefullivingwellness on Facebook! I would love to hear from you!

Love, Light and Namaste,

Jen

PS ~ If you are interested in talking to totally awesome Kids & Teens Coach, Kim Keeth about coaching for your kiddo you can reach her at KimKeeth1@gmail.com

 

Want to be a supermom? Take good care of yourself!

Want to be a supermom? Take good care of yourself!

In my last blog I talked about how to assess your life to see if you are trying to be a Supermom, but burning yourself out at the same time.  

Here’s a little metaphor to help you understand why you need to take care of yourself before you can be a supermom ☺

The metaphor of the oxygen mask

Many years ago I was attending a Mothers of Preschoolers group. This particular group was a small group that was just forming.

There were only 8 or 9 of us at any given meeting, and because we had limited time and budget we shared the duties of organizing what we would do at each meeting. At one of these gatherings, a woman who has become one of my closest friends started her presentation by reading out of a book on women’s spirituality.  

The piece she read spoke about how important it is for moms to take care of themselves. The author used the metaphor of the oxygen mask on an airplane to explain her point:

Think back to the last time you took a flight.

Remember that introductory part that a flight attendant does before you take-off? The flight safety instructions?

 After demonstrating how, in the case of an emergency the oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling above the passengers head, the flight attendants will instruct the passengers to put the oxygen masks on themselves before helping others who cannot do so themselves – even children!

Why in the world would they want you to ignore your children in order to take care of your own needs first???

Simple – Because if you pass out due to a lack of oxygen you cannot help your child.

So let’s apply this to life in general…

Are you running your children around so much that you do not have any time left to take care of yourself?

Are you working in a job that you can’t stand so that your children can have expensive lessons or go to an expensive private school when there are perfectly good public schools nearby?

Are you volunteering for every school committee, baseball board, girl scout troop, etc. because it’s important for your children to have a fulfilled life?

NEWSFLASH ☺

Your children need you to be relaxed and not exhausted more than they need you to lead their scout troop and serve as the PTA board president.  

Your children need you to feel fulfilled and peaceful more than they need those expensive lessons or that expensive sports gear. If your children see you as a happy person, they will be happy people!

So, put the oxygen mask on yourself first

What things can you cut back on to make more time for self-care?

What can you then add to your life for your own fun and relaxation?

Are you trying to buy your kids happiness instead of showing them how to achieve happiness through easy (often free) relaxation and self-nurture?

Comment below and don’t miss my vlog on Facebook at www.facebook.com/peacefullivingwellness to share how you are going to put the oxygen mask on yourself first!

Love & Light,

Jen

 

The Myth of the SuperMom

The Myth of the SuperMom

A few weeks ago, I asked my super awesome virtual assistant Alexa to hold down the fort on posting to my social media for a week while I spent time with my daughter who was in the hospital.  She replied, “no problem! I’ll keep everything going while you’re out being Supermom.”  I chuckled and groaned at the same time. I am FAR FROM A SUPERMOM!

Her comment made me think of the articles I used to read about the super successful women professionals and entrepreneurs in the Working Mother magazines some well-meaning friend would give me when my children were little.

The articles would highlight beautiful, thin, women who were corporate leaders in their industries or multimillion dollar company owners. They would show pictures of their darling, perfectly coifed children and speak glowingly of how these women would make sure to cook hot breakfasts and dinners and pack organic, wholesome lunches for their children all while working the hours that it takes to become hugely successful! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… the articles would gush on and on about these supermoms.  

Needless to say, I would first drench myself in guilt over that fact that I just could NOT get up at 4:00 in the morning to exercise and get my “me time” in before my little darlings woke up! And of course, there would be the guilt that even though I was teaching part-time at my university job, I still COULD NOT GET EVERYTHING DONE!  

And then I would try to be like those supermoms.  

I would go full-force, teaching and commuting, cleaning, cooking, laundry, play dates, Musical Munchkins, Gymboree, Tumbletots, dance, Little League, martial arts etc. etc. etc.   And, of course, I would end-up burned out, exhausted and fighting a sense of failure because I just could not do it all.

Here’s the reality check:

Most of the real supermoms I know either have a lot of family support to help them with their kids OR they have a nanny!

Even the media’s most recent darling supermom, Sheryl Sandberg of Lean In fame, admitted in interviews (after women criticized her) that she had an incredible support system in her family; in particular, her husband would often put her career ahead of his and take on the primary caretaking of the kids.  

As I’ve aged, and my kids have grown, I have met many different types of moms.

I have friends who are solidly stay-at-home moms and happy to do so. I have met moms who are type-A super career women and happy to be so. And I have met a lot of moms who are doing the best they can, but feel very unsatisfied with themselves and their lives because they just don’t feel like they measure up to the dichotomy of mothering standards our society has prescribed for women.

If we choose stay-at-home motherhood then we are not pursuing our full potential. If we choose a fulltime career, we are not giving enough of ourselves to our children. Either way, we’re letting somebody down!

“The Mommy Wars”

This phenomenon was even deemed by some savvy media writer: “The Mommy Wars.”

Through both the media and social clubs women would bash each other for their choices. I read an article by a supposed Third Wave Feminist bashing other women who were giving up their careers to stay at home with their kids.

She did not have enough perspective to see that her career as a freelance writer, her mothering of a single child, and her nearby family who not only offered to watch her child whenever she asked but also for free, is not the reality of most working moms!  

On the other side of the coin were the moms at a Mother’s of Preschoolers (MOPS) group I joined who would look at me with horror on their faces and ask in an aghast voice, “you work? You commute to work?”  

Their idea of a career was to sell any number of crafting or skincare products to their friends. But, even that career had its limits if it in any way interfered with little Jenny or Jeffrey’s schedule! Their “me time” consisted of the one morning a week they spent at MOPS or the play dates they would organize for their kiddos where they could at least chat with other moms.  

Some women must work to support their children

What is lost in these bitch-sessions, oh, I mean discussions (besides the important qualities of empathy and compassion for others’ choices) is the realization that some moms do not have a choice! Some moms must work in order to pay the bills. Of course, there are the single moms who must work simply to support their children. But, in this day-and-age, it is also very difficult to support a family on one income. Many households must have both parents working.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, “to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18, it will cost a middle income couple just over $245,000.”

Multiply that by the number of children a couple has. Add on to that expenses not directly associated with child-rearing, but there nonetheless. And then add on student loans that many educated couples are paying. There is a lot of money going out the door!

Some women want to work

The six months I spent at home after my daughter was born was one of the most special AND most difficult times of my life!

I enjoyed spending time with my two small children. I enjoyed the Musical Munchkins groups. I enjoyed the weekly mommy & me yoga classes we attended! But, there was also something just missing.

I did not figure it out until my first day back on the university campus. I felt like I was vibrant again! I felt a  renewed sense of purpose!

Not all mothers need this sense of professional identity and purpose. But, many do.  I have coached several women whose stress comes from the loss of their professional identity and their inner need to feel a sense of purpose from their careers.  And this is OKAY! It is okay for mothers to feel fulfilled not only by their children but also by their jobs and the time they spend away from their children.

Some women want to stay at home

I have a friend who recently posted on Facebook about how happy she is that she just quit her job and is going back to her old job of being a full-time wife and mother.  She is feeling so relieved. Her job was thankless and was running her into the ground.

I have other friends who were happily employed, but when their children were born found joy and fulfillment in staying home with them.

I even know three women who adopted babies when their biological children were grown because they loved mothering so much. One of these women went all the way to Uganda to adopt two orphans!

These women are fortunate enough that they are financially in a situation where their family is not dependent on an income from them.

Just because they chose fulltime mothering over professional fulfillment, it does not mean that they in any way are less fulfilled than career women. Nor does it mean that they are, in the words of one interesting white male, “not contributing much to society.”

How to find your truth

Most people do have a tendency to look outward for approval. I challenge you to look inward. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I overwhelmed by trying to do it all?
  • Do I feel a sense of emptiness or a lack of fulfillment?
  • Am I more aware of what others think of me or what I know to be best for myself?

What do I do to take care of myself?  Do others always come before me?

Reflect on your answers to those questions.  What do your first-reaction answers tell you? When you look deeper, what does your intuition tell you?

Are there others voices that are influencing your feelings?  Are there any ideas that come to you telling you how you could add more fulfillment, but reduce overwhelm?

Here is an exercise you can try:   

Write out a list of what you do from when you get up to when you go to bed.

In other words, a day in your life.

Take a look at how many things you are doing that are not self-nurturing. How many things are you doing that are not fulfilling?  

Of course, we all have to do many of those things as responsible adults, but are there things on that list that you just do not have to do?

For example, could you arrange a carpool to soccer so that you don’t have to go to every practice? Can you limit your volunteering for extra things at work or at your children’s school?

Are you spending time on social media that you could be spending reading or listening to something more fulfilling? Are you venting on social media instead of in a journal or to a coach or therapist or friend (being that sharing time with others is essential to stress-relief)?

And finally, is your quest to fulfill all of your roles in life – including SUPERMOM – taking away from your peaceful living?

This is only the beginning of what could & should be an amazing brainstorming session about how moms can be Supermom by taking care of themselves! Let’s get this brainstorming session going!!!  Post your comments below and/ or on www.facebook.com/peacefullivingwellness!

 

With Gratitude & Compassion, 

Jen

A New Year’s Resolution that Works: The Gift of Serenity.

A New Year’s Resolution that Works: The Gift of Serenity.

I was pleased as punch when I heard that the theme for this year’s Times Square crystal ball was “The Gift of Serenity!”  You can imagine my delight in finding out that the 2,688 beautiful Waterford Crystal plates on the iconic ball (shown below) were imbued with a sentiment so close to my heart.waterford crystals from 2018 new years ball

The gift of serenity is my life’s passion! So let’s receive this gift and get the proverbial ball rolling for serenity in our lives for 2018 – pun intended 😉

If serenity is your first resolution, the others will fall into place.

The other cool thing that caught my attention this week is that “being a better person,” outranked weight loss as the top resolution this year.

I love that!

There has been so much rancor in 2017 with the tumultuous U.S. election and the subsequent tide of negative tweets coming from the new president. Not to mention the ever-growing phenomenon of social media and the perceived anonymity of the screen that seems to prompt some people to feel empowered to engage in meanness and cruelty.  

And then, of course, there has been the outing of all of the rampant sexual harassment and assault that takes place in the workplace worldwide – I’m thankful that it’s finally being taken seriously.

It’s wonderful that the Maris Poll found personal betterment to be the number 1 resolution this year.

That said, being a better person is sort of a broad topic… 

How can we be better people?

Well, that’s where it comes back to serenity!  If we reduce our stress, practice mindfulness, and find serenity and peaceful living, we become happier, healthier people.

Happier, healthier people are more likely to be kind to others. Happier, healthier people are more likely to be patient with themselves and others.

Happier, healthier people are simply “better people.”

Some Fun Facts

  • Studies have shown that optimism and a sense of purpose equate to at least a 20%  reduction in the development of stress-based diseases such as heart disease, and diabetes
    • (Laura Kubansky and K. “Vish” Viswanath for Time Publishing, The Science of Happiness: Discoveries For a More Joyful Life. 2016)
  • Mindful meditation has been found to strengthen the human immune system, even in people with HIV.
    • (David Cresswell, et. Al.  University of California, Los Angeles).
  • Bringing serenity and peaceful living into one’s life, particularly through the practices of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, have been shown through widespread studies in the field of psychology to reduce the effects of many different emotional and mental health disorders ranging from drug and alcohol addiction to borderline personality disorder, and relapsing anxiety and depression
  • When too much cortisol, the hormone produced by the body when under stress, continually hits the brain it can cause hippocampal brain damage which results in the inability to sleep, memory loss, brain fog and an inability to control moods.
    • (Holly Lucille, ND, RN Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman’s Guide to Safe, Natural, Hormone Health. Impakt Health, 2004).

How to bring more serenity into your life

Start each day with gratitude.  

Instead of jumping (or in some cases slowly rolling) out of bed and rushing into your day, take a few moments to wake up your brain by thinking about a few things for which you are grateful. You will notice a difference in your overall attitude for the day when you start on this positive note.

Practice patience.

As things come up in your day that are frustrating take a few moments to breathe deeply and allow yourself to be more patient with the situation, the person, or even yourself if the case may be.

Use mindful communication.

In a previous blog I talked about the skill of mindful communication and how to say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.

A gentle tone makes all the difference both to the person to whom you are talking and to your inner self. It sets a tone of positivity and peacefulness.

Take a timeout.

Taking short breaks throughout your day allows your brain and body to relax and ultimately improves your efficiency and productivity.  You can enhance the health effects of the brain breaks by practicing meditation during your time out.

Do something nice for yourself each day!

Practicing positivity and self-nurture is the ultimate technique for bringing more serenity into your life!

There you have it – the gift of serenity!  

If you give yourself this gift as your first resolution you will find that being a better person becomes easy.

You will also find that being a healthier person, a more productive person, and a more successful person often follows serenity.

So do yourself and your loved ones a favor and accept this gift <3

I would love to hear from you throughout your journey of serenity! Comment here and on Facebook throughout 2018!

Love & Light,

Jen

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