Shimmery Body Oils

I have said before that I love a good body oil.  I love the feel of oil on my skin.  I usually opt for a scented oil, so I can change it up depending on my mood.  I have only found one natural perfume that I like so far, so I rely on my body oil to make me smell delicious. I have been enjoying using these shimmer body oils during the day to give me a little summer glow. Continue reading “Shimmery Body Oils”

True Botanicals Hair Care

As a former Surgical Intensive Care Unit Nurse and the mother of 2 children, I have been exposed to, if not been up to my elbows in, pretty much every bodily fluid there is and some other really gross stuff that we don’t need to detail here.  None of that stuff really bothers me, but I will tell you something that always makes me want to gag….

The smell of dirty hair!  Have you ever gotten in a crowded elevator and someone in the crowd is on day 4 of their blow out?  I can feel my lunch in my throat just thinking about it.  GAG!  I don’t know why an oily scalp grosses me out as much as it does, but hey, we all have our triggers.   I have nothing against people who can go days without washing their hair, believe me, I envy them, because I wish I could do it.

As a result of this, I am a compulsive hair washer.  I use a scalp scrubber (I have issues) and I wash my hair almost every day, so I go through a lot of shampoo.  I also feel it is important to switch my shampoo every 2 weeks.  I think it helps prevent buildup and keeps it from getting stagnant.  It also satisfies my need to try new products.

I got the True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner when I purchased some of their skincare products.  Review of that to come once I finish them up!

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First, a little about the company.  True Botanicals, based in Marin, California,  is the brain child of Hillary Peterson and Christina Mace-Turner.   It is an often heard story in the green beauty world…Hillary Peterson was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and started researching  exposure to toxins through everyday products and what she was putting on her skin.  When she couldn’t find products that were healthy and effective, she decided to create her own.  It sounds so simple doesn’t it?  Why don’t I have that kind of drive?  Maybe it is the lack of start-up funds?  Maybe I am just lazy?  Anyway…

True Botanicals was one of the first companies to be certified by Made Safe™ , a certification program that not only looks at the safety of the products, but also looks at the supply chain.  They have also conducted independent clinical trials to prove the efficacy of their products.  More on that when I do my review of their skincare line.  They have one of the top green chemists in the world as well as a dermatologist and aromatherapist on their product development advisory board.  They are committed to bringing us luxury products that are safe and effective!

They come in aluminum containers with pump dispensers.  The packaging was love at first sight.  I make a conscious effort to limit our use of plastic (an impossible task at times) and these containers had me swooning.  The pump dispensers also make me so happy.  It is the simple things, I guess.  No fear of broken glass in the shower!

True Botanicals has several scents in their line of products.  The shampoo and conditioner come in the FRESH scent.  To me, it smells like being outside with lots of trees, I get citrus and green tea.  It is a fresh, clean scent.

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The shampoo lathers more than most green shampoos which was quite a nice surprise.  If that is something you miss from conventional shampoos, you will appreciate the lather of this one.  They use natural surfactants (cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine) made from coconuts rather than synthetic ones.  It makes my hair feel so clean without stripping it of any moisture.  It contains Green Tea Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil and Aloe Leaf Extract all of which moisturize your scalp while the Green Tea Oil also acts as an exfoliator by “dissolving the oil complex that holds dead skin cells together.”  That means no flaking scalp!

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The conditioner has the same scent as the shampoo with the addition of a slight aroma of rosemary.  The conditioner is light, so it doesn’t weigh down my hair, but it gets all the tangles out and my hair looks shiny and frizz free!  The conditioner contains Aloe Extract, Green Tea Oil, Shea Butter and Macadamia Seed Oil,  all of which moisturize your hair without weighing it down.  I have a lot of hair and it is naturally wavy/curly.  But not the pretty kind of wavy that I can let dry naturally.  It is an inconsistent curl and it gets frizzy, so I have to blow dry it.  This set makes blow drying easy and my hair looks healthy, shiny and smooth!

The set is expensive, but definitely worth it.  I love the smell, texture and results that these products provide.  I will keep them in my rotation and alternate them with my less expensive sets I get from Whole Foods (soon to be Amazon Foods?), but it is definitely one of my favorite green beauty shampoo/conditioner sets.  Did I tell you how much I love their packaging?

This is a definite repurchase for me.  I will definitely make a stop at the store in Mill Valley when I am in Northern California next month.

If you have used this shampoo or conditioner, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Cleansing Balms are the Bomb

Well, I should clarify that not all cleansing balms are created equally.  I have some cleansing balms that are the BOMB and I have some that have totally bombed.  My first experience with a cleansing balm was the Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser.  I purchased it several years ago, on a whim, from Ayla Beauty.  I had no idea what to expect. Continue reading “Cleansing Balms are the Bomb”

Nailed It

Is your nail polish toxic?  Well, that is a tough question.  After all, what is nail polish but a collection of resins, plasticizers, solvents, film forming agents and coloring agents?  None of that sounds healthy or remotely like it comes from nature.  So should we give up on nail polish? Who wants to look down at their toes this summer when you are sitting by the pool with a cool drink in your hand and see their natural nail glaring up at them?  Nobody, that’s who!  I want a fun pop of color to make my little piggies dance in the sunlight!

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There are many websites lately alleging those of us in the green community are trying to “create fear and panic” in people about chemicals in health and beauty products.   There is no fear or panic here, just awareness.  I want people to think about what they are putting on their body and to know exactly what is in it.  Especially as you are sharing those products with your children.  You know the saying, an EDUCATED consumer is a SMART consumer.  If a product has the potential to cause cancer or mess with your hormones, why wouldn’t you want to find a better option?  At the very least, you should be informed of the possibilities.  As the mother of 2 girls, I don’t want to risk using anything that can potentially interfere with hormones or their reproductive systems.

When I was experiencing periorbital dermatitis (irritated, inflamed eye area), the first thing each dermatologist did was check my nails.  They all said nail polish was usually the culprit, particularly red nail polish.

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So let’s talk nail polish.  This is probably one of the last products that people change when they are trying to “green up” their beauty products.  You are not applying it to your skin after all, just your nails.  There have been some highly publicized studies that have shown links between many chemicals used in nail polish and cancer, infertility, hormone disruption, and skin irritation.  The first three to be identified as carcinogens and removed from most nail polishes today are Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), and Formaldahyde (usually listed as Methylene Glycol/Formalin).  Polishes that claim to be 4 or 5 free also take out  Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor.  As companies tried to create cleaner and greener forms of nail polish, they started removing Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP), parabens, and sulfates.  The newest trend is being 10 free.  You have to be careful, however, because sometimes companies are claiming to be free of chemicals that haven’t been used in making nail polish for quite some time to increase their quotient of “-free“.

All that being said, what difference does it make if it is only going on our nails?  Well, I am here to tell you!  Some of these chemicals, as well as any used to prepare the nail for polishing, can make the nails more permeable.  Which means they will end up in your bloodstream.  You can also absorb products through your cuticle or any minor tears in the skin.

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A study was done in 2015 by Duke University and the Environmental Working Group to see if the chemical TPHP was absorbed through nail polish.  TPHP is a suspected endocrine disrupting chemical that has shown reproductive and developmental irregularities in animal studies.  It is metabolized in the body and turned into diphenyl phosphate (DPHP).  Along with nail polish, TPHP is found in many household products, particularly as a fire-retardant in foam cushions.  We are exposed to it daily, so should we try to limit our absorption as much as possible?  I say, absolutely!

You can read the specifics of the study here, but the basic conclusion is that TPHP does enter the human body through nail polish, as evidenced by DPHP levels spiking after women painted their natural nails.  This was a small study, but the results were impressive.  Another interesting lesson learned from reading this study is that 2 of the 8 nail polishes tested positive for TPHP even though it was not listed as an ingredient.  Frustrating, isn’t it!

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So what is a girl to do?

Read your labels.

Know the brand and their philosophy.

Decide what matters to you.

What polishes do I use?  I am so glad you asked!  Since I don’t live in LA or NYC, where there is an abundance of nail salons that use healthier alternatives, I always bring my own polish to my favorite salon.

Most 8 free and 10 free polishes are very expensive.  Not Christian LouBoutin nail polish expensive ($50), but usually they are in the $15-18 range.

If you are looking for some healthier choices, I use the following brands.  I collect nail polish just like I collect skincare and makeup.  I have 2 daughters, so there are lots of nails to paint!  What I look for in a polish is for it to go on smoothly, last and have a good color selection.  I lean toward neutral colors, dark reds, oranges and I love the super dark purple and black colors.  I also want a wand that is easy to use. The little square bottles are super cute, but not practical when you see the tiny little wand inside!

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Zoya (least expensive at $10) states that they are 10 Free.  This polish lasts the longest for me and they have a huge selection of colors.  My biggest collection.

RMS is 6 free, has a smaller selection of colors, but they match other RMS beauty products.  It goes on really well and lasts pretty well.  The wand is easy to use.

TREAT is 5 free, they have a nice selection of colors.  I find the little square bottles with short wands difficult to work with, but the polishes go on nicely and last pretty well.

PRITI NYC 8 free and has a large selection of colors with a line of colors specifically with little princesses in mind.  Stays on well.

AILA 8 free, smaller selection of colors, but they have a great top coat called ‘Batter than Gel” that I really like.

JULEP 5 free (Sephora carries a limited selection), they have a large selection of colors.

100 Percent Pure 5 free.  My kids use this product more than I do.  I haven’t found a color that I love in this line.  The colors are a little more festive than I like to use.

There are some other healthy brands out there that I have not tried like TenoverTen and Kure Bazaar.  I am sure I will try them soon.

Show off your colorful fingers and toes this summer, just know what you are putting on your nails!

Is Dry Skin a Thing of the Past?

Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream and Advanced Hydration Mask

IMG_5672I received these samples with a Beauty Heroes purchase recently and I cannot tell you how excited I was.  These were pre release samples which I knew where going to be special.

I have not made a secret of the fact that I love Josh Rosebrook products.  From the quality of the ingredients, to the science behind them, to the maker himself.  I have never had the pleasure of meeting Josh Rosebrook, but I have read his manifesto on his website along with the many informative pages that give insight into who he is and what he wants to create as a brand.  I have come to admire and respect him for what he is bringing to the market to share with us and also for the knowledge he shares with us about what goes into his products.

I hear comments all the time about how expensive green beauty products are and that they don’t always work as well as conventional products.  I find this so very frustrating and it always comes from someone who is either close minded or is uneducated about green beauty.

On his instagram feed, he talks about the importance of quality ingredients and the value of buying from a brand that values raw, handcrafted organic ingredients used in a way to maximize their effectiveness.  He helps us understand what you are paying for.  I have always been a believer in the mantra, “you get what you pay for,” and this has never been more true than it is today in the world of green beauty.  I have discovered some of the most amazing skincare products and cosmetics that have high performance and are made from organic and wildcrafted plants, herbs and oils without the potentially harmful fillers, stabilizers or preservatives used in conventional products.  You know who is making these products and how much love and passion they put into bringing them to us.  They even carefully select packaging that respects our planet.

Let’s start with the Advanced Hydration Mask.  The pretty color is the first thing I noticed.  It is what I refer to as seafoam green.  It smells faintly of lavender and vanilla.  It is thick and feels a little grainy from little bits of solid plant butters that soften and melt easily when it makes contact with the skin.  The instructions for use are to mist your face and apply the mask while your skin is still damp.  Leave it on for 15-25 minutes and remove it with a dry, clean cloth.  I have followed Mr. Rosebrook’s instructions and this mask has been a game changer for my skin.  I have chronic, dry skin, but that may be a thing of the past with these 2 products.  Truth be told, many nights I do not follow the instructions and I just leave the mask on all night.  I wake up with very hydrated skin.

This mask is made with the finest collection of organic wildcrafted and non GMO plant butters, extracts and oils.  It contains a ‘botanical hyaluronic acid’, Indian Senna Seed Extract, and partly gets its pretty color from Blue Tansy and Chamomile essential oils.

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The full ingredient list is:

*Shea Butter, *Mango Seed Butter, *Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Indian Senna Seed Extract (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), *Sunflower Seed Oil, *Avocado Oil, *Jojoba Seed Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, Candelilla Wax, *Ashwagandha Flower Extract, *Turmeric Root Extract, *Rose Hips Flower Extract, *Goji Berry Fruit Extract, *Calendula Extract, *Black Cohosh Root Extract, *Elderberry Extract, *Bladderwrack Extract, Marshmallow Root Extract, *Ginger Extract, *Fenugreek Extract, *Chickweed Extract, *Licorice Root, *Raspberry Leaf Extract, *Dandelion Extract, *Sage Extract, *Eyebright Extract, *Milk Thistle Extract, *Rose Petal Flower Extract, *St. John’s Wort Extract, *Cat’s Claw Extract, *Cinnamon Extract, *Lavender Flower Extract, *Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, §Xanthan Gum, §Potassium Sorbate, Blue Tansy Essential Oil, Blue Chamomile Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Rose Essential Oil, Frankincense Gum Oil.

*CERTIFIED ORGANIC, †ORGANIC, ‡WILDCRAFTED, §NON-GMO PLANT SOURCED

The second product that my skin is soaking up is the Vital Balm Cream.  This cream is so lovely.  It is a beautiful pastel blue and has a slight herbaceous scent.  It is thick and creamy but melts into the skin quickly.  Mr. Rosebrook describes it as a “uniquely powerful moisturizer that combines the occlusive benefits of a balm with the absorption and luxury finish of a cream” and I think you cannot improve on that accurate description.   This magical balm can be applied over your serum.  You only need a small amount to get an incredible amount of hydration.  It leaves a very slight oil residue for a short time after application.  It works beautifully under makeup.  This balm has a similar ingredient list as the mask, full of rich plant butters and oils as well as ‘botanical hyaluronic acid’ and broccoli seed oil.

The full ingredient list is:

*Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Mango Seed Butter, *Honey, *Indian Senna Seed Extract (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), *Shea Butter, *Olive Oil, *Avocado Oil, *Jojoba Seed Oil, *Borage Seed Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Sea Buckthorn Oil, *Vitamin E, Broccoli Seed Oil, *Witch Hazel Extract, *Ashwagandha Flower Extract, *Turmeric Root Extract, *Rose Hips Flower Extract, *Goji Berry Fruit Extract, *Calendula Extract, *Black Cohosh Root Extract, *Elderberry Extract, *Bladderwrack Extract, *Marshmallow Root Extract, *Ginger Extract, *Fenugreek Extract, *Chickweed Extract, *Licorice Root, *Raspberry Leaf Extract, *Dandelion Extract, *Sage Extract, *Eyebright Extract, *Milk Thistle Extract, *Rose Petal Flower Extract, *St. John’s Wort Extract, *Cat’s Claw Extract, *Cinnamon Extract, *Lavender Flower Extract, *Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, *Gum Arabic, §Xanthan Gum, §Potassium Sorbate, Blue Tansy Essential Oil, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, *Vanilla Extract.

*CERTIFIED ORGANIC, †ORGANIC, ‡WILDCRAFTED, §NON-GMO PLANT SOURCED

These two products may very well cure me of my chronic dry skin.   These products are game changers, so I wouldn’t wait too long to get them!  You can check them out here.

Do You Feel Crunchi?

CRUNCHI Beautifully Flawless Foundation and Smart Primer

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I always think of Birkenstocks when I hear the word crunchy.  And I mean the old school style, not the recent upgraded styles that have become quite fashionable.  I had a friend that would refer to people as “a little bit crunchy” if they were the stereotypical “tree huggers” wearing Birkenstocks and shopping at the Natural Foods store.  Basically, it is what I have become, except, I will be wearing Christian Louboutin heels.  For me, it is all about the shoes!

But this post is not about THAT crunchy, it is about the new cosmetics company, CRUNCHI.  You will find, however, that there are some parallels.

CRUNCHI was founded by two women, Melanie Petschke and Kelly Weston, who set out to create a new standard for cosmetic safety.  They strive to create cosmetics that are not only made without potentially harmful ingredients, but are effective and perform at the highest level.  If you follow green beauty news, the story is a familiar one…a highly motivated individual or group is affected by cancer and starts to evaluate the effect of toxins on the body.  When they try to find healthier alternatives with the same performance as their conventional skincare or cosmetics, they cannot find what they are looking for, so they create it.  If only I had that kind of entrepreneurial spirit!

So what makes CRUNCHI different from conventional cosmetics?

They are VEGETARIAN/VEGAN – 100% of their products are either vegetarian or vegan. Some products do contain beeswax, so they cannot be classified as vegan.  The beeswax that they use is sourced humanely, is 100% organic and is highly filtered.

CRUNCHI states that the following ingredients are never put in their products:

 

PARABENS TALC
SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE PHTHALATES
GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT MINERAL OIL
OXYBENZONE/OCTINOXATE SYNTHETIC COLOR
POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL/PEGS ETHANOLAMINE COMPOUNDS (DEA/TEA/MEA)
RETINYL PALMITATE/

RETINOL/VITAMIN A

PETROLEUM INGREDIENTS/

PETROCHEMICALS

FORMALDEHYDE RELEASERS JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE
PHENOXYETHANOL BUTYLATEDCOMPOUNDS (BHA/BHT)
NANOPARTICLES METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE

You can read their entire list of Blacklisted Ingredients here.  If you want a list of ingredients to avoid in your skincare products, along with their potential harmful effects, you can find it here.

What is my experience with CRUNCHI?  I purchased the foundation sample pack for $10 (+ free shipping) and it included Light (02), Natural (2.5), and Medium (03) along with their Smart Primer.  The samples are enough for me to use for about 5-6 days.  I don’t need a lot of coverage, so I don’t wear heavy foundation.  I also don’t like my foundation to LOOK or FEEL heavy.  I want  to feel like my skin can breath.  I see many of these makeup videos on YouTube and these girls are wearing so much makeup, it just makes my face hurt. If that is how you wear your makeup, you will probably only get 2-3 applications from each sample.  Keep my preferences in mind when you read my review.

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I apologize for that close up of my pale and hairy arm, but I thought you may want to see the color swatches.

Lets talk about the Smart Primer first.  I have tried a lot of green beauty primers and they work great.  But, if you are looking for a SERIOUS Primer, think SMASHBOX Photo Finish Primer, you have found your green beauty match!  This primer not only performs, it hydrates your skin with Jojoba, Avocado, and Rosehip oils.  Talk about getting your cake and eating it too!  You can finally throw that SMASHBOX in the trash.

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On to the Beautifully Flawless Foundation.  First, I tried the Natural (2.5).  I am usually one shade up from the lightest of most makeup line’s colors.  This color turned out to be too yellow for me, so I went with the Light (02) which turned out to be perfect.  This foundation goes on very easily.  I haven’t worn liquid foundation in quite some time and this is thinner than I remember them to be.  I have used green beauty exclusively for quite a while and the only foundations I have used for the last few years have been Kjaer Weis (Like Porcelain) and Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation (115).  KJ is a cream and Vapour is a stick formula.

The CRUNCHI blends beautifully into my skin and has a liquid to powder feel.  It has a matte finish.  It gives me the look of a flawless complexion and still feels light and breathable.  I have read some reviews commenting on the scent.  It has a slight vanilla scent that comes from using REAL vanilla in the formula.  Pleasant when I apply it and not strong enough to think about again during the day.

One of the most amazing results I have found in the few days that I have worn this product is that it doesn’t settle into my fine lines (ok, some not so fine lines too).  I have not found any foundation that I can say that about.  It really is beautiful and flawless.

An added bonus of this foundation is that it is made in the USA and it is conscientiously packaged…glass bottles that can be recycled.

The only bad thing that I can say is that the sample containers are very hard to open and they leak.  Also, the color choices are limited.  Luckily, I found one that works for me!

Once I finish up my current foundation, I will definitely purchase these products, because I AM CRUNCHI!

Is it the End of the Bedhead?

The Goodnight Co Silk Pillowcase

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We spend a third of our lives in bed.  We all know the best way to sleep to prevent wrinkles is on our backs, but, honestly, unless you are heavily medicated, who can sleep that way all night long without moving?

We spend so much on skin care products, but did you know that a silk pillowcase can be skin care as well?  I purchased this pillowcase for multiple reasons. I have what is classified as “mature”, dry skin, so I will take any help I can in that department.  Also, I do a lot of tossing and turning at night.  I have a husband that snores and I have low back issues that can cause numbness in one of my legs if I lie on it too long.  I have one child that has nightmares and night terrors.  When I do fall into a deep sleep, it is almost always on my right side.  I have the permanent creases to prove it!  With all that tossing and turning, I wake up with some pretty crazy hair.  I usually do kid drop off before I have my morning shower.  Sometimes, even before I brush my teeth, but hey, we can keep that our little secret.  Both of them have drop off really close to my house and I don’t have to get out of the car, so it isn’t that big of a deal.  Hey, don’t judge me!  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to drop my kids off at school without looking like a crazy person.

So, why use a silk pillowcases? Silk is less absorbent than cotton so it helps your skin maintain moisture.  So when you put that very expensive serum on your face before bed, wouldn’t it be better if it actually stayed on your skin rather than absorbed into your pillow case?

Silk is an entirely natural fabric, therefore, it is hypoallergenic and breathable. This allows it to adjust to ambient temperatures so it is cooler in warmer months and warmer in the winter.   It is smoother than cotton, so your skin glides over the pillowcase and you don’t get friction while you are sleeping.  This helps with wrinkles and creases in your skin.  This applies to your hair as well.  Your hair glides over the fabric and you have less chance of breakage.

The Goodnight Co silk pillowcase is made from the best silk, 100% long strand Mulberry silk.  Mulbery silk produces a longer and more durable thread.  The silkworms are fed a diet exclusively of mulberry leaves.

I have a 100% organic cotton mattress and I have slept on nothing but organic cotton sheets for many years now.  I have an essential oil diffuser on my bedside table.  I thought I was doing everything I could to maximize my bedtime routine.

After using this pillow for a few nights, it was wash day.  My skin was feeling really good, but was it my Vintner’s Daughter or was it the pillowcase?  I thought, no big deal, I can go back to my regular pillowcase until the next sheet wash day.  One minute back on that cotton pillowcase and I was miserable!  How did I tolerate all this friction for so long?  I felt like my pillowcase was made out of sandpaper!  Never again would I go without a silk pillowcase!  Truth be told, I would love to be ensconced in silk…pillowcase, sheets, duvet, pajamas!

Sadly, I will have to stick with just a pillowcase (or 2) for now.  Now about the hair part….

I still wake up with bedhead every morning.  This pillowcase has done nothing to help that part of my sleep time, but my skin feels great and I don’t get creases in my face.  I have never been one to forgo washing my hair for days after a blow out, so I can live with crazy hair in the morning.

I wish I had known about the benefits of silk pillowcases years ago!

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