product review

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Zoya Nail Polish Review

Published December 10, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Storm, Mimi, Neve, Arianna

Storm, Mimi, Neve, Arianna

Well, I know I’ve been absent for quite a long time. The longest since I’ve started the blog, I’m pretty sure. Thomas had a 7 week work trip down in Long Beach, and we also went home to FL for Thanksgiving, so we were out of town a lot in the last two months. Which brings me to a little detail that I should probably throw in…

We got engaged! The day before our 4 year anniversary in October. And we’re getting married next October.


Now onto what has definitely become my favorite nail polish brand! (And, well, there’s another ring shot too.) ūüôā



I picked this red glitter (Arianna)¬†Zoya polish on a visit to Vegan Haven right before our trip home last month. This was my first time trying one of the Pixie Dust colors, which leaves a matte glittery finish. It literally looks like real glitter on your fingers, instead of glitter polish. Let me try to get a better picture…


Detail (sorry, I’m not known for my polishing skills!)

I wasn’t sure about how I’d like the texture when I bought it, but ended up liking it, and I thought it was fun and festive in red for the upcoming holidays. It lasted almost a week during our trip, which was about what I expected based on previous experiences. Last year was my 1st time using their polish, and I tried Storm (black shiny glitter polish) and was shocked that it lasted a week without chipping, and I even worked in it! I’m normally the type of person who starts chipping the next day. I’m curious to see how the pixie dust will stand up to the rest of my skating and work week, and will report back with more.

Storm on Day 5!

Storm on Day 5!

The best thing about this polish, besides the long wear and nearly infinite¬†amount of colors and finishes available, is the super high quality of the polish. (It also has a super comfy rubberized cap/handle!) Zoya¬†is not only Vegan, but also free of¬†toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP¬†(dibutyl¬†phthalate). One, or any combination of those nasty ingredients had clearly been an issue for my nails in the past, because whenever I had my nails painted with let’s say OPI, it ALWAYS caused tremendous damage to my nails after. They would always start to peel and get brittle, even after just one polishing. That combined with always working a lot with my hands, and for most of the last 10 years of being in the medical field = a lot of hand hygeine, I had pretty much given up fingernail polishing entirely.

Zoya also runs a lot of nice, affordable specials too. The regular sized 0.5 oz bottles go for $9 or $10 each, and mini sized 0.25 oz for $5, when available, which is not terrible. But they often have specials going on which is how I got my initial 3. It was a get 3 polishes for the price of shipping deal that they do once or twice a year, and today I was able to get in on a good one for an 8 oz bottle of remover and 3 polishes with free shipping, for $20!

So I’d highly recommend to follow them on some social media to get some good deals and check them out. I think they do that 3 free polishes deal around the beginning of the year too. Here is their facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram!

Barnana’s gone Coconut!

Published July 1, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

COCONUT Hello again! So much busy going on over here lately, but here’s a long overdue review for you about Barnana‘s newest vegan flavor. You might recall I did a little giveaway featuring their original Barnana snacks during Vegan Mofo last year. Well, they contacted me again to take a taste of their new Coconut flavor. Like last time, they also sent along an additional package of vegetarian, but not vegan, Peanut Butter flavor too for Thomas to try. It seems that the only thing holding them back from being vegan is that same “honey like glaze” that they had on their chocolate flavor, which is all the information I’ve been able to get about the coating. Basically, they were barnanas coated with peanut butter and glazed. Thomas loved them, and didn’t even have to share!

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Fortunately for me though, he doesn’t like coconut anything, so we each had our own bags!



These new Coconut Barnana treats are GREAT!! Have you had raw macaroons or power balls? They’re ¬†kind of like that, but get by with just the banana and coconut. They are a little softer than the original, and get a nice little texture contrast with the shredded coconut mixed in. Subtly sweet, with a little complex deeper flavor from the dehydrated ripe bananas. These turned out to be cravable, and made a great pre-derby workout snack. Interested in getting your own Barnana snacks? You can sign up at their website for samples and discounts, as well as shop and use their store locator, look for them in your local health food shop, or order some from Amazon.


Travel posts coming up soon. As always, thanks for reading!!

Crazy Rumors Vegan Lip Balm – A Review

Published April 16, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Thank you, Crazy Rumors!

Thank you, Crazy Rumors!

I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found awesome vegan lip balm! People had been telling me for a long time to try Crazy Rumors, but I was happy with my HURRAW! (reviewed here), so I didn’t bother. That is until I started cutting almonds out of my diet (Allergic,¬†and¬†I barely ever break out in hives now!) and realized sweet¬†almond oil was a main ingredient in the latter.

Allergic, yet again!

Allergic, yet again!

Unfortunately, my path to allergy free lip love was not direct. First I picked up this baby from Crazy Rumors’ HibisKiss¬†line. It worked great as far as moisturizing was concerned, and I loved that it was available in a variety of subtle shades. Just one problem, every time I applied it my throat would swell up (and stay swollen for hours) and I¬†would also get¬†symptoms ranging from a runny nose, to coughing fits, to sneezing that would immediately resolve when I wiped it off. I persisted applying it for a week, hoping that it really wasn’t my new lip gloss, but in the end I had to admit defeat and toss it. I’m assuming it’s the hibiscus in it. I’m pretty allergic to all things floral, so it’s really not a big surprise.

Despite that unfortunate introduction, I decided to give their regular balm a chance, and I’m so glad that I did. No almond oil, no floral fragrances, and their regular natural lip balm comes in a bunch of safe-for-me flavors, which I’ll describe below.

Coffee: I haven’t been able to drink coffee for years (Tea is my hardstuff), but I thought it’d be nice to smell it. This one turned out to be a little more like the old acid coffee taste/smell to me that I find off-putting. (Coffee breath?) Not my fave flavor, but the balm itself works great.

Chocolate Mint: More minty than chocolatey, and kinda subtle. I decided this is a good one for bedtime.

Pistachio: Yum! It definitely tastes like pistachio ice cream and cake! So good. This one lives in my labcoat at work.

Rootbeer (not pictured): I went back to Vegan Haven and got another one for my regular coat pocket, since I gave the coffee one to Thomas. LOVE THIS!


This formula is absolutely fantastic! By the time I acquired these, my lips were cracking, burning, and splitting from the lack of lip lube. In two days they were fully healed! (Below) I’m usually the type that likes to peel and bite at my lips, and I don’t even do that now, because they’re always in perfect shape!

Thank you Crazy Rumors!

Happy, healthy, moisturized.

Happy, healthy, moisturized!

Vegan MoFo 2013: 13 Barnana Review & Giveaway!

Published September 25, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


Hello everyone!

I have something really great to share with you… a review & a chance for you to win a sample of your very own! I was recently contacted by VeganCuts & Barnana to check out these banana bites that will be soon be shipping out in your September VeganCuts snack boxes.

Ingredients for the chocolate. Not vegan.

Ingredients for the chocolate. Food glaze, not vegan.

Co-founder, Nik, got a hold of me prior to my receiving the shipment to let me know that¬†only the Original product is vegan: “the Original product is 100% Vegan, however the chocolate covered one has natural glaze (like honey) so it’s not 100% vegan“. He did assure me, however, in a second email that the “chocolate is vegetarian“, so I can only comment on the former, as the latter will be going to Thomas. Though I’m still not really sure what the non-vegan “like honey” mystery ingredient is in the chocolate, the original only has one ingredient… and I’m betting you can guess what it is! The original is also organic, raw, and gluten-free.


Barnana is the “original chewy banana bite”, and to me, is really like banana jerky. Sure we’ve all had those dehydrated banana chips before, but these are different. Dense and chewy, as well as dark and rich, like you’d expect a very ripe banana to be. I’m generally the type of person who likes to eat bananas fairly close to green. I’ll eat them with just a little bit of spottiness, but anything beyond that, and they’re peeled, halved, and frozen for green smoothies. So you’ll understand that it took me two tastings to decided if I really liked them or not. Turns out that I did.

I’m really big into dried fruit. If you are what you eat, then I’m probably a third raisins. Other faves of mine include figs, apricots, prunes, and occasionally some cranberries or cherries, so I really enjoyed the texture. The flavor, at first, was a little too much ripe banana for me. I put them away in the cabinet for a few days, and decided to give them the second run. Well, I really liked them the second time! Maybe I was hungrier, or I was just more ready for the unique taste. Either way, I gobbled up the rest of the bag while thinking of different ways to use them…

I decided that these would be great chopped up and thrown into the home made trail mix combos I’m fond of carrying everywhere in old salsa jars. I also thought these might be a good addition to banana bread or muffins if chopped up finely, kind of like candied ginger pieces are in similar baked goods. Or sprinkled on ice cream. Or with raw banana ice cream!

I really did enjoy them straight out of the bag though, and hope that they don’t have a crazy price point so I can pick some up again. The only really bummer about them was that the chocolate ones have the annoying non-vegan food glaze. (I’m sure they would be fantastic, and really, there’s got to be a way to ditch it, right?)

Midna & Ganon are always ready to get involved in the review process.

Midna & Ganon are always ready to get involved in the review process.

Those of you who get the VeganCuts snack box will be getting to try these for yourselves soon enough, but if you don’t, here’s your chance to grab some gratis!

Just follow this link a Rafflecopter giveaway¬†to enter for your chance to win! Don’t forget to comment below and share this post for extra chances to win. Please note that the samples you will receive will be the same as the ones above, that being 1 vegan pack, and 1 non-vegan pack of Barnana treats. Raffle ends Sunday night, at midnight pacific time, and the Rafflecopter selected winner will be contacted promptly thereafter.

Happy last [full] week of Mofo!


Vegan MoFo 2013:12 Maple Dijon Tofu Chops (w/ Trader Joe’s sprouted tofu) & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Published September 23, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


So here’s a dinner that was going SO WELL, until I made a terrible mistake, and ruined the whole pot of beans. I thought it was a perfect meal for the new cooler weather: Apple Baked Beans, Maple Dijon Tofu Chops & Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Thankfully I was also trying out a delicious recipe from More Peas and Thank you for the tofu, and using my favorite way to cook the brussel sprouts, this baking method, so we still had a really nice dinner. But even after going so long without a kitchen mishap, it happened to me. We ate dinner whilst attempting to air out burned bean smell from the apartment.


These were the super promising beans from The Great Vegan Bean Book in the works. They were full of all kinds of yummy things, and smelled great.


Then came the fatal mistake… they were supposed to simmer for 1.5 hours, and I forgot to drop the heat. Yah… I was interrupted by a phone call, and simply glossed over the lowering. I think they made it a good 50 minutes before we smelled something burning. At this point I thought it was the brussel sprouts, which were already in the oven, but they looked good. Then I happened to check the beans, just to see how they were doing…


F A I L !


After the beans were put on to “simmer” I got the tofu ready so it could marinate for a while. I used two packages of Trader Joe’s sprouted tofu. The texture on the tofu was fantastic! I love sprouted tofu because it’s extra firm, and you don’t have to press it. It can be a bit spendy at Whole Foods (like what isn’t?) but it’s very reasonably priced at TJ’s (like everything else!). I cut each package in half widthwise & lengthwise to make 4 nice sized “chops”.


I decided to use my baking method for tofu rather than the broiling method in the original recipe, since I made my chops so thick.


These came out perfectly!


I used about 2 cups of whole brussel sprouts, but 3 would’ve been better!


Prepped them by cutting them in half, placing them face down, and misting with olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.


Still a stellar dinner, despite the beans set back. I served the chops with applesauce, as directed by the recipe, and it was a lovely symphony of flavors. The sweet applesauce contrasted nicely with the smoky, [purposefully] singed brussel sprouts, and the tofu had wonderful flavor and texture. There were NO LEFTOVERS. At the end, Thomas was just standing over the sink, holding the last of the tofu chops in hand! (This is why I double the tofu for ANY recipe. There is always more than enough marinade, and Thomas is a Tofu Monster.)

So that’s another win for More Peas and Thank You. Great book. And it’s another non-win for the bean book. Though this one was totally my fault! The last recipe from it was under seasoned, so I was hoping for a win this time, but sadly, I think I will just buy a can of baked beans in the future like I originally told myself. We’ll see. The fate of that pot is still questionable.

How is your MoFo going? My parents get here tomorrow, YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! But I will try to get a couple of posts up this week. It’s their first time visiting the Pacific Northwest and we’re all very excited about their visit!


Vegan Mofo 2013:10 Trader Joe’s Fig Butter loves PB & J

Published September 13, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


Since I’m covering my favorites in MoFo this year, I might as well tell you about my newest and easiest favorite, Peanut Butter, Fig Butter & Jelly sandwiches. (Really preserves, but that doesn’t have the same ring to¬†it.)¬†It may sound silly, but these have really become a staple in my diet lately. I’ve been eating them for breakfast, snacks, lunch, and I think once as a light dinner. I bought the fig butter on a whim at Trader Joes, not really sure what I was going to do with it. After trying it on PB&J, it has now¬†become routine for me¬†to make one once a day.

One layer of fig butter and a thin layer of jelly for a little extra sweetness.

One layer of fig butter and a thin layer of jelly for a little extra sweetness.

At first I was taking them in aluminum foil, but once it became a habit, I switched to these less wasteful sandwich keepers. I bought them for Thomas for Christmas, but since he didn’t seem to be using them often, I’ve claimed one for myself.

See, I was nice. I left him the black one. :)

See, I was nice. I left him the black one. ūüôā

This might be something to try for those of you looking for a less sugary option to jazz up your peanut butter sandwiches. According to the label, fruit butters can only be called such if the fruit content is greater than the sugar content. I really like it a lot. I still do add a little of the preserves on there to get a nice salty/sweet contrast. Oh, and speaking of salt… I bought the low salt sprouted grain accidentally. Not bad, but not my favorite. I definitely prefer the regular kind. ūüôā

Yes, I eat everything on china. Life is short.

Yes, I eat everything on china. Life is short.

This week was busy and a little light on the MoFo posts, but more are already in the works!¬†I’ll have to get myself back on track this weekend.

Happy Friday the 13th!


Vegan MoFo 2013:8 Tofutti Cuties – Key Lime

Published September 9, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
In case you wanted to read the box in French! Whoops! ;)

In case you wanted to read the box in French! Whoops! ūüėČ

If you don’t know about my love affair with Tofutti Cutie ice cream sandwiches¬†and summertime, you can read about it at its origin here. I’ve also tried the Mint Chocolate Chip ones, but while they were good, the Cookies n Cream are definitely our number one favorite. I had long heard good things about¬†these key lime ones.¬†Though they were fairly ubiquitous in Florida, I’d only really seen chocolate or vanilla at our Whole Foods or QFC in Seattle,¬†since we moved here.¬†(For the record, I prefer the vanilla of the two). After stuffing ourselves at Wayward yesterday (blog post tomorrow!), we decided to swing by¬†Vegan Haven, which is conveniently located¬†on the same block. Since we were heading straight¬†home after, we were able to pick up some frozen treats for a change, and snagged these along with some other goodies.


I ate this in my preferred manner, which is after letting it sit on the counter for 5 minutes to get a bit melty. It really is bursting with key lime flavor, which is a nice thing considering I’ve yet to have a vegan key lime pie or lemon meringue pie. (PLEASE, if you have a good lemon meringue pie recipe, link or email me at your earliest convenience!!) However, I can’t help comparing them to our chocolate wafered hero, Mr. Cookies N Cream, and when I do that, these fall short. I think if you can put their perfection out of your mind for a sec, these are tasty in their own right though. Maybe it’s just that I wasn’t in the proper mood today, or that the other kind play more into my childhood nostalgia, but these didn’t blow my mind, and seemed just okay. But I do have 5 more in the freezer for further research…¬†I’ll¬†let you know if¬†they do any further convincing. ¬†ūüôā

What are your favorite vegan ice cream snacks?


Vegan Mofo 2013:4 Flax Milk & Coconut Milk Greek Yogurt!

Published September 3, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
What would Vegan MoFo be without a some cat pictures?

What would Vegan MoFo be without a some cat pictures?

Today Midna & I would like to tell you about two new products I picked up yesterday…

The first is Good Karma’s flax milk. But first a little back story:

I recently [definitively]¬†realized that I’m a bit allergic to almonds. I had long suspected it, but when I made fresh almond milk a couple of months ago, and my face starting itching and breaking into hives, I finally couldn’t deny it anymore. This solved the mystery of why I had started breaking into hives nearly daily for the last couple of years. That’s about when I switched to almond milk from soy milk. I’d always snacked on almonds, but I guess with the combination of the two, it was a bit too much for my body.

Thomas on the other hand, loves almonds, and has no trouble with them,¬†but gets¬†a skin reaction (mostly on his face) when he eats cashews. (We discovered when I started doing raw food stuff. Not so coincidentally, that’s also when my almond hives began!)

So I switched us back to soymilk last month. I figured, hey, extra protein, right? Well, I’ve also had a big increase in breast tenderness, etc. these last two months and when my co-worker said, “that’s what you said last month!”, I¬†decided that maybe¬†I should try¬†switching out the soymilk.¬†(I’m typing this wearing a sports bra. I don’t often wear sports bras.)

So that’s how I ended up with the flax milk. Thomas wasn’t that gung-ho on the flax milk idea, and grabbed an almond milk for himself, but I’d been wanting to try it anyway, just being budget conscious and avoiding it to save the $0.80.


As it turns out, the flaxmilk¬†is really good! I sort of expected this since I’ve been throwing ground flax seeds in my¬†green smoothies for quite¬†some time. I¬†don’t usually drink non-dairy milk out of a cup, but I did just to try it first. I thought it tasted a whole lot like almond milk, maybe even better. I’ve yet to use it for cooking, but I’m pretty much sold from the 1st sip. 1 cup has 25 calories and 2.5g¬†fat, but 0 protein, but I’m alright with that. (Their website shows that they do make a product with 5g of¬†pea protein¬†added to it, but they didn’t have it at my Whole Foods.)¬†It’s dairy, soy and gluten free. Is coconut considered a tree nut? Thomas said yes. I guess the US FDA says so too.

I’m pretty sure this is going to be my new favorite vegan milk. It works great in cereal, which is our foremost application.


The second product is the So Delicious Greek Style Coconut Milk yogurt. Specifically, at least for today, the blueberry flavor. First I should say,¬†I’ve never had actual dairy greek yogurt, so I can’t really compare it on that level. I have had several vegan soy yogurts in the past, as well as almond yogurt recently (whoops!) and I’ve also¬†had the So Delicious regular coconut milk yogurt, which I thought was tasty, but the consistency was too runny.


This has a really nice texture, which I believe is one of the biggest things with greek style yogurt? It reminded me of the yoplait¬†custard style that I preferred as a kid, which was nice. It was also super tangy! Now, I’m not sure if this is a greek style yogurt thing, or just something about the blueberry, but¬†it’s¬†just a bit too sour. I’m pretty sure I had a few spoonfuls of a¬†tub of the strawberry flavor at VVC¬†this May, and I don’t remember it being that way, but I will keep udating as I try all the flavors I bought.


However, I was called up to the stage for the trivia show and had to abandon it! That's me in the pink!

However, I was called up to the stage for the trivia show and had to abandon it! That’s me in the pink! Thanks for the picture Helen! ‚̧

Our team lost, but we still got prizes!

Our team lost, but we still got prizes!

Anyway, I’m not sure if this yogurt will fall into my favorites category just yet, but I do have a few other flavors to try.

9/6/13 – Okay, this stuff is just on the tangy side. I’m guessing it is a greek yogurt thing. Today I had the Chocolate flavor, and while it wasn’t all out sour, it definitely had tang. I kind of wanted it to taste like chocolate pudding, but nope. It was still enjoyable though, just not exactly what I expected.

9/7/13 – The Raspberry was delicious, not sour at all. Just a normal yogurt amount of tang.



I’ve also decided that blogging at work, on a long lunch break is actually a GREAT idea! I had gotten burned out of spending so much time at¬†home¬†cooking/networking/blogging, and this might be the perfect solution. How do you avoid blog burn out? Midna likes to take lots of breaks…


Vegan MoFo 2013:3 My fave utensil set & Leftover lunch

Published September 3, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Curry Masala - vegetables, seitan, tofu, coconut curry sauce

Curry Masala – vegetables, seitan, tofu, coconut curry sauce

So while I really had planned on making something a little more elaborate… it just didn’t happen yesterday. I ended up playing through another castle in Zelda Skyward Sword instead, and it just got too late. However, I did remember that we had a full tub of leftover curry sitting in the fridge from my Loving Hut birthday take-out! (Always order a bonus dish with your take-out. It’s dinner insurance!) So Thomas threw a pot of brown rice on the stove while I played on.

I did add a good 1/2 c. of frozen spinach and ~1/4 c. of water to get things going, but that was all. I let it simmer while I popped into the shower. It also ended up being my lunch today.


Which brings¬†me to¬†telling you about another of my favorite things…¬† (there’s that theme tie-in you were waiting for!)

Ok, actually… my utensil set.


I’ve had it for over a year now, and I love it and use it all the time. It has a permanent place in my backpack.¬†In fact, when I first moved into this apartment last November, before we had any actual things here yet, this was my singular form of cutlery! You can read my full review here, but I’m curious to know what you all use? I also bought this little eco spork at Herbivore Clothing¬†back when we made the drive up, but I’ve never actually used it to date. Most restaurants here are pretty good about using cutlery and not plastic ware, so I forget that I carry it around. But it’s a really nice, compact design for most of your needs, and will fit in even a tiny little wristlet!

How is your MoFo going? I found myself typing away at a computer on my lunch break at work. I think that’s going to be another theme this month too!


Baseball & Vegan options at Safeco Field in Seattle, WA

Published August 12, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


So if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately… I’ve been watching baseball, mostly the Red Sox. I bought the MLB internet package, and it’s really been taking up a lot of my time. Which frankly, has been a nice, small, baby step away from the constant strain of social media. Oh, and in case you’re wondering how a Florida girl living in Seattle is a Red Sox fan, you should probably know that It is a hereditary fandom passed down by my Cuban mom who grew up in Boston! ūüôā

One of the many cool things about living in Seattle is that the Mariners are American League, and play against the Red Sox. (Unlike the Marlins!) So when the Red Sox came to town, you better believe that I dragged Thomas over to Safeco Field. I had been dying to get over there anyway to check out the vegan chili cheese dogs, but I also hadn’t seen the Red Sox since my mom took me to Fenway Park back in the mid 90s. I was beyond thrilled!


But before we settled in to watch the game, we needed to find food and cider/beer. Surprisingly enough, section 132, did not only have the aforementioned chili cheese dog stand, All American Vegetarian, which had Field Roast dogs and burgers…there were also two vegan friendly stands on either side! The Natural, on the right, offered smoothies and salads and veggie dogs, including gluten free options, and the other, Bao Choi (left), apparently has “vegan bao (soft buns filled with gochujang glazed eggplant, cilantro cabbage and kimchi mayo), created by the red-hot chef from Vedge in Philadelphia” – according to a review from Seattle Magazine.




For those of you that care, we were also pleasantly surprised by the selections of decent beers and ciders. I found 3 different kinds of cider (regular Crispin, and 2 flavors of Fox Barrel) on draft close to the bleacher section where we were sitting! The beers and ciders were around $9 for a large cup. If you want more information on the many beers available, check out this article!


And here we are settled in with our dogs, and a blackberry pear cider and a regular cider. The dogs were actually much tastier than they look here. ¬†I read that the cheese they use is Chicago Vegan Foods Teese sauce, but it was served straight out of a squirt bottle at room temperature, making for an unappealing appearance. (I’ll probably just skip the fake cheese next time.) The chili had a lot of nice veggies in there, along with the beans, and the dogs were field roast (yum!) and came with lots of cooked onions. Pretty good, even though they were fairly cooled down by the time we got our beverages and to our seats. (You can read more about the field roast dogs at their initial introduction tasting at Helen’s blog Vegtastic or Dawn’s Vegan Moxie too!)


We had a blast, and are sure to be visiting Safeco park again soon. (We’ll even cheer for the Mariners this time, promise!) We’ll also report back with any additional food research we do, so stay tuned. ¬†ūüôā

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