Interview: Janina Byrne from EnviroTrend


A few years ago, Queensland entrepreneur Janina Byrne decided to combine her environmental conscience with her love of practical items to create EnviroTrend. The innovative company offers a range of backpacks, bags and other carry items that aim to bring a more stylish edge to the standard ‘eco green bag.’ Now that summer has well and truly arrived, EnviroTrend have released their new Pack & Go Collection featuring five lightweight (and lovely looking!) bags. I recently caught up with Janina to chat about the launch!

Can you tell us a bit about the new range and what inspired it?

Our new Pack & Go Collection was inspired by our busy lifestyles and designed to have multiple uses.

* SAKitToMe and EnviroChill Maxi are perfect for groceries as well as weekend leisure, such as picnics.
* EnviroChill Mini can be a lunchbox or used to take a 6-pack to a party.
* PAKitToMe Backpacks and FoldAway Travellers can be your ‘around the world’ travel companion, daily gym buddy or sleepover bag. Whatever you use them for, they fold away to almost nothing and don’t clutter your home.

The colours and prints were inspired by spring and summer. The Apple Blossom print is just about as girly and pretty as you can get. The stripes collection, while not specifically aimed at men, didn’t offend the blokes we surveyed who said they’d be happy to carry it for their female counterparts. Both are also easy to spot amongst drab luggage colours on an airport luggage belt!

Can you talk us through how your products are made and what makes them environmentally friendly?

Our products are made from high quality fabrics and workmanship and while they are inexpensive, they are designed to last. Our SAKitToMe bags are specifically aimed at replacing supermarket plastic bags. The fabrics are made using a portion of recycled material and because they are so strong they will last a long time and replace many plastic bags over their lifespan. Not all of our products are purely environmentally friendly –we have a two pronged name – ‘Enviro’ refers to the eco side of our business and ‘Trend’ refers to the groovy, compact and travel products in our range.


EnviroTrend has been around for a couple of years now. What first sparked the idea?

We first saw a gap in the market around 2006. So many people were using the awful green supermarket bags for so many things other than the groceries. In fact, we did ourselves and from that we came up with the EnviroShopper- a more attractive version of the utilitarian supermarket version. From there we developed the range and branched out into compact products and travel products. We love anything that’s practical and makes our busy lives easier and less cluttered.

What are your favourite products and why?

At the moment, the FoldAway Traveller is my absolute favourite – it has saved me a couple of times recently. Especially with excess stuff that didn’t fit into my carry-on bag which I was able to check in.

Lastly, what are your top 3 tips for people wanting to live a greener, cleaner life?

* Always have a compact bag (preferably our SAKitToMe!) in your handbag, car or attached to your keys so you don’t need to use the plastic bag offered by any shops, not just supermarkets.
* Think about whether you need the bread, eggs and milk you’ve just popped in to buy in a plastic bag. Surely you can carry them to the car and into the house without a bag!
* Recycle and compost. It’s so easy these days!

Shop the full Pack & Range on the EnviroTrend website.

One to watch: Nicky Felton


One of the reasons I started this blog was to connect with like minded people who are passionate about big ideas for social good. So, when NZ based blogger Nicky Felton emailed me a few weeks ago, I immediately wanted to share her story. Nicky is 21 years old, has a keen interest in sustainability and fashion and describes herself as an ‘ideas person’. With a sparkly and adventurous blog called Little Felton, Nicky is busy documenting her adventures, searching for a more sustainable lifestyle and planning her next career move. Here is Nicky’s story in her own words…

I’ve just finished my Communications Degree and am now looking at what to do with my life!…

I love the idea of sustainability on all levels and as the years tick by, I’m starting to become more conscious of how I can involve it into aspects of my life. I’m starting to feel more responsibility and recognising the ability I have to make choices or do things that can have a widely positive impact on the world. That’s an exciting thought! With a background in business and a keen entrepreneurial flair, I’m looking into ways we can easily incorporate sustainability into our lives. I’m excited that there’s so much emerging interest out there and that young people are starting to create a bit of a movement.


Although I haven’t worked out exactly what I want to do, I’m starting out by profiling businesses, brands and people, who incorporate sustainability into what they do…

Simply bringing sustainability to the attention of others, will go a long way to improving the culture around this topic.

In the long term I hope to create a business based around social good, working with isolated communities to create handmade goods which are marketable and saleable. I’d love to use my skills to help others.

Through my blog Little Felton, I’m creating opportunities for myself and gaining experience, which are both great things…

So far, Little Felton is a collection of all the things that I love, things I’d like to do and general life thoughts and musings. It’s actually a great way of identifying my areas of interest and a fantastic exercise in personal development.

Behavioural change is so much more achievable and measurable on social media- just think of the ‘ice bucket’ challenge that has taken off this year. People like to be seen to be doing good things on Facebook and it’s so easy to type up a status or share a post, which can go a long way to creating awareness of a cause or creating hype or even fundraising.

My personal style would be a’young professional’ look that is fresh and fun…

I generally try to buy a few quality statement pieces which I’ll pair up with relatively neutral, inexpensive basics to create my outfits.

I love mixing a piece with bold colours or pairing prints with plain white or navy; I love navy!

I’m a big fan of wearing tops and pants rather than dresses for everyday wear, simply for practical reasons- oh and I love jumpsuits!

Keep up to date with Nicky on her blog Little Felton.



Tonight on NITV, acclaimed journalist Stan Grant is set to stir things up on Awaken (airing at 8.30pm) by asking the very important question, what is beauty and who determines it?

The discussion will feature some of our most prominent social commentators and journalists like Jane Caro, Mamamia Editor-in-Chief Jamila Rizvi and entertainer Casey Donovan and will explore some of the risks and opportunities for Indigenous people within our commercial industries.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of chatting to one of the panelists, Sasha Sarago. Sasha is a style maven, entrepreneur and founder of Ascension, Australia’s first Indigenous and Ethnic Women’s Lifestyle Magazine (which you can pre order right now!)

Sasha says the whole idea for the magazine came about from the lack of diversity in the media and fashion industries, something that also inspired Australia’s first Indigenous Fashion Week held earlier this year.

“The magazine is a platform for Indigenous and Ethnic models, writers, designers and communities, to be represented authentically and with pride,” she said. “When you don’t see an authentic representation of yourself, subconsciously it sends a message that you are invisible; you are not beautiful; your voice doesn’t matter.”

Make sure you tune in to Awaken on NITV at 8.30pm tonight (Wednesday 24 September) to hear more from Sasha and the panel on this important issue.

Creative Costuming

The Sydney season of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Patyegarang ended last night, with yet another inspired performance on the Sydney Opera House stage. (After being so popular, the season was actually extended!) The show now tours the country, ready to wow audiences the nation over.

I saw the show twice and was blown away by everything from the choreography to the historical tale itself, but as usual, I couldn’t shake my fascination with the style and design aspects of this stunning production.

After having had the opportunity to chat to one of the Bangarra dancers earlier in the season, I was fortunate enough to recently steal a few moments with costume designer Jennifer Irwin, to chat about how she started out in the industry, the creative process of costume design and how she creates style with purpose.


Firstly, how did you get involved in cosutume design? Is it something you always wanted to do?

I did an art course and then I did a technical theatre course which helped me to connect with a regional theatre company in the late 70s, but my first real job was with the Sydney Dance Company.

I actually majored in scenic art but I knew that I could always sew. I became a costume assistant at the dance company in 1980 and I stayed there for 16 years on and off and that’s where I met Stephen Page. Our generation of people in dance all kind of grew up together. And of course, Stephen and I got along very well and he went off to start his company and through our connection, I had an opportunity to go and work with Bangarra.

I’ve known Stephen for over 25 years, right from the early days when Bangarra were doing very small projects. In fact, I have worked on most of the Bangarra shows over the years from the very first one to now. The thing about working in a dance company is that it’s a little family.

The dance industry is one I’ve been in for years and I guess that’s due to the fact that I’ve just been at the right place at the right time and now, it’s what I know and love.

Can you tell us a bit about the creative process of designing for a show like Patyegarang?

We start with getting together with the creative team- Stephen, the set designer and I. You’ve really got to break down the scenes and the looks at the beginning of the process.

Being a non Indigenous person, I often bring a more abstract design approach because I don’t want to appropriate anything I shouldn’t and I want to remain respectful of protocols. You’ve also got to design for practicality and ask yourself whether someone can get in and of a costume between scenes for instance and balance that with representing the creative vision. It’s really an evolving and collaborative process.

I work with a lot of companies but I particularly love working with Bangarra because it is much more creative than working with drama or other disciplines. Stephen also understands and respects what I do, so I have quite a bit of creative freedom.


You have worked with Bangarra for a long time, what makes Patyegarang special to you- how would you describe it to people?

It’s special in that its set and music came together so well and when you step back and look at it, you are genuinely happy with what you’ve contributed and know it all works together. It’s very mesmerising the actual show. It’s another incredible story that is largely untold and we are here, sharing something special. It wasn’t a hard one to work on at all. Some productions are, but not this one. I don’t know why. It’s just a great story that works.

What’s next for you?

My next project is doing Giselle with the Universal Ballet of Korea, but it will be an absolutely contemporary version of an old classic. I’m going from one to the next!

You can find out all the dates and venues of the Patyegarang National Tour on the Bangarra Dance Theatre website.

Images courtesy of Bangarra Dance Theatre

June Native Box Review


I have been enjoying all the goodies in the June Native Box so much, we’re almost a full week into July and I’m only just getting around to blogging about it!

I have written about the many benefits of Native Box before. It’s an excellent service that introduces you to more conscious brands and products, by delivering samples right to your door. I have often commented on the fact that some of our big retail chains and supermarkets haven’t quite cottoned on to our increasing interest in eco friendly, ethical and Australian made products and it’s often a hunt to find them. Native Box is like a ‘try before you buy’ of some of our most exciting brands (who just happen to be doing the right thing by the planet!)

As a genuine fan of the concept and the company, I’ll be reviewing a Native Box every two months and will also be giving you a peek at some of the gorgeous products in their beauty box (for us green girls).

The June Native Box was filled with loads of lovely things, including a Bondi Chai which is perfect for this winter weather and a natural Weleda Shampoo & Conditioner. In amongst all the stunning samples, these are my top three product picks.

Olivella Face & Body Bar

I often wash with coconut oil (yes, I am that addicted to the stuff!) but that’s mainly because I haven’t been able to find a ‘soap like bar’ that doesn’t dry out my skin. This one from Olivella is gentle enough to use on the face and has a nourishing, lasting after effect. Olivella is one brand I’ll be on the lookout for from now on.


Sweet William ‘Sweet As Chocolate’ range in Dark Orange

After forcing myself to eat chocolate with an incredibly high amount of cacao because it’s better for you, it was refreshing to come a cross a ‘better’ version of chocolate that still tastes like ‘the good stuff.’ Sweet William’s Dark Orange has a light, creamy texture with a strong orange flavour and was the perfect treat for tea time.


Brookfarm Power Porrij

I love a good sleep in and am always looking for easy breakfast solutions that don’t involve waking the neighbours with my juicer! This is truly a gourmet style porridge that you can make in 90 seconds flat. More than just oats, Brookfarm has also included supergrains like quinoa and it packs a powerful flavour punch.


You can learn more about Native Box or start subscribing at their website.

A Native Box was provided for review but all views expressed are my own.

Hustle & Scout hits Canberra (again!)


The capital’s Hustle & Scout market is only two days away and once again, is set to be a bustling marketplace of unique, quirky, eco friendly and local Canberra design. For regular readers of this blog, you’ll know that the ’roundabout city’ holds a special place in my heart. It was my hometown for over five years and despite its reputation for being beige and bureaucratic, its creative scene is thriving (heck the New York Times even calls it ‘hipster’). Canberra now has its own fashion week (yes you read right!) and is producing some exceptional talent, like up and coming photographer Sally-Forth.

In my eyes, the Hustle & Scout market is the ACT’s answer to Finders Keepers, but with a truly local twist! I caught up with founder Tegan McAuley to find out more about how she put her stamp on the Australian style scene.


The Hustle & Scout market is such an innovative idea- how did it all come about?

Early last year, I was feeling an urge to do something with my life that was both creative and bigger than myself. One night, my husband Simon showed me a video featuring the wise words of philosopher Alan Watts, who asks the question, ‘what would you do if money were no object?’ That night, we talked about the things we loved. For Simon it was cricket and coaching and for me, it was all things design and fashion. That week, Simon launched a cricket coaching business and I decided to found a new fashion design market!

Hustle & Scout didn’t just come about from Alan Watts’ motivational clip, it was also born out of months of observing Canberra’s design scene grow and flourish. I came to realise, particularly after attending the inaugural Fashfest 2013, that Canberra was home to a very talented network of fashion designers whose collections I had never had the privilege of seeing up-close. And so, I decided my fashion market would create a space where people could meet these designers, feel, try and buy their innovative pieces and have a fun night out at the same time!

For me, it was important to form a point of distinction from other markets, and this had to be rooted in the way it made people feel. So, I worked to curate an event with atmosphere that provides people with an experience. The market not only showcases Australian designers but also local live music, roaming models, food and cocktails and other exciting things like fashion photoshoots and parades.


Why do you think it’s so important to support local, homegrown and ethical design through a market like this one?

Today, our shopping malls are full of chain stores selling cheap, ‘fast’ fashion with little transparency into how garments are produced. It’s becoming more and more difficult to buy handmade, one-of-a-kind and sustainable fashion pieces in these retail environments – this is why markets play such an important role in our communities.

Markets represent an important means through which people can come together to speak to designers and makers face-to-face and learn about how a garment was made and the inspiration behind the design. For me, supporting local, homegrown design through a market event is also an extremely important step toward strengthening both our communities and Australia’s fashion industry at large. It may only be a small step, but if we can create more demand for Australian and ethically-made items, hopefully we will see less Australian designers forced to pack-up shop due to the fast-paced pressures of the international fashion industry.

Many people don’t realise that the Canberra style scene is truly on the rise. What do you think makes it such a creative city?

There is definitely a movement happening across Canberra at the moment. As the city expands, so does it’s creative population. Unlike some major cities, Canberra has a wonderful, tight-knit sense of community, which has encouraged people like myself to innovate and collaborate with other creatives. Since starting Hustle & Scout, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have jumped on board to support the event and get involved in any way they can. Other events such as Fashfest, have really helped to put Canberra’s fashion scene on the map in recent years.


Your next market is coming up in just a few days- what can we expect from it? Any labels you are particularly looking forward to seeing?

The 5 July winter market will be the largest market to date! It will feature 42 fashion stalls, three local live music acts, roaming models by April’s Caravan and $10 apple cider cocktails by Palace Electric. New pop-up street food market The Forage, will also showcase lots of Canberra’s finest cafes, restaurants and mobile vendors.

New labels I am excited to see include womenswear labels Eva Cassis, Fabboo and Audrey Blue, which all produce beautiful, modern pieces using natural fabrics and sustainable materials. I am also very excited to see some of our new jewellery labels, including Paul Krix and Sarah Bourke.

The thing I am most excited about for this market is our collaboration with Vinnie’s 2014 Winter Appeal. At our upcoming market, the Vinnie’s Night Patrol Van and its volunteers will be taking voluntary gold coin donations and accepting donations of blankets and men’s socks and gloves. There is a serious shortage of these items in the ACT at the moment for those sleeping rough this winter, so I feel very privileged to be able to help in any way I can.

And finally…Canberra is a city that enjoys beautiful wintery weather- what are your top style tips for the cooler months?

My style tip for the cooler months is to layer, layer, layer! Also, don’t be afraid of colour – whether you throw on some red lippy or brighten up an outfit with a vibrant scarf, a splash of colour can totally lift your outfit. Lastly, before heading to the shops to buy that brand new winter coat, consider scouting out some op-shops or vintage retailers first.

Etiko Being Excellent


Etiko is a fairtrade fashion, footwear and sports gear company that has been around for almost a decade. I wrote about Etiko last summer, when they released a series of ‘thongs for good,’ asking Australians to put one foot forward for a cause. Now they are back with a brilliant new partnership, having recently teamed up with not for profit organisation Not For Sale, who help victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Once again raising awareness (and funds!) through style, they have jointly created some tees, for this very important cause. I caught up with Etiko’s founder and director Nick Savaidis to find out more about this creative campaign.

Your new partnership with Not For Sale is very exciting. Can you tell us a bit about how it all came about?

We have been fans of Not For Sale for years. The work they do is incredibly important and it’s awful that in this day and age there is more slavery than ever. The fashion industry is not immune to it. As recently as last year, slave labour was found in the supply of cotton from Uzbekistan. Not For Sale have done a great job in raising awareness and educating the public about this.

Through this campaign and the other great work you do, what are the main messages you would like people to ‘take away’ about ethical production?

I want people to realise that there is no point in just talking about ethical production because everyone knows by now that child sweatshop and slave labor exists. Nothing is going to change until everyone becomes not only a conscious consumers, but also a conscientious consumers. That is, to be aware of the impact of their purchases, especially on their fellow human beings who produce the products which end up in our homes and on our bodies.

For those who aren’t as familiar with your brand, can you tell us a bit about Etiko and the work you guys do?

Since 2005 we have been developing and marketing eco friendly and ethically produced footwear and clothing. Last year Etiko was ranked the most ethical fashion brand in the 2013 Australian Fashion Report and our sneakers were voted as the 2013 Fairtrade product of the year.

What are your top tips for shoppers who want to become more conscious about what they buy?

Don’t be scared to ask retailers where their products come from and if they know if those products are free from child sweatshop and slave labour.

Don’t be afraid to do your own research. Jump on the Internet and educate yourself on these issues. We have found that a lot of our customers discovered Etiko by simply searching ‘ethical or Fairtrade products’.

Look for genuine ethical accreditations for international products such as the Fairtrade label that you see on some coffee and chocolate brands. For Australian made products, look for the Ethical Clothing Australia label, because surprisingly sweatshops exist even in Australia!

We need people to tell their retailers that they genuinely do care about how the products they buy are sourced and that it’s not just about finding the cheapest item.

You can find the tees and all of Etiko’s ethically made and Fairtrade certified products at

The Power of Patyegarang


I saw Bangarra Dance Theatre’s new work, Patyegarang, for the second time on Friday night and was once again blown away. It’s Bangarra’s 25th anniversary this year and to celebrate, they are sharing a story from their home base of Sydney.

It is so exciting to see our rich Indigenous history celebrated on stage, setting imaginations alight. In our culture, dance has always been an important part of storytelling and celebration. Bangarra’s work continues this ancient tradition, reaching out to teach and inspire new audiences and keep our culture and stories alive. It was wonderful to think that the love story we were watching, between Patyegarang and Lieutenant William Dawes, had played out in reality on the shores of the harbour city, potentially hundreds of metres away from the comfort of Sydney’s Opera House.

As well as seeing the piece twice, I also managed to grab a sneak peek of the show two days before it opened and caught up with dancer Waangenga Blanco, who plays the role of Ngalgear in the show.


Waangenga says that Patyegarang is a true story of reconciliation.

“It’s a really beautiful story in that it shows what we can learn from one another. It’s about sharing in each other’s perspectives and I think these are the kinds of experiences that can sometimes be overlooked in storytelling, so I’m excited about it,” he said.

“It’s also nice to see how both the Indigenous and non Indigenous perspectives are portrayed in the piece. It’s not about demonising anyone; it’s about honestly sharing those experiences.”

A descendant of the Mer Island people and of the Pajinka Wik, Cape York, this is Waangenga’s ninth year with the company as a dancer, something he always dreamed of doing as a child.

“Growing up, I just always wanted to make people happy so have always wanted to perform and entertain,” he said.

It was lovely to speak to someone who is helping to represent this beautiful piece of history and this coming week, I’ll be chatting to the show’s costume designer, bringing a style lense to this stunning story.

New Sydney shows of Patyegarang have just been announced and you can purchase tickets on the Sydney Opera House website.

Sally-Forth Soars into Solo Exhibition


Sally-Forth Heaney-Garzoli is not a name you forget, but it’s not just her marvellous moniker that has captured attention. At just nineteen years of age, she has emerged as one of our most promising photographers and is currently holding her very first solo exhibition at Canberra’s PhotoAccess. You may remember I have written about Sally-Forth before. She was my wedding photographer when she was still in high school (yes, she is that good!) won a People’s Choice Award for her elegant photo portrait and has one of the coolest and quirkiest senses of personal style I have ever seen.

With plans to move to Melbourne in 2015 to further her creative education, I caught up with Sally-Forth to talk about her exciting exhibition, the creative underbelly of the nation’s capital and what parts of her upcoming European adventure, she hopes to capture on camera.

Can you tell us a bit about your current exhibition and what it means to be involved in it?

My exhibition is called Shifted: scapes and figures. This photo series explores the transition between day and night as well as landscape/interior-scape and portrait. I was really inspired by film stills, nature and pre-Raphaelite art.

It’s on at PhotoAccess in the Canberra suburb of Manuka and I’m sharing the space with two other artists, photographer Christine Rufflet who is exhibiting Circus Dreams and installation artist Danny Wild who is exhibiting Thought Cues. It is a real privilege to be a part of this exhibition. Both Christine and Danny’s works are amazing and I think we complement each other really well.

How would you describe the Canberra arts scene and what makes it unique?

To be totally honest, I feel like I am too young to really be a part of the Canberra arts scene so don’t really know much about it. I did some photography at Hustle & Scout which is an independent design market organised by the amazing Tegan McAuley. I do reckon that the Canberra arts scene is on the make. From what I can see it mixes art, design, music, fashion and multi-media and is supportive of new ideas and approaches.


You are about to head off to Europe for a few months. Can you tell us a bit about what your plans are? What are you most looking forward to photographing over there?

At the moment it’s all kind of up in the air. The current plan is to base myself in London and just travel around whenever and wherever I like (and just hang around until the money runs out!). I will definitely be going to Barcelona, Amsterdam and will also travel around Italy for a bit. I’m planning on going to France and Germany and if I can, I would love to go to Turkey and Denmark.

I’m not really sure what I’m most looking forward to photographing. I guess everything and anything. It is such a good opportunity to take photos in new environments and I don’t want to waste that.

What’s next for you? Do you have any plans for more exhibitions? What is inspiring you at the moment?

The next big thing for me after travelling, is the move to Melbourne to start uni and hopefully, I’ll continue to take photos when I can.

I do have another exhibition coming up in early 2015, in a small rural city called Griffith, which will be cool. The gallery space is much larger than PhotoAccess so I will have the opportunity to play around with installation as well as photos. The new exhibition will be a bit of an extended version of my current exhibition.

In terms of inspiration, I am really loving Paolo Roversi photos at the moment. I think they are all so amazing. They look like paintings and they’re just so beautiful. I also work in a small independent shop called Shop Girl Flower Girl and am constantly surrounded by flowers, so that has been inspiring me lately too. I would love to do a photo shoot with lots and lots of flowers as part of the set. I think that would be really cool.

I’m also getting inspired by the usual things like films and artworks that I see around the place as well.

Shifted: scapes and figures is showing at PhotoAccess in Canberra until 29 June.
You can also keep track of Sally-Forth’s success on her website.

Beauty Spot: Love System Serum


A little while ago, I was introduced to a company called Australian Bush Flower Essences. I stumbled across a sample of one of their hand creams in a Native Box and soon became hooked. I love beauty products that don’t smell synthetic and that celebrate uniquely homegrown, native ingredients. The company’s new organic and skincare formulations are (lovingly!) called the Love System, which promotes a unique way of choosing skincare based on a number of things, including your skin’s needs but also your emotional landscape. Now, this might all sound a bit unconventional and ‘woo woo,’ but sitting firmly behind this philosophy, is a genuine desire to help people connect, be inspired, respect nature and consciously invest in the ritual of taking care of themselves.

I was lucky enough to recently try the Gentle Face Wash Serum in Purifying Evening Rose. For regular readers of this blog, you’ll know that using a cleanser that isn’t a scoop of organic coconut oil is a big deal for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by this pocket sized product.

Firstly, the packaging is beautiful and natural looking and as soon as you remove the lid, wafts of rose notes drift out. It smells kind of ‘old wordly,’ like a perfume you would find on your grandmother’s dresser. I tried this product for a couple of weeks, gently applying it in the evenings with damp skin and hands and it worked a treat. It easily removed light makeup (although I reverted back to my beloved coconut oil to take off my mascara) and didn’t foam or leave my skin with that uncomfortable ‘tight’ feeling that has you reaching straight for the moisturiser as soon as you skip out of the shower.

I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a gentle cleanser that is good for the skin. While you’re at it, why not check out some of the other exciting goodies in the Love System range!

The product was provided by the company for review but all views expressed are my own.


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