Category Archives: Photography

last day of Vancouver

legit this day happened August 16, 2015, but a TON has happened since then anddddddd here we are. I need to wrap up this last day so I can move on to everything else that I’ve been meaning to blog about. 2016, you WILL be the year I get my blogging on track. on the regular. as often as I can / want / feel the need to.

VANCOUVER, our Saturday was race day, run around, explore & finish up with a wicked float tank experience. The next morning, we slept in a little, but not too much knowing this was our last day in ‘Couve.

We woke and decided an impromptu photo shoot on the sweet roof of our airbnb was in order.  Somewhat coordinated tops and an hour later playing with the Camera Remote app on our Apple Watch’s produced these gems.

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He snagged me this simple triangle necklace at Pike’s Place back in Seattle.  Love it.

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the watch doesn’t fit well under the sleeves of this Lulu top when the thumbholes are in use… #priorities

We headed to 49th Parallel for a morning experience. I remember coming here the last few times I’ve been in town for the Lululemon Seawheeze weekend.  It’s all sorts of fantastic espresso and Lucky’s Doughnuts. On the weekends is insane. Lines out the door for this joint.  Wish there was one in Minnesota!

Any establishment with a line like that deserves to be experienced.  A garage-style door lifts up where we were sitting, fresh air when the weather wants to cooperate.

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Cool vibe and amazing peanut butter and jelly doughnuts like this one with the peanut crunchies.

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baby espresso / wild mane / wake me up

I purchase a large latte cup & saucer for a souvenir. There’s something about this blueish-teal that strikes me as necessary.

We walk around the city and explore the sights.  We have a photo shoot with the new cup and saucer. For nothing more than to kill time on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. Reapplying more Peppermint Halo from Saje – an amazing essential oil + therapeutic shop in downtown Vancouver.

For lunch, we put our name on the list & wait another 45 minutes for a table at Medina Cafe. Now our favorite place for lunch on this side of the planet.  Gold goblets of fresh water and all.

We had the Avocado Toast (duh), Saumon Fumé and a few of their signature Liege-Style Waffles [White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater + Salted Caramel].

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IMG_2591Everything about this spot was to die for. The bathroom had dimly lit displays nestled into the walls… their matchbox takeaways are square and the exact logo of their sign out front [obsessed, I took 3].

We slowly sauntered our way out of here and set out to explore more of the city. This was our last day, so we really wanted to take it all in!

When more directions are needed, we sit outside one of the many Starbucks available to us on every street corner (thanks!).

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We explore the art installations scattered throughout town. Old world, modern, metal & sky-high.  The sun is shining and we are traveling all over this town.  New sights, fresh air, this is the mantra of a “feeling like a million bucks” pair of Midwesterners.

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We got some Vegan Pudding & Co. from a tiny shop that took up all of 3feetwide street space between storefronts.  Be jammin’ out to your music and you might totally pass it by.  Shame. Keep your eyes open for these gems!

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I cannot remember what flavor we selected but I’ll bet all my Lululemon Vinyasa Scarves that it was the Coconut Milk & Sugar one.

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It was some sort of custardy-flany-syrupy-goodness dish and I wouldn’t hesitate to get another if given the chance. #seawheeze2016

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We get back to the airbnb to have a FaceTime chat about our upcoming wedding with The Adventures Of videography team.  A few hours of creative discussion and we are feeling very excited about our upcoming wedding video (to be delivered next week!).

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We head to Granville Island Public Market via the public bus and walk the aisles, look at art, have some snacks, talk on the river… pet the local dogs waiting for their humans.

 

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Who knows how much time passed.  We switch back to nice clothing and head to a date night.  We wanted a special spot, good food, awesome service, cool location… Yelp led us to Seasons in the Park.

The directions had us on a public transit bus for quite a while, headed somewhere into the suburban surrounding downtown Vancouver.  We got off in a large public park.  We hiked the sidewalks down, around, for what seemed like forever.  We took pictures + took our sweet time, happily enjoying a beautifully warm evening.

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We hiked a small, Mount Kilimanjaro-sized mountain to get to the restaurant.  Breaking a small sweat and feeling the burn in our quads.

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This was the first of 53 hills we climbed 🙂

Seasons on the Park has a view of all downtown Vancouver.  We were seated at a huge glass window.  As the sun set on the incredible view, you couldn’t help but feel like you were on another planet, looking at another colony, from a land far, far away. Gorgeous + galactic!

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After dinner (fantastic, not a clue what we ate… but damn was it good!)  We splurged and got espressos.  This happens rarely… who are we kidding, we’ve never gotten them before.  It seemed like a perfect idea for a day that has been one for the record books.

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Vancouver: until next time, you gorgeous city!

ejh

 

Listening to this song because I heard it on Peaky Blinders [watch it!]

 

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Good Morning Sonoma!

We wake up and the boys cook some eggs.  A nest egg, as Brett calls them.

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We giggle and catch up on the deck.  Overlooking the mountain and unreal landscape.  All of a sudden, the limo is on it’s way and we are rushing to pull ourselves together.
The limo pulled into the gravel driveway and the driver hops out to introduce himself.  He opens the back door and we all pile in.  Champagne, soda, water… there were glass champagne glasses and bottle openers.  Living the life!
On our way to the first vineyard, our driver recommends we pull into a Whole Foods-like grocery store and pick up some lunch, since we were headed a little into the countryside and wouldn’t have many options.  We all hop out, grab sandwiches, pasta salads, hummus, and in Brett’s case, head cold materials.
Our first vineyard stop was Ferrari-Carrano.  This place looked like it was fresh out of Alice in Wonderland.  The grounds were landscaped to perfection.  Freshly-cut grass, sculptures, fountains, and beautiful vineyards as far as the eye could see.  The building itself was a marble, cream-colored structure with ornate railings and large windows.  The tasting was held in the basement, a spot called the Prevail Room.
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Our directions were to choose 4 or 6 different wines on a small paper menu.  The wines were poured and the 8 of us sat at a large table underneath beautiful black, exotic lighting fixtures.  Downstairs is where the large room of wine barrels are located as well.
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After Ferrari-Carano, we hop back in the limo and head towards Bella Vineyard & Wine Cave.  Both Katie and I had great reviews from friends about this vineyard and really wanted to make it work.  We pulled into Bella and the limo driver popped the trunk.  In the back he had flatware and every other material needed for a picnic.  Cool!  He spread out a tablecloth and we all munched on the grocery store grub.  It was nice (& necessary!) to get something in our stomach.
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A dog that lives on the grounds begged for food : made the experience that much more welcoming.  AJ gathered wine glasses so we could have some vino while lunching.
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After eats, we walked into this cave-style area that was nestled underneath a hill.  Towards the back it was dark and cold, but lively and filled with people tasting wine around a little bar area.  We grabbed a small table and tasted our way through the menu.  This was a really cool little place with lots of personal touches. I could picture a gorgeous wedding reception being held on the grounds.
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We all hopped back in the limo and headed back towards Oliviera.  Some of us weren’t feeling too hot and took a cat nap while the vineyards rolled by the windows.  Brett got a head cold and was desperately trying to sleep it off (or was it too much Zin?)
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Back in Glen Ellen, we lounged and rehydrated.  The boys jumped in the hot tub and the ladies mixed some drinks.  Towards the evening time, we dressed up and headed towards The Girl and the Fig.  A small, local restaurant with high ratings.  I was impressed that they were so conscious of wasted water & drought in the area.  Fresh olives (pitted & non) were waiting as a starter, yay!  We dined on Fig and Arugula Salad, a Cucumber Soup, Burgers and Pork Chops.  The food was delicious (& expensive!), but worth the splurge.
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I cannot remember what was so funny, but Carley almost giggle / choked to death.  Luckily, nurse AJ was seated next to her.
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We headed back towards Oliviera, in a food coma.  Driving up the dark, steep, winding mountain towards home.  We gathered enough energy to play a hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity before turning in for the night.
xo,
e
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this life (and NYC) is incredible

I’m surprised how long I’ve waited to write another post.  Other creative outlets have consumed me and made me whole… alas, here I am, back to blogging and so excited to share updates on my life.  Let’s talk about NYC for a minute.  Holy incredible! What a beautiful place!  We spent a nonstop 72 hours of pure adventure, chasing the subway, laughing until we cried, spending romantic moments under the stars on the streets of Chinatown… I’m so incredibly blessed to be able to take opportunities to travel, and even more blessedly in love with the man I adventure with.  Brett is such a rockstar traveler… he is spot on and undeniably smart – figuring out subway schedules, booking, planning… someday he may even become as good a planner as me…

Here are a few of my favorite images – I’ll describe them in a singular sentence.

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Fresh off a 6am American Airlines flight and feeling like a pair of travel ninjas.  Yes, he shaved his head (yes, it’s growing back quickly!)

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A brief pause at Starbucks.. we felt it was appropriate considering the locals had one gripped in their right hand at all times. #caramelmacchiato

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Walking around at night is a whirlwind, people everywhere & buildings as tall as the stars.

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Enough said.

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95% of the time we walked the streets, everywhere, these boots aren’t half as comfortable as my purple New Balance kicks.

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Eyeing the rest of his Australian Meat Pie – what a foodie paradise at Chelsea Market.

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The entire underground subway system was amazing, efficient, and the only way we’d travel.

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SuperDry is a brand we love – smack dab in the middle of Times Square it sits. #shoppingspree

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Love him.

NYC was our first adventure using airbnb – which absolutely rocks my socks off.  We stayed in a Chelsea highrise apartment and shared the space with a woman from France, a couple from England and a younger gal from Vancouver.  We had our own bedroom, shared everything else – what a perfect central spot to be able to affordably stay while in and out at all hours.  The host is a middle aged man : extremely personable and ended up buying us drinks at a little place he DJ’s… The Crooked Knife.  NYC, we’ll be back, many times!

Next post – I’ve launched a creative business that makes me wish I had written down all the witty remarks I made in college.

Blessed,

xo

High five to Amacci for proving himself worthy with this song. (more about him later)

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Heading home

Our last morning in Vancouver!  We showered and scrambled to get all of our clothes into our suitcases.  All that Lululemon took up some extra space we weren’t expecting.  Some Sitting on the Lid to Zip took place.  Finally, we were off.  Wheeling our heavy rollers down the streets of Vancouver once more.  It’s nice the train station wasn’t more than a quarter mile from home base.
We boarded and snuggled into our seats.  Part of the trip was giggling, the other part was playing our card game.  It felt like Harry Potter… the train taking us through the green forests of Canada thru the US border.  I hope’d there’d be a candy cart like in the movie series… but no luck.  We found our way to the food car and grabbed breakfast : bagels and coffee
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For whatever reason, I didn’t take a ton of pictures on the train. I did however, capture a First World Problem moment when Carla got a phone call from Bloomingdale’s requesting a payment for her La Mer bill.  (love you!)
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I didn’t take pics when we arrived in Seattle because I was too busy hugging my best girlfriends.  We departed the train and those with flights leaving caught the tram from downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac International Airport.  Kates and I had the latest flights out so we spent the afternoon downtown.
First things first, I must explain that we had quite a bit of booze leftover from the weekend.  In fact, peek at Kate’s bag… a little grab bag of everything… ergo, when in Rome.
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We had sparkling water to mix and decided to make a few roadies.  Don’t mind the fact that I did it behind closed doors.  In the handicapped bathroom stall.  At the train station.  #winning
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Downtown Seattle was bustling with activity.  We had a taste testing (i.e. hydrating) stop at DRY Soda whose headquarters are in Seattle.
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There had been a shooting a couple hours early – in typical Em & Kate fashion, we gawked and tried to get murder-scene photos.  This was about as good as it got – I wonder if Time Magazine would want to purchase it… after all, there is an iconic Starbucks logo in view.
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We found a tiny paper store on a corner called de Medici Ming – french for who knows what.
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We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but of course I took one. A wall of wrapping paper, unique cards… we both got a journal and chatted with the little old lady who hand wrote our receipts.
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We watched some music acts at Pike’s Place and sent a SnapChat to the ladies at the airport.  Filling them in on our adventures thus far.
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We grabbed sandwiches and seaweed wrapped rice rolls from Michou before we headed back in the direction of the tram.

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One more selife to complete the adventure.  The last two standing.  Waiting on the tram platform to take us to SeaTac.

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I’m going to miss Vancouver, Seattle, and all of the adventures we had.  Each girl’s trip weekend brings new conversation, memory making, and new culinary discoveries.  I’ll miss observing the mess that is E Hastings Street from a somewhat-safe distance.  Observing the chaos life brings when you dabble in heavy drug use.  This is as close as I will ever get to a drug overdose or anything even remotely along those lines.

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I’m going to miss getting coffee-to-go and dancing in the streets.  Giggling and taking the sights in.  Dayshopping in Gastown and sampling pastries at Nelson the Seagull.  Dining at The Lamplighter and watching coked-out Canadians holler inappropriate commentary at the top of their lungs only semi-fearing for our lives.

Vancouver, it’s been real.
Seattle, you’re beautiful
Until next girl’s trip, two-thousand and fourteen…
xo
Adding to wish list.
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Good Morning Sunday!

We slept like queens.  A deep restless sleep that only broke when the sun started to shine through the curtains.  We didn’t have much of a plan for Sunday besides enjoying our last full day in Vancouver.  A massage, food, and laughing.  That’s about as far as we got with our planning our day, typical girl’s trip.

A little research showed that a mile or so away was a great coffee shop, so we headed in that direction.  Wanting to stretch out our legs a little and get some fresh air, we decided to walk.  It was a bit brisk and somewhat overcast.

Near our apartment, there was quite a bit of construction we had to dodge and weave under.

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I felt like we were a traveling artist group.  For two seconds.  And then realized we don’t sing well… and that dream crumbled – remembering last year in Chicago screaming to Lady Gaga at the top of our lungs… #earmuffs

The cute coffee shop we headed to is called 49th Parallel and we entered it with our stomach’s grumbling.

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They share space with Lucky’s Doughnuts – and why wouldn’t that be the case?  Good coffee and good doughnuts belong within whispering distance of one another.

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The branding catches my eye within seconds and we don’t leave the shop without a few tshirts, mugs and other 49th Parallel swag.

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We  picked a few doughnuts to share- it was hard to choose – I wanted one of everything!  We found a circle booth and spent the morning laughing, gossiping, and reliving past memories.  Sipping on our iced lattes, hot coffee, and chai teas.

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What a glorious time.  I cherish spending these types of moments with my ladies.  It doesn’t matter how much time we spend apart, when we get together for girl’s trip – it’s like we never parted!

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After a few hours at the 49th Parallel, we figured it was time to give up our prime seating to some of the other patrons waiting to nestle in for a few hours.  We began walking on the overcast Vancouver streets towards a spot for brunch.  Believe it or not, we had spent a few hours at the coffee shop.  We walked to our apartment, changed clothes, and headed in the direction of a spot we wanted to explore for brunch.  When Miss Molly’s in the group, we WILL be finding a brunch spot on Sunday.  She’s a brunch-hunting queen!

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This took place at a small, but incredibly busy restaurant called Fable.  This is one of your traditional fable to table hot spots (which I LOVE!) – whose marketing and design is also one for the record books.

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Talk about not judging a book by it’s cover.  That seems to be all I do.  A menu, a price sheet, art on the wall… it gets me every time!

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Inside Fable it was packed to the brim with patrons.  An entire wall was a chalkboard filled with doodles and designs.  There were backlit images of farm life.

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The light overhead was designed with pitchforks (hello, farm life!)

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And you know what we did at Fable?  While we sipped on our brunch beverages (mimosas and caesar’s [i.e. bloody mary])?  While we enjoyed a Sunday morning with wholesome individuals eating farm-fresh food?  We brought out Cards Against Humanity.  Right there in front of everyone.  The risqué game of unbelievable combinations and inappropriate words.  Nothing phases us!

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My favorite combination of the afternoon?  This one right here:

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(sorry for being scandalous, G-ma!)

I ordered the Farmer’s Muffin [salad, rosti, sausage, scrambled eggs, cheddar and tomato jam].  Divine and delicious.

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After Fable we started our trek towards the direction of a beach.  We didn’t have a lot planned, but knew we wanted to see some water, some mountains, lay in the sun, and get massages at some point.  The sun was shining and we were toasty warm.  Towards the beach we headed, and found our own little spot in the sand to curl up and sun-worship for a few moments.

 

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Halfway through our lounging.  We had to split up – half had massages at one time, the other half later on.  Meg & Moll took the first appointments.  Carla, Kates and I giggled on the beach for another half hour.

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We weren’t sure how long it would take to get to the spa we booked appointments at – so we gathered our tennis shoes and walked back to the main road to hail a taxi.  It drove the three of us to a little downtown shopping spot where Pink Lime Salon & Spa was located.

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It didn’t take as long as we thought – and now had 45 minutes to kill before our massages were scheduled.  We meandered down the strip of restaurants and bars, searching for a little watering hole to grab a drink at.  The Distillery looked inviting, and we sidled up to the bar for a quick one.

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I don’t remember all that much about my cocktail besides the fact that it was strong and served in a tin cup which I thought that was neat-o.  Our bartender was dressed from the prohibition error and held a conversation well while we picked his brains about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.  As you can see, we had the place to our selves and as always, enjoyed our time there.

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Our time was up and we headed to Pink Lime.  It seemed the spa had their panties in a bundle because they didn’t seem to have much organization.  We had three massage appointments and two masseuses available.  Unless Vancouver-masseuses had some magical technique where they could massage two people at once, it just didn’t add up.  Carla decided to sit this one out and headed to explore the other shops with Meg and Molls while Kates and I got some knots loosened.

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As you can see, the plush robes were nice.  I enjoyed them.  Kates and I hung out in the waiting lounge until the rooms were ready.  Our masseuses walked up and introduced themselves and led us both into the same room.  There were two tables there and candles lit.  Cue the romantic spa music.  When the masseuses instructed us to unrobe before they left the room to let us do so… we lost it.  #giggles  Apparently we’re getting a couple’s massage.  We shrugged and said, “whatever!” as we threw off our robes and hung them up behind the door.  Best friends for about 16 years… a little nakedness doesn’t throw us off.

Sixty minutes later, we gathered our clothes and settled our bill at the front desk.  The other girls were found noshing at a restaurant down the way.  They settled their tab and left.  We jumped on the underground subway in hopes we were heading in the direction of our apartment.  Only slightly turned around, we ended up walking quite aways.  Now the time is about 7:00pm and we are, surprise surprise, hungry.

That little spot located near our home base, Tap & Barrel, seemed as good a place as any to grab one last little dining experience.

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The sun was setting, the mood was positive.  We played another round of CAH while we sat on the rooftop and the day slowly turned to night.

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Our walk home  along the boardwalk of Olympic Village was gorgeous.  And humbling. We’ll miss this spot and all of our memories of Vancouver.
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Ciao,

xo

 

Listening to.

Dreaming of.

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Rise and shine Saturday!

We woke up at the crack of dawn (read: 5:20am) because our apartment we rented out this weekend is a small marathon-distance to the start of the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon (oops!)

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On account of the fact that I didn’t have an arm band (and none of the other girls did) – we all went iPhone-less.  It made for a more focused and intimate experience.  On our walk to the start line we found a coffee shop.  And then the second stop brought us to a Starbucks to get espresso shots and use the restroom one more time (if you know what I mean…).  The entire convention area was filled with runners in the most beautiful of attire.  All Lululemon.  It was chilly, we jumped around to keep warmed up and made jokes about people taking it too seriously… until that morning Molly wasn’t even going to run with us!  I’m so glad all 5 got on the bandwagon.  Threw on some teal crops and some running shoes, downed an espresso shot and took the bull by the horns!
The starting gun went off and into the Vancouver city-life we went.  Tons of people cheering.  Over bridges, up hills into neighborhoods.  A good couple miles were spent running along a cement wall that bordered an inlet of the ocean.  What an unbelievably beautiful run!  We laughed and enjoyed ourselves.  There’s one image of us floating around during the race – mid-run, that someone else took… and I’d rather it stay hidden on account of the fact that we all look drained and depleted of happiness – which wasn’t true!  It was just taken at an unfortunate moment….!
At the finish line, we received a whole bunch of swag goodies.  Some of these items went right up on eBay for the diehard fanatics… SkullCandy EarBuds ($21), a wooden finishers medal ($18), a canvas SeaWheeze tote ($23).

 

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We munched on post-run treats like baby quiche, a warm waffle, and fresh fruit.  Drank some coconut water and stretched out our calves.  The slow walk back to the apartment took place on E. Hastings Street (you know the one…) – so thankfully, we kept our shoes tied and securely on our feet, for fear of stepping on a syringe.
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We showered before we took naps… well, some of us did.  Others just fell right onto the sofa and were fast asleep before it was their turn.  #sweatycushions

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We celebrated with Strongbow Cider and dark chocolate.  Some of us wore compression socks because it’s a guilty pleasure after a long run.  These are from Pro Compression in hot pink and yellow (get on their email list, typically they have 40% off and free shipping on a certain style each month!)

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It’s an interesting thing to be spending a period of time in someone else’s home.  The owner is a doctor and travels all over the world, he might even be a professor.  The bookshelves near the master bed where we all piled in to play games and giggle looked something like this the whole weekend…

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And his freezer looked similar to this…. the beverage of champions.

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We napped, played games, had some drinks and giggled the rest of the afternoon away.  Towards evening, we decided to dress up and head out for the night.  My hair was something similar to The Princess Bride, up and off my neck, braided and wrapped in a loop.

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An elevator shot of the group gives you an idea of how cool my friends are… wannabe Spice Girls anyone??
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We found a little French dining hotspot on OpenTable called Tableau Bar & Bistro.  The menus were beautiful (I’m a font lover), and we ordered drinks all around followed by a small party foul of spillage on the menu.  We cheers to our beautiful day and a great evening of laughter and friends.

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The appetizer we started with was some special avocado asparagus egg roll thing – divine.  I ordered the Pappardelle & Mushroom Pastra – also divine.
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For dessert we decided to walk our fullness off towards the gelato spot I remembered from last year’s SeaWheeze.  We passed the Fairmont and had a moment of silence once more (that’s what you would do, right mama??)

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Bella Gelateria always has a line out front.  We’re 20 people back from the front door and it’s moving ssllooowwwwwwwww…. but that’s okay!  A good 40 minutes later, we’re in the front door, placing our orders with mouthes watering.  This gorgeous gentleman didn’t speak much English, and that’s okay… all I needed him to do was scoop the Salted Chocolate Gelato onto that cone and give me a smirk to make my lady parts quiver.

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To die for.  Unbelievably delicious.  And expensive, but well worth it.  We cheers’ed (again) to a beautiful run in a beautiful city.  Our walk back to the apartment was met with a skyline to suit the Gods.

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Until tomorrow,
xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a slower pace in Seattle

Molly landed next. Then Katie. And the three of us jumped on the Light Link Rail and rode the tram all the way to International District/Chinatown. The Amtrak station is located there and would hold our bags for a measly $4 while we explored downtown Seattle. The weather is stunning, sun shines and a cool breeze blows.

The first order of business was a drink. And soon. We asked a passerby where a good local watering hole is located and they recommended FX McRorys around the corner. We hightailed it there and found a spot at a high top. The bar was insanely impressive. I tried to take a pano but there was just too much. Any liquor you could ever want, in every flavor and infusion. There was a ladder to reach the top shelf bottles. A round of Long Islands were in order and truly appreciated.

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We anxiously awaited Carley’s arrival and when she showed up, we were that much closer to a full crew. Giggles, drinks, and a few too-garlicky apps were consumed before we blew that pop stand. There may have been a desperate q-tip session in there prior to departure. Sometimes it’s a seriously necessary action, even when smack dab in the middle of a Seattle bar.

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Off we went, walking blocks and blocks to Pikes Place Market. Fresh flowers, produce, and amazing pastries everywhere! We were on stimulation overload and slightly tipsy.

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There was a little ice cream place called Shy Giant Frozen Yogurt. The flavors were ridiculous. I settled for Honey Lavender and Pistachio. Both if which were divine. Totally worth the $6 price tag.

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A spot I stopped last year for cherries was still there, although no cherries this year. He did have some sort of plum grape hybrid that tasted a bit like coconut and greatness.

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We shopped more, people watched even more, and surprise surprise, ended up at Von’s Gustrobistro for mimosas and my randomly chosen vodka martini.

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Megan was due to get in any minute now. As we were paying our tab, she called and told us the airline lost her luggage. That is the worst case scenario for the situation we had since timing was crucial. She ended up spending the night in Seattle with some friends and waited for her luggage. In the morning she’ll jump on the bus and meet us in Couve’.

The time was getting closer to train departure so we headed towards Kings Street Station. Due to the fact we’ve all been traveling nonstop, we grabbed a little caffeine pick me up at Zeitgeist Coffee. Cutest condiment bar ever.

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The Amtrak Station was packed. The train was sold out. Not a seat left. We were late to the party (surprised?) and very near the back of the line. We waited our turn and by the time we got on the train, there was no chance in hell we would find four seats together. We split up and hoped to rearrange once the dust settled.

Half hour into the journey of a 4.25 hour train trek, we finagled seats near each other. We munched on farmers market finds, tried to sit comfortably, and giggled for a large part of our journey. Sometimes louder than our train car mates were happy with. Towards hour 3.5, I was so tired my eyes wouldn’t stay open. So while Molly and I tried to snooze, K and C were the responsible ones. They filled out (and forged) our Declaration Forms and signatures. (thanks mamas!)

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Arrival into Vancouver was as disorganized as ever, luggage stacked outside the train cars, wheelchairs everywhere, people moving like a giant mass towards border patrol and the special people with the stamps that make our passports look more like scrapbooks. We made it through, no strip searches this time. Our apartment was a five-minute walk from the station.

A property manager let us in, at midnight, and showed us up to our apartment on the 16 floor. Walking like zombies, we peeked at the rooms, divvied up the bedrooms and called it a night. The dark sky didn’t show us much of the view but there were shadows, and a cool breeze, and you could hear water, so we were optimistic….

Goodnight from ‘Couve!
xo

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airport adventures

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Let’s start with my first mistake. I assumed a domestic flight only required an hour of navigation time at our airport. My flight left at 7am, I woke up at 4:50am, I arrived to MSP at 5:50am. Being the tech-savvy girl I am, I’ve already checked in on my Delta app. All that’s left to do is drop my luggage at Baggage Drop and get thru security. Seems easy enough. I roll up to Baggage Drop (first bag checked free thanks to my Gold Delta Skymiles American Express), and I hoist my bag on the scale. Now, I’ve got a terrible judgment of weight. Just like I’m horrible at guessing height, age, and just about everything else that has to do with numbers. When I lifted that bag on the scale it felt like 75 pounds to me. Mentally, I was deciding which ten garments I would throw on as layers and walk like an abominable snowman thru the terminal. The Delta rep looks up and says, “Great! 44 pounds.” I was way off.

I continue on my way towards security and wait in the 60 person line. When there’s three people between me and the TSA rep, I go to launch my Delta app with my digital boarding pass. The app opens up, prompts me to reenter my email/Delta pin/last name – all of which I know six ways from Sunday and no matter how many times I try, the son-of-a will not log me in. I bow out of the security line like an incompetent traveler and I silently curse the App gods. I hard reset my phone, redownload the Delta app, then attempt to re-login. No dice. At this point, seeing as I’ll have to get back in at the end of the security line, I don’t have time to putz with being tech savvy. I’m doing this the old-fashioned way and speed walk to the Delta kiosk to get a paper copy. Pass obtained, back in line, get to the front, TSA let’s me thru, wait in line with my untied shoes and bag of liquids ready to go thru the laser beam scanner. I’m confident the rest of the day will go smoothly.

Wishful thinking. In front of the line is a heavyset middle-age woman with the largest piece of carry on luggage apparently having her first TSA experience. There’s an agent sifting through her stuff (before any laser beams have searched her bag or her person) and the rest of us watch while we give her the silent “WTF lady” look. The TSA agent takes out a full size bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and an extra large bottle of air spray (First Time Lady gets points for sharing my love of Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship hair care – but that’s all I’ll give her). TSA takes out a jar of peanut butter… which apparently now is deemed a liquid and must be taken out of checked luggage. TSA takes out a large bottle of cream, a Costco size toothpaste, and a half liter of mouthwash. She looks at the lady and says, “You do know you cannot have more than 6oz of liquid with you on a carry-on…?” And all of the liquid gets trashed. 1. What a waste. 2. If I were the TSA lady I would have said something more along the lines of, “Are you kidding me right now? We’re trying to streamline this process, if you don’t know what the process is – bring a guardian next time. You’re outta here!” and promptly kick her to the curb.

After that debacle, I get thru security in 4.5 seconds. As I’m redressing, I’m mentally mapping the MSP airport for where my gate is. I’m a tad crunched for time and just need someone to point me in the right direction so I can get in Emily Hightailing Mode. I ask a sweet young TSA girl with darker hair than mine where I could find Terminal F. She pointed one direction and off I went. Multitasking as I walk the way she directed. Trying to login to the Delta app, send an email, update the girls via iMessage and find a restroom at the same time. Trusting she knows the way around her workplace.

I get to the end of the corridor and there’s no Terminal F to be found. I slightly panic at this point as my flight has been boarding for about 10 minutes and I’m cutting it close. I turn around and look at signs. I see terminal A, B, C, D and E. no F. How much more clear could I be to the TSA bambino? Maybe I should have said – F as in Frank. F as in football. F as in… get me the F*#% on the plane already!!!

I turn in the direction I came and start a slow jog. There are many levels of running so we’ll call this a Level 2 of 10. I’m not quite at Home Alone running speed (thank God). But I’m definitely dodging and weaving thru strollers and groups of traveling Asian students taking pictures of God knows what.

Terminal F! There you are you little shit! Right where I got thru security. I find my door at F13 and all my plane neighbors are milling about – maybe 15 people left. The beauty of this is I normally prefer to be the last one on. Now that I’m checking my bag (for free), I don’t have to worry about fighting for space and laying a smack down on anyone to stow my would-be checked bag that I’m too cheap to check for $25 (tongue twister?). I take a deep breath, chuckle to myself, and contemplate sidling up to the bar next to my gate and ordering a double scotch with no chaser. Then I realized I don’t remember what kind of scotch I like. And at my luck (and extremely small bladder) I’ll be squished next to a heifer and desperate to use the restroom 5x on my three hour flight.

I’m the last to board my plane, and it turns out I snagged an Exit Row seat. I always choose window seats for the view but this one just so happened to be the very first row when you enter the plane. As you can see in the picture, there’s plenty of room for activities! It’s like God was all, ‘sorry for the shitshow morning, Em! I didn’t have my java yet.’ I hoped for a second there’d be a jumbo mug of mimosa and eggs Benedict delivered to me shortly thereafter. (No such thing in Coach).

It’s ironic this was my seat, as the flight attendant confirmed with us we were comfortable helping others in the event of an emergency. I replied in the affirmative, and then glanced at the audience seated behind me. There are a lot of 200 and 250 pounders on this flight. I highly doubt I could lift one of them, but who knows. I suppose I could try to yell loudly and direct traffic. Or grab a few of the little ones and baby monkey them to safety.

Negative emergency thoughts aside. The floor in front of us has room for two adults to Indian wrestle. But my seatmate passed out 3 minutes into the flight. My next idea was to lead the commoner (I.e. Coach) cabin in a nice 90-minute sunrise yinyasa flow yoga session. I am wearing a full yoga outfit after all…

An hour into the flight, the cabin door is blowing some seriously cold air my way. I bundle up and hunker down for the long haul. Rarely am I cold so I feel blessed, once again.

I arrived in Seattle, the first of the girls to touchdown at 8am. I’m on a mission to find a bar and order a Bloody Mary. Stat.

Woosah.

Let the games begin!
xo

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Scottsdale : Monday

We slept in as long as we could before we had to get rolling.  Carley was the first flight out and we wanted to catch breakfast at Arcadia Farms first.  This sweet cafe is right out of Little House on the Prairie.  Wood floor, red doors, cute art on the wall.  It felt like going to a grandma’s house who knew how to interior decorate properly.

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photo 1-1In typical best friend’s fashion, we each ordered a Kir Royal to toast our remarkably great weekend.  While we recapped and perused the menu, our waitress dropped off a small plate of mini scones to nibble on.

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This was one of those spots where anything you ordered off the menu would be amazing.  I debated between the Fresh Berry Crepes and the Breakfast Panini.  The panini won: scrambled egg with rosemary ham and smoked mozzarella on a baguette.

photo 3-3Next, we had to hustle to make Carley’s departure time… never a dull moment!  Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is a city in itself, tons of terminals, north side, south side, ramps and overpasses.  Katie is a ninja navigating that space!

After dropping Carley off, we decided against our better judgment to a little hiking on Camelback Mountain in the 115 degree heat.  Plenty of water, working cell phones, crazy sports bra straps and sunglasses – we set off.  It got hotter and hotter as we climbed and pretty soon we made the executive decision that we were sweating faster than we could replenish with water, and that a descent was the best option.

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The rest of my afternoon, I dipped in the pool and packed up all of my things.  We stopped off at Sprinkles to pick up some goodies for the folks at home and I found my way to my gate.

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More than one time this weekend – Carley and I promised we would be back again next year for another long weekend in the hot box.  There’s nothing like 4 days with your best friends to really refocus on what’s important in life.  Friendships, memories, laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

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Until next time AZ,

xo

 

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Scottsdale: Saturday

Good morning sweat box! We woke up and got our daily caffeine fix at Village Coffe Roastery. Dirty Iced Chais and a pistachio muffin. Both of which we’d all vouch for. There was a small shelf for the locals to store their coffee mugs (kinda like beer mugs being kept in lockers in beer halls of Germany). Cool location, great coffee, definitely gave us some energy! photo 1photo 2photo 3 Next up : SPIN! One of the first times I visited Scottsdale – Kates exposed me to this exercise phenomenon called Spin. But down here, they do it WAY differently than I’ve been used to. The room is black, blacklights, concert-volume mixed pop music, and everyone is 110% balls to the wall. You leave dripping with sweat, feeling like you just scaled a mountain and conquered world peace after 60-minutes. We took spin at the Madison Improvement Club. Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 10.32.51 PM It’s a swanky spin/yoga boutique with a modern health cafe on the inside. You even have the option to preorder your food before your class so it’s ready and waiting for you to inhale afterwards. Yesterday was Orange Theory and today was Spin… let’s just say our thighs and quads were on FIRE. Like literally on fire. The music was excellent, the instructor faced us and called people out over the eardrum blasting noise to “sprint! sprint! spring!” At the end of the class, on a normal, non-Hell temperature day, they open up the front wall to a gorgeous view of Camelback Mountain. We were thankful they kept the doors closed this time around. photo 1 copy 2photo 3 copy 2 photo 2 copy 2photo 4 copyphoto 5photo Our refueling took place at a great place in Old Town Scottsdale called Chop Shop. Are you getting the theme of a Scottsdale visit? Workout, REALLY hard, and eat at REALLY awesome restaurants! Cardio, fuel. Spin, brunch. It’s a cycle (ha!) and we love it! At Chop Shop I had the Zen Bowl: scrambled eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, white cheddar and brown rice. Ah-may-zing. We dined outside under the misters and gradually live was returned to our legs. photo 1 copyphoto 2 copy photo 3 copyphoto 4
After refueling, we ran a few errands. Katie dropped her iPhone and completely shattered the screen. Is this a sign she’s on it too much? 😉

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It was time for a dip in the pool. Two hours of pool to be exact. After we cooled down, we showered, made a few drinks for the road and headed to Fashion Square Mall to get the heck out of the heat. The drinks were not, in fact, for the road but instead for a little adventurous shopping. We had a few dressing room dance parties, and enjoyed the latest in POS checkout technology. #nerd

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Something that lights my heart on fire when I’m with these girls is we always make friends where we go.  One stop at Fashion Square was to LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.  The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a young man who inquired what brought us in.  He told us about himself, how he’s a ballet dancer, and recommended tons of products to us!  I told him I really wanted to get a great facial mask and also something to tame down my insane long locks in this heat.  He recommended, and I purchased, Mask of Magnaminty and Sea Spray for my hair.  The whole place is well done with a beautiful font and the way they display their products.  The masks look like they’re displayed at a salad bar on ice.  The large wedges of soaps reminded me of the enormous wheels of Gouda cheese in Amsterdam.  I fell in love with Lush today after I read their We Believe statement.

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After we exhausted all that Fashion Square had, we drove to Scottsdale Quarter to continue our night. A stop at the Apple Store allowed us to get Kate’s a new iPhone and also allowed a little time for Carley to change the backgrounds of multiple devices to showcase a really hot picture of Hugh Jackman.

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Dinner took place at True Food.  Another Scottsdale staple – incredibly healthy, organic spot.  You can order anything and everything on the menu and be 110% satisfied.

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I always get the Chicken Chopped Salad.  There’s something about the way the manchego cheese, marcona almonds and jicama mixes together that it takes me to my happy place every time.  We split the Vegetable Crudités starter – it was like a wonderful garden on ice with fabulous dipping sauces.  Really cool presentation – we were impressed.

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Katie is friends with a manager and she brought us these delicious honeydew melon vodka cocktails (which we of course, cheers’ed).  The back end of the restaurant near the outdoor restroom held this garden, sink washing station that caught my eye in the setting sun.  Love True Food, always have, always will.

photo 2-1photo 2-2The end of the evening brought us to a 3-story Restoration Hardware, because let’s be honest, you know there’s going to be some good stuff in there.  I only fell in love with 75% of the store.  Carley tried out many chairs and we decided this one most resembles her walk-on role in Game of Thrones and thus she had to buy it ($15,000 later….).

photo 3-2As we walked up the flight of stairs, I marveled at these hanging chandeliers inside of bird cages, hung by thick shipyard rope.  I need a big house, with tall ceilings, so I can properly hang them. #wishfulthinking

photo 1-2We made friends with the gentleman that greeted us at the entrance, named Brian.  He took us on the Grande’ Tour of the store and priced out different couches we laid on.  We, of course, knew at this time they were out of our price range but we laughed and he enjoyed chatting with us.  He looked up prices on his iPad and we walked through all the different rooms, quickly falling in love with every duvet and medieval spoon we found.  We bid Brian a good evening, bought a few little trinkets, and made a swift stop at It’Sugar candy shop for some pineapple gummi bears and chocolate covered oreos.

The evening ended with another hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity.

Loving this adventure,

xo

 

Listening to.

 

 

 

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