Stage Your Home for a Holiday Sale

November 23rd, 2016

Are you considering listing your home this holiday season? The holidays provide the perfect opportunity to place your home on the market. If you’re looking to sell your home, you can have the best of both worlds – list your home while it’s dolled up for the holiday season. As a rule of thumb, be prudent when decorating for the holidays while your home is for sale. Take a look at these ways to stage your home for a holiday sale without making it look like Santa’s workshop:

holiday sale

Outside Holiday Décor – While it may be tradition, forego the inflatable snowman or Santa Claus when your home is on the market. Stick to the traditional string lights that draw attention to your home’s architectural details. What makes your home unique? If the prominent feature of your home is the trees outside, consider wrapping them with string lights to make them a focal point. As an extra touch, add a Christmas-themed wreath to the front door. Nothing says, “welcome to our home” more than a seasonal and tasteful wreath on the front door.

Inside Holiday Décor –Your Christmas tree, decorated like it is every year, provides a beautiful, homey touch to any house during the holiday season. What is your home’s selling feature? If it’s the front entrance with the prominent staircase, consider adding some lit garland and bows. Or, if it’s the fireplace, add some decorations to make it stand out from the rest of the living room. Traditional ideas: nativity scene, wreath above the mantel, mason jars filled with poinsettias and ornaments, or a lit strand of garland.

Remember, it’s easy to go overboard when it comes to Christmas decorations. But, a little can go a long way! Tastefully stage your home to highlight the holiday season.

Do you have any questions about holiday home staging? Give me a call. I would love to help in any way I can.

An Austin Thanksgiving

November 14th, 2016

Can you believe it’s already November? Do you know what that means? It’s almost Thanksgiving! It’s time for the season of giving thanks for the things you have in your life, eating copious amounts of turkey and Thanksgiving pecan pie, watching professional football, taking afternoon naps, and, for some, participating in this year’s Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot! Thanksgiving is one of the best times of year! And, living in the Austin area, we are lucky to have so many great events and restaurants to enjoy during this fantastic holiday season! Take a look at some of the events happening around the Austin area this Thanksgiving:


26th Annual Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot: Thursday, November 24, 2016

  • What better way to get in the spirit of the holiday than starting your Thanksgiving Day off with a 5-mile or one-mile run with the proceeds benefitting the Caritas of Austin! The 26th Annual Turkey Trot will start at The Long Center.

Operation Turkey: Thursday, November 24, 2016

  • Are you in the giving spirit? Well, what better way to give back to the Austin community than to volunteer to help prepare and distribute holiday meals to those in need on Thanksgiving Day? Go to the Operation Turkey website for more information on this fantastic giveback program.

Thanksgiving at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines: Thursday, November 24, 2016

  • Not in the mood to cook a Thanksgiving meal this year? Well, the Hyatt Regency at Lost Pines has a Thanksgiving Buffet that is perfect for you! Their Thanksgiving buffet features all the holiday items you could want, plus more! Take a look here for more information about their Thanksgiving buffet.

Would your Thanksgiving holiday be complete without a little pecan pie? I don’t think so! Check out these outstanding pecan pie locations throughout the Austin area:

Thanksgiving pecan pie

Upper Crust Bakery

  • Location: 4503 Burnet Road
  • Features a soft crust with velvety custard filling.

Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery

  • Location: 411 E. 43rd Street
  • Features an abundance of nuts over creamy filling.

Flightpath Coffee House

  • Location: 5011 Duval Street
  • Features a crunchy and salty crust!

Tiny Pies

  • Locations: 5035 Burnet Road #100 and 2032 S. Lamar Blvd.
  • Pre-order your Thanksgiving Pie by November 16th!
  • Tiny pies with a bold taste!


  • Location: 208 W. 4th Street
  • Features a fantastic pecan pie tart with ice cream on the side.

Are your taste buds tingling yet? I know mine are! Which location is on your list for this holiday season?

I wish you and your family a fantastic and joyful Thanksgiving Day!

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? I love this incredible city and would love to answer any questions you may have!



7 Thanksgiving Events in Austin, TX: 2016

5 Places That Serve Outstanding Pecan Pie in Austin

Austin’s Best Trick-or-Treating Neighborhoods

October 28th, 2016

What do you think of when you think of Halloween? Pumpkins, costumes, haunted houses and trick-or-treating? Of course! That’s what Halloween is all about…at least since the 1950’s. But, Halloween hasn’t always been considered this family-friendly kid-centric holiday. What is the true history behind this holiday we call Halloween? Take a look at this short video from the History Channel to discover the history of Halloween.

Since our version of Halloween consists of dressing up in a costume and trick-or-treating around your neighborhood, let’s take a look at some of the best trick-or-treating locations Austin has to offer! Take a look:

  1. Highland Lakes
  2. Canyonwood
  3. Belvedere
  4. Ledge Stone
  5. Knollwood
  6. Preswyck Hills
  7. Ladera
  8. Crested Butte Hillside
  9. Scenic Brook West
  10. Woodhaven

These rankings are based on Nextdoor’s (the social network for neighborhoods) research of neighborhoods around the Austin area. Of course, your neighborhood will have trick-or-treating – these neighborhoods were just ranked the best in the area! Curious what your neighborhood looks like for trick-or-treating this year? Take a look at Nextdoor’s treat map here!

Are you looking for a unique activity for this Halloween? Well, Austin has no shortage of spooky and fun activities for this Halloweekend and into Halloween. Take a look at some of the best in Austin:


Also, we all know Halloween would be incomplete without a few blood pumping spooky and frightening haunted house visits. Here is a list of some of the Austin area’s best haunted houses!

Trick-or-treating, Halloween events throughout the Austin area, and haunted houses? This Halloween looks to be one for the ages! I hope everyone has a spooktacular Halloweekend and Halloween.

Do you have any questions about the Austin real estate market? I love our wacky and weird community and would love to answer any questions you may have. Give me a call anytime.



Top 10 best Austin neighborhoods for Trick-or-Treating

6 Pumpkin Patches around Austin

October 7th, 2016

Nothing says fall more than hayrides, corn mazes, farm animals, and of course, pumpkins! Fall wouldn’t be the same without the countless pumpkin patches to visit in and around the Austin area – and as Austinites, we have so many it can be hard to decide which one to visit. Some of you may already have a favorite pumpkin patch that you visit every year; but, if you’re new to the Austin area, or if you’re just looking for a new pumpkin patch to explore, below are a couple of my favorites in the Austin area. Better yet, these pumpkin patches have more than just pumpkins – most have fall festivals that run into November! From corn mazes to hayrides to even some with live music, the pumpkin patches below provide fun fall activities for the entire family:


Red Barn Garden Center

Location: 12881 Pond Springs Road, Austin, TX 78729

Pumpkin Patch is open daily during business hours

Red Barn’s Annual Pumpkinfest: October 15th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Sweet Berry Farms

Location: 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls, TX 78654

Hours: Monday to Saturday (excluding Wednesdays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from September 24th to November 6th!

Harvest the Fall Fun: There is no entrance or parking fee for the festival, you just pay for each event you choose. On the weekends in October, the Pumpkin Grille provides food for purchase.


Texas Big Worm Pumpkin Patch

Location: 4625 TX-29, Bertram, TX 78605

Hours: Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fun of Fall: Admission to the farm is free but you pay for activities. Food and beverages are available for purchase. A big grill, serving hamburgers, sausage wraps, grilled cheese, etc., is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Barton Hill Farms

Location: 1115 Farm to Market 969, Bastrop, TX 78602

Hours: Open Weekends from September 24th to November 13th (Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

The Fall Festival: Tickets to this fall festival cost $14/person (0-2 year-olds are free). Purchasing a ticket gets you access to all fall activities on the farm. Purchase your tickets online to save $1.


Evergreen Farms Christmas Tree

Location: 242 Monkey Road, Elgin, TX 78621

Hours: They are open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. all October.

Pumpkin Hunt: Hosted every weekend in October. Fall activities for this event require a $2.50 ticket. In addition, pumpkins of all sizes are available for purchase.


Elgin Christmas Tree Farm

Location: 120 Natures Way, Elgin, TX 78621

Hours: Open at 10 a.m. Monday to Saturday and noon on Sundays

Pumpkin Festival: October 15th – 16th and 22nd – 23rd, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. Admission price is $7 for kids 2-12 and $9 for ages 13 and up. Parents can enjoy live music while kids enjoy the fall activities.


Did you find the perfect pumpkin to carve into this year’s Halloween Jack-O-Lantern? For your reference, here is a link with several pumpkin carving patterns and stencils.

After spending the time carving your pumpkin it can be extremely disappointing for it to rot before Halloween. So, after carving, spray all the carved areas of the pumpkin with a bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water). Allow the bleach to penetrate the pumpkin and let dry for approximately 20 minutes. Once dry, rub all the carved areas with petroleum jelly. Applying the bleach and petroleum jelly will help keep your pumpkin from rotting before Halloween. And, as an extra precautionary measure, always keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight.

Do you have a favorite Austin area pumpkin patch that isn’t on this list? Let me know! I would love to add it to my list next year!

I hope you have a fun and festive fall season! And, happy carving!

Austin Fall Events

September 23rd, 2016

Don’t you love fall? It’s my absolute favorite time of the year – with the leaves changing colors, the cooling temperatures in the Austin area, and of course, football. What’s not to love? The fall season in Austin is filled with many fun festivals and activities, from Oktoberfest celebrations to Austin City Limits to the annual Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot – there is a little something for just about everyone!

Below is a calendar of some of my favorite Austin fall events and festivals – take a look:

Austin Fall Events

Austin Fall Events


I hope everyone has a fantastic fall!

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? Give me a call. I love my community and would love to share it with you!


Buying or Renting?

September 7th, 2016

For many people, there is a constant struggle of whether buying a home or renting an apartment is a better deal financially. Of course, there are arguments for both buying or renting, but which one is the better option?

Over the years, it has been shown that more people are choosing to rent than buy – this is especially true with the millennial generation. Why is this? Well, many millennials saw what the 2008 housing crisis did to their parents and want to steer clear of similar financial problems.

It has also been shown that millennials love convenience. They love the luxuries that come with apartment living – fitness room, maintenance and repair service, etc. – and the convenience of being able to pick up and move whenever they want (Huffington Post). For convenience, travel, and job relocation renting can be the better option.

While this may be the case, an increase in apartment living is causing an inflation of apartment pricing…in just a years time, rental prices have increased by four percent, while housing prices only increased by three percent. In addition, rental prices have increased at a faster rate than home values in 20 of the 35 largest markets in the U.S. (CNN Money).

Is buying a home the answer? According to CNN Money, homebuyers spend approximately 15 percent of their income on mortgage payments each month while renters spend nearly 30 percent of their income on rent. That’s a huge difference! And, taking into account that mortgage rates are some of the lowest in history, maybe buying a house is the better option! As found by Trulia, buying a home is 23 percent cheaper than renting and homeownership is a cheaper option in 98 of the 100 largest U.S. markets!

Think about this way, would you rather pay a monthly bill on something you don’t own? Or, something you do own? I think most of us would pick the latter, and with good reason – with rental prices increasing at a faster rate than home prices, mortgage rates at some of the lowest in history, and the higher percentage of income dedicated to monthly rent than mortgage payments*, it’s a no brainer! Buying a home is the better option!

renting or buying

Are you looking for a home in the Austin area? Give me a call; I would love to help!


*Always check with your tax professional



Where are Americans Moving?

August 19th, 2016

Throughout the years, it has been fascinating to study the migration habits of the American population. Even though there has been a long decline in the percentage of Americans moving each year, as found by the U.S. Census Bureau, some states are still seeing a heavy or moderate inbound of residents. And, lucky for us, Texas, and the South, happens to be one of those regions seeing a moderate to heavy influx of residents.

Americans Moving


According to the United Van Lines’ 2015 Movers Study, 2015 saw an inbound of residents to the South and Northwest and a high outbound of residents from the Northeast.

Mainly making up the South and Northwest, these are 2015’s inbound states:

  1. Oregon
  2. South Carolina
  3. Vermont
  4. Idaho
  5. North Carolina
  6. Florida
  7. Nevada
  8. Washington, DC
  9. Texas
  10. Washington

Mainly making up the Northeast, these are 2015’s outbound states:

  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. Illinois
  4. Connecticut
  5. Ohio
  6. Kansas
  7. Massachusetts
  8. West Virginia
  9. Mississippi
  10. Maryland

What could be the reason for these trends: inbound to the South and outbound of the Northeast? According to United Van Lines’ study, the top reason for Americans moving to the South included company transfer/new job, retirement and proximity to family. However, these may not be the only reasons this is happening. I have a few thoughts as to why the South continues to see an influx of residents:

  • Americans moving where it is warmer.
    • It’s no secret that the South is warmer than the North. With that in mind, the influx of residents to the South could be due to the Baby Boomer generation reaching the age of retirement and wanting to move somewhere warmer (i.e. no snow, and easier to get around).
  • Americans moving where there is more job opportunity.
    • According to Zippia, Texas is the No. 1 best state in America to get a job. These rankings were determined by: unemployment rate, recent job growth, future job growth, state income tax and median household income adjustment for the cost of living.
    • In addition, Texas was ranked No. 5 best state to make a living by While the study found that the median wage in Texas is less than the average, it also found that there is a lower cost of living in Texas compared to other states in the U.S.
  • Americans moving to locations where real estate is less expensive.
    • What states are the most affordable in the United States? According to Movoto, Texas tied as the fourth most affordable state in the U.S. Other southern states that made the list include: Oklahoma (No. 2), Arkansas (No.8), and Louisiana (No. 10).

Based on the information above it appears that Texas, and the South, are seeing and will continue to see an influx of residents. The cost of living is good, the weather is warmer, and it looks like there is plenty of job opportunity!

Are you or someone you know interested in moving to our area? I am always here to help!



Six Ways To Shiplap Your Home

August 8th, 2016

Shiplap has become one of the most talked about interior design styles in recent years. Adding shiplap to your home has the ability to transform spaces to fit many different design styles – from farmhouse, cottage, and coastal to modern and industrial, this design technique can do it all.

Whether you love this style because of HGTV’s show Fixer Upper, or because you want to add an historic or rustic charm to your home, here are six ways to add shiplap to just about any space of your home — Take a look!



Paneling is the most common way to incorporate shiplap into your home. In older houses, the shiplap can occasionally be found beneath the current wall layer – this was the style in old homes. If so, simply add a fresh coat of paint. If shiplap is not under the current wall layer, you will have to install it. But, don’t worry! It’s easier than it looks. Here is a quick “How to shiplap your home” from Home Depot.


Fireplace Mantel

Instead of paneling the entire room, consider emphasizing the fireplace by adding some shiplap paneling above the mantel. Adding shiplap here will make the fireplace the focal point of your living room.



Adding shiplap to the ceiling of your bedroom or the vaulted ceiling in the living room or stairway can add a unique feature to your home. With ceiling shiplap, you can keep the shiplap as is – no paint needed. This is also a great idea if you want to remove or cover up popcorn ceilings.


Kitchen Island

Shiplap doesn’t just have to go on the walls of your home. Consider adding shiplap to your kitchen island. Adding shiplap here adds character to your kitchen.

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Accent Wall

If you want to keep the natural shiplap color, an accent wall could be perfect for you. The accent wall will add a unique characteristic to any room of the home without overpowering the entire room with wood.


Exterior of Home

The versatility of shiplap extends to the exterior of the home. Use shiplap to create a coastal, contemporary, or farmhouse touch to your home. By using shiplap as the exterior material, you have the ability to paint your home any color you want! However, I would recommend sticking to neutral colors – when selling your home, it is usually found that buyers prefer neutral colors (beige, brown, white, etc.).

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Multiple design styles and a plethora of different ways to add it to your home…shiplap really can do it all. Let me know which one you choose! I would love to see how you added this versatile design style to your home!



Renovations To Get Your Home Ready To Sell

July 20th, 2016

When getting your home ready to sell, it is important to add sought-after, updated features. Buyers love turn-key homes! But, of course, you don’t want to renovate your entire home — where should you start? Here are my top recommendations on renovations to get your home ready to sell.

Let’s stick with three, high-impact areas of the home — kitchen, bathroom, and front entry.



The kitchen has become one of the most social rooms of the modern home. With this in mind, it has become increasingly important to stay up-to-date with the current trends to make your kitchen stand out to buyers.

How can you make sure your kitchen appeals to buyers? Here are the renovations I recommend to make your kitchen the talk of the market!

  1. Counter Tops
    Many buyers nowadays will not look at a house unless it has updated counter tops in the kitchen. Popular kitchen counter tops include granite and quartz. While they might be expensive, they are worth it! Granite and quartz counter tops will last longer and will add value to your home.
  2. Lighting
    Lighting, while it may not seem important, can add a “wow” factor to any room in the home, and pendant lights are the best option for the kitchen. Make sure they don’t overpower the room, but instead complement the features already present in the kitchen.
  3. Sink
    If you have the opportunity and money, consider updating your kitchen sink. A popular option in newly remodeled kitchens is the farmhouse sink.
  4. Cabinets
    Cabinets, just like counter tops, are very visible in the kitchen. Before you put your home on the market, make sure there are no paint chips or scratches in your cabinets. A fresh coat of paint of stain often does the trick! Also, if you want to do a little more, you can add new hardware (knobs) to the cabinets.
  5. Appliances
    Replacing appliances can be costly to a renovation budget. But, replacing them can be worth every penny. Stainless steel appliances are a popular choice among buyers.
  6. Flooring
    While flooring doesn’t top the list, buyers prefer to have updated flooring in the home they are buying. Consider adding hardwood floors throughout the home (except for bathrooms).
  7. Backsplash
    The kitchen backsplash can add a luxurious touch to any kitchen, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Tile backsplashes tend to get pretty pricey. However, you don’t have to use tile. It turns out that tin ceiling tile makes for a great and inexpensive backsplash.



Even though the bathroom is not the most important room in the house, it deserves attention when it comes to renovating before getting ready to sell. Stick to tile, and update fixtures. As it was important to stay up-to-date with the kitchen, it is equally as important to remember the bathroom.

  1. Faucets
    Replace old faucets in the bathrooms before placing your home on the market. Research and see what type of metal is in style at the time — it could be very important to your buyers.
  2. Counter Tops
    If you’re going to update the counter tops in your kitchen, then the cost won’t increase much to include the bathroom. To keep it uniform, order the same counter top color. Your buyers will love that you have updated both parts of the home.
  3. Lighting
    Lighting is important in every room of the house! When replacing the faucets, consider replacing the light fixtures to match the new hardware. As always, remember what is in style.
  4. Shower
    Big, separate showers have become very popular recently. When remodeling your bathroom, remove the tub/shower combo, and put in a standing shower with glass doors. Also, add tile to the entire shower (walls and floor).
  5. Flooring
    Always use tile in the bathroom – in the shower and when flooring the entire bathroom.
  6. Cabinets
    Just as in the kitchen, cabinets are a visible part of the bathroom and buyers do not like to see them falling apart or in need of major maintenance. To keep it simple and cheap, just add a fresh coat of paint or stain.


First impressions really do matter! Make sure your homes exterior looks just as good as its interior — start with the front entry. My top four recommendations are below.

  1. Porch Flooring
    As a cheap way to improve your home’s curb appeal, look at the flooring on your porch. Is it cracked? Or does it have missing bricks or stones? If so, you may want to look into repairing it.
  2. Front Door
    Adding a new front door, or refinishing the paint is important to buyers. A buyer likes to know that you take care of the outside of your home just as much as the inside. Before placing it on the market, consider replacing the door. Or, if you don’t want to spend too much, add a fresh coat of paint or stain.
  3. Lighting
    Replace the cheap light fixtures that came with your home and add a nice, new light fixture to the front entry. Buyers will love the new touch.
  4. Welcoming Features
    When your home is on the market, it is nice to add welcoming features to the front entry. It will give buyers a great first impression of your home! Popular items include: wreaths, flowers, a welcoming mat, or new home numbers.

Renovating your home to get ready to sell can be a big and expensive project. But, it doesn’t have to be. Stick to the renovations above and your home will be one of the best on the market.

Let me know if you have any questions! I am always here to help you!

Free Fun Austin

July 12th, 2016

Free fun in Austin has no limits! Below are a couple of free fun activities that we recommend in the Austin area. Have fun!

Concerts in the Park
Concerts in the Park happen every weekend at the Hartman Concert Park in front of the Long Center City Terrace. The Austin ensemble puts on a free concert with shows ranging from classic to jazz!

Free Fun Austin

Photo Credit

Tour the State Capitol
If you like history, then the Texas State Capitol is the place for you! The architecture of our Capitol building resembles the look of the U.S. Capitol building and the grounds surrounding the capitol are absolutely gorgeous — making for the perfect location to walk your dog or have a picnic in the park. Tours of the Capitol building are only free for groups of 10 or more with a reservation.

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Baylor Street Art Wall
Spray paint art, also known as graffiti, is a great way to express yourself! However, it isn’t always legal — but thats not true of the Hope Outdoor Gallery. The Gallery is located on 11th Street and Baylor Street and boasts a tremendous view of downtown. The art here is always changing – so there is always something new for everyone to see!

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Bull Creek Greenbelt
Bull Creek Greenbelt is a great location to explore the outdoors and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a drive, enjoy the creek, and if you’re really up for it, there is a 3.5-mile hiking trail that’s amazing!

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Blues on the Green
Live music and Austin, Texas, basically go hand-in-hand, and it doesn’t get more Austin than the Blues on the Green concerts in Zilker Park. This concert series has been hosted every summer and is FREE to the public!

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Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake runs directly through Austin, TX, and is an outdoor haven for Austin residents. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast then this Austin location is the place for you! Austinites love to use the 10-mile trail around the lake to get their daily exercise. Also, in the summer months, you can rent out kayaks, canoes, or paddle boards, and enjoy the outdoors on Lady Bird Lake.

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Farmer’s Market
Look around for a local farmers market! This gives you the perfect opportunity to see local Austin fares and produce. Just because you go doesn’t mean you need to purchase anything, you can just go to people watch and see what local Austin farmers and small businesses have to offer!

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South Congress
South Congress, known as SoCo to Austin locals, is the very definition of Keep Austin Weird. This Stretch of Austin, just south of downtown, is home to many weird shops, fun eateries, and great views of the Texas Capitol building! This is a stop you don’t want to miss.

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Bridge Bats

Have you ever noticed that the mosquito level in Austin is low? Well, that’s because we have bats! Every night thousands of bats flock from the Congress Avenue Bridge to search for food (mosquitos). You have to see this at least once! Just beware that it may stink!

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Austin Wall Murals
Austin is no stranger to weird art, and these wall murals all over the city describe that perfectly! The most photographed mural, “I love you so much,” is located just near South Congress. So, grab a friend and pose for pictures at this wall mural and explore the city! Have fun!

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