My Life

A pretty little office…

I really want to decorate an office slash vanity space for me to beautify and blog in…
problem is I am a total bozo when it comes to decorating.
It’s really bad.

And trust me, I am not that girl who says she totally sucks at decorating and then you walk into her house and it looks like a freakin’ spread in Home & Garden magazine.
It’s not that I have ugly decorations I just don’t have any.
I don’t even know where to begin…
But I want to learn.

Here is my inspo…and please comment because, I am DYING for your input..any ideas tips tricks, decor blogs-anything.





I could never afford this thing..but aaahhhh


Now I’m starting to get confused…


seriously…now I don’t even know if I like any of these.

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  • Reply
    Linda P
    January 14, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Cars, Looks like you like light wood. Look for something cheap like and old desk or something. You can ‘re- paint it easily. Add pretty drawer pulls- maybe Crystal and of course a chandelier above. Nice light paint to match. Maybe mercury glass candle holders to put brushes in!!! You can do it-!!!!

    • Reply
      Linda P
      January 14, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Sorry, I meant Cara….

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Pick elements from each that you like. Make it an eclectic look. You don’t have to spend tins if money. Hit flea markets and thrift stores. A coat of paint can go a long way. Other than that, I’d need to see the room that you are working with. Hope it works for you!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Start by visiting thrift stores and finding one piece you really like. Paint it, add new hardware, but a cute little bench and let your inspiration begin from there.

  • Reply
    Mary W
    January 14, 2013 at 7:24 am

    If it were me, I would want some nice built in storage options (drawers/cabinets). I’d guess you have quite a bit of makeup as well – so storage would be key so it doesn’t look like a mess. It looks like, for the most part, you like white. Definitely check out thrift stores for a cute desk or vanity and look past any scuffs or color. Just find something really well built and go from there. Then decorate using whatever you like!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Shabby chic. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer Haskins
    January 14, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I found one just this weekend on Amazon. Totally affordable at $220.00 too!

    Check this out on AMZN: Bobkona St. Croix Collection Vanity Set with Stool, Wh…

    I’m redoing my room with a new space. I love your blogs and have learned so much!

  • Reply
    Kaleigh Newby
    January 14, 2013 at 7:38 am

    IKEA is your best friend! If you have one available to you, or there is always online shopping. Though the unaffordable one has the most storage the minimalist is a close second.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 7:38 am

    not sure if you have a buy and sell in your area, but look for something like it, get a vintage one, like the second picture, spray paint it, and then get a cute little bench, or antique chair with a back:) this sounds like so much fun, you can always add small tall and narrow book cases on either side, and then baskets to hold all your goodies

  • Reply
    Hanna Thomson
    January 14, 2013 at 7:40 am

    We agree with the comments above.

    #1 – think about storage and organization of everything. Decide on how you want to layout your makeup v. work.

    #2 – you have very “girly” taste, and although thrift stores are good, it can be time consuming and it will require lots of effort and creativity

    #3 – couple options would be to combine IKEA (for storage solutions), CB2 (for your modern tastes) and Z Gallerie (for the playful/artsy side and they have amazing mirrored furniture that could be perfect for creating what you want – all seem to be within your budget.

    Lastly, enjoy the process. Just like beauty, fashion, makeup, it all takes more time than you want. So be patient and have fun with it!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Given the nature of cosmetics I would go for the shabby chic/vintage look, any spills or stains would eventually look like a patina if they didn’t come off easily. Also I wouldn’t go with bright white (or overly shiny furniture surfaces) that could wash out photos causing excessive correcting. Not to mention the vintage (or “old hollywood” too for example) look pays a bit of homage. You could always add bits of sparkle n bling in your accessories and more neutral tones will make your (or your subject’s) makeup pop more and not compete with the background. Hope that helps…

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I’d love to leave some inspiring words, but like you I too suffer from decorating ADHD! But I’m totally excited to see what you come up with 🙂

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Like everyone else, I’d suggest furniture re-styles! Pinterest is full of tutorials, and it’s totally not as hard or as intimidating as it may seem. My sister and I have done a kitchen table and chairs, a dresser, picture frames, vases, you name it. It was easy, and that’s coming from someone who is NOT artistic at all. I would fail art 101. Just look up spray painting tutorials to get your technique right. Make up is a form of art and you have that down, this will just a new area of art for you. Also, look at the smaller “junkier” thrift stores. They’re usually cheaper, and you can find some gems there!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Might try Ikea for an affordable option or outfit an armoire with one. I’d search on Craigslist if I were looking for a DIY armoire or large furniture upcycle. You could add a mirror to the back, maybe some lighting for armoire or just put your PC in there. Hooks on the doors could contain necklaces or attach baskets to the doors to contain makeup. I have 2 armoires and both have the doors that slide back into the unit.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 8:20 am

    White vintage vanity or painted desk, apothecary jars, chandelier and a pretty light reflecting tone like nudes or lavenders!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

    DEFINITELY IKEA. I wanted to do the same thing, and this blog about organizing stuff really helped 🙂 google iheart organizing. Best of luck!!!

  • Reply
    Eva Tornado
    January 14, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I like mimimalist. Everithyng has own place and looks absolutely cute!=)

    Kisses From Europe

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

    love the vintage one!!! it’s definitely my favorite

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Looks like you have a thing for white (or light colored) desks, so I’d start with that. Search till you find one you love & build from there. Ikea, Target, Homegoods are all places I would look. From there, I’d look for a mirror (once you have the desk size it’ll be easier to pick out the correct mirror size). Looking in vintage stores for this item might be your best bet & then just paint the trim white. Next your seat, since now you’ll know how high you have to be to reach the desk & see in the mirror. I’d personally not go with a white cushion because I tend to drop my makeup/brushes (hello klutzy)! Once you have all those pieces, I’d put out all your makeup & tools and make sure they all have homes. Lastly, pick out a few decor pieces, little antique vases with some silk flowers, apothecary jars, vintage perfume jars, candles, tea cups, etc. Just stuff you like!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 9:46 am

    too funny, i literally just came upstairs from painting my “new” vanity!! i am so excited about it 🙂
    i got a great deal on one from a garage sale, took the mirror off and for xmas i got a Vanity Girl mirror that i am going to use with it. i have 3 daughters, so i am sure it is going to get LOTS of use! my advise– don’t hesitate and go with your gut, you always get the best results that way!
    love your blog by the way 😉

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 9:52 am

    The vintage is GORGEOUS, but not very wise if you are looking to store your collection there. I say go for the minamilist vanity. It’s pretty AND has room for your collection.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I agree with Miranda, although the Vintage is absolutely classy and beautiful – it’s just not practical – it’s more for decoration. The Minimalist seems to fit the bill!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I love the first one, vintage ! Could add more with the colors of a soft pink and yellow .. Super cute

    • Reply
      Angela Whitbeck
      January 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Don’t paint your room yellow. Not a flattering color when you’re trying to put on your face. However, soft pink is a perfect choice!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 10:15 am

    You should also consider Craigslist. I’m sure the sellers on there would be willing to cut you a deal on a vanity-type furniture piece you liked. Then, if you wanted to you could take a picture of the type of paint or distressing you like and have it painted. Lots of antique stores have contact info for people who paint furniture and they could give the piece the look you are going for. (Or you could just paint it white, which always looks good!) Replacing the hardware is also a cheap solution that makes a big impact on a used piece.

    Also, I think I’d steer clear of large amounts of a drastic color and/or print like that geometric design with the coral chair in the last picture. Only because if this is also going to be your “blogging space” then those things might compete with certain makeup looks you are trying to achieve (like coral splashed everywhere when you’re doing an “olive and oxblood” tutorial. It just seems like it would mess with the overall effect.)

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

    The first one totally suits you! It’s beautiful and vintage with endless class (and reminds me of your wedding!)

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I’ve learned a lot from following the DIY home blog Going through their archives, tutorials, etc will definitely give you some great ideas and their awesome people too! Also, they regularly post about other DIY bloggers that have awesome blogs as well with tons of ideas 🙂

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I think anything with maximum mirror size would be your best bet.
    Butttt your heading “Pretty Little Office” had me thinking, could you/would you do a article regarding how to do hair/makeup for Interviews and for work? I’m interviewing in the Phoenix area nonstop and I often worry that I’m not wearing /too much makeup or my hair is too done up/too plain. If you could offer some insight in an upcoming article, I’d love you more than I already do!

    – Michelle

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Make it simple but colorful (the colors u like of course!) Colors you like will make you happy and make you WANT to be in there..nothing worse than being in a room that just doesn’t make you want to scream happy! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Love picture #3 and yes you can afford it. Try consignment shops and yard sales and pick up the pieces individually. You can paint the pieces and get drawer knobs and Hone depot at a good price. It takes a little more effort but can definitely be done on a budget. Good luck!


  • Reply
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen
    January 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I think a really easy way for things to look “pulled together” is to stick within a color family. Like, if you want a white desk/vanity, keep the general theme to whites, greys, and creams and maybe one accent color, like a jewel-toned color. Simple but makes an impact.

    Plus I definitely think making a trip to the good ‘ol dollar store is a good idea. Not only can grab inexpensive storage items (like bins and baskets and bags) but they even have cheap vases and glasses which you use for decoration or more storage.

    I’d also reccommend keeping your “everyday” items in the desk itself and then maybe investing in a plain drawer unit from Ikea to keep other items that you want easy access to but don’t use everyday. Just label each drawer like “nail polish” or “blushes and lipsticks” and then color-code the items within.

    Now if only I could put any of my own advice to use…..

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I find a lot of nice things at Home Goods, Ross, Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx (all my favorite places to shop for anything and everything! lol). Also try yard sales and some thrift stores – you would be amazed at the things you can find. Good Luck 🙂

  • Reply
    Erica Tanner
    January 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Loving the middle two. Good place for your computer/camera to sit. Lots of storage!!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm has great inspiration and diys. also great inpriation!
    Check out your thrift stores for inexpensive furniture pieces! Sometimes they’re ugly, but look awesome with a coat of paint. If they have great ‘bones’. Or even craigslist. you can usually find some really awesome inexpensive furniture on there.

  • Reply
    Sarah Elizabeth
    January 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I’m crap at hair and not awesome at makeup, but I can do home decor stuff!

    First, think about how your makeup tends to end up. I mean, I put my makeup in little compartments and cups and boxes, but they end up scattered everywhere in my bathroom after a week. If given the option, everything would live on one big surface in front of a mirror — no little boxes or compartments or drawers. (I currently live in a tiny apartment with a tiny bathroom) However, you might be one of those people who is all about keeping stuff in drawers, and really organized about it. So think about how, in the ideal world, your makeup would be with minimal work/frustration and go from there. If you’re a “scatter it everywhere so it’s just in front of me!” person, go for a long, fairly deep/wide surface, like a desk-style vanity. If you like drawers, find one with drawers and compartments and storage.

    All of those pictures are pretty similar, which is awesome! You know what you like: painted wood in a light color, pretty pastel accessories, a kicky vintage-inspired upholstered seating option, and a combination of modern, graphic, and classic traditional floral prints. Find an old desk at a thrift shop and paint it, or go to HomeGoods and find something, add a nice floral rug, an upholstered bench (you can always do a quick reupholstery job, just staple the new fabric over the existing stuff), and a few storage accessories in pale pinks, blues, or greens. You can also add a decorative tray to keep things together.

    As for the main vanity, you can always get a desk and a mirror separately. IKEA mirrors are surprisingly good.

  • Reply
    Jen E.
    January 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    LOVE, love, love the chair in the last one. Looks like you could pick up an old chair at a thrift shop and spray paint it a color that matches your room, rind some fabulous fabric to cover the seat (which would be cheap since you’d only need a small piece), maybe add some upholstery tacks around the edge and BAM, you have the most fabulous desk chair in town! I’m so doing that 🙂

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Sometimes organization can make for great decoration too! Some ideas:
    – modpodge clipboards with pretty paper, to keep your desk from getting cluttered:
    – cover shoe boxes in fabric, for pretty yet function storage:
    – picture frame with pretty paper for a DIY dry erase board to keep track of new blog ideas:

    Have fun with it!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I also love the last image… that office is to die for! I disagree with the Ikea advice.. Yes, maybe for smaller pieces that won’t get much use, but you need pieces that are substantial for an office. Home Goods and Target are my favorite places for accessories! There’s lots of ways to transform or update vintage furniture, but like others commented, it does take work…. or research to hire someone to do it for you =)

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Oooh, and one last awesome Make-up organization tip: Frame a metal sheet (or cover a cookie sheet with contact paper) and attach magnets to the back of make-up, so you can see your whole stash when you’re working on clients!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I love the pictures and even if you are confused about what you like and don’t it seems like you are consistant with your style. I am a huge DIY and home decorating lover. I enjoy it very much even though I haven’t had any professional training. First if I were you, I am always on a budget. It’s fun to see how little I can spend to pack a huge punch…. I would start with Craigslist. You can find some really beautiful pieces if you have patience. I was looking for some bedroom furniture I could redo for my daughters’ new room. I found a 4 piece solid wood set for $100.00. I couldn’t have been more excited. I am still working on the pieces. I have sanded and in the process of repainting the pieces with a antique finish. It will be a solid grey with an aged look in the scrolls… if that makes sense. Again I am not a professional. I have learned everything from fellow bloggers and You Tube. It’s totally easy peasy! After my project is finished I will have spent 130.00 for a 4 piece twin bedroom set that is solid wood. You could also find inspiration on Pinterest. I love and adore this site. I have gotten so many ideas and actually created them. If you live in an area that has a Hobby Lobby, definitely hit this place for decor and even items to update knobs on your pieces or add candles, baskets or even flowers for a fun touch. This place also had a website you can order from. They are inexpensive and if you catch the right days they always have 50% off. My advice, start with your biggest piece… the desk/vanity set and go from there. Choose a color you are in love with. Be confident in yourself, you love make up, clothes and hair…. use this as your starting point. What’s your favorite color??? Go from there and you will definitely be inspired.

    Hopefully this helps! I am sooooo excited for you and your new space. I know, I ama totally geek when it comes to stuff like this. Ha! Ha!

    Happy Monday!



  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Wow! Those are all so beautiful. Love your taste.

  • Reply
    Brittany Stewart
    January 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    If you wanna add some glitter to any of that, get clear jars (square, round, whatever) and paint them with glue wherever (the top edge, bottom, a design) and dip them in glitter… Like gold! Would add to the glamour of it all. It could hold qtips, cotton balls, etc. Or fill it up with glass beads or coffee beans and put your brushes in them.

  • Reply
    Christina Stewart
    January 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I would take a trip to some furniture stores like ZGallerie and IKEA first. Sit at the vanity and open drawers take some photos (if they let you) Also when do you want to complete the project? If right away then I suggest Home Goods or IKEA. IKEA is great and if you like the vintage look then you can find some vintage drawer pulls and knick knacks to go on vanity if it doesnt just scream the style you want. If you have time then go to flea markets or search on craigslist. Even if its the wrong color, paint can change that with a bit of sand paper to make it “vintage”

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    love the pops of peachy pink in the last picture. I would try keep the furniture colour simple and then add colour with flowers, pictures and storage containers. Ikea have a lovely dresser, mirror and drawer unit which would work well. Love hoe this youtube guro has set hers up –

    At the end of the day, just make it your own and enjoy:)

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Cara ~ beauty inside and out. I LOVE your blog, your ideas and suggestions. Any of these would probably fit for what you’d need it for. Change up the color scheme to match what you are into. I don’t know why but my favorite one that came to mind for you was the last one. <3 Kari

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I am all for Ikea. I just use a desk and then I have all my makeup stored in the Alex 9 drawer set. You have plenty of room and it’s a nice piece of furniture….not flimsy at all. I think trying to get a desk/vanity that will hold it all is where you are going to get expensive.

  • Reply
    Deepika Garg
    January 15, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Vintage one is what I would suggest!! You always wanna look like a diva, very classy when u stand in front of something vintage. Also that look seems affordable to me. For storage of cosmetic you can always get a cheap stand with multiple drawers and paint for the vinatge look (DIY, you see).. It will be fun building this space!!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 8:37 am

    What I would say you should do now is- look at each inspiration picture individually, and write down words that describe it, write down your top 3 fav things about it, and top 3 things you would like to incorporate into your own. Then look at those and narrow it down. You’ll start to see what you are actually drawn to, what you actually want. I would encourage you to find things at thrift stores if you’re going kinda vintage.
    Also, if you’re unsure of color scheme, find a beautiful photo or painting that you would frame in that room (you don’t actually HAVE to, but you could) and pull colors from that. Take it to a paint store and look at the swatches. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help too! But using something like that to find harmonious colors will help!

  • Reply
    Brittany Stewart
    January 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Also, anthropology has AWESOME knobs for cheap. They’re gorgeous and they have every kind you can think of.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I suck at decorating too. The way I do it is, I find a color palette, or picture/painting I want to base the room off of. It looks like some of those pictures are country chic. You can find some goodies at thrift stores or vintage stores to find awesome things. Spray paint can be your best friend. If you’re going for something to do makeup in, I would go for light colors (pastels, peach, light blues) also, try and have as much natural light coming in as possible.

  • Reply
    Jenna @ Demure in Diamonds
    January 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I LOVE all the vanities you chose for this post!! I so badly want a vanity but don’t have the space right now. It’s on my future list 🙂

    XO Jenna

  • Reply
    January 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    You have to checkout an affordable furniture and decor website with flash sales. I see everything that you have posted on there all the time, especially the French/country stools and vanity.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Omg have you ever hear of the HABITAT FOR HUMANITY RESTORE?? It’s a place where the items are donated, so yey for recycling, but they have EVERYTHING! From light bulbs to toilets, and everything else. It’s like a thrift store for house things, So inventory is always changing! It’s all super cheap too. You may find your dream already sittiing there on the show room floor, it may just need a re-do, or not, who knows. I just recently started readin g your blogs, so I’m not totally sure where youre at, but I’m in MD and there are a few here…good luck!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Check these 2 sites i really love

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I have an antique vanity from my future mother-in-law. Love it! When I started to use it I used all the drawers. Only problem with it was I stored it all like I was putting it away for good. Next thing I noticed I was never using items I never saw. It was a black hole, so I never used items and repurchased many items I already had and forgotten about. So now I am redoing my whole system I still use my vanity but I place picture frames on both sides and use them as makeup art. All of my eye shadows r now hanging and blushes and brushes. Make sure also to buy lighting for your vanity. Don’t buy lamps for the top of the vanity, buy ones u can place on the wall. A chandler with great lighting or wall sconces that move towards you. I like the IKEA one where u can open it all and pull the drawers out but close it and not see all the mess. Just think about what works for you and your system.
    Good luck!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Cara
    I haven’t read all the comments on this post so forgive me if I’m re-iterating anyone elses comments, but I would look at trying to find a desk or dressing table secondhand, something that just needs a coat of white paint and some new pulls on it (I’ve done this and its easy peasy). Then buy two small Billy bookcases from Ikea for either side and use a thin dentil trim around the sides, paint them white, pop in some baskets for storage and I think you’ll have a look you’ll love! Oops and buy a pretty chair and a pretty rug for underneath it to define it as a space! And I think the above comment on having wall sconces you can move is a great idea to go with this too.
    Hope it helps. Your makeup tutorials are really helping me as I’m getting older (37) and finding my looks are changing and so I need to adjust my makeup too, to try and keep looking fresh. Its never ending!! lol.
    Tarnya x

  • Reply
    January 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Vintage/Minimalist would be perfect.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I’m not good at decorating OR housekeeping, but since I’ve been on Pinterest – I’m getting better! I’m very inspired by all the work that goes on and all the tutorials (yours included), plus I try to focus on one thing at a time. When I try to change a whole room I get overwhelmed. So that’s my big advice – keep looking at Pinterest and “little by little; day by day”.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Hey Cara! I just redid an ugly dresser using a can of spray paint. I think I paid $6.50 for the paint (Satin finish), and a few bucks for some heavy grit sand paper. After I painted one coat, I sanded it enough to kind of let the wood show through. The result was a distressed looking, vintagy dresser! I’m gonna start trolling garage sales for more cheap furniture to repaint 🙂

  • Reply
    January 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    January is the best time to buy furniture. It’s time for inventory! So this coming weekend you will find the best deals of the year. Scour your news papers for sales and look for special coupons online. I cleaned up at Pier One last night when it was quiet and I was the only one shopping. I got a lamp, table, a white padded vanity bench to use at my piano, vases, and a 8′ x 10′ white rug for my yogo room, plus candles and ornaments for next Christmas, all for less than $100 total!! Frankly, it was a steal!! I am going back again Saturday morning and also hitting the Ross next door to it, because they will have continued to make additional markdowns! I live in a town of only 20,000 and those are the only two stores we have, so I make the best of it I can. If I think there is any possibility that I can use something, I take it home with me. I can always take it back if it doesn’t look good with my decor. But I can’t go back to get it if someone else took it home.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2013 at 8:20 am

    ok, stop looking at pictures! After a while it gets so confusing and then your head wants to explode! Instead, find one piece of furniture, lighting, mirror, etc. just one of something to start with. After you have that ONE thing that you love you can then base your style and color off of that. Another huge thing is Annie Sloan chalk paint. I love it! If you are a DIY painter then I suggest looking up where it is sold in your area. It is so worth it.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Love number one so, so, so much but it doesn’t really have a lot of storage options. Number three is mega storage but, so classy. Check out vintage stores in your area or even thrift stores. I always want to refurbish old furniture but, don’t have the space. If you have the space, go for it! =)

  • Reply
    August 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Can someone please tell me where I can find #3? It is JUST what I’m looking for! 🙂 Thanks!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I love mirrored furniture mirrored furniture but whats the best way to keep it clean? My girlfriend is always moaning its too much hard work.

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