#PrincessBootCamp Recap

Disney Princess boot Camp recap blog post fitness Lizzie Nerd in the City happy nerd

Princess Boot Camp Disney Inspiration Fitness Plan Blog Series

So…8 weeks ago I embarked on an adventure to share with you my homemade fitness plan: Disney Princess Boot Camp. I told you at the beginning that I wouldn’t be stepping foot on a scale and I haven’t…for the whole of this 8 week plan, I have listened to my body and really relied on my senses to guide me.

Foods that didn’t sit well got cut out, surprisingly that included a lot of breads and dairies. Foods that energized me will be added to my permanent shopping list, like spinach and pork cutlets and all things coconut.


Here’s a recap of each week’s theme and fitness:

Week 1: Cinderella Week

Princess Boot Camp Cinderella Week Fitness Blog series

This week I shopped the diet of a 18th century peasant, lots of staple foods, very lean cuts of meat and fruits and vegetables that might be grown in an English garden. And the fitness routine this week included: deep cleaning my parent’s garage and pool, running down stairs and ball room dancing.

Week 2: Ariel Week

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This week’s meal plan was all about the ocean. Fish, seafood, seaweed, vegetables that might translate like cabbage and lettuce. And the only activity I did was swimming. But I utilized a variety of strokes in order to change things up. This was the week that my arms really started to feel the burn!!

Week 3: Pocahontas Week

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For Pocahontas Week, I faithfully followed a traditional Native American diet. Lots of foods that come from the Earth. Nuts, grains, game meats like pork, berries and vegetables that might be grown by Native Americans like Pocahontas. The activities this week included rowing, running and canoeing. And I fell in love with canoeing. I really felt like it was the kind of full body workout that was both energizing and relaxing at the same time!

Week 4: Mulan Week

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This week I paid homage to China. The foods they eat, Chinese movies and fitness that one might find in China. My shopping list included things I had never eaten before like: bitter melon, rambutan, lychee, ya pears, bok choy and napa cabbage. The fitness routines this week really kicked my ass as I tried Tai Chi and Shaolin Kung Fu!!

Week 5: Rapunzel Week

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This week, my shopping list had a lot of items inspired by Rapunzel and the Disney movie Tangled, more than an actual diet Rapunzel might have eaten. Whimsical things like angel hair pasta (get it!) and flax seed items (a food that promotes hair growth) as well as other proteins good for hair growth and of course, Rapunzel’s favorite, hazelnut soup! For fitness I tried rock climbing and folk dancing (line dancing…I live in the South!)

Week 6: Merida Week

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Merida Week was spent eating a classic Scottish diet consisting of cabbage, leeks, berries, shellfish, wild game meats and yes, even Haggis. And while Merida didn’t exhibit a love for Scottish dancing in her movie, Brave, I felt I just had to add it to my fitness plan after seeing an ad at the local community center! As well as Scottish dancing, I went horseback riding and tried archery. This week was very active and exciting!

Week 7: Elsa Week

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I thought Elsa Week might prove a little harder for a Florida girl like me, seeing as how Elsa is all Frozen and stuff and in the middle of summer, a cool breeze is hard to come by in the sunshine state. But with a Scandinavian diet of foods like: root vegetables, nordic yogurt, whole grains, beans and fish and the surprising discovery of a virtual reality Winter Ski Club as well as ice skating at the RDV Sport’s Complex, I felt all those cool, frosty, Frozen vibes even in the midst of a balmy Florida summer!

Week 8: Moana Week

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I finished my plan strong with Moana week and a Polynesian diet of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, chicken, pork, fish, coconut, starchy fruits and nuts. For fitness this week, I did a lot of paddle boarding and hot hula. This was one of my favorite weeks!


Because I’d given up weighing myself from day 1, I can’t actually tell you how much weight I lost. I like not weighing myself. I like listening to my body and not some number on a scale. Don’t ever forget that muscle weighs more than fat and numbers don’t tell the whole story!! I’m gonna go ahead and estimate it to around 20-25 pounds. What I can tell you is how I feel. I feel stronger. I feel happier in my own skin. I dropped 2.5 pant sizes and feel confident when I look in the mirror that what I’m seeing in myself is what I’m presenting to others.

Don’t read this and think that you need to change! Don’t read this and think that I don’t believe with all my heart that all sizes and shapes are beautiful…they are and I do believe that! But I also know that I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin anymore. The 20-30 pounds I had gained were from stress and sadness. And I couldn’t seem to get over the hump of releasing that garbage from my soul and from my body.

Leave it to Disney to inspire me to get off my ass and get fit in a really fun and magical way (it’s not like magic is their thing or anything!) But listen, this worked for me!

I’m not a doctor…don’t do what I said and think that this is medical research. But guess what…if you take the pressure off of yourself by putting your focus on something fun, eat a moderate and healthy amount of foods that are good for you and up your fitness level…you’ll probably lose a little weight or at the very least feel a little happier in your own skin. That’s all I can offer. That’s all that I did! And damn…it feels good!

Disney Princess boot Camp recap blog post fitness Lizzie Nerd in the City happy nerd

If you want to try my Disney Princess Boot Camp, let me know!! I am a great encourager and would be happy to send thoughts, memes, gifs, encouragement and inspiration your way, as well as offer the tips and tricks I used to stay motivated!! If I can feel this good…you can too!

#PrincessBootCamp – Mulan Week Inspo

Mulan Week movie inspo watch list

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This week’s playlist is a mix of Mulan story telling and songs about being strong, a warrior, a fighter…like Mulan! Enjoy.

  1. Honor to Us All – Mulan Soundtrack
  2. Matchmakers – Bandshes
  3. Matchmaker, Matchmaker – Ella Fitzgerald
  4. Reflection – Christina Aguilera
  5. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
  6. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
  7. I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls
  8. Hard Love – NEEDTOBREATHE
  9. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
  10. I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Mulan Soundtrack
  11. Rise – Katy Perry
  12. Confident – Demi Lovato
  13. A Girl Worth Fighting For – Mulan Soundtrack
  14. Run the World (Girls) – Beyoncé
  15. Run This Town – JAY Z, Rihana, Kanye West
  16. Roar – Katy Perry
  17. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
  18. Fighter – Christina Aguilera
  19. The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder
  20. This is War – Thirty Seconds to Mars
  21. Stronger – Kanye West
  22. Warriors – Imagine Dragons
  23. Warrior – Ke$ha
  24. Warrior – Hannah Kerr
  25. War – Sum 41
  26. Warrior – Steve James feat. LIGHTS
  27. War – Edwin Starr
  28. War of Change – Thousand Foot Krutch
  29. Fight for You – Jason Derulo
  30. Battle Scars – Lupe Fiasco, Guy Sebastian
  31. True to Your Heart – 98 Degrees, Stevie Wonder
  32. Princess of China – Coldplay, Rihanna

For the movies this week, we are focusing on Chinese actors and strong female characters. Take a look and let me know if you’d add anything to the list.

Mulan

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Mulan is a film that came out of what is considered Disney’s Renaissance period. And as with Pocahontas (another Renaissance film) there are some glaring issues that I’m gonna go ahead and side step because 1. I love this movie and 2. Mulan is a seriously kick ass female! The problems that present themselves are there. They are worth pointing out and they are equally worth ignoring momentarily to honor the great parts of this movie and to find inspiration from Mulan’s journey. You want a searing critique, that’s not what I do. But there are plenty of sites that will rip this movie apart for you, if that’s what you’re into. Otherwise, enjoy it for what it is and what it was at the time. The first Asian princess. A celebration of Girl Power! And a movie that has my favorite Disney song of all time “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

Mulan: Rise of a Warrior

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Before Disney has a chance at a live action version of their animated classic, Mulan, take a look at this version from 2009. A wonderful representation of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. And another celebration of strong feminism in a time when that was not celebrated at all.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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If we’re looking at epic Chinese movies, we cannot look any further than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This movie was an international success when it came out in 2000 and was rather surprising, given that the entire movie is in Mandarin with English subtitles. It has a cast of Chinese heavy hitters including Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-fat and Zhang Ziyi with direction from Ang Lee. If you haven’t seen it in a while or have never seen it at all, watch it! This movie has strong female characters, incredible action and martial arts sequences and intensely captivating cinematography!

House of Flying Daggers

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This film came out in 2004, after the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but didn’t have quite the punch that Dragon had. Still a very strong film with a Chinese cast and strong female lead in Zhang Ziyi. It’s an action movie, a love story and is another must watch for Mulan Week!

Once Upon a Time in China

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We cannot create a comprehensive list of Chinese movies without having Jet Li on that list! Arguably one of the greatest action stars of our time, Jet Li has been in so many movies that it would take a whole separate list to do justice to all of them. So I started us off with Once Upon a Time in China which has plenty of sequels to watch, if you want to go down the Jet Li rabbit hole…which you absolutely should (see Once Upon a Time in China II, III, Once Upon a Time in China + America and do not leave without watching Last Hero in China!) Once you start down said rabbit hole, add these Jet Li movies to your list as well: Hero, The Forbidden Kingdom, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon, Cradle 2 the Grave and the movie he made his debut in, Shaolin Temple.

The Assassins

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Next up on the list of must watch list of fantastic Chinese actors, Chow Yun-fat. As with Jet Li, there are plenty of movies to choose from. I chose this film from 2012, a more contemporary Chinese action movie starring Yun-fat, but you could also add any of these to your list for Mulan Week: A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Bulletproof Monk, Anna and the King oh and hey! Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End!

Michelle Yeoh

Movies to watch for Mulan Week Disney Princess Boot Camp Inspo

Speaking of amazing Chinese actors that belong on this list, we cannot go further without talking about Michelle Yeoh. Michelle was discovered in a commercial with none other than Jackie Chan (next on our list.) She then went on to become one of the most amazing female action stars, starring alongside Pierce Brosnan in the Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies and arguably earns her place as one of the very best and most kick ass Bond girls of all time. In this movie, Tai Chi Master, Michelle stars alongside fellow Chinese action star, Jet Li. Michelle along with Jet Li and Chow Yun-fat have an impressive roster of movies that you should watch in your spare time.

Rush Hour

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Jackie Chan is another Chinese heavy hitter. Chan has been in movies since he was a kid back in the 60’s. His roster of films is incredibly long and diverse. But I chose Rush Hour for this list mainly because it was one of my introduction films to the wonderful world of Jackie Chan. I consider him the Robin Williams of marital arts. He is funny and a master and what he does! Here’s another sub list to start you down the path of greater understanding into the genius of Jackie Chan: Shanghai Noon, Drunken Master, Dragon Fist, Armour of God, Police Story, Twin Dragons, Rumble in the Bronx and so many more! Fun fact: Jackie Chan did the Beast’s voice in the Chinese dubbed version of Beauty and the Beast!!

Yentl

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Ok, I know what you’re thinking…Yentl is a strange choice for Mulan Week. But think about it! A girl who wants something different out of her life, dresses as a man and challenges a culture’s perception on what women can do or should do or are capable of doing. Barbra’s Yentl and Ming-Na Wen’s Mulan share many themes and struggles. And hey…girl power to both of them! Give Yentl another watch!

She’s the Man

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And for something a little lighter than Yentl and even lighter than Mulan, hit up Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man. She wants to compete against the boys in soccer, but can’t. So what does she do? She dresses like a man, gets on the team and in the final moments…reveals that they all got their asses handed to them by a girl! Just like Mulan! (Ok, it’s a stretch, but I think it works! Come at me!)

#PrincessBootCamp – Mulan Fitness Plan

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Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Disney Fitness Blog

When Mulan runs away from home to join Captain Shang and the Chinese army in her father’s place, she is a stranger to the rigors of boot camp and fitness. She is a veteran’s daughter, so she is not ignorant of what can happen in war. Her father is, in fact, injured from his service to the Emperor. But she truly has no idea what she’s getting herself into.

In this way, we have one up on Mulan. This is Week 4 of Disney Princess Boot Camp and while the workouts are revolving, the level of fitness and healthy eating has been maintained. But if you’re doing this Boot Camp and thinking to yourself “There’s no way I can dive into Chinese martial arts”…think again. Mulan did it and so can you!! And so could I!

Here’s a list of Chinese martial arts to choose from.

-Shaolin Kung Fu

-Tai Chi

-Karate (another form that has links to China as well as to Japan)

-Stick Fighting (Kendo and Bōjutsu are both Japanese forms of stick fighting, but Mulan and Co. do a lot of stick fighting in the movie. So if you have those forms available to you, even though they are Japanese and we are focusing on China, you can substitute them.)

-Sword Fighting (also look into stunt choreography to access the same kinds of skill building.)

Based on our location, what’s available to you may vary, but with the wonderful invention of the internet you have a lot more options than ever before. Take advantage. Here’s a look at what I did:

Tai Chi

I found a posting in my local paper for a Tai Chi class run at a church close to me. It was only $8 for the class and the instructor really focused on core muscles and strategic, precise movements. It’s amazing how little steps can really challenge your body! I also found some great videos of Tai Chi on You Tube and did those as well. Here’s one to kick off your intro to Tai Chi:

Stick Fighting

In Orlando, we have a Kendo Club. To reiterate, this is a Japanese form of stick fighting. And I don’t like to mix around Asian cultures as they are all unique and different and incredibly interesting to learn about. But since there were few choices in my area regarding stick fighting, I went with the closest thing I could find which happened to be Kendo. I cannot stress enough that if you have the chance to take a stick fighting class of any kind, you should take it! Stretch your body beyond what you think it can do and surprise yourself!!

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week stick fighting nerd fitness blog post
Karate

This should be the easiest for you to find in your area. Karate is another art that crosses the borders of Asian cultures. It has roots in Japan as well as in many other forms of Chinese Martial Arts.

Shaolin Kung Fu

This had to be my favorite thing this week. Shaolin Kung Fu is no joke and it is a purely Chinese martial art. Derived from the Buddist Shaolin temples in Henan province. Shaolin Kung Fu “combines Zen and martial arts.” I did these videos because I wasn’t able to get the Kung Fu classes available in my area on my schedule this week.

Here’s a really basic introduction:

Another great one that I enjoyed in the mornings:

This one is short, but this guy isn’t playing around!!

I hope you find time to enjoy challenging your body with these techniques. I know they challenged mine!

#PrincessBootCamp – Mulan Meal Plan

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Chinese meal plan fitness nerd blog post

Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Disney Fitness Blog

After a brief hiatus, we are charging forward into Week 4: Mulan Week! This week we are in China and studying all about Chinese culture, foods and fitness all while keeping Mulan herself as the central inspiration for the week.

When the Emperor sends out conscription notices to every family in the face of a looming attack from the Huns, Fa Mulan takes the place of her father, Fa Zhou, who is too old to fight. In an effort to spare her father, Mulan disguises herself as a man and uses the moniker, “Ping” to gain access to the training camp and not only pretends to be a soldier in the Emperor’s army, but eventually becomes one!

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Chinese meal plan fitness nerd blog post
Photo by Cristina Fowler (@thelittlestfowler)

With the help of Mushu, a diminutive dragon who was decidedly NOT sent by Mulan’s ancestors to aid her, Mulan manages to find her place in the world in the most unlikely way. She discovers a strength in herself that was not permitted for women at the time. And, in turn, becomes the hero she deserves to be. (And in the meantime she gets the hots for Captain Li Shang, voiced by very American actor, Donny Osmond.)

Mulan is voiced by Chinese actress, Ming-Na Wen (most recently Agent May on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), while her singing voice is Lea Salonga (also the voice of Jasmine.)

This is another movie that lives in that happy place for me. I was a freshman in high school when this movie came out and was still very much into Disney movies! So despite it’s flaws, I can easily find it’s virtues. But I can also call a spade a spade and recognize that Disney could have done a lot better to do justice to Chinese culture and representation.

That being said, here’s a look at my meal plan for Mulan Week, which includes a rich assortment of Chinese foods:

-green tea

-meat (chicken, pork and moderate amounts of red meat)

-Chinese fruits (kiwi, lychee, dragon fruit, pomelo, rambutan, ya pear)

disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Meal Plan
Rambutan…tricky to get into, but ultimately delicious!

-Chinese vegetables (bok choy, napa cabbage, water spinach, watercress, pea shoots, bitter melon)

-Other vegetables (broccoli, green beans, carrots, cauliflower)

-soy sauce (use very moderately or swap out regular sauce for a low sodium or light version)

-soup at every meal (the Chinese believe in yin and yang meals that consist of wet and dry foods together)

-white rice (another thing to eat moderately)

A note about switching from a Native American (Pocahontas Week) meal plan to a Chinese (Mulan Week) meal plan. It was a drastic change for my stomach and I tried very hard to ease into the new assortment of foods. I had never tried some of these fruits and vegetables, which was a lot of fun. But it meant that I didn’t know how they would effect me. Just be careful and try things in small amounts and who knows, you might discover some delicious flavors you’ll want to keep eating after Mulan Week is over! I personally loved the Chinese ya pear. It is a fruit I have added to my shopping list permanently!!

There are plenty of other Chinese foods to choose from, this is just the shopping list I was working with. I tried to keep it balanced with the food groups I’d already been working with. Fruit, lots and lots of vegetables, very moderate grains, and meats. The new piece to this week’s equation was the balance of wet foods and dry foods creating the yin/yang meals found in an average Chinese diet. Another interesting fact I found out, the Chinese believe vegetables to be more of a main course item than meat. So a lot of the recipes are veggie centric, which I really enjoyed! Stir-fry was an easy go to for dinners when I wanted something filling and easy to make.

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Meal Plan stir Fry nerd blog post

Enjoy!!

Insatiable Wanderlust by Disney

I used to blame Disney for my fanciful, romantic dreams. Princes and ballroom dances and true love winning out. Don’t get me wrong…I still occasionally dream those dreams and I still blame Disney for them!

But there’s something else and I didn’t even realize it was Disney’s fault till I saw Moana this weekend and that still small voice inside me was awakened by the song “How Far I’ll Go.” The thought of something out there calling to me, it hits home. It always has.

Disney characters have long been looking out and asking “Is there something more for me?” Some don’t have to go very far to find what they’re looking for. Others, like Moana, have to sail across the sea. Some are searching for princes and others for destiny.


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Sure, I can’t blame it all on Disney. God’s the one who put that call in there to begin with. But the House of Mouse sure knows how to hit the chords that make you dream. And growing up watching the entirety of Disney’s animated film collection, well…they created a “monster.”

A “monster” who is constantly thinking “There must be more than this provincial life” and my life isn’t even provincial. But sometimes, when I’m doing something plain and ordinary like laundry or desk organization, I sing that to myself. I wonder what’s “Just around the river bend.”

If I was a Disney character, there’d be a perfectly timed song and the lyrics would help me realize my next steps and it would be inspirational and you’d be singing it for months. As it is, we mere mortals have to figure it out without catchy tunes and perfect hair. Darn it, Disney! What have you done?

Modern Princess Instagram Challenge

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April is here! Spring has sprung. And when I open my window, woodland creatures come in and help me dress every morning! Life is a fairytale, dreams are rainbows and rainbows are real. Soon I’ll break into song and dance! Cause…Hey! It’s Friday. And what were Fridays made for, if not song and dance and fairytale romance.

Don’t fight that inner princess…or prince! Just embrace them! We all have a little Disney waiting inside of us. So come on over to Instagram where the magic is waiting for you!! Snap a pic using my Modern Princess prompts and enter to win a fantastical Disney prize pack. The more pictures you take, the more times you enter! Make sure to tag @NerdintheSand, use the hashtag #PrincessProblems and bring along all the plucky sidekicks and furry woodland creatures you want! There’s room for everyone in my castle!

Modern Princess Instagram Challenge Disney nerd in the sand

And all month long I’ll be talking Princes, Princesses and the wonderful world of Disney. So if you have a specific topic you want to hear about…email me: nerdinthecity01@gmail.com

30 Days of Nerdy Hair – Day 29

Day 29: Li Shang from Mulan

Here’s another example of the Disney men and their awesome hair. Never let it be said that the Disney princesses have all the style!! Shang is the dashing captain of the Chinese army. He is tasked with preparing his troops, including Mulan in disguise, for battle against the menacing and rather large Hun army. Shang knows what he’s doing and knows that the last thing you want in your way when preparing for battle is your hair. So he keeps it nice and pulled back with a red cloth. I like a man who can be both trendy and practical!!!

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Bring on those Huns cause I’m ready for anything!

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“I’ll make a man out of you!!”

30 Days of Nerdy Hair

Day 30: Mulan from Once Upon a Time

Today is the last day of the series and the last day of Nerd HQ. And I had a completely different hairstyle planned for today, but have decided to save it for a less sleep deprived day. If you know what thay style was then have no fear, I have it on standby for the next series.

So I chose Mulan from Once Upon a Time today. This is fierce hair and I love it!

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To create this look, I started with a nice sized puff in front. And secured that with some bobby pins. Then I smoothed the hair by my face straight back and added a little spray to keep it sleek.
Next I created another puff in the back and secured that at the nape of my neck.

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30 Days of Nerdy Hair

Day 30: Mulan from Once Upon a Time

Today is the last day of the series and the last day of Nerd HQ. And I had a completely different hairstyle planned for today, but have decided to save it for a less sleep deprived day. If you know what thay style was then have no fear, I have it on standby for the next series.

So I chose Mulan from Once Upon a Time today. This is fierce hair and I love it!

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To create this look, I started with a nice sized puff in front. And secured that with some bobby pins. Then I smoothed the hair by my face straight back and added a little spray to keep it sleek.
Next I created another puff in the back and secured that at the nape of my neck.

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