Influenster: Slim Fast Bar, Crisps, and Shake VoxBox Review #ItsYourThing #Influenster

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Being part of the Influenster network, allows members to qualify for VoxBoxes. My latest one arrived in late December, which featured an array of Slim Fast branded products. Being the new year we all want to lose weight or at the very least get rid of that holiday poundage brought on by cookies and treats. I gained 6 pounds in the last week of December because I behaved from Thanksgiving to Christmas but once Santa came, he brought treats, candy, chocolates (I’m surprised I did not consume the stocking) and it seems I ate them all between Christmas and New Year’s Eve!

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I’m pretty good at restricting myself and believe with all the advancements in food today, that leaving food as it is, meaning less to zero processing allows us to eat pretty much anything (with portion control) and not suffer the consequences. I eat my weight in salads and I’m not even a fan of most dressings, as I think they tend to drown the freshness out of the produce as it is. I love avocados and find them to be nature’s dressing. They are creamy and never ruin a salad like a fake creamy dressing can. I have those days though where I am in a snacking mood or just running short on time, so I pick the brands I trust carefully. I look for meal replacement or snack products that are not full of fake sweeteners or loaded with sodium. Finding real ingredients is “my thing”, so let’s see how the Slim Fast VoxBox did.

The Slim Fast VoxBox included:

  • SlimFast® Advanced Ready to Drink Shake in Vanilla flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks in Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bars
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl flavor

 

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First, I tried the items that were easy to munch on and that was the Sour Cream and Onion Baked Crisps to satisfy the salty urges and for the sweet cravings, I tried the Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl. First thing I noticed with both bagged products, was the large amount of “dustings” in the bag. I call that the powdery and broken up bits in a bag that barely resemble the whole product you see pictured in the front of the bag. Like the posters for drive-thru burgers, my product did not resemble the picture on the bag. The Sour Cream and Onion crisps had the higher amount of “dustings” that I wondered if I should just use the contents as a batter coating! I taste a pinch-full of what these crisps use to be and the flavor and texture resemble closely to those chips that come in a canister….but more broken up. The odd part was when you ate the product, it tasted good enough to satisfy a chip craving but when you drank water, you had an odd aftertaste that lingered. The taste was not like potato or the sour cream and onion coating, think more milk solids or dry milk and it was what it tasted closely too. Each bag is 100 calories and states it comes with 18 to 20 crisps. I am not kidding when if I say I got 4 whole ones and that is counting the ones that were 3/4 whole. The breakage takes away from the enjoyment and if you get past that, the aftertaste did me in. I did not finish the bag but I figured that means I consumed less calories!

 

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Next, came the Cinnamon Bun Swirl crisps. These were a little more in one piece but the drizzle on top was mostly on the bottom of the bag. The sweetness is not overwhelming and the cinnamon had a nice balance to it. Again, the odd aftertaste was present but you could overlook this one more. The crisps had a pleasant crunch and like some products on the market, these did not leave you with a cotton mouth after you ate them. I could actually see myself picking up a bag if a sweet craving hits me that is overwhelming because a bag is just 100 calories for 20 to 22 crisps. These were also 30% whole in the bag!

 

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SlimFast’s Ready to drink shake that comes in an easy to go bottle. The bottle idea I like because sometimes messing with powder and a scoop can be a pain, but I usually take a bottle water (or almond milk) and just scoop into a shaker bottle when I am on the go. I then combine the ingredients (wet/dry) when I am ready to consume them, so this way I don’t end up with chocolate powder that found it’s way out of a plastic baggy and went poof in my purse! I made sure to try the drink cold from the fridge and upon opening the bottle, the Vanilla scent is not very Vanilla like. I take a sip and the drink is about 4 out of ten when it comes to overall taste and flavor. I have had much better and this drink had an odd thickness to it. I made sure to shake it just in case and the thickness left a film in my mouth that was not very vanilla or real milk tasting, or even a nut milk flavor! It took away from the enjoyment and even with time, I could not get use to it. Being able to get 20 grams of protein on the go is a plus, but when I priced it out, weighed in the flavor/texture and the ingredients, I would still opt for a premium powder mix that is usually higher in protein. I did fix the flavor by adding part of a scoop of powdered Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and that is when I noticed that my PB and Chocolate powder had a better quality of chocolate and real flavor than what the Slim Fast drink.  I then felt I wasted a scoop of the “good stuff” on trying to make the not so good stuff better! I also noticed there is natural and artificial flavors but no where but the title of the drink says Vanilla.  It’s called Vanilla Creme but nowhere is Vanilla listed! I then stopped looking at the ingredients because they made my tummy rumble more.  😦

 

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Last but not least, the bar in Dark Chocolate and Sea salt. This is a meal replacement bar and has 10 grams of protein and 200 calories.  Ninety of those calories come from fat and the protein derives from Soy, not Whey. I look at the list and there are so many other bars on the market with better core ingredients and even protein impact, and with less fat! This bar is super sweet and off in taste, plus costs more than the better bars. The Dark Chocolate has a waxy texture and is of poor quality. I did not go past the one bite because my calories and fat matters. The bar is filled with syrups derived from everything from brown rice, tapioca and simple cane. They added Inulin as a source of fiber, plus Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil to hold it all together. Let me add the above comes before the Cocoa itself and Oats was still listed before the chocolate! They might as well called the flavored Sweet Oats-y. The only positive is that it has Almonds as a first ingredients but I felt they were ruined by the rest!

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Final Verdict:

I love the VoxBoxes and Influenster!  I am not so in love with Slim Fast.  I think back and they are a company that his been around a long time but I feel they are always playing catch up and still stuck in the motto of “portion control baggies”.  Most people that are serious about losing weight and/or managing their weight, can portion out an individual serving.  They sell containers to baggies to help you out that serve as a carrying vessel and probably keep the products in more decent shape.  You can use a scale or like I do, I still use a scale but I test myself first to see if I can visually guess-estimate on my own and then verify with the scale.  I notice I usually serve myself a little under the 1 serving a packaging lists.  I can do math, so I don’t need someone doing it for me.  Next, the ingredients used are “old school” but not in a good way.  Cheap sugars, bad oils, artificial flavors and dyes, and poor protein sources is not what I call healthy eating.  Yes, you get less calories but that is barely the entire picture when eating well.  You need good fats, a good source of protein and more to stay energized.  Yes, the Slim Fast products come with vitamins and minerals but again a multi-vitamin can do that for you if that is what you desire!  I looked at the products as a whole and asked myself is this a balanced diet?  Slim Fast does not state just eat our food solely but the 1 meal or 2 real meals you add in a day should not make-up for everything you did not get.  I want energy and I’m not even asking for a boost of it from products, just keep me going in the day.  If I started with a shake, ate a bar for lunch (maybe 1 or 2 crisp snacks) and then ate dinner…..well, when my body is suppose to be winding down is when my body got the better fuel.  Yeah, that did not sit well with me!  Then I saw the price points because convenience comes at a price and Slim Fast was more expensive than the “golden dietary products” on the market.  Um, I’m paying more to eat less better is what entered my head.  Yeah, I prefer paying the bills Santa brought and managing my weight with other products than paying for products that are sub-par both in how they were made and how they came out of a bag!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Slim Fast and Influenster.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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BzzAgent: Silk Cashew Milk #Review #SilkCashew

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Non-Dairy milks are not foreign to me and especially enjoy the nut based versus the soy ones. My favorite has been a toasted Coconut and Almond blend I have been enjoying, however when BzzAgent offered the new Silk Cashew milk, I was eager to give it a try.

Silk’s Cashew Milk comes in a carton and is located in the refrigerated section. You see a huge cashew nut, which gets you thinking you will taste the cashew when you try it. I would say that is not what I got when I tasted the milk on it’s own. It’s more closely to soy milk versus any nut milk I have tried. I know cashews have buttery notes and that was not present. I even bit into an unsalted cashew to make sure I had not momentarily forgotten what the nut tasted like. The milk is also thicker in consistency and this is not a natural effect, but more from the emulsifiers and thickeners added. As the product ages, I also found that it tasted less enjoyable. It sort of just tastes like if you took tapioca and blended it finely. I like tapioca and I like cashews, but unsure the Silk Cashew milk delivered what I expected. I tried the product with cereals, granola, fruit to even chocolate and the latter sort of added at least some more flavor and helped disguise the texture, so it’s more a product that I would consider as an add-on. Add it to chocolate to have a healthier chocolate blend. Would be great with whey protein shakes and the such because it’s also not as nutritious as you would want on it’s own. Not high on protein at all…..like less than 1 gram per serving. Yes, it’s only 25 calories for 1 cup but if it were not for the added vitamins and minerals that were added after, it’s not that high. You get 160 mg of sodium and 45% of your daily calcium, which is sourced from the calcium carbonate added. If you buy the unsweetened version, you get 0 grams of sugar but if you purchase the “original”, you get 7 grams. The product is advertised as creamy and I associate the texture more as thick but from the Locust bean, not the nut itself. I think it falls in being a middle of the road product where you could find better nut milks that offer a higher nutrition value and flavor, but if you want a little bit of change, you can try the Cashew milk by Silk.

Ingredients: (Unsweetened version) Cashewmilk (Filtered Water, Cashews), Sea Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Almond Butter, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid

VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D2.

Retail Price Point: $2.32 at Target for a 64 ounce carton was the lowest price-point I could find. You can also use a coupon here.

I did find a place for Silk’s Cashew milk and that is in baking.  The product has a good amount of thickeners and because it’s better tasting than water, you at least can replace some of the product with Silk’s Cashew milk where water is called for.  I baked my usual non-dairy chocolate cake with it and added Cocoa powder and coffee, which I steeped in hot cashew milk.  The recipe called for 1 cup of water or left-over coffee, so why not go with something more flavorful.  The other positive that is hard to pass up, the price point.  Super cheap at Target where a large carton can be found and if you add a coupon, the cashew milk price makes the product taste sweeter!  The only limitations at Target is that you can usually find the original and unsweetened version.  My two Targets did not stock the chocolate or vanilla so far.  Now, I love Silk Chocolate milk, so I’m curious about that version!

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Connect with Silk Cashew Milk at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from BzzAgent and Silk.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Smiley360: 5 Hour Energy Drink in Pink Lemonade #5HourGoesPink #Review

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I got an offer from Smiley360 recently. It was for a 5-Hour Energy shot. Um…yes please! Are you kidding me? This time of year? I’m dragging my tired little butt around trying to put things together for the holidays, for the home, for hubby, for the dog. Oh yeah, and if I have a spare second or two, a moment for myself. I quick pick me up, and pink lemonade flavored to boot? My only complaint at the time was I only got two.

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Now, I’ve tried 5-Hour Energy before. Let’s just say I wasn’t their biggest cheerleader. The flavor was…not great. Very bitter, hard to swallow. In fact, I couldn’t. Neither could hubby.We haven’t been back to it since. I had high hopes for the new push and new flavor. And while it was better, it was also still bitter, but not to the point of being unable to finish it. So it’s flavor grade is a solid “B”.

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As for the most important feature, the energy boost. With 200 mg of caffeine, as well as nearly 1700 mgs of other proprietary energy ingredients, and 540 mgs of B vitamins, you’d think it could send someone up the walls and hanging off the ceiling. However, that wasn’t the case for me. Maybe my tolerances are higher, maybe I just was expecting to have some jitters or shakes. Neither was the case, and if anything I was disappointed in not having that “superman” feeling where I flit around the house getting everything accomplished like The Flash. Oh well.

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5-Hour Energy also partnered with Living Beyond Breast Cancer to donate 5 cents from every bottle sold to LBBC, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people with trusted breast cancer information and community support. Just look for the bottle with the pink ribbon to help out, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $200,000. Not too shabby.

Connect with 5-Hour Energy on:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Smiley360 and 5-Hour Energy.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Swaggable: Belegenza RoMANce Deep Conditioning Treatment #Review

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I read up on Belegenza and their products on-line. Belengenza’s (bel-a-jen’-za) name is made up of two italian/latin words, where Bel meaning beauty and Gen for genesis. The company’s website was very informative and they make hair products that fit everyone’s needs. Their products are gentle but effective and very in tune with nature by using natural ingredients.

I used the shampoo and let’s see how the conditioner plays with my hair!

Belegenza RoMANce Deep Conditioning Treatment: A formula made to nourish your hair from tip to tip. Helps replenish moisture and also keep it there, but also encourages a healthier growth due to it being kind to your scalp. Referred as the “energizer” due to it’s combination of naturally derived ingredients, this deep treatment is perfect for fine to even coarsely textured hair. You have again the very welcoming Aloe Vera as a base and 3 different kinds of seaweeds to nourish your strands. It does not stop there, also Jojoba essence, Honey, Coconut extracts and oils from Olives and Lanolin. Don’t forget your vitamins, Belegenza also feeds your hair with a healthy dose of Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E. A powerful combination of ingredients and also free of fillers, sulfates, silicone, alcohol…..well, let’s say with the smoothie craze at an all time high, the above blend is surely going to feed your hair!

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Ingredients as listed on their site: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hypnea Musciformis (Hawaiian Seaweed) Extract, Gelidiela Acerosa (Gulfweed Seaweed) Extract, Sargassum Filipendula (Red Mapleweed) Extract, Sorbitol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Metosulphate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Honey, Cetyl Alcohol, Silk Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Secret Salon Ingredient, Acetyl Tyrosine (Amino Acid), Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Lanolin Oil, L-Cysteine (Amino Acid), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Pyridoxine HCL-5-Phosphate (Vitamin B6), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), Panthenol, Oleyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Benzophenone-4, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Phthalate-free fragrance.

Performance: The treatment again smells so good when applied that it is seriously aromatherapy in the shower. I applied a small amount and it dispersed well through out my hair. A little goes a long way and I left the conditioner on for 5 minutes. Rinsed out nicely and you get instant softness and shine. I towel dried my hair and then proceeded to blow dry. You can feel moisture is locked-in but not the heaviness. My hair still had it’s natural body and lift, so it does deep condition without that flat and even greasy film some deep treatments leave behind. Belegenza had none of that! My hair was easy to style and I felt the treatment did help and especially with the stress my hair gets from heated elements like a flat-iron to blow drying. The RoMANce is definitely there because Belegenza loves my hair but forgives me for not always being the best gal to it.

Price Point: $36.00; Trial size bottle available for $17.00

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Again very happy with the performance of the Belegenza products and how they left my hair feeling and looking healthy.

For more information on the above product or to view the full Belegenza line, please visit:

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I received the above product free of charge from Swaggable and Belegenza.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Smiley360: Centrum Flavor Burst Multivitamin/Multiminerals Chews Review

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Being a Smiley360 member has it’s perks and one is being able to try new products. I was recently sent the Centrum Flavor Burst Vitamin and Mineral Chews, in Pineapple and Wild Grape flavors. I’m always about finding new ways to nourish the body because quite frankly, I get bored doing the same thing day after day. Variety is really what I seek and I have taken the gummy vitamins in the past, but not liking the idea of having gummy pieces stuck to my teeth right after I brushed them in the morning.

What a product is made of and how it tastes matters, especially if you will be taking something daily or several times through out the day. I do think in today’s market of supplements, just settling is not something you have to do anymore. There are so many products from drinks, chews, pills, to even infused chocolates….so I was eager to see what Centrum had to offer in this world of Vitamin and Minerals.

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Centrum Flavor Burst Chews come in several flavors and range in cost from $9.97 at Amazon for a bottle of 120 chews to Walmart’s price point of $7.97 for a 60 count bottle. The highest price point was at CVS for $12.49 for 120 chews, followed closely by Walgreens at $11.79 for the same count, so I suggest price matching and seeking the lowest cost before you buy because they vary greatly.

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I brought up the count because the suggested serving amount for an adult is 4 chews daily…sort of makes the bottle not last as long when most chews of this kind are formulated for 2 a day. The bottle will be disappearing at a fast rate but you can also adjust your intake by your needs and even adjust through out the day.

A Centrum Flavor Burst adult serving has the following daily values (4 Chews Count):

  • Vitamin A 2000 IU, providing 40% of your Daily Value
  • Vitamin C 60 mg, 100% DV
  • Vitamin D 800 IU, 200% DV
  • Vitamin E40 IU, 133% DV
  • Vitamin B6 2mg, 100% DV
  • Folic Acid 400 mcg, 100% DV
  • Vitamin B12 10mcg, 167% DV
  • Biotin 150 mcg, 50% DV
  • Pantothenic Acid 10 mg, 100% DV
  • Iodine 80 mcg, 53% DV
  • Zinc 5 mg, 33% DV

DV based on a 2,000 caloric diet

You can see with the above values that with most you meet or exceed the 100% suggested daily intake, so this is why I opted to adjust my serving by my nutritional needs and Centrum does facilitate that by breaking up the serving by 4 a day.

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Wild Grape Flavor:
This was my least favorite flavor because I picked up more of the vitamin taste and the aftertaste was just not pleasant. I also looked at the ingredient list and this particular flavor has Blue 2 Lake food coloring, while the other flavor I tested did not, so that turned me off on top of it being the worst tasting. I tried by day 3 chewing another and I met my limit with what this flavor had to offer…so not wild about it!

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Pineapple:
The Pineapple has a nice tropical taste and does not list any artificial food dyes. The dyes listed are derived from Annatto, which is a food dye derived from the seeds of the achiote tree and Beta-Carotene. Keeping it natural is what I seek so I liked this, plus like I mentioned the flavor is pleasant.

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Quick Note on the Pros: No water needed and you can adjust your intake on a daily basis because the adult serving is broken up into 4 chews. Pineapple was good tasting and the percentages on a daily values scale was not unfavorable. It’s more like a “Skittle’s” candy when it comes to texture, so no candy or gummy residue is left on your teeth after you chew.

Quick Note on the Cons: Both flavors I tasted contain Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin and Sucrose. I know Maltodextrin can be derived from barley and wheat, so this can be an issue for Celiac disease suffers. The Grape contains an artificial dye, plus it’s taste was unpleasant. Watch where you buy because the price fluctuates greatly and keep note of the count per bottle when comparing price points.

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I do have a coupon to share that saves you $2.00, so that is always a great start:

If you would like further information on Centrum Flavor Burst Multivitamin Chews, please visit them at:

I received the above product free of charge from Smiley360 and Centrum. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Smiley Mission: Emergen-C

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I got the opportunity to try the some of the latest flavors of Emergen-C, thanks to Smiley (www.smiley360.com), and let me tell you, if I wasn’t already a fan, I certainly would be now!

A lot of times, with these “immune booster” drinks, they taste like some unholy combination of ground-up Flinstones vitamins and Alka-Seltzer.  Which is about as tasty as it sounds. That’s not the case with Emergen-C. You get a 1000mg of Vitamin C, a little jolt of energy from 7 B-vitamins, 24 different nutrients, antioxidants and electrolytes, and a glass full of great flavors that range from super orange, raspberry, blueberry-acai, cranberry-pomegranate, pink lemonade…the flavors go on and on. Chances are, there’s at least one for you! Did I mention they’re fizzy, too? Yeah, they’re fizzy. Score!

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As for the purported benefits, I can say that this is definitely a “your mileage may vary” situation, but I can tell you from experience that I rarely leave home without a glass of my Emergen-C. There’s a lot of yucky germs floating around out there in crowded places like grocery stores, malls, and movie theaters. People coughing, sneezing, generally being unclean, snotty, germ factories. I will always welcome a little kick to my immune system before wading through all of that.

I will say that I like mine with a little more water and sip throughout the day, where as hubby makes one small 8 oz. glass and chugs it. Weirdo. He loves the little kick he gets and the electrolytes and potassium for after strenuous activities. But I can safely say this is an Emergen-C household, for now and the immediate future!

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Check out Emergen-C and find your flavor or flavors:

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I received the above products free of charge from Smiley.  I am not obligated in providing a positive/favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the brand and/or products, which may differ from yours.

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