Vitamix Blender sale – one of the best investments you can make

VitamixJust a short/sweet today . . . select Vitamix blenders are on sale up to $150 off, now until March 18th, at Williams Sonoma. Plus, you get free shipping!

Now, why would I care to share this with you?

Well, if I had to pick a handful of objects I own that made the biggest difference in my everyday life, one of those would be my Vitamix blender.

I’ve found Vitamix blenders to be versatile, strong and easy to clean. I researched many brands of blenders, processors, pulsers and even tried and returned a Ninja that I thought was the best of the bunch.

Initially, I didn’t think I could afford a Vitamix (or justify purchasing one) . . . yes, they are a pretty big investment when it comes to an appliance. But the quality is worth the investment.

I wanted a new blender around 4 or 5 years ago when I began making protein fruit/veggie smoothies after my runs.

I began with a Magic Bullet, which was great for making single serve smoothies, right in a take-and-go cup. It was perfect initially, but as I made extra for a snack later in the day, I wanted something larger. And to be honest, the MB didn’t quite blend all the fruits and vegetables as finely as I like.

So, a friend (John B.) from work turned me on to a site that sold reconditioned Vitamix blenders. At first I was leery of buying one reconditioned, but it came with a good warranty. I saved over $100 and it’s been awesome ever since!

My Vitamix is a fun red color, has a super-strong motor that blends everything from ice to almonds. Plus, it doesn’t only crush ice . . . I’ve made the best southwest tortilla soup I’ve ever tasted using it. I have used it as a food processor as well.

Additionally, it makes an incredible cocktail base when you blend ice with nearly any fresh or frozen fruit!

It cleans so easily too . . . all you do is put hot tap water with dishwashing soap in it, put it back on the base, turn it on for a bit and rinse it with clean water.

So, if you’re looking for some help for your Easter prep, or even just want to make smooth smoothies, head over to the Vitamix sale at Williams Sonoma before March 18th!


Make Time To Change. No dietiing or hours working out in the gym.For more tips on living a healthier life,
get my book on the Amazon Kindle site!

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My first Amazon Kindle book release! “Fun Fixes – Lasting Weight Loss Through Easy Exercise & Healthy Eating”

Make Time To Change. No dietiing or hours working out in the gym.A few months ago, I created another blog (www.MakeTimeToChange.com) to support my upcoming book, tentatively named, “Make Time To Change: The Busy Person’s Guide to Improving Your Life Today.”

The posts on there are aimed at providing quick & easy ways to make positive changes in your busy life.

A few of the posts there are:
11 Ways to Become a Superhero at Confidence and Save the Day
How to make your life better right now by realizing we all have confirmation bias

10 Easy Forms of Exercise When You’re Ready to Throw in the (Gym) Towel


I didn’t know the exact steps for self-publishing a Kindle book on Amazon, so before my “life-changer” book comes out, I wanted to test the waters with a different book.

To do that, I put together the very best tips and information I had researched for all of you for this blog and combined it in a nice, compact, easy-to-read eBook format.

Today, I published it to the Amazon Kindle site!

What is the name of the book you ask?…

Fun Fixes – Lasting Weight Loss Through Easy Exercise and Healthy Eating

…and what is the book about?

It is the best of what I have learned in SUPPORTING you in weight loss, INSPIRING you to make healthy changes for yourself & loved ones and MOTIVATING you to do bigger and better things.

Where can you purchase the Fun Fixes book?

Right HERE.

If you purchase NOW you can get it for only $2.99! After midnight this Sunday, the price goes up to $7.99!

If you get the book, please leave a glowing 4 or 5 star review there. That would be HUGE for helping my present rankings as well as future ones!

NOTE: If you don’t have a Kindle reader and need a PDF or iBooks file, just purchase the Kindle version, email me a screen capture of your receipt and I will personally send you any type of file you need.

Buy Fun Fixes book hereThank you!

Mike

funfitteam2011@gmail.com

 

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Did I get scammed?

Happy Halloween, folks! Hope you got more tricks than treats!

Speaking of tricks…these days there are so many ways we can get scammed. Mostly online, but in-person too.

pexels-photo-365194.jpegI receive an email just about every day claiming “Your Paypal account has been frozen due to unknown sign-ins… click link to verify your account.” Yeah, right…

“Your Amazon order needs attention!” is another I get all the time. Phish much?

There’s also an email claiming it is from Apple iTunes saying “Your Apple ID has been compromised.” And then they try to get you to supply all your login info and charge all sorts of things to your account!

With all these going on, it’s hard to know what to believe.

Here’s what just happened to me that I wonder about…

Money, gas, donate, charityOn my way home from work I noticed my gas gauge was around 1/4 tank, so I stopped to fill up.

I pulled my credit card out of my wallet and was about to put it in the pump and a guy around 40 years old approached me.

I held on to my card a little tighter as he got closer and he said, “I’m really sorry to bother you, but I don’t know what else to do…”

I didn’t say a word and just eyed him suspiciously for invading my space with my exposed credit card out.

He continued, hitching his thumb back towards his car saying, “My wife and I are trying to get back home to Tinley and I realized I left my wallet at home. I’m really embarrassed, but would you be able to give me $5 for gas just so we can make it home?”

Now, granted…we were in West Chicago and for all purposes, Tinley IS on pretty much the other side of the earth from here…

But I’ve heard all about scams like this so I replied to him, “I’m sorry, but I’ve been burned by things like this before.”

He said, “I can understand that, but I’m not asking for $5, just $5 worth of gas.” I told him my same reply as above and added, “…maybe go inside the gas station and ask them if they can do anything.”

He said he already tried that and thanks anyway.

Once he walked away I used my card and pumped my gas. I watched him and he walked back to his car and stood outside there, seeming to be thinking about what he should do…”

Here were my thoughts…Why is he all the way out here with no wallet…wouldn’t he have needed it for whatever he was here for? Why doesn’t his wife have a credit card or any cash either?

But I also thought…if this guy IS actually legit and I was in this same situation, wouldn’t I need the help too? Everyone’s place in life is different and maybe they don’t have a credit card. Someday I will be judged for my actions and I don’t want St. Peter at the Pearly Gates reminding me of that time I didn’t give that needing soul $5 for gas (darn Catholic guilt!)…

5DollarBill_PexelsBut even though I’m just coming off of a short weekend trip and I didn’t really have extra to give, I thought to myself…”$5 won’t put me in the poor house even if it is a scam. And if he is legit, I did something good and helped him make it home tonight.”

So, I replaced the pump, walked over to him and said, “Here dude, $5 won’t kill me…get home safe.”

He brightened and took the bill, thanking me.

The past has an influence on the present – whether that’s good or bad

Looking at things that have happened to me before, and trying to figure out if I was just scammed or not, I do have a couple negative experiences in this realm.

Many times I’ve seen a guy on the exit of the Stephenson, panning for money with a cardboard sign saying “Jobless, please help. God bless.” I always wonder if these people are scamming or not. In the case of this guy with the sign, I ended up seeing him across the room at a bar/grill one day, which solidified my theory that he was scamming for beer money and really pissed me off, to be honest.

On other occasions, I have seen people with signs saying they are hungry. And a time or two I’ve given them my second breakfast burrito or an extra taco another time and they genuinely were thankful. I won’t give them money, but I will give them food. However, another time I offered another one of them food and they said, “No, I just want money.” …Hmmmmmm…

i-give-you-love-1169523So, how do you know what is legitimate and what is a scam? Can you ever know for sure?

I guess you just have to do what feels right and see if your heart tells you one way or another.

I’d like to think I made the right choice with the gas man.

Post a comment and let us know if you have ever been scammed or if you’ve found out you really did do something to help someone.

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A new way of stepping outside of the box

If you’ve been a member of the FunFitTeam blog for awhile, you know I love (and need) variety in my life. Everything from new exercises & recipes to new bluetooth earbuds & even bath soaps.

Following that vein, a week ago today, I stopped for an iced coffee in a strip mall I pass by every day to work and saw a new business I never noticed before. It was called Title Boxing Club.

 

FullSizeRender 3

Does the heavy bag behind me make me look tough?

Looking in the windows I saw about 30 heavy boxing bags hanging in a wide open space. I have been needing a new exercise motivation lately (again!), so just for kicks, on the way home I stopped at Title Boxing to get more info.

 

I talked with an instructor and another worker there for a little while. As I was getting details, it turns out they are a bit expensive in my eyes, but are cheaper if you commit to 12 months. I know myself and my need for variety and have a feeling I may move on to something new again within the next 3 months.

Right then, the instructor, Eric, asked: “Want to join us for a free test class today?” I told him I happened to have my gym bag in the car, so my reply was “Why not?!”

After changing my clothes, I found the people there so helpful…from how to put handwraps on (to protect knuckles inside the boxing gloves) to finding a spot by one of the heavy bags.

The class began with some great music mixes playing loudly to pump you up. Eric was on a microphone calling out and demonstrating moves for getting warmed up. After I watched the clock tick down 15 minutes, Eric then said “ “Ok…warm up is over.” I tiredly said out loud to myself, “Are you kidding me?!” That 15 minute “warm up” was more of a workout than many others I’ve done in the past!

pixabay.comWhen I found out the class was to be 60 minutes total, I got a little scared! I honestly didn’t think I could make it through the whole thing. But looking around, there were about 7 guys of varying ages and about 6 women…one of them looking to be around 60 years old. The variety of people made me feel a lot better and more comfortable because they also looked to be at varying levels of fitness.

I had a challenging time coordinating the sets of moves…”Jab, jab, cross, hook, hook, uppercut”, but the more I did it, the better I got at keeping up…and the harder I could hit the bag.

I pushed through and made it through the whole class, sweating all over my area of the mat and taking a couple breaks during class to get a drink of water from the water fountain.

Another amusing thing was the time between rounds that they called “rest time”. In their minds r rest time was burpees and mountain climbers! What?!…maybe in Hell that’s rest time! In my little world, rest time consists of sitting on my butt for 30 seconds between sets to catch my breath and wipe the sweat off my forehead with a towel.

The so-called cool-down was very similar to the above-mentioned rest time. It was doing sit ups with a medicine ball and planks…which isn’t a cool-down in my book…that is called THE workout in the circles I run in!

Once the class was over and after I wiped the gym mat with their provided wet-wipes, Eric asked, “So what did you think?” The only thing I could exclaim through my totally exhausted body was “Holy sh*#!” We both laughed and I left to go home to shower and so I could figure out if this would be realistic to continue or a one-time thing.

That Thursday I was back…signing up for one month of torture boxing classes! (LOL) You can go as many times in a month as you want so it would be worth it to someone who could go 3 or 4 times a week. For me, twice a week would be the most I could do because of my full-time job and my weekend work. Plus, that would give me a couple days to recuperate between classes! The Thursday class was awesome too, with a newer instructor named Sara leading.

All in all, the classes are grueling, fun and I feel totally accomplished after finishing each one. It is exactly what I needed to jump-start a new type of workout. The classes switch things up too, so it satisfies my need for variety.

freeimages.comTo give an accurate review, I would say that there are only two downsides to the club. One is that there are no locker rooms there, so I would never be able to do it before work even if I wanted to (I wouldn’t regardless because I’m just not a morning exerciser). It is pretty close to home, so that’s not the worst thing in the world for me to wait until I get home to shower. The second downside is that it is a bit steep in price. However, since I’m choosing to pay by the month and may stop after awhile, I can justify it. Especially, since it is the best workout I could ever find! I just finished class 3 and I’m still in!

Give the free class a try…I dare you! 😉

 

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Finding Meaning in Your Seasons of Life

Long time – no hear!

SeasonsWow, time sure flies! I know…I know… it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, and a few people have mentioned missing your friendly neighborhood Blogger-Man, asking me to start it up again.

Well, today is your lucky day, fair citizens! Since we last talked, within the last year, a few large life changes have leaped out at me, including the heartbreaking loss of my furry best friend, Chewie – who I had mentioned in nearly EVERY post. Also, a recent job change coincided with that. As a result of these events, I feel I am in a transition of seasons myself.

I am of the opinion that just as nature travels through its seasons, so do people and businesses. Here in the Midwest, the cycle moves from growth (Spring) all the way through hibernation (Winter) and renews itself over and over again.


So, right up front, here’s one place my present season is taking me: I want to transition this blog from a primarily exercise-focused motivation to a more all-inclusive, whole-life-benefitting focus. After all, it seems like I had already been walking down that path for some time now. Additionally, I have been more interested in mind-health lately than physical health. Plus, I love writing for all of you, so I would like to get back into it.

Note: near the end of this post you will find my “Biography” or mission…what I’d like my life to look like, or what drives me…in case you want to know more about it.


In Spring, all the new grass, plants, insects and food sprout and grow (and the annoying birds, chirping and rustling in my house vent wake me up too early in the morning!). In Summer, things really heat up and those very plants and insects get vibrant and really flourish. Fall comes and things begin to cool off and seem to start slowing down. Finally, winter hits, killing things off or causing them to go temporarily dormant.


The beautiful thing is that this cyclical process invigorates, causes even stronger growth and provides extra energy to all things.


People and businesses are similar. Sometimes the “Seasons of Life” are paired up with the Christian faith or may refer to the cycle of birth-through-death, but I am talking more in the sense of multiple, constant changes of seasons throughout ones’ lives.

man-wearing-blue-blazer-on-business-meeting-picjumbo-comWe go through seasons like that of school, where we need to really focus and get strong at it (or fail and find something else), finish and move on to the next cycle or interest. Maybe the next season would be meeting someone, falling in love and marrying them. After that, the new season may be finding a specific career, really focusing on it, climbing up the corporate ladder and settling nicely into a manager or upper leadership role. Still another season may be a new interest or having children… we all have countless seasons throughout our lives and they may be different for each of us.

In my case, transitioning to my new job felt like a sort of homecoming because I worked there 20 years ago for 6 years! Great people, great company. But this change is difficult too because I also had to leave many super-close friends as well as leaving a great company. (Can you now see why this season is a difficult one?!)

There’s another season I’ve gone through concerning a certain area of my life that is not a negative at all – it’s just a change in my interests that is resulting in my preference to transition into a new type of blog.

The First Season:
I began this blog years ago as motivational support to an awesome, close-knit team who I wanted to motivate to run the Chicago Marathon in 2013. I also began running at that time as well. I became VERY interested in physical health and exercise and my posts were all about that.

red-happy-shoes-in-grass-and-dandelions-picjumbo-comThe Second Season:
While I was maintaining running and exercising I began adding some fun, interesting stories as well as healthy recipes, always reading and searching for information that might help my readers. At the end of this Season, I branched out a bit and posted about more mind-health (such as meditation) instead of physical health.

I guess I knew all along that physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, but recently I began devouring information of all sorts about Psychology, learning, motivation and how the brain works.

The Present Season:
In the last few months, I have taken some free (but pretty in-depth) courses through MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses). I have completed one on Life Coaching that was really good, another on Positive Psychology and a 3rd called MindShift and the science of memory.

During the Life Coaching course, I actively learned by personally completing all the activities. As a result, I figured out my “Biography” or mission – what I’d like my life to look like, or what drives me. It is kind of personal to me, but I want to put it out there in case any of you are going through difficult (or exciting new!) seasons and need a little assistance or motivation too…


MIKE’S BIOGRAPHY:MikeBetter

I would like to use my knowledge and talents to help others figure out how to create a happier, more productive life.

Having worked for a few large companies (Ace, Follett, McDonald’s) has given me the opportunity to grow my skills and experience in the realms of graphics, communications, and marketing which I can bring to new opportunities, such as my new, present job at United Labs.

Some of my talents are that I can take complicated information and make it interesting, simple and easy to use, often through using graphics and good layout skills. I listen well and give good advice (from what I’m told!) and I enjoy researching and learning new things I might teach and motivate others with.

A couple of my achievements are having taught myself web design, how to use PowerPoint/Keynote in different ways than they were created for – to make animated learning videos.

I plan on traveling more, writing a self-improvement book, inspiring a great woman who complements me, and raising my son with strong values, a positive attitude and good work ethic. I would also like to lose 20 lbs of body fat, healthily (by eating better and less & exercising smarter and more)!


Like I said, it is kind of personal to share – especially the last sentence!

So, in the end, I am looking forward to this new season of my life and hope you are too. If anyone would like to know how you could come up with your own biography/mission statement/future-focus or even just some more information on one of the courses I took (Life Coach, Mindshift or Positive Psychology), feel free to reach out… I took many notes.

So, what is YOUR next season? Share with us!

–Mike

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The book that’s worth the years in the making… “Make Time To Change”

YayLevelMetHello, my friends . . . I have good news for you . . . it’s almost here! The book I have been working on for a couple years now.

I first needed to research, write, test, rewrite, edit and make sure the book was ready for prime time!

Writing a book is a difficult business. You have to find the time, have patience to cut and move information around, seek feedback and then make good on that feedback . . . all while to keep your motivation up.

Fun FixesWell, I have done all that and gotten some really good praise as well as some constructive feedback. Writing sounds all glamorous and everything, but after selling only 12 copies of my first book, “FunFixes – Lasting Weight Loss Through Easy Exercise and Healthy Eating,” on Amazon Kindle [Shameless plug, cover has been updated for extra happiness], it’s a rough business in the market these days!

I was hoping more friends/followers at FunFitTeam.com and on this site would buy it for just a few bucks . . . but I guess I will have to keep the secrets to losing weight and sustained healthy eating all to myself!

So, what is the new book called? What is it about? When can I get my sweaty paws on a copy of it?!

Slow down there, partner! I’m getting to that right now.

Here’s the beef . . . The book’s name is . . .

“Make Time to Change – Your guide to figuring out a new change, passion or life’s purpose.”

Make Time To Change BookMy aim with this book is to supply the very best tools, information, and support materials to walk you, step-by-step, through activities to help you figure out a new change, passion or your life’s purpose . . . even if you presently have no idea at all where to begin.

Once you find your change, the book will help you set a goal, make a plan and guide you through breaking it into smaller, more manageable actions.

If you feel overly busy, this book can also help you find lost time by going through some simple additional activities.

Finally, the book will help you push through possible challenges you may run into while making your change.

Here’s the schizzle . . . in talking with so many friends, strangers and seeing things online,  I found that so many people are actually unhappy in their lives! Yep, can you believe that?!

You may be  bored, stuck, or frustrated with something in your life. You may feel like you are different than everyone else and that everyone around you seems happy, fulfilled and is making more money, while you feel a bit lost.

Well, I’m here to help take some pressure off of everyone and get rid of some of the barriers in your way that are keeping you from a better life.

We ALL have our baggage, insecurities, pressures, and issues that we carry around with us . . . you just don’t see those things promoted on Facebook and Instagram (Obs!). So, stop being so hard on yourself!

None of us has the perfect life. You are actually in the majority, not the minority, if you are feeling unfulfilled in some aspect of yours.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Just imagine making a change that let’s you…

CongratsYouRock“Walk into a business meeting and instantly command the attention and respect of everyone in the room.”

Marry a beautiful partner who is always there, supporting you and making you feel like you are the main thing in their life.

Be able to afford a big house you feel safe in and love to relax in every night.

Well, my friends, I want you to have the life you’ve always dreamed about.

Are you ready to make it happen?

Here’s the first step . . . simply subscribe to this site to receive exclusive material and advice you won’t find anywhere else.

What, that’s it?!

Yep!

You know why? ‘Cuz when I release Make Time To Change, you will be the first to know and can get it at a great discount.

SupermanIn all honesty, all I really want to do is help you figure out a positive life change you can make that could finally make you happy . . . that is my main goal. After all, haven’t I always given you ways to try and lead a more positive life here and at FunFitTeam.com?

What can it hurt?! Subscribe to this site and learn how to figure out a new interest and possibly even your life purpose. You deserve it!

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Mindshift and Learning

javi_indy-_-FreepikHow do we learn (what makes something stick)? How can we come up with new ideas (and stay creative)? What techniques can we use to remember a person’s name or memorize a list of objects (Lord knows, a new person’s name merely floats through my head during the one second it is told to me)?

Many questions like these were answered a month ago when I took an online course called “Mindshift and the Science of Memory” through McMaster University on Coursera.org.

They consider Mindshift a deep change in life that occurs due to learning. Furthermore, the teachers held that It’s only when you are actively doing something yourself that the learning truly sticks.” This is called Active Learning. I support that thought – many of us can sit and listen to another speak all day, but unless we physically do it ourselves, often that learning does not stay with us. You can listen to, or read about how to throw a baseball, but until you actually do it and feel it, you won’t truly learn how to do it.

The instructors said there are two modes of thinking…focused and diffuse. Focused is when you are really concentrating on something (like what to have for lunch…just kidding!). That is the state of information input into your mind. Focus happens in our brain’s prefrontal cortex (front). We need focus to accumulate knowledge.

On the other hand, sometimes you are too tightly focused on an idea or concept, which puts you too close to it and chokes your thinking. At that point you may need to step back, give it a little room and open up your mind to allow the ideas to percolate or make connections with other thoughts. That is the diffuse mode of thinking – more of a resting state. Diffuse thinking allows us to make intuitive leaps and is more of a processing of information in the background. It uses many parts of the brain to make connections, not just the front of our brain. In the background it processes and organizes information – it is where creativity comes from. And yes, you can be creative in the sense of thinking, even though creativity is normally paired with the Arts.

FocusedVsDiffuseThe best learning and creative thinking come from a combination of focused and diffuse thinking. They work hand-in-hand to deal better with highly complicated information. Interestingly enough, the instructors said that a poor memory is not necessarily always bad – it can actually help you figure out simpler ways to do thing and get more answers. After all, simpler is usually better in all aspects of life. And in people with poor memories (why do I keep thinking they are talking about me, personally?!) when information is forgotten, it actually does open up room for something new to come in. They also say, “Those with poor memories are often more creative.”

The course explains that when focusing – using the prefrontal cortex, we can only hold around 4 chunks of information at a time. That is good and all for small amounts of numbers, notes and languages, but we can also use diffuse thinking to increase those chunks into larger neural “ribbons”, similar to strings of information, to retain something more complex. We can do this by consistent practice because we are creating those strings which leave the rest of your mind free for other processing.

It is similar to when you first learn to drive. At first, everything you do is concentrated on and a task in itself, from turning the car on to parking it. But with practice, before you know it, you don’t even think about the process of driving – which leaves your mind open to daydream or eat your drive-thru!


So, how can you focus better and improve your learning retention?

Following are some easy tips I learned in the Mindshift course and through other reading:

  1. Don’t use loud or disruptive music while studying – you use some of the same parts of your brain to process both, so you are not using your brain to its fullest. Personally, I have to either turn off music or play music with no words in it when I’m concentrating…otherwise, I will be too distracted by the words even if I am not truly listening to the words.
  2. business-office-morning-coffee-picjumbo-comKnock one back… coffee or tea, that is! – actually, caffeine is a mild stimulant and does help you focus. Strongest focus is between 30 and 60 minutes after you drink it, however, the energizing effects may last up to 8 hours.
  3. Close your eyes or gaze upwards when thinking – this may help you avoid some stimulus that may be right in front of you.
  4. Meditate – this helps open your diffuse thinking and can also help alleviate stress and anxiety. I have a whole post on how to meditate here if you want to give that a shot.
  5. Use the Pomodoro technique – Set a timer for 25 minutes, concentrate on your task for that time, then when the timer goes off switch your attention to something else for a bit. That focuses you for a period and then lets diffuse thinking have its way.
  6. Don’t just use your preferred style of learning – use multiple senses to better retain things. Some people prefer to learn through audio (lectures, listening to audiobooks…), kinesthetic or touch (physically doing something) or visual (graphics, reading a physical book). However, for the most successful learning to stick, it is said that using a combination of all three are the best. [More to come on this subject in another post.]
  7. Get up and exercise – physical exercise is one of the most powerful ways to produce energy and increase neural connections.
  8. Sleep tight – according to the sleepfoundation.org, the optimum amount of sleep for adults (between 26-64 years old) is 7-9 hours. Most of us undervalue sleep, which improves health as well as concentration.

So, hopefully that answers a few questions you may have had on learning as well as giving you a few tips for more effective thinking. There were too many other subjects in the Mindshift course that I may touch on in future posts.

As always, I’d love to hear any of your tips or comments.

– Happy Learning!

 

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