Hourglass Ambient Powder in Dim Light & Ambient Powder Brush Review

Hourglass Compact and Brush

Along with my perfume and scarf collection, I’ve acquired quite the heap of highlighters in an attempt to achieve that ever elusive “lit from within” look. What I’ve found so far in my valiant effort to find said effect is either a nice glowy enhancement at best, or too much sparkle or even glitter at worst. I’ve settled for the glow and have been pretty happy leaving it at that.

It’s time to make a little more room in my highlighter drawer because Hourglass has muscled its way in with something new. Many of you beauty blog followers are probably already aware of this latest offering, the Ambient Powder line. It consists of six finishing powders that impart a skin-perfecting “light” and I opted for Dim Light, a neutral beige per the website.

Hourglass Ambient Dim Light and Brush

Hourglass Ambient Open Compact

Hourglass Ambient Dim Light Close up

As you can see from the photos, the powder reads slightly pink in the pan, but once applied it truly is neutral, at least on my light to medium olive skin (NC30). Cutting to the chase regarding sparkles, there are none to be seen in natural light, nor under your typical bathroom or other indoor lighting. The only circumstance where I could find the tiniest trace of sparkle was under the direct and intense light of the heat lamp in the bathroom with my hand mirror. Not your normal situation. So hooray, it passed!

More importantly, this powder is the most beautiful highlighter I have ever used. I have used it every day for over a month on my cheekbones and am continually impressed with how much softer it makes my skin appear. For the first week of use, I kept forgetting that I had applied the powder, and when I would look in the mirror I’d think to myself, “Did I get more sleep than usual last night?” And yep, you guessed it, I also thought more than once, “I kinda look lit from within!”

Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush

I’ve only applied Dim Light with the Ambient Powder Brush and I am loving this as well. Its shape is perfect for applying the powder along the cheekbone, but might not be ideal for applying over your entire face if you truly want to use this as a finishing powder. Because of the powder’s pinkish tone, I feel more comfortable using this on my cheekbones and I do adore the effect that the powder and the brush create. I highly recommend them both, with the caveat that while there are no parabens, phthalates or fragrance in Hourglass cosmetics, this is not an all natural product.

Hourglass is available at Hourglass.comSephora.com and Barney’s, $45 for the powder and $35 for the brush.

Check out The Non Blonde for a review of Hourglass Ambient Powder in Radiant Light.
All photographs were taken by me.

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Hourglass PR. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes

I was given the opportunity to test a few Josie Maran products recently, and felt mixed about it at first. I’m always up for trying something new, but I’d been turned off by what I had perceived as “greenwashing” on the JM Cosmetics website. I won’t bet money on this, but a couple years ago, I remember reading words like “100% natural” and “petrochemical-free.” Yet, when I delved into the ingredients, I found several that seemed synthetic and most likely petrol-derived.

If you’re a regular reader here, or have read my “about” page, you know that I am not a purist and have a mix of all natural beauty products in my collection, as well as those that do contain synthetics. What I don’t like though, is when a company sells you on the notion that they are 100% natural, yet upon closer inspection, you find you’ve been mislead. That’s how I felt about Josie Maran Cosmetics.

I don’t know if I’ve loosened up, or if her website has changed, but something’s different. Gone is the promotion of her line as exclusively “all natural,” “green,” or “organic.” This feels more honest, allowing me to embrace what she’s got going on with her company which includes eco-friendly packaging, charitable giving and a website that lists all product ingredients.

To be clear, the overwhelming majority of her line contains ingredients that are naturally derived and none of them contain phthalates or parabens. Organic argan oil, sourced from women’s cooperatives in Morocco, is used in every product which not only helps those women to support themselves and their families, but also to protect the argan forests through responsible harvesting practices and reforestation projects. You can read more about the Josie Maran “Giving Back” philosophy at her website.

Today I’m going to focus on the Beautiful Eyes Palette in Beautiful Smoke. Upon first opening the compact, I was admittedly a bit disappointed as cool grays are not my favorite. I definitely prefer warmer colors, but was happy to give it a try nevertheless.

The texture of these shadows is a little hard, so I was concerned about application. Turns out, the pigment adheres nicely to the brush with just a few swipes over the eyeshadows. The two lightest colors are too frosty for my liking, but I had a fun time playing with different looks that I ultimately found flattering, just not for frequent use. The dark shimmery gray color (lower left pan in the photo below) is really lovely on the lid, and when smudged out, the charcoal eyeliner (in the center) completes the smoky-eye.

The brown on the lower right might seem like the odd ball of the palette, but it blends in nicely when applied as an eyeliner and to the upper lid, close to the lash line. I wore the brown color today as an eyeliner on its own, and was impressed that at least 75% of it remained intact after a full day which included over an hour of rigorous tennis.

Below are two shots of me messing around with my camera, pretending to be a beauty blogger. I hope the last one isn’t too laughably amateurish. I’ve reluctantly included it since it shows off the shimmer quite accurately. I’m also wearing one coat of Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara in Aubergine, Korres powder blush in 16 Pink , and Ilia Beauty lipstick in Arabian Nights.

Visit Best Things in Beauty for a review of the Argan Beautiful Eyes Palette in Beautiful Nudes.

Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes is available at JosieMaranCosmetics.com for $36. Mine was sent to me by the PR people for Josie Maran. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

All photos were taken by me and are mine. If you ask nicely, I’ll let you use them :-)

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Holiday Gift Guide

 

It was difficult to edit my gift picks as I want everything I reviewed this past year and would love to give them all as gifts. In any event, here it is, an attempt that hopefully covers reasonable price points and varying tastes to aid in your gifting pleasure.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Hedera Helix: Wouldn’t you love to receive the lovely compacts pictured above? I certainly would as they’re filled with Roxana Villa’s newest fragrance, Hedera Helix, an olfactory ode to ivy. Not surprisingly, this perfume is a leafy green chypre that has a dense and addicting note of oakmoss as its foundation. Both incarnations of Hedera Helix, solid and liquid, are a complex blend of nearly forty different essences, but I prefer the solid’s focus on the effervescent top notes of clementine, orange blossom, and grapefruit. (The liquid is much more resinous and inky and also very beautiful). The heart is full of warm beeswax and woods and the drydown is dappled with sweet rose and jasmine petals. I find this progression from chypre green to pale pink to be quite compelling and all together lovely. The mini compact is $30 for approximately 1.5 gm. If you live in the Portland, OR area, you can test Roxana’s perfumes at Spring Creek Store.

Red Flower Sweet Alyssum: Sweet Alyssum is Red Flower’s latest perfume offering which evokes the burgeoning blossoms of spring. And what better time to have your spirits lifted by iris, violet, honey and hay than in the middle of winter’s darkness? It’s a scent to daydream by. Plan that escape to a sundrenched shore, or imagine the color of that first blooming violet, heralding the new garden season. Whatever the dream, Sweet Alyssum will make it brighter. Sweet Alyssum is $138 for 1.0 oz, exclusively at Garnet Hill.

 

Alima Nourishing Lip Balm: Speaking of dreams, I can’t go to bed without putting lip balm on my lips. And I know I’m not the only balm addict out there. I bet you’re one yourself, or you know one pretty well. Alima’s Nourishing Lip Balm will satisfy even the pickiest guy or gal with its minty scent and smooth texture. Natural is sans color, perfect for bedtime or over lipstick, but I also adore Fig, a shimmering bronzy-plum that’s perfect for everyday wear. $7 per tube at Saffron Rouge.

Ilia Beauty Blossom Lady: I reviewed Ilia’s lipsticks in September and told you all how much I loved Blossom Lady. Well, I am still loving it. So much so that I need to get myself another tube. I also need to pick up a couple extras to give to friends since it’s such a flattering color. I just can’t think of a complexion this would not brighten up! More pictures and gushing are here.  $24 at Beautyhabit.com

For Strange Women Decadence and Debauchery: For Strange Women is a perfumery that I newly found this year and have been enjoying a great deal. I have a few favorites- Moss & Ivy, November, and Horse to be specific- but Decadence and Debauchery ranks high up there and strikes me as the one most people would be drawn to. It has a little bit of everything from tobacco to violet to vanilla and it’s all whipped up into one richly decadent perfume. $40 for 1/4oz bottle of perfume oil on etsy.

Aftelier Perfumes Pear Fir and Coffee Body Oil: Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes always has something new up her sleeve whether its creating Chef’s Essences®, perfumed teas, or candles. This time, she has caught me by surprise with her newest Body Oil & Hair Elixir; Pear Fir and Coffee. That’s quite a trio of scents! When I first applied the oil on my skin I thought, “Huh, that really is pear, fir and coffee.” After twenty minutes more I thought, “Wow! That still is pear, fir and coffee and I’m liking it!” Somehow these seemingly disparate notes- seemingly to me being a fragrance sniffer rather than a fragrance creator- work in concert to not only harmonize with each other but also allow each other room to shine as individual notes. This oil would be perfect for the perfumista in your life that is open to new olfactory experiences. $40 for 3.5 oz pump bottle at Aftelier.com.

Chanel No 19 Poudre: I will admit, unabashedly, that I have fallen hard for Chanel No 19 Poudre. I know it hasn’t gotten rave reviews from other perfume bloggers as it’s been deemed as a watered down version of the original, and not terribly inspired. Well, I disagree as Poudre makes me swoon with delight. The opening is a tender and sheer rendering of galbanum unlike the original which is much too cold and sharp for my taste. The iris glistens and remains steadfast throughout Poudre’s evolution, but is at its finest when it melds into the tonka-sandalwood base which is delectable! $85 for 1.7oz at Nordstrom.com.

DSH Vanille Botanique: Another new fragrance launch that has garnered a lot of praise, is Prada Candy. I like it well enough, but I’m not feeling the love quite so strongly. I much prefer DSH Perfumes Vanille Botanique which also starts off with smooth caramel but with a boozy twist. I find Vanille Botanique to satisfy the same type of craving as Candy, but in a more interesting manner. It might not be the “benzoin overload” the Prada PR claim Candy to be, but Vanille Botanique is a lush cloak of tonka, balsams and yes, benzoin. And even though I just sang praises for Chanel Poudre, when given the chance, I would rather spend my dollars on, and give my loved ones a gift from an indie perfumer. $130 for 30ml at indiescents.com.

Happy Shopping! ~Trish

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Morning Routine

 

As much as I enjoy trying new products, nothing beats having reliable favorites that are also a pleasure to use. The above are products that I come back to time and time again, and right now, each one is being used in my morning routine.

After many attempts at finding the perfect facial cleansing oil, I finally settled on Laventine’s just over two years ago. Its high quality, natural ingredients, subtle but lovely aroma, and exceptional efficacy made it the clear winner. I use it every morning when only a gentle cleansing is needed and oftentimes at night to wash away makeup prior to a foaming cleanser. Laventine allows for a wonderful facial massage which aids in its purifying action. I remember reading a post over at IndiePerfumes that delved into the benefits of Ayurvedic facial massage. I’ve never done the full massage described in that post, but I do a mini one quite often which is relaxing and restorative.

After cleansing with the oil, I pat my face with a towel very gently so my skin still feels hydrated from rinsing. I then warm up a large pea-sized amount of Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream in my hands and apply it all over my face, making sure it’s most liberally applied under my eyes. I mentioned this moisturizer in my “favorites list” last spring, and still feel the same way. Even though it feels lightweight, it hydrates like a cream and its effects last all day.

It’s now time to swirl my EcoTools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki around the pan of my Jane Iredale PurePressed Base and then spritz it with some evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol which imparts a slightly dewy finish to the mineral powder. Applying the powder with the EcoTools Kabuki is unbelievably soft and gives moderate coverage since its fibers are not too dense. This makes it really easy to blend, and also build coverage if you prefer more. A few other pluses about this brush are its price point ($7), it doesn’t shed, and it holds up well after cleaning.

As for the PurePressed base, I can’t say enough good things about that either. It has an SPF of 20, a very natural look and does an excellent job at covering up “spots” -say it with a British accent like Lisa Eldridge- as well as dark circles. That’s why I concentrate the Quince Day Cream under my eyes as I apply a good amount of PurePressed Base atop my often visible dark circles with the EcoTools kabuki. In the photo, you’ll see a smaller brush below the kabuki, and that’s my Giorgio Armani Blender Brush. I adore its shape, soft bristles and its ability to blend foundation in hard to reach areas, like the eyes.

After all that, which just takes a couple minutes, the variety begins. It might be simply an eyeliner, mascara and lip balm day, or possibly more with eyeshadow, blush and lipstick added. Either way, I’m set for the day.

Visit The Non Blonde for a full review of the Giorgio Armani Blender Brush.

Laventine Facial Cleansing Oil $24.95 for 8oz
Dr Hauschka Quince Day Cream $35.95 for 1oz
Jane Iredale PurePressed Base $52 for refillable compact. (My first lasted 2 years! Worth the money)
evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol $23.50 for 4oz.
Giorgio Armani Blender Brush $48

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Alima Friends and Fans Sale!


I love so many things from Alima, but here’s what would be first on my list if I didn’t have them already.
-Satin Matte Blush in Tulip and Mimosa
-Satin Finishing Powder in Hanae
-#35 Eye Detail Brush
-Nourishing Lip Balm in Natural

Here are some links to Scent Hive reviews on Alima:
Organic Lip Balm
Natural Peach Blushes (Mimosa)
General review of Alima’s foundation, finishing powder, blush, eyeshadow, etc!

And the fine print regarding the promotion.
*Offer does not apply to previous purchases. Discount is not applied to shipping and handling costs. Offer valid from Friday, November 11, 2011 through Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:00pm PST. Discount is applied at checkout with code BFF20. Offer not valid on phone orders. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or redeemed for cash. Limit one promotional code per order. Details of offer are subject to change.

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More Ilia lippie pics

I visited Alder & Co. on Tuesday after having lunch next door at Gruner with my dear friend Susan who was happy to pop in with me to check out the Ilia lipstick line that I reviewed last week. I am smitten with the wearable pinkness of Blossom Lady, but was eager to test Bang Bang, their red offering. Once I applied its sheer ruby loveliness on my lips, I knew it would be going home with me.

When you look at my mediocre photos below- I tried my iPhone best- you’ll see that Bang Bang looks kind of brick reddish, but it’s not. It really is a true jewel toned red whose sheerness gives a flattering shimmer that’s day or night appropriate.

Susan picked up Shell Shock which is similar to Blossom Lady but with more warmth from its peach tone which is perfect for her fair skin and strawberry blonde hair. Like me, she also fell for Lady Blossom which I think is her favorite as well.

                                       Shell Shock above, Bang Bang below.

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Ilia Beauty. My latest lipstick love.

If you read my “about” page, you’ll discover that I am not a total purist when it comes to being green. My preference is to use only all natural products, especially perfumes and body products, but you’ll find a few mainstream bottles and tubes scattered about my house nevertheless. Lipsticks in particular are a weakness because even though I have found a few naturals that I really like, they haven’t yet moved into the love category. Like how I love my Chanel Rouge Coco Shines- I’ve got more than a couple of those- or my Hourglass Femme Rouge in Fresco.

When I first read about Ilia Beauty over at Grace’s blog, LondonMakeupGirl, I had a feeling their natural lipsticks would be impressive. Ilia’s lipsticks are packed with sesame oil, jojoba oil, beeswax and pomegranate seed oil and I was eager to find out if they feel as good on the lips as they should given those nourishing ingredients. Now that I have worn these lipsticks for myself over several weeks, I can tell you they feel great and look amazing.

Sheer, balmy lipsticks with a subtle shine are my favorites, and Ilia’s fall right into that category. They are not a gloss/lipstick hybrid, but rather a lipstick that feels like a balm with a lovely slip that’s not waxy or sticky. These lipsticks not only feel nourishing, they are nourishing.

The colors I tried were Blossom Lady and Arabian Nights, both very wearable and flattering. Blossom Lady is the lighter pink color, which against my olive skin tone reads as a bubblegum pink. It’s almost nude in tone but not quite since it is sheer, allowing for your natural lip color to add depth. I usually go for pinks that are warmer and rosier, but Blossom Lady is just so pretty. It brightens up my face on those mornings when I haven’t had enough sleep.Arabian Nights is also very sheer, more so than you might think from just looking at it in the tube. But take a peek below and you’ll see that when swatched, it’s not densely pigmented. It’s buildable if you want a richer color, but if you prefer a sheer berry lip you’ll get that with just a couple swipes.
As far as the ingredients, they are over 99% all natural and 85% organic. While perusing online reviews, I found this comment from the founder of Ilia at No More Dirty Looks regarding the use of synthetic color

The 3 synthetic colours listed are minimally used with percentages as low as 0.1% of the total formula. The majority of the shades are a combination of these with “natural dyes”, or iron oxides. Ironically, natural dyes or iron oxides dyes that come from the earth as minerals are full of metals…which our bodies are really good at absorbing and holding onto forever. It was a big decision to use a combination of the two in order to achieve more contemporary shades and provide options. There are many organic cosmetics brands that choose not to disclose the use of mild synthetic colours, yet most will have them if there is a brighter colour involved. Sharing this information was important to me, as to be completely transparent with nothing to hide. As an extra note, there is no Carmine in any of ILIA’s shades, which was a morale decision. The one colour that is completely natural with natural dye is the nude “Nobody’s Baby”. Hope this of help to you, and could write forever about what I have learned in regards to sourcing the ingredients for this one product, yet I do know where each ingredients comes from, right down to its source. If you have any other questions please let me know. Cheers! Sasha // Founder ILIA Beauty

I appreciate the transparency that Sasha provides just as much as I adore her lipsticks. I want to add that they last for hours and the recycled aluminum tubes are surprisingly elegant and close with that high end snap we makeup junkies love.
Who’s that crazy kid?

Ilia lipsticks are $24.95 at IliaBeauty.com

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Ilia Beauty. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Lisa Eldridge’s Natural Makeup Tutorial

I was making my daily visit to The Non Blonde today and learned about Lisa Eldridge, a well-known makeup artist with a fabulous blog that includes very informative video tutorials. I was immediately intrigued by Ms. Eldridge as she looks like a cross between Parker Posey and Mary Louise Parker, has a soothing voice, and a no-nonsense approach to makeup. When I stumbled across her organic and natural makeup tutorial, I knew I had to share it with all of you.

She features one of my favorite blushes, Dr. Hauschka Rouge Powder Duo and also introduced me to some new products I am now anxious to try, namely Lavera’s Natural Liquid Foundation, Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder and Dr. Hauschka’s Lavender Dreams Balancing Teint Powder. Sadly the Dr. Hauschka powder looks like it’s not available in the US which makes me want it even more!

I hope you find this honest and candid tutorial as helpful as I did.

Now that my blog is back on WordPress.com, I can’t embed videos anymore, so I will just have to supply you with the link to her video.

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Kjaer Weis. Luxurious, all natural makeup.

Danish-born New York makeup artist, Kirsten Kjaer Weis, has created a line of makeup that elegantly merges the worlds of design and green beauty. These sleek and weighty compacts won a 2011 Wallpaper design award for best new grooming product while also achieving certified organic status from the CCPB, Italy’s organic certification agency. The compacts are refillable, and the packaging of both the compacts and the refills are recyclable. When you purchase your first Kjaer Weis product, it’s filled with the color of your choice and it will indeed feel like a substantial investment. This is a high-end luxury item to be sure.

Take a deep breath if you clicked on the above link, let the sticker shock wear off, and read on because Kjaer Weis products perform beautifully. At least the ones I tested certainly did. I started with Cloud Nine which would have a happy home in any champagne eyeshadow collection. This one is unique as it’s cream in color but leans pink with a subtle golden iridescent sheen. It’s in no way over-the-top and I love wearing it as a wash over the entire eyelid. For those of you who like to highlight the brow bone, I can’t think of a lovelier color. (See Adventures in Makeup for a fabulous example). As for performance, the consistency is silky and creamy, blends effortlessly, and creases very minimally without a primer.

I also tried the Lip Tint in Passionate, and even though I love Cloud Nine, if I were pressed to choose between the two, I’d go with the Lip Tint. Passionate is everything I want from a lip color. It’s rosy and warm, a very “my lips but better” shade that feels really good on my lips. Since it’s a tint, it has a much thinner consistency than a gloss and isn’t quite as thick as a balm. I’d say it feels and wears closest to a sheer lipstick, but it doesn’t give a shiny finish, more of a satiny one. I prefer to apply the tint with a lipbrush which intensifies the pigment more so than using your fingertip. The color lasts for several hours but honestly, I do so more frequently than that since it’s a pleasure to reapply. It’s a beautiful design that holds an excellent product, and it’s all natural to boot. I can’t ask for much more.

See below for my pics of Kjaer Weis Cloud Nine and Passionate. Click here if you would like to read The Non Blonde’s review of Passionate that she posted today as well. She’s also crazy for Kjaer Weis taupe eyeshadow, Wisdom.

Kjaer Weis Eyeshadows and Lip Tints are $44 and $48 for a filled compact, and $20 and $22 for the refills alone. Available online at SpaceNK

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Kjaer Weis. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Alima Organic Nourishing Lipbalm. Reformulated.

From left to right: Fig, Holly Berry, Sweet Pea, Mango, Cranberry, Natural, Rhubarb, Acai.

I’ve reviewed Alima more than any other natural makeup line, simply because I love everything they do. Their blushes and eyeshadows are richly pigmented and gorgeous, their foundations provide luminous coverage, and their brushes are top-notch. And now that Alima has revamped their lipbalms, I can honestly say I love them too.

The previous lipbalms were perfectly fine, but they were a little thin and frankly the packaging was nothing special. Both issues have been addressed in Alima’s Organic Nourishing Lipbalm as the texture is thicker like a balm should be, and the packaging has been upgraded to reflect thier overall aesthetic. The tube is sleek and slim which makes application easier than before and I love its sweet yet elegant Alima design. All of the ingredients are organic, save for the mineral pigments, and features the antioxidant action of pomegranate seed and white tea extracts.

I mentioned that the new formula is a bit thicker and more balm-like than its predecessor. While this is true, Alima’s balms are by no means super thick or waxy. The texture is silky and feels very sheer but hydrating. I consider them a balm/stain hybrid as they provide excellent pigmentation, without a glossy effect. Therefore, if I want a satiny finish, I leave it as is. If I want more shine, then a lipgloss on top does the trick.

While I haven’t seen all of the colors in person, Fig remains my favorite color. Its unique mix of warm and cool seems to be appropriate for almost any occasion. Fig’s cool tones come from its plummy bronze base while a subtle coppery shimmer gives it a warmth that makes it wearable for olive-toned gals like myself. Holly Berry which is described as a sheer natural red is on my must-try list, and why not? For $7 a pop, these balms are an affordable all natural luxury.

Alima Organic Nourishing Lipbalm is available at Saffron Rouge.

Ingredients: Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Organic Castor Seed Oil, Organic Shea Butter Fruit, Organic Beeswax, Organic Safflower Seed Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic White Tea Extract, Organic Cocoa Seed Butter, Organic Pomegranate Seed Oil, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil, Organic Peppermint Essential Oil, Organic Pomegranate Extract, Tocopherol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide.

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Alima. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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