Holiday Prep | Recipes, Events, Activities, And More

Holiday Prep | Recipes, Events, Activities, And More

Wow, we cannot believe that Hanukkah has already come and gone. The Holiday Season is in full swing! If you haven’t started preparing already, the time is now. Take a look at these articles we’ve gathered to make this Holiday Season a little easier.


If you prefer to freshen up your holiday decor with new pieces every year, you likely appreciate a good budget-friendly find. Luckily, Amazon’s holiday decor section has plenty of festive options for under $50 that you can easily incorporate into your existing displays.

The Best Budget Finds From Amazon’s Holiday Decor Section | Good Housekeeping



With the holidays fast approaching, we’ve got travel plans, menu planning, and gift lists on the brain. With everything else going on, it’s easy to overlook eating well throughout the season. Fueling your body during this busy time of year can be tough, which is why we tapped Good Housekeeping’s Food Director Kate Merker to help us out by sharing a few ways to stay powered up with delicious, healthy snacks.

3 Simple Ways To Eat Better Throughout The Holidays | Good Housekeeping


Preparing for Christmas early is a savvy way of avoiding stress and chaos in the December holiday frenzy. It can be difficult to know exactly when you should start preparing for Christmas 2021 and in what order you should complete tasks. If you are feeling stressed, spend a few minutes reading through our tips on how to beat holiday stress to put you back on the right track.

Best 2021 Christmas Checklist | Minted


The excitement of the holiday season is building, especially with many traditional local events returning after they were canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the holidays just around the corner, Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina are gearing up with a series of events aimed at bringing the holiday spirit. has compiled a list of some of the bigger local events planned for the 2021 holiday season. You can view additional holiday offerings on our Living Local events calendar.

Hampton Roads Holiday Guide 2021 | Living Local


What are you looking forward to this Holiday Season?

Fall Home Tip Series | Part II – Inspect Your Chimney

Fall Home Tip Series | Part II – Inspect Your Chimney

So much to do, so little time… after all, it’s already October! Today we have another Fall Home Tip for you all. It’s time to consider getting your chimney inspected. What’s better than having a fire going on a crispy Autumn night? A SAFE fire. Enjoy the warmth, evening fires can bring, without any fears.



Importance of Getting Your Chimney Inspected

There’s nothing quite like the warmth of a fire, the sounds of the crackling wood, and the soft orange glow on a cold night. However comforting fireplaces are in your home, there is the reality that they can be dangerous as well.

It’s estimated that every year there are about 25,000 chimney fires that result in over 125 million dollars in property damage (not to mention thousands of injuries). Improper cleaning and maintenance of chimneys is one of the leading causes of these fires. Not only can this cause fires, but it can also expose your home and family to dangerous chemicals and compounds.

Source: RB Farina Roofing Co



Level 1 Chimney Inspection

A Level 1 chimney inspection is the minimum inspection requirement, intended for situations in which the homeowner will continue  to use the same appliance or vent system as before chimney work begins. As part of a Level 1 inspection, the chimney service technician will check the readily accessible portions of the exterior and interior of the chimney, the appliance, and the chimney connection. The technician will inspect the soundness of the chimney, checking the flue along with the appliance and connections. The technician should also make sure that there are no combustible deposits or obstructions inside the chimney.

Level 2 Chimney Inspection

When a change is made to the chimney system, a Level 2 inspection is required. Changes to the chimney flue or fuel type or a replacement of the appliance with one that is different from the previous appliance necessitate a Level 2. A Level 2 inspection is also required in the event that a property is being sold or transferred, or if something has occurred that might have damaged the chimney. If there has been a chimney fire, building fire, or other serious event, a Level 2 inspection should be completed. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 and is more thorough. Though a Level 2 is more thorough, it requires no special tools. This type of inspection does include video scanning to check the joints and interior of the flue liners, but no destruction or removal of chimney portions is required.

Level 3 Chimney Inspection

A Level 3 inspection should be performed in the event that a lower-level inspection suggests the presence of a hidden hazard and special tools are needed to reach hidden parts of the chimney or chimney flue. A Level 3 inspection includes all of the details of the first two levels and includes removal of chimney components, when necessary.



Fall Home Tip Series | Part I – Gutters

Fall Home Tip Series | Part I – Gutters

Fall is finally making its way to Hampton Roads. From cozy sweaters to PSLs, to crispy evenings around the bonfire – it’s time to get ready for all the festivities that come with Fall. But before you kick your feet up, there may be a few things around the house you should take care of. Let’s start with the obvious… time to clean your gutters.



Importance of Cleaning Your Gutters

A home’s gutter system controls the flow of rainwater from the rooflines. This protects your home’s roof, walls, foundation and landscape. If debris builds up in them, it could lead to sagging gutters, mold growth, wet basements, a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Gutters filled with debris can also make homes for rodents and other pests. Neglecting gutter maintenance can lead to costly repairs down the line.

Gutters need to be cleaned at least twice a year – in the spring and in the fall. If you have pine trees near your home, needles will need to be removed every three months to reduce the potential for clogging the gutters and downspouts.

Hiring someone to clean your gutters is an option if you aren’t comfortable on a ladder. Fees vary depending on your location. Prices are based on how many linear feet of gutters you have. It typically costs more if you have a two- or three-story home.

Source: The Home Depot



How to Clean Your Gutters

  1. Make sure you have a good, sturdy, extendable ladder. Always place the ladder on a sturdy surface (beware of landscaping rocks below which can shift). You can use a ladder stabilizer for safety and to help prevent damage to the gutters. Also, it’s best to have a helper in case you drop something or need a hand with the ladder.
  2. Dress for the job. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, work pants and rubber gloves. Cleaning gutters is a dirty job.
  3. To remove the gunk from the gutters, use a small, plastic scoop. Gutter scoops are available at the hardware store, or a child’s sandbox shovel also works just fine. If you have an old plastic kitchen spatula, that works too, and it won’t damage the gutters. Better yet, get a gutter cleaning robot to do the job for you!
  4. Spread a tarp underneath your workspace to collect all the gutter gunk and protect your lawn and landscaping.
  5. Once you’ve removed the debris from the gutters, use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts and clear out any remaining debris. This will also show you if you have any leaks.
  6. Once the gutters are clear, repair any sagging metal. You can do this by mounting a gutter hanger. Many gutter repairs are DIY jobs.

Source: Family Handyman


Five DIY Projects to Improve Your Home

Five DIY Projects to Improve Your Home

With current times – you may be finding yourself looking for ways to subtly improve your home, increasing its value in the process, and making it more desirable when it comes time to list it. Here are five DIYs from that are easy to tackle in your spare time.

Patch Up Scratches and Holes

Scuff marks on floors and holes in walls can be an eyesore for visitors. You may have lived with them for so long that you don’t see them anymore. With a little effort, these can be easy fixes. You can find Drywall Repair Kits at hardware stores for under $10.


Replace Light Fixtures

Light fixtures can easily date your home, especially if you haven’t made changes in years. Lighting can change the entire atmosphere of a room. Do you have a particular theme in your home? Find light fixtures that match your decor.


Swap out Faucets, Handles, and Shower-heads

Similar to light fixtures, new faucets have a way of lighting a new spark in a kitchen or a bathroom. Waking up to rusted fixtures doesn’t inspire anyone to get out of bed in the morning.


Make Your House Smarter

Smart home products and features continue to change the way many people live. Depending on your budget, there’s a range of ways you can make your house a little smarter. Add a smart doorbell and camera for extra security. You can even consider adding smart lights and locks for an all-new home experience.


Revive Your Kitchen Cabinets

If you aren’t prepared to rip your old cabinets out of the wall, there are still ways you can revive them that won’t cost you a fortune. Shake things up with a fresh coat of paint. Switch out knobs and pulls. If you’re feeling really brave, try removing some cabinet doors. Open shelving is currently a popular kitchen trend that allows you to show off some of your nicer dinnerware.


Have fun with making your home a place you love. These five tips will also help if you decide to put your home on the market. Little touches can make a difference when an interested buyer views your home.


At Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty, our agents truly understand that a home, regardless of its price, holds and reflects the value of your life’s investment. Through our partnership with Sotheby’s International Realty®, we are able to place your home on a level above any other firm in Hampton Roads and its surrounding areas by offering extraordinary marketing partnerships with some of the strongest media outlets in the world.


Information provided by the Real Estate Information Network Inc. | Original source:

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What Do you Know About These Cozy Vibes?

What Do you Know About These Cozy Vibes?

Today we wanted to talk everything cozy. 8 Tips for Achieving Maximum Coziness courtesy of Zillow Porchlight to be exact! “As winter plods along, you may wish you could just hibernate until spring — and that may be more true than ever this year. But there is, indeed, joy to be found in the quieter months of the year…”



Candles are a key ingredient to a supremely comfortable atmosphere. Not only do they provide beautiful, soft lighting, they also add warmth and scent to your space.

Tip: Choose seasonal scents to inspire celebration, or choose a summery scent, such as coconut and floral, to help combat the seasonal blues.



Comfort food is central to the cozy experience. But it doesn’t just begin when you eat the cake (or cookies or pie) — it begins when you imagine the creation.

Leaf through your favorite cookbooks or browse some eye-candy baking sites, choose your ingredients carefully, and mix them with care, taking your time to enjoy the task at hand. It’s just a bonus that your baking will flood your space with delicious smells — and taste good too.

Tip: Reach out to a friend or family member whose recipes deserve appreciation, and ask if they could show you how to work out their spectacular skills. You can set up a video call if you’re not able to meet in person.



Plush throws, sheepskins and cushions make for a much more inviting space. Cover your surfaces in as many luxurious fabrics and pillows as you can find and snuggle down.

Tip: Feel free to go faux, or if cost prohibits, find inexpensive alternatives.



Pull your partner or kids away from their screens and gather around the table for some old-fashioned fun. Whether you go for the competitive strategy variety or laugh-out-loud social games, there are options for everyone. For the minimalists among us, even a deck of cards can offer plenty of entertainment.

Tip: Looking for remote gaming options? There are many online group gaming apps, and many people have come up with creative ways to play the classics via Zoom as well. Start up a game and maintain your connections year-round!



Hot cocoa, hot toddies, apple cider, mulled wine — pick your poison. Whatever it is, find your own special recipe that is so delicious you can’t wait to show it off. Host a virtual happy hour and share it with family and friends.

Tip: Why, yes, you can put whiskey in those drinks. But it’s usually a good idea to perfect a mocktail version, too, for those who don’t imbibe.



If you don’t already have a favorite sweater, it’s time to find one. It should be something that makes you feel at home when you slip it on. Cashmere, wool, mohair — anything will do. Whatever you choose, pair it with thick socks!

Tip: Find some beginner books or tutorials and try your hand at knitting, crocheting or weaving, and make your own sweater over the course of the winter. Find an online knitting circle for tips and encouragement.



Make yourself a mix of music that inspires you to do all those things that make you feel absolutely endeared to your space. Put it on shuffle, relax, repeat.

Tip: Instrumentals are classics for a reason — they can work as background for just about anything. When in doubt, most music services have pre-made playlists, some of which you can filter by mood.


Making caramel apples? Check. Working on (or giving up on) your New Year’s resolutions? Check. Canning, puddle jumping, snowball throwing, signs-of-spring spotting? Check!

Tip: Whatever your favorite seasonal activities might be, create a plan to make them happen — put it on your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, or find an “accountability partner” (a friend or family member who will give you the nudge you need), and feel the magic of even the most blah weather wash over you.


Imagine buying your dream home. Let our experienced staff help you make it happen. Our team of local experts is ready to guide you through the home-buying process. We are committed to fast, professional and courteous service to help you understand and feel at ease throughout the home buying process. Our trained and licensed agents specialize in the Hampton Roads area real estate market and are prepared to find the right home and get the best price.

Information provided by Zillow Porchlight | Original source

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The Top 7 Home Features for Hampton Roads Buyers

The Top 7 Home Features for Hampton Roads Buyers

Homebuyers have had to rethink home while navigating the challenges of 2020. The need for space and just the right location has been on the minds of many as an uncertain spring turned into a staycation filled summer. On, here’s what homebuyers in Hampton Roads have been looking for as we head into a new year.


Hampton Roads is made up of several cities that have unique qualities that appeal to buyers. The top cities buyers searched were Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk. Virginia Beach saw over 771,507 listings searches. It’s one of the largest cities in Hampton Roads and is known as a beach destination with endless parks, restaurants, and entertainment. Chesapeake saw 452,263 listing searches throughout the year. Offering a suburban living experience but settled right on the border of rural North Carolina, Chesapeake is well known for family living. A short drive can take you into the surrounding cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach with unlimited activities. Norfolk saw 263,318 listing searches. It’s known for its lively downtown area which offers dining and entertainment experiences with a vibrant art district.

Fees allows buyers to exclude “deal breakers” from their home search to fine-tune their results. The top two excluded features were Condo/Co-op fees and HOA/POA fees. While no one likes to pay fees, there are pros and cons to owning a property with fees. Check out our blog if you’re unsure of what a Homeowners Association  HOA is and if it’s right for you.


Buyers can also make sure they see their must-have features in their search by using our inclusion feature. One of the top features buyers often included in their search were homes with a garage. If you’re coming from renting into homeownership, this can be a big deal. It’s a great way to stow and preserve your car, but it’s also great for extra storage. SEE MORE OF OUR LISTINGS

First-Floor Bed and Bath

Another top must-have feature was the first-floor bed and bath. Baby boomers are getting older, and having a bedroom on a lower level has its benefits as they head into years where they plan to be less mobile. Some may use this as a mother-in-law suite as they move in grandparents to care for or to help with the surge of homeschooling and virtual learning. SEE MORE OF OUR LISTINGS


Many of us found ourselves spending a lot more time at home searching for summer entertainment. Many longed for more out of their outdoor living spaces. A pool is an easy way to have a safe water park-like experience right at home. SEE MORE OF OUR LISTINGS

 Beds and Baths

Depending on your nuclear family size or if you live in a multi-generational household, your bed and bath desires can vary. The most popular bed search requirement was three or more bedrooms. The most popular bathroom search was three or more bathrooms. SEE MORE OF OUR LISTINGS

Sales Price

November 2020’s median sales price was $275,500. The residential median sales price rose 13.69% year-over-year, the largest annual increase in more than six years! Throughout 2020, had 230,701 views of homes over the price range of $250,000 compared to those searching below that price range at 76,398 views. SEE MORE OF OUR LISTINGS


Find Out Your Home’s Value for FREE


In a hot market like ours, it’s important to know what buyers want and don’t want. If you’ve been on the fence about selling your home and your home has a lot of features that buyers are looking for, now may be the time to jump into the market.

Connect with one of our agents today… Our trained and certified agents specialize in the Hampton Roads real estate market and are prepared to sell your home to the right buyer for the best price OR assist in your search for your dream home.

Information provided by the Real Estate Information Network Inc. | Original source:

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5 Fun Ideas for Your Bonus Room

5 Fun Ideas for Your Bonus Room

With home being so important these days, many of us have found value in having an extra room to escape to. If your home has a little extra space that serves no purpose let your imagination run wild with what you could possibly make of it. Here’s a little motivation and inspiration to get you started. Consider these 5 design ideas for your bonus room.


Home Office

With many of us working from home, it’s nice to have a place where you can close yourself off and really focus on work. Take those Zoom calls in a nice quiet place and watch your productivity soar. VIEW THIS HOME



Playrooms are great for families with younger children. Having a safe space for your kids to have some fun is comforting (and worth its weight in gold). Decorate it in your child’s favorite theme of the moment or set it up to evolve as your children progress in age. Here are some Pinterest playroom tips! VIEW THIS HOME


Home Theater

Browsing through, you may see many bonus rooms turned into home theaters. Make it feel like the real thing with authentic theater chairs, projector, and maybe even a popcorn stand.  VIEW THIS HOME

Game Room

A game room is a way for adults to be kids again. Equip it with your favorite video games or go a little old school and fill it with some of your favorite arcade games from your past. Game Rooms are also a great place to house your pool table, foosball table, and go-to board games. VIEW THIS HOME


Home Gym

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to drag out those dumbbells or yoga mat every time you want to work up a good sweat? A home gym gives you a dedicated space to stay committed to your workout routine. VIEW THIS HOME


With a little creativity, a well thought out plan, and the right amount of space, you can turn that extra room into anything your heart desires. Information provided by the Real Estate Information Network Inc. | Original source:

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5 Home Décor Tips For Selling Your Home During The Holidays

5 Home Décor Tips For Selling Your Home During The Holidays

We don’t know about you, but gathering and distributing holiday trinkets, coordinating throw pillows, and adding other festive décor throughout our homes sparks so much joy. When trying to make your house feel like a home, it’s often “little things” that end up going a long way—especially if you find yourself relocating frequently.

We asked a local design expert Sabrina Johns, Owner and Interior Decorator at White Slate Interiors LLC, here in the “757” to weigh in. Her best advice?

“Living by the rule ‘less is more’ is particularly true when putting your house on the market during the holiday season,” said Johns. “You want to accentuate the beautiful features of your home, not hide them.”

If you’re thinking about selling your home soon, or if your home is actively on the market, here are five things to keep in mind when it comes to holiday decorating:


Always Have Accurate Listing Photos

If your home sits on the market for more than three months, consider taking updated property photos. With the average days on market hovering around 38 days, this is probably unlikely in our current market conditions. But, if your home is decorated for fall and it’s still on the market during the Christmas season, it’s time for a few new shots. Likewise, there is nothing worse than seeing a Christmas tree (or snow on the ground) while browsing for homes on a lovely spring day. Be sure to work with your agent to keep your property details and listing photos fresh.


First Impressions Go A Long Way

Johns says that home sellers should be mindful of curb appeal when decorating. “Add a couple potted plants or flowers on each side of the front door and a beautiful wreath,” suggests Johns. And, since your neighborhood’s annual pumpkin carving party may be canceled this year due to the pandemic (thanks COVID), try the latest trend of painting pumpkins. Better Homes & Gardens recently posted 48 different ideas to try!


Seasonal Smells or Smelly?

While we love a good country apple, warm vanilla, or pumpkin spice scent, your potential home shoppers may not. Make your home feel inviting without an overpowering scent.


Less is More. Clear the Clutter

When asked about clutter, Sabrina recommends that you keep it simple. “The inside of your home should be clean (no clutter) and cozy. During the fall season, place a few pumpkins along your mantle and add a pretty centerpiece to your dining room décor,” Johns says. “Pillows, throws, and scented candles help your house feel inviting, too!”


Keep Non-Essential Decorations Packed

While we love our family heirlooms and holiday crafts our kids made when they were little, consider leaving these decorations in your attic this year. Put your finest decorations on display, and save those sentimental items for your new home. The market is moving quickly. The more you can keep packed, the less work you’ll have to do later.


Let Us Help You

At Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty, our agents truly understand that a home, regardless of its price, holds and reflects the value of your life’s investment. We take great pride in using our years of expertise, in-depth a marketing knowledge and global connections to perfectly unite extraordinary buyers and sellers with extraordinary places to call home. You’re in excellent hands by choosing to align your real estate needs with our company.


Information provided by the Real Estate Information Network Inc. | Original source:

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4 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

4 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

Selling your home can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if it’s your first time. If you go into the process with the wrong mindset, there are many mistakes you can make that could be costly to the sale and your peace of mind. If you take the proper steps and avoid these four mistakes along the way, you will be on your way to being a successful home-seller.


Not Hiring an Agent

Some sellers try to go the for sale by owner (FSBO) route to save a little money. Selling your home isn’t a process you want to go at inexperienced and alone. It’s best to hire a real estate agent who knows the local market and is able to dedicate their time to selling your home. An agent can assist you with a pricing strategy that will get buyers in the door. They can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA), an estimate of your home’s value in comparison to other homes in the market, so your home remains competitive against other homes. [They have the marketing skills and network to get your home seen by the right people.


Wrong Timing

To get the best bang for your buck, you want to pay attention to trends in the market. Again, an agent you work with will have the tools to help you stay on top of market conditions. Over the past few months, the Hampton Roads market has been hot for sellers with pending sales being up 27.97% from this time last year. We’ve even seen the median sales price climb compared to the previous year. Keeping a pulse on the market will help you know when to jump in and what kind of sales price you could potentially land on.


Failing to Repair, Prep, Stage

Nothing turns off buyers more than terrible curb appeal and a home that hasn’t had basic repairs. Take the extra steps to cut your grass, fix hanging gutters, and replace broken shutters. Prep your home for showings by making sure your home isn’t filled with clutter or personal items that could cause a buyer to lose interest. Properly stage your home to appeal to a wider audience. You may be using that extra room as a home theater, but during this season where many of us are working from home, it would be more appealing as a home office. Your agent can help you with ideas on presenting your home in the best way possible for your budget.


Not Being Accommodating

While your agent will take on managing the selling process, you will need to be accommodating to what’s needed to close. Showings are key to getting your home sold. If you aren’t able to adjust your schedule for your home to be available for showings, you won’t get very far. Some offers may require you to make minor changes you weren’t considering when putting the home on the market. Don’t be so committed to selling the home “as-is.” Be open to negotiations and requests.


Let Us Help You

At Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty, our agents truly understand that a home, regardless of its price, holds and reflects the value of your life’s investment. We take great pride in using our years of expertise, in-depth a marketing knowledge and global connections to perfectly unite extraordinary buyers and sellers with extraordinary places to call home. You’re in excellent hands by choosing to align your real estate needs with our company.


Information provided by the Real Estate Information Network Inc. | Original source:

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Six Steps To Successfully Sell Your Home

Six Steps To Successfully Sell Your Home

1. Attention to Detail

Be sure to repair/replace minor items, i.e. Outdated hardware, Etc. “As a smart seller, you’ll want your home in tip-top shape — but you don’t want to eat into your profits by overspending on home improvements. You won’t be around to enjoy them anyway. The key is to focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house to ensure every dollar you spend supports a higher asking price.”

Read More


2. Make it Inviting

The more clean, cozy and inviting, the more likely it’ll sell quicker. “Having a home that is inviting — that beckons to visitors and lingers in the minds of guests — makes for both an enjoyable and memorable place. And there’s a bonus benefit to creating a home that is inviting to guests: it’s often more inviting to you, too!”

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3. Illuminate and Inspire

Brighten up your home. Make sure to upgrade dated fixtures to inspire buyers. “More than ever, great lighting is one of the easiest and most striking ways to make a first impression. This is largely because more people are looking at homes on the internet than ever before. Curb appeal is still important, but remember that many people’s first impressions are made before they even see the outside of your house. Your potential buyers will decide whether they want to see your home in the time it takes to swipe a thumb or press a button.”

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4. Make it Fragrant

Don’t let any pet or other unwanted scents leave a bad first impression. “The sense of smell can sway a homebuyer when it comes to spending time in a space during an open house. When preparing a home for sale, homeowners need to remove the sources of bad odor first. Bad smells that deter buyers include cooked food, home appliances, clothing and shoes, pets, smoke and mold – even dusty air vents…”

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5. Call our REALTORS®

Don’t fly blind, let our local experts help navigate you to a successful home sale. From setting the price to creating marketing campaigns for traditional media and Web, we’ve got a proven plan that will match your home with the right buyers for the right price. We are committed to fast, professional and courteous personal service to help you understand and feel at ease throughout the home selling process. (757) 777-9870

Learn More


6. Start your Next Chapter

Now that your home is sold, you can confidentially start your NEXT chapter.

Get Started


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