How to Ace Your Exams // Blogmas day 6

They’re here. Those dreaded finals. I have no idea how they managed to sneak up on us so quickly, but they did. Now, all that’s left to do is study, and hope that things turn out okay!

To make things a tiny bit easier (hopefully), I have compiled some of my favorite study tips and habits that I use into one post for you guys. The goal is that they help you out a bit, so that finals don’t seem too daunting.

Make a schedule

Write down when all of your exams are onto a calendar. Then, fill in what days you’re going to study for them. Now make sure you stick to it. College exams are hard. Most of the time, you can not cram all of the information into one night and do well on the test. It’s just not possible. So, start by studying a little bit at a time, every day for at least a couple of days leading up to the exam. Also, getting things done ahead of time, likes essays and projects, helps a lot, too! It gives you more time to focus on studying once exam week comes around.

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Keep a to-do list

I absolutely love to-do lists, in case you didn’t know by the amount of times I’ve mentioned them in previous posts. They just help me feel so organized and productive. The feeling of checking off everything on your list can’t be beat.

Recently, my obsession has been the Lightspeed Planner! It simplifies to-do lists by giving your three things to focus on each day (one thing that you must do, one you should do, and one you could do). This way you can easily prioritize your main tasks for the day, and break down bigger goals into easy, manageable steps.

For example, I have a three part assignment due for one of my classes, so for the must do section, I wrote the first part as my goal for the day. I focused mainly on accomplishing that task, and then the next day I put the next step of the assignment down, etc.

Find what works for you

Everyone has a different way of learning. The things I do to study may not work for you. It’s important to figure out what kind of learner you are, so that you can adapt different studying techniques to best suit you.

I am a visual learner, so I like to include lots of pictures/diagrams in my notes, and I use colorful pens and highlighters. It’s just what works best for me. But I am definitely not someone who can learn by listening. So, watching youtube videos of people discussing the topic does not help me at all.

Study Guides are your best friend

I know that I just said to find out what’s best for you, but I am a huge believer in creating study guides, so I just have to include this. I feel like study guides are so useful, not matter what type of learner you are!

If you learn by writing, you can make a handwritten study guide, and it will help you retain the information.

If you learn using visuals, you can create a study guide online and include lots of pictures and charts.

If you learn through listening, you can have someone read your study guide out lot to you.

If you learn orally, you can read it out loud yourself, or have someone quiz you on the information.

Study guides are just great, I promise.

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These are all of the tips I have for you guys today! I hope that at least one of them was helpful for you, and maybe you’ll take something away from this post!

Also, feel free to leave your own tips down below. Maybe they will help someone else out.

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Why I started Blogging // Blogmas Day 5

It’s crazy to me that I started blogging (seriously) a little over three years ago. Time really does fly. I still remember when I first created my website, and the thrill of all of the new possibilities ahead of me gave me goosebumps. Back then, this site was not called Kisses From Jess (I honestly can’t even remember the very first name of it), and my posts were mainly fashion and beauty related.

Today, we are here at Kisses From Jess, a name that stuck for about two years now (after some heavy rebranding), and I write about books and writing- things I am truly passionate about.

These past three years have been full of ups and downs, and I have changed, learned, grown so much despite it all.

I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the reasons I began blogging in the first place because it was a decision that truly changed my life.

I needed a creative outlet

So, before this blog, I actually gave Youtube a shot. Many of the friends I met online had Youtube channels, and I used to watch other content creator’s videos constantly. I thought it was perfect. But I quickly discovered that Youtube was not for me. I did it for about a year, and then I quit.

But I was feeling so restless. I needed to put my creative energy into something else, now that I wasn’t filming and editing videos. I’ve thought about blogging before, and I had a Tumblr account back in the day that I was on constantly. So I figured, why not give it a try?

I love to write and wanted to explore this passion

I also thought of blogging over other things because I love to write. I have been creating stories and writing poems for as long as I can remember, and English was always my favorite subject.

I knew that this was something I wanted to do more of, and eventually share it with the world! Blogging allowed me to do just that. Now, I share a lot of my poetry on here, and I even post writing updates on books I’m writing (how crazy is that?!).

To develop new relationships and meet new people

Finally, I wanted to meet likeminded people that I could connect with. It’s hard to find people in real life that are as passionate as me about writing and reading and all of the other things I post about.

I attended a Vo-Tech high school where the focus was on studying medicine and health. I realized that is something I no longer want to pursue in freshman year. I was surrounded by people who were passionate about studying medicine, while I was more interested in creating new stories.

Blogging allowed me to meet so many amazing people who I now call my friends. I really don’t know where I’d be without the support of so many of these people.

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That is it for my little post today. I hope you found this inspiring, and maybe it will make you want to start your own blog! As always, feel free to leave any comments down below, I love reading all of them :)

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poetry collection #4 // Blogmas Day 4

Sooo.

I made a poetry account!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you would know that I love to write poetry, and it’s something that I’ve been doing for a while. I’ve shared my work here in the past, and I will continue to do so from time to time, but I wanted to take it more seriously.

One of my life goals is to publish a book, and more specifically, I would love to publish a poetry collection. I want to work on my craft and actually share the pieces I’m proud of more often.

If you would like to follow it, click here! I will be posting multiple times a week, and it is something I really hope you guys will enjoy.

I tried to be pretty unique with my theme, and so far, I’m loving it! Let me know what you think :)

Here are the first two posts, if you want to get a bit of a sense of what it looks like!

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I hope you guys enjoy these poems and consider following my new account. It would mean so much to me :) Have a beautiful day!

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BookOutlet Haul- My Last Haul For A Long Time // Blogmas Day 3

It is day 3 of Blogmas! Welcome to a new post, where today I’m going to share my recent purchases from BookOutlet (aka one of my favorite booksellers ever). This is also going to be my last book haul for a really long time because as of 2019, I am not allowing myself to buy anymore books until I get my TBR down to under 40.

Anyways, here are the books I got!

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The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

This first book is a mystery/thriller that I thought I’d get out of the way because I only added it to my cart to make my total equal $35 so that I would get free shipping. I don’t know too much about it, but when I read the synopsis it sounded interesting enough.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (special edition)

The main reason for my entire purchase was so that I could get this book! To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time, and I’ve talked about it many times before. This edition was just so pretty and I couldn’t pass it up! This is probably one of my favorite books I own.

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Before We Go Extinct by Karin Rivers

This is another book I purchased just to get my cart total to $35! This is a YA contemporary and once again, I don’t really remember the premise. But the cover is really pretty, and I’m sure I’ll love it.

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If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

I am so so excited about this one! I wanted to read it because I’ve heard Kayla (BooksandLala) talk about it on her booktube so many times. I trust her reviews so much and we have pretty similar tastes. I am positive I will love this one, and I am so so excited about it!

You by Caroline Kepnes

When I saw this on BookOutlet, I knew I had to get it. I’ve heard so many amazing things about this, and there’s a show on lifetime about it! I wanted to read the book first, so I’m excited to finally own it.

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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

The last book I got after hearing Merphy Napier talking about it in so many of her videos! The way she talks about books just makes me want to read everything she suggests. This is an adult fantasy novel (which is not really my thing), but after hearing her rave about it, I really wanted to read it.

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Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them if you did!

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NaNoWriMo- Last Update // Blogmas Day 2

It is officially December, which means the end of NaNo has come. What started out really well ended in complete disaster for me.

I tried really hard but life took over, school got in the way, and I got very overwhelmed.

End total:

25,000 words.

I only hit 1/2 of the word count goal for NaNo.

But I don’t think of this as a failure. I wrote more for my novel than I have ever written before, which is a huge accomplishment for me in itself. I wrote daily for the first two weeks, and then sporatically for the last two weeks. Even though I didn’t write everyday for the entire month, I still developed many writings habits, and I’m sure they will continue for a long time!

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Before this, I couldn’t even write more than 1,000 words of a novel before giving up.

25,000 words is a HUGE thing for me. I never thought I’d actually be able to do this much. I will continue to work on my novel (at my own pace now), and I will write the words “the end” one day. Whenever that may be.

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I would love to hear all about your NaNo’s! How did you do? Did you win?

Let me know in the comments!

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December TBR // Blogmas Day 1

Hello everyone! Welcome to Blogmas day 1. Yes, I am taking part this year. this is going to be my first year doing Blogmas and I’m so excited about it. I pre-wrote so many posts and there are a ton that I’m so excited for you guys to read.

To start off, I thought I’d do a December TBR since this is the last month of the year. There are a couple of books I really want to get in before the year is over, and I’m hoping to get to 60 books read!

The TBR

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What Happened by Hillary Clinton

This is my current Audiobook read that I was hoping to finish in November, but it’s just so long. I’m almost done with it, so I know that I will finish it really soon. I’m really enjoying it so far because I’ve always been interested in politics, so it’s cool to learn about some of the behind the scenes of campaigns!

 

 

Birthday Girl Penelope Douglas

I got this book as a recommendation from some friends on Twitter, and it’s another book that I’m currently reading. I’m not too far along into it yet, but so far I’m not loving it. It’s a romance novel where the MC starts to like her boyfriend’s dad, and that’s all I know! I hope I start to enjoy it more as I get deeper into it.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This is a book I’ve had on my TBR for literal YEARS. I’m finally promising to read it because I have the audiobook, so it should be a quick read. I’m also trying really hard to narrow down my TBR before I allow myself to buy anymore books, so this is how I’m going to do it!

 

 

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

I know, I know. I promised to read this book so so many times. And I will. I swear. That is all I have to say about this one.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I just bought this book in a pretty paperback edition a couple of weeks ago, and I want to read it ASAP. After I finish the first two books, this is going to be the one I pick up next! I’m so incredibly excited for it.

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Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert

The last book on my list is another romance novel! I’m participating in the read-a-long that Chandler Ainsely is hosting for this book (which starts tomorrow), which is why I know I will be reading this one! Plus, the e-book was FREE. I just really hope I enjoy it.

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That is all for my TBR! I don’t know how much reading I will actually get done because of finals coming up, but I hope I can get through at least 4 of them. Plus, after finals, I will be home for a month and I’ll have plenty of time.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts were!

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Currently Reading + Future Reading Plans

***This post is going up late and I actually finished 2 of the books I talk about, but I’ll give reviews of them in a wrap-up

I didn’t post a TBR this month, mainly because I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo, and wasn’t sure how much time I would have for reading- but I’m actually managing pretty well.

But if I’m being honest, I sort of hate TBRs. I just never really stick to them, and I hate feeling like I’m forced to read certain books.

With that being said, though, I actually do plan out what books I’m going to read next in my mind. I like to have some structure in my life (even if it’s just me faking it till I make it).

Anyways, I thought I would share what books I’m currently reading with you, as well as what I plan on reading next- which is totally subject to change!!!

Currently Reading

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

I’m currently buddy reading this with my lovely friend, Kimberly. We both agreed that it had a bit of a slow start to it, but if you push through, it gets really interesting. There are definitely a few things that I don’t really love about it, but I’ll probably post an in-depth review of it once I’m done (or I’ll talk more about it in a wrap-up).

It’s a mystery/thriller that I honestly don’t even know how to explain because so much is going on and I feel like I wouldn’t do it justice, but definitely check it out and give it a shot!

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

I picked this up on my last trip to Barnes and Noble because I heard it was being turned into a movie/tv show (I can’t remember which) and I wanted to read it before then! It’s been on my TBR for so long, and now is the perfect time to read it.

It’s another mystery/thriller- there’s a tend here- but I’m not really familiar with the plot. I’m only on chapter 2, so I can’t really say much about it, but I wanted to read it after hearing multiple Booktubers talk about it and how much they loved it!

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Oh, look- another mystery/thriller. I had been waiting for this audiobook on the Libby app for so long. The hold line was SO. LONG. But finally, it’s my turn to borrow it!

This is a pretty recent release that I’ve heard so many people talk about. It follows a woman with agoraphobia (which is something I really like to read about) who watches her neighbors through her window. One day she sees something she’s not supposed to, and a ton of secrets get revealed.

I’m really loving this so far! The audiobook is great, and it’s a good way for me to distinguish it from the other two thrillers I’m reading.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

I’m reading this for one of my classes, and like almost all required reading, I’m not really enjoying it. I never would have picked this up on my own. It’s just one of those classics that I find really boring, personally.

There are a ton of classics that I really enjoy, but this is just not one of them. It’s honestly pretty hard to follow with all of the different characters, and the storyline is a bit confusing. It’s not the worst book I’ve read, but it’s been hard to get through since I’m analyzing it for academic purposes.

Next Up

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Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

I read Summer Bird Blue by Akemi and absolutely adored it! It is definitely a character driven novel, not a plot based one (just letting you guys know), but I love that. I am a sucker for good characters and that is one of the main things I look for in a book. 

I can’t wait to dive into this one because I have a feeling I will love it even more!

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

This has been on my TBR since before its publication. I follow Alice on so many platforms and she is just the sweetest human ever. 

I finally got my hands on a copy of this book, so I want to read it ASAP! The cover is stunning, and the plot just gives me some warm vibes. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I know for a fact that I will be picking this up soon because I am actually going to buddy read it with Taryn from Taryn and Her Books! This has been on my TBR ever since I read Caraval (which was so so long ago now) because I know people compared the two. 

I’m not a big fantasy reader, but I can’t resist circus stories! Besides, this book is just so gorgeous.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know if you want to see more like this in the future :) 

NaNoWriMo week 2 update- spoiler alert: things are getting tough

Another week of November has passed, which means we are 1/2 way through NaNo (and I’m posting this on my birthday)!

The first week of NaNo went really well for me, which you can read all about in my week 1 update.

Unfortunately, the second week has been very far from successful. The second week is hard for everyone, especially if you’re not used to writing so much everyday (like me). I lost my momentum, and I felt like I was spiraling down with no way to stop myself. 

For the first two days of this second week, I was just extremely busy and only managed to get about 600 words in each day. That meant I was very far behind, and catching up is extremely hard to do when you’re supposed to be hitting 1.6k words a day.

The next two days were pretty good, and I wrote over 2k words for both of them! But, I was still behind by over 1k words.

The next day was my worst day up to this point. I only wrote 200 words, and I was feeling super discouraged. Plus, school was starting to catch up with me and I was feeling very anxious because of it. I was probably almost 4k words behind at this point. 

Things just didn’t look good for me when it came to NaNo.

BUT

I’m here to remind you not to give up. NaNo is hard. Writing in general is HARD. Even though writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, it is still work. Which means there are going to be days where I’m not going to feel like writing at all. And that’s okay.

This week was full of ups and downs for me. I had some of my worst writing days this week, but I also managed to hit my highest word count in a day (over 3k words!). 

I’m still behind on the target word count, but I’m not giving up!

I have decided to change gears a bit with NaNo, and although I’m still going to shoot for 50k, my goal now is just to write everyday. Even if that means putting down 20 words and stopping there, I’m okay with that.

After all, the whole point of NaNo is just to write and be surrounded by a community of people who like to write, too.

I hope you are all having a successful NaNo, which to me means making any progress on your novel at all. 

Good luck with the next fifteen days, and remember- you automatically win NaNo just for trying :) 

NaNoWriMo tracking & reward system | week 1 update

Hello everyone! Today marks one week of NaNoWriMo! I’m happy to say that I’m actually surviving, and I’m on target with my word count. I didn’t know if I would even make it this far, so I’m extremely proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished. I’m past 10k words at this point! That is so crazy to me.

I didn’t realize that all I needed to get myself to write was a bit of a push. I wish that I had forced myself to participate in NaNo in the past, like I did this year. Maybe I could have written multiple novels by now.

I think what’s really helping me is my tracking and reward system! If you didn’t see my last post, you can check it out here. I mentioned the Lightspeed Planner, which I have been using since the start of the month. I am absolutely loving it! I would highly recommend checking it out and possible buying one for yourself.

Here is what a blank page looks like:

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How I use it for NaNo:

Each day looks slightly different, but I always write my word count goal in either the “must do” or the “should do” spot because it is a huge priority for me. I don’t plan on ever putting it in the “could do” category unless I absolutely have more important things taking up my time. If it’s in the “should do” category, it’s because I have a big homework assignment that I need to complete before I can write. Otherwise, it always goes in the “must do.”

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As for the notes section, I use that to track my actual progress. I write down how many words I started the day with, then I write how many I ended with. On the right side, I put down the total words written that day. If I am on target for NaNo, I give myself a star sticker for that day. I really want to keep that streak going and have a star every single day, so this is another motivating factor. The planner also has a little pocket in the back, so I can keep all of my stickers with me!

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In the planner, there is also a performance tracker. You can rate yourself on a scale from 10-100% based off of how well you performed in a given day. The way I use it is that every 10%=200 words. Therefore, 100% means I wrote 2000 words! It’s very hard for me to write 2k words in a day, so I haven’t yet reached this. However, it motivates me to push myself so that I can get as high up as possible. My highest was 90% one day, which I am extremely proud of!

Rewards System:

The back of the planner contains some pages for you to set your goals. I’m using this as a rewards system for each milestone I hit in NaNo. Here’s how it looks:

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  • 10k words- Chick-fil-a trip
  • 25k words- clothes shopping
  • 40k words- buy myself a book
  • 50k words- get the new Kindle Paperwhite!!

This has been a great way to push myself to keep going. I want the Kindle Paperwhite so bad, so I’m only letting myself get it once I hit 50k words. Ideally, this would be by November 30th, meaning I won NaNo. However, if I don’t make it, I’m still going to use this to make sure I finish this draft after NaNo is over!

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I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I am loving my system and how well it’s been working for me so far. Let me know if you have a system of your own and how it works for you, cause I’m always open to new ideas.

Also, check out the lightspeed planner, which you can buy here!

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how to stay organized in school

*This post contains a promotion for the Lightspeed Planner, but all opinions are my own.

I am HUGE on organization. I keep all of my stuff in order, and I work really hard to create systems for myself to keep my papers together.

In college, you don’t get a lot of space to keep all of your papers/textbooks for school (if you dorm), and you don’t have anyone around to tell you to keep your things neat.

I have a few tips here to help you stay organized for the rest of the semester (and hopefully the rest of your school career), which I hope you find helpful.

Use a Planner

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Using a planner is truly vital- especially in college. If you don’t write down all of your assignments, you’re going to lose track of what you have to do. Planners are so beneficial, and you can schedule out time for all of your activities. They are a great visual to utilize, and I would be so lost without mine.

Professors (almost always) give you a syllabi with all of the assignments for the semester listed on them with the due dates, so you can go ahead and mark the calendar right away. This way you won’t forget about something, especially if the Professor doesn’t talk about it in class.

Also, with a planner, you can evenly spread your time out between school, work, friends, and other obligations. You can make sure you have an even balance of everything, and see how much time you spend on each activity.

Planners are just life changing.

Buy a File Folder/Accordion Folder

I can not explain to you how useful having an accordion folder has been for me. I write so many essays and take so many exams. Eventually I don’t need them anymore for the current class, but they may be useful again for either the final exam, or a future class. I don’t want to get rid of all of the notes I have, so I put them all in accordion folders and separate them by class.

My plan right now is to have a new one for each semester, so that way I can easily find anything I’m looking for. You really don’t know when those notes will come in handy again. Obviously, there are many things I throw out and don’t keep, but I like to keep the big assignments or important works that I might be thankful for at a later time.

Pack Your Bag Ahead of Time

The night before every weekday, I pack my backpack. This is extremely important to me, because I tend to get very stressed out in the mornings, especially when I give myself some extra time to sleep in. If I put the things I need in my bag in the morning, I tend to forget things or bring things I don’t need.

Doing it the night before just helps to eliminate some stress!

Make To-Do Lists

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I have been using the Lightspeed Planner for my daily to-do lists, and I am LOVING it. It makes everything so simple and helps you to prioritize your important tasks. It contains around 280 undated pages that are all the same:

  • Must Do
  • Should Do
  • Could Do

It helps you to identify your three main objectives for the day, and will ensure you stay on track. I think overwhelming yourself with too many tasks makes everything very overwhelming and stressful. By just focusing on 3 things a day (you can always write multiple things in each box if you really need), you can fully dedicate yourself to those three things.

At the bottom, there is also a notes section, as well as a progress tracker. You can decide how productive you were for the day, which is really motivating for me.

Overall, using to-do lists really inspires you, and checking off every box on the list is a very great feeling.

Set Time to Clean

Dedicate a specific day/time to cleaning. The days go by so quickly, and sometimes it feels as though you just cleaned your room yesterday, but really it’s been almost two weeks. You really don’t realize how fast it goes by.

I usually dedicate Thursdays to cleaning because it tends to be my lightest day of workload. I have enough time in between my two classes to Swiffer my floor, dust my furniture, organize my files, and clean out my fridge. After class, I usually do my laundry, and then I have the rest of the day to do whatever else I want/need to do.

If I didn’t specifically set this time, I probably wouldn’t dust my room very often, and it would get messy very quickly.

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Please let me know if you try out any of these tips, or if you use them already! Comment some of your organization tips, too. I can always use some more suggestions.

Also, be sure to check out the Lightspeed Planner! I highly recommend it :)

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