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5 Small Changes with Big Impacts for the New Year

5 Small Changes with Big Impacts for the New Year

Putting Effort into the Little Things Leads to Big Changes

Moving into a new year is an exciting time. With feelings of positivity, motivation, and a desire to improve at full swing, many people will be creating New Year’s Resolutions, writing bucket lists, and setting other big goals. But it’s all too easy to start feeling overwhelmed when you get too caught up in the big picture.

Having a few big goals is important, but it’s actually the small changes you make to your life that can yield the biggest rewards. By making small changes you can create a huge positive impact while simultaneously helping you achieve those big goals too. And you won’t feel as overwhelmed while doing it.

Here are 5 small but significant ways to make this New Year your best one yet.

1. Boost your confidence by improving your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

Investing in cosmetic dentistry to revamp your smile can have more of an impact on your life than you might realize.

Plenty of studies show that the simple act of smiling is a huge confidence booster. Not only does smiling make you feel great inside, but it also positively affects everyone around you. In fact, people with confident smiles tend to be more successful in their relationships, careers, and other endeavors. This means that feeling comfortable with your smile is a really important facet of life as well as health.

Dr. Farless can help his Greensboro patients straighten their teeth with Clear Correct or Six Month Smile invisible braces. Patients with chips, gaps, and other damage can get a smile makeover with porcelain veneers or, in the case of minor flaws, dental bonding. And with a porcelain bridge to replace missing teeth, only you and Dr. Farless have to know about your extractions.

And don’t forget about professional teeth whitening to really give your smile an extra shine.

2. End every day with gratitude and awareness by keeping a journal.

Journaling is a powerful tool, especially with it comes to stress management, clarifying emotions, and problem-solving. You can journal at any time of the day, but taking up the habit of journaling before bed is uniquely beneficial.

Before you turn off the lights, take 15 minutes to journal and reflect on how your day went. Focus on your wins first and write down what things you did well or what goals you were able to accomplish. You can also reflect on what things you weren’t able to get finished or areas where you may have felt like you failed. But the key is to not get stuck on negativity, but focus on your awareness of how you can improve tomorrow.

Finish your nightly entry with a list of what you feel grateful for and what you look forward to accomplishing the next day.

3. Schedule all of your preventive health appointments for the year at once.

Many people have a fitness or health-related goal for the new year, yet they forget the importance of preventive health appointments. Losing weight, flossing every night, or eating more vegetables can all be great things for your health, but if you’re not keeping up on appointments you could be holding back your own progress.

Rather than hoping you’ll remember to make preventive health appointments throughout the year, start off the new year by scheduling all of them in one day and entering them into your calendar so you won’t forget.

As individuals, preventive health appointments can really differ, but the three general ones to schedule include annual physicals with a primary doctor, a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist, and bi-annual exams and cleanings with your Greensboro dentist.

4. Learn something new every week.

We all learn new things just from going about our normal lives, but proactively and purposefully learning something new is something that should never stop. Think about what hobbies or passions you have and how you can learn something new relating to your areas of interest.

If you enjoy cooking, why not take a class in baking or try out a new, complicated recipe you haven’t made before? If you enjoy writing or journaling, Google some writing prompts and get your creative juices flowing. Maybe a friend is into something you know nothing about, such as playing the guitar or knitting. Not only can they teach you something new but you’ll also strengthen your friendship.

There are a number of wonderful online platforms, like Skillshare, that offer classes on every subject you can imagine. If you prefer a classroom environment and want to socialize, look for local Greensboro classes you can take through a website like Eventbrite.

5. Use your vacation time to actually go on vacation and recharge.

Over half of Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation days—and in many cases the reason why stems from being unable to let go of work responsibilities. Ironically, not taking a vacation only leads to poor performance at work as well as home.

If you didn’t take a real vacation last year or you didn’t use all of your vacation days, this New Year is the time to drop the habit. Let go of any feelings of guilt related to taking time off work and focus more on achieving a healthy work-life balance. Take full advantage of your vacation days to unplug from work and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones.

Whether you decide to visit a tropical paradise or simply “staycation” in the local Greensboro area, be sure to leave work alone and focus on relaxing and recharging.

Greet the New Year Smiling Bright with Your Greensboro Dental Team

There’s no better way to welcome the New Year than with a bright, beaming smile to complement your positive mindset and new lifestyle changes.

Farless Dental Group is always accepting new Greensboro patients and the team can’t wait for you to join the family. You can learn more about becoming a new patient by visiting the New Patient Experience webpage or by filling out a form to schedule an appointment.

If you prefer to chat with us in person or over the phone, our Contact Us webpage has our address, phone number, and hours.

10 Thoughtful Last-Minute Gifts on a Budget

10 Thoughtful Last-Minute Gifts on a Budget

Gift-buying can be tough.

Christmas is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends. It serves as a reminder to give back to the people we love. Traditionally, we do this with gifts, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it can get quite expensive—especially if you’re on a tight budget. You can express your love through thoughtful gifts without blowing your budget, however. In fact, it’s possible to give your loved ones thoughtful gifts that they’ll love, all without spending a dime. Here are a few thoughtful, inexpensive last-minute gifts that you can give to your friends and family this Christmas.

Personalized Cutting Board

If one of your friends or family members loves to cook, a personalized cutting board may be a great gift. Many personalized cutting boards sell for a premium, but you can easily find good deals online or even make your own using a printer and some wax paper. Giving DIY last-minute gifts is a great idea, isn’t it? If you’d like to make multiple personalized cutting boards, you can buy a tool to burn designs into the wood for about $15.

Regardless of the method you choose, you can monogram the cutting board, decorate it with a beautiful design, or use a decorative font to write an inside joke or a classic family recipe—perhaps one they’re well known for making—on the cutting board. It’s surprisingly simple and inexpensive, but it speaks to your loved one’s interests and they’ll be able to use it on a regular basis. No one will put such a beautiful, thoughtful gift in a drawer and forget about it!

Coffee or Tea Set

Generally, people who love coffee or tea really love it, so they’ll enjoy a gift that centers around that theme. You can easily take plain white mugs and create custom watercolor designs in their favorite colors—all with supplies you already have in the house! Then add one or two bags of coffee or tea. If you have room in your budget, you can add inexpensive coffee- or tea-themed items, like a funny dish towel or an adorable mini tea strainer. These are all last-minute gifts they’ll get a lot of use and enjoyment out of, but they’ll also appreciate the thought and effort that went into each aspect of the gift.

Transfer a Photo to Wood

This may sound complicated, but it’s surprisingly simple to do on your own. The idea is to find a picture that your friend or family member loves, such as a photograph from their wedding, and transform it into a beautiful decoration they’ll treasure for years. You need a few supplies to do this craft, including mod podge, a gel medium, a paintbrush, a copy of the photograph laser-printed onto copy paper, and the piece of wood you’ll be transferring the photograph onto. It’s an easy craft, but the result is a sentimental, heartfelt gift that they will appreciate a lot more than a gift card.

Travel Dental Kit

Everyone knows someone who always seems to be traveling somewhere new. Traveling is a balancing act between packing enough and not too much, especially if your bags have to get through airport security. You can help your loved one manage this by getting them a travel-sized dental kit. These kits are inexpensive but contain everything they need to take care of their teeth on the go. They can be packed ahead of time, saving your loved one from having to remember to grab their dental supplies at the last minute. It may not sound like the most exciting gift, but it’ll make their lives much easier when they’re packing for their next trip—a detail frequent travelers will love.

Spa Set

This is a versatile gift that you can buy for between $10 and $25, so you should be able to find a set that matches your budget. There are sets that focus more on doing your nails, soaking in the bath, or relaxing with a face mask and lotion, so you can find the perfect set for your loved one. It’s a simple gift that gives your loved one the excuse to enjoy an evening relaxing and spending time on themselves.

Spend Time Together

Quality time is one of the five love languages, so many people will love the gift of spending time with you even if they see you often—but even more so if you’re often too busy to hang out or don’t live nearby. So if you’re short on cash, set aside an entire day to spend time with your loved one. Quality bonding moments with the special people in your life are ingenious last-minute gifts, don’t you think?

If you have a little money to spend, take them to do something they’ll enjoy; if not, you can stay at home and talk, watch romantic comedies—even if you hate them—or play board games. The idea is to spend time together doing something they love. They’ll appreciate the time with you and the fact that you’re willing to do things you otherwise wouldn’t just for the chance to make them happy.

Personal Coupons

Personal coupons are slips of paper that contain promises or favors that your loved one can cash in at any time. You may have grown up giving these to your parents, but there are plenty of practical applications as an adult. Tailor your coupons to your loved one’s life, with coupons that offer to watch their kids for free while they go on a date night, drop everything for an emergency girls’ night out, or bring them dinner while they study for exams. You can include as much variety as you want, repeating coupons you think they’ll really love. It won’t cost you anything, but it’s a gift that promises your time and energy, showing just how much you care.

Handwriting Jewelry

This custom-made jewelry takes a sample of handwriting and transforms it into a ring, bracelet, or necklace. It’s a thoughtful gift that might be especially touching to someone who has lost a family member recently. It requires a little sleuthing, as you’ll need a sample of the handwriting you’d like on the jewelry, but you can usually manage this pretty easily with the help of a close family member. The jewelry is a unique gift with a deep meaning to it; it will almost certainly take your loved one by surprise in the best way possible. The jewelry can get pricey since it’s custom-made, but you can find it for $20 to $30.

A Journal

If you have a writer in your family, a pretty but inexpensive journal is always a safe gift. Journals vary in price a lot, so you can find them for as low as $5 if you need to. Simply add a personal touch by writing a thoughtful note on the inside cover and include some of their favorite candy if your budget allows.

Homemade Sweets

Food isn’t a love language, but it probably should be; almost everyone loves receiving homemade baked goods. If you bake, it’s an inexpensive and enjoyable way to create thoughtful, last-minute gifts for people. The ingredients you’ll need will depend on what you choose to make, but you’ll likely only have to buy a few basic ingredients. Simply choose a recipe you know they’ll enjoy, like chocolate chip cookies or pumpkin bread, and get baking! They’ll love having the delicious treat all to themselves, and it often means a lot to people that you’d take the time out of your day to bake them food.

Giving gifts is a big part of Christmas, but it’s the thought that goes into a gift that matters—not how much or how little you spent on it. If you consider what your loved ones will enjoy, you can give them gifts that express your love on any budget.

How to Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care This Christmas Season

How to Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care This Christmas Season

How do you squeeze self-care into this holiday season?

Christmas is a joyful holiday that many of us look forward to, but it’s also a busy season. It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic rush of buying gifts, cooking, and going to parties—so much so that we often neglect ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let Christmas overwhelm and exhaust us each year instead of filling us up. This Christmas, try giving yourself the gift of self-care to ensure that you’re able to relax. Here are a few self-care ideas you can make a priority this season.

Try not to overcommit yourself.

It’s easy to feel like the Christmas parties and events—many of which you may need to cook or decorate for—never end. One of the best things you can do for yourself this holiday season is to not overcommit yourself. Learn to say no. You don’t need to feel obligated to go to every event you’re invited to. You can also save yourself hours in the kitchen by buying a mix or premade dish for some of the parties you are attending. This will save you a lot of time and stress when preparing for events, allowing you to enjoy them more and lowering your overall stress levels.

Additionally, the gift of self-care means not being afraid to ask for help when you need it. Ask a family member or friend to come over and help clean, decorate, or simply watch the kids while you get things done or take a breather. A little help goes a long way; it’ll lighten your load considerably and may even help make the tasks you still have to do more enjoyable.

Practice taking belly breaths.

Belly breathing is a stress-reduction exercise that essentially tricks you into feeling relaxed. Studies show that breathing exercises like belly breathing lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce anxiety. You can practice belly breathing anywhere, so it’s a good way to quickly lower your stress levels when you feel them spiking. Many people also use belly breathing as a regular morning routine to help them start off their day on the right foot.

Drink water throughout the day.

When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. If you let yourself get dehydrated, however, you’ll likely notice that you’re not as productive—even if you don’t realize why. This is because dehydration can make you more tired and can cause headaches and dizziness. Drinks like soda or coffee might give you a temporary energy boost, but they’ll stain your teeth over time. Water is great at hydrating your body and doesn’t come with any downsides; it’s low-calorie and actively helps your body to fight cavities.

Stock up on easy-to-grab healthy snacks.

When you’re in a rush, it often seems easier to grab a candy bar or fast food for a quick snack. Eating too much of these foods, however, is bad for your body and your teeth; they can trigger acne breakouts, cause you to gain weight, and increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these foods occasionally, but it’s far healthier for you to make a habit of snacking on fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body, and crunchier varieties will actively help clean plaque off your teeth as you eat them. They’ll also provide a longer-lasting energy boost than sugar—with no nasty crash when your energy runs out. Most fruits and vegetables are just as portable as junk food, so simply take a few seconds before you head out the door to shove an apple or a few carrots into your bag before you leave the house. If you make this a habit and a gift of self-care, you’ll likely notice a significant difference in your overall health and energy levels.

Set aside time for yourself.

No matter how much you have on your to-do list this Christmas season, it’s important to set aside at least a little bit of time for yourself. If you can, it’s a good idea to do this every day, even if some days you’re only able to spare five minutes for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much stress will melt away with just a few minutes of genuine relaxation. Take this time to do something you enjoy. Read a good book, watch your favorite TV show, or take a long, relaxing soak in the bath. You may even want to start up a new hobby—whatever will help you relax and take your mind off everything.

Go for a walk outside.

Staying active can be hard when you’re busy—especially when it’s cold outside. Getting a moderate amount of exercise each day, however, is important for both your physical and mental health — and can be considered the gift of self-care. It will help you fight off cabin fever, eat Christmas sweets with a little less guilt, and it’s a good way to soak up the sun for essential vitamin D. When you don’t get enough vitamin D, you’re more likely to feel depressed, so a walk in the sunshine might help dispel the infamous winter gloom that so many of us experience. It’s also essential for keeping your immune system strong and your bones and teeth healthy.

Keep a travel toothbrush in your car or bag.

If you’re constantly on the move during the holiday season, it might be a good idea to keep a toothbrush in your car or bag. It helps ensure that you give your oral health the attention it needs—no matter where you are. When you skip brushing your teeth to make it to an appointment on time, you’ll have the tools to brush them as soon as you get a chance. This will help prevent cavities and curb bad breath; you won’t have to worry that the bad taste in your mouth is announcing itself to everyone at a Christmas party or work event.

Make the time to visit the dentist.

Giving yourself the gift of self-care is about slowing down and taking care of yourself—mentally and physically. One of the ways you should take the time to care for yourself this Christmas season is by checking up on your oral health. The holidays can be pretty busy, but the time that you have off work or school often makes it a perfect chance to visit Dr. Farless. Regular dental visits save you money in the long run by ensuring that Dr. Farless can catch cavities or gum disease early, and they help to keep your entire body healthier.

Christmas is often a busy but enjoyable time centered around family and friendship, but it can be easy to let a full schedule overwhelm you. Taking just a few minutes each day to focus on self-care, being careful not to take on too many obligations, and keeping an eye on your health can make all the difference—helping the stress to melt away so that you can enjoy all that Christmas has to offer.

7 Life-Changing Benefits of Being Kind

7 Life-Changing Benefits of Being Kind

Being kind is good for you and everyone else.

When you’re kind, you develop more friendships than when you’re not. When you give kindness, you tend to receive kindness back, as well and this is one of the many benefits of being kind.

These are some benefits of kindness that you may have already predicted (or maybe not). But did you know that when you are kind, you boost your body’s levels of serotonin production and lower inflammation?

Science is finding more and more ways our mental and physical health impact each other. Here are a few science-backed benefits of being kind.

1. Kindness boosts your immune system.

Oxytocin, our brain’s feel-good hormone, reduces inflammation. Inflammation is linked to all kinds of diseases in the body, including diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, and migraines. Even a little kindness boosts our body’s natural oxytocin levels. So don’t wait for someone else to show kindness to you; you can boost your own oxytocin by being kind to others.

2. Being kind is also good for your heart.

Oxytocin, which we now know is boosted by being kind, also expands blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. That’s why it’s sometimes known as the cardioprotective hormone.

Just like damaging behaviors can be addictive, positive habits can be addictive, too. Once our body finds a source of oxytocin, it doesn’t forget it. Kindness is one addictive habit you can start that will be appreciated by your heart, immune system, and more!

3. Kindness can reduce anxiety.

Social anxiety can feel debilitating or even paralyzing. Even as we try to learn social skills and the right way to make small talk, anxiety can jump in at the last minute with reasons why what we’re about to say will be the wrong thing.

So we clam up.

Instead of thinking about how you feel, think about how someone else might be feeling and try to brighten their day. If this advice sounds easier said than done, you’re probably right! It’s hard for those of us whose anxiety sabotages every attempt to be kind. But those who matter will notice the effort. While you’re waiting for them to come around, let the knowledge that you’re treating others the way you’d want to be treated calm your social fears.

One way to let kind acts garner your self-confidence is to plan something out ahead of time that won’t require you to think on the spot. Text ahead and ask what you can bring to an event. Bring allergen-free cookies. Comment on the achievement of your host/hostess or someone at the event. If there are small children, bring a small gift or book.

4. Being kind helps you build your village.

Kindness always comes back, just like other emotions and characteristics, like hate, love, friendliness, spite, maliciousness, humor, and generosity.

Kindness comes back in a way that helps you build a network of humans that all of us are bound to need at some point. It’s the people who become our village. We all go through hard times when we don’t feel like we’re doing enough for the challenges around us. If you’re lucky enough to have a strong network of friends, you’re less likely to bear your burdens alone.

5. Kindness gives you a sense of control.

We instinctively feel resentful of people who push our buttons and cause us to lose our temper or our calm nature.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we start to feel a loss of control or mental stability around these people. Deep down, we know nobody else should be able to control our mood. When we find the resolve to act with kindness, we gain the self-respect that comes from not letting other people rattle us.

Sometimes certain people put us in impossible psychological binds, and there’s no right way to respond to these people. It’s best to avoid these people but still continue being kind on your way out.

6. Kindness gives you a break.

One of the biggest problems with anxiety and stress is that they don’t give our brains a break. When we focus on the joy we are bringing to someone else, we give our brains a much-needed break from figuring out our own problems. This is one of the amazing benefits of being kind.

This break is similar to the kind of brain break we gain from meditation, a good cardio session, a healthy sleep, or engaging in relaxation or art. We give the analytical, thinking, or “left” side of our brain a rest, and we instead engage the creative and feeling side of our brain. In doing this, we find that our consciousness is eased, and our “thinking” brain can operate with a little more ease.

By focusing on someone else’s happiness, we forget about our problems for a while. And that alone is enough to give us a little boost. This is truly one of the “secret” benefits of being kind not many people realize.

7. Kindness is what we all need.

We all need as much kindness as we can get. We all need to be extended grace for our shortcomings. We all need thoughtfulness in our times of need. And no matter how many friends we might have, we can always use another.

If you need a little more convincing about the value of kindness, or even some inspiration, check out “24 Stories About the Touching Kindness of Strangers That’ll Make You Tear Up.”

Then, be on the lookout for ways you can show a little kindness. And remember to notice and show gratitude when others do the same for you.

How to Make the Most Out of Winter in Greensboro, NC

How to Make the Most Out of Winter in Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC, is a great place to have fun all year long.

Spring, summer, and fall are all full of activities you can do alone, with your significant other, or as a family—festivals, craft fairs, and concerts are easy to track down almost any weekend you have spare time. When the chill sets in, however, it can be hard to think of activities to do. Thankfully, Greensboro is a lively city with plenty to do during the winter. Here are some ideas that will help you to avoid feeling cooped up or bored this winter in Greensboro.

Spend time outside.

Ideally, everyone should get 10 to 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day; this helps you get the vitamin D that you need, and can help fight off the winter gloom that many of us know so well. So when it’s not too cold, try to get outside for a little bit. You can go on a walk in your neighborhood or you can do more involved activities, like skiing or hiking. The mountains are beautiful at any time of year, especially when they’re capped with snow. You’ll be able to enjoy nature and get some exercise, and sitting down with a mug of hot cocoa at the end of the day will feel that much more relaxing. Getting outside and being active will also go a long way towards fighting off cabin fever.

Have a game night.

When it’s too cold to do anything outside during winter in Greensboro, a great way to keep yourself entertained is to have a game night. There are so many great games out there nowadays—you don’t have to stick to typical board games if you don’t want to! There are many games available that will get you up and moving, competing in new ways, or even working together towards a goal. Whether you’re a single college student or married with kids, a few unique games and good company makes for a wonderful evening.

Regardless of who you play with, a game night is a great way to make the most of being stuck inside where it’s warm; it’s hard to be bored when you’re busy trying to figure out which of your friends is bluffing. It’s also a great chance to spend time with your friends or family, as laughter has a way of bringing you closer—even if you’re mercilessly trying to crush each other to win the game.

Try ice skating.

It’s easy to see why ice skating is a popular activity whenever it’s winter in Greensboro. You don’t have to be good at ice skating to enjoy it—it’s fun whether you’re speeding around the rink at breakneck speeds or falling down every few minutes. And while it’s certainly exercise, it’s much more entertaining than going to the gym. It’s refreshing to get out of the house and do something that is both active and fun. Additionally, there are plenty of ice skating rinks to choose from; if you’d rather be out of the wind, you can choose an indoor ice skating rink instead of an outdoor one.

Clean out your closet.

This isn’t a particularly fun suggestion, but it’s a great idea to clean out your closet when it’s winter in Greensboro —and perhaps your dresser—during the slower winter months. You’ll be able to get rid of clothes that you don’t wear anymore, clearing out space for new clothes and keeping your house looking neat. Listening to music or a podcast while you work will help you stay entertained as you sort through your clothes. It might be a little work, but you can go to bed with a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it’ll be done when spring arrives, so you won’t have to spend a warm spring afternoon stuck inside.

Make a gingerbread house.

If you have kids, they’ll absolutely love making a gingerbread house together. You can either bake the gingerbread cookies yourself or you can buy them to save yourself some time. No matter what you do, making a gingerbread house is going to make a mess, but it’s a fun family activity that allows you to spend time with your kids and encourages them to be creative. Don’t forget to find the time to visit your family dentist even during winter in Greensboro, though, as eating too much of the gingerbread house can cause problems with your / your kids’ teeth.

Tour the Christmas lights.

If you love looking at beautiful or over-the-top Christmas lights, Greensboro is a great place to be. There are many fantastic places in town you can go to look at the lights—all without spending a dime! To be honest, Christmas is an expensive season, so finding an inexpensive Christmas activity can feel like a godsend. You can view the lights for as long as you want, and you can always find somewhere to warm up if you get too cold.

Go sledding.

When we get enough snowfall, sledding is almost a requirement in Greensboro. There are so many perfect sledding hills—even if you don’t have a hill to sled down in your yard, many local parks, like Brown Bark Park, have plenty of hills to choose from. Your children will be ecstatic at the chance to go sledding, and it’s a family activity that everyone will enjoy. Plus, your kids will likely exhaust themselves with so much excitement, gifting you a nice, quiet afternoon even if the kids have the day off school. If you don’t have a sled, don’t worry. Large plastic lids, boogie boards, and even cardboard covered with a trash bag will do just fine in a pinch.

Read a good book.

As we get older, life has a way of getting busier. If you used to love reading but haven’t had the time or energy to sit and read like you once did, take advantage of your time off during the holidays. Allow yourself to sit, relax, and read a good book. It’s a simple, easy way to relax and enjoy yourself, regardless of the weather outside.

While the cold weather can make you feel bored and cooped up inside, there are plenty of ways you can make the most of this winter. When you’d rather be inside, you can use the chance to relax or spend time with your family. If you’re fighting cabin fever, however, Greensboro has plenty of activities for you—indoors and outdoors—from hiking or ice skating to looking at Christmas lights. Regardless of the weather, you can make the most of this winter by exploring the city despite the cold, and spending your time indoors growing closer to the people you care about.

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