Day 28: Summer Entertaining is Sweet Like Strawberries and Hip Hostess GIVEAWAY!

There are two more day left in my 30 Days to Summer Entertaining series, and to help celebrate all of YOU for participating and leaving your lovely comments, I’m giving away a signed copy of my book, The Reluctant Entertainer, and a beautiful Hip Hostess apron.

An easy way to celebrate summer and friends is to put a bowl of fresh fruit out on the table.

A centerpiece or casual appetizer.

It’s beautiful.

It’s inviting.

It’s tasty and fresh.

Today summer entertaining is about enjoying the strawberries from my garden, cooking and inviting others over to celebrate friendships.

They can be so sweet!

Comment to WIN
What do you love about summer entertaining?

6 Extra chances to WIN
1. Retweet this giveaway and come back and share the link:

Summer Entertaining is Fresh Giveaway @SandyCoughlinRE @TheHipHostess #giveaway #entertaining

2. Share this link on your facebook page. (Come back and share the link.)
3. Post this giveaway on your blog. (Come back and share the link.)
4. Become a BRAND NEW follower of Reluctant Entertainer FB page. (For new folks! Come back and tell me.)
5. Sign up to receive RE posts directly to your email. (Become a BRAND NEW follow of RE blog. Come back and tell me.)
6. Become a BRAND NEW follower of The Hip Hostess FB page. (Again, for new folks! Come back and tell me.)

Giveaway ENDS midnight, June 30th. Winner announced on RE July 1! Come back to see who wins.

If you’ve missed the last 27 days of this series, you can catch up now:

Day 1: Summer Entertaining is About the People
Day 2: When Perfect Robs You of Something Good
Day 3: Who To Invite to Dinner
Day 4: Planning the Menu for Outdoor Entertaining
Day 5: Setting the Table Using What You Have
Day 6: Using One Classic Water Glass
Day 7: Napkin Options for Summer Entertaining
Day 8: When You Feel Like Canceling the Party
Day 9: Leave Your Technology at the Front Door
Day 10: Candles That Enhance Good Conversation
Day 11: Serving Flavored Herb and Fruit Water
Day 12: Leafy Greens and a Tiny Bit of Agave
Day 13: Keeping Nut and Fruits and Cheeses on Hand for Easy Appetizers
Day 14: Move Your Table to a Different Space
Day 15: Greek Salad on a Stick and Getting the Kids Involved
Day 16: Three Lies of Perfectionism that Ruin Entertaining Moments
Day 17: Be Creative When You Run Out of Linens for Your Dinner Party
Day 18: Gather Around a Fire for Intimate Summer Entertaining
Day 19: Last Minute Father’s Day Invite and Pork Chops with Glazed Apricots
Day 20: Summer Entertaining GIVEAWAY from National Pork Board
Day 21: Create a Simple Appetizer Basket for Last-Minute Guests
Day 22: How to Change the Menu When Guests Cancel & Sweet Summer Salad
Day 23: Keeping the Conversation Strong with Summer Berry Crisp
Day 24: Music at a Summer Dinner Party
Day 25: Adding Dried Rosemary to your Barbecue
Day 26: Using Accent Dishes to Compliment Your Table Setting
Day 27: How To Barbecue Salmon on the Grill

Feel free to grab my button and share it with your readers :).

30 days of Summer Entertaining

163 comments on “Day 28: Summer Entertaining is Sweet Like Strawberries and Hip Hostess GIVEAWAY!”

  1. i love being able to sit out late at night and watch dusk fall away to darkness while candles light up the garden.

  2. I love it when it’s unseasonably cool and we drink hot tea or coffee on the porch and just listen to the sounds of nature. Nature has different sounds when it’s a little cool on a summer night than when it’s warm and muggy.

  3. Things I love about Summer entertaining: I am more relaxed; fired up grilling; kids chasing fireflies no matter what their age; more space to entertain more friends and the sounds of laughter and the glow of the candles.

  4. I enjoy the relaxed nature of it. For some reason details just seem easier. The grill keeps the house cool and people outside to sit and enjoy or watch the kids play tag or get involved!

  5. My mom had an identical bowl she used for summer salads when I was growing up — nice memory! Summer entertaining is fun for us, because we (and our guests) aren’t battling the ice and snow, so the logistics are much easier. Plus — fireflies, fresh local vegetables and fruits, outdoor dining, effortless movement in-and-out of the house and on the deck. It’s all good!

  6. I like that summer entertaining is easy….sliced fruit, pretty glasses, gather by the pool, hot dogs on the grill…all kinds of easy ideas that do not require lots of work.

  7. The best part of summer entertaining for me is getting to sit around the fire on summer nights!

    Those bowl of berries look like heaven!

  8. The thing I like most about Summer entertaining are the cool foods. You know the ones that keep us from dying of heat stroke. LOL! Watermelon, lemonade, strawberries, iced tea, fruit salads, etc!

  9. I love the lack of mess in the house when we can entertain outside. :)

  10. I love the beauty and the relaxed atmosphere of the outdoors…and a lot more last minute meal invitations…Love it!

  11. What I love about entertaining in the summer is sitting in the screened in porch by candle light. It just feels more relaxed and the laughter flows.

  12. Ooooh – Summer is great for entertaining cuz the garden is LOVELY!

  13. Liking the Reluctant Entertainer on FB (said the Reluctant Exerciser)

  14. I love that everyone seems to be more relaxed and willing to linger on the patio! Late summer nights make for great memories!

  15. And yes – of course I love the Hip Hostess :D <>

  16. Where I live, it’s usually too miserably hot to eat or visit outside, so we usually stay inside– but the big difference for me is that (as a school teacher) I don’t have to worry about getting up and running in the morning! So the evening is absolutely relaxed : )

  17. How sweet of you to reward us for reading your amazing advice and fun things to do. Blessings to you.

  18. It is way too hot here to sit and linger outdoors, but I love the early mornings for brunch with friends. I love how light it is at night. Company lingers and we all are more relaxed.

  19. The thing I love best about Summer Entertaining is the way people linger…it is so relaxing that we don’t care if the kids are running outside until 9pm. We don’t worry about things getting broken or dirty. And I don’t have to clean the entire house or keep people out of my bedroom!

  20. Found you on FB and liked :-)…really liked :-)

  21. and found The Hip Hostess FB page and liked it too :-)

  22. I love the laid back ease of summer entertaining…no fussiness. Everyone’s in a casual mode.

  23. Summer entertaining is relaxing and fun. Love to set a table outdoors in the blue hour! Ahh, yes.

  24. Have loved this summer series. My favorite thing about summer entertaining – a more relaxed season of life to savor with good friends. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas for entertaining. As a self-professed “reluctant entertainer” I have been inspired with many wonderful ideas from your blog/book/series this summer – and my guests haven’t noticed any of my “mistakes”! Pure bliss :).

  25. I love the simplicity of it – a meal cooked on the grill and campfire smores for dessert. It’s relaxed and more laid back which is my style.

  26. not being so rushed

  27. I love the relaxing mood summer puts us in. Entertaining is much more relaxed outside around the grill and watching the kids play. Our evenings usually always cool down and it makes being outside very nice.

    Lynn G.

  28. Shared VIA Twitter: @BillieFreeman Billie Jo
    Summer Entertaining is Sweet Like Strawberries — Reluctant Entertainer: via @addthis

  29. Shared FB: Billie Jo says: June 28, 2011 at 7:38 am Shared VIA Twitter: @BillieFreeman

  30. ‘LIKED’ your FB page!:)

  31. What I love about summer entertaining is that it’s very relaxing. Eat outside, enjoy a beer while knitting and that my son is playing with his friends. Sometimes it’s so hard to go back inside.

  32. I love the relaxed atmosphere that entertaining outside brings to a party. Everyone is instantly at ease. The food is simple, abundant, and delicious.

  33. I tweeted about your great giveaway. :)

  34. I’m a BRAND NEW follower of Reluctant Entertainer FB page.

  35. I love the casual feel of summer entertaining!! I love that you can be outside and not confined by indoor walls!! I love all the summer veggies and fruits, that you can make wonderful salads with, and of course the flowers, right out of the yard and into a vase!!! Perfect!! I love your series!!!!

  36. I’m a brand new follow of RE blog

  37. I’m a BRAND NEW follower of The Hip Hostess FB page.

  38. I love connecting with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

  39. I love being able to use fresh fruits and veggies. I love being able to cook on the grill and not heat up the house . I love just being with friends.

  40. I just joined your Facebook page. I am so excited to read what you have to share with us. Thank-you!
    As far as Summer entertaining goes, I always look forward to making certain recipes that I save for only this time of year.

  41. I love being able to send the kids outside to and sit in relative peace with other adults.

  42. Thank you so much for this wonderful series, so much inspiration. We hibernate inside during the summer time as we live out in the desert of AZ, so instead of outdoor entertaining and cooking on the grill we entertain inside with cool and easy dishes. Dishes that do not require a lot of heat from the oven or stove. So entertaining for us in the summer is relaxing inside with scrumptious, easy and healthy yet tasteful dishes; enjoying the coolness of the AC while we enjoy the company of friends and family.

  43. I just shared on my personal fb page and am getting ready to share on my business one too…brb! :)
    Oh and… I luv.luv.luv. fresh citrus slices in ice cold water served in a beautiful glass container/pitcher/urn… it just shouts “BE REFRESHED!” <3

  44. There is something special about entertaining outdoors! Find it easy, relaxed and everyone is in a great mood.

  45. Just posted your link on my business fb page:
    {Heart of Hospitality} Willow House with Cathy
    THANK YOU!!! This book *is* going to be a gift for my daughter-in-law-to-be! What a terrific shower gift this will make. :) <3

  46. I tweeted:

    Summer Entertaining is Fresh Giveaway @SandyCoughlinRE @TheHipHostess #giveaway #entertaining

  47. I shared your link on FB. :)

  48. {Heart of Hospitality} Willow House with Cathy
    fb page {likes} The Hip Hostess!! FAB aprons. :)

  49. I love cooking on the grill and being able to sit outside…

  50. I just *liked* THE HIP HOSTESS on my fb page. Question– there are TWO “The Hip Hostess” fb pages. One is a “local business” that has the RE giveaway announced on it. The other is an Events Planner from Memphis. Are they the same or different?

  51. Cooking the entire meal on the Weber!

  52. Just retweeted your give-away!!/HrtOfHspitality


  53. i love to entertain in the summer because we are able to grill, eat and swim and really enjoy our deck!

  54. I love everything about summer entertaining. The garden and the pond that offer such a peaceful oasis. The grill that makes food preparation and cleanup easy on the cook (yes, that would be me!). The casual atmosphere that allows everyone, hostess and guests alike to dress casual and come prepared to relax and enjoy good food, good drinks and good company!

  55. I love the chance to unwind after the meal with friends and a glass of wine, while the kids play. So lovely!

  56. What I love about summer entertaining is having friends stop by last minute for dinner. I can always throw together a fresh salad and a bottle of white wine. It’s easy and fun to relax and talk while the kids hit the sprinkler after a quick meal of grilled dogs and popcicles….

  57. I like that my husband grills the meat…one less thing for me to do at the last minute!

  58. Thanks for all your inspiration. I have been a long time reader, but have never commented. I have especially enjoyed the 30 days of summer entertaining. I am getting ready for our summer BBQ this weekend. I have also shared this post on my fb page!/joympieri

  59. being able to eat outside

  60. I love how relaxed summer entertaining is! It seems to be so much more simple and casual than any other time of the year!

  61. I love that everything is more casual. Everyone smells of sunscreen and is okay with something whipped up quickly without fuss.

  62. Sandy – I purchased your book when it first came out, and I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed it. If I win this, I’m gifting it to my recently-married sister who thinks her home is too small to have company and who thinks it’s too expensive to have friends to dinner!

    I love being able to have the great outdoors to move out into when we have guests over, especially guests with children. I also love serving sweet, mint tea with lemon and fresh-squeezed lemonade, which I could technically serve in the cooler months, but it tastes so much better in the summer!

  63. I really enjoyed your blog. . . so I bought your book ~ We always enjoy being able to get outside !

  64. I signed up for an email subscription to your blog.

  65. Lingering after the party is over…our closest friends usually are the last to leave the party, the kids are entertaining each other, nothing has been cleaned up, but we linger at the table with our nearest and dearest. And then they help clean up the mess!

  66. Summer entertaining is casual, easy, breezy. Nothing to EVER get all worked up about.

  67. What a great, colorful, and healthy idea!

  68. My favorite part of summer entertaining is being OUTSIDE. I’m still waiting for summer to kick in this year (it’s 60 and raining now), so the short period each year that we get to be outside is just the best!!!

  69. Oh, I’ve been playing catch-up with the 30 Days of Summer Entertaining! Whoever wins a copy of The Reluctant Entertainer and the Hip Hostess apron is gong to be one lucky person. I love my Hip Hostess apron, and enjoy reading from TRE in quiet moments. Our kidlet just moved into her first home (which has kept us all hopping for a bit AND feeling a little older). Yikes! When the dust settles, I’m gifting her these two items. Don’t you think that’s a great idea? My favorite thing about summer entertaining is the laid-back quality to it. The sound a summer breeze makes. The flowers dancing on their stems. The grass between your toes. The seasonal fruits and veggies. Everybody smilin’ and stylin’. Okay. I have to stop now. Cheers!

  70. I love that it’s easy to invite whole families over because being outside has something for everyone. And, it doubles my space to include the backyard for gathering. We have a small home – 1500 sq feet so our living room isn’t very large. But, my backyard opens new vistas!

  71. I love the decorating! Summer is full of bright cheery colors. love it :)

  72. I love summer entertaining because of all the fresh vegetables and fresh fruit available to share with your guests. There are endless healthy, delicious choices for you to serve and, oh, so colorful as well. Happy Entertaining!

    I am a new follower to Reluctant Entertainer, and am so happy to have been referred to your Blogb… love it! Great ideas that are easy to duplicate. Thanks for you many inspirations!

  73. It just seems so free and easy. Relaxing and sitting around the porch or pool.

  74. We live in Colorado, so the nights are usually cool and pleasant. I love sitting out on our patio for dinner with friends instead of inside the house where we entertain the rest of the year! I also love grilling when we entertain in the summer….it divides the hustle and bustle and visiting between the patio and our kitchen and makes my kitchen a little less busy :)

  75. I love the casualness of summer entertaining – paper napkins and plates, plastic forks and spoons, ice cream cones for dessert, and relaxation…

  76. I love the casual attitude, and all the delicious in season fruit just waiting to round out a salad or be dessert! I love that I can serve a parfait bar for dessert and it be extra special!

  77. I love summer entertaining because it seems so carefee and inspriring. Everything outside works together…the natural lighting, the sounds of nature and people chatting, the smell of outdoor cooking….ahhhhhh!

  78. The summer lends itself to more options: For starters, the days are longer. Fun can start and end more casual. The food is light and easy to prepare. Since the weather is more agreeable, guests can flow inside and out accomodating larger groups.

  79. how simple it is to have friends over, cookout and sit outside. You only need to clean the downstairs bathroom as prep :)

  80. I twittered about your giveaway! I LOVE having people over…so much to do and so much wonderful fellowship!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  81. I just enjoy the fact that I’m learning to let go of so much more each time we have people over…allowing imperfections to pass without noticing!

  82. I love that summer entertaining is easy. Light the citronella candles, Invite folks over, grill some burgers and you have a party. It doesnt’ get easier than that.

  83. Just “liked” the Hip Hostess!

  84. I like being able to entertain outdoors =)

  85. I love the better weather and therefore the increase in seating/serving options to being both indoor and outdoor!

  86. I love the weather for summer entertaining. It’s cold most of the year with only 2 good months for outdoor fun. We do grill year round though.

  87. I love being able to use my back yard in entertaining. The change of scenery changes everything.

  88. My favorite thing about summer entertaining is that the pace is a lot slower. Everyone seems more relaxed which makes it even more fun to get together.

  89. I just “Liked” on facebook!

  90. Liking The Hip Hostess on facebook!

  91. Entertaining in the Summer is so laid back and relaxing! Most of our friends enjoy a very relaxed style that is easy for making new comers fit right in. An evening might be as simple as a platter filled with olives, cheese and sasuages, a loaf of really good bread and a big bowl of freshly washed berries or grapes. Sometimes it’s a huge salad with a plate of “add-ons” and a platter of sliced melons and pineapple. A bottle of wine or some cold beer with a pitcher of Arnold Palmer keeps things simple. Catching up with everyone’s news, watching the sunset and the fireflies come out while some soft jazz floats in the background, that’s the way we roll!

  92. I love being able to be outside and listen to the kids play as we catch up with friends. Summer entertaining is always casual which is just my style.

  93. Summer entertaining is nice because it tends to be more relaxed and casual.

  94. I love sitting outside with a glass of wine visiting and laughing with friends. In the evenings the birds are so vocal here, it is like our own little concert.

  95. i love being able to eat outside from breakfast in the morning to dessert at night. what a lovely way to end a day and a meal. thank you for the chance to win your book!

  96. I like being able to eat outside and visit, while kids can run around yard playing while we watch and talk :). Thanks for the fun giveaway!!

  97. I already receive your posts via email :).

  98. I liked Hip Hostess on FB!!

  99. I shared a link to this post on fb, but do not know how to link back to this post!!

  100. I love that you get to be OUTSIDE – less formal, more fun!

  101. I love having the extra daylight in the evening so that the kiddos can run around and play while the adults get to chit chat and relax.

  102. I’ve really enjoyed your series and it would be great to have a copy of your book! I like to have “quiet” games that my kids don’t normally play with out to enjoy: dominoes, scrabble tiles–to see who can make up the silliest word, building blocks, etc.

  103. I love sitting around the fire pit watching the sun set.

  104. I liked RE on my FB page!

  105. I love inviting people over for a fire in our fire pit. Very simple entertaining. Drinks, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. Maybe some popcorn. Always a good time. And no one cares if you cleaned the house, because they are not in it! :-)

  106. The best thing about summer entertaining is heading to the Farmer’s Market (huge!)
    and finding the freshest fruits and vegetables you can buy. Since I’m not able to grow
    my own in suburbia, this is the next best thing!

  107. The more relaxed atmosphere and lighter fare, I think. Thanks for the giveaway.

  108. I am hosting a party tonight as a thank you to our children’s ministry workers and their families! I love hosting in the summer because the outdoor space is larger and more open, the kids can play inside or outside, it has such a relaxed feel – no one needs to rush home because the kids have school the next day!

  109. I love summer entertaining because it is so much more relaxed!!!

    I’m a new follower on facebook.

  110. I love the casual way of summer entertaining. If yu want to have a big get together, it is perfectly okay to ask people to bring a lawn chair. Food can be cooked outside and guests have a tendency to feel comfortable just jumping in and helping grill. It is just so relaxed and everyone is part of it.

  111. I love summer entertaining because there’s more space – I don’t have to cram my huge family into my tiny house. People can spill out into the yard. Also, there’s more to do. It’s hard to gather 20 people around a board game or card table in the winter. In the summer, there are water games, yard games, going for walks, swingsets to play on, etc.

  112. I love the warm weather at night and it being light until 8:30 or 9pm.

  113. I am new follower on Facebook!

  114. Um, EVERYTHING! I love the ease of summer entertaining because I can feed a crowd OUTside of my house – very little clean up (both before and after) – nature is my decorator, and everybody is just so much more laid back.

  115. Shared the giveaway on my blog =)

  116. Hi! I tweeted the giveaway http://www.twitter/prettywhimsical
    I sent it out on my FB!/prettywhimsical
    I liked Hip Hostess FB page

  117. I love that its so much easier than being in the house. It doesnt matter if a drink spills, or food drops. It doesnt matter that the house is spotless. It’s nice just to sit outside and enjoy the weather,the food, and the people there,

  118. I love being able to sit with friends, sip a drink, and catch up.

  119. A chance to see God’s wonderful artwork, hear nature’s music, and feel the mysterious wind while surrounded with friends. The perfect atmosphere seems to lighten everyone’s moods.

  120. i love the casual and relaxed atmosphere that summer entertaining creates. It’s a lot less stressful and when you don’t know what to have you can always just throw something on the grill. I love it!

  121. I love the simplicity of meal prep for summer entertaining. Marinate some chicken, toss a salad, cut up fruit, put out some cheese and crackers and you’re good to go!

  122. I am a new follower on the Reluctant Entertainer on Facebook =]

  123. I have also become a new follower of Hip Hostess on Facebook =]

  124. Ah, and why I like summer entertainment?

    I think there is more ease to hosting summer entertainment because of the nice weather outside. Being comfortable outside allows children to play out in the yard without being in an overcrowded house (depending on how large your house is – mine is teeny!) Pools, anyone? Talk about a fun time – being able to swim in the pool on a hot summer day. Also, grilling is so convenient & I’ve never made a grilled dish that I haven’t absolutely loved. The best part? There’s not a dish that you have to clean up afterwards!

    The food makes me happy as well. I sure as well am not going to make s’mores in the middle of winter – that’s summer food! Just like I’m not going to make pumpkin pie in the middle of July. I truely love s’mores and all that you can do with them (s’more cups, s’more bars, s’mores in a jar). Grilled food, cold potato salads, fruit salads – I mean, how delicious does all of that sound? Each season has it’s season of good food – and summer is obviously one of them!

  125. I love the long warm evenings, roasting marshmallows over a fire with twinkle lights in the trees.

  126. I am now a new follower of the Reluctant Entertainer FB page.

  127. I am now a new follower of the Hip Hostess FB page.

  128. I love summer entertaining because it means my husband handles most of the cooking on the grill.

  129. I love cooking on the grill in the summer and having the sunshine longer!

  130. I became a brand new follower of The Hip Hostess on FB! <3

  131. Warm, sunny days, cool air, and grilling outdoors… Perfection!

  132. I love summer entertaining because it’s the time of year when all our friends and family seem to have the most time off to visit. We’re out-of-state from all our oldest friends and family, so seeing them outside of Christmas and Thanksgiving always seems to happen in the summer. And my mother-in-law makes the best pasta sauce that she cans and shares!

    PS- I became a new follower of both The Reluctant Entertainer and The Hip Hostess on Facebook! I also reposted on my Tumblr blog:

  133. I love that people just slow down in the summer time and take more time to enjoy life’s moments so entertaining is more relaxed.

  134. New Hip Hostess fan on FB! :o))

  135. I love summer entertaining because of the fresh fruits and veggies available. I also enjoy using the outdoor patio for extension of the house.

  136. Tweeted!

    NCJillJill Hamilton

    Summer Entertaining is Fresh Giveaway @SandyCoughlinRE @TheHipHostess #giveaway #entertaining

  137. Joined your email list. Hooray!

  138. What I love most about summertime entertaining is being able to entertain outside on a warm summer evening. I love summer evenings! : )

  139. Lovely book – thanks for the chance to have it!!!

  140. I love the smells of the grill and fresh fruit and believe it or not, the citronella! I found a citronella plant and it’s not as bad as the candles. The firelight and roasting marshmallows for s’mores.
    Now, that’s summer to me.

  141. What I love the most about Summer Entertaining is having all my family, under one roof for a long weekend. Both my kids, and spouses, and my parents. This year we will have 4 generations celebrating the 4th as we now have a sweet baby granddaughter joining the party! What a joy, I feel so very very blessed.

  142. In my husbands family, we don’t Need an excuse to have a “party” or otherwise known as a “let’s get together and EAT time!” lol! My precious father in law was called home this past Christmas and with that loss came a new-found appreciation for family and spending as much time together as we possibly can with all our busy schedules.
    So on this years 4th of July get-together, we’ll be at our mother in law’s house swimming with the kids, eating watermelon and making ice-cream… enjoy the blessings of all the food you could possibly eat on the table. It wouldn’t matter if we only had cereal on the table…just being together to enjoy the freedom we’re afforded is all that counts.

  143. forgot to mention i joined your email contact AND facebook! :)

  144. I like that we can do outside events during the summer.

  145. Email subscriber

  146. Love that it is light out until almost 10 pm where we live, more space to spread out, opportunity to grill or have a campfire, easier to call neighbors over, availability of good, fresh food, and more! Would love to win!

  147. Summer entertaining means enjoying that awesome time of day when day becomes night with friends.

  148. I love Summer entertaining because we;re outside, its warm and enjoy the summer fruits.

  149. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
    this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  150. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the
    images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but
    I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

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