Between the Sheets

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The Female Founder Collective

The Female Founder Collective

With love, friendship and community at the root of all that we do, having love for our fellow female founded brands comes naturally. This joining of forces is our latest innovation in creatively supporting one another. It’s simple, really. We love each other’s brands. We’re consistently inspired by Elaina Bellis’s collaborations, while living in Lunya sleepwear, Janessa Leone hats, and Frēda Salvador shoes. We have been behind-the-scenes friends and mentors for years, now we are thrilled to join creative forces and partner by sharing each other's brand stories.       Meet Janessa Leoné   Janessa Leoné is an elevated accessories label based in Los Angeles. The brand creates sophisticated pieces with a focus on timeless, minimal designs that are both unique and classic. Each collection is hand made using a consistent foundation of the highest quality materials, yielding pieces that can be worn through many seasons.   Janessa’s goal is to create products that have the capability to tell a narrative of many generations because they’re well-made enough to withstand the stories themselves.   SHOP JANESSA LEONÉ         Meet Frēda Salvador   Frēda Salvador was founded by best friends Cristina Palomo Nelson and Megan Papay. With over 25 years of technical footwear and accessory design and 70+ years of footwear lineage, they design every collection of elevated, timeless and slightly unconventional styles that ease into your everyday. Their footwear is designed in California and handmade in our family factories in Spain and El Salvador. Their products empower non-stop women by offering pound-the-pavement utility.     SHOP FRĒDA SALVADOR         Meet Elaina Bellis   Elaina is an art director, model, and, most importantly, mother. In 2016, Elaina and her photographer husband James, joined forces to build a one stop shop for all creative needs. Their past collaborations include; Anthropologie, Madewell, Kate Spade, Christy Dawn, True Botanicals, Maisonette, and Blundstone to name a few. The duo reside in Los Angeles with their twin four year old daughters.   CREATE WITH ELAINA          
share a little hope

#sharealittlehope

We created #sharealittlehope as a movement to spread messages of hope and give philanthropic support to those in need.    A letter from our founder, Ashley Merrill:   Many of us are feeling some ramification from COVID-19 in our life, be it from income loss, illness exposure or the helplessness that invariably comes from being trapped inside and hearing bad news constantly.  As someone who has always leaned on “be the change” as a personal motto, I’ve been trying to figure out how that manifests in this unusual landscape… the change antidote that keeps surfacing for me is hope.    Hope can take many forms, but for everyone it can be a catalyst for necessary positive momentum, and that is surely what we’ll need on the other side of this mess.  Lifting a tide is not something we can do alone  - when there is a big problem it will take thought leaders creating a movement to reshape the energy of the moment.    We are created #sharealittlehope as a movement to spread messages of hope and give philanthropic support. It’s simple — for each message of hope shared, $20 will be donated to SoLa Impact in partnership with NaHCO3. These donations will go to the COVID-19 Retraining & Recovery Fund (CORE) which is focused on job retraining for in-demand jobs in healthcare and technology for low income families whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19.   Our hope is to empower those who have lost employment and are seeking career paths that open access to living-wage jobs, financial security, and increased quality of life. At least 100 scholarship recipients will enroll in online or in-person certified training programs to garner a more in demand skill-set in healthcare or technology and have hope for a brighter future.   Together, with some positivity and intentionality we can lift one another up.     Ashley Merrill, Founder + CEO, Lunya     #sharealittlehope
Becoming an adult

Going Deep on Adult-ing

From the Editor of The Deep:   This year, at age 38, I had a realization: by anyone’s standards, I guess I’m a full-fledged adult. I have a mortgage, two kids, retirement accounts, and even a living will. My husband and I attend parent-teacher conferences and discuss things like whether or not our city councilman is doing a good job. Other signs I’m a real adult: I spend a fortune trying to treat wrinkles, spider veins, dark circles etc. … and I regularly have to turn on subtitles (yes, to English-language TV shows) because I guess I can’t hear very well anymore.         Apparently I’m #adulting all the live-long day.   So ... why don’t I feel like an adult?  And what qualifies someone as an adult anyway?  Is it age? Experience? Wisdom? Or is it something else entirely … something intangible and ambiguous, a quality or a mindset? In other words: at what point do we literally grow up?       Ashley Merrill, founder of Lunya     On the day you turn 18 in the United States, you gain a lot of rights and privileges. For example: you can vote, buy a house, get married, get sued, buy a lottery ticket, join the military, change your name, donate blood, book a hotel room, walk into an adults-only store, open a brokerage account and trade stocks, be called for jury duty … and even adopt a child. In your opinion, are most people mature enough to handle these rights and privileges at the age of 18? Ashley: Yes. The reality is, I think most of us are never ready to handle most of these things, but at a certain point, when decision making capabilities are “good enough,” people have to be pushed out of the nest. I lived abroad in Italy when I was 20 and made some Italian friends. Often we would go to a parties together and I realized the Americans were trashed and the Italians weren’t. They grew up with alcohol as a non-momentous part of a family meal, and thus had a more casual, less forbidden-fruit relationship with the substance. Weirdly, it led me to a "give responsibility and exposure early" takeaway. I was reading The Boxcar Children to my kids the other night, and back in 1924, a 9-year-old had a job, so I think for the most part humans are capable of a lot; they just need repetitions with independence and decision-making vs being dramatically turned loose.   Given the significance of the rights and responsibilities you unlock as an adult, does it make more sense to use an arbitrary threshold (such as your 18th birthday) to determine adulthood? Or should the government administer tests to confirm that you are intellectually, emotionally and/or physically mature enough to handle these responsibilities? Ashley: Arbitrary threshold — I tend to be more of a personal-freedoms person and wonder if we start allowing the government to micro manage freedoms that it might turn into a creepy authoritarian situation.   We all know that teenagers sometimes make poor decisions. It turns out that there’s a physiological reason for this: their brains aren’t fully formed. Research shows that the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that controls logic/reason and that takes long-term consequences into account) does not fully develop until people reach their mid- to late-20s. Because their prefrontal cortex is not fully “online” yet, teenagers tend to make decisions using the amygdala, the part of the brain that governs emotions. In other words: teenagers’ (and even young adults’) brains may simply not be capable of making good decisions. Given this evidence, should we raise the age at which you are legally considered an adult? Ashley: No. I can see the argument for 25, but on the other hand, I know plenty of 18-year-olds with better decision making than my mid-thirties friends, so age is just a rough benchmark. As a parent, I also think 18 tends to be a natural time for kids to push away and seek independence, so holding their rights longer than we expect them to love being home with their parents feels problematic.   At what age did you feel like an adult? Ashley: I think my thinking really matured mid-twenties, but I became an adult adult when I had my first child. I started to have to operate with a larger amount of responsibility and my life didn’t orient as much around me.   What does it mean to be an “adult” to you? Ashley: Freedom and responsibility. These two things are not usually bedfellows and in a way, one kind of restricts the other but... I perceive adulthood as when you have the true freedom to act as you want. You can turn into a wandering beach bum who lives it up in #vanlife or a career-family person, but whatever path you have the freedom to choose; it’s a time when you alone must carry the responsibilities for your decisions. As I’m unpacking this I’m seeing it as less of an age and more of an independence thing.         Hillary Peterson, founder of True Botanicals     On the day you turn 18 in the United States, you gain a lot of rights and privileges. For example: you can vote, buy a house, get married, get sued, buy a lottery ticket, join the military, change your name, donate blood, book a hotel room, walk into an adults-only store, open a brokerage account and trade stocks, be called for jury duty … and even adopt a child. In your opinion, are most people mature enough to handle these rights and privileges at the age of 18? Hillary: I am going to say yes because I believe that, as a parent, the goal should be to prepare kids to handle this transition to adulthood when it comes. I have observed that a lot of teenage rebellion comes from kids wanting more responsibility than they are given. As we loaded more responsibilities onto our kids’ plates, they were busy rising to the occasion rather than finding ways to rebel.   Given the significance of the rights and responsibilities you unlock as an adult, does it make more sense to use an arbitrary threshold (such as your 18th birthday) to determine adulthood? Or should the government administer tests to confirm that you are intellectually, emotionally and/or physically mature enough to handle these responsibilities? Hillary: Given the implications of potentially discriminating against people who do not have equal access to education, the idea of adding barriers to participating in civil society concerns me. It’s a basic right.   We all know that teenagers sometimes make poor decisions. It turns out that there’s a physiological reason for this: their brains aren’t fully formed. Research shows that the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that controls logic/reason and that takes long-term consequences into account) does not fully develop until people reach their mid- to late-20s. Because their prefrontal cortex is not fully “online” yet, teenagers tend to make decisions using the amygdala, the part of the brain that governs emotions. In other words: teenagers’ (and even young adults’) brains may simply not be capable of making good decisions. Given this evidence, should we raise the age at which you are legally considered an adult? Hillary: No, in my experience, giving people — even teenagers — more responsibility makes them more responsible.   At what age did you feel like an adult? Hillary: For me, becoming an adult happened in stages. It started with living on my own in college at 18 and solidified when I became financially responsible for myself, upon graduation at 22.   What does it mean to be an “adult” to you? Hillary: See above.         Jessy Dover, co-founder of Dagne Dover     On the day you turn 18 in the United States, you gain a lot of rights and privileges. For example: you can vote, buy a house, get married, get sued, buy a lottery ticket, join the military, change your name, donate blood, book a hotel room, walk into an adults-only store, open a brokerage account and trade stocks, be called for jury duty … and even adopt a child. In your opinion, are most people mature enough to handle these rights and privileges at the age of 18? Jessy: Yes! It’s hard to ever feel ready for any of these things in my opinion, but you have to get on the horse and start learning at some point. Although all people are different, it was around 16 when I felt the powerful itch to break free of my parents and make my own decisions! These things are valuable life choices and moments to be learned from. I think it’s incredibly important to prepare children to make the right decisions for themselves, and let them make mistakes so they have the opportunity to learn. When I was 16, I REALLY wanted to get my tongue pierced, and I was dying because I needed a parent to sign the consent forms and I KNEW mine would say no for obvious reasons. Once I gathered up the courage to ask, she responded with a calm, “sure”. I ended up getting it pierced, and taking it out a year later because I decided that it was not my vibe anymore. No fight, no judgement, just a life experience. My mom knew that I needed to experience the feeling of having the power to make my own decisions before releasing me into the world (2 years later). Although it seems young from an adult perspective, I think that people can handle these rights and privileges.   Given the significance of the rights and responsibilities you unlock as an adult, does it make more sense to use an arbitrary threshold (such as your 18th birthday) to determine adulthood? Or should the government administer tests to confirm that you are intellectually, emotionally and/or physically mature enough to handle these responsibilities? Jessy: I do not believe the government should administer tests to determine if someone is an adult or not. In my experience, people learn in different ways, mature at different rates, want different things, and that is what makes the world such a fascinating place! I’m not sure that “tests” could really determine the answer. I believe there is an opportunity to make the entry into adulthood a tradition that carries more social weight, and something that’s a privilege and an honor, and perhaps that would make the rights and responsibilities that one “unlocks” at age 18 deserving of more careful consideration. For example, when I was in middle school, I remember talking to a girl (while we rode on the tire swing) about getting our periods. I remember thinking “why would I want to get my period??” but her perspective was much different. She was so excited to become a woman, and had spent a lot of time considering what products she would use, how she would manage school during her cycle, etc. Looking back, it seems it was presented to her as a coming-of-age privilege, and something to be proud of, whereas for me, it had always been expressed to me as a burden or annoying extra thing that women had to deal with which made me disinterested. All I’m saying is that there may be opportunities to improve the ways in which we prepare our children for adulthood as a society, but I do not think government tests are the answer.   We all know that teenagers sometimes make poor decisions. It turns out that there’s a physiological reason for this: their brains aren’t fully formed. Research shows that the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that controls logic/reason and that takes long-term consequences into account) does not fully develop until people reach their mid- to late-20s. Because their prefrontal cortex is not fully “online” yet, teenagers tend to make decisions using the amygdala, the part of the brain that governs emotions. In other words: teenagers’ (and even young adults’) brains may simply not be capable of making good decisions. Given this evidence, should we raise the age at which you are legally considered an adult? Jessy: No. Although the above statement is true, I do not think we’re ever truly “ready” for anything. Becoming an “adult” at a certain age only trains a person for what is to come! Practice makes perfect! Also, I’m a bit concerned that changing this age would result in quieting the voice of an important generation of people. For example, I started my company at a young age, and I was very much a child in many ways, but the experience of starting it led to my ability to understand what “being an adult” really means, and the responsibility that comes with that. On the flip side, I think deferring adulthood should be something that is available to all, but that’s another question!   At what age did you feel like an adult? Jessy: 23 because I energetically disconnected from my parents. I am very close with them now, but before that, they would give me money when I needed it, take me on vacation with the family, etc. Once I finally disconnected from them, I became my own person, and it allowed me to make my own decisions independent of what they thought or said. I was finally free.   What does it mean to be an “adult” to you? Jessy: I think adulthood is an elusive concept, and doesn’t really mean anything, if I’m 100% honest. For the sake of answering the question though, I imagine it could have something to do with being responsible for yourself and any humans you bring into this world, and to have enough life experience to have an awareness that considers the collective over the individual when necessary. But honestly, I’m still trying to figure this one out. :)         Sophie Kahn, co-founder of Aurate     On the day you turn 18 in the United States, you gain a lot of rights and privileges. For example: you can vote, buy a house, get married, get sued, buy a lottery ticket, join the military, change your name, donate blood, book a hotel room, walk into an adults-only store, open a brokerage account and trade stocks, be called for jury duty … and even adopt a child. In your opinion, are most people mature enough to handle these rights and privileges at the age of 18? Sophie: I think it really depends on the person. I’ve known people who acted like adults when they were 12, and people who still don’t act like adults at 45. The cutoff at 18 makes sense to me in the sense that this is the age people usually leave their parents’ house and therefore need to have rights to ensure their independence.   Given the significance of the rights and responsibilities you unlock as an adult, does it make more sense to use an arbitrary threshold (such as your 18th birthday) to determine adulthood? Or should the government administer tests to confirm that you are intellectually, emotionally and/or physically mature enough to handle these responsibilities? Sophie: While an arbitrary threshold is far from perfect, I would 100% opt for that. Administering tests can be a slippery slope and lead society down a dangerous path. The administration of tests can just exacerbate things such as economic and educational inequality that already pervade society. The rights to adulthood are kind of like democracy, there are a lot of flaws in it, but there’s no better alternative.   We all know that teenagers sometimes make poor decisions. It turns out that there’s a physiological reason for this: their brains aren’t fully formed. Research shows that the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that controls logic/reason and that takes long-term consequences into account) does not fully develop until people reach their mid- to late-20s. Because their prefrontal cortex is not fully “online” yet, teenagers tend to make decisions using the amygdala, the part of the brain that governs emotions. In other words: teenagers’ (and even young adults’) brains may simply not be capable of making good decisions. Given this evidence, should we raise the age at which you are legally considered an adult? Sophie: Not necessarily, but there are a few things to consider. For instance, motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of accidental deaths amongst teenagers (roughly 1/3 of all deaths). Why then allow kids to drive at 16? I would raise this age, similar to what Europe has. At the end of the day, kids take higher risks due to their underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, so ideally society should protect them by removing the triggers where this can lead to fatalities (drugs, alcohol, guns, cars) until they are older.   At what age did you feel like an adult? Sophie: Somewhere around 18. This is when I left home, moved to a new country, and basically set up my life on my terms. Growing up in Europe, you actually have a lot of freedom when you’re much younger vs. the US, e.g. kids bike to school alone starting at 8 years old, you can drink at 16, I travelled to Spain alone with friends at 17. So by the time I was 18, I feel like I was mostly an adult — of course I’ve matured since then (or at least I hope so) but the foundation was set.   What does it mean to be an “adult” to you? Sophie: To be able to control your impulses and emotions and instead to be able to think rationally, with empathy, and assume responsibility for your actions and for others (basically the opposite of my 3-year old toddler).    
What makes you who you are?

Going Deep on Identity

Imagine waking up one day to find that you have no memory of your life.   No, you're not the guy from Memento (though that would be pretty badass); you’re just a regular person. You know your name, and you remember your spouse who is the love of your life. But other than that...your life is a total blank. You don’t know where you live, where you went to university, or even how old you are. You can’t remember anything about your childhood or your family.         The above sounds like the opening scene of a novel, but this is what really happened to a British man named Clive Wearing. At age 46, Clive contracted a serious brain infection which left him with one of the worst cases of amnesia ever recorded. Clive not only can’t recall most of his life prior to his illness (a condition called retrograde amnesia), he also can’t form new memories (a condition called anterograde amnesia).   The result: every few minutes, Clive feels as if he is waking up from a coma and experiencing consciousness for the very first time.   Reading about Clive got us thinking about how we define ourselves. How malleable are we? If some of our memories were erased or if our lives took a different turn, would we be fundamentally different people? Who are we, really?       Ashley Merrill, founder of Lunya     In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel (played by Jim Carrey) finds out his ex-girlfriend had decided to erase her memories of him. If you could erase some of your memories, would you? Ashley: Yes — Most of my life experiences, both good and bad, have helped me become the person I am and I'm grateful for them, but there are a few that I could part with and be happier for it.   Do you believe negative life experiences are as important as positive life experiences? Ashley: Yes — I think I am an amalgamation of all things good and bad in my life. I do realize this is in slight contradiction to my above answer.   In the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character lives through two scenarios. In one scenario, she just barely catches the subway, leading her life in one direction. In the second scenario, she just misses the subway, leading her life in a completely different direction. If, due to a twist of fate, your life had taken a completely different direction at age 20, do you think you’d be a fundamentally different person than you are today? Ashley: No — About 3 years ago, my mom found all my old report cards. It turns out I was the very same person I am now in many ways. I have a way of looking at the world that has been consistent since I was a child. In many respects, this is the nature versus nurture question and once I had children, I realized just how individualized children are from day one.   If time travel were perfected, would you go back and change any part of your life if you could? Ashley: No — when looking back, I sometimes wish I had handled things differently, but I feel blessed with how things have turned out and wouldn't want to risk a different outcome.         Hillary Peterson, founder of True Botanicals     In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel (played by Jim Carrey) finds out his ex-girlfriend had decided to erase her memories of him. If you could erase some of your memories, would you? Hillary: No, I definitely would not erase them. Over the years, it has become easier for me to embrace and work through painful times because I have learned that my most powerful insights and learnings have come from those experiences.   Do you believe negative life experiences are as important as positive life experiences? Hillary: Yes, 100%. The negative and the positive are so intertwined. For instance, I would not have started True Botanicals if I had not learned from my experience with thyroid cancer that most personal care products are made with toxins.   In the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character lives through two scenarios. In one scenario, she just barely catches the subway, leading her life in one direction. In the second scenario, she just misses the subway, leading her life in a completely different direction. If, due to a twist of fate, your life had taken a completely different direction at age 20, do you think you’d be a fundamentally different person than you are today? Hillary: I do not believe that my values would be different and so I feel that, at the core, I would be the same person but I do feel that I could be living a very different life based on circumstance.   If time travel were perfected, would you go back and change any part of your life if you could? Hillary: I have definitely wanted to fix some questionable wardrobe choices and haircuts but, no, I would not interfere with the path that has been my unique journey. I am so grateful for where my life has led me, and in particular for my incredible husband and children. Each challenge has brought a gift so I am grateful for all of it.           Jessy Dover, co-founder of Dagne Dover     In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel (played by Jim Carrey) finds out his ex-girlfriend had decided to erase her memories of him. If you could erase some of your memories, would you? Jessy: No, I think memories are a big part of what makes you who you are. The tough times build character and increase empathy, and the good times create joyful memories you can call on anytime you want to smile. I would choose to remember everything!   Do you believe negative life experiences are as important as positive life experiences? Jessy: Yes. I think looking at negative memories as learning experiences instead of “negative experiences” is crucial in taking what you need from the situation and applying it to future situations. For example, Melissa, Deepa, and myself had a situation when we first launched our brand where we (unknowingly) skipped a quality check step on an order of totes. We received the order, shipped them to customers, and quickly learned that the handles were breaking. We immediately communicated the issue to our customers, dealt with the situation responsibly, and from then on we have always paid very close attention to our quality control process. It was an invaluable learning in how important it is to be detail-oriented.   In the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character lives through two scenarios. In one scenario, she just barely catches the subway, leading her life in one direction. In the second scenario, she just misses the subway, leading her life in a completely different direction. If, due to a twist of fate, your life had taken a completely different direction at age 20, do you think you’d be a fundamentally different person than you are today? Jessy: No, I think a lot of what makes you your own person is what you love, what you need to learn, and what you gravitate towards. I think I would be a similar type of person if my path had taken me in a different direction, because my passions and drive would be the same. I sometimes think about this, but it makes me a bit sad because I wonder if I would have met the people in my life who bring me the most joy and happiness. Ultimately, I choose to believe that I was destined to meet my peeps, and be where I am right now. :)   If time travel were perfected, would you go back and change any part of your life if you could? Jessy: No, I genuinely wouldn’t change anything because I needed every moment to bring me to where I am now. I also have no desire to live a perfect life. It’s the messy, weird, unexpected things that make it an interesting journey! I would LOVE it if time travel existed though, because I would totally put time on hold whenever I travel. I could do without the commute time!         Bouchra Ezzahraoui, co-founder of Aurate New York     In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel (played by Jim Carrey) finds out his ex-girlfriend had decided to erase her memories of him. If you could erase some of your memories, would you? Bouchra: No. I believe that every life experience shapes you for who you are, both the joyful and the painful. When I was 12, I was in a near-fatal car crash; it was no doubt a traumatic experience. However, it taught me the fragility of life and how important it is to always be in the present. It also taught me that I needed to strive to be a safe driver or probably how to handle a shock when I grew up!   Memories fade with time and the feelings towards them change over time. As such, it would be stripping away what makes someone who they are if they were to erase certain memories from their past, even if they were negative. I believe some of these negative experiences become foundations for positive transformative change.   Do you believe negative life experiences are as important as positive life experiences? Bouchra: Yes. I believe negative experiences, while traumatic, sad, or heartbreaking, ultimately lead to positive long-term changes in one’s life. I was kicked out of school at the age of 13-14 which pushed my parents to send me away from home to continue my education in a different country. I was away from my family and my childhood friends but this initially negative experience helped nurture my independence, open mindedness, and made me who I am today.   In the 1998 movie Sliding Doors, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character lives through two scenarios. In one scenario, she just barely catches the subway, leading her life in one direction. In the second scenario, she just misses the subway, leading her life in a completely different direction. If, due to a twist of fate, your life had taken a completely different direction at age 20, do you think you’d be a fundamentally different person than you are today? Bouchra: Yes. At the age of 20, I could have decided to remain in France as opposed to move to the US for school. I might have considered London as an alternative, but choosing to leave Paris changed my life trajectory completely. Had I not attended my graduate program in the US, I would have not moved to New York, started my career in Finance, met and married my husband and started Aurate with my business partner Sophie, whom I met my 1st week at Princeton!   I wouldn’t say I would be a fundamentally different person had I stayed at home in Paris or moved to London; my core values and personality would remain intact, but my life experience would have been dramatically different.   If time travel were perfected, would you go back and change any part of your life if you could? Bouchra: Yes. I would be easier on myself, allow for more time with family, and budget more for experiences and travel. I always wanted to take a year off and travel the world. It sounds cliché but it would have helped shape me in ways that I would have never expected. I still want to do that with my husband once our kids can walk or probably when they go to college; we have already traveled extensively together and plan to continue to do so for as long as our legs permit us!    
Is college worth it?

Going Deep on College

Going a little stir-crazy at home? Us too. *Understatement of the century*   So, we decided to team up with questions company The Deep to bring you fun food for thought and conversation. For the next few weeks, we'll be publishing some "deep" content for you to dive into.  Today's topic: Is college worth it? Featuring Ashley Merrill, founder of Lunya; Hillary Peterson, founder of True Botanicals; Jessy Dover, co-founder of Dagne Dover; and Sophie Kahn, co-founder of Aurate New York.       Ashley Merrill, founder of Lunya     Is 22 years of age (the age at which most people graduate from college) the best time for most people to enter the workforce full-time? Ashley: No. In an ideal world, I think it would be great for people to get some experience in the workforce prior to going to college and choosing a path. You learn so much by getting out there and getting your hands dirty.   If we’d asked you at 18 years old to decide on your future career, would you have chosen what you ultimately ended up doing? Ashley: No. I was sure I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I watched Ally Mcbeal as a young girl. I took the LSAT and was about to head to law school and decided to chat with some actual lawyers about what their day-to-day looked like. After realizing that it was a little less exciting court banter and a little more reading and research, I decided it probably wasn't a fit for me.   Where does most of the learning and personal development of college students take place? Ashley: Outside the classroom — college was where I learned to manage myself on my own. I had to figure out how to balance having fun with delivering what needed to be done. I remember almost nothing from college, academically speaking.   Is creative problem-solving important to be successful in most careers? Ashley: Yes. The world is either a bunch of problems or a bunch of opportunities depending on much of a problem-solver you are. People who love problem-solving are able to help optimize and improve processes, businesses, and the world around them.   Does the American education system promote creative problem-solving? Ashley: Yes. I surprised myself with my answer to this. Generally speaking, I think the system is designed to train linear thinking, but because the education system is so overburdened, you are almost forced to be a creative problem-solver to get what you need out of it. For example, I really really disliked the science teacher at my public high school and it sent me to see what online options I could take and transfer credits over from.         Hillary Peterson, founder of True Botanicals     Is 22 years of age (the age at which most people graduate from college) the best time for most people to enter the workforce full-time? Hillary: Yes, for me it was a great time to enter the workforce. In between my years in college, I had a variety of summer jobs that helped me to identify what did and did not interest me professionally (a summer catering job with a top LA caterer ruled out cooking school!) and I was ready to get out there and find my way. All people are different and for me it was an ideal time to join the workforce.   If we’d asked you at 18 years old to decide on your future career, would you have chosen what you ultimately ended up doing? Hillary: No, definitely not. My career path has been one where each choice has led to the next choice and I could have never foreseen the unexpected forks in the road.   Where does most of the learning and personal development of college students take place? Hillary: I would really have to say inside and outside of the classroom! Our culture in particular does not expect kids to grow up very fast, so the experience of living on my own was a big one — and so fun! At the same time, I draw on the critical thinking and communication skills that I fine tuned in college, every day.   Is creative problem-solving important to be successful in most careers? Hillary: Yes, I think so! Problems are a part of life and that certainly includes our professional lives. Approaching challenges with creativity and flexibility makes work so much more fun and rewarding. It is a choice. Problems can be an irritating barrier or a puzzle. My days are a lot more fun when I am grounded and I remember to approach them like a puzzle.   Does the American education system promote creative problem-solving? Hillary: Yes, in the case of some of the best liberal arts schools, I think that the American education system promotes creative problem-solving. This is why I am such a big fan of a liberal arts education.         Jessy Dover, co-founder of Dagne Dover     Is 22 years of age (the age at which most people graduate from college) the best time for most people to enter the workforce full-time? Jessy: No, I think there is no “best time” for anyone to enter the workforce. It’s different for everyone. I really LOVE to work, and so I’ve always had some sort of job whether it be waitressing or interning so I felt ready at 22!   If we’d asked you at 18 years old to decide on your future career, would you have chosen what you ultimately ended up doing? Jessy: Yes! I wanted to be a designer, have my own lifestyle brand, and be living free. I was lucky enough to have adults in my life who supported my dreams and pushed me to follow my life vision.   Where does most of the learning and personal development of college students take place? Jessy: The action definitely happens outside the classroom! I do, however, think inside of the classroom is very valuable for reflection and planning. I loved my time at Parsons because it was an opportunity to escape the craziness of NYC and digest and discuss all the things I was learning about becoming an adult, from how to budget and finance my art supplies, to trying to formulate my independent opinions, etc. I had some great teachers and mentors who certainly changed my life, but my time out of the classroom was irreplaceable.   Is creative problem-solving important to be successful in most careers? Jessy: Yes, there is always a way to figure things out, but you must bring a calm, creative mind.   Does the American education system promote creative problem-solving? Jessy: Based on my experience at design school, I would say no. I learned at an early age that you must figure out a way to make the system work for you by creative problem-solving, but nobody told me or taught me. I relied on the trial-and-error method. The first time I realized this was when I wanted to spend a year abroad. My particular program wouldn’t allow for people to attend Parsons Paris (the sister school and only easy option for transferring credits) if they were planning to spend another semester abroad elsewhere. I was stuck in a situation that I felt was incredibly unfair. How can we be punished for having a desire to travel the world and learn from other cultures? I also knew that I did not have the power nor the time to change this policy. Instead, I decided to take a leave of absence from school and apply to Parsons Paris as a visiting student, and apply to the other semester abroad program independently. Nobody lifted an eyebrow, and I actually ended up saving a lot of money on my tuition by taking a leave of absence and transferring the credits I had earned elsewhere. Once I realized that I was the one responsible for my happiness, I learned how to creatively problem-solve and be my own life counselor. You always know what is best for YOU!         Sophie Kahn, co-founder of Aurate New York     Is 22 years of age (the age at which most people graduate from college) the best time for most people to enter the workforce full-time? Sophie: No. Caveat here that I’m answering this based on my personal experience. At 22, I travelled the world, started grad-school in a different country, and still felt very unsure of what I wanted and most of all extremely green. Working full-time would have definitely not been the right fit for me then. Also, you only have one life and so much time to dedicate to your career later on, why not broaden your scope first in the ‘school of life’? This is the time — use it!   If we’d asked you at 18 years old to decide on your future career, would you have chosen what you ultimately ended up doing? Sophie: No. At 18, I was really struggling with how to combine my two interests which were so diverse: math and fashion. I applied both to fashion design school as well as to a quantitative economics program. In the end, I opted for the more conservative bet (parents definitely had a role there) and studied Economics and Finance. But things have a way of panning out. I eventually ended up at BCG, and then Marc Jacobs, and finally was able to combine all my interests with Aurate. I would have never been able to foresee this, it just so happened along the way as I was continuing to search for the best career fit for me.   Where does most of the learning and personal development of college students take place? Sophie: Outside the classroom. Honestly, I can't remember much of what I learned in the class benches (sorry professors!). But I obviously do remember what I learned outside the classroom — you are literally growing up while in school, and the friends you make and life-lessons you get there are priceless. Don’t get me wrong, I think college is very valuable, but I do think its highest value lies in everything that surrounds the classes: your peers, the social activities, the challenges you face in terms of preparing for real life.   Is creative problem-solving important to be successful in most careers? Sophie: Yes! I think being creative in solving problems matters in literally every career as well as in life. When you’re able to think outside of the box, magic happens. I worked in finance, management consulting, fashion, and now as an entrepreneur. The most valuable skill in all of these professions was being able to creatively solve issues. Even for my personal life (juggling a toddler, a baby on the way, my business, partner, and friends), it’s the best survival toolkit.   Does the American education system promote creative problem-solving? Sophie: Yes, I think so. I’m originally from Amsterdam and experienced both the European and American educational system and believe the latter is much stronger in fostering and promoting creativity. All ideas are encouraged, and people are very positive and supportive towards individuality. It’s still within the confines of a system, of course, but creativity is definitely an integral part of that system. It’s part of the strength of the US, I believe, and something that needs to be fostered and continued.    
Call your Mom!

The Mother's Day Edit

Moms do so much and expect nothing in return. They love us, care for us, never judge us (even when we over-plucked our eyebrows freshman year of college). We’ve picked out some of our favorites to help you ace this years gift and help her catch up on all of the sleep she missed.        WASHABLE SILK BUTTON DOWN PANT SET The Washable Silk Button Down Pant Set has an ultra-flattering flat front waist pant with side slit (for hot sleepers who want a little leg ventilation), but the top comes in a shorter length that hits perfectly at the waistband. Bonus? Chic elongated arm length that hits at the elbows.     THE ROBE This is truly the best thing she’ll ever own, or at the very least, the greatest robe of all time. Just ask the New York Times or Goop. Most importantly, it will give her a waistline, not cover it up. Terry cloth can’t do that.     RESORT LINEN SILK PANT SET When she pictures her next vacation, this is what she's wearing. This easy-breezy set comes with a high waist, wide leg pant that’ll keep her feeling cool even in warm weather and a tank with a cut that guarantees no nip-slips. Wear them together or spice things up and mix and match them with other pieces.     WASHABLE SILK TEE SET Who needs silk sheets when you’ve got this baby? The Washable Silk Tee Set has an oversized relaxed fit with clean geometric lines and a luxe look that’ll have her feeling polished, even if she's on day 3 of that topknot.     ORGANIC PIMA LONG CARDIGAN She never knew she needed a sleep cardigan. Until now. The Organic Pima Long Cardigan will be the most versatile piece in her sleepwear collection because it layers perfectly over pretty much everything, from her romper to her intimates.     SHOP THE MOTHER'S DAY EDIT  
Resort Linen Silk

Stay in, chill out.

Resort Linen Silk — an all-natural, lightweight, breathable woven collection that travels well, even if you’re only traveling from the bed to the couch.  The collection that makes days at home feel like a vacation.            
Sam with her Cat

Honey, I'm Home!

Meet Sam — Lunya’s Art Director and an early employee to the company. You might recognize her face as it’s currently plastered all over our website (she also moonlights as our eComm model). Known for setting the office mood: lighting candles, burning sage, and occasionally leading a group mediation, she frequently reminds us of our roots and has been known to pull off any creative challenge (and trust us, there have been MANY).          What are you doing? Living in Zoom or FaceTime and on speakerphone. My bed is my new office and I have to say… meetings in bed were not a foreign concept working for Lunya, but now I just get to take every meeting in bed. When I am not connecting with work, I am connecting with my peeps and getting outside. There’s no time like the present to say hi, what’s up, I miss you.     Sam wears the Siro Bike Short and Supportive Modal Seamless Bralette     What are you wearing? The latest and greatest from Lunya, the Siro Bike Short. It’s soft, slinky, and holds you in. It’s warming up here (kinda) in LA and I am getting really excited for summer. The bike short pairs well with a crop, oversized shirt or bralette… leaving me forgetting what jeans actually feel like.            What have you found to be your favorite spot in the house? Depends on the day, mood, season, hour :) Home means a lot to me. I am a big advocate for setting the tone, designing your space to be a safe haven — to me, you must turn inward in order to achieve. I spend a lot of time observing what makes me feel at my best — sound, light and scent are major parts of the equation:   Sound - I have a bit of a theme in causing emotional whiplash to those who have spent time in my house. Early AM, you can hear soft instrumental tunes that typically relate to my body slowly waking and then there’s a quick transition to J Balvin. By the evening, I may be jamming to Lizzo or French Lounge... you just never know!    Light - if I could live only by candle light, I would. Soft diffused light is easy on the eyes — I am uninterested in LED bulbs or color temperature conflict.    Scent - I like to describe this as a fine mix of a stealthy man who smokes a bit too much with my great grandmothers musk and a touch of rose that sweetens the deal. I have a full drawer dedicated to the cause — incense, candles, room sprays — always subtle, of course.      Sam wears the Siro Bike Short, Washable Silk Tee Set, and Cozy Cotton Silk Sock     How has this experience changed you? The last few weeks have brought up a lot of nostalgic memories and a reminder of what my work is rooted in. I moved from Minneapolis five years ago to begin the journey of Lunya. It was a wild journey back then — if you can remember a life where Instagram hadn’t fully ruled the world yet (it was just getting started) and what we had at our fingertips was a camera, photo samples, a concept of sleepwear for the modern woman, and zero dollar budgets. I spent my time capturing every corner of my home in an attempt to show a perspective that would allow women to see that they deserved to feel confidently comfortable. It soon became very obvious — to create a simple version of reality. We used friends, their homes, and began to capture what morning and evening looked like in their simplest form. As natural as possible. No hair and makeup. Not too many accessories. Beds were undone and wrinkly. We needed to show her that where she was at was exactly where Lunya was meant to live.    Today, I am back in that same space. The same challenge stands in front of me, how do we make you feel confidently comfortable, even in this strange time confined to four walls and a messy undone bed — times where life may feel a bit chaotic, uncertain, and quite unnerving. Lunya was made for this moment. On the bright side there are long mornings in your robe, the time to read every page of the paper, FaceTime with friends, and having nowhere to be — except for right here. As funny as it may sound, it’s freeing. It has turned my self-awareness up and quieted down the extra noise of interruption and marriage to an aggressive schedule. It’s simple and though that can be uncomfortable, I’ve been doing a lot of work on answering why… this experience has gotten me very comfortable with simple.     What are you listening to? Here’s the thing… I push play to the same song 15 times a day and make it :36 seconds into the song and a new call starts. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t default to Bieber and I can crush Forever’s  “whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” at this point.      Sam wears the Cozy Pima Alpaca Fleece Crop Sweatshirt, Siro Bike Short, and Cozy Cotton Silk Sock     What are you eating (and drinking, TBH?) Currently living off of ginger tea. The secret to get it burning your throat - ginger concentrate.          What are you doing to differentiate the days? I’m using Strava to record and share my walks. This has allowed me to see where others are working out and it’s cool to find new pockets of the city to walk through. Meditation has been top of mind and I am taking notes in the Calm app so I can reflect on what emotional waves the days bring. Tracking has been important for my mind to stay clear and focused and it's been a useful tool during these uncertain times. Getting ready is another way to create some change. It may seem a bit silly to get ready to go no where... but let's not get too carried away - this usually means changing from my AM Lunya to my PM Lunya at around 5pm every day.    I hope you're all staying safe. That's all for now! 🧡 
At Home with Alli Holzmann

Anxiety, but make it festive

Meet Alli — Lunya’s Sr. Content Manager. Speculation on when things like toilet paper will run out has her looking at the carefully curated selection of coffee table books in her apartment through a very different lens these days. Here’s what she’s up to.     Alli wears The Robe     What are you doing? Working from home! The Lunya team is dabbling in technology for the first time, and it’s truly something to behold. I’ve been surprised by many of my co-workers' interior decor choices. I guess you never really know someone…    What are you wearing? I’ve been living in The Robe. They say that as tempting as it is to stay in your pj’s when you’re stuck at home all day, marking transitions makes a big difference. I call bullshit! My fiancé has been encouraging me to get dressed in the morning, but once the robe is on, those plans are off.    What are you listening to? I’ve made a Quarantunes playlist… it absolutely bops. There is virtually no rhyme or reason to it.         What are you eating (and drinking, TBH?) If I get a wave of energy, I’ll put on my chambray button down, grab a wooden spoon, and channel Ina Garten. Currently trying to master this recipe.    What are you watching? My 401k yoyo-ing, sort of like my quarantine body (having a full fridge within 10 steps of my new workspace is proving to be a challenge.) Also, Homeland and Curb Your Enthusiasm on Sundays is the current highlight of my week.   What are you learning? How to play backgammon, the pros and cons of working from home, and what really matters in the bigger picture.     What are you reading? A lot of news and The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates    What is keeping you up at night? My dad’s health and the decision to cancel my upcoming wedding in June, which has done a bit of brain damage. The former puts the latter in perspective. I usually like to kick-start worrying about all of this at 3 a.m. Many people will be dealing with challenges in the coming months, and we should all keep perspective on what is most important.    What’s the silver lining in this? People’s ability to find humor in the face of adversity is honestly what is keeping me going. Between my new schedule of crying and eating, I have let out more deep belly laughs in recent weeks than I can remember. And spending time with my fiancé, say 75% of the time.    If you could FaceTime with anyone right now, who would it be? Larry David. Always.   
At Home with Ashley Merrill

Business (Not) As Usual

On the right, Ashley is wearing the Organic Pima Pocket Tee and Washable Silk Set. On the left, Ashley is wearing the Organic Pima Jumpsuit. Image shot by her daughter, Vesper — age 5.   Meet Ashley — CEO & Founder of Lunya. She’s wearing her usual hats as parent, partner, and business owner, only now all at once. As a parent, she’s now joined at home with the rug rats and husband and implementing social distancing like the rest of us. As a business owner, she’s no stranger to working from home (many of us can attest to receiving a brain dump at 3am). The new challenge: The 24/7 and overlapping nature of both jobs in the context of a quickly moving social and economic landscape.    Cooking, reading, hanging with family, and wondering what (the actual hell) happens next, we’ll be taking you behind the curtain with her and some of the Lunya team over the next couple of weeks to show how we’re spending our quarantime, home but together.     Ashley is wearing the Organic Pima Pocket Tee.     What are you doing? I’m grounded and working from home like everyone else. My days are full of meeting with teams to pivot plans, scenario planning, chatting with other entrepreneurs about how they are handling this, and making meals for the kids and husband. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and managing my own psychology right now has been a challenge. When the rain lets up, I’ve been forcing myself to go stand outside in the sun to remind myself that the sky is, in fact, not falling.      Ashley is wearing the Cozy Cotton Silk Henley and the Cozy Cotton Silk Relaxed Short. What are you wearing? I’ve never worn more Lunya than I have in this past week. I’m feeling new pressure to rotate my upper torso outfit so I’m not wearing the same Cozy Cotton Silk Henley sweater in every Zoom meeting. I’ve also been leaning pretty hard into the Cozy Cotton Silk Relaxed Short.     Ashley wearing the Organic Pima Jumpsuit. Images shot by her husband, Marc. What are you listening to? I’ve been listening to people on Zoom and the Frozen II soundtrack on repeat since my kids are home. There is this song “When I’m Older” with lyrics that say…    “This will all make sense when I am older Someday I will see that this makes sense One day, when I'm old and wise I'll think back and realize That these were all completely normal events I'll have all the answers when I'm older”   It’s weirdly poignant.   What are you eating (and drinking, TBH?) That's "Iron Chef" to you. I’m stretching food and my culinary skills to new lengths as I’m forced to make meals with the odd items I was able to purchase at the store. Some dishes I’ve been making are: vegetarian chili which later became chili dogs, lemon and date chicken (thanks to Hilary Kerr’s insta story) served with cauliflower rice with bacon and kidney beans… also so much salami as it’s the only protein I’ve been able to successfully restock. Salami and eggs for breakfast, anyone?         What are you watching? I’m an idiot and I watched Outbreak. Don’t do it. I balanced it out with some standup from Judah Friedlander.    What are you learning? I’m learning a lot about the importance of a growing economy.    What are you reading?  So far I’ve been reading @thedeep.life, the news, and I'm planning to start reading Sapiens (again). I feel like pulling up to the species level is oddly helpful in these moments so I don’t get lost in all the daily minutia.   What is keeping you up at night?  I have had less personal interaction with the health aspects of coronavirus itself (thankfully). My thoughts have been heavily around the economic impact at this point. Honestly, I’m up all night obsessing over the tanking economy and its effects on my business and team. I’m trying to get my footing in a new normal where consumer spending is way down and retail stores are closed. I feel an immense responsibility for my team and am grappling with how to balance the needs of the business for survival with the needs of the individuals. There is no playbook for this but I’m working with the team in real time to make a new plan forward.         If you could FaceTime with anyone right now, who would it be? I want to feel a sense of meaning and connectedness to the earth, humanity, and my personal existence within those things and would love to talk to someone who is spiritually enlightened like Buddha. I want to feel certain in a path and feel at peace with the things that are outside my control. And yet this short experience has changed me so much that I want to shed my old skin and embrace my new perspective when this has passed.   What’s the silver lining in all of this?  A crisis is a great opportunity to learn what people are made of and I’ve learned that I'm blessed to be surrounded by incredible people. I've been up all night with team members alternating between tears and laughter, I've had friends offer to hazmat it up and fulfill orders with me, and the outpouring of support and camaraderie I've felt within the entrepreneur community has been heartwarming.      
Going Organic with Gloria Noto

Going Organic with Gloria Noto

If you’re looking towards the future of the beauty industry, look no further than artists like Gloria Noto. A makeup artist and activist whose views on beauty and identity led her to found one of our favorite beauty brands, Noto Botanics. We got deep with Gloria, talking about her genderless approach to beauty, why you shouldn’t be afraid of face oils, and going organic in both beauty and life. Gloria is wearing the Organic Pima Jumpsuit     Has founding NOTO changed your perspective as a makeup artist? It has in so many ways by allowing me to understand what cosmetics are on so many different levels — from the obvious level of what they are made of and how they are made, to realizing what they mean to others who are buying them and applying these cosmetics to themselves. Founding NOTO has opened up my world to seeing the consumer and hearing their stories.   Lots of people have misconceptions about what face oils are and what they do to your skin — can you tell us a little bit about their benefits and why people should stop being afraid to give them a shot? I think we’ve come a long way in finally getting to a place where we are more educated in our approach to oils and how we use them. However, I think there are still those who are worried that oil = breakouts. This misconception comes from a history of mineral oils being added into products from yesteryear. Thankfully, these have been removed from your everyday face oil, which are more pure to form, allowing your skin to gain the nutrients it needs and having the ability to absorb into the skin rather than clog it.    Gloria is wearing the Organic Pima Long Sleeve Tee, and the Organic Pima Pocket Tee     Talk to us about Noto’s genderless approach to beauty Well, simply put...beauty IS genderless.   What’s one ingredient that people would be surprised to know has huge skin benefits? Green coffee bean oil!  It awakens the skin (without giving you the jitters).     Gloria is wearing the Organic Pima Pocket Tee     Does your routine change depending on what you have going on that day? Hardly, but sometimes. I always wash and use my Deep Serum day and night — some days I need an extra cleanse so I use the Resurface Scrub, and some days I add a layer of Moisture Riser Cream for added hydration. And on some days, I need full-body nourishment, so I'll use the Agender Oil when my legs and arms feel dry. I usually just feel it out.   If you could only have one beauty product on your shelf what would it be? Deep Serum for SURE. It gives an instant glow and it also changes the skin over time. Best of both worlds!   Gloria is wearing the Organic Pima Long Sleeve Tee     Your alarm goes off — what happens next? I kiss my dog a bunch, I make coffee, I try to meditate but often I get to a few emails, I journal, then I go work out — and then the rest is what it is.   What came first, organic life habits or organic beauty routine For sure organic life habits — I started cleaning up my diet and learning about herbs and supplements like a madwoman when I started to not feel so good. I had to deep dive into self-healing. Meanwhile, my skin was terrible throughout my entire 20’s…like really bad. It wasn’t until around the end of my 20’s when I realized that I needed to stop using abrasive products, and instantly saw a difference when I switched to clean skincare. I then went deep into researching what ingredients and herbs could do for me topically — which lead me to formulating my own products…and here we are!       How else does organic fit into your life? How have you gone organic in other areas of your life besides your beauty routine? Organic to me also means authentic. So I check in with myself often to feel like I am connected to myself and do the things that feel right and real for me.        
Maddy Furlong

Interior Obsessions with Maddy Furlong

Meet Madelynn Furlong-  art director and content creator with a love for all things fashion and interiors.Our Cozy Cotton Silk collection has us dreaming of nesting for the rest of winter, so when thinking of homes we’d like to cozy up in for a long weekend, Maddy’s was at the top of our list. She has a self-proclaimed affinity for chairs and we found a few in her apartment that we’ll be waiting out the rest of winter in.     How did you cultivate your online aesthetic? Slowly and over time. It’s a journey, not a race!   Influencer content is plentiful these days and so many people have the same vibe. What makes something interesting to you? When someone stands out and is doing their own thing and you can tell it's fully authentic.   How do you bring your unique sensibility to any partnership that you enter into? I find it pretty easy these days! I just style things how I naturally would, and don't worry about the rest. :)    Maddy is wearing the Cozy Cotton Silk Tank, Cozy Cotton Silk Bike Short, and Cozy Cotton Silk Cardigan     You’re constantly traveling for work — how does that make your home environment more important to you? Oh man, my apartment is everything to me. There’s nothing like coming home after a month of travel to a space that is absolutely yours. I call my apartment my sanctuary because that's what it is!   Name your nightstand essentials A candle and a good book     Maddy is wearing the Cozy Cotton Silk Tank and Cozy Cotton Silk Relaxed Short (left) and the Cozy Cotton Silk Bike Short, and Cozy Cotton Silk Cardigan (right)     When you do get to be home, how do you spend your time? Working from bed and hanging with the animals.   Any off-hours rituals that help you maintain your sense of calm? Baths!   Maddy is wearing the Cozy Cotton Silk Relaxed Short and Cozy Cotton Silk Cardigan (left) and the Cozy Cotton Silk Tank and Cozy Cotton Silk Bike Short (right)     Talk to us about your love affair with chairs Ugh, Im obsessed with them. A good chair is essential to any space, I swear! One day I wish I could own a whole warehouse of chairs.   What's your typical off-hours uniform? Lunya's Cozy Cotton Silk Legging and a band tee!         

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