Sharing a Tip for the Ladies

You guys know I’ve been trying to go all natural.

And so I decided to just go for it and try some of those washable cloth pads sold at The Period Store. Sounds like something I would try, right?


Trust me, I was a bit skeptical. Would they be too inconvenient? I mean, it would take a bit of extra time and laundering. But then I thought of a landfill. And then I thought of all the chemicals and cotton pesticides I was exposing my body to with disposable products. And then I knew I had to give this a shot.

The brand is called Eco Femme and they come in (3) different sizes.

And well…I really, really like them. In factI’ll never turn back. They work even better, it seems. Somehow they just feel…more civilized, more comfortable and soft, more dignified, less “noisy” than paper & plastic products. They certainly are more conspicuous than a tampon. But whatever. I’m over it. I really can’t recommend them enough (unless you’re at the beach, of course. 🙂 I own two of each size. Over time, they will save you loads of money.
Now, you may think you need a laundry room or something fancy, but you don’t. You just soak for at least 30 minutes in a bowl, then hand wash or machine wash. They are supposed to last for 5+ years. 
And, Eco Femme is an incredible non-profit for women in India. They are trying to bring opportunities, empowerment, and choices to women all over the globe. So awesome.
OK, that’s all.  ðŸ™‚ Are you intrigued? Have you ever tried a more eco-friendly product for your cycle? Also, if you have any more questions about these, feel free to ask.

P.S. I guess one more unrelated thing: that skirt above is CUTE. (from ASOS)

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  1. Katie Marshall June 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Hmmm, interesting… The washing is what would make me the most nervous… I wouldn't want to touch it! But, I see why you would want to switch, the cotton pesticides is a good point I've never thought of! Kudos to you, you are very brave 🙂

    • mara June 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      I totally thought the washing would be an issue, too. But then I decided to view it as taking better care of my body – and that helped a lot. Now it feels more natural, less gross.

  2. Jody June 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    totally recommend a moon cup. so easy and so convenient and not as messy as you might think.

    • mara June 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      OK, the cup just might be my next thing to try. They were pretty much unknown to me until I became more aware of natural options – and now it seems TONS of people love them! So I'm very intrigued. I really should get one.

    • Lexie June 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      I was going to recommend trying the Lunette, which is the same concept as the Moon Cup, just a different brand. 🙂 I love mine. I switched about 5 months ago and my cycle is so much more manageable.

    • SarahN @ livetolist June 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Also a Lunette user. No looking back to be honest. It's the only 'secret' from my BF (and he's happy to know nothing!), even freaks out my liberal mother, but MAN so much easier than tampons! (Sorry, after two cycles with pads, I've never taken to them!)

    • Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      I'm a serious fan too. Over two years using the Diva cup brand. Absolutely no looking back. Much less clean up than pads, super easy to clean, keeps my lady bits from drying up and it all just feel much more in balance.

    • Anonymous June 7, 2014 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      I second the diva cup! I switched 5 years ago and will never go back!

    • Jess June 10, 2014 at 5:21 am - Reply

      I just want to add another vote for the cups! I've been using the Keeper since the end of 2007 – it cost about $55 and that's all I've really had to invest since then (I will use it, plus one overnight pad the first night of my period just to be safe). The cost plus the environmental benefits, as well as the ease of it all … it's awesome 😀

    • Anonymous June 12, 2014 at 4:12 am - Reply

      Me, too on the cups! I cloth diaper my newborn adopted son and could NOT wash these but the moon cup is amazing. So easy and I would think more environmentally friendly than these.

    • Claire June 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      I've been using a diva cup for almost 7 years, such a money saver, environment saver and all together convenient and amazing product.

    • Kate Bettison June 17, 2014 at 9:12 am - Reply

      I love my Lunette, but it just doesn't do the job with my heavy periods…it only lasts about an hour and a half and I have to take it out to empty it. It's not that I haven't put it in properly…just heavy bleeding. Does anyone know of a cup that is specifically for women with heavy periods?

    • kate June 17, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

      Try the large size Ladycup. It has the biggest capacity on the market (here in the UK), and is made from very soft silicon so very comfortable to insert and wear. On very heavy days, it lasted me just over 2 hours. (I have been having acupuncture to try to lessen my bleeding, and am now up to 3.5 – 4 hours on my heaviest days).

    • Kate Bettison June 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Kate! (great name… :-)) I'll look this up today! I might look at acupuncture too…

    • Amandine Marbach July 19, 2014 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Hi Mara, I've been following your blog for a little while now, and I really love it! I'm french, and here it is the same, women don't really know all the possibilities they have to avoid usual products (for which by the way, we have absolutely no information, such as composition or origin…). I've discovered the cup lately and I think it's great! I tried to share as much as possible on the subject :-). It saddens me to see that a lot of men (and even women) are repelled by that. Nothing is gross about periods, it's the beauty of being a woman and we should all be comfortable with it and be in harmony with our body!

  3. Miggy June 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    So a long time ago, in my 20's I met with a homeopathic Dr. in Hawaii who I wish I could have maintained a friendship with–she was really cool. Anyway, she was super natural–like you–and one thing I remember her telling me about her cycle was that she used some sort of cloth pads as opposed to disposable. Then she would soak them in water–a few at a time I think–and then use that water to water her plants. (I'm sorry…I'm sure I just made a few of you gag…I get it.) She said the iron in the blood and other nutrients were amazing for plants. Just thought I'd share. 🙂

  4. Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Yup, the silicone cup is the way to go. But I use cloth for reinforcements. I have the lunette and it is the greatest things ever. Why do they not tell you about this when you hit puberty?!

    • Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      I might add washing is no biggie. Boil in water to sanitize once a month, otherwise soap and water – no worse to handle than any other method.

    • mara June 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      So glad to hear all this. THANK YOU. I really should get one.

  5. Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I NEVER thought I would do this. Seemed so gross 🙁 Well, I was getting a lot of yeast infections and decided to give them a shot. I am in love. Agree…they are so comfy and I feel like I can breathe. They absorb so much better too. Mine are light colored and I do nothing special at all to launder them. Just toss in the washer like I do everything else. After two years of use they BARELY have any stains. I only use tampons for swimming now.

    • mara June 5, 2014 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      So glad to hear this. And yes, I agree that they seem to absorb much better.

  6. Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Are the Eco Femme cloth pads organic cotton? It just says cotton on the link you provided, so I wasn't sure. I am interested in trying them if they are organic. I love your blog and both your and Danny's posts! : )

    • tawnya June 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      There is a company called party in my pants that sells them with organic cotton, just FYI.

    • mara June 7, 2014 at 12:36 am - Reply

      Anon -I actually wrote the company to ask more about Eco Femme's fabrics. I couldn't see on their website if the fabric was organic. Hopefully it is. I guess i should have looked into that prior! But I'll write in again here if the company responds. Though glad to hear about the other company with organic fabrics… (Thanks, Tawnya!)

    • kathy walkling June 7, 2014 at 10:13 am - Reply

      Hi from Kathy at Eco Femme. Thanks for your post Mara and to answer your question, no, the cotton in not organic. We are however busy researching into organic supply options and doing some prototypes. We hope to have an organic range on the market by the end of the year.

  7. Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Love the Diva Cup too!!

  8. Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Wow. Um, wow. Yeah, I'm OK with throwing away that part of my life. And I never worry about landfills when I do. But this was interesting, makes me think of Jane Austen days and the like.

    • Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      you never think about landfills? wow. um, wow.

    • Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      1st anonymous – just think about the rats eating blood soaked sanitary items. Skeeved out much now? Great!

      2ns anonymous – you said it best!

  9. Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Sounds good in theory. But I can't help but think of the major mood-kill if my husband happened across a sink full of pads in for a soak!

    • mara June 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      I'm glad you brought this up. I know – that part takes some getting used to. I just use a metal bowl that I keep next to the washer. I change the water once a day if I don't wash them immediately on the same day and I forgot to add that sometimes I'll pour like a quarter cup of white vinegar in the water, just in case. Since I rinse them pretty well prior to putting them in the bowl, the soaking water is mostly clear and actually doesn't look gross. I just asked Danny what he thought about it all and he said, "what's the difference between having a shirt or another item of clothing being hand washed and soaked?" He said about that pads, "They are just underwear." haha. Danny is really good about all these things (which makes me feel really grateful) and it is my only hope that all men are good about anything period related. It would be awesome if families were open about it and taught both their boys & girls that it is normal and not something to be grossed out about. Also, another note – Danny once mentioned that if he ever WAS weirded out by periods, that it was because a girl was acting really funny & embarrassed about it, which affected how he thought about it. Anyway, it's crazy how behavior by both boys and girls can really influence the other – it goes both ways. We all have such an affect on each other. So the more we can ALL try to view it as normal and natural – we can begin to have an influence on others. Danny just said, "It's like being weirded out that I poo." And it's true!

    • SarahN @ livetolist June 5, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      My father has ALWAYS washed out stained underwear of anyone in our family – his wife, me, my brothers. To him, it's just part of doing the washing. So growing up, and even now (almost 30), if I have to hand rinse underwear cause there was a 'opps'/leak, I'm 100% OK with doing it at my parents home, no shame or hiding.

      I'm so glad I grew up in such an open household, even if other people think we're weird!

    • Lisa June 6, 2014 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      I actually asked my husband last night if he minded the bucket of pads soaking in the tub. He said, "No, why should I?" Aww. 🙂 (My 4 yr old once stepped in the bucket when I was soaking pads after my baby was born. He yelled, "Help! I just stepped in Mommy's water of blood!" We keep it in the tub now.) And thanks, Mara. I never thought of vinegar.

    • Anonymous June 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Lisa's comment alone makes me NOT want to ever try them…sorry but that's just gross.

  10. TheSpectrum June 5, 2014 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    I second the diva cup! Don't even notice it's there, no laundering necessary, no bulky uncomfortable feeling. So great!

  11. Ruby Morton June 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Wow, thanks for the tip! I will get some of those

  12. rawketstarling June 5, 2014 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Plenty of others are saying it, but I also use the silicone cup (a Diva cup). I've had it about two years and I cannot imagine a period without it! I recommend it to ALL my friends without hesitation. of course, they are (like I was) grossed out by the IDEA of it, but the reality of it is so convenient. And like you, I absolutely love the eco-friendliness of it, but also how I never ever have to worry if I have a tampon with me, ever again. I recently had an IUD put in and it causes excessively heavy bleeding. If I were relying on tampons I would have to just sit on the toilet for a few days because it is unbelievable how fast I bleed (SO sorry for the TMI!) but with the cup, I just remember to visit the toilet every two hours and I'm not blowing through a box of tampies a day! I have gotten a few friends to try it and they are also hooked now! I look at it as part of being a woman–I know my body so well now 🙂

  13. Anonymous June 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    I've been using the lunette cup for about 4 years now, and party in my pants pads (as backup) for a year and a half. it's wonderful. no more yeast infections or nasty plastic, and it just feels better. for what it's worth, since I'm using the cloth pads as backup, I don't presoak them, and they come out very clean. And my husband got over the skeeve factor (you should have seen his face when they came in the mail, though!) haha.

  14. Anna C. Winter June 5, 2014 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    I haven't used a disposable period product in a decade. I've never looked back! It IS time to add to my pad stash though – I'm still using the same pads I handmade in 2004 and I think it's time to add a few more! Glad you're going all-natural with the pads. It's a GREAT feeling.

  15. Anonymous June 6, 2014 at 12:50 am - Reply

    I might be in the minority here, but I miss the posts that focus on relationships, trials, spiritual enlightenment, etc.

    • Anonymous June 6, 2014 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      I LOVE the variety of the posts. Like them all! : )

    • Anonymous June 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      Based on the comments they receive, I guessed I would be in the minority. When I first found the blog I was so excited and really enjoyed reading everything. However, over time it seems like it is more of a style/health/hipster/advertising blog with a bit of the relationship/trial stuff. Totally fine – it is their blog and it appears that many like their lifestyle and enjoy the posts. I guess I'm selfishly sad with the new approach, but wish them all the best. 🙂

    • Mara Kofoed June 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Hi there – I realized I never responded to this. But – it turns out that I think caring for your body is perhaps the #1 thing related to love, spirituality, relationships, and happiness. The body is so, so connected to the mind and to the spirit. They work in tandem to do something awesome, and if one side is suffering, the other side suffers, too. So here on this blog I do like to include posts about health as it's such an ongoing journey and I think we all (myself included) could use ideas and motivation. Achieving greater health is such an act of love and respect towards yourself. It's an act of love to the world and to your marriage or relationship as it prepares you to be your best self.

      As for advertising, I do very, very little of that. Though to be honest, I would do more if I had opportunities as this blog makes very little money and it's a labor of love. But when I do share a product, I do so because I really love the product and want to share it. I hate shopping, so I love asking people where they got things as it saves time. So I love passing on those tips here on the blog.

  16. Sheena June 6, 2014 at 5:03 am - Reply

    I am definitely intrigued by your post Mara and have a question – if there is no plastic, what stops leaks from happening? I would think it wouldn't take long to soak through one of those pads but obviously I must be wrong?!

    Also, for all the ladies mentioning Diva Cup/Lunette, how do you avoid leaks and how do you know when it is time to pay the ladies room a visit? I was going to apologize for getting TMI here but I think we are all open to sharing here!

    • Lisa June 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      I used PUL for the bottom of the holder pad and for the bottom of the panty liners when I made mine. As for the cup, if it's in right and if it's not too full, it won't leak. When to empty it depends on your flow. Heavy days, every 2 hrs or so? Light days, you can go longer.

    • mara June 7, 2014 at 12:32 am - Reply

      Sheena, I knew the medium and large pads had a leak proof layer but I couldn't remember what is was..
      The website says there is an "absorbent flannel cotton top layer, absorbent inner core of cotton flannel layers, and a PUL leakproof layer."
      I looked up PUL and "it's a type of laminated fabric. PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate." I saw there are eco friendly PUL fabrics, but not sure what they use at Eco Femme – hopefully it is indeed an eco friendly PUL fabric!

  17. Bri!!! June 6, 2014 at 5:51 am - Reply

    To be honest I think pads are NASTY. I HATE having to wear them after births/miscarriages. They stink, and seem so insanitary. Have you ever tried the Diva Cup? It is a reusable cup that is like a tampon.

  18. Lisa June 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    HA! I was just thinking this morning, "I wonder if Mara cloth pads. She's health conscious and eco-friendly." And I was actually going to email you about the Keeper Cup. Guess I don't have to now. 🙂 I switched to cloth pads (homemade) 10 years ago (yes, the water is great for plants, though every time I use it, I think "Little Shop of Horrors"), but since I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding most of that time, I've had only 12 periods in those 10 years. Now I seem to be done and after 3 periods in a row, was totally ready to try a cup. So glad I did. Makes my period less of a THING to be dealt with and gotten through. So easy. So comfortable. Highly recommend it to anyone who will listen.

  19. Aubrey June 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I think I might have to start using this, I stopped using tampons a few years ago due to irritation. The soaking it in water, really grosses me out though… to overcome that??!!?

    I'm glad you mentioned the skirt too, it's amazing ;).

  20. Shiloh Donkin June 6, 2014 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Just recently started to make the switch myself. I've tried Soft Cups and the Diva Cup. Still haven't settled on my favorite yet, but I think the diva cup is definitely on it's way to being a permanent fixture. I love the idea of not having to buy anything every month. No filling the trash can every few days. I also feel like it makes me more aware of how my body works and more aware of my cycle. I like it. I'd rather be aware and involved than to just flush it away and ignore it. My husband accepts it all as a wonderful fact of life. Not grossed out at all about my trying other natural ways of handling my cycles. I think most rational men, while probably not totally interested in the details of your cycle, can handle that it is a reality, just like pooping, vomit, etc.

    Well done Mara for exploring your options. I wish I had known of alternatives when I hit puberty. But disposable pads and tampons are all you ever hear about. I only just discovered there is a world of options available to women!

    Anyone tried the sea sponge? I have heard some women love it. Would love to hear if anyone has tried that.

    PS for what it is worth, I love that you hit so many topics on your blog. Lifestyle, love, relationships, spiritual matters, topics people are reluctant to discuss. I feel like for me, it opens my eyes to things I might not have discovered otherwise, or in this instance, your post might introduce others to a whole world they never new existed, one outside of disposable everything.

    • mara June 7, 2014 at 12:25 am - Reply

      I've been curious about the sea sponges, too… Would LOVE to hear any thoughts on it if someone sees this. 🙂

  21. cj June 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    I'll add my vote for cloth pads and cups (I've used a DivaCup and a Lunette). After six years of using cups, with cloth pads as a back-up on heavy flow days, I can't imagine going back to tampons or pads! Toxic shock syndrome is a scary risk.
    There are so many benefits to using a cup, as well as cloth pads:
    -I'm saving money and reducing waste
    -I never have to make an emergency trip to the store for supplies
    -My period often starts while I'm out and about during the day but I can insert the cup in the morning and not worry about it (unlike tampons…ow!!!)
    -Travelling is so easy–I just bring a cup and a couple of pads and I'm good for a trip of any length

    Plus, to all the women who feel squicked out at the thought of handling pads or cups, you get used to it really quickly! It's your body, after all, and you're just taking care of it. The first couple of months of using a cup were hard, to be honest, because I had to figure out the best way to insert/remove it, but now it's so easy and convenient. I also feel much more in tune with my body–I used to hate having my period and now it's not even a consideration. Oh, and I know exactly what my flow is like and have been able to see changes as I get older. It's amazing to have this information about my health.

    By the way, I didn't like soaking my pads, so I just rinse them out at night and let them dry before throwing them in with my dirty clothes. I made my own pads (I was picky about the shape and size) and used material that doesn't stain. I just put vinegar on them every so often before I launder them and they've been going strong for years.

    Sorry for the novel, but pads and cups were LIFE-CHANGING for me. 🙂 There's a ton of helpful information online about all of it. And check out if you want a simple, convenient tracker for your menstrual cycle.

    • mara June 7, 2014 at 12:24 am - Reply

      Thank you THANK YOU for taking the time to share such good info. here. I am absolutely convinced I need to try a cup along with the pads.

  22. rebecca June 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Just a quick comment on the "ick" factor… it is perfectly natural and a good way to think of it is to compare it to a baby's cloth diapers. Just a part of life.

  23. Ashley June 7, 2014 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Another vote for the Diva Cup and I also use the cloth pads but I buy them handmade from a seller on Etsy. I've been using them a least a couple time each cycle for like 4 years and they are still in amazing shape. The cloth pads have been a life saver after my miscarriages when I can't use the cup.

  24. liesel June 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    I use a combo of a lunette cup for heavy days, and a re-usable Soft Cup for my light days. (soft cups are awesome!! You can even be intimate with them in, which is a sweet extra feature. And it is an easier learning curve and transition from tampons, they just don't hold as much as my lunette.) It was a little adjustment to get the right fit, but now I love it and wouldn't go back to tampons for anything. Backup re-usable pads would be good too, I'll look into them.

  25. Anonymous June 8, 2014 at 9:57 am - Reply

    I feel sad seeing women here saying over and over again things like "nasty" and "gross". It is sad we've been made to feel this way about a natural process that indicates a healthy, functioning body.

    I switched to pads after starting down my 4 year IVF road and hearing about fibers left behind in the body from tampons. Now I find that pads feel much better for me. If I'm at home or in the office, it's actually much better. I find I can feel when blood is coming and go the bathroom and/or flow happens when I pee. Mind, I drink a lot of water so I pee fairly regularly. Most days I use only one or at most 2 pads b/c they never get any blood on them.

    Given that, you've got me seriously considering reusables with the post. And since I'm 100% against thinking any part of a woman's cycle is "gross" I'm not put off at all by soaking or washing. I'm off to do some research now. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Michelle Rackley June 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    I've used the Keeper too for 7 years now — and I've only needed to buy one this whole time. Probably the best and cheapest investment I've ever made.

  27. Sage June 9, 2014 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Days For is a charity that makes cloth pads for girls in 3rd world countries that otherwise miss school when they're menstruating. Also, check out They have everything and promote period acceptance. I will give some thought to changing my habits on this…thanks for sharing!

  28. Kristina June 9, 2014 at 10:41 am - Reply

    For those few (very few) who disparage the more squeamish among us, please give us a little break. Change takes time. This post has got me thinking and isn't that a good first step? Mara, do they make thinner pads that can be worn every day, in lieu of a panty liner? I wear a panty liner every day and I'd love to find something more comfortable and eco-friendly. And maybe a blood-free zone is a good place for me to start 🙂

    • Kristina June 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Nevermind, found them!

  29. bananastand June 10, 2014 at 2:12 am - Reply

    I've been using a Diva cup every single month for over five years now – the exact same one I bought from Whole Foods in 2009 and haven't used a single tampon since. It really is the most hygienic and easy to use women's product on the market. As someone wrote above, you just boil it in hot water every month at the start of your period and wash it with soap and water every time you empty it and put it back in.

    It's not fool proof though – on your heaviest days, there will be leaking, but once you know your body and your cycle (I know mine to the hour), it's easy to avoid; you just have to empty it more frequently if you're having a heavier day. On your regular to light to lighter days, you literally forget that you have your period!!! Can you even imagine??? It is one of the only products I've ever owned that has truly lived up to its hype, and I highly, highly recommend it.

    It does take some determination to learn how to use it correctly, and the first few times you practice with it can be quite comical. Yes, it's true that you do get quite intimate with yourself, but for Christ's sake, it's YOUR body. During the first few times, you spend almost your entire time thinking, "oh my god, is this really working?" but it really is, and after a few uses, it becomes so easy — you just shove it up there and move on with your day. And figuring out the best method to get it in and have it open up takes a few tries, but eventually it does it's thing. Trust me, you KNOW if you've done it wrong.

    I love my Diva cup so much, and to love anything while you're experiencing cramps, stomach, back, and head aches, and just general exhaustion is a true blessing.

  30. Sarah Jensen June 15, 2014 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Okay, I just HAVE to comment on this one, because when I started using cloth pads years ago an older woman shared the BEST tip for pre-washing (the grossest part, I think). Take them in the shower with you and stomp on them! You can even let your soap suds run down and get them a little cleaner before washing.

    • Lisa July 14, 2014 at 3:51 am - Reply

      I just had to post a follow-up to this comment to say THANK YOU for posting this tip. Last month was my first cycle using cloth pads, and I couldn't believe how much rinsing it took to get it even half-clean. As soon as I read this, I put them in the shower with me for the rest of my period and it was so much easier! So again, thank you!

    • Sarah Jensen July 14, 2014 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      I'm so happy this helped you! Awesome. 🙂

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