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Monday, May 12, 2014

The next phase of Promoted Pins

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In September, we told you about our plans to experiment with Promoted Pins on Pinterest. Now, we’re working with a small group of brands in the U.S. to roll out a paid test in our search and category feeds.

These brands will help us test Promoted Pins to make sure they’re tasteful, transparent, relevant and improved based on your feedback— so that Pinterest continues to be a great experience for everyone.

Tens of millions of people have added more than 30 billion Pins to Pinterest and brands are a big part of this. We hope Promoted Pins help you find inspiration and discover things you care about, whether it’s ideas for dinner, places to go or gifts to buy.

Let us know what you think, and we’ll keep working to make things better.

—Julie Black, Product Manager, Currently pinning to Lego

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Pin Picks: 5 ways to survive life after graduation

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Congratulations! You’ve hit your academic goals and are now now at a turning point in your life to make some big decisions. Graduation is trending on Pinterest and it seems like a lot of you are planning the next chapter.

But there’s no reason to be nervous about what’s in store for your future because in this week’s Pin Picks—and with a little help from our Pinners—we discover 5 ways to survive after graduation

Revive a resume - If you are looking for ways to brand yourself and show off your skills for the job market, Rick McCawley shows us a board with tips, tricks and templates on how to enhance your resume.

Follow Rick McCawley’s board Resume on Pinterest.

Set the stage - Public speaking can send all the butterflies in your gut into a frenzy, but Jake Shannon shows us how to bring out the confidence in any setting with ease, especially in a job interview.

Follow Jake Shannon’s board Public speaking on Pinterest.

Rock an interview - When chatting face-to-face about new opportunities, Vera Chapman shares ways to prep for all types of questions, have the best body language, and even wardrobe tips.

Follow Vera V. Chapman’s board Interview Prep on Pinterest.

Take the scenic route - Sometimes the best way to figure it out is to step away from it all. If you’re looking to find some new perspectives abroad, take some travel tips from Caz and Craig.

Follow Caz and Craig @yTravelBlog’s board Travel Tips on Pinterest.

Dorm 101 - If the next stage is at college or a university, Lenora Ramsey shows us how to organize and coordinate a seamless education experience.

Follow Lenora Ramsey’s board College Survival on Pinterest.

(Wildcard) Blow of some steam - If all else fails, pat yourself on the back and know you’ve come this far. Carrie Bispring shows us the key to figuring out the next steps is to first stop and celebrate every milestone.

Follow Carrie Bisping’s board Graduation Party Ideas… Food, Drinks, Decorations on Pinterest.

A huge congratulations to everyone looking forward to the next phase of their lives after academics. But even if you’re not graduating or in school, keep browsing Pinterest for more discovery ideas. And of course, tune in next week for more Pin Picks.

—Pari Mathur, Content Guru, Currently pinning to Life is Funny

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Friday, May 9, 2014

10 ways Pinners are celebrating mom

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To honor Mother’s Day last week, we asked you to submit favorite memories of mom. And thanks to you, we were inspired by your wonderful moments of nostalgia, remembrance and all good things that make mom mom.

We just wanted to take some time to share a few boards that made us laugh, get teary-eyed, and reflect on what makes mom special. Here are 10 boards that has us admiring your mom:

Memory Lane with my mom - Shirley Hamm thanks her mom for enabling her giving her a sweet tooth. Growing up, she was allowed to pick penny candy at the local store.

Make mom happy for Mother’s Day - Scott Daly remembers his mom’s recipes, but more importantly, her love and warm hugs.

Follow Rachel Monday’s board Mom: From A to Z on Pinterest.

Mother’s Day - From hand-written love notes to the exhilaration of Christmas morning, Donnie Young treasures 20 years of joy with her mom.

Mom: from A to Z - With Pins, Rachel Monday shares a creative ode to her mom and grandma using every letter of the alphabet.

25 things I love about you (Mother’s Day challenge) - Support, positivity, optimism and love are all qualities Melissa Anclaux cherishes about her mom.

Maman je t’aime - Emille Benn was raised in France and given a Spanish heritage all thanks to her mom. Even though they’re miles apart, this board helps her stay close to her mom’s heart.

Follow New mommy Melissa Anciaux’s board 25 things I love about you (mothers Day Challenge) on Pinterest.

Memories of my Lovely Mother - From cologne she wore to the rings on her hands, Barb Keltner shares beautiful experiences about growing up with her mom.

Supermom - Brooke Barton’s mom never missed a single recital for her three daughters, among all her other “super-powers” outlined on this board.

This is my mom/best friend and my inspiration - No matter how tired or exhausted Debee Morelli’s mother never failed to tell her kids that she loved them each day.

My mom became a genius when I turned 28 - It was only when Heidi Britz turned 28 and had a baby of her own, did she realize how many fantastic qualities her mom instilled in her today.

Follow Heidi Britz’s board My mom became a genius when I turned 28 on Pinterest.

Thank you for everyone who participated. And if you haven’t already, there’s still time to create a board with all the best memories of mom and send it to her this Sunday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all, and happy Pinning!

—Lauren Michaels, Marketing, Currently pinning to Ode to Mom

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Mike Hultquist: chili pepper & jalapeño chef

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Bored of bland food, Mike Hultquist needed to add some more flavor to his palate back in his college days. So, he decided to combine his love of pepper and spice and start his websites, JalapenoMadness.com. Today, he writes and creates culinary recipes for people brave enough to handle habaneros or those simply looking for just a little kick of heat. Come see how Mike uses Pinterest to share chili techniques, connect with other chefs, and even promote his new book!

Mike, can you give us a quick peek into your background as a chef, writer, and spicy food blogger?

I’ve cooking with chili peppers and have been a chili pepper enthusiast for over 20 years. I have a background in writing – novels, feature films – but have always had a huge passion for peppers and spicy food. I started the site JalapenoMadness.com to explore my love of jalapenos, and it naturally grew from there to ChiliPepperMadness.com where I expound on all things chili peppers, though I have a heavy focus on cooking.

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How did you get into experiencing, blogging about, and cooking with chilies?

It started back around the college days when I had to learn to cook. I quickly grew bored of bland food and needed to spice things up. I realized an affinity for cooking the more I did it, mostly because of the passion for it. I use the blog and my sites as a way to share what I learn and what I am passionate about. I love to share my love of peppers and spice.

We’ve been looking through your “chili pepper spicy food recipes” board and preparing our taste buds to try some recipes. How do you use Pinterest to discover a new side of spice?

I use Pinterest as a way to share the visual side of what we do here. I blog with my wife, Patty, and she is becoming a heck of a photographer. Food is highly visual and we are working to improve that part of our work. People love the visual nature of Pinterest and it’s only natural for us to utilize such a great system. I also use Pinterest to explore what other cooks and bloggers are doing, as well for other non-cooking related interests, like design ideas for my new office.

Follow Chili Pepper Madness’s board Our Jalapeno Poppers and Stuffed Chili Peppers Cookbook on Pinterest.

I also have boards dedicated to books. For example, I produced a book called “Jalapeno Poppers and Other Stuffed Chili Peppers” and I have a board dedicated specifically to that here:

With food being so highly visual, it is important to promote your work through photos, especially a cookbook. Pinterest also allows me to add photos that aren’t in the cookbook, which helps potential buyers to see the recipes or variations thereof.

For someone looking to put a little spice in their meals, where do you begin especially now with Spring and Summer rolling around?

With planting season upon us, it is time to get those seeds plants or get those seedlings in the ground, depending on your zone. Some people in the south are already harvesting, those lucky dogs. With access to fresh peppers, I say incorporate them into anything and everything. Freshly harvested peppers are incredibly delicious and can add both zing and heat to your meal. Consider roasting them for an even different flavor. With salsas, the possibilities are endless. So many fresh ingredients! It is fun to play with different combinations and cooking techniques, which I explore in the book.

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What do you recommend for someone who can’t handle spicy foods?

There is a huge range of spice level in chili peppers. I like to cook with peppers of all types, even bell peppers, which have no heat, to poblano peppers, which have only a low level of heat, all the way up to the superhots. If you’re not used to spicy food, start low and move your way up. I started with jalapenos and used to think they were crazy spicy. Now I eat 4-5 at a time. I moved up through habanero peppers, which I LOVE, and regularly eat superhots like 7 Pots, Ghost Peppers, Scorpions and more. Also, keep a dairy product on hand, like milk. Chemicals in the dairy will help counteract the heat element in the peppers if you go a little overboard.

Follow Chili Pepper Madness’s board Spicy Seafood Recipes on Pinterest.

Do you have any advice for growing chilies in the garden?

Same as with cooking. Check the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on a particular pepper type before growing. The higher the SHU, the hotter the pepper. Jalapenos are about 5,000 SHU, while a habanero is around 300,000 SHU. The hottest is over 2 Million SHU. Whoa! Chili peppers are pretty forgiving when growing, but treat them with care. Be sure to pick often to keep them producing, and learn some simple preserving techniques so you can eat them throughout the winter season.

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Any crazy chili stories or adventures that added some heat to your life?

When I was about 5 years old, my sister dared me to chomp on a chili pepper she pulled from the fridge. She knew it was hot, but I didn’t. I took a bit and felt the burn immediately, but wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of reacting. But when my eyes teared up, she laughed and laughed. Little did she know she got me hooked!

Now, I think I’m the one who is adding heat to others’ lives. I’m known around the neighborhood and in the local restaurants as the guy who likes it hot. We throw a fiesta party every year and people look for my superhot blends or homemade sauces. When I walk into my favorite local Mexican restaurant, the cook automatically tosses peppers on the grill. I bring my own spicy chili powders when I go out for pizza and that always sparks a conversation. People often want to try the powders and get a real kick! My preferred powders is a blend of scorpion and 7 pot peppers. Quite hot!

I enjoy encouraging people to bring chili peppers into their lives. They’re so great! One of Nature’s perfect foods.

Thanks Mike for showing us how to add some spice into our lives with food! If you want to see more of how Mike is heating up his dishes, check out hiswebsite and Pinterest boards!

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Pin Picks: DIY backyard ideas for dogs

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There’s no denying that dogs are a man’s best friend. From instant exercise partners to free therapy sessions, our canine companions offer a long list of joy and gratification.

Backyard ideas for dogs is trending on Pinterest and it seems a lot of you are looking for ways to let your hounds roam, run and cause a ruckus in the outdoors this spring.

So for this week’s Pin Picks—and with a little help from our Pinners—we discover top 5 DIY yard ideas for dogs.

Let your ears hang low – If you want to keep those ears and tails wagging all day, Tabby Sue shows us how to put together simple DIY dog runs and swimming pools for your yard.

Follow Tabby Sue’s board DOG YARD on Pinterest.

Paws up - If you’re looking to train your pooch, Jessica Wollberg shares DIY agility-training courses you can build yourself to keep your furry friend alert and active in the yard.

Follow Jessica Wollberg’s board DIY Dog Agility on Pinterest.

Sit in style – Building an outdoor residence for your dog isn’t hard. In fact, Clint Steenberg shows us how to put together a rustic or modern doghouse with a variety of designs.

Follow Clint Steenberg’s board DogHouse on Pinterest.

Fetch, Fido!Marlena Ballard shows us how to make toys that’ll keep your dog tugging and jumping with curiosity in the lawn all day.

Follow Marlena Ballard’s board DIY Dog toys and treats on Pinterest.

Dog beds – At the end of the day, all it takes is a simple sweatshirt filled with stuffing or an old dresser drawer to keep your buddy snoring throughout the night under the stars. Robin Booth Campbell shares how to make DIY outdoor doggy beds:

Follow Robin Booth Campbell’s board DIY Dog Beds on Pinterest.

A big belly rub to all of our canine friends and their humans. And even if you don’t have a pet, keep browsing Pinterest to discover new ways to enhance your backyard this spring. And of course tune in next week for more Pin Picks.

—Pari Mathur, Content Guru, Currently pinning to Life is Funny

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Friday, May 2, 2014

#Pinspiration Chat: Spice up your Cinco de Mayo!

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Looking to heat up your Cinco de Mayo? We’re teaming up with chef and chili pepper expert, Mike Hultquist of Jalapeño Madness in our next Twitter #Pinspiration chat.

Next week’s theme is all about Cinco de Mayo and we want to hear how you’re giving your dishes a kick this holiday. Tweet us your Cinco de Mayo #Pinspiration to @Pinterest and @jalapenomadness this Monday, March 5th, between 10-11am PST. Just add the hashtag #Pinspiration to your tweet and ask away.

If you’re looking for some culinary inspiration, here are a few topics we’ll be discussing: how to pick the hottest pepper, the perfect drink to pair with jalapeños, how to grow chilis in your garden, and more.

We look forward to hearing how you spice up your party this Cinco de Mayo.

—Lauren Michaels, Marketing, Currently pinning to Sips & Bites

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thanks, mom! Send a Mother’s Day surprise

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May 11th is the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, and we thought we’d get in on the nostalgia by challenging you to create a Pinterest board honoring mom. Here’s how it works:

Create a board with your favorite mom memories: her famous (and not so famous) recipes, best quotes, iconic shoulder pad style and magic home remedies—the things that make mom mom. Add descriptions about what makes each Pin special, and check out our 25 Things I Love About You board for inspiration.

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Submit your board by Wednesday, May 7th at 5pm PST. We’ll choose 50 of the most creative, heartwarming examples to share with our community and if yours gets picked, we’ll send you a gift card from Teleflora, so you can treat mom to a bouquet! Then on Mother’s Day, you can click Send on your board to share it with mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, and happy Pinning!

—Lauren Michaels, Marketing, Currently pinning to Magical Moments

Disclaimer: No purchase is necessary for the gift card, but you do need to be 18 or older and a US citizen or legal resident. For details, see our challenge rules.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#Pinspiration chat: learn at home with Happy Housewife

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According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 1.8 million kids are homeschooled in the U.S. If you’re one of these stay-at-home parents looking to make the most of a home curriculum with your kids, we hope our weekly #Pinspiration will help.

This week’s #Pinspiration is all about homeschooling activities. We synced up with Toni of The Happy Housewife who shares her techniques, routines, and tactics on how to focus on varying strengths and learning styles for you and your child.

Tweet us your homeschooling #Pinspiration to @Pinterest this Friday, May 2nd, between 9am-10am PST. Need a little help with ideas? Just add the hashtag #Pinspiration to your tweet and ask us any questions. We’ll send you a Pin or a Board to help!

Here are a few topics we were thinking about chatting about: frugal tips, making your home into a school space, planning day-to-day routines, organizing your calendar, types of learning styles, outside learning, or teaching multiple grade levels.

We got a chance to speak with Toni to hear how she sets up a game plan for her seven kids using Pinterest:

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Hi Toni, can you share a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start your website, The Happy Housewife?

I’m a military spouse and homeschool mom to seven kids—one who has already graduated and one who hasn’t even started yet.

I started The Happy Housewife in 2008 to help families, specifically moms, shop smarter, get organized, and give readers a peek into our daily homeschool life. When I started homeschooling back in 2000, I didn’t know many homeschool families who were trying to live on one income. I thought if I could share what I had learned over the years I might be able to help and encourage other families on their homeschool journey.

What are your tips for choosing a curriculum? Got any great ideas for Memorial day?

Choosing a curriculum is one of the hardest parts of homeschooling. We are fortunate to have tons of curriculum choices available, but at the same time it can be overwhelming. The best piece of advice I ever received was to determine my child’s learning style and then find curriculum that worked best with their strengths. A hands on learner does not need a workbook type curriculum, and an auditory learner might not want to create lap books each week. Figuring out how each of my children learned helped narrow down my choices.

Holidays are great learning opportunities. Families can study our military history or even do something to support our troops or veterans. Kids can write letters to troops overseas, bake cookies for a veteran, or even organize a neighborhood parade.

Follow The Happy Housewife’s board Homeschool Memorial Day on Pinterest.

There are numerous fun and delicious red, white and blue desserts and snacks you can make as a family too.

How do you use use Pinterest to plan your curriculum and discover teaching activities?

I love using Pinterest in our homeschool planning. For each unit, we study I create a Pinterest board with relevant resources, crafts, worksheets, websites, and snack ideas. I love that all my ideas are organized in one place and the images make planning so much easier.

This year our preschooler is learning a letter a week. I’m creating boards for each letter that are filled with worksheets, books, coloring pages, and snack ideas. It is easy to quickly pin resources when I find them on the web and then reference them when we are ready to use them.

Thanks for the feedback, Toni! Don’t forget to join us on Twitter this Friday and share your #Pinspiration with Toni and the Pinterest team. Also, be sure to check out her website and Pinterest boards. See you Friday morning!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Federico Mariani: Illustrator and Toy Designer

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Federico Mariani started reading comic books in Kindergarten. In school, his teachers all told him he couldn’t draw but that didn’t stop him from imagining characters and telling stories. Today, he is a full time illustrator, toy designer and visionary behind Rainbowland—a world he created where two of his characters, Kororo & Joujou live. See how Federico dreams up his next ideas, share his artwork, and finds inspiration with Pinterest!

Federico, can you give us a quick peek into your background in design and illustration?

My passion for illustration and toy design came early, since I was a kid. In Kindergarten, I devoured comics like the Italian “Corriere dei Piccoli” or Disney books and Marvel comics. I loved the illustrations and I knew somehow this is the job I’d want to do. My teachers all told me that I couldn’t draw. But ever since my schooldays, I’ve always been drawing characters, comics and illustrations.

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How did you fall into toy design?

I’ve always been a big fan of toys. The golden years of my childhood coincided with the years of the great robot arriving from Japan, which is when I began a collection of Micronauts and Transformers. I’ve always been a big fan of collectible toys and action figures such as MOTU (Masters of the Universe), GI.Joe or M.u.s.c.l.e.

Then, 8 and 16-bit video games were introduced which influenced me a lot too. At that time, I began to draw robots and creatures.

In 2006, I started to consider the toy-design world as a possible job. I immediately started to create robots and other characters by drawing everything I had seen in my childhood. This opened the door for more real opportunities like to design the MICROBOIDZ plushes and the two sets of CALAMITI-CARS. I like drawing toys more than illustrating magazines or books, and that’s what I’d like to do more in the near future.

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We saw your current designs on your “illustrations board” and even work in progress (WIP: Rainbowland boards). How do you use Pinterest to dream up new ideas?

Pinterest has been very helpful in the search for ideas and useful for promotion. When I make two or three boards of my own work, it helps me get my images around the world, which is not easy with just a static website. As an artist, visibility is important. And with Pinterest, I can reach the eyes of many people.

Follow Federico Mariani’s board My ILLUSTRATIONS on Pinterest.

Rainbowland is currently a “work in progress” project. It is a kind of world, or theme park of my dreams, where all the characters that I have created live. Although much of my research is on a hard disk, through Pinterest, I have a collection of several images of inspiration. It’s faster than a search on Google!

Others on Pinterest have so many interesting things on their boards, that once you enter it’s hard to get out of it. I use it mainly to search for illustrations such as researching graphic types. Sometimes it’s simply for ideas on how to dress or decorate the house. It is very useful!

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Whats the most rewarding part about inventing new characters or stories?

I love the character design. The search for images, sketches and the combination of elements to create an interesting character is my favorite part of my job. It reminds me a lot when I selected the best pieces of Lego to make a better construction or how to mix the ingredients for a great recipe.

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Lots of people have ideas about what makes good illustration. What’s your personal take on art, design and style?

There is no rule—it’s all relative—but probably the idea, original style and engagement. I am attracted by very colorful or accurate illustrations or by signs that remind me of something familiar. But there are also those who consider scribbles true works of art.

One thing that makes the difference is the “heart”. Some have it. You recognize it while others have just drawings. An Art Director of a magazine once said to me, “we see many things similar to yours, but yours have something more. You can see that there is a passion behind it.” I will never forget that.

Any words of encouragement for young designers looking to jump into toy design or illustration?

Passion, originality, hard work and patience. And to create your own recognizable style without copying others. Also do not be in a hurry to create a style. Sometimes it takes many years—as it happened to me—I tried for a while, and then at the end I found it from where I began. It is the happy ending of the story! Or the new beginning.

Thanks Federico for sharing your designs and dreams. If you want to see more of what he’s creating visit his website and Pinterest boards!

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Pin Picks: 5 ways to master a marathon

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Marathons are trending on Pinterest this week and it seems a lot of you are planning to set goals with long distance exercise. But simply putting on a pair of shorts isn’t going to get you to the finish line. In fact, there are a few steps you can take that’ll ensure you stay focused and hit your fitness objectives.

So for this week’s Pin Picks—and with a little help from our Pinners—we discover 5 ways to master a marathon.

Gear up and go - A good pair of shoes can take you a long way. Daniel Sihite shows us how to accessories with the right running gear.

Follow Daniel Sihite’s board Running Gear on Pinterest.

Fuel yourself - You may need energy to avoid burning out after the gun goes off. Anna Victoria shares recipes and nutrition tips to keep your muscles moving forward.

Follow Anna Victoria’s board Fitness & Recipes on Pinterest.

Get a goal - If you’re looking to set some goals, Christy shows up tips and tricks to keep your routine set and in motion.

Follow Christy Hair’s board Running | Goals, Exercises & Stamina on Pinterest.

Motivation - Sometimes you just want to crawl back into bed. Mindwalker shares motivational quotes to help you get a jump start when you’re looking for a little push or a personal coach.

Follow Mindwalker’s board Running Motivation on Pinterest.

Map it out - If you need ideas on where to run, Cindy Suchanek makes a place board to map out running routes in Oregon. You can map out your own paths too!

Follow Cindy Suchanek’s board hiking oregon on Pinterest.

We hope these tips were useful for your running plans. And of course, tune in next week for more Pin Picks. See you at the finish line!

—Pari Mathur, Content Guru, Currently pinning to Outside the Box

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