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Confectionaries

Hostess Birthday CupCakes

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The dog days of summer are rolling hot this year. It’s normally been a balmy 90+ outdoors for me this year, while California has been a fry-an-egg-on-your-hood 109+ some days. For what it’s worth, summer is actually my favorite season. Cicadas hailing in bearably warm evening hours, the sounds of kids doing cannonballs, the smell of fresh cut grass. The way that East Coast states have sun until almost 10pm. Extended family time without school and lukewarm, lazy cheeseburgers with knock-off Kraft singles, store brand buns and ketchup.

My birthday.

As an newly old man, I have plenty of summer memories, plenty of remembered birthday cakes, plenty of times I had vanilla ice cream and Betty Crocker box cake from a glass baking dish. There’s always been a certain amount of melancholy involved. With a July birthday, smack dab in the middle of family vacation time and school being out, I’ve never had huge parties or big expectations. Sometimes, the biggest things come in small, unexpected packages. Sometimes you’re trying to be efficient and buy $25 in face wash for your oil-inflected skin. And then sometimes you round a corner and yo, Hostess Birthday Cupcakes. It took like .5 seconds before I grabbed the pack and said LET’S. GO.

These are described as frosted yellow cake with creamy filling, and it isn’t wrong. Inside the pack were two Funfetti, Twinkie-esque yellow sponge cakes dotted with rainbow sprinkles(the Funfetti part!), and that signature thin white Hostess cupcake swirl atop a frosting cap permanently adhered to the cake via a subset of snack demonology and the power of sugar.

The sponge is non-descript: it’s a sweet cake and its odd Twinkie-like or Twinkie-perfect formula is light and airy in the best way a high fructose corn syrup cake can be. The cream is fun-fair sweet and the iced topping? The stuff of legends. I’m like 99% sure this is a Twinkie, just shaped like a cupcake. Why remake something if you could reshape something?

Bitten all together, the dense, fondant-lite icing takes the cake and dominates other flavors. The sprinkles make a good texture change in an otherwise, one note soft cake and creme affair. If these are Twinkies, I enjoy them more than the eponymous snack cake. The change in gear the Funfetti sprinkles add are a little, tiny bit of crunch, but in the overall product are little bits of sugar inside of a sugar rush of a cake.

This might be the first and last time I have a pair of these, because Jesus they’re small, but dense and absolutely PACKED with sugar. They feel like a blood sugar surge in an adorable baby blue tray.

Friends, if you can eat a ball of sugar, hats off to you, but at my age, it seems like old boy can’t hang anymore.

Found at Walgreens.

August 5, 2020
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Nutella B-Ready

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Good Evening friends – I hope everyone is ready for the weekend because I sure am! I picked this treat up at a Ukrainian market recently and I have never seen them around before this. Bread and Nutella? Sign me up.

From the outside it looks like we are in for a bready treat with smooth creamy Nutella on the inside with chunks of hazelnut. This package weighed nearly nothing but I liked that it was packaged with a bit of rigid cardboard to protect the confection on the inside from being crushed. Upon opening the package I was greeted with two individually wrapped… B-ready…s? I really think they are on to something and could sell these individually at a check lane.

The outside is made of a wafer thin exterior. Do you have bear paws for hands? You will definitely crush this in your hand if you aren’t careful. This treat is approximately 3 bites, scientifically speaking. The inside is filled with creamy Nutella, however no crunchy bits like in the picture which is okay as the outside really brings a nice texture to the mix. My only complaint is that Nutella can be a little on the thick side and if you eat this too fast, you will be chewing for a while.

If you can get ahold of one of these and really like Nutella this snack is for you. Light and airy and full of flavor. If these were readily available at a checklane, I would definitely pick these up on the regular.

Found at Citrus Plaza Market

January 16, 2020
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Hostess Bake Shop – Chocolate Covered Twinkies

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Good Morning Friends – Happy Tuesday to you! My local Smart & Final Extra started carrying the Hostess Bake Shop items recently and I just had to scoop these up. I find the title Hostess Bake Shop a little redundant – because aren’t all the items that they make considered baked?

In this handy little package you will get 4 chocolate and sprinkle covered Twinkies. I am into this packaging visually, but as far as a single serve set up, it would be nice if they were packaged like normal Twinkies. I thought that it was a little dumb buying these because I have had a Chocodile – aren’t these essentially the same thing? Doing a little research for this post, I learned that Chocodiles were kind of a west coast only thing – who knew? I personally do not care for Chocodiles, call me a Twinkie purist. The chocolate to me tastes like a chocolate product, not actual chocolate. There is just something very off about the flavor to me. I do however like the addition of sprinkles, everything is better with sprinkles. Don’t believe me? I couldn’t find the sugar at my Mom’s house a few years ago and proceeded to use purple sugar crystal sprinkles to sweeten my cereal – truly magical.

The chocolate used on these Chocolate Covered Twinkies are different than what is used on a Chocodile. To me this is more like a true chocolate coating instead of a chocolate flavored coating. The Twinkie remains soft and spongy, the filling just how I remember. The sprinkles add a small bit of crunch to the whole bite and I like it. Overall, I enjoyed these. I don’t however see myself eating an entire tray before they get weird and stale, so that is a bit of a bummer due to the way they are packaged. I would recommend these to anyone that likes Twinkies but is also looking to satisfy that chocolate pang. Also if you were not a Chocodile fan like myself, you might just like these.

Found at Smart & Final Extra!

May 1, 2018
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Oreo – #myoreocreation – Kettle Corn

Posted in Confectionaries, Cookies by

Top of the Monday to you! How is it already Monday. I swear the week drags and then the weekend hits some sort of light speed and wizzes by faster than anything I have ever experienced. The winners of the Oreo #myoreocreation were announced and sprinkled into stores this week, so you know I had to go and try to swoop them up. As of this moment the Pina Colada flavor eludes me, but I will find you. The other piece of this trio is a Cherry Cola treat with popping candy. I figured I would start with what I considered the one that I would like the most. Why save the best for last when you can eat the best first.

Overall, I think the three winning flavors are a bit… safe? Oreo has really been hitting the flavor game hard the last few years, so from a junk foodie standpoint I can really appreciate that, but why not choose something a little more bold? Eh, I digress.

So, kettle corn. Deliciously sweet and salty treat best served straight from the popper at your local fair or flea market. I have a flea market by my house that makes INCREDIBLE kettle corn. I literally could and have eaten bags of that stuff like my life depended on it. My body however does not really like the idea of popcorn, so I tend to only subject myself to it in dark movie theaters or the occasional bag here and there. The idea of eating popcorn/kettle corn without the pesky husks getting stuck in my teeth though seemed like heaven on Earth.

I like the idea of adding something to the creme that brings the crunch factor that simulates eating popcorn, but for some reason, my brain has cemented the word millet next to bird food forever. While I logically know that we eat all kinds of foods that other animals eat, especially in different forms, my brain says to me “Yo, those Oreos have bird food in them.” Couldn’t we have called it puffed cereal or grains or something?

You might notice that the picture backgrounds have changed – or maybe not – and that is because of course I am enjoying this treat at work. Started from my office now we’re here. That was a Drake reference. And by here I mean my other desk. I like to enjoy my Oreo cookies as two separate entities. Twist of the plain cookie, eat that, eat the creme, and then eat the other cookie. For the sake of research, I ate a whole one as intended as well – fully sandwiched together. The smell when you first open the tray is overwhelmingly kettle corn at its finest. DELICIOUS and if I could smell like this, I would.

Upon first bite, I was treated to what to me seemed more like caramel corn than kettle corn. It missed that slight salty hint and had a more buttery flavor like caramel than sugary sweet and salty kettle corn. I also though the millet, while giving it an interesting texture seemed a little soggy to me? Not wet, but not overly crunchy, more chewy. While I dig that they were going for a texture element, I wish they would have gone the route of the crunchiness of the Marshmallow Treat flavor they did a while back.

These weren’t bad – but also weren’t entirely exciting. I feel like many Oreos existed before these that have a similar flavor profile. If I couldn’t find these locally, I would not feel like I really missed out. These are pretty middle of the road for me. I will probably eat more of the package, but I wouldn’t hoard them in my office away from my coworkers either.

Found at Walmart

April 30, 2018
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S’mores Crunchers

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries by

Good Morning Friends! If there is one thing that I am familiar with, it is impulsive buys at the check lanes of various stores. We will come back to this.

I try to mix up where I write so that it doesn’t become stale (heh food reference) and today I am tapping away at a Starbucks near my apartment. I just watched a woman meet another woman, and she brought the other woman a large Ziplock bag of what I believe to be fresh parsley or clovers from her front yard – I can’t tell but it seems like a weird gift offering for a breakfast date at Starbucks. Strange.

Back to the check lanes, I did a stint as a cashier at Target before getting promoted to the Grocery Manager there and one thing I would often do when I didn’t have any customers was organize all the check lane candy. I still do this when I stand in line at other stores, it’s just a habit I have. I also used to organize all the register impulse items when I worked for Hot Topic, so I am familiar with what scheming is going on here. Get that one last dollar before you leave, and I fall for it every time if they post up something new there. Gum? Yes please. Mints? Put it on my bill! Candy? SOLD.

When I was checking out at Walmart recently (probably buying all the mug cakes mentioned in the previous post – I have no shame) I found these tucked away at the bottom of the check lane. From the picture they reminded me somewhat of Bunch-a-Crunch. Do they even still make that? Quick Google search – yes, yes they do.

These are packaged in the same way that they Reese’s Crunchers, Hershey’s Crunchers, Cookies n’ Cream, etc. are packaged – small bag, similar to a bag of peanuts that you would find at a gas station, that you tear open and dump the entire contents in your mouth at one time.

Let’s just come out and say it. This looks like dry food you would feed to an animal. Visually its not great. For some reason the chocolate looks like at some point it was melted and then came back to solid giving it that ghosty light color. I thought maybe I inflicted this from a tight grip on the package for too long, but after looking at a few other reviews it appears that I am not alone based on their pictures. Upon first bite I had two simultaneous reactions – WOW this is sweet, and WOW I think I might have just cracked a tooth.

Between having two different graham offerings (why?) and the hard “marshmallow” pieces, this snack is next level “cruncher”. With the abundance of graham pieces you can definitely taste that, but to me it does not taste like a true S’more. The chocolate encapsulates EVERYTHING, which in turn overpowers everything. I think I would have liked this better had they broken the components up ala Goldfish cracker S’mores. I would have also liked to have seen something more similar to a Lucky Charms mallow used instead of the mallow pebbles used.

To me, this would best be served on vanilla ice cream or something of that nature, but other than that, not something I would buy again. I am glad I opted for the smaller bag that way I don’t feel the need to pawn it off on my poor coworkers.

Found at Walmart

April 29, 2018
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Betty Crocker – Mug Treats – Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie

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Good Morning friends! I hope everyone is having a great Saturday morning. I started my day off going to some subpar garage sales looking at “another mans treasure” aka junk that people were hawking. Maybe I should hold a yard sale to sell off some of my junk food stash – Crazy Erin’s Junk Food Emporium – I am into it. OH or better yet how about a pop up cafe, that’s a thing right?

Anyways, Betty Crocker jumped on the mug cake game with 8 flavors (Duncan Hines has a robust 25 flavor offerings as of this review). Nothing brings out my inner Beanie Baby collector nostalgia like the hunt for all the flavors of a food. At this moment, I believe I have all the flavors but Blueberry Muffin. Let’s just start with the automatic leg up that Betty Crocker has, it included FROSTING. I think one of the most heard gripes from the Duncan Hines release was that the cakes were missing the best part, the frosting. They have since come out with single serve frosting packets to add to your mug creations but too little too late Duncan! (I’ll buy them all I am sure, who am I kidding).

I decided to start with to me, a classic flavor pairing. Something that I knew couldn’t go wrong – Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie.

Two improvements that I could see right out the gate are that 1) they print the microwave instructions on the packet and 2) they give you a fill line on the packet so you can use it to add the liquid portion. Upon looking at packets for other flavors, it appears that they have already started implementing point 1, but the second point would be major as I tend to bring these to work and do not have measuring utensils there – leaving me to eyeball it, which so far hasn’t yielded a dry or soupy disaster.

I prepped my brownie and began to give my peanut butter topping packet a massage in my hands. Protip – do this with the frostings/toppings, they will squeeze out the packet way easier. I patiently waited the one minute and change it took to zap my brownie, hoping that it would taste as good as a brownie should and immediately grabbed it out of the microwave. And immediately regretted that decision. And immediately seared off my fingerprints. After doing the pain dance in my kitchen I made work of liberating the peanut butter topping from its confining packet. In the picture on the box it shows a nice little dollop swirled on top and I attempted to recreate the image, but the peanut butter topping is just way too thick.

Learning from previous mistakes, I grabbed the cup (I didn’t use a mug with a handle, A REBEL I AM) with my shirt and made my way to the couch with my peanut buttery chocolately treat. Also, as I write this review, I had a total epiphany – shouldn’t these be called cup cakes? They are made in a cup. No one really says mug of coffee, they say cup, even though a mug is implied. Shouldn’t a cupcake be called a tincake? Because its made in a muffin tin? WOW. Okay. I like taking my cupcakes (tin cake?) and breaking them in half and putting the frosting side in the middle like a sandwich. It gives you a good frosting to cake ratio. Unfortunately with this current cup set up, all of the frosting is confined to the top unless you decide to mix it together and what kind of monster would do that (Me. It me.)

I was expecting the topping to be slightly sweet peanut butter like frosting, but I would argue that it is pure peanut butter. While I am okay with this, I am not really into eating melty peanut butter alone, so it is best enjoyed with the brownie portion. The brownie is moist, chocolately, and very tasty, and mixes well with the peanut butter on top. However, this treat is probably best enjoyed with a LARGE glass of milk or something similar to. The peanut butter is very thick and I felt like when you give a dog a lick of peanut butter and they struggle trying to eat the glob – it is a lot to swallow if you take a big bite.

Overall, I really enjoyed this treat and can see myself not only finishing off the box but buying it again. The only thing I might do in the future is core out the center after its been cooked with my spoon and infuse the brownie with the peanut butter so that by the time you reach the bottom you still have some topping left to enjoy with it.

Found at Walmart

April 28, 2018
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Peeps – Lemon Sherbet

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More Peeps. More Peeps. So many Peeps.

Sometimes I have a lot to say, this time however I do not. I had these stashed away in my office (I swear I actually work in my office, I don’t just store food in there) and decided that I was going to have one as a morning pick me up. Lemon flavored treats are a close second to my favorite lime flavored treats, so I thought I would have a little Peep redemption from the Neopolitan let down from a couple weeks ago.

Mehhhhhhh… When I think of sherbet I think of flavorful tart ice creamy treats and this was anything but. I found the flavor to be way underwhelming. It was way more faint that I expected, similar to drinking a glass of water that had a lemon in it for about 3 seconds before fishing it out. I was very disappointed by the lack of flavor. Much like the other Peeps, I did not like the texture of the creme fudge mixed with the mallow on the bottom.

I would have really punched up the flavor on these or made a plain Peep with a lemon filling/curd on the inside. I also think that they could have amped up the lemon flavor in the creme fudge if need be. Overall I was disappointed by these from a lemon standpoint. I think it would be nice to create a spring time flavor pack that has a few different citrus flavors in it and include this one. I however would not buy a pack of this flavor alone unless they revamped the flavoring.

April 24, 2018
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Krispy Kreme – Limited Time – Nutter Butter Donut & Chips Ahoy Donut

Good Morning everyone! Soooo… does anyone really enjoy going to meetings? When I started working many moons ago I discovered that meetings are the voicemail of office work. JUST TEXT ME THE DETAILS. The only good part about meetings are that they occasionally have food. I was tasked with procuring said food, mostly because I am the first person to the office every day and I have a company credit card (ayyyyye). Donuts were requested and the closest (and only?) donut shop to my work is a Krispy Kreme. I prefer Krispy Kreme’s sour cream donuts to their original glazed, but that’s just me.

I grabbed a dozen and one of the Nutter Butter donuts for myself, because let’s face it, peanut butter ANYTHING is probably going to be delicious – unless you are allergic, then deadly. BUT ANYWAYS. I dropped off the donuts in the conference room and retreated to my office to enjoy my tasty breakfast snack.

Let’s just start with that this donut was smaller than I thought it was going to be – but that was OK, I don’t need a donut the size of Texas to start my day. According to Krispy Kreme, this donut is dipped in peanut butter icing, topped with Nutter Butter crumbles, and drizzled with peanut butter icing. This sounds like a peanut butter lovers dream – except I was somehow completely underwhelmed with peanut butter flavoring. I liked the pieces on top, which gave it a nice bit of texture but overall this was hardly peanut buttery at all. I think they really could have knocked it out of the park if they had oped for a peanut butter flavored cream instead of peanut butter flavored glaze. I would totally pass on this donut again.

Fast forward roughly 7 hours and I have been running around back and forth from my office to my other desk in our 14,000 square foot warehouse – completely ignoring the hunger pangs that have been plaguing me all day since my Nutter Butter let down donut. I didn’t really have time to run out and grab something to eat and I remembered that there was nearly a full box of untouched donuts sitting in the conference room. I made the trek up the front of the building and grabbed the box, presenting it to my coworkers like some sort of donut deity and slyly took another donut for lunch. Do I need two donuts in one day? No. Did I eat two donuts in one day? Yes. Am I proud of it? In the immediate moment, yes in the long term, no. Introducing the Chips Ahoy chocolate chips donut. Doughnut?

Needless to say I was starving judging by this picture because I took a big ole bite before giving it a proper introduction. I will be the first to admit that Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies are pretty hit and miss for me. Sometimes i am really into them, other times they are a paltry attempt at satisfying a craving for fresh baked cookies. I was concerned that the cookie on top would break my two front teeth but it turns out, that baby is a soft bake. Nice job guys. I found this donut rather delicious. The cookie dough cream on the inside with the dark chocolate and cookie on top really hit the spot. I would definitely eat one of these again.

The only donut of the limited time trio that I did not get to try was the Oreo cookies and cream, but let’s be real – I think we can imagine what that bad boy tastes like and the only people that wanted that donut were the people that voted for the cookies and cream Oreos that were released a while back.

April 23, 2018
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Ihop – Limited Time – Cinnamon Toast

Posted in Bakery, Bread, Confectionaries by

Good Morning y’all! Normally I don’t review food from eating establishments or fast food places but I had this plate of cinnamon-y goodness and thought I would at least have to tell the internet about it. Ihop has a Kings Hawaiian Limited Time menu insert until the middle of June this year. The other day I was talking to a coworker and told him about the deliciousness that I was excited to partake in, and he revealed a really unsettling truth to me – he had never had Kings Hawaiian bread before. UHM EXCUSE ME?

Surely he was mistaken and I frantically brought up a picture of the fluffy, soft, tasty, delicious, buttery, tasty bread morsels for him, thinking maybe he didn’t know what he was saying, but NOPE, never in his life had he heard of Kings Hawaiian Bread. While I quietly grieved for him, I fantasized of the tasty bread in french toast form.

Now, I don’t really frequent Ihop – I find their food to be okay on the scale of delicious breakfast food, especially for the price. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about paying premium dollar for a tasty meal, but Ihop just doesn’t really do it for me.

There are three offerings using the Kings Hawaiian Bread sweet rolls, Strawberry Banana French Toast, Kings Hawaiian French Toast (duh), and Cinnamon Toast. The difference between the Kings Hawaiian French toast and Cinnamon Toast is that they add a cinnamon smear (gross terminology there guys) and cream cheese frosting to the Cinnamon Toast. I oped for the over-the-top, coma inducing Cinnamon Toast because why not?

I was unprepared for the plate that was being presented to me. I think mostly because I was expecting something slightly different looking due to the picture in the menu. Expectations vs. reality, I guess? The portion sizing on this was decent as this was very rich and sugary. It is made with two Kings Hawaiian sweet rolls cut in half and then doctored up with french toast coating and the above mentioned smear.

Overall I thought that they were pretty good. I was slightly disappointed because the smear, cinnamon, frosting, whipped cream, etc. really overpowered the Kings Hawaiian Bread flavor. The french toast was light and fluffy, which was really nice but you probably could have served me any soft dinner roll prepared in the same way and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. Overall I probably wouldn’t get this again. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but it was WAY too rich for any meal of the day (I had it for dinner). And this is coming from a person that will (and has) eat plain sugar from a jar. If I were to order it again I would probably ask that the toppings be served on the side so that I could prepare this to my liking. I actually have an idea of how to prepare something with Kings Hawaiian Bread based on this idea – we shall see if I actually execute it. Until then… Mahalo my dudes.

April 22, 2018
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M&M’s – Orange Vanilla Cream

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When I see rumblings of a new product on the internet I never really get my hopes up of getting it any time soon. For some reason, Sacramento tends to be the snack food black hole and it takes us weeks if not months sometimes to get things that people in other states get on release dates. I saw these posted yesterday online and thought I would give it a shot, like I always do, and see if I could track them down.

I hoped in my car and made my way to the nearest Dollar General, which is where the confirmed sighting was said to be. There is however no confirmation that these are a Dollar General exclusive (like the Chicken flavored ramen Pringles, which I have still yet to try!) but I thought I would start with the last known location. I made my way inside and low and behold, an entire display of these bad boys greeted me, AT THE DOOR. YESSSSSS. I finished up my other errand and made my way back home.

Orange Creamsicles were a staple in my house growing up. Between those, the Mickey Mouse shaped chocolate coated vanilla ice cream bars, and quarts of mint chip ice cream, we were stacked in the ice cream department. There was something so refreshing about an Orange Creamsicle on a hot day. For some reason, the older I got, the more I moved away from buying them, and as I got even older, I became lactose intolerant, so I never get to enjoy them. My hopes were that these M&M’s would bring back that childhood memory that I have not thought of in so long.

On first impression, I was sort of shocked how bright these were. I believe them to be the same color as the regular orange M&M’s but I think the stark contrast against the white M&M’s really made them stand out. They almost seemed dayglow orange. I could probably stop traffic with them.

I think one thing that would have been fun visually would be if they stamped the orange candies with outlines of an orange slice. Of course that doesn’t change anything about the candy whatsoever, it would be nice to have something fun to set them apart from regular ole M&M’s.

I grabbed a small handful, and ate one at a time. I was ready for artificial orange taste overload, but was pleasantly surprised. I was instantly transported back to my childhood with the flavor of these and I really feel that they completely nailed the ratio of vanilla and orange. The two flavors work well in unison and one does not overpower the other. The orange flavor does not taste like a household cleaner which sometimes happens when you get citrus flavored candies. It is both tart and sweet with vanilla undertones. Normally I am not really a fan of white chocolate, but I like these. One thing that I plan on doing is putting some in the fridge to see how they taste cold, as I really think that will give the full effect of having an orange cream ice cream.

For those of you who like orange flavored things, or like orange creamsicles but cannot eat them due to the same lame affliction of lactose intolerance like I have, I would totally recommend these. I hope they also consider coming out with an chocolate orange version as I think that would be absolutely delicious (especially if they do dark chocolate, YUM). These were totally worth the drive across town and I could see myself buying another bag if they stick around longer than a few weeks.

Found at Dollar General

April 14, 2018
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