Was This 'Designer' Worthy of a Feature in the NYTimes?

kswl2August 22, 2014

I remain puzzled about a feature in the style section of the NYT a few weeks ago. This young woman is certainly very pretty, but is framing childlike drawings, owning no furniture and lining up a few items really design news-worthy? Most of the comments are of the emperor has no clothes school of thought, or at least they were by the week after it was published.

What do you think about this? Is she The Next Big Thing, someone who's at least deserving of some publicity considering some of the wacky well-known designers they feature, or possibly a very good friend of someone at the newpaper? My money's on a friend connection...

See the link below to the story. It's short, but you don't even need to read it, just look at the pictures!

Here is a link that might be useful: Why is this person in the NYT??

This post was edited by kswl on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 6:35

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    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 6:51AM
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Oh my. Is it April Fools?
Seriously, I would say framing the childish artwork is one of the high points of the apartment.
Maybe we need to re-think? I do sometimes hang my bags on doorknobs but I never even thought I was making any kind of statement. who knew?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:09AM
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A lot of this is very similar to what Apartment Therapy calls "Natural Organic" style, which is also the primary style the blog deals with. Especially the artwork and stuff hanging on doorknobs. It is touted for the younger, hipster crowd. It also allows for "style statements" when you don't have much money.

Nothing wrong with it, just very much not my style.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:24AM
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Seriously? Eh, I guess whatever floats your boat!

This post was edited by aklvdb on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 7:28

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:27AM
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Is this geared toward the college kids dorm room? The anything goes look.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:38AM
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I haven't looked but we live in a society where physical attractiveness gets people ahead and leaves the less attractive behind in cases where the ability of each is equal or the abilities of the less attractive person are superior. I can think of a couple designers who get a lot of press and opportunities mostly because they are so photogenic. Their work is average. It's getting a little better because they are getting higher budget jobs. But they really got a good start because the right people probably liked looking at them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:49AM
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I sent an email to the times asking if a fat, fifty year old female designer with the same "credentials" would be featured along with that apartment, and unsurprisingly, I got no answer.

And I thought the wall hanging was a hanger for an ironing board. ...my mistake.

Putting candles on a window sill is a style? Who knew :-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:12AM
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    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:32AM
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I think in this case the attractiveness of the featured "designer" may be secondary to the need to attract a younger demographic to support advertisement placement. The oh so important 18 to 25 demographic which dictates what remains on TV, what clothes are available each season, what is heard on the radio is also going to influence shelter rags. Since this same demographic is less willing to spend on furnishings and directs their funds to other "necessities" (re: the post on traditional furniture) this sparse style fits their whims.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:41AM
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Opps dang Ipad double post, sorry

This post was edited by roarah on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 8:49

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:43AM
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Nine photographs devoted to an apartment she moved into a week ago. Strange.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:48AM
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Holly- Kay

If that's design then I am the Queen of England.

Yes she is lovely but the apartment takes minimalist to a new level. That single sprig of eucalyptus looks absurd.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:09AM
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The first sentence of the article cracked me up.

"It's an improvisation of an apartment".

Pardon me?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:32AM
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Yeah, they're hearing it in the Comments section, too.

The article states she's only been in the apartment about a week. Why on earth didn't they wait? The staging... they didn't even bother removing the dead plant in the background of the second photo.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:34AM
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They have people talking and clicking on their page so it's a win for them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Elraes Miller

It feels akin to some art shows abounding and asking multi thousands of dollars for a single door placed in an unusual position. Or the guy who hangs fabric over rivers and becomes the artist of all things beautiful. And the Boulder Art group that hanged fake male @$^$#^# on a rope. Apologies, but they really did and were accepted for an art showing. These design/art offerings are definitely for someone else than me.

A dorm room? How many would be living this way? It really says very little about the person. But if you could get your college student to do so, sure would be a clean haven. And they could do it themselves without buying much of anything.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:41AM
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IMO she is not even pretty but looks unwell. The apartment "decor" is pathetic. Certainly doesn't appeal to anyone who is seriously interested in interior design.

I agree she must be a friend of an influential person. OR it's a very slow news day.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:53AM
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She sounds as though she could be an interesting person "Serbian-born furniture maker, illustrator, photographer and model". However, the article does not explore her work very much. And her quotes don't make her seem terribly interesting, for sure, eg, about having her artwork in her home ("That would be weird".)

I had never heard of Lou and Grey, and I can see why it would be newsworthy having gone to a clip, but where is her work for them? They also didn't seem to show any furniture of hers. The link to the gallery with her stuff was there, and it's not my style but I can see artistry in her drawings.

I think part of it is context: The "at home with" series is, in my mind, meant to be an unedited glimpse into the home of someone interesting. To me, the series does not purport to be about decor at all. It's more like a peek into a stranger's home, no more no less.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:04AM
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This is not an article on interior design, she is a "furniture maker, illustrator, photographer and model." They show her home as a backdrop for her various pieces and as a glimpse of her personal style.

As for the comments here and on the NYT site, they remind me of an article in which Morris Dickstein and Cynthia Ozick discuss online book reviews vs. critic reviews. It is an interesting read and food for thought on all forms of artistic expression and criticism by the layman.

"The Future of Book Reviews"

Different topic- why have there been so many generalizations about young people here lately? For the sake of a healthy and happy board we may want to ease up on that a bit.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Wow....hanging stuff from door knobs and the thermostat is innovative and great design? And those two puny little things over the bed...Wouldn't that be considered way off scale-wise? The sling chairs look uncomfortable and the area looks like a little vignette shoved in a corner. I doubt this spread is going to result in clients clamoring for her services.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:21AM
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The fact that she is called a "designer" puzzles me since they don't show anything she's designed except a knotted, amateurish wall hanging and some drawings that don't reflect much artistic maturity---to me, at least. If her style consists of candles on a windowsill, I really just don't see it. When I think of all the artistic young people in NYC with real style---be it funky or kinky or even modest----who would LOVE to be featured, I can't help but wonder who is making those editorial decisions and why.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:21AM
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bragu_DSM 5

If everyone liked every story that was ever written, it would be a sad world indeed. As a writer, you always hope that at least a couple people will read and appreciate your stuff.

The story was short, well written and fairly interesting. Granted it was probably churned out in 15 minutes, after a lengthy interview and photo shoot. Not something I would necessarily read on a thumb thru of a rag, but I did not find it distasteful. I figure if at least one person gets some goody out of something I have written, it was worth putting it into words or a photo essay.

But hey, I only make a living at it, and have done so for the past four decades. What do I know?


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:24AM
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Athomeinva, I agree there's been a lot of trash talking about young people and their cell phones on various threads.....if anyone tried to take mine they'd probably lose a hand, lol.

If the woman featured in this article was a genius of a designer (and there were pictures of her work to illustrate that), her age would not be an issue. I know the series is about the "up and coming" but in this case it looks to be more about the "young and pretty." But, again--- to me :-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:26AM
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I don't think it is the best NYT piece I have ever seen, but, again, I think some of the comments are coming from misunderstanding the "At Home With..." series.

The series is not about "up and coming" designers. It is about people the NYTimes find interesting (usually NOT designers IIRC), taking you into their home for a glimpse. (for example, they have done "At Home With ... Dr. Ruth".)

Where the article fails is not so much in the "decor" of this apartment, but is in explaining to us why Ana Kras is someone whose apartment we'd like a glimpse of. Maybe some of the target demographic HAS heard of her and is saying, "oh cool, I'd like to see where she lives". But if she has done amazing photography for this new clothing line, and designed furniture, we need to see it.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:47AM
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It's not my style, but Mtnrdredux is right in that the article isn't about the design of the apartment. With a little perspective on Ana, it's easier to understand her style.

"So Ana, you grew up in Belgrade, Serbia. What was your childhood like?

Yes, I was born and grew up there. My childhood was both lovely and bitter. I guess so much of it was not very normal to live through, a war and all the things that war brings. But I like to look at it as a useful experience, a lesson. There were times when there was a big lack of a lot of basic things but my family gave me so much love that, somehow, looking back, even those times were beautiful in their own way. We all have our little personal dramas and issues while growing up but this was something else, a collective drama that you are helpless about and absolutely caught in the middle of. On the other hand I have so many beautiful memories. My favourite was spending months at the beach in Montenegro where my father built us a little cottage. Months of being in the water and underwater, nothing compares to that.

How did it mold you creatively? Do you feel the situation there affected the way you work today?

I can see that some of the ways I approach things both in my work and life in general have to do with growing up under those circumstances. I think those kind of troubles make some sort of a filter that makes a picture a bit clearer. When you are concerned about basics there is less time and space to make up problems. Also, when you have so little, you have to be be creative to find a way to have some joy with it. I still always work in a way that 'recycles' things, I like to use leftovers and make budget things. That problem solving aspect engages me the most. I like it more than having total freedom and endless budgets. I love having to figure things out in difficult situations."

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.drop-magazine.com/ANA-KRAS

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:48AM
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To be clear- I was not speaking about Ana's age (or cell phones). My comment about the generalization of young people was in regard to comments that others have made on this and other posts.

*edited for major errors

This post was edited by athomeinva on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 14:06

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

You guys always crack me up.

You smartly analyze the quality of writing and at the same time reach for fair, logical, explainable or reasonable. Admirable.

I'm no where near as smart as most of you. Definitely not as eloquent.

The apartment is absolutely ridiculous from a design perspective. No way in hell anyone can convince me this happened for any other reason than 1. someone thinks she's pretty and 2. she has friends in the right places who have a warped perspective of talent.

Plus I agree with everything Pal said.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 1:28PM
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I have no words. It is quite confusing to say the least.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:01PM
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athomeinva, I made a remark about the generational use of cellphones on another thread and called the article subject "young," so that is what I thought you were referencing in your comment. Sorry to have misconstrued.

Mtn, I haven't seen any other of these "at home with" and did assume they were all designers of some ilk, whether home or fashion or industrial. I also assumed it was for the "up and coming," as the subject doesn't seem to have much accomplishment. But I should have paid more attention to what the series was actually about.... mea culpa.

That said, it doesn't change my opinion that this article was a waste of space.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:02PM
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I also have some $2 rings that I bought in Echo Park, but I only wear them at Halloween.

The photo of the doorknobs cracked me up. I agree that they are trying to appeal to a younger demographic and also that the apartment looks like a college dorm room, but not a very good one.

When I was in my 20s, I was aware that I got a lot of my jobs (I was doing freelance work) largely because of my looks, but those days are long gone, and I sort of miss them. It also helps if you are tall (I am not).

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:18PM
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Just No.

Doorknobs? Really?

Can't see the story as an illustration nor explanation of the possible ways and means of design, personality, prose or pretty ......

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:29PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I learned at an early age that beautiful people had it easier in life, as one of the not beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

AFAIC, there was no there there. It's who you know, not what and she must know someone who writes for the NYT. I find it kind of crazy to do an "at home with" someone who has just moved in so really isn't "at home" yet anywhere. And the writer was really a collaborator....I mean describing a family photo as "rare". Sheesh. I got a store room full of rare then! Typically they work like crazy to arrange photo shoots of rooms. I can just imagine this one. Haven't you got anything to show? Here, how 'bout a handful of candles...let me hang a bag off this door knob....ok, but do it artfully! At least they didn't take pics of moving boxes...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

As far as the "younger demographic". I have 7 nieces plus two kids of my own in that general, younger demographic age range.

All I have to say is good luck convincing them a bunch of candles on a windowsill is anything beyond waiting to be put away in a drawer.

Just because they're younger doesn't mean they're clueless.

This post was edited by funcolors on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 16:07

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:05PM
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I suspect she will learn, if she hasn't already, that wax candles sitting in a sunny window is not such a good idea.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:55PM
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The New York Times shapes opinions, profiles, elections, rationale, talent, missions, etc. If the Times thinks it is important or says it's true, then she who is to be obeyed, (the old gray lady) rules, regardless. They choose you; you do not choose them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 5:07PM
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I found a picture of her decorating. Hope you enjoy.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 6:16PM
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I, too, thought,"Wow, why is the New York Times wasting space on this?" until I checked the source, and discovered that it wasn't in


but in

formerly known as

where to me the T stands for "Throw out before reading because life's too short to waste on this."

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

And this is a curious phrase in a caption:

"...an illustration of a woman by her grandmother before she passed away..."

Really? As opposed to a drawing her grandmother did after she passed away?!?!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 6:35PM
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I think this is probably a situation where the gal is popular and knows people. I canâÂÂt help but wonder if Kari was even mocking her with this article.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:29PM
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This reminds me of the Ralph Lauren lady's apartment the other day - but in reverse. The other apt was over-filled with crap that probably meant a lot to the owner. This one is under-filled with crap that probably means a lot to the owner.

Neither one is appealing or attractive. To me. :)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:38PM
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Well. Now when I hang my bra on the door knob to dry, I will leave it there.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:41PM
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linelle, ROFL

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:54PM
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I like the little sitting area because of the plants, but the rest of it looks really boring and I don't see how it is "design"

I'm not an interior designer by far but I did go to art school and learned a few things

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:57PM
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Maybe the a family picture of HER family is rare because she lived through a war.

This post was edited by louislinus on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 0:38

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:32AM
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College/20-Something chic?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:49AM
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Below is a link to her portfolio. Her art recently had an exhibition and her
"bonbons" were featured in a "trend forecast" from Elle Decor. Note on the link below, the main home page contains an artistic shot that may be NSFW.

Her Lou and Grey work appears to be a modeling job.

Here is a link that might be useful: Design Portfolio

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 3:16AM
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Im afraid this is just getting worse.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 9:32AM
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She must have a good publicist.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 10:15AM
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Holly- Kay

Lol, Linelle you are too funny. When I was younger I hung many items on door knobs, not as art but as in "I have no other place to put this".

I looked at her design portfolio that Gooster posted. It was disturbing to me. I will say though, that she has a lot of people talking about her, so her publicist did something right.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:35AM
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She is very pretty. That helps.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Whew. All this time I've been so ashamed of my messy kitchen windowsill. It is a hodgepodge of water color palettes, an aloe plant, paint brushes, and half-ripened tomatoes, among other things.

But I guess I have really been a designer all this time.
I will call it Early Century Mother.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:21PM
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LOL@ Linelle and Paintedpeggies. Very funny!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:31AM
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This is why I'm becoming so turned off to home decor blogs and sites like Apartmenttherapy. Everything seems to be more about about how attractive/hip/happily married or coupled/perfect the blogger or "designer" is than real skill. They're all just selling a staged lifestyle.I feel bad for young women who may read this stuff and then compare themselves negatively. When I was a kid growing up I thought Betty Crocker was real, and wished my working mother could have been more like her. Or better, June Cleaver. The problem with the modern-day June Cleaver bloggers is that they don't have to announce themselves as the actors they really are, and I think this can create some impossible standards for young women. Same problem as ever, just a different era.

This post was edited by WMA89 on Mon, Aug 25, 14 at 7:19

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 7:07AM
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Sigh. I appreciate that she's trying-- she has a degree in the Applied Arts. She wants to be "good" at this, at living an artsy life, I think. I feel like she wants to be more than just a model. Maybe she isn't fulfilled that way?

In any case, I wonder if people are just saying, "Yeah, sure, Baby! Anything you want . . .hang that sucker on your wall and call it a statement, as long as I can take your picture."

Maybe she is using others, maybe she is being used. Can work both ways.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 7:53AM
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Gracious me.

Well, DH decided to air out six of his business suits this weekend, so they're hanging from the grab bars of our treadmill. Here I was thinking he was messin' with my cardio workout; now I know he was just exercising his refined design sensibility.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 9:41AM
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I agree with WMA's statement about most of today's bloggers, though I don't think it fits this young woman at all. In fact, I think it's much the opposite.
I can see about any young woman of today with her first home feeling like she has no clue what she's doing. Then she happens upon this young woman's design style and thinks, "Wow! If she's a designer, I must be doing something great, because my home looks way than her work!"
Ha! Zeebee!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:30AM
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I am no designer, but this looks like she decorated her apartment with the things kids make at summer camp.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:08PM
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Loved your photo...I haven't laughed that loud in forever.

Your use of the bandage on the finger to reference the suffering caused by bad design, juxtaposed with the caprice of the innocent stuffed animal....well, it was just inspired.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:05PM
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Her "high-end" bag?

No. I'm not even going to go there.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:54PM
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