Skimbaco Lifestyle | online magazine » SKIMBACO TRAVEL Skimbaco Lifestyle, online magazine inspiring you to live life to the fullest. Travel, home, food, fashion, family. Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:23:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Argan Oil in a Nut Shell – How the Moroccan Gold is Made and Why It’s So Important for Women Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:37:42 +0000
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Argan oil from Morocco

“Guess how old I am?”
Said the sales lady at the souk in Marrakesh in Morocco as I was holding two bottles of agran oil in my hands, and trying to decide if I should buy more of this miracle oil to take home. I tried figuring out a polite way to tell her I can not start guessing a woman’s age, because no matter which culture, it’s never OK to guess a woman’s age wrong, especially if it goes way off (on the high end!).

“No, really. You guess how old I am. I use this oil every day and look at my skin,” she said.

Yet, I couldn’t tell the woman she looked around my age, mid to late 30’s, but the way she dressed, she could be 50 years old, so I really wasn’t quite sure. Her skin was smooth, with less wrinkles around eyes than what I had.

I got myself out of answering as she said “I’m 45 years old, I love this argan oil, look, no wrinkles and makes my skin so smooth. Buy this, I use this one.”

And so I did. I bought the argan oil at souk, even though I had already bought more directly from women’s co-op Assaiss in rural Morocco, where I was able to see firsthand how argan oil is made.

This had been just one of those many visits to different natural beauty product manufacturing facilities, herbal medicine healing places, plantations and farms I have visited around the world, which have made me a believer for better skin care and more holistic health care. My love for products like argan oil is the reason I just recently became a Young Living essential oils whole sale distributor. I have been using different oils and natural healing products for years, but they have usually been products I have carried home from my travels. I am ready to take the next step, and start learning even more about the essential oils and more natural way of healing.

Argan Oil in a nut shell

Argan oil has become quite popular the past couple of years, especially in beauty and hair products, and you can’t shop for any beauty products without seeing Moroccan Argan Oil mentioned. There are a lot of information about the benefits of argan oil to skin and hair, but it’s hard to tell which is scientifically proven. This miracle oil is rich in antioxidants so it’s a great anti-aging product, unsaturated essential fatty acids Omega 6 and Omega 9 giving you energy and has anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamins like Vitamin E helping to heal your skin and hair and it has squalene, which might have skin cancer preventive abilities.*

argan oil's benefits for skin and hair

You might have also heard it being called the Moroccan Oil, because argan oil is a rare oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree nut. The argan tree is a 1.5 million year old tree type that only grows in the Southwest of Morocco. While Moroccan women have loved argan oil for centuries as their beauty product and on their dinner tables (it’s especially good as a dipping oil), argan oil has a much more important meaning for many Moroccan women today. The Southwest area of Morocco where the argan trees grow is called the “argan road,” and it forms a loop from Marrakech via Essaouira, Taroudant, Tiznit, Tafraout, Goulimine, Agadir and returns the outskirts of Marrakech. The area is an UNESCO protected, the argan forest has been an international ‘biosphere reserve’ since 1998.


The area is rural, and argan oil plays an important economical and environmental role and employs close to 3 million people in the area. Mostly it’s women, working in small co-operatives, and argan allows them to get the income needed to get education for their children, or to provide to their families. Since argan oil production is mainly done by women, it has also improved the women’s autonomy and standing in the very male-centered society.

argan oil co-operative in Morocco

Making Argan Oil in Morocco

Argan oil making in Morocco

The fruit of the argan tree looks a little bit like olive, and the fruit needs to be dried first before taking the kernels out.

argan tree

Once the fruit is dried out, it is easier to separate the hard-shelled nut from inside the fruit. The nut contains one to three argan oil-rich kernels, and the nut needs to be cracked open to get all of the kernels out.

Argan tree nut is cracked and the kernels separated

This is all still done manually, and the Berber women in the argan oil co-op separate the kernels from the nut by hand.


Making argan oil is a four-woman production line. Once the kernels have been separated from the nut, they are passed on to the next person in line. The kernels then are being grounded into brown paste. The brown-colored paste looks like natural peanut butter. The paste is passed on to the next person, who will then knead golf-ball sized out of it. This hand kneading is one of the most important parts of the production.


To extract the oil, the dough balls are pressed until the become hard and the oil is extracted. Finally, they decant unfiltered argan oil into vessels.

Woman making argan oil from nuts in Morocco

The Assaiss argan co-operative 22 kms from Essaouira, Agadir road at No. 18 the center of the rural town of Sidi Hmad Ouhamed also had a shop for their products, and a restaurant and a little souvenir shop right next to it making it a great stop for those traveling up to the mountains. There were not many other places to stop in this very rural area.


The shopping for argan oil products was not that easy task though. There were so many different variations and uses for skin, hair and as an edible oil, and it was quite overwhelming to learn about all of the different products.


I’ve loved using all of the products I bought from the co-op, and wish I had bought more! Now when I joined Young Living, I bought less expensive argan oil (and not as good quality) and I am mixing it with essential oils to get even more out of the oil. Hoping to share my experiences soon.


What about you – do you love agran oil? Or do you use essential oils? Learn more why I joined Young Living and see my monthly freebie special. NOW is the perfect time to start learning more about essential oils and start living life to the fullest.

*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.

Disclosure: I was in Morocco on a trip organized by Norske Reiseblogger and sponsored by Sahara Experience. My opinions are my own, as always.

Post by Katja Presnal

“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Let’s connect!

Visit Skimbaco Lifestyle (’s profile on Pinterest.


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Just In: What Women Want in 2015 Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:16:50 +0000
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trends what women want in 2015

January is definitely the time for goal setting, reflecting on the past year, and planning how you want to incorporate some changes into your daily lifestyle. At Skimbaco, we are all about living life to the fullest and giving you the information, the tools, and the ideas to help you do just that. This month, SheSpeaks and Lippe Taylor released its findings on what women want in 2015.  We found the results interesting. More than 2,000 U.S. women, aged 18 and up, answered an online survey during a four-day period on the website.

2015 is the Year of Health followed by Home Improvement


68 percent of the women surveyed said their main priority was to get healthier this year. Even I am on board with that one. Since January 1, I’ve been cooking healthier by having produce delivered from local farms to my home in Raleigh. I’m eating more vegetables than ever, and I’m already down six pounds. This isn’t just about losing weight for me, but it is about a healthy lifestyle change and passing these new healthy habits down to my children.

Photo: IKEA’s new kitchen system

42% said that they plan to move to a new home or remodel their current one. Our editor, Katja, will be doing just that in 2015. She’s taking a mid-century house in upstate New York, and is turning it into her dream house. She is also on a health kick, and started using more essential oils to feel better. You will see a lot of more health and home related content at Skimbaco Lifestyle this year.

2015 is the Year to Travel

Travel more in 2015

We love this survey result at Skimbaco. When it comes to their disposable income, 28% of those women survey say that they would like to spend it on travel.  The categories to choose in this survey were: fashion (16%), beauty (14%), investments (10%), technology (6 %), automotive (6%), wine and spirits (2%), and other (18%).  This was not an open-ended survey so we’re not sure what other may be, but it could be spending money on your kids, dining out, movies, concerts, theatre, and even home improvement. Regardless, the column “other” still came in second to travel. Where would you like to go in 2015? You can count on Skimbaco this year, to give you the latest on travel experiences that will help you live your life to the fullest.

2015 is the Year for Quality Time

goal 2015: more family time

How you spend your time is important. 73% of women  surveyed say they will keep themselves happy and balanced by spending time with family, followed by doing little things for themselves throughout the year (72%), exercising (64%), having quiet/meditation time (50%) and spending quality time with friends (50%). Spa visits are still important for rejuvenation. 17% of women said they will spend more quality time at a spa.

2015 Wish List

It seems not everyone is happy with their weight.  When asked “which gift would you most like to receive in 2015,” the response was weight loss (27%), better health for myself or loved one (26%), vacation with one special person (20%), and of course, a raise (12%).

We are also so glad that women depend on lifestyle magazines (39%)  like Skimbaco and other bloggers (27%-such as Skimbaco team’s personal blogs) for information sources you trust in addition to friends and family (66%). In terms of social media,  35% of you say you will increase your use of Instagram and 32% of you plan to increase your Pinterest use. We are right there with you on these platforms, and will develop boards to help you with your goals this year. Of course, we think we think we are one of the top leaders for Instagram use. Katja has published the ebook, “Instagram Your Guide to the World,” and we have established the #IGTRAVELThursday community which unites travelers across the world. When you connect, the world seems so much smaller and easier to explore.

Post by Leigh Hines

Leigh Hines, hotel and family travel expert | Skimbaco Lifestyle

“I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.” Leigh Hines of Hines Sight Blog

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Visit Leigh Hines of’s profile on Pinterest.


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Exotic Chic Home Decorating Inspiration from Sri Lanka Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:36:30 +0000
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exotic chic home decorating inspiration from Sri Lanka

Did you see my post Sri Lanka in Instagram photos? The country is feast for eyes, whether it comes to nature, architecture, historic sites or design. I believe that you should always travel everywhere and bring something home with you, and I came back home from Sri Lanka full of home decorating inspiration.

Exotic Chich decorating ideas from Sri Lanka

Yes, I bought a few items for my home, but mostly it was inspiration, and ideas how to recreate the Colonial-Asian-gloabal-fusion-modern-exotic-chic Sri Lankan vibe in my own home one day. My “own home” is a flexible impression, we live in a hotel at the moment, but hoping that one day soon I am actually decorating a home we can call our own. I loved the Sri Lankan interior design style, it was a mix of exotic vibrant colors, wood carvings and rustic elements mixed with British colonial style with the global travel vibe, mixed with contemporary design. The result is minimalistic but warm, global but local, contemporary but traditional, and above all: unique mix with a very global feel, and very close to the style I want for my own home.

Interior Design ideas from the Cinnamon Hotels

I stayed at various Cinnamon Hotels properties during my stay in Sri Lanka. They were organizing TBC-Asia conference with the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, and we got familiar with their hotels around the island nation. The hotel properties all were very different depending on the locations, but all had a few things in common when it comes to interior design: chic style combined with exotic accents.

Cinnamon Bey Hotel in Beruwala Sri Lanka

Stepping into our room at the Cinnamon Bey Hotel in Beruwala – what a great idea to add a permanent “rug” to the floor with a few chevron tiles. But my favorite is the carved wooden inbuilt!

mix exotic design by framing a mirror with carved wood with modern sink and counter top

I also liked that the same carved wood continued in the bathroom, and I love the mixed look of exotic carved wood mirror frame with a minimalistic modern sink and black counter top. You can easily create a look at home with this as inspiration. Even if you want to stick to timeless minimalistic bathroom design when it comes to fixtures and flooring, you could have fun with accessories like lighting, carved wooden mirrors as well as painting the wall with a more punchy color.

In the lobby area of the Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa hotel I spotted this chic spot. I love the stained glossy concrete floors and the contemporary furnishing mixed with more bold red rugs and black and white wall coverings. Bringing exotic or tribal looks to interiors can mean you can still have a more minimalistic style. I absolutely love this contemporary exotic look.


Here is also an example with a large colorful tapestry on the wall. You can make such a statement even with just one colorful tapestry like this, and then keep the rest of the space more monochromatic so the tapestry will have its spot as a focal point.


Here is a third example of mixing different styles to get the contemporary exotic look. Bold colors go long ways even in small doses, and mixing rattan furniture with contemporary spaces makes them look warmer and to give the more exotic feel.


On another Cinnamon Hotels property, I saw this hot pink rattan sofa. I love the idea of painting a very traditional looking rattan sofa with a bold color.


See the difference yourself!

Painted rattan furniture

I fell in love with modern Colonial style in Sri Lanka

I’ve always liked the British Colonial decorating style, but really got the taste of what a Colonial town in Asia looks like today in Galle, Sri Lanka. Galle was by far my favorite town to visit in Sri Lanka, and I really want some of the Galle-vibe in my own home.

The Three by TVP in Galle Sri Lanka

In all honesty, I found my favorite store in the entire Sri Lanka in Galle. The Store by TPV, an interior design and gift store by the concept The Three by TPV, three friends owning a boutique hotel, lounge and the interior design shop in Galle and combining Asian design, Scandinavian thinking and western standards. Maybe can understand why the shop was like made for me!

The Three by TPV restaurant in Galle. Photo: The Three by TPV

The Three by TPV restaurant in Galle. Photo: The Three by TPV

I don’t know if their style can be called modern British Colonial, perhaps more just global fusion more than anything, but maybe that’s why it just felt to homey, and so Skimbacoish to me. This is the Modern Exotic Chic look I am talking about.

Exotic chic decorating style from Sri Lanka

I also found this cool arm chair with inbuilt bookshelves from their store.

chair with bookshelf

Modern Exotic Chic style

I admit, I have sometimes hard time buying things for home from travels. I look at the tourist souvenirs that are often dirt cheap, and I really want to bring home some wooden elephants, or another Buddha statue or sari that I might never use.


And on other times the souvenirs don’t look that great when they are sold by the street vendors, but I regret later why I didn’t buy something because after all it would have been such a treasure to bring home.

Sri Lankan wood carvings as souvenirs

The thing about many souvenirs really is – how can you decorate with them in a way that all of the global treasures will match and go together?

Don’t take me wrong, I love travel souvenirs, but I also like the “exotic chic” looks of products that are made “inspired” by the traditional objects. For example I now sort of regret I didn’t buy these modern elephants from an interior design store The Three by TVP in Galle. They still remind me of the elephants I saw in Kadulla, but it is much more my personal style than the wooden elephants that I actually have. Often when we think travel souvenirs we only think of the souvenir shop’s colorful, often cliché, version of what the destination is famous for. I highly recommend thinking outside the typical souvenir shops and getting the local products that might fit better for your home.


After seeing elephants in wild in Sri Lanka, and riding elephants in Bali this fall, I have to say I am a little mad about these beautiful animals, and think it will be essential to have an elephant or two decorating our new home. Here is my case in point how different the “elephant souvenir” can look.

What do you think of these white elephant vases?


Or the colorful fabric elephants?


I also couldn’t resist these painted wooden elephants.

Elephant souvenir from Sri Lanka

I know… I got obsessed, I also like this pillow case with elephants on it.


What would be your exotic chic thing?

Try Bold Exotic Chic Accents

Colorful art in Sri Lanka was not all about elephants. I also loved these dog paintings of the local stray dogs. (Well, with a few more elephants too…)

modern exotic chic decorating style

I love the way very bold colors are mixed with white and while many tend to gravitate towards textiles when decorating with colors, I love colorful objects.


You can easily give any room a more exotic feel with accents like the basket lanterns.


Or these baskets…

Baskets in Sri Lanka

What about these treasure boxes?


Good news is that you don’t have to travel all the way to Sri Lanka to get exotic chic products for your home. Do you have some exotic accents already at home?

Post by Katja Presnal

“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Let’s connect!

Visit Skimbaco Lifestyle (’s profile on Pinterest.


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Travel Insight: Cruise Trends for 2015 Tue, 13 Jan 2015 18:44:06 +0000
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“Ooh wee, ooh wee baby.
Won’t you let me take you on a Sea cruise”

It seems that more and more families are taking to the high seas for a vacation. I have even thought about getting my motion sickness pills, and taking the plunge, too. Cruises are easy and cost effective vacations for families. There is entertainment. There is great food, and with many cruise ships offering kid’s activities then it is a vacation that truly gives mom and dad a real chance to take a break and relax, too. Katja has been on several Disney cruises with her family, and loved every aspect of the vacation.

The cruise industry is seeing that cruising is becoming more popular than ever with families, and 35 new ocean ships and 21 new river ships are expected to debut by 2018. This week, CruiseComplete, an online cruise marketplace since 2003, released its predictions of 2015 cruise trends. The company gives about a million cruise quotes a year. They know what you want in your vacation based on what you tell them.

With that in mind, here are some predictions that passengers may see for the cruise industry this year.


Cruise Trends for 2015

1.  Cruising may be used as an incentive for employees for performing well.  Company paid cruise vacations will become a way to entice, and keep, a company’s best employees, by showing appreciation for someone’s work while rejuvenating them to peak performance. Cruise travel may become a health benefit for all employees, since stress reduction leads to better long-term good health and productivity.  The spas on board will continue to find new ways to rejuvenate the health and well-being of their guests, with yoga and meditation, diet and detox, plus exercise programs.

2. More all-inclusive options, especially for the luxury market. Vacationers like to know what they are paying up front for their vacation. Yeah, that $399 deal may look good to bait the traveler, but if fruity $10 drinks aren’t included or expensive excursions then you’re going to be paying a lot more out of pocket as soon as you get back on land. The ultra luxury line, Regent Seven Seas, gets the honor of being the most-inclusive cruise line. Airfare is included in the price for all cabin levels, a pre and post hotel stay, all excursions, and wine anytime.  I think this line would be my dream cruise. For grandparents and parents, the line does offer the Club Mariner Youth Program. However, I don’t think you’ll be seeing as many youth on board as you will see in the contemporary and premium lines like Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, and Disney. This amenity chart is a great outline to see exactly what is included in the fare for each cruise line.

Butler service with Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

3. Enhanced  technology and personalization that’s all about you  and your family.  Technology will become even more advanced in areas such as bars and restaurants, and ships will have in-room tablets to book future cruises while still on board. Luxury cruise lines will also keep an automated record of your preferences and build your mini bar/personal hygiene basket to taste before you arrive.

Cruise trends for 2015

4.  Focus on family and multigenerational travel. Family suites will offer on-demand nannies for the duration of a cruise, and lines will provide personal GPS tracking bracelets for children so parents and caregivers can locate them at any time.  The lines will also begin to design programs that appeal to multi-generational groups, where children, parents, and grandparents all play a part. I read another trend report that many grandparents are now footing the bill for this type of multigenerational travel.

5. GPS tracking of children while on vacation. Handy new wristband GPS units are constantly being developed and are the most practical way be sure you know where your child is at all times,. Parents can purchase  their own personal devices, but expect to see cruise lines offering these devices on board to give parents an added measure of security while on excursions and while at sea.

Disney cruise line

6..Baby boomers will seek out the “Love Boat” experience. The baby boomer demographic will flourish as cruise lines bring back favorites from the past.  Companies like Princess Cruises will continue to be a favorite for baby boomers seeking comfort from familiar experiences like the “Love Boat.”  Their advertising program, undoubtedly from research touts familiarity and “Come Back New” stresses to de-stress. “Attention, cruisers, Issac will be whipping up some great cocktails on the promenade deck before our stop in Puerto Vallarta.” And don’t be surprised if all relationships hit a bumpy patch while at sea, but of course,  will come back stronger than ever before docking for home and getting well-wishes from the captain. Yes, I watched “Love Boat” every night at 8 pm on Saturday evening. 

7. Ultimate luxury and adventure: Cruise lines keep coming up with more over the top experiences- onboard and ashore- to entice people who crave the ultimate in luxury and new adventures.  And look for cruise lines to combine river cruises ocean cruises; they will deliver new and versatile cruise opportunities for those cruisers who want it all.  We’ll also see more “private” areas built into ships, so that celebrities and others seeking privacy can book areas that are private and where their children have dedicated pool, dining room, concierge and other amenities.

sundeck on Viking Grace

8. It’s a good year to be a travel agent. Most booking will be through an agent rather than a website. With brand new ships, countless exotic itineraries, and endless all-inclusive options, the cruise consumer will look to the experts for guidance when booking their cruise. They’ll also read more blogs for inside insights. ( I added that, but it goes along so nicely with this trend.) Watch for a surge in bookings through travel agents, who are not only educated on the lines and ships, but have an inside line to the best deals the cruise lines have to offer. It’s also good to deal with humans, don’t you think?

Where would you like to go in 2015? And do you have a favorite cruise line?



Post by Leigh Hines

Leigh Hines, hotel and family travel expert | Skimbaco Lifestyle

“I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.” Leigh Hines of Hines Sight Blog

Let’s connect

Visit Leigh Hines of’s profile on Pinterest.


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Paris Flea Market Style as Home Decorating Inspiration Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:41:39 +0000
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Paris Flea Market Style Home Decorating Ideas from @skimbaco

The Skimbaco Philosophy on Saving & Splurging

I am a big believer that you can live life to the fullest on any budget. I love to splurge on things, but I equally love saving money on other things (so I can afford the splurges). I believe you should treat yourself, and not deny yourself the nice things or experiences in life even if they are not in your comfort level when it comes to pricing. It’s all about moderation, and sacrifices. I also believe that when you buy good quality, it lasts and it’s worth it, and when you buy dirt cheap, it probably lasts for the worth you bought it for too. I think the “mid-priced” or my “personal comfortable level of paying for something” is actually the one I tend to avoid the most!

I am willing to give up on some other things to stay in a luxury hotel, to fly in first class, to buy a designer chair or to have better appliances at home (all things that I technically can’t afford). The best though is that I actually love some of the “sacrifices” too. I love how I can whip up an amazing dinner from the last night’s leftovers, I love shopping at outlet malls and TJ Maxx for the best deals on designer clothes. I love the thrill of getting something on clearance or for dirt cheap. But above all – I love flea markets. And I especially love flea market for shopping for items for home. My home decorating style is Scandinavian eclectic global mix, and I love to mix modern Scandinavian furniture with vintage finds with travel souvenirs and things that I have found often from flea markets from our travels.

Paris flea market style home via @skimbaco

I have shopped at flea markets, garage/estate sales and outdoor markets in several countries on four continents, and while one of my favorite flea markets is in Cleveland, Ohio, of all places (mainly because they have half off everything on Mondays), today I am taking you to Paris flea markets for some interior design inspiration. Paris is really more of a luxury shopping destination (read luxury shopping tips in Paris from Wes), and even the flea markets tend to be on the high price side compared to smaller French towns or some other European countries, not to even mention other continents. However, there is no place like Paris, even when it comes to thrifty shopping, and you can find droolworthy items from Paris flea markets, and at least come home with ideas how to bring the Paris flea market style for your home.

Marche Dauphine, aka; Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market in Paris

Home Decorating Inspiration from Les Puces, flea markets in Paris

The most famous flea market in Paris is at the Porte de Clignancourt, it is known as Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, or Les Puces (The Fleas) by the locals. The area is full of sellers, outside in tents, streets and inside in shopping mall, or in the alleys. We headed to Marche Dauphine, where all of my photos are taken from. If you are interested in visiting the flea markets in Paris, there are travel tips on the bottom of this post. But now – let’s see some cool items I spotted on our visit, and some tips what to look from flea markets.

Unique art for walls

Flea markets are the best places for finding unique art for your walls. Whether it’s oil paintings, litographs, drawings, posters, photos or you name it. When traveling I look for “things that I can frame” – because they are going to fit in my bag!

I loved these vintage photographs.

Vintage photos from flea market

Other items to look for: old magazines or comic books that can have pages and pages of frame-worthy content. Sometimes the best finds can be found from racks like the one below. You just need to look!

flea market shopping in Paris

Remember that the art you find might not be the original art, but a reproduction. Price is typically a good indication, and of course if there are ten same art prints, you are most likely dealing with a reproduction. Don’t let it bother you too much, you are looking for cheap fun art for your walls, not an investment!

cheap Paris art - ready for framing

Get the global feel

Travel posters are a great way to decorate and get the global feel to your flea market chic home. Notice: it’s ok to go to Paris to buy a travel poster of Algeria.

Travel posters are a great way to decorate. Find them from flea markets!

In fact, flea markets are the best place to find any kind of “travel souvenirs” for your home. Many of us tend to buy souvenirs from travels and then realize they don’t fit our decorating style at all at home and the items get donated to flea markets.

vintage suitcases and travel trunks are great as home decor

Speaking of my favorite subject, traveling, vintage suitcases and travel trunks are amazing flea market finds and look awesome in your home. You can look ideas from Pinterest how to repurpose vintage luggage, you’ll be surprised what all you can do with them, for example adding legs to turn them into tables.

vintage travel trunks at Paris flea market

We’ve used a travel trunk as a coffee table, but they could even work as a bed side table. Inside the trunk we storage my wedding dress, my husband’s army dress uniform and our kids’ baby clothes, it’s like a trunk full of memories we move around the world with. I bought ours from upstate New York estate sale for 20 bucks over ten years ago, but now most I’ve seen have been over ten times that, and significantly more if you are talking about brand name luggage. Don’t forget to look for old hat boxes, they make great decorative items too, and you can storage stuff inside them too, and they are cheaper than the luggage.

Another favorite among travelers: look for old globes. They are great as home decor.

globes as home decor - easy to find from flea markets

Unique furniture and light fixtures

Marcel Wanders Zeppelin Chandelier

Look for unique chandeliers and light fixtures. I spotted the Zeppelin Chandelier by Marcel Wanders in one of the shops. It helps to know what you are buying and paying for, so I try always look for modern design pieces I like. I am sure there were some famous antique chandeliers hanging in the same shop – I just don’t know anything of them!

Paris antiques shopping at Les Puces

Sometimes you might be paying for a knockoff/reproduction, or not getting a deal at all even at the flea markets, so make sure you know a little bit what you are bargaining for, or at least – is it worth the money for you, even if it’s not the item’s real value.

Antique shopping at Les Puces in Paris

Remember with furniture that you can always paint it or re-upholster it. And light fixtures can also be re-wired.

The very different kind of stuff

Don’t think flea markets are just for expensive antiques, or old junk. You can find items related to your interest or passion, whether it’s boxing or butterflies or anything in between.


I noticed the same kind of Pegasus plaque at the Paris wall that I spotted on a restaurant wall in New York City before, it’s funny how you will find unique pieces that can bring you memories from the past.

flea market finds from Paris

Look for unique original art, and upcycled products as well.

modern art for home from flea markets

I even spotted a stuffed peacock at the Paris flea market.

peacock at the flea market

The Marche Dauphine flea market at Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen had a shipping company within the premises, and you could easily shop for larger items and have them shipped back home. Of course, it’s not all that cheap to ship, but you are not just buying inexpensive things from the flea markets, but often items you can not buy anywhere else even if you wanted to. I have been buying furniture and larger items from all over the world, but only because we have lived in so many different countries and states. It is easy to get carried away at the flea markets, so I recommend making a list of things you are looking for, and sticking to your budget! If you go to flea markets on your travels, remember to check out flea markets back at home before you go too. You might be able to find same items from the flea market next to you for fraction of the price, you just never know, and that’s the beauty of flea market shopping.

Don’t forget to…

… look for vintage clothing & accessories!

Vintage fashion at Paris flea market

They can also be great for decorative purposes.

fashion finds from Paris flea market

Last, don’t forget to people watch. You can see some real characters at flea markets, and connect with some cool people. The sellers can often tell you great stories of the items they are selling too.

Antique dealers at Paris flea market.

Antique dealers at Paris flea market.

Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Flea Market in Paris

The Les Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market in Clignancourt just outside the 18th arrondissement. It is a very large area with hundreds of sellers, and it can be very overwhelming. What you really are looking for is the vintage shops.

The flea market is very easy to find from the Porte De Clignancourt Métro stop. You can take the métro line 4. Once you get to the streets from the metro, you will start seeing sellers immediately. Unfortunately they are not the kinds you are looking for. Ignore all of the cheap China-knockoff salesmen, and keep walking. Walk past the tents where you see more cheap crap, and then walk a little more on the streets filled with tents full of knockoffs. It’s only a 5 minute walk, but feels longer with streets full of sellers. This is not the flea market you are looking for, you are looking for either Marche Vernaison, alleys of old antiques or the real Les Puces, the Marche Dauphine. We only went to the Marche Dauphine, and we spent a few hours just shopping there. There is also a lovely cafe for lunch.

Hours of operation:
Saturday 9 am-6 pm
Sunday 10 am-6 pm
Monday 11am-5 pm (note: some of the shops are not open on Mondays)

flea market home decorating style

Post by Katja Presnal

“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Let’s connect!

Visit Skimbaco Lifestyle (’s profile on Pinterest.


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2015 Bucket List Destination: Puerto Rico Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:46:13 +0000
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5 reasons to visit Puerto Rico in 2015

Puerto Rico – my 2015 bucket list destination

Happy New Year 2015! On this Instagram Travel Thursday I would like to think of some of the dream destinations for the new year. Did you travel somewhere for the Holidays or to celebrate the New Year’s Eve? I visited my old friend Anna and her family in Cleveland to celebrate the New Year, and it was so great to sit back and relax and share our travel stories from the past couple of years. Anna was telling me about Puerto Rico, and her family’s adventures there, and Puerto Rico immediately became one those destinations I would love to go in the future. I wanted to learn more about Puerto Rico, so I checked out the See Puerto Rico site, and thought it would be fun to do a picture trip to Puerto Rico via Instagram photos I found and check out the video on the end too – what an adventure awaits you in Puerto Rico!

Five reasons to go to Puerto Rico in photos & video


El Yunque is the only subtropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service, and I would love to have a rainforest adventure there. An adventure that scares me to death but sounds amazing is the longest Zip Lines on Earth: La Bestia in Toro Verde. It uses a specially designed harness to soar through the air across 4,745 feet of terrain. Watch this video, it looks intense!

A much less scarier but equally awesome experience would be kayaking in a biobay. Bioluminescence exists around the world, but there are only a few biobays in the world. Puerto Rico has three of them, and you can kayak or take a boat ride to see them. I would love to do night kayaking to see it!

A photo posted by rachel pettit (@rachasian) on


270 miles of coastline – do I need to say more? With so many beaches, there is a beach that is perfect for you.


Walks on the beach, boat rides, scuba-diving, romantic dinners, and rum cocktails on the sunset. Sign me up! Puerto Rico sounds like an excellent romantic getaway and with easy direct flights from many US-cities, making it even a perfect long weekend destination for romantic relaxation. For example direct flights to San Juan from New York City take less than four hours.

A photo posted by Noel Del Pilar (@noelphoto) on


Puerto Rico in an inexpensive family friendly travel destination making it a great vacation spot even for larger families. It sounds like the perfect place to take kids for a tropical adventure trip, to swim on the gorgeous beaches, and eat the delicious Puerto Rican food and have a vacation of a lifetime on a budget. One added bonus for American families who might not travel abroad often. You don’t need a passport to go to Puerto Rico! Passports get expensive, especially if you are renewing them for a larger family. For those visiting from countries other than the USA, a visa is required to enter the island. If you are just visiting as a tourist, the standard 90-day non-immigrant visa will be your key to paradise.


Added reasons to visit in 2015 are the numerous special festivals and events hosted on the island. Some of the programming for 2015 include music festivals like Festival Casals of Puerto Rico, bringing yearly the world’s most important musical talent to San Juan. Sports events include Ironman and Puerto Rico Open golf tournament. Or better yet: organize your own special event in Puerto Rico, it is for example an excellent destination wedding destination.

If you are traveling to Puerto Rico this year, use the #seepuertorico hashtag for your travel photos on Instagram. And as always, use #skimbaco for moments of living life to the fullest and #IGtravelThursday for your travel photos!

Instagram Travel Thursday

Read more Instagram Travel posts from these new blog posts this month and add your own blog post. Linky closes on the last day of the month.

Link up, but read the rules first!instagram-travel-linky-rules

Instagram Travel Thursday

Join us every Thursday on Instagram by sharing your travel photos with #IGTravelThursday hashtag.
Follow @skimbaco and @IGtravelThursday and we will feature the best photos on Instagram and on our Facebook page.

Instagram Travel Thursday is a fun community project to connect travelers on Instagram, read more.

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Experiencing Luxury Shopping and Fashion in Paris Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:09:37 +0000
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luxury shopping in Paris

Everyone on the Skimbaco team loves Paris without a doubt from Katja’s love of Christmas Markets to Reeta’s enjoyment of site seeing and walking tours. I love Paris as it acts as an artistic hub of the world, and specifically of the fashion world. I recently strolled the streets of Paris, enjoying the epicenter of luxury shopping and style.

We all have a unique thing that we look for in each city we travel to- the best restaurant, the most famous museum, or in my case, the best shopping. When I traveled to Milan I experienced luxury as a lifestyle in the fashionable Italian city, however, nothing compares to letting one’s self indulge in the fashion and luxury experiences Paris has to offer.


How can you take advantage of the luxury shopping and fashion in Paris? Firstly, one does not need to be able to afford high price tags to get a true Parisian experience. I recommend spending a day walking some of the famed Parisian Streets. If you are on the Rive Droite, start the day at the Pyramid du Louvre and hop onto Rue St. Honoré, the perfect street for shopping, window shopping, and people watching. Spend your day traversing Rue St. Honoré which is home to some of the world’s most famous stores such as Colette Paris, Dolce & Gabbana, and Hermes. Be sure to stand in awe at the line outside of Christian Louboutin’s flagship boutique. My personal favorite was seeing the global flagship of French leather good designer Goyard.

 global flagship of French leather good designer Goyard

Tip: Looking to get a souvenir or have a luxurious experience at one of your favorite designers without the price tag? Pick up a great coffee table book if you are at Colette or an infamous fragrance at the renowned Hermes store on Rue du Faubourg St Honoré.

Dolce & Gabbana Paris

As an alternative route, start at the base of the Champs-Elysees at Place de la Concorde and walk up the avenue while taking in the sites of this famous avenue. Once arriving at Avenue Montaigne, turn onto what is, perhaps, one of the most luxurious streets in the world. Avenue Montaigne has become home to the most prestigious designers as well as hotels in the neighborhood. Window shop as you look at the newest lines and window presentations from designers such as Dior, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci.

Saint Laurent Paris


Looking for a fashionable way to end your stroll? Grab a drink at the ultra-luxurious and world famous Hotel George V, on Avenue George V just off of Avenue Montaigne. The lobby of this Four Seasons property is always beautifully adorned with fresh flowers daily, and the garden is a posh, serene spot to grab an aperitif.

Hotel George V, on Avenue George V just off of Avenue Montaigne. The lobby of this Four Seasons property is always beautifully adorned with fresh flowers daily, and the garden is a posh, serene spot to grab an aperitif.

There is just something about seeing the ads printed in Vogue and other publications come to life in Parisian boutique windows. Whether its the sold out Chanel collection on Rue Cambon, or the Tom Ford windows of Rue St. Honoré, experiencing fashion in Paris is quite magical and inspiring. How do you love to experience Paris?

Post by Wes Holland

Monsieur Curations - Men's Lifestyle at Skimbaco Lifestyle, feature by Wes Holland

“I dream of being a business leader in the fashion world. Whether that be creating and running my own luxury retail consulting firm, or heading a department for a renowned fashion house, I want to mix the intellectually stimulating side of business with the creativity that the fashion world offers. Make sure to subscribe to Skimbaco Fashion weekly feed.” Wes Holland of Life Through Preppy Glasses.

Let’s connect!

Follow Skimbaco Lifestyle (’s board Monsieur Curations for MEN on Pinterest.

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Top 15 Skimbaco Lifestyle Posts of 2014 Tue, 30 Dec 2014 04:39:33 +0000
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Most popular blog posts of 2014 at @skimbaco

Happy New Year! Thank you so much for being a Skimbaco Lifestyle reader this year. We have loved sharing our stories, lives, ideas and tips with you this year. A lot of big things happened in 2014, we launched our e-magazine, Satu biked 2500 kilometres of Ireland’s coast, and our team participated in several international events, press trips and conferences on four continents. I took some time off this year to focus on our family’s move from Sweden to New York, and I am now excited to be back in the USA, although already miss Europe dearly. Thankfully, I have plenty of practice to know how easy it is to travel back and worth!

Interested knowing the most read posts of 2014? The top 15 posts from 2014 are listed below, I hope you enjoy taking a look back in some of our favorites too.

If you want to stay in touch, please subscribe to our blog post feed and connect on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+.

1. LIFESTYLE: 10 Instagram Success Secrets I wasn’t going to tell anyone
2. HOME: 10 Ideas for Outdoor Parties from IKEA
3. TRAVEL: Must do experience in England: Traditional Afternoon Tea or a Cream Tea
4. LIFESTYLE: Halloween trends 2014
5. LIFESTYLE: Interview with Instagram Sensation Caroline Calloway
6. FASHION: Banana Republic Marimekko Collection First Photos
7. TRAVEL: Brilliant Game of Thrones Exhibition Opens In Stockholm mixing Fantasy & Real History
8. LIFESTYLE: 6 Amazing Travelers to Follow on Instagram (that you might never have heard of before)
9. TRAVEL: Experiencing the Magic of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland
10. LIFESTYLE: Just in: Pictures directly from Sochi from the Winter Games Press Officer
11. TRAVEL: These Instagram Photos will Make you Want to Go to Scandinavia
12. HOME: French Elegance and English Countryside Sophistication for Spring Tablescapes
13. HOME: Inexpensive Summer Guest Bedroom Makeover
14. TRAVEL: Top Exotic, Cultural, Culinary and Adventure Destinations for 2015
15. FASHION: Just in: Finnish Smart Watch that looks like Jewelry Deputs today

(Note: the listed posts are the most read posts written in 2014. Some of our most popular older posts written in the previous years are still read daily, but we don’t want to write a very similar looking list every year.)

Post by Katja Presnal

“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Let’s connect!

Visit Skimbaco Lifestyle (’s profile on Pinterest.


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Christmas in New York City: the Holiday Markets, Best Show & Window Shopping Wed, 24 Dec 2014 03:30:12 +0000
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Christmas in New York City by @skimbaco

Christmas around the world

What an amazing ending for our year: we got to spend the Holiday season first in Paris, and from there we flew to New York City, right on time for the Christmas markets and Christmas shopping. I know I have written about my favorite NYC Christmas spots before, and many of you also live in the city, so there is nothing new to you… However, I couldn’t resist to list a few of my favorite Christmas-things in the city and share some of the pictures from our stay in the Big Apple, the city I love.

Where are you spending the Holidays? Share on Instagram with #skimbaco or #skimbacoholidays hashtag and make sure to follow me, I’m Skimbaco on Instagram.


5th Avenue Shopping and Christmas Windows

Because who am I kidding here…? Hello, 5th Avenue!

Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas windows 2014

I am actually not just talking about the actual shopping, but also window shopping and admiring all of the 5th Avenue Christmas windows!

Sleeping Beauty at the Saks Christmas window

Saks Fifth Avenue’s theme for this year is “Enchanted Experience”. Most of the window’s are set in classic fairy tales, retold in Art Deco style with New York City vibe with iconic NYC’s locations as the backdrop.

Red Riding Hood at the Saks Christmas window

From Red Riding Hood to Snow White – every girl’s favorite fairytale characters are in gowns at the Saks windows.

One of my favorites was Snow White asking which NYC street food was the safest to eat… and the poison apples in a food cart.


And I loved the Cinderella window saying “once upon a time in New York… Cinderella fell madly in love with a pair of designer shoes.”

Once upon a time in New York... Cinderella fell madly in love with a pair of designer shoes.


My other favorite was Bergdorf Goodman’s Christmas windows. They were designed by David Hoey with an “Inspiration” theme. Each window is dedicated to one of the arts, such as dance, literary and music.

Dance themed window at the Berdorf Goodman.

Dance themed window featured a ballet dancer.


The music themed window reminded me of ABBA.


There were also several smaller “peak in” windows, like this one dedicated to cartography.


The bold red literature window was one of my favorites.


… but all of them were simply stunning.


Christmas markets: Winter Village in Bryant Park

New York City has several Christmas markets, and we went to three of them on our stay. I love the vibe at the Bryant Park Winter Village. Skating ring dominates the scene, giving the Winter Village Christmas market immediately the wintery feel – regardless if there is snow or not. The skating is free if you bring your own skates – rentals are a whopping $19.


The rest of the park is full of small Christmas shops, and a few booths also selling seasonal foods. The Celcius bar is your best place for lunch or dinner, or the permanent restaurants in the park.


For our surprise, we were able to even find crepes with Nutella – our Parisian favorite.


The shops sell handmade items, like jewelry, wooden toys and gift items, accessories, and handmade soaps.

jewelry at the Bryant Park Christmas market

Opening hours:
October 21, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Monday – Friday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Sunday: 10am – 6pm

Christmas market in Bryant Park NYC

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is right on the Southwest corner of Central Park, and I would have loved it on a sunny day, or even a cold day… but it was raining on the day we visited, and it cut our visit short. I also don’t have as many photos from the market, but I do want to mention two designers I found there.


One of our favorite finds was Avigail Adam’s hair accessories.


The headbands are gorgeous, and my daughter Isabella got one for her, and she loves it.


Another favorite designer found at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market is Marc Bernstein.


His jewelry has a cool pirate/world travel theme that I really liked.

Marc Bernstein New York Jewelry

Marc Bernstein bracelet

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market closes on Christmas Eve.

Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair

Grand Central Terminal in New York City

Also the Grand Central Holiday Fair already closes on Christmas Eve, but it is one of the Christmas markets to put on your favorite list for the next year. This year was actually my first time visiting, and I loved it for so many reasons. First of, it was inside the historic train terminal, and indoors, away from the rainy weather. Secondly, there were so many local New York-artisans with their booths, that I felt it had the most “New York”-feel.

Claudia Pearson gift shop

Claudia Perason’s tea towels and other printed products had a great Brooklyn vibe.


I hope Santa shops here, the toy collection was pretty awesome.


My absolute favorite was the Verrier Boutique with the travel, New York City and fashion themed prints.

bad day in new york city is still better than good day anywhere else

Favorite Christmas Show: Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall

radio city music hall

Last but not the least: a New York City Christmas tradition that I love: the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall

Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

Nutcracker is great too, but there are parts of Nutcracker in this show too, and the Rockettes just say “New York” to me, and it is my favorite show, year after year.

PS. There is still time to get your Rockettes tickets and they are running a buy one, get one ticket sale on select seats and performances, 2 tix min, 8 tix max. Expires 12/31/14. USE CODE: DEC3WEB

radio city music hall santa clus

This was our Christmas time adventure in New York City, now I’m wishing you Merry Christmas from our new home in upstate New York!

Christmas in New York City

Post by Katja Presnal

“My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own “skimbaco,” how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter that I send out sometimes on Fridays.” Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief and the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Let’s connect!

More Christmas around the world on my Pinterest board.
Follow’s board Christmas around the world on Pinterest.


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Holidays: A Southern Christmas in Savannah, Georgia Tue, 23 Dec 2014 18:19:56 +0000
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 Christmas in Savannah, Georgia. A look at the decor.

As we reflect on our travels in 2014 on Skimbaco Lifestyle, Savannah Georgia was a highlight for me this year. It has charm, history, great food, and beautiful architecture. Savannah is one of those places that as soon as you depart then you are ready to go back for another visit. During my quick stay in the city, I was a guest of Savannah Lodging in the historic district. These beautiful holiday photos are courtesy of them, especially for us. They snapped scenes throughout the town so we could share them with you.  Some of the same picturesque spots that I spotted on my travels are now decked out for the holidays.

Homes decorated for Christmas in Savannah, GA

Happy Holidays from all of us at Skimbaco!

Beautifully decorated homes during the holidays in Savannah, Ga


Beautiful Savannah, GA during the holidays

Store fronts in Savannah, GA for the holidays

Festive Savannah, Ga at Christmas

Where Skimbaco Lifestyle Stayed in Savannah:

My family checked into the Holiday Express Historic District in Savannah, Georgia. It was built with the charm of the city in mind, and provided our family with a boutique experience in a fabulous location. Because this is a limited-service property with no full-service restaurant on site, it can provide families with an upscale experience at a lower price point. Rates are below $200 per night. Complimentary breakfast is included with your stay. Parking costs extra.

Holidays Inn Express Historic District has great location.

Photos taken by Savannah Lodging, especially for Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Post by Leigh Hines

Leigh Hines, hotel and family travel expert | Skimbaco Lifestyle

“I live like a tourist in my hometown and my dream is to travel the world one luxury hotel at the time. If you love traveling as much as I do, subscribe to Skimbaco Travel, and never miss any travel content from our site.” Leigh Hines of Hines Sight Blog

Let’s connect

Visit Leigh Hines of’s profile on Pinterest.


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