Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aug 23rd - 24th Outfit - Second Guessing

So I had a Major Wardrobe Crisis today. I had a different outfit on and I second-guessed myself and changed into this:
My white cardi (last worn here a bunch, last weekend), my green sweater tank (last worn here, and very under-utilized this month), my green linen pants (last worn here), and my red platforms (last worn here).

So. Did any of you watch "What Not to Wear" this week? With the administrative assistant (my same title!) who lost her job because she dressed too crazy for work? And one of the things Stacy and Clinton harped on was her lime green obsession (I'm wearing lime green!)?

I ended up in my closet last night, and I ripped apart my September capsule (I usually have them done well ahead of time). Now I don't know what I'm doing. I'm full of self-doubt, mixed with the desire to trash this whole challenge and wear what I want.

And I started having all these questions about my work-appropriateness. Am I dressing too wacky for my job? Should I tone it down and wear more pencil skirts, nice blouses and jackets? Do I need less colour and more basic neutrals?
The final straw was L taking a look at my original outfit and giving me a thumbs-down.

I was *this* close to completely doubting myself. Calling in sick! I actually set the timer, got into my pose and then....
Into the closet! I must change! I had on my pink sweater and (obviously) my plaid jacket, with a red buttonflower and a blue belt. I couldn't do it. It felt too crazy.

As it is, I'm not going to keep these pants. I don't like how they fit (crotch-tacular!), so after this month, they are going in the donation bag.

I'm not looking for affirmations or to have my ego soothed. I just wanted to share that I have insecurities and doubts all the time about my outfits. Sometimes I don't know what the heck I'm doing, and I take risks that don't work (but sometimes they do!). I'm not going to give up this challenge, because it really is helping me see my habits and strengths/weaknesses, and it's helping me figure out who I am, style-wise.

It's also probably partly hormonal (ha!). I went for a long power-walk down along the water tonight after work, and the waves and windsurfers, the swallows and gulls swooping and soaring in the wind, and the smell of the ocean...I feel so much better already. Now, some wine, and I'll be all back to my ol' self.

Bonus for reading all that stuff - a Vizzini picture!
He's learned that tummy rubs are good things and likes to roll around. He's in my pose spot, watching L put on his runners.

59 comments:

  1. I had a very similar thought about some of my favourite outfits from last fall/winter and whether they would to work in my new office setting. I suddenly worried my way to banish the winter blues is with colour, and that can frequently come off as immature (a new employee was shocked I was a full-time permanent. She was certain I was a summer student of maybe 19 years of age. Yikes!). However, I took some of my favourite outfits, and following the advice of Coco Channel and "remove one piece" of colour, instead of jewelry, and substitute it for a neutral. So to use my math on your "self-doubt-fit" for me to feel comfortable in it, I'd maybe swap the belt, shoes and sweater for, say, a brown. Then the green and plaid are still all kooky and fun, but can be appreciated by someone of conservative taste!
    Hopefully you're feeling super confident shortly, I love your "I dress for me because I love me" attitude!

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    1. Thank you, Cara! I am going to re-work the rejected outfit next week with a simpler colour scheme.

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  2. Awww, Sheila, I totally watched the same episode and had the same doubts creep in. I love lime/neon green. Stacy and Clinton say too many ugly remarks sometimes about certain things. I think you keep the line of appropriate within the realm of respectable.

    You know better than to wear your full steampunk gear to work. You wouldn't wear something like this to work. I think you push the envelope sometimes, but it generally sounds like your employers and co-workers enjoy your style, where Rebecca T. had been warned about her wardrobe appropriateness before being let go.

    That said, this WNTW was an episode where the end result was a rather lack of style and not super flattering haircut. The stylists tend to put ladies in very generic bobs and very generic Office Clothing if the person doesn't have a very distinctive job or role. And then it seems like the whole episode harps on that aspect (see: lesbian biker Mom and body builder episodes specifically).

    I think it's always a good idea to do a reality check on yourself and make sure the "blogger-mind" isn't taking over, but remember you're still allowed to wear colors and prints and have personal style in the workplace.

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    1. I love the show, but I agree, they sometimes strip the people of their personality. I have never had negative comments about my clothes, so I feel better.

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  3. Actually, I think your mostly-green outfit looks GREAT with your hair and coloring.

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  4. You know I think they have some really great tips on that show but I think also sometimes the people all look the same when they are done and lose some of their sense of style. But with that show I think some people do need some serious help with getting dressed I would not say your one of them. You have a great sense of style I do not think you need to reinvent yourself. If you have stuff that when you wear it you don't feel good yep it should go in the donation bag I just did this with my closet today. I have not had a chance to mention your tattoo looks great I love what you had done on it, just beautiful~Glad to hear your feeling better the ocean and a walk sounds fantastic. ~Love Heather

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    1. Thanks, Heather - while it would be fun to go on the show and shop (yay!), I wouldn't want my style stripped away either. In general, I'm happy with how I look, and I think others are as well. I keep the donation bag full!

      Thanks very much for the compliment on my tattoo! :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing that even you, super stylish Sheila, have days of doubt just like the rest of us. And then we say 'the heck with the rest of the world' and go back to our usual selves. who else are we going to be?!? xx

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    1. I completely agree! I'm back to my old self today.

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  6. It's not easy being green! haha, I think you named one of your posts that a few months back.
    You got a little bit "over-educated" so to speak, by watching What Not To Wear. That's what made you run into your closet and start changing your mind. Take a deep breath, forget what you watched last night and start back up again where you left off. Your style is way better than much of the outfits they throw together on that show. In fact, I think you're one of the most consistently best and polished dressers in styleblogland. Don't doubt yourself again!

    I was recently sort of pleasantly addicted to a minimalist's style blog. Everything this blogger wears is simple clean lines, drapey fabrics, black, gray, white, etc...no color. I jumped up and ran to my closet after viewing page after page. I ended up purging a ton of "crap" feeling totally discontent with my clothes. I even put some in a bag and out to my car trunk thinking I'd donate the next day. Then today I found myself right back out to my car and dug some stuff out of the bag because I was just being way to hasty and forgetting to have fun. I guess I was thinking I needed some sort of uniform style or something. Heck with it!

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    1. I think I've actually used that title a few times!

      Yes, info overload, plus a little insecurity. It's a bit like brainwashing - suddenly that seems like the only way one should look!

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  7. I'm glad to hear actually about the self doubt. I suspect we all have those days...and simply don't share that on our blogs. I know that what I wore today, which I didn't bother to take a photo of, made me feel great, but not a single person had anything to say about it.

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    1. I tend to be much more critical of my outfits than my (very) kind readers. I try not to give my opinion on an outfit unless I really love it or hate it.

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  8. If the US version of WNTW is anything like the UK version, everyone ends up looking the same (or pretty much). I'm sorry to hear you are feeling so doubtful about continuing your challenge, when up til now you've enjoyed it so much.

    Has anyone at your company ever spoken to you in a negative way about how you dress? Whenever you mention comments on here they always seem to be positive. If you've not had negative comments, I would say carry on as you are until you're told otherwise.

    Hope you're feeling better today!

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    1. Yes, it's very much a generic look that the people get. I mean, they look better, but sometimes they lose a bit of their quirkiness.

      No, I've never gotten a negative comment from anyone who mattered (ha!). Many of my coworkers look at my blog, actually.

      Thank you! I am feeling better. :)

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  9. It really IS hard to believe you have wardrobe insecurities :)

    Your blog (and Vix's) are the only wardrobe sources I "watch". Don't fall apart on me here!!!!!

    Seriously, you are amazing. You don't have to follow any one else when it comes to wardrobing. You are the pace-setter!

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    1. Sorry to scare you, Rebecca! I'm fine, really. Thank you so much for your kind comment - I very much appreciate it.

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  10. I love to watch"What Not to Wear", and I do think they give most of the ladies sound advice but with that said most of them look like New Yorkers to me when they are done. There are regional differences in the states. I think that your style aesthetic is not beyond office appropriate. There are other bloggers that I think do go a little too kooky,but I am from a conservative area style wise.(DC)
    Self doubt can be a good thing in that it makes me try something new. Once in a while I do find a better use of a clothing item because of it so Shelia keep doing whatever your doing cause I love watching your style evolution..

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    1. We are pretty laid back on the coast here, and I work for an IT company that has a fairly relaxed dress code. However, as the "face" on Reception, I do like to make sure I look presentable and professional.

      I agree that it's good to have a little reality check and make sure I'm not pushing it too far!

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  11. I saw that episode too, and OMG, your style is NOTHING like the participant's "before" style. You have personality and flair in your dressing, yes, but always look office-ready (if it's a work day). Like Lorinda said, it's a bit of a relief that even *you* question your choices - it helps the rest of us know it's not effortless!

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    1. Thanks, Patti! It's definitely not effortless!

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  12. I was thinking that your outfit looked really fresh. I really like it and usually I am not much of a green fan.
    I love the picture of Vizzini. When Harry lays like that I call it his race dog pose. He looks like he is flat out flying. If you added a cape on Vizzini he would be super cat.

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  13. Your clothes have personality. Please don't lose that. Don't give in to perceived pressure to conform 'cause, in reality, people find your style charming.

    I saw that episode (and have watched virtually every one) and the woman's problems were serious, extending far beyond fondness for a color. Did you see her cow-print costume in the 360? Nobody would take a wearer of that seriously. Nudging her back toward the mainstream was necessary and not an rebuke to someone like you who choses her clothes smartly and with character.

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    1. I promise I won't, Ally, thank you. I really appreciate your thoughtful comment!

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  14. Sheila, we wouldn't be human if we didn't have these moments! Though my desperate mornings of last minute second-guessing and clothes flung everywhere are less frequent than they once were, they still occur. I have great affection for your posting the shot of the actual retreat, and it's heartening to know that it happens to the best of us.

    I have a lot of respect and admiration for your progress through your challenge, and imagine points of acute re-examination to be natural parts of the process. I'd be reduced to a total wreck pretty much immediately! And often! I love Megan Mae's comment above, and would add that though I haven't seen an episode of WNTW in ages, I often had a pang of grief at the loss of individuality and the brutality of the tear-down. I agree too that you likely have a very good read on your workplace's culture, being that it's something you already take into consideration and are thoughtful about.

    Good for you for getting through the day, and seeking relief in moving by the water. I love the combination of these greens with the deep red!

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    1. Agreed, Amber! I had that outfit all planned out and was looking forward to wearing it, but then...! I wanted to be upfront about my doubts and share that - so often, all we see is "favourite" outfits, not the hits AND the misses.

      Thanks so much!

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  15. Well, you know I would vote for wearing what you want, rather than doing a capsule! But keep doing whatever's fun for you!

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    1. I'm a firm believer in that too, Wendy! But the capsule is a good challenge for me, to re-examine the structures and "rules" I've built around my wardrobe.

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  16. Sheila, all of the comments above are right on. I agree with most everything I've read...but I want to say that Shybiker really hit the nail on the head in his last sentence. Stay true to your own style...and if there are times you know you are a bit over the top, its ok to check yourself and rethink a few things, but you don't need an entire overhaul, your style is fun.

    Personal style shifts and evolves at times and that's ok. You might ask yourself if you are just responding to an immediate stimulus (like last night's WNTW) or if your style is really on the verge of evolving.
    I have a pretty simple style oriented toward basic, classic pieces and I go though phases of change, but I always drift back to my basics, they're intrinsic to me.

    I like your style, it's unique, pretty and a bit quirky but not over the top out of touch with reality quirky.

    Rock on!

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    1. Agreed, Lisa, thank you! I don't know that my style is evolving - I think it's more elastic in nature. These capsules are a good way for me to look at my wardrobe and habits.

      Thanks for the sweet compliment. :)

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  17. I like the two shades of green with the shoes it looks good.

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  18. Please don't doubt yourself. I would hate to see you lose an ounce of individuality. Believe Bill Cunningham, "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

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    1. I love that quote, Judy, thank you! I promise I won't become an office clone!

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  19. Green looks great on you and the red shoes are so cheery.
    I think feelings come up for a reason but maybe because you just watched WNTW you might have been doubting your self.
    From what I have read and seen you are a lively and spirited woman who is very artistic and creative. I'd say relax and keep having fun with your flair for fashion.

    Love those waterfront walks too, the ocean is so soothing.
    Take care,
    Hostess

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  20. I like the two greens together.

    I think What Not To Wear is kind of mean. The original British version with Trinny and Suzanne was much better. They were kinder to the women as they helped them.

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  21. I can relate to being ready for work, taking a picture and then going back into the bedroom to change. Not once, but up to 4 times, then leaving not feeling totally well put together. Thinking all day long that one of the other choices i tried on was better than the one i chose.
    I actually like how the all green+light cardi looks sitting down, but when you stand up, the pants are not the best asset on your nice figure.
    I think you dress appropriately for work, i don't see crazy - i see fun, creative and well put togethe.r

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    1. I can't even remember the last time I changed at the last minute!

      Thanks, Lorena!

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  22. Miss Sheila, I saw that episode of WNTW...that lady was taking a serious ride on the crazy train! Your lime green and her lime green are not just in different time zones, they are on different planets! I am a big fan of self-reflection; I like to see what I can learn from what I am doing, fine-tune if I need to, and carry on; you just can't let it sink into self-doubt! I think your style is fun, creative, and a little edgy. I admire what you wear, and would certain walk into my somewhat conservative workplace (a middle school - the kids are out there, but the teachers are not!)in any of your outfits. You are stylish and fresh!Keep it up!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much for the vote of confidence!

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  23. Even though I don't work outside the home, I identify with your style and am actually quite encouraged by your post because you are being honest and it shows that bloggers can have off days too. Being a non blogger, I sometimes get a little intimated by what I see as the perfect outfit on someone with a better body than me and I look to blogs for inspiration and great ideas. If I was looking for fashion that was was perfect, I would read Vogue or InStyle; but I want real and you are real plus you have style. The green looks fabulous with your coloring and hair, but I'm with you, if slacks don't feel right-they get donated regardless of the color. I love your cat.

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    1. Vizzini says, "Mrow!" which means thank you. :)

      Thanks so much - I definitely have off days.

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  24. First up - Vizzini is so cute!

    I think what you wear for work is perfect - you're comfortable and happy and I'm guessing no-one at work has said what you are wearing is inappropriate. Bright colours are okay in the office as long as all of the "essentials" are covered by some clothing and you certainly don't have to be concerned about that! I haven't seen the episode so I can't comment any further on that sorry.
    What I wear to work is more than likely going to be considered too casual for the office - in fact I've had comments on my blog saying so. But I'm not in an extremely corporate environment, most of my team wear jeans and I rarely see ties. I'm definitely not the most casually dressed person there, although as I said before maybe my office is the exception with more on the casual side of business casual. I'm lucky that performance is valued over clothing.
    We all have doubts from time to time, hope after your walk and wine and reading all these lovely comments on your blog you're feeling a bit more confident again :)

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    1. Mica, thank you for the kind words. I haven't had any negative comments on my clothes at work, so I think I'm doing okay.

      Vizzini certainly appreciates the compliment. He's getting quite full of himself.

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  25. Sheila, I think it's natural to have doubts from time to time, and what I've found most fascinating about your challenge is that it has pushed you to really examine your style and the reasons for it in unexpected ways. I loved all that you learned during your neutral month, for instance. I too am addicted to color like you are, and sometimes I have to pull back and ask myself if I am choosing it out of habit and/or shock value or if it something that actually looks flattering on me. As long as we're selecting it because it looks good on us, then I think there is nothing to worry about. Even Clinton and Stacy would agree; while a lot of the time they do end up with people styled similarly, in the end they just want the women to look confident, stylish, and to feel good about themselves.

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    1. Thanks, Kristen, this was a good lesson for me (not to mention, I was quite hormonal!).

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  26. Hey Sheila - I have never posted before, but I do come regularly, though. I know are not looking for compliments and just wanted to share, but I must say you are one of my absolute favorites. I love how much work and attention you put into your outfits. You always look amazing to me, and I really appreciate how you do it creatively from all kinds of sources. A little self-doubt is healthy. You will figure it out, and look amazing while doing so! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Jenn, I really appreciate you commenting, and thank you so much for reading! Aw, that's so sweet of you. :)

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  27. After Katrina I had a revelation: Life is too short... I had always admired people who dressed in what pleased them, but I was always too afraid to look different. One day there I was trying to replace my wardrobe and fell in love with a glittery, beaded totally non-standard top and asked myself, "What in the hell am I hesitating for?" I thought of the 20 something guy in the trailer next door. He shot himself. I thought of my friend's parents who drowned in their living room. I could be dead tomorrow and I would have spent my whole life trying to fit in with everyone else. I picked up that shirt and felt elated and free. Clinton and Stacy are great when it comes to revamping tacky, or helping with flattering fit, but when it comes to finding true joy of personal expression, they fall woefully short. I still doubt and I still feel insecure, (especially when paired with my sister and her classic black and white pricey wardrobe). Then I remember where I was seven years ago and I remember life is too short and slap on my favorite pink glitter tennis shoes and gypsy skirt. Keep on keeping on. Great post Sheila.

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    1. Oh, Jude, I love your story! Thank you so much for sharing. I love that you are wearing your glittery top, shoes and skirt! Rock on!

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  28. I can't believe I missed this post! You are an awesome stylist. The people on WNTW may wear lime green but certainly NOT the way you do! You shine when you wear it. You pump it up with your brilliant combinations of shoes and accessories. You would be one of the AFTER shots for sure. We all have doubts I think, especially when we push the envelope, but that's what makes us alive and electric. I know you're over this mini second-guessing now, but this is a great place for me to say how much I LOVE your style and how much you shine.

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    1. Thank you so much, Melanie - that means a lot coming from an artist like you. :)

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  29. Vizzini cuteness...sigh!!!

    Sheila--I don't think you dress too crazy or "out there". you dress creatyively but with class--no skanky outfits, you always look polished and professional to me.
    I think we all have days when the outfit we plan just doen't work-i've found the photo's are helping me define what works and what just doesn't.

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  30. Aaaw Sheila, Im sorry to hear of you doubting the way you dress. I hope you wont let some television hoiti toities tell you what to wear. And excuse me, whats wrong with lime?? Seriously?? Im not familiar with your workingplace dresscodes in canada and the US, in Norway its most commom to dress casual for work. As much as I love the colour of your pants, I agree with you, they gotta go, their shape do nothing for you.

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    1. Izzy, I love your frankness. The pants are GONE!

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  31. Sheila, I just saw this after our continuing long hospital stay, but I wanted to virtually hug you and thank you for letting us know that even the most stylish peeps have fashion melt-downs. I've never thought you were dressed inappropriately for work, and suspect that you make a lot of people happy just by walking into the building.

    That said, I'm not lovin' these pants either. I don't think you're much taller than me, and I know I have to be careful about crops. They can make me look like a short slice of bread...lol. I love my ankle pants, but I make sure the ankle is really tapered so I don't get squared off.

    I saw that What Not to Wear episode in the hospital. I can't remember her name but I'll call her "The Clown". When Clinton and Stacey threw all her striped tees away, I practically shrieked, "NOT THE STRIPED BOAT NECKS! WHAT'S WRONG WITH THEM!?" Because I have like, six, and I started to doubt them...lol. I do have to say she was so stunning post makeover, and they have a gift of highlighting the most beautiful parts of a woman.

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  32. Thank you for the virtual hugs, Lynne (right back atcha). I'm 5'4" and yeah, they are just not right for me. However, ya don't learn if ya don't experiment, but I'll consider this one a failure, ha!

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Sheila