my 3 fitness obsessions [b/c “girl crush” sounds too creepy].

14 Apr

These three women inspire me to be a better runner and a stronger athlete — and you may not have heard of any of them because they’re not Olympians or professional athletes, but they have inspired me over the years and I thought I should share the wealth!

I started taking spin classes in 2008 at Cal’s on-campus gym, and I quickly became low-key obsessed with Anja’s class. (Her six-minute slow remix of B. Spears’ “Toxic” = legendary).  I admired her enthusiasm and how dedicated she was…and not to mention that she was also a gymnast and getting her masters in nursing.   A few years later, she’s a nurse in Los Angeles, and a master trainer with Daily Burn and teaching classes at Equinox.  I’m no Anja, but I found her ability to pursue multiple passions inspiring, and she was a huge motivator for me in deciding to get spin certified and teach a class.  It’s been amazing to watch her success unfold via social media.

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Image: Twitter.com/AnjaGarcia

 

No clue why I even bother taking a class with anyone but Laura Crago.  I dubbed her class #ChurchOfCrago because it is that amazing.  Insane beats, energy, and motivation…and she has an EDGE.  Last week my friend Riley said “I want to be her…but you REALLY want to be her.”  Yuppp.  Not weird at all.  Sometimes some of the yoga-like speeches instructors give at the end of SoulCycle classes come off as trite, but Crago’s always inspire me. Last week, she managed to not only say “Bye Felicia” but also one of my favorite quotes of hers — “How you do anything is how you do everything.”  Her class is tough but amazing and she is a total bad ass.  Go take her class immediately.

image: Soul Cycle website

image: Soul Cycle website

Janae is both a warrior and an amazing athlete.  I follow a lot of running bloggers – but Janae is more like a runner who happens to have a blog.  She is a beast — she’s close to breaking 3 hours in the marathon.  I find her particularly inspiring because  a few years ago, she went through a divorce while being somewhat in the public eye…and during this particularly stressful time she destroyed her own PR in the half marathon and broke 1:30.  She has also blogged honestly about her relationship and what it’s like dating while being a single mom, and has always come off as grateful and classy.  Her mantra of “I can do hard things” has proved true for her – and she has inspired me to push myself.

image: Hungry Runner Girl website

image: Hungry Runner Girl website

Who is your biggest fitness inspiration? 

vacation state of mind.

13 Apr

One thing that has been different about being an “actual adult” with a job (as opposed to a fake adult 3LOL-ing my way through last year) is that my weeks are MUCH more structured.  I love routine — so in a lot of ways this is great for me — but it has been an adjustment to build in spontaneity and fun on non-weekend days.

Last Thursday, on an out-of-the-ordinary trip to SoulCycle to visit the #ChurchOfCrago with Whitney and Riley, I announced I was “on vacation.”  Whitney asked “Really?  Don’t you have work tomorrow?”  I laughed — of course I did — but I have adopted something I like to call the “vacation mindset.”  Whenever I sneak in an unexpected break in my routine, I am SHOCKED at how happy it makes me and how it literally serves to brighten my whole day.  Here’s some recent things I’ve done to cultivate the “vacation mindset.”

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#obsessed

  • A few months ago I attended a hearing in Santa Monica…so instead of sitting in traffic to get out there, I headed west early, hit up a rooster class at SoulCycle and ate breakfast by the ocean.  (Basically SoulCycle = vacation for me if you haven’t figured that out.  I am a cheap date).

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  • Worked out of our other LA office in Century City.  I did this last month — a couple of my colleagues laughed at me when I said I felt like I was on vacation, but I seriously did.  I am overdue for a mid-week jaunt to Century City.

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  • Having coffee with my Dad after his gym session in DTLA before we both head to work.

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  • Changing up my route to hit up Two Guns Espresso’s new stand (outside of the PwC building)

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  • Carpooling with my Dad out to Oak Park for dinner with my family, and heading back in with him the next morning…complete with a super early Starbucks run to fuel the commute.unnamed-4
  • The occasional pre-work breakfast with the Cal Alumni Association or Creative Mornings/LA
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January’s CM/LA with Eric Joule from Strava.

How do you get into the vacation mindset? 

hollywood half recapped.

12 Apr

Yesterday I ran my 18th half marathon.  (That number is now approaching embarrassing status, but I digress).  The course wasn’t my favorite but it was still a good experience overall, so I thought I’d break it down as I procrastinate work (noticing a theme?) and trying to overcome my sleep deprivation.  ANYWAY.

I started off the morning with a 4:30 wake-up call.  Did my usual coffee/oatmeal/selfie thing, and headed out the the metro right around 5.

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I met up with some of the #DTLARunning crew and we headed over to the start at Hollywood and Highland for the race start at 6.

I ran the 10k here two years ago, so I knew what to expect, but my initial criticisms of the race are twofold: (1) there weren’t really easy-to-find porta-potties near the start (or I am blind), so I waited in a long line at Hollywood & Highland’s shopping center before the start.  Better than porta potties for sure, but some security guards noted that these were technically not supposed to be open.  Whatever.

Also, I did something I NEVER do and brought a bag to the race with a change of clothes for after the race, including my favorite Nike jacket.  (In retrospect, this was a total bonehead move).  I didn’t realize gear check was at the FINISH,  over a mile away from the start until it was too late, so I tried to hide my bag and hoped for the best.  Sigh.

I hustled into Corral #2 and a few minutes after 6 we were off.

The course itself had it’s pros and cons – I wouldn’t classify this course as “hilly” but it was mentally challenging which made it pretty tough.  It was an out and back on Hollywood Boulevard, but in order to get the mileage up to 13.1, there were probably a half dozen or so little dog-legs up and down side streets.  These proved to be short little hill repeats – I liked the downhills but they were not fun.

My early splits were decently speedy:

  • Mile 1 7:08
  • Mile 2 7:17
  • Mile 3 7:22
  • Mile 4 7:43
  • Mile 5 7:41

I spotted my high school teammate, Garrison, on several of the out and back sections — he was running the 10k.  At one point I yelled “Garrison, get up here!!

Around mile 5, I saw Andres, and he joined me for about a mile or so.  Shout-out to AC for making sure the mile he ran with me was my fastest. He also reminded me that the next section would be downhill, so I kept that in mind…ish.

  • Mile 6 7:06
  • Mile 7 7:25
  • Mile 8 8:10
  • Mile 9 7:53

Around Mile 9 the half-marathon converged on the 10k and 5k runners who were still finishing.  One of my least favorite things to happen in a race…you lose track of who is in front of you, it’s hard to gauge speed, etc.

  • Mile 10 8:02
  • Mile 11 8:13

Around Mile 11.5, we passed the finish…and then had to head out an extra 3/4 of a mile or so in the wrong direction, and then back.  This was pretty torturous and my time reflects that.  I was so over it by this point.

Exhibit A:

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  • Mile 12 8:23
  • Mile 13 7:55

Finish:  1:40:40 – 7:43/mile average pace

4th out of 263 in my age group (F – 25-29)

26/1819 – All females

182/3219 Overall

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(Of course the gear I had stored was nowhere to be found.  Sad).

So overall, I wasn’t thrilled with my performance or the course logistics,  but it was a fun morning and an impressive turnout by #DTLARunning.  Thanks again to everyone who came out to support us!

The rest of my day was amazingly fun – and a tad bit overaggressive but what else is new.  I’ll save that for a different post.

Thoughts on the #HollywoodHalf if you ran it? 

march madness. (yes, i have resorted to cliché blog post titles).

6 Apr

Sue me?  Oh god, was that an ill-fated attempt at a legal pun?  What happened to me? I used to be think I was funny.

Anyway, I just got back from a run…and am procrastinating doing work (what else is new) so I figured why not fill my seven readers in on the latest in my life.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Running.  Lots of it.

Marathon Spectating – FOMO hit me HARD on March 15th when I saw my mom and tons of my friends run the LA Marathon.  It was inspiring seeing so many people I know fight through the heat and set personal bests out there — and it was a fun and different perspective spectating, but I’ve already signed up for next year so that next year people hand me gummy bears and gatorade instead of the other way around.  My Dad and I went to four different spots on the course.  We started near the 5k in Little Tokyo where I saw a TON of people I know as well as a really excited old man who chanted “Si Se Puede! Si Se Puede, C’mon, C’mon, C’mon C’mon!” ad naseum for an hour, then we drove near mile 11 or so at Hollywood and Highland – I was glad to see Andres but of course he was too fast and beat us to our other spots, then mile 18 in Century City (this is the spot where I wanted to die last year), and then finally the finish to see my mom.

Immediately that day I whipped up a training plan for myself since I’m running Ojai Mountains 2 Beach at the end of May. It will be my third full mary and I’m hoping for a decent PR.  I’ve been logging more AM miles and trying to push the pace on some of my shorter runs, and have been trying to hang with the big  boys at my running group.  (And by “trying” I mean they make fun of me for being slow and getting distracted by pretty buildings).

Last weekend, I ran the Agoura Hills Great Race Cheseboro Half Marathon. I grew up running these trails, but never for time.  These were the days before Garmins and NikePlus and even social media.  Anyway, while I knew what to expect, I didn’t get myself in the right headspace to get my butt kicked by the trails and the hills.  Portions of the course were really technical and REALLY steep.  That said, it was gorgeous…just wasn’t gonna be seeing fast times or a PR.  Again, there’s that old saying “it takes a crappy run to make you appreciate the really good ones.”

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While I finished in 1:47:47, my splits ranged from 6:31 to 10:59.  Not pretty.

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My Dad ran the 5k and then took a selfie. Not pictured because “his colleagues will see it and it is embarrassing.”  Guess I should worry about that at some point.

Up next for me is the Hollywood Half which I decided to do in a gunner moment of…gunning?  But in all seriousness I need to redeem myself from the Cheseboro Half, and logging long run miles is SO much easier to do in a race setting than solo.

My Best Friend’s Wedding.  Also in March, my best friend, Jenn, got married!  Jenn and I were in the same sorority in college, lived together all of law school, and ended up working at the same law firm.  If you’ve read this blog even once before you’ve probably seen her around…ANYWAY.  She had a unique and playful ceremony and super fun reception at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale on Ultimate Pi Day (3.14.15).  Check out the gorgeous photos here.  It was a lot of fun and an honor getting to stand up there celebrating Jenn…and they even trusted me with a microphone to say some nice (and mildly derisive) words about Jenn and Daniel.  I also had an amazing time catching up with Kathleen and Amanda from my sorority, as well as a ton of Jenn’s friends from law school.

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I also had a great time with my parents.

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(This is my mom just hours before she started her first marathon #boss).

Also in March, I got to attend my friend Andres and his wife Monique’s baby shower.  It was awesome — they thought of every little detail and I got to eat the best mole sauce I will ever have in my life. Can’t wait to meet who is sure to be the coolest kid in the greater LA area.

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I was pretty busy in March, but I think — for the most part — busy is better.  I got to work on some fun and interesting things at work.  S/o to my parents for keeping me sane in (rare?) moments of insanity and (frequent) moments of stress.

I also went to a fun Cal Alumni breakfast last week — it was cool to connect with alumni and trade stories — sometimes I forget about little things I loved about Cal living in LA, which is so UCLA/U$C dominated…so I’m going to try and go to more events like that. (Side-note: trying to keep the side-hustle/creative side of my brain working, so it’s a goal of mine to go to one non-law related networking or speaker event a month.  We’ll see how that goes).

Anyway, that’s about it for me.  Off to go review a deposition transcript, polish off my application for the RW/RR Challenge, and loudly rap Kanye to myself.  Not necessarily in that order, but more than likely.

I guess that’s why they call it #zincity

11 Mar

Alternative title: I planned a bachelorette party by some miracle.

A few short weeks ago, my best friend Jenn’s bachelorette weekend took me and 9 other women (girls?…unclear) up to Lompoc (north of Santa Barbara) for some wine-tasting, “girl talk” and general debauchery to celebrate Jenn.   Although Jenn was quite the “rager” in college — she was literally always stopping at various fraternities to say hi to people — she was pretty adamant that she didn’t want a Vegas bachelorette, or anything super typical.  Fine by me, since I was planning it and I’m the least “OMG!!!” person there is. (That’s a type of person, FYI).

Anyway, thanks in large part to my mom’s incredible ability to find anything on the internet, we booked an amazing renovated barn that comfortably slept all of us – and it included a large kitchen, bathroom, TV, wifi, and dining table. I would definitely recommend checking out Hidden Canyon Ranch in Lompoc via Air BnB.

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There were also animals on the property, to the extent you think that’s cool:

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Before we arrived, I again enlisted my mom’s help in buying all of the food we’d need for the weekend. (Thanks mom, everyone would have starved without your guidance).  I also put together “survival kits” for everyone — I didn’t nab a picture, but they included a wine glass, a mini bottle of champagne, advil, a water bottle, gum, and a Lara bar in case of emergency.

The weekend began for me on Friday night when I picked one of mine and Jenn’s BFFs from Cal, Kathleen, up at LAX.  I was in the middle of a crazy document production, and battling a cold, but picking Kathleen up was an instant mood boost.  We high-tailed it out of LA and stayed with my parents in the Conejo Valley, which would put us a little closer to our final destination.  S/o to Kathleen for balancing out my crazy as I stayed up pretty late reviewing documents.

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In the morning, we packed up the car (s/o to my parents for being the best) and made a mandatory pit-stop.

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Kathleen and I gabbed for about two hours and arrived at the barn to set up before everyone else arrived.  Around 11 or so, everyone was there and the day began! In attendance were two of Jenn’s best friends from law school, four friends from elementary school through high school, Jenn’s sister, and then Kathleen and I held it down for the college/sorority contingent. Go bears.

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I worked with 805 Wine Tours to set up a four-hour tasting tour through the region. They were affordable, knowledgeable about the area and the region, and professional.  Our favorite winery ended up being one that I had not booked ahead of time, but our guide called during the day and squeezed us in.

During the course of the day, we stopped at Babcock, Foley, Huber, and Melville wineries and had full tastings at all of them.

girls on a tractor.

girls on a tractor (like snakes on a plane except not at all)

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I think everyone liked Huber the best because they had a dog, but I liked it because their wines were a cut above and they had snacks. Chicks and dogs, man.  I don’t get it.

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Our final stop of the day was Foley – by this point everyone was having a good time.  Except for me in this photo?

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After the tour, we headed back to the Ranch.  Some of the girls went into town and brought back tacos – best. call. ever. While others of us tried to keep drinking due to tank-status.  Ugh.

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We played a few low-key games — Jenn and I told stories from our college days when we were both wrecks (compared to now that it’s mostly just me).   I’ll spare you the funny stories about Jenn’s college days because her fiancé reads my blog and also because I’m a good friend and also because blackmail.

I also had Daniel fill out a version of the “newlywed game”-type questions which was HILARIOUS.  Here’s an example of how funny his answers were.  I may have cried:

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We spent the rest of the time relaxing, napping/drinking, playing Cards against Humanity, and talking about Kanye.  Oh wait, that was just me.  Whoops.

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We cooked dinner together and ate a ton of dessert (What’s a wedding with a #PiTheeWed hashtag if every event does not feature pie?)  Anyway,  my alcohol consumption never really hit me, until everyone else decided they were going to bed and I could not stop laughing.  It all started when Blanca asked me why I like Kanye so much…and that turned into a hyperbolic explanation that I think he is the “Steve Jobs of music” and that he could “stop making music tomorrow and become an architect.”  So I may not have made any friends on this trip, but at least Jenn is stuck with me?  Bahah.

We got up in the morning and headed back to LA – but not before stuffing our faces some more and hitting up a drive-through coffee stand in Lompoc.

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I was a stress case (event planning is not my specialty, but I am a great event-attender) but I think everyone had a good time and that this was something off the beaten path.  I’d definitely recommend where we stayed and 805 Wine Tours if you’re local and looking to do something similar!  Thank you to everyone who came :)

Also, LOVE YOU JENN!!! Can’t wait for this weekend and to pepper every social media platform with #PiTheeWed (well, after the moratorium on social media is lifted, of course).

What sort of bachelorette parties have you been to? 

I can’t wait to check out Austin, Texas for my friend Riley’s bach in July!

wow, temecula.

11 Mar

So, a few years ago my mom told me she has a secret nickname for me. What is it, you ask? “PFD”…which is short for “Princess Fairy Dust” because apparently magical things just happen to me.  I beg to differ, but then sometimes she’s right.

Example:  last week when I was ending a very crazy month at work (and in my own mind, but that’s a story for a different day and really no different from any other month), I noticed that a blog I follow, FinerThingsLA, was running a contest for two tickets to the Temecula wine region’s World of Wines Barrel Tasting (#WoW) event.  I left a blog comment and tweeted, and a couple of days later found out I won!  Luckily Aviva was game to trek out to the IE with me on a Sunday afternoon.  We were SO glad we did — I loved Temecula and the five wineries we made it to in a short 2.5 hour tour.

While my tickets were comped, I’d totally go back next year.  Here’s what a $99 two-day ticket gets you (or $89 if you do pre-sale):

You’ll enjoy a self-guided wine country tour that will take you to all our member wineries, each of whom will be offering varietal wines from barrel, tank or bottle. The wines will be paired with scrumptious food samplings which exemplify the perfect marriage of food and wine. Ticket holders will receive a map of the Temecula Valley, a passport which allows a visit to each participating winery and a souvenir glass. The event is held from 10am to 4:30pm. 

I’d never been to Temecula before, so we decided we start at the first winery and just sort of bop around for a bit.

We started the day at Callaway Winery.  We enjoyed tasting their 2011 Special Chardonnay and their 2011 Special SElection Cabernet Sauvignon.  Oh, and this view.

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I take back everything I ever said about the Inland Empire.  Or most things.

We spent some time enjoying live music at Europa Village, as well as their 2013 Syrah and 2014 Muscat.  I noshed on a pulled pork slider and an incredible blue cheese gingersnap cookie.

From there, we skedaddled over to Baily Winery.  I was as obnoxious as possible, sipping on my Riesling and captioning the photo below with a Kanye lyric.  Because instagram. I also sipped on their M&M – a blend of Merlot and Malbec, and tasted their pork stew and German chocolate cake.

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Aviva and I agreed we loved the vibe and setting at Miramonte – I think there I sampled the 2012 Bin #380 and the 2013 Verdelho.  I think this was our favorite location, up until this point.

We rounded our our trek with a stop at Mount Palomar, which was way up on a hill. The wines were just okay there, but the views were epic. Their chicken skewers with peanut butter dipping sauce were top notch, though.

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“Winter” in southern California.

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Thank you to Temecula Wines and FinerThingsLA!  I will definitely be back.

Favorite place to go wine tasting?

best of january.

7 Feb

I have been the worst blogger, ever. I’m trying to find “balance” in all of my ridiculous hobbies and I let the blogging slip last month.  Whoops!  I realize I like this little outlet so I’m going to try and make a concerted effort to blog more often.  Here are some of my favorite moments from January:

Favorite Race

Well this is easy, since I only did one.  I had a great time racing drinking beer(s) after the 10k at the New Year’s Race.  The course was tough, but I managed 3rd woman overall.

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Favorite Run

This is a toss-up.  I haven’t run REALLY long since marathon training last year, and I hadn’t seen double digits since December.  But when I heard DTLARunning and Blacklist LA were teaming up to do a 16 miler from North Hollywood metro through the LA River bike path, I had to be part of it.  It was an amazing run and I realized my speed has improved significantly over the last year.

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Two weeks later, I joined Blacklist LA and DTLARunning for an epic 18-miler.  We started at the Culver City metro station and ran along the Ballona Creek bike path to Dockweiler Beach and back.  I started struggling around mile 14-15, but still had a great time, and my crew helped me through those last few miles.

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Best Trip

I made an MLK-weekend jaunt up to SF to visit my friend Whitney who recently moved up there, and I LOVED seeing some of my best friends from my sorority in college.  I also made pit-stops at one of my favorite Oakland eateries, visited the new SoulCycle in SoMA, sipped on both Blue Bottle and Philz coffee, and worked out of my firm’s SF office.

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Best meal

A couple of weeks ago, I got to check out a new LA restaurant called The Lost Knight (think British pub fare with a gastronomic twist).   I’ll definitely be back!

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Best beer(s)

I celebrated my birthday with seriously the best mix of people at Angel City Brewery.  I loved being surrounded by friends from high school, college, law school, the gym, and my running group.  It was an epic day and I am SO grateful to have such a diverse array of amazing people in my life, who also put up with my ridiculousness.

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Andres taking a picture of me taking a picture of him taking this picture.

see?

see?

 

there's cool art there, too.

there’s cool art there, too.

Best street art

I fell in love with this piece by Tristan Eaton in DTLA’s Arts District.

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Best randomly fun thing

My law school friend, Ross, has epic themed birthdays every year.  This year, we all dressed up as bananas (well, some of us wore yellow.  I learned my lesson and will take next year SUPER seriously) and then raided a couple of bars in Newport Beach.  Ross dressed as a gorilla.  We met Dennis Rodman (really bizarre experience). So much fun.

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this birthday was bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S

this birthday was bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S

February is off to a more low-key start.  What was your favorite memory from the first month of 2015?

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