#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Coffee Goodness at Rooster Coffee

The entryway of Rooster Coffee

A trip in the life in the day of Andrea is not complete with necessary amounts of caffeine, so I wanted to share a cute coffee joint in Toronto with you all. Located on King Street E near the corner of Berkeley St., Rooster Coffee House is an understated yet super cool coffee shop that is filled with all the caffeinated beverages your heart could ever dream of. We passed the location on the way back to the apartment, and as I was in need of a serious caffeine fix, I ran in once I saw the word “coffee” on the business’s sign.

Art displayed throughout the shop by local artists

Upon entering the doors of the coffee house, we were greeted by a warm environment, filled with various canvases of original artwork from local artists, as seen in the photo above. The shop’s menu was displayed on chalkboard with all offerings handwritten in a artistic manner.

Full view of the space, including the super chic bar area

As we moved up in line, I decided to order one of my favorite coffee drinks, an Iced Red Eye, sweetened with half and half. My wait was short, and I was able to better view my surroundings, and get the password to the WiFi, which was written on another chalkboard further back in the cafe.

The goods

A few minutes later I received my seriously caffeinated beverage, and was quite pleased with the outcome. The photo above shows my drink and the “coffee condiment station” (I just made that up). My drink was a perfect caffeine pick me up for the night I had ahead, which included a concert and more. Definitely a great place to meet up with friends, work, or just chill out.

 Rooster Coffehouse

343 King Street E.

Toronto, ON


I would most definitely recommend Rooster Coffee to my friends in caffeine and open work spaces. They have good hours and sell pastries and sandwiches alongside their coffee beverages, which is also a plus. Definitely pass by if you are in the area, and be sure to check out all my favorite spots in Toronto on my TripleSpot list.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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#AlifeinthedayinToronto: A Trip To Molson Ampitheatre for Day 1 Of OVO Fest

Our tickets to OVO Fest, day one.

The fifth annual OVO Fest was held at Toronto’s Molson Ampitheatre on August 3rd and 4th. The brainchild of one of our favorite artists, Drake, is known for its major headliners, this year being Outkast and Drake, and special guest appearances. Kortnee and I left the States without tickets/passes for the show, and gave it up to luck for finding a pair for either night. Our mission proved successful, and we were able to score a pair of 300-level seats for the first night of the show headlined by the legendary Outkast.

A beautiful day for an outdoor concert!

The day started out a little cloudy, but ended up being sunny and gorgeous once it was time to head over to the venue. We cabbed it to Lakeside (where the venue is located) and got in line with the slew of fans. While waiting we bumped into fans from New Jersey, and Michigan; it was evident that many people traveled from out of town for this event.

Fangirl shot in front of the merch booth, rocking my “6” tee

Once we entered the venue, we made it our duty to find some sustenance as we hadn’t had lunch earlier. We decided upon fish tacos from one of the food trucks on site. I realized after the fact that there was a poutine truck in the cut that we totally missed out on, next time though! There were numerous mercy tables selling OVO gear, and we tried our luck getting tour tees. Unfortunately, all the smaller sizes were sold out this time, so we were happy that we had purchased some goods at the pop-up shop the day prior. I rocked my “6” tee with my favorite skirt. So simple, so comfy.

A view of the crowd in the ampitheatre

The photo above was a view of the crowd from our perspective. The amphitheatre was quite spacious and the seats were not steep, so you could see the stage from multiple angles.

Kortnee and I in our seats

Here we are in our seats. The show was opened by West Coast rapper YG, followed by an hour break with Outkast hitting the stage at approximately 9 PM. The duo has been celebrating 20 years together in 2014, and in turn, have been performing multiple festival dates. This was Kortnee and I’s first time seeing Outkast, and a great time at that as they performed all their hits over the years. We were treated to one more special guest before the show closed out in Bun B, performing his verse from “International Players Anthem”. A moment to remember indeed.

To continue on with my Toronto tales, be sure to follow my TripleSpot list, Enjoy Toronto w/AKC. Cheers!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo & Kortnee Leigh

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#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Take a Bite & Sip at 416 Snack Bar

Real wine, real candles

I hope you have been enjoying my Toronto tales! I wanted to circle back to my first evening. As I had mentioned in prior posts, my first food stop was Patois. After this, my friend and guide Jahmal had to leave me, and gave me detailed directions of where to walk to get a real taste of the city, along with the location of one of his favorite spots where he would meet me later on in the evening; 416 Snack Bar.

Korean Fried Chicken

Located on Bathurst Ave, steps away from Queen Street E, 416 Snack Bar totally felt like home when I walked in. The lights were dim, soul music played in the background (from a DJ in the back right corner), and the crowd was eclectic and calm. Since I had some time to kill, I figured I would have a little drink, and a small bite from their food menu. I kept it simple and ordered a cider, and the Korean Fried Chicken (pictured above). The restaurant used chicken thighs for their recipe, as opposed to white meat, and seasoned generously with soy, ginger, sesame seeds, chives and other flavors.

Tourist Photo :)

In my time at the bar, I made a few new friends, and was really able to take in the atmosphere as I had gone there solo. It was kind of a big deal for me, because I had never really gone to a bar/restaurant alone before, especially not in another country! Just goes to show that we live and we learn, right?

Once we exited, I asked Jahmal to take this lovely tourist photo of me, seen above. As someone who takes photos, I’m never in much photos, so I made sure that I got snapped in front of as many cool spots as possible during my trip.

416 Snack Bar

181 Bathurst Ave (near Queen St. E)

Toronto, ON

Phone: 416-364-9320


Be sure to check out 416 Snack Bar if you are out and about in Toronto. Also, check out all my spots in detail via my TripleSpot list, Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC!


*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo & Jahmal Sang

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#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Take a Sip at The Beaconsfield

A view of the bar, fully stocked with top-shelf everything

Located on the corner of Queen St W and Beaconsfield Ave, stands a bar unlike any other, aptly named The Beaconsfield. The bar and restaurant is steps away from the famed Drake Hotel, and boast a beautiful exterior, housed in the historical Molsons Bank, with a cobblestone patio hugging the space’s perimeter. We stopped by the watering hole to end off a chill evening with friends.

Crystal chandelier, that added to the old-school vibe

Upon entering The Beaconsfield you are immediately transformed into a space that is both luxurious and inviting at the same time. Crystal chandeliers hung from high ceilings, and all the attention was on the bar, fully stocked with various spirits, bottled beers, and fine wines; they are known for their impressive tequila selection.

My drink of the evening, dark rum with a splash of pineapple

Soon after our arrival and my admiration of the space, we all ordered drinks. I kept it simple and ordered a dark rum with pineapple on the rocks. The guys had beers and vodka drinks for the most part, and we sat back to unwind with great tunes in the background (lots of Drake and Majid Jordan on the playlist to be exact). I had an unfortunate encounter with a man whose horrible “I like the way you drink your drink” pick-up line scarred me for the rest of the evening. Thankfully, I was diverted by friends who conjured up aimless conversation to save me. Phew!

I would definitely recommend The Beaconsfield for groups of friends who want to chill out, or even a date as there are some super low-key tables in the back of the space. I found out after that they have a full food menu, which you can view here. I will definitely be back!

1154 Queen St W
Toronto, ON M6J 1J5
(416) 516-2550
Be sure to check out more of my favorite spots on my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot list!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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#AlifeinthedayInToronto: A Trip Downtown to the OVO Pop-Up Shop

A streetcar, that is not so desired

Twas an overcast afternoon on Queen Street E, and the gang, which included myself, Kortnee, Jahmal, and our host Deb, decided to take a trip to Dundas St. in Downtown Toronto to stop by the OVO Pop-Up shop. As we were in town for Drake’s OVO Fest weekend, the star held a local pop-up shop of OVO branded apparel & accessories downtown, as well as at the festival.

During our stay we were introduced to Toronto’s streetcars (seen in the photo above), that have been around for decades, and continue to have mixed reviews from the public as society becomes more advanced technologically. We decided against taking the streetcar, and opted for a taxi to Dundas St.

Canadian 20 Dollar notes

Once we arrived, Kortnee and I exchanged some of our American money over to Canadian dollars so we could more freely shop! Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s face emblazons the dollar notes, which have a plastic-feel. I can compare the notes most closely to Euros in regards to look and feel.

Kortnee, our lovely hostess Deb, and I

Whist walking to the shop, I decided to stop and take a group photo of the girls and I. I don’t call it an “USSIE”, I call it a group photo taken with my long arm, cuz I’m old school yo! I really dig this photo because it was totally unplanned and it came out just the way I had imagined.

A face seen throughout Downtown Toronto. Reminiscent of Disclosure, no?

We jumped on the line for the OVO Pop-Up shop (yes there was a line, but we were tourists, so we waited) and my eyes were treated to many walls covered in cool street art. I snapped a photo of this face up top, that reminded me of “The Face” that is present in all of Disclosure’s visual marketing and merchandise.

Kortnee and I posted up with OB O’Brien of TOP SZN

After a few minutes of waiting, we finally got into the shop to peruse the latest offerings from OVO. The minimal space showcased tees, hoodies, shorts, hats, and keychains in OVO splendor, marked with the collective’s signature owl, “6IX” and “6” as a homage to Toronto’s 416 area code, and the simple “October’s Very Own” branding.

While inside, we had the opportunity to take a photo with OB O’Brien of TOP SZN, who’s song “2 On” is currently burning up the airwaves. OB was a sweetheart, and soon after we met the other half of TOP SZN, Ryan. We had already taken a photo, so we didn’t want to be weird and take another, but it’s all good. The guys were great, and the quality of the tees was super comfy.

Keep an eye open for a glimpse of the tees later on in my series, and be sure to check out all my spots in my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot List.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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#AlifeinthedayInToronto: Take A Bite at Patois

“Juicy Jerk”, the crafty sign behind the counter at Patois

As promised, I am here to share bits of my recent trip to Toronto with you, in a weeklong series entitled #AlifeinthedayInToronto! If you have come accustomed to the topics that I cover on the blog, you would have noticed that I am a huge foodie, and I love to discover new eats everywhere I go. Aside from spending time with friends both old and new, a big part of my Toronto experience revolved around food.

Fresh off the plane, my first stop was Patois, a Jamaican-Chinese fusion restaurant on Dundas St., in close proximity to the park, nightlife, and other cute restaurants.

Pineapple Rum Punch, quite refreshing

Upon entering the space, I noticed how inviting it was, having extended bar seating for groups, as well as a good amount of tables in front, and towards the back of the space. I went with my Toronto guide Jahmal, and we took a seat at the bar as it was quite busy at that time (after-work/dinner hours). We started off with drinks, I had the special which was Pineapple Rum Punch, seen in the photo above. The house rum for Patois is Gosling, a famous dark rum from Bermuda, which the restaurant uses in all their rum beverages. The punch was refreshing, but it could have used a bit more of a kick (I’m not a lush, I promise).

Jerk Chicken Chow Mein, spicy yet mild

Next up was our meal. Jahmal ordered the Jerk Chicken, and I ordered the Jerk Chicken Chow Mein, as seen in the photo above. The jerk chicken was shredded and marinated in jerk sauce and seasoning, placed over a bed of chow mein. You could taste a bit of soy sauce, and shallots were mixed in to fuse both Jamaican and Chinese flavors. Overall, a good mix. I cleaned my plate.

Bread pudding, a treat!

As Jahmal had to leave, I decided to stick around and chat with my new friends at the bar, and try a dessert. As with my prior two choices, I went with the special, which was Bread Pudding. What made this bread pudding special was that the raisins were soaked in rum, and it was served with a dollop of fresh cream on top to balance tastes. This was a great treat and wonderful way to finish off my meal.

I would definitely recommend Patois to anyone interested in a good meal and cocktail in downtown Toronto. Be sure to check out my full list of spots in my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot List!


794 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1V1

Just East of Palmerston Ave

Phone: 647.350.8999

Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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Travel Essentials: Escape to Belize Feat. Cosabella, Eva NYC, Velvet Eyewear, Coola & More!

It has been a busy time over here in the realm of Andrea, and I am so grateful for all the adventures, meeting new folks, and collaborations in the works. In a few days, I return to the motherland of Belize for a much needed retreat for the rest of the month. I call it a vacation, but I will be snapping away, and taking note of some of my favorite spots to share with you through this blog, as well as partnering with the great folks at TripleSpot in featuring my spots in Belize.

As I get to packing, I’ve decided to showcase some of my travel essentials for my trip. We can start with the personal care and accessory items in the photo above. From center:

  • Hematite & Jadeite Necklace- purchased during one of my last trips to Belize from a local artisan, I love this necklace because of its clean look and versatility. Both stones are also known to have healing properties.
  • Smith’s Rose & Mandarin Lip Balm-  aside from being super-moisturizing, the balm has a nice rosy tint, and fresh mandarin scent. Great for both day, and to moisturize lips overnight.
  • Velvet Eyewear Joie Sunglasses- I love the shape of these shades, which give a nod to the 1960’s. I also love the subtle blue to camel fade on the frames. Sea and sand anyone?
  • Model’s Own Coral Glaze HyperGel Nail Polish- as they don’t yet sell in the US, my cousin brought me back this polish from London. I love the shade, and can’t wait to try it out!
  • FLOSS GLOSS Wet & Con Limon Polishes- because it’s the color of the Caribbean Sea, and the slice of lime in my Rum Punch, obvi.
  • Eva NYC Get Up And Go! Hair Care Travel Kit-  all of the products from this line are infused with Argan Oil, which is great for combatting frizz.
  • COOLA Sport SPF 30 Piña Colada Sunscreen Spray- because I want to tan the safe way while smelling like a tropical adult beverage.

Clockwise from top center, then looping back to the middle:

  • Theodora & Callum Greek Keys Printed Scarf (similar)- one of my favorite prints in my collection, this cotton/linen blend scarf is incredibly versatile and can be used as a cover-up, head-wrap, or as a shawl when it gets breezy.
  • JBL Synchros E10 in-ear headphones- super lightweight and great for the beach. Also has a microphone and is phone compatible, but I won’t be taking any calls ;)
  • Element Blythe Dress-  the nautical vibe dress is perfect for my sea-filled vacation. It is also cotton with a bit of stretch, so I will stay cool during the hot temperatures.
  • Ester-C Immune Support Tablets-  you can never have to much Vitamin C, and I will make sure my immune system is up to par with all the traveling, and varying temperatures.
  • Element Trini Short-  these fleece, drawstring shorts are perfect for lamping around the beach, not the town, because they are extremely short (but I kinda like it that way).
  • Cosabella Sol Lowrider String Bikini-  when it’s time to tan, I like maximum exposure, therefore I always opt for tiny bikinis. This string bottom is tiny, whilst remaining tasteful. I love the teal color as well.
  • Old Navy Palm Tree Print Beach Towel- the colors and print are perfect, and the towel is a nice large size to lay out on.
  • Cosabella Sol Push-Up Triangle Top-  as a proud member of the ittie bitties, I love this top because it adds a little lift, without looking like a padded mess. Also I appreciate how slim the strings are, to facilitate in less tan lines, woop!

Here’s a close-up of my beach essentials (above). I can’t wait to jump into the water in my new bikini! Hopefully I will get some photos in it. I can’t wait to set off to Belize for some much needed R&R. Be sure to keep an eye out for my spots, and of course, an #AlifeinthedayinBelize feature!


Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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Photo Re-Cap: Ladies & The Trap at The Crawford w/ Fire 4 Hire & Girls With Gunz!


After a lovely long weekend in Toronto, I am getting back in the swing of things back home in Brooklyn. We had a super successful event in Ladies & The Trap at The Crawford, with the sounds of Fire 4 Hire, and my lovely co-host Estée Mancini of Girls With Gunz. The vibes were right and we packed out the space with folks that were ready to dance the night away. See photos below. I can’t wait to get back up to Toronto to do it all again!

Gorgeous girls, and friends of Estée.

The vibe; super-packed room full of dope people that danced a lot.

The man on the left was the BEST all night! He was super fun and into all the music that we played. At one point in the evening, Safari even put him on the mic to hype the crowd! I love finding individuals like this in parties. They truly make the experience top-notch.

Extreme happiness in my face, it was a lovely night.

Despite her delayed flight, Kortnee showed up, luggage in tow, for the last hour of the party. Amazing.

Babe alert. All of Estée’s girlfriends were so beautiful. No wonder she has no lack of models for Girls With Gunz!

Girls on the floor.

Thank you Toronto for being so good to me! Keep an eye out for more Toronto adventures!

*Photos by Frank

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Saturday Sounds: Majid Jordan “A Place Like This”

As we jump up and wave over the next few days, it was necessary that this edition of Saturday Sounds represents sounds out of Toronto, in this case, OVO Sound. Vocal/production duo Majid Jordan’s latest, “A Place Like This” has been buzzing  for the past few weeks on the internet, and I felt now was the perfect time to share.

The vibe of the track is completely hypnotic, whilst keeping an incredibly sexy undertone that seems to be a constant from a bunch of Toronto artists right now. Press play below to get into it.

And while you are here, check out the music video. Dark, moody, amazingness.

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Concerts in NYC: Summerstage, August Picks Feat. DJ Natasha Diggs, Blood Orange, Musiq Soulchild, & More!

August is creeping up on us, so I bring to you another list of splendid musical shows in New York City parks, and this time around, they are ALL FREE! The genres represented in Summerstage’s August line-up are quite diverse covering Hip-Hop,  R&B/soul, experimental electronic, funk, and jazz.

As I will be out of the country the majority of the month, I do encourage you music lovers to soak up the goodness, especially Blood Orange & Moses Sumney on the 16th. Have fun for me!



Wed. 08/06 | 7:00PM – Wed. 08/06 | 9:00PM @East River Park | FREE


Thu. 08/07 | 7:00PM – Thu. 08/07 | 9:00PM @East River Park | FREE


Sun. 08/10 | 3:00PM – Sun. 08/10 | 7:00PM @ Central Park | FREE


Tue. 08/12 | 7:00PM – Tue. 08/12 | 9:00PM @ Marcus Garvey Park (map) | FREE


Sat. 08/16 | 7:00PM – Sat. 08/16 | 10:00PM @ Central Park | FREE


Sun. 08/17 | 7:00PM – Sun. 08/17 | 10:00PM @ Central Park | FREE


Sun. 08/17 | 6:00PM – Sun. 08/17 | 9:30PM @East River Park | FREE



Sun. 08/17 | 7:00PM – Sun. 08/17 | 9:00PM @Marcus Garvey Park (map) | FREE


Sun. 08/24 | 6:00PM – Sun. 08/24 | 10:00PM @ Central Park | FREE


Sun. 08/24 | 3:00PM – Sun. 08/24 | 7:00PM @Tompkins Square Park (map) | FREE


Summerstage really outdid themselves with this season’s line-up! Be well and go where the music takes you!

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Travel Essentials: Caribana Weekend in Toronto Feat. JBL, Private Party, Ouidad, EOS & More

Later on this week, I hop on a flight to Toronto to experience Caribana weekend, and a wonderful opportunity to connect with the local creative community. I will be exploring the city and all it has to offer in the realm of food & drink, entertainment, retail, and culture. I will be staying for five days, and have decided to share some of the essentials I will be packing!

Clockwise from top, then making a little loop at the bottom:

Side of some of my travel wares for Toronto. Isn’t the Selena tee the best?

Close-up of everything. At this point in life I probably have more toiletries and beauty items than anything, but it’s fine, because I write about them! I’m super pumped for my trip, and will be documenting for a special A Life in the Day in Toronto series when I return right here on the blog! Keep an eye out. :)

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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Event: Fire 4 Hire Presents “Ladies & The Trap”, Hosted by AKC & Girls With Gunz, Aug 1st At The Crawford

For some years now, I have been sharing the mixes and events of my DJ friends up North, Fire 4 Hire Soundsystem. The Toronto-based crew has a unique sound, blending hip-hop, reggae, and electro vibes in their sets and mixes. For all these years we have been discussing me doing an event with them in T.O., and the time has finally come!

I will be in Toronto for Caribana festivities, including my first hosting gig with Fire 4 Hire as part of their monthly “Ladies & The Trap” party. I have the honor of co-hosting alongside my new favorite sister duo, Estée and Felicia Mancini of Girls With Gunz, whom I’ve recently interviewed for the site.

The festivities take place on Friday, August 1st at The Crawford. All info on the flyer. $5 before 11:30 PM. You can RSVP via Facebook, where you can find more details, and guestlist/table info. Hope to see you there!

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Nailed It: A Regal Affair with FLOSS GLOSS “Picnic” & “Honey”

As we welcome Leo Season today, I felt it was fitting to show off a mani that best exemplified the boldness, and fiery disposition of the ruler of the Zodiac. July’s birthstone is ruby, and Leo is ruled by gold, so I figured a combination of these two elements would work together for a seamless, regal look.

I paired two shades from FLOSS GLOSS’s Spring/Summer ’14 “All The Fixins” collection. On my thumb and ring finger I used Honey, a holographic bronzy/gold glitter that is a homage to pop icon, Mariah Carey [remember the smash-hit "Honey", and the not-so-critically acclaimed film, "Glitter"? Clever, huh?]. The glitter polish is quite concentrated, but I used three coats to achieve the look in the photo above.

On the remaining nails, I used Picnic, a weathered cranberry creme that evokes feelings of glamour, lust, and…hunger? Maybe I’m just hungry, but this shade reminds me more of the holidays, specifically of wines and cranberry paired with a feast. The polish went on smoothly, and I used three coats to achieve the opacity seen in the photo above.

What do you think of the pairing? Does it scream “something regal”? I really hope so! Honey and Picnic both retail for $8, and can be purchased directly from FLOSS GLOSS. Happy painting!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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#WOMANday Watch: Zoe Saldaña on “The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet”

Zoe Saldaña has been one of my favorite actresses/public figures for some time now, portraying strong characters on-screen, and embodying that spirit off-screen. There have been clips circling the internet of Zoe lately in an interview in which she passionately expresses how much she enjoys being herself, and learning from her own mistakes. With the help of Google and YouTube, I’ve found the full interview, which is part of a series entitled, The Conversation With Amanda de Cadeneta program highlighting the female perspective.

Press play to hear Zoe’s unique, expletive-filled story. I hope it can bring some positivity into your day!

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Watch This: Camille Safiya NXNE-Toronto MiniDoc

I introduced you all to Camille Safiya a few months back; a Washington Heights-based singer/songwriter and protege of my homie Frankie P. Together they released Safiya’s debut EP Island Blues, produced entirely by Frankie P. The tape has gained momentum on the inter webs, being blogged by the top music sites, and in-turn, Safiya has been doing more shows in various cities.

Just last month the team participated in NXNE (North by Northeast) in Toronto, and performed at various showcases. The mini-doc below gives us a glimpse on the road to NXNE, and shows the growth of a talent I’ve been happy to meet with from the very beginning. Press play to get into it.

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