LargeInCharge.com: What is your name?
A. Dana Doll
LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from and what is your
A.I am from Las vegas, NV and I still call it home today.
LargeInCharge.com: Can you give us some information about yourself (Age,
Height, Size, Nationality, Marital Status, Children, etc.)?
A. I am 30 years old, I am 5 feet, six inches. I am a size 18/20
US sizes. I am an Irish girl and very proud of it! I just recently
got married to the love of my life and I have never been happier. I do
not have any kids of my own but I have two little god daughters that are
in training to be little divas themselves already, at just 2 and 1/2. :)
LargeInCharge.com: Were you a big child, or did you gain weight later in
A. I was a chunky kid until about age nine when I began starving myself
and working out like crazy to end the insults that come along with being
heavier at a young age.
LargeInCharge.com: (If you were a big child) how did you feel growing up
as a large child?
A. I grew up in a very isolated community on the outskirts of Las vegas
so, there was a very small group of friends that lived in my
neighborhood. As all of us know, kids can very be cruel and I was told
many times that I was to ugly to ever get a boyfriend when I got older
and I was to fat to be a pretty girl. It hurt a lot.
LargeInCharge.com: (If you gained weight later in life) what caused you
to gain weight and how did you feel about it?
A. I stayed thin by any means it required until I became about 21 or 22
years old. At that point, I learned how amazing mexican food was and I
gained about 80 lbs in about 1 and 1/2 years. At first after my
quick extreme weight gain, I would hide in my house and not go out at
all. I bought men's huge shirts to hide my weight gain and I even had an
old friend ask me if I had gotten pregnant. I remained in hiding for
many years until my beautiful, best friend told me about BBW parties and
took me to my first party at BBW Club. From then on, I learned to love
my body and ignore those who make rude comments. Strangers and even
friends that say rude comments about my weight, do not pay my bills, so
why do I care what they think about my body?
LargeInCharge.com: What made you decide to enter the LargeInCharge model
A. I have dreamed about becoming a pin-up model for many years now and
I am so impressed with how body positive LargeInCharge is, we need more
positive body image media in the world, to counteract all of the skin
and bones modeling that is popular.
LargeInCharge.com: Did you find it a hard journey to be accepted by
others at your size?
A. It has been a long hard journey to my own self acceptance. I
think the way you feel about yourself, is the way other people feel
about you. I believe subconsciously other people can read how we feel
about ourselves and if our self love is low, they wonder why we do not
love and accept ourselves more. Somedays I feel like none of my
clothes fit properly and I wish i did not have that slice of cake last
night but for the most part I love myself unconditionally.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find it a hard to accept yourself as a Plus
A.No, I love myself as a plus sized woman. My husband and I were
looking through my old family pictures from when I was stick thin and he
said he believes I am more beautiful now. It felt good to have
validation from someone I love so much. Most people treat me
better now that I am plus sized and confident, than they did when I was
starving myself to fit how society felt I should look.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find acceptance among your family and friends?
A.I am not going to lie and say it was an easy journey to family and
friend acceptance. My parents and my brother have always been huge
supporters of me being who I am. I have lost friends that were
superficial anyway, so it is no big loss. The important thing to
remember is it does not matter if you have 1 million friends, it matters
if you have good friends that love you for you.
LargeInCharge.com: What would you say inspires you most in life?
A.Fashion without a doubt is my biggest inspiration in life. I
love to look at retro clothes and fit them into my lifestyle today or to
start new trends, even if I am the only one wearing it. Recently for my
newest trend, I bought these amazing Hello Kitty sunglasses with the
little red bow in the corner of the frames, and I wear them around the
house. My husband made fun of me because I tripped on my dog due to how
dark the lenses were. He laughed and told me to stop wearing my
sunglasses in the house but I told him they were to beautiful to take
off. *lol I tend to become obsessed with fashion trends.
LargeInCharge.com: What is your primary occupation?
A. I work inside an office as an office assistant. Also, I work as
a hairstylist, trying to help people feel the best about themselves.
I love hair styling women's hair the most because I try my best to
nurture women to feel good about themselves. Sometimes all I need is to
get my nails done, get my hair styled and I feel like a brand new woman.
It is important for me to give that gift to other women.
LargeInCharge.com: How did you get into this line of work?
A. I began working as an office assistant as a child to help my dad with
his business. I have a very strong business mind thanks to my
amazing dad that never sugar coats anything. He is a straight
shooter and he is my idol. Hair styling I got into because, I love
anything involved in the beauty industry. I was always coloring,
cutting and styling everyone's hair anyway. I might as well get paid for
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find acceptance in the work force?
A. The beauty industry is a very image based industry so it made me a
fighter. I do not allow people to put me down but also, it is my
job to find constructive and positive ways to tell people that sizeism
is wrong. I do not have to be angry to let people know my
boundaries and how I will allow myself to be treated. For the most
part, people are very loving and kind to me. Women compliment me all of
the time on how I dress, how I do my hair and how they love my body.
It feels great for women to help other women build up their self esteem.
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you believe should take place for
Large People in the work force?
A. For one thing, they need to increase the sizes of those small
bathroom stalls! I always have to squish myself into them. All joking
aside, companies need to create more body positive campaigns in
workplaces as well as, have stricter punishments for size-ism offenders.
Everyone has to go to work but my heart brakes for those plus size
people that are made to feel less than co-workers and insulted with no
reprimand for the offender. For the most part plus size insults
are brushed under the rug.
LargeInCharge.com: What do you think about the fashion industry for big
A.There is not much of a plus sized fashion industry. Women that
are larger and interested in fashion either have to be very creative,
sew their own clothes or shop at the few clothing stores that offer
acceptable fashion choices. It also can be frustrating that they
use size 12 models and call them plus sized. I do consider size 12
plus sized but where along the way did we forget that Marilyn Monroe was
sexy and Twiggy was not? I do not find skin and bones models sexy.
When I think of sexy, I want to see a woman with a booty, thick thighs
and big breasts. I want to see a woman with some meat on her
LargeInCharge.com: What do you wish to see change with the fashion
A. For the fashion industry to be more accepting, I would like to see
real sized models modeling clothes that are plus sized. I want to
see size 16 women in jeans. I want to see size 24 women in sexy
dresses. I want to see more ads like the Dove Real Beauty campaign.
I want to start a thick girl revolution!
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you think will happen if plus sized
modeling for men and women were to expand?
A.Let's be honest with ourselves and admit that the majority of America
is over-weight according to Body mass index. Most women look
through a fashion magazine or see an underwear model and feel
self-loathing. Most men do not spend six hours at the gym everyday
and are made to feel bad about it. People used to be in better
shape due to the fact that most people worked outside in physical jobs
or did not have enough food to feed their families. Today, we
embrace wonderful food from all over the world, we work in office
buildings and at retail shops. The American media needs to
represent the population as they honestly are, not as the media wishes
us to be.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us some of the places you buy your clothing
A. This is a question I can really get into. I love Torrid.
Their clothes have the best options as far as I am concerned.
Also, I love greatglam.com for their club dresses. A good friend turned
me onto their dresses and I was in love right away. I buy the
majority of my accessories at the swapmeet believe it or not. I
love how their items are unique and low priced. I buy my shoes at
DSW, Zappos or Ross. I love dresses and heels. I am a very girly
girl so sometimes I have to be creative to think of new outfit ideas.
I look through the internet and plus sized blogs to see what plus sized
women around the world are wearing.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us one of your secret beauty tips.
A.My secret beauty tip is when I break out I use Neosporin on the spot
and it will usually be gone by morning.
LargeInCharge.com: Give us some tips on how to have a successful Photo
shoot. What should models be prepared for?
A. To start off, be positive. No one wants to deal with a diva making
demands and acting they are a gift to the world. Treat everyone with
respect and kindness. Also, bring your own makeup because you know
what colors look good on you, how you like your makeup, you have matched
your skin tone with your base and powder. I would suggest bringing
several outfits you like that are hot, sexy and fresh. At a photo
shoot, anything can go wrong. I always try to bring at least five
outfits including jewelry in case anything happens. Bring your own
shoes, some shoes may not fit you. Remember that you know your
best angles and your best poses if you have been doing this for a while
but also, know that the photographer and assistants see you as you do
not. If they ask you to move your leg or arm and it seems uncomfortable,
remember the end result will be worth it.
LargeInCharge.com: Look at Size acceptance five years ago... look at
size acceptance now. What changes do you see?
A. I see size acceptance as worse today than it was five years ago.
The reason I believe that is because I assumed that society as a whole
would be more accepting of plus sizes by now. It is a huge
disappointment that there are not more plus sized models, high end
fashion stores, or clothing that is plus sizes in chain stores, along
with, department stores. America is not getting slimmer, so
basically I am tired of walking into a store and not being able to
purchase that hot dress I saw because it was not in my size. Big girls
love to shop also!!!!!!!
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you think will happen five years from
now with size acceptance?
A.With help from plus size proud people, the whole world will change.
You can be healthy and plus sized. Just because we love food does
not mean we have to hate ourselves. More and more people will
welcome plus sized models, women, men and children with open arms of
love, not shame. I refuse to allow these standards of starvation
and self loathing to control the future of our country's body image.
I am proud of my thick girl body and the more thick adults that love and
accept themselves and others, the better chance our youth have of
growing up in a body positive society full of love and encouragement.
We need to be the change we want to see in the world. Everytime you
compliment yourself or another plus sized person on their body, the
better chance we , as a society, have of changing our world for the
LargeInCharge.com: Do you face discrimination in your daily life as a
Plus Sized Person?
A. Not really. For the most part people are kind and sweet to me.
Sometimes because my husband has a runner's body and I am thick people
will stare at us and it can be annoying. Women will sometimes hit
on him and I will be sitting right there but because I am thick they
will assume he would not be with me. I just laugh it off because
he only likes thick girls. I think most men prefer a woman that
has meat on her bones and will actually eat when he takes her on a date.
I can not tell you how many times my guy friends have told me how
annoying it was that they took out a girl on a dinner date and the
girl did not eat the food. Guys do not need to worry about that with a
thick girl. :)
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us about your goals as far as modeling and other
A. I really want to model more. Everytime I do another
shoot, it gives me this peaceful sense of pride for myself and the plus
sized community. I also am a high fashion photographer so I plan
to create some beautiful photo shoots with my plus sized friends that
are beyond amazing. I just want to do as many photoshoots as
possible and really enjoy the experience. You only live once once
so I might as well make the most of it!
LargeInCharge.com: What have you accomplished as a Plus Sized Model?
A.Within the last year I started plus size modeling and I have been
working on my portfolio for the most part. I have done many photo
shoots and have been asked to do more work. The future is so
bright, I feel so much excitement for my plus size modeling. I
look forward to meeting and working with more beautiful plus sized
models and talented photographers.
LargeInCharge.com: Have you entered or won any Contests, Pageants or
Awards? What was the experience like?
A.I have been featured as plus size pin-up of the month, femme of the
month and several other awards that mean so much to me. I feel so
lucky to be able to help women have a positive body image about plus
sized woman. I think that thick girls should stop acting like it
is a bad thing and start walking around with some swagger. :)
LargeInCharge.com: Can you tell us about an inspirational moment in your
life that made you feel good about your size.
A. I was at a BBW party and a girl came up to me, obviously new to the
BBW scene and spoke to me about how nervous she was being there.
After we talked all night, she told me that seeing myself and my friends
dressed up made her want to go out and get dresses and heels to feel
more sexy. I felt that I was able to help her come out of her
shell and accept herself more.
LargeInCharge.com: Is there a person in your life that keeps you going?
A.My parents and my husband. I know that is 3 people but it is
impossible for me to pick just one. They all are an essential part of my
life and well being. I would do anything for my family and my
family would do anything for me. I can not put into words how a
joke from my husband, or a hug from my mom can turn my day around. How
my dad always knows what to say to make me feel better. They are
LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you give to other people of size
who want to model?
A.Trust yourself and your body. Do not believe that little voice
in your head that tells you that you can not do something. Never give up
on your hopes and they will never give up on you.
LargeInCharge.com: What plus size figure do you most admire?
My inspirational figure is Marilyn Monroe. Some people believe her
to be plus sized, some do not so my second choice is Anna Nicole Smith
who is the undisputed plus sized Marilyn Monroe. Both were blonde
bombshells and had a lust for life. They are the women I look to
for inspiration, answers in my times of need and the footsteps I follow
in modeling. Marilyn Monroe had a very high IQ and although people
prefer to remember her as a sex symbol, she was also an activist for
women's and African American rights and was so well read she had at
least 400 books in her home upon her death, that she was frequently seen
“I don't mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. Beauty and
femininity are ageless and can't be contrived, and glamour, although the
manufacturers won't like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour;
it's based on femininity.”
LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself with one word.
Thanks for reading about
Cover Model of the Month
Raqui the Owner and Founder of LargeInCharge.com, Raqui's "Tell it like it is" style of
writing has brought thousands to her blogs and millions to
LargeInCharge.com. There is so much behind the woman who has
brought this magazine into existence. Being Internationally
known as a wrestler/squasher lead the way to modeling for companies
and being featured in magazines and documentaries from all over the
world. She has made a career out of her size and personality.
Born, Raised in the Bronx NYC. This city girl is taking the world by
For the past 8 years Raqui officially moved into Size Acceptance and Empowerment.
With the creation of LargeInCharge she took what she said to
individuals to a higher level and made it public to the internet
world. She is a woman who doesn't let things get to her. Knock her
down for the moment but she will rise up stronger and better.
Being a speaker on behalf of many subjects and counseling Plus Sized
people online her grace and style has made people love her. Raqui continues to set an example of a powerful woman who will bend
the world to fit her, her way.
Raqui's appearances include, Uk Television, German TV, Japan, Europe,
and the Spanish circuit. Her many magazines appearances have
been world wide. She has hit American Television in 2006 with
Good Morning American and since has appeared on The Cristina Show,
The Maury Show and The Tyra Banks Show.
To view her Online
Raqui's New Blog titled Raqui-ism "Soulfully
Raqui Host's Seminar at 16th Annual Vegas Bash 2012
www.Raqui.com Portfolio Section
Raqui-ism - When Someone you Love Dies
Written By: Raqui
This topic is one I am familiar with.
Having lost my husband eleven years ago, having been
there for others, during their losses.
I understand the pain you feel and how living after the
loss of a loved one’s life is hard… harder than some think.
Some people just ignore the feelings and
fill themselves with anything and everything they can, to distract
from facing the pain.
Some of us try to stay strong through the mixed emotions, until we
have small break downs, usually in private away from others.
Then some just break down deeply, and hard, it seems like
recovery would take a miracle, and we sometimes wonder will they
follow their loved one?
First off... there is no wrong way to mourn
the loss of a loved one.
But you must mourn, and face the feelings at sometime, even if we
mourn as we go. We must
also keep living, and that can be hard for some of us to even think
of or realize.
Mourn as we go is a term taught to me by a
good friend. One of my
best friends actually, I called her Dee and she passed away July 16th 2012.
We started calling each other sisters, everyone else did, it
didn’t matter that we looked nothing a-like or we talked
differently. We both
were big women and instantly people saw us as family.
While we may not have been blood relatives we were Soul
Sisters. We shared so
much about our lives and feelings, we agreed to disagree on a lot of
stuff but we still talked about it, and made our jokes, and crazy
laughed a lot, and told lots of stories, we were both widows, and I
was there for her during her loss.
That brought back many feelings for me, and we were able to
relate well since I understood what she was going through. Neither
one of us thought we would marry again, so we had a little
agreement. We would hang
out and have adventures, be fat, drink and be merry.
Live life as fully as we could and have a good time all the
way. I would make sure
she didn’t turn into the crazy cat lady, and she would make sure I
didn’t turn into the smelly pee lady.
Mourn as you go was something we spoke
about. I was totally
devastated when my husband died, it was a shock.
Dee’s hubby was very sick and his death was one that was
coming, but still we all thought there was going to be more time. In
the end we all knew his suffering came to an end, so it was a bitter
sweet mourning. Thankful
that his suffering ended, but yet sad all the same and that they (as
a couple) didn’t get to have that grow old together feeling.
Many things felt like life cheated the family out of a great
man, husband and father.
But still everyone knew he was better off in the next realm. It was
hard, and mourning as she went, and teaching her children to mourn
as they went, was helpful in many ways.
For some reason... people tend to rush the
mourning process as if losing a loved one is not a full change in
life. You have a whole
part of you missing when you lose that person.
Sometimes there are positive things when someone passes (if
they were sick, hurting others, if they were not at rest, mentally
stressed or strained to the point of disruption) but always the
feeling of loss is negative, and hurtful.
Those mixed feelings are hard to deal with, a lot of people
don’t understand that death is something that sometimes needs to
happen, and you can feel many different ways about the death of a
particular person, yet still have a hole in your heart for them.
Mourn as you go is the art of releasing emotions as they come, even
taking the time to mourn and release in positive ways.
Laughing and smiling sharing stories, crying and leaning on
another (allowing yourself to feel vulnerable and protected),
thinking about the good times, the bad, and the sad, feeling lonely
and hurt, yet still celebrating the time you had with them.
Mourning is not an exact science and there
is no time limit on it either.
Some people tend to believe that after a certain time period
you should be over it already.
They have no idea how to mourn.
First off losing a loved one is a permanent
situation. Once you lose
you cannot get it back, there is no replacement that will heal that
missing part of you. I
personally use this example to explain losing someone you love.
If you lose a hand, arm, leg, your sight, hearing, sense of
smell etc. Life will
never be the same, you keep living but you live differently.
You adapt to the loss of your senses or to the loss of a body
part. You don’t do
things exactly the same anymore but you keep going.
That is what losing someone you love is like, you adapt to
life without them, life will not be the same and you will always
remember life before the loss, you just keep living and adapt.
Every loss will be different and your
feelings and emotions will develop differently.
That doesn’t mean the loss of one person is worse than
another, it is different and you deal with it differently.
But you must deal, and you must mourn, and you must go on.
We shouldn’t be ashamed of mourning; it is part of moving
forward after loss. We
should see it almost as a celebration, to love someone so much that
they affect our lives deeply.
We must see some joy in that pain, because we have to have
been very happy to be so sad.
It is all up to the individual on how you mourn but I have
found mourning as I go to help me in many ways.
Not being ashamed of my emotions and living and mourning in
the moment has brought out my humanity and allowed me to share
myself with others during a hard time in my life.
stopped asking why, I stopped thinking what if, I realized I was
blessed to have such a special friend who became my sister and had
to go on to the other life, the best life after this one.
I will mourn as I go and never forget how much she meant to
me. Why would I want to
With Love Raqui
- Weekly Radio show discussing Plus Sized Issues. Friday's 7-9
pm EST - Call in & Chat in our Chat Room.
Thank you for
Please send thoughts and comments to
Xander brings blend of life experience and culinary twist to his
writing. From cooking on television and live demonstrations, to
writing Xander cook’s like he feels. A former Chicago native
transplanted to Tennessee, His goal has been to experience the
fullness of food heritage. He believes that as a people and society,
can learn a lot from what we eat. Combining a great life lesson and
a easy recipe. They go hand-in-hand to provide a tasty
addition to your day. Xander has to confess that ingredients in a
great meal are like the ingredients in a great life are never far
The Will to act is the Ability to Change
by Xander The Food Dude
Over the last eight (almost nine) months I
have been involved with the care of my mother.
She had four strokes in less than a three months
span. As I look
back at the months as they have seemed to pass in a
heartbeat of time, I finally have reached a point that I
think I can see some of the lessons that have been taught to
be by some celestial force in the universe.
I wanted to take this opportunity to cover the first
few in this article and continue with more in next months.
While I can’t claim that all of these lesson would be
the same for everyone in my situation, I can say with some
level of confidence that all of these lessons are good
lessons with application whether you’re in my situation or
It’s alright to be scared.
I can honestly say that for a while fear
became my journeyman in this effort in caring for my mother.
I had more fears about more than things than there
are stars in the universe.
I feared everything all coming from the feeling of
inadequacy in being a good caregiver to my mother.
I felt bad that I feared everything.
While it may seem to be a generality is saying that I
feared everything, I really did.
Family and friends have been supportive, giving words
of praise, but it did nothing to alleviate my concerns.
It felt and sometimes feels as though everything is
way out of my control.
The solution is this:
acknowledge that it’s true that most things are out
of our control.
This is not a defeatist statement but rather a statement of
fact. I had to
focus on the few things I can control, and take ownership of
those. Most of
these revolve around schedules, content of moments and
simply being prepared.
While we can never be prepared for every possibility,
we can reflect on potential happens and at least have a
alright to be scared, but you can’t let that fear stop you
The Will To Act
This may be more of a Lesson 1.5 because it
ties in so heavily with Lesson 1.
Facing fear and uncertainty with a plan is not
enough. At this
point it is necessary to reach deep within yourself and
resolve that you need to do something.
For me, it was to take a step, to learn more, to dive
into those things that I never thought I could or wanted to
do, and just do it.
A plan, a goal, and objective, without intent,
without the will to act is nothing but wasted energy.
You can have a glorious plan that they world is
sunshine and everyone is happy, healthy, and rich, but life
simply doesn’t work that way.
I have a friend who is a pastor and he puts it this
way. “God gave
us free will for a reason.
It allows us to choose right from wrong, good and
bad, and to take ownership of those decision whatever the
free will we are simply slaves.”
He went on further to explain that less and and less
in society are people willing to make a decision and face
the consequences for the good or bad of those decision.
Step on to deciding what tomorrow is going to look is
having the will to act on circumstances of today.
Take the Help
When I started this journey I was dead set
on providing everything my mother needed.
I was the only one who was going to be responsible
for her care. In
a very short time I learned that I was not enough to meet
the needs of my mother.
The worst part of it was that because I couldn’t meet
all her needs (as a son should) I had overwhelming bought of
Through other providers I have learned that in situations of
care giving, no one is enough.
However, there are people out there who are willing
and able to help, it’s part of their life calling and they
give freely. I
had to learn that it doesn’t make me weak to accept help,
more it the need to focus on making sure my mother’s needs
are met. This is
case where we have to acknowledge that we cannot and are not
the focus, its other people.
Everyone needs help from time to time in their lives,
it nothing to be ashamed of or to feel less about.
Perhaps the next most important part of getting help
is to pay it back when you’re able.
For me, at some point I intend on volunteering at
food kitchens or even the nursing home who took such good
care of my mother.
I’ve also found that taking the perspective of paying
it back helps to alleviate some of my guilt for needing the
The Next Great Moment
I’ve learned that in time of Joy you need to
live in that moment as if it was your last.
In times of strife and pain, you need to work hard to
acknowledge that just around the corner could be the next
The important thing to know is that if you get bogged down
and focus purely on that pain, that’s where you’ll always
stay… in pain.
When my mother got out of the nursing home, I was terrified
of taking care of her (now I’ve worked my way up to simply
being paranoid all the time).
I had her home for two weeks and she went back into
Two days at home, back into the hospital she went.
We hit a major home run, when she made it to three
weeks at home, then she had to go back into the hospital.
Through all of the incidents it seemed like things
were not getting any better and in some cases they got
worse. This last
Sunday morning I was getting my mother out of bed, when it
seemed like her leg moved (this being the leg that had no
motion for the last eight months).
I had many times in the past thought I had seen
motion only to try it again and again to no avail.
This last Sunday morning I tried again.
“Mom, move your leg”.
There was a slight twitching in her upper leg muscle
and then her lower leg muscle.
Bit by bit the leg started to rise.
I almost broke down crying.
I reset the leg.. “Do it again”,
again the leg moved.
Do it again I repeated over and over.
Again and again her leg would move.
I videotaped it.
I was riding on such a high that day.
The next morning I threw back the covers,
straightened out her leg.
Do it again mom.
I would stretch her leg over and over, still no
movement. Today we simply had movement in her toes.
While I would prefer that she had movement in her leg
every day I know that recovery is a very slow process.
But I hang on to the fact that she did move it which
means she will be able to move it again.
I hang on to the videotape to remind myself of a
great moment and I now know that I’m just working to the
next great moment.
Its all there waiting for me and my mother to arrive.
The continuation of this article can be seen in next month’s
issue. For the
following series of recipes, Xander has decided to stick
with classic taste.
This is part of an overall theme of keeping life
of the Month
Waffle Worth the Wait
My mom has really found a joy in breakfast
food since her strokes.
Trying to cook it fresh every morning has proven to be very time
consuming. However, I
learned that with some things like these waffles, the batter can be done
ahead for 1-3 day worth (keeping it in the fridge) and the quality
doesn’t suffer, but saves a lot of time.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt,
baking powder and sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the
milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour
mixture; beat until blended.
Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron.
Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.
Thank you for
Reading Good Food 4U
By Xander the Food Dude
Please send thoughts and comments to
Angie BEE grew-up a standard-sized young woman, educated in
communications, promotions and planning.
She became a wife, mother and ministry support member while
building businesses and her faith.
Through stress, age and a poor diet and while suffering from major
depression and attempted suicide, Angie BEE's weight climbed from
180 pounds to 360 pounds.
She was diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes,
obstructive sleep apnea, an overactive bladder and poor leg
circulation. At the age
of 40 an anxiety attack and the decline in her mental health forced
her to stop work and look at improving her declining health.
It was during this time that Angie BEE became inspired by her
younger sister Sonya Bennett during her process towards Gastric
Bypass Surgery. Sonya
launched this column and will return occasionally to contribute to
it, but now that she is three years-post surgery... her life is
focused on something new!
Now, celebrating her first year of a new life since having the
procedure herself, Angie BEE is healthier than she has been in over
a decade. Losing the
first 100 pounds was just the bonus!
She is now diabetes-free.
She has normal blood pressure.
The circulation in her legs is normal.
She sleeps without a c-pap machine and more!
The joy that she feels is documented each day in her
syndicated radio show, a brand new weekly
TV show documentary and each month in this article.
The Big GB stands for The BIG Gastric Bypass and it also
stands for "Getting (my life) Back".
This article reflects how Angie BEE's life has improved... by
the grace of God and as the result of having Gastric Bypass surgery
on Feb 28, 2011. This
is now her life!
On Stage and IN CHARGE!
with Angie Bee
I just can't contain my joy! The pictures that you see here just
don't do justice to the month that I just experienced -- It was just
As you know, I am now celebrating my 18th month post-gastric bypass
surgery. I have lost about 180 pounds. The Type II Diabetes is gone.
The obstructive sleep apnea is gone. The high blood pressure is gone
and my libido has returned with a vengeance (lol). The health is
great and I look at this pictures and realize that I look about as
good as I feel too!
So what happened this month? Well, I stepped up and took charge of
our music ministry tour. For the past year, I have stayed in the
background allowing the artists to hit the stage after being
introduced by our Christian Comedian MC. Well, this month the MC was
booked elsewhere so I had to step up to the stage and take charge of
the show. WOW! The feedback that I received was encouraging and the
souls that came to Christ will never be the same.
First, I MC'd a Back-to-School Comedy Show that was streamed live
around the world by The Jericho TV Network and Divine Truth
Christian Center in Winter Park, Florida. Viewers sent me text
messages and emails throughout the show: "You look great, Angie",
"When did you lose weight?" "Can I date you?" oh MY!
Then… I MCd another Holy Hip Hop concert for our TOUR that took
place at E3 Life Church in Lakeland, Florida. After the show, I kept
wondering why there was a line in front of the table where I was
sitting. Finally, a child looked at me and said "Miss Angie BEE, may
I have your autograph?" Oh MY! The line was about 10 kids deep with
their parents and THEN the adults were lined up! I didn't know what
to say. I just know that I was grateful that my ankles did not swell
while I was on stage. My knees didn't creak when I climbed the
stairs to the stage. I was not out of breath from jumping up and
down and I WASN'T HUNGRY four hours after the show began. Praise
This month I also was honored to be a part of the Launch Celebration
of Joy Gospel Radio in Orlando, Florida. My radio show airs on this
station weeknights from 8pm to midnight EST on
www.JoyGospelRadio.com. The celebration included my TOUR artists,
business owners, ministry leaders and others. The crowd was THICK
and I tried my best to entertain everyone while I was on the air.
Callers came in to the toll-free number, Skype and OoVoO and at some
point in the night, my cell phone started blowing up. With all this
activity, I remained calm; I didn't break into a sweat and I was IN
CHARGE! It was an incredible feeling when the photographer asked us
to pose for pictures! Now, the pics will be put up on the station
website and everyone is asking when will our NEXT station event take
About 18 months ago, I would have never dreamed of getting on stage
to be the "Don Cornelius" of our tour (lol). When I was over 380
pounds, I would have not wanted to have that attention put on me.
Now that I weigh about 212 pounds, I can be proud of the dresses
that God selects for me to wear and I'm honored to stand before an
audience because now I CAN stand! As long as the kids keep coming to
the concert, I will keep climbing that stage and being in CHARGE of
Visit our tour online at
Watch our promo kit at
Book us today by calling 407-914-6519 or email
See you on tour!
Author, Magazine Publisher, Producer, Promoter &
The Host of The Hottest Home Hotspot WORLDWIDE
Syndicated Holy Hip Hop Radio Show
Last Week I wanted to Die!
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!
Thanks for reading
The Big GB - My Gastric Bypass Memoirs
Sonya Bennett on Facebook
Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit
civil rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life
for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on
body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment
through public education, advocacy, and member support.
This Column is dedicated to the tremendous
work NAAFA has been doing for over four decades. LargeInCharge
wishes to support NAAFA in spreading the word of its work, and give
the public more information into issues we as plus sized people
should be aware of. The fight for equality for people of all
sizes is one we support.
This Column will include News Releases and
Calls to Action from NAAFA Directors.
This Column has been Approved by NAAFA.org
FAA BANS PERSONAL SEATBELT EXTENDERS!
On July 30, 2012 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an
“Information for Operators” (InFO) memo regarding Use of
Passenger-Provided Seat Belt Extenders. The FAA is banning
passenger-provided seat belt extenders that are manufactured by
AmSafe, the same company that the airlines use for their seat belt
extenders and are FAA-approved.
NAAFA sees this ban as a discriminatory practice against passengers
of size because it could potentially limit the ability of people of
size to travel by air. Most airlines carry no more than two or three
seatbelt extenders on each flight. If there are more passengers of
size on a flight than number of onboard seat belt extenders
available, are those passengers without an extender then removed
from the flight?
In the statement, the FAA says:
“Operators should be aware that seat belt extenders are being
marketed to the public for their personal use while traveling. These
extenders are marketed as “FAA PMA approved.” Some are categorized
as specific to each airline and others are sold under the heading
“Universal, adjustable & FAA-safe” and are sold “for use on all
airlines”. While these extenders may have a label that indicates
they are FAA-approved and conform to TSO-C22g, they are not
inspected and maintained under each airline's FAA-accepted CAMP and
should not be used (emphasis added). In order to support compliance
with 14 CFR sections regarding the use of seat belts, assigned
crewmembers should be aware of the possibility that passengers may
attempt to use these extenders while on board their aircraft.”
If you have purchased a FAA-approved seat belt extender, why is the
FAA now suggesting this ban? Are they now setting it up for airlines
to charge for the use of onboard seat belt extenders?
Since it is the FAA’s "Vision" statement that, "We are accountable
to the American public and our stakeholders" NAAFA suggests that you
contact the FAA to register a complaint.
Questions or comments regarding this “InFO” should be directed to
the Part 121 Air Carrier Operations Branch, AFS-220 at (202)
267-8166 or call 1-866-TELL-FAA.
You may also contact the Department of Transportation Departmental
Office of Civil Rights at 202-366-4648 or through their website at
http://www.dotcr.ost.dot.gov/ to register a citizens’ complaint.
Reference FAA InFO 12012; dated 7/30/12; Subject: Use of
Passenger-Provided Seat Belt Extenders.
RE: InFO 12012; dated 7/30/12; Subject: Use of Passenger-Provided
Seat Belt Extenders.
I wish to issue a citizens' complaint as a passenger of size that
this decision by the FAA to ban personally-provided seat belt
extenders is discriminatory against passengers of size since there
are a limited number of seat belt extenders available on each
flight. The FAA’s "Vision" statement claims "We are accountable to
the American public and our stakeholders." If there are more
passengers of size on a flight than number of seat belt extenders
available, are those passengers then removed from the flight? I ask
that you withdraw this ban which could limit the ability of
passengers of size to travel.
Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit civil rights organization
dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA
works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat
people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education,
advocacy, and member support.
On the web:
For more information contact:
Peggy Howell, Public Relations Director, NAAFA
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 916-558-6880
Thanks for reading
From the Desk of NAAFA
Lucia Roth, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Graduated with a B. A.
degree in Communication from Southeastern Louisiana University and is
considering going back for her Masters degree. Lucia a people person and
is always willing to help out a friend in need. She enjoys music,
movies, poetry, and good book on a rainy day. Lucia has several mottos
This is one: Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.
wanted to re- introduce myself, since I just joined Large In Charge
magazine last year. My name is Lulu, and I am a fashion writer for
largeincharge.com I am a fashion junkie:) I look forward to finding
wonderful fashion find and product of the month for you. I also look
forward to chatting with you all an reading some good fashion comments!
Please let me know if you have a favorite. Web_girl1999@yahoo.com
Picks of the Month
Product of the Month
Fashion Find Type: Clearance
Blowout up to 75% off
Sale Price: Sale - prices varies
Got to have it Ladies! The universe has heard my cry! JUST
to let you know… I am already in a fall state of mind. But
first end of the summer sale so, stop by and check out what
price deals that will fit your budget.
Product of the Month
Recommended by: Lucia
Name of Product: Galaxy
Type of Product: Cell
Where Product can be found:
Description: Samsung Galaxy S III (16GB - pebble blue,
T-Mobile) The bottom line: Pumped with high-performing
hardware and creative software features, the Samsung Galaxy
S3 is an excellent, top-end phone that's neck and neck with
the HTC One X.
Pat is a forty something woman living in
Southern Ontario, Canada. She has a varied past and has worked teaching
literacy and English as a second language to adults, as an environmental
science technician and in the health and safety field. Currently she
works in marketing.
Pat fiercely believes in human rights for all and has volunteered for
organizations that raise funds and develop and implement programs to
help impoverished people and educate women in third world countries.
Although relatively new to the size acceptance movement, Pat believes
with all her heart that people of size deserve equal treatment and
In her spare time she likes to read fiction, go to bashes and spend time
I have Hope
with Pat Llewellyn
I find myself struggling with this column. When I
initially applied for the position, it was meant to be an
inspiring column. For most of this year my writing has reflected
what I am going. Along with a deep sense of sadness, depression
comes with a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s a struggle to cope
with even the smallest tasks.
Writing is something that normally fills me with joy.
Words and stories normally just flow from me. Now it is a
struggle to write even the smallest thing. I try to think of
positive things to write. There are so many great things
happening in the world of size acceptance. In the groups I
belong to there are people learning to love themselves and find
happiness in their bodies. I want to share in their joy and
share their stories, but when I put pen to paper words are out
of my grasp.
The only thing I have to share is my illness and my
On more than one occasion I have considered resigning
from this column. I worry that I am disappointing Raqui and the
readers of her e-zine. Even though it’s a struggle, part of me
doesn’t want to give up on this column. I hold on tight to that.
It speaks to me of hope and getting better. If I can keep a
little bit of hope alive, then I know that one day I will be ok.
I’m sorry that my column hasn’t been what it was planned
to be, but I’m not giving it up yet. The good news is that I
Ms Suga is a plus size woman hailing from Sunny South Florida. She
is a 24 year old recent recipient of a Bachelor in Arts degree in
Communication Studies. Being plus size for the majority of her life
she has overcome many obstacles to finally come to the point where
she is fully content with herself and her life. This self love has
also allowed Ms Suga the privilege of sharing her love with those
around her. She is very passionate about life and loves to help
Ms Suga likes to see herself as the one everyone can go
to for positive, inspirational and truthful words of advice and/or
support. She is the Beautiful Inspirational Girl that is blessed,
intellectual, trustworthy, caring and hardworking.
Ms Suga has had a passion for writing since she was a
little girl when she used to think of short stories about what her
life would be like as she got older. This is Ms Suga’s first
opportunity for her thoughts to be public for the world to see.
Excited about this column Ms Suga is also very optimistic of her
future in writing and promoting self love and acceptance in the plus
A Change is Gonna Come
with Ms Suga
So lately I've been kinda in a funk. I'm not where I was, I'm not
where I want to be and I'm petrified of where I'm going to end up
next. This funk has been weighing on me for a while and then a few
days ago I heard it. I mean I actually heard it, a song by Sam Cooke
"A Change is gonna Come." Now y'all may be wondering why I was
jamming to this oldie goldie but I admit I do have an 'old soul.'
Anyway, as I listen to the words (I actually listened this time
instead of singing from the top of my lungs) Sam is really singing
about his struggles in life and how all he can do is carry on and
await the change that is going to come.
I'm not a person to beat myself up about the negative things in
life. I usually have a positive outlook on everything, always
looking for that silver lining. But that day I couldn't pull myself
out and all I could do is listen and embrace Sam's words. Granted he
died at a very young age but I think the choices he made in life
were the best he could've made for himself at that moment. We all
have our troubles and trying times but that should not discourage us
from continuing to live our lives. It should motivate us to do
better the next time around. What doesn't kill you makes you
stronger right? RIGHT!!
Remember the three C's I talked about earlier this year? (Choice,
Chance, and Change?) Well what I'm learning about life at this very
moment is that change may not always come when you want it to. I
made the choice that I don't want to live my life in a cube that I'd
rather be a word on a page in an open book then a piece in a box
tucked away in the attic. Everyone has their own choices in life and
no one can make those choices for you but you. I say choose to
follow your dreams! I mean hell they are YOUR dreams right? Who
better to put them to work than you? Do what is in your heart and
not what everyone else tells you to do.
If you have a chance to choose change will you take it?
If not then what is your choice? Do you choose to be a
teacher and work with our future leaders of this world? Or do you
choose to go back to school? Do you choose to stay at that mediocre
job that you hate so much? Or do you tell that awful job what they
can kiss, where they can go and offer to help them get there? I
suggest you follow your heart regardless how unorthodox that
decision may be.
Now I don't encourage you to go out and commit crimes and hurt
others; I'm ONLY encouraging and promoting POSITIVE changes and
choices. In high school my best friend chose to be a mother; that
choice to embrace that change has turned her life around and she
couldn't be happier. Now at the time I thought she was crazy she was
way too young for all that, but now I know being a mom was the
choice she needed to make to get the change she needed to have.
Now is the time to prepare yourself for the blessings that are sure
to come. So when you grow old and frail what will you tell your
children about your life? Will you live a life of shoulda, coulda,
woulda's? Or will you choose the path of change? I mean hey what do
you really have to lose? Just remember a change is always going to
come it’s your choice that makes the difference.
As always I encourage you all to pay it forward and use your lives
to inspire someone else. I hope you all receive many blessings and
happiness, Until the next time we meet.
Gabriela Falarz lives in Toronto, Canada.
She has been up and down the scale for most of her life (mostly up),
and is proud to say that she loves herself no matter what her size,
although it has definitely been an evolution.
She blogs about size acceptance in her blog,
Celebreight Yourself (www.celebreightyourself.blogspot.com).
Gabriela discovered Large in Charge Radio about a year ago
and has been hooked ever since. She is thrilled to be writing for
Large in Charge and to be part of an organization that helps all
large people realize how beautiful, special, and amazing they are.
The ABC’s of You
with Gabriela Falarz
We larger people certainly have to deal with our share of criticism,
whether it comes at us overtly (someone criticizing you to your
face) or passively (seeing a diet commercial, overhearing someone
else's fat criticizing conversation). Here’s a great little exercise
to try if you’re feeling down and critical about yourself. Get a
piece of paper and write the letters of the alphabet, from A to Z,
all the way down the page. Next, for each letter, think of a
positive word to describe yourself. Be as specific as possible.
Really try to narrow it down to what makes you, YOU! For example:
A … Artistic
B … Bubbly
C … Charismatic
D … Daring
E … Exuberant
… and so on, all the way to Z. (For letter like X and Z, where words
might be harder to think of, try to think of a word that includes
those letters, like SeXy for X, or DaZzling for Z.)
It’s very important, however, that you truly believe that those
words describe you. If not, it will just be a meaningless, empty
Everyone has positive qualities and characteristics. You’re not
being arrogant or egotistical acknowledging all these great things
about yourself. You’re simply recognizing your own particular
attributes, and we all have them.
Really take the time to sit down, do this exercise, and think about
it. Afterwards, keep it in an accessible place so that you can look
at it whenever you need a little pick-me-up. You can also try doing
a “refresher” list every month or so. This is a great way to see how
your perspective is changing.
On the flip side, you can also try doing the same list, but with
negative qualities. We all have negative qualities as well. This
will make you aware of the things you might like to change and want
to work on. For example:
A … Angry
B … Bored
C … Cranky
D … Dull
E … Easily manipulated (phrases are okay too)
Refer to this list afterward as well, and focus on the negative
traits you want to eliminate from your life. You’d be surprised what
might pop out of your subconscious when you sit down to do this
exercise. If a particular word comes to mind instantly and it
disturbs you, don’t censor it. Write it down. Keep the list private
so that no one sees it but you.
This little exercise is quite enlightening, and also a lot of fun.
Kathy is originally from a small town in Michigan but has lived in
San Diego County since she's been 18 years old. Kathy
graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in
Finance in 1999.
She has a real estate broker’s license and works as a mortgage
Kathy also owns BBW Club Catalina in San Diego which has monthly
night club parties and other fun events on a frequent basis.
Kathy has been an avid supporter of NAAFA, Vegas BBW Bash and
San Diego BBW Bash and believes in size acceptance and health at
Kathy is a firm believer that people need to have a full life by
going to the movies, dinner, bowling, dancing and anything that will
make them a happier person and not wait till they are at the perfect
size to start living their life to the fullest.
Kathy is in her mid-40's and her children are grown and living
productively on their own.
In her spare time she likes trying new restaurants, dancing,
modeling, bowling and spending time with family and friends.
The Emotional Cheater... is it as bad as physical cheating?
with Kathy Hernandez
We all know that physical cheating in a committed relationship can
hurt or destroy the relationship you are in.
The physical cheating consists of kissing, touching, oral sex
and sex with someone else other than the person you are in a
relationship with. What
about the emotional cheating that usually comes before the actual
act of physical cheating?
We don't always see the signs of emotional cheating right
away and that can lead to physically cheating on our loved one.
Everyone has a different idea of what emotional cheating is, but
let's explore a few examples of emotional cheating, and I want you
to think after you have read every example if you think this would
hurt you, and your relationship.
emotional cheater starts out by coveting another person and
imagining that person is really their significant other.
Day dreaming about kissing another person, holding hands,
massaging and having sex with the person they are thinking about.
I know some of you are thinking this isn't cheating because
no one has acted on this but has only thought about being with
another person outside of their current relationship.
How much time is this taking from the real relationship by
constantly thinking about being with someone else and what it would
feel like to actually be with them?
What else goes with emotional cheating?
There is sometimes a renewed interest in how they dress, new hair
style, new fitness routine to lose weight to make themselves more
attractive to the person they are attracted to in an effort to have
a better chance if the opportunity arises to turn the emotional
cheating into physical cheating.
about spending time with someone they are attracted to and wished
they were with and of course the more time they spend with the other
person then the deeper the feelings they have for them.
There's also the monetary aspect to look at as well, because
typically there is money spent on "dates" with others, that should
have been spent on the family or current committed relationship.
How would you feel to be struggling with money issues to find
out that your partner has been spending money on another person to
What are the signs of an emotional affair to look out for you ask?
When dates or meetings with this other person are not brought up in
conversation and are kept a secret.
When intimate details are shared with another person and not shared
with your current mate.
I started thinking about what would be worse for me whether it was
the emotional cheating or the physical cheating after I watched a
movie that should have been titled "The Death of the Emotional
husband in this movie started out playing poker on line with friends
and then met this young woman online.
He was feeling like his life was boring, he was getting old,
going bald and wanted some excitement in his life so he made up a
fictional person he called Tommy to get the attention of this young
Tommy was everything that he wasn't in real life, he was a young,
handsome and a brave soldier.
At first they only talked online and exchanged photos, but
then he started calling her, and of course lying, and saying he was
out fighting for our country so he couldn't call very much.
He started working out and taking better care of himself, but
he was also spending a huge amount of time online chatting with this
young beautiful woman.
He was spending time away from his wife and family and even
when he was with them he was thinking about the young woman he was
chatting with online and talking to on the phone.
He even went so far as to tell her he loved her and asked her
to marry him and she said yes.
wife eventually found his communications with this young woman and
wrote to her and let her know he was married with two children and
gave her a family picture.
A co worker of his who played poker with him online started
talking to the young woman and was going to meet her so he freaked
out and killed the young man who was going to meet the woman he had
fallen in love with online.
He was arrested for the murder and when they went to the home
to tell the young woman about the death of her online friend that
she was planning on meeting there was another surprise.
The young woman that they had both been talking to didn't
know either one of the men and it turned out that the woman they had
both been talking to was her mother.
The mother had been sending her daughter's pictures out to
men on line to get the attention that she wanted and so she was
pretending to be someone she wasn't just like the cheating husband.
movie really takes the emotional cheating to another level but now
you are asking yourself if emotional cheating isn't worse than
physical cheating huh?
How long does it take to forgive someone who cheats on you
either emotionally or physically... and if they did it once would
they do it again?
Cherish the relationship you are in and give it your all because the
grass truly isn't always greener on the other side.
Celebrating almost 2 decades as a Graphic Designer/Published
Illustrator, Jean Nerestant Jr (Jness) got his start as a graphic
artist in 1994, Still working as a graphic designer by day/ Jness
devotes time to his hip hop Culture, comic book art and Plus
Strut Your Stuff!
I fondly remember the Septembers of many years ago, stepping into
the classroom wearing brand new clothes from head to toe. Feeling
excited to see old friends and feeling ready for the new scholastic
challenges to come. (I am going to do all my homework this year!)
Back to school! The high point of the day was when the teacher asked
us to write a brief narrative detailing what we did that summer. The
excitement I felt as the memories filled the screen in my head,
replaying all the wonderful things I did served as fuel to get my
pen writing. I was thrilled that someone wanted to hear my story,
and I didn’t want to leave any details. I wrote about everything;
trying to build a clubhouse, finishing the comic book I started back
when summer vacation began, the trip to Haiti to visit my Grandma.
Building Go-carts, and the grand-finally to highlight the end of the
summer… our block party!
Those were the days when the great outdoors set the stage for all
activities deemed - fun. As years went by we eventually realized
that teachers and students had the best deal – summers off. Many of
us traded summers off for working and the occasional two week
vacation. What did you do this summer? Did you allow yourself to go
out? Did your feet touch warm sand? Did you submerge yourself into
the chlorine-purified waters of a pool? Or did you let others make
you feel like you don’t have the right to dawn a swimsuit, go out
and have a great time finding new ways to beat the heat?
Quite often we don’t realize that people are not controlling our
thoughts directly, yet we allow them to direct our action
indirectly. They no longer have to do the work, we run the course
that they prepared for us without even realizing it. People of size
are made to feel like you are not supposed to wear a swimsuit,
layout by the pool, or enjoy the beach. Yes it is hurtful when some
stranger makes an insulting comment. It is upsetting when someone
looks at you and makes a judgmental facial expression. The truth of
the matter is you have one life to live and those insensitive people
don’t have the right to tell you what you can and can’t do to enjoy
your life. I am sure that if the tables were turned those same
individuals would also refuse to accept being forced to live up to
standards that are set up by other insensitives.
For some the high school lunchroom was a long time ago. Tiptoeing
past the table where only the in-crowd was allowed to sit, cringing
as you walk by hearing the roar of laugher, or stinging
commentaries. As adults we have to have to push our way through
those same old pitfalls. It’s time to DO YOU in spite of all nay-sayers!
It’s time to find that perfect bathing suit, surround yourself with
some real friends and head out to the beach or pool while there is
warm weather and life left to enjoy. So the next time someone asks
what did you do this summer, your response will be – Exactly what I
wanted to do – I decided to STRUT MY STUFF!!!
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