travel

Take Stroll Through Harbor Walk Village In Destin Florida (pictures and video)

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Yes I’m a guy ( a hairy beast of a washed up fighter guy at that!) yet I still shop! Especially in cool locations when I travel. OK so mostly my wife, Sensei Sandy shops and I get coffee or a cocktail and people watch. Same thing right??!!  A cool set of shops in an interesting place actually gets my interest. Remember I run media/marketing firm and did 20 years on Wall Street, any commerce gets my interest!
   Harbor Walk Village is flat cool. From great restaurants and bars sitting right on the water to interesting shops. Yes there are normal places you would know, but there are many Beach/harbor vibe cool places. Nice to just wander around.
    Several things that are different make it extra cool.  A little area of food trucks that are awesome, including an airstream trailer. Gives the place a great harbor vibe. It is also the home to the Destin fishing fleet, the largest charter fleet in America. You will see Massive fish being brought in. Soooo cool!!  You can go on a dolphin cruise starting here. We did that and I’ll be doing an article/review of it before too long. You can also book a pirate cruise here, looked cool if you had young children.

      Since most of you are looking this to see pictures and not my incredible writing lol, I’ll start posting them. Catch you after the pic and video jump to talk a bit more about the area. The even more pics and video!!

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So you can see it is a very cool area no matter what you like. We are at Harry Ts Lighthouse and Margaritaville there and I’ll do reviews of both in coming weeks. There are a ton of places to eat and sooo many looked great. I’m ready to book my return and just hang out here!!  It’s a mix of cool upscale with relaxed old fishing village. Kinda dig it.
       It is built with the Emerald Grande complex, condo residence and vacation rentals. Great looking place. I did not stay there but I’m looking into it for the next trip. Their website will tell you about both the complex and the village. Very informative.

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Give this place a look. It was fun and relaxing, coming from a guy who is always amped up!  I’ll be looking into Emerald Grande next trip( if you are their marketing rep, let’s get together!!) And you should look at all your options there. If you’d like to be included in our reviews or need promotion, email tompkinscontent@gmail.com today. Follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on twitter
Today’s Links , Get your name here
http://www.emeraldgrande.com/harborwalk-village
http://www.margaritavilledestin.com/mobile-home.html
http://www.harryts.com/

Embassy Suites in Destin Florida ( From a Fighter Who Has Been Around The World)

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I have to say that I’ve lost count of how many times and how many places I’ve stayed in an Embassy Suites. I know the first time was in the late 80s when I was young man. I was doing a kickboxing seminar in St Louis after fighting there a few weeks before. They booked me in to an Embassy in Laclede’s Landing. I was hooked!  Yes like any hotel chain there are ups and downs but for the most part I never worry when a company or dojo book one for me.

So recently my wife, on a whim booked a week in Destin Florida at one for spring break. I was already going to be in the area for a day to do a private coaching session for a fighter, so my wife decided to make a trip of it with our youngest ( my 20 year old daughter ) as we won’t have many left with her at home. Embassy suites it was then.

I like to do my reviews of a hotel or resort as a rolling conversation, but with a core. The general, the meat and the area but mostly pictures!  It gives you an idea of what its really like and as an old fighter, it’s simple!

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So here is the general. Embassy suites is known for three things. Being all suites, having a breakfast buffet with some great cooked to order items and it’s evening happy hour. The evening reception is snacks and free drinks for two hours. Wine, beer and simple mixed drinks. It is a huge draw!  Always served in a gorgeous atrium. This one happened to be under construction during our trip. They used one of their many nice meeting rooms for it, not great but they did a good job. The work was finished our last night so we go a good look and some pics( more later).
The room was very nice. Always good space. Clean and well designed. It has a good luxury feel at a less than luxury price. I always like them, and this location was no exception. Beach locations are hard to stay ahead of cleaning and maintenance but they did well here. I’ll let some room pictures speak for me.

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It’s not in the top of luxe places we stay, but for family trips for many folks it is great. I’ve been all over and we are spoiled, yet this place didn’t disappoint us.

You get private access to strip of beach. It’s a quick walk across the street and it’s gorgeous. You have numbered access through a gate. All places along this strip are like that but keeps things quiet and subdued. Upside is its clean and no drunken stripper battles ( OK upside at my age lol). Downside is that you don’t have the cool cheap Beach food stands right there. If that’s you’re thing for Beach vacation, this isn’t your place. The beach is stunning, but I’ll cover that in other pieces.

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Location wise it’s great for some things, not others. It’s a distance from some big things, harbor walk etc and clubs. If you want to party, arrange transportation or stay elsewhere. For the most part that isn’t who would be here. Harbor walk is great ( upcoming piece) but the party part is different. We stayed here and went there several times. It is very close to Destin Commons which is a cool shopping center with great views( another coming picture review. It’s also close to Silver Sands Premium Outlets if that’s your thing. They are both on 98 and within a couple of miles. Heck I walked up by Silver Sands one night. Ok full disclosure, we all got hungry late and there had been a bit of drinking. Solution, walk to Whataburger and bring food back. Easy walk, and not a bad area. I might not be a good judge as I get hit in the head often!
You can walk along scenic gulf drive, as the hotel sits on it. From Beach rental homes, gorgeous private complete es to kitschy shops it’s a cool place to walk. I’m going to post a few of that ( expect an article just on that street) along with the atrium and other amenities. Catch the final after the jump.

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A quick summation.  If you are want to yell and party naked on the beach, this isn’t you ( I’ll probably hit you ). If you need perfect luxe this isn’t you ( been to that place but still like this). Enjoy it. Enjoy the  area. Enjoy your family.
If you want your place promoted or reviewed, contact us. Want a cheap link or ad with us? Hit us up. Full creative social campaign? Got it!  Motivation for your company?  Personal coaching or private sessions for fighting?  Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on twitter. Extremely affordable, unbelievable as to how cheap ( except the fight sessions, those are expensive ♥). If I’m a few dollars and up.
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Links and PR from today
http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/embassy-suites-by-hilton-destin-miramar-beach-DSIESES/index.html
http://m.premiumoutlets.com/default.aspx?id=1348
http://www.destincommons.com/
http://whataburger.com/

A Quick Taste and Thoughts on Frontera Malbec. ( yes inexpensive!!!)

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All day, every day if I can find something that is inexpensive and awesome, I’m going there!  No matter how successful I’ve become. No matter all the places I’ve traveled and been able to enjoy the world’s best.  In the end I’m a guy who grew up without much and with the work ethic of a rural Midwestern guy.  Finding something any budget can enjoy is a pleasure for me. I feel like it’s part of my job to do things like this( and punch and kick lol).

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Let me first say that I am a huge malbec fan!  Let me also say that I’m a bit more of a beer and whiskey guy. Still, I travel often. My wife runs a huge department in a major hospital and we go to many functions with incredible wines and wine knowledgeable people. We both though this was quite good. Seriously quite good! 
   Nice level of fruit. Very clean. No aftertaste. None. I like big bold things. This isn’t quite there but very good. She thought so as well. Not sure if I mentioned we travel, and have recently dined at places like nobu and various Mario Battali restaurants. In other words, we drink well!  This was pretty good. Disclaimer ( I drank a cheap domestic beer yesterday!!!)
  

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My wife and i both enjoyed this. Great for having a glass while we discussed our days and cooked. From the subjects of training ( yes she is also a black belt under me) to health care ( her expertise) and marketing. A couple of glasses while building our martial arts/ PR/social media marketing empire was a great experience. Better yet we bout the big bottle at Sam’s Club for less $7 amounting to less than $3.5 per bottle. Yep. That’s real! 
   If you want your company, wine or cocktail or any lifestyle product promoted, contact us. Marketing campaigns, simple links or reviews.   Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife And @tompkinscontent on twitter !!!!
http://www.fronterawines.com
http://m.samsclub.com/

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Random Walk Pictorial Branson Mo!

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Let me just say that I and my family love Branson. I know that as a guy who does reviews of places like Wynn in Vegas that it doesn’t seem right. It is. I’ve been going there since my oldest child was a toddler. Actually before that. When I was young in the mid 70s we were through there staying at other places in the Ozarks. I will be doing multiple pieces on this place and showing the entire area over time. These pictures are actually of a very small part and taken while we were there for a dance event with our daughter. Yes my daughter who was a 2time national champ in sport karate also won numerous national titles in dance. Today she teaches and choreographs as well as goes to college. Enjoy this area and short piece and whet your appetite for an informative budget travel series coming soon.
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The very cool and historic Scenic railroad. Shot from the walkway along the Hilton and  Branson Convention center.  The railroad and tourist part of that scene have been there long before Branson Landing and The Hilton there were built. The area and train are old. The hotel and mall are new. Perfect mix. Most of the next pictures are from this area as the convention center was where we were for dance. I’ll explain a bit about the area at the end. Very different than when we started going there regularly  in the early 90s.

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So this area of Branson Missouri is a mix. It’s both the oldest part of town and the area that the newest
And most modern hotels and restaurants have come. Still you can walk a block away and feel like you are a century back.  Did I mention I love  Branson?  I travel the world and spend tons of time on places like Manhattan but I love Branson and Gatlinburg. Truly where I want to be!!!!!  If you are a merchant in this area, contact us. I would rather promo your tiny motel than the big boys. Let’s go!!!!!!
For prom and advertising contact tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife and @tompkinscontent on twitter.

Random Travel Pics From Vegas

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Just a few in  the continuing series of random walk and talk pics. Take a minute and enjoy the view and captions. Nice way to relax and learn a bit about an area.
     

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This was sitting in one of the shops in the walkway between Wynn and Encore. Coll place to walk and have coffee or a cocktail without leaving the complex. No worries didn't check how much it was lol
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Some day i will do an entire piece on why this is important to me. For now lets just say before pro fighting and Wall Street was my love of literature. Its where the adventure began!
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Did i mention that im fighter who writes and takes pictures lol. Not a pro photographer. I take what i like and see. Love all the walkways across the strip. Great to watch the cars go by. And crazy people
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The beautiful Lake of Dreams at Wynn. Great to look out your window and see or from the show terrace like this pic. My wife and i grabbed a cocktail and stood there to watch as the temp drooped and wind hit and 11pm. Romantic,beautiful and simply fun
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The Lake again, changing colors and animatronic figures coming out of the water. Look this up, you'll be amazed

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Ok what can i say. Always a little #pr and coffee ! Having a sip and looking down at the pool complex at Wynn
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So many great fountains around the Venetian and the Palazzo. Truly feels like you are in Italy at times. Go in the morning. Get coffee and just walk. Not many around and the back walks when deserted feel like old Europe

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A quick selfie with my wife by the Lake of Dreams. Yes we have obviously drank waaay too much, and seems like had a huge meal that night as well. Im a fortunate man hanging out in a beautiful place. Thanks Wynn resort and casino

Want to be part of what we do? Need promo for your brand, media buying and placement or just marketing vision?  Besides teaching martial arts I run Transcend Digital Media. 20 years on Wall Street and years promoting lifestyle as a fighter for sponsors. Let me build your brand elegantly and inexpensively. Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife and @tompkinscontent on twitter

Who Thought Fremont Street On Halloween Was A Good Idea??!! (In pics and words )

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So last fall my wife had an upcoming conference (medical industry ) that was going to be in Vegas, so I booked a few training sessions with fighters I hadn’t had a chance to work to with. Of course I all booked some PR and advertising work for that week since I was going to be there.  Neither my wife or I thought anything about the dates we would be there. So Halloween in Vegas didn’t dawn on us.  What really didn’t dawn on us was when some friends with us said “let’s go to Fremont Street ” on Halloween night!  We were staying at The Wynn on the strip , so a short cab ride later and we were there!  The cab ride was cool as well. The driver was Thai so we had a great conversation about Muay Thai and Thai culture. No matter what I’m a fighter and trainer at heart and my conversations will end up there. Plus its always nice to hear about the culture and country from a native. They enjoy talking you as well. Martial arts crosses boundaries, but I digress lol. Back to poor decision making. I might have failed to mention that one of our friends wanted to go in costume, we did not. So above you’ll see a picture of my wife(sensei Sandy to Team Transcend fans) and I on either side of Avatar!  Took this at the Wynn just before we headed out, mostly in case they needed our picture for a milk carton! Fremont Street is very cool, if always a bit goofy and strange. Add thousands of crazy drunks in costume on a night and I felt like I was going to end up on an episode of CSI !!! Seriously though it is a cool area. It’s old Vegas meets some new tech with cool street beer vending carts. If you go to Vegas often or just like the old Golden Nugget style history you should go. Check it out at
http://vegasexperience.com/  And now I’ll start the adventure pictures. It was actually safe and fun but very strange for us Midwest folks.  Take a look.

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All The Travel Gear You Need For Less

So as you can see it was a blast. Strange,visually stunning yet overloaded, but a blast. Did I mention strange. OK at least for a Midwestern Muay Thai fighter/trainer and his hospital department manager bride it was strange. Tons of fun though!
For sponsorship, marketing or training information contact tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife and @tompkinscontent on twitter

Travel Pics For Today With Wine!!

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These pictures are in and around the beautiful Rocky Waters vineyard near Galena Illinois. Great area for a short trip. Lots of history and food. Lots of food. The area is both quaint and beautiful. From a historic view it was the home of Ulysses Grant and 8 other Civil War  generals. When i say its  an historic area i mean it! I’ll do a whole pictorial and review of Galena soon, but for now a few from Rocky Waters.  I love their Tower Red. Really a very good wine not just an Illinois tourist plug(so many bad wines here). The Tower Red is awesome and I really like the Hillside Rose as well. You can do a great Tasting here and it is just cool to walk around and look. Kyle Spahn runs a great place!  Check out rockywaters.net
 

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Look for a full Galena review soon including where I stayed and more. Great place and a cool easy trip. But seriously if you are someone who travels the Midwest and does the wine tastings at all the crappy wineries, this is really great wine and a fun experience.  Cool building, interesting people and good wine.

Random Walk Pictorial Vegas Part 1

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Within the huge Venetian compound. It and the Palazzo which are the ight together have many cool little nooks and areas. Feels just like Italy

   So I’ve been thinking about travel posts and pieces a lot lately. As someone who travels extensively, something that doesn’t get covered enough is just random shots of an area. I like to get to know an area if I can. All over it. The cool and beautiful and the slightly grittier. In some places, a few feet is a stark difference in  how things look. So on and off here I’ll be posting some random pictorial pieces with some captions. As part of larger travel pieces from trips, I’ll add these. Heck it may just become my review process!  It lets you see what things are like and not just the glossy pics we all post. Doesn’t mean the pictures won’t be beautiful and cool, just a bit different. Enjoy, learn a bit about what an area looks like and share.  I have tons of Vegas so I’ll start there and it will take several articles. Coming soon as well, Galena Illinois for its history, food and wine.
      Read the captions to see where the pic is and a bit of what was going on. I’ll keep to doing big full travel articles but going along with our lifestyle theme here, I think this is a cool way to show a place. I wander randomly when I get somewhere, so the posts should wander.

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Treasure Island, looking at Señor Frogs. Along the strip, this is where they used to have the cool pirate ship battle some years ago
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Along the strip, headed toward Belaggio near City Center. Can see Paris and Ballys on the other side
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In the Venetian. Lots of mobile walk ways on the outside. Very cool although the week d to often be shut down
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At the edge of City Center, far end of strip from the Wynn where i was staying. The Harley Restaurant you can see across the street looked cool. Didnt go but looked cool and seemed like this area had some food and drink deals. Unlike the end i was staying on
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Down on that same far end of the strip. Near Monte Carlo, MgM etc. Sime parts getting a but run down but it appears they are starting renovation to this section. Never stops in vegas
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I seriously do not know what this area was called. Just past miracle Mile area, close to New York New York. Looked like it had been a happening place. Pretty dead now. I was literally the only person walking around there. Places were still open but i think it had probably become late night cheap drink and food place. Cool though
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Still in the dead zone
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More dead zone
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Didnt get a chance but this 800 degrees pizzeria looked great
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A taste of another pictorial to come. Freemont street on Halloween. Yes we were there. That will be a great pictorial, although im unsure how to caption most of them

More coming soon. I take way to many pictures on trips, and enjoy just discussing the random. Fremont Street on Halloween may have to be the next travel piece. So many goofy pictures from that.
    If you’d like to sponsor one of these posts getting an ad and perma link or have a full social media marketing and advertising program, contact us.  @combatsportlife on twitter or tompkinscontent@gmail.com.

Thoughts and Pictures From a Stay at Wynn Las Vegas

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I’ve been fortunate to travel quite often and all over. From fights in my younger years and training and coaching now. Plus my time in trading as well as current promotional work. These things have allowed me to stay in all sorts of places. Rural to urban. Super cheap to very expensive. I enjoy it all. That said, I love the Wynn. Love it!  I love Vegas, and I’m not really a gambler. I enjoy casino resorts in general as they are usually well run and often quite beautiful. In the case of Vegas you can find world class food, shopping and people watching!  What little time I did gamble, I liked the casino in the Wynn and the accompanying Encore next door. Cool energy and view without the excess noise.

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The Wynn is elegant and hip at the same time. Not Palace of Versailles type elegant just a more modern elegance. I like both of those, but this was nice. Spending my days working with fighters and nights going to eat and sight seeing with my wife, the quiet elegance of the place was nice. Vegas energy but nice and not over the top. One of the things I loved was all the artwork. I am a huge art and architecture fan. I’m not overly knowledgeable about either, but enjoy both immensely. Maybe it soothes getting hit in the head often!  As you will see when you get to the pictures, the Wynn has great art pieces throughout the resort, and the Esplanade shops that are attached. When I was writing bits for promo pieces while I was there I could always find a nice area to sit with a coffee or cocktail in a secluded area. Beautiful art in an elegant space helps my creativity. Surprisingly for a casino resort, the Wynn had a great number of places just like this. I loved it.
I am going to drop some random pictures of the resort here. Read on after you look at the as I’ll hit on the restaurants and amenities a bit after that. I know I’m random, but I’m a blessed travelling fighter, not a robotic travel writer lol.

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Get a great deal on a luxury travel case Deal

Before putting up a few more pictures, let’s talk about restaurants and amenities. The resort has a ton of food choices. From casual to elegant. Pizza to incredible seafood and steak. From Zoo Crackers deli to SW Steakhouse and of course a buffet. A great experience we had one night was at Costa di Mare in the attached Esplanade shops. The service was phenomenal and the place was beautiful. It was an unusual experience, the explanation of how the cooked and presented your dish was like going to a museum. Not cheap but an experience you can have in very few places.  The next set of pictures has a bit of our destroyed plates lol (sadly missed a shot of the salt encrusted whole fish!)
The pool area is stunning. Multiple connected pools. An Italianate look for the cabanas and nice bar. Relaxing and beautiful. Yes there are even a few gaming tables by the bar. I actually enjoyed being out there in the morning. Sitting by the pool doing ad work and writing before heading out to work with fighters. Peaceful and beautiful. Take a look at My Personal Picks  

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While I was often headed out to different facilities to work out with fighters, I did check out the fitness center in the resort and used it. As someone who sweats for a living, it’s a good one for a hotel! Great staff as well. That is one thing I forgot to mention.  The staff at the Wynn is world class. I really mean that.  In decades of travel it is truly one of the best overall crews I’ve seen.
One last set of pictures starts with the Lake of Dreams. One of the coolest things I’ve seen. Multiple different shows each night, all through the evening. Between watching it from my room and the show terrace, I was amazed. One evening late after dinner, my wife and I went out on the show terrace and watched. Nice small bar cart there, the wind coming in as a storm moved in. Beautiful and romantic. I know, I’m a fighter so what do I know about romantic? A lot! It’s how I got my wife!  Enjoy the random pictures of this place and a few others. Back with a few words after the jump.

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Again, after being fortunate enough to stay all over the world, Wynn is high on my list. This whole trip was great, as you will see in future pieces. If you get a chance, stay at the Wynn. Not cheap, but awesome. The only real complaint I had was that the coffee was not at the level that the rest of the resort was. Small complaint !  If you want to know and see more go to the website http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/ or contact me at tompkinscontent@gmail.com and I’ll help you.
As always, if you wish to sponsor our blog posts or work with our social media advertising you should contact me. If you want your hotel, casino or product featured here or advertised on our accounts you should contact us. Love working with folks big and small.