Monday, January 31, 2011

re-inventing the Mrs.

I'm 31 years old on my way to turning 32 this year and I currently have the wardrobe of a 21 yr. old college student.
If that.... depends on where this chick goes to school.......
It's kind of sad.
Don't get me wrong - I have some great pieces that have potential to be classics but for the most part;
I live in jeans and a t-shirt/wife beater 90% of the time.
In the summer I throw on a dress/cover-up and keep it rollin.
I'm all about what's the easiest to put on.
Did I mention I work at one of the TOP rated e-commerce flash sale sites?
(Insert shameless plug - HAUTELOOK)
It seems everyone dresses better than I do but I have learned quite a bit since my hiring over a year ago.
Recently inspired to SIMPLIFY my life and the things that effect it, I made a conscious decision to purge my closets and drawers.
I usually clean out my closet once or twice a year (almost ALWAYS before a move) but with the wedding and all that other jazz that went on.....I kind of let that slide.
So for the last few weeks I have been feeling this need to get rid of things but have not had the time.
Our weekends just keep getting more and more jam packed!
But I took off last Monday to get a reprieve and some much needed QT with my best friend, so after she left and I was waiting for the Department of Education to call me back (really a 1.5 - 2hr wait???) 
I decided to tackle a few of my dresser drawers. 
(let's be honest, I was intimidated by the closet as I would have to try on some of those items) 
My husband and I have two dressers. One is 3 drawers and resides in his closet.
The other is a large 8 drawer monstrosity.
Out of those 8 drawers I was occupying 6.
My poor husband had resorted to leaving some shirts on top of his other dresser as there was no room in the other drawers.
But, being the amazing wife that I am - I decided to help him out.
I managed to purge 3 drawers worth of items and consolidate them into two.
I should mention that all my clothes are organized by color.
Hence the need for so many drawers; one for black & white items, one for pinks/purples/reds/oranges and another for browns/blues/greens.
Somehow I managed to whittle it down, giving myself the mandate :
if I haven't seen it or worn it in YEAR....... get rid of it!!
and I did.
It felt GOOD.
pretty much the last 5 years in clothing......shudder
Of course there is some trepidation because.....
"what if I got rid of that one shirt that I could wear XYZ with...."
but something tells me I'll do okay.
Especially since I'm kind of obsessed with a few fashion blogs (like Kendi Everyday and The Good Life for Less) that don't intimidate me with their 'trendiness' and not only inspire me to work with what I have but show me what's "in" when I'm ready to purchase and the practical way to wear the trends but still look like ME.
I am not a slave to fashion or trends but I do like to look cute and up-to-date.
Let me re-phrase, I aspire to look cute, up-to-date and put together -not contrived like I'm trying to hard and have been working on this outfit for days.
Basically, I want to not only look like a "Mrs"  (wife & mother) but feel it inside and out.
But not in a 'scary middle-aged mom jeans' way.
More like a Victoria Beckham/Gwen Stefani/Gwyneth Paltrow kind of vibe.
Classically edgy with a glamorous bohemian twist.
That being said I really can't be buying cheap (read: poorly made not inexpensive) clothing on a whim.
No, any clothing or shoe purchase made this year will be about quality.
I will ask myself serious questions and only go shopping for items that I need that will help boost my closet.
Will I be wearing this in 5 years? Will it hold up that long?
Sure, I'll probably end up in Forever 21 "looking for a shirt real quick" on occasion because that's how I roll ,but I feel like if I can get a better working closet then the need/desire to fill it with unnecessary items will fall by the wayside.
Oh who am I kidding.
The thrill of the purchase is just as much fun as the actual item.
But I'm learning that instant gratification isn't always best (cannot believe I just typed that!)
That some things are worth waiting for : like a fabulous pair of  L.A.M.B or Dolce Vita shoes or Joe's Jeans or Paige Premium Denim  in a classic wash and fit.
A lot of times I'm able to find these items for WICKED less than their retail price tag but by then I'm usually out of money because I bought crap.....
so long impulse purchases, see you later " weekly trendsters"......
In 2011 I am officially re-inventing this Mrs. ......won't you come along and see how it goes?

Backlog - Transition

Exactly one year ago I was in a completely different place.
I look at my life now and am so happy about all the changes and things that have transpired in the last 12months.
This time last year we were preparing for my Gramma's imminent departure from this world.
This Thursday is the anniversary of her passing.
My how the world has changed in this short span of a year.
 My best friend is coming into town this weekend and her timing couldn't be better.
While I'm happy to have her here for a few days without wedding craziness going on - her reasons for travelling so far from home are not 'fun'.
Her father is losing is slowly wasting away.
He is losing a hard fought battle against the human form of mad cow disease known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) or new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD).
He's actually had the disease for several years but the symptoms really only began to show up in late 2009 and were more pronounced by his diagnosis in 2010.
It's heartbreaking. I ache for my friend and her impending loss.
I can't imagine if it was my father.
She has been so brave and strong through it all.
While the rest of her family appears to be falling apart she has been the sound mind in all of this.
But I know it's killing her. And all I can do is hug her, hold her hand, talk to her and pray for the family.
I know that when he goes her world will be rocked.
Just as mine was on that fateful day.
It's life changing, earth shattering and all that.
I feel like I'm just now finally coming out of that dark place and am basking in the light.
I know that for her - there will be a similar feeling.
The upside is she has an amazing & supportive husband, two beautiful kids and ME.
yep, I listed myself. I am part of her support system and intend to be there for her and her family.
So, as we go into this weekend with a somewhat heavy heart we are comforted by the fact that this last year has really put things in perspective for both of us.
Forcing us to realize what's important, what matters most. 
Perspective - even in trying times is always a good thing.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I whipped up Wednesday

Happy Hump Day y'all!

I'm linking up with Kimmie over at Sugar & Dots today.


If you haven't already go check out Kimmie's blog
It's a super cute discovery I made through my friend Rachel and I've been skulking around for a few months enjoying her posts but this is my first link up!
Usually I'm "in the middle" of a project when she hosts this or don't even have one on the horizon but this past weekend was rather inspiring so I created some Valentine-y type things!
First up was this jazzy topiary I found on The Idea Room

Mine's not as big as hers but it suits my space just fine and was so easy to do!
I then busted out my trusty Cricut - seriously this thing has been the best gift to myself!
and created a L-O-V-E banner with some wooden letters, a little glue and a little paint and voila!

I got so excited over how cute it looked I made one for the mantle as well!


We also made this frame to 'showcase our love'
(Sweet Pea's words not mine)



There may be more Valentine's crafts in the near future but this is all we got for now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A happy heart, some crafts, a birthday and a best friend

My heart is happy for oh so many reasons and it's only the second day of the week!
We had quite a lovely weekend going here and there and making/doing this and that.
Saturday my lovely friend Kristen came by for a few hours of marathon crafting.
She is such a dear heart. 
We found this lovely craft on Eighteen25 originally from The Idea Room  and then this cute idea as well and I must say I am pretty pleased with the results.
Kristen had the pleasure of cutting over 100+ felt circles in hot pink, red and baby pink for our little project. Lucky for her she had a 'secret weapon'
(read her boyfriend works for the school district and they have a die cut machine in their office. NICE.)
Not to leave Sweet Pea out I had her paint some wooden letters I scored a few weeks ago at Jo-Ann's on super clearance ( hello $0.29 each!) as well as a picture frame from Michael's
 
a little paint, a little glue & a decorative accent = a too cute custom frame!

I'm quite pleased with the results of our Valentine's topiary!
I was also inspired by a few other creative souls out there in cyber space and decided to try my hand at banner making.
These are all the rage in the land of crafty-mommyblogging- crafty crafters.
I love them.
So easy to do and so many different ways to switch it up for each event/ theme!
 

Sweet Pea's hard work!





So now our humble abode is filled with love and sparkles again!
Hooray!
Sunday we went to the 1st birthday party of young Kingston.
You might recall me talking about his brother's birthday here.
This day was all about this cute little guy and the joy he has brought us all in the past year
Happy Birthday to the King!

how cute is this kid!?!
 
enjoying his first piece of cake!


We had such fun celebrating this little guy, getting to meet his brother, and spending some quality time with friends!
Later that evening MY best friend Michelle came over for a visit.
She's in town checking on her dad and family and crashed at my place for a night to clear her head.
We managed to cover the last 6 months of not seeing each other over 1.5 bottles of wine in less than 24 hours.
She left to go back to be with her dad yesterday morning around 11am.
Short & sweet but just what we both needed.
I love that girl so much.
We can go for days not talking, months not seeing each other and when we do - it's like no time has passed.
She has grown into such an amazing/inspiring wife & mother. 
I am so proud of her!
It was great to just sit and catch up for a bit while Sweet Pea was off in dream land and Babe worked on some things on the computer.
I love that my darling husband was so kind to give us the necessary space to
'get our CHAT on'!!
Thank God for that man!!!
After she left yesterday I was able to tackle a myriad of things on my "Honey-Do list" that my husband left me (insert laugh track and silly eye roll here) and was feeling SO productive that I managed to clear out two drawers in our dresser and give one to my poor deprived hubby.
(out of 8 drawers I was occupying 6. I'm now down to 5)
It felt really good to purge and was not as hard as it usually is.
I have a tendency to pull the ' well this is still cute and I could wear it with  XYZ......' 
This time I was quite firm with myself and decided if I hadn't worn it in a year it was getting tossed. 
Clearly quite a bit didn't make the grade.
Why I have all that miscelleanous stuff is beyond me.
It was kinda neat to see how my style has evolved a bit and where it's heading based on my toss pile.
Next up: the Closet!

I had a blast these past few days and the 75 -80  degree weather we're having is just adding to my bliss!

What's made you happy this weekend?
What are you looking forward to this week?
 
Oh and if you haven't already - check me out HERE!!
I'm featured today!


Featured on The Smartly So Cal!!!!

Get thee over to thesmartlysocal.com right now!!!

I'm today's featured writer!!

( one writers look at how divorce has changed her for the better?)

Please click here for my honest story about divorce and it's effects. 
Then and now.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought or tell me about YOUR experience!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simply living

This year my whole plan is to SIMPLIFY.
our life, our home, our finances, our closets etc.
I just want things to be simple, clean and organized.
Less is more and all that
But of course with a touch of  my flair for the dramatic.
In this quest I've discovered that I really want to do more and more creative things and am craving the feeling I get upon completing a project with my kid or making something to spruce up our home.
In order to simplify things as much as possible we must first PURGE our home of all the clutter and unnecessary items lurking around.
This is going take some serious discipline on my part as I tend to hold on to things for 'sentimental reasons' or something. 
I need to just get rid of it all.
Sigh.
I came home the other evening and found my husband going through a mound of paperwork, he informed me it was in the 'junk' basket from the garage. Stuff from 2006!
He threw it all away and since I was not forced to go through it, it made no difference to me as I didn't even miss it!
So I know going through our closets and the rest of the house should be even easier right?
Right.
I say all that to say what? I had a point. Oh yes. 
The word SIMPLIFY has been resonating with me for quite some time
I'm finding a need and a desire to take things a bit slower and savor the moments.
Being that this is quite possibly is our last year (or few months) as a family of 3 I want to really make memories with our little family. 
This last year has been so amazing and I can't wait to see how our family grows in the coming months.
But we know we need to keep things simple.
Life doesn't have to be complicated to enjoy it.
I don't have to have a fully booked calendar each weekend/month to have a good time.
Sometimes 'just being' is good enough.
So I am on a quest to SIMPLIFY our lives in all areas.
We've already begun working on the finances, pulling our credit and making sure things are accurate and up to date.
Next up: scaling back on the 'ish' in our home ( if you don't know , "ish" = "S*#@")
Organizing and purging.
That is going to be my life for the next few weeks. 
It's going to be tough (for me) but I will get through 3 closets and 2 storage areas if it kills me!

what are you doing to simplify your life?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

catching up, babies and other domestic distractions

I'm sort of a day behind on my posting 'schedule'.
 Normally I would've written my weekend wrap up late Sunday or Monday evening but I had the pleasure of watching the sweet  first born son of our dear friends, the Pierre's, while they went to the hospital to welcome their second son.
In the wee morning hours of January 10th I received a phone call from Monica asking if I could keep the King as their original plan was not available.
Without hesitating I said yes and promptly fell back asleep.
Babe had a 100 million questions and was wanting details of the goings on but I was much too tired (yet oddly keyed up & excited) to be bothered with such nuances.
Quick as can be Al & Monica relinquished my date for the day and raced to the hospital.
At 10:46 am a Prince was born.
6lbs, 15oz.
His brother was taking a nap.
Having spent his morning playing, chatting, exploring and eating the King fell asleep shortly before his little brother made his grand entrance into the world.
My cup runneth over.
I am so happy for our friends!
Babies are such a blessing and these two boys are so loved!!
Catching up on the weekend -
Friday:
My fabulously talented photographer friend Melissa and our other friend Amber were finally able to carve out a 'date night' for the three of us.
It was loverly.
Great food (Melissa is an excellent cook!), yummy treats (Amber hooked us up with a trio of dessert from Rossmoor Pastries) and both the bubbly and conversation were both flowing and fun.
I left with a full heart and a full tummy.
And no pictures. That's how I know we enjoyed each other.
Saturday:
I mentioned here that I purchased a CRICUT from my friend Rachel, so Saturday I swung by her place to pick up my goods!

I also had the pleasure of feasting my eyes on this little angel and her too cute big sister!Fortunately for me, Rachel lives down the road from my dad so I stopped by his house while I was down there and he had a surprise for me:
A 3 tier, 36 piece cupcake carrier! Whoohoo!!
I was super excited being that I had seen the exact same one at my cousin's over NYE weekend, found out where she got it and thought "oh if they're there next time I go, I'll grab one" but knew deep down they would probably be gone.....so....
Umm...THANKS DAD!!!
After leaving his house, I was off to BJ's Brewery in Brea to meet up with a long lost friend.
Once again, thanks to the powers of Facebook I was able to re-connect with an old friend from my BCHS days.....who also happens to be an ex-girlfriend of my older brother's.
I know it seems a bit odd, to say the least, but we honestly had a great friendship outside of and after their relationship.
She was like the older sister I never had. Always listened to my 'drama' and stories, she entertained my flights of fancy and gave me sound advice.
She also let me borrow her clothes which , in my opinion, was pretty freakin rad as she was a 'stylish 90's teen' (think Cross Colors ; yeah... super fresh) , AND she had her the coolest room with her own phone line.
In short - she was my shero.
I hadn't seen her since I was in high school as we lost touch after I got busy with teen life and she was in college.
She recently moved back to the area so I was anxious to hang out and catch up!
We had the best lunch.
We met up about 12:30 and four hours later we were still talking.
It was the best feeling in the world to sit with my old friend and feel like no time has passed only a lifetime has passed - we are both married with little girls , have finished school and grown so much in that time.
But we remain friends.
Solid friends.

The coolest thing is that I know this meeting wasn't a fluke.
A 'let's catch up' and we never see each other again except in passing.
Nope, we have plans to get introduce our men and make this a regular thing.
I am so excited, to continue our friendship and see it grow!
After the-longest-lunch-ever I headed over to Monica's baby shower for more yummy snacks and kicked some serious boo-tay in all the games!
After the shower we headed up, cuddled up and watched Shrek: Forever After
Sunday:
Went to church to feed my soul and came back ready to tackle the grocery shopping.
There was a small attack that occurred when I was unable to locate my bless-ed Costco card but I just went to the store and got a replacement.
Came home with a trunk full of eats and got to preparing some yummy crock-pot BBQ Chicken....deelish!
Babe and I caught up on the DVR a bit and then called it a night......and then....well if you've gotten this far you know the rest!
 
Whew! I can honestly say there wasn't a whole 'lotta restin' happening over here but as always it was filled with our favorite people, lots of food and tons of laughter.
What more could I ask for?

What did y'all do this weekend?

Monday, January 10, 2011

home 2011

One of my goals this year is to get our house more organized and simplify things.
I have a tendency to be somewhat of a pack rat, albeit and organized and tidy pack rat, so I know there's a few things we could stand to lose.
When we moved the summer  before last, while planning a wedding, looking for a job and going through some other things (+ being a million degrees) so I never really got fully organized and things up &running the way I'd like them to.
Ideally that is.
To start with - I want to 're-do' our "office/craft room/ catch all" by the end of March.
I use the term 're-do' loosely and think I like Edie of LifeinGrace's "redecorange" a lot better.
Speaking of Edie - since I stumbled upon her blog a few days ago as well as this gem and this one have not been able to get decorating and design out of my head since.
I want my home to be a reflection of our personalities and right now - it's not really saying much about us.
It's functional and 'cute' but there's no real style or pizazz there. 
No painstaking attention to detail with knick-knacks placed here and there; no real rhyme or reason to the overall feel of the place.
I want color. I want pizazz!! 
So I scoured the blog-o-sphere to see what I could see and get some D.I.Y design ideas.
And boy did i get ideas!
There is so much stinking cute stuff out there! sheesh!
where do I begin?
With the budget obviously but first I need to figure out what the room's function is to be and plan to "re-decorrange" according to that ideal.
This room is supposed to be an office/ workspace not just for me but Babe as well.
The first thing I want to do is get rid of this huge desk and find something smaller and more colorful
Originally I wanted this desk from IKEA,
but at $119 its not a huge steal and that would totally blow the $200 budget I am giving myself.
Clearly I want / need a new desk but it should be both functional AND cute and then I saw this on LifeinGrace and just about died.
And my good friend Melissa has this area of cuteness
So I thought, how can I do that, and do it for less?
Solution: Find an old desk on Craigslist or at a yard or garage sale, paint it and ta-dah! 
New hotness just for me! And let's face it - I'm not really going to get up and go garage sale-ing, nor do I have the time, and Craigslist is such a crapshoot........so I decided I would check out the desks we have at my parent's homes (mine & my brothers) and see if those would be viable options.
I'll let you know how that goes.
I also want to have ample storage for my crafting and art supplies that are clearly labeled so there is no clutter that builds up!
Cuz let me tell ya, the clutter - it can kill you! (seriously, have you seen Hoarders?)

I'm also going to take before, during and after photos so you can see the whole process.
Or rather so I can make sure that my ideas don't look too wacky.
Wish me luck!

JAAAAZZZZ hands

(in my Oprah voice)

I'm pretty excited about the things that I've been able to accomplish over the last few days.
One of my Christmas gifts was a gift card so after promising not to use it on something super "practical"
I used  some of  it to purchase a few items that I've had my eye on for quite some time.
A few books to inspire, encouragne,challenge and stimulate my mind.
Some fancy new chalk to spruce up my  chalk frame's (sometimes) weekly menus and verses
 aaaand........(drumroll please)
I'm so excited!
After I purchased my other items yesterday I was toying around with the idea of what else to spend my money on.
I wanted it to be something good.
Something I would use/enjoy for a long time.
And for once I wasn't sure I wanted it to be makeup or clothes.
Gasp! Shocker, I know.
But since I work for this nifty company and we had a FABULOUS Urban Decay blowout - I was able to purchase 6 brushes, 2 smudge stick eyeliners and 1 box of gems for about $20.


all my loot!
 
the brushes

smoke out eye pencils - Mary Jane & Green Goddess
Those arrived last week.
I was thrilled to say the least
So I wasnt really in the market for beauty goods.
But I have been wanting a Cricut for a long time.
There are so many possibilities for creativity with that one machine.
It's been on my Amazon wish list for months. And I was seriously considering blowing the rest of my money on that.......when I checked good old Facebook and discovered my friend Rachel was selling hers!

the CRICUT , 3 cartridges , the mat and a cutting tool!
Hooray!
Lucky me!
Of course I've recently stumbled across a few more fabulous blogs, mostly on D.I.Y design as I have aspirations to "re-do" ( I use that term loosely) our "office/craft central".
It's totally not functional now.
Well that's not entirely true its functional but not in a way that's helping us.
So I have been thinking on ways to get that together in the next month or so.
More on that later.

I am sufficiently jazzed about my purchases and pleased as punch I didn't impulse buy anything I might later regret.
Now, the only question is - what will my first project be? 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recently I've mentioned Babe and I's potential desire to add to our little family here, here and even here!
Clearly I have babies on the brain!
In fact in the last 4 months it has become a major, relevant topic of conversation whereas 3 years prior.......the subject was totally off limits.
I have had several people close to me have babies within the last 3 years and each new little bundle tugs on my heart strings.
every.single.one.
Our dear friends, the Pierre's, are getting ready to welcome their second son.
A friend from college just welcomed her new little girl today.
Her oldest and my Sweet Pea were two weeks apart. 
We even have pics of them as newborns. (smiley face)
A co-worker gave birth to her too cute daughter in April and two more co-workers are pregnant now.
Everywhere I look there are babies!
I posted a few weeks ago about my friend Rachel's pregnancy experience and it's gotten me to thinking about my own.
Both past and potential........
and I have come to one conclusion:
I'm kind of afraid.
There is so much that can happen before, during and after........so much stress!
The 'what if's' are coming at me fast and hard and I am becoming susceptible to their questioning.
I don't like it.
I happened to check out  The Bump and clicked on " Pregnancy To-Do list" and "Conception Checkup Checklist". 
Ummm say whaat?
He has to stop eating Cottonseed Oil? what the heck? whats that in????
So many things, options, ideas and thoughts on the matter of pregnancy.
This whole 'business of being born' could be quite the conundrum for most women.
It's overwhelming all the things a woman has to think about and do prior to conceiving according to the 'public'. 
Charting Basal Body temps, ovulation schedules, figuring out when to stop birth control and start trying.
Planning our year and how we live it based on "when and if we get pregnant......."
What if we have trouble!? eek!
And then there all these 700 meeelion websites a woman can go to and find out if she's at risk, what the probability of complications are and what happens when those arise.
sheesh!
It's enough to make my head spin. 
I just want to have a baby! 
Another expression and extension of my wonderful husband and my goofy self.
So - now that I have freaked myself out enough to have a minor sense of panic......

I think we're just going to do it the old fashioned way (pun intended) and see what happens.

Do you have any fun trying to get pregnant stories? Was anybody else afraid of what might happen?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NYE 2010


This New Year's Eve we  wanted to keep it rather low-key.
We're not real big 'go out and dance the night away while ringing in the new year people.
No - we're the type who will get dressed up to stay at home and cook up a fabulous Filet Mignon, garlic mashed potatoes and french cut green beans w/ a lovely wine/champagne cocktail......
For the past 4 years or so Damon and I have stayed in watching classic movies and eating good while watching the clock strike 12.
This year was to be no exception. 
We invited a few like-minded friends (who also have children) over to partake in yummy treats, games ( we got Just Dance 2 for the Wii)
But then they canceled as they were coming down w/ "the sickness" - (fevers and everything) so we packed ourselves into the CR-V and headed out to the Valley to my sister-in-love's for some New Years Eve festiveness.....
And we had. a. BALL.
seriously.
We dropped Sweet Pea off w/ her older cousins to ring in the New Year w/ a bottle of apple cider each and we were off!
 A few of her friends, my hubby + cousins & close friends = a great freakin time.
bring it on 2011!

happy 2011 Babe!

sisters

the ladies of the night = dangerous combination

best friends for life
We ended up moving our party to another party that my cousin invited us to and continued our good time up in the hills of Hollywood.
The next day we all dragged ( and I do mean dragged) ourselves out of bed to prepare for the Gumbo feast that occurs annually on New Years Day.
One of the things that I love about my family is how we all come together........to eat.
No matter what we have gone through or where we were......everyone shows up to get their grub on.
And grub we did.
There was a HUGE pot of Gumbo
My Babe made two turkey breasts and homemade gravy.
We had collared greens and black eyed peas and for dessert?
My sister-in-love Tomi's award winning Apple Pies.
Deeeelightful.
YUM

look at all that crab!

black eyed peas for luck!
Although we were exhausted from the night before we had a great time hanging out w/ all of our family, the kids got to run around unsupervised and the dominoes were in full effect!
We ended up staying up til about 4am Sunday morning as I was helping my cousin clean up the kitchen and my husband was playing dominoes with his friends like he was 25 again!
Finally went to bed about 3:30am and slept until about 11am when we decided to head back home due to the rain.
Upon returning home to the polar ice caps (seriously it was 58 degrees INSIDE my house) we ate, and promptly all passed out.
Still haven't taken down the Christmas decorations but that will happen within the next few days.....
I am sad to see it go but excitedly anticipating what this year will bring!

What did y'all do to ring in the New Year?




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