Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Southern Winter Wonderland!

Never thought you would see all those words together in one sentence now did ya? I cant say I was looking forward to the mess that I knew was coming our way but oh how much feelings have changed!

So we'll touch on the fact that I haven't been around much this week and truth be told I just didn't feel like it, so I didn't. My week has pretty much looked like this thus far...

Fantastic winter tights for cold days!

Pretty winter to-go cups for cold mornings when you need to be out the door!

Amazing home made spaghetti sauce for my zucchini lasagna! The key really is super fresh basil and lots of vegetables! 

Home made zucchini lasagna!

Beautiful southern sunsets that were literally the calm before the storm!

As you know winter in the South is far from winter in the North.. and that is part of the reason we live here. I absolutely despise winter! I hate the cold and 5-6 months of bundling up and shoveling and all that jazz. We had a very little bit of snow a week ago and honestly I wasn't thrilled by any means. The thought of having snow just made me miserable, having said that I would take the snow over the cold! 

We've been aware for quite some time that snow was going to hit us this week and as the days passed panic set in and the amounts expected seemed to rise. I honestly cant help but laugh at the hysteria that takes place over a LITTLE BIT of snow! Knowing the snow would come yesterday Monday was a big deal! They cancelled schools for Tuesday and gave delays for Wednesday (before the snow even came). They asked people not to go to work yesterday and specifically addressed Northern transplants to NOT DRIVE. They made a point of saying they understand that we may not understand the concern as we would have most likely experienced much worse winters at home but it is very different here. They had the road maintenance people come on TV and plead with people to stay off the roads as their job of plowing was dangerous enough, they didn't need to worry about cars all around them. HA! 

Everything was basically closed yesterday, they said on the news it was going to be hard to get milk and bottled water (I mean really?), they said it was possible to get a shovel and truthfully I probably should have but I figured I wasn't about the run all over town looking for a store that actually stayed open to get a shovel. 

At about 5:00pm I went outside to get the mail and the air was cool and crisp and the smell of snow was in the air and then and there I just knew I was going to love this storm. I don't know what it is about the smell of snow in the air but it was wonderful! I went out multiple times last night just to smell it, I so thoroughly enjoyed watching the snow fall! At 11:00pm I was outside just staring at the peacefulness of the whole thing.. a fresh white blanket of beautiful untouched snow everywhere, the smell in the air.. jack frost nipping at my nose! It all sounds corny but and yes I hate snow but I've never had it in such moderation before. Having one good snow fall a year is fantastic! I will be fine if it doesn't snow again all year! 

This is what is looked like last night before I went to bed...

So pretty!!

My night was so relaxing watching the snow, watching the fire and receiving such incredibly thoughtful gifts! I was sitting on the couch last night watching TV when the doorbell rang... I went to the door and there was a big parcel sitting on the doorstep... I love parcels! Check out my view for the night and the contents of my parcel...

My Mom sent me the most thoughtful parcel. Its been a really long week (yes I know its Wednesday) and I haven't been sleeping at all! These bouts of insomnia take a toll and so my Mom sent this amazing parcel and I couldn't be more grateful! I opened it up and cried when I saw all the wonderful things inside as it really was such a nice and thoughtful gesture. Near or far I can always count on my Mom to be exactly that, my Mom. She always takes care of me, even as an adult, she always does for me an any way she can to make me feel better or put a smile on my face. I am SO extremely lucky! Thank you again Mom I am so grateful for the parcel, the stress relieving body lotion is absolutely INCREDIBLE! I smell amazing! HA!

I was excited to go outside this morning and enjoy the snow, crazy I know! I realized right away I really should have gone and bought a shovel because there is a decent layer of ice under all that snow. The snow is heavier then I expected and truthfully although it is not a lot by northern standard its is quite a bit for here. 

I bundled up in my hat and winter jacket, hunter boots and headed out! That wonderful smell was in the air still and it was nice to be out there in the cooler weather! I took swept off the stairs, cleaned off the truck and walked around the yard taking pictures! Have a gander!

See we got a little bit! I really enjoyed being out there this morning in the snow, cleaning it up and walking around! Made me miss home a little truth be told! But then again I have to deal with it once a year if that and at home they have been dealing with the most horrific cold! I definitely don't miss that! 

I hope all of you in the North are staying warm, I am off to enjoy the outdoors a little more today! 

Have a wonderful day!!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Capris & Flip Flops in January!!

Listen before you all hate my because of the title know that we are already under a winter weather advisory for tomorrow and Wednesday! They are calling for really cold weather and quite a bit of snow for the south! So I assume today is Mother Natures way of making up for what shes about to pull!

I have been sleeping terribly but still making the biggest effort I can to get up in the morning and run. Yesterday and today especially because I knew that miserable weather was coming. Today however is absolutely EXCEPTIONAL! It is 65 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny as can be! I had to do some running around this afternoon and it is BEYOND gorgeous out!

So as much as I really wanted to blog today, in combination with the fact that I am basically on day two with 1-2 hours sleep a night and it is so gorgeous out and I want to take advantage of it before tomorrow hits I will be back tomorrow with something more interesting!

I hope you are all staying warm in the North... like I said we are getting it tomorrow, no fear!

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday Snack Ideas

As I am sure you all know Super Bowl is right around the corner and this week upcoming week is probably going to be when you all start party planning and figuring out what to make! So I thought I would stop in today and give you a little help! Sadly there will be no party happening on this end, so I have all the time in the world to help you all plan with things that I may have done if we were celebrating here this year!

In case you were wondering our lack of festivities really has nothing to do with the fact that the Patriots are out I swear, I will be watching! However I am telling you right now I hope Denver wins strictly on account that Richard Sherman is a douche bag and after his whole "I AM THE BEST" speech I hope the Seahawks crash and burn.

ANYWAYS! I have been doing some pinning and reading other blogs about the upcoming big day and I thought sharing a few Ideas would be helpful.. so shall we?

1. Barbecue Chicken French Bread Pizza - umm hello! Party in my mouth!
You can find the recipe on my Pinterest HERE and pin it or you can go straight to the website it came from HERE.

  • 1 loaf of french bread
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 TBS cilantro, chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut your french bread loaf in half (hot dog style).
  3. Spread bbq sauce evenly over the top of each french bread loaf.
  4. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the mozzarella over the top of each loaf.
  5. Spread chicken, red onion and cilantro evenly over both loaves.
  6. Top with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to turn golden. 
Easy enough right? I think it sounds AMAZING... although right now I think everything with bread sounds amazing because I haven't eaten it in almost 3 weeks. Down another 2lbs though!

2. Enchilada Stuffed Mushrooms - because lets be honest who doesn't love Mexican in any way shape or form!

You can pin this recipe from Pinterest HERE or see it directly on the website it came from Lauren's Latest HERE. 


20-24 baby bella mushrooms
6 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmigianno regianno cheese
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 green onion, sliced {white and green parts}
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup red enchilada sauce
any desired toppings: sour cream, salsa, cilantro, etc.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease baking dish with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
Remove stems from mushrooms and wipe caps with damp cloth to remove any dirt. Place into baking dish.
In a small bowl, stir cream cheese to soften. Pour in parmesan cheese, taco seasoning, green onion, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Spoon filling into cleaned mushrooms. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake 20 minutes until browned and bubbly. Serve hot.

I highly recommend checking out the website on this one, Lauren lays out the recipe in pictures and print, step by step!

3. Tyson Chicken Buffalo Kabobs - this is genius! 

If you don't follow Kimberly over at A Night Owl Blog then you really need to stop what you are doing right this second and go and do so! Kimberly is a wizard with foods and crafts, this woman works a full time job, has two children and manages to put out the most incredible blog posts everyday with fun food and crafts that only make your life better. 

You can pin this recipe on Pinterest HERE or you can go directly to Kimberly's website HERE. 

  • Tyson Buffalo Chicken Strips
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Ranch or bleu cheese dressing
  • Bamboo skewers
  1. Cook Tyson Buffalo Chicken Strips according to the directions on the package.
  2. Once done, cut buffalo chicken strips into chunks.
  3. Wash, clean and cut carrots and celery into chunks.
  4. Cut an “X” pattern in the middle of the carrot chunks to make them easier to skewer.
  5. Then starting with the celery chunk, alternate chunks of celery, carrot and Tyson Buffalo Chicken on the skewers.
  6. Serve with a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing!
Are you getting as hungry as I am right now?

4. Fried Pickles - as if pickles on their own weren't spectacular enough!

This is actually from another blog I follow - Table for Two. I am a lover of fried pickles (hence my recent weight gain) and since my last venture with them at the Tribeca Tavern I think of them fondly often. 

You can pin this receipt on Pinterest HERE or you can check out the recipe directly at Table for Two HERE. 


1 16 oz. jar of dill pickle slices, drained and pat dry with paper towels
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 quart canola oil, for frying
Thermometer, frying
Spider strainer, for frying


  1. Heat oil in a large deep pot (like a Le Creuset Dutch Oven) until temperature reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While oil is heating up, in a shallow bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder.
  3. In small batches, coat pickle slices in cornmeal flour mixture and place on a baking sheet while you finish coating the rest.
  4. When ready place pickle slices in spider strainer and gently place in oil. You don’t want to put too many in at once, otherwise the oil temperature will drop. Do them in small batches. I think I did about 10-12 each time.
  5. Flip the pickle slices over after 3 minutes and fry the other side for another 3 minutes. You’re really looking to just get the pickle slices a light color brown.
  6. Place fried pickles on a plate with a paper towel to drain.
  7. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.

5. Oven Baked Potato Wedges - A staple in our house! I make these for Jason sometimes when we have turkey burgers on the grill or just for a treat, they are fantastic, way better then deep frying and absolutely FULL of flavor. 

You can pin this recipe on Pinterest HERE or you can get it directly from the website with pictures and all right HERE at Natasha's Kitchen!

Ingredients for Baked Potato Wedges:
4 russet potatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Cost to Make: $2-$3
Serving: 4-6

How to make Baked Potato Wedges:
(preheat oven to 450˚F)
1. Wash & cut potatoes into wedges by cutting lengthwise in half then slice each half into 3 slices.

2. Place potatoes in a bowl of water with about 2 cups of ice cubes. Let them stand for 30 min then pat dry with paper towels.
3. Place 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp black pepper in to a large ziplock bag. Add potatoes and shake them together. Next add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the bag and toss until potatoes are coated.
4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place potatoes on the lined sheet and bake at 450˚F for 30-35 min until the potatoes are cooked through, browned and crispy.
5. While potatoes are baking, chop 2 Tbsp fresh parsley and grate 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and place both into a large mixing bowl.
6. Toss potato wedges  in the mixing bowl with parsley and cheese.
Serve with ketchup, or ranch,… or fry sauce. Just wash your hands before you start because you’ll likely lick your fingers. 

6. Corn Bread with Crispy Bacon and Caramelized Onions - because in the south we do it right!

You can pin this recipe on Pinterest HERE or you can wander over to The Cozy Apron and check it out with pictures HERE.

(Serves about 10-12, depending on sizes of slices)


- 6 strips apple smoked bacon (raw), finely chopped
- ¼ red onion, finely minced
-  Salt
-  Black pepper
- 1 ¼ cups cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 7 tablespoons melted butter
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup pepper-jack cheese, grated


-Preheat the oven to 425°, and butter a 8 ½” x 8 ½” x 2” (roughly) baking dish.
-Place a large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and once hot, add in the chopped bacon and cook until crispy and golden brown; remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and allow it drain on paper towel; set aside for a moment.
-Next, pour most of the bacon grease out of the pan, leaving back about 1-2 tablespoons; with the heat on medium/medium-low, add in the minced red onion, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and caramelize it for a few minutes until very soft, sweet and golden-brown; remove from the pan and set aside for a moment.
-Prepare the cornbread batter by adding the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt to a large bowl, and whisk to combine those dry ingredients; next, add to the dry ingredients the buttermilk, the eggs, the melted butter and the honey, and gently fold/stir just until combined; add in the crisped bacon, the caramelized red onion and about half of the cheese, and fold those ingredients in, just until combined; pour the batter into the buttered baking dish, sprinkle over top the remainder of the grated cheese, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted; allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving. Serve with salted whipped butter and some honey on the side.

7. Puff Pastry Jalapeno Poppers - I mean really what is Football Sunday without a good excuse to drink more beer?

I am a huge fan of these babies! I have seen them made a bunch of different ways and no matter how you spin it they are fantastic! It will definitely depend on your taste buds whether or not you will consider this a party in your mouth or a downright bad joke! Depending on where you live the heat of the Jalapeno's you buy will vary.. sounds crazy I know. I highly recommend always removing the seeds!

You can pin this recipe on Pinterest HERE or you can jump on over to the creators website at Recipe Sweet HERE.  

(Sorry that's as big as I could get the pictures!)

  1. 12 jalapenos, halved and seeds removed
  2. 1 box puff pastry (2 sheets)
  3. 8 ounces cream cheese
  4. ½ cup bacon pieces
  5. 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  6. 4 cloves garlic
  7. 1 egg
  8. Olive oil 
Set these babies on a baking sheet, with parchment paper if you are not keen on scrubbing a pan! Lay them our far enough apart to allow for the dough surrounding to rise. Bake them exactly like you would a regular crescent roll, lets be honest no one looks at the time they just continue to open the oven every 10 minutes and take them out when they are brown. Same rules apply! Maybe have some milk on the side if this is your first time?

8. Smoked Mozzarella Pizza Bread - Anything that includes the word pizza is good in my books! 

Obviously with any of these recipes you can put your own spin on it, I definitely encourage you to do so! If the recipe calls for Mozzarella and you prefer Gouda.. change it up! Do what makes you happy! 

If you want to pin this recipe on Pinterest you can do so HERE or you can head on over to Go Bold with Butter and check out the recipe from its origin HERE.

Sadly it looks like Blogger has failed me again and will not let me post pictures (I swear I am losing patience), so I will give you the recipe anyways!

1 round sourdough bread loaf
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 cup Smoked Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Marinara sauce for dipping


Preheat oven to 350°F. Sliced a round of sourdough bread lengthwise and then crosswise to about ¼ inch from the bottom of the round.
Place butter in a microwave safe bowl with oregano and garlic salt and cook for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds. Take out of microwave and drizzle in 1 tablespoon increments into each side of cuts of bread, reserving 1 tablespoon butter.
Combine the Smoked Mozzarella and Parmesan together and stuff slits of bread with cheese. Drizzle top with remaining tablespoon of butter. Wrap bread round in foil and bake for 30 minutes then open foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve immediately with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Because I don't want to lose this whole post and don't have a lot of faith in blogger I will leave you with a few links I think are worth checking out for your party planning this week! I hope you all enjoy the big game, GO BRONCOS!

Football Party Ideas with Free Printables - Pin HERE.

75 of the Best Appetizers - Pin HERE. 

25+ Buffalo Chicken Recipes - Pin HERE.

100 of the Best Popcorn Recipes - Pin HERE. 

The Best of Football Snacking - Pin HERE.

31 Guilt Free Superbowl Snacks - Pin HERE.

Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower - Pin HERE. 

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus - Pin HERE.

And last but not least for those of you who are not beer drinkers (do those really exist), I highly recommend taking a peak at my DRINK UP board on Pinterest and find yourself something good for the big day!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gifts From The Heart

Well y'all, WE GOT SNOW! I honestly cant believe it.. they were ready to shut down life here last night for the chance of snow and usually here a chance of snow means absolutely nothing at all, but last night it meant some legit snow! Don't get me wrong nothing like you Northerners get but for the South, it was some SNOW! I cant say that I've missed that crap, the temperature dropped, the snow started and let me tell you it is QUITE nippy here today as well and the stuff is still on the ground. I will let you see for yourself!

My hubby.. a true Northerner!

Yes, he is catching snowflakes on his tongue!

Woke up to this nonsense this morning! 

That's how cold it is here.. it wont go away!!!

Anyways I have been trying to post this for awhile and I think my blog might actually allow it today (fingers crossed) so here is my intended post!!

Good Evening All, 

I feel like shit, in case you were wondering! I don't know what the deal is but I can tell you one thing I really hope that its not this nasty flu epidemic going around North Carolina because as of today 28 people have died since October! This week alone 5 adults in the State of died and one infant. Scary. 

I'm not going to lie I stayed in bed late today because I just did not sleep at all last night, its been a running theme this week, oh insomnia I will never understand why you constantly choose to rear your ugly head! The last couple of nights it seems impossible for me to get any sleep at all, I toss and turn and feel extremely exhausted and groggy but none the less I don't sleep, I continue to toss and turn. Because this seems to be an ongoing issue and Jason isn't having much more luck we decided to also see what we could do today about issues with our bed. 

In September when we closed on the house we bought a new bed, naturally. Then you remember the debacle that was the Kirby assholes and having to get our bed replaced? Well when they replaced the bed we noticed off the bat it wasn't very comfortable, not nearly as comfortable as we had once thought it was and now that we have had the bed about 6 weeks we are noticing that the mattress is already misshapen, when we get out of bed in the morning you can see the imprints of where we both sleep and it doesn't go away. I sleep curled up on my side, Jason sleeps in the very middle of the bed and the small space between us there is a big lump! We are not happy. Anyways we went to Michael's today to see about custom framing for a picture we have and noticed in the same little strip mall was a Mattress Firm which is where we bought our mattress from. Long story short we are within the 90 day period to be able to exchange it and after spending quite some time with the salesmen and hearing that our bed is often returned and has warranty issues, etc we are thinking about getting a whole new bed. So we need to take pictures of it tomorrow and send it in and go from there. It should not cost us anything, hopefully. I would rather deal with it now then deal with it again in 5 years, besides maybe a new bed will help me sleep!

That's about it here truthfully, I made dinner tonight and my stomach was feeling off and once I started to eat it was really feeling off! So I stopped eating and planted myself on the couch with some bubbly water and basically just want to watch Criminal Minds and go to bed. 

Anyways I really didn't stop here to ramble, although that seems to happen often! I really wanted to share some new additions to our home that I feel deserve some special attention. I personally LOVE home made gifts, I just feel like they are so much more personal and I love that things in our home will have a story. We have really stuck with a theme throughout the house of rustic chic, I would say the flooring on the first floor and all of our wooden furniture would fall under this category! 

Just before Christmas my parents sent a parcel with a few gifts they hadn't directly shipped here from where they purchased it and in that parcel was a wonderful house warming gift from the very talented Cathy! Cathy is a WONDERFUL photographer, you can see some of her beautiful work on her Facebook page Whispering Souls Photography. I love so many of Cathy's photos but there is one that she took that I really loved, so much so that I could definitely have saw myself putting it up in our home. Well in that Christmas parcel my parents sent was a copy of this picture I had expressed my love for months prior. 

I was so touched that Cathy remembered and went out of her way to make a copy of this photo for our home, we are honored to hang it! Sadly pictures are where we have been lacking in regards to decorating, mostly because we truly cannot decide on anything because Jason is beige, however he shares the same feelings as I for the photograph Cathy sent! So after the holiday chaos we went on a mission to find the perfect frame! My thoughts were to get someone that stuck with our theme, went with the color that is currently in our downstairs powder room (where we decided to display the picture) and something I felt would work when we do finally paint that room. 

For a long time, since we first started looking at paint samples Jason has been set on painting that bathroom Benjamin Moore's - Smoke Stack Gray... take a look!

We somehow managed to find the perfect frame not far into our search at Target (I love that place) and I feel that not only does it look great in the bathroom but it compliments this picture beautifully! What do you think?

I absolutely love the picture and could not be happier with the frame we picked! It has been up for a week or so and every time I go into that powder room I swoon over the whole ensemble! We couldn't be more grateful to Cathy for thinking of us and sending one of her beautiful works of art! We are extremely grateful! Thank you again Cathy!!

I mean if that wasn't good enough as you all know after Christmas my Dad, Aunt and Uncle came down for a visit and although I knew it was coming I was beyond excited for what my Dad was bringing!!

Last year for Christmas Dad made Aunt Bren a GORGEOUS coat rack and when we were home for a visit she was showing us and I was wondering where she got it and would she sell it to me! When she told me Dad made it I wasn't totally shocked, Dad is pretty damn handy but this was beyond impressive. Long story short she wouldn't sell it and odds were I couldn't have got it out of the house without her seeing, its kind of big. None the less I had convinced her the room we stay in downstairs would be a GREAT place to put it! HA!

So after we got the house and Dad was aware of just how much Jason and I both loved the coat rack he decided that he would make us one! I was beyond excited and couldn't wait to get it up in the house. Before they arrived Jason and I did a lot of thinking about where we wanted it, and where it would fit best! A couple days into their visit it was miserable and raining and it was finally time to hang that beauty! 

Again it totally goes with out rustic theme, there are no words really to describe the unique beauty of this coat rack so I am just going to show you! 

Isn't it amazing? The uniqueness of the wood, all of the knots and worn edges! The gorgeous distressed railroad spikes that are completely usable. Sad but true I hate to hang anything on it and cover it up, I absolutely love it! I love telling people MY DAD made it for us when they swoon over its intricate beauty! It is a PERFECT addition to our home and a gorgeous focal point for all of those who walk in the front door! We couldn't be more pleased with it! Thank you Dad for all your heard work, bringing it a thousand miles and helping Jason hang it, we look at it always with admiration and think of you! WE LOVE YOU!

When we first got the house I was happy to pick things at first sight, Jason however insists on going to a million places even if we find something we love at our first stop. These pieces have taught me that sometimes the perfect item is worth the wait, these personal items are WAY better then anything we could have picked up at any store! I love that these pieces are in our home and we will have them forever, like so many others. I look so forward to all the other items we will add over the years! 

PS - Dad I could use one of these babies for my closet, as you saw I am limited on space! *wink wink*

Well it seems to have finally worked... lets see once I hit publish!! Hope you are all staying warm today!! I am off to work out, inside of course and then hibernate for this afternoon as this cold is for the birds! 

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