Hair Journey Update: Winter 2014

relaxed hair care regimen

Hey guys-- do you know what today is? Today marks my first hair journey update of the year! While my relaxed hair care regimen has remained the same for the most part, I've seen a few changes in my hair over the last few months. While most of the subtle changes are positive, others have been a bit disappointing. On the brighter side of things, I've experienced some growth, I'm even more in tune with what my hair needs, and I'm finally buckling down with my consistency. On a sad note, however, I've experienced some postpartum shedding and thinning edges. I'll get into that in a minute, though. Thank you all for continuing to check in and read about my updates. Sharing them here have really helped with my goals! Now on to the good stuff!

Hair Stats
Last relaxer: February 15, 2014
Next relaxer: May 24, 2014
Last Trim: January 21, 2014
Current Length: slightly APL (after trim)

Current Goals:
1. Obtain overall thickness, as opposed to length.
2. Grow back crown breakage. 
3. Try new low-manipulation hairstyles 
(twist-outs and braid-outs) 
4. Stick to my routine! Remain consistent in my hair care. 
5. Keep it simple- moisturize and seal. cleanse. deep condition. 

In remaining consistent, I must make sure to stick to these tasks:
1. Use little to no direct heat.
2. Moisturize + seal and wear bonnet each night.
3. Deep condition weekly under the dryer.
4. Massage scalp with Hair Trigger 2-3x weekly.
5. Apply JBCO to edges and ends nightly.
6. Use what I have- no purchasing of any new products. 
Exception: running out of staples.

The Stretch

Prior to February 15, 2014, my last relaxer was on October 25, 2013. I stretched for exactly 16 weeks and one day. And honestly, I think this was one of the toughest stretches since being on my healthy hair journey. Not only did I experience lots of shedding in December, my edges began thinning. So I stopped wearing my everyday bun and tight wig cap to see if these things were contributing factors to my thinning edges. I learned later, however, that post-partum shedding was the culprit for my more-than-usual bout of shedding.

Since I had abandoned my bun and heavy weave/wig wearing, I decided to try more low-manipulation styles. I must say, this is the best thing I've done during my stretch. I finally mastered bantu-knot outs and had even started using flexi-rods!

relaxed hair styles medium length hair relaxed hair styles for medium length hair

As far as products and practices, I've stayed true to keeping it simple. In a nutshell, I cleansed, moisturized, sealed, and protective styled my way through. I did, however, do more deep conditioning with protein conditioners under heat (or while in the shower under a cap). My two favorite light protein conditioners are still Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor and ORS Replenishing Conditioner. And because I am on a strict no-buy, I still haven't purchased any new products. I've only repurchased staples.

When winter finally did set in, I started moisturizing with my beloved Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer. I continued to seal with grapeseed oil nightly or every other night. I also continued to add a drop of JBCO to the ends of my hair every other night after moisturizing and sealing. Since using the grapeseed oil and JBCO, my hair has become much thicker.

The Process

Per my usual relaxer process--I applied the Optimum Care No-Lye Relaxer. Directly after relaxing and rinsing out the relaxer, I applied ORS Replenishing Conditioner to replenish the lost protein.  After rinsing out the protein I neutralized, cleansing thoroughly, and conditioned once more with the conditioner that comes with the relaxer. I then rinsed, squeezing out the excess water with a t-shirt. Then I applied a spray of Aphogee Keratin and Green Tea Reconstructurizer as my leave-in conditioner.  I moisturized and sealed with Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer and coconut oil, then just a drop of GVP Silk Remedy before wrapping it and putting it in my scarf + bonnet for the night.  

The Results

The day after relaxing, my hair felt soft, yet strong. The shedding had definitely decreased, as I didn't notice many shed hairs as I was taking my hair down. My crown is growing back pretty fast, too. The added protein, low-manipulation styles, and scalp massages have probably contributed to that. So despite the minor challenges in the last few months, I can say that I've seen improvements in my hair health.

In the upcoming months, I will be trying more protective and low-manipulation hairstyles. Since I had so much success with the flexi-rods and bantu-knots, I'm going to try perfecting my braid-outs and perm rod sets. 

I will continue to use JBCO on my edges and ends and implement more ceramides into my regimen. I may take the plunge and buy hempseed oil and wheat germ oil to add to my deep conditioning soon. I will also continue to do scalp massages every other night.


When Did You Fall In Love With Hip Hop?

I can remember that thang like yesterday (via Big Boi's voice from Spottieottiedopaliscious) when I first heard Nas's Illmatic booming through my uncle's speakers in his bedroom.  His room was reminiscent to Rap City's The Bassment, complete with crates of records, tapes, 8-tracks, discs, and enough hip-hop magazines to feed the curious child's appetite.  I WAS IN HIP-HOP HEAVEN.  As The World Is Yours is playing in my head in retrospect to the memory, I recall dissecting the lyrics as the were spewed from the speakers.  I really wanted to feel what Nas was talking about.  Wanting to know what Nas was talking about led to wanting to know what 2Pac, A Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang, and all those other cats were talking about.  My curiosity soon became a craving for the lyrics, the rhymes, and the infectious beats.  Thus began my love affair with Hip-Hop.

While I'm a little too young to say I started rocking it out with Slick-Rick, Dougie Fresh, or the SugarHill Gang, I can say I'm old enough to appreciate the art-form of Hip-Hop that originated in NY in the 70's.  To show my appreciation, I would like to highlight 10 songs that introduced me to hip-hop, made me fall in love with hip-hop, and has forever bound my heart to its early message of social-consciousness, despite the attempts to dilute its originality.

Check the list and tell me all about your faves.  
Note that these are in no particular order but are the first ones that come to mind.  


from the archives: april 2011

7 Days of Love | The Sexy Playlist

Happy Valentine's Day, beautiful people! Alas, we have reached the final day of our "7 Days of Love" collaboration, and I must say it's bittersweet. I've had fun engaging with you guys this week. We've talked about ways to keep our marriages hot & sexy, we've shared stories about our first kiss with our husbands, and we've even given you a few ideas for date night looks and romantic Valentine's Day dinners. And to end it all with a bang, we're sharing a playlist of our favorite sexy songs to set the mood. Now y'all know this is right up my alley, right? If I could, I'd make you all a mixtape for the occasion! But since I can't, I'm going to share a lengthy list of my favorites with you guys. Now let me warn you ahead of time-- some of these songs are not for the faint of heart. I'm gonna take it easy with a few of them myself, as I am not ready to be running behind baby # 4 yet, lol. Check out the list, though. I hope you see something you like!


1. Would You Mind- Janet Jackson
2. Seconds of Pleasure- Van Hunt
3. Love You Down- Silk
4.Til The Cops Come Knockin'- Maxwell
5. The Panties- Mos Def

6. Etcetera- R. Kelly
7. On My Way- Ginuwine
8. Upstairs- Trey Songz
9. 'Bout It, Bout It- Jesse Powell
10. Before I Let You Go- Blackstreet

11. Seems Like You're Ready- R. Kelly (J's Pick)
12. Teach Me- Miguel
13. Untitled (How Does It Feel)- D'Angelo
14. Anytime, Anyplace- Janet Jackson
15. Sex Games- Case

16. Insatiable- Prince
17. Nice 'n Slow- Usher
18. Butta Love- Next (J's Pick)
19. Speechless- Beyonce'
20. The Love Scene- Joe

21. Say Yes- Floetry
22. Just Once, Oncemore, Three Times- Rome
23. Love Faces- Trey Songz
24. Pretty Girl- Jon B.
25. After 12, Before 6- Sam Salter


Now visit these ladies & see what they're listening to:

7 Days of Love | PINspiration for a Romantic Dinner at Home

Today marks Day 6 of our "7 Days of Love" collaboration. It seems like this week is just flying by, doesn't it? If today is your first day on the blog, the "7 Days of Love" is a week-long collaboration between The Green Eyed Lady BlogBaby TeemsThe Chic SAHM and myself. Since Saturday we've been blogging about love and romance per 7 given prompts. And it's been so much fun blogging with them these last 5 days! Now, it wouldn't be a Valentine's Day collaboration if we didn't share our take on a romantic dinner date, would it? Today's prompt gives us the opportunity to showcase that for you. 

Since the snow and icky weather is upon us, our Valentine's Day plans have been up in the air. Everything looks a little uncertain. But, if you know me well, you know I don't approach anything without having a plan or a list. If we aren't able to go out for a romantic dinner, I have plans to create one right here at home! Thanks to Pinterest,  I have a few cool ideas to go by.

My first concern was creating a romantic, yet simple ambiance in the living area. I came across Stacy Naquin's beautiful Valentine's Day Tablescape on Pinterest and instantly fell in love with her beautiful theme! It had a very elegant and romantic feel. It was a design that would work for just J and I, but also for the entire family, should we all be together having this dinner.

{Stacy Naquin Interiors}

As far as the actual dinner is concerned, I'm keeping it simple and sweet. I'll prepare a grilled chicken Caesar Salad, for starters. My husband always loves to begin his dining experience with a good, hearty salad. I might even take the time to ditch a store-bought dressing and hit up Brittnei for a homemade dressing recipe.

We all love pasta around here, so the main dish would be some type of pasta. And since it's a special occasion, I'll spare hubby the usual Baked  Ziti, Rigatoni, Pizza Casserole, Manicotti or Alfredo. I found a recipe for Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta on Pinterest by The Pink Gourmet and would love to try this out. That's four things J loves all wrapped into one simple dish! 

{Just a Good Recipe}

For dessert, I'm trying out these Red Velvet + Cheesecake Brownies I found on Spark People Recipes via Pinterest. Don't they look divine? Hubby doesn't really like sweets, so the children and I will probably wind up devouring them before the weekend's out.

{Spark People Recipes}

After wrapping up dinner, I'll be sure to get my babies to bed promptly. I'm planning to score some alone time with hubby. Check back tomorrow for a great playlist to "set the mood" for love!



For more romantic dinner date ideas, be sure to check out the girls!

7 Days of Love | Our First Kiss

Today marks the fourth installment of our "7 Days of Love" collaboration. If today is your first day on the blog, the "7 Days of Love" is a week-long collaboration between The Green Eyed Lady Blog, Baby Teems, The Chic SAHM and myself. Since Saturday we've been blogging about love and romance per 7 given prompts. And it's been a blast so far! Today's prompt asks us to recall our first kiss with our husbands. Here goes nothing!

I am going to keep it all the way real with you, ladies. I could not remember our first kiss for the life of me. When I read this prompt, my mind started racing. I calculated the years I've known him. I sifted through the memories of our first encounters. I smiled as I looked back at all of the sweet gestures he did when the relationship was fresh and new. But I could not remember our first kiss. So when we sat down and talked about sweet memories the other night, I asked him could he remember our first kiss. At first, he stared at me puzzled. He thought I was asking a trick question and that he could possibly "get in trouble" if he could not recall the date or time-- sorta like that whole remembering important anniversaries thing. But when he looked in my pitiful brown eyes and saw that I couldn't remember either, I could see that heavy sigh of relief rise from his chest, lol. Neither of us had a clue. So we begin to talk about our early days of getting to know each other. How we used to visit after school and on weekends. And when I remembered that one night he was dropping me off home and "Come to Daddy" by R. Kelly was playing in the Dually, I smiled as I recalled what I thought was our first kiss. 

Now I want to tell you that it was passionate. I want to tell you that I looked into his big beautiful brown eyes and was so enamored by him that we locked lips instantly, like Jason and Lyric did in the movie. "Come to Daddy" spilled loosely from the truck's speakers and all I saw were fireworks after that. That's what I really want to tell you. But because my husband just couldn't let me be great, he said that was not our first kiss. 

He says we were sitting up at his dad's house alone with some raunchy 50 Cent song playing in the background. I didn't even want to hear anymore after he said that, and I told him he was sadly mistaken. I wanted that memory to be a sweet, romantic, and sentimental one. Just imagining him & I all cuddled up on his dad's couch with that horrible song (that I'm not even gonna tell you the name) playing in the background makes me cringe lol. He could be right though. 

But since we deliberated on the issue for what seems like an hour, I grew frustrated. It was starting to feel like that episode of Martin when he and Gina were going back and forth about the night they first met. So for the sake of getting this post done in a timely manner, we thought it would be cool if we talked about our first public kiss. J isn't big on PDA, so we both remember that day perfectly. 

He came to visit me at WSSU for the weekend. It was a warm, late summer afternoon in 2003 and we were looking for things to do. We were both in an unusually great mood. I went from seeing him everyday to not seeing him for weeks, so I was glad to be next to him riding down the highway that day. And since it was so warm out, we decided to go to a local park after having breakfast. I had recently gotten Beyonce's Dangerously in Love CD and I recall "That's How You Like It" playing right before we got out of the car. We walked around the park hand-in-hand, something we had never done prior to that day. I sensed that he was growing more comfortable with me and was slowly beginning to take off his cool.  And I loved it. After walking down the nature trail and talking about some of everything under the sun, we took a seat at a picnic table. Within a few moments of exchanging sweet nothings, we kissed. Right there in the park. With people watching and everything! That was so not like J. But I was miles from "home" and I was sure no one from the "yard" was out at the park that day. And though it was short, simple, and sweet, I'll always remember that day. Though we had been dating for a while, his behavior that day showed me he was no longer afraid to show a softer side of himself. We always look back at that day and smile. And though we did quite a few other things that weekend, those moments at the park always stand out. 

Do you remember your first kiss with your mate?
Tell me all about it in the comments

And be sure to check out these beautiful ladies dish about their first kiss!

7 Days of Love | 5 Ways I Keep the Passion in Marriage

Happy Monday, loves! Today is Day 3 of the "7 Days of Love." If you missed the posts from the weekend, "7 Days of Love" is a week-long collaboration between The Chic SAHMThe Green-Eyed Lady BlogBaby Teems, and myself. During this week, we will be writing about love and romance, per 7 given prompts. Today's prompt asks us how we keep our marriages hot and sexy. Below, I have listed 5 ways I keep the passion burning with mine!

1. COMMUNICATION- Just as I mentioned on Saturday, open communication is a must. When it comes to keeping the passion in our marriages, we have to be able to express our innermost thoughts, desires and expectations with our mates without shame or guilt. If I want to try something different with my spouse, I know I can talk openly and candidly with him without judgment and vice versa. I can also count on my husband to try everything within his power to fulfill those desires. Your spouse has no sure way of knowing how to please you or keep you satisfied if you do not communicate about these things. 

2. PRESERVING MY SEXY- I've always loved that phrase every since I heard Diddy say it in a Proactive commercial. "Preserving your sexy" simply means making sure you are always looking your best. Whether it be keeping my hair nice and neat, my skin glowing and healthy, or my body in top physical fitness (ok, I need to work on this one), I try to always look my personal best. And trust me, you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it. Most of the time, I do my own hair, my own manicures/pedicures, and my own facials. There are many talented vloggers on YouTube that can show you how to do it all! It's totally worth it when I notice the way my husband still looks at me with desire and admiration after all these years :)

3. BUILDING HIS CONFIDENCE- I believe building confidence in my husband really keeps the fire burning in our marriage. Over time,  I have learned to be more vocal in my appreciation of him. When he cooks a dish (though it's rarely) I express how thankful I am and how well of a job he did. When he gets dressed up, I love to tell him how handsome he looks. And with everything he does that I like, I try to always give him positive feedback. Now I know that us women love "brownie points," but I never realized until now how much men enjoy them, too. It makes them want to please us and make us smile even more. And what man doesn't want to feel confident in knowing they are like Superman in the eyes of their wives?

4. DATE NIGHT IN- This is a really great option for hubby and I, as we are not always able to get out and go on dates. Sometimes, when all the kids are asleep, I'll make a special dinner just for him. I'll light candles, and create a very romantic ambiance right at home. If he wants to see a movie, I'll grab something on redbox or find something we haven't seen on Netflix and I'll set the mood for movie-viewing. I try to find a way to recreate anything he would want to do outside of the home, inside the home. That way, we can still spend quality time alone whether we have a sitter or not. And we can always retreat to the bedroom with ease afterwards :)

5. ROLE-PLAYING- Don't get the wrong idea, guys. Role-play is not exclusive to sex. Sometimes it's nice to switch your look or way of doing things up a bit. Those of you that know me well know I like to change my hairstyle quite regularly. And there's something about a new look that thrills my husband. They say that variety is the spice of life, so perhaps he feels like he's getting to know someone new when I change my hair. And since he responds so well to a change in my appearance, I am confident with implementing role-play on an intimate level. To read more about implementing role-playing ideas into your marriage, check out this article from All Women Stalk. Number 2 is definitely tried and true for me, perhaps because that's the role I'm most familiar with in real life. The imagination is a great tool for romance and has really heated things up in my marriage!

 What do you do to keep things 
hot & sexy in your marriage?

Click the links to see what my fellow partners do to keep their marriages spicy!

7 Days of Love | My Husband Reminds Me Of...

Today is Day 2 of the "7 Days of Love." If you missed the introduction yesterday, " 7 Days of Love" is a week-long collaboration between The Chic SAHM, The Green-Eyed Lady Blog, Baby Teems, and myself. During this week, we will be writing about love and romance, per 7 given prompts. Today's prompt asks us which celebrity our husbands remind us of.

I will admit, this topic was a tough one for me. At first, I couldn't think of any celebrities that remind me of my husband. However, quite a few of my family members say J reminds them of my celebrity crush, Michael Ealy. I don't know if it's the roles he plays or his mannerisms, but he definitely seems like the strong, silent, and humble type- pretty much like my husband. Now looking at Michael Ealy making this facial expression below really reminds me of J.

And while I don't think this person looks like my husband, he sure does remind me of him! T.I. is such a family man, much like my J. He spends most of his free time with the children. He makes sure they're involved in extra-curricular activities, keeps them enjoying "the good outdoors" with various projects, and is always giving them a lesson on morals and values. And you know how T.I. is about his "white room?" J is the same way about his beloved living room suite. Too bad the kids eat snacks and put their feet up in the couches anyways.

Now that I think of it, J and I would have made a cute little version of Rashad and New-New. J being all reserved and hard-working and me being all gum-popping and door-knocker rocking lol.

Does your husband or significant other remind you of any celebrity?

Be sure to stop by and check out my partners and their take on the topic. 

And if you'd like to join in, feel free to use the prompts and tell us about your post in the comments!

7 Days of Love | 3 Lessons Learned in Marriage

Hey guys! In celebration of Valentine's Day this upcoming week, I'm collaborating with three of my beautiful blogger friends on a series called the "7 Days of Love." Each day we will be talking about different topics with the approaching day of love in mind. 

For the first day, we are to discuss things marriage has taught us. Seeing as how J and I had been together 8 years before we got married, we learned a lot about relationships prior to saying "I Do." So to keep it light, airy and romantic around here, I'll discuss 3 major lessons being married for the last (almost) three years has taught me.

1. COMMUNICATION IS ESSENTIAL.  I feel like the main ingredient of any lasting relationship is great communication. J and I are able to talk about ANYTHING together and I'm very grateful for that. No matter what is going on or what kind of emotions I am experiencing, I know I can go to someone who has my best interest at heart. Sometimes I have a tendency to bottle my emotions in until the point that they come bubbling over. But being with J through the best of times and worst of times has shown me that I can truly depend on him to listen and really care about my feelings. If there is an issue within our marriage, I have no problem going to him and discussing it, either. While sometimes it may be tough, we always try our best to "talk it out" whenever something is bothering us. A little conversation about a matter can go a long way! 

2. DATE NIGHT, LUNCH DATES, & MONDAY MATINEES ARE A MUST. One would think that J and I spend a lot of time together, being that I'm a SAHM. But that's not always the case. Having children, with one being a 5 month old, can be quite taxing! So when I'm not spending time nurturing them, working on various projects, or taking care of the home, I'm trying to get a few winks in. Lately, however, I'm only able to catch those winks when J is home. With everyone being busy during the week and always having a meeting to attend, practice to go to, and extracurricular activities to work on, it's easy to lose that quality time a new marriage so desperately needs. That's why I make sure to schedule time throughout the month that J and I are able to spend alone without the children. Sometimes it happens in the daytime, sometimes we are lucky enough to score weekends. But whenever it's feasible, we do make the effort to do something together. Not getting that one-on-one time leads for two frustrated parents and no one wants to see that, trust!

3. THE CHASE SHOULD CONTINUE, EVEN AFTER VOWS ARE EXCHANGED. For some reason, the sanctity of marriage can get a bad rap these days, when it comes to intimacy. People assume, because of these played-out stereotypes, that married women stop fixing up and claim to have a headache when it's time to get intimate. Others think married men are sex-deprived and dream of living life like their single friends. None of this is true. Well at least not for me it isn't. Please understand that each individual marriage is what the couple makes of it. I still like to "get pretty" for my husband among other things, and he enjoys "getting to know me" on a deeper level. We still talk and ask each other questions as if we are getting to know each other all over again after eleven years. He still tells me I'm beautiful. I still tell him he blows my mind. We still date, role-play and all that other fun stuff. I say all of this to say, we've been learning that we can still keep the fire burning as long as we put in the work. Fireworks aren't gonna just shoot from the sky!

What lessons have you learned in your marriage?

Please be sure to stop by and check out my partners for the week. 
We are each married SAHMs that have something interesting to add to the mix.
So check them out and show them some love!

 Valentine's Day

Feel free to join in on the fun by using these prompts if you would like! 
We will be here all week :)

EVERYDAY MAKEUP | For Women on the Go

Moms and moms-to-be, how do you fix your face when you're in a rush? I'll admit that no matter what time I have to be somewhere, I'm spending the most time in the mirror. I used to be that mom who was nearly late to every event because I spent too much time doing my makeup. Morning appointments? Forget about it. PTO meetings? I was the last one to drag in. Oh and when I was working? I waltzed in the door at exactly 8:00 AM by the skin of my teeth. And all of that was because I thought in order to look presentable, I had to wear a time-consuming and completely beat face everywhere I went. 

But after I found out I was pregnant with Jj around this time last year, all of that time spent in the mirror was reduced to a minimum. For one, I didn't have the energy to do anything while battling morning sickness or a constant headache. Secondly, the last thing on my mind was fixing up, let alone wearing makeup. And lastly, the thought of committing to 30 minutes or more in the mirror seemed horrifying. "Ain't nobody got time for that" was indeed my attitude.  

However, after tweaking my routine and paring down my products to a minimum, I've created an easy everyday look. Read on to see how I achieved my everyday natural makeup look for moms and others on the go!

Everyday Makeup for Women On-The-Go

I always start my mornings with a clean, moisturized face. When doing a makeup look, however, I follow up the moisturizer application with primer. Recently I've been using mark. Primed for Perfection (not pictured). After priming, I fill in my brows with MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Spiked. I use soft, light strokes in areas of my brows that are sparse, so that the fill-in looks very natural. If I make any mistakes or go too heavy on the pencil, I correct using my concealer brush and MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC42, lining the top and bottom of my brows and blending the concealer in carefully (so I don't have that "halo effect" going on under my eyebrows). 

I then apply MAC Face and Body Foundation in C7 on my face and neck.  Though this foundation is light and water-based, it does an excellent job of evening out my complexion. For the fading dark spots I have on my chin and cheek, I go in and apply Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Foundation in Midnight Marigold with my concealer brush.  This is perfect for covering any scars one may have, though it's widely used for a full coverage foundation. I then set my foundation with MAC Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Dark

After setting my face, I apply Wet N Wild Mega Impact Mascara in Black to my lashes. It gives my lashes such great length and volume for only $3.49! Then, I add an application of MAC Lipstick in Shy Girl to my lips. It's the perfect nude lipstick! On the days I'm looking for a more glossed natural lip, I'll layer NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Perfect over Shy Girl. 

Now if you have a few extra seconds and want to add a bit of color to your look, you can add a flush of blush. For this look, I used La Femme Blush in Russet (not pictured) on both my eyes (lightly applying with my finger) and my cheeks. When in a rush, it's important to use products that are multi-functional!

All in all, it still only took me about ten minutes to achieve this look! I know with all of this text, it looks like a lot of work. But I wanted to be very detailed with this routine. And also take into consideration that you may not need all of these products. For instance, if you have perfectly arched or full brows, you don't need the pencil or concealer. If you don't need a base, you could use the Mineralized Skinfinish Natural without the Face and Body Foundation. And you could totally omit the blush + eye color if you would like! Remember, work your makeup routine in a way that works for your individual needs.

What does your everyday makeup routine look like?

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