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    Beauty

    10 Can’t-Live-Without Beauty Products, According to Readers

    I love reading product reviews, and I spend an embarrassing amount of time watching beauty videos on YouTube (FYI: Kathleen is a goddess). I have a long list of  beauty favorites I’ve discovered over the years, from skincare to makeup and everything in between. You can almost always find this priming moisturizer, this foundation, this cream blush and this liquid lipstick in my bag.

    BUT, if I had to pick a one and done, can’t-live-without product at the moment, it would be this facial moisturizerespecially in the summer. It’s not fancy by any means, but it gives my face a subtle, tanned glow and helps even out skin tone, so I can skip the foundation and still look fresh. It’s affordable and travel-friendly, too!

    I started thinking of beauty products and how certain products continually blow the socks off of beauty lovers everywhere. So, I wanted to hear from you guys. Because let’s be real — I’m always on the hunt. I posted the following question on Instagram stories, and the responses did not disappoint.

    “If you were traveling somewhere and could only pack ONE beauty product, what would you bring?”

    Here are the top beauty products that made the cut!

    Clinique Moisture Surge

    What is is: An intense moisturizer

    Product claims: Clinique touts its “auto-replenishing technology” and claims this product, with the help of activated aloe water, helps skin rehydrate itself. It also contains hyaluronic acid, and the product is proven to moisturize skin for up to 72 hours, even after you wash your face.

    Rave review: “Best moisturizer in the woooorld. It works so well without being oily. My skin soaks it up and feels so good. It’s spa-like without being a pharmaceutical grade price.” – Kate

    Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

    What is is: Tinted moisturizer

    Product claims: Works well for all skin types and has SPF 20, so it protects the skin from both UVA & UVB rays. It’s sheer, lightweight, moisturizing and adds a hint of color to the skin, so you can skip the foundation.

    Rave review: “Coverage, moisture AND SPF!” – Alexis

    Urban Decay One and Done

    What is is: Tinted moisturizer and skin treatment

    Product claims: Claims to blur imperfections and even out skin tone with the help of light diffusing spheres and Gatuline® Radiance (derived from the wu zhu yu plant), which helps improve the look of radiance, tone and texture over time. The formula is oil free, and contains nourishing ingredients, like peptides, vitamins and moisturizers. SPF 20 helps to protect skin against UVA and UVB rays.

    Rave review: “It’s the perfect base. I can wear it alone or mix in glow drops or mix in a more full coverage foundation with it. I can customize it for whatever makeup look I’m going for.” – Preeti

    NYX “Worth the Hype” Mascara

    What is is: Mascara

    Product claims: The buildable formula makes lashes appear fuller and longer. It also features a brush that tapers at the tip, making it ideal to reach even the shortest lashes at the inner corners of your eyes.

    Rave review: “It makes my eyelashes look super long without looking clumpy or like I’m trying too hard.” – Victoria

    NARS Multiple Orgasm

    What is is: Cream blush and highlighter

    Product claims: The creamy formula is easy to use and blends effortlessly into the skin. The bit of shimmer in the formula helps give the skin an peachy glow, and it can be applied to the eyes, lips, cheeks or body. It also contains powerful antioxidants Vitamin E and Acai Oil.

    Rave review: “It’s the perfect shade of peachy pink for my lips, cheeks and even eyes! Must have!” – Hailey

    Coco Kind Chia Seed Oil

    What is is: Moisturizing facial oil

    Product claims: This organic, virgin chia seed oil contains a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. It protects and nourishes dry skin, and delivers a powerful punch of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

    Rave review: “I have the most sensitive combination skin and it is the only thing that doesn’t irritate or make me break out. Plus it’s great on face, body, hair, literally everywhere. Obsessed.” – Natalie

    Benefit “Precisely, My Brow” Pencil

    What is is: Brow pencil

    Product claims: This ultra-fine brow shaping and defining pencil claims to draw incredibly natural hair-like strokes that last up to 12 hours.

    Rave review: “I love how much control you have with the fine tip. It allows me to fill in my brows quickly to get the exact shape I want.” – Karen

    It Cosmetics CC Cream

    What is is: Tinted moisturizer

    Product claims: Delivers color correction and sun protection (SPF 50+) in one convenient tube. The oil-free, lightweight formula is proven to fade imperfections, even out skin tone and prevent future discoloration.

    Rave review: “I love that it has SPF built right in!” – Katharine

    Neutrogena Hydroboost Hydrating Serum

    What is is: Hydrating serum

    Product claims: This formula contains hyaluronic acid, which can absorb up to 1000 times its weight in water. The unique serum formula helps you achieve a fully hydrated skin.

    Rave review: “It does wonders! Definitely something I’d bring wherever I go.” – Brittnee

    Sunday Riley’s UFO

    What is is: Clarifying facial oil

    Product claims: Formulated with clarifying plant oils like tea tree and black cumin seed oil, this facial serum also works to combat fine lines and wrinkles, revealing a more even and smooth complexion.

    Rave review: “It’s seriously transformed my skin! It’s finally looking better!” – Meredith

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    What is your can’t-live-without beauty product? Share in the comments!

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    Beauty

    My Nighttime Skincare Routine: The Winter Edition

    In college, I’d stumble home from the bars and remove my makeup with a makeup wipe before I rolled into bed. My approach to skincare has definitely changed now that I’m in my mid-twenties. I’m a girl who values her sleep, but I also appreciate a good nighttime ritual. And if you ask me, pampering the skin is a great way to unwind after a hectic day.

    Here is what my nighttime skincare routine looks like, currently:

    My Nighttime Skincare Routine: The Winter Edition

    Cleanse

    • First I use a makeup wipe to remove most of my makeup. You will always find a pack or two of these makeup wipes in my drawer. They’re a staple, and I’ve been using them for years. Makeup wipes are a great first step, but they shouldn’t be the only thing you use to cleanse your face. You’d be surprised by how much they leave behind!
    • Next, I reach for an oil-based cleanser. Oil based cleansers and balms remove all of the makeup left behind by the makeup wipe. Not only are oil-based cleansers great for removing makeup, but they’re also extremely hydrating and nourishing. I started using this one and I love it already. It looks like a balm, smells delicious and melts makeup like you wouldn’t believe.
    • After cleansing with an oil-based cleanser, I’ll “double cleanse” with a water-based cleanser, to help remove additional dirt and debris. Most cleansers dry my skin, but this one is very hydrating and leaves my skin clean, without feeling tight and dry. I can’t say enough good things about the Hydro Boost line!

    Exfoliate

    • I’ll exfoliate my skin 2-3 times per week. If you have sensitive skin, I’d recommend only doing this step 1-2 times per week to see how your skin reacts. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells which helps your other products absorb better. I purchased this peel recently and it does a great job of keeping my skin smooth and flake-free. It’s awesome and all-natural!

    Treatment 

    • After my face is fully cleansed and exfoliated, I’ll apply my night serum. I just discovered this retinoid serum from the brand The Ordinary. It’s amazing and crazy affordable (like, less than $10 affordable). I’ve been using it for about a week now and I’ve already noticed an imporvement in my skin’s texture and coloration. If you’re new to retinoids, I’d recommend this one to start with. It has a lower concentration compared to other products on the market, so you can easily apply it every night without experiencing flaking or irritation.

    Moisturize 

    • Dry skin is a real problem for me in the winter months, and this night cream has completely saved my skin. I’ve repurchased it twice already, so that should speak for itself.
    • If my skin is extra thirsty, I’ll reach for this overnight mask. Every time I use it, I wake up with glowing skin. It’s a great product!
    • This lip sleeping mask is a game changer. I bought a trial size at Sephora after reading rave reviews, and it really lives up to the hype. A little goes a long way, and it hydrates my lips better than anything I’ve ever tried. I’ll definitely be repurchasing.


    What are some of the products you’re currently using and love? I’m always looking for new suggestions! 

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    Beauty

    5 Amazing Affordable Lipsticks To Wear Right Now

    I’m lipstick obsessed. I wear a color on my lips daily, whether it’s my favorite nude for during the day, or a vampy shade for weekend nights. I can never seem to walk into a drugstore without picking up a few new shades (the addiction is real).

    And because I’ve tried (and own) a million tubes and counting, I thought I’d share with you my current favorites. 

    NYX Waterproof, Extreme Color Lip Liner in “Disco Rage”

    This lipliner is SO good. I recently discovered it at Target — you know, the place that takes all of your money. Did I need a lipliner? Nope. Did I see this color and instantly toss it in my cart? You bet I did. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I do, but it’s that good. It glides on effortlessly, sets matte and stays in place all day. Also, how could you not be happy wearing a shade like this?

    Revlon “Black Cherry”

    This vampy shade has been a staple of mine for years now. I’ve gone through several tubes in that time, and that’s because I can’t get enough of it. To make it work during the day, I lightly add a little to my lips and blend out with my fingers. 

    e.l.f “Velvet Rope”

    I love e.l.f’s Velvet Matte lipsticks because, like the name suggests, they’re highly moisturizing. This shade is an orangey red, which is a perfect color for spring and summer. 

    Maybelline “Touch of Spice”

    “Touch of Spice” is my favorite every day nude. It’s a pinky brown shade so it doesn’t wash me out like other nude lipsticks do. It smells like vanilla, too (can’t beat that). 

    Colourpop “Trust Me…”

    Because every girl needs a good red lipstick. Colourpop is a brand I discovered recently, and the quality is amazing for the price. Their Lippie Stix are travel friendly and easy to apply, and the color offerings are out of this world.


    What are some of your favorite affordable lipsticks (asking for a friend….)?

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    Beauty, Real Life

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care

    How often do you practice self-care (a.k.a., how often do you treat yo self)? If the answer is “not very often,” I get it. It can be difficult to make time for yourself, especially when dealing with juggling job, family and personal responsibilities.

    We often get so caught up in pleasing everyone else around us, that our own needs take a backseat. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. And it shouldn’t be! Taking care of yourself doesn’t need to be a lavish endeavor. It could be as simple as squeezing in a morning run or applying a face mask after a long day at work. 

    Below are some of my favorite ways to practice self-care. They’re super easy to incorporate into your own routine, too! 

    FUEL YOUR BODY WITH WHOLESOME FOODS

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle BlogEating well makes me feel good mentally, physically and emotionally. Sometimes, it’s hard, though. I’m usually running out the door most mornings (literally), and it’s almost always more convenient to grab whatever’s around. But, greasy, sugary or fatty foods leave me feeling lethargic and bloated.

    My favorite go-to snacks and meals when I’m on the go are hard boiled eggs for breakfast (they keep me full for awhile!), a kale salad with grilled shrimp for lunch that I prep the night before, and lean protein + roasted veggies for dinner.

    You really are what you eat. So, reach for the good stuff.

    Healthy recipes to make tonight: Anything Goes Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing, Southwestern Rice Bowls with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

    GRAB A BOOK THAT INSPIRES YOU

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle BlogMost of the reading I do these days is on my phone (not good for my eyes, posture or sanity, to be honest). There’s nothing quite like cracking open a real book. My recent favorites are “Big Magic” and “You are a Badass.” I also love flipping through Apartment Therapy and See San Francisco for a little visual inspiration.

    SHOW YOUR SKIN SOME LOVE

    Winter is rough on the skin. When Patchology reached out to me, I knew I had to give this brand a go. I’m a huge fan of sheet masks, not only because they feel indulgent and are easy to apply, but because they work. 

    I love to apply the Hydrate FlashMasque right after my shower to prevent moisture from leaving my skin (my skin is literally the Sahara Desert in the winter months). The Eye and Lip Gels are also great for adding a little extra hydration to your under eye area and lips!

    Products listed: Hydrate FlashMasque (my all-time FAVORITE product for dry skin) | SmartMud | Eye GelsLip Gels (enter NATALIE25 for 25% off your order at Patchology.com! Offer expires May 1, 2017)

    GET SOME EXTRA SLEEP

    The Mayo Clinic recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. I’ll be honest – I don’t get as much sleep as I should. It’s definitely something I’m working on.  If this is something you struggle with, try eliminating distractions from the bedroom such as your cell phone (GUILTY) or the TV. I’ve found reading a book usually helps me nod off faster.

    EMBRACE SLOW, QUIET MORNINGS

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    As much as I hate getting out of bed in the mornings, there really is nothing better than being awake before the craziness of the day starts. Mornings are quiet and peaceful, and one of my favorite things to do is enjoy a cup of coffee and watch an episode or two of my favorite show. Having time to yourself makes the 6  a.m. wake-up call worth it.

    What are some of the ways you practice self care?


    Thank you to Patchology for sponsoring this post. And thank YOU for supporting the brands that make Natalie Was Here a happenin’ place to be!

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    Beauty

    Let’s Talk Hair Extensions: First Impressions and What You Need to Know

    People use clothing as a way to express themselves. You could say that about makeup, too. When I’m having a bad day, I typically reach for darker eye shadows or lipsticks (que the emo rock music).

    Sometimes, I’ll go really crazy and bust out the glitter on a Saturday night.

    Moral of the story? It’s fun to switch up your look from time to time.  And just like clothing and makeup, hair is no different. You can straighten it, curl it, crimp it, dye it, braid it, perm it, shave it or chop it all off. You can even add length and volume with hair extensions.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    And I’m not talking about your typical “sit in a salon chair for five hours” extensions. Because ain’t nobody got time for that. Nope, I’m talking about clip ins. And they’re pretty genius.

    I should add a little disclaimer here, and if you know me personally, you won’t be surprised. When it comes to styling my hair, let’s just say my skills are lacking. I had never tried hair extensions in my life. So, when Irresistible Me reached out and told me how easy their extensions were to use, I was a little skeptical, but also intrigued. Because if I can put them in, anyone can.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    First Impressions

    Ordering extensions, like ordering anything online, can be a bit of a challenge. Especially if you haven’t used them before.

    Here’s a little info for you to reference before buying: the weight of the extensions (100g, 140g, 200g) refers to the total weight of the hair without the clips attached. The thickness of the hair is relative to both the weight and the length you choose. For example, a 14″ 200g piece will look thicker than the 24″ 200g piece. Still with me? Good!

    As far as color selection goes, this video will help give you a deeper dive into the the range they offer so you can pick your perfect match.

    I wanted thickness and length, so after reviewing the selection, I decided to go with the 200g 18” Silky Touch extensions in Chocolate Brown.

    What I Liked

    • These were SO easy to apply. Like, really easy. The pictures in this post were taken right after I put them in for the first time. They’re not perfect as you can see (missed some spots while curling), but overall, not bad for a first-timer (again, if I can do it, anyone can)!
    • The company gives you a lot of hair for the price.
    • And speaking of price, they are relatively affordable compared to other extension brands on the market.

     What I Didn’t Like

    • The extensions I ordered are too long for me personally. On the upside, however, it’s better for them to be too long than too short. Nothing a trim can’t fix!
    • The color was too dark, but that was partially my fault. I colored my hair a month or so before ordering, and the deep, rich color had faded significantly.
    • The hair is a little too shiny, and when curled, I found some of the pieces looked stringy.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    nwh-nov2016-hair-18 nwh-nov2016-hair-22 nwh-nov2016-hair-29

    Overall, I was very pleased with the Irresistible Me hair extensions, and would recommend giving them a shot if you’re interested! I’ve only worn them for special occasions (i.e. a recent trip to Las Vegas), but they’re definitely fun to have in my arsenal for those nights when I’m wanting a little somethin’ somethin’ extra!

    What do you think? Would you give hair extensions a try?

    * The hair extensions featured in the post were provided to me for review by Irresistible Me. As always, opinions are 100% my own! Thank you for showing some love to the brands that support Natalie Was Here!

    Photography by Erika Gene Clark

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    Beauty

    Fake it ‘Til You Make It: How to Get Tan, Glowing Skin at Home

    How to get tan, glowing skin at home with some great products! See more at NatalieWasHere.com.I am not a tan girl (It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, just look at my last outfit post). No one has ever said to me, “Wow, Natalie. You are SOOO tan! Did you just go on vacation?!” It just doesn’t happen.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be the girl with the envious, deep tan. I tried, believe me. In high school, I’d bake myself in tanning beds before dances, school plays or just because. I skipped the sunscreen on beach vacations because I desperately wanted to be a bronze goddess, even though I more closely resembled a lobster (I went through a lot of aloe in those days).

    But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to embrace my fair skin and that bottle of SPF because a) skin cancer is not cute and b) there are ways to achieve a convincing faux glow at home, without the harmful UV rays.

    Scroll below to see which products I reach for to get the job done! Because even though it’s currently April and it’s SNOWING, shorts weather is hopefully right around the corner.

    Summer highlights to compliment a healthy glow - See more at NatalieWasHere.com!Products to help you get that summer glow - See more at NatalieWasHere.com!

    Rodan + Fields Foaming Sunless Tan

    No, I’m not a R+F rep. But, I am a girl who loves her self tanner (shout out to Megan for sending me a new one to try!). And when it comes to self tanner, I’ve tried it all — lotion, spray, towelette, mousse. While there are a lot to choose from, I’d recommend a mousse, especially if you’re a newbie. I’ve found mousse formulas provide the most even coverage, so you don’t have to worry about orangey streaks (been there, done that). Use a mit to apply the tanner and make sure to go lightly around knees, elbows, hands and feet. I prefer to apply it before bed so the tan can develop while I sleep.

    Simple Micellar Water

    There are a few micellar waters on the market, but Simple’s version is my favorite. I’ve already killed one bottle and I’m halfway through the next. It’s the perfect addition to any skincare routine and is great for prepping your skin for moisturizer and foundation.

    Acure Moroccan Argan Oil

    I’ve been really into oils lately. At first, I thought the whole “putting oil on your face” thing was nuts. Especially because I have a history of terrible acne from my teen years, and the scars to prove it. But facial oils are so hydrating and are the best for giving you a natural dewy finish (I’ve found they help improve the look of my skin overnight, too!).

    Makeup products to help you get that summer glow - See more at NatalieWasHere.com!

    Face

    L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation

    This foundation has a dewy finish and blends flawlessly. If you’re on the oily side, I’d recommend staying away from this one and going with its more matte counterpart, but if you have dry or combination skin, you will not be disappointed.

    Milani Illuminating Face Powder

    This powder is gorgeous. It’s a subtle illuminating powder (not glittery by any means) so it can be used all over, and will give your skin a lit-from-within look.

    Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight and Contour

    These products make contouring and highlighting a breeze — you don’t even need a brush. Apply them where you normally would apply a contouring powder and highlighter and blend with your fingers.


    Eyes

    e.l.f. Prism Eyeshadow Palette in Sunset

    I’ve raved about e.l.f. products before, but their prism eyeshadows are on point. They’re highly pigmented for such an affordable price point. The shadows feel like cream when you apply them, and their shimmery formula is gorgeous.

    Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

    Here’s another product I’ve talked about before, but guys, this mascara is so good. In a sea of so many others, I’ve finally found the one.

    Benefit Hervana Blush

    This blush contains three different shades in one compact, and is great for giving your cheekbones a natural-looking flush.


    Lips

    ColourPop Ultra Matte Lipstick in “Solow”

    Because all of the products I’ve mentioned are heavy on the glow factor, I like to keep my lips more matte (we don’t want to go overboard here). I found out about the ColourPop brand on Kathleen’s YouTube channel and wanted to give it a try. For just $6, you can’t beat the quality of their lipsticks. This matte shade is an everyday pinky nude, perfect for spring and summer.


     

    Brows

    Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara

    This is, like the name says, mascara for your brows. It’s so easy to apply, so forget dealing with the hassle of a pencil and try this on for size.


    Nails

    Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in “Coral Reef”

    A peachy color compliments tan skin. This quick-drying formula is a great budget-friendly option.

    How to get tan, glowing skin at home - See more at NatalieWasHere.com

    How to get tan, glowing skin at home - See more at NatalieWasHere.com

    What are some of the products you use to achieve a faux glow?

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    Beauty

    February Beauty Faves

    Feb Beauty Faves

    I’ve been slacking on this monthly post, guys. Sometimes real life gets in the way, and when I say real life, I mean real life. Like, running out the door, putting makeup on during my commute, life. Also…I should mention that I took these photos fresh out of the shower with a towel on my head. So, there’s that.

    But, you won’t hear any more excuses from this side of the screen. My monthly beauty faves post is back and this time, I’ve lined up a series of products that I can’t wait to tell you about. This little roundup has it all — from mascara and lipstick to concealer, eyeshadows and eye cream. Without further ado, here are some of the products I absolutely loved in February (and I’m wearing them all today):


    1. Too Faced “Better Than Sex” MascaraBetter-Than-Sex-Natalie-Was-Here

    I’ve always gravitated towards drug store mascaras. L’Oreal and Maybelline never disappoint. But then I tried Too Faced’s “Better Than Sex” mascara and my world changed. I don’t think my lashes have ever been happier or looked better. Whoever named this product, I know what you were thinking. Well played.

    2. Milani Fierce Foil Eyeshadow in “Florence”

    Milani-Eyeshadows-Natalie-Was-Here

    Stila released some pricey foil eyeshadows awhile back, and I remember standing in Ulta faced with the crippling decision of whether or not I should buy one. My internal dialogue went something like this, “Natalie, are you really going to spend $30 on an eyeshadow? Seriously. An eyeshadow. Do you know how many coffees you could buy with that money? A lot.” My caffeine addiction won in that instance.

    I thought all hope for metallic lids was lost, but then I found this crazy affordable dupe at CVS. If you haven’t tried Milani Cosmetics, add the brand to your list, stat. These eyeshadows are so beautiful, highly pigmented and well worth every penny of the $10 price tag.

    3. Valentia “True Glow” Eye Cream Valentia-Eye-Cream-Natalie-Was-Here

    I am the WORST when it comes to putting anything on my face before bed. My nighttime routine usually consists of me sluggishly removing my makeup with a makeup wipe before hitting the lights. On a good night I’ll apply moisturizer. But, eye cream…what 25 year old needs eye cream, am I right? Wrong.

    Preventative maintenance is where it’s at, and considering skin in your eye area is thin and more susceptible to lines and wrinkles, it’s time to get serious about skincare. This eye cream from Valentia is more like a serum, and it goes on so smoothly and really lives up to its name.

    4. YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizers in “Green”

    YSL-Natalie-Was-Here

    My Italian roots outweigh my Irish ones (75% vs. 25%), but my complexion says otherwise. I’m fair-skinned and struggle with redness, especially around my cheeks. This new product from YSL is a l-i-f-e-s-a-v-e-r. I simply apply the green concealer to areas of redness before my foundation, and it evens my skintone within seconds. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

    5. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in “Aria”Stila-Natalie-Was-Here

    I love this lipstick. So, so much. Not only is it a gorgeous berry shade, but it really does last. If a lipstick can stay with me through two cups of coffee and the messiest cinnamon roll on the planet, then that’s when you know it’s a keeper. 
    Product-Shot-Natalie-Was-Here

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