New York- Part 2

Walking through the snow-kissed streets of Brooklyn with Andrew was a dream. We no longer felt like tourists, but a happy couple, walking hand in hand in a place that felt like home.  We traversed the streets, enjoying all the nooks and crannies our new favorite borough had to offer. Our time in Brooklyn ended with lunch at what was acclaimed by our ferry guide to be the best pizza in Brooklyn- Juliana’s. The pizza was absolutely delicious- a soft and chewy New York pizza with lots of fresh mozzarella, thin slices of prosciutto, and crowned with arugula.

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With full bellies and happy hearts we made our way back to the city. An exciting evening awaited us!

After getting all dolled up, we headed to the Theatre District to meet some family members for dinner. The restaurant was in an old brownstone- it was too cute! Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name. Anyone who knows me well knows how incredible my dad’s cooking is, especially Italian, so I am a tough critic when it comes to Italian food. This place was good, but haha apparently not the best since I can’t remember the name :D. However, it was at this restaurant that Andrew discovered his love of Prosecco!

After dinner we were off to one of the most anticipated parts of our trip, the Lion King! My parents purchased the tickets for us for Christmas and we had been counting down the days. The singing, dancing, costumes, sets, everything was fabulous! We were especially amused by the Lion King themed sippy cups which we were provided to enjoy our wine and cocktails. We were truly blown away! We had high expectations, but they were far-surpassed. We very highly recommend the Lion King to anyone interested in seeing a Broadway show!

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On Sunday morning we made our way to another highly anticipated landmark- St. Patrick Cathedral. I have always dreamed of attending mass at this cathedral and coincidentally we were married at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth. The expansive scale of the cathedral and the Neo-Gothic style are jaw dropping, as are the details.

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We spent the remainder of the morning walking across town and stopping in any cutesy shops along the way as we anticipated the arrival of our friend Kevin from Long Island. We stopped in the West Elm by Central Park and discovered that they promote local artists. We purchased a print by, Claudia Pearson, of adorable brownstones in a blue and green color scale.

After a delicious lunch from a local deli, we took a long walk back through the park to meet Kevin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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The Met is possibly the largest museum that any of us have seen- we spent 3 or 4 hours enjoying the exhibits and I don’t think we even covered half of the museum. The museum has been beautifully curated though and they have art from every culture and time period- we even saw Paul Revere’s spurs.

I wish we could have spent the entirety of every day taking in the city, but when Monday came I was off to training for work.

The majority of our excursions during the work week involve yummy dinner locales. Here is a list of some of our favorites:

  • Penelope’s– another wonderful recommendation from Andrew’s sister, Lindsay! The hummus, the warm brie and green apple sandwich, and sweet peas mac and cheese were delicious- the perfect blend of gourmet and home cooking!
  • Lombardi’s in Little Italy is the first pizzeria in America and was definitely our favorite of the trip! After dinner head next door for fabulous cannoli and tiramisu.

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We did however find that the absolute, best cannoli can be found at Caffe Palermo on Mulberry Street- we would have taken them home with us, but we would have eaten them all on the plane!

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While in Little Italy we stumbled upon a shop with all-original photographs by New York artists- the prints were on phone cases, canvases, wood, you name it! Andrew also found the perfect little driver’s hat that he had been searching for in Texas and New York.

Wendesday night we were lucky enough to see Kevin again at the Brooklyn Nets game! We are now fans of the Brooklyn Nets- we even have shirts to prove it :). Unfortunately, the Nets lost but we had a wonderful time with Kevin and seeing a game at the Barclays Center was really neat! The stadium is unlike any stadium I have even seen- it is so sleek and modern- the hallways almost seem more like a hotel than stadium tunnels. Barclays Center even has a Shake Shack across the street :).

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Our last night in New York was spent enjoying time with family over an Italian dinner at another quaint restaurant in the Theatre District. We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with many family members and our trip couldn’t have ended with a better evening. Well- there was actually one more stop after dinner which was pretty wonderful. We took the Subway, one last time, to highly touted Gramercy Tavern in the Flatiron District. The décor and vibes of Gramercy Tavern are mesmerizing- you have to see it to believe it. We definitely felt like we were hanging out with the swankiest and trendiest of the district- the hot chocolate martinis sure didn’t hurt either!

Just like that- we woke up and it was Friday. After a morning of training, we made our way to Eataly for one final and delicious meal, strolled the streets a little longer, and then dragged our feet to the taxi that would take us to the airport.

New York you are truly spectacular! We will be back so very soon and perhaps even permanently one day! The 9 days we spent in the city are days we will never, ever forget.

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If you have any New York stories, we would love to hear!

Love,

AH

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New York- Part 1

Andrew and I just wrapped up an absolutely incredible week and a half in the city that never sleeps! New York is truly magical- from the twinkling Manhattan lights to the homey feel of the Brooklyn borough- we never wanted to leave.

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We were fortunate to proceed a business trip with a mini vacation and I think this may be one of the best decisions we have ever made!

We arrived early in the morning on New Year’s Day and hit the ground running- or rather walking a lot!

We explored the city, allowing ourselves to get lost among the skyscrapers, stumbling upon landmarks such as Radio City, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and eventually strolling into Central Park.

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IMG_2827Central Park is massive! I believe one could live in the city their whole life and still never experience all the park has to offer- around each and every turn there is a beautiful statue, landmark, or garden (and it is a runner’s paradise with trails traversing the whole park).

After Central Park we found our new home at the Plaza Hotel. The experience and drinks were one of a kind. Although the Plaza is probably the most luxurious place we have ever stepped foot in, Andrew was served a rum cocktail in a ceramic tiki man- it was too cute!

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We continued to explore until our tootsies were yelping after our early wake up and we made our way to dinner. Our first true culinary experience in New York was a recommendation by Andrew’s sweet sister.

Eataly is a dream. That is that best way to describe it. A delicious, Italian dream. It’s a little village of restaurants in the Flatiron District- lots and lots of wine, gelato, paninis, meats, the most magnificent cheese boards, handmade pasta, and Neapolitan pizzas- best of all- everything is fresh!

Our second day began at a quaint coffee shop where we ordered cappuccinos and to our pleasure they had hearts drawn in the foam!


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We spent a lot of our second day exploring again- who knew we were such explorers? Andrew’s mom gave us the wonderful gift of hop-on, hop-off bus tickets! When we were finished exploring Manhattan for the morning we hopped on the bus with our giant cupcakes from Crumbs (if you love cupcakes, we definitely recommend Crumbs!) which I am embarrassed to say were big enough for a meal, but if you know Andrew and I, you know we enjoyed every last crumb of our sweet treats!

We took the tour bus from Uptown through the Flatiron District, SoHo, and Greenwich Village, all the way to the World Trade Center and Wall Street. It was very important to us to spend some time remembering the innocent who lost their lives on that sad day 14 years ago. The World Trade Center Memorial is beautiful, but viewing it was a challenging experience because of the sheer magnitude of the tragic situation. Seeing all of the names etched in the rims of the fountains brought tears to my eyes.

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Adjacent to the memorials stands Freedom Tower- a 1776 foot tall building- serving as a constant reminder of the year we gained our freedom.

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Wall Street was quite different than I imagined, the streets outside of the NYSE are actually quite quaint and seasonally adorned with wreaths and Christmas trees. In fact, the oldest church in the entire city resides in the Wall Street District- Trinity Church. My grandma told us we had to see this church and it did not disappoint- the Gothic Revival architecture is beautiful!

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After Wall Street we further enjoyed the dry- humor of our New York Mets loving (Andrew was very happy) tour guide and took the tour bus to Rockefeller Center where we ascended to the top of one of New York’s iconic landmarks for a panoramic view of the skyline. We made it to the top just after sunset and the view was, in all honesty, absolutely breathtaking. I will remember that view forever!

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After our incredible experience at the top of the Rock, we hurried to my second cousin Patty’s home for a home-cooked Italian meal. Patty is an incredible professional chef and it is truly evident that she has found her calling in life- her flourless chocolate cake was unlike anything I have ever tasted! It was wonderful to connect with Patty and some other family members who I hadn’t seen in years and Andrew had previously never met! After an evening of laughter, wine, and storytelling we headed over to Greenwich Village to do nothing other than- explore! We found a bar we liked and settled in for a while to warm up and enjoy some cocktails.

Day three was ripe with potential before we even stepped foot out the door- we were going to Brooklyn! For those of you who do not know, my family is from Brooklyn so this was extra special to me. Our tour passes included a ferry ride so we made our way to the pier and hopped on the ferry in the freezing cold and made our way to Brooklyn. The views were well worth the cold- we caught some amazing glimpses of Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, the list goes on, because let’s face it New York is gorgeous!

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To say we were frozen when we arrived in Brooklyn was a vast understatement and we were on a mission to get inside. Andrew couldn’t have planned what happened next any better- a Shake Shack came into view- it was as if the heavens were opening and beckoning Andrew to come inside. We scurried in and I immediately smiled at the sight of a fireplace as Andrew ordered the burger he has always dreamt of, as well as a shake and the most unbelievably delicious, dark chocolate, salted caramel hot chocolate 🙂

We truly enjoyed perusing the trendy shops of Brooklyn and even did some non-touristy shopping. We walked the streets of Brooklyn, taking in the sights of downtown Dumbo until snow began to fall. I absolutely love snow- the real kind- not the Texas kind, but the kind that is powdery and soft and gently coats your eyelashes- it was at this moment that I truly felt at home in New York.

And this is where I leave you- Part 1 of our recollection of New York is complete. Stay tuned! Part 2 is to come soon!

Love,

AH

Our Wedding Highlight

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I truly have so much to be thankful for this year- marriage, a new puppy, a wonderful family and friends, a Lord who loves us, the list can go on and on 🙂

We were surprised over the Thanksgiving holiday with one additional gift to be thankful for- our wedding highlight! We are beyond grateful for the amazing team at Turquoise Video.

Here is the short version of our wedding highlight! We hope y’all enjoy reliving our special day as much as we do.

Love,

AH

Happy Fall Y’all!

Pumpkins are aplenty, the temperatures have dropped, and it is time to decorate!

Truthfully, I am itching to decorate for Christmas- the ribbons, stockings, lights, I could go on and on- it doesn’t get any better, but fall and all of its pumpkin spice deserve some love too.

Things have really started to pick up at work, which I suppose is a good problem to have, but it has semi hindered my opportunities to decorate for fall.

However, we did manage to sneak in some fun and festive pieces before we bring out the main event- the Christmas decorations!

When you live in a small space, whether it is an apartment or a starter home, it is important to have key pieces to really ground your space. For us, our coffee table does just that- after all it is where everyone gathers! To add some fall flair I adorned it with a pumpkin village featuring an assortment of unique pumpkins from Central Market, mercury glass and gold votives to add warmth, vintage vases, and beautiful sunflowers from the hubs. In the past I have painted pumpkins with acrylic paint, but these pretties are so unique that I didn’t feel it was necessary.

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I am a chronic clearance section shopper- I love a good deal more than anyone and on one of my recent patrols through the dollar section at target I stumbled upon this adorable Halloween bunting. I have a deep love for burlap so I scooped it up.

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Next we have the silly little window clings- they may be silly, but they just make us smile and I think these are cuter than the average clings- pumpkins, spiders, and festive sentiments!

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We love to carve pumpkins, especially when a puppy template is involved! A few years ago we carved a pumpkin to look like Tuck which still makes us smile to this very day. Unfortunately, our carving of Ellie did not turn out as well- the template was a little too ambitious for us. I highly recommend these pumpkin carving templates by Better Homes and Gardens- your pup will be so proud of you.

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Lastly, we have our wreath. I did not make a wreath of pumpkins and leaves, rather I made a wreath depicting what we feel is the epitome of fall- Horned Frog football!!

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It may not be much, but our homey, little apartment is nice and cozy for fall. I am so excited to show y’all our Christmas wonderland which will be coming very soon 🙂

What are y’alls favorite festive touches? I would love to hear!

Love,

AH

If the Walls Could Talk

If the walls could talk they would describe a young man and a young woman deeply in love. The couple is bound by faith and a promise to love each other with an unyielding passion all the days of their lives. A little tan puppy runs the home as she trots from room to room with her pink ball, eventually settling onto the sofa right between her mom and dad. Joy envelops the small space as the family reunites each eve after a long day of work.

Years of memories have been shared in countless spaces, but this one is different. This one is ours.

If two walls in particular could talk they would describe not just what they see, but what they hold.

The walls hold tangible representations of some of our most cherished times.

Above our living room sofa we chose to hang a special piece from our wedding- the old screen door I found in my hometown served as an escort piece- welcoming guests to their seats at our big celebration. Hung horizontally above our sofa, adorned with black and white images strung on jute string, the piece is a constant reminder of the most perfect day. We felt it would be unique and extra special to incorporate a physical element of the wedding into our home.

Here are photos of the door at our wedding…

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And here is the door now…

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For years I have oohed and ahhed at the gallery walls gracing the pages of magazines and overwhelming my Pinterest feed. I knew as soon we had the appropriate space, I would jump at the opportunity to create a wall filled with both art and photographs that held special meaning to us.

An assortment of pieces, crowned in white frames serve as the focal point and our favorite aspect of the bedroom.

Over the past few years Andrew purchased these prints for me, which feature some of my favorite sayings, and I knew there was no better place to display them than on this wall. Perhaps the most special piece hanging in our gallery  is the guestbook from our wedding- silhouettes of a bride and groom and their little puppy holding a giant bunch of balloons signed by those they love the most.

Of course most of the photos are from our wedding, honeymoon, and engagement session, but the beautiful thing about this form of art is that it can be easily changed as more memories are made. Here is a shot of our gallery-IMG_2403

I am so in love with these spaces- they are so uniquely us- places where so many memories will be forever captured.

What is your favorite place in your home?

Have a great weekend and go frogs!

Love,

AH

P.S.- the really cute print TCU to the right of the TV is by Rachel Lewis and her husband, Bryan- the owners of Tread Studios. Be sure to check out their wonderful shop where they are creating “Art with a Mission”!

Wedding photos provided by Tracy Autem Photography.

Grapevine’s Annual Grapefest

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Grapevine’s Annual Grapefest with two of my favorite people- the handsome hubs and my sweet best friend and maid of honor, Sarah.

I am so thankful Sarah came to North Texas for the weekend! We have been sharing some of life’s best memories together for ten years (I can’t believe it has been that long!) and this weekend was no different.

From what I gather, the annual festival is a celebration of our quaint community, the beauty of the changing seasons, and an opportunity to rejoice in and enjoy what Grapevine is best known for- wine!

Andrew and I have dreamed of frequenting this festival since we moved to town a few months ago. Per usual, my optimism was high and I had grand expectations for this day!

Let me just say, that we were not disappointed.

From the moment we walked in and smelled the smelly smell smell of funnel cakes we knew it was going to be a good day.

Funnel cakes and wine- life was complete.

Main Street Grapevine was lined with wine and craft beer booths, carnival rides, local vendors and craftsmen, and funnel cakes (as well as other yummy snacks) :D.

As expected in our little town, the volunteers were as sweet as could be and we were efficiently ushered through the gates thanks to our electronic tickets.

Within a few minutes we were on a mission to find the divine nectar which we all adore.

We were momentarily distracted when we saw the sign for grape stomping. Sarah and I quickly jumped at this opportunity and Team Raisin Makers was soon signed up for battle.

We then returned to our search for wine. We purchased some tickets which allow festival goers to buy wine, beer, food, and funnel cakes. However, we decided it was in our best interest to start at the Italian Wine Experience.

The Italian Wine Experience was nothing less than divine ;).  For just $14 each we were given a commemorative wine glass and a card with a variety of Italian wines and their descriptions. We were directed to pick 6 wines from the list for tastings and much to our elation, we received a full glass on the last tasting! The selection was wonderful. Sarah recently returned from a trip to Italy so she enjoyed having the opportunity to embrace those distinct blends and Andrew and I enjoyed trying new varieties.

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After the wine experience, we used our coupons to fuel up for the grape stomp with none other than wine.

We scouted out the grape stomp competition and crafted our strategy while sipping on our glasses.

The day flew by and as soon as we knew it Team Raisin Makers was called to their posts!

With our grand cheering section of 1, Andrew, we stomped like we were the biggest hot shots in the festival! I stomped my half first, then Sarah went behind and pushed all of our juice through the hole in the barrel and into the glass I was holding.

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Being the intense competitors we are- we were giddy with excitement as they called out the results. It was close… but we lost by a few ounces.

We are proud to say that although we may not have won the coveted foot-shaped trophy we still came in second and we had a blast doing it. And after all that stomping we treated ourselves to a funnel cake- duh!

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We are proud of second place and wine-stained smiles

Scratch that off of our bucket list.

We finished the day cheering our horned frogs to victory at a burger joint on Main Street. It truly doesn’t get much better than that 🙂

Grapefest was everything I hoped it would be and more. If you have the opportunity to go next year I would highly recommend it! Let us know and we will grape stomp against you 😀

Have any of y’all ever been to Grapefest? What was your favorite part?

Happy weekend! I will be rooting my Texans to a 3 and 0 start!

Love,

AH

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Ellie got to have a special treat this weekend as well- her favorite puppacino from Starbucks.!

Ellie’s Adventure at the Emergency Hospital

I’m a little behind on posts and I apologize- this week has been a complete whirlwind. About a week and a half ago our little bear became suddenly ill. Initially she was simply disinterested in her favorite salmon and sweet potato kibble, but as the week progressed her lack of appetite turned into constant vomiting (too much information I know- sorry!). Ellie has a history of stomach issues due to her love of chewing on kennels and her associated separation anxiety so we played the vomiting off as another one of Ellie’s episodes.

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After a night filled with sickness and a morning of the like we knew this wasn’t one of Ellie’s typical “bad belly days.”

Fortunately, Andrew was off from work so he immediately rushed her to the Petsmart vet.

After running a series of tests, the vet believed Ellie might have pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis has no distinct cause and it can progress very quickly. The vet suggested we take Ellie to the emergency hospital as soon as possible.

So off we went- two adults twisted in a tangle of nerves and one sick pooch who was still giving lovies and acting as though nothing could slow her down.

After Ellie greeted the friendly emergency hospital staff with nothing other than smooches, we were ushered into a room where poor Ellie proceeded to get sick many more times. Symptoms were discussed and preliminary tests performed when the doctor informed us that if Ellie did have pancreatitis, her abdomen would be excruciatingly sore, which it was not- she happily rolled over for everyone to pet her. He also informed us that her x-rays did not indicate any kind of foreign object; however, he did note that not all foreign objects appear on x-rays. The probability that a foreign object was causing Ellie’s illness was high and we came to a fork in the road.

We could take Ellie home and hope and pray that home treatment would heal her or we could leave Ellie at the emergency hospital where she would have liquids pumped in to try and pass the foreign object while further tests were run. Neither solution was guaranteed to work, but a choice had to be made.

Deep down both Andrew and I knew what needed to be done and after the doctor confirmed the route he would take if his dog was in Ellie’s situation our decision was made.

Despite our nerves and apprehensiveness to leave our puppy in such a vulnerable condition, we knew it was the right decision and that she was in good hands.

We were assured that we could call and check on her as much as we wanted- it was even encouraged! They would only be calling us if treatment needed to take a different path or if something was wrong. We crossed our fingers that we would not hear from them, gave Ellie lovies, and left for a long weekend much different than planned.

We called multiple times within the first afternoon and evening- we couldn’t help but worry. Around midnight the first night Ellie was in the hospital my phone rang and it immediately registered with me that that something must be wrong.

A linear obstruction was found in Ellie’s intestine and the only option to save her was surgery. In order to excavate the obstruction they would have to cut into her intestine.

A few sleepless and prayer-filled hours later we received another phone call. Ellie’s surgery was a success. The obstruction was found. The culprit was none other than rope toys and plastic, presumably from the 3 kennels our little menace has chewed through.

With lots of fluids, rest, and lovies Ellie was going to be okay. She had to remain in the hospital for three more days to ensure there were no complications and that she regained her appetite. This experience put a strain on our family in so many ways- all of the past exams, presentations, and bills don’t even compare to the worry and stress we experienced during this weekend. We were unable to visit Ellie until her last night for fear of her anxiety causing issues when we left again. When we did see her it was quite the reunion. Even with a cone of shame, tubes, and a belly full of sutures Ellie managed to wag her bum 🙂

Ellie is a fighter and we knew with every ounce of our hearts she would pull through, but that did little to calm our minds during this trial.

This could have happened to any dog. Truthfully, this could happen to Ellie again. I didn’t write this post to incite sympathy- Ellie certainly does not want that unless it involves wet dog food- she sure loves that stuff. Some good belly pats and a spot on the sofa make her happy as can be.

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I wrote this post to serve as a precautionary warning. Please please please watch what your furry friends do with their toys. We never thought Ellie ingested any of her toys. We simply thought she tore them apart and left piles of fuzz for us to collect.  I would never wish this experience upon anyone. It is so upsetting to see your little puppy so helpless and in so much pain.

Two weeks later, Ellie’s 18 sutures will soon be removed and it will be as though this never happened. Ellie is healed and happier than ever, but we will never forget this weekend. Ellie’s toys have been thrown away- other than her nyla bone and rawhide bones. The day she looked in her toy bin to discover only bandanas our hearts broke. As difficult as it is to not give Ellie everything she wants, we never want her to experience that pain again.

Our bear is an angel and we are so thankful she is still spoiling us with her love here on earth. Here’s to many more years of Ellie’s maniacal endeavors.

Have y’all ever had similar experiences with your pooches?

Love,

AH

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