Food Trends that Actually Work

by fitforthesoul in

I think it’s pretty obvious that most things in life run on trends, and most of them happen in cycles throughout different generations.  Take fashion for example. But instead of focusing on fashion trends (which would be a fun topic)  I’d like to focus on health food trends that work for ME.  I first started reading blogs around the winter of 2010 and I’ve learned a huge amount of information on what’s out there in terms of health-related things.  I’m not  sure if I was a bit late to the whole topic regarding health foods, but it seems like certain foods have gained overnight popularity from the masses thanks to social media…and it seems like they are here to stay for a good while!

Ever since the day I immersed myself in the food and fitness blogosphere, I’ve come to try a massive my fair share of these things and I can honestly say that they work for me.  I’ve come to love them so much that I include them in my everyday life as evidenced below! Open-mouthed smile

1.  Chia seeds

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When I first saw them on Angela’s site and noticed how much she used them in her cooking, I decided that I should give them a try.  After all, the health benefits that experts attribute to chia seeds seemed to outweigh the strange “ant-looking” appearance they sport.  When I finally tried them in oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt, I was immediately sold on the rave reviews!  I am one of those people who adore “interesting” food textures, so the way that it thickens everything up is one of my main reasons for consuming it on a daily basis.  Not only that, but the extra fiber definitely helps me with regularity. (TMI, I’m sorry!)

2.  Overnight oats

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Just before I discovered the amazingnes that overnight oats are, I used to eat heavy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Breakfast would normally consist of leftover spaghetti, Korean Bulgogi that my mom cooked early in the morning, kimchi stew with a big bowl of rice….You get the idea.  Needless to say, this way of eating wasn’t necessarily unhealthy nor detrimental to my health, but it definitely didn’t help me in staying awake throughout the day!  I always felt sluggish and tired on my way to school and I didn’t want to feel like that anymore.

So once again, I saw the wonders that oatmeal can do for the body when I took my first spoonful of overnight oats.  In my opinion it is such a great breakfast choice—it is light but hearty enough to help me tackle the day ahead of me.

And let’s not forget that oatmeal is highly recommended for breastfeeding women as it is known to keep up the milk supply. Smile

3.  Nut & seed butter

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I used to be one of those people who truly truly disliked peanut butter.  Perhaps it’s the fact that Argentineans aren’t necessarily big on nut butters…Or maybe it’s because my taste buds have evolved quite a bit as I got older, but after trying it on top of my oats, pancakes, and every other food that I came across, I got instantly hooked!

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It would be a huge understatement to say that I just like nut/seed butters because I have a whole stash in my fridge.  Also, I think we’ve come a long way in our foodie creativity and I appreciate the fact that there are at least 100 different versions of the stuff!

Nut/seed butters make for delicious toppings, and the more “dessert-y” kinds satisfy my sweet tooth for the time being (not that I still don’t get my share of cupcakes and pastries, hehe).  They also provide a good amount of protein with every snack I eat which is a huge plus.  Even though the amount of protein isn’t way up there, the truth is, our bodies don’t actually need as much protein as many fitness enthusiasts claim.  Unless you are at the level of being a top notch athlete you are probably getting enough protein in most of your meals.

4.  Alternative/vegan milk

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Despite my undying love of cow’s milk, I am beyond grateful I have the privilege to buy an alternative to that.  Not only is it fun to try different products and brands out there, but it’s also great for when I’m in the mood to make vegan food.  I have to admit that it is pretty nice to lower the calories in a dish if it rends the same results.  I mean—hey—if you aren’t obsessing over the numbers and have the means to lower your calorie intake without sacrificing the taste, then I say go for it!

But obviously some dishes need to be made with cow’s milk!  Trust me, I’ve had way too many kitchen fails so I know about this all too well. Smile with tongue out

Another reason why I love almond milk???  Simply because I want to balance my dairy intake if I can help it.  Keep reading on to the next point if you don’t know what I mean.

5.  Greek yogurt

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I probably consume way too much greek yogurt on a daily basis, hence my last point on #4.

It’s true, guys!  All the rave reviews on greek yogurt are pretty spot on in my honest opinion.  Greek yogurt provides an easy way to eat a hearty snack in the middle of the day, especially when it’s drowned in delicious toppings like fruit, nut butter, and granola.  Mmmmmmm.

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I personally feel like it fills me up quite well, and it keeps my hunger at bay until the next meal without the effects of feeling sluggish and stuffed to the brim.

6.  Avocado & healthy fats

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The first time I heard about healthy fats I scoffed at the idea of there being an unhealthy type of fat since I thought they were all equal to each other.  As you can see that thought process has been dominated by my love for avocados.  I even include them in desserts like this cake! They not only taste amazingly rich and wholesome, but I promise you it keeps my hair super strong!  I never had thin hair to begin with, but I’ve been noticing a slight difference in the health and shine of my hair.  This is particularly a big deal for the post-partum mom, because all the changes mom goes through can take a toll on her overall health—including dry and brittle hair.

I could go on and on about this stuff, but these are the main ones that come to mind!

Have a beautiful day and talk to you soon!

What food trends have worked for you?  And which ones do you think are just hype?


Ellie <33

A Review of Artisana's Products

by fitforthesoul in

Happy Saturday everyone! The other day I briefly mentioned that I had an upcoming post on Artisana's products. April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-155

So what do we have here?  Well, our kind of friends from Artisana have given me the honor to review their products and boy oh boy, was I excited when I received their sample package from the UPS guy! (I think it was UPS? That’s besides the point though).

You’ve probably seen these cute jars and little packets floating around the blog world.  They’re also offered in stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and perhaps even in regular grocery chains.  Just like many of you, I love to try out new food products that contain wholesome ingredients, especially if that means indulging in a new nut/seed butter, or its distant cousin called coconut butter. I've already fallen in love with Artisana’s coconut butter a very long time ago and have been buying it since then. However, I haven't delved into their other wonderful stuff up until recently and I’ll do my best to give you an honest review on these goodies! Smile

So let's take a crack at this, Shall we?

Out of all the ones that I sampled my favorites are Cacao Bliss, cashew butter, and almond butter in that very same order.

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The cacao bliss obviously speaks for itself!  I mean, the fact that it's coconut butter with scrumptious chocolate mixed in indicates that it's already a winner in my book!

In addition to the great blend of the two flavors, I loved the fact that when at room temperature the texture is ultra velvety and melty.  I think it makes the perfect oatmeal topping when it’s a cool morning in this fall weather.  And what I think would be even better is this blissful stuff drizzled on overnight oats, then let it sit for a minute or two so that it becomes a crunchy shell of coconutty goodness!  Oh man, my mouth waters just thinking about it.

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Next up is cashew butter…This one was so amazing and full of creamy sweetness, as cashews are already naturally sweet and easy to grind up.  I highly recommend their cashew butter because of its wonderful taste and ease of spread on soft bread.

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Now, the almond butter was delicious but I do have one little hang up about that one.  I loved its fresh nutty flavor and all, but since it’s ground up in its raw form, it has a very chunky texture.  And this brings me to my next point…I’m usually all about crunchy and chunky when it comes to foods like these, but the other butters like pecan and walnut have the perfect texture when it’s inside the packet.  On the contrary, when they come in these little jars they’re quite difficult to mix and thus, they make for an extremely chunky butter.

I’m sure some people would appreciate that over ultra creamy texture, but I like it to be somewhere in the middle—just a good amount of crunch goes a long way in my opinion.

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As for the Superfood variety, I honestly wasn’t a big fan of them.  Sad smile  I really tried to like them, and as you all know me I’m not exactly a picky eater so I was rather surprised.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy them more than I did, but overall I felt like they had a taste that’s slightly artificial and a strange (ocean-y?) smell to them.  I know we can’t all like everything we try, right?

So luckily, I loved the other products and would definitely recommend them to you guys!

My Eats

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Super voluminous and fluffy apple cinnamon oats, with some PB, greek yogurt, and cinnamon chips.

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I promise there are waffles underneath!

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This was today’s breakfast.  You can tell I love breakfast, can’t you?  I layered some chocolate protein overnight oats with greek yogurt, strawberries, and banana slices.  It was so good and I can’t wait to have it tomorrow, hehe.

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Lunch has been similar to this on most days.  I’ve been eating Korean seaweed soup everyday for lunch because it’s known to keep up milk supply.  Even though milk supply has never been an issue for me, lately it has decreased significantly due to some pills I’m taking.  Fortunately I always have the right amount for Selah when she nurses, but I don’t have extra milk to pump out for when we go out to crowded places.  You see, I don’t feel that comfortable breastfeeding when there are people running around everywhere.

So far oatmeal and seaweed have been good to me, and hopefully it will do the trick for the long haul! Open-mouthed smile

Have a blessed weekend and talk to you soon.

Do you prefer your nut butters to be chunky, crunchy, or creamy?  Do you have a unique way of eating it?

Do you actually NOT care for nut butters? 


Ellie <33

Eats, Fashion, and More

by fitforthesoul in

Let me just start by thanking you all for your sweet comments regarding our little Selah as well as your app recommendations. Thanks to Emily I wound up downloading the apps called My Days and the photo editing app Photo Collage since she gave me the idea to look for one. Although I don’t foresee Fit for the Soul becoming a “mommy blog” per se, it is going to include plenty of life happenings featuring the babe, because let’s face it, she is a part of my life now…And not including her in some of my posts would be somewhat strange, wouldn’t you agree?  And even though blogging isn’t a priority at the moment, I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to keep a more regular blogging pattern in the near future—simply because it’s one of those life indulgences that keep me grounded and connected to the world out there, and sharing life and tidbits of advice with you is such a blessing in itself!  And last, I would love to bring back the focus on recipes and workouts, but those will come in due time as things settle down some more.


Last night I did away with my laziness when it comes to prepping the next morning’s breakfast, so I finally caved in and made myself a bowl of overnight oats.

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This bowl includes mashed banana, soy milk, greek yogurt, pecans, and flax seed.  This morning I added fresh blueberries (finally on sale at Albertsons!), peanut butter, and coconut butter.  It was a glorious combo after a long hiatus, my friends.

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While Selah was learning the art of impatient waiting (usually she’s very patient) in the kitchen, I whipped up a batch of gluten free pancakes with a side of greek yogurt for Greg.  Normally I use my recipe for gf pancakes, but lately time has been so scarce that I’ve been resorting to this box of Maple Grove Farms I got from Target.

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Lunch today was extremely simple!  Toasted bread with cheese, a few slices of ham, avocado, and a runny egg on top!  Oh my goodness did I miss those eggs!

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Last night Greg sweetly offered to watch Selah by himself, and he usually spends several hours with her after work anyway.  He sent me off to have some me-time so that I could recharge from a long day with Selah.  I went to the mall and used up a GAP gift card that I’ve been holding onto for ages!  So I purchased this beautiful and most comfortable pair of grey jean leggings.  They’re really form fitting and have a really nice touch, featuring cute little zippers on the side of the ankles.  You better believe that I was excited to buy some regular clothes!

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And Selah turned one month yesterday!  Happy anniversary, little munchkin!

She’s been doing fairly well in most areas of life, but lately she’s been extremely fussy during certain times of the day.  It seems that she needs to be burped really bad or otherwise she gets painful gas problems.  I’ve read several articles stating that a heavy letdown of breast milk may be the issue at hand, and even though I pump a few times throughout the day I can only do it so many times.  I’m not sure how to help her feel better when this happens, so any bit of advice is most welcome!  Other than that, she has gained a significant amount of healthy weight and is a happy little baby as long as the aforementioned problems get taken care of.

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Be on the lookout for a gf and vegan recipe that I came up with recently!  It includes homemade vegan ice cream, lemon, and coconut.  This picture is only a portion of what’s to come, so be very excited! I hope you have a beautiful day and take care!

What food products have you been cooking with when you don’t have time?

Have you treated yourself to any fashion purchases lately?

Do you have any advice on breastfeeding and baby gas problems?


Ellie <33

Post-Partum Progress and Food

by fitforthesoul in

Happy Sunday!!!  I just want to pop in and fill you in on my post pregnancy progress.  I’m warning you though, this post contains quite a few random things, and since food is one of the main features of this blog I’ll be sharing that as well. April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-4

1 Week Post Partum

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2 Weeks Post Partum—Today

As  many of you know already, I was pretty active throughout my whole pregnancy and stuck with cardiovascular exercises and Ballet Body (see the exercise page for more info).  I’m not sure if working out made a vast difference, though it definitely didn’t hurt because I felt more mentally and emotionally stable, but I feel as though my stomach has been bouncing back to its {somewhat} original shape a lot quicker than I thought.  Even though I’ve been seeing several changes in my physique due to housing a little baby for 9 whole months, the changes haven’t been too drastic in my opinion.  It’s awkward to see my body doing all these weird things though!  And I’m wondering if I’ll ever look exactly like before???  Oh well, a woman can dream a little, right? Smile with tongue out


Please excuse the fuzzy pictures, but these were taken with my phone since someone needed my good camera!


Breakfast at 7:30 am—Overnight Oats with peaches, blueberries, coconut butter, and peanut butter


Mid morning snack--Mojo Bar around 10 am (one of my favorite bars around)

I also had lunch with my church family today but didn’t bother to take any pictures.  We had some delicious Filipino food and it was mostly sweet and sour veggies with fish, a famous dish called Caldereta, and chicken noodle soup.


Snack around 4 pm—Greek Yogurt with strawberries, cinnamon Kashi, and coconut butter

Snapshots of Selah

I ended up going a bit camera crazy and wound up taking a bunch of shots of Selah.  Here are some of the ones I liked because she just looks so darn cute or downright hilarious, as you can see in the first picture.  Hah!

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It was hard to position the lamb without her kicking it!

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I think someone’s waking up from her nap, so I’ll talk to you guys very soon!  Have a wonderful rest of the day and a blessed start to the new week.

PS:  I finally joined a blogging network a few weeks ago--Bloglovin'!  You can click on the link button on the left hand side, so let's follow each other, hehe.

What subject matter do you love to take pictures of?

-I enjoy photographing food and nature, but lately I’ve been loving people the most!  I guess it comes with being a new mommy?

What are your go-to meals and snacks when you’re extra busy?

Do you sometimes get scared at the thought of being pregnant and going through physical changes?

-I have to admit that it used to somewhat freak me out at times.  The thought of seeing myself gain a lot of weight and not having control over my body was quite intimidating,

but my perspective started to change when I realized that a child is far bigger of a blessing than nurturing my own fears and desires.


Ellie <33

Flexibility Equals Bliss

by fitforthesoul in

So today is the day that Selah came to the world! Not.  But oh, how I wish that were true!

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Although I’ve been hearing left and right that it is quite normal for 1st babies to arrive later than the expected due date, I really had no idea that she wouldn’t be here by this morning.  Last night I definitely felt unpleasant symptoms that indicated that she was about to finally pop out of my body—but at this point all I can ask for is that she will be safe, healthy, and happy.  As for me and my emotions?  I’m really not that scared anymore, hallelujah!  I’m just at that point where I’m ready to welcome Selah because my brain cannot take the suspense anymore. Open-mouthed smile

Last night, Greg and I got probably a total of 2 hours of sleep due to the anticipation of, “oh man, what if she comes right now in the middle of the night?”.

Hopefully the photos I’m about to share will convey what a stupendous day I had today despite everything else!

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It all started at 6:30 am with a bowl of overnight oats topped with half of a Vitatop, berries, almond butter (I think this may be my new favorite nut butter!  Sorry PB), and Maranatha coconut butter that I got at Walmart for less than $7.  Now that’s a steal, isn’t it?

After a good while of doing things around the house I realized that I wouldn’t make it through the day if I didn’t take a nap, so a long 3 hour nap I took.  And you know what?  I don’t regret it one bit because I’ll be needing that energy soon.  Afterwards, I had some leftovers of the Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Pasta for lunch and ran some last minute errands around town.

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My snack was a delicious gluten free blueberry pancake that I had left over from Greg’s breakfast today.  I made it into a sandwich by slathering it with almond butter and blackberry preserves.  It was so simple yet so decadent.

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Since I had the rest of the day open I decided to have some time alone and walked around Redondo Beach.  Not only did I want to spend time in the cool sea breeze one last time by myself, but I also wanted to get a light workout outside instead of at the gym.  I was also motivated to walk so as to hopefully quicken the start of labor.  Winking smile I’m not sure if it helped or not, but I’ll let you know soon.

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And now, I’d like to introduce you to Brian.  He’s a super laid back guy who makes his own beautiful jewelry and accepts donations in order to support his family.  He’s so talented that he actually makes some goodies right on the spot!  I fell in love with his custom made creations and ended up getting a bracelet studded with colorful stones.  If you ever find yourself at Redondo Beach in Cali, please make sure to stop by and check out his creations!  Say hi to him for me and support his business.

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I had no agenda to cook dinner tonight, nor did I want to touch our frozen meals because I’d like to leave those for when things get hectic around here.  So when my stomach started begging for dinner on the way back home I bought some food to-go for Greg and stopped by Mitsuwa Marketplace where I ordered the most scrumptious eel egg bowl I’ve ever had!  Either they make a mean eel egg bowl combo or my long eel-deprived body was desperately craving some.

Despite the anticipation that I’m feeling regarding Selah’s arrival, I would say that today happened for a good God-given reason and I thoroughly enjoyed it as I went with the flow.  Life is so much easier when we’re flexible and let things be, isn’t it??  But still, I’m curious to see if she will arrive on Father’s day.  That would be such a special holiday for her to be born because not only would all of our men be gathered together in one place, but it also commemorates the day that Greg got baptized over 6 years ago!  And a baby girl isn’t such a shabby Father’s day gift now, is it? Open-mouthed smile

Have a blessed night and talk to you soon.

  Were you born on your expected date?  Or was your child born ‘on time’?

-I was born one week early.

Do you enjoy going to the beach by yourself?

What’s one dish that you’ve been craving lately?


Ellie <33

Green Tooth, Sweet Tooth

by fitforthesoul in , , ,

Somebody has been slacking when it comes to joining Jenn’s WIAW editions, and I don’t have the slightest idea of who that might be. Smile I just realized today that the latest What I Ate Wednesday series has to do with keeping it green and healthy.  I was pretty excited about that because I’m all for healthy eating and getting in as many vegetables in our bodies as possible!  But let’s remember that in the end, the definition of being healthy means that moderation and holistic health are far more important than obsessing about eating 100% clean.  Sure, I believe that there’s a time and place for going 100% “clean” with our eating habits for various personal reasons, and after all, it is a good way to keep our bodies cleansed from time to time, but enjoying the small things in life like these devilishly cute cupcakes every now and then is healthy for both mind and soul.


What’s the point of striving for health if we can’t let ourselves have some fun while we’re at it, right?  And these cupcakes?  I’ll get to them in a minute.

As it turns out, I finally gave in to everyone’s advice and got myself a Snoogle pillow last weekend.  I have to be honest and say that for the most part it has been doing wonders for my sleep and I was able to catch up on some zzzzz’s for at least 2 nights in a row.  However, last night was a whole different story.  As with everything else that I’ve been blaming on my pregnancy hormones, I’m also blaming those same hormones for my tossing and turning and getting merely 2 hours of sleep last night—maybe 3 hours, but that’s about it.  If you saw me at work today you would have been kind of worried for me, haha.  But I just kept praying and pressing on for physical and mental strength because I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

Lately I’ve been loving freshly squeezed juice after dinner, because it helps prevent any bit of queasiness or indigestion that I might experience afterwards.


Particularly grapefruit juice!  Last week I scored some big honkin’, juicy grapefruits at the Filipino market where they were on sale at 3 for $1!  Mmm-hmmm.



Luckily I was being quite the planner last night despite my type AB personality.  I whipped up a creamy bowl of overnight oats and started cooking some chicken in the crockpot.  Now, you have to give me some credit for doing all this because I’m far from being a planner and I SO wish that I was more of an A-type individual.  Smile with tongue out

The oatmeal bowl consisted of:

  • 1/3 C oats
  • splash of milk+water
  • chia seeds
  • mashed banana
  • frozen blueberries
  • Artisana coconut butter
  • granola
  • peanut butter+Greg’s Reese’s cereal


I always pack my lunch whenever I go to work because it saves me money and allows me to consume as many vegetables as possible.


I had a little bit of Chipotle leftovers from another day, so I mixed it with some roasted brussel sprouts, tomatoes, avocado, and gouda cheese.  It was such a satisfying and heart-healthy meal!

And since my favorite cupcake shop is located just about two blocks away from work, I stopped by to try their key lime and s’mores cupcake.  I had a few bites of each and took the rest home for Greg.


I’ve got three words for you guys—they were amazing!  The key lime wasn’t as strong as I’d like it to be, but it was still finger lickin’ good.



By the time that 4 o’clock rolled around, I was pretty hungry so I refueled myself with Chobani’s new pear flavor.



I mentioned yesterday that our 1 year anniversary is coming up this weekend, and if you recall the time that we came back from our honeymoon in Kauai, I wasted no time in remaking the most amazing quesadilla ever, which is what I ordered at one of the restaurants and have been dreaming of since!  Lately the more I think about our anniversary, the more I miss those pulled chicken quesadillas, so I used this recipe last night to make the pulled chicken in the crock pot.  Dinner came together in a flash tonight after I was done with work thanks to the crock pot,because all I had to do was warm up some tortillas on the skillet, toss in some cheddar along with the meat, flatten, flip, and voila!  And of course, we had to have some guacamole to top it off. Open-mouthed smile  I was quite proud of all the energy I had since I was even able to make some more for the young people at church, yay!

I hope you have a beautiful day guys and keep it cool!

Have you been adopting the ‘moderation’ philosophy of eating, or do you go to one extreme or the other?

What dish reminds you of a special time or a trip with your loved ones?


Ellie <33