6x Hot Spots in Groningen, Netherlands

Food, Travel

Hi lovelies, 

Groningen is a city is the northern Netherlands.  There are a lot of students living in Groningen and it’s a really hip and young city with a lot of cool shops & cafés. Let me share my top 6 with you.

 

1. Little Lovely Living

This place is insanely cute. It’s a store with interior accessories. Mostly for kids rooms, but i have to admit i love all the things they sell as an adult as well. But the best thing about this place is that they sell UNICORN FOOD! Like the cutest food and drinks ever! Everything looks amazing and it actually tastes good too!  My favourite’s the strawberry milkshake, yaay! 


2. Toshka

This place attracted me by the cute graphics on their windows outside. I love the branding of the place, just as much i love the interior. I felt really comfortable sitting here and having some wine and beer with my husband. We actually got some free cheese to go with the wine as well. The food and drinks in this place are great and you can really have a good time here if you want to take a rest after a day of shopping. 


3. Pure 

Pure sells frozen yoghurt, ice cream, donuts and drinks. The place looks modern and it seems to be very popular as well. Some people came here to try particular flavours of donuts, but they were sold out. You have to be early if you want to choose between all flavours.  My favourite was the caramel seasalt donut, yumm!  

 

4. Wereldburgers 

This burger restaurant is one of the best in the Netherlands! The burgers are made fresh and they taste amazing. There were so many burgers to choose from and they seemed all as tasty. I also loved the drinks they served at this restaurant. They didn’t serve regural Coca-Cola’s, but Fritz-Kola lemonades. I really liked them better than the well-known soda brands. Also the wedges are reaaaaally good! They taste so …real, unlike fries in most restaurants. I really would like to come back here and try more from their menu. 

Where to stay?

We spent 1 weekend in Groningen and we got to see all these places! We stayed in the Apollo Hotel Groningen. The location of the hotel was very convenient for us, as we were travelling by car. The hotel was a 10-minute drive away from the city center. We parked our car in the city center parking lot, so we could bring stuff we bought to the car and wouldn’t have to walk around with shopping bags all day. The hotel is new and modern. We booked a room for 2, but got upgraded to an apartment, because it was our wedding anniversary. The cocktails at the hotel are not really my taste, they serve like “real” cocktails, wich taste quite bitter. I’m all for the sweet cocktails with fruity flavours. The breakfast buffet was really good! So much food to choose from. From healthy smoothies and yoghurts to scrambled eggs with bacon to waffles and poffertjes* with powdered sugar. *poffertjes are a Dutch kind of mini pancakes.

 

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3 Must-eats in Paris

Food, Travel

Paris has a lot of food to offer besides the famous baguettes and croissants. I’ll share the three things i would definitely not want to miss out on. If i ever return to Paris, i’ll make sure to eat these three things again!

1. Macarons

Macarons are one of my favourite pastries, but no where as good as in France. There are several places in Paris where you can get some good macarons. You can go to Ladurée, which is maybe the most well-known one and can be found in other countries as well. I personally prefer macarons from Pierre Hermé (see photo), Carrette or Paul.

2. Burgers with loaded fries @ Paris New York

Paris New York serves some crazy good american food. The loaded fries, which are fries with cheese and bacon, are fingerlickin’ good! And Chris loved the burger so much that it landed in his top 3! Even though we’ve only been to PNY and Five Guys, Paris has some other good places to eat burgers as well. So try some of them and decide which one you like best.

3. Japanese crêpes

There are countless places that sell crêpes in Paris, but there’s one place that made me feel like i was back in Japan. Princess Crepe sells amazing Japanese crepes with the best flavours, like strawberry cheesecake. They do not only taste good, they look super cute (and instagrammable) as well! 😍

Bonus: Hot dogs in Disneyland

If you are in Paris and plan to visit Disneyland, you’ll also have to eat these hot dogs. Casey’s Corner on Main Street U.S.A. serves delicious hot dogs. My favourite was the cheddar special, which originally comes with fried onions. But since i don’t like onions, i ordered it with only cheddar. It was one of the best hot dogs i’ve eaten in years. A little downside was the price of €9 for a hot dog.

Why Bali wasn’t our best vacation

Travel

When Chris and I got home from Bali, everyone asked us how the trip was. And when we answered that it wasn’t really the best vacation we ever took, people looked at us like we said something impossible. People think of Bali as this paradise, maybe because bloggers, vloggers and influencers make it look like paradise. Truth is, Bali has it’s charms, but this was the first place i’ve ever been to where i actually hated some things about my travel destination. And it was not only the jungle or the insects of which i was terrified.

The thing is that Balinese people are depending on tourists. One of the people we met there said “If you can speak English, you have work”. Even though i think it’s good to support the locals by eating at Warungs, it gets annoying when everyone wants something from you when you come there to rest and escape from daily life drama. And on top of that, we booked a property that turned out to be everything we didn’t hope for: read about it here.

Of course not everything about Bali is bad and it’s a beautiful travel destination i believe everyone should visit at least once in their life. Despite that, i believe you should be prepared for the less pretty things, so here’s a list of 5 things that made our Bali trip less of a success than we hoped for.

1. The beggars

When you go out on the streets during the day, there are some people who want to sell you things. Mostly locals trying to sell little things like bracelets, and drivers who want to earn money by driving you around, nothing wrong with that. Local women in Ubud are stepping up their game though. As soon as it got dark, women came out to the streets to beg for money. And they didn’t come alone, they had children with them! These women with little children / babies on their arms were everywhere. And as you walked by them, they automatically put their hand up, begging for money. I can be an extremely emotional person, but when it comes to people begging me for money i just don’t want to give them anything. I believe giving money to a stranger should be an act of kindness that should not be asked for.

Anyway; as if the begging isn’t bad enough, i have heard stories of women “borrowing” children to beg for money. Say what?! There are also a lot of children out on the streets to beg for money. And even though i know the Balinese have less money than we do, i still think it isn’t right to give these beggars money. Especially because you will stimulate this industry where children are involved.

I know begging isn’t exclusive to Bali, but i haven’t been to a place with so many beggars as i’ve seen in Bali. Ubud was the worst: There were beggars holding their hands up everywhere and it got so irritating that it affected my mood. I got tired of the fact that everyone wanted something from us. One guy even followed us a pretty long time in Kuta. Just leave Britney alone!


2. Dependency

In Bali we weren’t independent at all. I had a bone fracture in my foot, so i couldn’t walk long distances. And i didn’t have a driver’s license, so i couldn’t ride a scooter/motorbike. The roads in Bali are very bad and bumpy and my husband didn’t have experience driving a motorbike, so he didn’t want to take the risk of taking me on the back of his motorbike – especially since my foot was already hurting. So we had to do everything by taxi or hire a private driver, since there was no public transportation on the island. This is what made us very dependent. We didn’t have the freedom to go wherever we wanted at whatever time we wanted. And doing everything by taxi was the most expensive option to get around the island. Bali wasn’t so cheap for us because of it. I think we’ve spent around €45 a day (not everyday), only to get around the island. This was our own choice and it would’ve been cheaper if we could both rent a motorbike.


3. Scams everywhere you go

The internet is my friend when i travel. I look up everything before i go somewhere. And in Bali, that came in extra handy. Because Balinese try to scam you every day! I’ve seen scams before and Chris’s wallet was even stolen once. It wasn’t news that there would be scams in Bali, like people who try to sell overpriced tickets for touristic places. But in Bali i’ve seen some next-level scams, and these scammers are not going to give in. I can give you several examples of scams i’ve seen in Bali, but I’ll share our most remarkable scam experience with you.

We were going to see the Sekumpul waterfall. I heard that locals would try to scare you by saying people had died, so you would pay for a guide. And that’s kind of fine. I didn’t want a guide and that’s what i told the first guy who tried to scam me. As we came closer to the waterfall, there was a small group of locals, also holding us back and saying we needed a guide. I told them that we didn’t want a guide and wanted to take the risk of going there on our own. Then they said it was a new rule from this month that every tourist had to pay for a guide. But the travellers posts i’ve read were from a few day ago, so i told them that. Suddenly they were from the government and they had to stick to the rules, so we had to pay. Oh well, i wasn’t going to win this fight, so i was ready to pay. But the price he showed me… €20,- per person!! That’s incredibly much for Balinese standards (this is like 1/6 of a Balinese monthly salary – based on minimum wage. If we would ask the same, we would ask for €260,- per person to see a waterfall.), and honestly it was a lot of money for us as well. We were only able to get a certain amount of cash everyday, and we wouldn’t be able to pay our driver if we’d pay this amount of money to see this waterfall. I explained that we could only spend a certain amount of money and asked if we could go see the waterfall for half the price (which was still a lot of money for these Balinese scammers), but they were not going to give in. In the end i got mad, but i didn’t want to walk past them and just go see the waterfall. This wasn’t my home, i was a guest, so i behaved like a guest and i told them i knew it was a scam and i left. I didn’t get to see the waterfall, but i was not going to set aside my principles. Our driver took us to another waterfall, one that was less touristy! So it ended up to be a good thing.


4. Shopping & prices

When i want to buy something, i just want to pay and take off. In Bali this wasn’t possible most of the time, because we had to negotiate about a price first. I got so tired of negotiating all the time and knowing to pay way too much money for the value of items, that i just didn’t buy so many things. Of course there are “regular stores”, but in my opinion there weren’t so many; not in comparison to other places i’ve been at least. So i actually didn’t like shopping in Bali.

Another thing is that tourists pay more than locals. I think it’s ridiculous to pay more for something (even fruit!) because you’re from somewhere else or based on your skin colour, even though this happens almost everywhere.


5. The dirty environment

Bali isn’t a clean island. In fact, it’s filthy. There’s trash or dirt everywhere. The pavements aren’t exactly safe to walk on when it’s dark outside: there’s huge gaps/holes in them (don’t have a picture of it, but Google “Bali pavement” and you’ll see)! It’s a good thing i had my shots, because i fell one day and scraped my leg. And the Balinese definitely aren’t as clean in the kitchen as westerners are. I got undercooked chicken for a meal twice in different restaurants! I didn’t eat the raw chicken, but i still got Bali Belly. I even had to go to the hospital for it twice. They said it was very common to get Bali Belly, now why would that be?

I hated that i got sick. It was a waste of my time in Bali, because i wanted to spend my time seeing the island and doing fun things like snorkeling. We didn’t get to see the Uluwatu area because i got sick and i spent a whole week lying in bed, watching tv. Would’ve been a lot cheaper to get sick at home, but shit happens.

The worst property we ever booked! – Bali

Travel

It was in Bali, summer 2017. We booked this private Villa in Ubud. The photos on the booking website looked beautiful! I was doubting to book the place, because it was new and wasn’t to be found on Google Maps. I did find some reviews of people who said it was good, the only downside was that it was a bit further away from the centre of Ubud. Well, that wouldn’t be a problem in my opinion. They even had a free shuttle service! So, given the reviews and the beautiful photos and shuttle service, we decided to book “our own private villa” for a few nights.

And then the trouble began. We took a taxi to the property. At first our driver couldn’t find the place, so he called the staff from the villa. The staff told our driver where it was and that meant they knew we were on our way. So when the driver found the right way to the property, even he was shocked. It was a muddy path leading through the jungle and lianas were hanging down everywhere and touched the car. Driving through this jungle part made me really anxious. I didn’t feel good about this place and neither did Chris and even the driver. You can see the jungle path in the picture below. It looks kinda pretty, but wait till you have to live in there! 🌿😱

But there we were, in REAL Balinese living circumstances. Because there were other houses there too. The staff from the villa was nowhere to be found. Turned out there wasn’t a reception/front desk. It seemed to me that this staff guy just lived “nearby”, because he arrived some time later on his scooter. He let us in the villa, but he was badly prepared for our arrival. Even though we booked this place months in advance. And that brings me to the second minus: the villa turned out to be a badly renovated Balinese house in the jungle. In pictures on Booking.com the place looks great and it even has a small pool. And don’t get me wrong, the pictures do show what the place looks like, but details aren’t to be seen in pretty pictures. The toilet was old and my husband didn’t even want to use it. The place just wasn’t as pretty as it looked in the pictures. Also, things weren’t as convenient as we hoped for when renting a villa. We had to move the deckchair to be able to get in the pool, because it was very small. And there were jungle parts in the pool, like leaves. 🍃

Anyways, the staff guy told us we could use Wi-fi, but then he forgot the password and he drove home to get it and got back with it. Then he asked us if we would like to have dinner, so we said yes, because it was late and we were too hungry and tired to get out again (not that i wanted to go out in the jungle in the dark, No thanks!). So i ordered potatoes with tomato sauce, which turned out to be flaccid fries with ketchup. Not exactly what i expected and it tasted bad. Oh and he told us it would be ready at 7:30PM, but he got to us with the food about an hour later and then he also forgot the cutlery, so he went back to his “home” again on his scooter, got the cutlery and drove back to us. In the meantime our food was getting cold, but it was actually so bad that we weren’t going to eat it anyway.

Even though we already knew this place wasn’t what we were expecting, we decided to try and stay there for at least one night. We wanted to give it a chance. I decided to take a shower in our beautiful outdoor bathroom. But then i was reminded that our outdoor bathroom was also in the jungle. I was about to wash my hair, when i saw a frog next to my foot. It was sitting still, so i looked a little closer to see if it was real. But then the frog blinked and i just RAN inside, all wet. Chris tried to comfort me, but i couldn’t feel comfortable in the jungle. When i was finally lying on the bed, and we were about te relax, the TV didn’t work. 😑 And then… i heard a noise! “What was that?!”, i asked Chris. “Probably something outside”, he said. But i knew better. There was a gecko ABOVE MY HEAD! 🦎 That was IT. I was done with this place. I started crying, because i couldn’t handle all the setback. I hate bugs, i can’t handle the jungle and i didn’t expect this place to be SO FAR from Ubud centre.

On Booking, it said the property was 3 KM from Ubud centre. In reality it was 8 KM: a 20 min drive by car. But there was a shuttle service, right? Well, turned out there was a shuttle service, but only between several hours. Outside of these hours you had to pay for the service! This didn’t leave us with much freedom, which also interrupted the holiday feelings. We also couldn’t get away by ourselves, because there was no way in hell i was going to walk through this jungle path! 🙅🏻‍♀️

Okay, well. I was crying on the bed and i started looking for other properties: hotels to be precise. I booked the most beautiful hotel i could find, just to be sure. We called the staff guy and told him that we wanted to leave. he didn’t really get that we wanted to leave right away and offered us free shuttle service the whole day if we would stay. Ofcourse we didn’t want that. We just wanted to leave. When he finally got it, he had to call his boss and before we could actually leave, 2 hours had gone by. But there it was: a car that would bring me to a place where i would feel comfortable! I couldn’t wait to get out of this place. The staff brought us to our new hotel. And when we got there and i said “Thank you!”, he held up his hand and asked me for money. Seriously?! You acted like you’d bring us as a sign of good service and sorry for the inconvenience. Well i put the money in his hand while thinking “suffocate in your f*ing money!”. 💸 We made those bastards rich, because the “villa” wasn’t cheap. Especially not for Balinese standards. But hey, i survived and got out of the place, so i was pretty happy to finish my shower in our new clean hotel room!

Things to do in the U.S.A. for kids & teenagers

Travel

After going to Hungary with my father three years in a row, i really wanted to go somewhere else. And i knew exactly where i wanted to go. Not to Italy or Greece or Spain. No, i wanted to go the the U.S.A., a destination far away and not so cheap to get to.

Why i wanted to go to the U.S.A.? Not to see famous people’s houses, not to see the Grand Canyon, not to see anything really. I wanted to go there, because they had fun stuff. And with stuff i mean waterparks as well as stationary. My neighbours, who became my friends, were from the U.S.A. And because of their stories and pictures this destination seemed so cool to me! And that’s why i asked my parents if i could go. And guess what?! They let me go!

The big moment was in July 2009. Off to Boston with my neighbours/friends who existed out of a mom, dad and their 11-year-old daughter who i always played with. We stayed with family of my friends in New Bedford. We hired a car so we could go somewhere everyday! This was going to be the trip of my life! And it was. I had so much fun on this trip, even though it was so different from how i travel nowadays. I wasn’t interested in sightseeing, i was only interested in shopping, eating, swimming, having fun, but most of all: just being there, in the U.S.A.

I don’t really have any good pictures of this trip. I wasn’t that much into photography yet and only had my iPhone 3GS to take pictures with. And the things i took pictures of weren’t even that interesting… I honestly don’t understand what i was thinking. Why didn’t i capture the great views on the beach? Why didn’t i capture that amazing ice cream place i loved or the best steak i ever had? Why did i take a picture of cars on the road? My 15-year-old self doesn’t make sense to me!!

Still, i would like to share the best pictures with you. Here are 5 things to do in the U.S.A. as a teenager.

1. BUILD-A-BEAR

Build your own stuffed animal at Build-a-Bear! I would actually still love to do this as an adult. You can pick your own “bear skin” and pick a sound you want it to make. Then they put it inside the skin and stuff the bear. Then you can give your bear a bath and last but not least, they have A LOT of clothes you can pick out for your bear so the bear can be a hero or a princess or whatever you like!

2. WATER WIZZ

Water Wizz is the waterpark where the movie Grown Ups was filmed. I actually was there in the period they were shooting at Water Wizz. It’s a very fun waterpark with amazing slides. You can rent your own tube, so you only have to wait in line for the actual slide, not also to get a tube. I really recommend this when it’s crowded.

3. FUNFAIRS

This is just always a good idea! I loved all the rides and games. Though i have to say that it might get a bit more violent at night, so i recommend visiting during daytime. The friends i travelled with, came to the U.S.A. every year and they once had to run, because there was some shooting going on…😱 Luckily this wasn’t the case during my visit, but i did notice some agression.

4. SHOPPING

I think shopping is a must-do in every country you visit. But for me, as a plus-size teenager, the U.S.A. shopping malls had it all. In The Netherlands it was hard to find the clothes i wanted to wear in my size, but in America i could go to several stores with awesome clothes in my size. They even had junior plus-sizes. For me, this was the place to be! There were also stores with cute accessories, like Claire’s and another plus: every shopping mall had an arcade!
Besides shopping for plus-size clothes, i was also finding shoes from good brands for lower prices than at home. We also went to outlets and ofcourse Walmart, K-Mart and Target: THÉ American go-to stores! I loved them all. The stores in America are huge and there’s so many stuff you can’t find at home. It’s my favourite thing to do in the U.S.A.

5. THE BEACH

The beach is a good place for families. The ones that want to get a tan can rest under the sun and the ones who need to lose their energy can play around in the sand and water.

“Just eat less and exercise more.”

Lifestyle

“Just eat less and exercise more.” It’s a common thing said about – and to – fat people. And it’s a common way to lose weight. And the first thing that bothers me about this comment is that the problem is not always how much people eat, but what they eat. So you’re not even giving the solution to weight loss. But okay, have those fat people said to you that they want to lose weight? Have they asked you for advice? Do you think they’re stupid and ignorant and don’t know who they are and how they’re living? I think they know very well how they can lose weight. Why share this general information with them? I think it’s just another mean comment, even though it might not contain actual mean words. You’re just trying to be in control of someone and making them feel bad about themselves by telling them they eat too much and exercise too little, even though you have NO IDEA what they actually eat and do in their lives. You’re actually telling them “you’re so fat”, when you know those people know very well they’re fat. It actually sounds very stupid when you think about it, to give information of which you know they already know it. Calling someone fat wouldn’t even have been a problem if people didn’t use it in the wrong ways. There are countries where you can be called fat just as a fact, not as a mean comment. But when someone calls you a fat cow, you know they don’t mean well. They want to insult you. And it’s not the actual words that hurt. It’s the meaning behind it. I think everyone can understand that fat people have struggled with insecurities about their body. But i know for a fact that EVERYONE – no matter what body type – has struggled with insecurities about their bodies. So why would you point out those insecurities to them and make them feel bad? So you can feel good about yourself? Or do you just want to be “cool”? Because it’s not so cool to bring other people down. It is cool though, to stand up for someone else. And doing something for someone else can also make you feel good about yourself. So why not try that?

People say if you’re fat you should eat less and exercise more… That being fat is a choice. And you know what? In most cases it is a choice. But the choice is not to have a fat body, the choice is to eat food that makes you feel good. Because that’s what food does: it has impact on your mood, it makes you feel good. Especially when we’re stressed. And i believe we live in a society that brings way too much stress to our lives.

Even though fat people chose their own lifestyle, I still don’t understand why people would say “just eat less and exercise more”. First of all: it’s just not that simple. Most of the time it’s about so much more than just eating. People often eat for a reason. Think of eating disorders: they don’t come out of nowhere. And often it’s an addiction. You can tell an alcoholic “just drink less”, but you know they won’t listen to you and that it isn’t that simple. So why do you think it’s that simple for fat people to just stop eating so much? Well, that’s because you don’t know how they feel. Pocahontas has a great quote i want to use here: “You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you.”. Well guess what?! No one’s really the same, we’re all different. And i think it’s time to accept that we all look different, talk different, think different, act different and have different backgrounds and values.

Second of all: I don’t tell you what to eat, where to go, how to spend your money, how to live your life. So why would you tell me how to live mine? You should let people live the lives they want to live, because life is actually short. Everyone has things they enjoy. If someone enjoys painting, will you tell them to stop painting? Probably not. But if someone loves food, you tell them to stop eating. And don’t tell me that you say those things to them because of their health. You don’t care about their health, you care about you. If you truely cared about this person, you shouldn’t leave mean comments in the first place.

And yes: obesity can give health problems. And more health problems cost more money. But fat people pay for their health insurance too, just like you. And it doesn’t nessacerily mean that they actually have more health problems.

There’s also freedom of speech, which might make people think they’re allowed to say what they think, but leaving mean comments is not just sharing what you think, it’s being mean to others. It can make people feel really bad about themselves and there are even people who get depressed or take their own lives because of all the mean things said on social media. Sometimes the comments are distrimination, which is prohibited by law.

I think there are a lot of problems in this world we live in that you can pay attention to instead of telling others how to live their lives.

It’s almost always strangers, hiding behind their screens, who say mean stuff on social media. I’ve noticed that people who leave mean comments on instagram often have a private account or don’t even have a profile picture. I think that’s kind of interesting, why would that be?

Ofcourse: if i choose to openly show you my life and my pictures and videos, i can expect that not everyone will love it. But is that a reason to leave mean comments and hurt people? If you see someone in the streets and you don’t like their haircut, would you go up to them and tell them in their face? Would you walk up to a fat woman waiting for the train and say to her face that she should eat less and exercise more? I think you wouldn’t. But you know what? Maybe you should do that – if you’re one of the people leaving mean comments at least. Because i think the reactions you’ll get, will set you to thinking.

Why do i love travelling?

Travel

Hey there!

Since this is my first official post (even though i’ve been blogging on several platforms before, but always deleted them) I will  introduce myself shortly.

I’m Elize and i’m a 24-year-old creative from The Netherlands. I got married to the love of my life when i was 22 and now live with my husband and our cat in a city apartment. The things i love most in life are photography, design, food and travelling. And i think i can combine all of those on my blog. 


I think a small piece of my love for travel is genetically determined. This may sound strange, but i really recognize myself in my father on this. For me, the feeling of freedom is one of the most important things in my life. I fulfill that need for freedom by doing as many fun things as possible and travelling in my free time. With travelling i can escape everyday life and have no obligations (except the ones i impose myself). Besides the need for freedom, i also need variety. I’m not a person who’s able to sit at home all the time. I need to get away sometimes. It doesn’t always have to be far, sometimes going out for a good lunch is good enough. I really love exploring though. I love getting to know other cultures, admire beautiful surroundings, love buying everything i can’t buy close to home and especially love trying all the food.


As a baby, i had already been on a flight to the Canary islands multiple times (ofcourse i don’t remember any of that). I don’t know if this has anything to do with my love for travel, but I do know that there are also a lot of people who haven’t left their home country at a young age. I thank my parents for letting me see the world!


The first trip that i can remember was going to Paris and Disneyland with my mom. After this trip, many others followed. I went to Spain, but also went on trips within my home country.


From 2006, i always looked forward to school vacations. Because every vacation (if the weather was good), i would go to Hungary with my dad. This went on ’til 2013. Below you can find 1 picture per year, from 2007 to 2013 (i didn’t have a good picture from 2006). It’s funny to see my transformation from a 13-year-old to a 19-year-old.


In 2013 I met my husband. I went on my last trip to Hungary with my father and switched to travelling with my boyfriend. So my future blogposts will mostly contain content of my travels with Chris (that’s my husband). Maybe i’ll post about one or two of my Hungary trips as well, since i’ve spent 7 years of my life travelling to this country. Let me know if you’d like to see more posts about Hungary! 😇

That’s all for now, but you’ll be hearing from me soon.

– Love, Elize