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Chicken Noodle Soup Part Deux: Sans My Bitchyness



This week Sweet Baby Grace is sick. For the first 18 years of Gracie’s life, under my watch, she has only been sick a handful of times. I chalk this up to a healthy Santa Barbara lifestyle of organic fruits and vegetables at the farmers market, juicing, zero stress, two years of breast-feeding (as a baby, obviously) and loads of sunshine. Not so much here in Paris… And for the past year and a half that we have lived here, Gracie has been sick more times that I am comfortable with. I chalk this up to the cold weather, lack of sunshine in the winter, the pressure of becoming a semi-adult, living in a bustling city, lack of breast-feeding (kidding) and the simple fact that Gracie dresses like she still lives in Santa Barbara. Every time Gracie gets sick here in Paris I always tell her the same thing… “You need to eat some chicken noodle soup, drink green juice, stay off the Metro, and for God sake put some clothes on!”

Chicken noodle soup is not exactly flourishing over here in Paris. In Los Angeles, I could go directly to my favorite Jerry’s Famous Deli and order up a piping hot bowl of chicken noodle soup with matzoh balls and bagel chips. When I was at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, nearly dead with a collapsed lung after diaphragm pacer surgery, with strange tubes and wires coming every which way out of my body, jacked up on oxycodone, my little voice eeked out one phrase, “Please get me some chicken noodle soup from Jerry’s Famous Deli across the street.” (I probably didn’t say please, though.) It did the trick because two days later I walked out of the hospital on my own 2 feet.

I am lucky enough to have a remarkable friend in Santa Barbara named Mer. Mer is exactly like Tinkerbell in that she flits in unexpectedly, sprinkles some magic dust, and then just as fast as she came in through the windows… She flies back out. You can never quite “catch her.” But it doesn’t matter because that’s part of her charm. When we were living in Santa Barbara, Mer would pop over to my house and just give me stuff. She would bring me roses from her garden… The apricot colored David Austin roses that smelled like cake or the bright yellow ones that could cheer anyone up. Sometimes she would just drop off my favorite Diptyque Bais scented candle or a huge coffee table book from Assouline. Mer is the type of woman who would literally give you the shirt off of her back. One day, Mer came to my house wearing this great blue and white striped thin sweater. I told her that I loved her sweater and as fast as I got that sentence out Mer took off the sweater and just gave it to me. I think she went home in just her bra. Another day, I mentioned to Mer that I loved this lemon chicken soup from a Greek restaurant in Santa Barbara. Without fail, my Mer would drive from her house in Montecito (side note: Mer’s house is awesome. It was decorated by interior designer Erin Martin (love her) and featured in House Beautiful Magazine. Click HERE to see.) into Santa Barbara, schlep into the busy restaurant, order the soup for me, wait for it and then drive it over to my house and secretly leave it in my kitchen. This was a period in my life when I was only a few months into my official ALS diagnosis and it was wreaking havoc on my body, tearing me down mentally and physically day by day. I have to say, I was really struggling and that lemon chicken noodle soup just soothed my soul as did my friendship with Mer.

Now that we are living in Paris and there is no Jerry’s Famous Deli Chicken Noodle Soup nor any Santa Barbara Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, my go-to soup to stay healthy is a Thai Chicken Coconut Soup. Authentic Thai food is abundant in Paris and the Coconut Lemongrass Chicken Soup is exactly what Hippocrates was talking about for healing foods. Perfect on wintry Parisian nights if you are feeling under the weather.

So, in today’s blog, let’s look at four recipes… Regular Chicken Noodle Soup, Flu Buster Chicken Noodle Soup, Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup and Thai Coconut Lemongrass Chicken Soup. But first, let’s learn some secrets to the perfect Old School Chicken Noodle Soup…

             Throw in a parsnip for flavor.

             Use a dash of Tumeric.

             Cook the noodles separately so they remain al dente and do not get mushy.

             Make a homemade chicken stock the day before.

             Add Glace de Poulet

             Throw in a leek for flavor

             Always make plenty of soup so you can freeze the leftovers… In case of an emergency.

             When serving, add freshly grated Parmesan.

             Never use bouillon cubes… They are high in salt and MSG and probably cause ALS and a host of other neurological diseases.

             In a pinch, a premade rotisserie chicken is totally okay to use… My mom said so.

Okay, let’s look at those recipes…

 
Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup from Smitten Kitchen. Recipe HERE.
 

 
Flu Buster Chicken Noodle Soup from Baker by Nature. Recipe HERE.

 

Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. Recipe HERE.
 
 

 
Thai Chicken Soup by Heather Christo. Recipe HERE.
 
Chicken soup mastered! Next up, we have to talk Chicken Pot Pie. I have a secret chef for the Chicken Pot Pie blog that I feel very fortunate to be “cyber friends” with. Stay tuned…

*Something you don’t know about me? When I was young my parents gave me a Bible after I was baptized with my name monogrammed (emblazoned) on the front cover in gold cursive script. I still have it and if you open it up there is a John Denver concert backstage pass sticker plastered over the first page and a note under it that I wrote at the tender age of 12 that says, “I love John Denver more than Jesus.”

A toute!

49 comments:

  1. Chicken soup - just what we need here in the frozen, snowed-in Northeast US. I'll be trying the Greek orzo one this weekend , although they all look fantastic.

    I laughed out loud at the John Denver declaration - pretty sure it's what every kid with a Bible was thinking, but you were brave enough to document it!
    Hope Gracie is better .

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    1. So jealous of all of your snow. Stay warm. XOXO

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    2. With you about the snow, Eleanor! And Gracie is bound to get better under your care.

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  2. Aw, poor Gracie. I hate it when Chloe's sick. I've always been a big fan of chicken soup to cure just about anything. Being six weeks post radiation therapy, everything still tastes super bland and wrong, but I made it thru, even when I couldn't eat much, with a daily bowl of homemade chicken soup. The stuff's a lifesaver!!! Right now I have to rebuild collagen and, in order to do that in the best way, my wellness centre is strongly recommending a chicken soup of sorts made from bone broth. For me, that means usually the carcass of last night's roast organic chicken simmered for some 24 hours in a crock pot to make the broth, then strained and the veggies and rice or noodles get added, then, it's a bowl a day. It'll take a good month for the layers of skin to turn over, so a good month before I see the results. I'm hoping for the best. :D

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    1. Dear Veronica, I am hoping for the best for you as well. I always believe that food is the best medicine. My recommendation is to juice juice juice! So sorry you had to go through radiation therapy but look, you've made it through to the other side! Bravo. XOXO

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    2. Veronica, I too am sending my Best Wishes of Strength to you in your recovery.

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    3. Goodness, Gracie is sick? I am sorry to hear it but it seems that everyone has been ill this winter in France more than usual. There is definitely something going around in a round-robin! I hope that she is better asap.

      I was feeling right on the edge of flu-ey the other day. I was home alone and so for lunch I made a chicken udon soup and packed it with all of my favorites: cayenne, ginger, garlic plus spinach and celery leaves. Well, you know the end of the story, I felt better pretty much immediately and that was that.

      Looking forward to trying these recipes (Smitten Kitchen has changed the way I cook)...and for the chicken pot pie post. Is Mr. Stephen Andrew your guest chef? I could be wrong but that is my hunch!

      Gros, gros bisous. Stay warm and strong.

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    4. Hi Heather! You won't believe who the chicken pot pie secret chef is. Very exciting! I love smitten kitchen also! How is it in Arles this week? XOXO XO

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    5. It is freezing cold here, Ellie. Those pesky Mistral winds are blowing at 100 km per hour. That is 62 mph! Seriously, I have seen a chihuahua get airborne when the wind was this bad - thank Goodness he was on a leash! I am working my best Lara from Doctor Zhivago look when I walk the dogs. Ok, that or the Michelin tire man, you choose. ;)

      And oooh, curious minds want to know! Bring on the chicken pot pie!! *chanting while banging fists on the table*

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    6. Hi, Heather! Are the pups invigorated by the cold? If you got today's snowfall, did they romp in it?

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    7. Veronica, wishig you a healthy recovery. I'm sure the soup therapy will do the trick. My thoughts are with you.

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    8. Leslie we didn't get snowfall but Kip is even crazier than usual with the chill...if you can imagine! :0

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  3. I would add that the thyme is more important than the chicken and shouldn't ever, ever be excluded! Fresh thyme. It's the antiseptic ingredient that gives chicken noodle soup its reputation for being medicinal. Hope Gracie feels better soon and listens to your advice so you don't assault her with leftover Fritos. and tell me who the surprise chef is because surprises are the only thing I hate more than fake flowers and Ann Coulter.

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    1. I wonder what Ann Coulter's parents think of her. I always imagined that they are a happily married little old couple living in a ranch house in the Midwest. They probably say, "Oh, that Ann of ours."

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    2. Stephen, you already saw in my post that there is fresh thyme a plenty growing wild all over the hills in these parts...just in case you ever wanted to visit...just saying...

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    3. Aw, thyme is what I'm missing. Next pot I'll add the thyme.

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  4. My 38 year old daughter still calls me to make her chicken soup when she is sick. Otherwise she doesn't listen to any of my suggestions, but she does dress better now. Take care and warm thoughts

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    1. Gracie was just here and did not take any of my suggestions either. She refused to drink my green juice or wear warm socks and then left to go get her eyebrows colored but not before she took cheddar cheese from my refrigerator and hairspray. Girls!

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  5. Ellie no matter how bad my day has been, you make me laugh and I love you for it!
    Lourdes

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    1. I hope you only have bright days, Lourdes. XOXO XO

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  6. So sorry Gracie is sick - hoping the Thai chicken soup does the trick for her. I was having a hard time deciding which soup recipe to try making first, then I saw the words chicken pot pie. Forget the soup for now, can't wait for your next post!

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    1. You are going to love the chicken pot pie post!

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  7. You are amazing! I have been reading your blog for a while, but haven't commented before as I'm usually on my iphone and always stuff it up.
    I have embraced the Rules About Everything According to Ellie with open arms. My lasange is now reducing people to tears, my foyer is fantastic, I've mad a kick ass chili and am desperately trying to find Fritos in Australia., (CC's? Doritos? What is a good substitute?)
    Seriously, (selfishly) I need you to do a series about Everything.
    You are inspirational and I love your work!
    Meg

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    1. Dear Meg, thank you so much for all your kind words. I don't think that there is a substitution for Fritos. You're going to have to import. :-) XOXO

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  8. Paula Emmerson-CarterFebruary 4, 2015 at 7:22 PM

    Yummy, chicken soup for the soul! Thank god I have only boys that give me the stink eye-girls are evil at the stink/roll eye....I know!!!

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    1. My sister has three boys and my brother has three boys. They are angels compared to the girls. :-)

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  9. Since I've been taking these SUPER stinky vitamins I never get sick! Get them from my naturopathic doctor. It's her own proprietary blend so who knows what's in them. And I live in Seattle which has about the same climate as Paris. The other thing that helps keep me healthy is my wall color. Once I painted all my walls Farrow & Ball Clunch I never get depressed from all the damp, grey days. My walls give off a warm glow. By the way, I always make the Silver Palate chicken noodle soup. It's the best! Oh and I have 2 bibles with my name engraved on them. Never knew what they were for, but I do now!

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    1. Farrow & Ball Clunch is perfect for the gray days of Seattle. I want to paint my dining room Farrow & Ball Cooks Blue. :-)

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  10. I'm craving chicken noodle soup (w/o the noodles) and I love your recipes. But actually this blog is the chicken soup that my soul was craving. Yep, it must be the nursing that kept her healthy. Have you ever heard of olive leaf extract? It's an ancient healing herb that works for me and might work for Gracie's colds. xoxo Mary

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    1. Going to go check out the olive leaf extract straightaway. Thank you thank you.

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  11. I LOVE your blog! Sorry, I don't want to seem like a stalker (I sent a comment a few weeks ago but it disappeared when I signed in) but I really want you to know your posts are super fantastic. I'm a friend of your old neighbor, Monica, and I'm so sorry we never got to meet. Just wanted to let you know some sad news, in case you didn't already know, Jerry's on Beverly closed. CLOSED! Such a bummer. I went there for their chicken matzo ball soup for years too, and my heart sunk when I drove by and saw the signs. But I do love all your recipes and Frito Chili is a hit in my house of 3 boys. Keep up the great writing! It's a good day when I wake & see there's a new post from you. Thank you.

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  12. I have been reading (i.e. lurking) for awhile, but I have never commented before now. I have to say that you topped even my mother's chicken noodle soup when you mentioned parsnip and leek for flavor. Mom is the best cook I know, but I will have try that straight away and then tell her about it because I am a nice daughter and like sharing. Tell Miss Gracie to put some clothes on, now! I have the same fight with my 15 year old daughter...she dances (ballet, tap, pointe, etc.) four days a week, and she believes "a sweater over a leotard with tights rolled up to her mid-calf and boots is just fine, Mom!" *insert teenage girl glare here* I have used a whole bottle of Theives and Eucalyptus essentil oil this season for her alone. These girls!!!!

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  13. Wow! This is like Christmas! Three in a row:) You are on a roll and we are all very happy with your words of wisdom, cooking and health tips, and of course your never ending sense of humor:)
    Thank you Ellie for being you and sharing yourself with all of us! xo

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  14. Hi Ellie! Can't wait for the pot pie recipe, and loved your insights on living with daughters. A friend in South Carolina lived next door to a wise old judge who reared 5 kids on his own. His youngest went off to college and came back after one semester knowing everything his dad had done wrong. The judge just listened and nodded his head at the long list of transgressions, then said "Are you finished? I'm glad you've goon off to college and learned so much. Now, if you stay fucked up it's your own damn fault" and went back to his newspaper. Julie in DC

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    1. Omitted the best thing I have ever heard in my entire life! Saving forever!!! Onto the refrigerator this goes as a "screen shot"!

      Don't we geezers love "screen shots"? I will be 68 in a week or two! HUH????

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  15. I have NEVER MADE chicken soup!!WILL NOW!I KNOW I KNOW.......hard to believe!
    As far as GRACIE and the NOT PUTTING A THING ON.......it's the CALIFORNIAN IN THEM!MY son went to college in PA.and was alway SICK because he did not dress properly!!They think a T-shirt and a sweatshirt will do the trick!!!!!!!!!
    Now, which soup should I make first??LOve to YOU!

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  16. Thanks for another great recipe AND also the info about the bouillon cubes! Never knew that about the MSG. And thank you Stephen Andrew about the info about the thyme! And I agree about Ann C. The mere sight of her on a tv screen as I'm surfing nearly throws me into a rant of sorts. Also, have you ever tried eating cooked collard greens as a healing food? My mother-in-law used to swear by them and her sons would just laugh, but her daughter-in-laws would take her up on them and I swear eating greens seems to cure most anything! My own sons will not touch them with a ten foot pole unless I practically scream at them, but they are so good for you. Also, teenage boys also will NOT wear proper clothing out in the cold. They think a light cotton hoodie is a "coat", even when there are at least $1,000 worth of coats they've requested hanging on the coat rack! I'm also a big proponent of stocking caps - even for me! Lastly, your Jesus/John Denver story was priceless; a classic! I'm sure God forgives you! How could he not?! So cute!!! I hope to God in your book you've started at the VERY beginning and not left out a single detail! Seriously! I'm talking Sedarisly funny!!

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  17. Oh I hope Gracie is on the mend and that you don't catch her cold.
    Your friend Mer sounds like a gem and my goodness her home is sooooo incredibly beautiful.
    Santa Barbara must be the most elegant place...but I imagine Paris is too.

    Chicken soup is my go to medicine for colds and flu...I believe in it's healing properties.
    I love that after roasting a chicken and having several meals and lunches that one can still cook up the bones and make a hearty stock as a base for soup. Waste not want not...my grandmother was very frugal and never wasted anything, her soups were hearty and delicious. I must try adding a parsnip and some tumeric, and as Stephen suggests some fresh thyme.
    Hope you are warm and cozy.

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  18. Hi Elle,

    I've tried commenting before but it never went through so here goes. I so enjoy your blog, it is your attitude that I admire so much and always with a massive dose of humor - despite major obstacles in your life, you are so full of life and your energy comes right through the screen as I read your blog. I appreciate that you are willing to share and you give me pause on complaining about so many of the bullshit things in my life going awry. I totally agree with your healing properties of chicken soup but I have to have home made dumplings in mine rather than noodles, just for nostaglic reasons. Also love to add 1 nice hot pepper to give it some pep because that's how we roll.

    I raised two boys and although we had plenty of interesting times along with early gray hair, I'm not sure that I am cut out for girls. No matter which sex, raising kids is a challenge and not for the weak.

    Having you out there is like balm for my soul.

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  19. Can you believe I ripped the page out of House Beautiful of your friend Mer's kitchen and had it tacked to the corkboard over my desk for the longest time? That.kitchen. It's the stuff dreams are made of. Well, at least my dreams.
    Hope Gracie feels better soon!

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  20. When I was up in Sun Valley Idaho, all the cool kids would wear shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt in 10 degree weather. They thought they were uber cool. I want to make each one of those soups. I tell my self it's winter in L.A. even though it's 70 degrees. I pretend.I need that soul healing food. Now you've given me four to try. I do always use parsnip, leeks, onions and lately peeled garlic cloves .Now I can't wait for the chicken pot pie. Please let it rain in Southern California.

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    1. SANDRA.......it's raining in SAN FRANCISCO NOW!!Will send on to YOU.........there is a chicken pot pie recipe in one of Eleanor's cookbooks........I JUST wonder if that will be the one as I made it and WOW!SENDING THE RAIN................DOWN TO YOU..........in LA!!!!!

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  21. thank the Lord Ella went to USC! She visited her sisters at Amherst and Yale....never wore socks; and came home sick!

    She said...."Mommy; the east is too cold for me! The weather and the people!"

    Oh well.....poor Alessandra (the oldest) has had 4 feet of snow in Marblehead....and she is cross. (She is 51 now (she came to me at 14!!!) and she knows how to dress!
    Chicken pot pie is my favorite food....tied with southern friend chicken! I can't wait!

    XXOO

    Did you get my Christmas card with my enormous grandchildren? If not, I need your address in Paris again! ( I put a return address; didn't get it back but I don't trust France. Please send me your address again if you didn't get it! Good grief! You will not believe it! Poppy is 6 feet tall.....and 16! I turned around when she was 3!!!
    thank God for the time I have had with her!!!!

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    1. Penny! I was just thinking about you last week. How are you! How is the new TV show? When can we all see it? Of course Poppy is 6 feet tall! Tall and beautiful. How is her adorable little brother? Did not get your Christmas card. Send me an email to havesomedecorum@gmail.com xoxoo

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  22. Gosh, I can relate to your John Denver love... As a kid, I blasted my mom's John Denver records and sat on the floor singing along while reading his lyrics from the LP sleeve jacket. Lucky you that you were backstage?!?

    You've often mentioned juicing, so I wonder if you might consider sharing a few of your fav green juice recipes? I imagine your juice references are to the metal-blade type of juicer that removes the fibre, and not blenders / smoothies? I hope so.

    Green juice helped 'save' me so I'm always looking for what others like. After 9 months of pneumonia, flu, bronchitis, ulcers, migraines, and infections, my German Dr. told me to get my sh*t together or I'll intoxicate myself for life w/stress. So I splurged on a serious juicer and have been juicing greens daily (w/kurkuma or ginger). I also take whopping RX doses of iron, drink sauerkraut juice in the a.m., still don't eat meat, and like you, rid my life of toxic people and such. But haven't had a sniffle or even a cold in 14 months, I feel good, and my skin is clearer. I believe the green juice is key in my case.

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  23. I am sorry to tell you that Jerry's Deli is long gone from LA. However, I must say that NateN'Al's in Beverly Hills has the best chicken soup with noodles.
    Love, love your blog and only wish you well.
    Keep them coming!

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  24. ME AGAIN!
    SO< I went to check out MER MER 's house.........IT was done by a decorator in ST.HELENA?Funny thing is that DECORATOR's office is on HUNTS STREET where I found a home to BUY oh probably............26 years ago!!!I wanted it SO bad..........but the commute would NOT have been FUN for the ITALIAN husband or ME!They tore the house down........I think a motorcycle shop is there the last time I drove by!!!!KInd of fun this small world stuff.............Now more about MER please!XOXO

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  25. Elle!!! Please keep writing! I so look forward to it! I will be in Santa Barbara the end of February!! Is there anything at all that you would like me to get for you? It would be my pleasure!! Please let me know!

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