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Health

3 Things Happening To My Body After 24 Hours Of No Social Media

Day 2.

Yesterday I abruptly quit social media. Yes, the dude who co-owns a food company where social media is seemingly what keeps the lights on. Where social media has given Foodbeast’s roster of audio, written, photo and video content legs to be seen by up to a billion people every year — I quit using all of it cold turkey on February 1st.

Now, here are three things that happened to my body the first day I went dark:

1. My body absurdly tried to use Venmo as social media

I made a reference to social media as a drug yesterday. By no means am I the first to make that comparison, but never have I felt the embodiment of the addiction so absurdly as when I was taking a shit at work yesterday.

I sat on the toilet, conscientious of my posture, straightened my spine out, feet firmly on the floor making perfect perpendicular lines with the throne. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and into the crevice of my hand, the empty home screen had no social media notifications.

My fingers did their muscle memory thing anyways — they scrolled two screens over to where Instagram used to be, my crack of choice, and sure enough I thumb tapped an empty block of pixels on the home page where the purple and yellow icon once was. My mind reminded me of the month-long-journey I was on, and my body accepted the fact that Facebook and Twitter weren’t options during my bathroom time.

“What did I eat last night?” I wondered, mainly because I had the mental capacity to do so now. My emails were checked, I wasn’t in an endless hole of sifting through Tweets, mindlessly scrolling past Facebook status updates of friends — wait. Wait. I’m…

venmo-socialmedia

My fucking finger had found Venmo. Yes, the mobile payment app to quickly transact money between friends. A fucking app that PayPal owns. My body was thirsting for social media so hard I was mindlessly scrolling through monetary transactions my “friends” were making between each other, sometimes sprinkled with cryptic reasonings for said transactions. Sherry had paid Tommy for Lakers tickets. Damn, Sherry went to a Lakers game?! Jennifer paid her boyfriend for “sushi,” damn, they going dutch in that relationship?! Jason paid someone ‘private’ for three tree emojis — is Jason’s landscaper on Venmo now?!

I closed Venmo immediately and deleted it from my phone.

social-media-venmo

Don’t get me wrong, I use Venmo too. It’s an awesome tool that allows you to make use of the one friend who may have cash in a situation, or generally speed up transactions. On the other hand, there’s tons to be said about Venmo eroding a lot of social monetary interactions that end up making already fickle, cheap people more fickle, isolated and cheap.

Ever thought a friend was paying for your milkshake in a drive thru, only to have him send you a payment request once he’s not in your face for $3.79 and a memo “the boys getttin sugar waaaasted.” No Keith, I’m not getting sugar wasted with you any fucking longer. Social constructs say I pay for a meal, you pay for a meal — friends don’t need to go dutch on milkshakes. I have a job. You have a job. If you can’t buy your friend a 4-dollar milkshake because you’re closer to the drive thru window, we shouldn’t be driving around burning fuel any longer. We should go park your gas guzzler back home and comb through your finances.

I rant, but Venmo is a social media tool and my body sniffed it out like a junkie. I hadn’t thought to delete it in my initial sweep, but my body reminded me that I still had a bottle of social media pills in a new hiding place. Bye Venmo, at least until I know how to use you properly.

 

1.5. My body wanted mariscos without taking a picture

I still gotta eat. If you find yourself in Orange County, CA and want the best Mexican food for the price and the decor reminscent of an El Torito and Mimi’s Cafe’s offspring, go to Ostioneria Bahia 2. In fact, I was so enthralled with my meal I didn’t take a single worthy picture. A little bit of THC (not served at the restaurant), a couple metallic margaritas (first sip was awful, second sip was heavenly), an al pastor burrito, and of course, the star of the show: shrimp a la diabla.

Orders these as a plate, or in a quesadilla and I guarantee your mouth hole will thank you later (the other hole will beg for mercy, but it all works out in the end):

Since I have no pictures of my own, here’s a few from Yelp that I probably could have just lied and said I took:

2. I tried to access Facebook 39 times at work in 6 hours

I knew I would do it too, so by the second time I had tried to meaninglessly reward my act of responding to an email with a quick hit of “f-a-c-e-b….” I got up from my chair, grabbed some sticky notes from my social media manager’s desk, and slapped one on my monitor. Every time I stopped working to go to Facebook or Instagram on my phone or computer, I would tally it on the sticky with a pen. By 3pm I had notched 39 attempts at social media.

One particularly interesting moment was when Geoff swung by my desk to discuss an upcoming advertising campaign. Mid conversation, literally while words were coming out of my mouth about budget and view counts, I found myself back at this login screen:

facebook-login

Not sure what privacy law they’re breaking here, but there was my face AND a red dot with 31 notifications that I’m “missing out on.” I wasn’t logged in, yet Facebook was telling whoever was using my computer that Elie had many notifications he was missing on. 31 things, specifically.

My body was actively going through the motions of attempting to reach Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In the morning, it was every couple minutes. By the end of the day, it was every half hour that muscle memory would drive me to try and access Facebook.

3. I no longer felt physically attached to my charging cable 

social-media-space

We all feel “tethered to our phones,” but I didn’t realize said metaphorical description was actually a literal one.

Tethering something involves connecting one device to another. An astronaut is tethered to their ship in space because they need the connection to deliver a clean stream of oxygen to their mask and ample amounts of power to their suit. Without the tether, they’d float away into the abyss of space. They would eventually die without oxygen.

phone-charger

Ever been out of your house long enough that you start frantically looking for where your next phone charge will come from? Don’t you start feeling like the battery itself? Say you’re at 15% at the beginning of the day and you have a bunch of errands to run — tell me you don’t start feeling anxious that you might be caught out in the world without a phone. It’s almost as if our bodies are at 15% also. What if I get lost? What if someone calls? What do I do at red lights? How do I listen to podcasts?

Ever been in an airport and watch grown adults tethered to a wall, wires intertwined, sitting Indian-style on a dirty floor trying to get their fix–err, charge? I’ve been at plenty of food events, conventions and general bouts of walking around a city like New York where I have an external battery pack in my back pocket and an extra long 3-foot charging cable connected to my phone. I look like a fuckin’ Jetson and I’m not alone.

But today, I didn’t seem to care. I left to work in the morning with 10% charge. Outside of a few texts, calls, and an email check — my phone miraculously was at 5% by the end of the day. When I moved around the office, I no longer felt obligated to bring my phone everywhere. The first couple times I walked to the water cooler I had my phone in my pocket out of sheer habit. But by the 3rd piss of the day, and walking to lunch, I didn’t seem to need my phone, so I left it at my desk like a growing child I knew could one day take care of his or herself.


Thank you so much to all who e-mailed me yesterday!

Again, I can’t read anything y’all are saying on social media, even if these posts get shared on Facebook, Twitter or talked about on Instagram. What I do know is, those of you who emailed elie@foodbeast.com have been incredibly eloquent, personal and really inspiring to read. Even if you’re just saying hello, feel free to drop me a line — and I really appreciate you following along!

P.S., this wasn’t my original intent…but a lot of you have sent such incredible emails, if you want me to publish any of them in future articles, please leave a note at the end that explains that. It can be a simple ending note “I give you permission to answer this email publicly.” I don’t know if I ever would, but it started feeling like a letter-to-the-editor type thing. My email is personal though, and if you don’t mention that I will assume it’s a completely private conversation between the two of us. 

Categories
Health

I’m A Food Social Media Entrepreneur And I Just Quit All Social Media

Day 1.

This is weird for me to write. Let me explain.

I’m a 29-year-old co-founder of Foodbeast, a website and media company whose content is seen by over a billion people a year. Our articles are read on Foodbeast.com and our videos are viewed on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We have some premiere food and travel shows in our network now. My work day consists of answering emails, thinking of content ideas, client relations and growing our audience.

I started Foodbeast close to 10 years ago as a blog. It was a time prior to Facebook’s newsfeed, before Instagram was a seed in Kevin Systrom’s entrepreneurial ballsack — in short, social media as we know it did not exist.

I was still in college at the time and had a passion for writing and telling stories in any medium I could. Whether I was blogging about my friend attempting to eat 30 Sloppy Joes in one sitting inside a school cafeteria, the new burgers at Carl’s Jr., or using a MiniDV cam to film myself burning the roof of my mouth on hot pot the first time — I just wanted to tell stories I cared about.

I wanted to discuss food sans all the pretentiousness, because the proposition of Food Network being the sole voice for food was starting to feel stale to me. Fast forward 10 years later, Foodbeast is a humble company of creators, social media managers, ad sales, writers and video producers that continue to live out that vision. To say we owe a LOT to social media would be an understatement. Before Facebook and YouTube, our monthly audience maxed out at 2 million people a month. That’s a LOT of people, don’t get me wrong, but when technology and hackers like Mark Zuckerberg, and the bros behind YouTube gave us some bigger microphones to tell our stories through, our audience ballooned. For a self-funded, entirely private company like Foodbeast, social media gave us an opportunity and voice we likely wouldn’t have had without it.

That said, I just deleted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat from my phone. Any social application that gives me access to a seemingly unlimited amount of people, I’ve removed. Only 1-on-1 conversations. Text and phone is cool. No “social validations” for a while. No quick social media dopamine hits to vacantly boost my mood when people like or view my “content.” No addictive social validation loop. Gone:

I didn’t run this decision by my business partners, my family — I didn’t want to make a symbolic gesture by announcing “going dark” on all my social feeds by uploading some dumb all black photo. I’m obviously not looking to advocate for the eradication of the amazing tool that social media is — my business wouldn’t have succeeded without it. With social media I have the ability to, within seconds, speak to anyone on fucking planet Earth. It’s an amazing tool, I want to use it, but I no longer feel like I have any control over it.

Fuck, I literally just switched tabs while writing this — entirely muscle memory — to check Facebook. The above is literally a screenshot, in real time, of me stopping the task at hand and going to Facebook. Good thing I’ve logged out of all of it. But seriously, I just hot-keyed my keyboard to spawn up a new tab and began typing ‘F-A….’

This morning, on our bi-weekly Katchup podcast I do with my co-founder Geoff Kutnick, the topic was the Most Important Food Instagrammers of 2018. I had been planning to discuss my research, interviews and surveys I’d accumulated over the past couple weeks. Who’s the most important? Who takes the best photos? Who has the best engagement? My goal was to finish the article before the podcast went live. I didn’t. I must have been too busy to finish… hm.

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll notice that I nearly crack and lose it towards the end as I describe Facebook “not giving a fuck about you.” The one bit of my research that stuck with me so profusely happened to come from a random YouTube video featuring ex-Facebook execs talking about social media.

The following video reveals both Sean Parker (ex-President of Facebook) and Chamath Palihapitiya (former Facebook exec and current Golden State Warriors co-owner) having immense regret for growing the Facebook platform.

“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” Palihapitiya said in front of students at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Alright Chamath, you sound CRAZY, dawg. Easy to sit on your billions and say you don’t “do” social media now. But…

…then something clicked for me.

I know these tools inside and out: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They’re crucial and give us a wealth of power and communication. But who’s really in charge? I hate to call social media a drug, in fear of sounding like my mom circa the grade school years telling me my hours of Nintendo were turning my brain to mush, but fuck dude, I can’t take a shit without passively scrolling Instagram. I’d more rather have my phone on the toilet than toilet paper — at least I have my phone to look up alternatives to wiping my ass when the TP is depleted.

I can’t even go to the gym without checking Twitter for that fire Lavar Ball Tweet. I reward every task on my work ‘to-do’ list with a quick “hit” of social media. H ow come no one has checked me into fucking rehab yet?!

A study in 2016 (yeah, it’s two years old but it’s the first study that came up in Google, sue me) says the typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times every day. Bruh. That’s a TYPICAL person. And that’s an OLD study.

Psychological and mental health aside of living within the walls of a digital world for a majority of your day, the physicality of my neck crane-ing over 5+ cumulative hours a day actively using my phone while I wait for people to like my Instagram photo is fastidiously putting a herniated disc into my neck. Truly, my neck hasn’t stopped hurting for the past couple years.

Bruh, it hasn’t been but a couple hours, but speak of the devil:

I’ve found I haven’t been able to write like I used to. I’ll get 400 words in and my mind will find some unexplainable reason that I must check Instagram. An hour of scrolling later, I forgot what I was writing about, have jumped to Facebook, ignored my girlfriend’s texts and cracked my neck three times since there’s no “healthy” way for you to posture looking at a 4 inch screen on a couch.

I haven’t published a memorable article on Foodbeast in the past year or so. It took me “weeks” to get 80% done on three different articles, tens more in drafts. I even went on a “spiritual food journey” during a recent trip to Seattle and left my phone in my room for 24 hours. I documented every food I ate and person I encountered in a journal. A spiral-bound book of blank paper and a pen that ejaculates ink is what people used to use to document memories. It was brilliant day. It was eye opening. I felt like Bourdain on his third book. On the 25th hour when I sat down to write about my day sans-phone, I got two sentences in to my recollection, got distracted by a glowing notification on Instagram and never looked back at that draft.

It’s been five months since then.

It’s February 1st now. I’ll use social media again in March. I won’t be able to tell if people are “commenting” on this story, or the subsequent journal entries I’ll produce this month, but you can email me what you think.

I’d love to hear if I’m crazy. Will my food taste better now? Will my mind change? Does your neck hurt, too? Do you get anxiety about taking shits without your phone? Who will I share my food photos with? Have you ever lost your iPhone for a few hours and felt like you were completely void of meaning and direction in your day? E-mail me. Don’t Tweet me, don’t DM me on Instagram. I can’t see your messages on Facebook — but I can see your e-mails. My email is: elie@foodbeast.com

My Managing Editor didn’t proof this story. There may be typos. Like I said, I haven’t written in a long, long time. I’ve decided not to wait until March to journal my story, ’cause when I pick up the pipe again, I may just forget what the fuck it is I wanted to say.

Now you see why this is weird for me to write. I’ll see you tomorrow with more.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

What’s Actually In This Kid’s Taco Bell 12-Pack Will Make You Cry

I remember once crying for happiness when a friend brought over a Taco Bell party pack…I was on my last drunk legs –specifically, all four legs at my ex-girlfriend’s apartment crawling towards a ringing doorbell.

My friend had debarked on a drunk food run an hour prior, presumably to retrieve the heavenly elixir that is a Taco Bell party pack. He arrived just in time, ready to plug our gaping mouths from vomiting-out a hard night’s worth of drinking. I was in tears when he returned. I was happy, I was relieved he was alive, I was drunk, and when all the emotions of the evening climaxed into a drunk friend lugging in a cardboard suitcase full of tacos, I couldn’t hold back my tears.

 

Does everyone feel this level of emotion when they see a box of tacos?!

To answer this question, enter YouTuber David Dobrik. He vlogs three times a week, each video timed to a perfectly tongue-in-cheek 4 minutes and 20 seconds run time, just ample enough to catch antics with his Jackass-worthy set of friends. In today’s vlog, he visits his favorite Armenian household where he plans to play well-to-do pranks on a charmingly foul mouth little kid named Vardon. Vardon is the younger brother of Dobrik’s friend and comedian Nick Antonyan (the same dude we reported was feeding donuts to cops a few months back).

Instead of the normal witty banter between the 21-year-old vlogger and the foul-mouthed, chubby-cheeked Armenian, we’re made aware that young Vardon has been saving up change to purchase a vlogging camera to one day be as successful as his family’s house intruder, David Dobrik. In what seems like a normal jab at Vardon’s consistently well-fed figure, Dobrik plops a Taco Bell 12-pack on the coffee table.

As if his genuinely relatable reaction to a Taco 12-pack wasn’t warming your soul enough, just wait until you see what’s actually inside. Try not to cry:

Damn you David Dobrik. Damn you.

Thank you for making YouTube great again. Anyways, here’s a parting .gif you can share with your friends who fuck with Taco Bell the way lil’ Vardon does:

 

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#foodbeast Brand Features FOODBEAST Health Packaged Food Products SPONSORED Sweets

The New Gummy Bears That Are ‘The Halo Top Of Candy’

I’m a candy junkie through and through, and now I have a new candy I’m hooked on: these SmartSweets Seriously Sour gummy bears.

I’ve been a sour candy junkie for some time, getting my fix mostly from Sour Patch in particular. I recall many a late night study dinner in high school with appetizer, main course, and dessert consisting entirely of Monster Energy drinks and “the Patch.” Now in my late 20s, I can no longer guzzle Sour Patch Kids and Monster shooters like a young gazelle. In the years following my questionable high school and college diet, I’ve tried every low-calorie, sugar-free, disappointing alternative possible. No luck. It was all bad.

Then one random day at the Foodbeast office I saw a glimmer of hope.

As I walked up the flight of stairs to my desk, a package was sitting where my ass would normally be. It was a cute white box with a note scribbled in permanent marker: “Elie, hope this helps your addiction. #KickSugar.”

It was a box of gummy bears from whom I would soon learn is the 22-year-old wunderkind founder of SmartSweets, Tara Bosch. She had gotten my mailing address through a mutual friend that convinced me I wasn’t being poisoned. A few colleagues of mine in the food industry have referred to them as the “Halo Top” of candy.

I like Halo Top, I’ll be the judge of that.

I tore through the package, all the while skeptical of low-sugar, wholesome candy. The bag made a good first impression: flat whites with pops of color, highlighting key nutritional tags like 24g of plant fiber, no sugar alcohols, no artificial colors, and most importantly, only 2g of sugar per bag. GAHT. DAMN.

Bear after bear, I began chewing heads off while browsing the SmartSweets.com website. I noticed the company employs some similar compare/contrast techniques I’ve seen of similar success stories within their category. They mention that a similar serving of Haribo Gummy Bears will set you back 26g of sugar and 40g of carbs, while the same serving of SmartSweets is 2g of Sugar and 9g of net carbs.

And the taste?

By the time I had finished scrolling through the website I was well into my second bag of SmartSweets. Score one for sugar free. Each sour bear was so damn good (they have an equitable non-sour, ‘fruity’ flavor as well, but my love bubbles over for the sour variety).

I had gotten the sour satisfaction my taste buds needed. The gummy texture was polished and finished well in between the crevices of my teeth and even after two bags I didn’t feel like my insides were ravaged.

Despite their availability currently relegated to SmartSweets.com, Amazon and retailers across Canada, SmartSweets has done more than $1 million in sales within their first year. Following an appearance on Dragon’s Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank, Bosch received offers from all the “Dragons,” finally settling on a deal from investor Jim Treliving.

I’m excited to see where these gummies go next. If you want to try for some for yourself, go grab a pack off SmartSweets.com.


Created in partnership with SmartSweets

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

I Made My Lyft Driver Try This Glow-In-The-Dark Donut

This past weekend, we had but 24 hours in the tech-drenched, gusty city of San Francisco.

Our FOODBEAST Events team had partnered with Hansen’s to host a secret Supper Club in the city, so Geoff, our fearless FOODBEAST salesman, had called on myself and Oscar, our newly-minted videographer, to tag along for the day.

There was a ton of stuff to look forward to that day. One of which where we had somehow convinced the Bay Area’s-own Psycho Donuts to create a glow-in-the-dark donut – so that was on top of my list of fun activities to experience while in town.

During the Uber ride to our hotel from the airport, Geoff craned his neck into the back seat and became dad once again, “Elie, today is simple for you.”

*eye roll*

“Incorporate foodstagrammer @cyneats into your vlog, and get to the Supper Club on time.”

I ignored his patronizing tone, almost blowing off such a straightforward task. Mid-scoff, I realize that San Francisco and the amount of Ubering and Lyfting would soon overwhelm me. But who should scoff at a day full of eating in a beautiful city known for its own vibrant food scene?

The result is in my vlog – everything from local foodstagram celebrity @cyneats standing on tables in restaurants to an unforgettable Lyft ride to track down said glow-in-the-dark donuts.

Thank you for being you, San Francisco.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Without Sight Or Smell, Apples And Onions Taste The Same

It is frequently quoted that upwards of 80% of our taste is made up by smell.

So if you plug your nose and cover your eyes, the taste between an apple and onion should be indistinguishable, right?

The logic makes sense. When I’m home sick, congested and mucus-ridden, eating is often a mundane, muted task. All potato chip flavors taste the same. Chicken noodle soup reminds me of tea with chunks in it. When things are really misty in my nasal cavities, well, you can literally substitute apples and onions and I won’t be able to tell the difference.

In order to test the myth thoroughly, I blindfolded a few of my friends and had them plug their noses while I fed them apples and onions. To everyone’s surprise, the flavors were indistinguishable. When bit into without the onion’s outermost skin, apples and onions share an extremely similar crunch.

 

If you’re looking to indulge in this experiment at home, after you’ve gone through your trials, I highly recommend throwing in a slice of apple and onion into your mouth at the same time. We had an eerily interesting radish-like experience that I’m curious if anyone else shares as well. The flavors of the apple neutralize the onions pungency.

So there you have it, if you plug your nose, close your eyes and bite into an onion…it is indistinguishable from an apple…until your nostrils open again.

Categories
Grocery

Amazon Says It Will Buy Whole Foods For $13.7 Billion

“Amazon did not just buy Whole Foods grocery stores,” claims Dennis K. Berman of the Wall Street Journal. “It bought 431 upper-income, prime-location distribution nodes for everything it does.”

In an announcement made just moments ago, Amazon will acquire Whole Foods for $42 per share, all-cash, at a value of approximately $13.7 billion. Damn, Amazon must have really wanted a self-serve Mochi Bar and Produce Butchers in their portfolio of companies!

In 2016 alone, Whole Foods had sales of $16 billion across its more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The deal on the surface seems valuable for stakeholders in both companies. Whole Foods has major shareholders that were rumored to want a sale, and Amazon is doggedly going after the grocery business while ironically investing into brick and mortar facilities.

The buy marks Amazon’s largest acquisition to-date. Earlier this week rumors were swelling that Amazon had its sights on acquiring messaging technology company Slack, turns out it was Whole Foods that would be the first in the e-commerce giant’s mouth.

“Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.”

In Amazon’s release, customers are assured that Whole Foods Market will continue operating under the same name and continue their business of sourcing trusted vendors and partners around the world.

 

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

New Guinness World Record For Longest Pizza Measures 1.2 Miles


This time last year, Naples, Italy was the home of the world’s longest pizza. Guinness World Records clocked in their achievement of dough, sauce, and cheese at 6,082 feet. I was actually in Naples on vacation at the time, obliviously and ironically unaware of the world record event taking place a just a few blocks over.

I was blinded by the delicious pizza I was inhaling curbside of an unmarked Naples alleyway at the time, but when I heard the good ole US of A was attempting to shatter the world record in Los Angeles, I made sure to show up the morning of to make sure I could see our patriots join the world ranks of pizza making.

This past Saturday, pizza history was indeed made in California. After renting out the outer border of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, a group of pizza artisans had flown in from around the world to construct a new world record pizza, one that measured a tongue-wagging 6,331 feet long.

The pizza, which eclipsed a mile in length, used roughly 17,756 lbs of dough, over 5,000 lbs of sauce and 3,900 lbs of cheese.

The best part about the day was witnessing the custom-made-mobile oven that ran along the world-record-setting table scaffolding that held the pizza up. The gas convection oven on wheels followed the track like a disciplined monorail system, moving at a smooth 17 feet-a-minute. If you’re up for an anxiety-ridden adventure, we live-streamed the entirety of the pizza monorails journey. You can even witness an official judge from Guinness World Records walking parallel the entire length of the pizza, scrutinizing every square inch for sauce, cheese and dough connectivity.

Ironically, it’s our longest live-stream-to-date.

 

The entire effort took the work of over 23 companies and 200 volunteers, with setup beginning 8pm Friday and finishing touches on the pizza ending at roughly 4pm the following day. Close to 2,000 spectators attended the event and had a chance to sample the pizza, but a majority of the food was donated to local homeless shelters and food banks.

Kudos to all parties involved and for such a massive achievement and donation!

#PIZZA