Ready to get toned, strong arms? Not only will these exercises help strengthen your biceps, triceps and everything in between, you’ll also see the difference in your… armpits?

If that little extra fold of skin between your arm and chest bugs the daylights out of you, don’t freak. It’s common — and nothing to feel bad about.

While it’s common knowledge that there’s no way to spot-reduce fat, it’s also true that daily fat-burning cardio and strength training can tighten muscle groups. So try these eight targeted arm exercises to help blast away armpit fat. Aim to complete three sets of this workout three times a week.

For this workout you’ll need the following equipment:

  • light dumbbells (3-5 lbs)
  • heavy dumbbells (8-12 lbs)
  • squishy ball (or a throw pillow)

1. Tricep Pushup

pushup
  • Step 1: Get into a standard pushup position with your hands directly in front of your chest, squeezing your elbows to your sides. Lower your chest toward the floor while keeping your upper arms parallel to your sides and your elbows pointing straight back.
  • Step 2: Push back up to start.

» Do the work: Perform 8 triceps pushups; move on to Move #2.

2. L-Raise

L-Raise_Grouped
  • Step 1: Stand with feet hip-width distance apart, holding a set of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. Roll the shoulders back and down and brace the core.
  • Step 2: Exhale and lift the arms: One comes forward and the other moves out to the side, creating an “L” shape. Keep the arms at shoulder height. Lower to the hips and repeat on the other side. Control the move — no swinging! Use 3-5 lb. dumbbells.

» Do the work: Perform 20 L-raises (10 on each side); move on to move #3.SLIDE 1 of 3

3. Lying Chest Fly on Stability Ball

Chest-Fly-With-Stability-Ball_GROUPED
(Photo: Skinny Mom / PopCulture.com)
  • Step 1: Lie on a stability ball with your head and shoulders supported by the ball with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Grab a dumbbell in either hand and raise them over the chest with your wrists curled slightly inward. 
  • Step 2: Keeping the elbows soft and wrists curled, pull the dumbbells away from each other out to a “T.” You’ll control the range of motion, stopping it before your elbows hit the floor. Close the fly and repeat.

» Do the work: Perform 10 lying chest flys; move on to move #4.

4. Triceps Extension

Overhead_Triceps_Press_Grouped
(Photo: Skinny Mom / PopCulture.com)
  • Step 1: Hold one dumbbell with both hands and raise it over your head, keeping the weight vertical. Pull the elbows in closely so they’re nearly squeezing your head. Keep your stance neutral.
  • Step 2: Dip the weight behind your head. Keep your elbows in close to your head — when you dip the weight back, your elbows will want to flare out. Instead, keep it tight and depend on the triceps to hold it together.

» Do the work: Perform 10 triceps extensions; move on to move #5.SLIDE 2 of 3

5. Back Delt Fly

Back-Delt-Fly_Grouped
(Photo: Skinny Mom / PopCulture.com)
  • Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips and lean forward so your hips go behind your heels and the back is flat. Keep your gaze in front of you at the floor and hold the dumbbells in front of you with arms extended, palms facing in.
  • Step 2: Keeping your arms straight (without locking the elbows), lift your dumbbells to the side of your body. If you have to jerk your body to complete this movement, decrease your weight. Avoid putting the work in your lower back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together then release the weights back under the chest with control. That is one rep. 

» Do the work: Perform 10 standing rear delt raises; move on to move #6.

6. Pyramid Pulse

Pyramid_Pulse_Grouped
  • Step 1: Stand tall and hold a squishy ball between your elbows as the arms extend straight out from the shoulders. Bend the arms at 90 degrees and bring the hands together. Pull your belly button into the spine.
  • Step 2: Raise your elbows up a few inches and back down to the starting position. This is your pulse range. Keep the same amount of pressure on the ball, and keep your hands together. The shoulders should stay down — if they creep up, rest and restart.

» Do the work: Perform 20 pyramid pulses; move on to move #7.SLIDE 3 of 3

7. Weighted Arm Circles

Arm-Circles
(Photo: Bright Side)
  • Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, a light weight in each hand. Extended your arms out to each side, parallel to the ground with your palms facing the ground.
  • Step 2: Draw small, controlled circles in a clockwise motion with your weights for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, switch to a counter-clockwise motion for 30 seconds. Remember to keep your back straight and abs in tight. Do not arch your back. If you feel yourself compromising your form, drop to a lighter set of dumbbells.

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» Do the work: Perform 20 weighted arm circles (10 forward and 10 reverse); move on to move #8.

8. Dumbbell Floor Press

floor-press
(Photo: AngieInMotion.com)
  • Step 1: Lie on your back and hold a pair of dumbbells above your shoulders with straight arms. Keep your knees bent with feet flat on the floor.
  • Step 2: Lower your arms down until your upper arms quickly touch the floor (do not rest them on the floor), and then press upwards to the starting position. That is one rep. Pause briefly at the top before slowly reversing the movement.

» Do the work: Perform 10 dumbbell floor presses; repeat entire workout 2 more times.

For more targeted workouts, try 9 Moves to Shrink Your Muffin Top and Bye-Bye Saddlebags.Start the Conversation

‘Biggest Loser’ Contestant Phi Holmes Talks Her Emotional and Physical Transformation Since Being Sent Home (Exclusive)

By ANNA RUMER – February 11, 2020 12:00 pm EST

For PhiXavier “Phi” Holmes, her time on The Biggest Loser meant the start of a total transformation that began internally and has her feeling like a whole new woman. Losing a total of 12 lbs. during her two weeks on the show before being sent home, the Washington D.C. school counselor told PopCulture.com that her life since competing on the USA show’s revival has began looking bright after she was able to come to terms with emotional trauma from early on in her life.

Holmes first knew she needed to make a change when at 36, she realized she was taking the same medications as her grandparents, who are in their 80s. Beginning her Biggest Loser journey at 357 lbs., Holmes quickly realized that much of her emotional eating she had done over the years was tied to the grief and guilt she had internalized for decades after the traumatic death of her father when she was a little girl.

“[The Biggest Loser] was definitely a healing and a release,” she told PopCulture, adding of the emotional breakdown over her father’s death she had with coach Erica Lugo while on the treadmill week one, “It was my first time saying anything.”

While Holmes had previous sought help to process her emotions in therapy, she learned she had “only scratched the surface” of what was lying dormant within her.

“It was the release that I needed, because I had internalized the grief within me,” she admitted, saying the episode airing was also the first time her family truly knew what she was dealing with all of these years. “For my family, it was a connecting moment. It was, ‘Yes, this makes sense.'”

Learning to be vulnerable with the help of the Biggest Loser team has been the start of a powerful emotional and physical change.

“Being on Biggest Loser and the revamp of the season … this is why I love it, because it focuses on the whole person,” Holmes said. “Since then, I’ve learned not only to be vulnerable but also to ask for help.”

Since returning home, Holmes has continued her wellness journey “charting non-scale victories,” like being able to express herself through art and dance, a passion she says her weight kept her from in the past.

“I watch my body transform as I’m losing the weight, but I’m watching how my body is feeling,” she explained, noting that she no longer has to wear knee braces and can walk the stairs at work faster and with less effort.

“My body can now do things without the pain that I had before,” she told PopCulture. “I’ve started to experience the life in my head I always wanted and in my heart I always dreamed.”0COMMENTS

The Biggest Loser airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on USA Network.

Photo credit: Richie Knapp/USA NetworkStart the Conversation00:19/01:03SPONSORED ∙ 0:09

Finding Joy and Balance: Recognizing Holiday Depression This Christmas

By TANIA HUSSAIN – December 22, 2019 02:33 pm EST

Though perceived as a time of joy and celebration, between the countless gatherings, parties and shopping rush, the holidays can feel like a deep dark pit of despair for so many prone to depression and seasonal depression. While one in 10 Americans experience depression at any given time, reports state those who are usually happy start to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment as stress and anxiety builds up during the season.

christmas-family-getty-images-peopleimages
(Photo: Getty Images/PeopleImages)

Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, believes many people would say the holidays are the worst time of the year. “They’re just straight up miserable, and that’s not only for people with clinical depression,” Duckworth said.

One reason doctors point to such a feeling is the constant barrage of images during the holidays. From smiley-faces and togetherness, people unconsciously assume there should be a norm achieved from these caricatures and begin questioning the quality of their own relationships. While it takes a conscious effort on your part, we help decipher the signs of depression so you can find joy and balance this holiday season.

THE SIGNS

Concentration
If you’re unusually inattentive, see a decline in productivity or feel you’re walking through a fog, you’re more than likely depressed. Stemming from a mood disorder, pronounced concentration issues can affect work and relationships as sufferers become forgetful and typically misplace common things.

Sleeping
Occasional restless nights aren’t a big deal but if it’s persistent, it can be a symptom of depression. Many who suffer tend to struggle falling asleep or staying asleep despite being exhausted. Conversely, there are those who also sleep too much, struggling to wake up each morning and cannot wait to sleep again during the day.

Irritability
Depression doesn’t always equate to overwhelming sadness. Sufferers exhibit anger, restlessness, and irritability because of feeling helpless and hopeless. Often signaling a more severe level of depression, if tolerance levels are low, temper is short, and you’re lashing out, think about what emotion might be driving that behavior in you and talk to a specialist.

Social Withdrawal
Regarded as the most common telltale sign, social withdrawal is when we feel a strong urge to pull away from others. Shying away from any social interactions and beloved activities, this behavior leads to a deeper isolation and is the exact opposite of what we need. Not only can it worsen how we feel, but it amplifies the brain’s stress response. Great risks can come from this symptom, so fight hard against it and seek help.

FINDING JOY AND BALANCE

Do Something Different
If the routine is leaving you feeling more “nay” than “yay,” then it’s time to try something different and think outside the festive box! Go out with family and friends to a movie, skating rink or host a game night.

Reach Out
Despite how difficult it may seem, reach out to others when the going gets tough and you feel lonely. Talk it out and take time to get together with friends and family through the holiday hustle and bustle. If they live far away, keep in touch via phone or video messaging as even hearing their voice can help a great deal when feeling lonesome.

Get Involved
If the holidays already have you feeling stress because of being über busy, try taking time out for someone other than yourself and your immediate family and friends. Volunteer your time at a food bank, toy drive or even soup kitchen. Scientists believe altruistic behavior not only releases endorphins producing the “helper’s high,” but making a small dent in the lives of people who have so little can be an incredibly humbling and comforting feeling during the season.0COMMENTS

Exercise
Exercising during the holidays? Yeah, right. It might seem impossible with the scheduling and everything you have to do, but the benefits are well worth it. Producing strong anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects, physical activity releases endorphins (happy thoughts!) that help to reduce the perception of pain, while triggering a positive and energizing feeling similar to morphine.

For more information and resources on balancing your mental health or depression for an effective, fulfilling lifestyle, visit NAMI for further details, or call the helpline now at 1-800-950-NAMI.Start the Conversation

101 Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

By JEN CASPERSON – December 9, 2019 10:51 am EST

The Elf on the Shelf is a new family holiday tradition that has become well loved by all. Kids love the fun surprises that await them each day, and parents love Santa’s spy reminding little ones to stay on their best behavior.

If you’re looking for some elvish inspiration, then look no further. We’ve scoured the internet and collected the very best Elf on the Shelf ideas!

1. Baking Fiasco:

If you don’t have plans for your elf to roll around in a bunch of flour, you might want to rethink your plans. The kids will love waking up and seeing their elf concocting some fun Christmas treats. Plus, it’s an awesome excuse to make some holiday treats. Try these Skinny Sugar Cookies or Peppermint Meringue Cookies.

Elf-on-the-Shelf-Cupcakes-and-Cookies_RESIZED-2
(Photo: Skinny Mom / PopCulture.com)

SLIDE 1 of 29

2. Sprinkle Overload: 

There’s no such thing as too much sugar for elves! Tonight’s mischievous act involves sprinkle angels.

Elf-on-the-Shelf-Sprinkles_RESIZED-1
(Photo: Skinny Mom / PopCulture.com)

3. Disconnecting to Reconnect:

This is a great setup before a nice family brunch. Get the whole family to participate and reconnect over a a delicious breakfast.

Disconnect-to-receonnect
(Photo: Elf on a Shelf)

4. Eating Cookies:

Your elf ate all of the cookies! Set him up for this silly scenario and then surprise your kids with a batch of these Skinny Sugar Cookies to replace the ones the elf ate.

2017-12-02-2-idea
(Photo: Elf on the Shelf)

SLIDE 2 of 29

5. Being Part of The Family: 

Your elf wants to be considered one of the family! He put a little self-portrait into your family photos. (via Elf on the Shelf)

Part Of The Family
(Photo: Elf on a Shelf)

6. In a Secret Club House: 

This requires a little bit of crafting! Put your elves in a Santa-scout only clubhouse to observe the naughty and nice behavior. (via Lori Romano)

imgp9135
(Photo: Lori Romano)

7. Making a Toilet Paper Snowman: 

Your elf wants to make a snowman! This is a fun and simple way to set up your elf and decorate your bathroom for the season. (via Elf on the Shelf)

2014-29
(Photo: Elf on a Shelf)

SLIDE 3 of 29

8. Doing Laundry: 

Use some doll clothes and string to set this scene; your kids will think it’s hilarious, and you may even convince them to help you do some folding later. (via I Heart Nap Time)

laundry-elf
(Photo: I Heart Naptime)

9. Interrupting Breakfast:

Do your kids have a favorite breakfast cereal? Think of how surprised they’ll be when they see their elf poking his head out! (via Raining Hot Coupons)

cereal-elf
(Photo: Raining Hot Coupons)

10. Making Coffee: 

Your elf has decided he doesn’t love the taste of coffee… but you can get delicious hot chocolate K-Cups! Treat your kids (and yourself) to a morning mug of hot cocoa. (via Raining Hot Coupons)

Elf-Hot-chocolate
(Photo: Raining Hot Coupons)

SLIDE 4 of 29

11. Having a Movie Night:

Your elf stayed up waaay past his bed time watching movies. Set him up with the remote and some popcorn for some silly fun. (via A Small Snippet)

elf-on-the-shelf-ideas-26
(Photo: A Small Snippet)

12. Funny Family Photo: 

How long will it take your kids to notice your elf has turned the family into Rudolph? They’ll spend a while searching for this one! (via A Mommy’s Adventures)

elf-on-the-shelf-ideas-39
(Photo: A Mommy’s Adventures)

13. Doing Chores: 

Do your kids need a little reminder to clean up after themselves? Maybe their elf can show them how it’s done! (via 505 Design)

elfontheshelf_idea08
(Photo: 505 Design)

SLIDE 5 of 29

14. Elf Yoga: 

We love to encourage kids to get active, so have your elf show them some yoga poses. Now the kids, your elf and Mommy can all follow along with a yoga flow. Not sure where to start? Try this beginner’s yoga flow.

15. Eating Dog Treats: 

It looks likes your elf has a bigger sweet tooth than the kids… He couldn’t kick his craving and tried to eat dog cookies! (via Flickr: richardbronosky / Via Creative Commons)

Elf-Dog-treats
(Photo: Flickr: richardbronosky / Via Creative Commons)

16. Using Dad’s Shaving Cream:

A little boy wants to be just like his dad… and so does your elf! Your little ones will wake up to see him starting his day off the way Dad does. (via A Small Snippet)

elf-shaving-cream
(Photo: A Small Snippet)

SLIDE 6 of 29

17. James Bond Elf: 

Looks like the other toys have gotten jealous of all the attention your elf is getting and tied him up! Can your kids rescue their elf? (via BuzzFeed)

Naughty-elf
(Photo: Buzzfeed)

18. Performing on ‘The Voice’:

Who knew your elf had such a talent for singing? All of the judges will want him to be on their team! (via Pickle Head Soup)

Elf-The-VOice
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

19. Harry Potter Elf:

Have you been reading these beloved books to your kids? Encourage them to read and have some fun with your high-flying elf. (via Shelf The Elf)

Elf-Harry-Potter
(Photo: Shelf The Elf)

SLIDE 7 of 29

20. Connecting Four: 

This is a simple elf idea! Grab another toy and your set of Connect Four for a last minute, easy cleanup elf setup! (via Lil Blue Boo)

connect-4-elf
(Photo: Lil Blue Boo)

21. Swinging: 

You can easily make this swing with some string and a Mason jar lid. Hang it right in front of your kids’ bedrooms or above the kitchen table. 

22. Fishing: 

This is a silly surprise for your kids when they go to brush their teeth in the morning. Plus, they’ll be extra happy when they see the Goldfish packed in their lunch that day! (via Melanie Stofka)

Elf-Fishing
(Photo: Melanie Stofka)

23. Snowball Fight: 

Use little balls of paper and Legos to set the scene of an epic snowball fight! If you don’t mind the mess, you could even sprinkle some flour on the ground for effect. (via Nelly Cole Photography)

Snowball-fight-elf
(Photo: Nelly Cole Photography)

SLIDE 8 of 29

24. Writing a Letter to Santa: 

This is a great one because it doesn’t require a lot of work! Just open up your laptop or iPad and you’ll be ready for the kids. (via Lil Blue Boo)

elf111
(Photo: Lil Blue Boo)

25. Packing the Kids Lunch: 

We always encourage parents to pack wholesome and nutritious lunches for themselves and the kids. Your elf, however, seems to have a different idea! (via Lil Blue Boo)

elf161
(Photo: Lil Blue Boo)

26. Doll Clothing Shopping: 

Put all of those extra doll accessories to use! Your elf wants to go on a shopping spree in Barbie’s closet. (via Lil Blue Boo)

elf181
(Photo: Lil Blue Boo)

SLIDE 9 of 29

27. Having a Sack Race: 

Your elf has challenged the other toys to a friendly race! Who do you think will win? (via Pickle Head Soup)

sack-race-elf
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

28. Downhill Skiing: 

Fun and easy, your elf decides to take a little ski trip… down the stairs! You can even use some toilet paper to create a trail of snow. (via Picklehead Soup)

Skiing-Elf
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

29. Hiding in the Freezer: 

Where has the elf gone today? He’s pigging out on ice cream in the freezer! Maybe if the kids are good today, they’ll get some for dessert. (via Picklehead Soup)

ice-cream-elf
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

SLIDE 10 of 29

30. Taking a Bath: 

If you have Barbie furniture and some bubble wrap, you can make a great bubble bath for your elf! Who knows, it may even convince your kids that bath time is fun. (via Picklehead Soup)

Bubble-bath-elf
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

31. Having a Game Night: 

Your elf and the other toys stayed up late last night playing some board games. Maybe your kids will want to play, too. (via Picklehead Soup)

Board-Game-Elf
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

32. Swapping Stockings: 

Your elf played a little trick on the family! He replaced your Christmas stockings with your family’s underwear. (via Couponers United)

underwear stockings
(Photo: Couponer’s United)

SLIDE 11 of 29

33. Teeny Tiny Jenga: 

Your kids probably love Jenga! Well, so does your elf! Make your own teeny tiny Jenga set or order one. (via One More Maybe Four)

34. On a Romantic Sleigh Ride: 

Your elf had a fun night out with Barbie! The two enjoyed a lovely sleigh ride around the living room. If you’ve got toy horses, (or reindeer) hook them up too. (via Flickr)

Sleigh-Ride-Two
(Photo: Flickr)

35. Making a List: 

Mom’s grocery list didn’t have the sugary goodies your elf wanted! Take a second and jot down a funny list of groceries for your elf to request. (via Frugal Coupon Living)

elf-on-the-shelf-ideas-grocery-list-frugal-coupon-living-e1509570022233
(Photo: Frugal Coupon Living)

SLIDE 12 of 29

36. Pulling a Heist: 

Your elf pulled another prank and got into the jewelry box last night! Luckily, the kids woke up in time to make sure he didn’t get away with the goods. (via Alfie on the Shelf)

37. Playing Twister: 

The toys had a fun time last night playing some Twister. Maybe after school today you can get your kids to play too! (via She Knows)

inspiration-for-elf-on-the-shelf-day-16b_dv4syh
(Photo: Racheal Pulver / SheKnows)

38. Taking a Shower: 

Scrub a dub dub! Your elf just took his morning shower. Think he can convince the kids that bath time is fun? (via She Knows)

inspiration-for-elf-on-the-shelf-day-05_bs8r28
(Photo: Racheal Pulver / SheKnows)

SLIDE 13 of 29

39. Adding to your Photos: 

Your elf thought it might be fun to create some additions to your favorite photos. Make them as silly as you can — but make sure to use a dry erase marker! (via Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

inspiration-for-elf-on-the-shelf-day-13b_wewrjg
(Photo: Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

40. Playing Scrabble: 

Your elf wants to improve his vocabulary! Maybe you can use this as a chance to teach your kids some new words as well. (via Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

inspiration-for-elf-on-the-shelf-day-20_prcw4l
(Photo: Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

41. Writing a Letter: 

If your kids have been especially good (or bad), your elf may want to write them a letter and let them know! Santa will want to hear also. (via Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

inspiration-for-elf-on-the-shelf-day-24-crop_k6yjki
(Photo: Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

SLIDE 14 of 29

42. Eating Chocolate Chips: 

Elves are notorious for their love of sweets — probably not unlike your kids! Last night your elf decided to treat himself to some chocolate chips. (via Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

inspiration-for-elf-on-the-shelf-day-28b_hj8vzq
(Photo: Racheal Pulver/SheKnows)

43. Sleeping In: 

Remind the kids that they need to stick to their bedtime or else their elf won’t get any sleep either! (via Unknown)

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(Photo: Unknown)

44. Hiding Ornaments: Your elf hid some of the ornaments from the Christmas tree! Do you think the kids can find them all? (via Simple as That)

elf2
(Photo: Simple As That)

SLIDE 15 of 29

45. Robbing the Piggy Bank: 

Forget stealing cookies from the cookie jar! Your elf took your kids’ change! Maybe he’s holding it ransom for good behavior? (Simple as That)

elf6
(Photo: Simple As That)

46. Setting a Baby Trap: 

Your elves are playing a little trick on your little one — do you think he’ll fall for it? (via The Howard’s Got Elfed)SLIDE 16 of 29

47. Starting a Garden: 

This is a two-part setup! On day one, your elves will plant a little surprise in a small pot. What will happen tomorrow? (via The Howard’s Got Elfed)

48. Finishing a Garden: 

They’ve waited all day and their seeds have grown into tasty candy canes that your kids can now enjoy. Patience pays off! (via The Howard’s Got Elfed)

49. Rolling up in Ribbon: 

This is an easy setup for some last-minute elfing! Your elves can have some silly fun with an easy cleanup for you. (via The Howard’s Got Elfed)

50. Sledding: 

You may not want to encourage your kids to slide down the banisters, but your elves can’t be stopped! Make your own little sled and tape it to the railings for some fun. (via The Howard’s Got Elfed)SLIDE 17 of 29

51. Hanging with the Ninja Turtles: 

If your child has action figures they love, you can have some fun by setting your elf up with them! Who doesn’t love a crime-fighting elf? (via Your Modern Family)

ninja-elf
(Photo: Your Modern Family)

52. Taking a Trip to Space: 

With this fun setup, your elf can go on a space adventure! There’s a free printable to make it simple, but you could make your own with construction paper. (via Sweet Paper Trail)

elf-rocket
(Photo: Sweet Paper Trail)

53. Selling Ice Cream: 

Your elf opened up shop overnight! Maybe if your kids are good today, they’ll get to have some for dessert. You can download it for free to make it easy. (via Sweet Paper Trail)

elf_ice_cream_stand
(Photo: Sweet Paper Trail)

54. Painting a Self-Portrait: 

This one can be easily set up and is a fun way to display your elf for your little artist to find! (via Pickle Head Soup)

elf-portrait
(Photo: Pickle Head Soup)

SLIDE 18 of 29

55. Trapping the Kids: 

Your elf thought it’d be funny to trap the kids in their rooms! They’ll have fun ripping up the streamers to escape. (via Living Locurto)

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