My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Friday Faves

Well hello, friends! And a very happy TGIF to ya!

How is everyone doing today?

This week has been a doozy, let me tell you. But a doozy in the best possible way. The end of the spring term here at the college is inching ever closer which means stressed out students, cranky professors and a very jam-packed library. WHICH I LOVE! Not the stressed out students or cranky professors part, but the whole party-in-the-library part. I hate to admit it, but it’s usually pretty quite in here, which makes it all the more exciting when they stop on by, even if it is to use the computers to do research Google.

I have to take the little victories when I can.

We also had a huge book drive today which went really well! I absolutely hate the idea of throwing away books; in fact, if I could take them all home, I would in a heart beat! But something even better than taking them home myself is giving them to people who could really use/need/want them. We ended up donating over 100 books to local area high schools which was amazing! I’m so glad that we were able to give back and truly make a positive difference—and what better way than through books! :)

This is the first weekend in a long time that I really don’t have a lot planned, which is SO GREAT! I’m telling you, the pants are off, the Netflix is queued up and the pizza guy is on speed dial the moment I walk through the door of my apartment tonight.

I hope you guys have a fun-filled and relaxing weekend ahead of you, but before you get started on your very own pantsless pizza fest, be sure to check out my finds from around the web and more in this week’s edition of my Friday Faves!

Favorite OMG Moment: This week my new BFF Zooey Daschenal shared one of the articles I wrote for HelloGiggles over on her Facebook page. I’m still in a state of “holy-guacamole-did-that-just-happen-oh-my-gosh-how-frickin’-cool” shock. WHAT?!

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Favorite treat: Easy Homemade Funfetti CupcakesNormally I’m a 4:1 ratio of cupcake to icing kind of gal, but holy buckets I would totally reverse the rule for these babies. Mouthwatering, and adorable!

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Favorite woah: Once in a Lifetime Shots. I’ve seen a bunch of these slideshows before, but this one is pretty cool and includes a flock of flamingos in the shape of, wait for it, a flamingo!

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Favorite gift: Hand-Stamped Gold Disc Charm. Wouldn’t this be a cute Mother’s Day gift? A chain with the first initial of all her children looped through?

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Favorite breakfast: Banana Bread French Toast. Banana bread pancakes I’ve heard of, but french toast?! Come to mama!

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Favorite #TBT: Goo Goo Dolls. I was OB.SESSED with this band in middle/high school and even got to seem them in concert twice (ahhhmazing show, btw). This whole week, the GGDs have been on repeat–at work, in the car, rocking out with me at the gym. I almost forgot how much I loved these guys. Almost. P.S. Iris makes me cry every. damn. time.

Favorite furball. Call me crazy (go ahead, we’ll wait) but I have always thought dog noses and mouths are so CUTE! Right?! Awww. :)

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Favorite guide: 101 Places Every Traveler Should Know. I’m a big fan of crossing off and highlighting the places I’ve been to and seen in my 1,001 Places to See Before You Die book, but I really like this easier to manage list.

Famous Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, Boston Massachusetts USA. Image shot 2009. Exact date unknown.

Favorite bite: Cinnamon-Sugar Sweet Potato Fries with Brown Butter Marshmallow Glaze. Ok why have I never thought to toss my Sweet Potato Fries with cinnamon-sugar, and why oh WHY have I never drizzled them with brown butter marshmallow glaze before?!

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Favorite place: The Oasis – Lake Travis, Austin, TX. What a view! The Oasis is a popular restaurant perched on a bluff 450 feet above Lake Travis in Austin, TX, Would you dare?

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Favorite Funny: If you haven’t been watching Lip Synch Battle, you are losing at life. The show, based on a hilarious Jimmy Fallon sketch is my new favorite thing ever. And it will soon be yours. Trust. I mean, John Krazinski in a dress, people!

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You are not delicate.

You are skinny dipping at 2am.

You are jumping out of airplanes, swimming with sharks and dancing to Tom Petty on top of tables. You are reverberating the echoes of a curse word ricocheting off the steeply sloping side of a mountain as you make your way up, and then back down.

You are “windows rolled down and sun roof open on a summer day”, “ice cream for breakfast”, and “getting a tattoo on a random Tuesday night”.

You are “kissing a stranger under the stars”, “dancing like everyone is watching–and not giving a rat’s two-step that they are”, and “buying a plane ticket to anywhere for a weekend getaway.”

Delicate things are pretty, cute even.

But you are not delicate. You are wild, lewd and unpredictable.

So move! Love! Travel! Adventure!

Go take risks.

Life is a beautiful blank canvas and it’s up to you the amount of paint you want to throw on it.

You are not delicate.

You are living an amazing life full of color and polka dots, stripe and zigzags.

So get out there!

Get your hands dirty!

Do epic shit.

Live a life worth remembering.

Somebody Pinch Me

Hey guys!

I hope you all are having a fantabulous hump day so far!

So I’ve kinda got some really, super, awesome humble-brag worthy news to share with you all today. As some of you may know, I am a contributor to one of the most amazing websites around (in my opinion, although I may be biased). Founded by Molly McAleer, Sophia Rossi and my BFF Zooey Deschanel, HelloGiggles is a positive online community covering everything from relationships and career advice to pop culture and inspirational stories. It’s a site that is definitely not short on the laughter, the smiles and the feel-goods, and I am so proud and honored to be a part of such a wonderful community.

I recently wrote a fun piece right here on This, That and the Other Thang about 28 things that I learned at 28. I just found out that not only did HelloGiggles run the piece on their site today (you can check it out here), but that the one and only, the talented and beautiful and funny and all-around kick-ass (and my new BFF) Zooey Deschanel shared the post on Facebook.

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I mean….

WHAT?!?!?!?!

Somebody pinch me.

Seriously.

But not the pinching part because I do bruise easily.

Writing silly stories like this, sharing them with you all and the world, it really is so incredible. To be able to connect with readers everywhere, readers who are going through similar things, who are looking for inspiration, or are simply in need of a virtual hug? I feel so extremely lucky and honored to be able to do that.

That’s really the whole reason why I began this little ‘ol blog that could in the first place. It was a place where I could share my wacky and sometimes always bonkers ideas and thoughts, but more importantly is was a place where I could connect with you guys, to in some way brighten your day and give you some food for thought (even if more often than not that food consisted of Ben & Jerry’s and Cheetos). I never thought I would be given this opportunity, or that I could become BFF’s with ZD (we’re on an abbreviated nickname basis now. Because that’s what BFF’s do.)

If you’ve got a dream, any dream at all, big or small, don’t be afraid to go after it. To try. To put yourself out there and shout a big, fat, “WHY NOT?” out the car window. You never know what will happen.

At least that’s what me and my girl ZD were talking about over some froyo the other day. ;)

You all rock my socks off and I just wanted to thank you so much for being there with me through all of it; the weird and strange and sometimes always hilariousness hijinks.

And I also wanted to let you know that there will be much, much more to come!

So hold on to your shorts!

xoxo

Today I thought it would be fun, not at all a drag,

to show you what I have stashed away in my work bag.

This glorious duffle was a gift to myself,

Purchased at the NYC Public Library, sitting high on top of a shelf.

It’s big and sturdy and carries just all the things,

the perfect home for all of my belongings.

Every day I fill it from brim to core, with whosits and whatsits and thingamajigs galore.

The following is a list of just some of the gizmos I carry,

Including that pair of sunglasses that I once bought from a weird guy named Larry.

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Let’s begin with the essentials, the things to help get you through your day:

(Lots) of chocolate, a good book and a bottle of nail polish colored 50 shades of gray.

A brush, some chapstick, a headband with polka dots;

And a giant jar of white chocolate peanut butter, because, why not?

A charging cord for my Apple i-Phone, because let’s face it; with zero bars, I feel so alone.

I’ve got your credit cards and cash, your spare change and random checks;

And if you need a pack of playing cards, I’ve got two decks.

There are Band-Aids and dental floss, lotion and perfume spray;

Because having paper cuts, food in your teeth and stinky, dry skin is the worst in every possible way.

So many wingdings of all sizes and shapes,

I think I’ve even got last year’s Halloween costume in there, a pair of Superman’s tight tights and his cape.

In this bag I carry a ton, a lot, just oh so much.

From gadzoocks and wingdings, heck I’ve even got lunch!

It’s a good thing I’ve got this super giant sack.

Can you imagine trying to carry all of this in one tiny fanny pack?

But I better get going, I’ve got a lot of work to do.

After all, I don’t think this jar of peanut butter is going to eat itself.

Do you?

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This past weekend I had an awesome phone date with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We have known each other since we were in grade school and even though years and miles have separated us, I’m so very lucky that we’ve remained as close now as we were back when we were jamming to Hanson and rocking some serious scrunchies. The 90’s were the best, weren’t they? As we were reminiscing about the past and getting caught up on each of our presents, we hit on the topic of where we thought we would be now in life as opposed to where we actually are, both in terms of careers, relationships, travel goals. etc. We both couldn’t believe how different out lives had turned out, not necessarily worse or better, just so very different than what we imagined as kids.

As children, we often imagine what we want to be when we grow up, who we want to become, where we want to one day live and whether or not we want a family. According to the game MASH, I was going to marry Jason Kopp (the boy who I majorly crushed on all throughout elementary school), drive a Jeep and live in a cottage on the lake with our three kids and two dogs.

We would often be asked in school by our teachers who we wanted to be, what we wanted to do. One week I wanted to be a teacher, the next a counselor, and once I even wanted to be a taste-tester for Ben & Jerry’s. Correction; I still want to be a taste-tester for Ben & Jerry’s. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it, right?

By the time I reached college, I knew what I wanted to do. Finally.

I took all the right classes and got all the right internships so that I would be able to find a job straight out of college. After four years I received my Bachelors in Consumer Psychology with an emphasis in Advertising and Marketing. Graduation came and went and I set out to Milwaukee where I got not only my first big-girl job, but my dream job working in an entry-level position at an ad agency.

I had it all. The cushy job, (I even had my own business cards!), my very first apartment, and the exhilaration that comes with being young 20-something girl living in the big city.

Though I was reaching all my career goals I made for myself at 18 years old, I had never felt so lost. I knew deep down I had no passion for the job I spent 40 plus hours stressing out over. It wasn’t until my mom asked me point blank if I was happy with my life. I was about to give the obligatory “Yes, of course I am!” when I decided to finally be honest with myself and admit I was not happy.

A month later I quit my job and moved back home to pursue something that I actually enjoyed doing. I wish I could say that my journey ended there. But life isn’t that simple.

My Plan B was not something that was going to happen overnight. So I spent a lot of time and effort trying to work towards my new career. I figured it would all happen right away, and when it didn’t I was left very disappointed. Unfortunately, my plan ended up being more of a failure then a fresh start like I had hoped. Up until this point in my life, I had never failed at anything, so this was a huge blow to my ego. I started to let the failures get the best of me, which lead to comparing my life to those around me.

I had no idea how I was going to dig myself out of the hole I had dug for myself. It was then that I realized we have to fail sometimes in order to get on the right path. That path lead me to a Plan C and I now know the direction I want my life to go in. I realized it wasn’t so much about the job I had, but the person I wanted to be. I wanted to be able to do a job that I could be proud of. I may not have become a teacher, a counselor or a Ben & Jerry’s taste-tester (fingers still crossed on that one) like I wanted to be as a kid, but I realized I have always loved books and wanted to help people. If I can inspire just one person, to get them to see the world in a different way, to connect with a story, I am happy and know that all the hardship so far has been worth it.

Besides my job, a lot of things haven’t panned out according to that game of MASH I played so long ago. At 28, I am still very much single. I am living in an apartment in the heart of Denver and I drive a VW bug, not a Jeep. My twelve-year old self, heck, my twenty-year old self had a picture of me as this world traveler (I have yet to even go outside of the country), living this fabulous Sex in the City life style (but without the fashion sense because let’s face it, even my twelve-year old self knew jeans and t-shirts would always be more my game). I may not be flying on private jets to Paris every weekend, or romancing the Mr. Biggs of the world, but you know what, my life is pretty fabulous as is.

In fact, it’s pretty great.

If life isn’t going as you planned it is okay. One day you are going to wake up and realize you are exactly where you want to be and can’t believe you made it there in one piece. I am still working on my Plan C, and I’m sure life will throw another curve ball my way and a Plan D will take its place. At least now I know it is okay for our dreams and goals to change because it just means we are growing up.

And do we ever really stop growing up?

Image via

Friday Faves

Well hello there, guys!

And a very happy TGIF to ya!

It is a dreary, icky, gloomy, rainy/snowy mess here in Denver today, but that’s not going to put a damper on the fact that a) IT’S FRIDAY!!!, b) I’m wearing my good-butt jeans, c) it’s my birthday tomorrow, and d) IT’S FRIDAY!!!

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Channeling my inner-Gossip Girl on the steps of the MET with my favoritest Jenna! :)

This time last year I was in NYC, ringing in my 27th year with one of my best friends, and while I may be missing her and the city like crazy sauce, I think that I’ve got some things up my sleeve this year that will be just as much fun. I’m meeting up with some dear friends of mine tonight for some celebratory dinner and hijinks fun, tomorrow I’m hanging with the sister–getting our retail therapy on and possibly checking out my another one of my friends’ band play, and then on Sunday, a family cookout. It’s going to be a jam-packed couple of days and I am so super excited!

After all, a girl only turns the big 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 once, right?!

What about you?! Have anything scandalous planned for this weekend? And by scandalous I mean eating Chunky Monkey from the carton, with a fork, on the newly cleaned couch, in your underwear.

Actually, that sounds like my kind of Saturday night. ;)

Before you get your ice cream on, be sure to check out my finds from around the web and more in the week’s Friday Faves!

Favorite Comeback Kid: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Okay. I will admit that I am not nor have I ever been the biggest fan of Star Wars. I know. I KNOW, okay?! But, watching this trailer gave me chills. CHILLS! And when Han Solo and Chewy graced the screen. I maybe choked up just a little bit. I may or may not have to re-evaluate my stance on all things George Lucas and have a massive Star Wars movie binge.

Favorite Library Love: This week was National Library Week, seven whole days celebrating the absolute awesomeness that is libraries and librarians. I am so very proud to be considered a part of this amazing group, opening the doors to discovery, creativity, and magic to people everyday. This post did a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of and wonderful power that libraries have.

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Favorite Breakfast of Champions: It’s my birthday week, and I will cry eat cupcakes for breakfast if I want to. And boy do I want to.

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Favorite Ball Boy: I shouldn’t laugh, but it’s just. too. darn. funny! I have watched this meme probably close to a hundred times and each time, it just even more hilarious. But I’d totally tush-bump anyone in my way for a game ball.

Favorite Meme Maker: Speaking of memes, if you are a fan of baseball, and watching ridiculously awesome and perfect baseball memes, do yourself a flavor and start following @MLBGIFS on the tweet machine. You may end up wasting 16 hours of your day, but they will be 16 hours well spent, my friends.

Favorite BESTNEWSEVER: Staying with the baseball theme for a quick hot second, it just so happens that my Brewers are coming to Denver this summer once again for a three-game series against the Rockies. And it just so happens that I scored tickets right behind the Brewers’ dugout. And it also just so happens that my brother from another mother and Brewers bestie for life, Chris is coming out to visit me and take in all three games. WHAT!?! Like I said, BESTNEWSEVER!

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Favorite funny: 32 Pictures That Will Give You Intense Elementary School Flashbacks. DYING over this roundup! Seriously shouted YES to every single one. Especially these stamp markers and especially #14. #2 is gave me instant anxiety.

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Favorite fashion: Nellore Blouse. Love this sweet and flowy blouse, right? Can I please look as cool as this girl does when I wear it too?

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Favorite DIY: Personal S’mores Roasters. Start with a patio project, end with one, too! I think these personal s’more roasters made out of mini terra cotta pots are so adorable – plus, no bon fire required!

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Favorite pooch: Dapper Dog. What a gentleman!

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Favorite place: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. Seriously the coolest.

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Favorite indulge: 7 Layer Cookies a la Mode. Are you KIDDING me! I think one bite of this luscious, indulgent dessert would send me straight into a blissful sugar coma!

This Saturday I turn 25 for the third time (so weird how that happened, right?!). Actually, I’m turning the big 2-8 and while I would normally be freaking out just a little bit, I’m surprisingly pretty chill about that fact that I’m inching ever so closely to my thirties and…ohmygoshimgettingsodamnoldhowdidthishappen?! Okay. I’m maybe slightly possibly kinda sorta freaking out about it. But ever the more reason to celebrate, right?!

Right.

So celebrate I will, damn it! Friday night I’m going out with some friends to whoop it up downtown Denver and then on Saturday the sis and I are going up to Ft. Collins to see my friend play in his band. It should be a great time and a perfect way to ring in my 25th x 3 year 28th year.

But before I put my party hat on and dig into the cake, I wanted to take a second to reflect on not only this past year (which has been pretty amazing, if I do say so myself), but all of my 28 years thus far. I like to think as you get you older, you get wiser. You experience new things, you make mistakes, you learn, you grow.  As you get older, you also begin to form a sort of perspective about life; love, relationships, your career and yourself. You recognize the things that you value most–the things that are important–and the things that aren’t. I don’t think I would be where I am at right now if I hadn’t done those things. It’s actually fun to look back and see how you have changed; to think about those experiences you would do over again; my first concert, sky diving, moving across the country and landing my dream job and those that you probably wouldn’t; my first kiss (sloppy, just so sloppy), my obsession with crimped hair and Doc Martins (basically all of sixth grade) and when my grandma lost her battle with cancer.

Through all of those experiences, I’ve changed, I’ve grown and have gone through some pretty crazy hair styles.

Here are 28 things that I have learned in my 25 x 3 28 years so far:

1. Mom really does know best.

I’ve always been close to my mom, but as I’ve gotten older a whole new respect, admiration and love for her has developed. She is the strongest woman I know and I can only hope to be like her one day. And those things she has always told you (always carry a jacket with you just in case it gets cold, listen to your heart—it will never steer you wrong, and all you need is a little faith) were absolutely right!

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2. Smile.

You never know the impact you may have on another person simply by smiling at them or saying hello.

3. Do what makes you happy.

As long as it’s not a felony, basically. Life is too short to miss out on all the chances to be happy, to experience new and exciting things, to live the most kiss-ass life ever.

4. Floss.

5. Plans will change.

According to the plans I made in my early 20’s, I should be married with 2.5 kids, living in a cute cottage on the lake somewhere while working on the follow-up to my NY Times award-winning novel right now. The reality is that I’m about as close to living the direct opposite of that life as humanly possible. Cue ironic laughter. But you know what, that’s okay. Where I am right now is pretty alright. Things don’t always work out the way you planned them, and not just the big stuff—sometimes you will be handed a chocolate chip cookie, when all you wanted really was a peanut butter one. It’s important to embrace what comes, unexpected or not, and just roll with the punches. Sometimes the best laid plans are those that aren’t….planned, that is.

6. Tell those that are important to you how much you love them as often as you can.

7. Love your body.

‘F’ fashion, ‘F’ photoshop, ‘F’ the media. If you treat your body well, move it, put good things in it, care for it–it doesn’t matter what it looks like. You only have one body, there’s no use in hating on it because (in case you didn’t get the memo) you’re literally stuck in it. Embrace what you have and shake what your momma gave you!

8. The truest beauty is found from within.

It’s really not that hard to be a good person. It mostly just means being considerate of other folks and not being a jerk. Being a jerk actually takes more effort to do than being a good person, because you have to actively do jerk-like things, whereas being good is as simple as a smile (see above).

9. There’s always room for dessert. Always.

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10. Read for the sake of reading.

Don’t do it to be smart or to impress anyone. Do it because you want to get lost in a story, you want to feel all the feelings and see what it’s like to live in somebody else’s shoes. It doesn’t matter what you read; just read. Also, there’s no such thing as having too many books. Take it from someone who does.

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11. You’re never too old for blanket forts and Play-Doh.

12. Pizza is never a bad idea. Have another piece.

13. Life doesn’t necessarily ever get better.

There are good times and there are bad times. Always. You just get stronger and learn how to laugh at yourself.

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14. Never miss an opportunity for car karaoke. Ever.

13. The only thing more crippling than the fear of failure, is the realization you’ve missed or thrown away opportunities due to your fear of failure.

Do. Try. Make as many mistakes as you can. Another piece advice from my mom (see above) is that you will never know unless you put yourself out there and just go for it!

14. And if you happen to fail—which you will, and that’s perfectly okay, dust yourself off, get back up and try, try, again.

15. Make pantless Saturday nights in a thing as much as possible.

16. This is the best show in the history of ever. Do not even try to fight me on this.

17. You’re never going to be able to make everyone happy. And that’s okay.

Be honest, open to new experiences and opportunities, and dedicate time to activities that are constructive and make you happy. Worrying about what others are thinking of you is not going to achieve anything. So just do you.

18. Laugh hard, laugh much, laugh often.

19. Travel hard, travel much, travel often.

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20. If someone doesn’t look at you the way you look at a burrito, then move on.

This whole love thing is hard. In fact, it’s a battlefield. But one of the things I’ve learned is that it really shouldn’t be. If it’s good and pure and true love, it should just come naturally, it should be easy. I don’t think I’ve found my burrito…yet, but I know that when I do, it will be amazing and wonderful and will put Chipotle to shame.

21. Pick up the phone and call your friends/family.

No texts, no i-messages, no emails. Just talk. Every once in a while real convos with the people who mean the most to you are just the thing that you—and they, need.

22. You’re allowed to say no.

23. But you also shouldn’t be afraid to say yes.

24. Giant, suffocating bear hugs are the best.

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25. Pray.

26. Banana, stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate, wrapped in tin foil over an open fire.

Do it.

27. Don’t you dare give up. Ever.

28. Life is crazy.

It’s unpredictable and weird and absurd and completely bonkers. You will meet amazing people and see incredible places. You will fall, get back up and fall again. You will have your heart broken, only to have someone walk into your life and put the pieces back together again. You will wonder, you will dream, you will inspire.

Life is crazy. But it’s also pretty damn amazing.

I may be turning 25 x 3 28, and it may be a bit scary, but if this is what I have learned, what I’ve been able to experience so far? Bring on the next 28 years, baby!

I’m ready!

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