Lady Luck

Note: I wrote this blog at the airport leaving Vegas. It’s pretty raw on how I felt following the race. I decided not to change it, but want to add in a few tidbits I have learned since. They’ll be in bold.

Through the unfailing love of the Most High, he will not be shaken

I chose this verse before I started the Super Sprint Tri Grand Prix, scrolling through my Bible app as I warmed up on the bike. No matter what, the word always blankets me in calm. It was just what I needed as I pumped my legs on the trainer, surrounded by other pros doing their pre-race things, huddled under the provided tents. It was 90 and starting to heat up in Vegas.



From the beginning of the trip, Lady Luck was not on my side. The house dog ate my running shoes, my car broke down on the way to the airport, I called 9-1-1 for the first time, my house’s main water line broke, I accidentally booked tickets to California for a week too early which I only realized after receiving a “would you like to check into your flight tomorrow?” email (no.), and I spilled hot coffee all over a business man who had to call his work and apologize that he’d be late until he “figured out his situation”. Oy.


Fluffy snuggle nugget

I was obviously still really excited to race. Being at sea level is great and it felt good to move my body and get my heart pumping. My mom was with me, as well as her little pup, and I was just ready to play.

It was my first “big race” all season. Instead of being all “pro” like I tried last year, I decided to be a lot more me. I’m not a serious person. I’d rather stick my tongue out than have a game face. I also like to make friends, so I figured I’d try and do some of that, too.

Chillin in the pool

Chillin in the pool

At the pre-race meeting, I saw some athletes I met before and just smiled and tried to be genuinely me-as opposed to shutting up and sitting alone in the corner. It felt good. They announced that 8 girls had dropped out, so there’d only be one finals heat (as opposed to 2). Prelims would be 6 and 6, and as long as you didn’t lose your heat, you’d make it back to race under the lights! Exciting and daunting. No one likes to DFL. Again I reminded myself that I’m ready to have fun and just do my thing.

Maybe my verse was put there to remind me to hold my ground and have fun, no matter what. Warm ups felt pretty good. Some last minute changes had me moved into a different swim lane (we were to swim in a blow-up pool in the middle of the parking lot). The consequences of this didn’t hit me until later. The pool had no lines on the bottom and was all white, so under the Vegas sun they disappeared into the bottom, making the pool look like it went on forever-it’s similar to swimming laps in a hotel pool. They provided a few mats for the bottom, and I had moved mine in my original lane to where I imagined the T would be in a regular pool, so I’d know when to flip. This idea went out the window when I moved lanes. I missed almost every flip turn, and swam as if the race was a 1000 instead of a 300. When I got to my bike, I took about 2 seconds too long to clip my helmet, and that was virtually the end of the race for me. Off went the girls who later placed 2-4, and it wasn’t long until I was passed by the 6th place girl. Rats.

Sweet set-up

Sweet set-up

Even though I stayed positive through the race, and smiled, it seemed so surreal. I lost a race on the swim. That’s a first.

I stayed and cheered for the other athletes, which I may love more than racing. When the day was over, there was a chance I’d have a “wild-card” spot if someone dropped out. Again, no luck, but I am glad. Gwen, who considered not racing, went on to win the race and really deserved it. I grabbed my bike and…oh hey flat tire…rolled on my rim back to the car, head hung.

I can’t pretend it doesn’t stink; that I don’t question all the hard work I put in, just to see competitors I once beat, now schooling me in races. If it wasn’t for the local sprints I’ve done this summer around Denver (I went undefeated in the Underground Race Series), I think I’d be questioning myself even more. You see, I list these things that went wrong in the race-mistakes I’ve made-but maybe it’s not the stupid mistakes that put me out of contention. Maybe I’m just not good enough. I took this summer off of the “big” races, and focused on life changes and getting settled into my new home in the Springs. It was encouraging to race (and win) some events again after last season where I was constantly being rocked by the big names. After another summer of training hard, I figured I would improve. I know I shouldn’t draw conclusions from this one race. I know the only way to get better is to keep stepping up and racing the “big dogs”. It forces me to evolve, grow, and learn every time I step out of my comfort zone. But it hurts my heart, too. I never thought that at 24 I’d be experiencing “growing pains”. I was later provided the overall times from our heats. Even though I placed last, my split was :30 seconds faster than the girl who won the first heat (there was a debate whether or not my heat completed all 7 bike laps, but the race official later confirmed that we had). This means we had a competitive heat. I also happened upon the girl’s blog who caught me on the bike and was happy to hear I “made her work for it”. So maybe my race wasn’t as awful as I originally thought.

Women's Finals Heat!

Women’s Finals Heat!

I did my best to enjoy the rest of my time in Vegas. It was incredible to watch the finals heats that night. Those guys and girls absolutely ripped it! Since I love cheering, I was all over it :) Then my mom and I went to see the Cirque du Soleil “O” show at the Bellagio. I think our tired eyes made the show even better. (long) Blink (for 4 seconds) and BAM! a piano in the middle of the pool on stage. Magical! After the show we went straight to bed.

Playing cards in Vegas!

Playing cards in Vegas!

A quick visit to Interbike was in order the next morning before heading home. Talk about overwhelming. This time our eyes weren’t playing tricks on us. It was simply bikes on bikes on bikes on bikes! I loved it, but was nonetheless wishing I could’ve at least had some exciting results to share from the night before. IMG_20130920_121152_978


Sometimes I write posts with a purpose, an idea in mind of what I want to say, or at least what I want the reader to take away. Sometimes I want to tell a story. Sometimes I just start writing and let the words guide me. But right now, I think it’s just a mix of everything. Mostly emotions. A lot of confusion. 

It’s hard to be steadfast and confused at the same time. I’m doing my best to cling to the verse I opened with and let the chips fall where they may. I’m so thankful to have something to cling to. That unfailing love beats lady luck at every roll of the dice.

Until next time,


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Mind Games

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9

Sometimes I wish I blogged more. Sure it would be nice to look back, reflect on the places I’ve been, but also maybe to bring encouragement to someone else, or to track the journey of my time in this sport. It’s not easy trying to make your way into the pro ranks, trust me. I question myself daily. But then I stumble into Whole Foods after my 4th hour of training (on Wednesdays, when I can buy a whole rotisserie chicken for $6!), sweat and grime covering every inch of me. I see business suits and tailored slacks and just think “Thank you, Jesus!” It’s not for me. He knew it wasn’t, so he didn’t put me there.Image

Most of the time I really love what I do. I have this silly habit where every day, at some point, I sing a little ditty in my head along with this girl [], but minus the haircuts thing, because I haven’t done that in 12 months. It’s just a list of things I love. When I’m happy, it keeps the smile on my face. When I’m sad or upset, it reminds me of how blessed I am and how there are so many good things! Anything-that color, your friend, your couch, naps, that smell, the mountains, this run, that river, your favorite song on the radio. It’s so simple. The list itself is one of my favorite things, because I like lists.

IMG_20130817_111455_391Other than a rather large hiccup in the middle of my season, training has been going well. I found my groove, I was working hard, and luckily had a month off work where I could buckle down and focus on recovery, nutrition, and all those other little things that seem to fall by the wayside when short on time. My training partners have been such a blessing and encouragement. It is crazy the difference having teammates and group sessions make. The truth is, when someone as stubborn and bull-headed as me is being chased and doesn’t want to be caught, I dig a lot deeper than if I was alone. So “team” is added to my daily list. icebath

Now most of my teammates have headed back to school and back to work. Group sessions are few and far between and it seems that with my friends has gone my mojo. I’m approaching the peak of my season. I have a few big races left for the summer and am hitting training hard. My body is exhausted, my list of favorite things is getting shorter, and I am hangry like no other. I think it’s important to get to the point where you’re broken down, so you can build back up stronger. But when you’re “in it”, it’s a tough pill to swallow. I don’t enjoy tear-filled goggles. I also don’t enjoy the thought that you’re at your rawest form and find your true self during this time. Because I like to smile. And I don’t usually want to stab you mercilessly with my butter knife for putting croutons on my salad which I am now unable to eat. That’s not who I am or want to be. But at this point, I can down 3 pre-race pills (basically caffeine pills) with my coffee, and I will still need my naps like a toddler to curb Chernobyl-style meltdowns. I know it’s temporary. I know that in a few weeks I will actually have to unbutton my pants to take them off instead of letting them slide down my race-ready frame. I will get to stay at the bar after K-State watch parties and sing karaoke well into the night with my friends.

I don’t know if other athletes get to this point. Maybe they’re always hunky-dory, excited to jump in the water again, hit the track, test themselves up a climb. Not many write about the mind games. The point where your head says “stop! I feel the heartbeat in your legs and if you take one more step I will make you (and the people you love) feel my wrath!” And I do. And they do. And I’m sorry. I don’t know if they get their weekly training schedule and go “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!” Then have to take one day, one session, one repeat at a time.

I don’t know if other athletes make a countdown to the last race/meet/match of their season, but I do. Not only does it tell me there are margaritas in my future, but it encourages me to approach each day with whatever I have. I want to walk up to that starting line confident I did everything I could to race my best.

I will be racing the next 3 weekends. Two sprint races in the Denver area and then a trip to Vegas for the Super Sprint Tri Grand Prix ( which will be a blast! One of my favorite things is praying with my family before my races. It settles my mind and allows me to focus on why I’m there. I am so excited that my mom, dad, and sister will be able to pray with me and watch me at this race. Then at the end of the month I get to fly out to Santa Barbara to see two of my favorite people get married.

Lots of exciting things to look forward to in the 51 days ahead!

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We Made It

I apologize for not updating my blog these last few weeks. It is a constant battle for me-wondering if I have anything worthwhile to share, and if I have the time to do it. Which is a rarity on both accounts. But right now I at least have one of those things. Plus I’ve done 2 races now! YIPPEE!

santa cruz ride

Store stop on a hilly 80-miler with the crew

It has been an awesome past few weeks. I have been back to Santa Barbara and played with old friends, had a little college reunion in Santa Cruz, and have done some very successful training blocks with my awesome new team. I have been truly blessed.

Going back to California was a great way to reconnect with friends, and remember the spunk and pizzazz that certain people can bring out in me. Do you have those friends? The ones who know you so well, who you can go months without talking to, and be right back where you left off the next time you see them? They are forever friends and they are the best. The time I spent in California was overflowing with belly laughs, and of course reminiscing of “the good old days.” One friend in particular is known for making a certain remark, which he made throughout college on various, seemingly random occasions. “California!” he would exclaim, arms open wide. “We made it!” It was weird. But I liked it.

Santa Barbara

Goleta beach pier

And it got me thinking.

When am I going to feel like I made it?

I’ve raced “pro” for the last year, I’ve had decent results, especially being quite a few years younger than the next woman. I’ve gotten to race in foreign countries. I have great sponsorships with companies who not only I believe in, but they believe in me. Yet I hesitate to say I’ve made it. I’m nowhere near where I would like to be, where I think I could be.  Kristen Sweetland tweeted today that in the main group of riders at the WTC Kitzbuel race, she averaged 288 watts, at 112 pounds (woa). Is that what it takes? Will that be a marker of my success? I am nowhere near that at this point. Could I be? If someone sat me down and told me I wasn’t built for that, that it wouldn’t happen, would I accept it? Stop trying? Act any differently? It’s silly some of the places our minds go. But as someone trying to “make it” as a professional athlete, there’s a lot of crazy silly thoughts and what ifs…


Monroe race venue!


Teammates at the fish market

1000168_10200550656261491_615090474_nThe Monroe Elite Development Race was my first race of the season, my first race since last August, and my first draft-legal race in over 5 years. It was eye-opening and super fun! Traveling with my team and hanging out with them was such a great experience. Warming up that day I couldn’t help but realize what a different mental state I was in compared to where I would be, and have been in the past, when I travel to races alone. I recognize that that’s part of the lifestyle, but most things are better with good company. You can read my teammates race recap here. I took away quite a few lessons, wishing I had bridged up in the swim, and believed in myself a little more on the run. I still came away with a 3rd place finish, but it put a hunger back in my belly.

My next race was a local one, part of a three-race series put on by Renegade Racing. My Way or the Tri Way is a sweet race where you can choose the race you wish to run. Swim/run/swim? Bike/run/swim? Whatever tickles your fancy! There were lots of options which made it a little hectic but really fun to always have people on the course to chase. They also offer a prize purse to the top elite racers. So my plan was to get a little more racing under my belt and bring in a bit of cash. After finishing 3rd overall, only to be beat by 2 male pros, I was pretty satisfied. I had a blast racing and am really excited to see my fitness continue to improve. Something tells me I’m at the tip of the iceberg right now, which is an awesome place to way or the tri way








When I started this blog, I really didn’t know how I was going to finish it. But like I said, I’m so blessed. I am happy and healthy and getting faster and loving training, my job, my friends, my family. I may have made it to California, but it was what I made of my time there that was the most rewarding. Everyone knows the “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” quote, but what are you doing with your journey? Are you impacting others in a positive way? Are you encouraging, inspiring, loving? Let’s remember those goals-to empower others; to shine in a way that makes our maker smile upon us.

I will race some local sprints and continue to build confidence in my fitness over the next few months, culminating in some larger races through October. Race schedules are always changing, but ideally I’ll be back in Chicago for the Lifetime race at the end of August, race the Super Sprint Triathlon Grand Prix on September 19th, and am considering another draft-legal race in San Juan in October. Again, these are all up in the air, but fingers crossed I will be even more ready to rock with the big guns again!

Thanks for reading and happy training!


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Exciting News!

When you come to a fork in the road…take it. ~Yogi Berra

I have some exciting news to share with you all. After two amazing, fun, and eye-opening years with Fast Forward Triathlon, I have decided to move on. Changing coaches can be scary and exciting. To be honest, the first time I changed coaches was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. But holy cow was I forced to grow and learn! I am so thankful for the last two years-begining to travel and race some pro circuits, working to make my dreams come to fruition.

But recently it felt like I needed something different.

After being approached multiple times by Ken Axford at PEAK Multisport, I agreed to coffee. And I’m so glad I did. So much of what he said spoke to my heart. He recognized the love and passion I have for this sport, but also saw the frustration and cloud in what is my typical sunshiny demeanor. I’m so looking forward to having a coach nearby who can consistently check-in with me and modify training when necessary. Ya see, there are days when I feel like I’m the missing member of The Incredibles


and there are days when I want to bury myself in warm laundry and take a nap.


I’m hoping that having a coach here will either allow me to capitalize on certain “super human” days, or help me to level out the extremes in my energy. Either way, more sunshine. Another thing I am looking forward to is having a team. Coaching has really reminded me of how beneficial (not to mention fun!) it can be to have your buddies training with you, pushing you, cheering you on, chasing you, wanting to beat you. While training alone can be a welcomed breath of fresh air some days, other days, it’s not.

So, big changes. Look out for more consistent updates including future sponsors and this years race schedule. At the moment, it looks like I will be aiming toward some bigger late season races, while focusing on some fun local stuff in the meantime. I will also be trying my hand at my first ITU style race since high school. I’m excited for a new challenge and hope to do well at the Monroe Tri next month. 

To start checking off some local races, this morning I raced a 15-mile TT sponsored by Cafe Velo. Cafe Velo is the only bike cafe in the Springs and they make a bomb dirty chai. They put on a great race this morning. It was nice and cool with only a slight breeze (obviously things they control). With the likes of Julie Dibbens and Evelyn Stevens (if you don’t know them, look them up!) toeing the line, I knew it was going to be a fun day. It was my first race out of the water since moving to the Springs, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the differences in racing and training at altitude. It was great to race and chase down some other cat 4 ladies all the way to the finish line. Unfortunately, after checking results, there seemed to be a bit of a snafu with my time being almost an entire minute off-the difference of first to third. While I tried to contest, there seemed to be no budging. A bittersweet end, but hey-I got a sweet sombrero and $15 (which bought me froyo)!

ImageI hope you all enjoy your weekend as much as I have! Here’s to a new season and new challenges!



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A Dream Achieved

Yes, I realize it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated anything on here (have you seen my “race schedule” on the right? It’s from 2 years ago). But today was fantastic as I got to do something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 9 years old. And I just felt like sharing, dang it!

Today, like most Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, I walked into the OTC pool for a serious butt kicking. I’m currently training with a masters group under Pikes Peak Athletics. It is truly a blessing. They have phenomenal instructors who really understand the technique behind swimming, as well as the importance of working different energy systems. Not to mention we train at one of the nicest pools in the US (everywhere I look I see clocks-my favorite!), and if there’s an ex-olympic swimmer in town, you best bet they will show their face (recently: Aaron Piersol and Lindsay Benko(-Mentanko), and if they’re not, that’s cool too because there’s about 8 olympic trials qualifiers on the team. Another neat thing about swimming there, is you never know who you will run into. I’ve swam next to countless groups training for the next olympics in triathlon, modern pentathlon, and swimming. Talk about motivation! These kids work hard. I love it!

Anyway, I walk into the pool singing some pump up song I blasted in my car, preparing myself for the next hour of pain…and see the most glorious gift:


See, at some pools, they hang ropes from the ceiling. Ever since I was 9, I’ve wanted to climb this dreaded rope I’d heard so much about. My high school rival swim team prided themselves on these torture sets where they had to climb the rope 7 times. All I wanted was to do it once. While the OTC usually has theirs bundled on the roof walkways, today was the first day I had seen them let down. Could this be my chance?!

I was a giddy little kid changing in the locker room. “Did you see them?! Do you think they’ll let us climb it?!” I was shaking. Out on deck I mustered the guts to ask one of the lifeguards for permission. I was then directed to the 2 other coaches on deck who were using them for their camp. Long story short, a man named Chuck told me I had 15 minutes, “go nuts”. 


And suddenly I was scared. I was afraid to even get in the water, and time was ticking. What if I couldn’t do it? I wasn’t a “swimmer” anymore, I told myself (this is 2 weeks after breaking a state record in the mile, mind you). What if I got to the bottom of the rope, and I couldn’t do it? It wasn’t necessarily that I’d be embarrassed, but I’d be so devastated. I get a chance at my dream after 14 years and I fail? I didn’t know if I could handle it. I sincerely recognize this is only a rope, but I really wanted it!!

OK OK OK OK. I got in. I swam to the rope. I started pulling on it. Then matched my feet.



Pull. Slip. Oh no.

“Use your legs!” my friend called. 

“I can’t! It’s not working!” But you have to do this. You just have to.

I tried again, switched my feet, and made progress. Again. Pull, squeeze with my feet (and thighs, and anything else that would latch on), and move up. 

Gimminy Cricket. I was at the top.


So my coach ran across the deck, searched for his phone, found just the right angle (I’m not kidding you, if I could have, I would have Chuck Norris round-house-kicked him to the face)…and 

Imageand I knew nothing could ruin this day for me. Not even 20x50s best average. My smile was just too big.

I thanked Chuck and the lifeguards and finished warm up.


Take what you want from my story. Just an awesome day, one in which I finally got to do something I’ve dreamed of for 14 years. Or maybe it’s a sweet metaphor for sport, and in particular where I am in triathlon. I’ve had the chance to achieve my dream of being a professional athlete, but I’ve also been scared. I’ve slipped. I’ve wondered why and how and let doubts creep in like gremlins. Then again, I haven’t given up. Maybe I just need to rearrange my footing.

Practice rolled on, and as I floated on my back, I looked up at that rope…



and saw a boy climb it.

Then proceed to do 20 pull ups off the ceiling beams.


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Winter Training

I’m spoiled. I admit it. Especially when it comes to training. IMG_20120904_134004

The entire time I have spent training for triathlon, I have lived in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Averaging around 70 degrees throughout the year (though it dips in the 50s for a few weeks in the winter), abounding in sunshine, dolphins, pristine roads, epic climbs resembling those of the french alps, only outdoor long course meters pools…want jump off a boat a mile out and swim to shore?

IMG_20120707_133400You can do that, too! Santa Barbara is pure heaven. I cannot think of one negative aspect of training there. Need to do some track work? How about this one right on the beach where the ocean’s saltwater breeze will surely keep you cool. Track not your thing? Mine neither, so how about a trail run through the Monarch butterfly preserve? Magical, I tell you!


But alas, I have moved on and traded surreal Santa Barbara for homey Colorado Springs.

Winter has been interesting so far. Up until recently it’s been incredibly mild and I was running in shorts and t’s. Since then we’ve had our first big snow, and below 0 temps. Although I haven’t experienced this kind of weather in years, I’m adjusting.

iceskatingLucky for me, when it comes to training, I don’t have to adjust too much, especially on the bike. Since joining the Fast Forward Triathlon Pro Development Team, I have been versed in the benefits of indoor trainer rides. I understand this is mind numbingly boring for many, sitting for hours and not going anywhere, but there is something about it I love to hate. I think it may stem from the years I’ve spent staring at a black line.

My first year in triathlon, I came in with practically 0 biking experience. That winter, going home to Chicago, I spent a huge amount of time indoors. My coach at the time was into some pretty decent volume, so it was typical to spend 11+ hours a week on the bike, and for me, that meant on the trainer. I was lucky enough to borrow a friend’s computrainer and reserved time in his pain-cave. Sometimes I was half-babysitter while he ran errands and his kids told me to “pedal faster! You’re not moving!”… free cheer squad? Win-win. Honestly, this was the reason I did so well in my first year racing. My bike saw a huge improvement as I got stronger, and I knew it was linked to how much time I had spent on the computrainer that winter.

Like I said, some may find biking in place boring and mind numbing. And I admit, it can be at times, but even in sunny Santa Barbara, I continued to put time in on the computrainer and see results. Want to spice up your ride?

In July I rode with the peloton in the tour de france!




IMG_20120114_095208Try riding in the kitchen-readily available and cold EFS and First Endurance liquid shots!






Bring a buddy along!







Guys-you can even ride OUTSIDE! This works really well until the lawnscaping crew shows up…I even had a guys repaint my deck while I was riding on it! See? New experiences all the time!

So do I miss the sunshine and alp-y mountains? Duh. But thanks to my sister’s Netflix account, my parent’s xfinity account, hulu, and red box, plus whatever new beats I can stream on Spotify, I’m incredibly content. It also doesn’t hurt knowing that every time I get on my computrainer, I’m gaining fitness and preparing for next season. I’ve seen the results first-hand. The winter can try and keep me down, but I’m building up stronger and really looking forward to putting the rubber to the road in a few months. Big thanks to computrainer for helping me get there!

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The Groove

Holy moley, it has been a crazy last few weeks. From Hawaii, to Kansas, to California (SD, Santa Monica, SB), and New Orleans, it seems like I am constantly in motion, getting pulled one way or another. I must say it’s been so much fun-I’ve gotten to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, adventure and explore, but it also cautions to the realization that I am such a creature of habit. Once my groove has been derailed, I begin a slow tumble of ugly. Typically I can hold myself together for a few days, “flowing with the go” as it’s been versed to me, but after that, girl gets crabby and dangerous. If I can quote one of my all-time favorites:

Just imagine those dance moves around my house after nailing fun training sessions–epic.

So, if I know full-well that I am a creature of habit, I like being in control, planning my day, knowing I can crawl into bed at 9 (like most triathletes), why, oh why, would I choose to throw off my own groove?

Sure, it’s considered the “off season” and this is the time when you can stay out late, throw down some ones (“if it’s not cold, it’s not a one”), and generally enjoy not being the type-A version of yourself who takes over 9 months out of the year. But that’s not the reason behind my madness. For me, it goes back to this last August at the Chicago Triathlon. I was fortunate enough to go home and meet up with one of my best friends since 3rd grade. We shared a few drinks and caught up on life, and while he was showing me pictures of these incredible adventures through Italy and Europe, he said something that really hit me. He told me he had a new years resolution to say “yes” more. If one of his friends half-hazardly suggested they run into the mountains for the weekend, he’d say yes and make it happen. When opportunities arose, he decided to take them, and fully live in that moment. And what happened? He didn’t regret. He came back with amazing and hilarious stories and it put a huge goofy smile on my face to know he was living well.

So I stole his resolution a little. I’ve said “yes” to more things, thrown off my own groove, and found chaos along with a deep rooted joy in the unknown.

That’s where I am right now. I can’t say I’m getting my groove back just yet, as the holidays always bring about more travel and bizarre opportunities, but if you need me, you can find me living in the “yes”‘s.


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