Set your sights.

You know how life sometimes turns in wonderful ways you never expected? You get to the top of a beautiful view point and look around and the opportunities that surround you seem to never end. That’s how I feel today.

For the past five years, I’ve worked for a doctor that has challenged me to grow and learn things I never knew I was capable of doing. Dr. Reynolds compassion and understanding sets him apart from other doctors. His patients absolutely adore him. His excellent work is top notch. I started working with him when his practice was brand new and I’ve been there to help him build it from the ground up. Being a part of that foundation during the formative years gave me a much stronger appreciation for the value of sweat equity and the importance of surrounding yourself with a team of people who love what they do.

Fast forward to today. I was recently offered a position working for Wreaths Across America, a non-profit organization based in Maine. Every year, on National Wreaths Across America Day, they coordinate wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at over 1,600 locations nationwide and abroad. Coming from a strong military heritage, this is honestly one of the most humbling and honorable causes I could be a part of.

As much as I’ve loved working for Dr. Reynolds, I feel a strong need to give back and pay forward the blessings I’ve been afforded by the many men and women that serve and protect our country, ultimately giving their lives for us. So tomorrow, I’ll be on route to Maine, where I’ll spend a week training with the best of the best. I’m genuinely so excited and grateful for this opportunity. Like so so so excited! After I wrap up training, I’ll be working from home in Las Vegas as the Locations and Fundraising Liaison for 12 western states. I’m so stoked!

As I sit at this point of life and look around at where I’ve been and where I’m going, I can’t help but feel gratitude. I’ve been through some dark days. Where I vividly remember feeling like the sun would never shine again. When I felt more alone and defeated than I ever had. I’ve also been through some bright days. Where I soaked up every minute of that sunshine. When I felt more loved and capable of loving than ever before. And then there were all the “dreaming” and “doing” days in between. The days when I dreamt of something more. And then the days when I put myself out there and worked my butt off to try and make those dreams come true. Today is one of those days where I look back at my hustle and am grateful for that drive and dedication. Today is also one of those days where I look forward at the incredible opportunities to come and am grateful for the way life guides us to what we need most.

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Those dreams you have for yourself are the road map to your divine calling. As you go out in nature this week and reflect on your dreams and look at what’s on your horizon, set your sights and keep taking those steps forward. Don’t sit this one out. Don’t let someone else’s opinion determine your worth. Don’t miss out on this chance to live the life of incredible possibility that’s right in front of you. You were made for more!

Take baby steps, big long-legged steps or just go for it and take the leap. No matter what you do, keep moving forward. Set your sights on that dream. And pretty soon you’ll look back where you came from and realize how incredible of a climb it was. Then you’ll look forward and see how abundant the opportunities are that await. That’s for real. I swear to you it is. Because I’ve been there and I’ll be there again.

Dreams aren’t accomplished by dreaming alone. Set your sights. Then walk the talk. Put in the sweat equity. And hit repeat!

Get back on the damn bike.

About two months ago, I hit the mountain bike trail after a particularly long day at work. My focus was off, my brain was fried, my stress was high. I knew the best way to burn off steam was to get on my bike and work it out. So that’s exactly what I did. But fifteen minutes into my ride, I’d just climbed a steep incline that led into an immediately sharp decline. At the cusp of that transition, my front tire nicked a rock on the narrow trail and I could instantly feel everything fall apart. I went head over handlebars down the hill at a high speed. I could feel my face scrape along the gravel, then my knees slam into a rock. I stood up and realized I couldn’t see anything. I got back down on my hands and knees searching blindly for my glasses, only to find them smashed under my shoe. I dusted them off and put them crookedly back on my face, then glanced down at my knees. My pants were torn, there was blood rapidly oozing down my left leg and I could instantly feel that I was in bad shape. I shook it off and hiked back up the hill and down another 100 yards to where Chad was waiting for me, with him unknowing that my life had just flashed before my eyes. Once he realized I’d wrecked bad, he dropped his bike and ran over to help.

Miraculously, my face was fine. I didn’t get a single scratch on it, which is crazy because my glasses had rock gouges covering the lenses. My right leg had a few minor scratches and bruises, but nothing that wouldn’t heal up in a week or two. My left leg was a little worse off. I didn’t break any bones, but I bruised them pretty deep. Right below my real knee became what we lovingly called my “third knee”. Lol. The goose egg really was something to see. I tried the traditional R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method, but it really didn’t make much of a difference in my recovery. I don’t put much thought into what people think of me, so I didn’t hesitate wearing shorts in public and flaunting my war wounds. The looks I got were really quite entertaining.

I’m happy to say the bruises have healed up and my “third knee” is now gone. All that remains are a few well-earned scars on my knees that I’ll forever be proud of.


Here’s the thing though. My confidence on the bike has sucked royally since I’ve jumped back on it. Every rock freaks me out. I can hardly ride a straight line. I feel like I’m learning to ride again. And I hate that. The mind game started setting in. Which is bad bad news for this girl who loves to ride.

This past Friday afternoon was gorgeous weather though, so we loaded up our bikes and hit the trail. I had a horrible attitude the whole ride and Chad knew it. So guess what he did? What any rational and good husband would do. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me the best way to beat the MTB blues was to tell that trail who was boss. And then he made me repeat after him, “I’m a damn good mountain biker and gosh darn it I’m going to RIDE that trail.” You know, with enthusiasm, Cool Runnings style. The only thing missing was the lucky egg in my pocket. After I watched his impromptu efforts at motivating me, my stubbornness eased up and I proudly repeated the positive affirmation statement, got back on my bike and surprisingly, I killed that trail on round two. It was like the good ole’ days. And just like that, I had MTB fever again.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on the seat of my bike, it’s that success isn’t built on success. It’s built on falling. It’s built on frustration. It’s built on failure. I just needed to stand back up, dust myself off, put my shoulders back and go get on that damn bike!

Same goes for you. You’re made for more! More falls and more rises. Lots of them. Whether it’s on your bike or on this ride called “life”, don’t set yourself up on a downhill slope because of one hard fall. You will get through the falls, the frustrations and the failures. Yes, it will be scary and hard and overwhelming, but if you don’t fight through the fears, you won’t allow yourself to change into the person you’re meant to be. You will never know your true capacity. And you will never experience the fruits of your labors. So get up, dust yourself off, put your shoulders back and get back on the damn bike. You were made for this and gosh darn it, you’re going to show “life” who’s boss!

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Top 5 FREE Toddler Activities in Las Vegas, NV

When my boys were itty bitty, I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with them. There were definitely times when I wanted to pull my hair out (cue the potty training, the isle 11 meltdowns in Target and the million drinks of water at bedtime), but I genuinely loved my buddy time and we made so many fun memories together. The good times we had together when they were toddlers set the stage for all of the adventures we have together today.

I’ve never been in a position where I could afford memberships to all the best children’s museums and classes, but I have always been in a position where I can give them my full undivided attention. And honestly, time is the best gift we can give our kids anyway!

My toddler-taming friends have been patiently awaiting my list of Top 5 FREE Toddler Activities in Las Vegas, NV. So this is for you!

  1. Calico Basin/Red Springs wins the #1 vote on this list by a landslide. It’s a haven for kids (and adults). There’s so much to explore and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Pack a sack lunch and bring friends too!

  2. Nelson Ghost Town is equally fun, in a completely different way. It’s not scary at all, so don’t let the “ghost town” part sway your vote. Nelson Ghost Town has super sweet old school cars, trucks, airplanes and random artifacts that your toddler will think are the real-deal from the movie Cars. You’ll win serious brownie points here!

  3. 7 Magic Mountains gets the most artistic award. Your little ones will love running and playing around the colorful structures. Bring a shovel and bucket, so they can dig in the sand too!

  4. Hemenway Park is not only a fun park to let your toddler play at, but it’s super common to see wild mountain goats relaxing on the grass around the park. They are wild, so we recommend keeping a safe distance. Your little ones will love watching them wander the park though!

  5. Little Falls is up at Mt. Charleston and is an easy, toddler-friendly hike that you’ll enjoy too! Take your time walking the short trail and let your toddler explore along the way. If you accumulate a pocket full of sticks and rocks, that’s the real sign of a good time, so get ready to find treasures!

Here’s the cool thing. These activities are great not just for toddlers, but for anyone! Regardless of your age or ability level, you’ll enjoy every single one of these suggestions.

There’s no excuses now. Step outside and explore this beautiful world around you! Then swing back here for more inspiration. I’ve got all kinds of great ideas up my sleeve waiting for you!

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The world was made for you.

I laughed the other day because a “celebrity” name popped up in conversation and I had no idea who it was. I’ve known a few big name people over the years, but I’ve always been super confused about all the hype. 

Aren’t we all just human? Don’t we all have a place here? Why are some people supposedly “better” than others? It’s all so foreign to me. 

Every night for roughly the last thirteen years, I’ve read to my boys before I tuck them into bed. One story that I’ve read and reread and can’t ever seem to get enough of is “You Are Special” by Max Lucado. It talks about a village of people known as the Wemmicks. They go around all day giving each other stars and dots. Little stickers all over their bodies that represent if others like them or don’t. There was one Wemmick, Lucia, who didn’t have any stars or dots. Not because people didn’t try to put them on her, but because they wouldn’t stick. Why didn’t they stick? Because they didn’t matter to her. 

Think about that. The opinions of others don’t matter if you don’t let them. 

We all have value. We all have purpose. Those stars and dots that we give others and that they give us in return mean nothing, unless if we let them.

Nobody is better than the person next to them. It doesn’t matter if they’re a big name celebrity, own a modern picture perfect home, drive a top of the line Tesla, listen to country music or hip hop, have all the money in the world or have none of that at all. We’re all here for a reason and the world needs us to step up in our own ways to make it a brighter, more wonderful place. 

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
— Dr. Seuss

One of the big reasons why I love nature so much is that it’s all inclusive. Nobody knows what you drive, where you live or what you do professionally. Everyone is on the same playing field. There’s no judging. No comparing. And there’s a sense of camaraderie that you don’t find anywhere else. I can’t think of a single time I’ve been exploring outdoors all these years when I haven’t been buoyed up by someone’s friendly smile, encouraging nod or inspiration and mentoring. You can just be you. Stars and dots aren’t a thing out in nature. Unless if you’re looking for the Milky Way!

Here’s my challenge to you this week. Let go of the opinions of others and trust yourself a little more. Make opportunities to try something new that stretches your limits and broadens your mind. Go out in nature, put on your hiking boots, go stargazing, walk barefoot along the beach, rip down a mountain bike trail or climb a rock wall. Do something you’ve never done before. 

Then report back to me about how you felt afterwards. For real! That’s the most rewarding part of #recreationtherapy is seeing how it blesses your life in ways you never expected.

The world was made for you so, gosh darn it, go light that place up! (And don’t worry about any stars or dots, because they don’t matter anyway.)

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Top Ten Adventure Tips.

What makes you different? You love adventure. Like really truly love adventure. 

But what about those of you who don’t? It looks cool and all. It seems fun. It makes for good stories. But it’s so much work. You’re not sure where to even go or what to do. Your comfort zone is so much more predictable. So you stay put. 

Last weekend was the first time in at least a decade that I’ve skipped town for a girls trip. What the heck? How did time slip through my fingers like that? I’m normally so quick to jump on any adventure that I was shocked when I realized I hadn’t made it more of a priority. Especially with my favorite girl, the sister of all sisters, the one who’s been there for me through thick and thin. It was about time. 

Portland and Cannon Beach were calling our names. So Ash and I made our Oregon adventure happen. And we made it happen big (while staying on budget). We almost got stampeded by a herd of elk, collected seashells and driftwood as we skipped waves, found sea anemones and jellyfish in a secret cove, ate way too much good food and  watched a random wedding after walking barefoot on the beach all day. It was absolutely perfect in every way. And by the end of the weekend we felt refreshed and ready to go home and tackle mom life and work life again.

That’s exactly what an adventure should do. Enrich your life and propel you forward to make the most of your daily adventures at home.

Regardless of what type of adventurer you are (or aren’t), here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years that make getting out the door and off-grid easier.

  1. Start small. An adventure can be as simple as a walk to your local park. Or a drive to your nearest lake, river, mountain or ocean.

  2. Less is more. Don’t over-plan your adventure. Choose one activity for the day and leave plenty of wiggle room for spontaneity.

  3. Be flexible. Adventures are all about letting go of routine and trying new things. Put on that scuba gear, learn to mountain bike, go to a climbing gym, skip the nap and rest in a hammock.

  4. Go prepared. Think smart (and plan ahead) by packing a few basics like extra water, sunblock, a hoody, and snacks. Maybe even throw a blanket and frisbee in the trunk too.

  5. Embrace the weather. You can’t control Mother Nature, so adjust your mindset instead. Smile at the rain. Jump in the puddles. Run in the wind.

  6. Look for the little things. Check out the main attractions, but wander a bit too. Get down on the ground and build an ant house with your kids. Peek around the corner of the rock and spy on the chipmunk eating acorns. Listen to the sound of water rushing down the creek.

  7. Don’t overthink it. Go into your adventure open-minded and ready to relax your brain. Take three deep breaths, then leave your worries at home. It’s crazy cool how an adventure can actually clear your mind and allow it to subconsciously work through problems, making them not so much of a problem anymore.

  8. Ask the locals for recommendations. That goes for you adventurers who are staying close to home too! Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Put your phone away, give someone a compliment and create conversation with them. Some of the best recommendations I’ve ever gotten have been from perfect strangers. And some of those perfect strangers have turned into lifelong friends.

  9. Share your adventure stories with family & friends! If you can inspire just one person to step outside and enjoy nature this week, you’ve given them the gift of peace, solitude and confidence. That’s something to feel good about. Even better if you invite them to join you next time!

  10. Let go and have fun. Be a kid again. For real. Who cares if you trip and fall while you’re skipping along the beach? What’s it matter if you get a few scrapes and bruises from hiking that mountain? If anything, you should be proud of yourself for adventuring so hard that you have something to show for it! Once you let go of your inhibitions and allow yourself to have fun, you’ll be surprised as how much happier you truly are.

That’s it. Easy peasy, right?

One thing you’ll learn quickly from me is that I truly believe memories are more important than things. They always have been and they always will be. That’s an unchangeable fact of life.

Step outside with me and I’ll walk you through how to make more memories and worry less about things.

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The Mind Game.

Chances are you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut, backed into a corner or neck deep in muck. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Your flashlight is dead. Heck, is there any light?

Life doesn’t come with directions. Finding your way off-course is inevitable. But finding your way back on-course is possible. There is light. You might just have to hike a little farther or climb a little higher to find it.

5 years ago on Thanksgiving, I was alone. It was the first time in my entire life that I was completely alone. My kids were in Seattle with their dad for the holiday weekend. I had no family in Vegas. My friends were all with their family. I was solely and completely on my own.

Not sure what to do, but knowing I couldn’t just sit home alone all day and wallow in my sadness, I put my big girl panties on and decided today was the day I would finally climb “The Mesa”.

This wasn’t just any mesa. This was the mesa I looked at with trepidation each morning as I strolled my two boys around a 3-mile loop near our neighborhood. This was the mesa that I hiked through the canyons below, but never up to the top of. This was the mesa I told myself I couldn’t ever climb.

With nothing to lose and all the time in the world to spare, I grabbed my water bottle and laced up my hiking shoes. Not sure how I was going to get from the bottom to the top, I stared at the mesa for what seemed like forever. I spotted what I thought looked like an easy route, right up the face. I visually mapped my course and I started my climb.

Now if any of you have explored off-grid in Las Vegas, Nevada, you know our rocks are like razor sharp shards of glass. Cactuses have needle-like spines. Snake holes pock the desert like prairie dog holes do in Badlands National Park.

The number one rule in hiking is to never hike alone. Call me a rule breaker, call me stubborn. I didn’t care. I had my sights set. I was on a mission. And nobody was going to stop me.

I needed to prove to nobody but myself that I was okay. Okay starting over and creating a brighter future, all on my own. Okay stumbling, falling flat on my face and then standing back up again. Okay laughing at myself and learning from my mistakes. Okay doing my own thing and not worrying what anyone else thinks about it. Okay with my life as I knew it. Okay with what would become of it.

As I climbed, I got hot. And sweaty. And lightheaded. I was literally the only one out climbing “The Mesa”. Partly because it was Thanksgiving and partly because I was free climbing. Little did I know, there was an actual trail that took a nice casual approach to the climb. Here I was climbing the face of it, with no trail in sight and all alone. It seemed smart in the moment! Rocks constantly slipped out from under me and I’d slide down two of the five feet I’d just climbed. Finding a handhold that wasn’t going to rip my skin to shreds and wasn’t the entrance to a snake hole was nearly impossible. I’d look up to see how close I was to the top and somehow it looked even farther than the last time I checked. How was that even possible?

Thoughts ran through my head telling me it was too hard. That I should be proud of how far I’d made it and go home before I got hurt. That I’d never make it on my own. But then, as I was beating myself up, I felt a strange sensation come over me. It was like a warm blanket was being thrown over my shoulders and I was being embraced in a big hug. Maybe it was just the sun getting to me, but I vividly remember crouching down by a boulder with tears uncontrollably streaming down my face. I sobbed like I’d never sobbed before. And then I looked up. The top was close. I straightened up my shoulders, wiped off my tears and, determined to prove myself wrong, I finished that climb. When I got to the top, I stood there amazed. Amazed at how powerful the mind is. Amazed at how much stronger I felt. Amazed at the beauty all around me. I stayed up there most of that Thanksgiving Day. And when I climbed back down, I felt a new calm confidence come over me. I knew without a doubt that I was okay. Now and forever.

Whatever mind game you’re in right now. Stop. But NEVER GIVE UP. Prove to yourself that you’re okay. Because you are. And you will be.

✔️ Focus on this step. And this step only. Don’t worry yourself with how many steps you have left to go. Take it one step at a time.

✔️ Remind yourself that you’ve survived every challenge you’ve been through so far. You’re living proof of that! Don’t give up.

✔️ Give yourself credit for how far you’ve come. Gosh dang it, you’ve made it through some tough times. Savor your successes and use those to buoy you up and over your next challenge.

There is light in your darkness. You will win this mind game. You are made for more. I’m 100% sure of it.

Step outside with me and I’ll walk with you every step of the way. Because that’s what friends are for. And also, because you should never hike alone.

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That’s Red Rock Canyon behind me!

That’s Red Rock Canyon behind me!

Overlooking the Las Vegas Valley (November 2014).

Overlooking the Las Vegas Valley (November 2014).


I’ve never considered myself an athlete. I’m more of a try-athlete.

15 years ago, my superhuman, mega-athlete friend, Loran, wanted me to rally with her in the Valley Girl Triathlon in Medical Lake, Washington. I’d never really swam in a lake. Aside from the doggy paddle. I’d never really cycled. Heck, I didn’t even have a bike. I’d never really been a runner. Unless if it involved running towards strawberries and whipped cream on angel food cake. So I said sure, count me in. Say what? Yep, I was about to become a try-athlete. Or a tri-athlete if I’d actually known what I was doing.

The thing I love about Loran is her huge, and I mean huge, joy for life. I’ve never ever met someone so engaging and happy and genuinely kind. Her smile literally lights up the room. So if there was one person I could learn from, it was her.

She took me under her wing and taught me how to swim. We rocked our swim caps, goggles and Speedo’s at the crack of dawn each morning. Loran’s swan-like gracefulness and speed was inspiring. She didn’t even bat an eye when I struggled to stay in my lane and time my breaths without sputtering water out my nose. Instead, Loran brought flippers and hand paddles to teach me how to swim straight and time my strokes. She broke out the stop watch on my laps and told me I could beat my time on the next one. And you know what? I did.

Have you ever tried putting slicks on a mountain bike? Well, I did. I wanted a bike that could handle dirt trails and that I could use for this try-athlon. So I replaced the grippy tires for slicks. Maybe not the greatest idea for my first try-athlon, but hey, at least I had a bike. Loran and I rode everywhere that summer. Literally. The Hiawatha Trail was my favorite, but Centennial Trail and Mt. Spokane were equally gorgeous. Loran rode those trails with her head down in the wind. I rode with my face to the sun.

When Loran ran, she ran like a gazelle. Her fluid stride came naturally and man, she was quick! When I ran, it looked like I was (1) ready to join a stampede, (2) that I had lead in my feet, and (3) that my tall, gangly legs and go-go-gadget arms had communication issues. Again, Loran stuck right by my side. She saw that I was over-pronating my feet, so she took me to a running store. The salesperson did an electronic analysis of my foot and got me to buy the most expensive shoes I’d ever laid eyes on. And heck, if I was going to spend $109 for these fancy purple running shoes that promised I could run, I was going to use them. So I ran. Like Forest Gump. I ran at the gym, I ran around the neighborhood, I ran on Centennial Trail along the river. And guess what? Loran was right there by my side. She made a running schedule so each run would get progressively longer. She talked my ear off and carried one way conversations on our runs because, well, I was lucky just to run. Infact, she pretended that my haggered breathing didn’t exist. After a while of this, when I ran I didn’t sound like I was gasping for air and my feet ran in a straight line. I could run for miles. Never in my life had I done that.

On the day of the big race, Loran’s energy pumped me up! My nerves went through the roof though when I saw all of these other strong women geared up and ready to race. They looked like professionals. And here I was trying to look like a professional. Loran reminded me that I’d worked my butt off to train for it and that it was just for fun. I could do fun, so I put on my game face, secured my race bib and when the shotgun fired, I had SO. MUCH. FUN. Loran finished 2nd for her age class, 5th overall. I finished 299th overall. I couldn’t have cared less how I looked out there that day. All I knew was that I was now officially a try-athlete and I loved it. I felt empowered, like I could do anything.

So here’s the thing. YOU CAN BE A TRY-ATHLETE too. Anyone can. It’s the absolute truth. You don’t have to be the star of the show, heck you can come in dead last and it won’t matter. Because you tried. And trying builds strength, it builds character and it builds mental power.

What is it that you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t? Come on. Dig deep. Be real. We all have hopes and dreams. Some are more lofty than others, but no matter if the dream is big or small, ALL DREAMS ARE WORTH CHASING.

Now jot that dream down. A sticky note will work just fine. Or a journal or a note on your phone. Heck, leave it in the comments here. Whatever works for you works for me.

You are about to become a try-athlete or try-insert whatever the heck your dream is. And you’re about to feel invincible. Step outside with me and I’ll walk with you every step of the way. Because that’s what friends are for.

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Welcome to The Greatest Adventure of All.

All great ideas come to us when we’re eh hem “occupied” shall we say? That’s all I can trace this grand adventure back to anyway. And all the thanks in the world go to my mom and dad, the keepers of the Coleman Pop-Up camper that we used to tow behind our Volkswagen Vanagon every summer, through the great Minnesota wilderness. I can’t remember back when I was toddling around as a messy-faced, pig-tailed two year old, but apparently that’s when my adventures all began.

The coolest feature in our camper was the port-a-potty. It was situated just to the right of the one and only door. There wasn’t any real enclosure, it was just out in the open, next to the bed and within a toe tap of the kitchen cabinets. The hospital-like pull curtain wrapped around it, leaving your toes to peek out the bottom as free bait. You can imagine how inviting a hot meal was if someone mistimed their visit to the can.

The summer after I turned two was THE. SUMMER. The one every parent dreads like curdled milk in a sippy cup and sings praises about like they’ve mastered the mother of all parenting tricks. Which truthfully, they have. It was the summer I was to be potty trained. And what better place to do that than in our Coleman Pop-Up Camper? The port-a-potty was calling my name. The golden throne. The can. It was made for me. While my three older brothers made a ruckus outside that summer, I sat and sat and sat until, by golly, I was a port-a-potty pro.

That’s where my adventure story started. On the can. Where all great ideas come to fruition. Yours too?

These big adventure dreams of mine have been brewing for a while now. It’s about time I get off the can and do something about it, right?

So without further ado, welcome to The Meagan Erickson Blog. Step outside with me. We’ve got a lot to talk about.

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