Final List for My BIRTHDAY Month Challenge

Okay guys… here is my list. I do reserve the right to change, edit or replace any of these topics without warning. Because let’s face it, I am a woman and it’s my right ;)
 Day 2: Bad Habits… We All have them
 Day 3: New Additions. Meet Teague
 Day 4: Independence Day—claiming your independence
 Day 5: Lake Erie Fun: A Day in pictures. Plugging this in on a different day than (M)
 Day 6: Breakfast at Wimbledon
 Day 7: The thing(s) you are most afraid of (M)
 Day 8: Tasty Tuesday—share your favorite sweet treat 😉
 Day 9: Favorite quote & why you love it, Plugging this in on a different day than (M)
 Day 10: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill. (M)
 Day 11: Describe your dream guy in 15 key words or less… no cheating.
 Day 12: It’s my BIRTHDAY!! Share favorite birthday memories. (M)
 Day 13: A hard lesson learned (M)
 Day 14: Be vulnerable—about something…anything at all
 Day 15: Guest post
 Day 16: Someone you admire
 Day 17: Favorite homemade natural product.
 Day 18: Dream BIG (M)
 Day 19: Favorite NEW recipe
 Day 20: In my/your opinion, five things that should no longer exist
 Day 21: Recharge… where do you go to charge your batteries to full
 Day 22: Biggest pet peeve… what’s said here stays here
 Day 23: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you. (M)
 Day 24: What is your favorite article of clothing & why?
 Day 25: Do over… Something you wish you could have a second go at tackling
 Day 26: Name 3 things that you do in order to be happier, 3 things to be healthier, 3 things to be wiser (M)
 Day 27: Favorite sport and team to watch
 Day 28: What is the best season and why?
 Day 29: Best kitchen appliance… most useful, practical or fun
 Day 30: What have I/you learned through posting this month
 Day 31: Thank you

Again, a super BIG shout out to Mariama for challenging me. I have put an (M) behind the posts that she is using for her own birthday month challenge. Be sure to check out her great blog and her daily postings this is my m{dot}.

It’s My Birthday Month & I am Challenging Myself… Ready, Set, Go!

BirthdayOne, it’s  my birthday month!
Two, I very rarely make a big deal about my birthday, let alone my birthday month but… I think this year will be different While exploring yesterday, I found a great challenge post by another blogger, Mariama on her fantastic blog: this is my m{dot}.  It just so happens that she and I share something pretty unique… Wait for it,  our BIRTHDAYS.  In less than two weeks, we will be celebrating the beginning of year 29 of our fabulous lives. Next year for me it might be the first anniversary of my 29th birthday, but I will make that call later.
Three, I am going to join the challenge and post everyday of my birthday month.
Four, some of my topics may be different that Mariama BUT my goal is to post everyday.
Five, Let’s have some fun with this and would LOVE it if you joined me too!

See I already have this list thing down 😉

So since I have had less than 24 hours to contemplate this, you might want to hang on for the ride 🙂

Check out  Mariama’s  Full List:

I am changing up day one a little bit… So here I go!  Day 1!

ME in 250 Words or Less… but Likely More:

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I <3 Jesus & try to glorify him in all that I do.
I am the oldest of five kids!IMG_6356 I am the shortest in the family.
We were raised in a house where mom & dad encouraged us to throw the ball INSIDE… never a dull moment.
Maybe that’s how they ended up with 5 athletes. (We have all played collegiate sports)
I was fortunate enough to play tennis & swim for Hillsdale College.
WE (the family) are fans of THE OHIO STATE BUCKEYES! GO BUCKS!
I love being active.
I still play Tennis! My favorite all time players are: Andre Agassi & Lindsay Davenport.
I still swim, but I am enjoying the open water races more… see my first post Hola!
I ride & show horses. Louie is at the trainer & I am excited to get to ride him for the first time soon!LouieI <3 my pets.  I have an 11 year old Great Dane, Nash & 3 month old Teague (aren’t they cute).

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Top: Nash & Teague

 I <3 the water!  I don’t care if I am on the boat, wakeboarding,  near a body of water or swimming a race… I am a happy girl when near the it.
I am goal oriented & driven.
Traveling & Exploring makes me happy. It’s a great excuse to see friends around the country… (Note to self, need to visit friends out of the country soon). Recently, I hiked the Kalalua Trail on Kauai!  It was fantastic.

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Kalalua Trail hiking out

I am a country girl that loves to wear dresses.
Driving a diesel, F-350 4×4 is a lot of fun.
Shooting guns is fun… notice the siblings pic 😉
I have a big heart.
My favorite color is blue… but not michigan blue.
Studying health & wellness is a huge passion of mine.
I eat like a rabbit… mainly plant based but I am flexible because we can’t control everything… no matter how hard I try.
Most of the time I have a hair tie on my left wrist.
I am a klutz,  if I can get injured doing something, I probably will
I am a self proclaimed NERD & I am okay with it.

1197 I am pretty much a hippie living in a professional world.

Okay I have way surpassed 250 words & have given you a great peak into me… so until tomorrow friends.

Thanks again Mariama this is a great idea!  Cheers to 29!

 

Grey Clouds and “Colloidal” Silver Linings

I have an eleven year old Great Dane, Nash.

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Yes, you read that correctly, Nash is eleven.

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Yes, that is really old for a Great Dane.

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Yes, he still acts like a puppy and he is doing a great job of raising the newest addition to the family, Teague.

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Yes, his paws are huge and leave big muddy prints all over the house.

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Yes, his poop piles are big… He is a big dude! No I am not going to show you…What do you expect?

Part human

Yes, he thinks he is part human sitting on the yoga ball.

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Yes, he is super cool.

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Yes, he sleeps in my bed or should I say I sleep in his bed.

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Yes, having a geriatric dog has it’s challenges.

I really could continue the yes statements for a long time because eleven years of adventures with one of the coolest dogs I have ever met, provides you lots of fun stories I could share with you.

Yesterday, I did a line up and washed all four dogs from puppy Teague to old man Nash. When I was massaging the soap into Nash’s coat on his back, he buckled. This caught me off guard. Aches and pains come with age and his back will bother him from time to time. But this was the sorest I have ever seen him. It made my heart hurt a little bit because we never want to see someone we care about hurt. To me, it does not matter if it’s a human or animal that is in my life, I don’t like seeing them in pain.

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Our night progressed like normal. We fed the horses. It was a really nice out so I stopped at our fire pit next to the pond and sat down. I was watching the horses head out to the pasture to enjoy the green grass and the dogs were playing in the pond and running like terrors around the yard. I even had to take a very dead, crispy and disgusting frog from the puppy. (He was not happy about loosing his new chew toy but he moved on to playing in the pond) Nash as the King of the Property, sat at my feet watching his kingdom and subjects. We really enjoyed sitting out by the pond together. At one point,  I noticed his breathing was a little hard, but I chalked it up to the fact that it was pretty hot out.

Just after dusk, we all headed inside.

With the title of my blog, Hippie Chick J, you can probably figure out that some… okay a lot of how I live could almost be considered a hippie lifestyle. I love it that way. I love using what God put on our Earth to help heal us naturally and to keep us healthy. I love learning about supporting my body and my animals bodies through natural and organic ways. One staple in our house is colloidal silver. I call this my miracle cure. Colloidal silver helps with all kinds of infections and when you just don’t feel good. When I am not feeling good I take some and the animals are not exempted from this either. In fact, if they are sick and you ask them if they want silver they head to the cabinet that we keep it in and wait for you to get there.

I love my animals, but I draw that love at a certain point.  So, I keep 2 bottles of silver in the house… one for the humans and one for the animals. I am not interested in sharing a dropper of supplements with them.  As we came in from enjoying a wonderful night out, I decided out of precaution that I should give Nash some silver, because he was not acting like himself. Armed with the Dog bottle of silver I showed him the bottle and he perked up. I gave him, three droppers full and he looked at me like that’s it mom? I don’t feel good give me more. I told him to let it work and in a bit I would give him more. He jumped in bed and started to snooze while I cleaned. It’s a dog’s life in this house for sure.

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Enjoying some silver

Maybe an hour later, Nash woke up and his breathing was even more distressed than it had been during the day. His balance was way off making him very unsteady on his feet. In older extra large breeds, one of the things that can happen as they age is their body does not communicate well and their back end and front end don’t move in sync. Nash’s body sometimes forgets his back end is there and so he moves goofy or becomes unstable on his feet. Last night was one of those times that his body was not behaving well. At this point, I was starting to get worried about him. I gave him more silver and noticed that his tongue was almost a blue color.

At this point I was getting really concerned. We were sitting on the floor together when I remembered one of my favorite “hippie” things apple cider vinegar. I put some in a shot glass and grabbed a dropper. The first dropper I gave him puckered his lips. I have never seen him give me a look like that or Great Dane’s lips pucker. I was hoping for a miracle at this point. But his breathing was still not normal and he seemed anxious. I was calling out to God, asking him what I could do to make him feel better.

I was sitting on my bed talking to Nash and asking what I could do to make him feel better when he plopped his head in front of the diffuser sitting on my desk. My ears and throat had been bugging me the last couple of days and so I had found a one of the essential oil blends that we keep in the house called Breathe. Before going to sleep the last couple of days, I had run the diffusor with this blend in it and it has helped me feel better. Now Nash, had his head in front of the diffusor and was whining.IMG_6348

What could it hurt? I flipped it on and Nash sat with his face directly in front of the diffusor breathing in the Breathe blend. A few minutes later, he took one big breath, stepped back and jumped in bed. At this point, I would say that he was relaxing and his body started to normalize. I got ready for bed and curled up next to my friend, praying he would feel better.

This morning, I woke up early and tossed the puppy outside to do his business. Nash stayed in bed, barely opening his eyes. I gave him some more silver told the puppy to go back to bed and curled up next to Nash. A couple of hours later, I heard that whine… you know the one from a puppy that screams, “HEY YOU! TIME TO GET UP!” I flew out of bed and tossed the puppy outside. When I came back in, Nash was crawling out of bed. I held my breath, I would know what kind of a day we would have within the first couple of steps. I let out a big sigh, he was pretty steady on his feet.

 

His first stop was the bookshelves that held the silver. Then we went outside. He trotted around the yard, stopped at the pond and played with the puppy before coming back into the house.  It’s hot out again today, but Nash is doing well.  His balance has been normal, his breathing has been up and down but improved from yesterday.  He has spent some of the day in front of the diffusor, some outside and some in my… wait his bed.

I can’t explain why colloidal silver, apple cider vinegar and essential oil blends work so well. They just do.  I have used them so many times to help myself or the animals feelbetter.  Sometimes I feel like the crazy dad in, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, that loves Windex as his cure all.   My Windex’s are these three powerful healing agents.

I can tell you that I was working on a different post for this week. But when last night took such an interesting twist, I though this would be the perfect time to share how influential and helpful colloidal silver, apple cider vinegar and essential oils are for many different ailments.

Today, I am breathing a sigh of relief… and keeping “My Windex’s” handy.

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“Thank you but I don’t… I don’t eat that”

I have a confession to make. I know we are not great friends yet, but soon we will be and I need to share this with you. Recently, I realized I fell off the healthy eating bandwagon. I was going through the motions but not being as true to my healthy eating as normal. Don’t get me wrong, I was still mostly on the wagon, but I had fallen off enough to notice a change in my body, mood, and energy level. Like normal, I still bought everything organic, ate mostly un-processed food but soon my evil twin, “The Queen of Just One” reappeared. Just one cookie because my co-worker made them, just one piece of pizza, just one brownie. I mean who can pass up a gooey brownie filled with more chocolate?

Chocolate & Carmel Amazingness in a cookie
Chocolate & Carmel Amazingness in a cookie

Not ME, it that was a sure thing.  The sad thing is, everything that I ate could be made using healthy ingredients but since I was not making the sweets I was eating, they were made with things like bleached flour and regular table sugar. After realizing just how far off my bandwagon I was, I made the decision to cut out all processed foods, sugars and starches. Break my body of its quickly forming sugar habit, more like addiction and get back on my normal bandwagon.

 

Normally, I do really well with my eating until I get to THAT busy point. You know the one… when you can no longer tell if the pile of cloths is clean or dirty sitting on your dresser without smelling it. (sometimes even then it’s your best guess.) Somehow my barn looks like a tornado ripped through it and don’t ask to ride in my car because I am not sure where you will sit… on or next to the workout bag, the tennis bag, groceries, horse tack or swimming bag. BUT the worst part for me is when I start hiding things from myself. I don’t remember hitting my final tipping point recently, but I guess I did. I was eating out more than I like to out of necessity.  I was beginning to live to eat instead of eating to live, which is not normal for me.  Suddenly my clothes were not fitting how they should, my energy level was low, my workouts suffered and I was beginning to feel crummy. It was time to get serious again.  The sugar had to go!

I renewed my healthy eating habit and enlisted my mom to get serious again with me. No more just ones allowed.   The first few weeks of eating clean were a little rough as I experienced what I would call withdrawal symptoms from sugar. I am several weeks into eating clean again and the sugar withdrawal is finally gone.  YAY! I am not craving or wishing for a brownie to magically appear within reach. The cravings hung around for way too long.  You see, I did not consistently eat the bad stuff but enough that my body got used to it.

I am strong individual but on my brother’s birthday, I almost broke down for cake, ice cream and cupcakes all within an hour…

Just sitting there tempting me
mmm… it taste’s so good but it’s so bad.

That night I got home later than normal and I was a little tired and a little more than hungry.  When I walked in the door, my senses were assaulted by the amazing smell of my favorite local bakery’s signature cake.  Then there were cherry fritters that my boss brought to work with him on National Donut Day. It seemed like every time I turn around my senses were bombarded by sweet treats tempting me to set aside my newly reestablished resolve. The first week that I had gotten back on my bandwagon, when people offered me something that I am not eating anymore my response was, “I can’t.” Without fail they would reply, “Sure you can” and they were right, I could. I could easily pop a piece of donut into my mouth or grab a piece of cake and sneak in my room, hide and eat it without anyone being the wiser. Instead I decided that I would out smart my bodies cravings… that’s when I developed my new line of defense. So far this new line of defense has been GREAT!

So let me share it with you.

“Thank you but I don’t ___________.”

You can say this to your tempting co-worker or to yourself when things smell amazing and the best part that I have found is that they don’t argue anymore. I have even found myself telling, “Thank you but I don’t eat __________” has helped me. I feel like I am changing my mindset every time I tell myself, Thank you but I don’t.

This simple sentence has become almost like a life changing motto for me.

I have done this in the past that is remove all sugar and processed foods from my life.  I have never struggled with it like this time.  This experience has been challenging for sure. Remember that birthday cake from my favorite bakery?  Well I told it more than once, “Thanks but I don’t eat things like you anymore.”  I was able to walk away from it… I did not even take a little bit of frosting and that is my favorite part.  The closest I got to that enemy was to take a pic of the last piece.  Normally, I would have snuck in a whole bunch of taste tests of the frosting and enjoyed a piece or two of the actual cake.  Not this time! I left it for my brother and his buddies to enjoy.

I should say I have two more confessions: wait for it.  One: My birthday is coming up soon!  Two: I <3 my sweets! Since mom joined me back on the healthy bandwagon and also gave up sugars and renewed her resolve to eat right we both agreed that no matter what, we would not have a cake from my favorite bakery for my birthday. We normally celebrate my anniversary of me getting better with age over 4th of July. Instead of the normal cake, we discussed a few ideas of what I wanted for my “birthday cake.”  Remember that I said most sweet deserts can be made as a healthy alternative?  Well last summer we discovered Chef AJ.  She has the most amazing chocolate cake with a raspberry glaze. mmmmm… craving it now. I wish I had pictures of the last one we made. It was scrumptious! I think it even beats the traditional cake from our local bakery… sorry local bakery!   This cake will be showing up at our celebration. I wish I had a picture of this for you.  I guess I will have to let you know how it all turns out after the celebration.  I am choosing that from now on, the sweets I do eat need to be the healthy alternatives.

Since I have adopted my, “Thank you but I don’t eat that _________” motto.  I am walking away from the foods that I should have never "Cheesy Sweet Potato Casserole"started to eat again in the first place.  I am excited to be eating my normal healthy foods!  Here is a picture of a sweet potato “cheesy” broccoli quinoa bake!  Back to the foods that I love.   My clothes are fitting better again; my energy level is increasing; I am happier and I am eating to live rather than living to eat. So dear friends if you have recently fallen off your healthy bandwagon or just want to get on a healthy bandwagon, please feel free to join my on mine! There is plenty of room on this bandwagon. In the future, I will be sharing my secrets, favorite recipes, tips and tricks of how I stay on my bandwagon. P.S. we did not talk about this, I am sure we will in the future, but it’s okay to fall off your bandwagon… AS LONG AS, you pick yourself up and get back on!

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What I Retired?!?! I am only 28? Whats NEXT?

When I introduced you to this blog, I told you we would be covering my journey to swimming an open water race in all 50 states along with hitting topics that are important to me.  This falls in the important category.  Ps a lot of the stuff I plan to write about is center on healthy living styles for the professional, especially because living healthy is important but there is also so much more to life.

My Last Signed Judges Card
Signed last placing card

Yesterday was a very nostalgic day that I want to share it with you. I judged my last horse show. I retired! Along with the emotions that I expected to feel I had the unexpected realization that I was standing in the arena where I judged my very first horse show. I started and ended my horse judging career in the same arena. This was something I did not plan on and it did not occur to me until I was about half way through the show. In fact, the decision to give up judging was made with a heavy heart but we will get to that later, now let’s focus on the beginning. You see, 7 years ago as a nervous beginner judge, I took my sister along with me to work as a ring steward in the arena.   I judged my first horse show for the Ohio Quarter Pony Association at Putnam County Fairgrounds with my sister standing next to me the whole time. On June 14, 2014 at 11:00 pm, I signed my last judges card there too this time with my sister over a hundred miles away.  Although, she did send me a text wishing she could be there with me.   I love God’s sense of humor, to bring me back to the arena that I started in to say goodbye to judging. It just so happens to be with some of my favorite showmen.

Between classes yesterday, I found myself thinking about that first day judging. I asked my sister to come to my first show and be my ring steward, keep me calm, and stop me from making a fool of myself. I expected her to just be there with me like a confidant, what I did not expect to happen was to have so much fun that day. One of my favorite judging memories comes from this first show. My sister kept everyone smiling and laughing in what is usually serious atmosphere with almost no effort. During classes either the judge or the ring steward (judges helper) tend to use hand signals to tell the announcers booth that the contestants need to change their speed, direction, or line up. One of the times I requested a speed change from the contestants, I heard the microphone click on, a 1/2 giggle 1/2 snort came across the PA. I look up at the announcers stand and they are pointing to my crazy sister. Now instead of doing the normal hand signals, my sister added a little extra spice to it. The best way I can describe what I saw to you was that my sister did a mix between baseball signals, the cha-cha and the hand-jive. I look over and my sister is dusting off one shoulder then the next, doing the hitchhike sign over each shoulder. It reminded me of the hand-jive from Grease. I started to laugh too. I knew with her around that day everything was going to be okay. At the very minimum, she would keep us laughing! Having a great first show experience made me look forward to the next one.

Selfie with Arena
I am not normally a selfie type of girl but it was that kind of day

Over the years, I have visited Putnam County Fairgrounds for different types of horse shows and each time I enjoy being there. I have watched adorable walk-trotters (beginners) and Pewees grow into strong riders. Several of the youth that were at the show yesterday were 5-6 years old at the first show and now they tower over me at almost 6 feet tall! I feel like the “cool” aunt that visits once a year. Each visit is unique and I know that I am able to help a young aspiring rider improve or polish their skills. Myself, I fell in love with horseback riding and showing at a young age.  There were several judges that really influenced my show career and encouraged me to push myself to improve.  I have enjoyed the last seven years giving back to the Ohio 4-H community.

Okay, I think you have guessed it, I REALLY LOVE judging horse shows and you are probably wondering why I am retiring.   I will admit I am a little young to retire from something that I love to do and the entire idea of retiring as a judge has been a little overwhelming. Overall, the summer of 2014 has been one of changes. You will get to meet one of the summer changes/additions in a post soon. (This addition to my life hits a new level of adorable.) Now the reason I am turning in my judges card. I want to start showing again myself and the American Quarter Horse Association does not allow someone to be a paid judge and show in the amateur division.  The classes that I want to show are only offered in the Amateur division. I have a really cool gelding that is getting trained and I am looking forward to showing again myself.  I have to have a three year quiet period to apply for my amateur card so that I can show in the classes that I like at Quarter Horse sanctioned shows.  So in reality, I may be ending one of my favorite chapters in my life… I am opening the doors for a new one. I am hanging up my judging hat and retiring my well worn out boots to return as a competitor.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day… be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom (there is more here:)

My Judges hat with the sun setting in the background.

 

I caught the sun setting on my hat during the last show

 I guess it’s time to retire the boots too

These boots were made for walking... and that's just what they did. They walked all over so many arenas!
These boots were made for walking… and that’s just what they did. They walked all over so many arenas!

 There is nothing better than watching some contesting and drinking some coffee!

mmm coffee & a little sand

 

 Before we part ways until the next time, I want to thank all the showmen that entered my arena!  Every show I judged, I learned something new.  I have been told that I have helped many kids become better showman but I have a secret: You guys taught me more!  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!!! Keep up the good work and make me proud!

I am so happy that this chapter in my life has been a good one and I am sure that I will one day return to the arena as a judge.  I think that if I had to put into a word I felt as I left the arena last night I would choose: Bittersweet.  The walk from the announcers booth at the end of the night to my car felt long and final.   I stopped on my way out, I snapped the final image of the day… an empty, quiet arena with the lights on after dark.  There may have been a few tears in my eyes as I pulled out of the fairgrounds knowing this chapter of my life is closing. Soon enough I will be deciding between a horse show to go to or an open water swim… and that friends leave me excited to open the next chapter of my life!

Final Shot

 

 

 

 

Hola

Just over a year ago, I started a new job. During my interview I shared with my new future boss a goal that is on my bucket list. Before I share this goal with you, there are a few things that you should know about me. (esp since this is my first post & we are new friends. P.S. Thanks for being a new friend!)  I am a first born of FIVE kids. You can count on me bragging about my family on here some because they are AMAZING! Yes I am biased but that’s okay by me. I am a country girl that loves my horses and dogs and I am even learning to love a couple of cool barn cats. My health is important to me and I will share a lot that I have learned with you, look forward to those posts soon. I love photography and challenging myself to take better pictures. Okay back to the point, I love sports… my love of sports is what led me to this goal that I shared with my new potential boss. My love of sports has only encouraged my EXTREMELY competitive nature. I am the person that sets goals for everything in my life and if I am honest with you, this goal is probably one of the biggest goals I have ever personally set. 

As a teen, I decided I wanted to show at The Quarter Horse Congress as part of the NYATT team.  That spring and summer I spent the summer in the saddle working with my horse and we qualified. Congress that year was such a learning experience! Now back to my interview with my now employer… As I sat in a small conference room interviewing for my dream job, I informed my soon to be boss that in the fall of 2012, I had participated in The Great Escape from ALCATRAZ.  The morning of Sept. 8th, along with 1,000 other crazy swimmers including one sister and one brother, we jumped off of a ferry just off the shore of The Rock. Sometime after reaching shore in San Francisco and clearing the saltwater out of my ears, I decided that I wanted to do a race in all fifty states! (Don’t worry, I plan on sharing more about my first open water race and my personal Great Escape in the future with you.)

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My sister and friend with The Rock (Alcatraz) in the background.

I shared my goal to swim an open water race in all fifty states with my potential new boss and recently found out it’s one of the reasons that he decided to hire me. Just a couple of weekends ago, I have checked off my third state. Every time that I race, I learn so much about myself and about open water races.  One of the things that I want do through this blog is share my journey as I swim an open water race in each state. So today, I am introducing you to the swimming side of me and inviting you to join the journey as I continue to check states off my list.   There are many other things I plan to write about here, some I mentioned earlier and more to be discovered! 

So new friend, thanks for stopping by and I look forward to the next time we get to see each other.