play

man, that girl parties a lot

2.1.18

Hi there. If you haven’t been here before, welcome to the celebration. This is day 32. For the year 2018, anyway.

I’m Diane. This is me goofing around at Domaine Carneros a couple of weeks ago:

Diane Peacock at Domain Carneros

I love the bubbles there. They’re extra special with good company, too. Life is about celebrating everyday, right? And the people. Yes. The ones you love and those who make you laugh.

I don’t think we celebrate enough. I think we wait until it’s often too late. I think we’ve made a bad habit out of “saving up” for the perfect time or chance to live like we are actually alive. 

The clock is ticking. When will we learn?

I do my best to work and practice what I preach by getting all fired up and excited about small, silly, insignificant things everyday, and taking anyone who let’s me, along for the ride. Kid in a candy store baby, it’s the only way to be while all the sweetness is there for the taking. When we practice having more gratitude, we have less attitude, and a helluva lot more fun.

So about this whole “celebration” thing?

Since meeting Noah Scalin years ago at an event where he shared his Skull-A-Day art project, I’ve been a little obsessed with doing my own 365 project. I attempted one in 2014 and it lasted for a bit over two months. This year I’m determined to go all the way for 2018, filling your inboxes with funny, strange, head-scratching things each day that I’m having a little party (celebration) about. I hope you will continue to follow along, and think a little more about feeling the thrill of at least one little ridiculous awesome thing everyday, too. (Scroll down to the bottom of my webpage and sign up for daily email notifications if you haven’t already.)

When we do things that make us happy, we stay unstuck, when we are not stuck, we are more badass, when we are badass, we take life by the you know what’s and don’t wait for damn permission from anyone to do whatever the heck we want.

Did you know you have the choice to do whatever the heck you want?

Bingo!

CELEBRATE! DO IT UP! TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE.

This Blue Lollipop Road was inspired by a couple of crazy joyful girls who didn’t care what day it was, they lived like they meant it. I will always be inspired to do the same. Today I celebrate making the choice to celebrate. Staying happy is a practice. Lace up, buttercup, and get in the game. The whistle just blew and it’s go time…

How are you going to start celebrating more?

#StartDriving #LifeUnstuck #TodayIsTheDay

*Feeling stuck as a pig in a pit? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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celebrate everyday: day 30

1.30.18

I’m a AAA member, and have been for years. (Road Trippin’/travelin’/nomadin’/adventurin’ peeps, unite!) These horrifying stats just came to my email inbox from AAA about National Plan For Vacation Day:

National Plan For Vacation Day

Last year 54% of American didn’t use all their vacation time?!

Oh. Em. Gee. My heart breaks for people out there who are a part of that 54%. WHAT ARE Y’ALL WAITING FOR?! (I just had to get all southern for a minute, I’m so sad for that fact!)

National Plan For Vacation Day

Dear Friends,

Let’s start respecting the clock. Shall we?

Love, Diane

I bet:

*You could use a break

*You have a grand baby across the country you want to snuggle more with

*Your mom has been bugging you to visit

*Your jeans are bursting at the seams after the holidays and the gym is calling

*Your college reunion is coming up

*You’re in love with someone across the state you want to smooch

*You have needed to go to the dentist for a while now

*You are so over that closet piled full of crap you don’t use, need, or want

*Your kids kept you up all night last night

*Granny keeps calling, she wants you to meet her for lunch

*The Big Game is coming up and you sure would like to stuff your face with nachos watching it with friends

*Your passport is about to expire and it has no stamps

I’m wrong? None of the above? Ok, then I bet:

*That nonprofit you’re super passionate about could use some more extra help

*Your brother misses you

*Your guitar is collecting dust

*That cooking class only has one spot left available

*Your convertible hasn’t seen the sun in ages

*That book! That book is still sitting half-read on your bedside table

*You keep staring at that photo of the glaciers in Patagonia wondering why you haven’t been

*You’re daydreaming of a palm tree, a cold beer, and a moment of silence

One or more apply to you? Think it’s maybe time to go, be, see, and/or do what you want, need, or should?

Today I celebrate saying goodby to the office/cube/”work” for a day, week, or month, and hello to taking the time you have earned.

Not taking vacation…time…for your heart, health, and well-being, is about as bad as showing up to your should be inspiring commencement speech and telling all the fresh faces in caps and gowns the world sucks, there’s no hope for anyone, and Dr. Seuss was wrong, because they will never go anywhere.

Please don’t do that.

I challenge you to walk in to the big kahuna and tell her (see what I did there?) you’re going to take a few days to go hiking in nature alone, then spend the rest of your other few days just hanging with your family doing a whole lot of nothing other than being together. (Or whatever other very simple or over the top thing you can think of.) You will be taking ALL of your vacation days this year thankyouverymuch.

Let’s wipe out waste (of every kind.) Especially wasted time.

#RespectTheClock #TodayIsTheDay #LifeUnstuck

*Ready to get outta dodge, near or far? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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celebrate everyday: day 21

1.21.18

Today I celebrate being goofy:

Jumping in Napa

Just because you’re a grown up, doesn’t mean you can’t be chock-full of joy and ridiculousness.

This life is not a practice session. What are you waiting for? JUST JUMP! (Pants not required.)

#TodayIsTheDay #ExperiencesNotThings #LiveOutsideTheDroneZone

*Feeling stuck in the gerbil wheel? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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celebrate everyday: day 8

1.8.18

Today is January 8th. Teachers’ Day/National Teacher Appreciation Day is not until May 8th, so I guess I could’ve waited to celebrate and shout out to my favorite teacher until then, but I don’t like following the rules (shocker), so I choose today instead. He knows I’m not a rule follower, so the fact I just sent him this image I saved recently won’t be a surprise:

Can't Stop Talking

Quiet and shy have never really been my thing. My poor teachers. I always respected them (if mom ever found out there was any disrespect…whoa), but boy I know I had to have been a chatter-boxing pain in the you know what to have in class.

Thank goodness for teachers like Mr. B! (Now “Charlie” because I’m an adult, but I’m still not used to calling him that.) This man somehow had the magic that so many awesome teachers do, to keep kids like me on task back in the day when I was distracted with things like laser backgrounds, boys, and acid wash:

1990 Class Photo

Flash forward from the 1989/1990 school year and now since the beginning of BLR Play It Forward, Charlie has come out to support me. We always have a lunch date (his wife included) during the week when I’m running around doing event prep, where we talk about all things life, then come the big day, we get our annual photo together. The first year in 2012, I was showered and clean after our alumni game at the art gallery that was part of our celebration:

Me and Mr. B

…every year after that, not so much on the clean side, but smiling all sweaty from soccer and being in good company of course. 2013:

BLR Play It Forward 2013

2014:

BLR Play It Forward 2014

2015:

BLR Play It Forward 2015

2016:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

(Five for five in the pouring rain and thunder!)

2017:

BLR Play It Forward 2017

Notice anything besides the fact that we look younger ever year? 🙂

Charlie’s shirt was never planned, he just happened to wear the same one on year 2 and 3, and then it became a thing.

It feels pretty special as an adult, to become friends with your teacher. Especially your favorite one, and especially because you get to simultaneously apologize to them for being mayyyyybe just a bit stubborn back then (who, me?!), and thank them, for being a positive part of shaping you.

Today I celebrate teachers! The grossly underpaid set of amazing people responsible for corralling all us monkeys and enlightening us, even when they’d probably like to throw us in detention for a week for being sassy little things.

Who always shows up for you? Send them a thank you note. Continued support from people who see promise and believe in you is a seriously big deal.

Thanks, Charlie! A million apples for you.

#LoveYourWork #TeachersRock #Community

*Want to send thanks to someone and don’t know how? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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celebrate everyday: day 4

1.4.18

Look what finally came in the mail!

BLR Tags NC

Today I celebrate license plates!

It took me a LONG time to give up my green mountain state tags (and I sure didn’t want to), but imagine my delight to find a “Support Soccer” offering as an option for North Carolina.

Perfect. I think I’m in love.

You can take a girl out of Vermont, but you could never take her mojo away.

What are you doing to remember where you came from?

#StartDriving #AlwaysLookingUp #HondaLove

*Have you lost your mojo? Ready to make a change? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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celebrate everyday: day 2

1.2.18

I just got back from a 5 mile run. It was 14 degrees with a “feels like 7” according to my phone. According to me, it felt like my ears could’ve frozen off. Holy moly, that was about the coldest run I have ever done in the state of North Carolina. I’m from Vermont, but to me 65 degrees is cold, and if I never saw a snowflake again it would probably be to soon. I like frigid temperatures about as much as I like Trump, but let’s stay on track here- we’re supposed to be talking about celebrating, not hate…

Today I celebrate that I have feet. Two that are healthy and work:

Running Shoes

I’ve been a runner since high school, and put in miles all over the globe, on beaches, in cities, on back country dirt roads- you name it. There have been treadmills along the way (including at the “free” gym downstairs in my building, and at the YMCA I pay to be a member at, a mile away from where I live), but running outside is so much better. I think the only time I have ever run on a treadmill was in my building gym in Chicago a few years back, and only because Dwayne my doorman saw me heading outside to pound the negative temperature Windy City pavement and he yelled at me. (Good thing someone takes care of us stubborn people over here.)

If one of my least favorite things is the cold, why would I go outside to run on a day like today? Because I want to feel alive, strong, and celebrate the fact that I’m lucky enough to have a 39 year old body that can. No excuses.

If you’re snuggled up all warm & cozy next to your lover, or with a book the next time Siri tells you it’s as cold as a you know what making you feel unmotivated to move your body, just jump. Jump out of bed, and get out the door to do whatever it is that makes you feel alive and strong. I promise you will feel totally badass after you’re done.

Get moving! I know you can do it. Consider this a stinky feet high-five from me.

What moves you?

#StepOutside #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #Run

*Feeling stuck? Need to get moving? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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happy monday!

In case you’re feeling bummed about the weekend being over:

Blue Lollipop Kids

…let these blue lollipop eating twinsie nuggets make you smile.

I love the continued flow of photos like these that fill my inbox. Thank you to all who send them. Keep ’em coming!

#DontLetMondayRuinYourSunday #CelebrateEveryday #BlueLollipopTribe

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let my people go surfing

A week ago yesterday, I woke up in warm, peaceful, palm tree riddled Nicaragua:

Nicaragua Palm Trees

It was glorious. That day was my travel home day from a leadership development program I participated in called LeaderSurf. By the time planes, trains, and automobiles got me to my place in Charlotte around midnight and I opened my windows and balcony door, the city had shut down, and all was quiet and dark. Late night Sunday night transition was lucky timing for me as I was already feeling overwhelmed by the ding, ding, dings on my phone after choosing to be unplugged for 10 days. I woke up Monday morning to get my run in and was met on the streets with screeching, honking, red-light running cars…and before it was even 7:30AM. This morning was exactly the same. Cement city, a mad dash rush before the business day even started, and drivers looking fired up. (I’m not sure this fired up meant anything excited or happy about where they were going, either.)

You could say I miss the Nica Life.

Back to my stint in learning paradise:

LeaderSurf is based on experiential learning. It focuses on enhancing leadership capability by taking business leaders out of their comfort zones to teach them more about themselves. My time in Nicaragua and in this program was one of the best times in my adult life. I learned a ton:

Business Challenge

That’s me presenting my business challenge looking very serious. Being in the hot seat isn’t easy! OK, that’s a fib, because this is where the hot seat is:

Tiki Classroom

Tiki Classroom

…now that’s what I call a classroom!

Founder Brian, the Buena Onda Resort staff, and the surf instructors were all wonderful hosts and teachers:

Buena Onda Staff

Brian LeaderSurf

LeaderSurf Instructors

Surf Lessons

…the views were gorgeous:

Mag Rock

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Nicaragua Sunset

…and I had a total blast, surfing, and wiping out:

Surfing Nicaragua

Surfing Nicaragua

Surfing Nicaragua

This one is my oh my god I just learned how to surf and I have no idea how to control this board yet, so please don’t make me run into my new friend, look:

Surfing Nicaragua

Later in the day we were both so excited we were up we didn’t realize we were heading right towards each other until the last second. Abandon ship!

Surfing Nicaragua

We didn’t event come close to hitting each other, but our faces?! No matter how many times I look at some of our group photos I cannot stop laughing. Donald, the photographer who was with us all week really knows how to capture a moment.

Surfing NicaraguaSurfing Nicaragua

Best? We got to give back:

LeaderSurf Community Project

The community we visited doesn’t have a source of clean drinking water. We brought 16 water filtration systems that we helped show these community members how to use. One of the filters can provide 100 gallons of clean drinking water per day:

Community Project: LeaderSurf

LeaderSurf Community Project

I won’t ever look at or drink a glass of water the same again. Here’s a portion of an email I wrote to my fellow LeaderSurfers the morning after I got home:

Late last night after getting back, the last thing I unpacked was my backpack and in the very last pocket I found the tiny round piece of a bucket that one of you had taken out to install one of the water filtration systems and handed to me on the community project day. That piece now has a home on my desk. Right after I found that piece I poured myself a glass of water out of the refrigerator on my way to bed and had an unexpected moment seeing that clean water flow out so easily. I will never forget it. After that I couldn’t sleep all night. Needless to say, lots more perspective than I ever imagined after this trip. I am so incredibly thankful!

LeaderSurf Community Project

2 days after getting back, I had a meeting at a local brewery. I swear when I saw this on the wall behind the bar, the world went silent for a minute and my jaw dropped to the floor as if I had never laid eyes on anything like it before:

Water on Tap

A water tap. Bottomless. Just hanging out, free-flowing, clear, and safe, for all to enjoy. I’ve been to that brewery before, but had never noticed this. Oh how eyes are so much more wide open after traveling to a new place that doesn’t have the everyday amenities I do.

We all brought school supplies for the kids:LeaderSurf Community Project

One of my most favorite parts, was handing out blue lollipops. It was like sharing a piece of myself. To me they always represent a small moment of magic. Smiles all around:

Giving blue lollipops

LeaderSurf Community Project

Wish I/we could’ve done more? Yes. Motivated to give and appreciate now more than ever. Yes. Living even more consciously than I was before? Absolutely.

I made what I hope will be some lifelong friendships with the other participants.

Sunset Reflections

When you have an adventure like this and all cards go on the table, the playing field equals. It’s the perfect way to step outside yourself and let others in. There’s an instant perspective shift that happens that’s like a new window to every part of your life. It’s as if you bond in an instant with the people around you even if they were perfect strangers the day before. You realize (especially in the silent moments alone) that the world is so much bigger than you ever imagined:

Great learning environment

Sunset Reflections

Sunset Reflections

Our Sunset Reflection times were in a beautiful spot for us to share what we learned each day. It felt so good to actually be IN the moments. I’m so glad I committed to going unplugged. I need to do that more!

Coming right off this LeaderSurf program and into my 6th annual Play It Forward event is like riding this totally indescribable wave (no pun intended) of positive energy. A serious force to be reckoned with! The passion I had before, coupled with the buckets of life and work lessons I learned during my week surfing, will help me be a better leader moving forward. I feel like I already am!

In case it’s not completely obvious, I’m a huge fan of LeaderSurf. The experience I had goes unmatched. I wish there were more programs out there like it, I’d be signing up left and right! Maybe I’ll have to create my own?! (Wink.)

Staying active and challenging yourself to anything outside of the environment you’re used to, is the fastest route to your truth. Be open to alternative ways of learning. Be vulnerable. Encourage the people around you to do things that light them on fire. Stay on fire yourself. Share. Be selfless. Always try new things, and never stop having fun…even when you’re working!

#ExperientialLearning #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #ServantLeadership

*If you don’t recognize the reference in my title, it’s to this this great book I’d recommend to anyone. Here’s the Author Yvon Chouinard on NPR‘s How I Built This, too. So good!

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my bluebird of happiness

In the fall of 2011, Honda sponsored a road trip for me. Honda fans voted on where to send me on my Blue Lollipop Road adventure and fortunately that included all east coast spots. That made it easy on me to pick up the car I got to drive in New Jersey, and also put me close to all things Northeast where I had an excuse to see some family and friends. I hadn’t seen this girl in years, but as soon as I dropped in out of nowhere, she was thrilled to host me in New Hampshire:

Play It Forward 2015

Lucky me.

(This photo was taken at BLR Play It Forward 2015.)

I remember sitting in Kate Emma’s living room after kids and hubby were in bed, talking about our friends and past memories of good times in high school. She made a suggestion that we should have a reunion soccer game, and that I host it. Neither of us had any idea what all of this would become next, but that one night of conversation would end up turning into something so much bigger and more powerful than we would ever imagine. Now here we are, about to kick off our 6th Annual BLR Play It Forward event.

As soon as I arrived back in Chicago (where I lived at the time) from my Honda trip, I got to work putting together this alumni soccer game idea, added in some community social events, and a travel scholarship fund. I keep in touch with a lot of people, but for whatever reason I had barely any connections to, or communication with old soccer friends at that time, and I sure as heck didn’t know how to go about starting a scholarship fund. This was one of those times when social media came in very handy. Finding alumni around the world I’d either never met or hadn’t talked to in years would’ve been nearly impossible otherwise.

I remember sitting in my apartment in Old Town on the 23rd floor right above Second City for HOURS and DAYS planning, planning, planning, and not coming up for air during the fall and winter of 2011/2012. I was clueless on all of it but I had never felt so sure about anything in my life, so I just kept calling, asking, messaging, and asking more, and I knew it would all work.

August 18th, 2012 was our first event, and it was by far the most incredible and bittersweet day of my life. I’ve never been able to put into words what that day felt like. All I know is it was this beautiful blur of celebration perfection for these two people who brought so much joy to the world. I’ve never felt sun on my face since, as warmly as I did at that moment we released those blue balloons in the sky after the game:

Balloons in the sky

Everyday since then, I always look up at the sky and clouds in a different way, reflecting on how lucky I am to have time with people who bring so much love and laughter to my life.

Two weeks from today will kick off our event once again. As I thought about writing this post when I woke up this morning, I remembered the hours I’d spend sitting at my desk planning this big dream we had. For those few months it was like everything else in the world disappeared and I was totally in my flow, completely present to what made me tick in every way. I would go to the gym downstairs in the morning for my booty shaking class, and straight back up to my apartment throwing my sweaty clothes in the laundry and wrapping myself in this beach towel I had that I often wore before hopping in the shower so I could send a quick email or make a quick call, etc. I cannot count the amount of times I’d look down at 9PM to find myself still wrapped in that towel, filthy and starving still sitting at my desk. I would jump up looking at the clock, grab a quick shower and fly out the door of my building to the Chipotle downstairs for a burrito before they locked the doors at 10PM.

Full circle:

Guess where I went this morning? Guess where I’m sitting right now? Guess how much time has passed today and I haven’t noticed because writing about Play It Forward and working on the last bit of push for this year is so my jam that hours fly by? Guess what I am wearing? Guess who still hasn’t taken a shower, and guess where I could run downstairs right now if I needed something to eat? Yes; booty shaking class, my desk, a lot, that same towel (Ok, maybe that’s gross, but I have washed it a lot so I don’t care:), me, and Chipotle. I’m just in a different city and it’s 6+ years later.

What does this mean to me? Everything. When you find that thing, that “place” where you could be hungry, tired, and the world could be swirling in chaos around you, and you wouldn’t even notice because you’re doing something that feeds your soul to the core, THAT is being inspired. It’s the power of Strong Mojo. I think that continuing to do that thing/those things throughout your life is key.

Play It Forward 2012:

Play It Forward 2012

Play It Forward 2012

2013:

Play It Forward 2013

Play It Forward 2013

2014:

Play It Forward 2014

Play It Forward 2014

2015:

Play It Forward 2015

Play It Forward 2015

and 2016:

Play It Forward

Play It Forward

…have been beyond special. I’ve experienced that people will show up when you stay inspired, believe in something bigger than yourself, and continue to share it. THE FIELD OF DREAMS IS REAL. Play It Forward is not me. It’s US. It’s the indefinable essence of magic when everything comes together perfectly. It is remembering where you came from, celebrating the memories you have, and living like today is the day.

I’m so lucky to have had such selfless support, help, and love, so I’m able to host this weekend each year. It would be absolutely impossible without all of you, so if you are reading this, thank you. We honor our friends in the best way possible by continuing to come together, and never taking a single day for granted.

Please join us July 7th & 8th!

Keep celebrating.

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #AlwaysLookingUp

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remember, celebrate, live

I’ve always been known as the “energetic” one. That “Boy if you could bottle that energy and sell it, you’d be a millionaire!” gal. That friend that “we just can’t keep up with.” I don’t feel like a freak of nature, but sometimes I have to remind myself that in fact I’m not, when I hear the constant barrage of:

“I’d love to hang out, but I know you can stay up all night.”

“Good lord, where did you come from? How do you have all that energy?!”

“I’m sure YOU don’t need sleep, but I do.” 

Can’t a girl just be herself? It’s tough not to get a little insulted over here, when these “compliments” are regularly hurled at me. I have some very disappointing news:

I don’t stay up all night, I’m from a tiny town in Vermont, not space, I cannot explain how I have the energy I do (Mom, can you tell the people?), I actually need sleep like you, and no, I’m not a unicorn, Ewok, or other worldly being. I have shitty days. For instance, the other day I cried during a meeting with my accountant at Panera (yes, as in Panera Bread, in public), and it had nothing to do with finding out I’m not a billionaire. I already knew that and I don’t care. If you really want to know where the tears came from call me, (804.339.6514) I’ll share anything.

In an effort to solve the energy mystery right here, right now, after much reflection, I have come up this:

I CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE, PEOPLE. I AM JUST FREAKING CELEBRATING THAT I AM ALIVE.

Put that in your I’d rather stay miserable and quiet about it pipe and smoke it.

We’ve all been beaten into a life happens pulp. Do we need to recap on that again? So what do we do about it? Stay in the drone zone, or wrap our wounds with whatever we’ve got left, own and accept our crap, and drag our asses out of bed everyday in the never ending search for those few last tiny beautiful things that are left?

I refuse to wait for a weekend or big event to wear my sassy shoes:

Sassy Shoes

(This photo was taken on a Tuesday after stopping into my friends office to have coffee. I think that’s all I got dressed for that day.)

…I don’t say no to invitations to road trip to beautiful places with good friends:

Amelia Island

…I don’t save treats for only special occasions:

Dessert With Dom

…I always play like a kid and jump for joy at sunset:

Sunset Jumps

…and while things are often better shared with good company, (and oh my do I love a lot of humans!) If it’s 86 degrees on a random Tuesday in March like this week, I’m not afraid to sit outside at a picnic table to enjoy an after work beer in the warm and sunshine, alone:

Beer at a picnic table

I don’t have too much energy. I JUST ALLOW MYSELF TO BE ALIVE BECAUSE I AM, and I fully plan to continue celebrating the bleep out of this life while I have it.

I’ve never asked anyone to be like me and I would never dare. You do you, dudes and gals, quiet, loud, whatever you are…I accept all of you! You’re always invited to my party over here, but if this sparkly blue lollipop is “too much” for you, please walk on. I’m only interested in those fellow tribe members who might roll their eyes or shake and scratch their heads a little, but simultaneously are thrilled about getting smothered in glittery, energetic, life-celebrating love as we run down this steep, wondrous, rocky road together.

I’m off to my Friday morning dance party. I’ll see you and Beyonce in the soul train line…

#ShineBright #TodayIsTheDay #LessMiseryMoreLaughsHappyLife

*(This post is dedicated to everyone in my tribe (I LOVE YOU GUYS, you know who you are, but particularly Maria, Brandy, Leslie, Katie, Sam, Joe, and Grapa. I will forever be inspired to keep smiling and dancing because of you.)*

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