Vermont City Marathon 2016


Me before the race

I was supposed to run this marathon last year, but alas! Got the pesky ARDs and it took months to recover, blah blah blah. I still went, however! I spectated and got to watch my friends Jefe and Gid crush their races. It was awesome, and I knew I’d be back a year later.

And I was.

When you train for a marathon after being seriously ill and not running for, oh, 8 months it’s a lot like training for your first marathon ever. Everything feels new. And uncertain. Before signing up for this race I had several false starts. I would do short runs consistently for a little bit then stop because I had nothing to train for. I decided that the only way I was ever going to get back into my running groove was if I just bit the bullet and registered for a race. I was right!

My goal for this race? To break five hours. That’s right! Before this my slowest marathon had been 4 hours flat, but this was a new me! This was post-recovery me, and I wasn’t sure what my body had in store for me. I ran my tune-up half in 2:05:34. Which was slower than my first half ever. See? It’s all new.

Look, I’m not whining about being slower. In fact, I say all of this with exhilaration. Time doesn’t really matter to me right now. My perspective changed significantly after being bedridden. There was a point where just lifting a fork was daunting. Where standing up for a moment made my heart race and my breath stall. Even though it was a year ago those memories are still fresh, so every time I hit a new milestone in my running I get overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.

When I was in the hospital I had the following conversation with my Pulmonary Doctor. Note: This doctor had run Boston 30+ times. Dude was a runner so he understood how important it was to me.

Doctor: So the only permanent effect you’ll have from the ARDS is scarring on your lungs which means–

Me: I won’t be able to run anymore?

Doctor: No! you can run!

Me: But not marathons.

Doctor: No, you can run marathons! You just might not be as fast as you once were.


Doctor: In fact, as soon as you get out of here I want you to run one block. It’s going to suck, but I want you to do it.

And I did. Honestly, it didn’t suck. It was hard as hell and I was out of breath, but it gave me hope which made all the suckiness disappear.

Suffice it to say there was a lot riding on this race. It was a redemption race. It was a comeback. It was to prove to myself that I was still a marathoner, lungs be damned! I was feeling pretty confident the week before the race. I’d run a few 18 milers, and a 20. The 20 was HOT and humid, and I had to walk a bit the last two miles. But I figured there was NO WAY Vermont was going to be hotter than that.


As race day loomed closer the forecast was bleak. 86 degrees. I was nervous. When my friends and I arrived in Vermont my anxiety increased as my allergies worsened. I was a stuffy, coughing mess which wasn’t an encouraging position to be in physically. Luckily I was with four awesome, supportive friends who distracted me from my stress. We had a great time in Vermont the days leading up to the race. At moments I forgot about the race all together!

But, of course, race day arrived. My friend Silas massaged my legs out before I went to the starting line, and for some reason that is what finally made me get my head in the game. I was going to run this bad boy. Heat be damned.

I left my friends and found a spot near the 4:45 pacer. As soon as I got settled in I started to cry. This was happening. After the craziest year of my goddamn life I was back. Something about being surrounded by other runners and being in the midst of all that raw emotion set me off. I knew I could finish. It might be slow going, but I had this feeling in my gut that I was going to be able to do it.

The first two miles were a lot like the first two miles of all my runs this year: plodding. My legs just felt heavy. I have a mantra during the beginning of a long run and it’s pretty simple “This is what we’re gonna do for awhile”. I just repeat that to myself until my body accepts that running is all there is at the moment, and we’ve just gotta do it. The first 5k felt like an eternity. Honestly, I think it’s because I’m not used to running that slow. I didn’t let myself think about how long I had to go. After the first 5k loop I saw my buddies and that lifted my spirits. I stopped and hugged everybody because I wasn’t in a rush and I was just so happy to see them already! After that it was like I woke up! All of a sudden my legs were like “AH! I remember running! Hell, I like it!”. The next 10k loop of the race was probably the most boring scenery-wise, but I didn’t care! I had found my groove and was happily ticking off the miles. At some point during this stretch I passed the 4:30 pacer and was on track to finish in 4:22. I knew that wasn’t going to last and that once it got hotter I would have to slow down, but I decided to keep the pace while I could.

Every aid station I dumped water over my head or down my shirt, and made sure to drink electrolytes. Even though there was very little shade from mile 4 – 10 I didn’t find the heat unbearable. I think constantly soaking myself really did the trick! After looping back through downtown again the course became a lot more suburban which I loved. People were outside spraying us with hoses and squirt guns. The support was unbelievable! I crossed the halfway mark feeling strong.



From miles 15 – 18 a few things happened to slow me down. I stopped to pee. I briefly got a cramp and walked until it went away. I walked up a giant hill and used my inhaler. I didn’t let any of this get to me. I knew I had to take care of myself first and foremost in the heat. I also prepped myself for 16 – 18 being the hardest miles. I told myself if I could just get to 18 I could finish. Well, I got to 18! The next few miles were a blur to me. The miles felt long, but not impossible. I just stayed focused on the moment. I knew when I got to 20 that would be the homestretch. At mile 20 the rest of the course is on a bike path which is lovely because it’s all shaded! At this point the 4:30 pacer had caught up with me and I decided to hang with her for a bit. The next few miles I just put all my focus into getting through each mile. It was tough, but I knew I could do it. I was about to reach the mile 24 marker when I got an alert on my phone:

“Race is discontinued. Proceed to nearest aid station”.

I kind of laughed manically to myself. THIS CAN’T BE REAL. What are they going to do, pull me off the course? I only had TWO MILES LEFT. You can’t ask runners to stop at Mile 24. I get to the aid station and none of the volunteers say anything…they just give me water. Bless them. Ahead of me I see two cops signaling for runners to exit the course.

Hell. No.

I dip around the cops and continue on the course. Uncertain of the consequences (if any?). All I knew was I was finishing this goddamn race. One of the spectators said “You guys are going to be the last finishers” and I responded with “They’re really cutting it off right here?!” and he said “yeah, my wife is behind the cut off…”.


So now I’m defiant and pissed off. I have no problem running. I get several texts from my friends asking what was going on so I slowed to a walk to call them back. I told them “I was one of the last people to make it past the cutoff, but I’m going to finish this! See you soon!”. Not long after that we got a message that said “The clock is being turned off and your time won’t be recorded”. A woman next to me looked heartbroken “This is my first marathon..” she told me and I responded with “You’re going to finish, and nobody can take that away from you!”.

As I ran that final mile I saw my friends screaming for me, and soul is filled with joy. I love them SO GODDAMN MUCH. So much that I flipped them off to express my “ef you” to the cancelled race. They laughed. They knew. I rounded the corner and I triumphantly crossed the finish line.

14 months after being released from rehab I ran a marathon. A marathon that got cancelled mid-race.

Amusingly enough my time “won’t count” because I missed the cutoff by 13 seconds. The cutoff for official times was 4:30. Seems pretty shitty to not count people’s times when they finished the race and you’ve got the times recorded. I get it, they wanted people off the course, but we’re consenting adults who know the risks of our sport. I don’t need an “official” time to validate my experience out there. I feel bad for the people who were led off course in the final miles. I feel bad for the people who were running their first marathon. For people who were running as a celebration of their health. For people who are members of the 50 States Club and now this state won’t count for them.

But, hey, that’s life. If I’ve learned anything this past year it’s that shit happens that’s beyond our control, but you know what I did have control over? Dodging that cop and finishing the race in spite of it all.

I’m back, baby.









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I’m alive.

In March of 2015 I was in a coma for a week because of a rare lung injury called ARDS. Look that shit up if you want to learn about a terrifying thing that can happen to your body! The odds are not great if you get it. It was caused by the flu. So, uh, get your flu shot.

I started a post awhile ago detailing my experiences in the hospital, and maybe I’ll finish it one day, but it’s a new year and I’m alive so that is PRETTY COOL. There are two reasons I am not in immense debt from my month long hospital stay 1) My husband, friends, and family all raised money for me because they are amazing humans and knew that I would be absolutely EFFED because I don’t get sick pay for any of my many jobs 2) my health insurance (THANKS, OBAMA, NO REALLY THANK YOU).

When I came out of my coma I had no idea what was going on for a little while. I didn’t know I’d been out for a week. I didn’t remember coming to the hospital. But once things started to come together I realized our wedding had to be postponed and I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon I was training for (OBVIOUSLY). At the time neither of those things bothered me very much because I was more concerned with re-learning how to walk then planning a wedding that was supposed to happen a month from then. Priorities, amiright. I really will have to finish up that post someday. I have a lot of good stories about my friends doing amazing things for me and nurses who literally saved my life. Also some fun hospital roommate shenanigans…

A lot of other things happened in 2015. We ended up getting legally married on our original date (because who wants to wait after all of the shit we’d just been through) and having a celebration a few months later. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about it because it was pretty fucking awesome. We went on the best honeymoon to Iceland and Disneyworld. I did my first play post coma. I got four tattoos (perfect way to deal with near death!). I cut all my hair off (this too).  I tip toed back into running. Honestly, a good chunk of this year was spent high on being alive. Every breath I took was relished. Every physical activity I accomplished felt monumental.

That being said I’ve been pretty inconsistent on the running front.

Recently we were in New York City seeing a close friend of ours in a show. He asked me if I was a running again and how much. I told him the most I’d run was four miles, and he asked if that was because my doctor put limitations of me or if it was because I was lazy.

Truth be told, it’s been laziness mixed with a little bit of fear. I’m afraid I won’t be able to run like I used to. I realize that’s a pretty dumb reason not to do something I love so I’m shutting that mindset down.

With that said, I mostly wanted to write here again to share my resolutions. Even if I don’t write in this blog the rest of the year I wanted a place to record my resolutions and to hold myself accountable.

1) Run the Vermont City Marathon (redemption, baby).

2) Apply for Grad School

3) Write every day

That’s it. Today I wrote and ran. I printed out the list of things I need to prepare for my grad school applications. For the first time in a long time I actually have a game plan for the next few years of my life. It’s exciting. I want to tell you that it’s scary because it seems like something that SHOULD be scary. But honestly, it’s not. Things feel right.










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Winter Realness

This post title is inspired by all of the RuPaul’s Drag Race I’ve been watching. They just put the word “realness” after any combination of words and I feel that. Sometimes you’ve just got to serve some kind of realness, and the type of realness is up to you. It can be showgirl realness, ice queen realness, surreal realness. Your realness, your choice. SERVE IT UP!

Right now mother nature is serving up some winter realness. Evidently this is the most snow we’ve ever gotten in this amount of time. That seems about right. I’ve lived in Boston for almost a decade now and I’ve never experienced anything like this. This is our seventh snow day in three weeks. That is one week of snow for every two weeks of living a normal life.

yes, Sharon, we are.

Look, at first it was awesome. Snowstorm number one led to one of the most enjoyable snow days of my life. Joe and I cooked massive amounts of food, played video games, attempted to build a blanket fort (it’s hard, y’all), and helped make an absolutely absurd iphone movie about THE BLIZZARD WIZARD. It had 39 contributors. If weird videos are your thing check out what a bunch of deranged people do during a snow day here.

Honestly, I’m not even upset about all of this snow. The absurdity of it is pretty goddamn hilarious. I’m also a spoiled brat who doesn’t have to dig out our car because our landlords KINDLY let us park it inside for the storms even though we don’t have a space in our building. Please don’t tell anybody I know that. They’d end me. I am a little stressed about money because as a mercenary independent contractor I’ve had many, many well paying gigs cancelled over the past three weeks. Thankfully some of them still pay half for cancellations and one of my jobs has offered to pay me now if I make up the hours later. So life goes on. I will not starve to death in the cruel, unending winter.

Where does that leave my running? Well! I’ve been living and dying by the treadmill in my building. I’ve gotten all of my runs in and, honestly, it has helped me with the general restlessness one feels when trapped inside for hours at a time. I’m still in the base building phase of my training. I ran 21 miles last week and it felt wonderful. Doesn’t sound like much, sure, but it feels great to be getting back into some semblance of a routine. I’ve been catching up on podcasts (Harmontown, Invisibilia) and watching HGTV while I’m down there (I don’t have cable so this is precious mindless TV time).

Also having all of this free time has meant I’m on top of my wedding planning GAME. I’m sure I’m forgetting something HUGE, but it feels like we’ve got all of the big things done! Watching our RSVPs roll in has been so delightful. My dear friend/bride squad member designed our Legend of Zelda themed invites and the response to them has been overwhelming positive. Even my Grandma loves them. Her ringing endorsement: Your invites are beautiful, and so different! Thanks Grandma! I think now that we can imagine what the wedding is going to be like we’re both much happier. I had a few “WHY ARE WE DOING THIS” moments, but now I’m getting excited! I thought I was going to be terrible at wedding planning, but I think that was because I was thinking of a classic type of wedding (which, uh, we’re not having). I’d be terrible at planning that! But it turns out planning a fun party can be pretty goddamn enjoyable.

Getting to the wedding means we got through winter. So cheers to that! and to running. It’s keeping me sane!

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Runishment 2015

It was a humid, vile, and cloudless day last September in Maryland. A flat farm road lay out before us and my buddy Jeff and I were in the middle of a 17 mile run (his first of that length). Needless to say we were both a little slap happy.

I was taking on the role of moral support. That happens often when I con suggest people run long distances with me. Saying things like “We’ve got this. Just one more loop”, but also knowing when it was time to shut the hell up and just keep moving. At some point during this run Jeff came up with the term “runishment” which, when you are drunk on sun and endorphins, is HILARIOUS. So we’ve decided that 2015 is going to be the year of RUNISHMENT!

We’re going to run our butts off.

And we’re going to raise money for Leave Cancer in the Dust. Check it out.

The plan is to run a race in every state of New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts). A marathon in the first five states and finishing the challenge with a 50 miler in Ipswich, Ma.

Jeff and I met in 2012 in a Shakespeare show. This is us with our pitiful bug defense backstage. From bug battles to ultra running...who would have thought!

Jeff and I met in 2012 in a Shakespeare show. This is us with our pitiful bug defense backstage. From bug battles to ultra running…who would have thought!

Our first race is the Vermont City Marathon on May 24th. Last week was my first “official” week of training. All on the treadmill because Mother Nature is currently wreaking havoc on my beloved New England, but hey, training has got to start somewhere! The end of last year was slow going on the running front, but now that I’ve got some exciting goals I’m ready to get back into it.

Bring it, 2015.

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DIY Slacker Crafts: Medal Hanger

Hear ye! Hear ye! Slackers unite! I am here to tell you that it is possible to suck at crafts, but still be able to make stuff. I know. Seems crazy, but sometimes my love of doing something new overrides my lack of interest in details of any kind! Hence, SLACKER CRAFTS!

Or maybe I’ve just been watching too much HGTV and now I’m having delusions of grandeur.

Either way, my darling friend Emma thought it would be cool if I had a medal rack of some kind. She’s smart, correct, and beautiful so why wouldn’t I listen to her? At first I thought “I will buy one just like the lazy asshole I am”, but alas, it turns out (in this case) I was cheaper than I was lazy. Plus I still have ALL of my bibs.

I loosely followed the amazing instructions on this blog. She did an amazing job! She, like, measured things and shit. Me? I went rogue. As is my wont.

I started with a harrowing trip to Home Depot. I could not find a single thing that I needed because I’m either a) blind b) stupid or c) both. I flagged down many an employee to ask frantically “where, o, where sir is the modge podge?!” (Spoiler: not in home depot, dumbass). Eventually I found myself surrounded by wood (lololol), and just grabbed a square of what appeared to be some, uh, nice wood? I handed it timourously (re-learned that word from Vagrant Story!) to the wood cutting gentleman and he asked how much and I was like “uhhhhhhhhhh” and he sighed and shook his head with deep embarassment on my behalf before cutting my “good wood” in thirds. Thanks, guy!

So now I had wood (still lol)! After much wandering and questioning I eventually found little hooks and self-leveling hangers. Things were looking up! Progress was being MADE!

I know y’all are really worried about my modge podge situation so DON’T WORRY. I found it at Target by myself! No help needed! Growth! Just 45 minutes into this shopping endeavor!

Guys. I was ready to CRAFT.


So here’s what I did.

1) I did not have newspaper or magazines just lying around like most normal humans do, but I DO have a metric fuck ton worth of plastic bags (sorry, environment) so that was what I used to put my wood (HAHA!) on. Slacker tip: use whatever is available!screw the rules! Go your own way!

2) I took all the safety pins out of my bibs because I NEVER DID THAT?! Why did I just leave them?! What is wrong with me?! I was wounded during this mind numbing task and resorted to just ripping them off the bib like a savage beast. So now I have a bunch of safety pins with a tiny bit of paper stuck in them. I’m great.

3) I recklessly spread the bibs about. The first layer of bibs were the dumb boring generic bibs. I modge podged them like nobody’s ever modge podged before. I waiting 20 mins. Modge podged the less shitty bibs. Another 20 mins (SNORE). I actually placed the top layer of bibs in a way that was pleasing to me. Then you guessed it: MODGE PODGE!!!

4) hot glued the edges down. Yeah, folks, I bought a hot glue gun. LIKE A BOSS.

5) let that sucker sit overnight because, let’s face it, I was worn out from all the modge podging and slacker queen needed her beauty sleep.


6) good morning!! Time to make tiny holes. Smash smash! No, I actually measured things this time (sort of) and put little dots two inches apart from one another so I’d know where to hammer my nails.Note: the lady I got this from used a drill bit. Too broke for that shit! Although I do not doubt my drill prowess as I had to use one of those bad boys to build a set almost EVERY DAY in September.

I did not measure from dot to bottom of the board, though, because I’m laaaazzzyyyy. So my little holes were not in perfect lines. Did I care? No! Adds character amiright?!

7) Screwed in those little gold hooks with pliers. Boooyah.

8) hammered on the picture hangers, but didn’t even come close to doing it evenly. But guess what?! Auto leveling bitches!!! It looked fine.

And TA-DA! We’ve got outselves a bonafide SLACKER CRAFT!


Friends, if I can make shit with tools, you can TOO. Next up on slacker crafts? Trying to use a stud finder!! And the answer to the age old question: why is there crazy glue under my finger nails?!

P.S here’s a pretty photo from my run today. Boston is the shit.


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oh hey y’all!

It’s only been, what? six months? I never wrote a Boston recap? What the heck is wrong with me! It was glorious! Sure, it was my slowest marathon at the time (3:47:03 but don’t worry, I went even slower in Chicago!) but it was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget. I also went to rehearsal THE NIGHT OF THE MARATHON. Then got engaged.

So, y’know, pretty typical day in the life of Chelsea and by typical I mean it was definitely the best day of my life? Feels weird to say that, but it’s true.


The joy that can only be felt after being overwhelmed with the love of AN ENTIRE CITY.

This year has gone by SO GODDAMN FAST. I ran Chicago this past weekend and it completely re-invigorated me. It was my slowest marathon EVER (4 hours) because my training sucked giant donkey balls. Why? Because I’m insane. During the first 8 weeks of my “training cycle” I had work everyday from 8ish to 5 then rehearsal from 6 – 10. SO YEAH. NOT IDEAL FOR MARATHON TRAINING. I know there are folks who can wake up at 5am and earlier to pop off runs, but I am not one of those people. Especially if I don’t get home ’til midnight. So I just didn’t run. I fit in a few runs here and there, but it was pretty bleak. I was a sad runless lady.

And then for three of the six weeks leading up to the marathon I was on tour which turned out to be great. I was able to build up to a 17 miler with Jefe (running buddy extraordinaire!) after consistently running the entire time. Very little speed work. Just running as much as I possibly could. I would not recommend my little ramshackle 6 week marathon training plan to ANYBODY, but my main goal was to just survive the marathon.

I had exactly two goals for this race: 1) START OUT AS SLOW AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE 2) Just soak up my surroundings. Chicago is an incredible city.

wondering how the hell I'm going to last 24 more miles

wondering how the hell I’m going to last 24 more miles

On another note I have an amazing group of friends. We’d been planning this trip to Chicago for months and months. Lauren actually bought my plane tickets as a Christmas present. If supporting my insane dream to run a marathon in all 50 states isn’t love I don’t know what is. Not only that, but her Dad and Stepmom let five hooligans in their twenties stay in their swanky downtown apartment. I walked to the start line. Again, I have the best friends in the entire world. It’s just science. and facts. Facts of science.

Oh, and did I mention I walked to the starting line hopped up on dayquil because I had a lovely little head cold? In summary, the trip itself had been absolutely perfect, but this race did not seem like it was going to go well.

The first few miles were ominous. I thought “oh dear god. My knee is tweaky. I feel like I’m running through with molasses. What kind of person thinks they can survive a marathon after only six weeks of training. I am a dingbat”.

But I pushed those thoughts out of my head (there was a lot of self talk this race, let me tell you!). I had lots of strange pieces of logic “If I  make it to double digits I can definitely finish!” (what, that makes no sense, but let’s believe it). “I just have to get through one mile at a time. one foot in front of the other. move.”. I just convinced myself to keep moving and then, well, something would happen.

And you know what?


I went through the half at 2:06:22 and it was suddenly like running Chelsea had awoken from a deep, dark slumber. All of a sudden I was joyfully picking up the pace. Passing people like crazy. Smiling like a lunatic. I kid you not, this was the STRONGEST I’ve ever felt on the back half of a marathon. It certainly helped that the crowds were awe-inspiring. The course was gorgeous. The weather was perfect.

Thoughts of “This is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now” danced through my head as the miles ticked by effortlessly. I felt in my element. All was right with the world.

And I was not bummed at all with my 4:00:54 finish. In fact, I was elated. Inspired. If I could finish a marathon feeling strong with half assed training what could I accomplish with really committing to a plan? With really focusing?

So I came out of the race grinning. Feeling so loved and supported by friends and family, and ready for the next big race.

That race? The Vermont City Marathon on May 24th. I’m gunning for a sub 3:30. I’m going to spend this winter building a nice, solid base. I’m going to run a few shorter distance races. Build some healthy strength habits. Then saddle up for an intensive training plan come February.

2015 is going to be a big year.



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Oh! I’m running a marathon in two days.

This has been a pretty radio silent training cycle for me.

But, I figured, hey why not jump back in? Also I may or may not be carb loading with beer and pasta right now as I type this. Speaking of beer one of my favorite gifts in the Boston race goody bag is an awesome beer opener from Sam Adams. You gotta trust me on this one. It’s really sweet. It’s got the Boston logo and the date and 26.2 on it and it works exceptionally well. The bottle caps released themselves from these bottles with grace and ease.

Anyway. I’ll be honest. It’s hit me. The taper crazies. It did not happen until right now, but after picking up my bib it smacked me right in the face. This cycle, overall, has been pretty rockin’. I only really missed one workout and I dug the Hanson’s plan that I followed. This past week and a half has been a bit wonky. I’ve had some stupid gut issues, but I’m deciding not to worry about it. Taper has always been a strange time for me. Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to run or I think “hmm, maybe this training just didn’t take”. I think (and hope) this is just my crazy brain trying to talk me out of running 26.2 miles and that I just had a weird stomach week. If my stomach acts up during the race? Oh well! There are bathrooms. I’ll live. All I can do is not eat stupidly in the next 38 or so hours.

So, let’s talk goals.

I want to go sub 3:30. I’m not married to the idea, but damn, it would be sweet. And my training has been on target for a 3:29:xx. So why not give it a try? My B goal is to just qualify again.

But if neither of those things happen? That’s okay. I worked SO HARD just to qualify for this race! I just want to have a blast running it. And all of my friends are going to be there! Because this is my home! And they are already here! How cool is that?

And more good news? Even though I qualified I decided to raise money for an organization. I picked Adopt a Stray because they are the rescue group my friends and I have fostered dogs with before. I raised $370 more than my goal! I’m overwhelmed and delighted by everybody’s generosity. I am so happy that I was able to help out with a cause I care so much about.

And I’m really psyched about the women’s elite field. Holy shit. I’m probably going to be yelling at the crowds “WHO WON THE LADIES ELITE?!” as I run.

And all of my friends have been so patient and sweet and excited for me when I won’t shut up about this damn race. But, man, I really can’t wait. It’s going to be a really, really magical day.

Hey, this was ramble city, but I had to break the no blogging streak somehow!


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