giveaway

april giveaway winner announced!

Hi everyone! Did you have a great weekend?

I’m coming to you this morning from my hotel room in Portsmouth, NH — a town that I am highly obsessed with —having successfully put my weird feels aside and completed the Ignite Your Soul Summit! I’m still processing everything that happened this weekend because it was a lot of thinking and emotional digging, but I can say that I’m really glad I took the opportunity to step out of my normal routine and put myself in a room full of people with high energy and unique perspectives. This is definitely not something I would have done a year ago, and I’m giving myself a pat on the back for giving it a chance now. It was definitely the right choice to go, and I learned so much from the amazing speakers who came to be with us.

It’s time for me to start getting packed up and ready to go back to New York (I can’t wait to see the hubs!), but not before I announce the winner of the April giveaway!

The winner of a Beautycounter Color Intense Lipstick is…

Sady!

Congratulations, Sady! I’ll send you an email today to work out the details of getting you your prize. 

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Thanks so much to everyone who entered and shared this giveaway! If you’re still interested in checking out some Beautycounter products — which I would highly recommend — please shop this link so we can support Elise and thank her for partnering with me this month.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

 

 

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pre-summit feels.

I didn’t become a work-from-home-ing freelancer because I like spending time alone, but I can’t say that spending more time alone didn’t seriously appeal to my introvert soul when I decided to do it. I’m lucky to have met some of my best friends when I was working in my corporate job, but I knew back then that I would become an even better friend to them once I was able to transition our relationships out of our cubicles — especially when it became clear that I was no longer a great fit for those cubicles.

These days, I’m admittedly alone a lot. I’m in constant contact with plenty of editors and sources and I have face-to-face meetings with people a few times a week, but there are days that I don’t actually interact with another human being until Matt gets home from work. Working from home is most definitely not for social butterflies, my friends, but most of the time, the quiet doesn’t bother me. I’ve always been pretty content doing things on my own, and thanks to the magic of texting, Gchat, and social media, I’m never far from a friend : )

The fact that I spend so much of my time alone makes it that much of a bigger deal that…

I’m leaving for a summit today.

Yup, a summit. Like, the kind where there a lot of people. And icebreakers. And the possibility that I might be expected to share parts of my story with total strangers. 

(Even before I was a constantly-alone writer type, that whole “sharing with strangers” thing wasn’t really for me.)

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I know from my fellow creatives and solopreneurs that there’s a lot of value to gatherings like this, so when one of my biggest social media and podcasting crushes Amber Lilyestrom opened registration for her Ignite Your Soul Summit in Portsmouth, NH, I thought it would be a good place for me start putting myself out there in a new way. I texted my friend Brittney Lynn (you’ve heard me gush about her before) to see if she would be open to going, too, and within 24 hours we’d both purchased our Early Bird tickets and were planning our takeout and trash TV lineup for our nights sharing a hotel room. Brittney and I have been close since we connected through blogging and Instagram back in October, and I’m so excited to officially meet her! I feel like we already know each other so well, but I’m anxious to find out how tall she is (I know that sounds silly, but it’s one of the only things I really don’t know about her!) and have wine and sushi together.

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All of the photos that Brittney and I have together so far look like this. Definitely planning to change that this weekend!

Honestly, if not for Brittney, I’d be having all kinds of social anxiety heading into this weekend, and even with her as my friend and security blanket, I can’t help but feel a little nervous about all of this. Even a year and a half later, it’s hard for me to confidently share with people what I do (hello, imposter syndrome!), and now that I’ve added a few more projects to my plate (hello, podcast-to-be!), it’s that much more confusing. I know that if people are going to take me seriously, though, I need to take myself seriously… and if they’re going to be open to me, I need to pay that forward proactively.

I decided to take the train to minimize the stress of air travel, and I’m actually really excited to use that time to get some work done, read, and decompress as I get ready for the summit. I was an Amtrak regular back in college when Matt and I were maintaining our relationship from a few states away, so I have a weird sentimental attachment to trains, anyway.

Wish me luck! I’m sure I’ll be sharing a lot of the weekend on my Instagram stories, so tune in if you want to check it out. Even with my nerves, I feel really grateful to have the chance to experience something like this, and I’m excited to see what’s in store.

What are you up to this weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

…AND don’t forget that there are still a few days left to enter the April giveaway! All you have to do to be eligible to win a Color Intense Lipstick from Beautycounter is comment on this post or this photo.. The winner can pick the shade of their choice! Be sure to get your entries in by midnight on Sunday 4/29. I’ll announce the winner right here on the blog on Monday 4/30. Good luck! 

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april giveaway.

Happy Monday, friends!

I’m not sure what the situation is where you live, but we finally got a serious dose of spring weather here over the weekend… and I can’t decide whether that makes it easier or harder to get back into the swing of the work week. I’m torn between feeling so energized that nothing can bring me down and wanting a few extra hours to simply enjoy life without a winter coat.

Either way, I’m happy to share that today is GIVEAWAY DAY — and I hope that makes your Monday a little sunnier : )

This month, I’ve partnered with my friend Elise to offer one reader a special treat from one of my favorite brands, Beautycounter. I’ve been lucky enough to feature several of this company’s products in previous giveaways — but this month, the prize is extra special because it’s LIP COLOR (my favorite): one Beautycounter Color Intense Lipstick in the shade of your choice!

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If these great color options aren’t enough to have you already psyched to enter, don’t forget that Beautycounter is also known for its safe approach to skincare and makeup. Like the brand’s other products, the (new!) line of Color Intense Lipstick is all natural and tested against strict safety standards to make sure that you’re not putting your health at risk by using it. I started working Beautycounter into my own routine about a year ago and have been so happy with the results! Since I have a few friends who are involved with the company, I’ve learned a lot over the last few months about the dangerous practices of so many leading beauty brands. (I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true!) Since I love a good lipstick — hello! — I’m so happy that there are safer options like this out there, and I can’t wait to collect all eight shades myself.

In the meantime, though, I’m so happy to be offering a free Color Intense Lipstick to one of you!

To enter, add a comment to this post below. It’s that simple! And if you want to take one tiny extra step to make someone else’s Monday a lot better (and to help share the Finding Plan A love), why don’t you go ahead and send this link to a friend or post it to Facebook? I’m a firm believer that more really is merrier.

I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Monday 4/30. The winner will be announced right here on the blog! Good luck!

(Unfortunately, you’re not eligible to win this contest if you live outside of North America, due to shipping concerns. I’m sorry about that!)

You can check out the rest of Beautycounter’s offerings right here! Please be sure to shop that link so that we can support Elise and the awesome, health-focused business she is building. Fun fact: Elise and I fell in love on the first night of sorority recruitment back in 2009 (I was desperately trying to get her to join my house!) and we’ve never looked back. She’s a total rock star!

Happy Giveaway! 

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march giveaway winner announced!

It’s time to announce the winner of the March giveaway, and I’m over here dancing in my PJ’s and desk chair because I get to gift a very lucky reader with their very own copy of Hannah Howard’s Feast. (I’ll let you and your imagination come up with the dance moves.) I’m just a few pages away from the end of the book now and I am so impressed by it. Hannah, I am so grateful to you for partnering with me on this month’s giveaway! Thank you for sharing your work with all of us : )

The winner of Feast is…

Victoria Munn!

Congratulations! I’ll send you an email this morning to work out the details of getting the book in your mailbox.

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Thanks so much to all who entered this month! Don’t forget to come back for next month’s giveaway on April 23. If you didn’t win, I still hope you’ll consider grabbing a copy of Hannah’s book, because it’s really a great read. Check it out on Amazon here, and note that if you purchase through that link, I’ll earn a small fee for recommending Feast to you!

In the meantime, I’m off to do a nine-mile run (half marathon training is heating up!) and finish up some projects here in the office before Matt and I head to Pennsylvania for Passover and Easter celebrations with family. Sending you all the good vibes for a great weekend, no matter what you celebrate (or don’t celebrate)!

I’ll catch you back here next week. I’ll be talking March and April goals on Tuesday!

 

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things i’m working on.

Matt and I are home from Chicago after a weekend of friends and cold temperatures! If it wasn’t so far away from family and so chilly for so much of the year, I think we would seriously consider making that our next move. Having spent a very formative summer at Northwestern University between my junior and senior years of high school, I have a lot of really significant memories of Chicago, and as an adult, I see even more how much the city has to offer. It’s a little (maybe a lot) more low key than New York, but has a similar diversity of neighborhoods, plus so many things to do and see. We’re heading back there for a wedding in August and I’m excited to have a chance to explore even more when the weather is warmer. I’ve heard that summer in Chicago is the very best! I already have a list of things I want to check out on our next trip : )

As fun as the trip was, it was also the kick-off to a hectic few months of travel and events for us, and as my plane started to land at Laguardia, I couldn’t help but find myself starting to stress over the state of the calendar from now until May. Most of what we have coming up is good, but chaos is chaos, and for me, it’s important to spend some time really getting my head right before starting an especially busy time. With that in mind, there are a few things I’m working on that I think will help me keep my cool as we enter the craziness of spring (if only we could get some spring weather, too!)…

I’m working on having a better attitude about social media. I’ve been so focused recently on setting boundaries with my phone that I’ve gotten away from the fun parts of Instagram, which is a platform that I genuinely enjoy. I want to put less pressure on myself and strike a better balance.

I’m working (as always) on improving my pitching skills! I need to get back in a better routine of reading more content from different outlets so that I can come to my editors with fresh and creative ideas.

I’m working on giving myself more time to unwind in bed with a good book at night.

I’m working on being a clearer communicator with pretty much everyone in my life. I need to do a better job of telling people what I need.

I’m working on reintegrating workouts outside of my half marathon training into my routine. Running is going great so far this year, but I’d like to find time to work in some lower-impact activities, too.

I’m working on getting back into Pinterest! I fully revamped my profile and would love for you to give me a follow here.

I’m working on comparing myself less to other writers. Social media does not help with the whole comparison game.

I’m working (with Matt) on getting date nights back on the calendar, especially as we head into this season of craziness!

I’m working on learning to see some things in my work as experiments. They don’t always need to be perfect, as long as they help me learn how to do better next time.

I’m working on overbooking myself a little less during the week : )

I’m working on saying “I’m proud of you” less, because I read somewhere that — even though it’s a nice thing to hear! — it also kind of makes someone else’s accomplishments about you, and I just thought that was sort of interesting. I want to find other, better ways to communicate the same feeling.

I’m working on worrying less about the specifics of the future and instead having faith in the bigger picture of what’s to come.

Did you miss last week’s announcement about the March giveaway? 

There’s still time to enter… and you should, because Hannah Howard‘s Feast is better and better with every. single. page.

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I want you all to have a chance to win a copy of your very own! The details about the the book (which happens to be Hannah’s debut) are available here, and all you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner this coming Friday 3/30, so don’t miss your chance to enter ASAP!

And finally…

Some of you tuned in last week for Brittney and my free webinar. It was so great to have you! We had about 50 people register and Brittney and I loved the opportunity to share the basics of storytelling as it relates to PR and getting media mentions for small businesses and side hustles. GREAT NEWS! We have another free webinar planned for TOMORROW, Wednesday 3/28 at 8 p.m. EST. Part two of the series is called Partnering for Press: Why You Need to Cultivate Authentic Relationships with Journalists + How to Get Started and you can register (for free!) right here for more helpful PR tips and for a peek behind the freelancer/entrepreneur curtain. Can’t wait to see you there!

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march giveaway.

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m lucky enough to be coming to you from Chicago this morning. I flew out of snowy New York City late yesterday afternoon  and am so excited to spend the next few days hanging out with two of my very best friends. The three of us live in different cities — New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. — and we’ve tried to make a better effort over the last few months to get together for these girls’ weekends on a regular basis. It’s a great excuse to get away for a weekend, too, and I secretly love the way it feels to do a little solo plane travel. Matt’s actually coming to Chicago later tonight because we have another set of friends celebrating their upcoming wedding here tomorrow. He’ll be able to snag some QT with one of his best college pals while I’m with the girls, and we’ll meet up for the couples’ shower. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly!

In the meantime, though, it’s GIVEAWAY DAY… and I couldn’t be more excited to share this month’s prize with you. 

For the first time ever, I’ve teamed up with  an author for the March giveaway. How cool is that? Meet Hannah Howard.

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Hannah and I met at the very beginning of my freelance journey when we both took a Freelance Bootcamp class at the Brooklyn Brainery. At that point, Hannah had recently sold her debut book to a publisher, and although I was having some serious writer FOMO at that point (guilty!), I was so intrigued by the premise of her memoir that I got over it pretty quickly. I was so excited when Hannah reached out a few weeks ago with the opportunity to work together to share Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen with my blog community. Thank you so much, Hannah!

Many of you already know that a healthy relationship with food hasn’t always come easily to me personally, and since Feast (just out this month!) shares the story of Hannah’s own journey to find self-acceptance in spite of her disordered eating — all while exploring the unique and colorful food scene of New York City — I knew even before cracking the cover that it would be right up my alley. I started reading the book on the flight yesterday, and before I knew it, I was 100 pages in. Hannah’s writing is absolutely stunning. I love the way she describes food and the city that I love, and her reflections on how we feel about ourselves as we grow up (just wait until you read about middle school!) are wildly relatable.

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Even if your relationship with food has never crossed the threshold to disordered, you surely have had other moments of self-doubt, and Hannah’s narrative will really resonate with you at that level. Plus, her writing is beautiful and offers a fascinating peek into the NYC food scene.

Here’s a quick summary:

Hannah Howard is a Columbia University freshman when she lands a hostess job at Picholine, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan. Eighteen years old and eager to learn, she’s invigorated by the manic energy and knife-sharp focus of the crew. By day Hannah explores the Columbia arts scene, struggling to find her place. By night she’s intoxicated by boxes of heady truffles and intrigued by the food industry’s insiders. She’s hungry for knowledge, success, and love, but she’s also ravenous because she hasn’t eaten more than yogurt and coffee in days.

Hannah is hiding an eating disorder. The excruciatingly late nights, demanding chefs, bad boyfriends, and destructive obsessions have left a void inside her that she can’t fill. To reconcile her relationships with the food she worships and a body she struggles to accept, Hannah’s going to have to learn to nourish her soul.

The winner of this month’s giveaway will receive their very own copy of Feast! So cool, right?

All you have to do to enter to win this giveaway is COMMENT on this post! I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Friday 3/30. The winner will be announced right here on the blog.

(Unfortunately, you’re not eligible to win this contest if you live outside of North America, due to shipping concerns. I’m sorry about that!)

… and if, as you’re typing in your own comment, you feel so inspired, I’d love for you to pass the giveaway along to a food- or book-loving friend who might also be interested in entering. Grab that URL at the top of your screen and text it to a loved one or share it on social media. It means so much to me to able to share Finding Plan A with more and more people — and I would be all the more excited to have more eyes on this post in particular, since it will allow us to help Hannah get the word out about Feast!

Happy commenting! And happy weekending! 

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february giveaway winner announced!

Happy Friday, everyone!

The weekend plans in this house consist of mostly sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Somehow, I managed to fall wildly behind with work after just one full day off for our Charlotte trip (how does that even happen?), so I’ve been working 12 and 13 hour days all week to make up for it. I’m seriously ready for some down time! There are a few hours left between me and that precious weekend and you can bet that I’m in full-on countdown mode.

In the meantime, though, it’s time to announce the winner of this month’s giveaway! We had a record number of entries in February, so thanks to everyone who entered and shared it with their friends and family, too. Don’t forget to keep checking in for monthly giveaways (and other great posts, too!) — they go live on the 23rd of every month! The winner is selected based on a random drawing.

The winner of this month’s prize — a $30 gift card to Barnes & Noble — is….

Tamara H!

Congratulations, Tamara! I’ll be emailing you your prize shortly!

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What is everyone doing this weekend? I’d love to hear more about your plans in the comments below!

 

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weekend in charlotte.

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and that your week is off to a great start, too. We’ve been back from our little southern getaway for a few days now, and I’m excited to share some of the details!

First of all, if you’re planning a trip to Charlotte any time soon, I would highly recommend the Airbnb we stayed in. It was walkable to lots of bars and restaurants (although we learned that most people don’t walk as many places as New Yorkers do — oops!) and a 15-minute-or-less drive to pretty much anywhere else we wanted to go, from the center of the city to cool neighborhoods like NoDa (my personal favorite). Honestly, the space was more than we knew what to do with — we had two bedrooms and two bathrooms — but since we’re used to living in such a small apartment, getting to spread out a little bit was really part of the vacation! You could easily fit six or eight people in this Airbnb, and Matt and I agreed that if you have plans to visit Charlotte for a football game or something similar, it would be absolutely perfect, especially since it had an awesome front porch that would be great for a little pre-game beer and snacks : )

We snapped this pic in the living room of our Airbnb, actually! I’d hoped for more photo ops during our visit and that didn’t quite pan out, so I insisted on a selfie before our last dinner out.

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Here are a few more highlights of our trip!

(Fair Warning: Most of them involve food. Hey — we were just trying to get a feel for the culture of the city! And isn’t food love in the south?)

  • Driving through the Dilworth neighborhood and eyeing up all the beautiful old houses from the car. It’s basically everything you ever imagined that a beautiful Southern city could offer.
  • Exploring NoDa and brunch at the Crepe CellarNoDa was the closest thing to Brooklyn that I saw while we were visiting Charlotte — funky artists selling their work on the sidewalks, cool paintings on the building facades, funky stores, and cool bars. A friend recommended Crepe Cellar to us for brunch and the four cheese savory crepe I had there may have been my favorite bite of the trip. We also stopped by Amélie’s French Bakery & Cafe to get Matt his coffee fix — another suggestion from a friend!
  • Reading and relaxing in Freedom Park. So much of what we enjoyed about our weekend getaway was the weather. After a long few months of cold temperatures here in New York City, it was such a treat to enjoy a little sunshine and 75-degree air! We grabbed our books and spent a few hours on a bench reading.
  • A night out in downtown Charlotte, starting with dinner at Sea LevelWe ate dinner outside (did I mention that warm weather?) and tried oyster shooters for the first time (yum!). After that, we took a little field trip to the Howl at the Moon piano bar because we thought it would be fun to listen to some live music, and we got way more than we bargained for. If you follow my Instagram Stories you know exactly what I’m talking about… there was a banana-themed citywide bar crawl happening all across town, and we spent the evening watching hundreds of people in banana suits belting out the oldies on stage. It was amazing.
  • Breakfast at Sunflour Baking CompanyThe multigrain bread I ordered with my breakfast sandwich was quite possibly the best bread I’ve ever tasted. And Matt is still talking about the fact that he didn’t get to go back here to try a chocolate chip cookie!
  • Checking out the U.S. National Whitewater CenterGiven the timing of our visit, I’m not sure that we saw this landmark at its best, but I can imagine that it would be an awesome place to explore in the late spring and early summer. You can buy a day pass and have free reign of all of their adventure activities and ropes courses, and they also have a beer garden smack in the middle of it all.
  • Getting a great deal on a denim jacket at the Gap outlet store. I don’t usually like to shop on vacation, but we had some rain on Sunday afternoon and decided to check out the Charlotte Premium Outlets on our way back from the Whitewater Center. By the end of last summer, I’d more or less worn out my trusty old denim jacket, and I found a new one for $40.
  • A feast on our final night! I had one of the best Italian meals of my entire life at Fiamma restaurant (hands down!) and we — of course— made an ice cream stop at Golden Cow Creamery. Did you really think we’d last a weekend in another city without checking out the ice cream scene?
  • Trying the steamed bagel sandwiches at Owen’s Bagel & DeliI have a blog reader to thank for this one (thanks, Victoria!). I can’t quite explain why these steamed sandwiches were so much different than other bagel sammies I’ve had in the past… but they were really different and really good.
  • Getting through the Charlotte airport so. fast. I know this sounds a little silly, but I can’t say enough about how easy it was to travel through this airport. At the last minute, we decided to switch our tickets onto an earlier flight, and we made it from the rental car dropoff through to our gate in 25 minutes flat.

Thanks for letting me share the highlights of our trip with you!

One more thing…

Don’t forget to enter the February giveaway! This month’s winner will take home a $30 gift card to Barnes & NobleAll you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post (linked here!). I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner this coming Friday 3/2, so don’t miss your chance to enter ASAP!

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february giveaway.

Friends, you did it. You made it to Friday!

This afternoon, Matt and I are leaving for our spring getaway weekend — and not a minute too soon, either, because after all of the warm temperatures we had here in New York City earlier this week (I was almost too hot in a light sweatshirt!), we’re looking at a colder, rainier forecast for the weekend. For a few days there, I was worried it would be colder in Charlotte than it is here, and that would have pretty much defeated the whole purpose of this southern adventure! Anyway, I’m really excited to get a change of scenery and to enjoy the kind of down time you can only get when you’re removed from your usual routine and environment. I can’t wait to tell you all about it when we get back!

In the meantime, though, it’s GIVEAWAY DAY, which means that it’s all about you and showing my gratitude for your continued support.

The February giveaway prize is a $30 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

This is pretty much the prize of my dreams, and I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. A $30 gift card should be enough to get you a hardcover or two paperbacks. If you’re the lucky winner, I’m happy to give you some recommendations!

All you have to do to enter to win this giveaway is COMMENT on this post! I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Friday 3/2. The winner will be announced right here on the blog. Good luck!

As you’re getting ready to type those comments below, can I just ask you for one quick favor? Just one? I promise it will be really easy!

If Finding Plan A has resonated with you and you love reading the content and entering the giveaways, could you please grab the URL up at the top of your screen and pop it in an email or text to one of your loved ones? Give them the opportunity to enter for the Barnes & Noble giveaway and to be part of this awesome community! The more we can share, the better. It would really mean the world to me if we could work together to get the word out, friends!

Have a great weekend! xo

 

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january giveaway winner announced!

Yesterday, I was walking around my neighborhood without a jacket on… and today I woke up to snowCan someone please explain? This weather is so crazy and confusing — no wonder so many people are getting sick. (If you are one of those people, I hope you feel better soon!)

The show must go on regardless of weather, of course, and I’m so happy that today is the day I get to announce the winner of the January giveaway. Thanks to all who entered to win this month’s prize (an infinity charm bracelet from The Shine Project)! Please continue to check in each month for the giveaway… and, of course, the blog posts : ) The winner is selected based on a random drawing.

Congratulations to…

Lisa Hoppe!

Yay! You win! I’ll reach out via email today to make arrangements to send you your prize.

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I’ll see everyone right back here on Friday, when I’ll be talking February goals. Don’t miss it!

 

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