12/13/17

TheCozy and a Road trip

I love a great road trip and when I see the opportunity, I seize the moment! The weather was great and the amazing Selena was available with only a day notice. Selena is a dear childhood friend of mine who is always up for an adventure. So I packed some snacks and a new product I had for review-TheCozy Pocket Blanket and off we went, into the Texas Hill Country.

I realized the weather was going to be perfect to visit a favorite spot of mine, Hamilton Pool Preserve.

Hamilton Pool Preserve was designated a nature preserve by the Travis County Commissioner’s Court in 1990. Located 3/4 mile upstream from its confluence with the Pedernales River, Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50 foot waterfall as it plunges into the head of a steep box canyon. The waterfall never completely dries up, but in dry times it does slow to a trickle. However, the pool’s water level stays pretty constant, even during periods of drought.

 

I think you can understand why this place is a favorite on my list of “magical outdoor spaces“. The pool trail is 1/4 mile in length and includes a series of rock steps descending into the canyon.  The trail is rugged and steep.  Sturdy foot gear is recommended. Visitors with physical disabilities can arrange assistance into the canyon by requesting a ride by preserve staff.  The ride takes a visitor into the canyon, but not all the way to the pool, since no vehicle can make it to the pool.

Make sure to check out the website for do’s and dont’s and frequently asked questions.

I thought this would be a perfect place to test out TheCozy Pocket Blanket. This was actually very easy to carry since it literally weights 7.5 ounces and fits right in the palm of your hand. I love how easy it was to pack and set up. TheCozy is water resistant and this is great for me because my favorite Texas travels usually include a river.

TheCozy Blanket comes with 4 ground stakes and a nice colored orange bag to put it back into. The material is high quality water resistant and we had no problems setting it up and putting it back in the bag. This is definitely a new addition for me and I am sure you will see it on some of my future adventures.

A perfect stocking stuffer or just a nice gift for yourself. Practical and chic with a great price. Check out TheCozy at Amazon. Keep it simple, keep it real!!

Just for the Holidays use LATINOUT for a 10% discount. Valid until 1/1/2018.

Hamilton Pool Preserve

FitfunandJosie reviewed and approved!

(I was given TheCozy for a review but no worries all opinions are my own as are my adventures).

 

01/19/17

Head for the Hills

Head to the Hills Ya’ll!

I couldn’t think of a better way to start my year than with a hiking challenge. Fitness outdoors is my preference. The hills and terrain are my treadmill and the elements are just part of the fun.

The more I wander the more I want to get lost in the trails. Not like really lost … just a little : ). The wildness that makes nature is will silence and stir ones soul to the core. I knew naturally growing up in Texas that parks and rivers were my happy. I kinda fell instantly in love with my outdoor surroundings and being able to revisit some of my favorite spots last year and share them with my family and friends was pure joy.

Life is meant to be a great adventure.

This week I completed my 3rd hike and my goal is 52 hikes by the end of 2017. Why … because I have officially joined the 52 Hike Challenge!

One hike a week for 52 weeks. My story to create, my life to live, my journey to take … I’m in! 

I do have many friends and family that have expressed interest in joining me on some of my adventures and lucky me. In Texas we are trailing and it’s only the beginning. Maybe you too will be inspired to take the challenge. What could you lose, or find … YOU?

Hike 1 at Government Canyon State Park in San Antonio. You can check out dinosaur tracks in Government Canyon! You can see over 200 tracks about 2.5 miles up the Joe Johnston Route, just past Marker #19. It’s a long hike, five miles round trip. Well worth it! Small fee to enter or free carload with your Texas State Park Pass.

Hike 2 was at Eisenhower Park in San Antonio. Free to park, free to enter! Free to have fun : ). This park is very dog friendly!

Hike 3 was at Jacob’s Well with a quick giddy up Old Baldy in Wimberley, TX. The great news is that when it’s not swimming season at Jacob’s Well you don’t pay to enter, to park or to play on the trails … yeehaw!

 Where you hike, be all there.

Fitfunand … go take a hike.

09/10/16
Hike n Bike through San Antonio Missions Historic Park - FitFunAnd.com

#Sunday Funday: Hike ‘n Bike through the San Antonio Missions Historic Park.

The National Park Service celebrated 100 years of service on August 25th, 2016 and we were all invited to join in on the fun. In Texas a few friends and I attended a red carpet event at a local theater to watch a screening of the National Parks Adventure IMAX film. If you haven’t already seen it I would highly suggest it!

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I am honored to represent my community as the Ambassador for Latino Outdoors~Southwest. This platform allows me to creatively explore the outdoors and highlight the beauty of Texas parks. Lucky me!

I had an amazing opportunity to not just join a celebration but put one together. I had been in contact with Tiara the Outdoor leader in San Antonio for Outdoor Afro and we thought it would be a fantastic idea to join our groups for the Centennial. These two organizations are changing the faces of conservation. A diverse set of people exploring, sharing and showcasing their love for the outdoors.

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Tiara and I thought it would be a great idea to do a Hike ‘n Bike along the beautiful river connecting our Missions.

Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission San Francisco de la Espada are about a 3 mile round trip down the San Antonio River. Two groups, two parks and some cool peeps : ). The group was amazing and the weather was perfect!

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I am inspired and happiest the most outside exploring and it was even more special because we honored the Centennial. We hiked and biked to our destinations with smiles on our faces. A sweet thank you to San Antonio B-cycle who offered our group a 50% discount to rent the bikes located at the Missions. Find your park they said and together we did just that.

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Sunday Funday Hike n’ Bike

I wasn’t done yet! There was just one more event left for me and that was to run the NPS 100th Birthday Virtual 5k/10k/half. A virtual race is basically your pace, your race, your chosen destination. You register on line and a portion of the fee goes to the specified race and in my case, the National Park Foundation. When you complete your race you turn in your time and a couple of weeks later you receive a medal in the mail. The medal for this particular race was a Ranger Hat and you can see why this was a no brainer : ).

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I decided to run the 10k (6.2) miles over to the beautiful Mission Concepción. This stone church was dedicated in 1755, and appears very much as it did over two centuries ago. It stands proudly as the oldest unrestored stone church in America. In its heyday, colorful geometric designs covered its surface, but the patterns have long since faded or been worn away. A perfect place to reflect on what once was and what is now.

Just because the celebration has ended doesn’t mean the party is over! Head over to National Parks and be inspired to discover these amazing open spaces. Now go on and get lost, anywhere is a good place to start!

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FitfunandNPS Centennial!

 

 

 

07/19/16

#TexasParks: Take a Hike Y’all!

I love Texas where just about any road trip leads you to a nearby river, lake or spring. The Texas heat can get pretty brutal so a park with water to dive, dip or swim, is a must for me. Thank you Texas for having some amazing watering holes!

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. This centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship in America’s parks which will engage communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

We have all been invited to Find Your Park on a national level and to explore programs in our own backyard.

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My “backyard” is the Texas Hill Country. Texas is my state, born and raised!  A 25-county region of Central Texas and South Texas. The Hill Country reaches into portions of the two metropolitan areas, especially in San Antonio’s northern suburbs and the western half of Travis County, ending southwest of Downtown Austin.

A perfect road trip would include family, friends, hills, river fun and if i’m really lucky a winery or two : ).

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Dry Comal Creek

I do have some favorite parks that made the “must visit because Josie said” list : )! These beautiful outdoor parks are in no particular order because each park is unique in what is has to offer. Local Parks, State Parks, National Parks or the ever popular Texas watering holes. I am happy to share some of these outdoor gems with you, because after all … Sharing is caring! 

Texas Parks

Garner State Park

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Pedernales State Park

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Guadalupe River State Park

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Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

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Hamilton Pool Preserve

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San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Texas

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Mission San Jose

Krause Springs

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Comal Springs & Landa Park

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Mitchell Lake Audubon

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Big Bend National Park Texas

 

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Texas parks have my heart. I am never disappointed but I would be if I hadn’t wandered. Big Bend was the biggest and definitely the most challenging for me so far in terms of the terrain but it left me wanting more. I know in my heart I will be going back and I will set no boundaries for the open spaces that nurture my soul and make me smile ear to ear : ). The more I discover the more I uncover … my happy place, Outdoors!

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Big Bend National Park Texas

Latino Outdoors ~ Josie Southwest Ambassador

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Malibu Creek State Park – California

Take the Pledge to Take Care of Texas and receive a FREE Texas Parks & Wildlife State Park Guide and a FREE sticker!

Free Texas Hill Country PassportVisit 18 or more of the 24 Hill Country destinations. Have your passport stamped at each location and then win tickets, outdoor adventures, tours and more.

Join us in Celebrating Latino Conservation Week at Inks Lake State Park.

For additional information email Josie@latinooutdoors.org

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Fitfunand … Parks!!

 

 

 

 

03/6/16

Together-Nature Bird Walk at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center w/Latino Outdoors

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A Nature Bird Walk at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center was to be the first stop for 2016 and being the Southwest Ambassador for Latino Outdoors I now have more of a platform in sharing adventures and organizing group activities to connect Cultura and the outdoors.

My 1st event had to include kids. I have a 5 year old granddaughter and she thinks anything outdoors is a LO event, I love that! My granddaughter and I became familiar with Mitchell Lake about 6 months ago at one of their events.

The Mission of the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center is to connect people with nature through conservation and community education focused on birds and their habitats.

I met Patty (my guide) on a butterfly tour that she was leading at Mitchell Lake and was impressed by her knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife & plants. It became apparent to me when she pronounced the names of the plants in Spanish that she was the guide for me. Screenshot_2016-03-06-15-02-47-1

A couple of months later I decided to organize my first outing for LO. The idea would be a Nature inspired Bird walk at Mitchell Lake. The young ones are the next generation and they would be my inspiration. We kept the group small since we only had 1 Patty : ).

Patty provided us all with binoculars courtesy of the Audubon. Who knew you could check them out during your visit there? I know now : ). We walked, we talked, we learned and most of all we connected,

The Audubon is a wildlife center for thousands of birds/plants and wildlife. They have acres of land, a duck pond and even a lake (not for swimming).

Patty is a wealth of information on plants and wildlife. The kids and the adults had a wonderful time playing with the binoculars, spotting birds and seeing wildlife in a whole new way. Seeing their smiling faces and asking questions made my soul melt. No texting, no talking on cell phones and no one cared about social media if only for a short time. I felt I had succeeded in connecting Cultura with Nature. We all left wanting more … mission accomplished!

There was one more surprise, Patty mentioned that she had documented the birds we saw and wanted to know if we wanted to be a part of Cornell Lab of Ornithology with ebird.

A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance.

The answer was a simple YES from the entire group. I couldn’t have imagined a happier ending. I was hoping to inspire at least 1 sweet soul and I was the one who was inspired by them all : ). I can’t wait for the next outing so stay tuned.

 

Fitfunand … AFUERA.

 

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

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02/23/16

Outdoors in 2016!

Let’s celebrateNational Park Service (NPS) turns 100 on August 25, 2016! Screenshot_2016-02-23-22-22-47-1

 

What is National Park Service?

The National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all U.S. national parks, many American national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations.

What is their Mission?

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. NPS.

If you are looking for a park to explore it has never been easier, just head to Find a Park to start planning your adventure. Now go play OUTSIDE!! Hike. Explore. Discover. Laugh. Live.

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I love birthdays and why not celebrate every month with a new park or adventure. Thank you NPS for giving me an excuse to nuture my nature soul : )).

The year 2016 was going to be a great one for me. I received an invite by the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program with NPS to a “Find Your Partner” table discussion.  Rivers & Trails as they also are known is a program of the NPS that works with community groups and local and state governments to conserve rivers, preserve open space and develop trails/greenways, Exciting! We engaged in conversation about outdoor recreation, natural resource protection and youth engagement.

The location was at McKinney Roughs Nature Park. I thought to myself, perfect! A new park for me to hike, any excuse for fun.

Located just 13 miles east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, McKinney Roughs is home to hundreds of plant and animal species living within the rolling box canyons, wildflower meadows and lazy river bends of the Texas Colorado River.

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McKinney Roughs is a day use park where visitors can explore close to 18 miles of trails by foot or 12 miles on horseback (bring your own horse). The park offers many community programs as well. At the Visitors Center, pay your entrance fee and get the latest trail information.

I only had enough time for about 4 miles but I made the most of it by making sure I saw the Colorado River, yay!

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Fitfunand … Making the most of LIFE : ).

 

 

 

12/20/15

The Birthday Girl … ME! #FelizCumpleaños

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One, two, three, four, five …  (fast forward) 2015 : )). Keep calm, it’s the birthday girl!

I keep telling myself that I am only as young as my heart tells me and that special number appears to have fixated itself in the 20’s. I will never let a silly number dictate what I can or cannot do. I do what makes my soul happy and this year in particular I wished for a horse ride.

 

When I was a little girl my dad bought me a horse. I asked him years later, WHY? My dad had the perfect answer…because you wanted one : )).  photo 1 (35)

I ended up falling off my horse one time and never rode her again. Her name was Big Red and my granddad ended up taking care of her. I felt that it was time to conquer my fear and giddy up!

December 3rd every year was a big deal. The coolest cakes, themes, presents and the most important, familia. The day of my birth reminds me of birthdays past and the love that was put into them. Every year now is a day to live just a little extra. I am happy to be alive and yes I am reminded that time goes by so quickly. I don’t want to live fearful, I want to live fearlessly : ). 

 

I decided to try Hollow Tree Ranch  in New Braunfels, Tx. Their motto is “Horses training riders”. Jeff Oliver is the founder and owner of Hollow Tree Ranch. I spoke with Jeff when making my reservation and he was so sweet and easy to work with. He answered all of my questions and when we arrived took care of more concerns from my group. I feed off positive energy and that is all I ever felt from the moment I called. My daughter hadn’t gone on a horse ride in years and mentioned that she was a little scared. His response, “what in particular scared you so I can make it better for you”? The one hour ride was just enough to get our giddy on but left us wanting more.

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Was it what I hoped for…YES! Will I be back…YES! Next up, the Moonlight ride and I can hardly wait : ).

The day was not just for me but for me to share this special adventure with the people I love. Life is better with family and friends. Thank you Jeff for being a part in making this memory memorable for all of us. Words cannot describe the what the ride meant to us individually. Empowered we became as we conquered our fears.

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We left the ranch on such a high and discovering that right down the rode was Dry Comal Creek Winery was an even bigger surprise, could my birthday get any better?

This would be my daughter and her best friends first wine tasting and who better to share this with than with her MOM. The girls had a blast and we were even treated to a special tour of the place.

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The sangria was delicious and the wine tasting was a huge success for the girls.

 

 

 

My beautiful evening ended with a family dinner at The Little Red Barn, my granddaughters favorite steak house. I believe it’s because the waitresses dress up in cowboy hats and boots. My Madelyn loves a great themed anything and I adore this. Do more than just exist, when you can and while you can!!

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For more information here are the links on Hollow Tree Ranch & Dry Comal Creek Winery. The trip took less than an hour from San Antonio and we all know any hill country road will lead to an awesome adventure.

CHEERS to finding the Giddy up in your step : ). Grab your boots and just go!!

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Fitfunand … Happy Birthday to me!!

 

11/27/15

#OPTOUTSIDE … any day you can!

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When I heard that REI decided to shut it’s doors and pay their employees on the biggest shopping day of the year and encourage people to go OUTDOORS the day after Thanksgiving, my only thought was … BRILLIANT!

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I know where to go and fuel my soul : ). I am thankful that I grew up in a time that encouraged the outdoors and I am so happy to hear and see more people getting out to the local and state parks, may the movement continue.

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Hike. Bike. Swim. Ski. Camp. Run. Walk. Explore the Extraordinary and there is no better place than Outside.

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A baby me with my Mom & Dad

I am honored to be part of the Latino Outdoors family as a Southwest Ambassador. Celebrating our Cultura and the outdoors while sharing and supporting each other from all over the world.

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Happy Holidays and any day your your heart desires may you #OPTOUTSIDE

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Links to outdoor adventures in and around San Antonio, Texas : ).

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Guadalupe River State Park (Texas)

Fitfunand … Pa Fuera!

 

 

11/4/15

Life Is A Beautiful Ride.

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A couple of months ago I decided to dust off my bike and add something a little different to my fitness routine. I recently met some ladies who bike for fun and they mentioned that “themed” riding is a happening occurrence….WHAT????

I attended my first bike ride nervously with a friend who actually has “biking” experience. I don’t think I’ve ever done more than 5 miles on my bike but in my head I did the math (the Josie way). My last run was a 10 miler and I had 3 thirteen milers under my belt this year so I figured, why not?? Silly girl.

What I should have done before I biked after a 5 year hiatus and hardly any bike experience : )).

  • Brake check
  • Tire check
  • Gear check
  • Light check
  • Helmet

The only expectation I had was to have a great time. I didn’t prepare for reality. Embarrassed to say I rode with my front wheel turned around for at least 2 miles before a sweet and kind rider mentioned this to me as he also noticed that my front brake was not connected. Let me not forget to mention that I had no clue what I was supposed to do with the gears on my bike (gears ?). I did however, remember to put lights on my bike and bring hydration : ).

Ten miles later and a tad deflated ego I can honestly say my expectation was met. I HAD A BLAST!!

The group I rode with was fabulous and not once did they make me feel like the silly non experienced rider that I was. They stopped to help me fix my brake (glad the bike has 2) and even helped with basic bike etiquette along the way. I quickly figured out how to use my gears with advice from my new friends and by the end of the ride, I just knew I’d be back.

Fast forward 4 months later…

 

Social and themed bike rides through downtown San Antonio are now just a weekly occurrence, the norm. I recently completed a 25 mile bike ride to all the Missions and felt amazing afterwards. The wind in my hair with friends and family by my side sightseeing the city we love.

I have associated myself with great groups who just like me want to ride because we can : ).

Here is a link on Safety & Education for Cycling in San Antonio.

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Fitfunand … Safety first!!

 

 

 

10/3/15

The Little Latina That Did.

A happy SOUL a happy LIFE. 

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Melanie & I

A little over a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting a sweet,smart and beautiful Latina by the name of Melanie. I was attending Cinefestival, a week of Latino film in San Antonio,TX. We started talking and she mentioned that she was a  Lifestyle Blogger at quemeanswhat.

What is a blogger you ask, well so did I? In a nutshell these are just some of the essentials a blogger does.

  • They write about what they find important and meaningful to them.
  • They share the above mentioned information through a Blog and or social media.
  • They have the ability to make money through blogging.

I thought this was amazing. To create, educate,learn and possible earn. I loved the concept and just had to know more. I met up with Melanie soon after and she answered all of my questions.

I was so inspired to also have my voice be heard. Melanie told me to talk about what I was passionate about and it was very clear to me. Fitness is a huge part of who I am, fun is how I like to live my life, and my family is my heart.

This is how Fitfunand was born. 20150926_090956-2

My blogging journey has been very positive. I have learned to be more fearless in exploring who I am and what I can do. I want to know more and do more in the hopes that I can inspire others to do the same. I do not consider myself a writer but if I write about what is in my heart I can’t go wrong, right? My life,my way!

I can definitely say that I took a leap of faith. Who would want to read about my life and my experiences? Fast forward a year later and I am blown away at what has happened.

  1. I reached over 100 blog subscribers.
  2. I worked on my first campaign with REI.
  3. I have made unbelievable friendships.
  4. I was asked to be the Ambassador for Latino Outdoors in San Antonio,TX.

My story, my way and if this is the beginning I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I am still a work in progress but I am happy. Happy to be a little more fearless and happy that I am taking more risks in discovering what more I am capable of becoming. I will forever be grateful that Melanie was put in my path and that I was unafraid to explore what I just knew in my heart would lead me to great things.

Latino Outdoors is family now and together we hope to share and explore our love for the outdoors.

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My ultimate goal is to live to 100 with beautiful and crazy stories to tell and I can’t forget them if I write about them……LOL.

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My first steps …..Outdoors and Fearless!!!

Fitfunand……ME!