Episode 62: Creative Curiosity with Jainee Dial


Prepare to be wowed. This week we're joined by Jainee Dial, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of WYLDER. Jainee brings her brilliant mind to this episode and speaks about her entrepreneurial journey, how she turns to the outdoors to find inspiration, and her thoughts on manifesting creativity.


Follow Jainee:

@jaineedial

@wyldergoods

wyldergoods.com

jaineedial.com


​Follow us: @wheeliecreative

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Photo: Michael Friberg



 

Episode Transcript


Lisa: Welcome to episode 24 of season Four of Outside by Design.


Iris: Hey, hey, I'm Iris.


Lisa: And I’m Lisa.


Iris: Lisa's back!


Lisa: I'm back! And today's an awesome episode because I get to talk to Jainee Dial who is an all-around amazing, super smart human being who started Wylder Goods as well as Creative Wyld.


Iris: She talks about how she started out her career in Film Production and then transitioned into being an entrepreneur, she shares about how she seeks out finding herself in the outdoors, her struggle with being identified as her business versus as herself, and how she hates the word manifestation.


Lisa: Yeah, and if you love big picture ideas, this is an episode for you.


Iris: So let's listen.




Lisa: Jainee thank you so much for being here today. I am really really excited to talk to you about creativity.


Jainee: I have a lot to say about creativity. So I'm happy to be here, too. Thank you.


Lisa: Yeah, and the first question we always ask everyone is to just to describe where they are and what they're looking at.


Jainee: Well, I'm staring into the eyes of my dog who is terribly bored and just laid on his side because he... I think he knows that I'm about to do something for a long time, like move my mouth hole, and he's absolutely bored out of his mind. And I'm sitting in my office. It's a... we're located in Salt Lake City, Utah and it's gorgeous here right now. It's fall. So I think today is actually going to be 75 degrees and it's beautiful and the colors are all changing and September is my birthday month. So it's my favorite time of year. And I grew up in Utah and haven't... didn't spend much of my adult life here. So now that I'm back I just want to be in the canyon everyday. And yeah, just basking in the glory of all of these gorgeous leaves.


Lisa: Oh, awesome. So when I knew you were going to be on the podcast I started researching you a little bit online and thinking about how to introduce you. But you do so many things. I feel like you're just this deeply, deeply creative person, as like, a human being not a job. And it seems like you’ve done a ton in film and branding and it's amazing. So I don't want to speak for you, but do you want to introduce yourself to our audience?


Jainee: Oh gosh. Okay. Well. How far back should we go? I... I really relate to the... to the word creativity. Let's keep this thematic here. You know, as a kid, I was in a lot of the like creative arts programs and I always would self-identify as an artist and I went on to go to the Art Institute of Portland and I lived in Portland, Oregon for 10 years.


And yeah, so I've had a while winding journey in terms of my career in my adult life. Started out, my first job out of college was working on a film called Coraline, which is a stop motion film. And for those people who don't know what stop motion is, it's basically very expensive little puppets that move through ball and socket joints called armatures and wh- I was on a set in a warehouse in the middle of farmland in basically a big black building because you can't have any light, it's all incredibly structured as an environment and as a film process. And that lasted about three years and my actual title was Puppet Master, which is pretty cool. [both laugh] So that job was was an amazing first foray into the creative arts, into the film industry and... I learned so much about how to work with a big crew on that production. There were people from all over the world and a lot of strange funny characters, many of whom I keep in touch with today and who I, you know, now have a place to land wherever I go in the globe and I feel very close to them. You become almost like a family as you know, when you're working in production and when you're working on a start-up and your team becomes like family. So that was my first gig and then I worked as a producer and did music video production. I've been a photo producer as well.


But by the time I was 29, I got pretty burned out. Production requires so much of your time and effort and energy because you're essentially playing God in some sense. You're manipulating light and time and you're creating an entirely new reality. And so it really just, until you're done with that last shot, it doesn't stop. And I was 29 and I was feeling very much not myself. And I went to a naturopath and they did all these tests and she's like wow, your levels are so low. I've never seen somebody that's this age and is so depleted in these areas. And it was a huge wake-up call for me. And the one thing that had been keeping me sane was... was yoga, and I was doing a pretty... I had a pretty dedicated practice. And one day I just woke up from my production job, not shortly thereafter, and I just knew I was done. And I took what I would call an early sabbatical, maybe an early retirement is a better way to put it, and I worked at this incredible yoga studio and wellness center and sort of came back to myself during that time. And I'm really glad that I did that, it was terrifying, you know, a lot of people would say things to me like well, why- how could you just stop in your career? You know, you were on this path... and, and now looking back I think there's one of the valuable nugget that I've learned from entrepreneurship, which is that dreams can change, you know, and we all change and evolve and businesses and endeavors are just like organisms and we have to adapt. And that, that time in my life really informed how I came to found Wylder and the... the values that Lindsay and I incorporated into it are really based in mindfulness and health and...


So then after... after my sabbatical I moved to California and... and then Lindsay and I lived together and we started to dream up this thing that didn't even have a name. And the thing that didn't have a name eventually became what is Wylder, which is my current business. Which is a... it's an online store. But really if you zoom out a little bit farther, it's a platform for outdoor women and for scientists and creatives and adventurers and athletes - it's really a place where women can go to, to shop in an ethical way. So first and foremost we’re an ethical online shopping experience. And then we have a Journal and we also do something new, which are our field trips. And I just finished our first Creative Wyld field trip in Idaho two weeks ago. So there was a long-winded history of my entire life. Up until this moment.


Lisa: [laughs] Awesome. So awesome. I love that your word of the month is purpose. Because I feel like you can't help but integrate that into what you do.


Jainee: Yeah.


Lisa: And yeah, so when you hear purpose, how does that... what comes up for you?


Jainee: Well, yeah, purpose and intention and passion. They all kind of occupy the same space for me. And it's hard to imagine a life without that as a guiding force, really, and I don't mean that to sound all... Let me say that again. When I think about purpose, I think about... as cheesy as it may be, this is kind of a buzzword, but... but… living really authentically and aligning your your passion and your values and trying to find ways to incorporate how you spend your... your work time with being an activist or a contributing global citizen. So… and there are very small things that you can do on a daily basis and then there are the large things. And in some sense, I think my... my vocation is my activism. And so I really relate to living on purpose or living with purpose because... I mean without that... what's the point?


Lisa: Yeah, exactly. How has that driven you to evolve from Wylder Goods into also offering Creative Wyld?


Jainee: Well, having an online platform is fantastic, because, you know, one of the great perks is that I make money while I sleep. And sometimes I'll wake up and things are great because we've moved some product and there's a great sense of satisfaction in the automation of a business. But I think what was missing, at least for me, is the experiential, and the tactile, and the interpersonal. And I was also a guide at one point, I skipped over this part, but I had started a small side... I'll call it a side hustle, with my friend Kristen called Nomad and we were doing, kind of, mindfulness adventures. So one of them was, you know, like wine and waves, and it was a surf trip to the Oregon coast book ended on the daily with meditation and yoga.


So this isn't... it's not really a new concept for me. I've always wanted to integrate wellness and mindfulness and meditation practices and Buddhist and Zen teachings into the work that I do and put into the world. And to try to teach some of those same tool sets that I've learned that have kept me sane and... I would say, healthy, throughout the experience of having to confront risk so often. And… and it's just, it's incredibly debilitating on some days when you're an entrepreneur, as you know, to not just have to constantly output and create value for the world and for yourself, but for other people and for your team, and for those that are really expecting you to deliver. So field trips are a way to integrate - in a natural landscape and environment that's rugged and beautiful and hopefully that is kind of off the grid or off the radar or really out, out there in a landscape - in order to experience a place of not being distracted and a place of... what I would call true creativity or flow or presence.


Lisa: I love that. I absolutely love that answer, and... and I love this concept of true creativity as opposed to fake creativity. How do you feel about your job title being creative director? Because that can be an oxymoron sometimes.


Jainee: Mmm. Yeah, I guess I'm more of a creative sponge. I think Picasso said something like great artists… or good artists imitate and great artists steal. And I don't mean I necessarily steal. I just, I try to iterate to the best of my ability. And there's so much that has been done before but filtered through our channel and specifically through my creativity and my application of what I feel is most authentic and genuine. There's something that will differentiate from what has been done before. And I think a lot of people are hung up on... on this idea that everything's been done before and that we all exist in these Echo Chambers and you know, algorithms are feeding us exactly what we want. So, you know, how are we ever going to be truly inspired or see something new or something that's evocative or or inspiring? Because we're just so, everything is so filtered.


But I'm always on the lookout, like, even at Creative Wyld, my friend on Anna Brones, who is probably the most creative human I know, if you don't follow her go to @annabrones, because she... She's a writer and she's just constantly creating, but there's a joy that she has. So nothing feels forced. And even though I know that she has the same struggles as me or probably you or anybody who is in a role of creative authority or on the creative team. There's real joy in what she does and I'm trying to dig in to where that joy is for me.


It sounds - again, it sounds kind of cheesy, but I always find it in the natural world. I always find it when I'm walking without distraction or when I place myself intentionally in scenarios where I can't grab my phone and be fed, you know, a really specific diet of what an algorithm says I should be eating, ou know. And so I try to find places and to put myself physically into those places or into spaces where I know that I'm more like a... it's almost like when you put, when you put... you know those old bunny ears that they put on TVs to get the best signal? [laughs] This is gonna be a funny metaphor. But I feel like I can be more of an open channel, I guess, when I... when my feet are in the dirt and when my head is literally in the clouds and when I'm surrounded by organic material and then - and sometimes only then - can I create from a place of what's real and true for me.


Lisa: Wow, I have so much... so much parallel in what, in what you're saying. And I started a practice where every single morning, the first thing I do is I go stick my feet outside barefoot. And I live in the woods and that kind of like sets the tone for my day. And just, I feel like, much more balanced as a person when I stick my bare feet on the ground for a while.


Jainee: Yeah, it's... my friend does the same thing. I can't say that I do it. I don't have a lot of dirt or very fertile ground where I'm living right now, but.


Lisa: [laughs] totally.




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Iris: I love what Jainee has to say about getting away from the algorithms and what the algorithms want us to see in order to find true creativity.


Lisa: Absolutely and... and really just getting outside and into your body and out of your head and coming back to creating after you, you know, just experience for a while. That really resonates with our crew here at Wheelie.


Iris: Yeah, that's why we have long weekend so we can go get outside and feel fresh again and come back to the week and crush it.


Lisa: Yeah, and I'm sure that resonates with you listeners as well.


Iris: Yeah. Okay. Let's get back to Jainee.




Lisa: So, I'm curious this... this I'm asking because it's something I struggle with, is I... I see you've maintained your identity by keeping a personal website with jaineedial.com and how does, I guess, how has being identified or associated with Wylder and instead of just Jainee, how has that resonated with you or felt different or… I don't know. How do you, how do you sit with that?


Jainee: It bugs the hell out of me. [both laugh} I think the longer that you staying in any identity or in any specific group where you're you're kind of relegated to what you do rather than who you are, it wears on you. And it wears on me. And I've spent the last year extricating my… my being, my... my internal landscape, my... my creative personhood from the work that I put into the world and from Wylder. And I think that's an incredibly healthy thing to do.


I think in the beginning you're sort of like a campaigner, right and you’re... you've got a team of people and you need people to believe in and trust what you're creating and there's a great sense of urgency to it. And I think that's powerful as well. And I think that... in the beginning, I was absolutely fine with being Jainee from Wylder or the Wylder girl or whatever little box people put me into associated with my company. And now I think just as I've... we’re in year four now, and I think creating a separate identity and having my own personhood outside of it and... not just maintaining that, but living and owning within that paradigm is incredibly important. Because otherwise you get lost... meaning you just, you get lost in a false identity because if my business fails, I'm not a failure. And if my business is wildly successful, that doesn't mean that I'm emotionally well, they don't correlate.


So I think it's incredibly important to continue to develop hobbies and recreational endeavors and relationships that have absolutely nothing to do with the work that you do day in and day out and that's kept me pretty sane over the last year. But I understand why that comes- becomes so convoluted, and it's really hard work to dig yourself out of an identity, especially if you're feeling insecure about, you know, who you are without it.


Lisa: Right. Or just the fact that creating great work does involve bringing your whole self into the work whether it's commercial or personal. It's like, you have to show up with your A-game to really, really make something beautiful and and being able to separate yourself from the work.


Jainee: Yeah.


Lisa: I think that's a... the... you know, I've had the same business for ten years and I'm really in a phase now where I’m empowering my team to just... run with it.


Jainee: Yeah!


Lisa: And I love that. Yeah, I love that. But um, yeah, I don't know. I see a... I see a parallel with you there. Because you're... jaineedial.com is still so so rich and so much depth to it. It looks like you're... yeah, it looks like you love to blog.


Jainee: Thank you. I don't love to blog. [both laugh] and I very rarely do. But thank you. Yeah, I do... I do put what effort I can into creating a space that is my home online and that is my personal... I guess my personal brand to a certain extent. I hate that word. But, but yeah, I have an identity that's that's not entirely wrapped up in this thing called Wylder. But I do… but I do also love Wylder. And it's like a child and at this point, it feels like a toddler. And it needs to be fed and it needs to be helped and stewarded and and all of those things. But yeah, but I've worked really hard this year to maintain my own identity.


Lisa: Yeah, I felt that in an email exchange. So I thought that was really cool.


Jainee: Thanks.


Lisa: Before we started recording you use the phrase manifest creativity and I would love to hear what you think about manifestation when it comes to creativity.


Jainee: Well, I don't like that word very much [laughs] and I think... I don't... I don't really... I don't love that word because it... it leaves out what's most important, which is... which is action.


Manifesting to me - or at least the way that I think it's used or been appropriated by like yoga culture specifically - is that if you think and/or pray and/or meditate and/or believe in something that it will then happen. And I... and I don't believe that. And I don't believe that there is science or data to support that.


So what I would say about manifesting and how it relates to creativity is that there's this whole component of work and action that is absolutely essential. One of my favorite quotes is by this guy Seth Godin who has published 27 books on creativity. If you haven't read any of them, go to the store and buy 10 of them now. But he says motivation is for amateurs. And I think what he means by that is, it's fine if you need to, you know, go to a conference or you know have a biweekly meeting with your mentor in order to be motivated, but motivation and entrepreneurship require personal ambition and personal accountability for the action you're willing to take. In terms of being uncomfortable and being... and of not being risk averse, I guess.


And that accountability part is what has made the difference for me, I think, in my business and in my life. And I hear from and watch, you know, a lot of people in my world and peer group and community who have incredible ideas and there are so many wonderful artists out there who want to create something that will have a big impact and they toil away for years and years and years and... and they think that it will just manifest. And that's false. You have to start, and it... I think the, you know, the miracle isn't always that you finish something, it’s sort of a miracle that any of us have the courage to even start something. And I think starting is the most brave and courageous thing that you can do, knowing that it could fail and knowing that it probably will fail. But I think the people that fail the most or the real winners.


Lisa: [laughs] Yes. Yes, and I talk about it a lot on the podcast, but I come from the place or the belief that creativity comes from conflict or distress or discomfort. Because if there wasn’t conflict there would be no need to be creative. Everything would just be fine. So I think part of entrepreneurship that appeals to me is like, really just being comfortable with risk and being comfortable with a bit of chaos and discomfort and that really opens opens us up to creativity.


Jainee: Yeah, I think curiosity is also the other half of that. So definitely conflict. I mean, I... I've been able to create through some really difficult traumas and experiences in my own life. And I think that there is that there's... there's real purity that comes when you're in a state of existential crisis, I suppose, and that purity is very real and it's very potent and powerful and there is creativity and creation that lies in that. But I also think that it's not a requirement, either.


Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this a lot. You know, she, she… I listened to a podcast recently where she was saying, I used to preach that passion was the fuel that you need to get anything done and to build your empire, make your art, or whatever, and she's like, you know, the older I get the more than I realized that it's actually curiosity, that's almost childlike. You find these little nuggets or breadcrumbs and you follow them. You see where they lead. And you don't have to start out of the gate with this wild burning desire to accomplish something, sometimes creating good art just means being almost childlike in how you seek out the bread crumbs that are leading you in a direction that feels... I don't know, like, fun? [laughs] And interesting, and...


I think that's an equal part of, at least for me, why I'm drawn to the creative process. And yes, the darkness has its place and yes, I have trudged through some real gnarly difficulties and learned from them and applied what I learned from the difficulty to bringing more light and more justice and you know, things like that to the world. But I also have found, especially in the last year, that being more curious and being a better listener and following what my gut is saying could be fun and could be joyful is also a really powerful tool that complements the other.


Lisa: Absolutely, and I think those really integrates, too because conflict doesn't have to be super serious. It could be like, how do we make... how to make, how do we make the package design on these socks stand out against all the other package designs? Like, there's a little bit of conflict and competition within package designs. And then yeah, that inspires the curiosity to be like, huh? Well, what, what do people think about trying to buy socks? You know, and yes, I see those going hand in hand for sure.


Jainee: Yeah.



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Lisa: I love Jainee's addition to add curiosity as an integral part of creativity. Because I do think there has to be, like, some type of problem, like, not a big, not a huge problem in terms of conflict. But there has to be like, some type of creative problem or need. So like, a lighter use of the word conflict, and then adding curiosity to that and being interested. I love that. I love thinking about where creativity comes from and I think that that's a really cool topic for our listeners to mull over while they're painting their houses or driving or listening to this podcast. So.


Iris: Yeah, I love what she says about curiosity and how to be creative it doesn't need to be like this constant burning desire all the time. It can just be a desire to learn something or a desire to like expand into something new.


Lisa: Yep. All about the growth mindset.




Lisa: So what, what do you think is next for you?


Jainee: Hmm. What's next... well on a personal note, I am nearly finished... I've been building a... bought a trailer about a year ago. God. I can't believe it's been a year. My three-month project turned into a year project. So be forewarned that if you're seeking out building a tiny home or your van just... oh my God, it's... it's… so much more work than I anticipated. But building a home for myself, building a little sanctuary that's mine and that I have had a hand in every detail creating, has been so powerful for me this year. And you know, I'm all in on my business. Meaning that I've really given it everything, fiscally and emotionally and... and yet again, this is a way for me to... to create something that's that's truly my own little project.


And so I've found a lot of fun and joy, especially working with my dad, who's a master craftsman. I've been learning so much about skill sets I never thought that I would, like plumbing and wiring and drywall and things like that. But it's been so fun and so much of my work is in front of a computer screen and is very digital. I have a degree in digital media. And so I've spent way too many hours of my life editing and staring at screens and to have my hands, you know, get really and truly bloody and dirty building something that is my own creation has been so deeply satisfying. So I'm nearly finished with that. All the flooring and cabinetry is all done. I joked to my mom the other day that you know you've reached the pinnacle of adulthood when you have a savings account for a toilet, and I finally got my beautiful top-of-the-line composting toilet last week. So that's pretty cool. So yeah, building my home this year has been... has been a really cool project and living in it is what's next for me.


In terms of of Wylder, I... this last trip that we did, Creative Wyld was incredibly potent for me. I think as a facilitator, for you, I imagine you feel the same, but you get lost in the details. And I had this bird's eye view of what it would be like and I brought together all these incredible people and speakers and mentors to me and women that I admire and creative professionals. And we all gathered on this landscape that I love called Maple Grove Hot Springs and… And what I didn't expect was to be so profoundly affected myself, as I was talking about my... my journey, and as I was talking about my business and having sort of a retrospective look at what I have done and what I have created. And I felt pride for the first time in a long time. I'm so mired in what's next and so mired in what I need to produce in order to keep the ship afloat and to scale and to grow, that it's not very often I get an opportunity to reflect on the hard, grueling, demanding work that I’ve already done to get to this point.


So I think we'll do another one of those field trips. I'm really committed to the experiential side of our business and it lights me up. Because a tactile and a personal approach to having a relationship with a brand and knowing the story on a face-to-face, heart to heart level matters. And I think as a Storyteller myself, I want to be in a room with other people who are either experiencing the same things that I have and I can relate to them, or I'm learning from people who have much more experience than I do and I'm learning from them. So having an experiential side of Wylder is, I think, going to lead down an interesting new path. I hope.


Lisa: Yeah, I'm so excited to follow along with that journey, and I think you're right. I think it's going to be quite cool.


Jainee: It seems like everybody cool is starting a podcast. I've been thinking about that lately. [laughs]


Lisa: It’s... podcasts are fun because they really are more about the journey and they're a little more off the cuff. So it's kind of fun. It's a fun process.


Jainee: Yeah. Yeah, I really respect how you guys have created this and I also just want to add too that I've known about Wheelie for many, many years. And I really honor and send kudos to you for doing similar work that... that we have attempted to do, which is, Wylder emerged at a time where there weren't female-lead companies in the outdoor and adventure sports and media world. I mean they definitely exist, but we're certainly the minority. And I can say part of why I felt such pride at having a retrospective look is that in the last five years, so much has changed. And even though the needle has barely moved, I think that being surrounded by and inspired by organizations and business owners like you is part of the reason that I continue to persist. And we, you know, we often times look at you know, She Explores and Brown People Hiking and Unlikely Hikers and all these incredible- and Range, our friend Janine's agency, and you know, all of us were just this little ragtag misfit crew back in 2015 or 16. I remember we all gathered at OR and we were like, Lindsey and I were... it felt like we were covert researchers on a mission to survey the landscape we intended to infiltrate. Wnd we were like, okay. Well, what's everybody else doing? And how are we going to succeed? And how can we do it in this nuanced way, that isn't a rah-rah, ladies rule, boys drool, stupid approach and rather just try to change the dynamic in the landscape for all the women that are going to come after us. And so that we don't have to use the... what's the word? Um… so basically not having to be on a panel about female leadership anymore, but just being on panels for leadership. And having a normalcy around gender in these spaces I think is... I think it's possible that that will happen in our lifetime, but it's only because of organizations and business owners and leaders like you and, and like us and like so many others who have started to move that needle. And it's really powerful to look back on what it was like even five years ago and to look at what it's like now in terms of the landscape of female leadership, so that's cool.


Lisa: Hell yeah, thank you. That yeah, that is nice and it's been a wild, wild journey hasn't it?


Jainee: Yeah, and I… I think it’s a daily task for me not to be jaded. You know, I think any time you insert yourself into the middle of a conflict or what you perceive as a conflict or a paradigm that you want to change. I think it's okay to to become a little jaded and I think it's totally normal. I get really tired of the outdoor industry. I... I've been going to plays and operas more often these days because I just don't want to associate my every single breath with recreation and... you know and I think that there's also a really dystopic feeling that has arisen and obviously, you know, listening to Greta Thunberg's speech and having this sense of… of the climate crisis be so real and present and here in Utah too - public lands is just, it's a constant, constant debate and... and I'm trying to be a better listener so that I don't become jaded because when you're jaded, I think that breeds inaction. So I'm trying to… again, be more curious and be a better listener and not try to bandwagon. But the outdoor industry as a whole can become an echo chamber. And I can find myself becoming annoyed with and jaded by and embittered by so many different facets of it. And specifically in my world and my realm, you know being, being a retail platform, is deeply complicated in terms of an ethical battle that... that I face all the time. And you know, I guess what I... what helps me sleep at night, I suppose, is that I'm trying to aggregate people who are doing things well and who are doing things transparently. And I personally and alone can't fix, alter, or change the entire system, but I can be in the center of it and try to move the needle. Even if it's incremental, and even if it's small. Because I think having a big, long vision is pretty essential if I'm to stay sane and healthy and if, if all of us are to stay sane and healthy and continue to be activists in what is an impending sense of doom.


Lisa: Absolutely. Wow. Yeah, you packed a lot into that answer.


[both laugh]


Lisa: There's a lot of depth to you, Jainee Dial. Where can people follow you online?


Jainee: Okay, here's the plug section. I love this part. Wyldergoods. It's with a Y, so. It's @wyldergoods and the website is also wyldergoods.com. And my name is spelled quite oddly. It's J-A-I-N-E-E Aial and I'm just @jaineedial and jaineedial.com.


Lisa: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today. And that was a good episode. You are a powerhouse.


Jainee: [laughs] Oh, thanks!




Lisa: Awesome. Well, Jainee, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I can't wait to hang out with you in person at the next industry event. We would all love to come to Creative Wyld. So if you, our listeners, have not heard of Creative Wyld, what's going on with Wylder Goods, check it out get online.


Iris: You can find all of the links to Jainee's social media and websites in the show notes, and we'd really appreciate it if you’d take a second to leave us a review to let us know what you think about the show. And with that we'll see you next week.


Lisa: Bye.

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