#BlackLivesMatter

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

The world is a scary place right now. It takes courage to turn on the news and open a newspaper. I received an email recently with the subject line: When the news is too much and before opening it, I knew exactly what it was going to be about. Let me share my friend’s words with you.

Friend:

I truly don’t know what to do in a world where every other day there is story of a black person being brutally murdered by the police. Like when will it stop! I feel like I could never have kids bc what might happen to them. It’s not like there aren’t other tragedies in the world that affect me, but Damn this is messed up.

As you all are some of my closest friends who aren’t black, it would really mean a lot to me to know that you aren’t standing in silence in the face of these kinds of racial injustice. Maybe it’s not everyone’s thing to get on Facebook. But I hope you are paying attention to the conversations and actions of non POC I your classrooms, workplaces, neighborhoods and governments. And I pray that you speak and vote against apathy and hate of any kind when you have the opportunity.

Don’t let me being one of your close black friends make you feel that I don’t have any skin in the game. This affects me… Deeply. And I don’t want to pretend it doesn’t any longer with you all. And I don’t want to feel like I need to be silent about these things when we’re together bc I don’t want to offend anyone.

I’m not accusing anyone if not being supportive, I’m just asking for your support. And I’m encouraging you not to just do so behind closed doors.

Maybe this isn’t the most eloquently written email, but I just needed to reach out and get it off my chest. I love you all too much to pretend I don’t need your friendship and support.

Your heart breaks just reading this. How can’t it?  I was crying after reading this, and after writing my respond. It took me so much longer than I wanted to formulate a coherent response. Waking up every morning to see such tragedies at our doorstep is no way to live. We need to find answers.
Response:
It hurts me to see violence and racism are ongoing issues in my backyard and all over the world. It saddens me that every time we take one steps forward it seems that we take three steps back. Like others, I agree that social media can only be pushed so far, but what is there to be done? What can I do that will truly allow my voice to be heard? I want my actions to be seen. I want my voice heard. I want everyone to know that this way of life and cohabiting is not okay, just or the world we came into.

Friend, I have endless conversations with friends, family and coworkers about our on going tragedies and what can be done. Like you, one thing that hurts the most is bringing a child into the world (though it will be years from now) it’s something that affects all of us. How can you bring a child into the world right now? How can you raise a child to understand hate is not the answer? How would anyone not be worried each second apart that they’re from their child?

Dear, I thank you for volunteering and for giving us the opportunity to sign up as well. I did, and I hope this is a start for a great change. We need to create a positive change. We need to show people and not just tell people. After all, actions speak louder than words.

She said it best, I am here for you and sorry I haven’t had these conversations with you. I am standing next to you to fight this fight. Please let me know what I can do. I will be by your side until the end.

All my love.
Friends, I challenge you all to read what is going on in the news. Talk about what is happening in the world. Figure out how you can be the change. Don’t just talk about it, make a plan and follow through. If we want change, we need to be the people acting on it.

wait, that’s not your name?

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

You guessed it, we’re talking about names and getting it correct. This seems to be a boiling point with me. Back in 2013, I dedicated a whole post about spelling my name wrong, and apparently it’s time for a refresher.

I know, I know, it’s like beating a dead horse, but maybe when that faithful day when people finally get it right, I won’t have to bitch anymore, but until then I will give you a crash course. When it comes to my name, no, I don’t have much faith in people, so let’s get on with it.

My name is Kendal Ann, that’s spelled K-e-n-d-a-l with one L and an Ann.

I don’t understand why this is  such a hard concept for people to grasp. My name is not a different variation such as,  Kendall, Kendel, Kendell and my name most certainly is not Kendra. My name is Kendal Ann, and maybe Kendal if that’s how I introduced myself to you.

The issue, of my name is something that I am venting to David about on a weekly bias. Yes, it bothers me. It bothers me so much because this has been going on my entire life. News flash, I like my name. I like my name a lot. You know what, I even  love my name. I  wish people, would call me the right thing; it’s my name. Does it really take that much effort to get my or anyone else’s name right?  I go through all of the trouble (please note that is sarcastic because it’s not trouble at all) to get your name right, so do the same for me. Have some respect. If I introduce myself as Kendal Ann, I expect you to refer to me as that unless I say something else. Maybe that’s rude, but I don’t go around calling my friends who introduce themselves as Michael, Mike, unless they note otherwise.

Earlier this week, I had an email exchange with someone I don’t know about my name.  Keep in mind, I’ve been a part of this organization for seven years. I just received an award form this organization. These people know who I am. I emailed this woman blanking stating my request and adding in, “Additionally, is there anywhere in the database you can note that my preferred name is Kendal Ann, not Kendal?” This woman emails me back a few days later saying: Hi Kendal! …

So, I am sure you can see it. That is the final straw that broke the camel’ s back. I wrote back and at the very end I noted:
Additionally, please note the name preference.
-Kendal Ann
(It’s Kendal with one L and an Ann)

From here on out, this is how I will be signing my name to people who don’t get it right on the first try. Of course it made me feel bad, but I am sick of standing back ideally especially when people don’t have the common decency to spell Kendal right. Hey, bro, look at my email, my signature, the sign off. You have three opportunity to edit before hitting the send button.

David tells me, he’s never seen someone so worked up about this, but when you have a name that isn’t your basic Nicole, Emily, Sarah then what do you expect? And you know, I am beyond happy I have a unique name, I just want people to show a little respect and refer to me as my proper name. It’s really not that hard. Maybe Kendal Ann seems too formal to these folks, but formal or not it’s my name and it’s what I prefer to be called. After all, it’s not like I am asking you something totally absurd and out of the question. I am just asking you to slow down and spell my name correctly and to keep on the Ann, stop dropping it off.

#iamwhole30

I did Whole30 and it was amazing. Even now, a few weeks after completing my first challenge, I’m feeling the effects and reaping the benefits.

Whole30–What is it? Here are the basics:

Over 30 day period, you eat real foods. Fresh is always better. No taking measurements of your body during your Whole30 (W30) journey. You should always shoot for the organic, cage-free, grass fed option. With those as the basics, here is a list of things you cannot have.

Avoid for 30 days
Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.

  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)

  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.

  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).

  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)

  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.

  • Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.

There are always exceptions to rules. W30 has some, too.

The Fine Print

  • Clarified Butter or Ghee. Clarified butter or ghee is the only source of dairy allowed during your W30. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter could impact the results of your program. Refer to our Butter Manifesto for more details on the milk proteins found in butter, purchasing high quality butter, and how to clarify it yourself.

  • Fruit juice as a sweetener. Some products or recipes will include fruit as a sweetener, which is fine for the purposes of the W30.

  • Certain legumes. We’re fine with green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you.

  • Vinegar. Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, and rice, are allowed during your W30 program. The only exceptions are vinegars with added sugar, or malt vinegar, which generally contains gluten.

Let me explain the two big reasons I wanted to give this a go: I wanted to tackle the W30 plan for quite sometime, but I knew I needed to set myself up for success. The first part, was to con someone into doing this rigorous plan with me and that very lucky person was David.  Let me explain the two big reasons I wanted to give this a go:

  1. After several appointments to the dermatologist, I never got a real answer even after a biopsy. Long story short, I have these red dots all over the back of my hand. Now, when I say all over it’s like five bumps that are in a circle and one or two next to the circle. A lot of people said it would be ringworm, some people said it could be due to diet, etc. Everyone just kept giving me suggestions of what it could be. After my biopsy, I found out that sometimes these just appear and form on the backs of people’s hands or the tops of their feet. This happens for no reason at all. I asked the Dr. if it had anything to do with my diet, i.e., gluten and he said it could but there’s not a true link making that case.  my options were to keep the ugly dots, get shots, or use a steroid cream and even after all that “treatment” the specks would just lessen and would never fully go away.
  2. I felt like I was starting to develop a sensitivity/allergy to dairy after I consumed it.

So, why not give W30 a try?

We finished our first round of W30 April 21st and, boy, was it amazing! There were a lot of days that were insanely hard, but other days were so amazing. I could feel my skin feeling better, the specks on my hand went away (not completely, because they never will disappear, but they weren’t red and I couldn’t really notice them). I felt my workouts more. I was getting stronger and leaner by the day! I had mass amounts of energy and sleeping was uninterrupted most nights, too!

A few thoughts, tips, tricks & takeaways

  • Planning and prepping is key

    • Always know where your next meal is coming from

    • Make a list of meals and snacks

  • Once you have it down, there is so much you can actually eat

  • Always ask questions if you are going out to a restaurant

  • Making homemade mayo is time consuming and really hard the first time, but once you figure it out it’s cake!

  • You will eat eggs ALL THE TIME

  • Larabars are life savers

  • Trader Joe’s has really good Ghee, plantain chips, pre made guac and coconut milk

  • Palm oil- it never says you can’t have it. We probably could have had the chips, but we saved them

    • ALWAYS look at labels. I bought plantain chips at Whole Foods, and checked out without thinking/reading the label and they were compliant.

  • Here’s a list of approved things, but just because it’s on this list doesn’t mean it’s not compliant.

  • It’d hard!

  • You WILL have intense cravings. Get up, walk around, do something.

  • I read an article about hunger v. boredom eating that Melissa (founder) said about this. Bottom line, you need to ask yourself, could I get a salad with chicken, tomatoes and sweet potatoes right now. If the answer is no, then you’re bored. If it’s yes, obvs you are hungry.

    • You aren’t supposed to snack, but if you can’t make it then do it. Just make good choices

  • Due to the sugars, limit fruits especially bananas, apples and pineapple

  • Some meals you try will be weird. The worst one we had was avocado eggs. Basically you heat the oven, half the avo, remove the pit and crack and egg into each of the pit holes…warm avocados with eggs the worst.

  • Your meals will be bigger and you will be fuller longer

    • My plate was ALWAYS full. I didn’t really go off the portion guide, because I knew everything I was eating was good fresh food. Plus I was hungry

  • Cauliflower rice was the only thing we made that was on the “naughty” list. You aren’t supposed to make things that emulate “bad” foods. In this case rice

  • You’re not supposed to have smoothies because different neurons act when drinking something v. when you eat something. Also, I think it’s because you are drinking a lot of fruit and no veggies

    • David and I had smoothies. It might be illegal W30, but we ALWAYS packed them with kale/arugula/spinach and never had them with just berries. I always feel full after having a smoothie so I wasn’t too worried about this from the gecko. Also, we didn’t have these more than 2/week.

  • Ghee- butter substitute, we used once. We made a roast chicken for Easter. We never came across another opportunity/recipe to use it.

  • Sweet potatoes were our saving grace. We ate them ALL the time. The last 10 days we cut ourselves off from potatoes because we thought we had them too much

Day by Day break down

The beginning is hard. Days 1-3 I wanted to gnaw my arm off. I was so hungry all the time. I feel that I was a relatively healthier eater to beginning with and didn’t think I’d have any of these issues or symptoms, but they are pretty spot on. Days 9-12, I was so bloated because everything was finally working out of my system, but by Day 13, I could slap on the same jeans (not washed) from Day 9/10 and they fit even better than before! Day 27-32 (we added on 2 extra days, so it was really W32 for us) was tiring. I was so ready to be done. All I wanted was to have some bbq and it was all I could think about. When you know the end is in sight it’s easy to snap. We stuck with it, but I couldn’t wait for that first meal.

Post W30

  • I felt the best I had ever felt. I always struggled with being really bloated after meals, so far it’s not there
  • I lost weight (16 pounds!), but that was just a perk not the main objective or incentive. They also tell you that you might not lose much weight. It just depends on your body. *Side note, I am sure this has to do with the amount I workout too. It wasn’t all attributed to my W30 expereince, but I won’t discount that it’s not due to it!*

  • I have endless amounts of energy

  • The dots are gone for the most part

  • Sleep—I can sleep a full night without tossing and turning (per my Fitbit)

  • My workouts are awesome and last longer

  • I don’t crave sweet anymore (not yet)

  • I’ve been pinning things like crazy. You’ll see some things that have butter, dairy, etc in it but I know enough to switch those out or omit them.

Overall, I loved it and so did David! It was an awesome experience and for the most part we are going to stick with it. David and I have now transitioned into the Paleo lifestyle, and W30 has only helped us to maintain this new change. I absolutely foresee us doing several rounds of W30 each year.

it’s 2016

I know I am a little late on the game to posting this,12338980_1110795615627762_17844976_n but much like Ed Sheeran, I wanted to take a break from social for awhile so I could see things through my eyes. Sorry for the hiatus, but I will be more active in the future! And now to the part you’ve been waiting for…

I’m back and better than ever! I know every year I say, “this is us it this year is going to be MY year.” But you know what? I never really believed that and last year I never said it.

Last year had lows; there is no hiding that fact. With all of the pain, misery and time I spent wallowing, made up when I flipped the switch. I’m not the person who is going to sit in the corner and sulk. Sulking is one of the most unless actions and emotions you can possess as a human. Why waste your time and emotions on something that you have no control over just so others can pity you? Astonishing. It’s completely and utterly pathetic. Someone posted the perfect quote on Instagram and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, because of the truth that is held with the statement, it’s not a bad life, it’s just a bad day.

Exactly! Let me repeat that; it’s not a bad life, it’s just a bad day! Ureka!

You’re allowed to have bad days, but you need to move past them. What is the point of feeling sorry for yourself? Everyone gets past that and that’s exactly what I had to do. I took my bad days and turned them around. It took time, but here I am — happier than a bird with a French fry!

I still can’t tell if not having expectations for 2015 helped me or hurt me. Of course it’s always better to be surprised than disappointed.  Let’s face it, we need to set the bar somewhere. 2015, was awesome.  I stood up in one of best friend’s weddings, I traveled a lot, I saw some utterly breathtaking sceneries, I did a lot for me and learned it’s okay to say “no” to plans. 2015 brought me new adventures, incredible opportunities and one of the best surprises. 2015 brought me love, astronomical amounts of love, laughter and pure happiness.

There will always be bad days, days when you are sad and feeling low, but that doesn’t mean it has to be like that. Take a moment, reevaluate and move on. If you don’t do something about it, good will never come. Good is what we are searching for. Good won’t just fall into your lap. Good is something you need to strive for. Good is minimum. I’m striving for excellent, fantastic and amazing–it’s what I deserve and it’s what I’ll get.

As I finish to write this, (in March and started in January) I can see that I am beyond lucky. I’m blessed. It’s so cliché to say now, but it’s true. Sometimes you need to go to the edge of the earth to get a new perspective and that’s what 2015 did to me. This year, three months in and nothing has been more awesome. 2016 is going to rule.

when things become the norm

​​you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

After reading a Jon Acuff post yesterday, it really made me think. For the entire background and context of my post, read the post entitled, Divorce is so ordinary we sometimes forget the extraordinary pain it causes. If you aren’t going to read that then, know the quote to follow is where this entire post spins from, “If you grew up with divorced parents, are going through a divorce or are divorced, I’m sorry for all the times that twitter replyI didn’t understand how hard that experience can be. It might be common, but it’s never easy.”

I never, not even once for a split second want someone to think I had it “bad”. I don’t want anyone to ever feel sorry for me or to give me pity because I grew up in a “non-traditional home”.

Allow me to give you some of my background before you think I’m on a high horse. I want you to know (here’s the disclaimer) this is MY story and MY situation. As you might be able to figure out my Mom, was a single parent. After my parents divorced my Mom was taking care of two girls, and my Dad saw us on the weekends. Now, keep in mind both of my parents had full custody even though they were divorced. My dad got remarried twice and Lynn is the person I’d consider to be my Stepmom. My Mom got remarried to her now husband, Joel and I couldn’t be happier for either of them.

Now, as a child of divorced parents, I get it, but I doubt I’m the “textbook” case. Having divorced parents as a young child and growing up in a split family stinks, but you play the hand you were dealt. Things can only get better. I appreciate the kind words that Jon has, but the last thing I want is for someone to feel sorry for me because of how I grew up and because it wasn’t the “perfect” family situation. Growing up how I did and in my less than “normal” family was perfect for me. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine my mom with a better match than my Stepfather, Joel. As all of you know, I never refer to Joel as my Stepfather because he is so much more than that. To me, Stepfather or Stepmother gives such an awful connotation. Thanks to Disney movies we just see Stepparents, as evil-not-good-enough-not-my-real-parent type of figures in your life and that couldn’t be more wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, things weren’t always rainbows and butterflies, but just like any relationship there is give and take. For awhile, I grew up with my parents living a few blocks from each other, then my Dad moved about 45 minutes away and that got harder and then he moved again, a state away which was even harder, but we made it work. Due to the distance, I wasn’t able to see my Dad as frequently, so my Mom obviously played (and still does) a huge roll in my life; so did my grandparents and then Joel.

Rather than sulking over my parents divorce, I’ve embraced it. I would like to think I always did, but as a child it was hard to see my Dad drop me off at home and I remember countless times crying to my Mom, “asking her why he couldn’t stay or when would I see him next?” Don’t feel sorry for me, because I had a moment of sadness, we all do. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary. In hindsight, I know I can look back and feel grateful for the awesome parents (both sets) that I got. With four parents you have the potential to learn and experience so much more than the average kid. Without my parents divorce I wouldn’t know what it’s like to start all over, travel the world or even push myself to be an independent young woman.

Sure, my situation is different than the 13-year-old boy that Jon referred to in his post, but my situation really made me who I am. I couldn’t dream what my, my sister’s or mom’s life would be like without this life turning event happening. I hope that over the years, that boy will understand why his parents got divorced; that he knows it’s not his fault. I hope his parents keep communication with each other and have pleasantries to exchange even if it is a show for their son. It’s hard now, but it will only get better. Understand that parents are ALWAYS taking into consideration their children’s best interest and splitting up could very well be one of them.

Parents, if you’re reading this (which I know you are), thank you for pushing me and helping to mold who I’ve become. Thank you for showing me the world, giving me countless opportunities and always cheering me on. Without you in my life, so much would be different. You’re gems and I’m happy that I get to introduce you as my parents. I love you!

a rant; get over it

​​you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Excuse me. Two very simple words. Two tiny words that can change your demeanor in a matter of seconds. Let’s take a look at this two word phrase. Excuse me, is an expression that asks for forgiveness for a social violation, such as bumping into someone or asking someone to move to the side so you can move around them with ease. No more, no less. Excuse me is a simple phrase used throughout daily life, or so I thought.

I don’t know if manners aren’t being taught anymore but often I find myself in daily situations on my commute, in the grocery store, walking home, visiting a tourist location, etc., where it is evident that people don’t know what the phrase “excuse me” means. Even worse, in every situation there is a wide age range of people who are totally brain-dead when this small phrase is uttered.

Without a doubt my mind is blown by the pure lack of response when I say “excuse me” in a crowd of people on the metro, museum, at the office, a restaurant or even on the street. Lately, it has irked me more than usual because it’s a manners issue, it’s a parenting issue. Now, as you all know I am not a parent so really I have no “right” to be saying what comes next, but I’m going to say it so take all of the offense you want; I don’t care. I don’t care anymore because apparently parents are not doing their “jobs” anymore and teaching simple courtesies of the world to their children who in-turn will be ruling the world in the coming generations. [Gawd, if​ I read this I’d think this was written by the most crotchety old person of all time who hated everything and everyone].

Maybe my Midwest upbringing made me nicer than the normal person. Maybe my kickass parents taught me more than the average parent. Maybe I notice (more than the average Millennial) that kids are running rampant around without control because kids freak me out. Maybe the fact that the phrase “excuse me” is common anymore should be. Call me old school, but let’s bring these tiny two words back into our normal repertoire. I’m lobbying for this phrase to be common until the day I die.

a moment to reflect

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

In lieu of Winona State University’s graduation today, I felt it appropriate to look back on the past three years since I graduated.

As I see my friends about to embark on adulthood and leave that safety net we know and love call college I can’t help but to think about my humble beginnings. Graduation was an awesome time. I don’t totally remember the ceremony because our student speaker was a mathematics major and more boring than life, plus the speech should have been mine but apparently I added a little “too much” (is that possible) flare to my speech. I digress; graduation is a time that makes you think. Your future is literally on the line and you have the whole world out there in front of you. Graduation means making your mark on a world much bigger than the one you were confined in for the last 4 years.

To my friends near and far, I want you to reflect. Maybe you graduated today, maybe you graduated years ago, it doesn’t matter the date, take a moment. Take a moment in the coming days to think of the journey you have embarked on. Has it changed? What were the obstacles that have been placed in your path? Did they make your plan change? Is the journey worth it? Is your end game still the same? What’s different? Have you acquired anything of importance along the way?

After posing these questions, how do you feel? Can you still see that light at the end of the tunnel glimmering bright?

For me, nothing has changed when it comes to my end game. Of course I am still trying to figure everything out and I’m trying to put the puzzle pieces together. It is going to take a lifetime for me, or anyone for that matter to fully mold the life that they want. I know where is started and I know where I am going. No doubt there have been massive obstacles that have been put in my way, and I hurdled over them. Remember that we all deal with obstacles differently and all of our journeys are different.

While you are on your journey be cognizant of the people you will meet. Take note of everyone you encounter. The guy who is serving you your morning coffee could turn into your best friend. Old friends could come back into your life. New friends will develop that will last a lifetime. Hold on to the friends who turn into family…those friends are the most important and they’re the ones that will turn your life upside down and make this adventure that we call life so worth it.

Maybe it’s been four years since you’ve graduated and you still don’t know what you want to “be when you grow up”, or maybe you do. Either way, we only get one life so maybe sure you surround yourself with people who will make your journey a wild ride!

the defining decade

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

A coworker suggested I read read copy of,  The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now, as my next year. I welcomed the suggestion with open arms. I couldn’t put this book down, it was half because of the message and partly because the text was at least 14 point text. Here’s a little a little synopsis on the book, “we have a “thirty-is-the-new-twenty” culture tells us the twentysomething years don’t matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood.”

I was three pages deep into the book and I remembered about a year ago Paul sent me a link to this TedTalk and said watch it, you won’t be sorry. So, I challenge you to do the same. Watch this video. Tell me what you think.

The woman giving this TedTalk is the author of the book mentioned above. It was beyond interesting to hear and read her thoughts on why 30 isn’t the new 20 and what twentysomethings need to do to capture their future. The perfect way to sum up this book is fro this excerpt: The future isn’t written in the stars. There are no guarantees. So claim your adulthood. Be internal. Get to work. Pick your family, Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know your didn’t do. You are deciding your life right now. 

This read was beyond fascinating. If you read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you watched that clip, I want to hear your thought, too. Do you agree with Dr. Jay?

six days and counting without coffee

what did you give up?

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

It seems that whenever it’s not the Lenten season I have no problem figuring out what I would give up for Lent. Then, the Lenten season sneaks up and I have no idea what to give up. In years past I gave up the classics: sweets, chocolate, soda. Yes, those are always challenging items. But last year, I wanted a real challenge. Last year, I gave up cheese. Yup, you read that right CHEESE. A classic Wisconsinite staple and I was abstaining from consumption of all cheese items. When it came down to the nuts and bolts of it, it included anything really with the word “cheese” in it, for example, cream cheese, cheese spread, and cheese item those were all out. 45 days without cheese may have been one of the most challenging and most difficult things I have ever done, but I did it.

Needless to say, after a year like that, I couldn’t very well “top” what I would give up this starbucks-iced-coffee-156x300year. I could come close, but nothing can top cheese.  As you know, Lent started last week and I was a half day in without coffee when I uttered the words, “well, I guess I will give up coffee for Lent.” It’s been 6 days and the effects are surprisingly sparse. Now, understand I am by no means going caffeine-free, but 45 days sans coffee seems rather similar. Rather than having a morning coffee, I opt for tea. I’ve been downing tea like a camel hoping to see the same effects as coffee, but there’s just no use. Truthfully, it’s not that bad. I can last 39 more days.

You’re probably scratching your head thinking, “Lent is only 40 days why does she keep saying 45?” Though traditional Lent doesn’t count Sundays, I do. What’s the point of giving yourself a “cheat day” when Jesus didn’t get one? What’s the point of the cheat day now? If you are giving up smoking you don’t giving yourself the option to have a cigarette on Sundays.

April 5th, you will find all of these iced coffee options (and more) in my refrigerator. Just give me a straw and I will be good to go. Starbucks should probably sponsor my iced coffee habit that day._-Stsarbucks-iced-group-shot-page-14_slide

a new kind of Christmas

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

This holiday season a lot of my friends took part in unconventional traditions. You can add me into this group, too. Rather than boarding a plane and heading back to the Motherland (Wisconsin), I found my mom picking me up in Charlotte, North Carolina. Arriving in Charlotte wasn’t even the end of it; from there we drove 2 hours west to their new home in Hendersonville, NC.  After a week with my family in Hendersonville, I can report back saying Christmas wasn’t any different from other years (other than the fact that I didn’t get to see Matt). We still watch an uncountable amount of Christmas movies, drank a great deal of Brandy Old Fashioneds, went to Mass on Christmas Eve and waited to open gifts on Christmas day afternoon.

Growing up you can only imagine Christmas at your house, with that special dinner, opening gifts, etc., but once you hit a certain age that all changes. I now see and understand that it doesn’t matter where I celebrate Christmas as long as family and your loved ones surround you Christmas is the exact same. Do you feel that Christmas can only be special by celebrating it a particular way?

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and have a happy New Year!