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!

Advertisements

Albany, NY

hello, upstate!

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

Later today, I will be getting on a plan that will take me from Washington, DC to Albany, NY. Yes, that’s right, I am heading to Upstate New York and I simply cannot wait. Thankfully, this trip does not have a business entity looped in. The trip is only for personal purposes. After 11 months without seeing my dear friend, Emily, I will once again be reunited with her (and you too, Patrick, even though it’s been two weeks, it feels like 11 months!).

For this trip, I have no expectations other than fun and seeing the true life of an “Upstate-er”. I am sure we will walk down memory lane which will include the Empire State Plaza, state capital and Saint Rose campus. From my understanding, Albany’s neighborhoods are varied demographically, geographically, architecturally, and historically- just like any other city. Downtown Albany is the city’s oldest neighborhood and centered on State Street. Downtown Albany has the oldest streets, but today downtown consists mostly of office buildings inhabited by state agencies, though a recent push to bring in permanent residents has led to proposed apartments and condominiums.

For me, Albany is about a new adventure, rekindling of friendship, laughter and one step closer to checking off a few things on my 2014 bucket list. I believe you should travel to one new place every year, but this year I want to make it to three new places.

Albany, I cannot wait to see you in all your glory!

giving thanks round 3

30 days of thankful, edt. 3

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

As a little recpa, Last November one of my friends was talking about her 30 Days of Thanks project and I wanted to hop on board. Now let me get this out of the way by saying, the idea that being grateful for 30 days is ridiculous; you should be grateful every day, not just for 30 days. That’s the problem though. We know we should be grateful every day, but we aren’t. That’s why 30 Days of Thanks was a project I took under my wing this November.

I understand that you should be grateful every day thing; however, I recognize that doesn’t always happen in my life. I’m working on that. I hope by the end of 30 Days of Thanks project, I will stick to it every day, not just the 30 days that are in November. Alas, every project must start somewhere, so here it goes. Here is a recap of the first 10 days in November.

So here is is friends, these are my last days of  30 Days of Thanks project. I must say, it sounds easy to find one thing to be thankful for everyday, but I wanted to look for more than the easy answers. Every day I am thankful for something and here are some…just to name a few!

11/21- Appreciation

Appreciation goes a long way in the work place. Today, I am thankful for these tiny thank yous and little signs of appreciations from the team I work with. My boss will often go out of her way to show her appreciation or say thank you to me, which is amazing. My team, doesn’t usually do that, but today it was apparent that they were making an effort and wanted to show their gratitude for one another. Seeing these smalls gestures and hearing thank yous gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Let’s keep these up, team. Today I’m not only thankful for y’all, but the work you do with and for me and he attitudes possessed today. Thanks!

11/22- A Simple Hello

Today I am thankful for simplicity. After leaving the Hoodie Allen concert Zach and I got on the metro to head back home. Zach and I were talking to one another and more people would board the train as we got closer to our destination. A man said a simple hello, which sparked a conversation between us and another person. In that moment four strangers were riding the metro in a deep conversation. Those moments are simple. I am thankful for little things like this. These moments make me see that mankind isn’t totally terrible and there are decent people left in the world, we just need to find them.

11/23- The Badgers & Wisconsin Pride

With a heart that bleeds red and white (blue and gold & green and gold) for the badgers and especially Wisconsin, I will always have state pride. Sure it’s hard to be in dc when my badgers are playing the biggest game (minus the rose bowl) of the season, but I feel right at home when I see badgers walking around town. The bars are filled and people are getting into the game. Every year the badgers fight for the Paul bunion (sp?) axe against the gophers. Honestly, it’s not even a fight anymore, they really just let us have it. I am thankful for Wisconsin state pride and my badgers. Great game and thanks for keeping the axe in Madison!

11/24- Surprises

Today, it’s surprises. I love surprising people, and I love being surprised. For a little background, I was going to stay in DC for thanksgiving, but last minute I found a crazy cheap ticket. My boss told me to take it, fly home and enjoy the holiday with my boyfriend and family (thank you!). Originally I was going to surprise the whole family, but I told my parents and we kept my sister in the dark. After meeting up with my parents and doing a little holiday decorating, we made it over to my sisters new house (congrats) for dinner and (for me) to meet her new boyfriend. She was thrilled, and totally surprised. The best part about a surprise is seeing someone’s face light up with a gorgeous smile. The genius happiness makes the room glow and when you’re in that presences you can help but smile yourself. Today, I have a lot to be thankful for.

11/25- A Classic Date

I am thankful for a boyfriend has an unconditional love. I am thankful for my person to be so good to me. Today was classic date night. Matt and I started dating while he was on a visit from Tennessee, so we never had the chance to do the “classic date”, ie, I will pick you up at 8, talk to my parents while I am finishing getting ready, go to dinner and a movie, but today that changed. When Matt arrived he had gorgeous flowers in-hand when he greeted me. He was a gentleman and opened all my doors, kissed me on the cheek and wouldn’t let me pay for a thing. Today I am not only thankful for the classic date night, but also for Matt. #CTBOT I love you.

11/26- The Ability to Work from Home

This week I am working from home, thanks to my awesome boss. I saw an opportunity for a chance to go home and because I asked here I sit. I sit at my kitchen table with my puppy at my side, the fireplace on working. Working from home is a blessing. I couldn’t be more happy or thankful for this opportunity.

11/27- My Aunt

My Aunt Loy is a remarkable lady. Today I am thankful for her and all the bits of knowledge, wit and life experience she has to share with me.

11/28- Family Traditions

Thanksgiving is always different in my family. Sometimes it’s just the 4 of us, sometimes it is with relatives and other times we open or home to neighbors and friends. This year, it was the four of us and my aunt. We always do a few things on Thanksgiving regardless: a last minute grocery store fun, watch football and the parade, make home made rolls and enjoy a holiday movie. Today I am thankful for my family and our little quirky holiday traditions.

11/29- Family Memories

Today I had the opportunity to not only make memories with my family, but also with Matt’s family. Today I am thankful for the opportunity to remember our memories and to reminisce. I am also thankful to make new memories with another family as well as reminisce on their family traditions and memories.

11/30- Unspeakable Moments with Friends

Today I am thankful for the unspeakable moments that I am thankful for. It’s that text message received, a the way a friend smiles when you are talking, a simple let me get the first round. These are thankful moments. The moments with friends shall never be forgotten during the holiday season. Friends are the family you choose, so choose them wisely and most of all show your appreciation and gratitude. This one for you kiddos and our moments!

giving thanks round 2

30 days of thankful, edt. 2

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

11/11- Veterans

Today I am especially thankful for all of the men and women who serve The United State of America. Without Veterans who knows where we would be. I thank you for protecting our country, democracy and our freedom.

11/12 -Leftovers

Typically when my office has a meeting they will order a few extras so then the staffers can indulge afterwards. To me, a recent college graduate, this is one of the most awesome perks of my job! Not only am I thankful for my team thinking of me and feeding me, but also where they cater from. Post office move, we have started catering with a new restaurant: Pret A Manger. I am beyond thankful that we order through Pret. Check out their motto: Made today, gone tomorrow. In the U.S., all of our shops donate food to local charities working with the hungry. In New York, that’s City Harvest, in Washington, DC it’s Thrive DC, in Chicago it’s The Greater Chicago Food Depository and in Boston it’s The Boston Rescue Mission.  Last year, we donated over 400,000 pounds of top quality food making us one of City Harvest’s top 10 food donors.

11/13- Networking Happy Hours with SMCDC

Such an awesome group of people–SMCDC. I am thankful for being part of a group that is quirky, fun and intelligent beyond words. The opportunity to get together with these kids two or more times a month is awesome. I am thankful for such a fun and accepting group of people to hang out with, bounce ideas off of and put on wicked events with. SMCDC is a stellar group of people, if you don’t know them– you are missing out. Come hang out with us! You’ll be thankful you know them, too!

11/14- Standing Date Nights

I am beyond thankful for standing date nights. No, these date nights don’t involve standing. It’s a standing date– every Tuesday, and now every Wednesday (minus the 3rd Wednesday)– I have date nights with two incredible people. Living in DC we forget that our schedules get booked up and packed with things three weeks in advance. It’s nice to be busy, but it’s not a fun feeling to always be telling your friends “no”. I am thankful that these standing dates exist. I am thankful that my friends squeeze me in, and in turn I can do the same.

11/15- Connections

This one goes out to those long lost friends. I am thankful for the friends that you have an instant connection with. These are the friends that you may not see all the time, but when you do– it’s awesome. Your friendship is so strong that when you see each other, you have that hug and just know. You know that things have changed, but it doesn’t matter because you will pick up exactly where you left off. Ya’ll know what I am talking about. We all have these friends. Show them some appreciation and thanks. I am grateful for these stellar human beings!

11/16- Name Sharing- to All the Kendal’s Out There

I am thankful for my given name: Kendal Ann. I have encountered only a few Kendals in my day. Very rarely does anyone ever spell my name how I do. Today, I was at Vera Bradley and upon checking out I was asked my name, I told the girl and she spelled it K-e-n-d-a-l-l, i politely corrected her saying, only one l. She went on to tell me that her name, too is Kendal, but she spells it with 2 ls. We joked around for a while, but had the understanding that Kendal is a great name no matter how you spell it.

11/17-Lazy Sundays

I am thankful for Sundays filled with laziness. It’s as simple as that. Sometimes, we are so busy we never take me time. We feel guilt saying no, and we burn ourselves out. I’m in that boat right now. I am burning myself out and need some QT with myself. Sundays are a perfect day to hang out and to be lazy. I am thankful for a lazy Sunday every now and again.

11/18- My Boss

My boss is one of the most gracious people I have had the opportunity to work for. She is fantastic. Every day she says thank you to me at least once. She will give me constitutive criticism,  and tell me what I can do to improve. She treats me like an equal. I am thankful for my boss, because she is awesome and more than a boss to me, she’s also a mentor.

11/19- Phone Calls

I love when people pick up the phone and call you. With social media at our finger tips, we think the phone is something “scary”. I don’t like that. I love picking up the phone and calling people. It’s the interaction. A phone call is filled with emotion, and it’s a great connection. If you ever want to talk, feel free to give me a call. I am thankful for my friends who want to talk to me on the phone, and those who call me.

11/20- Deephers!

This one is for the Deephers. I am thankful for a family away from my family. These women will always have my back, no questions asked. It’s great to be part of a community that is so strong and bound together just my tradition. Thanks for all the memories and the ones to come. Here’s to you, Deephers!

ready or not

here we come, germany!

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

*squeals* Holy Mother of God! TODAY IS THE DAY! Today is the day that I am getting on a plane and heading to Munich, Germany. Honestly, this day has been lingering in my future for far too long. I cannot believe it is here and I am beyond ecstatic about it. Once this blog is posted, I am strolling on to a plane that will take me to Reykjavik, Iceland, this is where I will be reunited with two incredible human beings. After a much needed reunion, we will board a plane that takes us to Munich, Germany! *SQUEALS*.

In the past I have planned 3 trips to Germany in the past. ALL of them fell through for one reason or another. The past is the past and it doesn’t even matter now. In a few short hours, I am getting on that plane and honestly, nothing is stopping me. This is one of my biggest dreams come true. I have the most awesome opportunity a head of me. I am getting to do the most incredible things.

Here is a little glimpse into our trip. Thanks to Lindsay who actually wrote all of this out. Mind you the following are the main events and attractions. I know in Munich we will be doing a walking tour, heading to the square, going to biergartens, shopping, eating a Döner kebab and hitting up a discoteca. All things do not need to be put on the schedule. This trip is all about new experiences, life experiences, and really hitting it out of the park. This trip is about adventure, a road trip, finding inner peace, and drinking damn good beer. This trip is about so much more than I will ever have the words, or be able to find the words to convey. This trip is about wanderlust and happiness.

Saturday, September 28: REYKJAVIK

Sunday, September 29  : MUNICH

Munich: Meet up with Adrienne

Drink mad amounts of GOOD German beer

Monday, September 30

Munich: Oktoberfest Tent Day

Tuesday, October 1

Munich: Have a drink of course and walk around Munich’s downtown square

Wednesday, October 2

Pick up rental car (DRIVE ON THE AUTOBAHN!— life goal, check!)

Drive to Neuschwanstein Castle

Salzburg, Austria- walking tour

Thursday October 3

Salzburg, Austria

  • SOUND OF MUSIC BIKE TOUR!
  • FREE walking tour continued (See attached pages)

Friday October 4

On the way to Frankfurt… stop off at Dachau—concentration camp just north of Munich

Frankfurt, Germany

  • A Bird’s Eye View of Frankfurt—See the city from The Main Tower
  • Cider Taverns in Sachsenhausen for some Apfelwein
  • Das MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main

Saturday October 5

Frankfurt, Germany

  • Paulskirche – St. Paul’s Church built between 1789 and 1833
  • The Römerberg (“Roman Mountain”) is the historic heart of Frankfurt and home to its City Hall, which dates back to 1405. Flanked by half-timbered houses, this historic square used to be the place for Frankfurt’s first trade fairs in the 13th century.

Sunday October 6

Drive back to Munich from Frankfurt for our flight out

the chesapeake bay

my much needed visit to the bay

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

Wide-eyed and bushy tailed, Pat and I decided to head off to the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday. After a few minor glitches in the beginning, we were off. Heading from DC down to North Beach, MD was a treat. It’s always nice to get out of the city with your close friends–even if it is for a few hours. Pat makes the long-40 minute drive- to the Bay frequently. Each trip always has a purpose. The trip this time was for Kettle Corn, the Olde Bay Tavern, and a little serenity on the Boardwalk.

North Beach is gently nestled on the western shore line of the Bay in Calvert Country. With, I’m sure, a unique past, this town brings diverse activities for both locals and tourists to enjoy. A little Southern charm and a slow-down it is a perfect town that is pedestrian-friendly and has many store fronts and restaurants within walking distance.

A stroll on the boardwalk was exactly what the Doctor ordered. Heading down the strip we were on our way to lunch at the Olde Bay Tavern, which we discovered recently closed. RIP Olde Bay Tavern. Finding a new place, Abner’s was a treat in itself. An excellent waitress, Bonnie, helped us through our crab lunch and made it a true homey experience. Finally, we stopped into the Kettle Corn shop. Whatever flavor you have a hankering for, sweet, savory, salty a mix of all three– they have it here. It’s the best kettle corn I have ever tasted. Though the shop was practically empty when we arrived, we manged to make it out with some kettle corn, of course after sampling a few new treats as well. I made it out with a S’more flavor and the standard whereas Pat made it out with Birthday Cake (chocolate and vanilla). Honestly, these flavors are true. I actually feel like I am eating a S’more when I’m chomping down on this kettle corn.

Next up: The Shops. While the adventure continued we stopped into various different shops. First stopping in a local place that sells artwork, jewelry and a few items of clothing, mind you they are made from bamboo the owner of the store welcomed us with open arms. She told us about her days on Capitol Hill and where we should be traveling to next, the Antique shop and then to the Wine Bar. Honestly, I am all about wine and antiques so this was a perfect fit. Trying new things, is something I am passionate about. As the Shins and Drake say: YOLO, so why not and after all we’re on an adventure, “yes” is the key word of the day. Needless to say, I wanted to buy everything in the antique store, I didn’t; however, the Wine Bar was a little different. After sampling six new wines Pat was sold and bought two bottles of a Line 39’s Petite Sirah. Both bold and flavorful, you couldn’t go wrong with this option. I, on the othe686059792_EnDQp-Mr hand, went a totally different route. As the owner told me “I had two very bold choices” I went off the deep end and bought them: Liquid Geography and Opici Bianco. The Liquid Geography is a rose and all of the profits go to charity, that’s why I bought that. And the Opici Bianco, a true product of Italy, honestly I bought it because of the bottle.

With a few bold decisions, a great friend and a little adventure, this day at the Bay was exactly what the doctor ordered. The adventure went a little off schedule and a little unplanned, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun! I would suggest heading to the Bay. North Beach, MD was spectacular find. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

it’s so DC

“…so what do you do? So where are you from originally, yeah, right, but where are you from originally? I’m a grant writer for a non-profit who deals with micro-finance…” –Shit People in DC Say

on meeting new people

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

I love meeting new people especially in such a transplant city. When you meet new people you have no idea what their background is or what will come of the conversation.

Over the weekend, I had three encounters with new individuals. I love meeting new people. You meet new people for a reason, whether they come into your life for that stint or for longer there is always something to be said about an interaction you have with someone else.

Last night I had the opportunity to meet two fantastic new individuals, not once did the typical, what do you do, where do you work, tell me about your past type questions come up–and it was fantastic. It was really refreshing to have an actual conversation with people and get to know them on a different level. There was so much ground covered, so much was learned. So many opportunities for new friends could come out of a simple meal and a beer.

I cannot wait until I have this opportunity again. I want to encompass myself around new individuals. I want to learn about them without asking mundane questions, because I truly am interested. I want to know what makes you tick and what you’re passionate about. What makes you get out of bed in the morning.

Remember, a simple hello can turn into a beautiful friendship.