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!



& beautiful

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

I hope this comes at the time when you need a little Wednesday pick me up. Your path is beautiful and crooked just as it should be. Friends, life takes you down a strange and winding road. Just because you aren’t on task now doesn’t mean you won’t get there. Stay positive and look forward.



das beste oder nichts

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

Mottos are something we all need to invest in. A motto, a short expression of a guiding principle, simply could be our saving grace. Have you ever applied to a job and looked at the company’s mission and were turned off? I could ask the same for a club or organization.

Mottos relect our essence. They help inculcate values. Mottos can be personal mantras and a phrase to live by. Mottos can inspire during tough times.  In short, mottos remind us what we stand for, and what we wish to pass to the next generation.

adventurers wanted

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

I’m a dreamer. I like challenges. I thrive on new experiences and I want to live life to the fullest. Today, I received an email from Jon Acuff, which is below. This email really spoke to me and I hope it resonates with you, too. Don’t let life pass you by. Take on a challenge.


Ready for a bit of awesome?

It’s time for 30 days of hustle.

In January, more than 6,000 people worked on some amazing dreams.

Now it’s your turn. (If you’re already part of the first group, ignore this post, you will already get the second wave of challenges.)

It’s time to have some fun. Time to plug into a crazy community of people who hope and hustle. Time to dream.

This post will be deleted in 48 hours.

Don’t miss it. Sign up today!

The post Adventurers wanted. appeared first on Jon Acuff.

a mentor

Matt is a very lucky guy in many aspects. One in particular he’s been blessed with having not one, but two exceptional mentors in his short lived career. I’ve heard countless stories of both mentors and they not only are mentors to Matt while he was working with them, but they still contact one another. To me, an awesome mentor is someone who is trusted and someone you can talk about about more than your career and professional life. I want a mentor who I trust and can go to for advice across many subjects. One day, I hope we all have an opportunity to have mentors (or be mentors) like the one Matt writes about in his guest blog post below.

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

what makes a mentor

guest blog presented by: Matthew D. Shalbrack
You can find Matt on Twitter: @hamsterjockey; insta: hamsterjockey, make sure you follow him!

By definition, a mentor is “an experienced or trusted adviser” or even more descriptive, a “an experienced person in a company, college, or school who trains and counsels new employees or students.”

In my short 23 years, I’ve had two different types of mentors, both of whom were bosses of mine at one point in my career.

Both of these individuals, who shall remain nameless, are mentors of mine for different reasons. I think that aspect of this story is very important because I think there are some very important criteria that must be met in order to be considered someone’s “mentor.”

The biggest thing for me is that a person must trust you to do your job correctly just as much as you trust them to be fair to you when being your superior. It means relying on you to do not only the miniscule tasks, but the hard and challenging tasks as well. At the same time, it means that this person doesn’t act like a boss, they act as a friend until you screw up and they need to lay the hammer down, which they don’t have any problem doing. Another important thing that a “mentor” has in my opinion is that they trust your judgment, 100%, no questions asked.

One of the other important things that I find to be a characteristic of both of my mentors is that they bring out good qualities, the ones that you were hired for, in you to use them to not only help you grow, but to help the organization/company grow as well. They take all of your strengths and help you make them grow even stronger while taking your weaknesses and help you grow them into strengths. This person also always wants you to succeed no matter what, even if it’s for a different company. In turn, that desire for success applies to them from you, too.

Finally, this person always has time for you, no matter if it’s on the clock or off the clock. Whether it be sitting in their office after hours for 15 minutes extra or going out for a dinner to discuss not only work-related things, but to discuss life in general. That’s the type of mentor I want.

I’ve been lucky this far in my career where I’ve had two people who have fulfilled all of those things and more for me. They’ve allowed me to grow, to harness my talents, help pinpoint my weaknesses and teach me how to fix them, all while not being afraid to keep me informed on the things that I need to work on or call me out when I screw up. People like this are irreplaceable in both life and the workplace. If you’ve met someone like this, a person that you can really call a “mentor,” you’re lucky. Those friendships will last a lifetime. If you haven’t yet, keep your head up because you’re bound to meet someone like this.

life is short

no one will get out alive, remember that

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

Time seems to be the killer of all things. We are constantly complaining that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, but I don’t believe that. 24 hours in a day is just right. Once you factor everything in: 8 hours of work, an hour commute, grooming, sleeping, eating and exercise, what more do you need?

In this day in age, we need to learn how to prioritize. We need to set an agenda and we need to sit to it.

Take a look at this post from Sam Davidson. He’s preaching exactly what I am talking about. You will find that 24 hours in a day is just enough when you start to put the clutter behind you.

What You Don’t Have Time For

You know what you don’t have time for.

Don’t let other people convince you otherwise based on the whims of any given news cycle, their personal agenda, or some prejudiced notion of what you ought to make time for.

You don’t have time to discuss Duck Dynasty. You don’t have time for someone else’s poor planning. You don’t have time to fix it, so let’s all get it right the first time. You don’t have time for a distraction brought on by cheap technology. You don’t have time for anything that doesn’t align with what you value, who you love, and where you want to go.

There is simply too much good work left to be done. And there are fewer and fewer hours in which to do it.

Set the agenda. Don’t let someone else set it for you.

this is your life

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

This is your life

I have this beautiful card sitting on my desk. This card is a reminder to do great things. It’s a reminder that life is short and a beautiful thing.


“This is your life. Do what you want and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.
If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop over-analysing, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Life is simple.
Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.”

Holstee Manifesto, The Wedding Day

a photo scavangerhunt

challenge offered

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

I love giving myself challenges. I thrive on challenges. I like giving people challenges. A challenge gives you the brain capacity to think outside of the box. Having a new perspective is what we need every now and again. The other day, Matt was looking through his Instagram feed and someone posted a Photo Challenge for the month of December. Basically, it was a challenge to take a photo every day in the month of December focusing on whatever word or phrase was associated with that day. Matt told me about this insta challenge and I was already interested, as was he, but after we looked at more it, was uninteresting, ie, the words and phrases weren’t as creative. With a challenge on our minds, I came up with the idea to make Matt a list that he had to follow.

Matt accepted the challenge. The rules: take one photo based on the word or phrase, post on instagram. The list I gave him is below. Throughout this challenge, I told him that he has 30 days to do it, but the list isn’t associated with particular dates like it was in the last challenge. Sometimes as an artist you need flexible.

The list:

1. An ornament

2. Footprints in the snow

3. A wild animal

4. Love

5. A toast to the new year

6. A smile

7. Red and green

8. A Christmas tree in a different light (texture)

9. An antique

10. A barn

11. The wind

12. Icicles

13. Tradition

14. Cookies

15. Gifts

16. A warm embrace

17. Winter wonder land

18. Cold

19. Kindness

20. A hobby

21. The night

22. Day break

23. Your favorite holiday movie

24. Your favorite holiday memory

25. Champagne

26. Holiday texture

27. Your favorite building in Racine

28. A bow

29. Symbols of holiday tradition

30. A place filled with joy

Matt is six photos deep and he’s really going with this challenge. I appreciate that he is playing along and taking this challenge to heart. If you’re interested in the challenge or the photos he is taking, you can follow along on his Twitter OR on his Insta.

celebrating 20 years

Hocus Pocus

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

It’s not Halloween or even complete without Hocus Pocus. It doesn’t matter if you are quoting the moving, sending .gifs to friends, a themed party or watching the movie—this movie is a must for the Halloween season. Since the first time I saw Hocus Pocus, I had it bad just like Usher. My mom, sister and I would watch this movie countless times during the Halloween season.

Set in Salem, Mass., on Halloween, three sister witches were executed in 1693 and revived 300 years later. They try to secure their immortal existence in modern-day Salem, Mass.  As a twist, the witches try to remain alive, but only to discover resurrection only lasts through Halloween night unless they capture children and take their life before sunrise. The witches search the city for victims, but in the end the witches are defeated.

This film captures the essence of Halloween.  The over-the-top personalities of the sisters are timeless. The heart and kindness of the Dani and Thackery Binx allow us to know everything will be alight in the end.HOCUS POCUS, Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, 1993

I hold Hocus Pocus near and dear to my heart. It’s one childhood movie that I can watch now and have the same feelings I did when I was a kid. Not to mention, when I watch it now I still learn even more life lessons. Learning life lessons from Hocus Pocus seems silly, but hear me out.

Lesson one: Identity and society

Life lessons can start with the Sanderson sisters (the witches). They are confident, powerful and true to their identities. The sisters know who they are, what they want and they are not going to fall for the pressure of society. They hold strong and true to themselves the entire film. Yes, they are portrayed as evil, but they are awesome because of their trials and tribulations.

Lesson two: embrace your appearance and quirks.

They are witches we love for far more than their appearances (even though they are called ugly a few times). Winifred is the smart and tough. Sarah is ditzy and boy-crazy. Mary is a peacemaker who is goofy and brings everyone back together.  With such drastic personalities, like sister’s have, they work together to solve problems. It is evident they are comfortable with themselves even though they have quirks.  Embrace your appearance and quirks. That’s a message worth hearing, and a spell that’s worth being under.

Lesson three: family will always be by your side.

When you expect it least, your family will always pull through. You can see this lesson several times in the duration of the movie. The witches are always together and helping one each other fulfill their goal. Sure they get off task a few times, but they have their eyes on the prize and nothing is going to stop them from getting to it.  The Dennison’s are always together. Though it was Max’s fault for bringing back the witches, he has the help of his sister. They stick together and are always positive.

As you can see this movie is good for all ages and audiences. Watching it now, I have a new appreciation and found more love for it. I can’t wait for the next time I can sit down and watch this movie with my mom and sister.  Here’s to the 20 year anniversary of an excellent movie.

post vacation blues

& getting back to reality

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

Getting back to reality isn’t exactly my problem, work is. After taking a long vacation, especially and international trip. It is always hard to get back into the swing of things. Personally, I find it even harder to get back into your work-life groove. While you were gone so much has changed, people got hair cuts (haha), you missed countless staff meetings, dodged those crazy phone calls, and even have a stack of emails that you are still trying to catch up on after a week of being back. All you can ask yourself is: will it ever be the same?

Here are a few tips and trips to tackle your post vacation blues and get back in the game when it comes to work.


Once you get back you will need a lot of sleep. When traveling and on a vacation, you hardly sleep. In my case I was international, so I am dealing with timezone changes.


Which brings me to relaxing! When you are on vacation, you put so much effort into catching up with friends, checking out all the hot spots, and going above and beyond what you would normally do. You want to make this a trip of a life time, so relaxing is not on the docket. Now that you are home, you have to go to work, and reality sets in. Make sure you add in some relaxation time the first few days after being back from a long trip.


It’s hard to see 415 emails piled up, 9 missed phone called and a million papers on your desk. You need to make a to-do list. Figure out what needs to be accomplished first and what can hold off.

Take Notes

At staff meetings, take notes. During regular meetings take notes. Maybe it’s not your thing to take notes during meetings, because it’s not mine; however, I make sure to take as many notes as possible post vacation. My mind is running around trying to figure out a thousand different things, that these notes during any meeting are critical to my success.

Talk to People

This is a big one: talk to people. I’ve been engage in conversations I normally wouldn’t be. I want the dirt! I want to know what was happening while I was gone and how I can help with others. I want to see how other people can help me and who is also working on my projects. Make sure to talk with everyone to see what they have been doing and they will be of any help on your upcoming projects that are due.


I hope these tips and tricks help you once you come back from a vacation. They are really helping me to get through this week. And think…I am almost caught up and it’s almost Friday! #TGIF!