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!

the most wonderful time

#SharkWeek

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I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain what Shark Week is, but I will for those of you who live under a rock. Shark Week is an annual week long programming block on Discovery Channel which features shark based programming. It originally premiered shark-week-245x300on July 17, 1988. Held annually, normally in July or August, Shark Week was originally developed to raise awareness and respect for sharks. It is the longest-running cable television programming event in history. The coolest part about Shark Week is everyone gets into it and the programming is always news.

Elle offers the chicest choices for dressing for Shark Week and bar’s participate in special promotions as well. If you are a shark lover like me, this week is not different from how you live the other 51 weeks of the year, but for some reason it is. To me, Shark Week is about the awareness rather than the hype. Enjoy this week and watch a little promo about sharks, you might learn something.

happy birthday, America

looking good!

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

One thing’s for sure, America ages beautifully. She’s turning 238 years old today and you know what, she’s still got it!

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July or even American’s birthday, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Sidebar for a little history break- we then declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (which is now officially known as the United Kingdom). Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks,parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

If you happen to be in DC today and “don’t have anything” to do. I have a few thoughts for you, head to the parade, the baseball game or even to the Capitol lawn for “A Capitol Fourth“, a free concert and then you will have the best view in town for the fireworks.

Did you know that the Washington, DC celebration of America’s Birthday attracts over half a million people annually?

God Bless America, land that I love. Today, American, I raise a glass to you. Here’s to you, America.

a holiday with friends

Not only do I love Fourth of July but I love having visitors. I am so excited about this weekend because both of those things will be mixed together. Two years ago I was introduced to Emily, who was interning in DC, and we hit it off. Ever since that summer our friendship has thrived. Emily has spend a 4th in DC before but now she is bringing her boyfriend Rob along for a wild ride. Read below to hear Emily’s thoughts and expectations for this holiday weekend.

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

a DC Fourth of July

guest blog presented by: Emily Gydesen
You can find Emily on LinkedIn & check out her blog she had running while she was in DC.

As an avid follower of “omg it’s kendalann”, I was very excited when Kendal asked me to write a post about my upcoming weekend in DC. Two summers ago, I had the incredible opportunity to spend two months living and working in our nation’s capital. I met so many great people in DC that summer and I am fortunate that my friendship with Kendal has continued despite our geographical separation (I currently live about 6 hours northeast of DC, in Albany, NY).   Fireworks

This will be my second time getting back to DC since my summer there. While it is going to be a very quick trip, I am so looking forward to everything we have planned! To kick off our celebrations for the day, a group of us are going to watch the Washington Nationals take on the Chicago Cubs! I can’t think of many things more American than going to a baseball game on the 4th of July. To continue the celebrations after the game, I am hopeful we can find some frozen red, white and blue margaritas to cool down a little. If there is one thing I remember from my summer in DC, it is how hot and humid it can get in the city!

Hopefully, if all goes as planned, the only thing we’ll have to worry about during the day is where we want to watch the fireworks from in the evening. Even though the fireworks won’t start until dark, it is very important to claim a spot early because of the large crowds of people around for the day’s festivities. Two years ago, I watched the fireworks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I’m excited to see where we watch them from this year!

The only other thing I really want to do while in DC is go out for brunch on Saturday morning! Until I lived in DC, I had no idea how much fun brunch can be. Many restaurants in the capital offer specials for their weekend brunches. I would recommend checking out reviews and trying a number of different places before settling on a favorite spot. This weekend, we are going to try a new place for brunch, a local restaurant called Medium Rare. I’m excited!

I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July!! Thanks for reading 🙂

a harvard study

on 4th of July

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

For as long as Americans (and really, I) can remember, the nation has celebrated the Fourth of July by staging grand fireworks shows in public squares and lighting smaller displays at home. Did you know that 4th of July festivities could make you more Republican? A few weeks ago, one of our friends said, “did you know that you are 6%DC-fireworks-skyline more Republican for every year you watched the fireworks with your family as a child?” This statement got me to thinking and after some research this is what I found, according to the report, published by Harvard University, July 4th-themed festivities (defined by the study as fireworks, parades, political speeches, and barbecues) not only energize primarily Republicans, but also turn children into Republicans and increase GOP voter turnout.

“In 2010, an estimated 144 million Americans age 18 or older celebrated Fourth of July by attending a barbecue. Another 98 million watched the fireworks or went to a community festivity, while more than 28 million saw a parade,” the authors write. “Beyond the immediate fervor of the festivity, however, do national day celebrations matter? Does participation in national ceremonies and parades have a deeper impact by affecting children’s political beliefs, identity, and behavior?”

Simply put: “Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party. All in all, attending one Fourth of July before age 18 increases the likelihood of identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent and voting for the Republican candidate by 4 percent. It also increases voter turnout by 0.9 percent and boosts political campaign contributions by 3 percent,” says the report, which was written by Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.

This is a fascinating article to me, after living in DC and reading this article seeing the fireworks and celebrating the FOurth of July gives a new reason and light to all of the festivities. As we know, not everyone will be particularly concerned with the possible political implications of July 4th celebrations. If you’re looking for a more patriotic experience, you might want to check out a parade in a particularly Republican-skewing part of town – according to the report, “Republican adults celebrate Fourth of July more intensively in the first place.”

I for one, love the Fourth of July. Having the opportunity to celebrate such an awesome Nation. Plus, the fireworks display in Washington, DC is unlike any other in the United States. The show, is administered by the National Park Service and it illuminates all of the monuments from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. Make sure you get to your location early because the show begins at 9:10 PM. The show lasts roughly 17 minutes and will be accompanied by live music from “A Capitol Fourth,” the concert held each Independence Day on the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn. Whatever you political leanings are, make sure you get out and see the amazing show and celebrate the birthday of our Nation’s Capital!

location, location, location

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

Folks, I am talking about the 4th of July in our Nation’s Capital. No, it’s not “too far” away to start planning the best holiday known to mankind. Fourth of July in Washington, DC is something special. DC is crawling with tourists who infested the city like a bad flu, but even with them around nothing can stop me from enjoying the birthday of my nation.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty. Where are you watching your fireworks? After a long discussion with my friends we finally found the perfect place! No, I am not telling you where we are going, but I will tell you a few gems for suggestions. Spectacular views of the fireworks can be seen from the following:

I hope you use one of these locations for fireworks or find an even better hidden gem!

Derby Days

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It’s that time of year again and Spring is finally in the air. Let’s greet the Kentucky Derby with welcome arms. Sure the Derby is about horse racing, but it’s really about fashion and tradition. The Kentucky Derby is a chance for every female to express her inner Southern Belle so take notes and never hold back when planning your Derby fashion pieces!1125-girls-next-door-derby-hats_bd

Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is believed to bear good luck!  The long-established fashion was started by the women. But, over the last few years, many men have taken part in the tradition as well.  Wearing a hat is much like getting into costume, you might be pleasantly surprised to see what type of character you become. From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits.  In the clubhouse and paddock, women of grace and taste sport classy, fashionable styles. In the infield, the headwear has tendancy to take on a zealous character.

With tradition comes a Mint Julep. The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. Early Times Kentucky Whisky has been privileged and honored to be a part of that tradition. The Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail has been “The Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby” for more than 18 years.

When celebrating the Derby this weekend be sure to toast your inner Southern Belle with a Mint Julep.

Presidents

Happy Birthday?

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

So, it is Presidents Day, but from my last post, you can sense a myth. For a long time, some arbitrary Monday in February has been deemed “Presidents Day”. After reading a few articles, the question of, “Is it really George Washington’s birthday or is it Abraham Lincoln’s birthday?” today has come up.

So the answer unfolds after reading many articles. President’s Day 2014 is today, February 17, but I have come to learn that today  is neither the birthday of Washington or Abe. In fact, Lincoln’s birthday was on 12 February, while Washington’s falls on 22 February. According to the US National Archives, the passage of Public Law 90-363 in 1968 moved the traditional observance of Washington’s birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Since Washington’s birthday fell right after Lincoln’s birthday (February 12), many states chose to combine the two events into President’s Day, a day that is now used for honoring all former US Presidents.

Though it may not be George Washington or Abe Lincoln’s actual birthdays, Presidents’ Day is still a good excuse to raise a glass to our entrepreneurial first President, or anyone for that matter. Go on, grab your whiskey and raise a toast to our forefathers.

peanut butter

happy national peanut butter day!

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

Hi my name is Kendal Ann and I love peanut butter. Peanut butter might be one of the best gifts to this good green earth. Last week, I attended a peanut butter making class. Making peanut butter is actually really easy. I wanted to share a recipe with you and a few fun facts I learned about peanut butter along the way.

Here’s a recipe for spicy peanut butterpb

1 1/2 cup peanuts
1 1/2t chili powder
1 1/2t cayenne pepper
1t crushed red pepper flakes
1t paprika
1/2t – 3/4t kosher salt

Place the ingredients into  a food processor/blender. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl/blender. Place the lid back on and continue to process. Add a little oil (peanut oil preferred) if you would like to speed up the process. Process until the mixture is smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

A few peanut butter facts

It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter
Peanuts contribute more than $4 billion to the USA economy each year
Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter
The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year
Peanut butter is consumed in 90 percent of USA households
Peanuts have more protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols than any nut.
Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free

Must know dates

For all your peanut/ peanut butter lovers here are a few dates to be on the lookout for! Who knew there were so many holidays that revolved around peanuts? If you are interested in more awesome dates, you can find them via Chase’s Calendar of Events published by McGraw-Hill.

January 24 – National Peanut Butter Day
March – National Peanut Month
March 1 – National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
March 8 – National Peanut Cluster Day
April 2 – National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
May 18 – I love Reese’s Day
June 12 – National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
September 13 – National Peanut Day
November – National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month
November 20 – National Peanut Butter Fudge Day

I am happy to be part of such an awesome nation that consumes so much peanut butter. While I was in Germany, it was hard to find peanut butter it’s not an essential like it is to us, Americans. Celebrate today and have something with peanuts or at least something peanut butter flavored!

national pie day

yum!

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

Today, we celebrate National Pie Day and the sweet and savory deliciousness that is pie.. No, we are not talking about the number Pi, we are talking about the food! SugaryWinzyAppleBlueberryCherryPIe1

Let me lay a few pie facts on you. Apple pie is a favorite to 36 million Americans! Pumpkin pie was first introduced to the holiday table at the pilgrim’s second Thanksgiving in 1623! Pumpkin has to be a favorite of many. Pecan pie is the third most popular choice in a of nation of pie lovers.

During the month of January in honor of National Pie Day, the American Pie Council (APC) wants you to grab a slice of life and teach someone to make pie! The APC has a partnership with Paramount Pictures and its new film, “Labor Day”. This film stars Kate Winslet in a Golden Globe-nominated performance, Josh Brolin and Gattlin Griffith and is directed by Jason Reitman. “Labor Day” features a pie making scene that becomes an important theme in the story and shares the APC’s message of passing down skills from generation to generation.  So close to National Pie Day the film will be released nationally on Jan. 31, 2014.

If you are hankering some pie, make some after work and if time doesn’t allow it, stop by the grocery store on the way home for a slice! APC offers recipes of previous years National Pie Champions!

A huge shout out and note to both of my homes being on the list for best shops! Way to go DC and Wisconsin! Check out the best pie shops across America, here!

Dive in and enjoy a slice today!