birthday

celebrate

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

Birthdays are an amazing thing. Sure, everyone has one, but it’s about the memories and the execution of the day which make it a special thing. Obviously a birthday is a day that comes once a year and it is when a person celebrates the anniversary of his/her birth. It’s not like I need to tell you, but Birthdays are celebrated often with a gift, party or/and a rite of passage.

Birthdays have always been a big deal to me and I don’t know why. Today is an even bigger deal. No, it’s not my birthday but it is Matt’s! This is the first year I get to celebrate his H177birthday with him in our five years of knowing each other can you believe that?

Boyfriend-

I’m truly blessed to have you in my life, as nothing could be more special than the day when you came into this world. Even when skies are gray, you brighten every day. You will always be the love and light in my life. I couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate this wonderful day with you. Here’s to wishing you a joyous birthday. I love you.

date night

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

At least once a week Matt and I try to put time aside for the two of us for date night. Date night is an awesome thing, if you and your significant other don’t have this, I’m sorry and I truly hope you can instate one. Every date night is unlike the previous one. For us date night can be a simple meal at home followed by a movie, going to a museum, heading to Nationals Park or grabbing a libation at our favorite hang out. Last night, was different. Last night was about a celebration and date night so we needed excitement and to get a little bang for our buck.

You might remember a post from me about National Grilled Cheese Day. If you don’t, here are the highlights. The post talked about this new restaurant that hit DC. Grilled Cheese DC, opened just in time for National Grilled Cheese Day and last night, Matt and I were fortunate enough to check this establishment out. I was beyond pumped to check this place out and the experience was nothing less than amazing.  Though the calk board wasn’t ready for us to jot down your grilled cheese recipe on a big board by the bar, which your fellow diners will vote throughout the week before a winner’s announced every Friday, we still had a great time.

If you get a chance, check GCDC and be sure to ask for Allen as your waiter not only is he awesome, but he really knows the menu.

 

How I Know I Love You

with an added touch

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

For me, some Thought Catalog articles never get old. This one was published in August of 2012 and until recently I couldn’t relate. When this article was tweeted out again, I reread it. After reading it again, I can finally relate to it, and I don’t think it’s even the least bit cheesy. How do you feel about this article?

sushi

photothe homemade kind

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

Sushi
su·shi
ˈso͞oSHē/
noun

noun: sushi
1 .Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients
Sushi is not a very complex food to make. From the definition it’s a few simple ingredients held together by rice and seaweed. As an avid sushi lover, I never in a million years would have dreamed of making my own sushi but last Saturday that all changed. Yes, you heard that right, this past weekend Matt and I made our own sushi and you know what, it was fantastic.
I am looking forward to making sushi more often and becoming a “natural” at it. With my hesitations aside, I am ready to take on the next step with Matt when it comes to the world of sushi. I truly hope within a year Matt and I will be able to make a Dragon Roll. Though it seems like a daunting task, it is one we will execute with flying colors.

google doodle

Valentine’s Day

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

Today, the Google Doodle features six sweethearts. Each of the hearts tells a different story about love; “Mr. Right,” “First kiss,” “4ever yours,” “puppy love” and “blind date.” A radio-show entitled This American Life inspired this feature. It’s mostly audio but there are some delightful illustrations accompanying each story.

Listen to First Kiss— the story is just like mine and Matt’s.

give thanks round 1

30 days of thankful, edt. 1

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

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.

11/1 – Costume Parties

As Halloween fell in the middle of the week, I choose to celebrate Halloween three times! It was the best decision. Halloween was filled with costume parties, good friends and many memories. I am particularly thankful for friends who dressed up the day after Halloween with me and went out to take on the night.

11/2- Date night, Alexandria

Date night is a strange an interesting thing. I am thankful for a boyfriend who is excited to go on dates. Not only is he excited, but he also suggests them. Today, Matt and I went to Old Town Alexandria for a few surprises. We walked down historic King Street before heading to dinner. Our date night turned into a little adventure filled with new experiences, opportunities and laughter. I am thankful that date night is always on the books and we haven’t turned into some boring/stuffy couple who doesn’t do things.

11/3- My Faith

I am thankful for my faith. This one is unexplainable. After walking into church once, and realizing mass was an hour later– we decided to say a prayer and leave. It all seemed well, but once at Starbucks, it only seemed right to finish the last sip of cider and to head back for mass.

11/4- My Anchor

My dearest friend and anchor: Paul. Paul is a huge constant in my life which I couldn’t be more thankful for.

11/5- election day

Though election day was 11/4, it still happened. Living in a democracy is incredible. This is one thing I believe that most people take for granted. Working in DC, election day is always something that is light up and makes you think. I am thankful for having the opportunity to have my voice heard.

11/6- Coincidences

Today, I learned that a co-worker, who was born and raised in DC, grew up in my current neighborhood. Once we got to talking she was so intrigued to learn about Bloomingdale and what’s going on there now. A little coincidence made me so thankful that I could help put a smile on someone’s face.

11/7- Ann Marie

My mother is single-handily one of the greatest people I have the honor of knowing.  I am grateful to have a miraculous role model and wonderful supporter in my life. Without my mom being my biggest cheerleader I would have missed a lot of opportunities. I couldn’t be more thankful to have her as a shining star in my life.

11/8- My Greek Family

Being Greek, is a huge part of my life– both in college and now today. It’s something that will never change. I am beyond thankful for the bonds I have created and sustained with my Greek family with constitutes to grow. Winona State started me off with a base, but there was no stopping me. Now my Greek family is near and far. It’s an unexplainable love and gratitude that will always be in the air when I think about my Greek family.

11/9- Winona, MN

Winona, MN is a beautiful little college town, tucked in between the Mississippi River and a gorgeous set of bluffs.  I could write this one about anything in Winona, but it’s about how it prepared me. Speaking with a friend about Winona he said, ” I miss that town and it’s comfort and security. It’s like a nice sweater. But I’m happy I’m not there anymore. I’m grateful for what it gave me and how it prepared me.” Honestly, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I am beyond thankful for Winona and what it gave me, how it prepared me and all the tools I was able to utilize while being there.

11/10-  Snow

You’ll only hear me say it once, I am thankful for snow. I love seeing the seasons change. Now living in DC it is something I crave, it’s something I miss. I miss seeing the first snow fall. I miss the prefect white untouched snow in the treetops and on the road. Seeing snow today was a perfect twist right before I left the Midwest.

 

chivalry

is it dead?

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

Let me give you a little history on chivalry and the chivalric code.

Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. Chivalry arose from an idealized German custom. Over time its meaning has been refined to emphasize more ideals such as the knightly virtues of honor, courtly love, courtesy, and less martial aspects of the tradition.

The Knight’s Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who can not protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders. All knights needed to have the strength and skills to fight wars in the Middle Ages; they not only had to be strong but they were also extremely disciplined and were expected to use their power to protect the weak and defenseless.

Knights vowed to be loyal, generous, and “of noble bearing”. Knights were required to tell the truth at all times and always respect the honor of women. Knights not only vowed to protect the weak but also vowed to guard the honor of all fellow knights. They always had to obey those who were placed in authority and were never allowed to refuse a challenge from an equal. Knights lived by honor and for glory. Knights were to fear God and maintain His Church. Knights always kept their faith and never turned their back on a foe.

Now we describe chivalry as:

having the qualities of chivalry, as courage, courtesy, and loyalty; valiant.
considerate and courteous to women; gallant.
gracious; generous, esp. toward the less fortunate.

I would argue that most people think the days of gentleman, knights in shining armor and chivalry are dead; however, I don’t think that’s the case at all. Sure I believe in equal rights, but it’s not about that (which is usually the argument). If you are going out on a date (with a new person or your current one) there still needs to be respect. There should still be excitement. “Woo-ing” should still happen. A few of my friends are back in the dating game, and they think it is absolutely preposterous that I tell them the man should pay on the first date. In my opinion, of course he should. He should be trying to impress you and most of all he should be a gentleman. You get the first one and I will pay for the one after that.

I was brought up to expect “gentlemanly” behaviors and manners: Men open doors for women, men walk on the street-side of the sidewalk, and men always pay for dates. Now let me tell you, I have snatched up a fellow who does all (and more) of these things. Ladies, there is still hope–they’re out there. When a check comes, I always offer to pay which he takes me up on every once in a blue moon, but more often than not declines politely.

As our modern lives may have changed and so has chivalry. With that it has also changed what we expect, and know we deserve. Chivalry is not dead. The definition has simply changed. Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, because I uphold men to the “good ol’ boy” standards of generations past.

What are your thoughts? Is it dead? How has it changed? What makes it different now?

our song

“…Our song is the slamming screen door,
Sneakin’ out late, tapping on your window
When we’re on the phone and you talk real slow
’cause it’s late and your mama don’t know
Our song is the way you laugh…”-Taylor Swift

when we locked eyes

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

Let’s turn the clocks back, we have to travel back about 4 years and a few days that’s where this story beings. Four glorious years ago, I was a few weeks into my sophomore year of college. My life was consumed with Fall Recruitment, rushing new sorority girls with an 18 credit load while life guarding and teaching swimming lessons. Needless to say, the last thing I had to do was take on another venture, but I did. I started working in the University Admission’s office (yes this is an integral part of the story). Moving forward Linzey had introduced me to her friend Matt, from that very moment I was swooned. Immediately after he left us, I turned to Linzey and said, he’s a babe–hook me up! Sadly at the time Matt was unavailable, but we digress.

Over that next semester, Matt and I become really good friends, chatting at work (the Admission’s office), which unbeknownst to me, I have recently learned he was also nervous to talk to me. Honest to God, I would always get butterflies and clammy hands. Ugh why was this boy taken, what a joke. Throughout this little crush triangle, I kept it cool (apparently too cool, because he had no idea!). We left for Winter break, and upon return I learned a few interesting details, 1. We had class together and 2. he and his girlfriend at the time broke up! I was beaming with happiness! Absolutely over-joyed. The first day of class, Matt does not—let me repeat that–DOES NOT sit next to me, ummm excuse me? This must be a mistake. We walk out together and are chatting before we go our separate ways. The next class and every one until the end of the semester we do not sit by each other. Fine, it’s fine. We still hang out both before and after class and I have Matt edit all of my stories, as he is a journalist and we’re in a journalism class.

Let’s speed up to the following year, again, Winter break passes and all is well. We both have stopped seeing the people we were at the time and are starting the semester on a fresh page. I just got back to my apartment, and Matt knew I arrived. He offered to help me unpack so we could hang out, I already knew this was not a good idea, as I told myself the next time I see him I need to tell him how I feel because these feelings are just festering and not doing me any good. After I turn him down on the unpacking, we settle for hanging out at his place with his roommates and making dinner. I had a fantastic time, but I still didn’t tell him. Right, before I was going to tell him my life saga and profess my undying love for him, he tells me about this girl he is sort of smitten with and asks for my advice. I abort the plan and give him the advice. I believe he went out on three solid dates with this girl and then never saw her again. Thankfully, Matt and I had another journalism class together again that semester, we sat next to each other and it was lovely.

We speed up one more semester. It is now December of 2011 the night before my graduation. It’s a chilly Thursday December night. I’m hitting the town with my girl’s to celebrate and have a final goodbye with them. This was also the night that I finally decided I would Matt how I felt. I didn’t expect anything to happen, I just wanted to get it off my chest. We’re heading home, walking about six blocks back to my apartment and I find out Matt is at a bar on my way home. I ask him to meet me outside so I can say hello, he does. Once I get there the conversation does not go as planned. I am blocked by any type of conversation at all. Everyone is complaining and I have to take them home. We hugged goodbye and said we’d talk tomorrow.

Tomorrow hits, post walking I finally tell him. His response was less than positive, telling me he never even thought I liked him too, timing was off, and he never went for anything because he thought I had some long distance boyfriend (false!). That day I left for Wisconsin and moved to DC and shortly after Matt left for New Zealand and Australia. Thankfully as suspected, nothing between us changed. It was laughable and we continued our friendship. This is when he started dating her. He asked me a million a half times my opinion of this new girl, and I made it clear that I wasn’t a fan regardless if they were dating or if they weren’t. She just wasn’t good.

A year passes, they are still together (good Lord, help a sister out!) Matt decides to stay in Minnesota and continue his education and get a Masters, but life hit and he got a dope offer with the Cub’s A team in Knoxville–he thankfully took it. Right after he moved to Knoxville in February, he booked a trip to DC to visit in June. Recently after booking the trip, they broke up.

So, we skip to June of this year. Matt comes to visit and it is the most glorious reunion I could have asked for. I showed him around DC doing all of the appropriate touristy things mixed in with a local vibe. Sunday rolls around and we saved the monuments for right before hitting the airport. When we are on the National Mall we begin to hold hands. It just felt right, no big deal.

–The Part You’ve Been Waiting For–

When we arrive at the airport to say our goodbyes, I walk him to his terminal and we hug. We kiss on the check, which is pretty natural, and then before I know it his lips are on mine! My mind is racing! What is going on? Is this really happening? My head isn’t caught up to my heart and I blurt out “ummm what is this” and his response is so calm and cool, I let you go four years ago, and I’m not letting another four pass me by; be my girlfriend.

So there you have it folks. I couldn’t be happier. Well I could be, but that would be trading in the long distance, but other than that it’s wonderful. I talk to him all the time (not that I didn’t before him being my boyfriend), we FaceTime, we email and we even have trips planned to see each other. It’s fantastic. Never underestimate the power of a friendship and what it truly has to offer.

This is my story, and I’d love to hear yours.

————————————————————————————————————-

the story of us – a boy’s perspective

you can find Matt @hamsterjockey

Every relationship has a story. Some are really long; some are really short. The story of Kendal Ann and I has been in the making since we first met. I love our story. Here it is from my perspective.

Disclaimer: This is a love story.

It starts at Winona State University. We met through our mutual friend, Linzey, and as soon I met Kendal Ann, I knew that she was going to be a special part of my life.

As time progressed, Kendal Ann and I became even closer. She is one of my best friends. We talked about everything – sports, life, politics, everything. We share so many interests and she loves baseball. For me, that’s huge. After a couple years, I knew deep down that Kendal Ann and I would be amazing together, but it never came up in conversation. I never brought it up because I didn’t want to take a chance at losing one of my best friends.

We had classes together and I was nervous to sit by her. So I didn’t. I was so nervous around her. Eventually we had another class together and we sat next to each other. Secretly, I was so excited to sit by her. That class was wonderful – one of my favorite classes I ever took at Winona State.

Even though we both worked in different places during the summer, we still always kept in touch. We texted all the time with the occasional phone call mixed in there too. The girls I dated got really jealous and even told me that I couldn’t talk to her anymore. Excuse me? She’s my best friend and I’ve known her longer than I’ve known you. Deuces. I wasn’t going to let anything or anyone get in the way of my friendship with Kendal Ann because deep down, I still always thought there was something even more special between us.

What I didn’t know was that throughout all of college when we knew each other, is that she had a huge crush on me. Me, being the guy that I am, was completely oblivious the whole situation. Kendal Ann graduated a semester earlier than I did and before her graduation, she confessed it all to me. It was so cute. I had absolutely no idea. It was so cute and it made me wonder even more about “us.”

Kendal Ann lives and works in the Washington DC area. When she started working there, I always told her that one day, I was going to take a trip out there to see her. I had never been to DC before and I’ve always wanted to go – but that wasn’t the best part about the trip – seeing Kendal Ann was the best part obviously.

But, it never happened. Not at least until June 20th, 2013. I was living and working in Knoxville, Tenn., and it had been too long since I had seen her last. I told her what weekend I was coming, bought tickets, and got a ride to the airport. I love flying and I always (usually) make friends with the person sitting next to me. I remember when I landed and was walking out of the terminal; I was so nervous. I was all clammy and I had butterflies in my tummy. It was silly, but I liked it.

Then, I saw her. Walking towards me. Big smile on her face and she waved. As we walked towards each other, I was overwhelmed with happiness. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to date her; that I wanted to make the distance work and that I wanted to cross that bridge between best friends and a romantic couple.

The weekend was perfect. I didn’t want to leave. As I was going through security, I saw her walking away. It made me sad. After I got back to Knoxville, I told her everything. How I felt, what I wanted to do and that I wanted to try the long distance thing. She was skeptical about the whole thing, but we each made pro and cons lists and told them to each other. It meant a lot to hear her take on the whole thing and I assured her that things would work, even with the distance between us.

And so, we’re doing the distance. It’s tough. But it’s worth it. Kendal Ann and I are years in the making. Sometimes, things happen for a reason. This is one of those times. I’ve never been happier. It’s amazing. It’s incredible. It’s perfect. I’m so lucky to be not only dating my best friend, but to be dating a girl who is perfect for me in so many ways.

“Distance never separates two hearts that really care, for our memories span the miles and in seconds we are there. But whenever I start feeling sad, because I miss you, I remind myself how lucky I am to have someone so special to miss.”

Throughout our history, we’ve experienced so many firsts. She was there for my first tweet. She showed me around DC for my first visit. I went to my first aquarium with her. I could keep going, but you get the idea. I can’t wait for more and more firsts for us.

So there you have it. Our story as told by me. I love it. It’s a love story, but more importantly, it’s our story.

sconnie native

“Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners.”-Charles Henry Parkhurst

when referring to the Packers, you say “we.”

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

*squeals* in less than twenty long minutes, I will be boarding a flight that [unfortunately takes me to Ohio, first–SNORE–the second worst state] will take me to the most majestic state; HELLO, WISCONSIN! I absolutely cannot wait to get off of that plane and breathe in my first breath of that fresh Wisconsin air. If you couldn’t have guessed, I’m a full-breed, born and raised Wisconsinite. Wisconsin is home for me. No matter where I have lived, live and will live–Wisconsin and the Midwest will always be home.

You asked what a Sconnie is

You asked what a Sconnie is

There are so many weird little things I am excited for about this trip. Obviously the usuals and the reason I go home, to see my family but beyond that there is more. Let me give you a breakdown of the simple joys I cannot wait to encounter

  1. a squeaky cheese curd- when a cheese curd is fresh is squeaks on your teeth
  2. the Brewers game
  3. Miller Park
  4. tailgating–I’m sorry Nats I love y’all, but shoot, you have to get it together with tailgating
  5. sipping on coffee on the front porch in the morning
  6. hanging out by the bonfire at night
  7. listening to the crickets and frogs as I fall asleep
  8. sleeping with my windows open
  9. wearing that perfect summer outfit: a long sleeve and shorts
  10. enjoying a Spotted Cow
  11. kayaking to on the lake
  12. the local coffee shop where everyone knows your name
  13. seeing familiar faces at church
  14. a fish fry
  15. the back country roads

Being back in Wisconsin at my parent’s house is always surreal, but this time is going to be better than ever. I cannot wait to get back there and to be greeted by the warm embrace of my loved ones. I cannot wait to get a thousand kisses from my pup and I cannot wait to sleep in a twin bed. So, here’s to you Wisconsin! I’ll be seeing you!

*oh and as soon as I land, I get to experience why airports are the best places on earth (wait for another post on that). Waiting for me at the security check-in will be Matt, yup you guessed it: the boyfriend. What are we waiting for let’s get this show on the road, plane!

now is the time

“Stop waiting for the right moment, because sometimes it’s now or never.”-unknown

all joking aside

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

Somethings never have the right moment. Sometimes it’s just a feeling and when you know…you know. It’s hard to follow your heart especially when your gut isn’t on the same page or vice versa.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that it’s better to take the risk. I’ve also learned it’s about how early you’re taking the risk. This past year I’ve had the pleasure to date some pretty, how do you say it, interesting characters. Let me give you a quick recap of four people.

  1. The Engineer, I introduced him to my friends on the first date– best decision of my life. 1. I knew he was just going to be fun for dating now, and not forever and 2. I really wanted to have brunch with my friends.
  2. The Litigator, I never wanted to introduce him to my friends, so I never did. I knew the risk would be “too much”. I knew my friends wouldn’t approve, so I saved myself and I never took the risk.
  3. The Foreigner, I waited too long to introduce him to my friends, and over all it put me in a bad position.
  4. The Boyfriend, (hi, Matt!) I met him through friends (five years ago) and we became instant friends. Over the summer, he met more of my friends and then we started dating.

I wanted to related to this dating and friend meeting because I argue that it’s an even bigger deal than meeting the parents. Think about it, once you’ve moved away from home, your friends become your family. Friends are your home away from home and their opinion means a lot to you. These people are the family you get to choose. Let’s face it, it would be crazy awkward to bring your sig other home if you’re not totally serious with them to say, hey Ann Marie and Joel (yes those are my parents) ummm this is the current situation. They wouldn’t care, as I’m sure your parents wouldn’t either. So do the next best thing: take this person around to meet your friend. Let them get to know each other (if there are libations and grub involved that never hurts).

Okay, but all joking aside there isn’t always going to be that perfect timing. So, you’re nervous for your friends to meet your boyfriend, get over it! If he makes you happy, they see that and they will be overjoyed that you are allowing them to meet. Remember, they’ll be happy regardless if you’ve been together for a day or four months.  This doesn’t just have to be about dating: maybe you’re not ready to make that plunge and tell your parents you bought a new car, or you booked a trip to Italy for three weeks or that you pierced your nose. Maybe you aren’t ready, but know that when you get all of this off your chest, you will feel so much better. Just take the plunge!

With all of that said if you have something lingering, the best advice I can give you is just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You either go for it and it works out or it doesn’t. And listen, if it doesn’t you’re better off because you won’t be wondering “what if” for the rest of your life. No, seriously, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. Go for it.