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.

 

philanthropy

involvement with The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.® (ANAD)

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

One huge draw to Delta Phi Epsilon was it’s philanthropies. Delta Phi Epsilon has two organizations that we are involved with philanthropically, ANAD and CFF. Each year, DPhiE tries to out-do themselves when it comes to the events, promotion and raising money. The promotion of philanthropy and these events become bigger and better as the years go by. 1dc44b7d12bc528f5829f51ffb288c33

Sororities (and Fraternities) support a wide range of charitable causes across the nation. Most make an annual, national commitment to the same cause . A basic tenet of all National Panhellenic Conference member groups is service, a word that most sorority women take seriously from college well into their retirement years. NPC’s 26 member sororities, Alumnae Panhellenic associations and College Panhellenic associations have the freedom to choose how they spend their service time. “The opportunity for wide and wise human service, through mutual respect and helpfulness, is the tenet by which we strive to live,” according to the NPC Creed.

DPhiE now recognizes ANAD twice, once in fall semester and once in spring semester, by the sisters.  ANAD advocates for the development of healthy attitudes, bodies, and behaviors.  The organization promotes eating disorder awareness, prevention and recovery through supporting, educating, and connecting individuals, families and professionals.

Today is our third annual Deepher Dude (man) pageant. All proceeds go to ANAD. I couldn’t be more excited to be back at Winona State for this monumental moment for my Chapter (Alpha Tau). Participating in a cause that is so near to my heart is exciting. I am excited for my Chapter to woo me with their knowledge, grace, hilarity, and creativity.  The toughest challenge is getting people to an event, but once they are there– sit back, relax, because these girls are going to stomp the stage. I have a great feeling about this Deepher Dude event.

Remember, beauty isn’t a mold; break it.

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homecoming blues

Winona State

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

Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back alumni of a school. More often than not, homecoming refers to a tradition in many universities, colleges and high schools in the States. The tradition includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town.

photo 1Waking up bright and early Saturday morning to be greeted by sisters wearing the exact same outfit it always a treat, especially when it’s bringing your school closer. But what is Homecoming without a little friendly competition. One of my favorite parts about Homecoming (other than the football game, of course) is the parade. As a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, we always participate in the parade, whether it was decorating a float or walking to show our spirit, you better believe we were there. This year, the Deephers are the 83rd organization to walk in the parade, though it’s a long haul it will totally be worth it once you see their float.

Though I am not heading back to Winona for homecoming this weekend I can still celebrate here in DC. You better believe I will be sporting my WSU apparel and rocking a purple hair bow come Saturday. Plus with the Warriors current record of 4-2 the Warriors photo 2have a pretty good chance at beating Wayne Sate on Saturday for our annual Homecoming Football game.

Did you know?

The NCAA recognizes the University of Missouri as the birthplace of homecoming.

rants & raves of a job

Almost two years ago my life changed; I met Patrick! (Dramatic entrance, I know.) I met Pat through a friend, and I knew we were going to hit it off. After a few months gap in our friendship, due to him being at grad school–he made his way back to DC. Needless to say, I was beyond tickled! Pat got a job a IBM and was joining the real world as a consultant. Now, I couldn’t be more happy for him–what an awesome job opportunity post education, but the one thing that get’s get down is his lack of availability, but that’s not going to deter me from being his friend, heck that makes our friendship stronger! Once you read this post, you will understand exactly what I mean. So, here’s to Pat and his #LifeOfAConsultant, him writing this blog, and well just to our friendship!  Sit, back, relax and enjoy the blog!

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

#LifeOfAConsultant

guest blog presented by: Patrick Kotary
You can find Pat on Twitter: @Kotary; insta: patrickkotary, make sure you follow him!

In March 2013 after three colleges, two degrees, and one small bank account, I started my professional career with IBM Global Business Services. After just 7 months though I can honestly say this job is never what I had expected my first big grown up job to be growing. Until the ripe age of six I wanted to work at the mall so I could eat lunch at Sicilian Delight everyday – a pizza place at Sangertown Square Mall; my immature palate thought it was the best food ever, but I digress. Needless to say my aspirations only went up from there. I had the classic dreams – teacher, astronaut, news anchor, race car driver, the next Ward Cleaver, and POTUS were just a few (the last two are still on my list). Until about a year ago I never considered being a consultant for one of the world’s largest technology companies.

My friend Lizzie told me IBM was recruiting for consultants at our school, Clarkson University. I hadn’t given that career choice much thought, but after her persuasion and hearing that if you were hired you were sent to Orlando for a few days to celebrate, I said let’s do it! So I gave it a shot and was hired! I was one of the few extremely fortunate people who were recruited and hired during my last semester of graduate school. While I watched others hunt for jobs, I spent my last two months before the real world soaking in rays by the Gulf, baking, and watching the Barefoot Contessa. As Ina would say, “how easy is that?” All that time though I kept thinking, “I don’t know really what I’m going to be doing come March.” You see, consultants bounce from project to project in different roles – one day you could be on a project as technical resource and the next you could be running financial reports on another. You’re in a constant state of motion, meeting new challenges regularly – something I love doing. Whenever I was asked what I was going to do at IBM I would say, “I’ll be consulting. Companies hire us to come in and solve problems for them.” Now is that broad or what?

Despite that uncertainty I started my first day as a consultant on March 4th, 2013. I had a busy first two weeks in training – one in Herndon, VA and one in Baltimore, MD. Week three was when things got most interesting because I was staffed; I started my first project assignment as the Project Management Assistant at a company in Spokane, Washington. 2,080 aeronautical miles from my home in Northern VA. For about 7 months I travelled back and forth between the Washingtons – out on Mondays and home on Fridays. That’s about 5,000 miles a week (there isn’t a direct flight) – about 135,000 miles total. Like everything this unique lifestyle has its pros and cons.

The Pros:

Status.

Hi, my name is Patrick and I’m addicted to travel status. I am a Delta Platinum Medallion, a Hilton Diamond Member, United Elite Silver, and Starbucks Gold for many years to come. Status is a beautiful thing. First class is the only way to fly.

Seeing new sights.

Instead of going back to NOVA every weekend, I sometimes took alternate weekend travel. New Orleans, Los Angeles, upstate New York, and Florida to name a few.

Try new things.

As previously mentioned I like new challenges, so knowing that week to week my job changes is very exciting.

Foodie’s heaven.

Being in new cities is a dream for foodies like me. In 7 months of working I can count on one hand the times I’ve eaten at a chain restaurant. I love trying new foods.

 

The Cons:

Tired.

I was constantly changing time zones and had some difficulty putting my body on a hybrid system. Thanks to Kendal Ann et al though, I was able to stay on PST time on the weekends back east #DCNightlife

Travel numbness.

Air travel has lost its glamour for me. There was a time when I loved flying and thought it was the best experience ever. I now feel like I’m getting on a big dirty bus with smelly people. Also, hotels no longer stand for vacation. All I can think now is, “How many people have slept (and done other things) in this bed before me?”

Long workdays.

Because of travel, my office time is limited. To make up for this, I spend about 11 hours a day M-T at the office. Lunch is usually at my desk.

Relationships – lack thereof.

This job is not great for relationships. Even though I am extremely handsome and debonair, many don’t want to be with someone if he’s only around 3 of 7 days. I can respect that. I’d rather someone NOT like that than ENJOY having me gone all week.

The #LifeOfAConsultant continues. In a few hours I’m boarding a plane home to Dulles from my new project city… San Francisco, California. It’s an exciting life I lead working for IBM and I love it. I’m young, single, and free, so why not? For now, I’m not the next Ward Cleaver and I’m fine with that.

I urge you all to get out and see what this beautiful country and world has to offer.

college decisions

& how everything could have been different

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

Do you ever wish you attended your undergrad somewhere different? When it comes to football and basketball seasons, I do. Don’t get me wrong, I loved attending Winona State University, and now being complete with my undergraduate degree I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Winona was the perfect place for me. Because of Winona the best education, contacts, friends, and experience. Everything I wanted from a college experience, I got.

Without Winona, how would I know if I would be going to Germany on Saturday? Who’s to say I would be in DC or working in government? It is possible I would have done internships in Washington every summer of college? Is it possible I would have rushed and joined the awesome organization of Delta Phi Epsilon? Without Winona would I have still majored in Political Science?

There are a lot of questions to ask, and there are even more variables. Sure all things are possible, but I am a believer that if you take a different path, things will be different. By me choosing to attend Winona State University, I was saying yes to a great unknown and as the unknown unraveled it kept getting better and better. Sure there were times I wanted to transfer and had all of my paperwork ready to be filed, but I never went through with the process. There was such a strong pull for me to stay at WSU, and I couldn’t be more happy that I did. Winona helped me find me discover me. Winona blessed me with incredible friends, awesome professors, a stellar family away from home, a gorgeous view outside my bedroom window and don’t forget an unbelievable education.

It’s strange to think how some decisions impact your life, for example, where you attended undergrad. A lot of things would change, photoheck, I might not even be in DC right now, if it wasn’t for WSU. One big thing in my life, I know wouldn’t be the same is my best friend.  Folks, let me tell you a little bit about my best friend, Paul. Paul is the most down-to-eath, friendly, sassy, genuine witty, ball of fire you could ever have the pleasure of meeting.  Paul and I have known each other for the upwards of ten years. Thanks to Winona we became best friends. I will forever be in the debt (literally–thanks, student loans) of Winona for this awesome gift.

Paul and I went to middle school and high school together. He started life guarding at the YMCA and I was there on his first shift, we were in rotation next to each other, and chatted– we knew each other from a few mutual friend circles, but were never friends ourselves. He made an announcement that he was attending WSU in the fall and leaving the Y. Like I said, a short-lived friendship, right? Life went on, and next fall came around. My mom and I were going on a world-wind tour of colleges on a long weekend, as Winona was on my list I reached out to Paul and asked if he’d show me around in addition to the campus tour. Though, I am sure he thought I was being weird (when am I not weird) he accepted. That trip to Winona changed everything. When I returned home, there were three acceptance letters from colleges waiting for me, one being from Winona– and that’s when I decided I needed to attend.

Let’s be honest, Paul is the coolest dude around. He is the cat’s pajamas. This year we are doing big things. As a celebration of our best-friendship of ten years, and with his 25 birthday right around the corner– we are celebrating and we are celebrating big. In five short days, I will be meeting my best friend in Reykjavik, Iceland and we will be well on our way to Munich, Germany! I couldn’t imagine a better way to to kick off our celebration. Here’s to ten years, and here’s to the multiples of tens to come, Bo!

Maybe decisions don’t mean something to you now, but one day they will. Your life is shaped by the decisions you make daily. Stop and think about the decisions you are making every so often, rather than only making a decision based on giving your Magic 8-Ball a shake.

It’s been said something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world- Chaos Theory