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!

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.

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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.