giving directions

struggling looking at a map

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

Trapped in a foreign city with a language barrier– there you sit feeling helpless. You stare at the map, trying to make sense of all the winding streets, and you cannot even find your location. There are a thousand thoughts in your mind.

Getting lost in a new city is one of my favorite things. I love being a tourist. When tourists come to DC, sure, I have that same loathing emotion towards them that everyone else does becasue they clutter the city and walk unbearably slow. At the same time, I love them. I am so happy when people come to my city, The National Capital of the US. It’s so awesome that people want to explore my city, so of course I am more than welcoming and more than helpful when it comes to directions.

With my Midwest roots, it is incredibly hard to tell someone off and to walk past them while they are asking you something. My love for helping out tourists is abnormal. If I can show one person that everyone is not rude in this city, I feel that I did my job to instill hope in their heart.

Let me tell you a story.

Monday, I was walking to work and naturally I had my headphone in, granted this time I was talking on the phone and not listening to music. Anyway, I get to the crosswalk and this woman starts frantically talking to me. As she realizes I have my headphones in, I take them out and speak with her. Basically the jist of the conversation was her asking for directions and explaining to me (a local) that there a no metros where she needs to go. Once, she finally tells me all of her details, I explain to her if she keeps walking 8 blocks south she will run into the building she needs. This woman was beyond thankful. As the light turned, she booked it and was off to her destination waving to me.

Little things like that, make me feel good. I just made someone’s day. To me giving directions isn’t a nuisance, I truly enjoy it.

You could add something in about asking if anyone has ever given directions in their city or if they find it to be an annoyance when people ask them for directions.


government shutdown

what can we do?

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

I leave for vacation and when I come back I hear the government has been shutdown. It looks like I won’t be leaving the country again for a very long time; this place can’t function without me (haha). With the weekend at our fingertips I have been thinking about what to do while the government is shutdown. DC is a stellar place for free activities, alas we cannot participate in those activities. The following are a few suggestions of what to do with the government is shutdown, mind you these activities you can participate in during the week and on the weekends. Enjoy!

Lincoln’s Summer Cottage

Personally, this is what I will be doing over the weekend. As a true lover of Abe and history this has been on my list of must-sees for a while. I am excited that the government shutdown has now given me a reason to make my way to Petworth to check out this awesome piece of history. Though admissions are a little pricey Abe is always worth it.

Check Out a New Neighborhood

I am a huge advocate of checking out new neighborhoods. After all living in DC makes me want to explore. I want to see what is going on and what is new. Get off at a different metro stop and walk around the area. Maybe you just do some window shopping, or walk into a new restaurant. You will be surprise by what you find! DC is changing and what’s a better way to see the changes?


Did you know there are government shutdown happy hours going on? I think that’s a little crazy, but whatever–go with it! After all when life gives you lemons! Specifically I would suggest hitting up ChurchKey right on 14th Street it is a sure option!

Walk DC’s Heritage Trails:

DC has heritage walks marked with information-rich placards that teach you about important buildings and the history of different neighborhoods. The Downtown Heritage Trail and Greater U Street Heritage Trail are available through a mobile app, while you can explore DC’s historically African-American neighborhoods through a series of walking tours as well. Getting away from the Mall is one of the best ways to demonstrate that the shutdown isn’t stopping you from enjoying  DC.  DC’s an interesting place and you will learn that through the heritage walks as they take you through neighborhoods and give you a chance to explore the city’s incredible architecture.

Check Out Museums That Are Open:

I know DC is awesome because of all the free museums, but as they are shut down maybe you can head to a private museums. Granted now you will have to pay admissions, it is still something to do and to check out while in DC.  The following museums you can check out: National Geographic Museum. The Corcoran Gallery. The Phillips Collection. The Newseum. The National Building Museum. The Art Museum of the Americas. The DAR Museum. The Folger Shakespeare Library. The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery. The Hillwood Estate. The Historical Society of Washington, DC. The Kreeger Museum. The Textile Museum. Tudor Place.

Visit Eastern Market And Union Market:

Maybe it’s cooking or maybe you just want to pass the time. Maybe you are interested in funky artwork or new jewelry. If you are intrigued by these things you must check out Eastern Market. The Eastern Market is a lovely  place to spend an afternoon. Another market work checking out is the Union Market. This reminds me a lot of the Public Market in Milwaukee (a little MKE love!). There are many options for sitting down and eating on the stop as well as light grocery shopping. Both markets are embedded in awesome neighborhoods–Eastern Market’s just off the Hill, and Union Market lies in between a series of warehouses.

planning for oktoberfest

oktoberfest, the real deal

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

Guys, one of my biggest dreams was finally accomplished with two awesome human beings! Last February we toyed with the idea of going to Germany and crashing Oktoberfest. No one ever thought we were serious until…we bought our plane tickets. Things started to great real as we dove into the travel guides, websites, conversation with friends and so on. There were so many mixed messages about Oktoberfest and the survival guide and we were getting clouded; we didn’t know what to think. The last thing I wanted was to be scammed. We wanted to have a great time, and spend the least amount of money as possible, after all this trip had a beer fund.

If you have the tiniest inkling to hit up Oktoberfest read the following. Now after being, yes I would go back in a heartbeat–but I want to experience a few more things before heading back.

1) Whatever anyone says, you DO NOT need a reservation to be inside a beer tent.

2) However…if you want to guarantee yourself an unreserved seat on the weekend, it is best to arrive by 8 am.–so this is what everyone says. I don’t by it.

3) Be aggressive, yet fun! You need to get into a ten/garten, so do it. Just flash that smile and show your confidence, act like you belong and head straight to the middle section. The middle section is the unreserved section– you will notice it right away, because it will be PACKED and everyone is standing.

3) Know that the Biergarten tables fill up by 11 am both on the weekdays and weekends.

4) A huge myth is that you need to be seated inside a tent or in a biergarten in order to be served a beer.– this is wrong! You do not need to be seated. You need to be at or close to a table. Find a waitress and tell her how many beers you want, she will fetch them.

5) In Europe it is customary to not tip your waitstaff, but here at Oktoberfest, I would recommend you tipping your waitress. She will keep bringing you beers until you tell her to stop.

6) Find a hostel that is close and cheap. We found a hostel 4 blocks from the grounds, we didn’t have to mess with a cab or public transportation. Note, hostels get reserved FAST– we booked in June.

7) Don’t bother eating in a ten. You will find: wiener schnitzel sandwiches, bratwursts, crepes, and anything else you can think of outside of the tents. Not to mention they are all 5 euro.

8) Talk to everyone! Make sure to be friendly and talk to everyone. Almost 15% of attendance at Oktoberfest are travelers, find out their story and make new friends.

These are just a few tips for Oktoberfest we used and I would suggest looking at them as well. I cannot wait to go back and enjoy myself again now that I know the ropes. While I was in Germany/Oktoberfest, one thing I didn’t do and probably should have done was eat: pork knuckle. A few people told us how amazing it was and what a true German tradition is is, but I couldn’t get myself to order it. Alas, I suppose this means another trip to Oktoberfest is in my future!

exploration & discovery

amount of a full life

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

Matt asked me to write a guest blog about traveling. I couldn’t be happier to do so, because traveling is thrilling. The chance to travel, I will always jump at. I carry my passport and have the essentials on me at all times. If an opportunity rises where I could leave the country this moment, or get in a car and go—I would do it. I don’t want anything holding me back. If an adventure is involved, count me in.

With a huge international trip on my horizon and at my fingertips—this is a huge challenge for me to write about. The cursor is blinking at me, taunting me because nothing can keep me sane much longer. I need to get on that plane and I need to go. My production levels are plummeting, and I am sure that is evident to everyone, I digress.

Traveling, it’s one of the most thrilling things we have the opportunity to do as humans. Exploring and going on adventures are an incredible part of our lives. Traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.  Traveling makes you challenge yourself, and it pushes you to your limits. It gets you out of your comfort zone, and gives you perspective. Whether you are traveling for education, long lasting relationships, to see the sites, learn a language and/or taste food you’ve never dreamed of, you will have a new experience along the way.

The travel bug has always been with me. Ever since I was a kid I loved exploration and adventure, I would stay out late, read books and ask millions of questions. I was thirsty. Nothing seemed to help quench my thirst. I wanted more. I knew the only thing that could truly quench my thirst was discovery. I needed to discover things; it didn’t matter if it was a new cuisine, new people, architecture, or stories.

I love being submersed in a new culture. Being in a new place is totally different than seeing it in pictures, or learning about it. Just like you can read about ­­­___(fill in the blank here)__, or talk to people about it—it is far from the same as the experience. Once you experience it, it has a personal meaning and it changes you. It changes who you are. When you are hiking on The Great Smoky Mountains, dipping your toes in the Adriatic Sea, or standing in the Sistine Chapel, you are filled with wonder. You are filled with awe. The moment is absolutely captivating and it’s unexplainable. The moment gives you perspective on your place in the world. Sure, you feel infinitesimally small, yet at the very same time, you are an irreplaceable part of something so much greater than your ego (which is hard for me to grasp).

My friends, traveling isn’t always fun or easy, but it’s worth it. We spend 12 hours lost in the Louvre, countless dives at the Great Barrier Reef, and the view from the top of the Empire State Building is breathtaking—these are the moments that lost luggage, an overbooked hostel, a lost car reservation and a delayed flight are totally worth it. We travel because we need to, because the distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same (and it always will be). But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.

I leave you with this, go at least once a year to a place you have never been before.