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!

an open letter

[insert your name here]

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

Dear You,

As our relationship has progressed you have noticed one motif about my life: go big, or go home. You’re right, I don’t take things lightly and I don’t do them small. If I am going to do something, I commit. With all that being said, my birthday is never a different story. Every few years, the Super Bowl will try to overshadow my special day but I never allow it to do so.

This year, my birthday was wonderful because of you. Celebrating this 24th year is something I will ever forget. Being surrounded by loved ones, receiving phone calls and even the simple smiles truly made the day something special.

Over the years we’ve shared many stories, laughter, drinks and celebrations, but this one was different. This particular birthday celebration encompassed many wonderful aspects of my life. The celebrations this year allowed me to join in all of the tom foolery and showering of love that a birthday should have.

For you, I am grateful. Without you, my birthday would not have been the same. Thank you for the memories we made this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing what my 24th year has in store. I am lucky to have you along for the journey. Once again, thank you. I am so touched and thankful to be blessed by such awesome family and friends!

All My Love,

Kendal Ann

 

 

be thankful

even though it’s not thanksgiving

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

Sure, the month of November reminds us to be thankful for what we have, but being thankful isn’t 111608-thankfula motif that stays with us for the rest of the year. Personally, I believe that every day you should give thanks for one thing. This one thing can be small. Being thankful shouldn’t be a chore; please don’t view it like that. We are all lucky in our own ways and I am certain everyone has just one thing to be thankful for. Today, I challenge you to say thank you to someone or to recognize that one thing which you appreciate.

Today, I am thankful for the nights that turned into mornings. The friends who turned into family and all my dreams that turned into reality.

Remember: it’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.

holiday movies to watch

here’s the list

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

First and foremost, a very merry Christmas to all! A big family tradition for me is cozying up next to the fire, with the pup playing and the family all in one room, watching holiday movies. So far today, we’ve already watched three: Holiday Inn, I’ll be Home for Christmas and Window Wonderland. The following are a few movies to watch during the holiday season.

Die Hard

I’ll be Home for Christmas

Love Actually

Christmas Vacation

Home Alone

White Christmas

Charlie Brown Christmas

Elf

Santa Claus

Jack Frost

Before the day ends, I trust that my family will have conquered this list! From the list above, we have two left. Christmas is kind of a big deal in this household. With that,  I will leave you to enjoy your family and your holiday traditions.

i’m so over it

then why did you join?

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

ΔΦΕ has been a huge part of my life for the past five years and it will continue to be in the forefront of my life. Rushing a Greek organization and the New Member Process are very important steps in any Greek’s life. During these two chapters, you learn that being Greek and being part of an ever growing organization isn’t for four years, rather it’s for life. In my experience, accountability is always a downfall of a sister’s membership. Just like an organization or any activity in life, if you put more into something, the better the results.

Why yes, that is Macklemore and Ryan Lewis throwing up the Unicorn horn!

Why yes, that is Macklemore and Ryan Lewis throwing up the Unicorn horn!

While I was an active sister, I believe that I was the epitome of a “sorority girl” (loyal, professional, high standards, philanthropic, confident, accountable, lively and adventurous) and I still am. You can find me melding into that stereotype because I’m a Vera carrying, bow wearing, pearl sporting, monogram obsessed, southern hair kind of girl and those are an everyday occurrence. Yes, it’s my style and who I am but that’s because of my fondness for my Deephers. Being a Deepher has become such an important thing in my life. I could never imagine uttering the words, “I’m so over the sorority thing” as an active or now as an Alumnae. In the past day, I was sent the article below three times by different women and it’s worth reading, especially if you are Greek. I hope Emily Johnson inspires you and lights a fire under your ass if you are one of those “I’m so over the sorority thing” girls.

The text below is from Emily Johnson’s blog which you can find here. A HUGE shout out to Emily for taking the courage to write this. YITS!

“I’m So Over the Sorority Thing”

When I became a member of my sorority I felt in my heart that I was joining something bigger than myself.

But then along the way you tend to forget.

You forget the meaning of sisterhood because you live in such close proximity to your sisters and they inevitably get on your last nerve.

You forget the bonds you have with these women because boys, frat parties, and cooler decorating become more important.

You forget that you genuinely share an interest with some of the women in your chapter because they can be catty, mean-spirited, quirky, or downright weird. (But you know what, they’re family- and all families have the eccentric one, the dramatic one, the loud one, the quiet one, the one who is MIA majority of the time, and that’s what makes a family interesting. It makes a family a family. )

And then you graduate, and then you really forget.

You lose touch with many of your sisters, the women who were supposed to be your life long friends.

You forget what appealed to you about this chapter, this sisterhood, this bond, because life got in the way and clouded your memory. You look back and it’s hard to see past the time you were wronged, the time a sister wasn’t there for you or any other dramatic moment that redefined your perception of a sorority.

You forget how incredibly special and unique the bond was with your big or your little because you’re older now and it is not socially acceptable to go around calling a twenty-something year old friend, “big”, “mom”, “dot”, or “little”.

In essence you simply forget. There are more important things in life than a sorority. How juvenile.

But then, there are times when your faith in sisterhood and its everlasting bonds is revived.

It’s in times of need, when you see a sister is hurting that you can’t help it -you want to be there for her in some capacity.  Because no matter how hard you try to dismiss it- that bond remains.

When there is a loss, a death, a tragedy we feel compelled to reach out.

That’s lovely.

That’s what you should do.Don’t be so foolish as to think it’s special that you give of your time, your energy, or your love to a dear friend (or even someone who is practically a stranger) when they need it most. It’s what you should do. Not just as a sister, but as a fellow human being.

But there is also something else you should do.

As a sorority woman it’s difficult for people to understand why this silly little chapter means so much to you. Hell, sometimes it’s even difficult for you to remember why this chapter means, or meant, so much to you.

So the next time you find yourself saying or thinking, “I’m so over the sorority thing.” Think about a time in your life when you may really need your sisters and they’ll be compelled to help. You would want that… wouldn’t you?

Think about the time you were a brand new member and were a little intimidated to go to formal but one of the older girls reached out to you and made you feel welcome.

Think about the time at recruitment when you were a senior and it was your last preference ceremony and you balled like a baby and couldn’t explain why.

Think about being a younger member or as a PNM going through rush and seeing the older members cry like babies and think, “I want that. I want something to mean that much to me.”

Think about the night when everyone was going out but you and another sister you barely knew stayed in and watched movies, talked, or went and got froyo instead. Maybe you became best friends, or maybe you didn’t. But it was somehow special.

Think about how stressful it was when big and little time came around- what with all the baskets, spending more time crafting than studying and spending way too much money on ridiculous decorations that you know won’t be acceptable after college but you make them anyway. You invest so much time making sure everything is perfectly painted, bedazzled and glitterfied- only to find remnants of glitter when you move out of your dorm room or apartment, months or years after the fact. (Any sorority woman can attest to the fact that glitter is indeed the herpes of craft supplies.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is this..

Treat your sister, every sister, even the sister you have nothing in common with, with kindness, respect, and acknowledgment that they are of value. Always.

Because, after all, these are more than friends- they’re sisters. You don’t have to like them or hangout with them everyday, but you have all collectively agreed there is a unique bond that you share and thus, you are innately required to care.

It’s easy to forget and let harbored negativity and grudges cloud what was once a very special and important part of your life. Never forget the good times and the genuine spirit that at one point in time  made you choose to become part of a sisterhood. You needed this and they needed you. Regardless of what has happened since, that will always be a large part of your life. Be grateful you were so lucky to have felt that. Not many people do.

We all still need each other.

Even after we graduate.

Even after we get married.

Even after we have children and our college days are but a distant memory.

Instead of holding on to the dramatics of life, choose to remember that feeling you had when it first hit you. When you for once felt like this was where you belonged.

When you start to forget, just remember…

You promised to “forget-me-not”.

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!

support

it’s a powerful thing

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

Here’s a little food for thought. Back in August I got my Daily Dose email from Sam Davidson. The email read as follows:

The Power of Support

Blame Hollywood for giving support so many accolades.

Surely the act of supporting someone or some idea is worthy of recognition. But perhaps support doesn’t need its own highlight. Perhaps the notion of support needs to be elevated to the point where it is on par with any other function. 

It’s like when we call someone a “student” leader (leadership is leadership) or when someone is named a “top female executive” (executives should be judged by talent, not segregated by gender).

Let’s get to a place where someone’s support role is held in as high esteem as the leader, the manager, the entrepreneur, or the artist. Work is work, help is help, and success is success.

A support system is something very special to all of us. With a network that can either be in a professional setting or a person setting these individuals can provide you with both practical and/or moral support when it is needed most.  Today, reflect. Who is in your support system? Do you have cross over in your professional and personal support network? Is there someone you want to be part of your support system, who already isn’t?

 

celebrating 20 years

Hocus Pocus

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

It’s not Halloween or even complete without Hocus Pocus. It doesn’t matter if you are quoting the moving, sending .gifs to friends, a themed party or watching the movie—this movie is a must for the Halloween season. Since the first time I saw Hocus Pocus, I had it bad just like Usher. My mom, sister and I would watch this movie countless times during the Halloween season.

Set in Salem, Mass., on Halloween, three sister witches were executed in 1693 and revived 300 years later. They try to secure their immortal existence in modern-day Salem, Mass.  As a twist, the witches try to remain alive, but only to discover resurrection only lasts through Halloween night unless they capture children and take their life before sunrise. The witches search the city for victims, but in the end the witches are defeated.

This film captures the essence of Halloween.  The over-the-top personalities of the sisters are timeless. The heart and kindness of the Dani and Thackery Binx allow us to know everything will be alight in the end.HOCUS POCUS, Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, 1993

I hold Hocus Pocus near and dear to my heart. It’s one childhood movie that I can watch now and have the same feelings I did when I was a kid. Not to mention, when I watch it now I still learn even more life lessons. Learning life lessons from Hocus Pocus seems silly, but hear me out.

Lesson one: Identity and society

Life lessons can start with the Sanderson sisters (the witches). They are confident, powerful and true to their identities. The sisters know who they are, what they want and they are not going to fall for the pressure of society. They hold strong and true to themselves the entire film. Yes, they are portrayed as evil, but they are awesome because of their trials and tribulations.

Lesson two: embrace your appearance and quirks.

They are witches we love for far more than their appearances (even though they are called ugly a few times). Winifred is the smart and tough. Sarah is ditzy and boy-crazy. Mary is a peacemaker who is goofy and brings everyone back together.  With such drastic personalities, like sister’s have, they work together to solve problems. It is evident they are comfortable with themselves even though they have quirks.  Embrace your appearance and quirks. That’s a message worth hearing, and a spell that’s worth being under.

Lesson three: family will always be by your side.

When you expect it least, your family will always pull through. You can see this lesson several times in the duration of the movie. The witches are always together and helping one each other fulfill their goal. Sure they get off task a few times, but they have their eyes on the prize and nothing is going to stop them from getting to it.  The Dennison’s are always together. Though it was Max’s fault for bringing back the witches, he has the help of his sister. They stick together and are always positive.

As you can see this movie is good for all ages and audiences. Watching it now, I have a new appreciation and found more love for it. I can’t wait for the next time I can sit down and watch this movie with my mom and sister.  Here’s to the 20 year anniversary of an excellent movie.

the newest addition

a warm welcome to Matt Williams

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

Here’s to Matt Williams, the newest addition to the Washington Nationals. Williams will replace Davey Johnson, to now manage the Nats in 2014. The Nationals have been on the hunt for a new manager since Johnson announced his retirement before the 2013 season and Williams looks like a great pick for the Nationals. Though Williams has no managerial experience besides a brief moment with the Arizona Fall League last season, I don’t see any better option for the team!

Background on Williams

He was an All-Star third baseman for the Giants, Indians and Diamondbacks. The cool thing about Williams is that he is actually a five-time All-Star third baseman and a four-time Gold Glove winner. In 2004, he served as the Diamondbacks’ team broadcaster until 2009 when he was hired as the first-base coach.  Most recently, he was coaching the Diamondbacks in the 2010-2013 seasons. In his 17-season major league career, Williams hit .268 with 378 homers, 1,218 RBIs and a .317 on-base percentage.

Williams, now 47, will be managing the Nationals in the 2014 season. I expect great things out of this season.  Mike Rizzo, the Nats’ general manger, was the Diamondbacks scouting director in the early 2000s. Potentially there is a relationship between Rizzo and Williams, and I can only imagine this will make the team stronger for the coming seasons. 

If you are interested in reading more check out this article from the Washington Post about Matt Williams.

Welcome to the family, Matt! Make us proud this year!