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.



smell my feet, give me something good to eat

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

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, it’s not Christmas, but it is the beginning of the holiday season…well, at least in my mind. I love Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I have fond memories of Halloween, October and harvest. My childhood was filled with dressing up in costumes, decorating, craving pumpkins and drinking hot apple cider. I know, I am a little over the top.

Today, I wanted to talk to you about trick-or-treating. What a crazy weird idea, eh? Trick-or-Treating is now a billion dollar industry. As an American custom, trick-or-treating wasn’t always part of Halloween. A little over 60 years ago, many Americans had never even seen a trick-or-treater. It is something everyone, both parents and kids alike, look forward to every year. It doesn’t matter if you are in it for the costumes, the party, seeing everyone dressed up or just the candy–everyone is in it for something. 

When I was a kid (and yes, still now) I dressed up. I had the most elaborate costumes: Dorthy, Pippi Longstockings, a Christmas tree, a graduate, a princess, Raggedy Ann. Often times my mom would make them, but my favorite part of my costumes was a bag I got to carry around with me that looked like a witch. You guessed it, it was my trick-or-treating bag. For years I carried this around with me and come to think of it, next time I am at home, I’m snagging that from my parents for next year. No, I don’t go trick-or-treating now, but I still dress up. To me, dressing up is half the fun of Halloween. It’s the one time of the year it’s societally and socially acceptable to be someone you aren’t. For one night, you get to go out and embrace that.

I was curious to know more about the history on trick-or-treating and this is what I found. Take a look at this article. It’s an interesting read. We’ve come a long way. This holiday has boomed into something uncontrollable, but I don’t see anyone complaining about it.

Go out, dress up and live in the moment. Enjoy Halloween. Be safe and be smart. Happy Halloween!

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.

halloween in the city

nothing like celebrating halloween

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

I love tours and tours in DC are never disappointing. There is always something to learn and something to see, over all it’s a wonderful time. I bring you three Ghost Tours that DC has to offer. Granted I haven’t been on one yet, the reviews say they are some one scary. These tours will dive into the ghostly history of DC. What are you waiting for?

National Building Museum Ghost Tour

This tour is recommended for ages 10 and up, so feel free to bring your kids along on this one. Tales of mystery, murder and ghosts are just a few of the things you can expect to hear. If legend is to be believed, you may see a few things of interest as well.

Tours are offered weekly in the fall, so visit the museum site for more details.

Natalie Zanin’s Ghost Story Tour of Washington

Started in 2001, this tour bills itself as the district’s longest running ghost tour. They must be doing something right (or wrong, to keep having these undead spirits haunting around them all the time). The Ghost Story Tour is another family-friendly attraction (children age eight and older are welcome). Purchase tickets online here.

Washington, DC Ghost Tour

These tours are getting more and more family-oriented. The Washington D.C. Ghost Tour prides itself on providing accurate information on the rich (and sometimes scary) history of the nation’s capital. The tour takes place in Lafayette Park, which is also known by the less inviting “Tragedy Square,” and seeks to be one of the most creepily informative tours you’ll ever take.

Tickets can be purchased online here.

Fright at the Museum: Dead Man Walking

This sounds like so much fun! Fright at the Museum takes place at the Crime Museum in DC. The museum is turned into a haunted house, and said to be one of the scariest in the city.

Tickets can be purchases online here.

THE ZOO– of course they celebrate Halloween. Check out these awesome events.

Boo at the Zoo

October 25-27, 2013, 5:30-8:30 p.m. National Zoo, Washington, DC. Visit bats, spiders, owls, and other animals at the zoo while trick-or-treating. Enjoy animal encounters, keeper talks, festive decorations, and haunted trails at the annual National Zoo’s Halloween celebration. Costumed volunteers will hand out candy at more than 40 treat stations.

Night of the Living Zoo

October 30, 2013, 6:30 – 10 p.m. National Zoo, Washington DC. Wear your best costume while enjoying the zoo by moonlight. Experience bone-chilling and mind-boggling performance art including palm readers, fire eaters, talking bats, and illusionists. You must be at least 21 years old to attend this event. A valid ID is required for admission. This is an adults-only event.

With all of these awesome events going on in DC for Halloween, I will certainty get my fill. I can’t wait to go on a ghost tour, learn about the city’s history and to event step into a haunted house. For me Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and this year I will be celebrating properly.

harvest season

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”-Benjamin Franklin

autumn has arrived?

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

I’m the biggest advocate for a good beer as the next person is, but I’m an even bigger advocate for autumn! And when you put these two things together, it is honestly heaven for me. Both beer and autumn are a God-sent and they couldn’t have come at a better time.  Listen, I’m not saying I like having my Summer cut short and Halloween decorations to be out already–I just want a nice long autumn. So, hear this Christmas–don’t get any ideas about promoting yourself even earlier this year.

Take a listen and give me your thoughts!