Tuesday, November 10, 2015

8 Years Apart


This is a story of my complicated family, well, half of it at least. And the type of non-normal family vacations my complicated half family used to take. For the purposes of this story, here are the facts you need to know: My parents got divorced when I was in elementary school and throughout middle and high school, my mom dated a guy named Murphy. They were essentially married, just without the actual title of being married - they lived together, my brother and I spent weekends there, and we went on "family vacations" together. And like I mentioned before, this is a story of our last weird family vacation, and one of the most vivid memories I have of our weird family before my mom passed away in 2009. 

The photo below was taken in November of 2008 in Great Falls Park, Virginia. This was the second stop on a week long trip we took annually. Each year my mom, Murphy, my brother, and I would take a 4 day trip to Washington DC, usually in the fall around October-November. We would leave Wednesday after school, stay Thursday, Friday, and the weekend, and drive back on Sunday night so I could be back at school on Monday (get this, in high school, I actually LIKED going to school and HATED missing class, ugh who was I) anyways, instead of taking the normal family vacation to the beach every year, this was our vacation. It started when I was in 5th grade, and lasted until 2008, when I was in 10th grade. I have no idea why or how this tradition got started, because my mom LOVED the beach, but alas it was our tradition. 



As I was saying, this was the second stop on our trip. Our first stop was a two day camp/hike session at Harper's Ferry National Park in West Virginia. Which if you have never been, is a MUST SEE. It is absolutely amazing. Especially in the fall, the leaves are changing color, the temperature is perfect, not too hot not too cold, and the mountains are just breathtaking at that time of the year. And when I say "camp" I mean we stayed in a little motel 2 miles from the park because my mother would not sleep in a tent to save her life. But to her, that little motel 2 miles from the park WAS camping, so that was that. Usually we would take the whole day to hike up one of the main parts of the trail in the park, which brought you out to to a large rock overlooking most of the park. Like this: 


One year, I believe I was in either 6th or 7th grade, when we got to the top of that rock, we were all resting and eating lunch, enjoying the view, when we saw a bird flying above us. The sun was nearly at it's peak so it shadowed the bird and made it hard to see, but finally it landed about 25 feet from us, and to our amazement, it was a bald eagle. I had never seen one in the wild before, none of us had, and it was simply stunning. It was a beauty that doesn't ask to be looked at, which made us so much more in awe of it. All of the years of hiking that trail were amazing, but that year in particular stands out in my mind. 

Next after Harper's Ferry, we would drive the short trip to Great Falls Park and get another "hike" in. This short trail was much less aggressive than the real hike of the Appalachian trails at Harper's Ferry (as told by the fact that I am wearing my Ugg boots in the photo above). It was a nice little day trip, though, and the perfect segue into our few days in Washington DC. And out of all the parts of those trips, our days in DC were by far my favorite and what I remember the most. 

Each year we had our usual agenda, we would bike around to all the monuments, go see the white house, Arlington Cemetery, the National Zoo, spend a whole day walking through the Smithsonian Museums, but each year we also tried to do at least one new thing. One year we took a tour of the Capitol Building, the next we went to visit the Holocaust Museum, and one year we went up into the Washington Monument. 

555 feet of pure beauty 

This is the memory I am going to elaborate most on, because as luck (or fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it) would have it, I was in the DC area for work almost 8 years to the week of my family's last trip to DC. Now just to remind everyone of the emotional state that I am, my mom passed away on October 31st, so this year was the 6th anniversary of her passing. And me being in DC always brings back memories of our trips there, so it has always and will always be a little emotional for me, but at this time of the year especially. 

I always tell my friends I have always had a soft spot for DC, and my family's vacations there are the reason why. When I was in middle school/early high school we would spend the days in DC and I always told myself and my family that I wanted to go to college there, or live there once I was a real adult (LOL at the fact that is what I am now). I just felt right there, I loved the city atmosphere, I loved the energy, you guys - I even loved the metro, I just thought it was all so neat. And my family always agreed, that's where I belonged and I needed to live there at some point. I loved the museums and the monuments and the history and the culture, I just loved it all. Self-nominated "DC NERD" right here ya'll. 

 So naturally anytime I get to venture into DC and peruse around, I take full advantage. no-English speaking Swedish women to get on an elevator with. #AMERICA.


I was instantly transported back to 2008 when my family and I went on this exact tour. I remember that year so vividly for a few reasons 1) it was our last trip 2) It was November of 2008...that means that the election was coming up and I remember seeing Obama stuff EVERYWHERE, and later that month he would win the election 3) this was one of the first years my brother and I actually got along on these trips, which made it more fun and meSo on this particular, gorgeous day may I add, I took myself on the hour long metro ride from Maryland all the way to "the most DC thing you can think of" to the top of the Washington Monument. Granted the fact that I was alone, did not bother me, because when I travel for work, literally EVERYTHING I do is alone. But this was a problem for the security guy guiding the tour groups because his job was basically to split us into groups to send us up the elevator on together. He was confused as to why I was alone, and when he realized seriously no one was coming to join me, he stuck me with a group of tall, blonde, and almost no-English speaking Swedish women. It was a little different this time going alone, but the experience and scenery hadn't changed at all. 

To be honest, it is a lot of waiting in line. Which I didn't remember, haha. My ticket was for the 2:30 tour so I made sure I was there by 2:15 just in case. I sat in line outside the actual monument until about 3:10, when my ticket was finally stamped and me and my 8 new blonde Swedish friends made our way through the security metal detectors and inside the monument. Where we sat in line again, for about 10 more minutes, waiting for the elevator. Once you get to the top though, it is so amazingly worth it. You can see DC and the surrounding 30 miles for every direction from 555 feet up. It's simply stunning ya'll. It's true, it's about as DC as it gets. 


The Jefferson Memorial, Ronald Regan Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery


Now I'm really bad at making all of my stories have a good end, and I guess this one doesn't really have an end? But basically, I had a wonderful day in DC, all alone, hanging out 555 feet up, and then treating myself to a $5 glass of wine and walking around the Natural History Museum a little bit tipsy. It always puts me in a good mood being in DC, it reminds me of my mom, and all the happy memories we had before she got sick. It makes me feel a little bit normal reminiscing on family vacation memories, even if they are "half family weird vacation spot" memories, they are something I will always cherish, and I am so thankful that I am able to revisit the spot where so many of those memories were made. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

"I Miss Him Like a Friend"

“I miss him like a friend.”

This is what my best friend Courtney said to me as we were talking about an upcoming show for Andrew McMahon that we wished we could attend. For those of you unfamiliar with him, he is the lead singer of the bands “Jacks Mannequin” and “Something Corporate” he now performs solo as “Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness”. Courtney and I have both been obsessed with him since before we had even met one another, and he has become a very important figure in both of our lives (read: basically we are just obsessed with him as a human and his music and he is amazing). This summer, we were lucky enough to finally see him in concert at The National in Richmond Virginia. He put on an absolutely amazing performance, and Courtney and I both had not seen him perform in over 4 years, so we were way past due. We both had an amazing time, we danced, we sang, I cried (long story), and we connected with the people around us and his music and it was a fantastic night. After leaving that concert, Courtney and I both talked about how really the only thing we could relate that concert to was some sort of “spiritual experience”. Which obviously it was not, but we were both moved so emotionally and so much in awe of him and his performance afterwards, that it is all we could talk about.


Fast forward about two months, and Brad Paisley announces that he will be coming to perform at Virginia Tech to kick off some college-country-nation type tour is he doing. FOR FREE. So obviously, with him being one of my favorite country singers of all time, I know I will be at that concert. So the time comes and me and my boyfriend and a couple of our friends head down to the part of campus where he will be performing and stake out a small patch of grass where we can all see pretty well. He starts playing and everyone goes wild, obviously, and the concert is going great. Throughout the concert, I noticed that Taylor (that’s my boyfriend – I guess I haven’t really ever mentioned that in this, woops) was trying to talk to me about just random things in the middle of the songs, or when the songs were over in the minute or two before he would play the next one. He also seemed really bothered by just everything that was going on around us (drunk college students at a free concert, there was a lot going on around us) where as I was just focused on the music and the performance and just worried about hearing this amazing live artist playing in front of me. So anyways, the concert ends and we are walking home and Taylor brings it up. He was kind of taken aback by how “unaware” of everything else I seemed and a little annoyed I was basically ignoring his attempts at conversation the entire concert. I told him that I was too busy enjoying the music and the energy of the artist to worry about anything else. I was so content just sitting there listening to live music by a fantastic artist, I wasn’t thinking about anything else.

And this brought me to the conclusion that there are essential two types of concert-goes: the emotional ones, and the non-emotional ones. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am for sure in the “emotional” category. Especially if it is an artist that I have a very strong attachment too, almost nothing will be able to ruin that concert for me. I think it can be summed up like this: there are people that go and listen to the music, and then there are people that go and feel the music. I think that is pretty accurate. There are people that say "I miss him like a friend, we need to go see him in concert soon" and there are people that say "Let's get a big group and go see ______!". And yes, do not worry, I understand there are some concerts that are just simply not like that, more of a party than a concert, so do not worry, I get that. 

But, as I mentioned before, I CRIED at the Andrew McMahon concert this summer, for many reasons, but I have been listening to Jacks Mannequin since early middle school, his music has gotten me through so many things, and I have listened to it during so many different times in my life. And I think that is why I am an emotional concert goer. I understand the emotion and feeling that goes into every song an artist puts out, and I can feel that. I also pick and choose my concerts, I do not just pay $20, $50, $75, whatever it is for concerts to see any group or artist perform. Music is something that is supposed to capture you emotionally, and some people really feel that, and some just listen. I’ll admit, sometimes I take it too far, in a “it makes me question my whole existence and all of my life choices and my entire future and makes me an emotional puddle for the next 48 hours” but sometimes it gives me an energy that I haven’t been able to find from any other event or substance. It’s like your emotions are right up on the edge ready to bubble over but instead they give you a rush that is unlike anything else.


Concerts really are a “spiritual experience” (I hate using that but I can’t think of any better words) for me, they give me a rush, a high, a pulse, that you just don’t get in everyday life. They have a magic that makes the words and the music come alive and pump through your veins to the same beat as the artist, which to me is just incredible. They are not just an event that I can buy tickets to, attend, and go home at the end. They change me, and I understand not everyone is like that, and for those of you that aren’t, I really hope you have something else that gives you that rush, because let me tell you, it’s simply life changing. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What No One Tells You About Adulthood

Something that I have realized in the difference between my "freshman" year of life and my "sophomore" year of life is that I have been pushed much more toward the "adult" side of the spectrum where as last year I could still pretend I was in the "college kid" category. And to be honest, it has it's pros and cons. Right now, it feels like more of the cons than the pros, but i know it has both. So if you are like me and still feel stuck being busting out my selfie stick after a few tequlia shots but also feeling too old to late night until 4:00 AM with the college kids, this might just be the article for you. 




1. All of your friends move away and you feel like you are alone in the world. - Yes, everyone warns you about taxes and job interviews and all that jazz, but no one tells you that all of your friends move away and you have to coordinate work schedules, time zones, and personal lives just to be able to talk to each other for more than 5 minutes at a time. Basically once you get out of college life does everything in it's power to tear you and your friends apart and it's a shit ton of work to stay friends. They aren't always going to be there to pull you out of bed and make you go out and be social. They also won't always be there to sit on the couch and watch 4 seasons of "How I Met Your Mother" in one sitting while ignoring responsibilities. So you really have to enjoy the time you have with them, enjoy every conversation and enjoy every skype session you get, because sometimes they are few and far between. 

2. Student loans are super real. -  In college and in high school, student loans, and financial aid and all of that nonsense seemed fake to me. And then last year, when for the first 6 months after graduation my student loans had not kicked in yet, I was loving life. I was enjoying being employed and being an alum and still high on the fact that I had finally graduated college. and then BAM. Student loan payments start and i come down from that real quick. Coming to the realization that a pretty solid chunk of my paycheck each month goes to a loan company. And without getting into it too much, it's one of the hardest things to watch some of my friends who have no student loans get to save up and buy new cars or have nicer apartments or go on cool trips where as I will be writing a check for $XXX to a student loan company until I am least 40. That is scary. and it sucks. 


3. Your job/school work *probably* isn't going to be very glamorous. -  Sometimes we have these ideas of what life will be like once we are done with the treacherous late nights in college and grueling days of exams and papers and midterms, etc. Weather it's that engineering job at the great firm you have had your eye on forever or working on wall street, writing that book and making a bunch of money, or even just having a fancy office with a great window view, your first few years out of college are not going to be what you expect them to be. So seriously, get used to getting your boss coffee, working late with no overtime, getting put on all the "crappy" projects that no one else wants to do because you have the least seniority, or even having to go to your HR office twice a month because you don't understand your benefits or leave time balances, not that I know yet but I really REALLY like to think that all of those things will pay off one day. 

4. Your college major is less and less relevant the older you get. - Yes, there are some majors where you need that degree or that certificate to do what you dream of doing. But then there are some jobs (about 50%) where your college major is completely unrelated and irrelevant to the type of work you are doing. For example, in my example, I work in college admissions. So yes, my degree was great in that it taught me to work with people and all that stuff, but I have coworkers who have degrees in Biology, Geology, International Studies, French, seriously anything. Moral of the story, changing your major isn't the end of the world and if you don't know what you want to do yet that's okay too. 

5. Eating right and staying healthy is actually really, really, hard (and expensive) - If you ask me, this whole Kale trend is a conspiracy theory and gyms are just a front for the mafia to make some money. Which you have to buy into either eating like a rabbit or running like a rabbit to stay healthy in this day and age, which both are super expensive. As long as you can have the self control to not eat a gallon of ice cream every week and do some sort of physical exercise you will be okay, but let me tell you, that is WAYYY easier said than done. 

6. Your entire Facebook feed is going to be filled with babies/puppies/weddings/and drunk college kids. - Which is super confusing, because you feel stuck in the middle. You are not engaged, you are not pregnant, you are barely making enough money to support yourself in your tiny apartment yet alone pay for a puppy, but also you have real responsibilities so you are not going out every night drinking and partying, and you wake up most days knowing where your keys/wallet/and phone are. You have it together more than the college students you know, but not QUITE as much as everyone who is getting married and procreating. And that is okay, to be honest, enjoy this middle ground. You know where you phone is most of the time, and you don't quite yet have to take care of a tiny human, things could be worse. 

But yes, taxes actually do suck (see Rachel Green quote above), figuring out your health insurance is really hard, but also realizing that you can pay for all of your own living expenses and sticking to a monthly budget for this first time in all your years, being an adult can be ~kind of~ rewarding. So enjoy this time, one day we will look back and miss a more simpler time. Enjoy the late nights, and the early mornings, and the job interviews and the grad school applications and getting coffee for your boss because some day, maybe soon or maybe way WAY later, will all be worth it. 


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friends vs How I Met Your Mother

Hi Everyone! 

So I have been thinking about this post for quite a while now, like a really long time, but I never had the time to just sit down and finalize the list. So ever since Friends came onto Netflix this past January and I finally got to watch the whole serious through, I have been mentally noting the obvious and some not-so-obvious similarities between Friends and How I Met Your Mother.


So without further ado, here is Kate's official list of similarities between How I Met Your Mother and Friends. 


1. There are the obvious ones that everyone talks about, a group of young friends, living in New York City, hanging out at the same place every day, never really being at work. 



2. There is the also very well known similarities of the type cast of characters. 
Ted and Ross, Monica and Lily, Marshall and Chandler, Robin and Rachel, Joey and Barney (poor Phoebe being kind of left out of that little comparison). 


3. No one actually knows what Barney and Chandler do, and they make jokes of it throughout the show that no one knows what they do. 



4. The womanizer guy marries the long-term relationship couple. AKA Joey marries Monica and Chandler and Barney marries Marshall and Lily. 



5. The two main best friends on the show Marshall and Ted and Ross and Chandler both met in colleges and were roommates. 



6. The "nerdy" guys in the shows end up being professors in their respective field of work. Then they both end up dating a student when they are professors. 



7. Chandler and Marshall both cannot take a good picture. 

8. Rachel throws an impromptu party in order to hang out with her love interest Joshua, and Ted throws an impromptu party (three actually) to hang out with his love interest Robin. 

9. Robin and Rachel both date foreign guys and make Ted/Ross jealous. 



10. They both live in obscenely large, never would be able to afford in real life apartments. 



and my absolute three favorite similarities.....

11. Ted and Chandler both have female middle names. Ted Evelyn Mosby, and Chandler Muriel Bing. 

12. Janice is in both shows. In Friends she plays the character Janice, and then in How I Met Your Mother she is Marshall and Lily's realtor. 



13. This girl gets dumped on her birthday. IN BOTH SHOWS. like come on people. you can't make this stuff up. 


Can you guys think of any other good ones?! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

(2)5 Before 25



Alright, so let's just glance over the fact that I haven't blogged in like a million years over here, and just move on to something fun to talk about. So today at work right after my lunch break I was taking my normal 5-10 minute "pinterest inspiration" time to settle myself back into my desk and get used to staring at a computer screen, all while sipping on my afternoon caffeine of choice (today's happens to be a can of RedBull, duh) I happened upon a little article/blog/whatever called "25 Things to do Before You Turn 25". It really caught my eye for many reasons.

 The First being because I have always been a fan of the "30 before 30 lists" or "50 before 50 lists" really just Bucket lists in general, but with 25 being about 1.25 years away for me, this one really got my attention. So I continued to read it and of course it was a lot of "live life in the moment, no regrets" type things, which I expected. But it really made me think about how close to 25 I actually am, and made me want to create my own list of things I want to accomplish before I am 25. And since I am at work and actually have a thousand other things to do (also I have a new job, but I will talk about that later) for now I am just going to write about 5 things I want to do before 25. So without further ado- here are the starting 5 things I was to accomplish/do before I turn 25, the other 20 will come maybe all at once or maybe in more increments of 5, who knows? Not me but hey I try to keep it lively around here. 

1. Sky Dive - this has been something that has literally been on my list since I was 17 or 18 or whatever the legal age to jump out of a plane is. I know a lot of people that have done it, and I'm not afraid of heights or anything, it's just a little bit expensive and one of those things that I am always like "oh yeah I'll do that next year" or "I'll keep saving up for it" but for real, now I have a deadline, and I really really really really want to jump out of a plane. 

2. Buy a Macbook Pro - I know this one seems really shallow and materialistic. But in all honesty I am a Mac girl through and through. I have always had PCs for my jobs and my Mac I had in college died right about the time I graduated college and I never got around to getting a new one. Having a mac makes me take better care of my electronics, my photos, my blog, really all the technical, electric, internet related things in my life. They are so pretty and I keep telling myself I am going to buy one after I get a new job, but that has yet to happen. And to make sure I don't just go blow a whole credit card limit on one, I am giving myself until I am 25 to complete this goal. 

3. See the freaking Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum. No explanation needed. 

4. Pay more than just the minimum payment on my student loans each month. Seriously, I need to start sticking to a budget (what's that like) and paying more on my credit cards and student loans than is required each month. I know in the end it will help me NOT live paycheck to paycheck, and make me overall happier in the end. 

5. Run a half marathon - Running is something I really fell out of after I got out of high school where I ran cross country and track for four years. I mean don't get me wrong I could go run a 5K if I wanted to right now (and have run a few in the past 5 or so years) but I think a half marathon would really challenge me and make me focus on my training and endurance rather than just going for a run because it's easy exercise. Also, when I was first diagnosed with Crohn's disease my arthritis in all of my joints was TERRIBLE and my doctor said I would probably never run a race again, so just to prove everyone wrong, I want to. 

Well folks, there ya got, a quick peek into my the life of Kate and a few of the things I want to do before that quarter life crisis hits. Anyone have any similar things or totally different things on their lists? LET ME KNOW I LOVE HEARING ABOUT YA'LL! Alrighty, well until next time, which will be soon, I PINKY PROMISE. 


Friday, January 30, 2015

Alternative Life

Alright, so to make things a little easier transitioning back into blogging....seriously ya'll this is going to be the epitome of the word "transition" it's gonna take a while. Also, it's Friday and I wanna be at home in my bed because it's snowing and gross out and it's cold. So I am using this topic to get away from this life and fly off into my own imaginary world. Anyways, to ease back into it I've chosen a pretty simple topic for today...."My Alternative Life". 

If you know me at all, you know that I am pretty much your normal middle class always broke recently graduated college girl who is working her first office job. That means that I get up around 6:30 everyday, am at work by 8:00 AM and am at my office until 5:00 PM until it is time to go home. Rinse and Repeat 5 days a week. And don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job, I truly truly do, but sometimes I think that if I could pick another lifestyle or something else like that, it would be a lot less "8-5 office" type work. So I did some brainstorming and with the help of pinterest, some photo finding, and decided that if I had the chance to live an "Alternative Life" this is what it would be. 

SOOOO.....if I had one do-over.....

I would quit my 8-5 job. and move somewhere warm. where it is ALWAYS warm. And I would wake up (NOT AT 6:30 AM EVERYDAY) and grab a coffee mug from a wall like this. because I am obsessed with mugs and I want to show all of them off. 



And I would have lots of animals. I would have dogs and cats and bunnies and horses, ya know, all that good stuff. just so you know how cute they are...




and then i would step off my front porch onto this....



and maybe do some yoga and surfing and you know, all that cool girl beach stuff, so much so that my tan little butt starts to look like this....


and also while i'm at it since I don't have to work an office job anymore, I would get a bunch of tattoos all over me. Not that I'm someone who thinks that you can't have tattoos in an office job, but alternative Kate would have way more tattoos than normal Kate does. 



oh and since i live at the beach my hair would always look like this

and at the end of the day i would take a nice long bath in an amazing tub that looks like this (overlooking the ocean of course)

Yeah i know that was short and sweet and to the point, but today I am wishing I was surfing and living on the beach instead of being stuck in an office, so just let me wish okay?

Well hope all of your Fridays are better than mine and will turn out to be a great weekend!