Tag Archives: former blog

My abbreviated travel log

(originally posted March 31, 2012 on my former blog)

I got a passport in December 2006 for a work trip and, five years later, it is almost full.  To say I love to travel is an under-statement.  I’ve been lucky to travel a lot for work, a little bit through my graduate program, and a fair amount for personal trips.  This is a (mostly) one-picture glimpse into some of my trips, both international and domestic.

Cancun – January 2006

I went to Cancun with my friend a few months after Hurricane Wilma.  This was my first international experience – way back when they didn’t require passports!

Dancing at Señor Frogs. Despite what it looks like, I am not about to “smack that a$$”

Toronto & Niagara Falls – May 2006

This is when I fell in love with Toronto.  My friend Erin traveled here for work frequently so I tagged along.  We hung out in the city for a few days and spent the weekend in Niagara Falls.  Why wait to spend a romantic weekend in Niagara Falls with a guy – go with one of your girlfriends!  🙂

<I am very sad to say that I can’t find any pictures of this trip :(.  I still want to mention it because it was a lot of fun>

Ireland – January 2007

I got my passport in December 2006 for this trip!  I went to Galway, Ireland for a work project.  I got to spend a weekend alone in Ireland so I took a bus tour around Western Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher

Don’t fall over the edge.

Brainerd, Minnesota – May 2007

We went to a cabin in Brainerd for Laura’s bachelorette party (Colleen’s sister).  It. was. so. much. fun.  The thing I most remember is “Have I got a dance for you!”.  This guy would not leave us alone and repeatedly asked if someone would dance with him.  When the band was on break and they were playing filler music, I decided to make him wish he never bothered us so much to dance.  It started out like this:

Then I did a little of this:

and this:

Paris – July 2007

I stopped in Paris to visit my friend Noemie for four days before a study abroad.  Noemie had to work a few days, which gave me the opportunity to do sight-seeing on my own.  I am a very independent traveler so I loved this.  I could operate on my own time and didn’t have to feel guilty making Noemie see things she has probably visited a million times.

Me in front of the Eifel Tower.

Bucharest, Romania – July 2007

Bucharest was the first stop on a 10 day study abroad trip I took through my MBA program.  We traveled with 40 students from the Vienna Executive MBA program so it was just as interesting traveling with them as it was seeing the sights of Romania and Russia.   This was about 6 months after Romania joined the EU so there was a lot of excitement in Romania about their future.

Palace of Parliament in Romania. It is the world’s largest civilian building, most expensive administrative building and heaviest building. It was designed and nearly completed in the 1980’s by the Ceausescu regime. After the fall of that regime, it was largely seen as a symbolism of the excessive luxury of Nicolas Ceausescu’s leadership.

St. Petersburg, Russia – July 2007

This was the second portion of our Economies in Transition trip.  I know this is a very random picture, but this is where I had the best Chicken McNuggets ever.  Yes, I do like to visit McDonald’s in other countries to see what the differences are (and sometimes I just crave American food).  My favorite part of Russia was seeing the ballet ‘Swan Lake’, but I cannot find any good pictures from that evening.

McDonalds in St. Petersburg

London – November 2008

I took a long weekend trip to London to visit my friend Noemie since she was working on a project there.  I saw the changing of the guards, went on the London Eye, walked around a lot, bought a great wallet at Ted Baker (that broke less than year later!), and we went out on the town with Noemie’s friend Jeannine.

Big Ben in the evening. So pretty. I took this picture from the London Eye across the river.

Brazil – January 2009

This was another study abroad for school and my last class of my MBA program!  Woohoo!  We spent two weeks studying at FGV in Sao Paulo and went to Rio for the weekend.  I know this picture isn’t a picture of Brazilian scenery, but I like it because it reminds me of how much fun I had on the trip.

I was twirling.

East Coast – October 2009

My best friend, Colleen, and I take a trip almost every year.  This was our third trip.  We went to Portland, Maine; the White Mountains in New Hampshire; Montpelier, Vermont; and Salem, MA.  I could share a lot of great pictures from this trip, especially because it is beautiful here that time of year.  But, one of the highlights of the trip was the Wife Carrying Competition:

They went over this obstacle, through water, up a hill, and to the finish line!

Thailand – May 2010

This is a trip that is really difficult to sum up in one picture.  I spent two weeks in Thailand with my friends Melanie and B. Bea.  We visited Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui.  I wrote all about this trip and have a few more pictures when I did a guest blog for This Life in Motion on Monday.

Our resort in Koh Phangan. Check out This Life in Motion for more pictures – especially of the Full Moon Party! If you click on this picture it will take you to my guest post about Thailand.

Around the world – August 2010

I went on a three week work trip to Europe and Asia that included: Scotland, Prague (Czech Republic), Seoul (South Korea), Singapore, Hong Kong, Nanjing (China) and Shanghai (China).  I got to spend part of a weekend in Prague and a full weekend in Singapore.  I’ll probably have to share more than one of this trip 🙂

Old Town Square in Prague

Seoul, South Korea. I am having a brain fart on what this place is called.

View from the Singapore Flyer

Las Vegas – September 2010

We went to Vegas in September 2010 for my brother’s wedding.  It was so much fun!  This was my first time staying downtown and it won’t be the last time.  The Golden Nugget was so nice (and affordable) and downtown is very laid-back and easy to move from casino to casino.  We had my brother’s Grooms Dinner at a local bar to watch the Vikings game.

This was the Vikings vs. Saints game in September 2010.

Napa Valley – June 2011

We went to Napa Valley in June 2011 for my friend Shannon’s wedding.  It was beautiful (and the best wedding food ever).  Shannon organized a bus to take us around to a few wineries in the area.  We also stopped by Picchetti Winery, which is a little south of San Francisco.  They are no relation to Matt’s family but we feel a connection anyway 🙂

Benessere Vineyards

Cancun – December 2011

We went to Puerto Morelos in December for Mark and Ada’s wedding.  It was a nice break from Minnesota winter!  It was also nice and quiet at the resort.

Ceremony site at the resort

As much as I love traveling, I also love coming home.  There is something to be said for sleeping in your own bed and not living out of a suitcase!

Don’t let your energy get zapped

(originally posted April 11, 2012 on my former blog)

This past week, I finished reading The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. I’ve been reading for 20-30 minutes before I go to bed. I read somewhere (Prevention magazine, maybe?) that reading before bed helps you sleep better and I’m a terrible sleeper. So the reading thing is really just killing two birds with one stone. So far, it has helped… but I was also very exhausted last week so I don’t know if I can declare the bedtime reading a success yet. I heard eliminating coffee helps too, but I’m not crazy enough ready to go down that road yet.

I thought The Energy Bus was corny, but very effective in delivering a clear message.  The author uses a fictional story to describe the Ten Rules for the Ride of Your Life.  The main character is George, a guy who is having serious marriage troubles, is on the verge of losing his job, and (to top it all off!) his car just broke down for two weeks.  I liked the book and suggest it to anyone looking for a quick read and reminder that mindset can really shape our lives.

TEN RULES FOR THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE

  1. You’re the driver of your bus.
  2. Desire, vision, and focus move your bus in the right direction.
  3. Fuel your ride with positive energy.
  4. Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.
  5. Don’t waste your energy on those who don’t get on your bus.
  6. Post a sign that says NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED on your bus.
  7. Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride.
  8. Love your passengers.
  9. Drive with purpose.
  10. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

I think this book applies to all aspects of your life.  I identified with the importance of maintaining your own positive outlook, but also with not letting other people bring you down.  The author calls these people “Energy Vampires”.  We all know people like this, or maybe are or have been people like this.  These are the people who focus on the negative side of life.  My personal opinion is these people can be grouped into a few categories:

  • The trash talkers.  We all have days or periods where other people seriously bug us  and need to vent.  But, these are the people who spend 75% of their time talking about other people, or let specific people really get to them.
  • The people who cut everyone else down.  I think this comes in two forms: cutting people down and being unsupportive.  The unsupportive people can’t be happy for their friends or family because they take other people’s triumphs personally (that is my nice way of saying they are probably jealous, even if it really has nothing to do with them).
  • The victims of life.  These are the people who feel like they’ve just been dealt so many more challenges than everyone else, and the rest of us are living in a land of rainbows and unicorns.  I’m sure we could find a couple of these people by scrolling through our facebook News Feed.  Sure, it’s OK to feel bad for yourself occasionally (because sometimes there is such a thing as bad luck) but we all have challenges.  Some are very visible and some are very private.  Don’t compare your challenges because you don’t know what people are going through now, have been through, or will go through at some point in their life.

I’ve known more than a few people like this in my life, as I’m sure we all have.  I find these people to be extremely draining.  The book suggests telling people flat out that you won’t allow negativity on your bus.  I think the idea of saying “on my bus” is corny, but the overall message is good — don’t let these people play a major role in your life.  Their negativity will be draining on you over time.

Sometimes it isn’t possible to cut out coworkers or family that are “Energy Vampires”.  In this case, I strive not to contribute to the negativity (sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not).  If someone is constantly talking poorly about someone else or complaining, I give them a few minutes to vent and then try to change the subject or offer a positive comment.  If that doesn’t work, I usually leave the conversation by physically leaving the room or distracting myself with something else. 

 Obviously this book brought out some very strong opinions in me.  It was a nice reminder to focus my energy on what produces good things in my life.  Sometimes that can be very hard, but I’d say I am a positive person about 85% of the time.  There will always be people in life who try to bring us down.  The key is to recognize that and don’t let it drain your energy. 

It’s a good day for a laugh!

(originally posted April 4, 2012 on my former blog…)

Yay, Thursday! Let’s celebrate by having a good laugh. I apologize to people who have already seen some of these on my Pinterest board, but they are too funny not to share in this post too. (there are some new ones too)

It’s true. Sometimes I’m so funny that I start laughing halfway through telling the joke and can’t finish it.

This is the best spoof of this picture I’ve seen yet. And, yes, I own two of them.

Those dang Girl Scouts!

This one gets me every time! The look on his face is classic.

I tried to come up with a witty pun to add on to this, but couldn’t.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, I’m sorry – I just couldn’t resist.

I want to meet the person who made this poster because it. is. awesome.

If only…

Yes they are, little girl.

Lionel, is that you?

I consider this post a success if at least one of these made you laugh. Even if it was just a silent chuckle.