travels // Cincinnati

hey there blog world; remember me?

i have so much to tell you about. oodles of fun things have been going on. like that i got engaged; that i went to my first cooking class; that i attended my very first blogging conference; that i rocked my return debut as a social media diva. all that and more coming to a screen near you.

but first, the start of a new ongoing series. i am fortunate to get to travel all over the place both for work and for fun and sometimes i mash up of the two. already this year i’ve been on seven trips. what better place to share and document the snazzy {and sometimes not-so-snazzy} places i get to explore than here?! exactly.

i just returned yesterday from a trip to Cincinnati for a trade show. it was my first time in the great(?) state of ohio, in the land of chili (apparently there’s a 3/4/5 way at a place called skyline. who knew.) it was a short and sweet visit filled with booth hours, good food, cheap wine, trade show swag, and good times with some cool kids.

here’s what went down in cincy-whatski (babes in toyland, anyone?)



Cincinnati NPTC



nada Cincinnati


boi na braza Caipirinha


Cincinnati airport, starbucks


so that’s that. back to the lands of minny… for a little while anyways.

safe travels, lovelies.

attn: blogging hiatus to end soon {the story of my recent life}



hi friends! miss me? i sure hope so.

i have so many things to write about and so little time to do it! life has been amazing and wonderful and full of adventures and blessings. here’s a little sneak peak of what’s been going on… lots of exciting things i can’t wait to share in more detail! soon… soon…



the story of my recent life

  • brandon and i took a cooking class and i, yes i , fried up tofu like a top chef (with supervision and guidance, of course)
  • spent a glorious week in the Caribbean with my family doing nothing but soaking up the sun and drinking prosecco (mostly)
  • the best moment so far in my life… the love of my life asked me to marry him <3
  • this weekend i will be making my return to the stage ballroom to present on social media at EXHIBITOR2014

brandon turns the big 3-0 {happy birthday fiancé!}

today, at  2:45PM to be exact, my fiancé officially turns the big 3-0. (wow, you are old babe.) in the spirit of the occasion i have made a list of 30 of my favorite moments with the birthday boy. i hope you are enjoying your day off, brandon, and i cannot wait to celebrate tonight! can’t wait for many more birthday celebrations to come. i love you so very much! XOXOXO

happy birthday brandon

  1. the moment i got a message back from you on match
  2. sitting at OPH for about 4 hours on our first date
  3. learning that you like flowers in your cocktails at chino
  4. our first kiss
  5. you weekend we went on a pumpkin cooking craze and you tried to teach me how to cook
  6. when you met my family for the first time
  7. when i came over after work but forgot my overnight bag and you drove from softball to minneapolis to get it for me
  8. meeting your mom at thanksgiving
  9. teaching you how to make kringla
  10. going christmas crazy and getting our own real christmas tree
  11. the first time you told me you loved me
  12. having you there for me when my nana passed away
  13. your first trip Albert Lea
  14. when you asked me if we should start making my change of address labels aka do you want to move in
  15. how patient you were when i had a full blown anxiety attack before i went on my cruise
  16. when you got me the infamous serendipity 3 mug every time you drop me off and pick me up at the airport
  17. when we decided that we would have an agreement where i didn’t have to cook if you didn’t have to clean
  18. supporting me throughout working on my presentation at EXHIBITOR2013 with many saturday mornings spent at various coffee places
  19. celebrating your birthday in florida with matt and sandra
  20. laying in the hammock in marco island
  21. training for our half marathons
  22. many nights spent laying next to you crushing candies
  23. celebrating our one year anniversary
  24. carving pumpkins with starks
  25. starting to look at houses together
  26. classic pictures sticking out tongues out at each other
  27. our incredible trip to new york
  28. spending a week in paradise with my family (most of your time spent in the hammock)
  29. the last selfie we took as boyfriend/girlfriend
  30. when you asked me to marry you

give a dog your heart & you’ll get one in return {happy birthday starks}

happy birthday starksi grew up never having a pet. i mean we had fish once, bert and ernie, but they didn’t last long from what i remember. the lack of pets wasn’t for lack of wanting; i have always loved dogs (i mean seriously who doesn’t, seriously, who could not.) and i loved playing with my friends or family’s pups. my brother and i dropped many a hint that we would love a puppy brother, but instead we got a human brother. who i did indeed dress up like a puppy when he was young and impressionable. true story. sorry not sorry carter. and our babysitter had a cat, fonzy, that i tried to pretend was a dog but talking him on walks (against his will) and making him sit on my lap. but that’s really as close as it got.

starks the pup

starks the pup

for those of you who don’t know, starks is brandon’s dog (he adopted him about a year before we met). he is a schnauzer/terrier/hot mess combo – but to many people’s surprise when hearing that breed, he is about 54 pounds. but he thinks he is a lap dog. for a (nearly) daily pictures of him you can give me a follow on just about any social media platform and cuteness will fill your screen. starks loves to play ball; especially the moment that both brandon and i are home from work; he loves to play with a rope that brandon and i hid because we hated playing with it; he loves treats; he gets anxious at the first sign of one of us packing a suitcase (even a gym bag); he doesn’t like not being included in hugs; he is afraid of the kitchen floor and will only go in so far and then has to back out; he is an attention whore and will bark at me and lick my face obnoxiously as soon as i start talking on the phone; he loves to wrestle and play; and loves to steal my spot in bed. mostly, he loves to be petted and cuddled and laying right in the middle of brandon and i. and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

happy birthday starks

dogs have a way of rescuing people who need them; and filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had

and today, is that adorable pup’s 3rd birthday. though we’re still trying to teach him what that means. but, to you my pup, i wish you a happy day filled with belly rubs, treats, playing with the ball, and cuddles. love you so much. xoxoxo

Want to see more of Starks? Interested in witticism and thoughts from the pup himself? follow him on twitter @starksthepup

gather up your scattered dreams & build a life you love ((goals and intentions))

2014 goals and intentionsa new year is a great time to take a look at where you’ve been and where you want to go. a couple weeks ago i posted the review of how my 2013 goals and intentions panned out and thus it is time to formally announce my plans for 2014 . i really enjoy the idea of setting plans for the coming year, but have much grief with “resolutions” because they are so black and white. and because of that they are easy to just give up on the one time you “break” your resolution. i fancy goals and intentions because they are flexible, adjustable, and open to changing as life changes. this is going to be a year of focusing on overall health, wellness and happiness…

healthy living

overall i just want to keep being active and continue to be more aware of what i’m putting into my body. no diets, no programs; just clean eating and good ‘ol fashioned exercise.

  • continue going to the gym at least 12 times/ month
    • shift to running outside when if spring ever comes
  • run Goldy’s 10 Mile & the Color Run 5K
  • find a half marathon and complete it in >2 hours
  • strive to get more steps daily thanks to my fitbit flex
  • get my wellness fx assessment

growing my smarts

i love to learn. for reals. it is something i miss about being in school. though it’s not the right time for me to head back to grad school (yet) i want to be sure i’m always growing and expanding my horizons in new ways.

  • read 4 books; my mom and i are starting our own little book club. though i love to read it gets easy to put it off so this way we’ll be held accountable. our first book is, i thought it was just me; women reclaiming power and courage in a culture of shame.
  • go to a wine tasting and become more educated on how to pair it with meals (i mean any reason to drink more wine is a good goal, right?)
  • brandon and i are taking a cooking class later this month at local d’lish on vegan cooking – while we aren’t vegan, it should be a fun time and hopefully teach us (me) some things

social media diva

my blog is one of my favorite things. i love coming up with an idea for a post, and feeling so accomplished once its finished. it gives me pride and happiness. and yet, it’s what gets the shaft when life gets busy. i want to carve out time each week to blog or do social media diva related tasks.

  • rock out my presentation on Unleashing the Power of Social Media at EXHIBITOR2014 & the EXHIBITOR FastTrak
  • attend my first social media/ blogging conference, Go Blog Social (my ticket is officially purchased!)
  • post no fewer than 3 times per month on my blog
  • continue defining my personal brand, “social emma”

full of thanks and grace and love

likely the most important goal for this year is to practice thanks, grace and love everyday; towards myself, towards others, towards my job, towards my hobbies, towards the world. deep, i know. i want to be present and enjoy all the blessings i am given each day. with my anxiety, i tend to live in either the past, the future or the what if. this year is already filled with amazing experiences and opportunities and adventures and i know that list will only continue to grow. i want to be there and truly enjoy each moment.

  • i purchased an app last year called day one – it’s like a daily journal. what i like about it is that you can add tags so last year i started a tag called “itsthelittlethings” so that i could look back at all the wonderful things that happen daily/ weekly/ whatever that are so easy to forget, and remember them.
  • start practicing yoga; whether its something i do every morning, every evening or just taking some classes at the gym i think the meditation of it will help keep me focused and present
  • potentially and maybe try acupuncture. i am terrified of needles, and that’s no exaggeration. so obviously, the thought of acupuncture is almost unbearable. (ok, that may be an exaggeration) but there are many benefits. so maybe. maybe

of course, this list will be ever evolving throughout the year. but i like having something to keep me in line and give me some focus. we’ll see what becomes of this all. stay tuned for updates as we get further into the year. i’m sure you’ll be on the edge of your seat.