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.

2013 in review|a year of changes and blessings galore

2013 in review

just like sand through an hour glass, these are the days of our lives. 2013, you were full of surprises. both pleasant and well, rather unpleasant. through the tears, the laughter, the smiles, the hugs; the tests of my strength (mentally, physically, emotionally); the time spent with family; the celebration of accomplishments; and anxiety of life. throughout it all, i grew. and i am loving the person i have become, because i have worked so hard to become her. i feel so blessed and thankful for all i have, and am over the moon excited to see what this year brings.

Almost crumbling to the ground, she stopped. Looking at how far she had traveled and all it had taken to get there, she recognized her strength. The strengths she had inside of her, the strength she had gained along the way ~ her inner power. And so, she stood up. standing tall, she faced forward and continued on.

places traveled:

  • san antonio, tx (x2)
  • miami, fl (x2)
  • ochos rios, jamaica
  • grand cayman, cayman islands
  • las vegas, nv (x2)
  • ft myers, fl
  • birmingham, al
  • orlando, fl (x4)
  • manchester, nh
  • marco island, fl
  • okoboji, ia
  • indianapolis, in
  • anaheim, ca
  • albuquerue, nm
  • new york, ny

airmiles flown: 37,643

miles ran: 205


  • officially moved in with [b] & #starksthepup and went from being and uptown girl to a burbs girl
  • traveled to san antonio and rode a legit texas longhorn
  • spent priceless bonding time with family in miami
  • went on my first cruise to ochos rios & grand cayman and watched friends get married 

January | 2013 Recap


  • [b] and i survived gluten-free february 
  • went to the tpups vs. knicks game
  • ran the Valentines Day 5K and didn’t die
  • an amazing Valentines dinner at la grolla

February | 2013 Recap


  • march madness of travels: Vegas, Florida, Vegas
  • mini vacay to Ft. Myers Beach with friends and celebrated [b]’s birthday with fish bowl(s)
  • made my EXHIBITOR2013 presenter debut and hosted my own half day workshop
  • went to Bemidji to visit Panda

March | 2013 recap


  • celebrated 3 years at PeopleNet
  • accepted an invitation to be on the conference advisory board for EXHIBITOR2014
  • ran the Get in Gear 10K with a respectable finish time
  • said goodbye to my apartment

April | 2013 recap


  • Haley would have celebrated her 20th birthday on May 2nd
  • watched my momma’s Dancing with the Star’s debut
  • oodles of fun celebrating my 24th birthday
  • 2 year blogiversary <3

May | 2013 recap


  • daycation to stillwater and visited the liftbridge brewery
  • travels to: Florida (x3) and new hampshire
  • drove a jet ski for the first time and it was awful
  • weekend in Duluth for [b]’s half marathon

June | 2013 Recap


  • was selected to host my half day workshop at once again at EXHIBITOR2014
  • ran my second half marathon (in pouring rain, wind, thunder & lightening)
  • had a blast relaxing in okoboji on our family vacay
  • accepted into grad school (decided in sept to take a break from the program. more on that later)

July | 2013 Recap


  • went to see les miserables at the orpheum
  • traveled to san antonio for one of the most sleep deprived, rewarding, crazy, hysterical, fantastic weeks of my life for UC 2013
  • ate lots of goodies and epic people watching at the mn state fair with brandon and young pup

August | 2013 Recap


  • brandon and i celebrated our one year anniversary
  • had a blast at rich and angies wedding
  • went home for the weekend for a little durby side family reunion
  • got crazy and ditched my platinum blonde roots for some darker tones

September | 2013 Recap


  • enjoyed my first juicy lucy at matts bar
  • went apple picking and pumpkin selecting at emma krumbees
  • traveled to orlando. twice. 3 days apart. same hotel.
  • carved pumpkins or at least tried to.

October | 2013 Recap


  • held down the fort while [b] was in china for 2 weeks
  • mom came up for semi annual girls weekend (fall edition)
  • mom and dad’s 29th anniversary
  • traveled to new mexico to spend thanksgiving

November | 2013 Recap


December | 2013 Recap

((this is only the beginning)) my EXHIBITOR2013 experience

to be able to cross off a bucket list item at 23… there are no words, just smiles. i am blessed. it’s incredible the sense of accomplishment that overcomes you as you finish a project that you’ve been pouring over for about 8 months. on march 17th, i didn’t need the luck ‘o the Irish, i knew i was ready to rock my first official debut as a presenter at EXHIBITOR2013. but if we’re looking to really tell a story, we can rewind to last March… take a seat friends, lemme tell you a tale of a social media diva who took her first step in pursuing her dreams…

march 2012

while attending EXHIBITOR2012 i participated in a social media round table. i was sharing my thoughts and experiences with the group, as well as my passion for this topic. afterwards the moderator approached me and asked me if i’d attended any social media classes during the conference and if i had any feedback; i had attended some and while i enjoyed them i felt there was a need for an advanced level social media class. he responded by asking if i would like to host such a session. (insert gasp and holy freaking moly did he just say that?!) he asked me to prepare a session plan to present to the board and get back to him and we’d go from there.i started feverishly working away as soon as i returned home from the conference. i was absolutely ecstatic that presenting a session on social media was just a possibility! i came up with something i felt confident about and passed it along. i had a phone call with the conference director and then all there was left to do was wait…

june 2012


at the airport i checked my email in the elevator and saw an email that literally made me scream with excitement. (this seriously happen, kind of awkward) tears in my eyes and a smile on my face i called my mom to tell her the news; i’ve been invited to speak!!

september 2012


fast forward to the fall; after working on the framework for my presentation over the summer i headed over to boston, mass for speakers training with the one and only Dan Lumpkin. an incredible speaker to learn from. it was 2 short days filled with tips, tricks, best practices and presentations from myself and my fellow presenters. it was a great prep to get me more focused on what i needed to work on for my presentation and to light a fire in me to really get rocking. i left full of excitement, realizing how flipping cool this all is.

november 2012

“this is really happening!!!” the only words i could find to express my excitement when i received the registration packet for the conference, and I saw my name in black and white under faculty. surreal. simply surreal.


february 2013


snaps. one month away from the big day. i camped out at caribou about every weekend that month. something about a coffee house atmosphere and sipping on a yummy latte that puts me in a creative mood. i nearly felt compelled to add a shout out to Caribou Coffee in my session, as they most certainly provided the caffeine and environment for this presentation. all the while wondering, where has the time gone?! so much to do. so much to share. deep breaths. (BIG thank you to my boyfriend for kicking my butt and encouraging me to work on this even when i was trying to put it off)

march 2013 {time for the big show}


march was madness. quite literally. uff da. thank goodness my momma was making the trip to Vegas with me. we arrived early saturday morning and walked along the strip and hung out by the pool soaking in sunshine. then it was time to get down to business. after a little bit of an Internet fiasco (and again, thank goodness my momma was there with me…) i got in a rhythm and piece by piece i felt my nerves melting away.

it’s show time!

EXHIBITOR2013woke up, got ready and sat down to rehearse a little bit more. it was finally time to head down to the convention center. checked out the room, the av, checkity check we were golden.quick lunch stop to fuel up for the afternoon. 1:00PM struck and ready or not this social media diva was in the house. the second i stepped in that room, i felt in my element. time to make it happen.

we started and there were no nerves, no anxiety, no fear. things went great; i had an awesome crew of 36 fantastic individuals with me and i learned so much from them. topic to topic the conversations and discussions flower easier and easier. i just might have had a big smile on my face the entire time. and it was so nice to see a familiar face of my momma out there. and in just shy of 3 and a half hours later it was all over. 8 months of preparation had come to a close. and a giant wave of relief and peace fell upon me. there are hardly any words to describe the whole experience. all of the stress, the late nights and early mornings, the dozens of lattes, the revisions, the anxiety: it was all more than worth it. it was incredible to speak at a conference was a bucket list item for me, and to be able to cross that off at 23 years old, wow. i am blessed. this is only the beginning for this social media diva, mark my word.



thank you to EXHIBITOR for allowing me this opportunity; for my attendees attending and providing great insight; for my momma for being by my side through it all; for my friends and family who encouraged me along the way; for my girl Nastashia for being my fabulous stylist and for Brandon who was there to kick me and motivate me, and keep me calm with wine. thank you all.