IAAP Summit: National Harbor

The Gaylord National Harbor Resort is a maze!! I can’t believe how huge it is! With 95 different conference rooms and 2,000 guests rooms within the 19 story building, it is any wonder how I didn’t get lost! From the lobby bar and reception area, to the atrium with stores and restaurants. There was even an arcade and an indoor pool! There wasn’t much left to be desired! And that’s all just inside!

The restaurants were good within the hotel, but nothing could beat the lobby bar. It had a perfect view overlooking the river. You could see the bridge, the ferris wheel, and the water taxi all from your seat on the open platform with a drink in your hand. The atrium was a busy place, but the lobby with it’s small bites and amazing cocktails was the perfect place to unwind and watch the sunset.

I could have thought of a better location for the IAAP Summit! Wait, did you say next year will be in Lake Buena Vista, Florida? Umm, I may need to rethink this.

Next Adventure: New Job

About eight months ago, I left an organization that I had been with for seven years. For a day job, it was a great place to work, but I was hungry for more that I knew I wouldn’t find there. I was offered a new opportunity at an extremely fast growing company, and was ready for the challenge.

The company I had been with for so long was in the water/wastewater industry. It’s considered quasi government, so to me, it felt like a community service organization. I hated to leave the industry, especially for a government contracting gig, but the new industry sounded interesting, too (aerospace)! I was happy to move up in the world of titles, responsibility, and, let’s face it, compensation, but it didn’t take me long to feel like something was missing.

The aerospace organization I joined has a mission to “change the world”. It is admirable and achievable based on the direction and projects the company is working on. I sincerely believe, one day, they will, but I have found myself wanting.

I miss the feeling of service. I miss the understanding that without the water/wastewater industry a community, or even broader, civilization, would crumble. The feeling that I am doing something to help my neighbors had given me such peace, and I miss it!

Thus, after eight fast paced months, I have found my way back. I accepted a position at a new-to-me organization in the water/wastewater industry, and I am over the moon to be rejoining the public sector! I cannot wait to start to feel the gratification of service again!

While I have made many friends and colleagues at the aerospace company, I finally feel like I am going back where I belong! Today marks the end of the chapter of self-realization in my day job attribute, and Monday begins my gratitude that I finally feel like I understand myself in this small way. I love the water/wastewater industry! #Waterislife

It’s my birthday!

Happy birthday to me! My 29th birthday! (Truly my 29th. You can call me on it next year if that number doesn’t change. 😉) Who would have thought it would have come around this quick?! I swear, it feels like I was 19 not too long ago. Now, I’m an established adult with a credit score, but I’m still trying to figure out who I want to be when I grow up.

If there is anything I have learned in my 29 years of life, no matter your age, you will always just wing it. There isn’t a single person in this world that can say they have it all figured out. If there was, they’d have found a way to market it and become the richest person on the planet!

What I do know: I want to be good. I want to be a good wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I want to excel at my day job and in my writing. I want to provide a wonderful life, full of beautiful memories for my family and me. I want to look back in my old age and smile at all the good I found, created, and lived throughout my life. I want it all to be good.

So for this next revelation around the sun as the third of my life closes, I’m going to focus on making it good. I’m going to live every moment with the intention of enjoying. If nothing else, my 29th year is going to be good!

IAAP Summit: Series & Logistics

Welcome to the IAAP Summit Series! The next few posts will be all about the Summit experience and how I managed to get the most out of my attendance. If you don’t know what IAAP is, hop over to their site with this link. For those of you who are familiar, let me explain why I found the Summit valuable!

PROS:

The entire conference was in one place. My lodging, food options, other entertainment, and the conference/ training classes were all on the Gaylord Hotel. It was so convenient and easy to attend, and I felt at ease not having to worry about finding a place to eat or what I was going to do when I wasn’t in class.

Huge classrooms! I mean, most of the conference rooms were referred to as ballrooms, so let’s just out that into perspective. A total of 1,300 people showed up to the Summit, so it was paramount to have these large rooms. There was never a time I felt crowded or a room overpopulated.

Standing desks are a huge deal in my office right now. The flexibility to go from standing to siting every couple of hours is not only good for your health, but it is also a smart commodity to keep you audience awake and engaged. Creates more room for people as well!

There were so many great presenters/topics! My favorite two were Vonetta and Julia. Vonetta Watson provided many technical topics that I loved! Her courses were amazing overviews on the latest office software, tips and tricks! Julia Kristina spoke about difficult people, but with a twist. Her words are still ringing in my ears: “There aren’t difficult people; only difficult situations in which you have a choice to react to.” Overall, the sessions were impactful!

As I mentioned, there were about 1,300 attendees at the Summit. That’s a lot of people! During the opening ceremony, there was a presentation of flags for all the attending participants countries. Such diversity! It was amazing to see and meet so many different people!

CONS:

I found it interesting that there wasn’t a lot of complimentary items for attendees. Even water that was provided was scarce. Sitting in a class all day without water is like sleeping with your mouth open. Your mouth gets dry, and you become distracted by your basic physical need. I’m sure the point was to make people buy their water, but what a waste of plastic!

Even thought some of the classrooms had standing desks, they were fee and far between. They were advertised as if every room had it, but that was not the case.

While most topics were amazing, and I was dedicated to ensure I found at least one useful bit in every session, there were a very few topics that were dry. One in particular was about document retention. I don’t believe it was the speakers fault as the course matter is dry, so it was one that I think should be scratched for the next go around.

Overall, the Summit receives a solid 9.5 out of 10 for me! This experience was amazing from a networking view, an educational opportunity, and an overall wonderful conference! I truly hope that I am able to continue to attend in the years to come.

Hootie & The Blowfish, Group Therapy Tour

For my fifteenth birthday, I asked my parents for concert tickets to see Hootie & The Blowfish. They were playing at the 9:30 Club in D.C., and I wanted to so badly to see them perform. At the time, I had no clue the club was a 21+ only venue, so my parents had actually gotten the tickets, but I wasn’t able to attend. They ended up selling them and buying tickets to another concert for my birthday.

The other concert was for Green Day, the American Idiot Tour. The concert was great, one that I will always remember, but there was a very specific reason I wanted to see Hootie & The Blowfish.

As a teen, we all go through emotional times as our hormones run rampant. We are finding out who we are during that age, and sometimes, life just felt hard. Whenever I would go through a drama filled, high school day, I would go home and blast my music. It would help me release the mixed up emotions in my mind and heart, and find peace to sleep soundly at night. So long as I had my music, I was able to release the stressors of the day and just feel better.

One song in particular always felt cathartic.

Let Her Cry by Hootie & The Blowfish

I’d play this four minute, twelve second song on repeat for the really tough days I felt twisted within myself. Darius Rucker would sing those beautiful lyrics over and over again until I was able to digest the events of the day and erase their negative impact on me. This one song helped me through my toughest teenage years, reminding me that it’s ok not to be ok before it was a common saying.

Now, fifteen years later, I finally got to go to the concert of my teenage dreams!

Barenaked Ladies opened the show. They were entertaining with all their greatest hits, clever quips, and party atmosphere. They were a great preshow! I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard at a concert before! Nice and “lubed up”, as they band said they wanted the crowd to be for the headliners.

Finally, Hootie & The Blowfish came out! They started with their hottest hits, even threw in a few of Darius’s country hits, but when they got to Let Her Cry, I was brought back to being 15 again. I swayed and sang at the top of my lungs the lyrics I know so well. It was an emotional moment as Darius sang the words directly to my soul!

As the final notes were played on that beautiful song, I felt renewed. The power of great music, and specifically that song for me, smoothed out my emotions and allowed me to feel free! It was an amazing experience!

Fifteen years in the making, and I finally made it to see and hear Hootie & The Blowfish sing Let Her Cry. What a night! What a memory!

IAAP Summit 2019

It’s been a while since my last IAAP event. I think about two years ago is when I went to Atlanta to attend the IAAP CAPstone to earn my Project Management (PM) designation. This year, I’ll be heading to National Harbor to attend the IAAP Summit for a more networking and new-in-the-trade type seminars.

At these events, I always gain so much insight to what other professional assistants are going through. Whether it be people related, technology struggles, or just workload, there is always tons to learn from my fellow administrative professionals. Their stories are inspiring! Some of them even make for juicy writing prompts. 😉

Also, this event set in National Harbor is going to be such fun! Even though I live in the D.C. area, it’s rare that I get to play tourist, and visit the monuments and museums. This visit won’t be wasted! My daughter and husband will come up, and we will be sure to hit all the fun spots.

I’ll give a full report and update following the event and sightseeing, but the most exciting event is going to be the closing dinner! I get to wear my sequenced cocktail dress! I’ll send you all a selfie on Instagram!

Good Girls – TV Show

NBC has a real winner! It’s Breaking Bad with a Bad Mom’s twist. All of the aspects of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) becoming Heisenberg with the rebellion and home life of Bad Mom’s Amy, Kiki, and Carla (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn). It’s a huge nod to women can do it, too, and what a housewife is really capable of.

I literally binged watched the first season and am going strong on the second, but dang it! I need another long weekend!

The chemistry in this show is amazing! The three women assuredly have a strong bond. The secondary characters, the husbands and other supporting male, are well developed and not easily forgotten. Especially Rio!

Rio (Manny Montana) is so good at being bad! His voice is sultry as he whispers sweet, threatening, nothing’s into Beth’s ear. Their relationship is toxic, but man, does it burn good!

If for no other reason, watch the show for Rio and Beth’s sexy power struggle! You’ll thank me later. 😉

Chapters – interactive story app

There are a few things in this world that make me feel like me. One of those things is reading. I love to read! I know you’re thinking, duh, since I am also a writer, but I really do. Even if I had never started writing, I think I would still love to read. It’s amazing the power a good book has. It can take you to another universe away from your current woes and build a new world within your mind. A good writer can actually turn on a part of your brain that stops reading words and starts seeing images from those words.

That’s what I hope to give to my readers. I hope to be that writer with every one of the books I publish.

For a while there, I hadn’t been reading or writing. Life just gets so busy, and the things you love to do sometimes get out on the back burner. Now that I found the Chapters app, though, I’m hoping to overcome some of those struggles.

Every night before bed, I look at my phone. I scroll through Instagram and Facebook and all the other RSS feeds Google pins to my phone. It consumes my night before I fall asleep. As much as I like going through social media and catching up on current events, I’m finding reading the multitude of free(ish) books on the Chapters app has started filling the gnawing desire to read a good book again.

Naming my own character. Dressing her. Choosing hairstyles. Picking what she may say. It’s actually also filling my control freak side! Like, who doesn’t read a book and sometimes think: oh, that name could have been way better if it were Dahveney!

Just me?..

Anyway, these stories are on the shorter side, and most all are romance with other lesser developed themes, but each story is providing that world building phenomenon my brain has been craving. There is a huge time and money sink aspect to the app.

Buy these diamonds for greater dialogue selections. Get more tickets for $0.99 to continue reading. Watch an ad and read right now!

It totally sucks having to wait. Currently I have another 1:43.23 before I get to finish the current read I’m on now, but I’m hoping it’s worth the wait.

When you don’t feel like you

Call it what you want. Hormones. Life. Depression. Just overwhelmed. That was me. That is me. I feel it every now and then. I think everyone does. But there are times where I let myself slip a bit too far.

I notice it most when I stop reading. Even more when I stop writing. I just don’t feel like me.

Maybe it’s my way of releasing all that is pent up in me. Maybe it’s may way of dealing with life. Regardless, when I get out of the routine of reading and writing, things start to feel a little out of wack.

I’m not sure why I ever let myself stop. I know how it makes me feel. It’s just, life. Life happens, and the next thing I know, I’ve gone a month without writing or reading a single word for myself.

I start to feel anxious, like something is missing. My brain feels clouded, and I just can’t figure out how to verbalize what I’m feeling. The flood gates are closed, and life just becomes congested.

The moment I start pounding it out on the keyboard or drinking in a new world on pages, it’s like the sky is new and the fog has lifted.

This is a part of me. Writing and reading makes me feel whole. I hate it when I stop, but man, does it feel good when I start again!

Hiking

One of the things I have found a new love for is hiking! When I say hiking, I mean a few to multiple miles walk through the woods, on a trail, preferably with a general notion of direction. As long as I end up back at my car eventually, I’m good!

We’ve hiked a total of three times since Memorial Day, so I’m definitely no pro, but there’s something peaceful to be found in the tranquility of nature. I swear I could walk for days in the woods filled with green or through an open field with bright blue skies above.

Our hikes haven’t been very long in distance, but we are building up to it. Even our daughter is getting into it! We did about two miles with her over the past weekend, and I think she likes it too! She was so excited to see a bridge over a river. It was the cutest thing!

We also bought water backpacks for our trips. Even one for our four year old. She loves carrying hers and drinking it out of the tube like mommy and daddy. We are hoping to make an afternoon of it one day and have a picnic, but we’re building to that. She’s still building her stamina to go longer than two miles in an hour..

Overall, hiking for us works. There is hardly any logistics or equipment to think of and remember. We just fill out water tanks and go! Bugs are a problem for my daughter (OK, for me too), but that’s why there is bug repellent right? I’m just excited to do something as a family that doesn’t require a whole lot of extra effort and towing additional equipment. On to the next hike!