Insomnia: Orange is the New Black, Season 7

Can’t sleep. Between coffee and stress, I don’t think sleeping is on the docket. I don’t know what is going on with my brain, but to stay awake during the day, I drink coffee. Caffeine and I usually lead to heightened anxiety. Stress, caffeine, and sleep, don’t mix well!

Anyway, I decided tonight was the perfect night to binge Orange is the New Black, season 7. The final season. What everything has been leading up to is now here.

I’ve watched the first eight hours sporadically, but the last five episodes were for tonight. Every season that has come and gone has been so emotional, so heart wrenching. I have expected nothing less in this series finale!

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

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IAAP Summit: Inspiration Found

The entire list of topics and presenters were a big reason why I wanted to attend Summit. From the general administrative know-how to the more technical courses, I was so excited to learn what I could bring back to the office with me. I had no idea I was about to be bombed with two individuals that spoke directly to me!

Vonetta Watson and Julia Kristina have inspired me like no other!

Vonetta is a self-made technical trainer. She’s a wiz in all things Microsoft. I hadn’t heard of a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) before her, but now, it’s all I have been thinking about! I currently have multiple Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications, but to become a trainer! I’m thoroughly intrigued and already exploring the option!

Julia, on the other hand, spoke to me on a very personal level. One phrase she said is still ringing in my ears. “True power is not power over; it is power with.” Wow.. Just wow! This really hit home. Have you ever had a boss that was hell bent on making everyone else believe that they were the one supreme ruler of their domain, and whatever they said, went, regardless of anyone around them? I have, and what I have learned is that those people demand respect and think they are all powerful, but they aren’t. They have no idea what real power is.

Power isn’t being able to make someone jump and telling them how high because their livelyhood depends on it. Real power is asking someone to jump and standing beside them to do it, too. Real power is earning trust and making real connections with those that you work with out of mutual respect.

I’m telling you, Julia Kristina is amazing! She really got my gears turning. And Vonetta! I want to be just like her when I grow up! I am so happy these two women were at the Summit!

Spotify: Jazzy Romance

Taking old love songs and placing a jazzy whisper, an elegant piano, and a beautiful orchestra to give it the modern sound.

I love this playlist! It is getting me in all the feels! While walking around the Summit, or working at my desk, even folding laundry, I start to play this playlist, and immediately, my hips sway. I feel the sensuality of it in my bones. The slow words and beats warm my system. It just feels good!

They say people who feel music on another level, like goosebumps and emotional reactions, feel emotions more intensely than those who don’t experience a reaction. I guess I fall into that group!

Curious to hear it? Here’s the link for the Jazzy Romance playlist on Spotify!

Wonder Park – Movie Review

We were looking for a family movie the other night, and came across Wonder Park. We couldn’t really tell by the movie poster what exactly the movie was going to be about, but it’s a Nickelodeon movie, so we didn’t think we could go wrong.

IMDB: June, an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals – only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she’s the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland.

Did you catch that last word there? The title of the movie is Wonder Park, but the name of the park is Wonderland. What?!

As if that wasn’t enough to get your goat, the movie starts off sad. And I’m not talking about Inside Out beginning of the movie sad. More like, Lion King beginning of the movie sad. Literally, my husband googled the end of the movie to ensure it wasn’t a total cry fest type of sad.

Besides the little hiccup in the beginning, the movie evolves into a really cute film. The young heroine has to fix the park she created with her mother after a tragic moment turns her away from the creative, carefree child she wanted to be. Her journey forces her to face her fears and embrace her imagination even in the darkest times. And I promise there is a happily ever after!

Overall, a solid 4 out of 5 for me! A safe, family friendly movie everyone will love.

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!