Concerts, Justin Bieber, Memories, School, Travel, Uncategorized, Work

2010 recap… a.k.a. the longest post ever

Some people think that time flies, and some people think it moves slowly. Personally, I can see both. My final college semester flew by, but January 2010 seems like 5 years ago. I thought it might be kind of fun to think back over the last 12 months and see how much my life has changed in just a year. Unlike my friend Kim, who can remember the first words she said to me when we met 4-1/2 years ago, I don’t have that great of a memory for stuff like this. That’s why I keep a journal and take pictures 🙂

January:

Snow day--January 2010

 

  • I started my last spring at Oklahoma Christian, worked as news editor on the Talon, and took 15 hours while doing Gamma Spring Sing and working as a tour guide… needless to say, it was a busy semester.
  • We had our first snow day of the school year. Two whole days of playing in the snow. Actually that snow day changed our friend group forever. It’s funny how a weekend like that can change everything. However, amidst the fun, and OC student passed away, which affected the mood of the student body for the rest of the semester, too. Like I said, life changing weekend.

February:

  • Honestly, the only specific thing I remember from this month is working the Spring Sing ticket sales, which allowed me to get my tickets early! Score!
  • I vaguely remember having a Valentine’s Day party, and also seeing the movie Valentine’s Day. I don’t think I took a picture during the whole month of February. Sorry about that.

March:

Gamma Seniors!

 

  • Spring Sing dominated the first week of March. Spring Sing is like Christmas, I love it so much! Gamma got second with our airline stewardess show, and Chi got first with Pinocchio.
  • I went to San Antonio with Memorial Road’s college class for a mission trip. We helped with Habitat for Humanity for the second year in a row. Unfortunately I got sick during my stay and missed out on a lot of the fun. I was very glad to get back to Edmond!

April:

  • The Gamma Rho seniors went to Dallas for a weekend getaway. Ikea shopping trip!
  • Gamma banquet happened, and we took a lot of pictures… in fact, the last attitude picture ever. Sad day.
  • I finished up my semester and watched some of my closest friends graduate! Luckily several of my friends stayed close to Oklahoma City, so that made the parting much less painful.
  • I spent the last eight hours of the month driving to Florida. That’s right, Florida. The second graduation was over, three of my best friends and I left for a cruise to the Bahamas. We faced tornados and extreme tiredness, but we made it. And it was worth every second.

May:

  • My first week in May was spent on a Carnival Cruise ship. Tiff, Laura, Karissa and I got some sun, snorkeled, made new friends, and ate. And ate. And then ate some more. This was a highlight of my last summer as a college student, and we are making it a tradition… we have to go on another cruise soon! CRUISE CONTROL FOR LIFE!
  • I turned 22 on May 14, and there was a tornado on my birthday. Fun times.
  • I watched Megan graduate from high school and Abby graduate from middle school! My girls are growing up!
  • My mom and I went to see Wicked! (my second time, her third) with my cousin and her family. No one mourns the wicked.

June:

  • Hot-lanta was calling my name and I went east to sponsor a youth group mission trip in Georgia. I got to work with my roomie La at the Atlanta Inner-city Ministry. I met the loveliest family who knew some of my friends from Portland! And Abby, Katie and I caused mischief all week. It was awesome.
  • Two words. Michael. Buble. Okay, I can’t limit it to just two words. Please go read this post for a full recap.
  • I started taking a Zumba class somewhere around this time. Zumba is the light of my life. Zumba gives me a chance to wear my belly dancing skirt. I love Zumba.

July:

  • I spent Independence Day with the Giddens family, my mom, and a few of her friends.
  • My Zumba instructor got injured and I helped teach classes for a week.
  • Three of the cutest couples got engaged during the summer: Christy and Nick, Kayla and Scott, and Tim and Cara. Yay!
  • My mom and I went on a two-week whirlwind adventure to California and back. I met family and friends along the way and saw a million beautiful things that I will always remember.
  • I gambled in Vegas for the first (and last) time.

August:

  • My friend Tiffany got married to Reagan, and we celebrated her bachelorette party in Oklahoma City (followed by a viewing of Step Up 3D, of course).
  • I found an internship for sustainable travel initiatives with Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
  • I started my last semester in college rooming with Kim in a darling 1 bedroom apartment.
  • We celebrated Laura’s 23rd birthday… and what a night it was. Legendary to say the least.

September:

  • We saw MC Hammer in concert at the State Fair, enjoyed all the fried food we could endure, and people watched. The State Fair = best people watching ever.
  • Jason Mraz came to Searcy, AR, so Kim, La and I went to the concert. I got to see Megan and Cara, which makes for a pretty great weekend. We totally bonded with Cara’s dog Sawyer, too.
  • Every Wednesday Kim, La, Karissa, Andy, Tiffany,Reagan and I would hang out, study, and have fasting challenges for the week. It only lasted a month, but it was still fun. And strange. Kind of like a cult actually. Hmmmm.
  • We tailgated in Norman for the OU football games, and La and I made dresses for the OU vs. Air Force game!

October:

  • We had a girls weekend in Broken Bow! The cabin was beautiful, the foliage was perfect, and we had a lot of laughs along the way. A new tradition!
  • My friend Deborah came to visit en route from Alaska to Europe, and we hung out in Norman… it was around this time that we started seriously looking for places to stay in Norman.

November:

  • I participated in homecoming. But I really didn’t do much. I just hung out with Ben when he came to town, which was awesome.
  • I caught Bieber Fever with Abby and Erin.
  • I celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom’s family.

December:

  • Christmas celebrations were in full swing all throughout the month: Lighting of the Commons, Cocoa and Carols, OU Holiday Lighting, etc.
  • After 4.5 years, I graduated from Oklahoma Christian with a degree in public relations and advertising.
  • I rented a cute two bedroom house in Norman with La! So much fun!
  • My great uncle James passed away the day before graduation.
  • I had Christmas with my dad’s family and some extended family who always make the party a little better.
  • The Giddens girls and I watched 18 hours of The Office one night…. it might have been a poor decision, but we still had fun.
  • I rang in the New Year at the Hobbes’ house with some of the most fun people you will ever meet! Even though our original plans changed, we still had a good time!

Now the year is over, and I am more than ready to start the newest phase of my life. Since I am getting a fresh start in a new city, I decided it was time to change the blog as well. From now on I will be blogging at kayleemcdaniel.blogspot.com, mostly because I could never figure out how to get cute themes on this blog. Yeah, I am judging myself for being so shallow. But head on over there in the next few days to see how much cuter it is!

Signing out,

Kaylee

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School, Travel, Work

Back to school again

Welp, here it is, folks. My last fall semester at Oklahoma Christian University. This week has been such a whirlwind of mixed emotions, both good and bad.

Last weekend I went back to Idabel to celebration my grandfather’s birthday.

He is a cowboy, the real deal, and has an amazing story that makes you believe that the American dream exists. And he turned 80 on Friday! Our entire family came to wish him a happy birthday. That includes my 16 cousins, their spouses, children, etc.  Needless to say, we overwhelmed Idabel, and I didn’t hate it.

I also started my internship downtown. It deals with Oklahoma travel and sustainability, which is perfect for my interests. I love the people I work with, and I think I will have a lot of flexibility and creativity.

Classes are all very interesting. That is the privilege of adding classes just to make a full-time student: I got to choose classes I actually wanted to take. I am learning guitar, learning Christian financial principles, talking about mission work, etc. I love it. I am actually really pumped about this semester, which is unusual. BUT my fingertips are sore due to practicing. I guess that is the price I have to pay.

Since it is my last semester, I have decided to do it right and make some healthy goals.

1. Actually read for class. Because you are crazy if you thought I actually did that. Ever.

2. Make time to take care of myself–exercise, prayer, meditation, etc. It is not going to get any easier, so I need to get in the habit of doing this now.

3. Be more encouraging to others. Specifically, put it in writing at least 5 times a week.

4. Practice my guitar 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Maybe by the end of the semester I will be this good.

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Memories, Travel

College Memories: Vienna

It is hard for me to refrain from talking too much about my semester in Vienna, Austria. I mean, sometimes I annoy myself when I ramble on about it. But in a series about favorite college memories, I cannot ignore this time in my life.

Living in Europe was the best experience of my life this far, and I can’t believe it has been THREE YEARS since I boarded a plane bound for London. Still, I get homesick for the streets of Vienna and all the wonderful places and people I loved.

Even though the entire trip was fantastic, I want to highlight a few moments that really made the experience for me. I could probably write a book about all the stuff I loved, but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet on le blog.

1. The Valentine sisters take Europe

I am not even sure how it all started. One minute we were planning our trip, and the next we decided we should make up fake names and assume identities that rival the best Mary Kate and Ashley movie. Thus, the Valentine sisters were born. Roxie (Alex), Lil (Lindsey), Riley (Laura), and Chloe (me) Valentine, to be exact. That set the tone for our 14 day trip through France, Spain, and Switzerland.

I promise you I have never laughed harder than the two weeks I spent with these girls. From peeing on the Eiffel Tower (yes, I said ON the tower), to singing The Cranberries and crying, there was never a dull moment.

2. Dinners at the Castle

Starting at almost the first of our time in Vienna, our group decided to take turns cooking dinner each week for a cheaper and fun alternative to eating out all the time. Our castle dinners got pretty elaborate at times. The pic above is our Harry Potter Halloween party, where everyone came as a character. My personal favorites were Lezlie as the Whomping Willow and Lindsey as Crookshanks.

The dinners weren’t really that big of a deal but they served as a way for all of us to bond. We really were like family after the trip was over and part of that was because we spent so much time together. I think one of the best things about food is its ability to bring people together, and that was certainly the case for our group.

3. Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt

Photo from commons.wikimedia.com

Fall is always one of my favorite season and the days leading up to Christmas are like a drug to my system. I get embarrassingly excited, much like a Christmas elf or something.

Here is a little tidbit that everyone needs to know: Christmas is way more magical in Europe.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, there is better Christmas weather (at least, better than Oklahoma’s). Secondly, Thanksgiving doesn’t get in the way of starting the Christmas season. You can just jump right in whenever you feel like it.

And third, they have traditional Christkindlmarkts.

These are like a winter wonderland, just as I imagine the North Pole would be. People are selling chestnuts roasting on an open fire (hello, it is just like the song!), and Kinderpunch, and ornaments, and nutcrackers. If you are lucky, it will snow while you are there and you will think you are in some Christmas song. It is so magical and happy.

The coolest part about the Rathaus Christkindlmarkt is that the entire building is one giant Advent calander. Each day a new picture appears in one of the windows and it is always very exciting.

So if you are thinking about going to Europe, try to go in December! And go with the right people, because that makes all the difference.

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Travel

Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada

I am writing this from my snug bed and kind of feeling stupid for going to sleep at midnight here in Vegas. I am also feeling a little stir crazy due to the long hours in the car, so I unpacked every single thing even though we are leaving on Thursday. This trip has been an absolute BLAST but I am yearning to be back on Oklahoma soil. There is no place like home!

One thing I have learned during this trip is that I don’t want to live in a big metro area. Obviously OKC doesn’t count, because it really isn’t that busy and you can pretty much be in the boondocks in 20 minutes no matter which way you drive. But most cities don’t appeal to me as much as small towns do. I just love the pace and the wholesome air of a small town. Vegas is pretty much the opposite of all these things, but I am trying to keep an open mind and not get on my soapbox just yet.

When we arrived we took an open top tour of the city right at sunset. The city of Lights has earned its name. Everything does look better at night, and all the shows outside of the casinos were pretty neat. Nothing beats the water show at the Bellagio. If nothing else, it cools off this hot desert air. It was 104 degrees at 5 p.m. but there is almost no humidity, so it’s actually not too bad.

We are staying at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, which includes 11 acres of pools and an amazing aquarium. I am planning on being at the pool by 8 a.m. There are not many things that I love more than being in/next to a pool! Hopefully I will get a nice tan as a souvenir.

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Travel

Greetings from Grand Island, Nebraska!

Well, I am already failing at my first goal, because Mom definitely drove about 70 percent of the way. I mean, I couldn’t pry the wheel out of her hands. That woman is a road warrior.

But don’t worry, I’ll wear her down eventually.

Today was our first day of driving and I thought it would be a rather boring day. We didn’t plan on seeing anything in the Oklahoma/Kansas/Nebraska area, but the drive was beautiful. Throughout the drive, especially in northern Kansas and Nebraska, we would see homesteads dotting the landscape, old barns, white churches, etc. I just loved it!

I haven’t had the best experiences in Nebraska (or New-braska, as my grandfather calls it), but I decided to give the state another chance. So far it is treating me well.

I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder (of Little House on the Prairie fame–the books, NOT the TV series) when I was little, so I love all the history that must be connected with this land. And there is more history to be had tomorrow! Mt. Rushmore and another surprize. Here is a video clip for a clue!

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