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Why Anything and Everything?

Welcome to my site!

I thought for my first blog post, I would start by answering the question: why am I doing this anyway?

There are two reasons. First, I felt that I wasn’t writing enough. I have journals and diaries and I have had a personal blog in the past, but I still wasn’t motivated or finding the time (or making the time) to write in them.

The second reason is that I wanted to build a dynamic portfolio and stay relevant in the PR/Advertising/Marketing world while I live out my dream to live in Madrid, Spain for one year. I am hoping this blog will help me to stand out in my future job application processes.

So, I am combining my love for writing and my passion for the PR/Advertising/Marketing industry to motivate myself to keep up with this blog and website not only for professional growth but for personal growth as well.

Why call it Anything and Everything?

Anything and Everything is not just a blog, it’s also a website, a dynamic portfolio and a resume. But, I’m not strictly using this blog/website for professional reasons. This is why it is composed of fun, personal blog posts. So, this little project of mine has many different layers and is truly a little bit of anything and everything!

The tagline, “A little bit of everything all rolled into one.”, comes from one of my favorite 90’s songs, “B*tch” by Meredith Brooks (not the most classy title, I know). In the song, Brooks lists all of the adjectives she identifies with, all of them contradicting one another. This. Song. Is. Me.

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Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

I am many contradicting things all in one 22-year-old woman. There are so many layers to my personality, to my background, to what makes me, me that it would be so unfair to describe myself as just a few agreeable adjectives.

I want Anything and Everything to be a reflection of myself and who I really am: a little bit of everything all rolled into one.

Thanks for stopping by! Keep scrolling for my latest posts!

Book Review: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild Book CoverThis wildly adventurous book by Cheryl Strayed is filled with hope and inspiration.

At first, I questioned whether I would like this book because it is a biography, and the idea of that genre of books seems dry to me. But, ultimately, I came to love this book because of its authenticity and the passion and emotion you can feel from the author telling her story.

If you have ever experienced a consistent series of unfortunate events, lost someone you love, or have ever felt like the world is against you (aka being a human being), you can relate to this book.

Strayed was able to instill faith and hope in me looking into the future by her reassurance that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and affirmation that amazing things do not just happen to people. Amazing things come with great struggle, require hard, tiring work, and are worth fighting for.

This is a great read in general, but I would especially recommend it for when you are in need of a pick-me-up or inspiration.

Side Note: Cheryl Strayed is originally from Minnesota and writes about her experiences as a Minnesotan and as a student at the U of M, which of course got me excited!

Is a gap year bad for your career?

Will this year of working abroad set me back for employment when I return to the U.S. this summer? This is a question I get asked a lot from my dad.

In my mind, I am living out a dream and goal, this is a unique experience that not many people say they have and I am continuing to show my writing skills through this website. So, no, this gap year is not setting me back for future employment possibilities.

However, since I am not a recruiter or an employer, I have no idea how my year of working abroad will be viewed on an application. I am hoping that my unique experience will set me apart, but maybe it will be seen as I haven’t been practicing my PR/Advertising/Marketing skills in a year.

Does anyone have any guidance, advice or experience in this situation? I have high hopes that this “gap” year will not set me back, but if it does, I want to be prepared.

Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks!

Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big_Little_Lies_CoverAfter reading Gone Girl, I thought that no other murder mystery book would be able to compare. I was wrong!

Moriarty’s writing style and the creative plot makes this one a page-turner. Little by little, the reader discovers clues to this murder mystery through flashbacks and snippets of police interviews.

The truth hits hard for these characters, and the reader can’t help but feel their pain each step of the way. Although the characters in this book are overly dramatic, which in my opinion, Moriarty purposely exaggerates the personalities and circumstances the characters are given for the reader’s enjoyment, are somehow all relatable in one way or another in the way they make decisions and rationalize.

You really can’t help but empathize with these characters, but you can’t help but judge them at the same time. All in all, I would highly recommend this book!

23 Countries, 23rd Birthday

At the beginning of 2018, I added “Visit 23 countries before my 23rd birthday” to my bucket list. And, I did it!

My 23rd birthday conveniently landed on a Saturday this year, and I got to celebrate it Santorini, Greece, number 23.

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Oia Sunset, Santorini, Greece, Mar. 2018

If I have not already made this crystal clear, I love traveling. So, being able to check this off my bucket list and being able to say “I visited 23 countries before my 23rd birthday” is a big deal for me.

I feel extremely grateful and blessed to have had the chance to even be able to make this goal and not to mention to be able to live the kind of lifestyle that allows me to travel as much as I do.

This accomplishment makes me so excited to see where life will take me next and for all the adventures I have ahead of me. 🙂

The list of 23 countries I have visited so far (in no particular order):

  1. USA
  2. Mexico
  3. Honduras
  4. The Bahamas
  5. Jamaica
  6. The Dominican Republic
  7. The Philippines
  8. Spain
  9. Portugal
  10. Switzerland
  11. Ireland
  12. England
  13. Italy
  14. France
  15. Germany
  16. Hungary
  17. The Czech Republic
  18. Poland
  19. The Netherlands
  20. Belgium
  21. Norway
  22. Sweden
  23. Greece

“γεια” from Greece!

What a tease!

Visiting a breathtaking, beautiful island with beautiful, sunny weather at the end of winter while Madrid is in the middle of a 10-day rain forecast really had me questioning if I should ever leave…

Santorini, Greece was so fun and different from the cities I have been visiting lately. The culture was so laid back, anywhere on the island you had an amazing ocean view, and the feeling of the warm sun instantly made me happy. Not to mention, every native we interacted with went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and getting the best experience possible.

Also, I got to experience this trip with my boyfriend and celebrated my 23rd birthday. So, I have zero complaints about this trip.

IMG_0510On our first day, we walked around the island to get a feel for our surroundings. We were able to walk around the city center and look out at the caldera view all in about five minutes. The island may have been small and compact but it was all you needed for a getaway in paradise.

The second day (my birthday) we rented an ATV for only 25 euros and saw the entire island. It. Was. Amazing!!

Again, although the island is small, there is really a lot to it. We saw the red beach in Akrotiri, visited the black sand beaches in Perissa, went on a winery tour and did a wine tasting at Santo Wines in Pyrgos, and ended the ATV adventure in Oia for sunset.

This trip left us craving warmer weather and a week-long stay on the island. My boyfriend and I promised each other and set a goal that we’d return for a week-long vacation next time in the Summer of 2020! Fingers crossed!

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl CoverWow.

I am at a loss for words other than “Wow.” Not only is this an amazing thriller that you cannot put down because you are so anxious to see what happens next, the writing in this book is exceptional.

The way this book is written makes you feel like you are inside the minds of the characters as well as following their lives in the real world at the same time. It is truly brilliant!

One of my favorite lines from the book that I think reveals Flynn’s true brilliance as a writer is:

“I felt a queasy mixture of relief and horror: when you finally stop an itch and realize it’s because you’ve ripped a hole in your skin.”

The vivid explanation of this feeling, and from personal experience from doing so, it was as if I was feeling the exact queasiness at the same time the character was.

As many probably already know, the plot of this book is wicked and enthralling. Holy plot twists!

The only regret I have about reading this book is that I read it after I watched the movie. I usually feel the opposite about books that have been turned into movies, I prefer watching the movie first and then reading the book. But, for Gone Girl, I really wish I could have felt the full surprise at each plot twist.

How do others feel about books that have been turned into movies? Do you prefer reading or watching first?

“Hej!” and “Hei!” from Stockholm & Oslo

Stockholm, Sweden

I have mixed feelings after my trip to Stockholm. To start, as I looked out the window on the ride from the airport to the city center, the view looked exactly like what you would see on I-94 on the drive between Minneapolis and Milwaukee – lots of snow and an endless sea of trees and farmland. It instantly put a smile on my homesick face.

But, when I arrived at my hostel, I opened the door to my room to find a very old man sitting there in his underwear. Long story short, I trusted my gut feeling that that was not where I wanted to sleep for the next two nights and switched rooms with no problems. After that, I had nothing short of a great hostel experience.

The city of Stockholm is very spread out. I usually don’t mind this because I enjoy walking around, discovering cities. However, it snowed the entire time I was there and the temperature never reached more than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn’t anything my midwest-acclimated body couldn’t handle, though.

As far as food (aka the most important part of any trip), I had one absolutely amazing experience and one really bad one. The first night, I found an all you can eat vegan buffet, called Herman’s. SO GOOD!

The next day I walked one hour to go to a raw/vegan cafe recommended to me by someone at Herman’s the night before. I got a smoothie bowl and a shake that were both beautiful and Instagram worthy. But the taste… Awful! I was so disappointed but found a falafel bar on the way back to my hostel, which made the situation a lot better.


I went to two museums while in Stockholm: The Swedish Museum of Photography (Fotografiska) and the Vasa Museum. Both were such unique experiences and well worth the visits.

 


So with every bad in Stockholm, there was always a good that balanced it out or made it much, much better. I may have had mixed feelings after my time in Stockholm, but in the end, it was completely worth every bump in the road.

Oslo, Norway

Oslo was in a way Stockholm’s opposite, as far as city size. Everything was in one area within a 20-minute walking radius, no complaints there!

However, I was in Oslo for less than 29 hours, and a few hours before I had to leave for the airport, I ran out of things I wanted to do. It was a cool city, but there were not many top attractions to go see or fun things to do in the middle of winter and during a pretty heavy snowfall.

With that being said, I did some things that were out of the ordinary and unique.

The first out-of-the-ordinary thing I did was go to my first opera! I went to see the romantic tragedy Tosca, and it was absolutely amazing. From the beautiful opera house to the exceptional singing, I loved this experience. Also, the back of every seat had a small screen that translated the show from Italian to whichever language you needed. So, I knew what was going on the entire time.

 

 

The second thing I did was attend mass at the Oslo Cathedral. This was an interesting experience for me because one, the cathedral was Lutheran, and I’ve never been to Lutheran mass before, and two, it was interesting to see the religious customs of a new religion in another country. It made me think about how mass could be so different from the same religion across different cultures. Now, I’m interested in attending more mass in different countries to see how they vary.


The two vegan restaurants I went to in Oslo deserve a standing ovation. DELICIOUS! I had a chocolate milkshake, cheeseburger and sweet potato fries with raspberry cheesecake for dessert at Funky Fresh Foods.

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Nordvegan, Oslo, Norway, Feb. 2018

Then, I went to Nordvegan and had lasagna, sweet potato wedges and a raw tofu spring roll with a slice of snickers cake AND a slice of raspberry chocolate cheesecake for dessert and peppermint tea to top it all off. I think I’ll be dreaming about having these meals again for a while…

Overall, Scandinavia was a great experience that will be leaving me feeling happy long after this long weekend of travel. Two thumbs up for two great countries!