ACPA 14 – Reinvent in Indy

Hello all! Last week I had the great privilege of attending my third ACPA (American College Personnel Association aka College Student Educators International) National Convention. I’m still in the process of digesting and reflecting upon the conference. I’m hoping to legitimately put some new ideas from this conference into practice. This year’s national convention took place in Indianapolis. I arrived on Saturday afternoon, just in time to enjoy some nice weather for a few days. I even broke out capris and sandals! Sunday afternoon was the official opening to the convention. The president of the association spoke briefly, followed by 3 keynotes who gave TED style talks (18 minutes around a singular idea).  Of the 3 keynotes, my favorite was Erik Qualman – the author of Socialnomics.

Indy from capitol steps

Here are some ideas I thought were worth sharing – right from my notes.

Shape + achieve + lead = our students thriving

I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever met. What am I offering to them? –> This thought is very similar to one shared by one of my professors during grad school. We are just one part of a person’s journey, for how ever long they need us, and vice versa.

Empowerment is not a single interaction.

Cultural journeys don’t happen all at once.

How do our own identities help or hinder our work?

IN with sandals

The rest are from Erik’s part of opening.

Social media networks are not technology tools. They are relationship tools (Amen!)

We each have a digital stamp. Our digital stamp equals our digital footprint (what we post ourselves) plus our digital shadow (what other people post about us).

Digital leaders are made, not born.

Be FLAWsome. Basically, own up to our mistakes and take measures to correct them.


Overall, opening was great. Very inspiring, as always. There’s so much energy when you’re around a couple thousand people who do similar work as you and you’re all committing a few days to think big, learn, and reflect upon that work. As I process and reflect upon the rest of the conference I hope to share those thoughts here.

Recommended Consumption

Happy Spring Break all! Well, it might not be Spring Break for you, but it is for me. I love this week. I’m still working, and I have the time to really dig into a couple of projects, along with relaxing a little. With all of my relaxing, I’ve been doing some reading around the interwebs, so I thought I’d share some of what I’ve found to be of interest lately. There’s no real theme, just blog posts I’ve saved in my Feedly Reader for fun and for work. Enjoy!

4 is a Cool Number

Hello all! Apologies that it’s been a little quiet here. I blame being busy at work (and rather tired in the evenings) and the Olympics.

On Tuesday I celebrated having my blog up and running for 4 years. Woo! I still can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I decided to take the plunge and claim my little corner of the internet. Instead of writing a post with some witty take on the number four, I just thought I’d share some insights I’ve had lately.

Social media is a beautiful thing. I get to learn, teach, and observe all at the same time. Through all my hard work the past few years, I’ve put my office on the map. People are recognizing that work through awesome online articles like this one.

The students I supervise are awesome. Lately, I’ve had some great moments whether it’s presenting together at a big on-campus event, chatting while doing crafty projects like new name signs for everyone in the office, or having fun talking to potential UMD students at events. Each of these students brings an energy and talent that are unique. My hope as a supervisor is to allow and foster that talent to shine and grow.

My sister is so fun to hang out with. This past weekend we saw The Band Perry in concert, watched TV and movies, relaxed, went shopping, ate out at fun places, and enjoyed 3 awesome days together.

Band Perry

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Classes) are great if not happening at the same time as the busiest 1.5 months of the semester and the Olympics. Now I’ll be cramming 5 weeks of work into 2. Go me.

One of my favorite new relationships revolves around reading, Higher Education, and the internet. I met Stephanie through blogging and we connected about tackling professional development reading. We picked our book, set up a schedule, and held our discussions all through email. We recently finished our first book “Personal Connections in the Digital Age” and we’re looking forward to picking out our next book to read.

It’s amazing what taking a day of vacation to make a long weekend can do for the soul. Taking Monday off to hang with my sister was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

Sunday Drinks

My office is kind of a disaster zone. I really need to clean it up. Maybe during Spring Break.

This winter has been kind of brutal. Duluth has had at least 85 inches of snow and is experiencing its coldest winter in 139 years. I completely understand that I live in Northern Minnesota and that it will be cold…but seriously, this is ridiculous. Spring needs to come ASAP.

Snow Day

My favorite TV shows right now are: Parenthood, The Mindy Project, How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory.

I’m looking forward to getting back into scrapbooking soon. My craft room/office has been rather chilly, so I haven’t been spending too much time in there.

Panera Bread has arrived in Duluth. Dreams really do come true!


I have some great friends both near and far. I feel so blessed to have them in my life, and I, in theirs.

Well, those are some of my insights as of late. I’d also like to report that I’ve survived February. Yay! Happy melting (fingers crossed) season!

The Love and Hate of February

I really do have a love-hate relationship with February. I love it because it’s the opportunity to watch students I’ve been working with blossom and go after opportunities they find for internships and first jobs. It’s fun to help them prepare for and calm the nerves at career fairs. This year, I also have a hate relationship with February. It’s only the 5th and I already hate it. Really, I could lump the last 2 weeks of January into this feeling. I’m busy, but I’m busy with the minutiae of the day. I read my email and a few career blog posts, set up tweets for the day, edit and get a blog post ready if needed, review resumes, have appointments and meetings, work at resume drop-ins, etc., and all of a sudden, the day is done and I go home feeling like I haven’t accomplished very much. I have a list of things to do and things are getting added faster than I can cross them off. The killer part is, is that I really do want to do most of the added items. I find them interesting, thought provoking, and challenging. I’ve said yes to extra things (like presenting at the Kirby Leadership Institute Conference on campus and events happening in relation to Eric Stoller’s visit next week) because I want to be a part of a bigger conversation on my campus. When will I hit the point of too much? Am I there? Some days it feels like it. I feel like my students, who are pulled in a million different directions…because they are awesome leaders on campus. Some days I have the random thought of how great it would be to not have appointments. I’d get so much done. Then I remind myself why I got into the profession…because of the students. I love helping them realize their dreams and how to practically get there. What’s frustrating is when I have a student scheduled for an appointment and they don’t show up. It’s the constant start and stop and not being able to really dig into a project that bugs me. And yet, I don’t want to have to bring my work home just so that I have time to work on it. That’s not fair to me and my time.

I just have to remember that February will end and I will survive. There are some great things scheduled for February. I’m especially excited about Eric Stoller’s visit to campus. I hope it serves as the kick in the butt that our campus needs to seriously get talking about a cross-campus approach to social media. It needs to happen and I very much want to (and need to) be a part of the conversation. Maybe I’ll just start with making a to-do list.

Around Here This Weekend

Weekends are a great time to relax and spend time with people. So far, this weekend has been a good one.

On Friday, we started the process of saying good-bye to Aaron and Addy, who are gearing up for their next great adventure in another city. They will be greatly missed from our Friday happy hour group.

A2 Sir Ben's

Saturday kicked off with a coffee and yarn exchange with Addy and then moved into a fun Skype session with my sister. Kendra and I met up for the rest of the day just to hang out. It was a beautiful brisk day, so we decided to venture up the North Shore. First stop was Gooseberry Falls State Park. We checked out the frozen waterfalls and hiked around in the woods a bit. So pretty!

snowy trees

Bent snowy trees

After Gooseberry, it was time for pie! With a stop at the Rustic Inn right by Gooseberry, we had pie and did some knitting before heading back to Duluth. We chuckled as we were greeted by a rather cliche & common sighting for Minnesota – snowmobiles.


As we got back into Duluth, we stopped at Brighton Beach to take in sunset over the city and Lake Superior.

Sunset Brighton Beach

Lake Superior Ice

bush at sunset Brighton

Our day ended with a couple hour dinner at Canal Park Brewing Company. Is there a better way to end a Saturday than with a flight of craft beers, good food, and great conversation with friends?

Canal Flight

Other notable happenings this week:

  • Squeezed in lunches and dinners with on-campus friends and colleagues before the craziness of the Spring semester sets in.
  • Started reading for my first professional development virtual book club. Stephanie and I are reading Personal Connections in the Digital Age. So far, I’m really liking it. Hoping to share my thoughts here as we venture further into the book. I’m excited that maybe I’ll actually finish some professional development books this year because of having this new process of accountability in place.
  • I think I’m actually ready for Spring semester. Woo!

Enjoy Recap Part 2

How about one last look at how “enjoy” shaped 2013. You can read part 1 here. Here’s a run-down of the rest of the intentions that guided the “enjoy” experience.

Family & Friends: I spent a lot of time with my sister Julie this year. I love when she comes to visit and we take mini adventures together. Really, I love it when anyone comes to visit me. I love showing them what I love about Duluth and the North Shore. My friend Ashley, from grad school, came to visit for a weekend. It was fabulous, but all too short. I’ve got a really solid group of friends at work. The friends at work thing has taken a little while to cultivate, but it was well worth the wait.

Julie and me at Gooseberry Falls SP

Julie and me at Gooseberry Falls SP

Ashley & Me

Ashley and me at Cascade River State Park

Some of my fab UMD friends

Some of my fab friends

Good Design: Learned a bit more about graphic design. Also got some of the basics down of Photoshop and InDesign.

Photography: The best camera is the one you have. I used both Canon Rebel and iPhone throughout the year to capture the moment. I also completed a photography workshop at Banning State Park with Kendra. Photographing engagement photos for my friends, Addy & Aaron, was also a huge accomplishment for me this year.

Maple Leaves BSP

Leaves at Banning State Park

One of my favorites from the engagement photo shoot

One of my favorites from the engagement photo shoot

My Work: I decided my next career goal – own my roles, grow in my roles, and keep learning about social media and leadership. While busy, I’m trying to embrace and enjoy the busy.

Living in Minnesota: Explored the North Shore of Lake Superior a lot this year on my own and with others. During the summer sometimes I have to pinch myself because it’s so beautiful. It’s like: how lucky am I to live in such a gorgeous place? Then winter comes…and it snows and I can’t see over snowbanks. :) Guess it can’t be blissful all the time.

September sunrise over Lake Superior at Canal Park in Duluth

September sunrise over Lake Superior at Canal Park in Duluth

Result of the Dec snowstorm

Result of the Dec snowstorm

Writing & Social Media: I only really wrote/blogged when I felt the urge. I feel like I ended up with some random, but fun topics. Topics such as:

My favorite social media platforms for personal are Pinterest, Instagram, & Facebook. I really do want to fall back in love with Twitter. For work, I’m loving Pinterest and Twitter. I enjoy the office blog written by our students, it’s just so much work on my end. Because I do so much with the blog at work (we publish 5 days a week while we’re in session), I think I’ve really lacked the drive to write for Student Affairs Explorer. It makes me a little sad. I’m hoping this also changes in 2014.

Learning: I completed the entire Equity & Diversity certificate (30 hours of training) that is offered to U of MN employees. The certificate is a series of 10 3-hour workshops that I completed throughout the year. Each workshop is only offered on our campus once a year since the facilitators are coming up to Duluth from the Twin Cities. The fact that I was able to go to each and every workshop this year is quite the accomplishment. I love that I took advantage of the opportunity to sit with co-workers to learn about and brainstorm what we can do better to work with all the different populations we serve on campus. I also started reading more about leadership development and student learning outcomes. I’m hoping to do more professional development in these areas in 2014. I also did a ton of reading and research about social media in higher education as preparation for my first solo conference presentation this past spring. It was all about how to create a social media plan for an on-campus office. It was really well received at the conference. :)

Now onward to 2014!

Fave Photo of 2013

This week I’ve been going through the photos I’ve taken throughout 2013. There were A LOT of them! I have many favorites – some for the photo itself, and some for the story attached to the photo. However, I think I’ve actually nailed down my favorite photo of 2013. It’s actually a self-portrait, just not of my face. It was a quick photo taken on my iPhone. It’s technically not even the best photo I took this year. It’s in Grand Marais from when I came across the elevation marker for the first time (on at least my 4th trip of the year up to Grand Marais – including vacationing there for 4 days in May). I was with my mom and dad on our day trip of exploring the whole Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior. We had only stopped in Grand Marais for lunch and a little shopping. I love it because…it reminds me of a fun day-trip with my parents, how I fell in love with this tiny lake-side town this year, my favorite sandals, and the joy of traveling (even if just for a day).

Elevation marker in Grand Marais - 602 feet above sea level

Elevation marker in Grand Marais – 602 feet above sea level

Here’s my second favorite photo of the year. :)

September sunrise over Lake Superior at Canal Park in Duluth

September sunrise over Lake Superior at Canal Park in Duluth

Enjoy: A Word for 2013

“Enjoy” as a word for 2013 has treated me well. I started the year by taking the “One Little Word” class through Big Picture Classes online. The class is designed with activities for each month to help you document how you’re living your word. I made it through January & February…and then my commitment to the class completely went away. However, my commitment to embracing “enjoy” didn’t waiver one bit. At the beginning of the class we outlined our intentions for the year. I do believe that these intentions, guided my year.


Enjoy the outdoors: I didn’t do as many specific hiking trips this year as previous years. However, I did do shorter hikes with people as we ventured up the North Shore. I explored Amnicon Falls State Park and parts of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore over in Wisconsin with my sister during the July 4th weekend. I also added Banning State Park (south of Duluth) and Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park (Ontario!) to the list of new parks visited. I’ve learned that Lake Superior is absolutely gorgeous when the weather isn’t the greatest. The waves are just so intense. Check out this video of the Lake at Gooseberry Falls State Park posted on Facebook by MN State Parks & Trails.

Lake Superior - May 13

Hiking with Julie

Hiking with Julie

Enjoy healthier living: I am more consistently taking walking breaks at work. I meet with a health coach on-campus as part of a wellness program that is connected to my health insurance benefits. I finally got a flu shot this year. I want to do a lot more in this area in 2014.

Enjoy creating: I was a paper crafting and yarn using fool this year. I’ve been using Project Life to document the year as it is happening and I made major progress on my scrapbooking project for my Summer 2010 adventure in Oregon. I also cranked out 4 baby blankets (1 knit & 3 crocheted) for family and friends and a knit blanket for my mom. I also made a few other paper projects for gifts. I love creating. It can be therapeutic and it can also just give me something to do on the evenings and weekends. I also love creating with others – even if we’re just each doing our own thing while watching tv.

PL Insert Back

Olympic Peninsula. Chose to use a soft yellow to coordinate with all of the green and blue in the photos.

Enjoy reading: I’ve been a “reader” for as long as I can remember. I didn’t have any set goals about how many books I wanted to read this year (I normally set a goal at the beginning of the year). I just wanted to enjoy reading. So far this year, I’ve completed reading 22 books. My favorite books were The Selection series, Allegiant, Wild, and A View of the Lake. I also have several blogs in my blog reader that I enjoy on a daily basis. My current faves include: enJOY it: Elise Blaha Cripe; A Beautiful Mess; Amy Tangerine; Campfire Chic; Bower Power; Young House Love; Running off the Reeses; Iowa Girl Eats; Espresso & Cream; First Class Great Outdoors; Paris in Four Months; and Army Crafter.

Enjoy traveling: In 2013, I didn’t travel a great distance from Duluth. I did do a great deal of traveling to areas within a few hours of Duluth. In May, I ventured down to Milwaukee to celebrate Julie’s graduation from UW-M. Immediately following that weekend, Julie and I spent the next week traveling up and down the North Shore of Lake Superior. We used Grand Marais as our base and ventured from there each day. One day we even ventured up into Canada for the first time! That week of vacation was fabulous. Our hotel was right on the Lakefront. We got to listen to the waves every night as we drifted off to sleep. Here’s where we all went on our trip: Duluth, Grand Marais, Gooseberry Falls SP, Cascade River SP, Grand Portage SP, Grand Portage National Monument, Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park (Ontario), and Thunder Bay (Ontario). In June, I ventured to a new MN state park and took a photography workshop at Banning State Park with my friend Kendra. In July, Julie came to visit me for the first week of July. We took a day trip to the Bayfield Peninsula in Wisconsin. That day we checked out Amnicon Falls SP, Bayfield, Ashland, and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Also in July, my friend Ashley came up to visit me for a weekend. I had so much fun showing her the North Shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Marais. Our stops included: breakfast at At Sara’s Table (a must if you’re in Duluth), Gooseberry Falls SP, Temperance River SP, Cascade River SP, and Grand Marais. In August, my parents came to visit for a long weekend. We drove the MN portion of the Lake Superior North Shore (Duluth to Grand Portage and back) in a day. Overall, I really enjoyed my travel experiences for 2013. Even though I didn’t go very far, I completed all of my travel excursions with really fun people. Sometimes, half the fun of traveling is showing a place to someone else. You can show them why you love a place so much. And, in turn, you can see a place you’ve been to many times, a new way through someone else’s eyes.

View from our room in Grand Marais

View from our room in Grand Marais

Kakabeka Falls - Ontario, Canada

Kakabeka Falls – Ontario, Canada

Elevation marker in Grand Marais - 602 feet above sea level

Elevation marker in Grand Marais – 602 feet above sea level

Okay, this blog post is already getting ridiculously long. I’m going to save the rest of my “enjoy” recap for another day. 

When It Snows, It Storms

Hello all! Just wanted to let you know that I survived Winter Storm Cleon. It was the first major snowfall for Duluth this winter and my neighborhood received, for sure, over 2 feet of snow in just a couple days. For the past week, I’ve only gone to work or the grocery store – both within about 2 miles of home. Today, I finally ventured across town to Target. We had a snow day on Wednesday, which was awesome! I watched tv, dvds, and knitted most of the day. It was fabulous. Now, it’s just bitterly cold, and that’s just not fun.

I wanted to share some photos from last week adventure in snow. One is from Wednesday, but the rest are from after the snowstorm taken either at UMD or around my apartment building.

During SnowstormDigging Car outBack meadowBerries with snowSnowy treeUMD snow sunsetUMD Snowy trees

Why Reread Books?

Do you ever find yourself drawn back to a book you’ve already read?

Sometimes, I find myself drawn back to books and reread them. I don’t know if it’s the story, the characters, the mood the author sets, or me just wanting something comfortable. I know I’ve reread books in a series to prep for a new book or movie that’s coming out. These are books like Harry Potter or Twilight (even though I’ve read the first Twilight book more times than I care to admit).

I’ve read Pride & Prejudice at least four times. I love the world that Jane Austen created in Pride & Prejudice. I love the books that are retellings on Pride & Prejudice from different character perspectives. I just get swept away in the world. I recently went on a Jane Austen movie binge by watching Pride & Prejudice (Kiera Knightly version), Jane Austen Book Club, and Becoming Jane all in one week. This was all while I was finishing the book Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange.

Sometimes when I pick up a book to reread, I feel a little guilty. I have a stack of books I’ve started & stopped sitting on my nightstand. They’re all just waiting to be finished. I’ve got books I bought or borrowed ages ago that ought to be read. But instead, I turn to something more comforting  and old. I wonder if it’s because the world around me can be, or is, chaotic and overstimulating with new information. An old favorite book lets me quiet my brain down a bit while still enjoying reading .

Who knows the real reason. All I know is that last night, I paused reading a new book I started last week (Yarn), in favor of starting an old one (Eat, Pray, Love).

What’s your favorite book to reread?


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