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Friday, October 28, 2016

How I Moved to London ✈️ 8 Ways You Can Too

A couple years ago I moved from the USA to London for a bit to study for my mba. I'm back in the States now, but here are 8 tips on how you can move overseas, too.

-Kells x

[Video embedded below, click here if you can't see it]

Monday, October 10, 2016

Inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture #NMAAHC

Here I am outside the museum on my first tour

Attending the grand opening and touring this museum is a historical event seared into my memory. To have a sitting Black president fling wide the doors of the National Museum of African American History and Culture gives honor and humanity to a community that has given so much for, and to, this nation.

The museum rightly sits on the National Mall along side the Washington Monument, not too far away from the iconic Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool. Designed by Ghanaian British architect David Adjaye, the museum is a masterpiece inside and out. A feast for the eyes and soul.

It has close to 37,000 objects in its collection related to subjects such as community, family, religion, civil rights, slavery, The Great Migration, Black Panther movement, Nation of Islam, black music, dance, athletics, spoken word, fashion, natural hair movement, black lives matter.... everything really.

From the outside, the museum seems to be four stories high, but there are two additional levels not visible from the outside. It will take you more than one visit to see and absorb its magnificence.

I must admit, I was a bit nervous about how it would be pulled off and received. It felt a little like company was coming over and we needed to make a good impression. I had nothing to worry about. Everything, down to the delicacies on the menu at Sweet Home Café, the restaurant inside the museum, were crafted with palpable care.

Sweet Home Café, showcases historically accurate cuisine from four regions of the country, representing the migration of the African-American people: the agricultural South, the creole coast, the North states, and the Western range, all overseen by the café’s executive chef, Jerome Grant who is of Jamaican ancestry.

Footage from inside the new National Museum of African American History and Culture starts at 3 mins 20 seconds, but first I show you a bit of the grand opening dedication from the outside featuring Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, Oprah, Will Smith, Angelique Kidjo, Angela Bassett, Robert DeNiro, former President and First Lady Bush, Rep. Elijah Eugene Cummings, and of course President and First Lady Obama.

Video recap embedded below. Here also is the direct link:


National Museum of African American History and Culture

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When the ambassador comes to town

Two weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of joining US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar and his wife Crystal Wagar at the post-State Dinner event at SAX here in Washington, D.C.

I've known both Kirk and Crystal since about 2007 when I returned to South Florida from studying for my undergrad degree.

As a member of Women For Obama Miami, I supported the Wagar's efforts to get then senator Barack Obama elected to his first term as president. I later got to know the Wagar's more when we all worked to get the president elected to his second term.

I lost touch with the Wagar's for a short while when I was overseas studying in London, but always kept in contact via social media. I was so excited for them when I heard that Kirk had been selected as the Ambassador.

When I saw that they were coming back to town for the State Dinner, I hoped that we would have an opportunity to connect, but you're never quite sure about these things because schedules on both ends are tight and people and priorities change. 

In the end, schedules worked out and I ended up joining them after the dinner to socialize and catch up just a bit. I brought my DC crew out with me, as we celebrated a birthday in the bunch that night as well. The photos are magnificent, take a look:

More photos after the jump. Click below.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Career-Driven Women ❤️ Must. Prioritize. Love. [collab 3 of 3]

Diving deep over on my YOUTUBE channel: It's Kells, we're elevating the conversation on dating. Today we speak about why you have to consciously make room for love in your life.

This is a collaboration video with Allie Armitage, a DC-based life coach and all around brilliant woman! In this vid we talk about how career-focused women, like me and Allie, need to intentionally shift our energy and focus on love and relationships if we want to build in that area of life.

Sometimes we forget that in order to find and build a loving relationship, we need to make finding and maintaining love a priority in our lives, just as we would cultivate and nurture our careers and educational pursuits. We need to be ready to open ourselves up to the needs and wants of another person to attract suitable options.

Here are the details of what we get into in this conversation:

1:00 Why Allie and I are great friends
1:35 Making room for love and relationships
2:00 Be as clear as you are with the intention of love as you are with the intention of business and education
2:34 Making a relationship a priority
4:30 A relationship doesn't have to be on the side burner
4:50 Attracting dating/ marriage options
5:10 Dating experience as a journey
5:40 Learning from the collective wisdom on the IT'S KELLS community
6:20 Open yourself up to the needs and wants of another person

+ Mind Into Matter links

+ Allie Armitage Guided Meditation Generating Self Love for Relationships


I do these videos so you know that you're not alone out here in this sometimes crazy dating world. If this your first time here, I would love to have you subscribe and if you are a returning viewer, thanks so much for watching!

 Kells x

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Career-Driven Women ❤️ Choosing the Right Life Partner [collab 2 of 3]

Diving deep over on my YOUTUBE channel: It's Kells, we're elevating the conversation from "Dating" to "Relationship building". 

Consider dating as an opportunity to gain more self-awareness and to do the work to learn to love and accept yourself. First you do the work of self love, then you figure out who the best partner for you is and how they can help you grow into your highest self and how you can do the same for them.

This is a collab video with my good friend Allie Armitage, a DC-based life coach and all around brilliant woman! Here are the details of what we get into in this conversation: 

:24 elevating the conversation from dating to relationship building
:42 Finding a partner you can help grow into their highest self
:50 what "highest self" means and how to find that partner
1:19 Paying attention the relationship we have with ourselves
1:45 felling complete as you are
2:30 all in you feeling, getting emotions out
2:44 cultural pressure to be non-emotional
3:00 not waiting to feel vulnerable
3:22 what is our problem with vulnerability?
3:40 being able to tap into vulnerability and bonding over shared human experiences
5:00 boundaries and not being taken advantage of 
5:24 having a foundation of self love
6:30 over-coming negative self talk and being able to come home to you self while still seeking a partner
7:00 comforting yourself
8:00 loving yourself enough and how to accept yourself
9:40 Recovering perfectionist 
10:35 how to coach yourself to be gentle and compassionate with yourself
12:04 celebrating our self
12:30 first you do the work of self love, then you can figure out who the best partner is
13:00 look for someone who stretches you
15:00 dating as a experience to gain more insight into yourself, habits, like and dislikes 

+ Mind Into Matter links

+ Tracy McMillan

+ Allie Armitage Guided Meditation Generating Self Love for Relationships


I do these videos so you know that you're not alone out here in this sometimes crazy dating world. If this your first time here, I would love to have you subscribe and if you are a returning viewer, thanks so much for watching! Leave me your thoughts below and I'll see you next time!

Kells x

Monday, July 25, 2016

Career-Driven Women ❤️ Dangers of Social Media Comparison [collab 1 of 3]

Diving deep over on my YOUTUBE channel: It's Kells, we're elevating the conversation from "Dating" to "Relationship building". 

Romantic comedies or "rom coms" and the artificial romanticism we see on TV and on social media ruins our relationships. The relationships that we see in the movies or on social media are not always what they seem.  In this video we discuss how not to compare our real life to those Hollywood and social media versions and why it may be detrimental to our romantic journey. 

This is a collab video with my good friend Allie Armitage, a DC-based life coach and all around brilliant woman! Here's what we get into in this conversation: 

:40 Allie's Introduction
1:50 What's a "Rom Com"
2:51 What's the issue with romantic comedies
3:56 External influences on relationships
4:14 Self-love and growth
4:31 Feeling complete on your own and "seeking your better whole"
5:10 How rom coms and social media deceive us
5:30 You're whole and complete, but seeking a relationship is OK
6:00 Seeking a partner you can help grow into the highest self
6:30 Tracy McMillan
7:00 A growth adventure
7:20 Whole, but seeking growth… Is this a contradiction?
9:19 Stop negative self talk and start self-love
10:00 Leaving room for growth
10:20 You attract what you are
10:53 We have limited first-hand experience w/ intimate relationships
11:30 Absorbing media bias–beware
12:19 Comparison is the thief of joy
12:40 "Perfectly Instagram-able" lives
13:00 Meditation and intuition

+ Mind Into Matter links

+ Tracy McMillan

+ Allie Armitage Guided Meditation Generating Self Love for Relationships


I do these videos so you know that you're not alone out here in this sometimes crazy dating world. If this your first time here, I would love to have you subscribe and if you are a returning viewer, thanks so much for watching! Leave me your thoughts below and I'll see you next time!

Saturday, June 18, 2016


I have 2 main goals for the It's Kells Community on YouTube:

  1. To inspire viewers to move boldly in the directions of their dreams 
  2. To tap into the collective wisdom and generosity of the It's Kells Community and share it

As a viewer, I want you to understand that there is more to life than what you experience as your singular truth. The world is a vast place of inspiration, wisdom, love and abundance. If you are unhappy with what you see, be inspired to change it. For you I hope these videos help you envision and work to create a life you love—right now. It won't be easy, but I promise you, it will be worth it. 

Take this as your signnow go confidently in the direction of your dreams!

Kells x 

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Week in the Life - Networking at Work

There were a handful of events I wanted to partake in at work this week. Here's a snapshot of my week! It's been a busy one. -Kells
#‎WhatIF2016‬ Ideas Festival is Booz Allen’s annual innovation event that allows us to join our colleagues and a broader ecosystem of local entities to Ideate, Inspire, and Interact, asking ourselves, WhatIF? In addition to the event in D.C., this year we offered festivals in Boston, Norfolk, Seattle, anwd Honolulu! Attending for the first time, I was able to help facilitate a Rapid Innovation Workshop guiding a group through ideation on engaging alumni members of non-profit Girls Who Code, an organization with the aim to get more young women into coding, tech and STEM professions... and my group won our session!
#WhatIF2016 Ideas Festival Rapid Innovation Workshop
Great time networking, hearing the experiences and engaging in the wisdom of the leadership panel @BoozAllen's ‪#‎WLE16‬ at new ‪#‎DCIC‬ Innovation Center for ‪#‎InternationalWomensDay2016‬ Panelists: Rose Schooler VP IoT Strategy at Intel, Susan Blocher VP Global Marketing at HP, Nina Somerville GM at Microsoft, Michelle D'Alessandro VP at Merck, and Tiffany Sargent Principal Engineer at Intel; Nyla Beth Gawel, Susan Pendield and Karen Dahut of Booz.
#WLE16 International Women's Day 
Yesterday evening the Booz Allen Hamilton Rising Leaders Forum (RLF) held an Annual Networking Dinner! Key note was given by Executive Vice President Lloyd Howell (recently announced as our incoming CFO). The dinner included remarks by Mr. Howell, an interactive Q&A session, networking and mingling with Booz Allen colleagues and a lively discussion of current challenges and opportunities for junior staff in the firm. Great event! Some dynamic young leaders in attendance.. Especially the women!

Rising Leaders Forum with Keynote speaker Mr. Lloyd Howell, Booz Allen incoming CFO

10 Important Things to Know Before Traveling to London

This video was filmed on location at Sky Garden, The British Museum, London Underground, Box Park/ Shoreditch and Gatwick Airport in London, England in February 2016.

I share 10 things to consider before traveling aboard to London or similar locations, discussed in detail in this video:

1. You should "travel solo"
2. Bring photo identification
3. Bring earplugs and a sleeping mask
4. Don't over plan
5. Don't get overwhelmed
6. Take public transportation
7. Visit the museums
8. Language barriers
9. Museums can get repetitive
10. Bring American cold remedies
11. BONUS TIP. Don't book a hotel, stay in an Air BNB. Here's a discount code:

There's more to life than your every day experience. If you are unhappy with what you see, be inspired to change it. I empower you to create a life you love, exactly where you stand, right now. It won't be easy, but I promise you, it will be worth it. This is your sign, now go!

Kells x

Direct link: 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


We survive snowmagedeon- snowpocalypse Jonas... 24+ inches of snow.. fun at first, but then not, lol. Cabin fever struck, so we went out to Ice Yards 2016 in Navy Yard, strolled through the neighborhood and CityCenterDC, then delighted in Spanish tapas in Chinatown.

This particular weekend I was dealing with disappointment. I felt a friend had not taken care with my feelings and was treating me in a rather apathetic way. I expressed that to them but they made it clear it didn't really matter to them. So instead of sulking and overthinking the situation, I decided to put on my big girl panties, slap on some lipstick, through some curls in my hair and head out on the town for some fun with the girls.

#pressplay #linkinbio #lifeindc #snowstormjonas #winter2016 #youtuber #vlogger #itskells #kmcdiva #sheknows 

Monday, January 18, 2016

3 Ways to Relieve Post-Holiday Stress—How to Get Started

[Article originally posted on LinkedIn]

The post-holiday struggle is real.

If you’re anything like me, these first few days of January have been tough. Let’s face it, while great to catch up with family and friends, the holidays are exhausting and can take a major toll on personal well-being.

While everyone else is revising ambitious New Year’s resolutions, I am planning my after-holiday detox.

This detox is my mental, physical and spiritual practice that gets me back into equilibrium, back into work-mode and ready to conquer another year.

Perhaps this detox routine will help you, too, get back on form.

1. Consider your mental well-being

Sleep: For healthy brain function, emotional well-being and physical health, I make reassessing my sleep patterns my number one priority. During the holidays, sleep takes a major hit, but when I’m ready to regain my quality-of-life, quality sleep takes precedence.

Right now, I’m working on getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night (aided by a bit of Chamomile tea) so that I can maintain focus throughout the day, workout more energetically and delay decision fatigue as much as possible.

Massage: Considered a luxury to some, I use massage to relieve stress and anxiety. My stress has a tendency to manifest physically (lower back pain). Massage is a way to recognize when my muscles are holding on to unhealthy muscle memory and to release it. When done on a regular basis, I become more conscious of my body and its optimal state.

I find that monthly therapeutic massage work leaves me feeling lighter on my feet and resting easier at night. My detox involves working regular massage (and my yoga practice) back into my schedule.

Digital detox: No explanation needed. Just. Put. Down. The. Phone. and logout of email sometimes. Even if that means penciling “unplug” into my weekly schedule.

A good tip is to put the phone on “airplane mode” particularly if you sleep with it on the night stand next to you. I find that turning the signal completely off (not just on silent) really helps to facilitate uninterrupted sleep.

2. Consider your physical well-being

Nutrition: Reevaluating my nutrition plan is another top priority after the holiday season. I find that reducing my sugar, processed carb and alcohol intake while increasing my water and green vegetable intake allows me mental clarity, focus and concentration, and increases my energy levels. 

A good tip here is to meal plan, or cook weekly meals on a set day(s) and pack food into portable containers to help reprogram your nutritional routine. This reduces the number of spur-of-the-moment decisions made about food, making healthier choices much more likely.

Exercise: For me, working out in the gym is ideal because it allows me to “zone out” and focus on my breathing, posture and endurance. It becomes a meditation for me (more on that below).
A good tip here is to incorporate both cardio and weights into your training. I use cardio to strengthen my mental control over my physical endurance. I use strength training to help me maintain a powerful and confident presence and state-of-being.

3. Consider your spiritual well-being

Meditation: It’s no exaggeration that we are all in a state of information overload. An influx of external stimuli competes for our attention daily. This can affect our internal monologue (or self-talk) and make it difficult to focus our thoughts constructively and perform optimally.

I find taking time to be still in silence by reducing my external stimuli the best way to regain control over my thoughts and to focus my mind for peak performance. I use my meditation time to set an intention for the day, task or life-season. For me this brings clarity of purpose and direction, even if perceived on a subconscious level.

Reflection and gratitude: Relatively ambitious, I often find myself moving from goal to goal without much acknowledgement of the true girth of the accomplishment. I rarely take the time to celebrate an achievement before moving on to the next ambitious task. I think this is a mistake that many of us make—an unending quest for greater, without being fully conscious of what is presently great and what it took to get there.

I am working on celebrating life and accomplishment with more intention and humility. I will do this by being more aware, reflective and openly grateful for the work that I am doing, the vision and drive that it takes, and the divinely-bestowed ability to bring those together to form a personal standard of happiness and success.

I invite you to join me on this detox!

What say you?

Do you detox after an exhausting holiday season? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts! Looking forward to hearing your voice on this one. Comment below!

If you found this interesting, you may also like:
  1. Is the Holiday Party Worth It?
  2. A Powerful Connection to Your Brand through Gratitude
  3. A Moral Obligation to Respond to Tragedy on Facebook?
  4. What to do When a Social Media Influencer Wreaks Havoc on Your Brand

Kelliann McDonald is a Business Strategist, specializing in Integrated Marketing Communications. She has 8+ years of corporate experience, recently completed her MBA in London and is back in the United States creating synergy for Federal clients in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

One year

I was the only one who remembered I had been home a year. But, I guess that's what it means to be an adult. No one to bear witness to your life except you.

I was doing my regular dancing in the bathroom mirror pre-bedtime ritual when it dawned on me. "Wow," I thought. "Time waits for no man, time marches on."

And then I was overcome with a sense of confusion.

I still battle with what it means to be back at home in the states and what it would mean to move back overseas. To start a life 4,000 miles away.

Sometimes it just feels like I would be witnessing my family's life unfold from a greater distance.

I live at "home" now, but it's not like I live next-door to anyone I love. It takes a flight to get to anyone I love. So what's the difference?

Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe it's just first world problems.

Or maybe my mind just likes to take me on these intricate journeys through worry and concern. 

Only for me to emerge on the other side victorious in my understanding that ultimately all things conspire for my good.

Friday, January 1, 2016


At the end of 2014, I completed my studies in London, so my 2015 started with me moving back to the States. That was a pretty emotional decision for me because I had fallen in love with the city. I was the happiest I'd been in while, even with all the challenges of living so far away. When I got back I was afraid I would fall back into an old routine. I didn't want to feel like I had regressed, so I jumped around from state to state, starting at home in Miami, passing thru NYC, etc until I landed and settled in D.C. where I felt I could make a new life for myself.

2014 has been an AMAZING year of growth and sacrifice for me. Painful at times, but worth it for the growth that pain brings. I lost a few loved ones, literally and figuratively, but I think of them often and they keep me inspired to live life as hard as I can, because time is so fleeting.

Here I share the highlights of my year. I think we all get a little depressed around the holiday time, so editing this video reminded me of just how much grace is over my life.

I share this video with you as proof that the life you want and deserve is within your reach. Stretch yourself and grab for it in anyway you can because we only get ONE chance at this, and YOU ARE DESERVING. Feel NO guilt and NO shame in working toward the life of your dreams. Thanks for riding with me. Here's to a blessed, prosperous and safe 2016 for us all!

-Kells x

 [Video embedded below or click THIS link.]

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The 7 Stages of Highly Effective Event Management and Production, Second Edition [eBook]

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.
Second Edition: The 7 Stages of Highly Effective Event Management and Production

The 2015 Revised Edition includes a NEW Social Media & Content Marketing Strategy + more! 

The 7 Stages of Highly Effective Event Management & Production is a blueprint for event planners, managers and publicists to produce high quality events while working in a demanding corporate environment.

You can expect pithy insider tips, how-to's and best practices used by corporate event managers to produce high-profile events for high-value clients.

You will learn the seven practical stages of effective event management, including quick-hitting tips on gaining leadership buy-in, effective budgeting, event promotion, social media & content marketing, and pre- and post-event must-dos.

Use this guide to master the essential techniques to guarantee your event will be superbly planned, promoted and received by your stakeholders.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

You should know

You should know that "strong" people are rarely innately so. They are strong out of necessity with the knowledge that there is no one there to catch them if they should fail. 

A thin veil of support.

No one to cradle them should their knee buckle for a moment, so their life is wholly dependent on their personal strength.

You should know that it is a lonely place to be.

You should know that many "successful" people are driven to success by the inadequacies of their circumstance. And that inner drive is usually a prescription for inner pain.

You should know that people remember how you make them feel, not the details of what you say or do. And that the emotion tied to how you make them feel resonates far after, and far deeper, than anything you can do to shift blame.

You should know that strong people are the most sensitive, using an exterior persona of strength to shield themselves from harm. To protect their vulnerabilities, to rage against manipulation at the hands of deviants. 

You should know that a pillar of strength may have a man, a family member, a friend, a parent, in her ear telling her that her strength makes her less of a woman —A very ironic play on her existence, since woman is the embodiment of strength.

You should know that strong people are strong because they have no other option.


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