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Thursday, April 20, 2017

MEXICO CITY || BIKING CHAPULTEPEC, LA CONDESA, PASEO DE LA REFORMA [part 3]



Here's a little recap and some extra unseen footage from my time in Mexico City bike ridding through roma norte, la codesa, bosque de chapultepec, and down paseo de la reforma; we had a dope airbnb apartment located between napoles and del valle.

Here's where we stayed in Mexico City: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/817291?eluid=1&euid=fc4d0805-87a8-2359-3c80-61e6503cb697 Tell Lu and Alberto Kells sen you :)

:: TRAVEL COUPON CODE ::
If you're interested, save a little money and have a more memorable stay in any city, book through Air BNB. Here's my discount code: http://bit.ly/ItsKellsAirBNB

 :: MUSIC ::
1. Jarreau Vandal - Until the Dawn - Soulection
2. Zak Abel Everybody Needs Love - Jarreau Vandal Remix
3. Jarreau Vandal - Until the Dawn - Soulection

[Video embedded below, click here for direct link: https://youtu.be/MkTPo5tViKs]

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Weekend Trip to Mexico City | Sunrise at the Pyramids of Teotihuacan and Biking through the City

Seeking to elevate my consciousness, I head to Pirámides de Teotihuacan to see the ancient Mesoamerican Pyramid of the Sun and Moon at sunrise. My friend Allie from my "Career Driven Women" series on YouTube invited me out to Mexico City. She loves it there and thought I would too.

I've made a promise to myself to travel someplace warm each Februaryfor me the hardest month to get through living in a cold climate. My friend Rachel from Miami flew in to meet me in Mexico City and the next morning we made our way 25 miles NE of the city to the pyramids. It was spectacular and gave me just what I was seeking.

[Video embedded below and linked here: https://youtu.be/ERX1_czkr88]


So after we hit the Teotihuacan pyramids, we jumped around mexico city: dinners in polanco at barra buena, porfilio's, cafe pendulo; bike ridding through roma norte, la codesa, bosque de chapultepec, and down paseo de la reforma; we had a dope airbnb apartment located between napoles and del valle. Rachel and I had a brilliant time.




If you're interested, save a little money and have a more memorable stay in any city, book through Air BNB. Here's my discount code: http://bit.ly/ItsKellsAirBNB. Here's where we stayed in Mexico City: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/817291?eluid=1&euid=fc4d0805-87a8-2359-3c80-61e6503cb697

[Video embedded below and linked here: https://youtu.be/2jV0kJ-3Z8s]

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Celebrating the Obama Era | Peace Ball 2017

I still haven't created a reflective moment to document what the Obama presidency meant to me over that last 8 years. I've been too wrapped up in deciding how I will cope with the current state of affairs here in the States and how I will make the next 4 years even more successful for me than the last. Onward and upward, as always—no distractions, especially those that do not serve my soul and my purpose on earth.

In the meantime, I did celebrate the conclusion of a successful Obama administration at the annual Peace Ball at the grand, recently inaugurated National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Peace Ball  was hosted by Andy Shallal, an Iraqi-American artist, activist and entrepreneur. He is best known as the proprietor of the Washington, DC area restaurant, bookstore and performance venue Busboys and Poets.

Befitting the current state of affairs in DC, the event was headlined by national activists, politicos and commentators Angela Davis, Senator Cory Booker, Alice Walker, Danny Glover, Van Jones, Melissa Harris-Perry, Ashley Judd to name a few, with special musical guests Esperanza Spalding and headliner Solange Knowles singing from her new album A Seat at the Table—with which I am totally enamored.

Here are a few photos highlighting the evening:









Kells x

Monday, January 2, 2017

How I Recover from the Holidays

Me, light as a feather, at Stone Henge, UK



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 lofty New Year’s resolutions, I am planning my after-holiday recovery.

This recovery 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 annual 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 precedent.

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 (ideally glass) 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 annual recovery practice!

What say you?

Do you recovery/ 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 9+ 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. area.


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: https://youtu.be/clperYJhsUs

 



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.


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: http://bit.ly/ItsKellsAirBNB


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: https://youtu.be/a_dJcmPHs0Q 

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.




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.



Sunday, August 9, 2015

I'm Back Home Now, Here's Why.

Hiya! You know I've spent the last year and half globe trotting, visiting fantastic sites, indulging in delicious eats and building treasured relationships. I would do it all over again if I could. Sadly, in the end, I had to move back home. Well, not home, home, but yes, back to the States. Press play to see exactly where I ended up and why.



Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to be notified when my videos go live. Drop me a message when you do, I'd love to personally welcome you to my vlogging community!

Farewell Thoughts on Dating in London


While I was in London, in addition to documenting my travels, business experiences, social and academic life, I decided to document my experience on the dating scene. I vlogged my tongue-in-cheek thoughts on interracial dating, dating Europeans who hate Americans, being called out because of my hair and being considered "exotic" as a black woman, as some of my more interesting topics. I decided to mainly post my vlogs to my YouTube Channel, where they were very well received, but to close out the series I share here my final thoughts on dating in London. Click the link below in you're interested!





Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to be notified when my videos go live. Drop me a message when you do, I'd love to personally welcome you to my vlogging community!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My British Accent


One of the biggest things about living abroad is the exposure to different ways of life. A big part of that is the way in which we communicate. To me, the British have one of the most noticeable and appealing accents of those who speak the English language, so I was keen to pick up the way while I was there.

While I was away, every time I would call or visit home I would be asked, "Do you have an accent yet?" I think a lot of people find the accent lovely and are interested in how cultural emersion changes you. Here are my favorite British slang from my time in London. Press play and tell me if you think I've got it, or if my British accent needs some work :)



Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to be notified when my videos go live. Drop me a message when you do, I'd love to personally welcome you to my vlogging community!

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