Friday, November 29, 2013

thanksgiving fun.

oh how I love Thanksgiving. It is probably my favorite holiday out of all.  The day off that I got due to the holiday was EXACTLY what my soul needed. The feeling of homesickness was beginning to flood me and my exhaustion level was high, high, high. So, you better believe it when I say that I BOOKED it home after closing on Wednesday. That 2 hour drive back to MD felt like nothing because I was so excited.

The second I walked into the house, a sense of relief just washed over me. I totally ran a couple of laps around the house and was a bit confused walking into my own room. Is this really what my room looked like? Being confined too 800 square feet has gotten me all confused.

I spent most of my Thursday doing absolutely nothing and spending quality time with the family. Oh, how there is so much to be thankful for!

Needless to say, my 30-hour trip home was far too short but I left with a heart so full. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

playing catch up

where do I even begin with this life update?? I've had this post written up and deleted multiple times because my mind couldn't wrap itself over the situation fully. well, here I am now, hiding in the corner of the restaurant cranking this post out before the start of the dinner shift.
about a month and a half ago, I made one of THE toughest decisions of my life. long story short -- in a three week period, I put in my notice at California Tortilla, signed a lease to an apartment in Richmond, and moved down here to start a new job. Pretty much, I went back and forth with my decision and there were plenty of tears. Plenty of phone calls and plenty of tears. Were there times in which I wanted to laugh and say "Just Kidding" to my bosses at California Tortilla? ABSOLUTELY. Was it a terrifying thought to leave my corporate job and head to a job that required 100+ hours a week in a restaurant? ABSOLUTELY. But at the end of the day, family comes first.
i'm headed into the third week at my new job. the word "exhausted" kind of sums up all that i'm feeling. exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally. However, that's not to say that I've been having a blast down in Richmond. I've met some great people down here, been in very humbling situations, challenged in my career and have been learning more and more about myself by the day.

The next thing I'm trying to learn...making time for myself.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

who am i?

Super excited to be linking up with Jenni over at Story of my Life this month for a blog challenge. It's time to get back on the writing train!
Day 1: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.
Ingredients to Karen Kong:
*My incredible support system -- friends & family
*Challenges and barriers
*Amazing opportunities
Who am I?
*Coffee addict
*Sports lover
*Restaurant marketeer
*Sweet tea gulper
*Food enthusiast

Monday, July 15, 2013

star spangled 'Merica

Ten days of LA palm trees | Can't beat that perfect blue sky
Jana Kramer "Goodbye California"

Oh how I love 'Merica!
 I can't believe that it's already been a week since I returned from LA. (Does anyone else feel as though 2013 is FLYING?) Someone, TAKE. ME. BACK. ALREADY.
A couple months ago, I knew that it was about time that I take a vacation. My destination? Sunny LA to visit my fave, Kendall and Peter to celebrate one of my favorite holidays: 4th of July! Best decision...EVER.
I hopped on that plane, listened to Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA about a million times, and once I landed at LAX, I ran through there to find Kendall & Peter! The whole weekend was incredibly relaxing. I think my brain was so happy and filled with so many endorphins. Limited time with my email inbox is quite beautiful. Who knew?
My weekend in a few snapshots:
Goodbye Washington, DC...

Celebrating 'Merica the right way. Beach + BBQ + Fireworks

LOVING the 'Merica trunks behind us.

Spent Saturday afternoon shopping in Santa Monica.
 Highlight from lunch: Nutella Latte. YES.

What's more American than baseball? Let's go Boston!

We know a lot about baseball...right?

More fireworks after the Red Sox win! These fireworks had my heart. Oh my, gorgeous!

Sunday brunch at Sunny Spot. Two words: RUM. CREME. Still dreaming of this deliciousness.

How could I leave this?

*Sigh* I'm missing LA so much. I want to go back already! What an amazing long weekend. I came home refreshed and so ready to take on the work week!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

friends who inspire

Since the start of post-grad life, I've been dipping my toes into a pool called "social life." The last time that I had an inkling of this so-called "social life" was...quite possibly junior or senior year of high school. The last four years have been a wild, non-stop ride. 

I've been spending some of my nights after the "9 - to - 5" job (yes, there's a reason for quotation marks) hanging out with friends. There's even the occasional Sunday Brunch after volunteering at Kid's Quest. Don't you know, the two main ways to my heart are froyo and brunch? It's crazy to think that some of my closest friends, JAKE, have been together since 5th grade. That's a doozy. We've literally seen each other grow up and pass through so many, SO MANY different stages of life. For all those wondering, JAKE stands for Julia, Alice, Karen, and Elaine. Yes -- the acronym is not only necessary...but we are actually known as that. Our boyfriends through the years have found it incredibly amusing. But, they know not to mess with any of us because we are more than friends...we're sisters. Ever heard of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? That's us...but in real life.

And then there's Lesley, whom I've known since freshman year of college. She's now moving to Paris to travel for a couple of months. Crazy, huh? What I love the most about this "social life" is that I get to slow down for a few hours and be present. The phone is off and I am 100% there soaking in all this friend time. LOVE every second of it. I love hearing what everyone has done, are doing, where they're headed, what they're thinking, and so on. 

Being a witness to so many transition phases has been awesome. What I've come to realize is, my friends are so incredibly inspirational! There's no doubt in my mind that they're each headed towards INCREDIBLE things: being a female executive, traveling the world, gaining new experiences, finding a cure for brain diseases, educating the nation about health issues, and the list goes on. I'm so crazy blessed to have each of these women in my life to inspire me. They push me in ways that I could not do so myself. They relay stories to me that I could never experience myself. As cheesy as it may sound, I truly hope that each of us have that circle of people who surround us with support, love, and inspiration. What better way to live?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

congratulations graduate.

 "Unless you want to wind up back in your childhood bedroom…Find what you’re good at, passionate about & devour it." -- Darryl Frank
It's official. I have graduated. YES -- GRADUATED.
The above quote was one of my favorite ones from all 5 of the commencements at American University. Darryl Frank gave one of the best speeches from that weekend at the School of Communications commencement.
Graduation was quite surreal and the morning of seemed like an absolute haze. One minute I'm in the car driving to American University and the next thing I know, I'm flipping the tassel on my cap to the other side.
A Kong family picture is definitely necessary. {Can't figure out why the photo isn't clear!}
So happy that Whit was able to make it to see me walk across the stage!
Post graduation photo shoot with Mama Kong!
Two weeks has passed since graduation and I'm slowly, SLOWLYYYY adjusting to post-grad life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

thank you.

Countdown to Graduation: 3 days.

I've been crazy sentimental in the past few days about graduation. To be honest, I'm not sure why. I always knew I would graduate -- that was expected but what I didn't forsee is the finish line. The line that we cross at graduation that marks the next chapter. The reality is, we are all going our separate ways. During my commute to campus and to work the past few weeks, I would catch tears welling up in my eyes because I slowly came to this realization. The past four years have been ridiculous -- good times, bad times, hills and valleys, heartbreak, betrayal, isolation, times of joy, and celebration. The spectrum of emotions, they were all hit at some point. 

I have a lot of people to thank in the past four years. College wasn't about learning -- no way. If anything, college was all about creating these relationships, investing in the lives of others, and being invested in. I didn't necessarily learn in my classes. The life long lessons that I learned were from my peers. They inspired me in unimaginable ways. So, I'd like to say...

Dear ...

Mom and Dad: We didn't always agree on everything and I'm not the easiest person to deal with and I know that. But, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I don't think I said that enough in the past four years....nor will I ever. You both worked hours on end and put me through college. These four years have been the toughest on us all, but especially the both of you. I could never thank you enough for the opportunities that you've given me and for allowing me to find my own way. You gave me space to make decisions for myself while still being there every step of the way to provide the advice that I needed. I'm going to do the best that I can to make you proud parents.

Whitney: Haha, where do I even begin? Thinking back now, I don't think that I ever imagined our friendship to be where it is today. Everything changed the first night I met you. You've been there through everything and were that shoulder to cry on. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for keeping me accountable. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for chasing after me and making me open up when something was killing me. Thank you for being the friend that I needed the most in college. I'm so crazy blessed to have you in my life. And, I'm thanking you in advance for the times that you will be there for me in the future. 

Kendall: All that I want to say to you personally is in that card en route to California. You are such an inspiration and a role model to me. Through the caffeine and craze of life, you have continually supported me -- cheering me on from the sideline. You may not know it, but you have influenced many of the decisions that I have made in the last 3 years that I've known you. College wouldn't have been the same without you. I could not be more proud to call you my Big. SERIOUSLY. 

Lesley: How is it that we are here now? Can you believe all that we have been through in the last four years? From meeting in Leonard 5 to now. We've experienced our first internships together, the ridiculous stories, crazy professors, sleepless nights spent on marketing plans, brunch priorities, dreams of the future, study abroad, Snowmageddon, endless amounts of cupcakes, and all things in between. Now -- graduation. I'm so proud of you Lesley and you have been the person who pushes me. The one who has allowed me to dream big. You are headed towards incredible things. I can't wait to see you writing the Editor's Note in Glamour in a few years. 

Kelsey L.: BFFR. One of my greatest regrets in college is not spending more time together. The best thing though is that no matter how much time has passed without seeing one another, when we do grab a 30-minute coffee date, it's as though no time has passed. We pick up right where we started and snark away. You my dear, are so incredibly strong. THE strongest person that I know. I'm so thankful for the mini text messages full of encouragement that have been sent in the past four years. Where would we be if we hadn't met that Thursday front of Kay...while you were on your cellphone...offering me a cookie? I don't even want to think about the possibility of never meeting!

Strong Fam: So much has happened but no matter what, we put it all aside. The tears and the laughter? That's what creates a family.

love always,