• You've stumbled upon 'The Good Stuff.' Whether you're here to share in my adventures or just passing through, I'm glad you're here!

  • #InstaLife

    Being an #alum of the #Kstate #agcomm program is something I value both personally and professionally. Enjoyed catching up with old friends and getting to know current students this week at #AgMedia Summit in #STL! #Summer2016 @kstateag @kstateact I don't really cry in public, but my Grampy just about got me when he sent this to me while I'm on a work trip. My #family cabin, #TheDiggins, is my favorite place on earth and I love that they included a little piece of my new life there. I just wish it wasn't so far away. #Summer2016 You may technically be my uncle, but growing up as your sidekick with you as my big brother you influenced everything from my taste in movies to my humor and so much about how I approach life. I am so happy that you found Sonia and that she's so much cooler than you. #EgoWedding #family #Oregon #Summer2016 #love In my mind I don't  know if there has ever been a more beautiful place for a wedding. 
#TheDiggins #Oregon #EgoWedding #mountains #family #nofilter #Summer2016 Let's do this thing. #EgoWedding #family #Oregon #TheDiggins #mountains #wedding #Summer2016 Little man you are so very loved 💙 Hard to accept you'll be 10 months old the next time I see you. #WesleyRay  #Summer2016 #babylove
  • My Favorite Words.

    'The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still' -Exodus 14:14

    "You've got to know your limitations. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way." - Johnny Cash

    "Courage is the ladder that all virtues are mounted on." - Mr. R. Crosby Kemper, Jr.

    "It's your choice, Ace. People can live a hundred years without really living for a minute. You climb up here with me, it's one less minuteyou haven't lived." - Gilmore Girls

    "Faith, it does not make things easy, it makes them possible" - Luke 1:37

    "I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the lights that I have." -Abraham Lincoln

    "Writing is a struggle against silence." - Carlos Fuentes

    "At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don't really expect it. It’s like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it’s not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you, and once in a while people may even take your breath away." - Grey's Anatomy

    "Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius. And it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. And when it comes down to it, I let them think what they want. If they care enough to bother with what I do, then I'm already better than them." - Marilyn Monroe

    “It’s not that I believe everything happens for a reason. Some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic. It’s the universe’s way of providing contrast. There have to be a few holes in the road. It’s how life is." – Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

    "Opportunity knocks; that doesn't mean you have to knock the door off the hinges." - Sam Herringshaw

    "Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors." – William P. Young, The Shack

    ‎"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." - Robin Williams

    "I think I'd miss you even if I'd never met you."-The Wedding Date

    "If you don't even believe in the possibility of magic, you'll never ever find it." - Castle

So There’s That Vol. 16

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my glam #postgradlife. See past posts HERE}

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1. Baltimore Weekend

Wrapping up a bit of catching up I needed to do here on the blog — one of my college friends, Kyle, had informed me and our mutual friend Katie, who lives in Baltimore, that he was going to be starting a family East Coast vacation early by coming to visit us. This was the DAY AFTER my 3 weeks of crazy traveling, working, moving/mom visiting…aka I was exhausted.

But despite that, it ended up being a great weekend and it was great to see one of my best friends from college who I hadn’t seen in a year. Katie took us to a Maryland Wine Festival outside of Baltimore and then we headed to an Orioles game, where I tried VERY hard not to fall asleep. #sorrynotsorry

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2. Life

I posted this on social media right before I began this really busy couple of months. It pretty accurately describes my view on how I try to live, or in the case of the “weird” part, how my life ends up going. It’s fair to say I’m accomplishing all of this lately :)

weird life

3. Gorgeous Timelapse of Washington DC

If you click on anything in the blog post, please click on this. This city is just so beautiful.

4. Columbia Basin Student Homebuilder Program

My little hometown and high school in Eastern Oregon got quite the shoutout the other day over on the Hill by Senator Wyden.

Growing up as an ag teacher’s kid I saw so many examples of the incredible value and true impact career and technical education programs have on individuals and the community as a whole. Without that focus on intra-curricular career development, I don’t think I would have pursued the dreams and goals I had, or be doing what I do now.

I always felt so supported by my community and so many wonderful teachers. Happy to see this new HHS program get this attention, and proud to say “that’s my hometown!”

5. A Letter to My Younger Self

http://allisonfallon.com/letter-to-my-younger-self/

I don’t reshare articles on Facebook too often, but this I had too. I read A LOT, and this is one of the better reads of its kind that I’ve seen make the rounds. Really, especially if you are a 20-something, check it out. This quote below from the article has been speaking to me in leaps and bounds lately.

Do what you

6. Titus

I was sad to hear that my Uncle Joe and Aunt Susan’s big ol’ pup Titus passed away. He was such a sweet dog and I loved having him around during our trips up to the family cabin.

Titus.

Titus.

7. Harry Potter Hater

So glad I have friends that are watching out for me…

(click here read about Grant’s HP hatred)

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8. Star Wars

The original Stars Wars trilogy is returning to theaters this summer.

And one of those theaters in here in Washington D.C.
#THISISNOTADRILL
Since I can’t convince my uncle who raised me on these to make a special trip out here for them I need to find like-minded friends immediately…. stay tuned.

9. Wheat Harvest

I could seriously look at wheat harvest photos all day… good thing I kind of get paid to do that anyway. Check out is gorgeous photo story by Elliot Ross in the Washington Post and follow #wheatharvest16 on social media for updates and pictures from this year’s ongoing harvest.

Photo by my friend Greg Peterson (@gregpeterson33) near Assaria, KS.

Photo by my friend Greg Peterson (@gregpeterson33) near Assaria, KS.

10. Random Picture Roundup

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Not a fan of cats, but kittens make any day better. Also, yes that is Olaf chilliin out underneath my work desk…

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Our girl Ellie, my family’s dog back home, had a health scare, but with some new meds and lots of love she is going to be fine! She is seriously the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet.

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If you haven’t figured it out by now, my am in love with the rooftop deck at my new apartment building.

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Wesley Ray – 3 ish months

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Robin Michele – 2 ish months

My two favorite babies, Wesley and Robin in clothes that their Aunt Mandy got them. #babystyle #ohmyovaries

So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Brought to You by the Letter “M”

This blogpost was brought to you by the letter “M.”
Mom. Memorial. Moving. Monsoon…

Ok, that last one is a tad bit of an exaggeration but I’m all about dramatic effects in these parts. Moving along in my blogging catch this week (which I started yesterday), as soon as I returned back to DC from my Kansas work/fun trip, my Mom had already arrived to visit and help me move into my new apartment.

I feel like I’ve been talking about moving FOREVER. When I first moved to DC, I had to do everything online, find and commit to a place site-unseen, and move all within about two weeks. My roommate and I always knew that this gig was going to last through the one lease so I knew months ahead of time when I’d be moving.

The biggest difference when apartment searching in a city like DC, versus say, a Midwest college town like Manhattan, is that apartment managements usually only know when a space is coming available 30 to 60 days, which means you can’t look at or consider them until then. Also, the prices fluctuate on a scale based on demand, time of year, etc., so that price you saw online two weeks ago isn’t valid now.
Long story short, apartment hunting here is way more complicated and tedious than it really ought to be.

I actually got the keys to my new place in early May, but waited until the end to move because of my trip to Kansas and all the other life things (did I mention I’ve been busy?)

Now here’s where my Mom comes in. Somewhat last minute she decided to fly across the country to hang for a whole week and help me wherever I need it.
After she left I wrote on Facebook, “You all can argue with me another time, but this week there is no doubt that my mom wins the “Best Mom Award.” She came to DC to help me move to a new apartment during what has been a REALLY busy season of life and work for me. I really don’t know what I’d do without her.”

It was so nice to have someone help with all the loose ends, offer a second opinion on decisions and oh yeah… CLEAN MY OLD APARTMENT FOR ME because I had to go back to work.

Now my new apartment has this weird rule about no moving in on weekends and holidays, which gave Mom and I an excuse to be tourists for part of her visit.

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Union Station.

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U.S. Capitol.

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If you didn’t know my family has owned a flower shop for 27 (28?) years. It was actually pretty funny because somehow in the past year of living here, I had failed to mention to Mom about the U.S. Botanical Garden. Friends, my mom is not very good at remembering to take pictures or even actually taking them (her words, not mine)…. and she took pictures of almost every flower we saw in there.

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The tropics room was a bit humid. I actually wanted to go back outside into the DC humidity.

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On the National Mall.

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At the new apartment… oops.

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So we knew our tourist/fun time was going to be limited and since she was in town over Memorial Day we decided that we REALLY wanted to go to the DC Memorial Day concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. It is a great event aired on PBS hosted by Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna (aka Captain Dan and Agent Rossi LOL). The weather that morning first said it was supposed to be a light rain before the concert and then clear up. So we didn’t taken umbrellas and headed into the district to get there at 5pm for a good spot for the 8pm concert and that’s where it went downhill. We get off the Metro and it is POURING. So because we have time, we decide to go back a Metro stop to where I think there are shops where we can buy umbrellas (and use the restrooms because HELLO priorities). Except the shops aren’t actually open and neither are the restrooms, so we head out in the rain following Google Maps to the nearest CVS… except it gets confused and takes us in the opposite direction. FYI, by now it was pouring even harder. At point, I actually realize I am near a hotel I recognize that has a restroom AND gift store where we paid way too much money for ridiculous ponchos and umbrellas.

Finally we made the trek back toward the Capitol and still sat for almost two hours in the pouring rain, where we played “I Spy,” for at least one hour. I think its important to note here how much my mom and I both hate the rain and hate being that cold. But at that point we were committed.

And it was worth it. The concert was awesome, and the rain eventually did let up.

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Monday was mostly spent doing apartment things, but we did walk to Arlington National Cemetery.

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And then Wednesday was officially moving day. I just want to throw a quick shout out. If you are moving in the NOVA/DC area, I HIGHLY recommend the My Truck Buddy moving company. Moving in a city is just a different kind of beast, and these guys made my move so much less stressful and so fast! It was worth every penny, and really, their prices were pretty reasonable. Though I seriously would have paid them just to move my couch that I’m a bit attached to and apparently unable to fit into any DC apartment. That’s a story for another time…

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Hi, my name is Amanda, I’m 25, and have no shame in admitting that I totally still need my mom. I loved being able to finally show her my life here in DC and am so, so, so, so, so thankful for her help that week!

Friends, if your mama is anywhere near as awesome as mine, give her a big ol’ hug, because she deserves it.

On a side note, I am so in love with my new apartment and can’t wait to eventually show it off to you!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a “So There’s That” post to wrap up my blogging catch up.

Cheers!

 

Quality of Wheat, Quality of Life.

Life man. It sure throws you some twists and turns. After an insanely busy couple of weeks, some of it expected and some it not… my goal is to get caught up on the blog with a few posts this week, because not only do I enjoy sharing my adventures with you (Hi Mom and Grammy!), but this also is my way of journaling. Right before I left on my trip I posted this graphic on social media. As usual, my life over the past few weeks was right on target.

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So first up, my trip to Kansas, May 20 to 27…

“Quality” is a general characteristic that I think most people would agree is hard to define. We determine quality based on what we value, or more simply on what our needs are, and those variables are obviously going to vary from person to person. With quality usually comes discussions on consistency, efficiency and impact. And then there is the question of the value of quality versus quantity.

My trip to Kansas was all about quality.

I traveled out to Kansas to join one of my colleagues in leading the Overseas Varietal Analysis (OVA) Hard Red Winter (HRW) Wheat Quality Summit. My organization invited overseas wheat customers from five countries (Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Israel and Nigeria), who have participated in our OVA programming to travel to Kansas to discuss HRW quality directly with wheat breeders, public researchers, grain handlers and farmers. These customers represented some of the largest milling and baking companies in their respective markets. We were also joined by three of our USW overseas technical staff who were accompanying the customers on the trip.

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The HRW Quality Summit group at the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center.

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Two of my fellow USW colleagues from Nigeria and Korea.

In the United States, there are six distinct classes of wheat grown, each one providing different baking qualities important for different products. So while you might use the same all-purpose flour for everything you cook at home, the products we enjoy from the store or bakery are going to vary in the class of wheat that was used to make it based on characteristics such as texture, protein content, moisture, color and weight. Without going into a huge lesson, the challenge is that quality targets are not the only thing to focus on. The breeders develop different varieties for each wheat class that also focus on yield, disease and drought resistance, and more, and that process takes many years. In grain handling, there are also processes in transportation that impact the overall quality and export process. And then the farmers have the task of choosing the variety that are best for their farm and growing practices.

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K-State Research and Extension wheat field day in Hays, KS.

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K-State Research and Extension wheat field day in Hays, KS.

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K-State Research and Extension wheat field day in Hays, KS.

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K-State Research and Extension wheat field day in Hays, KS.

Like I said, quality is important. If you want to read more about the Summit and my work click the link below for an article I wrote. (Psst..it’s the second story down.)

Overseas Customers Discuss Need for Stability and Consistency in HRW Wheat Quality

So as I thought about the importance of quality and how we each define it in a different way, I thought about the rest of my trip and my life in general.

It’s so easy to focus on the negative and as hard as we try we often spend too much of our valuable time focused on things that don’t matter in the long run. I don’t know if I am just plain lucky, but the amount of QUALITY people in my life, in every place that I have lived, is humbling. These people love and accept me, and make me always want to be a better person. My “me” time while in Kansas for work was pretty short, but it never takes long for me to be reminded why I will forever be so thankful for my QUALITY time living there.

It’s hard sometimes living in a new city, with a new job and having to make new friends. I want that instant gratification of the QUALITY of life that I have built before, and in my impatience, forget that like breeding and growing QUALITY wheat, some things in life take time,  and trial and error.

During my vacation part of the trip I was able to FINALLY meet my best friend Leah’s new little one, Robin Michele. That look you see on my face below is pure joy! I had to wait two months before I got to hold her, and all the pictures and text messages in the world were just not enough for me.

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Instagram Caption: Finally got to meet and cuddle with baby Robin Michele. She is such a sweetheart, I wasn’t very good at sharing.

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Kyla and Baby Robin

I also got to spend some QUALITY time with friends and enjoying the place that I called home for six years. My old co-worker Jodi invited me and our friend Jancey out to her home for dinner. Her little girl #outlawainsley was born while Jodi and I worked together, and I had a wonderful evening flying a kite, “hopping through the onions,” eating “puppies” (puppy chow) and throwing rocks down a dirt road. My friends Kyla and Nathan came up for the weekend to visit which included walking through and seeing all of the new construction on K-State’s campus and a reminiscing night out in Aggieville. The real champ of week though, was my friend Brandi, who let me crash on her futon for a few nights until I could check into my hotel for work. We watched way too many episodes of Grey’s (she finally got me addicted), drank a decent amount of wine and were obnoxious as can be watching The Bachelorette premiere together.

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Instagram caption: “I wouldn’t give a nickel to have it paved in gold. Everything I love is at the end of a dirt road.”

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Flying a kite with Ainsley and Jancey.

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Kyla and I stopped by Smurthwaite, the women’s leadership/scholarship house where we first became friends.

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Instagram caption: I couldn’t imagine going through life without friends who just get it… Who get me, who laugh at the same things, who appreciate a good glass of #wine and obsess over the same ridiculous things

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Besties back in the Ville.

At this point I would end my blog post complaining about the awful time I had trying to get out of Kansas and back home to DC in time to meet my Mom who was flying in to visit and help me move. Out of all of the crazy travel stories, it might be the best one.

But my trip to Kansas also gave me a good reminder lesson on perspective. That week Kansas saw three days of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, and one of the farmers that I met at the Hays Field Day, went home that evening and lost everything on his farm and home just a few hours later. Twice I drove along I-70 near Chapman where one of the tornadoes crossed and saw just a little of the damage it had caused. It angers me when news reports say the “thankfully” a tornado “only hit a rural area,” and seem to forget that those areas are people’s whole livelihood. I only lived there just short of 6 years, but I consider Kansas home just as much as I do Oregon. I love that state so, so much and the people there even more. I’ve complained my fair share, but I would welcome all of my “troubles” over and over again if it meant those people still had their homes to sleep comfortably in.

Quality people, it’s important, worth recognizing and worth being patient for, in all walks of life.

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Thanks to Pat for snapping this picture of me!

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Instagram caption: #Kansas, blue jeans, Romeos and #wheat… These are a few of my favorite things.

Cheers, friends!

I’ll be back tomorrow with another post!

 

 

Janci’s College Graduation

I figured I should probably go ahead and get this blog post up before the end of another week came up…

(I’m in the process of moving to a new apartment and getting ready for a work trip, so things are a little busy around here.)

But it was important for me to take the time to celebrate one of my favorite people. Graduating college is no small feat, and my sister did it with quite a bit to be proud of.

Janci grad announcement

She was on the Dean’s list almost every semester and recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Award for her major. On top of that she was a student-athlete, finishing her final season this spring as a 2nd Team All-Conference player, an Academic All-Conference student athlete and with a conference regular season team championship. She was also given the Champion of Character Award at the conference championship tournament.

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I have always admired Janci for her tenacity. As much we try, there are a lot of new experiences and challenges that you can’t quite prepare for in college, but Janci had more focus and determination than most people I know. And most importantly, she found what she is passionate about, which can be the hardest part. I am so proud of all of her hard work and of the person she became along the way. Even though I keep moving further away from home, somehow we have grown closer as sisters and now best friends.

I was pretty disappointed that it didn’t work out for me to there in person to help celebrate her with the rest of my family, but thankfully they flooded my text message inbox with pictures to make me feel like I was there.

Congratulations Jancz!
I love you~

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My sister and our parents.

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Mom and Janci.

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With our Aunt Diane.

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With our Grampy and Grammy.

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With her roommate and teammate Karina.

The Road I Traveled: Meet Taylor

“Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

This series highlights young professionals and their stories, because no matter our path we all have a little to share and a lot to learn. Read and learn from past feature posts HERE.

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When I stop to think about it, I have quite a few interesting stories about how I’ve first met people over the last couple of years. My feature today is a good example of that. Taylor was a fellow Agriculture Future of America (AFA) student, but she was only starting to get really involved as my involvement was slowing down so though I knew who she was, I don’t think we had ever chatted prior to the summer of 2014. I was traveling to Austin, TX, to participate in my first #AgChat conference and the way my flights worked out, I got in before 10 am and didn’t have to be at the hotel for events to start until that evening. I decided to be a little brave and reached out to Taylor and her friend Taysha who had mentioned in the conference Facebook group that they would be in Austin earlier in the day as well. They ended up picking me up from the airport, and then we floated down the river for the afternoon. I still vividly remember how fun and spontaneous that day was!

Taylor has a contagious personality. She’s open and honest about what her goals are, and is not afraid of putting in the work to get here. She’s outgoing, independent and kind, and happens to be a a bit sassy to top it off. There really haven’t been that many, but I remember many of conversations with Taylor because she is genuine and pours herself into the conversations and people around her. Taylor’s post grad life has already took some twists and turns, but I really respect that she continues to go her own way and put the things that are important to her first. No doubt she’s another great addition to this series!

-Amanda

The Road I Traveled- Taylor

Basics

Name: Taylor Truckey

Age: 23 (and a half!)

Hometown: Leonidas, MI

College: Two years at Western Michigan University before transferring to, and graduating from, Michigan State University

Degree(s): Crop and Soil Sciences (MSU)

Current Location: Michigan, for now!

Current Job: I’ve built an online-based business focused on empowering women to be confident and healthy. I want to inspire people to take risks and live outside the norm if that’s what they feel called to do. Although my primary income isn’t in the ag industry currently, I still do freelance work and have a passion for the ag industry that has shaped my life.

Background Story:  I grew up on a small hobby farm in southern Michigan. After years in 4-H, FFA, and a misguided attempt to be a Poli Sci major, I found my home at Michigan State where I dived into the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

College

How did you choose your college and your major? This might be a long answer! Honestly, when I began looking at collegiate programs, I didn’t want to go to Michigan State. I felt like EVERYONE went there and I’ve always been the person to want to do things a little differently. I was thisclose to going to K-State to study ag but ended up deciding to go to WMU to keep showing in 4-H and to be closer to my grandparents.

After a year, I wasn’t happy in my program. I loved WMU and the Lee Honors College, but I didn’t feel like I fit in there. My heart missed the ag industry and my political science/environmental studies classes were missing the mark for me. I started looking again at K-State, in addition to UNL, OSU, and A&M (let’s be real, I just wanted the ring LOL). I was burnt out. I started considering two-year programs just to be DONE. A family friend forced me to check out Michigan State, and to humor him, I said I would.

After he drove me to campus for a visit, I was hooked. The passion professors had for the program, the energy in East Lansing, and the Spartan pride convinced me it’s where I needed to be. Let’s be honest, ag is also where the jobs are!

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What were you involved with outside of class? Organizations? Internships? The groups I was most heavily involved in were the MSU Agronomy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Agriculture Future of America. I had internships with B&M Crop Consulting, CHS, FarmLink/MachineryLink, ZimmComm New Media, and worked on campus as both a teaching assistant and in the MSU Weeds research department. I feels like it was already so long ago that I might be missing a few!

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What were your biggest challenges or obstacles in college? Anything you would change? Deciding to transfer out of WMU was a hard decision. I felt like a failure when I decided at the end of fall semester my sophomore year that I needed to leave Western. I signed up for online classes that spring, moved home, and jumped into an agronomy internship working with some of the best minds in the industry while I waited to hear from MSU. That internship helped me choose my Crop & Soil Sciences major at MSU. I don’t believe in regret and I will always treasure my time at WMU; I met some of my best friends there and had a lot of great opportunities!

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What one piece of advice would you give a student during their senior year? Just enjoy it. Stress less about your GPA, and more about making memories. Do all of those bucket list blogs that past seniors wrote for you and drink a beer with one of your professors. Celebrate this chapter of your life, but be smart too. Recently, we had to say our final goodbyes to a great friend of ours that graduated from the CSS program last May with us. Without getting too philosophical, those memories are way more important than a GPA that no one asks me about!

Post Grad

Tell us about your career so far? Twists and turns! Graduated, started a job, moved, didn’t work out how I planned, moved again. Basically, I’ve learned to just not plan, ever. I’m not doing something I ever would have planned on (there that word is again), but I am happy, my work is incredibly rewarding, and I’ve met so many amazing individuals along the way!

How have your experiences and involvement in college set you up for success in your career and life post grad? Overall, I experienced a lot of things that I think most don’t by the time they graduate because I applied for a lot of things I probably didn’t qualify for, then figured it out as I went. #realtalk.

I traveled quite a bit the last few years, worked with various groups, learned to work with many personalities, took scary leaps, made a few mistakes, learned from them, survived a knee replacement, almost failed Trig, did fail Chemistry, and yet, somehow, I had a 100% record of surviving. That gives me the strength to continue taking risks. I’m willing to fail, as long as I fail forward and learn from it. I think this is important in any career. In mine, I was willing to take a chance on a job that follows a non-traditional path just because I was willing to say, ‘why not?’ I’m thankful that I took that chance every day. It’s worked out pretty darn good.

On the flip side, what are the biggest challenges or differences you’ve experienced post grad that you didn’t expect or didn’t feel prepared for? Learning that in a workplace, co-workers aren’t necessarily friends. I value relationships and consider many people a friend. It can be a hard pill to swallow learning that not everyone values relationships that way!

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What apps, technology and resources do you use regularly to stay organized and do your job? Wunderlist is near the top; any kind of tracking app or CRM that helps me stay on track of things because #scatterbrain. PocketCasts/Audible for personal development and training. Instagram, Facebook; my business is primarily on social media/my phone. I’m learning Google Streak to see if that can help my business grow as well. I also have the Passion Planner that I try to remember to write things down in!

At this stage, what are a few of your strengths and weaknesses?  Motivating and training teams, engaging people, and renovation vintage campers are current strengths. I’m not a detail-oriented person, that is something I have to constantly work at. But I realize it. And luckily you can spend $ on apps that serve as personal assistants to keep you looking like you have your life together.

How do you stay motivated when work gets really busy or difficult? You have to dig deep and find your why that is going to keep you pushing through the hard shit (can I say shit?). It will fuel you the moment you get a message that says, “I believe in myself again because you believed in me first.” The idea that some people have no one in their corner, I want to be that person for them. I want to give them the tools chase whatever life it is they want to be living. The tough days are made easier by having my Airstream parked outside my window; it keeps me looking towards a life of flexibility on the road. That will come with it’s own perks like being able to give my time freely in service to others.

 

Work-life balance? How do you stay afloat and refreshed? Lots of personal development, adventures, vacations, weekend trips, and the occasional pedicure.

What in your #PostGradLife are you most proud of so far? Learning to go after what I want. I spent so many years doing the things I thought I had to. It’s been fun figuring out life with a new set of lenses that college and post-grad life seem to give you.

What does life look like right now? Hobbies and interests? What outside of work are you passionate about? Outside of work, I spend a lot of time traveling. I’m also renovating a 1974 Airstream in preparation of an epic roadtrip. The plan is that by the end of August, I’ll be able to hit the road full time for a cross country roadtrip in my Airstream! Donations accepted gladly accepted.

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Just for Fun

What is essential to your morning routine to start the day off right? A strong cup of coffee, time with Jesus and personal development make it hard to have a bad day! My morning workouts also just make me a nicer person in general HAHA

Do you have a must-have vice like caffeine or item you can’t live without in your workspace? My phone for sure. It’s what I run 80% of my business off of!

If you were to have another career, all limitations aside, what would it be? I freakin’ LOVE what I do, but I think if I could do ANYTHING, I’d have sponsors pay me to go on my Airstream adventure this fall/winter and just take lots of cool pictures, drink a lot of craft beer and meet amazing people along the way.

Moment of truth, what do you really miss about college? The people! This is a growing phase and shifting phase of life, it gets hard to keep in touch. But I’m forever thankful for the friendships and memories made during those FIVE years!

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Taylor, thank you so much for taking the time to open up and share about your post grad journey so far! I am excited to see final pictures of your Airstream. You know… Virginia and DC are really pretty in the fall… you may want to add that onto your road trip!

Cheers!

So There’s That Vol. 15

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my glam #postgradlife. See past posts HERE}

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1. Hokie Country

Man, I am tired.
I was planning on getting this “So There’s That” out LAST Friday before my weekend started, but here I am on the following Thursday and struggling to wrap it up.
This past weekend I road tripped down to Blacksburg, VA, home to Virginia Tech, to visit my good friend Chelsea.
Chelsea and I lived together at Smurthwaite Scholarship House for two years at K-State and she was my “big sis” in the house. I have always felt so lucky because while some big and little sis pairs do not really connect, mine has turned into a life long friend. Chelsea is a PhD student and invited me and Katie, another K-State friend who lives in Baltimore, to come down for the spring football game. It was a FULL weekend, complete with girl talk, tailgating, complaining about undergrads, crab ragoons, watching an entire season of Archer and a REALLY bad sunburn for me.

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Me and Chelsea:)

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Katie, Chelsea and me.

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Solid start to a fun day!

2. Proud Big Sister

Note to self, wathcing live golf scoring on a computer is almost just as nerve wracking as watching a live, fast-paced sport.

Last week my sister, a senior playing golf for the Lewis-Clark State Warriors, played in the Frontier Conference Championship. Although her team did win the regular season championship, they still had to win the tournament in order to go to nationals in Georgia (which I would to traveled to). Unfortunately they came up a little short and placed second. But I am still so proud of Janci. She attacked this season with hard work, commitment and a good attitude. I know she was pretty sad to have played her last tourney as a student-athlete, but I know she is so thankful that she pushed herself to that level.

And she didn’t lose by any means. She was an 2nd Team All-Conference player, a Academic All-Conference student-athlete and at the tournament she was recognized with the Champion of Character Award for the season.

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My family cheering her on in Arizona. Really wish I could have been there.

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3. Welcome to the World Robin Michelle!

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One of my best friends and freshman roommate, Leah finally welcomed her little beautiful little girl into the world on April 4! I am so excited for her and Ryan, and can not wait to hold her when I visit Kansas at the end of May!

4. #WorkLife

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I am always so excited and a bit relieved when I project that I put a lot of thought and hard work into turns out how I envisioned it. Two of the overseas offices for the organization that I work for are celebrating 50 and 50 years this year and these two commemorative programs were used at the celebrations that took place earlier this month.

5. Lip Sync Battle with Melissa McCarthy

In my next life, Melissa and I are going to be BEST FRIENDS.
I have been a super fan since her early days on my all-time favorite show Gilmore Girls and it has been fun to see her career take off. Her recent Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon officially replaces this one with Joseph Gordon Levitt as my FAVORITE.

6. Gilmore Girls Retro Poster

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Speaking of Gilmore Girls, I am REALLY trying to convince myself that I do NOT need to buy this retro fan art for my new apartment. I am trying to downsize and simplify… but the jury is still out on this and the other two posters I stumbled upon on Etsy.

7. Bye Marilyn

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Sometimes you just have to let go.
When I was maybe 15 or 16 my Aunt Michelle was recorating her living room and let me have this huge canvas of Marilyn Monroe. For whatever reason I always loved this picture, and so it hung in my room through high school and once I moved out of the scholarship house at K-State, Marilyn made her way across the country to become a part of our random college decor. My roommates pretty much hated her, saying that she was creepy. But over time she became the best conversation starter and a bit of a roommate joke (hence why we referred to the picture as another person and not an object.) When I moved to DC I did not really have room for her so she went into storage underneath my bed. I am getting ready to move again to a new apartment next month and decided that it was probably time to retire her.

8. Alex’s Snapchat

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This should not be THAT funny.
But it was enough for me to screen shot it and send it to 5 other people.
Someone in grad school has way too much time on their hands…
#easilyamused

9. Disney Princesses Singing in Their Native Languages

Guys, maybe it is just because I grew up on most of these movies, but these videos are seriously really cool! I knew what countries quite a few of them were based in, but others were a bit of a surprise. Ariel in The Little Mermaid is Danish? Who knew!

10. Drink The District

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A couple of weeks ago one of my new DC friends Elissa joined me, my co-worker and his group for a fun afternoon at Drink the District, a beer and wine festival.
Despite the chilly temps in April (love my new beanie!) fun was definitely had.
Lots of fun.

11. Carpool Karaoke

I’ve explained my love for James Corden before…

And now I am officially obsessed with his Carpool Karaoke segments. My favorites include Adele, Sia and both of the Biebs (#noshame). This link below features and ranks each of the guests that have participated so far:

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/james-corden-carpool-karaoke-clips-ranking?ref=twitter-869

Yo James, when you are ready I have a list of requests for you to consider.

12. Word Love

Quotes that I have saved to my phone lately.

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13. America Survives

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I refuse to talk about the elections on my blog or social media. There are already enough people blabbing on and on about it. But regardless of who you are backing, you have to admit that this is at least a little amusing.

14. 50 Design Terms Explained Simply for Non-Designers

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This is a great resource regardless of your level of expertise in design.
Read HERE.

15. On the Road with Wheat Foods Council

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http://www.ontheroadwithwheatfoods.com/

This is fun way to learn about wheat foods in the United States!

16. Fire Away

Seriously. Though. Put. This. On. Repeat.
Of course I also loved his performance with his wife at the ACM Awards.

17. Prairie Star Tournament Champion

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My office takes the Men’s NCAA March Madness tournament serious and yours truly ran away with the win. Thanks for the loss Michigan State.

18. Perspective

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Friday Jam Session Vol. 25

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
Untamed – CAM

Friends, I think Cam is the real deal.
I would say it is probably pretty hard to be women in country music, but I really do not think that this is an artist that is going fade away after an album or two. After a short jaunt in contemporary pop, her country debut single “Burning House” was one of the biggest songs on 2015 and its almost a crime that it took me until this past month to check out her whole album. “Hungover on Heartache” is currently my favorite jam off of the record, but I also really like the title track “Untamed,” as well as “Mayday” and “Cold in California.”

Plus by now, I think it goes without saying that I LOVE her hair.

2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
I’ll Be The Moon by Dierks Bentley ft. Maren Morris

Let’s start off by saying that I have been raving about Maren Morris for months now, and I am just so happy that people are finally starting to know who I am talking about.
ANYWAY… let’s focus a little less on what the song is about and just appreciate how pretty that harmony is. Dierks has a lot of fun songs, but his voice was meant for sexy, soulful tunes. I still remember when he came to my county fair right after his debut album came out. He has always been a staple favorite since then and I would LOVE to see him in concert again someday.

3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band
Brothers Osborne

This song has been stuck in my head and on my regular playlists for a few months now, so I guess it was about time these guys made it onto a blog post. They have a solid country sound, and are almost a bit folksy at times. Other than their single, I really like “21 Summer” (quickly becoming a new favorite), “American Crazy,” “Rum” and “Down Home.” They are playing on tour nearby in August with Miranda Lambert and Kip Moore, and I am REALLY hoping that I can make it work to go.

4. Jam I Have On Repeat
Keeping Your Head Up – Birdy

Birdy goes into the same category as artists like Sia and Vance Joy, who could sing the alphabet and I would still be obsessed with them. I want to feature every single song these artists have. If you think I’m exaggerating when I put songs into this category, DON’T. I literally mean that at one point I have clicked the repeat button on Spotify multiple times. I love that this particular song of hers is a bit more upbeat than some of my other favorites and I love the lyrics. It’s great in the car and is also on my running playlist.

6. Favorite Spotify List
“Legendary”

The playlist description says: “The best of the best. Classics that define the word Legendary are all in this playlist.”
I mean with the Stones, Beatles, CCR, Fleetwood Mac and Queen — just to name a few — I would say this is a pretty solid jam session.

7. #SoulMusic I’m obsessing Over
Start a Riot – BANNERS

I heard this on a TV show a while ago and immediately knew it would eventually find its way into this category. I love the artist’s scratchy voice and there is a softness to the song, that pulls on a lot of different emotions #closethipster. I’m a sucker for live acoustic versions, but this one is a bit rough, so I’d encourage you to listen to both.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Wild Things by Alessia Cara

It is funny, how you can hate one from an artist and be obsessed with another. That is how I feel about “Here” (which is REALLY annoying) and this new single. It throws me off a bit that this girl is so young, but this “anthem-like” song is quirky, catchy and has such a rich sound — which I think ties back to the lyrics themselves. It sounds great in the car and obviously has also found a spot on my workout playlist.

10. An Oldie, But a Goodie
Today I Started Loving You Again by Merle Haggard

Friends, music lost a legend last week. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but my love for it is rooted in riding shotgun with my Dad and in early morning AM radio stations that would play the outlaws and classics. I was never cut out to be a musician of any kind, but I sometimes wonder if that music was one of the things that helped develop my love for good storytelling. Haggard was one of the best, and certainly influenced so many of the generation of artists to follow him. If I had to choose I would probably say that the song above is my favorite of his, but of course I love other hits like “Mama Tried,”  “Workin’ Man Blues,” and “Fightin’ Side of Me,” just to name a few.

11. Work, Work It Out
Castle by Halsey

If you have already discovered this song, it is probably because you joined everyone and their mom in using the Shazam app when you heard it on the “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” movie trailer. I am sure that I was not the only one. I have not completely made up my mind on Halsey as a new artist, but this song is SO GOOD. With a dramatic flair and so many layers to its sound, I am dying to see someone choreograph a dance routine to this. (Or can I be 16 again please?) It might be a bit different for what normally goes on workout playlists, but trust me, it works.

12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love
Ophelia by The Lumineers

The Lumineers were an instant favorite when their debut album came out. Their entire production is so simple, but unique, and their new single has a light-hearted and sweet melody that I’ve had on repeat lately. Plus the video is just cute.

13. Guilty Listen of The Week
Friends by Blake Shelton

I do not actually feel guilty about this one, it just seemed like the right place to put it since it is kind of silly.  I LOVE Blake Shelton and this video and song have been cracking me up since my sister shared it last week. I think it is great when artists lend their voice to fun, kid-friendly projects like this.

14. Favorite New(ish) Cover/Remix
Stay by Thirty Seconds to Mars (Original by Rihanna)

The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge is my favorite go-to on YouTube for live performances and great covers. This particular cover is actually 2 or 3 years old, but I was showing someone this YouTube channel the other day and it made me think of it. Of all of the covers they feature, this one is probably my favorite. I am a fan of most of Rihanna’s music, but I never really cared for her original version of this song. But Jared Leto man, his version is so good, it is wrong. It really should have been his band’s song to begin with.

15. Popular Song Making My Ears Bleed
NO – Meghan Trainor

I’ve found that most people have pretty strong feelings about Meghan Trainor. You either get her or your can’t stand her. Don’t get me wrong her music can get a bit obnoxious after a while, but I generally like her. But this song…people, it’s some level above annoying.

LOL NO.

However, can we take a moment to appreciate her hair. If I wasn’t super snobby about the fact that I’ve never colored my hair, I would go to that color in a heartbeat.

16. Country Pick
Dear Music by Bart Crow Band

A country love song to country music?
I didn’t know I needed this song, until I stumbled across it, and now it will probably end up being one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t know that Bart Crow put out a new album last year, so I am excited to check that out. “Wear My Ring” is one of my all-time favorite two-stepping songs, so they are always solid staple when it comes to red dirt music.

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Cheers!

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