• 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

    Just continuing to live in my history books... 🇺🇸 #inauguration2017 #DC #theyearof26 #igdc You let me down today #RipCity, but free tickets to watch my team, a free seat upgrade and great company isn't a complete loss. @trailblazers #WizBlazers #mylifebelike #OnTheBlog #LinkInBio: LOVING this handmade sign with my favorite verse that I received from @hannahjane2014 in the Secret Santa #TCCC16 blogger exchange! #TheGoodStuffBlog #exodus1414 #smallbusiness Korean BBQ and karaoke 🎤 #Friday #girlsnight #theyearof26 My favorite gifts are the thoughtful ones that show just how well someone knows you. Thanks @brandiherman! 
#homesickcandles #belatedchristmas #Kansas #cozy #theyearof26 #friendship #OnTheBlog #LinkInBio: My parents' dream of owning a farmhouse and cows finally became a reality. And now I get to take endless pictures of them... #SpooFarm #cows #BueLingo #theyearof26 #family #canont5i #photography #EasternOregon #farmscene #TheGoodStuffBlog
  • 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

The Country Christmas Connection: Gift Reveal

Though I don’t blog much about specific agriculture topics, I still label myself as an ag blogger to some degree, because it is the industry that I work in and am passionate about. Last year, I joined a Secret Santa exchange for ag bloggers and really enjoyed it, so I decided that it was something I wanted to participate in again. It is a great way to get to know more people in the industry, and obviously it’s fun!

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I was given Gracie Weinzierl who blogs at A Farm Kid’s Guide to Agriculture. Gracie is also in ag communications, working at an agency in St. Louis, where she works with a variety of clients in agriculture. She is originally from Central Illinois where she grew up on a small corn and soybean farm. Right away I saw that Gracie had some things in common, like our love for coffee and DIY. She wrote all about the gifts I sent her over on her own blog post, which you can read here. I did have to laugh though. Gracie is a HUGE cat lover, something that I don’t understand AT ALL.  I mean don’t hate them, but I’m not really a fan. My sister is the complete opposite though, so I am used to buying gifts for “those kinds of people,” and buy the sound of it, the quirky little cat pen that I gave Gracie was a hit.

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A snapshot of the things I sent Gracie.

My secret blogger was Hannah Neuenschwander who blogs over at Texan Meets Midwest. Hannah is a Texan who relocated to Illinois for her job as a entry-level manager at a Monsanto soybean production facility. My first thought when I was looking through her blog was how much I appreciate that there are other young professionals in agriculture that make big moves like I did for my career, and those like Hannah are willing to share about it on a blog.

I was a bit late to open my gift (not Hannah’s fault) because I wasn’t able to get it from my apartment office before I went home on a long holiday vacation. Which is quite all right because who doesn’t like opening gift on a random day! When I picked it up from the office, the manager was very enthusiastic and said, “Oh Amanda, it looks like your new TV came in, you must be really excited.” Instead of trying to explain to her that I was positive that it definitely was not a TV, I just went along with it. But it definitely made me really curious and excited to get back to my apartment to open it!

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Now I wish I could have had someone taking a video of me when I opened my gift from Hannah, because I literally shrieked out loud. Hannah did a great job “stalking” my social media and blog to learn that I love decorating my home in styles that I love and personal touches that reflect who I am, and also that I LOVE a good quote. So she had a local friend and small business woman (Tina Gonnerman at TMG Designs in Ashton, IL) make this sign specially for me. I have a few of my favorite quotes and verses on the left sidebar of my blog, but Exodus 14:14 is my FAVORITE VERSE. Up until now I have kept it written on the white board in my kitchen. Plus, the colors and style go perfectly with my decor in my living room! Really Hannah, you could not have sent me a more PERFECT gift than this. Right now I have it propped up on a book shelf in my living room, until I decide whether or not I am going to hang somewhere else or just leave it there.

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Isn’t it great!?

Thank you to Darleen and Jenny for being this year’s hosts for the blogger exchange. I really enjoyed participating again!

Be sure to check out the linkup, where all of the other participants are sharing their posts.

Cheers!

Feeding Cows with Dad

There are fewer things that I love more than being home with my family in Oregon doing everyday things, and there are even fewer things that I love more than seeing my family happy.

My parents have always dreamed of having property and cows, and of a farmhouse that they could call their forever home.

Once they found what they wanted there were a few frustrating years before it all came together, so when it finally happened it was that much sweeter.

It was a bit overwhelming at first when I came home. I was walking into a completely different place than where I grew up, but with every room and little detail that they showed me, it became more and more clear to me. This home is perfect for them.

I might take pictures someday of the house, maybe even on this trip.

But I knew even before I came home, that the first thing my camera lens would focus on were my dad and those beloved cows.

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In case you are wondering, these “Oreo” cows are the breed “Bue Lingo.”

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Breakfast time.

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I am only slightly upset that my family finally got cows AFTER I left home…

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This barn cat came with the property. My dad has renamed it “Talks a Lot.” It follows him EVERYWHERE, and well, never stops talking.

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This is what a very happy, new farmer looks like.

Cheers!

{2016} Holiday Partying

This year I attended a lot of holiday parties, so I thought I would do a quick round up here on the blog.

The first party was organized by a group from my church, and proceeds went toward the DC Dream Center. 

I decided for this party I would try out “Rent the Runway” for a fun holiday party dress, and after struggling a bit to lock one that I wanted (note for the future, you have to order earlier during the holiday!) Once I actually got the dress I was even more excited about it than when I first reserved it. It was perfect! And Rent the Runway is SO EASY to use. I would definitely recommend it!

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The party was fun and I just loved seeing everyone dressed up!

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I didn’t include any full pictures of the dress, but it was the “Blue Botany Dress” by Badgely Mischka. It was pretty heavy and had a large keyhole opening in the back. It was also little longer on me than on the model in the picture because I’m really short.

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I loved how my hair turned out! Like usual I started with one idea and it just transformed into something different by the time I was done.

My next party was my holiday party at work.
I don’t have any pictures from the actual party, so I included a few of the cinnamon rolls I made for the office for breakfast.

I love my office’s party though. We all go to lunch and then head back to the office gift exchanges, drinks and dessert. Our office stays pretty busy year-round, and someone is always traveling, so it’s just nice to enjoy the time with my co-workers.

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The next party was with my small group (through church). I joined this group just this fall, and am so thankful for the people and conversations its brought into my life. Our party was full of ugly sweaters, yummy food, white elephant gifts and some intense rounds of Catchphrase and Heads Up.

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My last party was hosted by my friends Kim and Sarah and their roommates.

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Lucky for me, they live only two blocks away from my apartment, so I didn’t have to spend money on a cab. But I did have to trek over in my snow boots, because I’m pretty sure my heels wouldn’t have fared well on the ice.

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Kylie and I have an unique friendship in that we actually met through blogging! It had been a while since we caught up, so I was so excited she was at the party! She’s also one of the first people who told me about National Community Church (NCC), which is how I met the girls who were hosting the party.

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I think I actually like this picture better than the first. We have a similar sense of humor… so this fits us.

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New, newish and older friends all at once.

(Also I love that my bridesmaid dress from Kyla’s wedding two years ago doubles as a great holiday dress!)

And since we are talking about holiday parties, I thought I would share that the entire Spoo family is getting festive.

My parents and sister attended the school district staff party (my dad is the high school principal) and my Dad ROCKED the ugly sweater.

This might be my new phone screensaver…

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And that’s it!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family!

Cheers!

So There’s That Vol. 19

{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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Once again it has been almost two months since my last So There’s That post.

And this time I can’t even say that I was “out of my mind” busy. Oops.

Well settle in, it will be a long one…

1. Celebrated My Birthday

One of my friends from college is in DC for a year-long fellowship and offered to throw me a birthday party this year. It was a great little get together, and though somewhat unplanned it ended up being all Kansas people.

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With Logan and Emily. Happy to have so many K-Staters here with me.

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We all share Brandi as one of our closest friends, so we decided she needed some Snapchat spam.

2. Beware of Jalapeno’s

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I am pretty sure I will immediately regret including this picture, but I always say this blog is about my life, so some funny/embarrassing stories and pictures just are not allowed to be omitted.

So… I love spicy food and I love jalapenos, so when I decided to make queso dip for my birthday party it was natural for me to grab a few (4) jalapenos to add in. Now I have cut up jalapenos a dozen times before and never had any problems but this time was pretty different. A few minutes after I was done chopping, my nose and upper lip started to BURN REALLY BAD. So I immediately washed my hands with dish soap and then washed that part of my face with my normal face cleanser. And then it started to burn EVEN WORSE. So I did what every other brand new 26 year old would do… I called my mom. She proceeded to start Googling what you are supposed to do and I tried a baking soda and water paste, then lemon juice and then coconut oil, all of which helped for a few minutes and then would stop. At one point I went back to the paste, which was a REALLY bad idea because it made things worse after the lemon juice.

Eventually I just held ice packs to my face for a few hours. We eventually read that soaps actually do not help (OBVIOUSLY) and realized that every time I used my hands to apply the different mixtures it was just eventually tainting them and spreading the heat to more of my face.

So with the picture to prove it, I really can not make this stuff up, and it REALLY was that dramatic. Just ask my mom about the phone call, I am pretty sure she is still laughing about it.

3. Crop Quality Report

This project took up most of my work life in September and October. It is a report that my organization puts about every year and this year we decided to do a complete redesign with the help of an agency. The challenge is there is a LOT of data that goes into, a LOT of people that contribute to it and it gets translated into five languages.

I was pretty proud of the final product and especially of Steph, my co-worker who put in way more hours than I did. If you are at all interested at actually looking through it, you can find it HERE.

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4. The Best is Yet to Come

In October, my church, NCC, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a service that included all eight of its campus at one location, held in Constitution Hall at the DAR. It was such a fun, inspiring evening!

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One of my small groups met up for dinner at Old Ebbitt beforehand.

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These wristbands lit up in different colors, based on our motions or by the tech guys. They were so fun!

5. “Coloring Book for Me” App

Friends, prepare for your life to be changed.
I can not remember how I stumbled across this app (probably because I was so excited about it) but YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. It is pretty straight forward… every day there are new blank designs to choose from, you have a variety of color wheels to choose from and then at the end you can add treatments. Honestly, I have done one almost everyday for the past month, but decided that sharing ALL of them might be a bit much for those who do not share my enthusiasm.

And dear creators of the app? Hit me up if you would like to sign an official endorsement deal…

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6. Kansas City

In November, I was in Kansas City for a conference that I still plan to separately blog about. But that also meant that I got to squeeze some time in with one of my favorite little families. Baby Robin has become a regular in these posts, but I was also excited to catch up with Leah and Ryan. She was my roommate my freshman year  and still one of my dearest friends.

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She is 7 months old now!

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Her parents are going to regret letting her call me Aunt Amanda someday…

7. Hiking

In addition to the big hike I already blogged about... I also joined my friend Kim for an afternoon on the Maryland side of Great Falls.  She recently got a new DSLR camera so she wanted me to teach her a few tips.

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8. Sunday Funday

In November, another one of my small groups from church went out on a Sunday to a small winery, lunch and then stopped by one girl’s family farm. It was one of the first colder weekends in the area, but we had a great afternoon! Northern Virginia is absolutely beautiful in the fall!

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9. Friendsgiving

This year I went to two Thanksgivings!

On Thursday, I joined my co-worker and his wife, who are also K-State alums, along with many others who have some connection to Kansas.

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And then on Saturday, I was invited by one of the girls from one of my church small groups to join a Friendsgiving hosted for another small group that she is in.

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In the last eight years I have only been home for Thanksgiving once, but I am always reminded how big my support circle is and the kindness of others.

10. Run DC

Since my plantar fasciitis developed this summer I have not been out on a long run or walk in DC. My foot still hurts, but I have contained it quite a bit so I decided to take advantage of the last semi-warm weekends and ventured out for a run/walk that accidentally turned into an unplanned seven miles. Apparently DC infrastructure is still hard to navigate after living here two years.

Anyway, as expected, it was a beautiful day.

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11. The People’s Tree

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So I learned this year that you have to get tickets way in advance for the Christmas tree lighting at the White House… but that the lighting at the Capitol is free. This was toward the top of the things I really wanted to do this year so I dragged my friend Logan out in the pouring rain to see it. They had a short but cute little ceremony led by Speaker Paul Ryan. The tree was from Idaho this year!

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I love Union Station this time of year!

12. Christmas Crafts

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My apartment is really small, but it had been too long since I had a fun project to do and my little windowsill was perfect to add a few things too. I blogged about making the tree and the sign last week. Read it HERE.

13. Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.

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Views from my parents’ new property.

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Enjoyed my first “Paint Nite” with Allyson!

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I LOVE this picture and this view! Photo credit to my friend Casey Droddy.

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Took this out of my plane window on the way home from Guam.

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Good morning Union Station.

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Snapchats of Jack from my sister are my FAVORITE.

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My new tennis shoes are full of inspiration

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Enjoyed catching Reckless Kelly with my Kansas guys. We do not get nearly enough red dirt bands live in DC. And I LOVE my new dress, so I had to share.

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Miss Robin was the cutest little penguin. Even if she did not think so herself.

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True friends send you pictures from Kansas to make you miss it more.

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Sunday brunch to celebrate Sherin’s birthday!

13. Chris Stapleton

Three people sent me a link to an article about this song below in a matter of a week. Obviously my obsession with Chris Stapleton has been well advertised.

HE NEEDS TO RECORD THIS!

14. My Life in Memes

Memes that are speaking to me right now… both thought provoking and just plain funny.

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Christmas Crafting

I have never done much for Christmas decorations in my own home so far, and since moving into my new (and very small) apartment this year, finally getting a tree was still out of the question.

I do have a nice windowsill abobe my air unit where I normally display a few picture frames, and it has been way too long since I have had a creative project to work on, so I decided that I would utilize the space for a little decor.

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When I first moved in, I built a entertainment center/shelving unit out of 2×12’s (I think?) and cinder blocks, and had a few extra pieces left after the boards were cut for length

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I put two coats of regular acrylic paint on the board and let it dry.

Note to self: Do not try to FaceTime with your sister and work on a painting project, when you do not have the proper space to do the project in the first place. It is a miracle I did not get paint anywhere it was not supposed to be besides my arm.

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When I went to Michael’s for paint, I saw this flat wooden tree and broke my rule of only going in to get paint… luckily it was not too spendy. While the board dried, I painted this and alternated each row with red and bronze.

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This was the after photo for step one. I took the smaller brush that I used on the tree and did not clean it out so that there would still be some of the drying, clumpy red paint in it, which seemed to help with the uneven brush strokes. I used a dark grey that I already had and the same bronze paint. After I had made some of the bigger strokes I wiped the brush off and continued to dry brush back and forth over the color that I had just applied,

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While the board dried again I switched back over to the tree, which was now dry (after two coats) and applied these rhinestone stickers along the seam of each layer. The nice part was that the rhinestones were grouped together in strips, which is great because there is no way that I have the patience to apply each of those individually. I got them in the sticker section at Michael’s.

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Moving back over to the board, my next step was to take sandpaper to it. I varied the types of strokes I made and the pressure to get the look that I wanted.

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The final step for the tree was to wrap this garland from Michael’s around it. I tacked it with glue in about four spots to that I could get everything to hang just right. As you can see I could technically hang it on the wall somewhere but it is doing just fine propped up on the windowsill.

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The final part of the other project was to glue the ornaments to the board. I saw these ornaments at Target a few weeks ago and fell in love, which essentially inspired me to go ahead and do a little decorating. I just took all of their hangers off and used tacky glue to secure them on.

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And here is the final look! The two little ferns are from Trader Joe’s and Frosty came from my family’s store in Oregon a few years ago.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Amanda

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Travel Journal: Tumon Bay, Guam

Hey hey!

I finally got through the pictures from my work trip to Guam. October has been so busy, it feels like my trip was months ago instead of weeks.

At the beginning of October, I traveled to Guam for my organization’s North Asia Marketing Conference. This conference is hosted for flour millers wheat buyers from Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and gives them the opportunity to hear about the new wheat crop and emerging market factors. Read more about the conference in my article, “Wheat Buyers Conference Reflects Loyalty and Customer Preference.” 

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I really didn’t know much about Guam before I was asked to go on this trip except that it was a U.S. territory located in the Western Pacific (part of the Mariana Islands). But as I told different people where I was going, most gave me a blank stare, so it is safe to say that it is not a place very high on most radars.  It’s a small island, only 210 sq. miles, with a population of 161,785. Guam’s indigenous people are known as Chamorros, who settled the island 4,000 years ago. If you have heard of Guam, it might be in reference to World War II. Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Guam was caputured by the Japanese and occupied for thirty months until the U.S. recaptured it. I won’t give you an entire overview but I learned more about Guam HERE and HERE, and of course Wikipedia threw in a few credible facts.

Even though I love to travel, I haven’t done much international travel — and yes, I am definitley counting this as an international trip, even though technically it isn’t. This was only my second time in sitting in first class and I’m pretty sure I have been ruined. I can’t even imagine that much travel in the coach. My first flight was 3 hours, followed by two more 8 hour flights, so my total travel time was about 23 hours, including layovers. Overall it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated, but again I’m saying that while I remember how comfy it was to stretch out my legs and being waited on. #spoiled

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Guam is currently in its monsoon/rainy season, but fortunately we were lucky and didn’t have much rain at all. Though it was REALLY humid… worse than any humidity I’ve ever experienced in DC or Kansas. I got up early two of the mornings to enjoy the view and take pictures and spent most of the trying to keep my lens from fogging up.

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This was seriously gross.

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Guam is 14 hours ahead of DC and on the other side of the International Dateline, so I spend most of the trip pretty confused about what day it was. I left DC on a Friday and arrived in Guam on Saturday day evening local time. The conference didn’t start until Monday, so we had the first full day to ourselves, which helped immensely with the jet lag. I took the free time to enjoy swimming in the bay, which was SO WARM AND CLEAR! I’m not a huge fan of swimming but I would go everyday if it was like this.

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Monday and Tuesday were full of speakers. Aside from taking pictures and social media coverage, I also did a few video interviews which are going to be compiled later for a few features.

The conference ended with a great dinner and traditional show. I am so thankful that my job allows me to explore new places and that I work with so many people who put so much of themselves into their work.

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NOW, on the the pretty pictures…

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Unfortunately, I could not avoid being pulled up on stage for dancing, and as you can see I haven’t prioritized getting a copy of that video to share…

Guam was beautiful, and though it was a quick trip, I had a great time and it was nice to explore a new place, especially one that was warm as we head into winter here in DC.

Cheers!

Hiking – Harpers Ferry

Last Saturday I joined a group of women from my church to hike the Maryland Heights Trail near Harpers Ferry, WV.

If the name “Harpers Ferry” sounds vaguely familiar to you… it should. There is so much history about the area, especially from the Civil War, including John Brown’s Raid.  The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park covers parts of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, and was about an hour away from DC.

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Our hiking group.

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As you can still there is still a lot green on the trees although it varied based on how high we were. Personally I loved that there was a great blend of fall and summer colors. After week of higher temps in the 80s, the temperature dropped quite a bit the night before the hike, giving us the perfect weather for a fall hike.

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I still don’t know very many of these ladies all that well, but I really value that the church I attend puts such an emphasis on small groups and community.

I had a great time with everyone!

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The hike was challenging in a few places, but not too bad. What is more amazing is that I didn’t fall once… I think that is a first for me. You would think being so short and a dancer as a kid would help my balance, but no, most of the time it is quite the opposite.

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I know this is probably a little creepy but I couldn’t pass up a good photo.

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If you know me well you know that my favorite place to be is up in the mountains. I am a bit partial to the Blue Mountains in Oregon, but these ones sure didn’t disappoint. Its been another busy couple of weeks at work so a full day out of the city, enjoying the fall colors, with great company was exactly what I needed. And I am so glad I decided last minute to take my camera. I use it so much for work stuff and touring around DC, that it was nice to get in more practice with a different subject.

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We didn’t explore the little town that much, but it was so cute! I definitely want to go back and focus more on the history.

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Happy Fall!

Cheers!

Country Fair Blog Party