Life at Random

Reverse Bucket List

Today the Momfessionals blog is hosting a fun topic, talking about “Reverse Bucket Lists” on her “Show and Tell Tuesday.” I think bucket lists are important to have because they make us think about what we want in life and what it might take to get there. But personally I have always clumped bucket lists together with goal setting. Sure, its important to dream and take the time to write down your list, but I think it is so easy to never get past that step if we don’t set goals and think through the actions we need to take to get us there.

Anyway, I love the idea of celebrating and highlighting a reverse bucket list because I do think it is easy to look at other people’s lives (especially on social media) and feel negative toward your own life experiences and accomplishments. I’m all about looking ahead to what’s to come, but I think its important to remind ourselves how far we’ve come too.

As I was writing this, two things stood out to me:

  1. I included some things that weren’t necessarily on my bucket list or a particular goal before they happened, but they are significant parts of my story that I am proud of.
  2. As I browsed around for pictures to use and to help spark ideas for what to include on this post, I was reminded that though everything might not be a “bucket list” caliber item, I’ve lived a pretty awesome, fun and love-filled life so far, and that thought really made my day.

 

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— Going to and graduating from an out of state college —

DLC Photography.

Graduated from Kansas State University in 2013 with a bachelor of science in agricultural communications and journalism, and was recognized as the Outstanding Senior in my department.

— Serving on the National AFA Student Advisory Team in college —

Not sure I would call this a bucket list item, but more of a “I don’t have high hopes, but I don’t have anything to lose by applying” that turned into one of the most important experiences of my life thus far. A year of traveling with these 8 other college students to plan a student conference and learn about agriculture and careers, has shaped me personally and professionally in a way that is beyond measure, and brought so many wonderful people into my life. And more importantly, years later it is a network that continues to push me and support me in so many ways.

— Traveling internationally —

Thailand in 2017.
The Philippines in 2017.
Guatemala in 2015.
Mexico in 2012.

For three of those I have my job to thank. On those trips I got to do some pretty cool things like boat on the Andaman Sea, ride an elephant and hike a volcano! Obviously there are a LOT more places on my list to check off…with Greece and Australia at the top!

— Building a career I love —

I started out my career in the pork industry in Kansas and now I work in the wheat and trade industry just outside of Washington, D.C. On one hand I know that I am extremely lucky for the opportunities that have come my way and the people who have supported me along the way. But on the other hand, I do feel very proud of myself for the hard work I’ve put in to get to where I am only 5 years out of college. I’ve wanted to be a communicator for farmers for as long as I can remember, and that’s exactly what I am doing.

— Moving to Washington, D.C. —


I often tell people the story about how I went from randomly finding out about this open job position on January 9, accepting it on February 9 and starting in on March 9 (all in 2015). And that all included picking up and moving from Manhattan, KS, to Arlington, VA, a place where, once again, I didn’t know anyone, and was WAY different than anywhere I lived before. Looking back, I really do often think, “who the heck does that??” People have asked me whether moving here was a dream or goal of mine, and for the most part, the answer is no. I visited D.C. four times throughout middle school, high school and college, and have always been fascinated by it, but never thought too seriously about moving there. As I finished college, I looked for jobs in Kansas and the PNW (where I grew up.) I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to make another life changing move ever again and I was happy with those two areas. So when I decided that I was ready to move on from my first job, those are the areas I looked again. Yet, less than 12 hours after stumbling across this job posting on Facebook I called my parents to tell them that I had this really strong gut feeling that this was what I needed and wanted to do next.

— Attending an inauguration —

I could (and maybe should) do a post just focused on my “living in Washington, D.C.” bucket list and reverse bucket list.  But once I moved here and knew that I would probably be here at least a few years, attending an inauguration in person was definitely at the top, regardless who ended up as the President. For me, I just just excited to be experiencing a part of U.S. history in person.

— Getting a sister tattoo —


While the other major things on my list above are accomplishments and great experiences, this is more of fun to-do that my sister and I talked about for a long time before we finally decided what we wanted to get and followed through on it. Tattoos aren’t for everyone, but this is extra special because not only it is our last name, but it is written in our mom’s handwriting.

— A few others —

– Keeping up with this blog, even if it has seen some hiatuses 🙂
– Building genuine, lifetime friendships and relationships with my family
– Finding a church community I am comfortable in
– Traveling to all 50 states… I have 35 done (plus Guam) and 15 left to go!
– Buying a DSLR camera
– Visiting NYC
– Watching Independence Day fireworks on the National Mall and at Mt. Vernon
– Taking my sister to Vegas for her 21st birthday
– Learning to crochet
– Becoming a Lifetime Member of the K-State Alumni Association
– Becoming of a AFA Lifetime Alliance Member
– Traveling to watch K-State play in a bowl game (done this twice in 2014 and 2015)
– Rushing the field and the court as a college student
– Attending a game of every major pro team sport (covered football, basketball, baseball and hockey, missing soccer!)
– Too many bucket list concerts to count…and so many to go!

Cheers!

Life at Random

Best Day Ever – Show and Tell Tuesday

I typically don’t do “link ups” because I don’t have a regular posting schedule, or its that a lot of the link ups on blogs that I read don’t really have themes that apply to me.

However, when I read Andrea’s (at Momfessionals) Show and Tell Tuesday post about describing your “best day ever,” I decided it would be a quick, fun post to join in on.

I also thought this would be a fun post to look back on. Many of the ones that I glanced at in the link up were mom’s, so their descriptions revolved around lazy days with their families. I am sure someday my description will read much like that, so I think it’s fun to capture where I am at now.

To be honest this post will basically read like a “get to know me” because my “best day ever” mostly revolves around my favorite food and places. It is also a bit unrealistic, because I would actually need to time travel (preferably in a blue police box, because #closetwhovian) to make it happen…

My “Best Day Ever” would start at sunrise up at my family’s cabin “The Diggins” in the Blue Mountains near Sumpter, OR. I’m a fan of sleeping in, but not at the cabin, so ideally I would feel well-rested and refreshed to start the day early. I’d begin with an easy walk/hike, maybe just by myself with my dog Jack and enjoy a beautiful sunrise. When I returned my chatty family would be up and ready for breakfast which would include a dirty chai latte, my great-grandma’s sour dough cinnamon rolls and bacon. (Definitely not our typical breakfast up there, but hey this is MY best day ever.)

After breakfast, I might take a nap because I woke up so early or relax on the porch with a favorite book. Then I would leave and…

…magically arrive in no-time in Manhattan, KS! My best day is a warm, golden fall day by the way, because obviously that can only mean one thing…

K-State Gameday!

Before the game my friends and I would head to So Long Saloon in Aggieville (and wouldn’t have to wait forever to be seated) for raspberry chipotle bean dip to share and then I would order a Nancy and a bleu cheese bacon burger.

We’d then head to the stadium for some tailgating, and while I’ll always be fond of my “tailgating out of the back of someone’s truck in college days,” I think by now I will have upgraded to the asphalt lot with an obnoxiously decked out RV.

K-State would be playing Oklahoma or Texas, because I LOVE beating them. And the K-State team would be circa 2012…
Because, #nostalgia and #BIG12CHAMPS!

After the game, I would magically travel BACK to the cabin where my Dad would be cooking tri-tip in his big BBQ for all of my favorite people. The sides would include grilled asparagus, sweet potato fries, watermelon and rolls. Oh, and tiramisu for dessert.

We’d spend the evening (which is now somehow mid-summer, instead of fall) around the campfire, drinking summer shandy and listening to Logan Mize. We’ll probably end up two-stepping a bit and definitely stay up too late.

So, in conclusion, you basically now know all of my favorite foods.

Cheers!

 

Life at Random

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!

Life at Random

2015 Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal

Friends, I know I am not the only one who struggled a bit with the first full week back to work after the holidays.
I knew that the Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal blog posts were going live this week but everyday after work I just couldn’t bring myself to look at a computer screen again.

So my slacker plan was to write the post on the plane this morning on my trip to the West coast and post it during my layover.

And then I missed my flight this morning.
So now I’m back in my living room, with a re-booked flight for this evening.
Such is life.

CITC

Anyhow, I excited to finally share  about my first Christmas in the Country exchange!
I particularly love that this exchange brings together bloggers in agriculture.

I had SO MUCH fun “getting to know” Myla at “The Purple Front Door” and going shopping for her.
Read her post on my gift HERE.

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I received my fun box from Chelsea at BoilermakerAg, and she did a fabulous job! Everything was so personalized and well-thought out. Chelsea is a newlywed from Indiana, a proud Purdue Boilermaker and like me, an agriculture communications grad! I have read Chelsea’s blog before and I’m guessing that we have a lot in common. I am looking forward staying in touch.

First I want to share about that little lump of coal you see above on the red bag. This lump of coal (which is really a colored and scented piece of soap), has been passed along through the exchange since 2013 as a little reminder of the true reason for the season. The white tag says” A lighthearted reminder coal deserving sins places us on Santa’s naughty list. Thankfully naughty boy and girls are offered the gift of Jesus.” On the back of the tag it has the history of where this coal has traveled each year so my job now is to keep it and pass it on to someone next year!

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If you know me or have read my blog before you know that I love to be creative and tap into my artistic side, and paints are probably my favorite to use. Chelsea sent me a jar of turquoise custom chalk paint and a few brushes. I haven’t done as many projects since my move to DC and my mind is spinning with all of the ideas that I could use this for! Plus you can never have too many brushes.

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In my mind coffee is a love language all on its own. Chelsea sent me this adorable mug, a few K Cups and homemade chocolate spoon stirrers. They were SO GOOD — now I feel like I need one for every cup of coffee I have.

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Everything in the gift was great, but this last part really hit it out of the ballpark. I love saving different wine corks (and the wine itself of course) and stealing them out of my stash from time to time for a craft. But I’m not sure Chelsea understands just how PERFECT this particular holder is for me. Yes, I used to work for the Kansas Pork Association, but my love for pigs runs far deeper than that. Everyone has a few things that they find hard to explain their love for without seeming a bit loony, and for me, pigs go on the top of that list. This is SO CUTE, and will go perfectly in my home.

Chelsea, thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me and for each of the fun gifts. I hope you had a wonderful season with your family and I wish you the best in 2016.

 Thank you to Laurie, Jamie, Kirby and Lara for being this year’s exchange hosts! This was a fun way to enjoy the holidays and make new blogger friends in agriculture.
Click HERE to view the Link Up of other bloggers who participated and to see what everyone gifted each other!

Life at Random

My First #CCBeautySwap

I have always been interested in doing a blogger swap of some sort, and the #CCBeautySwap, hosted by a fellow K-State alum Crystal Cattle, looked especially fun. Up until now I either wasn’t very active on my blog or had some other excuse. Needless to say, I was very excited to participate.

My interest in makeup and beauty products has always been on a roller coaster. Growing up I was a dancer so I had a bit of an earlier introduction to it and I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to wear makeup outside of dance. Hair products were a different story. My hair was thick, curly and usually really frizzy, so I started teaching myself to style and take care of it fairly early. But I also started to get psoriasis on my skin and scalp when I turned 14, so most of high school was a struggle just trying to figure out what products worked for me. Through college, I cared less and less, unless I was going out on the weekend #teamnosleep. Now that I live in DC though, my interest has jumped again because being fully “put together” is a bit more of a standard. I enjoy it though, because I really believe in the mantra that looking and feeling your best helps you perform better.

Anyway, for my first swap I was paired with Lacey, a farm girl and high school teacher from Arizona. Lacey blogs over at Calamity Lace, (LOVE her blog name) and just based on our few conversations and scrolling through her posts, I could definitely see us being friends outside of the blogger world! I shared with Lacey that I have mostly worn Mary Kay because my Mom sells it, and that even though I still really like it, I wanted to venture out and try some new brands.

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1. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer – The main thing I told Lacey I was interested in trying was a concealer. We chatted about the fact that we both have (and like) our freckles but that we need something that conceals, yet blends in well with our natural skin. To quote Lacey’s email, this concealer “Is Everything!”…and though I don’t have anything to compare it to, I TOTALLY AGREE, and already know that I will be buying it again. I received it in the “Light Warm” tone and it was a perfect match for this time of year.

2. Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara – I laughed when I opened the box and saw two mascaras (other below.) I am pretty married to the mascara I use from Mary Kay but since I am going home to Oregon soon I didn’t want my Mom to have to send me a box and I was struggling to make my current tube last. Perfect timing! Both came in black, which is a bit outside my comfort zone ( I wear black/brown) but I was surprised that I did like the change. Overall, I’m torn on which brand I liked better. This one applied better a bit better, but I thought they both were great for volume and lasting throughout the day.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Air Patrol BB Cream Eyelid Primer – To be honest I haven’t tried this one yet, because I haven’t stopped using the one featured below…

4. Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo and Conditioner – I am OBSESSED with the surf spray from this brand, so I was really excited when I saw these in the box. Gals, I just used this last night, and my hair SMELLS SO GOOD! I currently use the DevaCurl brand and only wash my hair about twice a week because of its dry texture, but like that brand, I liked that this shampoo doesn’t have a lather and is more of a cleanser. On Day 1 of “new hair” it is particular soft, but I’ll have to wait and see what it is like on Day 3 to make a better judgement.

5. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads – I regularly exfoliate and have always liked the idea of using a toner in my routine, but my psoriasis has always made both of those a constant battle. I already love this radiance pads. I’ve had a psoriasis breakout along my hairline all week but continued to use these around those areas with no irritation, and I did think that my face was a bit more balanced and definitely refreshed.

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6. Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer –  I’ve never used a face primer and I don’t know if I have used this long enough to notice what it is doing, but I love that it is light and has a light coconut scent. Based on the name, maybe I should have had this in college for both studying hangovers and real ones…

7. Too Faced Shadow Insurance – I’ve never used an actual eyelid primer. In the summer when its humid is the only time I find that my makeup really struggles to stay on the way I applied it, so in the past I always just used a bit of foundation, which never really worked great and it was heavy. So far I love this stuff and I feel like my eye shadow goes on more smoothly. Excited to see how it holds up in the summer.

8. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara –  See above.

9. Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick –  I told Lacey that I always love a good lip color and love trying out new kinds. This ones name is definitely true to form. It goes on more like a gloss but definitely has the finish of a lipstick. She sent me the “Fig” color, which is a bit out of my wheelhouse of tones, but again, she knew best and I really like it!

10. Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer – I’m pretty sure that the bronzer/blush pack that I got Lacey, also had this kind in it. Since I don’t like to wear a lot of heavy makeup on my face, bronzer tends to be my jam. I loved how light this was and how well it finished. AND it faintly smells like chocolate, which weirded me out first but I surprisingly liked it.

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Ugh. Selfies. I don’t wear my hair straight often but it was just so soft when I woke up that it sounded like a great idea. I’m also wearing the “Fig” lipstick, but the picture doesn’t quite capture the tone as well.

Lacey, you did a fabulous job with my gift, thank you! I know you are much more knowledgeable about makeup than I am and it definitely showed by your choices and pushing me out of my comfort zone a bit. Teach me your ways!

Check out others’ posts from the swap using the hashtag #CCBeautySwap.

Cheers!

Life at Random

Screenshots and The Struggle Bus.

I like to think that my job is important. I’m representing agriculture and the U.S. wheat industry, and there are always a number of serious things going on from TPP to the Cuban embargo, competitive wheat markets and food aid.

But I work with great people. And more importantly, people who know when to not take themselves too seriously and enjoy a good laugh or two.

Lately, we’ve been taking screen shots of our conversations. I have no idea if other people will find this amusing, but we sure did.

In October, I received this screenshot in an email from “D” with a message saying:

“Just so the autocorrect nightmare is memorialized…”

#hestartedit
#ihateautocorrect

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Then last week it was my turn to make it even.

This particular coworker also graduated from K-State, and while we were out in Lake Tahoe for a board meeting, our Wildcats had a Thursday night game.

My texts are in green.

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To be fair, I have now lived in the Pacific, Central and Eastern time zones, so I am much more accustomed to quickly calculating time differences.

But considering this conversation was during a meeting in which it would have been inappropriate to laugh out loud, I was even more amused.

I promise we actually do serious work on serious things.

Sometimes, we’re just also riding the #strugglebus.

Cheers!

Life at Random

The Tale of the Spider I Was Finally Afraid Of.

Warning #1: This blog post contains a picture of a spider.

Warning #2: This is a blog post is really random and will probably only seem funny to maybe 5 people that I can think of. But blogging to me is all about jotting down my experiences… and well, this was sure an experience.

So let me start off by explaining that normally I am not scared of spiders. In college I was the designated spider killer amongst my friends and roommates. The summer I worked for Pioneer in their corn research plots, I essentially walked through fields filled with spiders that didn’t bother me. My best friend and roommate Megan, on the other hand, is genuinely terrified of them, for I usually made fun of her. She can hardly even stand the scenes in the Harry Potter movies with Aragog.

Last week on Thursday I had come home from work and immediately laid down for a nap. When I woke up later and turned my bed room light on, I hear a *tink tink tink* sound and looked up to see this in my light fixture above my bed…

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I freaked out. And every time it scurried around I would freak out a little bit more, and before I knew it I was almost in tears.

When I willed myself to stand on my bed and get a closer look I could see quite a few features through the clouded glass and freaked out all over again. I know the picture may or may not convince you, but it was by far the biggest spider I’ve seen aside from people’s stupid tarantulas. And I still don’t know if that is what freaked me out the most or if it was the fact that it was above my bed, or because I couldn’t quite figure out how it got in there. The fixture is sealed from the room and rather hard to remove so it had to get in through the electrical wiring.

So the next logical thing was to put it on SnapChat and Facebook. Then I called my Mom back in Oregon, who proceeded to search Google and find that there are 39 kinds of spiders that can be found in the D.C/Northern VA area, #sonothelping. Then I started texting Megan, who I knew would justify my somewhat irrational reaction.

Warning #3: I swear we do not curse like this regularly, exceptions are made for extreme situations.

#sorryMom

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 I think it was right before the time stamp in the image above that I changed gears and called Megan. I mean, why freak out via text message when it can be more effectively done over the phone. It was also at this point that we both admitted that we had been taking screen shots of the conversation, because yes, we are those best friends who tend to find ourselves hilarious (Exhibit A.)

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 So what happened afterward? My roommate came home, couldn’t get the light fixture off and made little effort to hide that he thought I was being ridiculous. Which I was, but I seriously couldn’t help it and there was absolutely NO WAY I was going to sleep in my bed with it right above me. So I slept on the couch, leaving the light on in the bedroom, and in the morning the spider was shriveled up and dead. #forthewin

Later on at work. my co-worker identified it as a wolf spider, which I made the mistake of Googling, although it definitely justified my fear. Those things are terrifying and apparently they are jumpers so it was probably a good thing that we couldn’t get the light fixture down.

Needless to say I spent this weekend spraying insect spray to every possible area in my apartment that spider could in through.

And that is the tale of the spider I was finally afraid of.