Life Notes

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.

#CCBeautySwap (1)

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.

#CCBeautySwap (3)

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.

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.


Life Notes

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…”



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.



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.


Life Notes

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…


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.









 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.)




 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.

Life Notes

Loves + Hates

As I’ve ventured back into blogging, I’ve wondered whether or not I should engage with other bloggers. I blog primarily because I really like to write and share/scrapbook my life with my friends and family who enjoy keeping up with me. So there was never a negative thought towards engaging (because that is a huge part of blogging) but it just was never my original purpose to invest in. However things change and I went back to a mantra that has been big for me in 2015… Why Not?

So I’ve slowly started to reach out and engage with others, and so far I’m glad I have. Obviously its taking me a while to get used to the swing of things because it took me three weeks to notice that Kylie tagged me in her post last month about ten things she loves and hates. (BTW Thanks Kylie!)

Well, I LOVE list making so if this is what engaging with others looks like, then count me in! I will say though, I struggled a bit writing this because I know at least one of my college roommates will read this and would immediately call me out for not listing all of the weird things I have really strong feelings about, so in other words, this post should instead be titled “Owning the Crazy.”


1. K-State Gameday
 I could go on for days about why I love sports, but there are few things that parallel my love for K-State Gamedays. If you tell me it’s just a football game, we can’t be friends. It’s tailgating, kegs and eggs, bean toss games, going to the Ville afterward and friends. It’s the sea of purple, Snyder’s pre-game playlist, traditions, doing the Wabash and tearing up every time I hear this song…

I’ve said before that my perfect last day on earth includes a K-State Gameday and I mean it.
I’m going to miss my first Family Reunion (opening game) since I became a Kansas State Wildcat six years ago….and I will definitely be a little extra homesick for Kansas that day.

2. Showers
This is what my college roommates would have called me out on for not including, partially because I didn’t realize it was something I LOVED until I lived with them and vocalized it to the point that it became a joke. But seriously though, I know it sounds weird, but I just love a long, really hot shower before bed (at night because I have curly hair.) And it must not be just an adult-me thing because I’m pretty I haven’t had a bath since before I was young enough to remember. Ok, now that we are bordering the TMI line…
3. Caffeine
To know me, is to know how much I LOVE coffee and Diet Coke.
coffee 1 coffee2 coffee3
PEOPLE, I have a Pinterest board just for Caffeine.
I could keep going for days.

4. Live Concerts
In the same way that I could write multiple lists and blog posts about sports, I could about music. My tastes stretch far and wide to encompass a pretty unique influence of people, places and experiences. But the true test and the best way to experience music is live, whether its in a huge stadium or a college bar. I could never pick a favorite genre, artist or song, and at this point I couldn’t pick a favorite concert…I’ve been to A LOT…my college budget was basically built around them. So far my favorite venue is Starlight Theatre (an outdoor amphitheater in Kansas City,) and Red Rocks is at the top of my bucket list.

5. Words
Ironically, this is usually hard for me to explain.
They are one of the few things that continue day in and day out to challenge, fascinate and surprise me.
I believe words are a simple art medium, like paint or music notes, but the strongest, most impactful tool that we have.
Language, Typography, speeches, prose, poetry, stories, scripture, quotes and lyrics… I love it all, so much so, that I’ve written a post about it before. Read HERE.

6. Chips & Salsa
I would eat them with every meal if I could.
Every. Single. Meal.
I did once, when I was in vacation in Cabo San Lucas.
It was fabulous.

7. Turquoise
I’m one of those people, whose favorite color is obnoxiously obvious at all times.
This is just my jewelry.

Then if we start branching out into the blue color family, it’s incorporated in some shade into every room’s theme in my home except for the kitchen and its my clothing neutral color.
Ironically, I really hate the song Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65.

8. 80’s Movies
In my past life I would have been in a John Hughes film.
I can quote Breakfast Club on command, Footloose is my anthem, I wanted to be Andi in Pretty in Pink and really, we shouldn’t get started on my love for Top Gun.
The music! The hair! The cheesiness!
Basically I’m saying if you stood outside my window with a boom box I’d fall in love with you forever.

9. Pigs
This is another one that my college roommates always found pretty amusing. I don’t expect you to understand, especially if your only reference is Charlotte’s Web. But when you grew up in agriculture and showing livestock, its different. I’ve always loved swine science. They are incredibly smart, cute and yes…great to eat. Honestly, my first job with the Kansas Pork Association was perfect for me.
 10. My Sister
 Okay, I know this one is kind of cliché to list, its usually assumed that most people love their family. And my Mom is now rolling her eyes because I’ll see Janci in just two days and it’s a guarantee that we’ll argue at least once. But I know people who genuinely can’t stand their siblings or will never understand them, and that just makes me so thankful for our friendship. She turned 21 this summer and I wrote about that HERE.

Other Things That I LOVE…
Flowers, giving presents, messy braided hair, mountains, watermelon, my Dad’s cooking,  fireworks and the 4th of July, weddings, babies, Grumpy Cat memes, taco trucks, western boots, Summer Shandy, basketball, agriculture, mason jars, reading, Criminal Minds, Gilmore Girls, Doctor Who…I’m sure I could go on.


1. Green beans
As an adult there are foods that I still don’t like but will eat anyways every now and then.
Except for green beans, I can’t even stand the smell of them.
My first semester in college I went home for a three day weekend with one of the girls who lived in my scholarship house. When we sat down with her family for dinner, everyone passed their plate to the Dad and he filled up your plate for you, which was totally fine except that he gave me green beans and right as I was about to say no thank you, the girl pipes up and says, “Amanda, my mom makes the best green beans!” It was traumatizing and at the end of the weekend I called my Mom to tell her, just so she would say she was proud of me.

2. Winter
This hate is multi-faceted…
I hate being cold, anything peppermint is gross and I’d rather dropkick the chipmunks than listen to them sing. Actually I dislike Christmas music in general, with a few very specific expectations, that can only be played between the day AFTER Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I could write a whole other post just on the reasons why I hate snow, the static air drives me loony and I have this weird complex with cheesy Christmas anything. And did I mention that I hate being cold?  I promise there are a few things I do like about the season, but for the most part I wish we could skip it all together.

Unlike summer, SUMMER is fabulous and magical.

3. Balloons
 So if I had continued the list on things that I love I would have eventually written about flowers, mainly because my family are florists. But for as much love and nostalgia I have for flowers, but I feel the exact opposite about balloons. The helium gel stinks, tying them off makes my hands cramp and one can handle only so many popping noises. One time, one of the grade schools had ordered something like 500+ balloons because the kids had met their reading goals, so everyone was going to get to release one. To me that was the definition of pointless and wasteful. But yet I’m the one who got pulled out of school to blow them all up.

My Mom jokes that she’s going to decorate my future wedding with them.

 4. When People Act Dumb, or Speak and Write Incorrectly…On Purpose
I thought about making poor grammar one on this list, but decided it kind of a given considering my career, so I thought, “What actually gets on my nerves?”

There is a time and a place for shorthand and slang. We all make mistakes and no one should ever be made to feel belittled for what they genuinely don’t know or understand. But when people do it on purpose to manipulate a situation, be lazy or say “whatever, I don’t care.” NO. You are privileged to have an education. Please use it.

5. Masks
Think mascots, Halloween corn mazes and actors dressed up as animated characters.
Think about it. Grown adults putting on silly and usually oversized costumes that hide their identity whose primary purpose is to hug children. Ummm HELLO, why am I the only one who is bothered by this?!
Yes, it may be a bit irrational and no, I don’t have some traumatizing childhood experience, but if I can’t see your face I won’t trust you and seriously, DON’T TOUCH ME.

The fact that this picture exists is a big deal. #ididitforthetshirt polo

6.The Princess Bride (the movie)
Yet I’ve seen it at least 3 times…
Don’t try to reason with me, it’s a permanent hatred.

7. Laundry
Always have and always will.
The rest of my house will be organized and clean, but I will always have laundry, both dirty and clean piled on the floor. One of my apartments in college had a community laundry room that was literally across the lawn (and around the pool) from our door and I would have to bribe my roommates to go with me to help carry all the laundry I procrastinated on or just because I needed the motivation.

8. Shopping
OK, I don’t actually hate shopping, but it definitely doesn’t go into the LOVE category. I can be incredibly indecisive so it stresses me out. And crowded malls with overly aggressive sales people who aren’t actually helpful when you need them to be is just not how I want to spend my time. Growing up we had to shop in a order for back-to-school stuff. Dad went first so he could then wander off to the book store (he was a teacher), then me and then Jancz. Poor Mom, she could always tell by the look on my face that I was DONE.

9. “I Gotta A Feeling” by The Black Eyed-Peas
Not that I liked it at all to begin with, but every time I hear it, all I can hear is a specific someone’s annoying high-pitched, nasally voice screaming the lyrics.
I know that’s kind of mean, especially since I can’t sing at all either, but still…I just can’t handle it.
For good measure, the music video is also just as stupid.

10. Automated Telephone Services
The hours of my life that I’ve lost to automated telephone services.
I know they have a purpose, blah, blah, blah.
But I just want to talk to a real human being and not to have to push “1” 60 billion times just to realize that I’m in the wrong menu.
The only thing worse is when you do get a real person and then spend 7 hours over the course of two weeks trying to get things sorted out. (I’m looking at you Comcast.)

This was fun to write!
If you haven’t done a post like this before, join in!
im okay with my crazy


Linking up on “Thursday’s are for Thinking Out Loud” with Running with Spoons. 

Life Notes

101 in 1001: Update

Last fall I finally felt like I was in a place where I could write a 101 in 1001 list, be committed to it and really invest in some areas of my life that I didn’t prioritize back in college. Then just a few months later I completely uprooted my life and moved across the country to Washington D.C. Now that I’ve settled in here I have every intention of actively focusing on the list again, but I’ve noticed that because of my move there are a few items that just aren’t applicable or realistic now.

For example, I had big plans to refurbish a dresser I had bought cheap in college. But I knew when I moved that I wasn’t going to have the space for a project like that and decided it wasn’t worth hauling it in the move. So I gave it to a friend, who promised to send pictures when she’s done with it.

A lot of the other items were contingent on living in Manhattan, KS and the Midwest in general. Some are things that I still hope to do someday, but don’t really fall in the realistic structure of a 101 in 1001 list.

So although the point is to NOT make a lot of big edits, I figured it was warranted. If I had started this when I already living in D.C. I’m sure that it would look even more different than the edits will make it, but I guess that will give me even more motivation to start another once this one is complete. Cheers to breaking the rules.

You can learn more about what a 101 in 1001 list is HERE and  keep up with my ongoing 101 in 1001 list progress under the tab above.


* done items will appear in bold

* items in-progress will appear in italics

101 in 1001: November 1, 2014 – July 29, 2017


1. Make 5 DIY projects that I pinned on Pinterest (1/5) – Wooden “E” Monogram
2. Cook 12 new recipes that I pinned on Pinterest (2/12)
3. Cook a dish using an ingredient that I’ve never used before
4. Learn how to crochet – December 2014
5. Start tap classes again
6. Take a painting or art class of some sort
7. Take a cooking class
8. Establish seasonal decorations for my home fall/winter silk arr; spring/summer silk arr;
9. Do a trial run of designing and selling wedding planning books in my family’s store
10. Finish my high school and college scrapbooks
11. Finish the “Amanda & Megan Moments” scrapbook
12. Print, mount and display or gift 3 pictures of mine (1/3)
13. Finish my high school t-shirt blanket


14. Plan a 21st birthday Vegas trip for my sister
15. Travel home to Oregon 5 times other than Christmas (2/5)- Thanksgiving 2014; July 2015;
16. Travel home for annual family summer camp out at the cabin – July 2015
17. Plan trips with Kayla and Richole/Kyla and Megan (outside of visiting them in Oregon and Kansas)
18. Visit 3 new states (0/3)
19. Travel to a new country – Guatemala 2015
20. Go to one of my sister’s college golf tournaments
21. Go on a long “road trip” vacation
22. Plan a trip back to Kansas at least once a year (1/3)- May 2015;
23. Plan a trip/experience to do with each of my parents individually


24. Learn how to make jam with my Grammy
25. Do a wine tasting at a winery
26. Buy an expensive bottle of wine and pick a long term goal to open it for once I’ve achieved it
27. Go to a pro-sports game in Washington D.C.
28. Join a group or organization in Washington D.C./Arlington
29. Try a new restaurant once a month (since my move/list update) – (0/26)
30. Go to an away K-State sporting event for a Big 12 Conference match-up
31. Attend a K-State Alumni non-sports event – Capitol Area Alumni April 2015
32. Participate in an event/give back to Smurthwaite Scholarship House
33. Visit all of the D.C. area Smithsonian Museums – National Gallery of Art
34. Host 3 parties/get togethers at my place (0/3)
35. Ride on the back of a motorcycle
36. Learn to drive a stick shift
37. Go to a show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
38. Participate in the U.S. Embassy Passport Tour
39. Go to a farmer’s market at least 3 times during one summer. (1/3) – USDA 5/22

Books, Movies and Music

40. Read one book a month (8/33)
41. Participate in some sort of book club/chat, even if it is just one other person
42. Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the alphabet (12/26)
43. See all Best Picture nominees before the Academy Awards
44. Go to a drive-in movie
45. Finish re-organizing all of my music
46. Go to 5 live concerts (0/5)


47. Go 3 months straight without straying from my budget (0/3)
48. Get my student loan debt under $8,000
49. Put at least 5% of my paycheck each month into an untouchable savings (3/33)
50. Save $10 for each of these accomplished tasks (7/101)
51. Read 3 financial/business books (0/3)
52. Learn about investing and make a plan


53. Wake up before I need to during the week for 2 weeks straight
54. Run in a Color Run
55. Go three months without biting or picking at my nails (0/3)
56. Purge my closet each year and donate what I get rid of (0/3)
57. Make it to the gym/work out 5 days a week for a month straight
58. Run in 3 5ks (0/3)
59. Wear that LBD
60. Officially stop biting my nails (more than 6 months) (0/6)

Online/Social Media

61. Complete the #100HappyDays Challenge
62. Post on my blog twice a month  for a year straight (8/12)
63. Participate in a Twitter Chat
64. Comment on 5 blogs a week for 4 weeks straight.
65. Regularly update my online portfolio every quarter (2/11)
66. Try 5 new online/social/business related apps and blog about them (0/5)
67. Guest write for another blog or some form of online content


68. Identify 5 topics/issues in the ag industry to learn about that I’m not familiar with (need to better define how to measure this) (0/5)
69. Redo my professional resume and have it peer/mentor reviewed by 3 people – January 2015
70. Complete a continuing education course on or a similar resource
71. Get 2 freelance writing assignments
72. Become a K-State Alumni Association Lifetime Member – December 2014
73. Become an Agriculture Future of America Alliance Lifetime Member
74. Deep clean my personal email folders
75. Become a mentor to someone in my industry.
76. Get published with a byline in national magazine, journal or publication
77. Make a design and communications look-book
78. Finally get all of my professional clothes properly hemmed
79. Look into master’s programs, make some goals and decisions about my next step – (I decided that my goal setting and move to Washington D.C. count for this!)

For Others

80. Send a handwritten thank you/just because  note once a month (8/33)
81. Volunteer at a 4-H or FFA event – judged Oregon FFA contest materials March and May 2015
82. Send Christmas cards at least once
83. Pay for the meal/coffee of someone behind me in line
84. Donate blood 3 times (0/3)
85. Volunteer in my community 3 times (0/3)
86. Donate to a Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign that I believe in
87. Sponsor a Christmas Angel

For Me

88. Get a pet (when I started this list in Kansas it was specifically to get a puppy, but that’s not realistic now, so I’m think maybe a turtle? We’ll see!)
89. Complete a Bible study
90. Get a tattoo with my sister
91. Frame my college diploma
92. Say yes to 5 things I normally would say no to (1/5)
93. Buy an Apple desktop computer
94. Find and pick up my own buckeye for good luck
95. Sit down to watch the sunset and rise on the same day
96. Reconnect with my Spoo cousins
97. Learn to whistle with my fingers
98. Design my own pair of boots
99. Call at least on set of grandparents once a month (2/33)
100.Restart (and finish) the two Habitudes books I have and journal for each chapter
101. Edit this list at the halfway point (Feb/March 2016)and add 5 new items
Bonus: Start another 101 in 1001 list when this one ends

Updated: June 14, 2015

Kansas, Life Notes

Hail, Hail, Hail, Alma Mater.

Last fall my little sister transferred to a four-year school from her community college. As a student-athlete, she’s worked really hard on her grades and even made the President’s list for her GPA. {Insert SUPER PROUD sister moment here.}

janci presidents list

I laugh, because between high school and college, we completely switched roles. Once upon a time I LOVED school, and while deep down that never really changed, my college grades didn’t not reflect that sentiment very often. Janci on the otherhand, was a good student in high school but she didn’t love it like me. Who knows if she actually LOVES school now, but she’s sure working hard, and it’s paying off.

Over this last semester I’ve been trying to help out in any way I can. My virtual red pen has been lighting up her papers and when finals week rolled I dished on all of my old tried and true studying skills. I joked one day that all of this talk about college stress, studying and late nights ALMOST made me miss it all.

Because let’s be honest, I don’t think there is a single thing that I would change about my college experience. None of the all-nighters, failed tests, tears, pointless classes, uncertainty, rejection, TEARS or sleep-deprived antics. None of it. Because walking across that stage to receive my degree, from Kansas State University was worth it. That, and the experience and memories made along the way. I’ve said it a million and one times, but as a stubborn, bright-eyed 18-year old I could have never predicted how my decision to move 1,700 miles away from home to attend K-State, would be the best decision I could have ever made for myself.

Class of 2013. Picture by DLC Photography
Class of 2013.
Picture by DLC Photography.

My college experience was what everyone deserves to have. A place that embraces you, before you’ve even made up your mind about it. A world that pushes you toward growing up into who you’re meant to be and challenges you to stray from your narrow, safe way of thinking – but provides plenty of cushioning for you to not get it right the first time. An environment that provides plenty of fun. The purple-shouting kind, the boot-stomping kind, the lazy weekend kind, and even a little of the questionable kind. An education that gives you more than you need and helps you figure out exactly where your place is. A family of mentors, to dish out a lot of tough love, but mostly just love. A family of life-long friends to share all of it with.

It’s been almost two years since I graduated from Kansas State University. And while I think I’ll pass on those all-nighters in the “Harry Potter room” at Hale Library, I sure do miss it all sometimes.

All of this is my cheesy, long-winded way of sharing that I recently became a  Lifetime Member of the K-State Alumni Association. I’m thankful for my experience and proud to be an alumna, and for me, this was an important way for me to make that statement. I couldn’t say all of that though, without mentioning that without the support of my grandparents, I wouldn’t have been able to do this yet. I might be biased, but this is one the best kinds of Christmas there is. Thanks Grammy and Grampy, for understanding how important this was to me.

IMG_1163And with that I think we can all agree (all Wildcats at least,) that the license plate it pretty rad.

“I know a spot that I love full well, ‘Tis not in forest nor yet in dell, ever it holds me with magic spell, I think of thee Alma Mater. KSU, we’ll carry the banner high, KSU long, long may thy colors fly. Loyal you to thee thy children will swell the cry. Hail, Hail, Hail Alma Mater.”

Kansas, Life Notes

“Home is behind, the world ahead…”

Picture by DLC Photography
Picture by DLC Photography

“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night, until the stars are all alight.”
— J.R.R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings

So somehow I made it through 22 years of life without ever knowing the wonderful gift to film, known as The Lord of the Rings (don’t worry literature faithfuls, the books are now on my list.) I vaguely remember watching the first movie with my Uncle Josh when I was around 10, but my appreciation for good movies was still in its early stages of development then.

My post today is obviously not to go on and on about how I’ve been living underneath a rock. But I also very quickly realized that I was also missing out on some good quotes and words of wisdom from Mr. Tolkein, and the one above grabbed my attention in my wide-eyed post graduation state.

Speaking of graduation (notice my smooth transition there.) It all sort of came and went how I expected it to. There were tears, pictures, lots of cliche phrases and momentary bouts of anxiety. We laughed at the person next to us for obnoxiously waving into the sea of people in the crowd — of course until you found your own fans and joined in —commented a million times on how the caps and gowns really are flattering on no one and wondered how exactly that girl was successfully managing those heels.

If you were to ask me I’d tell you that I just graduated from the best college at the greatest university there is, but hey, that’s just me. K-State was the best decision that I have ever made, and everyone who knows me, knows that I could talk to the end of time telling you why. I’ve always said that I don’t believe in coincidences, and that couldn’t be more true today. I only wish I could go back and ask my 18-year-old self where exactly the courage to take that risk came from, so that I can bottle it up and save it up for days that I need a little push.

Looking forward, there’s a lot to be excited about. I am admist week four of my full time job and enjoying a beautiful summer with good people around me. I am excited to jump back into blogging, deciding not to put any expectations on what I’m going to write about, except to just to continue to practice and expand my writing, and see where that takes me.

I do though, want to reflect just a bit. The last few months have been a wild ride, busy to the point that I was just focusing on making it through each single day. But as always they were filled with good memories and great people.

Thanks to all who tagged along.

Alumni status.
Alumni status.
Smurthwaite sisters. Roommates. Best friends. Two of the best things that came out of my decision to attend K-State.
Smurthwaite sisters. Roommates. Best friends. Two of the best things that came out of my decision to attend K-State.
Blaine and I with our rocks at the College of Ag grad dinner.
Blaine and I with our rocks at the College of Ag grad dinner.
Shared my graduation day and party with Leah, my freshman roommate. The cowgirl and the hippie, we made it!
Shared my graduation day and party with Leah, my freshman roommate. The cowgirl and the hippie, we made it!
2013 Ag Communications graduates
2013 Ag Communications graduates
It meant so much to me to share my graduation with my grandparents, whose love and supports never fails to amaze me.
It meant so much to me to share my graduation with my grandparents, whose love and supports never fails to amaze me.
My parents and the reason I've stayed grounded during this adventure. Knowing I made them proud is the best feeling there is.
My parents and the reason I’ve stayed grounded during this adventure. Knowing I made them proud is the best feeling there is.
Got to spend two weeks at home in Oregon before I started my job full-time, which included lots of sister time and a weekend at the cabin.
Got to spend two weeks at home in Oregon before I started my job full-time, which included lots of sister time and a weekend at the cabin.
Celebrated the marriage of two of my favorite lovebirds! Congrats Drew and Laura!
Celebrated the marriage of two of my favorite lovebirds! Congrats Drew and Laura!
Second week on the job and I get to spend it on this beautiful family farm with an even more beautiful family. Is this real life?
Second week on the job and I get to spend it on this beautiful family farm with an even more beautiful family. Is this real life?
Kansas, Life Notes

Mason Jars, Indie Records and Bleeding Purple

It seems to be that we tend to mark our miles or associate different times in our lives with the things that we obssesed over during that time. Whatever the fad was that we were addicted to or spent what later seemed like a ridiculous amount of time talking about. And they are not always big obviously things, but items, anecdotes, inside jokes and trends that serve as the placeholder for the memories and experiences that stuck with us the most. So in this case, I just finished my senior fall semester, and what does that make me think of?

Mason jars, indie records and bleeding purple.

I’m sure I could give a much more thorough explanation, but I also believe that obsessions are never quite supposed to be understood, so I will give you this. Everything tastes better and looks better in a mason jar; the weirder name, the better the band…and my indie record will always be much cooler; and this semester will always be remembered for its football season that gave me chills because of the moments as a fan and not because of the weather. I think I actually lost Twitter followers because I used the hashtag #EMAW one too many times for some people’s taste.

This semester was a rockstar one, marked with lots of things, mostly good that make me extremely thankful to be where I am at and surrounded by wonderful people both near and from a far. Looking forward, if my last semester as a student is anything close to my one this fall, I think I will do just fine.

These are just a snapshot of some of my favorite moments from this semester. Thanks for being a part of the fun. Enjoy!

Family at the K-State vs. Miami tailgate
Family at the K-State vs. Miami tailgate
Excited to share one of my favorite parts of being a student.
Excited to share one of my favorite parts of being a student.
Reunited with my AFA Student Advisory team family.
Reunited with my AFA Student Advisory team family.
My IGP work girls.
My IGP work girls.
Smurthwaite shenanigans during the annual alumni dinner.
Smurthwaite shenanigans during the annual alumni dinner.
My very best friend and soul sister. Happy birthday Megan!
My very best friend and soul sister. Happy birthday Megan!
Tailgating girls.
Tailgating girls.
Waiting for the football team to arrive after the big win at Oklahoma.
Waiting for the football team to arrive after the big win at Oklahoma.
Logan Mize Concert with Jancey and Megan.
Logan Mize Concert with Jancey and Megan.
One of my favorites came for the Logan Mize concert.
One of my favorites came for the Logan Mize concert.
Ambassador friends.
Ambassador friends.
Eastern Oregon > Western Oregon....but Oregonians + K-State = Awesome!
Eastern Oregon > Western Oregon….but Oregonians + K-State = Awesome!
Gosh I'm going to miss this one.
Gosh I’m going to miss this one.
Blaine and Tanner.
Blaine and Tanner.
Smurthwaite Class of 2010
Smurthwaite Class of 2010
Two steppin' swing dancin crippled fools.
Two steppin’ swing dancin crippled fools.
Happy Birthday Kelly!
Happy Birthday Kelly!
Keeping with old traditions.
Keeping with old traditions.
Roomies. Best Friends.
Roomies. Best Friends.
Big sis/Little Sis Football buddies.
Big sis/Little Sis Football buddies.
Beautiful night for some K-State football.
Beautiful night for some K-State football.
Logan Mize concert at Longhorns.
Logan Mize concert at Longhorns.
Old roommates back to visit!
Old roommates back to visit!
Big XII Champions!
Big XII Champions!
My favorite band geek.
My favorite band geek.

– Amanda