Year in Review

Summer 2017: Top 10

I saw another blogger post an “end of summer recap” and I thought it would be fun to do the same.

I know we still have a couple of weeks before summer is officially over. But the temperature dropped just a bit over the past few days (not that I’m too naive to think it won’t go back up again) and Labor Day weekend and the start of the school year has always been my marker for the season change.

This summer, like usual was BUSY, but certainly one that I want to remember. So here is a quick round up of my top 10 from this summer (in not particular order of course)!

1. Work trips

Don’t get me wrong, having lots of work trips in the summer can be pretty tiring, but I am always thankful for the opportunity to travel and visit both new and familiar places. This summer I had 3 major work trips. In June, I traveled to Manhattan, KS,(only one of my favorite places there is!) for the National Festival of Breads and the start of Kansas wheat harvest.

In July, our summer board meeting was in nearby Annapolis, MD. It was nice to not have to jump on a plane this time around! Annapolis has been toward the top of my list to visit since moving out here (it’s only about an hour away) and work finally helped make it happen.

Finally, at the end of July, I made a quick trip out to Snowbird, UT, for the annual Ag Media Summit.

2. Finally taking Megan to Oregon

The next two DEFINITELY get their own spots on the list.

We’ve been best friends almost since the day we met 8 years ago, so I was so excited that I FINALLY got to take her home to Oregon with me to see what all of the fuss is about. We had a VERY busy week, but we were able to just really enjoy what our friendship has become.

3. Vacation home to Oregon

Besides my time with Megan, I was really overdue for some family time. I meet and know lots of great people with my job and living where I do, but sometimes you just need time with “your people,” spent away from the big city.

(Part 1 of my recap home)
(Part 2 of my recap home)

4. Welcoming Sawyer June

Miss Sawyer June joined our family this summer on July 13, and its safe to say that she has been everyone’s favorite part of the summer.

5. 4th of July festivities

Not only is the 4th of July my favorite holiday, but I happen to live in the best place to celebrate it! I mean, not everyone gets to watch fireworks while relaxing in George Washington’s back yard! This year’s 4-day weekend was full of friends that included brunch, a BBQ, a beer festival and lots of fireworks.

6. Girl Time

This picture is actually from back in May, but it’s my favorite and it shows the most of us. This group of girls has become a highlight of not only my summer, but my year. We started out in bible study together, but have also had a lot of fun this summer whether it was hiking, visiting wineries, happy hour, celebrating the 4th or a girls night in.

In some ways we are all so different, but I think we all realize how important having girlfriends to share with is. Two of the girls just moved away and we sure are going to miss them!

7. Chris Stapleton concert

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y.

Even in the pouring rain, he was SO GOOD LIVE.

If you are a fan at all, I would highly recommend seeing him live.

8. Lazy days

Though I thrive off of being busy, more and more this year I have really learned to appreciate lazy days and time to myself. Some of my favorite moments this summer were pretty laid back, whether that meant an entire afternoon doing nothing but reading a book, visiting the farmer’s market or going on a long walk through this beautiful city.



9. Promotion at work

I share often that I love my job, and so it was nice to be recognized for the progress I’ve made.

10. Spending time with this guy

This guy is quickly becoming my favorite person to spend time with. We both had pretty busy schedules throughout the summer, but we tried to make the most out of the free time we had.

Some of our adventures included Sugarloaf Mountain Winery, playing with his pup Bella, Nationals baseball games, exploring Annapolis, MD and eating crabs, visiting the National Harbor, trying new places to eat and a rather comical afternoon searching for a place to fix his phone.

**********

Dear Fall, you know I love you the most, but summer 2017 wasn’t too shabby.
Please take notes.

Cheers!

Year in Review

{2016} My Year in Review

Over lunch earlier this week, I had intended to throw together a different blog post, but discovered that somehow I had written my 2016 year in review post and then completely FORGOT to publish live. So here I am (on a plane to Thailand!!!) tweaking my introduction because posting it a MONTH LATE probably is going to get me some eye rolls.

Some people might say that is reflective of how 2016 went, but I do not necessarily share that sentiment. Believe me — there some parts of 2016 that just flat out sucked, but there is no way I can look through this post and label 2016 negatively.

IMG_4204

Early in 2016, I stumbled across the image and words above while scrolling through Instagram. It struck me as an odd phrase, but I somewhat absentmindedly took a screenshot and saved it to my phone.

“…stay in your magic?”

What does that mean?

It is easy to be caught up in the world around us. The way we spend our time and who spend with it obviously have a huge influence on our decisions and beliefs, and for the most part I think it is a positive thing to constantly be challenged. However, I think what the above phrase is saying, is that “your magic” is our core. It is our quirks that override trying to fit in, beliefs that cannot be swayed by other’s reasoning, thoughts we keep to ourselves, a sense of home and being grounded. My life continues to be filled with rewarding challenges, great adventures and even greater people, but as I navigated through 2016, these words came back to me again and again. They made me slow down and steady myself a bit more than the stubborn, quicker pace that I usually move at. I would like to think that it has made me strive to be a better person and to better appreciate what makes others unique.

It certainly was an interesting year, and I am glad I got to tag along for the ride.

In 2016, I traveled, because, you know sitting around at home really is for suckers.

I know I said this at a dozen times throughout 2016, but really, I AM SO LUCKY, that I have a job that allows me to travel, both for work and for fun. There were only two months out of the year (February and August) that I did not leave DC at all. Many of those were shorter weekend trips but when you lay it out like that it really adds up! Much like the previous year, my summer in DC sped by because over the course of six weeks I only was there for 10 days.

I traveled home to Oregon THREE TIMES! I don’t think I have technically done that EVER since I moved out for college eight years ago. In January (shortly after I had been home for Christmas), work took me to Portland for a few days and I was able to sneak home for the weekend to celebrate my best friend’s baby shower. In July, I was back for over a week to spend some quality time at my family’s cabin and to celebrate my Uncle’s Josh wedding. Then in December, I returned for a long holiday vacation and enjoyed my parent’s new house and farm.

Work took me back to my beloved Kansas in May where I was sidestepping tornadoes, sharing wheat quality with overseas customers and squeezing in as much time with friends as I could. In July work also took me to Fargo, ND (a new state for me!) for a board meeting, and to St. Louis, MO, for the annual Ag Media Summit. The big surprise from work came from the late decision to have me tag along on a conference that my organization was hosted in Guam in October!

My weekend trips included two trips to Blacksburg, VA, in April and September, to visit my friend Chelsea and watch some VTech football (aka relive my college tailgating days), a day trip to Morgantown, WV, in September, to watch K-State football play WVU and a quick trip over to Baltimore in June, when another K-State friend was passing through. Two of my favorite weekends were spent on an epic girls weekend to NYC with my best friend Megan in April, and returning to Kansas City in November, for the AFA Leaders Conference and Alliance Forum, and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of an organization that I love dearly.

In 2016, I grew a lot at work and continued to love the industry and people that I work.

I celebrated my one year anniversary and took on more responsibilities. Everyday I learned more and more about the wheat industry, took on new challenges and even survived a few growing pains. It also became more apparent how lucky I am to have a boss and co-workers that support me both personally and professionally. They are a team who genuinely love the work that they do, and I have found that when challenges arise, I am very grateful for their attitudes and guidance.

In 2016, I celebrated new life and became a new surrogate Auntie to two adorable babies.

A year or two ago I think it would be safe to say that this season of change was a bit overwhelming, but in 2016 I fully embraced it. Two of my best friends became mamas and I was overjoyed to see them start their families and am honored that even though I live far away, they want me in their baby’s lives as much as possible. Richole and Dustin welcomed Wesley Ray on Mar. 4, and Leah and Ryan welcomed Robin Michele on Apr. 4. (Thank goodness that is going to be easy to remember!) My work and personal travel allowed me to visit both of them twice, and I got in all of the baby snuggles that I could.

In 2016, I had more new visitors to DC.

After spending my first year and half with a roommate, I decided I wanted to go back to living on my own. Of course the timing of it had to be difficult with a week-long work trip and a few big project deadlines all right before the start and end of my leases. So my wonderful Mom made a last minute trip to visit and help with the move. I honestly couldn’t have done it without her! We also managed to fit in just a little bit of “fun,” including walking and sitting in the pouring rain because we were determined to see the Memorial Day concert of the U.S. Capitol West Lawn.

One of my biggest highlights of the year was having my best friends and college roommates visit DC. Megan and Kyla, and Kyla’s husband Nathan (a veteran when it comes to dealing with the three of us girls together on his own), have practically been planning for this trip since I first moved to DC. I had a blast sharing my new home with these guys and we definitely made the most of it!

In 2016, I really branched out and made new friends.

It is no secret that I am pretty outgoing, but in spite of that, I have always taken a bit longer to make friends. It is something that used to bother me quite a bit, but overtime I have learned to be better at embracing that it is a part of what makes me, well me. As DC started to really feel like a home, 2016 became all about putting myself out there a bit more and making new friends.

In 2016, a lot of the small moments, stand out as big ones…

I survived #WinterStormJonas, 2 feet of snow and a city completely shutting down.
I gained an aunt (but really a sister) in Sonia.
I celebrated turning 26, and am a-okay will being closer to 30 than 21.
I cheered on my Wildcats on lazy fall Saturday watch parties.
I became a Lifetime Member of the AFA Alliance.
I went on my first East Coast hike, and know that it will not be my last.
I was thankful for technology so I could watch my sister graduate college even though I couldn’t be there in person.

I enjoyed doing things I love by decorating my new apartment, a few crafts and a few live concerts.
I developed plantar fasciitis in my foot and will forever regret buying shoes just because they are cute
I had a great stay-cation over Labor Day weekend with a visit from my friend Nicole to DC.
I took the holiday season by storm with multiple Friendsgivings and holiday parties.
I found a church home and community in NCC.

I took way too many A LOT of pictures out and about exploring DC.

And while I certainly enjoyed getting to know those new friends, I also embraced the old ones that have stuck around and continue to enrich my life.

Oh 2016, you really weren’t all that bad. But I am looking forward to what in store for me in 2017.

Cheers.

Year in Review

Where It All Begins: 2015, A Year in Review

With the new year approaching, I was struggling to come up with a witty way to review my 2015, like I did at the end of 2014. But then again, that post always makes me laugh, because so much was about to happen and I had NO CLUE. Over the past year, I’ve thought a lot about that new year’s celebrated on San Antonio Riverwalk with my friends during our Alamo Bowl trip. I remember being really happy, and though I had told myself two months before that I wasn’t going to look, but was going to be open to new job opportunities, I really did love my life in Kansas. I had no clue that just nine days later I was going to apply for a job in Washington D.C. and that a very short two months later I was going to start all over and move halfway across the country AGAIN to the place I had dreamed about since I was little.

2015 was full of adventure and taking risks. It was a year where I challenged myself and when I really learned about value. How to work toward better valuing my friends and family, criticism and praise, life and opportunity. Many of my values were strengthened and some I chose to question. And I learned to better value myself. In the book “Let’s All Be Brave” by Annie F. Downs that I have (very) slowly been working through there is a line that says, “–that I am who I am on purpose.” That thought really struck me and I’ve carried it with me ever since (literally, as the picture on my phone’s lock screen.). In the blogging world, a lot of people talk about choosing a “focus” word or phrase for the coming year and at the end of 2014, I thought I would join. My Grammy had given me a token that said “Shine From Within,” and I thought about how that sentiment could mean so many different things. I don’t know if I “focused” on that phrase as much as I said I would, but I do believe that I worked toward being my more authentic self. Of course there are always many more miles to go, and maybe I’ll find new definitions for that phrase, but I can say in full confidence, that I like where I am headed in 2016.

IMG_1446

Let’s not skip past 2015 though, because it’s certainly not a year that I ever want to forget.

In 2015, I took a new job and moved to Washington D.C.

On January 9th I heard about a job opening at U.S. Wheat Associates
On February 9th I accepted a job there as a Communications Specialist
On March 9th I was all moved in and had my first day as a “wheatie.”
And by April 9th, I knew I had found someplace special.
The learning curve is still really steep and I might live by “fake it till you make it” forever, but I honestly love my job. I love my office environment, the work, the farmers I work for and feel so lucky to have so many great co-workers. I love the feeling that I’m doing something that benefits others and in an industry that I believe in with every part of me.

I REALLY miss both Kansas and Oregon, but I am confident that this is where I need to be in my life right now.

In 2015, I explored my new home.

Looking back I don’t really remember much in March and April. I think it was all I could do to go to work and learn as much as I could everyday and curl up on the couch when I got home. But I’ve always dreamed of living here and eventually I began explore. I am fascinated by this place. So much history, so many unique people and there is always a dozen or so fun events going on here. I am continuing to slowly work my way through the tourist attractions (saving some for when I have visitors) and searching out some of the lesser known sights. I love visiting Arlington Cemetery, running on the Mall and saying Hi to Lincoln. I crossed off an item off of my bucket list and watched fireworks on the Mall and enjoyed the cherry blossoms in the spring. Anyone who would like to visit, let me know, I am honing my skills as a tour guide 🙂

In 2015, I had so many opportunities to travel.

My job took me back to Kansas, San Diego, Phoenix, Lake Tahoe and on my first big international trip to Guatemala.
I had the chance for a quick trip home and to the cabin over the summer, celebrated my sister’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas, my 25th birthday back in Kansas and witnessed my friend Blaine’s wedding. I spent Friendsgiving in North Carolina and Christmas at home again with my family.

At one point in the summer I went 8 weeks where I never spent more than 8 days in a row in D.C. This is the life friends. There is a lot of ugly that goes on in the world, but I still refuse to believe that it’s not beautiful.

In 2015, I really valued my time with my family and friends.

My grandparents are the true rockstars of the year. They cut their anniversary trip short to fly to Kansas to help me pack and then made the drive East with me. And I don’t know which was more horrible, the weather on the drive or my attitude. I put all of my stress and worry on them and all they did was love me back. I am still incredibly grateful for the help and support.

Even though I moved to the East coast I still got to spend quality time with people that I love and as I mentioned above, shared many celebrations together. I had a few visitors to my new home, including my best friend Richole from Oregon and my college friend Chelsea, who is now a fellow Virginian at Virginia Tech. And most importantly I am starting to build a life here and making new friends

In 2015, I did things that made me happy.

I became a resident of Virginia and began to embrace my new home.
I began a window garden again, and failed, AGAIN.
I continued to do some DIY projects and finished my very first crochet project.
I discovered the BEST semi-annual book sale at the local library and added so many new books to my own library.
I finally got a professional camera and am enjoying learning how to better use it and sharing those images with others.
I really dove into blogging, sharing my love for music, scrapbooking my life and felt so rewarded and motivated by my new “The Road I Traveled” series. And those are all just SOME of the highlights.

There is a lot that I am hopeful for in 2016.
I hope that I continue to grow, build my self confidence and be someone that I can be proud of.
I hope that I keep learning and become a better communicator and agriculturist. I hope to better serve others, both in my career and everyone who deserves the best from me. I hope to continue to have wanderlust and be brave enough to take risks. And most of all I am always hopeful for health and happiness, for myself and those I love.
There are a lot of things that we can be in this life, but I think just being simply happy, is the best there is.

I have lots of goals and adventures to be had, so 2016, I hope you are ready, because I am not slowing down.

And of course, my list of favorite music this year is long, but these four songs are what motivated me and spoke to my heart this year.

Cheers, and Happy New Years!

Year in Review

In 2014, I Lived.

iswearilived

In 2014, I wandered.

Memphis. Philadelphia. Austin. Chicago. Des Moines.
Countless trips to Kansas City and Wichita.
From the Oregon Coast to my beloved Blue Mountains to home sweet home.
And I’m going to be ringing in the New Year down in San Antonio

My job took me to new places and on great adventures.
It also gave me the time to travel and visit those who mean the most to me.

In 2014, I celebrated.

Three of my best friends got married…within one month, and I was in all three of them.
Yah, that happened.
I became a bridal shower/bachelorette party hosting pro.
There was a speech to write, flowers to design, lots of accessories to keep track of, DJ-ing, nerves to calm, 10 different hairstyles to do and a few tears.
There was cake too, that was pretty great.

To Kyla, Leah and Richole, thank you so much for asking me to be a part your special days and, a part of your lives. You each are such vibrant, loving, beautiful women, and I am so blessed by our endless laughter and memories.

In 2014, I took big kid steps.

I might have graduated college in 2013, but since I continued to live with my college roommates for the remainder of the year I was kind of in limbo between college life and “post grad life.”

But in 2014, I made up for it.
I moved into my own place and cut 7 inches off my hair.
I fought the urge to get a puppy and settled for plants.
I bought good furniture, became a Kansas resident and a Manhattan townie.
I’ve started to cook more than ramen and pb & j sandwiches.
Heck, I don’t even think talking about budgets and retirement plans are boring anymore.

I realize I’ve barely made it past chapter one on all there is to learn,
but from where I’m sitting, this life ain’t half bad.

In 2014, I learned to enjoy this season of life.

Concerts under summer stars. A purple stadium to cheer in. Making last minute plans and random weekend adventures.
Visits from my family to Kansas and traveling home to surprise them for Thanksgiving.
I had time.
Time to think, read, explore and enjoy good wine.
Time to rediscover old hobbies and uncover new ones.
Time for successful DIY projects and failed attempts at new recipes.
It’s hard not to want to rush through toward the next bend in the road, but 2014 taught me to take a deep breath and take the time to enjoy this season, and live.

In 2014, I swear I lived.

Thanks to all who were part of a pretty fantastic year.
Looking forward to spending 2015 with you, and all that is to come.

Year in Review

My 2012 Year in Review

If I were to describe my 2012 Twitter style, I would “hashtag” things like #musicjunkie #growingup #EMAW #itsthesimplethings #internlife #family #thingsmyroommatessay #ksuagmag #agcommproblems #awesomesauce #AFAlove #blessed…just to name a few.

Yes, it has been good year with many great experiences and opportunities filled with love and laughter. I am so blessed and fortunate to have shared it with so many. So, I’m jumping on the band wagon and sharing my Top 10 Moments in 2012 (in no particular order of course.)

100_1168

  1. Family vacation in Cabo San Lucas
  2. Summer internship with ICM, Inc. and experiencing living in Wichita, Kansas.
  3. Being on leadership staff for the Fall 2012 edition of the Kansas State Agriculturist magazine
  4. Became quite the concert-goer taking in Wade Bowen, Josh Abbott Band, Kyle Park, Kevin Fowler, Logan Mize, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and ……attending Country Stampede!
  5. Was able to make four visits home to Oregon for the Oregon FFA State Convention in my hometown, my baby sister’s high school graduation, attending Caitlin and Matt’s wedding, a quick trip to the cabin, the Umatilla County Fair and of course, the holidays.
  6. My parents and grandparents visited me in Kansas and witnessed a Wildcat victory over Miami.
  7. Speaking of Wildcat football…Can you say Big XII Champs? What an amazing season to be a part of.
  8. Moved in to an apartment with my two best friends Kyla & Megan. We’ve laughed, cried and went a little crazy. I couldn’t imagine senior year without these two by my side.
  9. Those I love are happy and healthy, and with the exception of a wee sprained ankle, this fall was the first semester in college that I did not get ridiculously sick.
  10. Finished up my year of service on the Agriculture Future of America 2011-2012 Student Advisory team with a trip to Washington D.C. and attended fall conference again as a regular delegate, all with eight teammates who are now eight of my closest friends.

2013, you have big shoes to fill. I’m looking forward to being editor of the Kansas State Agriculturist magazine, graduating from K-State, further enabling my concert junkie status and starting my new job with the Kansas Pork Association. And, considering I’m writing this as I sit on a plane on my way to watch my Wildcats play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, I think it’s going to start out pretty good.

Thanks for being a part of my crazy adventures.

Here’s to the New Year!

– Amanda