So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 19

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

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

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

Well settle in, it will be a long one…

1. Celebrated My Birthday

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

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

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

2. Beware of Jalapeno’s

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

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

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

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

3. Crop Quality Report

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

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

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4. The Best is Yet to Come

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

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

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

5. “Coloring Book for Me” App

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

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

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6. Kansas City

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

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She is 7 months old now!

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

7. Hiking

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

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8. Sunday Funday

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

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9. Friendsgiving

This year I went to two Thanksgivings!

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

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

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

10. Run DC

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

Anyway, as expected, it was a beautiful day.

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11. The People’s Tree

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

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I love Union Station this time of year!

12. Christmas Crafts

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

13. Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.

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Views from my parents’ new property.

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Enjoyed my first “Paint Nite” with Allyson!

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

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

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Good morning Union Station.

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Snapchats of Jack from my sister are my FAVORITE.

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My new tennis shoes are full of inspiration

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

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

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

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Sunday brunch to celebrate Sherin’s birthday!

13. Chris Stapleton

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

HE NEEDS TO RECORD THIS!

14. My Life in Memes

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

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Creativity and Organization

Christmas Crafting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda

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Link up.

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Life Notes

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.

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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!

Creativity and Organization

DIY Lately.

I’ve been pretty crafty over the last couple of months, so I thought I would share.

Really, all of the baking on Pinterest makes me feel inadequate, so I had to compensate somehow.


1. Hanging Wooden “O” Monogram

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My childhood best friend Richole up and got herself hitched last summer to Dustin Osbourne, and right away they moved into a new home. They didn’t have much to start decorating with so I went ahead and helped out.

I painted this medium-sized wooden letter that I got from Hobby Lobby and embellished with lots of fun bling, that I also I got from the holy ground.
(i.e. Hobby Lobby.)

(Warning, I’m a huge fan of Hobby Lobby)

2. Holiday Silk Arrangement

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Yah, sure I’ve already blogged about this. But I’m still just so proud.

3. Grey and Yellow Decorative Bottles

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Decorating bottles is kind of my new thing, and while these ones are my first, I have a whole Pinterest board bursting with future ideas.

I made these ones for my best friend Megan’s birthday, who recently did a new bedspread and color scheme for her bedroom. I used a tequila bottle and two different wine bottles, and all of the accessories are from Hobby Lobby. One fun thing I found was that instead of buying individual twine string, it also comes in a ribbon that looks like you used individual strands. For the paint I used acrylic. Now there may be more preferable kinds of paint to use on glass, but I like that acrylic is fast-drying (I’m an extremely impatient person) and I particularly like the texture that it leaves. You may not be able to see in the picture, but I also used metallic colored silver and gold sharpies to add some final detailing.

4. Purple and Blue Painted Bottles

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So I lied. THESE were technically my first bottle project, but I didn’t decorate them like the ones above, so they don’t count, right?

Anyways, I painted these when I moved into a new place last year and got a new bed spread set. I already had the skinny blue bottle (on the bottom right) and the mosaic vase (on the bottom left) and decided to build my look around them. Again, I used acrylic paints and the few embellishments were random decorative things that I already had. As for as the bottles go… well there’s a little bit of everything up there 🙂

5. Hanging Wooden “E” Wine  Cork Monogram

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So this is the only project on here that I (kind of) got from a specific pin on Pinterest.

I’ve been wanting to do something with wine corks for a while, and have been religiously saving my stash for the right project. Now I kept and used my broken ones because 1. I like how they look and 2. I’m really bad at removing the cork perfectly. Like the “O” I got this large-sized wooden letter at Hobby Lobby. I was making this one at home in Oregon over my holiday break to I access to my family flower shop and their “library” of spray paint. For this I used a matte black for the front and then lined all of the edges in metallic gold. All of the button embellishments came from Hobby Lobby, but all of the rest came from the odds and ends drawer at our shop. This was a Christmas present for my uncle Josh and Sonia, and the future home they is searching for.

Creativity and Organization

It’s In My Genes

A few weeks ago I spent my birthday weekend in Ellinwood, Kansas with my best friends Megan and Kyla. To pass the afternoon we visited a few adorable little antique shops where I found these treasures below. I knew immediately that I wanted to use the crock to hold a silk arrangement that I could change out seasonally.

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Growing up in a flower shop, you pick up on some rather unique skills. Call it a curse if you will, but I can’t look at any room or decoration and not try to make a project out of it. I spent about $30 to buy these silks at Hobby Lobby. Since they go really well with my living room colors and decor, my plan is that I will be able to leave them out from mid-October through January, because they encompass fall, Thanksgiving AND the holidays. For the base, I used a white styrofoam ball to secure everything.

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While I was making it, I started to think about how natural this creative part of me comes. My family has owned Cottage Flowers now for 26 years, first my grandma and now my mom. It’s a part of almost every memory I have. The flower shop is where I grew up.

I have chosen to spend my career in agriculture. I think what farmers do is honorable and I will never bore of learning more, and sharing that with others. But I do think that what my family does is important too. No, it might not bear a lot of responsibility, like feeding the world does, but it does make people happy. A little touch of decor makes every home a little warmer and a bouquet of flowers can make one’s day a little bit brighter.

When I’m talking with my farmers I like to share that I too come from a family business.
We’ve had setbacks and seen growth, and we have customers that depend on us.
Their kids were driving tractors, while I was cleaning flowers.
We are a family, just like them.
So I too am proud, proud to be a 3rd generation florist.

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And let’s be honest, I’m pretty excited to showoff the final product.

I guess the holiday season has officially arrived!

Creativity and Organization

Pinterest Adventures

With school, work, life and what not, I have to work pretty hard at balancing my distractions. That’s why I am pretty proud of myself that while Pinterest is an awesome website, I am able to keep myself from wasting too much valuable time on it.

With that said, I am also proud to say that I have put some of that pointless browsing to good use and joined the “DIY” fad. (You would be amused to know how long it took me to figure out that DIY stood for ‘Do It Yourself’)

Here are my projects and attempts at “oh my goodness that is so creative” so far.

1. Makeup boards

These were Christmas presents I made last year, the pink one for my roommate Megan and the purple one for my sister Janci.

Instructions:

  • For the boards I used a white dry erase board for the pink one and a piece of sheet metal and a frame that my mom painted for the purple. I covered them both in fabric.
  • Then I just used spray paint, ribbons and random decorative stuff to personalize each one. To hold heavier things like makeup brushes I used kitchen drawer organizer baskets and pencil cup holders

  • Finally with both gifts I included a package of magnets that they could hot glue to the back of all of their compacts and other items. It’s not shown but Megan took a rectangle magnet strip and keeps her bobby pins organized that way. I would definitely suggest using as strong as magnets as you can and the hot glue is nice instead of super glue because you can peel the magnets off and reuse them.

2. Necklace Hanger

This was a birthday present that my roommate Kyla and I made for our other roommate Megan’s birthday. It was super easy. We found both the wooden plaque and assorted drawer knobs at Hobby Lobby, spray painted and decorated the plaque and then with a little power tool help from the boys, drilled the knobs in. I hung it by stringing wire between to two hooks.

3. Map picture

So this is more of a modification of two projects that I saw on Pinterest. Here my Grandma let me cut up one of her U.S. maps and so I cut out hearts that were stenciled around my two homes in Oregon and Kansas. Really this is more her project because she free-handed the stencils and wrote the words. But I get creativity points, right?

4. Cake dip

Obviously food does not go under the “DIY” category, however, considering how baking and cooking anything dessert related does not go under the list of skills that I have, I definitely consider it a tally for the win column. Plus I have been the hit at all birthdays, watch parties and tailgates this semester.

Ingredients:

  • one box of cake mix (just the mix not all of the things it says to add for a cake,) a 8 oz. tub of cool whip and a cup of plain yogurt.
  • Mix. Refrigerate. DONE. So far we like  scooby snacks, graham crackers and animal crackers best to dip in.

5. Earring holder

This was actually my very own idea. Go me.

Instructions:

  • I got chain link from Ace Hardware and strung two different thin ribbons through each link
  • The bows are a product of being raised in a floral shop. Sorry, but can’t really teach that one. But my mom can 🙂
  • Then I just draped the chain across 3 finishing nails

Happy Pinning!
– Amanda Jae